Can Catholics and non-Catholics actually discuss faith matters Objectively?

Yet another “I AM a Catholic” Teaching document

by Patrick Miron

Friends is it even possible for Catholics and non Catholics to have a charitable and Objective faith discussion?

Choose of of these or introduce your own. But support your position with facts please.

From your post: [This is an on-going discussion with a well informed Protestant Blogger who is explaining there position vrs our Catholic Understanding, on the “Five Sola’s”

“How, then, does the Messiah, the God-Man, tell us that we are saved?

“Jesus said to Him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (Jn. 14:6)”

The disagreement between Protestants and Catholics/Orthodox arise in the realm of sacraments, meritorious works and the role of Mary and the saints (who, to my understanding, form a sort of repository or treasury of faith and works the Christian today can access and benefit from). Let us consider each separately.

The word “sacrament” is defined as a sacred act or ceremony. Most Protestant denominations engage in only two sacraments, Baptism and Communion/Eucharist, neither of which are understood to confer grace in and of themselves. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, by contrast, defines the sacraments as: [ONLY Baptism is valid and what about Marriage?’

“efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.” (1131)

In other words, to a Protestant, grace already exists in the life of the Christian by virtue of His belief and the sacraments are the outward signs or rites of that inward reality. The Catholic Church teaches that the sacraments (of which there are seven – Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony) are avenues (instituted” by Christ) through which grace is deposited into the Christian. We may think of Protestants as having an abstract idea of grace while Catholics have a material one, as in comparing a painting of a table to the actual table itself.

MY RESPONSE [QUITE-a bit late due to my recent travels and limited computer access along my route”] … I am fascinated  by this series and in particular your understanding of the Sacraments and how, if I am understanding you, they have little if any “real” effect on humanities POSSIBLE salvation. I think “Granted” would be a more clear term of what takes place than is the term, “deposited”.

In order not to belabor the “Catholic Position” on the Soli’s or to defuse or lessen the impact of your teachings, as well as addressing my current temporary time demands, I’ll sort of lump all of your post up to this point in this one personal reply and explanation.

I’ll attempt to do so by using the example of the Sacraments correctly understood, biblically grounded and God approved and rightly explained., and at the same time by asking and tying in a single; but critical to ones’ own salvation, perplexing question.

The Question that must be asked and answered is:

Can anyone actually be a “follower of Christ” without: Actually knowing [and and therefore Morally obligating themselves to fully accepting] what Christ Himself, as a Perfect and unerring God has taught, instituted and Ordained? NO! They cannot. The fact that so many attempt to do so is a Grave Error that ONLY God can, and certainly will Judge the merits of.

Allow me my friend to further address this  question before responding to the issue of the Seven Catholic Sacraments, as these issues are tightly intertwined and have great relevancy to this question both as a legitimate question and its “right response.”

Here is a site you may wish to check out. It is the comments of a Protestant on the topic of OSAS; which seems to underscore much Protestant thinking?

My favorite “Faith Book” next to the bible is one authored by the late Archbishop of New York; Fulton J. Sheen whose cause is being studied for possible declaration of Sainthood. It’s entitled “Life of Christ”, and I try to read it annually.

Here from my “today’s meditation” is a very timely quote: “When Herod saw how the astrologers had tricked him he fell into a passion [fury], and gave orders for the massacre of all male- children in Bethlehem and its neighborhood, of the age of two or less, corresponding with the time he had ascertained from the astrologers. [Mt. 2:16]

“Herod will forever be the model of those who make inquiries about religion, but who never act rightly on the knowledge they receive. Like train announcers they know all the stations, but never travel. Head knowledge is worthless, unless accompanied by submission of the will and right action.” END. …Surely your aware of Devine Providence in action?

In a previous response I provided biblical evidence that God; both Yahweh – God and Christ always, with unfailing consistency demanded that we must hold as a singular truth a belief in only One God [that we now know is Triune], always and everywhere and only that One God’s Own Teaching, Commands and ordinances; and that for reasons only God Himself fully understands, only one “church” a term Jesus himself instituted in FORMING His One Catholic Church. [Beyond the logic of “only one” bearing the weight of common logic as the only place to find God’s singular teaching-truths having weight of merit.] … In the Old Testament Times in was the Hebrew nation /”The Jews”; and in New testament / Under a New Covenant in the Blood of Christ Himself it rest with the Only Church, taught, founded, and protected by both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Himself. [Mt. 10: 1-7; and again in Mt 28: 16-20 as well as John 14:16-17; John 17:15-19 and John 20:19-23] It is a FACT that the NT alone has more than 100 references to “only One Church.”

Gen.26: 5 “because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” ….

Exod.19: 5 “Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples; for all the earth is mine”

Deut.4: 30 “When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice, Deut.8: 20 “Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your GodDeut.11: 13 “And if you will obey my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods which you have not known“.

Deut.13: 4You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him, and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and cleave to him. 18 if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping all his commandments which I command you this day, and doing what is right in the sight of the LORD your God. Deut.15: 5 if only you will obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all this commandment which I command you this day. Deut.17: 12 “The man who acts presumptuously, by not obeying the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die; so you shall purge the evil from Israel.”


 John.3: 36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

 Acts.5: 29 “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 32 “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

 Rom.2: 8 “but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury“.

 2Thes.1: 8 “inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not [FULLY] obey the gospel [SINGULAR] of our Lord Jesus”

 Heb.5: 9 “and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him”

Heb.13: 17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you

1Pet.4: 17 “For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

1John.5: 2 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.

Deut.32: 4 The Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he”

 Ps.110: 4 “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchiz’edek.”

Mal.3: 6 “For I the LORD do not change…

Heb.7: 12 “For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 21 Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this one was addressed with an oath, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, `Thou art a priest for ever.'”

The overriding issue and “TEST” then becomes total and complete obedience to the Mind, Heart, Will and Demands [mandates, teachings and commands] of our “Just and Unchanging” God, if one is to merit salvation which can only happen in accord to what God / Christ Himself Ordained, instituted, guides, protects teaches and demands. Something which I think we have agreement?

The term “Protestant” stems from the words “to PROTEST!.” Protest what? Why the Bible itself; the only set of Faith beliefs taught, acceptable and protected by God Himself, and there-by and therefore; God Himself. …Either thee Bible IS Inspired and unfailing in its truths; or it is completely worthless to learn, teach or share God necessary Faith.

 The Basic premise of the many Protestant Faiths rest on the following [seemingly indisputable facts]. 1. God either was wrong in His teachings 2. God did not keep His promises of infallibility [Mt. 16:15-19 and John 20:19-23]on ALL matters Necessary for Faith beliefs acceptable to God as well as ALL Moral issues granted to Peter; the Apostles [Mt. 18:18] and through them to the CC [Mt. 28: 1-16-20] 3. The “church” must have for more than 1,500 YEARS taught incorrectly, or at least incompletely 4. That somewhere hidden in the bible is Gods authorization and approval of personal interpretations with the consequent development of ones own Faith beliefs being completely OK with God. ALL of which presume to either demand a position of  “I“ “know More” or at least “know better” than Christ only Founded Church and Christ Himself [noting that Protestants frequently put “words into the mouth of Christ” in order to alter and in there views “correctly clarify” NOT Christ words; but what Christ actually meant when He said them.] Which would seem to deny that God really is and “must absolutely be“, “Perfect” and unable to lie or deceive? Or that God ordained from the beginning only One set of Faith beliefs as being acceptable to Him. PLEASE feel free to point out what I’m missing here.

Deut.4: 2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it; that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.} … Prov.30: 6 “Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” … Rev.22: 18” I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,”  Wis.12: 10 “But judging them little by little thou gavest

them a chance to repent, though thou wast not unaware that their origin was evil and their wickedness inborn, [BY CHOICE] and that their way of thinking would never change”  Ps.15: 4

“In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change“ .. Hos.4: 7 “The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame”

 Mark 9:7 “And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

 Proverbs 30:5-6  Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Add nothing to his words, lest he reprimand you, and you be proved a liar.

 1 Samuel 15:22-23 “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”

 Mark 8:34-38 “And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Now lets discuss the Seven Sacraments. First lets show a BIBLICAL foundation for each of them.

Each of the seven  Sacraments were instituted by Christ. Four explicitly and three, implicitly. So LET’S REVIEW THE BIBLICAL FACTS.

Baptism; explicitly: John 3:5 “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Confirmation: explicitly: John 20:19-22 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” hen he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Confession / Reconciliation / Penance: explicitly John 20:19- 23 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

  1. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

 Eucharist: The Real Presence: explicitly

 Matthew 26: 26-28

And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.

MARK 14: 22-24

And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it.  And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many

Luke 22: 19-21

And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.

Paul 1 Cor.11: 23-29

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread.  And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.  For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: [to be worthy of the privilege]  and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself

John from Chapter 6: 47-57

Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him.

Marriage: implicitly John 2: 1-9 “On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom … This was the first miracle that Jesus did and one of the few not somehow related to essential elements of our personal salvation. Theologians have attributed the raising of Marriage to a sacramental level as one of the goals and effects of this act.

 This is further augmented by Mark 10: 1-9 “ And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again; and again, as his custom was, he taught them. And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.”

But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, `God made them male and female.’ `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

 Holy Orders/The catholic priesthood implicitly

The evidence begins when Jesus gives the Keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter in Mt. 16:15-19 and is extended to the others in Mt. 18:18. The precise instant though is in John 20:21-22 “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Here Jesus transfers His actual Powers and Authority as God to His new CC. And Formally Ordains the catholic Priesthood.

 Matt. 10: 1-6 “ And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zeb’edee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,
[6] but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matt. 10: 16 ““Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  Matt.10: 40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me.” Matt. 28: 16-20 “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him.. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

The “Last Rites” the final anointing implicit Matt. 10:1”And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity”

 James 5: 13-15 Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

Isa.45: 9 “Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter!

Does the clay say to him who fashions it, `What are you making’? or `Your work has no handles’?”

 Isa.29: 16 ” You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay; that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

Isa.64: 8 “Yet, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand.”

This my friend is WHY the CC holds to Seven Sacraments; each “Instituted” by Christ Himself. Either explicitly as are Baptism, Reconciliation /Confession of sin, The Most Holy Eucharist and Conformation, and implicitly with the authority handed on to the Church by Christ; founded on Sacred Tradition and the bible in “implicit manner.” …

Marriage, Holy Orders and the Last Rites,  Mt. 16:15-19; Mt. 28: 16-20 Mt. 10: 1-8 and the Transfer of God’s OWN POWERS and authority to the Apostles in Both John 17:15-19 and again in John 20:19-23.

 Now to the Sacraments; Grace and it’s necessity in mans salvation.

 Grace is a “free gift from God” granted in the type, amount to whom HE CHOOSES. [I’ll explain Mary’s Role later]. This Catholics Understand as a Dogma of our Faith [which means that it simply cannot be in error or God is a liar]. While most forms of Grace are initiated By God’s Will ALONE; God ordains, permits, desires and Wills that “sacramental grace” be made “always conditionally-available to His humanity” and that man not only cooperates in this form of grace; but actually causes its application reality by: 1. Proper administration of His priest and 2. the willing desires of the  recipient  who MUST conform to ALL of the conditions prescribed by the Church for proper and full access to these Graces. It is a infusion of Grace by and from God caused [enacted] by human will and compliance to Church commands.

 One of the conditions Christ demands for our personal salvation is total and complete obedience to ALL that He makes possible and Commands. Because We emulate God [Gen. 1:26-27] by being the ONLY Created things to have similar to God, a mind, intellect, FREEWILL [each a “spiritual entity” similar to God Himself],  all permanently attached to our infinite souls; and because of the effects on our souls and freewill imputed by “Original Sin” we have a “Natural Tendency” to sin. Grace, in all of its forms is God’s way through His Love for us, to be enabled IF we cooperate and to the degree that we freely choose to cooperate with God to in a sense, block or alter these sinful inclinations, and thus enable us to remain open to God’s desire and ability to provide us with the graces necessary for our salvation. It is incomprehensible that God DOES allow, even encourage man to access further graces, through the SACRAMENTS including the GREATEST grace available to humanity; [In merit, quantity and Spiritual value], the Most holy Eucharist; the very gift from God the Father; of God the Son By God the Holy Spirit… God Himself. This is precisely why Christ WORDS in John 6: 51-55 have such urgency, Power and Authority and everlasting relevance.

[51] “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. [52] If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. [53] The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? [54] Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. [55] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. [56] For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. [57] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him ” [DR Bible]. … And this IS exactly what takes place in Catholic Holy Communion.

 That God allows mere mortals to be able to have such a HUGE effect on there own salvation which can only be understood by recognizing how and WHY made as He did; and then grasp dimly how much God Loves us and desires that we attain our salvation by our actions and choices. This is also HIGHLY indicative that Salvation is as the CC teaches and proclaims; A PROCESS; not any single act.

While God can [COULD IF HE CHOOSE TO DO SO] cause salvation; to do so would contradict both His Devine Will and humanities “freewill.” Thus this is an impossibility, a complete Moral and Theological impossibility. God limits Himself to Permit us to Freely choose by total and complete Obedience to His Will and teachings and does NOT coheres or command/demand anyone’s salvation. It is we, us who decide by our actions on either heaven or hell and God confirms OUR OWN choices.

 Have you ever pondered why we Catholics insist on “leaving Christ Corpus on His Cross” and Protestants have removed it? The Theological implications are profound. This act leads naturally to a GREAT vacuum of misunderstanding “where Protestants devise there own suitable salvation needs and Catholics stick to what the bible says, and implies and Sacred Tradition in forming our conditional salvation understanding.”

Protestants seem to confuse what God COULD DO and WHAT GOD ACTUALLY CHOOSE TO DO.  Our “Omnipotent God” who is CAPABLE of doing any good thing speaks ONLY to Gods ability; NOT to His Divine and Perfect Will which HAS TOO factor in His necessary Devine Justice. The fatal error is mixing what God can do and what God in Devine Justice Wills and has Chosen to do. It really is a “facts versus fiction” comparison.

Discussing this topic is “a bit dicey” for Catholics because we accept BOTH “the Crucifix” and “The Cross” as completely valid and legitimate signs and evidence of Christ Love for His Created humanity. And “The Church” has no official teaching on this issue that I am aware of, but does command that every Catholic Church have a predominate crucifix visible to all, and further [sadly not adhered too everywhere] every “main altar is to have a “crucifix” visible to the presiding priest during celebration of the Mass.

For me PERSONALLY the choice of Catholics for the Crucifix and Protestants for a cross is a clear testimony our theologically differing positions relating to our salvation. WHY and HOW this is thus require investigation and discussion.

While different Protestant Faiths hold differing views [of what can only be a single truth]; the “common ground” seems to be that Christ somehow does all that is necessary for one’s salvation so long as “we believe”, are Baptized and in a “personal relationship” [undefined] with Christ. Everything is somehow magically taken care of for us. Christ has “done everything necessary.” “All” we have to do is accept the benefits is the common Protestant understanding.

This position would be far more difficult to hold [IMO] were there a more clear understanding of Christ still suffering. The truth and the facts are that CHRIST does continue to suffer from our sins, neglect, denial, rejection at many levels, everyday. And THAT is a primary reason we keep Christ on the Cross. Knowing full well “that Christ [human nature] can and did die only once.” But ever mindful that Christ was in addition to effecting humanities “Redemption” through the Cross [and thus Once Again making heaven a POSSIBILITY…but not effecting anyone’s salvation by or through this Supreme Act alone, ones Salvation ] Jesus is demonstrating for us that Salvation “Comes at a VERY HIGH PRICE.” If Christ “had to die” then we too would in a sense “HAVE TO die with Him.” BECAUSE Christ paid a great price so to MUST WE pay a “great price.” Thus Salvation is a Process NOT the result of any single act on our part.

The idea that Christ / God would do ALL “of the heavy work” and demand ONLY acknowledging Him as “our God and Savior” in return “to be saved” is shallow thinking, not biblically grounded, and at best recent [a few hundred years] of theological wishful thinking.

Rom.6: 2-10 “How can we who died to sin still live in it? For he who has died is [means must and ought to be] freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, [conditionally]  but the life he lives he lives to God.”

Take Up your Cross and Follow Me

 Phil.2: 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9 :23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.Matt.5: 19 “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “ Matt.19: 17 “… If you would enter life, keep [all of] the commandments.

Matt. 20: 22-23 “ But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” [WHAT CUP?…  Mark.14: 36 “And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.” …] They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

Because God choose through Devine Providence this “same cup” for ALL of His Apostles [Martyrs all except John whom they attempted to boil alive but failed in killing him] we ought to be able to see that God EXPECTS a lot more from us than “only” acknowledging Him as Our God. Phil.2: 12 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.” Rev.2: 23 “and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.” 1 Peter 1: 17 “Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, “

 Lev.19:22 “And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the LORD for his sin which he has committed; and the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him.” but is what is held as still being valid by most Protestants: …THIS IS THE OLD AND NOW DELETED COVENANT 2Cor.3: 6, 14 “who has made us [the Apostles and through them the CC] competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life.  …But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away… Heb. 8:7 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second.”

Heb.8: 8, 13 ” For he finds fault with them when he says: “The days will come, says the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

1Pet.4: 13 ” But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed… 1Pet.5: 1, 9  “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.” .. Phil.1: 29 “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, “ ..

2Thes.1: 5 “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering “

New King James Version (NKJV)

1 John 5:16-17 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, [also] there is sin not leading to death.

 John 20:21-23 “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” . And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. . If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  [How do you reconcile this with Sola Scriptura?]

 Heb.5 Verses 1 to 6  “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was.”   John.15: 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

 Now to address briefly a few of your other issues. If my memory serves I addressed Mary and the Saints in a previous response. If you’d like more information please let me know.

Mary is ONLY by God’s benevolence “the dispenser” of ALL graces. God alone determines who, what type, when, and how much grace is to be offered. Once offered and accepted THEN Mary distributes God’s grace.

Grace takes many forms as it is in accord to God’s Plan essential for our salvation. With the exception of “Sacramental Grace” God ALONE determines who is offered grace, in what form, in what amounts, and on what basis and time-frame. BUT Grace always acts IN US THROUGH GOD to lead us to Him. Grace does NOT “pre-exist” in anyone. What is your biblical foundation for this position?

Rom.5:1-2 “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.Eph.2: 8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God”

 Please check out these sites for the catholic position on Salvations needs

May Our God continue to Bless and guide you , love and prayers, Pat

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I am an Informed and fully practicing Roman Catholic

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