he Catholic Apologetics section of is dedicated to providing our visitors with conventional Catholic Apologetics, including biblical, theological, and historical issues surrounding the Catholic Faith. Each topic-page is divided into sub-categories: articles, dialogues, debates, and Q&A. Visitors who are interested in suggesting an article or asking a question are encouraged to e-mail us their request.
Question: The phrase "Chair of Moses" that Our Lord refers to in Matthew 23 is without question part of the Jewish Oral Tradition, or "Oral Torah". This phrase alone refutes the heretical idea that Jesus condemned all tradition not written in Sacred Scripture. And he clearly tells His disciples that they have to obey them in "all things whatsoever" - no ifs, ands or buts about it. One can only imagine how numerous Protestants would react to this had they been the shoes of the Apostles upon hearing this. What I'm wondering about, though, is how Our Lord condems their tradition of telling devout Jews that if they take a money offering that is supposed to be for their parents, and give it to the Temple instead, this fulfills their obligation to their parents. Our Lord clearly condemns this practice. Yet, according to His words in Matthew 23, I assume that a devout Jew would still be required to obey the Pharisees in this "tradition", even if Our Lord condemns it. Am I right, or is there something more to it?
Question: I was in a discussion with a Protestant friend of mine and we were talking about Papal infallibility especially Matthew 16:18 etc. After granting me that Matthew 16:18 may result in Peter being granted infallibility, and after I explained how infallibility is a negative charism and only invoked under certain circumstances (e.g. on faith and morals), he asked me where the Catholic Church gets their infallible criteria for their infallibility. That is, who decided that the charism of infallibility only arises on issues of faith and morals and how do we know that that decision for the criteria was infallible?
Question: My sister (Janie) is reading Escape the Coming Night by Dr. David Jeremiah. He is attempting to explain the book of Revelation in this book.
Here's a little background to this section:
He's discussing the churches in Revelation like this: Ephesus represents the period of the apostles. Smyrna represents the period of persecution during the 2nd and 3rd century. And here's the big one:
The Pergamum period of history evolved into an era when Chrisitanity was introduced by force.
Then he goes into a little detail that freaked out my sister:
These Christians muddied their commitment with compromise. This takes place when Constantine makes Christianity the religion of the state.
After Constantine saw his vision (by this sign conquer) that night he bargained with Satan to join the church and declare himself a Christian. Leaders of the church were invited to witness the wholesale baptism of entire regiments of soldiers in Constantine's army – Christianity was forced on unwilling subjects at sword point – baptism or death.
(Janie was very upset with me about this).
Dr. Jeremiah continues by asserting that Constantine assumed leadership of the church (called himself 'Pontifex Maximus'). Pagan temples became Christian churches, heathen festivals were converted to Christian ones, etc. Idols were named after so-called Christian saints… (that really got her). And then he ends this beautiful paragraph with the words:
Out of this alliance between the Roman emperor and the Christian church came the birth of Roman Catholicism.
All I can do is ask "Where do I begin???????" Can you help me with this? Is any of it true?
Question: It seems to me that those Churches which have an (allegedly) divinely appointed teaching body (the Catholic Church, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, and other sects) don't seem to be any more united than those who believe in Sola Scriptura. Why is it, then, you Catholics are always making a big deal about this "unity" issue when your own ecclesiological structure is not a guarantee of unity?
Question: Some Protestant Apologists point to the weakness of "Tradition" citing Irenaeus who believed that Jesus was 50 years old, and he got that from Tradition. How do you reconcile this with the biblical account of Jesus being 33?
Question: If a Catholic claims that his infallible hermeneutic is necessary for a valid and justified understanding of divine revelation, and this hermeneutic did not exist and was not used by the divinely ordained Jewish magisterium before the advent of Jesus, then he must explain what the normative hermeneutic was for the OT magisterium, and how they were justly called teachers and rulers, sitting in the seat of Moses. He must also give the hermeneutic which justifies Peter's personal opinion about Christ, and his rebellion against the divinely established magisterium. This must also be done without presupposing that Jesus was the messiah, or using the NT's interpretations of events, which uses, and therefore, assumes what must first be justified, Peter's rebellious hermeneutic. Hence, the Catholic must justify and validate a hermeneutic that is contrary to his own, in order to justify a reliable knowledge of a coming messiah, and justify the rebellious apostolic acceptance of Jesus. And, he must then somehow show that such an opposing hermeneutic was never, or is no longer a justifiable means of divine knowledge.Also, he must explain how such a position escapes the logical conclusion that the seat of Moses, and the apostolic rebellion, which used a fallible hermeneutic to expect and identify their messiah, was in all reality invalid and unreliable. Hence, the Catholic must face and defeat all his logical objections he poses against Sola Scriptura in order to validate the fallible hermeneutic of the OT magisterium established by God, and the rebellious apostles. He must then reuse those defeated, and shown to be invalid arguments, to show the necessity of his so called valid and necessary infallible hermeneutical system. Thus,the Catholic is left with an impossible task of justification, and his only hope for assurance and sanity lies in the principles of Sola Scriptura.
Question: I read an interesting debate between Gerry Matatics and Reverend Jones about Sola Scriptura. It can be found "www.cobweb.net/~dkeene/debate/1debate.htm'>here. Can you comment on it? At his last post Mr. Jones argues that the difference between Catholics and Protestants is not about the existence of oral tradition. Rather the dispute is between the supremacy of oral(?)/written revelation vs. non-revelatory, infallible explications given by a Magisterium. The Bible, he says, does not speak about infallible yet uninspired revelation. There is none in the OT because the prophets were inspired and the Apostles were too. But the successors are not said to be inspired. Can you comment on your web page? I would really appreciate it.
Question: What is the role of authority in the OT? Jesus referred to the Pharisees as sitting on Moses' seat. Is this a precursor to the Chair of Peter? Did it carry the charism of infallibility ("Do whatever they they tell you")? Were the Pharisees just a fallible authority as they denied the divinity of Christ?