Saturday, April 26, 2008

Protestant challenge to Catholic Devotion to Our Lady; and our answer...

Here at America Needs Fatima we receive the most interesting and varied correspondence.

For example, please read this letter-challenge from a Protestant lady:

"Challenge for you.  Name 10 beers. Now name the 10 commandments.  More people know more about the beer than God's word. 

"If you named more commandments than beer, very good.  You are one of the very few.  Give yourself more points if you actually know where it is in the Bible. Exodus 20 btw.  The first commandment says you shall have no other gods before me.

"The second commandment says, you shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them.  If those commandments are God's word, why do I see Catholics and even the Pope bowing and praying to a statue of Mary on CNN?

"I checked this out to see if it was true because I didn't believe it myself.  There are literally hundreds if not thousands of pictures of people kneeling and praying to the Pope and to Mary. 

"In one email I read: "Catholics do not pray to Mary. We PRAY FOR HER INTERCESSION. It's like having a dear friend to pray for you. And who can be a better friend than Jesus' mother who so humbly and willingly cried out "FIAT"...May God's will be done, her whole life. We honor her because she draws us to her Son."

Now, what does the Bible say about that? 1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 

"Also why pray to the "saints" when I can go to the head CEO in charge?

"Jesus can hear everything!  Why do I need a "saint" to pray for me?  To help Jesus!?  That's crazy!  Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life:  none cometh unto the Father but by me.

"John 14:6. Trust in Jesus to save your soul not prayers to dead saints.  Jesus will never let you down.

In Christ Alone,

Stephanie, 2 Timothy 2:15 

Here is the answer sent by America Needs Fatima member Luis Solimeo:

"Dear Stephanie

"Allow me to answer your challenge in a summarized way in order to be more clear and concise.  I do so with all my respect and sympathy.  The tone is a little polemical, but not intentional.  My intention, as I said, is to be clear.

  1. It is true that Saint Paul says that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. and that is what the Catholic Church teaches.
  2. But the Apostle does not say that we cannot have recourse to the intercession of another’s prayers in our behalf with the unique and absolute Intercessor, Jesus Christ.
  3. On the contrary, the same Saint Paul say to the Romans: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the charity of the Holy Ghost, that you help me in your prayers for me to God.” (Romans 15:30), and to the Corinthians: God, “Who hath delivered and doth deliver us out of so great dangers: in whom we trust that he will yet also deliver us. You helping withal in prayer for us: that for this gift obtained for us, by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many in our behalf.” (2 Cor 1:9-11).
  4. That Our Lord accepts the intercession of His Most Holy Mother is proven by the Cana’s wedding episode: Mary most Holy asked Her Son to perform a miracle to avoid the shame of the new spouses; Jesus answers that His time had not yet arrived, but, in attention to His mother’s desire, He anticipates His time and performs the miracle (John, 2:1-11).
  5. The Protestants in general see in that passage of the Gospel that Jesus didn’t care for His mother and that she had been indiscreet and thus was rebuked by her Son.
  6. Actually there is nothing of that. First, it is contrary to someone that was praised by the Angel as "you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." (Protestant Bible New International Version, Luke, 1:28): or “full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” (Catholic Douay-Rheims), to be indiscreet with her Divine Son. Lack of discretion is the opposite of “being with Lord,” full of grace, favored by the grace.
  7. The appellative “Woman” used by Our Lord is not a mark of scorn in relation to His mother, but an oriental form of been solemn; it is why, in the most solemn occasions, that is at the Cross, Jesus, after giving Mary as mother to St. John, called her “Woman.”
  8. All the theology of Mary’s intercession to the Intercessor is resumed by the Gospel of St. Luke: “And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” (1:46, Douay-Rheims) “And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord
    47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,  48for he has been mindful
          of the humble state of his servant.    From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.” (New International Version).
  9. Is to kneel down a sign of adoration? Is a child adoring when he/she kneels before his mother to beg her intercession with the father to avoid a chastisement or obtain a grace? The external human acts are, commonly, ambiguous; they can mean many different things according to the interior disposition and intention.
  10. But the main problem in your argumentation is the following: there is no other authority besides the Bible; not the authority of the Fathers of the Church, nor the Pope, nor the Church.
  11. If there is no other authority than that of the Bible, we have many ways to interpret it:
  12. a) God illuminates people so they can correctly understand the text;
  13. b) I accept an authority besides that of the Bible, mine or that of another;
  14. c) that would be against the wisdom of God to give a Revelation without the means to understand it correctly;
  15. d): History shows us the huge divisions in the interpretation of the Bible among men; now, if everyone who reads the Bible receives special illumination to understand, that division would be impossible. If God give that illumination only to Protestants, why are they so divided?
  16. For these reasons, I accept the Authority of the Church which took the books of the Old and New Testaments and composed the Canon of the Bible; the Authority of the Church from the beginnings of Christianity to now has preached the same things, and given the same interpretation.

Cordially yours,

Luis Solimeo

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