Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Mary Mary Quite Contrary.

This English nursery rhyme dates back to Reformation times during the reign of Mary I, known popularly as Bloody Mary for her violent persecution of protestant reformers including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer. Archbishop Cranmer was publically executed as a heretic following a Papal trial for refusing to recant his beliefs. Those beliefs form the basis of the Book of Common Prayer and the 39 Articles on which, together with the Bible are the foundational documents of the Anglican Church in Australia.

Thomas Cranmer was killed for opposing things such as the canonization of Saints (Article 22 of the 39 articles) . Why would someone be willing to die for a cause like that? Why would someone be willing to kill someone for opposing such a thing?

Fortunately Catholic and Protestant relations have moved a long way since then, however it would be foolish to forget that speaking against the Canonization of Saints mattered enormously then and it matters enormously now.

Why?

Mary MacKillop is being declared a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church on the basis of merit. That is, on the basis of her good works here on earth and claims that she is responsible for miracles now she is dead. The Roman Catholic Church is declaring that she is definitely in heaven on the basis of the things she has done. As a result of being declared a Saint, people can pray to her and through her to God because she is up there with Him already. She has His ear.

The canonization of Mary MacKillop is not a quiet affair, it is widely publicised, millions of dollars have been spent on it. She is being declared as Australia's first Saint. Not only are most of Australia's 5.1 million Catholics going to hear about this, the rest of Australia is too. Most people in Australia will hear the Catholic Church saying - people become saints on the basis of merit.

When I surveyed 50 pilgrims from around the world who came to Australia for the Catholic World Youth Day, 75% didn't know whether they were going to heaven when they died. They were unsure because they thought you have to be good enough to get to heaven, that you get to heaven on the basis of merit.

People are made saints on the basis of grace alone by God alone. God chooses his saints from amongst us sinners based entirely on whether we trust in Him. Isn't He great!

Disagreeing with the Catholic Church’s claim that they can make people saints on the basis of merit mattered 500 years ago and it matters today.

What will you say when your Catholic friends talk about Mary being “made a saint”?

My advice: say it is a bad thing, and then tell them why. God chooses sinners not saints.

Mark Gilbert works for Certainty4Eternity which partners with Churches and other ministries thinking through how to reach Roman Catholics. In partnership with ENC they are offering five new ministry apprenticeship scholarships for 2015-6.

Comments (124)

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  • Michael Canaris
    October 14, 10 - 2:14pm
    Perhaps we could grab some attention by pronouncing Venerable the late Don Bradman. Then again, I'm stumped for tonight.
  • Michael Canaris
    October 14, 10 - 3:43pm
    I suspect that the average RC person in Australia pays less attention to the quasi-forensic process of miracle verification etc. than to the celebrity razzmatazz nd occasional 'examples for emulation' surrounding their cults. As it happens, Australia's immediate vicinity has its own Anglican Martyrs, notably including John Coleridge Patteson.
  • Frederick J Anderson
    October 14, 10 - 7:38pm
    This is, really, a very silly and sectarian article. Shame on Mark Gilbert. Is this the Anglican communion's biggest issue in 2010, with all the challenges we have as a church?

    One never sees Catholics take shots at Anglicans, though I expect SA can now expect a deluge of Catholic posters coming on this site to refight an apologetics war.

    This article should be withdrawn.
  • Kevin Goddard
    October 14, 10 - 8:29pm
    I think it's ironic that the RC church ( in 2010 ) is finally "canonising" someone who was excommunicated for daring to complain about a pedophile priest. Blessed are the whistleblowers.

    When Mary MacKillop was excommunicated on the 22nd September 1871, she and 47 sisters also expelled from the Sisters of St Joseph, were forced to find accommodation and employment where-ever they could.

    During this time Mary dressed incognito. She had been ordered not to communicate with any of the sisters and anyone associating with her was liable to excommunication. Priests too were threatened with suspension if they supported any of the sisters, however a few of them remained loyal friends.
  • Frederick J Anderson
    October 14, 10 - 8:40pm
    Also, this claim of Mark's is simply not true:

    "People are made saints on the basis of grace alone by God alone. God chooses his saints from amongst us sinners based entirely on whether we trust in Him. Isn’t He great!"

    Like too many evangelicals, Mark thinks Paul's words can somehow contradict Jesus' clear words, eg Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus makes clear that our eternal place is entirely dependent on our live and how we act, ie whether we are saints here on earth. The goats in the parable trusted Jesus, even calling Jesus "Lord". Nonetheless, because of their unsaintly lives, they went to eternal damnation.

    Mark's broader attack on good works is the sort of zealous Reformation theology that, having opted for Sola Scriptura, then decided it would edit the Bible and even considered dispensing with James' letter from the Canon (eg Luther, I think, called James an epistle of straw!).
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    October 14, 10 - 8:57pm
    To be honest I find your comments over the top, Fred.

    Its hardly sectarian (such a pejorative term) to simply say that you disagree with the Catholic Church's theology of saints.
  • Ernest Burgess
    October 14, 10 - 9:34pm
    Some of my friends are current Sisters of St Joseph and they have said to me on many occasion that Mary MacKillop would not have wanted all this current fuss about her. Her zeal for God is unquestionable being born catholic she ministered in that church. I could not do it and I guess you could not either but God works in ways far beyond our thinking or doing. Who do we venerate Calvin, Chappo, no these are servants of God who have helped us along the way but sill great saints. In regard to surveys I heard of a survey once taken in the evangelical bible belt of the USA that said over 70% where unsure they would get into Heaven if they died with unconfessed sin in their lives. I like some of your previous stuff in other blogs but be careful you don't become a I Corinthians 13 verses one prophett.
  • Michael Canaris
    October 14, 10 - 11:26pm
    I have to say that Mark Gilbert's article strikes me as positively mild compared to much of the invective which I regularly see spewed at us from across the Tiber. Damian Thompson's oeuvre is a case in point.
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 15, 10 - 1:31pm
    Imagine two people agreeing to play football, but, out on the field, one starts playing soccer and the other, rugby. Each starts accusing the other of getting it all wrong and gets frustrated and angry that the other does not see the error of their ways. That's how Mark's article strikes me. Evangelicals tend to think that God is, first and foremost, about rescuing people from his righteous anger. Catholics tend to think that God is, first and foremost, about creating just and loving human community in Christ, its ultimate expression being heaven. Different game, different rules.
  • Michael Canaris
    October 15, 10 - 2:15pm
    Also a different underlying diagnosis. One thing which struck me about a lot of Reformation-era polemic was the extent to which it tended to hinge on divergent perceptions of the nature and gravity of concupiscence.
  • Frederick J Anderson
    October 15, 10 - 8:56pm
    Can someone explain, if evangelical Anglicans so oppose sainthood as a concept, why the Cathedral is Saint Andrew's, and why so Anglican churches are named for saints? It seems part of the Catholic inheritance that has never been severed.
  • Michael Canaris
    October 16, 10 - 1:22am
    I don't think they're opposed to sainthood per se. The quasi-forensic/coronial process surrounding Roman canonisations and ancillary matters such as purported supererogatory merits, intercessory powers &c., though, are another kettle of fish.
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    October 16, 10 - 2:25am
    Michael is largely correct, but I would add that evangelicals would want to communicate that all believers are saints.

    I would also add by way of explanation that the history of Sydney Diocese is not exclusively evangelical and some of the names of our churches reflect that history.

    St Andrew's was consecrated during the episcopacy of a high churchman, Bishop William Broughton. However, I remembering reading somewhere that the name came from the Scots NSW Governor Lachlan Macquarie (hence named after the Scottish patron saint) who originally planned a very grand Cathedral, laying the foundation stones, but the design proved beyond the means of the colony at the time.

    There is also a heck of a lot of imperial history reflected as well for churches founded pre-WW2 vintage - the many Sydney Anglican churches of that era named either St Bede's, St Alban's, St Cuthbert, St Hilda, and St George's reflecting the founders English patriotism.

    Those churches named after 'saints' but founded in the period 1945-1990 are almost exclusively named after apostles: Paul, John, Luke, Mark, Matthew, Philip etc

    Contemporary evangelical Anglicans are certainly prefer naming their churches more generically after their locations or 'Christ Church' or 'All Saints' etc.
  • Mark Gilbert
    October 16, 10 - 3:46am
    Dear Frederick,

    I'd like to defend my asirtion that "people are made saints by God alone on the basis Grace alone". It is an asirtion that not only I hold but also the majority of the many hundreds of millions of Protestants throughout the world. It is not the teaching of Paul in contradiction to Jesus, infact it is the consistent teaching of Jesus, James and all the Old and New Testamants writers.
    The statement does not imply that good deeds are not important, rather they are a necessary consequence of God's Spirit working in the saved saint - we have been saved for good works, Paul says in Ephesians 2.10. However they are not meritorious - we are saved by Grace alone - a point Paul makes many times (Romans 3.24-27, 1 Corinthians 1.1-4, Ephesians 2.1-10, Galatians 1.1-5 etc...). Indeed James also makes this point at the begining of his letter (James 1.1-10).
  • Mark Gilbert
    October 16, 10 - 4:05am
    It is the consistent teaching of the Bible that God Saves People when they don't deserve it without their help, rather than on the basis of merit.
    Beginning with Adam and Eve - The law was that on the day they ate of the fruit they would die. That day came and went - God graciously saved Adam and Eve from his just judgement and Adam and Eve did nothing to deserve this.
    Noah and his family were also saved from God's judgement in the day of the flood despite the fact that 'the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth' a pronouncement made after the flood when only Noah and his family remained. God saved Noah and his family by grace alone, they did not deserve it.
    God also saved the Jewish people when they didn't deserve it, without their help - by Grace Alone - when he rescued them from Pharaoh and the Egyptian Army thru the Red Sea. A point made in Deuteronomy 9.6 Deuteronomy 9:6 Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. The Jews too were saved by Grace alone.
    And Jesus never saved people because they deserved it, he was at pains to show that the Law abiding Pharisees were not saved because they were good. Rather Jesus as he dies on the cross saves a convicted criminal who did nothing to deserve salvation. Luke 23.43. God saves sinners not saints and he can save you not because you are good but because he loves you. Will you trust him and accept that free gift?
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 16, 10 - 6:30am
    Michael, you wrote, that much polemic "tended to hinge on divergent perceptions of the nature and gravity of concupiscence". Another, possibly more recent divergence appears to be around the notion of God's righteousness / justice. Contemporary Catholic and mainstream (nonconservative) Protestant understanding that I've been exposed to seems to see God's justice as saving justice. To judge, too, is to save, as in the sense of the Book of Judges. God's righteousness is displayed in his saving humanity from sin in Christ.
    So, when the Cross displays God's justice, its not in that Jesus was being punished by the Father, but this is what God in his love for us is prepared to do in order to make salvation open for all. Its not about the pain, its about the gain. To think that sacrifice is about punishment is to misunderstand sacrifice.
    Christians should welcome God's judgement. Jesus is not our shield, he is judgement's deliverer. The righteousness of God is the existence of his saved people - the church.
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 16, 10 - 7:59am
    Mark, are you aware of actual (Roman) Catholic teaching on grace, justification and merit? Because what you presented in your response to Frederick suggests you don't. It's easy enough to find - their catechism is online, here. Protestant, it ain't; but its not what you are implying either. You wrote: "God saves sinners not saints and he can save you not because you are good but because he loves you." If you changed 'sinners not saints' to 'sinners and saints' every Catholic would already say Amen to that! In fact, Jesus and St Paul would be in agreement with you too!
  • Roger Gallagher
    October 16, 10 - 9:48am
    Further to what Jeremy said, when Govenor King established the first two parishes in Australia, he named them after his predecessors as govenor of NSW - St Phillip's in the city after Arthur Phillip, and St John's Parramatta after John Hunter. This was later modified by Bishop Broughton.
  • Donna Green
    October 17, 10 - 5:25am
    Mark
    I think you may do well to put aside the accusations of "violent persecutions" attributed to the Catholic Church centuries ago. If we want to go down that road, you only have to look at the history of the Catholic Church in Australia, where, not so long ago it was a crime to practise your Catholic faith...and let's not start about what the Protestants did to the Catholics in Ireland.

    It is a pity you have been so busy that you have been unable to listen to the CDs you requested from me regarding the Communion of Saints, which give extensive biblical support for this teaching.

    Eric, unfortunately Mark is not aware of the teaching on Faith, Works and Justification. Otherwise, I hope, he would not be professing to know what Catholics think and believe and sadly in error. In James Akin's book The Salvation Controversy he charitably spells out what Protestants and Catholics believe on these issues. He was once Evangelical so he speaks from experience. He points that both sides of the debate misunderstand each others interpretation of salvation. Many times it is the misunderstanding of a particular work, like 'merit' for example. There is much misunderstanding about what Catholics say good works are. Likewise, Catholics misunderstand Protestants when they speak of predestination. Although I think there is more misunderstanding and confusion among themselves about what they believe.

    cont.
  • Donna Green
    October 17, 10 - 5:33am
    cont.

    St Ignatius of Antioch speaks of merit this way:

    Be pleasing to Him who soldiers you are, and whose pay you receive. May none of you be found to be a deserter. Let your Baptism be your armament; your faith, your helmet; your love, your spear; your endurance, your full suit of armor. Let your works be as your deposited withholdings, so that you may receive the back-pay which has accrued to you. Be long-suffering with one another and gentle, just as God is with you. May I rejoice in you always. (Letter to Polycarp AD110).

    Perhaps he was reflecting on Matt 16:27 - For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of His Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.
  • Frederick J Anderson
    October 17, 10 - 10:39am
    Thanks Donna. As you seem to be a Catholic, I wish to apologise and disassociate myself from Mark's timing of this article, which I found to be in poor taste and unnecessarily provocative to relations between Catholics and Anglicans.

    This said, I appreciate you putting the Catholic view. As I said in my post above, in my view Matthew 25:31-46 makes clear Jesus' teaching that our eternal place is entirely dependent on how we act and work, ie whether we are saints here on earth. The goats in the parable seemingly trusted Jesus, even calling Jesus "Lord". Nonetheless, because of their unsaintly lives, they could not be "saved".
  • Michael Canaris
    October 17, 10 - 11:11am
    Quite frankly, Rome's timing of the recently beatified John Cardinal Newman's feast to coincide with the anniversary of his crossing the Tiber (rather than that of his death or birth) also strikes me as unnecessarily provocative.
  • Michael Canaris
    October 17, 10 - 1:38pm
    As I said in my post above, in my view Matthew 25:31-46 makes clear Jesus' teaching that our eternal place is entirely dependent on how we act and work, ie whether we are saints here on earth.
    Even Rome doesn't go that far!
  • Frank Savage
    October 17, 10 - 10:18pm
    another problem is catholics are now encouraged to pray to Mary McKillop. She is a dead person (in relation to us on earth). God wants us to pray to him alone, through Jesus, not to the dead, however good they may have been during their life on earth. Same problem as for praying to Mary the mother of Jesus, and all the other dead people they pray to.
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 17, 10 - 10:35pm
    I don't imagine that Matthew 25:31-46 should be taken as a literal account of an eschatological judgement. After all, even Joseph Stalin would have done unconscious kindnesses. Given that many Jewish folks at the time would have had eschatological expectations, the point of this passage is not that there will be a judgement, but what God recognises - what is important. That is open heartedness - the receiving and giving of grace - unselfconscious kindness - forgiving debts, etc (I'm sure you get the drift).

    This kind of stuff is a mile away from, say, the pharisees' self conscious attempts at righteousness through conforming to a set of purity and other behavioural rules. If Jesus, the Jew, were living in Israel today, what would he be saying about those religious Jews who our involved in expelling Palestinians from their homes for the sake of their beliefs - or, as Craig raised, our responsibilities to Aboriginal Australians?

    Jesus saw clearly how our religious adherence can dehumanise us, like throwing a wet blanket on the fire of natural grace. The way good people get away with acting badly is by blaming the victim: "I can do this because I am better than them and they deserve it." But what if your lord and saviour is the victim?

    Well, we see what happens in the lives of people such as Mary MacKillop. And we celebrate that. Good on her, and praise the God in whom we live, move and have our being who makes that possible!

    Eric.
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 17, 10 - 10:39pm
    Donna, Eric & Mark: this is very interesting. Please continue your back and forward, as I have learned a great deal.

    Frank: this is not true. I found this link very helpful in explaining the Catholic tradition:
    http://www.catholic.com/library/Praying_to_the_Saints.asp


    Catholics petition a saint in heaven to pray/intercede for them, as you or I would pray here together. Hence the Hail Mary ends with the petition "pray for us sinners", ie asking Mary to pray for them.
  • Michael Canaris
    October 17, 10 - 11:10pm
    Yes, I especially enjoy Eric's contributions here.
  • Joshua Bovis
    October 17, 10 - 11:15pm
    If I ask a Christian brother or sister who is alive on this earth to pray for me, I am not praying to them quite right. However to use this argument to justify praying to dead people ignores the Biblical injunctions to pray to God alone through the Son alone and is indicative of special pleading.
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 18, 10 - 12:14am
    Joshua, every time we celebrate Holy Communion we have prayers of intercession. In ancient Christian thinking, where all God's people, whether physically alive or 'departed', are, nonetheless, alive in Christ, what did pre-modern Christians imagine their brothers and sisters in paradise were doing? Playing golf?
    They imagined they would be completely infused with the love of Christ and would thus be interceding for God's world - as we do - but in a much more full hearted way ('heaven' is not so much a place as a state). In asking fellow Christians, on earth or in heaven, to pray for us, we open ourselves up to God's grace mediated (as it always is) through the loving kindness of others.
    Joshua, you appear, by your photo, to be a priest. As a priest, part of your 'job description' is to bless others. In this you become a medium of God's grace to the people you bless. Your role is to facilitate the instancing of God's kingdom. Since ancient times, Christians have opened themselves to God's kingdom by participating in intercession (either on the doing or receiving end) and that's what we are doing when we ask our brothers and sisters in glory to pray for us.
    It's not rocket science!
    Eric.
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 18, 10 - 12:18am
    This may be an overly simplistic question but given that England was Catholic until the 1500s, does this mean that all our Catholics ancestors (even those who fought Crusades) were not really Christians because they were Catholics and had devotions to Saints? That seems to be the logical end of Mark's article. If so this is a rather large claim.
  • Michael Canaris
    October 18, 10 - 12:39am
    I'll dare say that in reforming, the Church of England did not thereby cease being Catholic.
  • Joshua Bovis
    October 18, 10 - 12:54am
    Eric,

    Joshua, every time we celebrate Holy Communion we have prayers of intercession. In ancient Christian thinking, where all God's people, whether physically alive or 'departed', are, nonetheless, alive in Christ, what did pre-modern Christians imagine their brothers and sisters in paradise were doing? Playing golf?


    Those who have died in Christ are with Christ face to face. Those of us who alive are in Christ and live by faith until the day we are called home or when Jesus returns (whatever comes first). But (respectfully and gently), I know nowhere in the Scriptures where:
    a) we are told to pray to those who have died in Christ, asking them to intercede for us or anything else
    b) those in Christ who are alive on Earth are told to pray to anyone else rather than God the Father. In fact Jesus model of prayer is very specifically aimed at Our Father.
    c) we are told that apart from Jesus there is another mediator (either it be a priest on Earth or a dead Christian in Heaven).

    cont
  • Ernest Burgess
    October 18, 10 - 12:55am
    Michael, you know the old story we got rid of the pope so every senior minister/rector could be the pope in his own parish. Does it have merit you tell me?
  • Joshua Bovis
    October 18, 10 - 1:01am
    Eric,


    They imagined they would be completely infused with the love of Christ and would thus be interceding for God's world - as we do - but in a much more full hearted way ('heaven' is not so much a place as a state). In asking fellow Christians, on earth or in heaven, to pray for us, we open ourselves up to God's grace mediated (as it always is) through the loving kindness of others.


    The Scriptures do not teach that we are to ask those who have died to pray for us. Not only is it not taught, Scriptures tell us that it is not needed. Heb 4:14-16 says:
    [14] Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. [15] For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. [16]Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


    There is no-one greater than our Lord Jesus! All those who trust in him alone have direct access to God the Father. To therefore 'ask' anyone who has died to intercede for us nullifies the role and Lordship of Christ.

    From my experience with RCs, it appears to me that 'grace' has a different meaning from how the Scriptures define grace.
  • Joshua Bovis
    October 18, 10 - 1:08am
    Eric
    Joshua, you appear, by your photo, to be a priest. As a priest, part of your 'job description' is to bless others. In this you become a medium of God's grace to the people you bless. Your role is to facilitate the instancing of God's kingdom. Since ancient times, Christians have opened themselves to God's kingdom by participating in intercession (either on the doing or receiving end) and that's what we are doing when we ask our brothers and sisters in glory to pray for us.
    It's not rocket science


    Merely a Anglican Deacon.
    As for my understanding of the job description of a Priest. The Apostle Paul's pastoral letters (1 & 2 Tim, Titus) have a lot to day. As for the Anglican Church, the Ordinal is very clear about the job description for Priests.

    I realise that Christian tradition is important, and I am all for tradition, but as long as it is consistent with Scripture. A practice is not right merely because it is ancient, just as a practice is not right merely because it is modern. What makes a tradition right or wrong is its' fidelity to Scripture. As for the ancient practice of asking Christians who have died to pray for us, though I can understand why it was done, I don't believe it is faithful to Scripture, nor to Christ, and to what he achieved at the cross for all who trust in him alone.

    Thankyou for responding Eric. Sorry my response in turn was so long.

    Joshua
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 18, 10 - 1:22am
    Thanks, Joshua. I'm not a language expert, but I would think that 'pray' has a range of uses, but its original meaning meant to ask earnestly. In that sense, I can pray to you, I can pray to God and I can pray to glorified saints. Prayer, in this sense, is different from 'worship'. Christian practise has never been to worship our brothers and sisters.
    What do you mean, Joshua, when you say that Jesus is the sole mediator? Are you saying you don't, for example, see the Scriptures as a vehicle for God's self revelation to us? Really? For Christians throughout the ages, God reveals himself everywhere, but primarily through human acts of grace: this is Christ at work. Just as he is at work in our sacraments and Scriptures.
  • Roland Cartwright
    October 18, 10 - 1:22am
    Joshua,

    The BCP (1662) Eucharist includes the following (which has been retained in modern Anglican liturgies):

    THEREFORE with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name; evermore praising thee, and saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory: Glory be to thee, O Lord most High. Amen.

    What do you see as the difference between praying with the company of heaven (which Anglicans do) and asking one of that company to intercede on our behalf (with which you seem to have difficulty)? The two practices look more alike than dissimilar.

    Regards, Roland
  • Mark Gilbert
    October 18, 10 - 1:29am
    This discussion moves fast, it was not long ago that we were discussing the rightness or wrongness of being declared a Saint by a human being or group of humans on the basis of their merit in this life and the next.

    Sorry for the lateness of my reply, but I have other responsibilities.

    Eric and Donna, you hurt me when you attack me personally by claiming that I don't understand Roman Catholic teaching, yet you provide no evidence to support your claim. I fail to see how this complies with the framework of this discussion group to speak the truth in love.

    To my knowlege the only assertions I have made about the teachings of the Catholic Church are as follows;
    1. They tortured and killed Thomas Cranmer following a Papal heresy trial.
    2. Protestant Catholic relationships have improved for the better since then.
    3. Mary MacKillop was declared by the Roman Catholic Church to be a Saint on the basis of merit.
    4. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that people can pray to and thru her as they are certain she is in heaven and has God's ear
    5. Most Catholics I talk to think that you get to heaven on the basis of merit and are therefore uncertain where they stand with God and whether they will get to heaven.

    Please let me know if after sitting thru over 1500 Roman Catholic Sermons, over 1500 Roman Catholic religious education classes, read books by Augustine, writings by Aquinas, several books written by Joseph Ratzinger
    cont.
  • Mark Gilbert
    October 18, 10 - 1:53am
    I have also read many of Joseph Ratzinger's speeches, I subscribe to the theological journal he founded, Communio, and I have also read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    However, despite this I could have made a mistake and if this is the case I genuinely would like that clarified because I would like this discussion to continue on the basis of truth - not personality.

    I am very pleased to notice that there is no disagreement with my exposition of the Bible's consistent teaching that people are saved by God when they don’t deserve it, without their help - in other words by grace alone.

    I was talking with a young man from a Catholic background last night at the Church I attend and he was so thankful that someone made this point clear to him. He had thought he had to be good enough to get to heaven, but now sees how much better it is that he is saved by what Jesus has done when he doesn't deserve it without his help. He is now sure he is going to heaven, not on the basis of a declaration by a human organisation, but on the basis of God's promise found in the Bible. That's where he places his trust.
  • Joshua Bovis
    October 18, 10 - 2:02am
    Roland

    That is a good question. Thankyou for asking it. I would say that visible Church (Christians on Earth) and the invisible Church (Christians with Christ in heasven) are united in that both are 'in Christ'. Both are saved through Christ' atoning once for all sacrifice at the cross, both full of praise for God triune. So there is unity. However I would say that the difference is the latter group now are with Christ face to face. As for those of us on Earth are not as we live by faith not by sight.

    As for asking someone who is with Christ face to face to intercede from me, (apart from the lack of Scriptural support) it is not needed. Those who are in Christ whether in Heaven and on earth are saved by the merit of Christ alone and not due anything they have done, so they are not closer to God than say I am. One cannot be more in Christ if one is already in Christ. So I don't think it is necessary.

    @ Eric
    When I say that Jesus is the sole mediator, I mean that he is the only go between or bridge between us and God. We can only approach God the Father, through Jesus the Son which is God says in His Word through his Apostle Paul in 1 Tim 2:5.

    I greatly appreciate your gracious response gentlemen.

    Joshua
  • Donna Green
    October 18, 10 - 2:04am
    Fred
    Appreciate your sense of charity and respect.

    Mark
    Your assertion that I attacked you personally is a little far-fetched. If I have hurt you then I apologise. I too feel extremely hurt by gross inaccuracies perpetuated about the Catholic Church.

    My evidence to support my claim that you do not understand Catholic teaching rests with your initial post as well as hearing you recently speak about the CC and sainthood, as well as reading several posts from yourself regarding the Catholic Church (most of which circulated at the time of WYD). In your talk at the Bible Forum you claim that Catholics do not really have faith in Jesus because they do not believe that His dying was enough for us to obtain salvation. You claim that Catholics think they have to do good works and merit heaven in their own right. That is a gross misrepresentation of official Catholic teaching. The Catechism spells it out quite succinctly.

    Perhaps you have have sifted through copious sermons and even read Ratzinger - that proves nothing to me. I've spent 25 year studying the Catholic faith. I haven't counted the copious books I've read nor the sermons I've heard. That would prove nothing to you either.

    cont.
  • Donna Green
    October 18, 10 - 2:17am
    The idea of those faithful departed being dead is unscriptural. The transfiguration gives witness to this. Moses and Elijah were conversing with the Peter and co. In Revelation the elders prostrate before God and present the prayers of the saints (us) to Him. Thats intercession.

    Mark if you have access to the Catechism and you still claim that the CC teaches salvation by works and not by grace alone, then I'm baffled. Pity the young man with a Catholic background didn't bother to find out for himself the teaching on salvation. Hope you tell him that the Catholic Church does not teach that he has to deserve his salvation - now that you know:)
  • Mark Gilbert
    October 18, 10 - 2:27am
    Hi Donna,

    apology accepted thanks.

    probably best to confine the discussion to this thread for the benefit of those reading.

    What is it that I have said in this thread that shows I don't understand the Catholic church's teachings? I think it's pretty clear that the Roman Catholic Church has made Mary MacKillop a Saint on the basis of merit and this quite understandably leads Billions of Catholics into thinking that you can only get to heaven if you are good enough, which you and I agree the bible doesn't teach.
  • Donna Green
    October 18, 10 - 2:28am
    I think the problem I see here is that the concept of praying to saints has the wrong connotation. Eric I think you have addressed this as well.

    If we deny the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice on the cross by asking those in heaven to pray for us, then we must also be denying the sufficiency when we ask fellow Christians on earth to.

    The concept of "the bible doesn't tell us to" is an odd way to tackle the issue. Ask any Jew whether their faith consists of prayers to those departed and for those departed and you will have a consistent answer. Christianity is the completion of the Jewish religion. So the question shouldn't be "the bible doesn't tell us to" but "the bible didn't tell us to stop".

    Intercession does not deny Christ's role as the one mediator, it's because of Christ that we are able to be intercessors for one another. All for Him and all in Him
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 18, 10 - 2:31am
    Thank you Michael

    Also – I would appreciate some clarification from Mark/Donna as I cannot believe Mark would have said Catholics do not really have faith in Jesus. Outside of some redneck American fundamentalist churches (ie one imagines banjo are strummed there), I am unaware of any Anglican who would take such a position.

    For me, one thing that always strikes me in Catholic churches is the crucifix and the "stations of the cross" on the walls, which visually conveys the deepest faith in Christ's salvific death. I have always admired the Catholic emphasis on Christ's hardships and the stoicism that this inspires in the Catholics I have known. When I was in the British forces, I found that my fellow servicemen who were Catholic would "offer up" their sufferings and trials rather than mutter and grumble.

    More broadly, Pope Benedict is the greatest global defender of the Judeo-Christian ethos. The papacy of John Paul II was inspirational even to non-Catholics. I cannot imagine a global Christianity without the Papacy.
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 18, 10 - 2:31am
    Mark, I sincerely regret any hurt you have felt from this discussion. I rarely engage in these, and one of the problems with them is that, because of the lack of face to face feedback, one can get carried away by the force of an argument and forget the likely impact on the feelings of those on the receiving end. Thanks for your reminder.
    In relation to the story of the young man with the Catholic background, I think it is very common that churches can be poor communicators of the gospel. But its also about where the person who is hearing the message is at. For example, I grew up as an Anglican in Sydney. When I heard about faith, I got the impression that faith in the Gospel was a pre-requisite - a kind of work - for God to apply Jesus' atonement to me. It was only much later that I realised that faith in Christ's sacrifice was not a hurdle, it was simply the means by which the transforming truth of God's love gets delivered. That was a real 'ah ha!' experience.
    Catholic Christianity is about transforming lives from protecting ourselves to being open to God's love as both a personal and interpersonal reality. Its not God or You, its God in and through You ('You' being St Mary or You the person reading this). When people don't get that - such as that young man - and their religion takes a neurotic turn, such as feeling God is out to get them, then I can see that the Evangelical approach offers a work around cure.
  • Donna Green
    October 18, 10 - 2:38am
    Mark
    To start let's look at what the CC teaches about salvation. Firstly, merit seeing you have mentioned that Mary Mackillop merited her sainthood.

    Page 486 of the Catechism of the CC it reads:

    Merit

    2007: With regard to God, there is no strict right to any merit on the part of man. Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality, for we have received everything from him, our Creator.

    2008: The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man's free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man's merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.

    2010: Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justificatin, at the beginning of conversion. ...

    2011: The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men....
  • Donna Green
    October 18, 10 - 2:40am
    Those statements show that you lack a real understanding of what the CC teaches on merit.

    For the purpose of this discussion, I think we should stick to official teaching and not to what ex-Catholic so and so has to say.
  • Donna Green
    October 18, 10 - 2:42am
    Thank you Godfrey
    Believe me, there are some Sydney Anglicans that think the CC is the whore of babylon. During WYD I had the privilege of debating Sydney Anglicans about all things Catholics. Whilst most were charitable, I did encounter severe anti-Catholic sentiment. I'm not suggesting Mark is one of them, however, I do believe Mark thinks Catholics need salvation.
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 18, 10 - 2:54am
    Donna: well I am an Anglican (from England as well!) and I think no such thing. I have never heard any Anglican say that in my presence. Indeed, all churches started in the Catholic Church, as did the Bible and the Bible Canon. So please do not confuse those who argue with the many Anglicans who hold to their Catholic origins and the tradition brought by Augustine.
  • Donna Green
    October 18, 10 - 3:11am
    Godrey
    Thanks. I don't judge the Anglican church by what I see happening in the Sydney Diocese. I know that in other states, it is quite different. Nor do I believe that all Sydney Anglicans have the same views as the ones I have encountered here. I try to live by what I am asking of Mark - i.e. to judge the teachings, not its people.

    Further to the discussion on whether saints in heaven are dead in the context that has been suggested, we can see in Matt 27:52-53 that something very Catholic is happening. What would you propose, Mark, these saints were doing when they were appearing to many in the holy city. If Christ is our only mediator, in the context that has been suggested, then why would God allow the transfiguration and then dead saints to appear to the living? If Catholics deny the role of Christ because we believe in intercessory prayer, then Jesus was a bad teacher and the writers of the NT should have made it more clear to us.
  • Roland Cartwright
    October 18, 10 - 3:28am
    Joshua,

    Thank you for the reply (@#40). You write:

    As for asking someone who is with Christ face to face to intercede from me, (apart from the lack of Scriptural support) it is not needed. Those who are in Christ whether in Heaven and on earth are saved by the merit of Christ alone and not due anything they have done, so they are not closer to God than say I am. One cannot be more in Christ if one is already in Christ. So I don't think it is necessary.


    Doubtless you could also argue that asking a fellow Christian who is here on Earth to intercede on our behalf is also not "needed". Yet Anglicans practice intercessory prayer in corporate worship and would consider it natural to ask an individual fellow Christian to pray on their behalf in relation to a particular need or concern. So if we can make and solicit intercessory prayer as an outworking of being fellow members of the body of Christ, and if we have unity with the prayers of the company of heaven, it is hardly contrary to solicit the intercessory prayers of the Saints, even if is not "necessary". On what basis should we restrict requests for intercessory prayer only to those Christians that are here below?

    Regards, Roland
  • Roland Cartwright
    October 18, 10 - 3:38am
    Mark,

    In your third point in post # 38, you write that:

    3. Mary MacKillop was declared by the Roman Catholic Church to be a Saint on the basis of merit.


    Donna probably knows far better than I (and can correct me if I'm wrong) but my understanding is that merit has nothing to do with Mary's cannonisation.

    My (potentially imperfect) understanding is that the Catholic Church has recognised Mary's sainthood on the basis that it has been convinced of her intercessory prayers in relation to two medically inexplicable healings and this is consonant with her known life of service and devotion to others and Christ's church. In all this her merit (or otherwise) has no part.

    Regards, Roland
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 18, 10 - 3:51am
    Roland at 52 says what I think about intercessory prayer.

    This is a very interesting discussion.
  • Donna Green
    October 18, 10 - 4:01am
    Roland
    Your understanding is pretty good. As can be seen from what the Catechism says on Merit, it really has nothing to do with us, but Christ working in us. Mary Mackillop's canonisation is not based on her intercessory prayers. That is taken for granted that all saints in heaven are praying for us. It is more based on her life as you have stated. It is also not based purely on the miracles, although that seems to get all the attention. These miracles just close the deal so to speak. Any miracle attributed to any saint only comes from the power of God. It is only through Him and we should always give Him the glory.
  • Joshua Bovis
    October 18, 10 - 4:13am
    Roland,

    I thought I had already answered that. Sorry!

    Doubtless you could also argue that asking a fellow Christian who is here on Earth to intercede on our behalf is also not "needed


    Here are a couple of verses about praying:
    Eph 6:18 - which exhorts God's people to pray and make supplication for all the saints. (Saints is referring to all Christians who are alive on Earth, not Christians in heaven as those in heaven do not need our prayers as they are with Christ). God does not need our prayers to work in a Christian's life, but he commands us to pray and I believe that God does incorporate our prayers into his sovereign will.

    1 Thess 5:15-16 exhorts us to pray continually (including for each other)

    The Example of Jesus - He tells us to pray for people, he prays for people. But the people are always alive on Earth.

    The Example of Paul - He prayed for God's people on Earth.

    There are no examples of anyone in Scripture praying for someone who has died on Earth, or of anyone alive on Earth praying to someone else other than God. Though there is the example of King Saul (through the witch of Endor) speaking to Samuel who had died, which was forbidden in Scripture.
  • Joshua Bovis
    October 18, 10 - 4:16am
    Roland,

    ...it is hardly contrary to solicit the intercessory prayers of the Saints, even if is not "necessary". On what basis should we restrict requests for intercessory prayer only to those Christians that are here below?


    I think we have come full circle, if you see my original post (#28) and subsequent posts I have tried to answer that question.

    Thankyou for your response Roland, I am respectfully bowing out. I am confident that there are others on this forum who can write more articulately than I can.

    Joshua
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 18, 10 - 4:26am
    My understanding is that the practice of praying for the dead (which is separate from intercession by saints for we here) has been part of the Jewish faith since before Christ, Christ would have been raised in that faith, and it was continued in the early Church, eg 2 Maccabees 12:39-46. I recall seeing pictures of inscriptions in Rome's catacombs by early Christians asking for prayers for someone who died.

    [Luther and other "Sola Scriptura" Christians stripped the Bible of books they did not like, such as the Maccabees books, which are very interesting indeed.]
  • Frank Savage
    October 18, 10 - 4:51am
    God alone can hear the prayers of millions of people all over the world, even those thoughts only in our minds. Jesus our great high priest mediates our prayers to the Father. We can come with boldness to the throne of grace only through Jesus, with the help of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in each believer.

    To imagine that people who have died, and whose spirits are now with the Lord, can also hear the prayers and thoughts of millions on earth is to attribute the characteristics of God to them. That is blasphemy.

    Requests spoken into the air directed to people who have died is a complete waste of words. It does not reach them. It is deeply dishonouring to the true God, who is listening and watching this mis-directed attempt at communication.

    Then to credit some great blessing received from God to the intervention of the prayers of one of these people who have died is giving credit where it is not due. Give thanks to God alone, the true source of every good heavenly gift.
    Why not just come to God himself, as He requires us to? He has promised to hear us. If Mary could speak to us now from heaven, that is what she would say.
  • David Hayton
    October 18, 10 - 5:23am
    Very interesting (and ironic) surnames of two authors in this post - Saint and Savage. To be crass, I think that there are elements of the saint and the savage here. I think it may be time to agree to disagree - whether you are Roman Catholic or a Catholic of the Anglican tradition we are still brothers and sisters of the Catholic Faith.
  • Donna Green
    October 18, 10 - 5:28am
    Frank
    How do you reconcile your thoughts with what the book of Revelation says about the saints in heaven hearing our prayers. Look at Rev 5:8; Rev 6:9-11 and Rev 8:34. What do you say about the scene at the Transfiguration? What about Matt 27.

    Frank we are called to be Christ-like. In the true sense of the word if we become like Him then surely His characteristics will be the consequence. It's hardly blasphemous.

    "Why not just come to God himself, as He requires us to?" Catholics do that as well. The only difference is that we also believe that the Body of Christ is made up of the Church living and the Church Triumph (those in Heaven). Those in Heaven are not cut off from the Church on earth. Perhaps you could demonstrate where the bible would say otherwise.

    In Hebrews 1:12 the author refers to angels as ministering spirits. Heb 12 speaks about the cloud of witness and in the preceding verses the author speaks about the faith of the old testament saints. So he is referring to dead saints, not those who are still with us.

    If God uses angels to minister to us, then it would go without saying that He would allow us to request their help as well. Jesus Himself had the help of angels when He was fasting for 40 days.
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 18, 10 - 6:18am
    I must say I find speculative pronouncements regarding the mind reading capacities of the dead rather amusing and, really, beside the point.

    What, I think, is really at stake here is the vision of the Christian spiritual life as primarily individual, God and me thing or a collective, God and us thing. Its about where is God’s kingdom instanced / God mediated - through private bible study and imaginative prayer or through the argy bargy of our interactions with others. While many Catholics would want to have it both ways, some Evangelicals are wary of the latter. Is it because it is too open ended? But, if we look at our own spiritual journeys, I don’t think any of us can sideline the inspiration and encouragement other Christians (and non-Christians) have been on our path.

    I don’t think that mediation is like a bridge straddling between one separate reality and another. Its more like a mirror that enables us to see what was always, already there - God in the World and the World in God. Anything and anyone can do this, but Jesus does it definitively and decisively.
    cont...
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 18, 10 - 6:19am
    Continuing...
    When I hear someone wanting delimit the ways God reveals himself, say, to an hierarchically sanctioned rite or book, then I find myself asking “whose interest does this serve?” Usually it is the ones in power to enact the rite or interpret the book, ie the priests / presbyters.

    But if we view these things as honoured examples of God’s involvement in everything - and models of how to be open to this truth - then these things can be powerfully liberating. From the bits I’ve seen, this is the approach of the Emerging Church movement, which, I understand, has been given endorsement by +Canterbury.
  • Suzanne Weinberger
    October 18, 10 - 8:43am
    Maybe the catholic church should be doing more to clear up these issues then that people seem to be "misunderstanding." What better time to do it than now when all eyes are/were on Rome...
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 18, 10 - 10:59am
    Perhaps, Suzanne; but I expect that the Protestants are about as high on the Vatican's agenda as Melbourne is on Sydney's agenda! (When I lived in Melbourne, there was a lot of Sydney bashing; when I lived in Sydney, it was, "Melbourne? Where's Melbourne?")
    Eric.
  • Suzanne Weinberger
    October 18, 10 - 11:56am
    Actually Eric, I was thinking more along the lines of the normal Catholic wo/man on the street (as opposed to ex-Catholics), the ones who do believe that their works alone are going to save them.
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 18, 10 - 12:28pm
    Hi Suzanne. Your message kind of assumes that the 'normal' Catholic believes that they are saved by works. Is that even true? How would one know? Do churches ever do audits on the beliefs of their membership? Perhaps they should - one could imagine that could reveal some interesting data! I have participated in church life surveys but they are a bit more general.

    As with other large churches, there is a high rate of nominal membership, who, I imagine, would be less literate in the faith than regular attenders or those who also go to bible studies. Also, how effective are sermons and sacraments against deeply entrenched neurotic sensibilities?

    Hmm.....
  • Mark Baines
    October 18, 10 - 3:04pm
    Every catholic or former Catholic I've ever spoken to on the matter of salvation has asked, when I explain salvation by grace alone through faith alone, "So what do you have to DO in response?" Many were VERY regular attendees and some even attended Bible Studies.
    Every catholic or former Catholic I've ever spoken to on the matter of whether they themselves are saved has answered, "I don't know", and expressed hope that they have done enough. If Roman Catholics really are being taught salvation by grace through faith, then it isn't being taught very well. Ask the second of the above questions of a random member of a random evangelical protestant church in Sydney and odds on they will answer with a resounding "YES!" and I think that is a significant testimony. I'm confident because in many evangelical protestant churches it's not uncommon to hear people stand and give their personal testimony of salvation. I've heard the "YES!" regularly.
    My problem with Saints (big "S") is not so much the prayers of intercession, (and you've badly mistaken the point of prayer to come to the conclusion that praying to the Saints is the same as praying with or for believers on earth!) as the accompanying image worship. There was nothing so sickening to my mind when I visited the Vatican as to see poor people humbly kneeling in prayer before the mummified corpse of a long dead pope. Or kiss the foot of a carved statue. Isaiah 44:13-19.
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 18, 10 - 10:18pm
    My understanding is that Catholics are taught that one is saved by grace, to be sure, but that one must cooperate in that grace. It is not sufficient to simply say "I am saved" and then live your life as a selfish, self-centred person, and that this is where works come in. Hopefully Donna can break this down?

    [Sorry to be a curmudgeon but am I the only person here who rolls their eyes at people standing and giving personal testimonies? I realise we are all supposed to applaud but hopefully that American style "I am saved" will not take on here.]
  • David Ashton
    October 18, 10 - 11:23pm
    I have written at least six letters to the SMH to present a different view of canonization but each letter has been ignored. A week ago they had a nice snide article from David Marr about miracles being ridiculous - no sensible person would believe in something that science says can't happen - but won't consider an letter debunking canonization theologically.

    It's a bit like the rescue of the miners - no-one wants to be reminded that the reason the miners were trapped down there was bbecause the owners neglected working conditions - and no-one wants the feelgood story of Mary MacKillop to be wrecked by a bit of reality.

    It might help of course if the Anglican church stopped naming churches after saints!
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 19, 10 - 12:20am
    David, you cannot debunk canonization theologically. You can only present your own theological preferences. I'm reminded of a snippet from a comedy sketch by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore:
    Pete: "I started the restaurant around the time of the second world war. Do you remember the war? Terrible affair - I was completely against it."
    Dud: "Yes, yes, well I think we all were, really."
    Pete: "But I wrote a letter!"
    David, don't you think, with all their theological resources, that if a practice could be easily 'debunked' by a simple letter to the SMH, as patently anti-Christian, the church would have cottoned on by now?
    David, your view is a minority opinion. I have no doubt you hold it dearly and that it is not without theological warrant. Nonetheless, with at least equal theological warrant, the majority of Christians disagree with you.
  • Mark Gilbert
    October 19, 10 - 12:27am
    Donna, thanks for drawing our attention to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a document with which very few Catholics or Protestants are familiar with.

    The texts you have quoted helpfully point out that official Catholic teaching states that you are saved by grace - many protestants and Catholics are surprised to hear this when I point this out to them - which I have done on many occasions. However the devil is in the detail.

    When you quoted statement 2010, "Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification at the begining of conversion ..." you left out the next bit which is quite relevant to our discussion, it reads,

    "Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity and for the attainment of eternal life"

    The word sanctification means being made a saint.

    In short the Catholic Church teaches that our good works (themselves being a gift of God) merit our being made saints and merit eternal life. It is quite clear and is consistent with what I have been saying all along. Mary MacKillop has been declared a saint on the basis of her merit. This is at odds with the clear biblical teaching that God saves people who don't deserve it, without their help. By grace alone. cont ...
  • Mark Gilbert
    October 19, 10 - 12:34am
    The Catholic position at its core is salvation by grace + good works so that salvation in the end is "attained" as well as given. I think it is wrong.
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 19, 10 - 12:44am
    Mark, I appreciate your last post: I'm no expert on the finer nuances of doctrine, but it seems to me to be much more on target regarding the real disagreement between Catholics and Evangelicals on this point.
    Eric.
  • David Ashton
    October 19, 10 - 12:48am
    Canonization can't be debunked theologically???

    John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    For there is one GOD, and one Mediator between GOD and men, Himself man, Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:5

    Canonization is a borrow from the pagan Roamn religion where a person could be deified by vote of the Senate, and then prayed to as any otehr god.

    On only Christ has been granted authority, only Christ is sinless and therefore only he he ias able to intercede.
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    October 19, 10 - 12:49am
    Thanks Mark.

    It's quite clearly on the record that the Catholic church and the main Protestant denominations continue to have a different understanding of this issue. This can be seen in the ecumenical dialogues where the parties have worked really, really hard to come to a common mind.

    Even in the Joint Declaration on Justification from the Lutheran/Catholic dialogue which has been labelled a sell-out of the Protestant understanding of the gospel.

    What they could agree on was only this:

    4.7 The Good Works of the Justified

    We confess together that good works - a Christian life lived in faith, hope and love - follow justification and are its fruits. When the justified live in Christ and act in the grace they receive, they bring forth, in biblical terms, good fruit. Since Christians struggle against sin their entire lives, this consequence of justification is also for them an obligation they must fulfill. Thus both Jesus and the apostolic Scriptures admonish Christians to bring forth the works of love.


    con't
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    October 19, 10 - 12:51am
    What the Lutherans could not agree with the Catholics is the following:

    According to Catholic understanding, good works, made possible by grace and the working of the Holy Spirit, contribute to growth in grace, so that the righteousness that comes from God is preserved and communion with Christ is deepened. When Catholics affirm the "meritorious" character of good works, they wish to say that, according to the biblical witness, a reward in heaven is promised to these works. Their intention is to emphasize the responsibility of persons for their actions, not to contest the character of those works as gifts, or far less to deny that justification always remains the unmerited gift of grace.


    While the Lutherans say instead that:

    "the good works of Christians as the fruits and signs of justification and not as one's own "merits", they nevertheless also understand eternal life in accord with the New Testament as unmerited "reward" in the sense of the fulfillment of God's promise to the believer."
  • Jeremy Halcrow
    October 19, 10 - 1:03am
    However, as I said, it should be pointed out that a lot of Lutherans think this statement was a sell-out of the Protestant understanding of the doctrine. It is worth reading this link.

    But that doesn't detract from my point that the Catholic position on justification is clearly different to the Protestant position.
  • Mark Gilbert
    October 19, 10 - 2:33am
    I've jut returned from teaching scripture at my local Public School. The Catholic kids were given a presentation on Mary MacKillop, one of the kids came out of the presentation waving a card with Mary MaKillop's face on it, when asked how was it he said with all the exuberance of a 10 year old - "Mary's great - I think we should ditch Jesus and have Mary"

    I'm sure Mary herself as well as most Catholics would be horrified he came away with such a message.
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 19, 10 - 5:02am
    Thanks Jeremy, for that link. It certainly, I think, gets to the heart of the matter from an Evangelical viewpoint.
    I wonder if we could go upstream of the medieval theology that spawned the Protestant response and the Catholic counter response, to find more common ground? I'm thinking of the newer work on Paul's writings, placing it within the social context of the time, such as has been done by N T Wright. Personally, I find much of that fascinating. It has enabled me to read, say, Romans, without doing my head in!
  • Donna Green
    October 19, 10 - 5:46am
    @Mark Baines
    See 2 Kings 13:21, Acts 19:11-12 and Acts 5:12 and then tell me that what you saw in Rome was in anyway different to what the bible says.

    @Mark Gilbert
    The real difference between your understanding on salvation and mine is that you withdraw the fact that God has given us free will to decide. So that is why works don't equate in salvation. The para I 'left out' says nothing that could not be backed up by scripture.

    Effectively what Calvinists say is that our will has no bearing. It's all God's doing. In the natural sense, how could you say that you are truly loved by someone if your choice to love them is taken away from them and you are in a sense made to love them. That is how I see the Calvinist viewpoint. Mark, James tells us that faith without works is dead. It is an unscriptural proposition to say that faith alone saves us. The fact that you have to respond to God's call is a work in itself. What protestants say is that my 'yes' to Jesus is what saves me.
    Although you claim that you have presented the Catholic teaching as stated in the Catechism, what I have seen you write previously and what I have heard you say did not represent that.

    I am the first to admit the Catholics over the last 40 years have been badly catechised. It is changing, thanks be to God. Perhaps you could lay aside personal experiences of your dealings with Catholics. I have been involved
  • Donna Green
    October 19, 10 - 5:50am
    in different protestant denominations and I too have experiences that would demonstrate that the CC is not immune to lack of knowledge or stupidity.

    Clement of Rome (AD 80) in his letter to the Corinthians says about works:

    "Why was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not because of his deeds of justice and truth, wrought in faith?"


    Faith, Hope and Love - the greatest being Love.
  • Donna Green
    October 19, 10 - 6:44am
    In regard to assurance of salvation. I am assured of my salvation through Christ, if I endure to the end - Matt 24:13.

    The Catholic Church puts it this way. We have been saved in the general sense i.e. Christ died once for all. However, it is the application of that work of Christ in each one of us. So whilst we are saved, we are also being saved and when we enter heaven we are saved. This coincides with what scripture says: Matt 19:16-17 says to be saved we must keep the commandments;2 Tim 2:12 - if we endure, we will be saved; Rom 11:22 tells us that we must continue in kindness lest we be cut off; Phil 2:12-13 Paul is working out his salvation with fear and trembling; Matt 16:27 God will repay what every man has DONE; Matt 24:13 again endurance saves us; 1 Peter 3:20-21 tells us that baptims now saves us.

    Now I cannot find one text in the bible that tells me that I am saved by faith alone.
  • Frank Savage
    October 19, 10 - 7:04am
    Donna RO 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about--but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

    RO 4:4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

    RO 4:7 "Blessed are they
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.

    RO 4:8 Blessed is the man
    whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

    Ephesians 2 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
  • Frank Savage
    October 19, 10 - 7:06am
    And many more

    eg Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
  • Frank Savage
    October 19, 10 - 7:10am
    GAL 3:1 You foolish Galatians!... I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing--if it really was for nothing? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
    Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

    GAL 3:10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Je
  • Roland Cartwright
    October 19, 10 - 7:13am
    Jeremy,

    Whilst it is true that the Missouri Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America dissented from the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (“JDDJ”), it is also the case that the JDDJ has also found support within some Protestants, with the World Methodist Council affirming its agreement with the statement in 2006.

    A large part of the issue is that there are different understandings of what is involved in the key issue of “justification”. Is it imparted or imputed? Is it external or internal? Is it a point of change declaration of a change in status before God, or the process through which God works change and restoration? Is it a separate and distinct precursor to sanctification or is sanctification part of justification?

    Protestants have typically argued for an external imparted justification which is a change solely in status, in which case good works are a consequence of justification but play no part in it. Catholics have typically argued for an imputed justification that internally regenerates, in which case good works are not only a consequence but also a means by which God accomplishes and completes his good work in us.

    cont.
  • Roland Cartwright
    October 19, 10 - 7:13am
    If you use a Protestant framework of external event only, rather than event plus process, then you will either misunderstand or view negatively Catholic affirmation of a positive role of good works within justification and on a need to co-operate with God in this process. This appears to be at the heart of the objections to “merit” in the comments above.

    The challenge for Protestants is that their conception of justification, whilst it rightly emphasises the gratuity of grace, is, as the evangelical Anglican, Alister McGrath, has pointed out, a novelty of the Reformation and is not how Christians understood justification prior to the 16th century. Whether the Protestant understanding of justification is a legitimate development of justification, as McGrath characterises it, and whether it has scriptural support is a matter for debate. But what seems clear is that evaluating the Catholic position through the Protestant prism is unlikely to prove a fruitful approach.

    Regards,

    Roland
  • Donna Green
    October 19, 10 - 7:19am
    Frank
    I agree with all those verses.

    This link may help clear up the terminology regarding merit. Hope you take the time to read this Mark and others http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1995/9510fea3.asp
  • Frank Savage
    October 19, 10 - 7:21am
    Faith without works in James is a "faith" which is not genuine trust in Christ alone for salvation. The works of Abraham in offering Isaac came many years after he had been accepted as righteous because of his faith in the seemingly impossible promise of God. This later obedience proved the genuineness of his pre=existing faith.
    A person of genuine faith receives the Holy Spirit, and so is moved and enabled to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit - love joy peace...
    If there is no fruit, it indicates there is no root of genuine saving faith, and no working of the Holy Spirit in the person's heart. But the root of faith always comes before the fruit of good works. It is the faith which receives the gift of eternal life, not the works.

    Praise God, because my own works are far below what would be required for salvation, though I repent and trust and try hard. Still I know I am saved, because I have chosen, by God's grace, to trust in Jesus death as the full payment for my sins.
  • Donna Green
    October 19, 10 - 7:29am
    Can anyone advise how you send a link correctly on this site.
  • David McKay
    October 19, 10 - 8:13am
    Hi Donna. Donna's link
  • David McKay
    October 19, 10 - 8:14am
    It is hard to tell you how to do it without the program executing my html instructions!

    Type a left square bracket "[" and then the instruction "url=" and then put your url in inverted commas.

    Then type an end square bracket "]" and give your link a titlee. I gave your link the title "Donna's link." You don't need to put your title in quotes
    Then type the square brackets with a forward slash and "url" enclosed, which means "end url."

    I hope this is clear.

    It is actually quite simple, thoguh I took several goes to get it right, as I haven't done it for a while.
  • Frank Savage
    October 19, 10 - 8:26am
    Donna
    I read it. But it is very confusing. I think it better to stick with the Romans 4, ephesians 28,9, Titus 3:14, etc. Very clear that justification is a gift which we do nothing to earn. just by trusting Jesus. Amazing grace. Makes me want to sing. But if my works are also needed, I will groan, and fail. that would be awful and hopeless.
  • Donna Green
    October 19, 10 - 8:39am
    Frank
    James is stating a fact. He is not redefining faith as we may have never encountered before in scripture. You can't change the meaning of a word to suit your interpretation. For your interpretation to be true, replacing faith with dead faith should make sense. Let me demonstrate:

    What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has dead faith but has not works? Can his dead faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warned and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So dead faith by itself, it is has no works, is dead. Some will say, "you have dead faith and I have works." Show me your dead faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my dead faith.
  • Frank Savage
    October 19, 10 - 9:37am
    Donna, if you die suddenly tonight without warning, are you sure you will go straight to heaven?
  • Suzanne Weinberger
    October 19, 10 - 10:21am
    Eric at 67
    sorry if it came across that way, that's not what I meant , the word 'normal' probably wasn't the right word to use. But I think the second part of your the answer dealt with what I meant and I think even they would have been watching Rome :-).
  • Donna Green
    October 19, 10 - 10:30am
    Frank
    Address my posts. Don't use emotions to win debate.

    By God's grace, if I die tonight, I will go to heaven. My assurity does not gain my entrance into heaven.
  • David Hayton
    October 19, 10 - 10:36am
    This seems like non-stop banter! At the end of the day, we're going to have differences of opinion, which aren't able to be resolved. The main thing is that we work together and unite on what we have in common - whether we be Roman Catholic, Anglican or Protestant (note that I do not consider the Anglican church to be protestant but rather Reformed Catholic).
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 19, 10 - 11:52am
    I've just got back from dance practice (swing), which has cleared my head a bit, so I hope to contribute something a little original. Its a bit unformed and probably overgeneralised - just an initial hypothesis which might be worth exploring.

    Firstly though, I need to reiterate a suggestion I made earlier: that Catholics and Evangelicals are travelling on slightly different journeys. The ambiguity of this exists in the word 'salvation'. Evangelicals tend to focus on the sense of escape. Catholics tend to focus more on the sense of being healed (as in salve). For Catholics, salvation means being redeemed from sin, for Evangelicals, salvation means being saved from the consequences of sin. If a Catholic who believes in an afterlife is not sure s/he will immediately go to heaven when s/he dies, it does not necessarily mean they think they are going to hell. It may mean they don't think God's work in them is complete. Catholics have purgatory. As I suggested earlier, these might be better thought of primarily as states of being rather than places of residence. Catholics, I suggest, love the saints because they display the power of God to make you and me what we’re meant to be. Our divinisation is not to be viewed moralistically; rather, it is about the deepening of relationality - mirroring the Trinity in the love of God and neighbour.
    Continued
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 19, 10 - 12:44pm
    Continuing...
    My second point relates to the Catholic - Lutheran controversy and the anathemas of the Council of Trent as pointed to by Jeremy. (BTW, thank you, Donna, for that link. It was most enlightening. I hope others taking part in this discussion take the time to peruse it.) My contention here is that both were right! How? It's all a matter of perspective. By perspective, I mean first, second or third person perspective: as in I (first person) talk to you (second person) about the cat (third person). Imagine a performance from the point of view of a member of the audience and a performer. Both are correct but at the same time, mutually exclusive.

    The Council’s anathemas are from the third person perspective and, as such, they are completely correct. Faith does bear fruit towards salvation and faith is more than intellectual assent. The Lutheran view, on the other hand is faithful to the first person experience of faith, and it too is absolutely correct. For from the first person perspective, faith is no thing in itself its an open, receptive trust and assurance in God’s love for us.

    Continued
  • Eric Henry Wynter Best
    October 19, 10 - 12:47pm
    Concluding...

    However, when the third person understanding is adopted as a first person experience, the experiential essence of faith is fatally undermined because attention is diverted from the true object of faith - God’s salvation in Christ, toward the act of faith itself. This is the temptation of Catholics: to take the objective perspective existentially. This is when they start to worry about whether they have enough faith to get them saved and thus undermine the very relationality the Catholic church wishes to promote.

    Evangelicals go wrong in the other direction when they impose the first person experience of faith into a third person narrative about faith. It forces them to understand salvation in purely forensic terms and thereby severely bonzai the multilayered richness of the Scriptures and the Christian tradition.

    These perspectives cannot be synthesised without getting ourselves into a muddle. They are mutually exclusive and both right. Well, that’s my untested hypothesis. Any serious (or humorous) thoughts?
  • Frank Savage
    October 19, 10 - 8:22pm
    Donna.
    if you go to heaven by God's grace, (as i believe Romans 4 etc teaches), then it does not depend on your works.
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 19, 10 - 10:09pm
    I do not understand why so much of this is a battle over what Paul said! Every evangelical takes refuge in Paul, for understandable reasons, but Paul cannot negate Christ's own clear words. I am (again!) with Fred as Mt 25:31-46 suggests to me that our actions and Christian lives will count for far more than leaping to our feet shouting "I am saved" or quoting Paul.
  • Frank Savage
    October 20, 10 - 2:07am
    Godfrey,
    Not just Paul, the whole Bible:
    Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

    Psalm 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man
    whose sin the LORD does not count against him...

    Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

    Habakkuk 2:4 the righteous will live by his faith--

    Jesus in Luke 18:13 "But the tax collector... said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
    "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God."

    etc. Examples could be multiplied.

    Yes good works are important, and they follow the gift of eternal life, out of gratitude and love. But they do not earn it.

    We are saved FOR good works, not BY good works.

    Ephesians 2: 8 by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    Christ's sacrifice paid the whole price. The thief on the cross only believed. He did no good works. We are all justified, saved, reconciled to God, redeemed, cleansed from guilt, the same way. the only way. Faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 20, 10 - 4:41am
    Frank, I accept this:

    We are saved FOR good works, not BY good works.

    But what if I do no good works? Was I ever saved? Did I lose my salvation?
  • Donna Green
    October 20, 10 - 5:32am
    I'm not quite sure why Frank still believes that the CC says we are saved by our good works. Nowhere does the CC teach that we can earn our salvation. Werecognise that Christ's sacrifice is the only thing that can save us. There is no need to reiterate this or to suppose that Catholics somehow have no idea about this truth. Contrary to what Mark's opening statement suggests, even the most uneducated Catholic knows this.

    I have been a Catholic for quite a while and I have never experienced Catholics thinking that their works will save them. Catholics tend not to discuss this. It's really not on the agenda. The Catholics who attend my parish love Jesus. It is obvious from the conversation, their joyfulness and their sacrifical love that is displayed. Many hours of giving to those less fortunate seems to be done with a great deal of love. They know they are bringing Jesus to these people in little ways. I am constantly inspired by them.

    Thank you Frank for reminding that my works wont save me - why it was only a couple of posts prior to your last one that I said the same thing. I'm wondering what you think about your interpretation of James now that I have pointed out that you may be wrong about 'faith' referring to 'faith being one that does not trust Christ'.

    Thanks David M for the instructions:)
  • Frank Savage
    October 20, 10 - 7:02am
    Godfrey,
    yes if we have genuine faith in Jesus we will want to do good works. That is what Ephesians 2:8,9 is saying.

    Donna,
    You re-tranlation of my interpretation of James does not really state my position. If I say any more I will only be repeating myself.

    I am happy to hear you state clearly that you are relying on Jesus alone for salvation.

    Thanks for our discussion.

    I have to go now.

    God bless
  • Donna Green
    October 20, 10 - 7:10am
    Frank
    You claim that the faith James is talking about is a faith that is not true faith. I say that you cannot change the meaning of the word faith to suit your interpretation. By replacing the word faith with your interpretation "faith that is insincere" or "dead faith" makes no sense.

    I am glad you are happy to clearly state I rely on Jesus alone for salvation. Clearly, what I have said for the last couple of days seems not to be adequately coherent. Jesus alone saves. Who else would I think died for us? Arrrrrh

    God bless you too.
  • Danny Maher
    October 20, 10 - 9:48am
    I am a new member of this community and by way of introduction,I was baptised and confirmed in the catholic church,identify as catholic, worship in an evangelical church that is part of our local anglican diocese. Whether we are catholic or protestant, evangelical or traditional we all believe that Jesus died so that we may be saved. John 3;16, Christianity in a nutshell is what it is all about. The canonisation of MAry McKillop has put a celebration of the life of a person who dedicated her life to following Jesus front and centre on every newspaper and television in the country which surely can't be a bad thing. There may even be the odd non believer who seeks to learn a lttle bit more about Jesus as a result. We should not judge the ways that other Christians seek to worship god, surely that is for God alone
  • Frederick J Anderson
    October 20, 10 - 10:24am
    Amen Danny.
  • Frederick J Anderson
    October 20, 10 - 8:58pm
    Also, as an aside, if any serious struggle is to be had against euthanasia/right-to-death, we will be relying on the Catholic Church's immense intellectual/moral infrastructure to make the "NO" argument. Our fellow "protestants" seem to sit these fights out ...
  • Sheldon Ryan
    October 20, 10 - 10:01pm
    ummm.... no
    http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/news/ozanalysis/euthanasia_you_are_part_of_the_campaign/
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 21, 10 - 12:39am
    I have read this article but there is no mention of any church other than ours. Where are the Baptists and the Presbyterians and Uniting Churches? One of my reservations about the imprudence of Mark's article is it simply alienates Catholics and even Anglo-Catholics, when our Church will need Catholics if we are to fight euthanasia, gay marriage and other moral struggles.
  • Sheldon Ryan
    October 21, 10 - 1:12am
    Thats because it was posted on an Anglican website. Those in power in the Uniting Church are probably for it. But that's just a gross sterotypee.
  • Donna Green
    October 21, 10 - 1:39am
    Godfrey
    I must admit that I was very naive about how Anglicans saw Catholics. I have experienced a lot of anti-Catholic sentiment within Pentecostal and more fundamentalist churches, but always thought Anglicans as sort of partners.

    I thank you for acknowledging the work the CC does on moral issues. I find it interesting that the world tells the CC to get stop interfering with people's lives, yet the world wants to condemn a Pope who, they claim, did nothing to protect the Jews (aint that another story). So, the Church, it seems, can't win. Interfere and it's not welcome; do nothing and we're condemned.

    Whilst the Anglicans may have something to say about gay marriage, euthanasia, etc on the world stage, the world can't take them seriously because issues like divorce and remarriage are allowed within the Anglican communion. Anglicans are still debating within themselves about women ordination and gay priests. They can point the finger and say 'who are you to talk'. That's why the CC has so much pull. Its moral teachings are consistent and unchanging. I think all protestants would do well to read John Paul's Theology of the Body. If we could all unite on these moral issues, then the changes we could make together would be astounding.
  • Godfrey Saint
    October 21, 10 - 2:31am
    I agree. I was a very big admirer of Pope John Paul II, from his clear teaching on moral issues to his efforts to bring down the Soviet Empire. He was a true Christian leader. Do not be troubled by provincial protestants.
  • Frederick J Anderson
    October 21, 10 - 10:14am
    I thought JPII the outstanding Christian leader of my life so far.
  • Roland Cartwright
    October 21, 10 - 10:32am
    For those who may be daunted by the challenge of reading John Paul's Theology of the Body in full, you can read a very positive summary and analysis of its contents by David Bentley Hart here.
  • Frederick J Anderson
    October 21, 10 - 9:18pm
    I should add that many Christian politicians, however their Churches campaigned, sided with immorality on the the same-sex adoption bill. That was a disgraceful event. A Catholic solicitor friend was outraged that both Premier Keneally and Barry O'Farrell voted for this abominable law. (I am unaware of any faithful Anglican politician who voted for it -- hopefully none did). Something is wrong in how basic morality was taught from the 1960s onwards as too many Christian politicians seem to believe that they can "opt out" from their faith when voting and special interest groups are pressuring them. I was appalled.
  • Donna Green
    October 22, 10 - 5:48am
    Roland
    Thanks for the link. Another option is Dr Christopher West's, Theology of the Body explained. He basically puts all what JPII writes into layman terms. JPII has left us with a masterpiece which I hope all Christians can read. I listened to a talk by a Christian Psychologist who had read Theology of the Body and was blown away with the wisdom and beauty in its pages. He claimed that, although JPII was not a psychologist, he knew the human heart more than anyone he had ever come across.

    Fred
    I agree. I too was appalled. We can only pray for them and hope that they will put their trust in God even if it means a loss of power. We can never out give God.
  • Danny Maher
    October 22, 10 - 11:47am
    It is truly amazing that we have gone from "mary mary quite contrary" to a discussion about the differences between different branches of christianity to A love in about JP2.

    Christian Unity was one of JP2's key messages and we all need to start demonstrating it here rather than arguing about sematics
  • Frederick J Anderson
    October 22, 10 - 9:45pm
    Indeed. However this would be made easier if all Christian leaders had JPII's fortitude and consistency on moral issues. Sadly too many of them run at the first sign of controversy and want to be well thought of by the secular culture. Christians should always expect to be despised by the world for their faithful adherence!
  • Donna Green
    October 24, 10 - 1:23am
    Wasn't going to comment any further, but thought I should post something very positive.

    Our Parish Priest received a letter during the week from a local church sharing their 'heartiest congratulations' to us as we celebrate the canonisation of Mary MacKillop. They wished to let us know that they "share with you in having your first Australian Saint recognised.." They assured us that they continue to support us through prayer and hope that this canonisation will further energise the ministry of the priest in the community.

    Of course, our priest sent a grateful reply. He mentioned in the newsletter that this kind of co-operation and Christian friendship between the various Christian bodies and churches should always be put into practice.

    My prayer is that we will all continue to build on what we share in common so that our relationship with Our Lord deepens. May we also recognise where we differ and seek, in love, to understand more fully those differences so that we may not judge but always seek truth.

    I would like to thank the Anglican community for allowing me a voice and hope we can continue to debate in a charitable spirit in the future.

    God bless you all.