Tag Archives: Roman Catholic

From the Vatican:

1° With due regard for can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, both the one who attempts to confer sacred ordination on a woman, and she who attempts to receive sacred ordination, incurs a  latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.


§ 1. The more grave delicts against morals which are reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are:

1° the delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years; in this case, a person who habitually lacks the use of reason is to be considered equivalent to a minor.

2° the acquisition, possession, or distribution by a cleric of pornographic images of minors under the age of fourteen, for purposes of sexual gratification, by whatever means or using whatever technology;

§ 2. A cleric who commits the delicts mentioned above in § 1 is to be punished according to the gravity of his crime, not excluding dismissal or deposition.

On first glance, it would seem as though the Vatican is reserving the more severe punishment for ordaining women, rather than child rape.

I think I see it a little bit differently.  With this wording, Rome has the opportunity to deal with both of these issues in a right way...whether that happens remains to be seen, since they don't exactly have the greatest track record of dealing with pedophiles.

The first (ordaining of women) is punishable with excommunication.  "We're done, you're gone, it's over."  The people involved are no longer under the authority of Rome and Rome has no hold over them, spiritually or earthly.

The second (sex with a minor) may be punishable with defrocking and being turned over to the secular authorities.  This means that there will be earthly consequences (prison, perhaps) and they may no longer be in a leadership position within the church.

This also means that (unlike excommunication) they are still under the authority of Rome, which means that the Vatican can have some direction and it leaves the door open for repentance...penance...forgiveness...restoration.

To me, keeping these offenders under the authority of Rome keeps them accountable...and keeps Rome accountable.

"Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit" by Gary Wills.

This author is a (liberal) Roman Catholic and many Roman Catholics will disagree with him and detest the book.

Many of the points that he makes (and conclusions he comes to) I disagree with. The main use that I would have for this book would be as a source for outside information (footnotes and citation lists, encyclicals, books and history).

AsI said, the author comes to conclusions that I would not come to, even after reading his book and finding the history accurate. Even in disagreement, I found the history fascinating.
I have a few books in my library that are very good resources - not for theology, but for the history. This may become one of them.

The first section of the book deals with the holocaust. The history is good, but it is history. Even if Rome had been more outspoken about what was happening, who can know how much of a difference it would have made? There is an interesting story of Ste. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, canonized in 1998. Born Edith Stein, this Roman Catholic saint was a Jew who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a nun. She was killed (along with her sister Rosa and many other ethic Jews) at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942. Whether or not she died because the Nazis were killing Jews, or whether she died because she was preaching the Gospel is debatable. But she is now a Roman Catholic saint.

As a result of Wills' book, I've read about Stein and - wow. I'd urge you all to google and read, this was an incredible woman.

The second section is called "DOCTRINAL DISHONESTIES" - here is the list of chapter titles:

  • The Tragedy of Paul VI: Prelude
  • The Tragedy of Paul VI: Encyclical
  • Excluded Women
  • The Pope's Eunuchs
  • Priestly caste
  • Shrinking the Body of Christ
  • Hydraulics of Grace
  • Conspiracy of Silence
  • A Gay Priesthood
  • Marian Politics
  • The Gift of Life

Topics include contraception, the history of unmarried clergy, the various sexual scandals. On "excluded women", I believe that male clergy and leadership is right and Biblical, I do think that the way Wills describes Rome's way of getting there is convoluted and based on the magesterium, not the Bible.
The last third of the book looks at honesty and truth. A lot of time is spent on Augustine; I like the history.


  1. If you trust in the infallibility of Rome, you will not like this book.
  2. If you are interested in the history of theology, you may like this book
  3. If you want the side of the Roman Catholic coin, from a man who does believe that Rome holds the truth but has erred in some places, this will be an informative book.

The next time I go through it, it will be with a highlighter and sticky tabs.

1 Comment

I got the original story here: Beggars All: Reformation and Apologetics: Pope Making Friends With 75 Million Reformed Christians

First, I think it's important to note that the partnership with Rome involves social justice, not doctrine.

And that when Bishop of Rome talks about ecumenicalism, he means that he wants to bring all protestants back under the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

We are "separated brethren". Referring to the Roman Catholic faithful, Vatican II says, "Their ecumenical action must be fully and sincerely Catholic"

Also in Vatican II, "Though the ecclesial Communities which are separated from us lack the fullness of unity with us flowing from Baptism..." (my take on this - ok...we're saved, but we're not that saved)

Vatican II says that "The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect." (Again, we're saved, but Christ's finished work on the cross isn't finished unless we're under the leadership of Rome)

Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI said, in his first messages as Bishop of Rome, "But what is most urgently needed is that "purification of memory", so often recalled by John Paul II, which alone can dispose souls to accept the full truth of Christ." (Who has the "full truth of Christ"? According to Rome, the Roman Church is the church that has the full truth)

My questions are: Whose memory needs to be purified? What do they need to forget in order to "accept [Rome's] full truth of Christ"?


This is at the request of a commenter, Elena.

Elena (for reference, Elena is a member of the Roman Church) posted an article with “problems” with the doctrine of “Sola Scriptura”. Quite frankly, I am on vacation and I have no desire to continue a senseless argument with somebody who has no desire to listen, only to argue. I’m going to close comments on the original post, so as to keep this on track.

Because I have no desire to drag this out into senseless and meaningless debate (again), I am placing limits on the debate. Each person entering into the debate will have a limit of 5 posts in which to put forth their arguments/rebuttals. This includes me (but not posts regarding administrative stuff). There is a limit of 40 posts in this thread, at which point comments will be turned off. (I don’t expect to have that many, since this is a new blog and I don’t think I have that many visitors, but it seems like enough time for whoever might pass by to get their word in). You may defend the doctrine, the problems, the reasons, the reasons for suppressing. As long as it pertains to “sola Scriptura”, it is not off topic in this thread.

Here is the doctrine: Scripture is the only infallible rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrines.

That’s it. That’s the doctrine that seems to be the most hated by Rome.

As far as I know, these “problems” have never been considered problems by the officers of the Roman church or the bishop of Rome. The article was written by James Akin, a Roman Catholic, but I could not find where it was endorsed in any way by the Vatican. The teachers of the Roman church have always read Scripture out loud and have still considered it “Scripture”.

  1. Requires ability to [print!)

This “problem” says that in order for a person to have complete faith in the Bible for infallible rule, a person cannot have it read to them, they must be able to read it for themselves. This is silly. The Bible (God’s Word set down in writing) is God’s Word, whether it is read by the person receiving it, or read out loud. It is infallible, whereas man and tradition are not.

From the time Scripture was written on sheepskin, it was infallible and it remains infallible, and the method by which it is received is not relevant – it is still Scripture, just as Shakespeare is Shakespeare, whether silently read, or acted out on stage.
2. Requires mass distribution of bibles!
This “problem” says that in order for a person to be able to say, “that’s what the Bible says and that’s my final authority”, that person has to have his or her own personal copy. From the time that Scripture was written on sheepskin, nobody ever said that it wasn’t infallible because it was read out loud.

Scripture needs to be distributed, but not everybody has to have their own copy – even the Jews read the Torah and still considered it Torah.
3. Requires Christians be able to read! (this one I will address one of the comments)
…but also because the person needs to be able to go over the passage multiple times
I trust that God’s Word will not return unto Him void. Where the Spirit moves, there will be understanding. Besides, anywhere there is somebody who can read, there is probably somebody who can be asked, “what about…?”

4. Must have scholarly materials available.This “problem” is saying that if you want to depend fully on God’s Word, you have to also depend on the works of man.

Why? If the Bible is the final authority, why depend on the works of man? That’s the whole point.

5.Need time to study! ..."If he is working in the fields or a home (or, later, in the factory) for ten, twelve, fifteen, or eighteen hours a day, he obviously doesn't have time to do this, especially not in addition to the care and raising of his family and his own need to eat and sleep and recreate.

I recently watched “The Magdalene Sisters” – these imprisoned young women didn’t have time to recreate and barely had time to eat and sleep. But there was somebody reading the Bible while they ate. Possibly the only thing that was right.

In Old Testament times very few families could afford their own scrolls, yet even when all that was written was the law, Scripture exhorted them to that “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.” Jews were to “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

These were people who were under the working conditions described above. Thus, since the Bible expected it, I believe it is possible.

6.Sola scriptura pre supposes universal adequate nutrition
What this “problem” is saying is that God in not powerful enough to work without the hearer having proper nutrition, but Rome is.

Personally, I have more faith in the power of God than that. In other parts of the world, people are starving and Christianity is flourishing – it’s because of the power of God, not the power of food.

7.Must be skilled in evaluating arguments
What this “problem” appears to be saying is that accepting only Scripture as your authority is not enough, you have to be able to think for yourself. While thinking is helpful in arguing, I know many people with a simple faith that need not turn to arguments. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” means just that. They can (and do) fall on Scripture (God said it and I believe it).

The question that popped up in my mind: What do people who cannot think embrace, if not Scripture? Is that why people follow those who think for them?

Part 2
The hatred of “sola Scriptura” by Roman Catholics begs the question, “why?”

Why is “Scripture alone” so heavily condemned by the Roman church?

(History lesson) By 500 AD the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages. Around that time Rome decided that only Latin was a suitable language for the Bible (and how many people knew Latin?) and that anybody found in possession of a Bible not in Latin would be executed.

Why was it so important to Rome that the church control Scripture, that they were willing to kill those who wanted to read it?

Why were Bibles not in Latin burned?

There were many abuses and persecutions – I am speaking strictly of the attempts by the Roman church to so subdue the population as to keep them from the Scripture.

Why? What was the Roman church so afraid of?