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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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The Catholic Church, Salvation & Peter

MARTHA LEE:

The Catholic Church according to its practice and compared to Biblical injunctions is tantamount to a cult.

FATHER JOE:

Actually, it is more likely that your religion is the cult. Catholicism is true religion and the Church directly instituted by Jesus Christ. Catholicism is the most genuine form of Christianity.

RONIE:

Mr. Joe, can you tell me in your own understanding the meaning of Church?

FATHER JOE:

Mister Joe?

  • The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ.
  • The Church is the great Sacrament of Salvation.
  • The Church is the House that Jesus built.
  • The Church is that community of faith which receives its life from the Eucharist.
  • The Church is built on the foundation of Christ (invisible head) and the ROCK of Peter (visible head).

This information is elsewhere on this site. Look it up next time.

DENNIS:

Purgatory is a myth and Peter was Jewish so how could he be the first pope. I am no longer going to the catholic church because it is all symbolism over substance. It will be a pope (HOLY FATHER…WHAT A JOKE) who will be the antichrist or at least be very supportive. I joined the catholic church before getting married 29 years ago and I told my wife who is catholic that many things the church did were wrong. After many years she agrees and my daughter has taken religious courses that prove the evils that exist.

FATHER JOE:

In the course of God’s progressive revelation to his people, the Jews had come to believe in both an afterlife and that atonement could be made for the dead. Jesus speaks about the afterlife drawing from the analogy of a debtor’s prison where none could be released until the last penny was paid. While the passion and death of Christ makes possible our redemption, he desires that we have both a saving personal faith in him and a corporate faith as members of his new People of God, the Church. Purgation is a sign of God’s gracious mercy. We must be transformed by grace and made perfect for heaven. If we belong to God, then he will finish what is started in this world. The saints of purgatory are all destined for heaven. As they approach the fire of God’s love, that eternal flame burns away the last vestiges of sin and vice. Temporal punishment is appeased and we are made truly holy. Such is no more a myth than our abiding faith that our Lord has gone ahead of us and that he prepares a place in heaven for his children.

The first called by Jesus were the Hebrew people. Salvation comes from the Jews. The apostles were all Jewish and yet at the Last Supper our Lord instituted both the priesthood and the Eucharist. Just as there are Semitic Catholics today, Peter was both Jewish and the visible head of Christ’s Church, the Catholic Church. They became the first Catholics.

You probably never really understood your Catholic faith to really know what you were rejecting. Did you ever sit down with a priest and ask your questions? Did you take advantage of adult faith formation in your parish? The odds are that you did not. There is no conflict between sacred signs and a faith of real substance. The problem is that you may never have known where to look for that substance or the meat of faith.

The Pope or Holy Father has even written a personal reflection on the life of Christ, now in two volumes. He preaches and witnesses to our Lord. Be careful of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. If God does protect Pope Benedict XVI and the faith and morals he teaches, then you slander not men but God. Only ignorant men filled with hatred would call the Pope by the demonic name of “antichrist.” Be careful that the joke is not on you.

You did not have to join the Catholic Church to get married in the Church. The fact that you entered a Church in which you placed no faith is tragic. It says nothing against the Church but volumes about your own lack of integrity and discretion. Why would you lie and say you believed when you did not? You should have shared your reservations then and withheld your prejudiced venom now.

I suspect that you undermined your wife’s weak faith and now delight that your child has also been stolen from the Church. Am I supposed to take these remarks seriously? I challenge you to bring your family to a strong parish-run Catholic instruction program. Bring your questions to the priest. You assume many things and there are plenty of misguided ministers ready to steer you away from Catholicism… not with a positive message of their own, but with a negative message against the Roman Catholic Church. They build themselves up by tearing others down. My Church preaches love, not hate.

RONIE:

It is very clear. By the way, your explanation about church is different and it is more complex. You know church is not a house or a building, Church is called the Bride of Christ, and also is called the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). Its members all have different functions. It is composed of saved and baptized believers; that’s why Christ love the Church. The word “Church” in Greek is “ekklesia” which means “called out assembly.” Peter is not the rock because the 12 disciples, knowing well the Old Testament, recognized the Rock as a description or name for God.

“He is the Rock, His word is perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

“The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress…” (Psalm 18:2).

“For Who is God save the Lord? Or who is a Rock save our God” (Psalm 18:31).

We see here that there is no other Rock than God, not even Peter. Jesus Christ is the foundation Rock on which the Church is built. Oh, by the way Mr. Joe, Peter did not even reach Rome. The only man who was sent by God to preach to the Gentiles was Paul. Also, if Peter is your first Pope, why until now are priests not allowed to marry, since Peter had a wife? (see Matthew 8:14)

FATHER JOE:

I am not sure what you read, but I have spoken numerous times about the Church as the bride of Christ. Indeed, the Mass is a sacramental participation in the marriage banquet of heaven. This Church is one and the same with the Catholic Church. The members of the Church have different functions and gifts. We make distinctions between the clergy and the laity. Baptized believers with faith in Jesus live in the hope of their salvation. Your reference to the “saved” might be criticized under the sin of presumption. Jesus loves the Church as his own body.

The term “ekklesia” was originally a political term for the calling together of an assembly. It becomes descriptive of the assembly of the Church. Christ calls us both to a personal faith in him and to a CORPORATE faith as his Church. I suspect that you would tend to minimize this latter understanding. No one is saved apart from Christ; no one is saved apart from the Church.

Moving on, I am sorry, but Peter is the ROCK because Jesus said so.

“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it,” (Matt. 16:18).

Our Lord is the foundation stone of the Church. He gives something of his own authority to Peter and his successors to shepherd his flock. There is no contradiction in that Jesus is also called our rock of safety and refuge. Peter is literally a chip off the old block.

There is ample historical evidence that Peter reached Rome. The problem you face is that you exclude any information not put forward in the Bible. That would also exclude the works of the Church fathers and the legacy of the saints. Or maybe this is not true? You do seem to esteem the interpretive works of reformation anti-Catholics like Gill even more than the Bible. Excavations have discovered the tomb and the bones of Peter, clearly marked. The Holy See sits upon the twin pillars of Peter and Paul. As for priests getting married, the fact that Peter has a wife says nothing about the discipline of celibacy as practiced by Jesus, Paul and others. Celibacy is not so much a doctrinal matter as it is one of Church discipline. Disciplines can change or even be revoked; doctrines cannot.

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