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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Purgatory, Religious Life (Nuns) & the Pope

ANTI-CATHOLIC ASSERTION

Catholics propose many things not supported in the Scriptures, like Purgatory, Nuns and the Pope. It is a serious sin to add to the Bible. Moving to the matter of the Pope, he is a man who takes upon himself the honor which belongs to God alone. People do not need the Pope to know the will of God. The testimony of Scripture is that the Holy Spirit guides each believer to all truth. All anyone needs is a bible and the Holy Spirit. The papacy has no special commission to teach; it is the pathetic attempt of the blind leading the blind. Disaster awaits them all. Catholics should abandon this man-made system which prevents them from personally knowing Jesus and being saved. Turning to Purgatory, it is purportedly a place where sins are purified after death. However, the Bible says that Jesus does this. Our fate is sealed with death– heaven or hell– nothing more.

[Not to add to the Bible] Add nothing to his words, lest he reprove you, and you be exposed as a deceiver (Proverbs 30:6).

[Regarding the absence of the Catholic Purgatory] Hence, now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear as second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him (Hebrews 9:27-28).

CATHOLIC TRUTH

The citation of Proverbs contends that we must not add anything to God’s revelation; taken in the strict sense of the fundamentalist, it would logically mean that everything written (including Scripture?) after the fifth century B.C. (the date of this book’s composition) is inauthentic. Not being very rational, even with their own principles, they will deny and run away from such a position. The Catholic Church adds nothing that alters the substantial message of salvation; indeed, she validates much that the anti-Catholic would steal from God’s hands. While religious life is mentioned, fundamentalist anti-Catholics are never clear about what is wrong with consecrated life. Having spoken about the Pope elsewhere, I will not add much here. The Scriptural and historical evidence is abundantly clear that the Papacy was an institution finding its roots in the significant mission given St. Peter by Jesus, himself. Even the Orthodox churches, who are not in union with the Holy See, view the Pope as the first among equals. As for Purgatory, I fail to see how the Bible texts quoted say anything to challenge this doctrine of faith. The soul in Purgatory is destined for heaven. Jesus has indeed rescued him from the death of sin. However, since we believe that justification is not so much imputation as it is transformation, the soul must be perfected and purified before entry into heaven. The fire of God’s love itself burns away the residue of selfishness to which we cling. Temporal punishment for sin is paid and the little sins which plagued us, as well as evil habits or vices, are eradicated and we are healed. Often Purgatory has been compared to a prison, but it might better be likened to a hospital. Indeed, if Purgatory is the hospital of the afterlife, then hell is the cemetery for dead souls, who have forfeited the divine life, clung to mortal sin, and hate both God and man. The Catholic citation of 2 Maccabees brings another issue to the forefront, the deletion of a book of the Bible by Protestant reformers. Of course, it still shows the orthodox mindset of the Jews regarding prayer for the dead and what Jesus would have held as one who acknowledged by words and then by his own person, the resurrection.

[Expiation for the dead] Judas rallied his army and went to the city of Adullam. As the week was ending, they purified themselves according to custom and kept the sabbath there. On the following day, since the task had now become urgent, Judas and his men went to gather up the bodies of the slain and bury them with their kinsmen in their ancestral tombs. But under the tunic of each of the dead they found amulets sacred to the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. So it was clear to all that this was why these men had been slain. They all therefore praised the ways of the Lord, the just judge who brings to life the things that are hidden. Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin (2 Maccabees 12:38-46).

[Clear implication that there is forgiveness of sins in the next life] “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this world or in the world to come” (Matthew 12:32).

[Must be made perfect before entering heaven] The treasure and wealth of nations will be brought there, but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any[one] who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:26-27).