I respond to negative comments from Jorge Ulate and Darren J. Cowley.
JORGE: Where in the Bible does it say that the Catholic Church is the “church” established by Jesus? If I recall correctly Jesus established Jews to run his ministry. All the apostles, excluding one was not a Jew. So, how can this be? I am a Christian, now with all due respect. Can you answer me? So I would not be so confused. Or maybe I should convert to the right path— the Jesus way, not the Catholic.
FATHER JOE: The Catholic Church has an unbroken apostolic succession going back to the first apostles. If you read Acts and the epistles of Paul it is obvious that the Church was expanding beyond members of the Jewish nation to include the Gentiles. When the Jerusalem faith community was largely destroyed, the gravity would move to the large numbers of Greeks and Romans. Peter and Paul had already gone to Rome and had become martyrs of the true faith. The historical continuity connects the Catholic Church to the Church directly established by Jesus Christ. Simon is renamed Peter or Rock and Christ promises to give him the keys to the kingdom, warning that the gates of hell would never overcome the Church. Only the Catholic Church still claims a leader who is a successor of Peter, the one we call the Pope. The Eastern churches are also connected to us and have all seven sacraments. The juridical break is over the Petrine See, notably the extent of the Pope’s authority. However, they too see their bishops as successors of the apostles. Christ is called the Way and the early Church also termed the Church as such. This makes sense since the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. The word “catholic” means universal or worldwide. There is one Church instituted by Christ to perpetuate his ministry and to preach his truths.
HONEST DARREN OF AUSTRALIA: The Catholic Church is well documented by secular authors as having killed 100 million people during the inquisition and dark ages.
FATHER JOE: Not true, and what are these secular authorities? Anti-Catholic apologists and certain fundamentalists make such bloated claims, but they are hardly secular or unbiased. The inquisitions were largely civil affairs over which the Church had minimal control. Spain was the harshest and there were probably only seven million people in the whole country at the time. Rome censured them for their severity. The entire population of all of Europe might not have been 100 million. Stop telling lies or do some credible research and put an end to your libelous ignorance. A few thousand people may have suffered capital punishment. By comparison, since 1976, the United States has executed 1,321 people. The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops opposes the use of the death penalty.
HONEST DARREN OF AUSTRALIA: These people are anyone who did not accept their spiritual authority on earth.
FATHER JOE: No, these were people who were judged dangerous to civil harmony. The secular leaders viewed religion as a glue to hold their societies together. Spain fought hard to remove the Moslems from their nation and their inquisition sometimes targeted Jews. Freemasons were also regarded as a threat since they conspired against both the state and the Church. Eventually Protestant monarchs would repress the freedoms of Catholics just as Catholic leaders had sought to minimize the damage of non-Catholic factions in their nations. The Inquisition in Italy is regarded by all authorities as the most mild. Crimes were not just heresy but infractions for which today’s civil courts would also render punishment. Of 75,000 cases judged, some 1,250 may have received the death sentence.
HONEST DARREN OF AUSTRALIA: They have never acknowledged this or apologized.
FATHER JOE: It makes no sense for the Church to acknowledge your deceit. Having said this, the late Pope John Paul II regarded even one life as sacred and having incommensurate value, took the high ground and offered a series of “mea culpas” or apologies in the hope that others would respond in kind. Read his apostolic letter, TERTIO MILLENNIO ADVENIENTE. He writes: “Another painful chapter of history to which the sons and daughters of the Church must return with a spirit of repentance is that of the acquiescence given, especially in certain centuries, to intolerance and even the use of violence in the service of truth.” It was his hope that this new millennium might be less bloody than the last.
HONEST DARREN OF AUSTRALIA: They are an abomination God. The pope is a sinful and corrupt man, he is not God and does not have any authority.
FATHER JOE: Actually, your bigotry is the abomination. Your hypocrisy damages the Christian witness we are to offer the world. Calumny is a sin and yours is paraded for all to see. The Pope like all good men recognizes that he is a sinner and he has a Confessor. Like Peter, he is a weak man; but also like Peter, the sacred charge is given to him by Christ, all the same. The Pope does not claim to be God. He is the Vicar of Christ, the Servant of the Servants of God. You are probably the unwitting servant of the father of lies.
HONEST DARREN OF AUSTRALIA: Spend time on your knees in prayer and read the Bible, and you will be led to the truth and a close relationship to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
FATHER JOE: I read the Scriptures every day and pray throughout the day. As a Catholic, I have both a personal and a corporate faith in Jesus Christ. As a priest, I am God’s instrument in extending the saving works or ministry among men. Christ feeds his people. Christ forgives his people. Christ heals his people. Christ teaches his people. The Catholic Church is the New People of God!