Monday, March 11, 2013

It's Alive!

In his Farwell address last Thursday, B16 referenced Romano Guardini and compared the Church to a living body.

Guardini says: “The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any living being, yet Her nature remains the same. At Her heart is Christ.”

B16 then said: “This was our experience yesterday, I think, in the square. We could see that the Church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit, and truly lives by the power of God. She is in the world but not of the world. She is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, as we saw yesterday. This is why another eloquent expression of Guardini’s is also true: 'The Church is awakening in souls.' The Church lives, grows and awakens in those souls which, like the Virgin Mary, accept and conceive the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Since a lot of this blog is about the connections between spiritual realities and physical realities, here is some information on (physical) living things as they could compare to the Church:

A Living Thing: Any organism or living form that possesses or shows the characteristics of life or being alive. Living things are those that display the following characteristics:

Ø  An organized structure, being made up of a cell or cells
Since God is orderly, His Church is also orderly; not just a bunch of people that “believe”. Every baptized person is a cell grafted into “the body”. Of course, one could become a dead cell via mortal sin, but is still a cell nonetheless.
Ø  Requires energy to survive or sustain existence
I would call the power of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual food of the Eucharist a kind of energy; wouldn’t you?
Ø  Ability to reproduce
Although it remains as one and only one body, quite a few dioceses and parishes have popped-up over the centuries.

Ø  Ability to grow
Could relate to reproduction in this context, but the Church has not only grown in size & number, but also in the knowledge of God.

Ø  Ability to metabolize
Metabolism is a set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. This compares to the set of life-sustaining sacraments that provide Sanctifying Grace resulting in transformations inside of us.

Ø  Ability to respond to stimuli
This made me think of the many counsels held over the centuries in order to properly and definitively “respond” to problems and heresies.

Ø  Ability to adapt to the environment
Simply stated, “The Church in the Modern World”. The Church's on going teachings about humanity's relationship to society, especially in reference to economics, poverty, social justice, culture, science, technology and ecumenism. We might add, however, that the Church adapts more IN the world than TO the world.

Ø  Ability to move
Animated by the Holy Spirit, the Church has gone and continues to go forth and make disciples of all nations, even to the farthest reaches of the newest continent…the internet.

Ø  Ability to respire
Respiration is sometimes just another way to say “breathing”. The breath of God is often related to the Holy Spirit or God giving life. In Genesis, God breathed into Adam to make him a living being (see Gen 2:7); in the New Testament Jesus breathed on the apostles so they could receive the Holy Spirit (see John 20:22). The Church continues to breathe God’s life into the world today.

If Church is a living organism as described in 1 Corinthians 12,  it makes sense that it would change, mature, grow and gain knowledge over the centuries; if it did not it could be described as something “dead”.
It is common fallacy to say things like the Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility or the Assumption of Mary are just man-made doctrines, made-up as time went on. The reality is that they were finally and properly understood with the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Body grew; a natural consequence of a living thing. Although “Non Habemus Papam” for now, we can still enthusiastically say, “It’s Alive!"




  1. You can claim that the Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility or the Assumption of Mary are finally and properly understood with the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Body grew but you could never demonstrate from Scripture that these doctrines were biblical and taught by the apostles or the early church.
    You have to ask yourself how the apostles and the early church could have been ignorant of these important doctrines for centuries? It boggles the mind.

    1. Call me James.

      A church father could and did write some true things. Even if Luther did believe in Mary's perpetual virginity that would not make it true because the Scripture clearly shows that she had other children. See Matt 13:55-56

      How can something be apostolic if the apostles never taught such doctrines as Immaculate Conception, Papal Infallibility and the Assumption of Mary?

    2. Anonymous (could you possibly use a name instead)

      Would you even accept what a Church Father may have wrote as true; it’s not scripture, right? Would you accept what Martian Luther believed about Mary’s perpetual virginity? What Luther believed is not authoritative; is it?

      The premise that all Christian doctrine must be biblical as interpreted by (fill in the blank with you like best), when the bible does not teach this...boggles the mind.

    3. James,
      The Church (the pillar of Truth) interprets “Brother & sisters” of Jesus as “cousins”. Although Greek has a word for cousin, Aramaic, the language of the Jews, does not. Cousins were referred to with the same words used for brothers and sisters. This is even evident in the Old Testament: “So Abram said to Lot..."we are brothers" (Gen 13:8). Abraham and Lot were not brothers. Lot was his nephew (Gen 11:27).

    4. Luther was not authoritative, he accepted the belief of the previous 1500 years, handed down in Tradition by the Catholic Church! Even with all his doctrinal changes, his belief that he, himself, was the correct interpreter OF SCRIPTURE, he came to that same conclusion. From Scripture.

      What an excellent example of Tradition, thank you James!

  2. You misunderstand the nature of the church. The church develops over time. It grows, it deepens its understanding of God and His plan.

    Not everything is known all at once. Like a person, it grows. Those doctrines were known inherently but not explicitly written, but understood by the apostles. I have no evidence because they did not WRITE them down, they HANDED them down. Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven (the church) to a mustard seed. Everything that a mustard seed IS is in the seed. It just isn't all developed in the seed.

    If all you acknowledge as known is the NT, you will not reach them by the writings alone. Those doctrines are not proven there but, importantly, they are also not contradicted there. The Church handed down much not written in the NT (as ATTESTED TO in the NT). John 21:25.

    1. Joe,
      It is true that a church can change but that does not mean that its the result of a deeper understanding of God or His plan. If something is taught in church that is not grounded in Scripture and contradicts Scripture then it is either false and certainly not biblical-apostolic.

      It is true that Jesus did do other things not recorded (John 21:25. The problem is we do not know what these other things were. There is no record of them.


    2. James,

      I am fine with that definition. The Catholic Church teaches nothing that contradicts a correct understanding of Scripture.

      I disagree that there is no record of the doctrines. The Church Fathers write about them. The problem is that you refuse to accept their authority, and therefore have an incomplete understanding of the faith.

      You repeatedly refuse to accept this and then try to tell us that we are somehow wrong. If you wish to accept a purely minimalist view of the faith, based only on what you see in Scripture, that is at best a subset of the Catholic faith (Jesus' church), or at worst, the Church of James, using your own personal interpretation. Much like Arias or Novatian or Nestorius or Luther, etc.

      I encourage you to actually do the reading of the Catechism and the Fathers and see exactly HOW they see these doctrines in Scripture. Because they ALL do.

      If you feel that you are more correct than every Father of the Catholic Church, I am not impressed.

    3. Joe,
      Are you claiming that you know some of things Jesus did that are not recorded in the Scripture? If so, what are they?

    4. I do not, however the Catholic Church's Traditions are comprised of things that happened but were not written down. They deal with beliefs that were understood at the time but not written in Epistles or other 1st Century, apostolic documents. Some of these were written by non-apostles as handed down to them. These are the early Church Fathers.

      What are they? They are the doctrines! The ever-virginity of Mary is an excellent example.

    5. Serendipity strikes! Here is a new post by regarding the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mother, Mary. This is attested to very early and supported by Scripture, but NOT proven explicitly. Remember, Scripture and Tradition are both given by the Church. The Church is not based upon Scripture. It is the other way around. Scripture depends upon the Church to be understood.

  3. Joe,
    You claim that the early church believed that Mary was a perpetual virgin. Here is the evidence Mary did indeed have other children of her own after Christ:
    1) No mention of it in the Scripture. None of the authors of Scripture claim she was a perpetual virgin.
    2) The passage in Luke 1:48 in which Mary says she is a virgin does not mean she took a vow of perpetual virginity. It is only that she is a virgin up to this point in time.
    3) The idea that a person who is about to be married is taking or has taken a vow of perpetual virginity is unheard of Biblically. There is no indication from the OT or NT that it would be acceptable to be married and yet chose to be a perpetual virgin. Married Jewish couples were to be fruitful and multiply. This is OT teaching.
    4) When brothers and sisters are used in connection with father or mother then it does not mean cousins but actual blood brothers and sisters. See Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 3:31-32; Mark 6:3; John 2:12; Galatians 1:19
    5) In the previous passages noted the best way to understand these relationships “brothers-sisters” is that these are siblings of Jesus by blood.
    6) There is no hint in Scripture that Joseph was previously married and had children.
    7) Paul refers to James as the “brother of the Lord” in Galatians 1:19.
    8) There are Greek words for cousin—anepsios as in Colossians 4:10 or kinsman = sungenis which is used in Luke 1:36. The bible never uses these two Greek words anepsiosor sungenisin reference to Jesus brothers.
    9) Psalm 69 which is a messianic Psalm clearly shows that Jesus has brothers. Verse 8—“ I have become estranged from my brothers
    And an alien to my mother’s sons.”
    10) Other references to Jesus’ brothers by Mary included: John 2:12, 7:3; Acts 1:14
    11) Protestant scholar D. A. Carson points out, if "brothers" refers to Joseph's sons by an earlier marriage, not Jesus but Joseph's firstborn would have been legal heir to David's throne. The second theory — that "brothers" refers to sons of a sister of Mary also name "Mary" — faces the unlikelihood of two sisters having the same name. All things considered, the attempts to extend the meaning of "brothers" in this pericope, despite McHugh's best efforts, are nothing less that farfetched exegesis in support of a dogma that originated much later than the NT... — D. A. Carson, Matthew in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, volume 8 (Zondervan, 1984).


  4. 1) Granted - but not probative one way or the other.
    2) Sacred Scripture frequently uses “until” (or a variant) with no thought that something else was to follow. In 2 Samuel 6:23, we read that “Saul’s daughter Michal was childless to [until] the day of her death.” And certainly none after her death. Deuteronomy 34:6 reports that no one knows where Moses was buried “to this day.” We still don’t know. The raven Noah released from the ark “flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth” (Gn 8:7). We know the raven never came back.

    We find the same usage in the New Testament. “Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave” (Mt 10:11). But don’t stay after departure. In one of Our Lord’s parables, He speaks of a man who goes after a lost sheep “until he finds it.” Or of the woman who looking for a lost coin will “sweep the house…until she finds it” (Lk 15:4,8). But there was no looking or sweeping after the sheep or the coin is found.
    3) If a young woman about to be married were told she would become pregnant, she would not have asked the question, “How can this be?” She would know. Our Blessed Mother asked this question because, the Church tells us, she had taken a lifelong vow of virginity in marriage. From earliest days this has been the Church’s interpretation of her question.
    4 + 5 + 7) This is not true. Check out the Old Testament usage of the word “brother.” Sometimes it designates simply another human being (see Gn 9:25; 19:7; Ex 32:27,29). It may refer to a neighbor (Lv 19:17). Again, it can refer to a kinsman (Dt 23:8; Jer 34:9; 2 Kgs 10:13-14) or a friend (2 Sm 1:26; 1 Kgs 9:13; 20:32). It can even simply mean an ally (Am 1:9).
    6 + 11) No dispute. Irrelevant.
    8 + 10) Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic, which had no word for “cousin.” New Testament writers used the Aramaic word for “brother” to denote not only children of the same father but also cousins, relatives, even nonrelatives.
    9) So in verse 5, should we attest that Jesus is foolish and has sin? This is not a literal song, it is a prophetic foreshadowing. The words of the psalmist cannot be taken as literal for Jesus.

    You are actually reading your dogma back into the text instead of understanding the languages involved. All your scholarship is centuries later than the understanding of the Church for 2000 years.

  5. Joe,
    When understanding what the writers of Scripture meant we must go by what language they wrote in. It will not do to claim that they spoke Aramaic, which had no word for “cousin.” We go by what the Greek says. In Greek there are words from cousin and brothers. Two different words.

    How do you deal with Psalm 69:8“ I have become estranged from my brothers
    And an alien to my mother’s sons.” which is a psalm about the Messiah? The word for brothers is blood brothers i.e. brothers from the same womb.

    1. James,

      Greek has a different issue. When trying to understand these verses, note that the term "brother" (Greek: adelphos) has a wide meaning in the Bible. It is not restricted to the literal meaning of a full brother or half-brother. The same goes for "sister" (adelphe) and the plural form "brothers" (adelphoi). The Old Testament shows that "brother" had a wide semantic range of meaning and could refer to any male relative from whom you are not descended (male relatives from whom you are descended are known as "fathers") and who are not descended from you (your male descendants, regardless of the number of generations removed, are your "sons"), as well as kinsmen such as cousins, those who are members of the family by marriage or by law rather than by blood, and even friends or mere political allies (2 Sam. 1:26; Amos 1:9).

      You cannot use that as a proof text.

      Secondly, I have already dealt with that Psalm. I asked you, if in verse 5, should we attest that Jesus is foolish and has sin? This is not a literal song, it is a prophetic foreshadowing. The words of the psalmist cannot be taken as literal for Jesus.

  6. Joe,
    Remember: When brothers and sisters are used in connection with father or mother then it does not mean cousins but actual blood brothers and sisters. See Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 3:31-32; Mark 6:3; John 2:12; Galatians 1:19

    Secondly, Paul calls James the Lord's brother. Paul wrote in Greek and used the word Adelphós which means members of the same family. From the same womb.

    1. James,

      If he had no brothers, the line would make just as much sense if the word were referring to relatives other than brothers and sisters. James was a close relative.

      Look, the people who passed this tradition down (the Fathers of the church, the first successors of the apostles) would KNOW if there were other siblings of Jesus, right? These are people who learned from the apostles.

      Yet they decided to pass on that Jesus' mother was a perpetual virgin. Can you explain this discrepancy? I cannot. We cannot toss away facts if they don't fit our preconceived conclusions. ALL the facts must fit.

      Jesus gave his mother into the keeping of the apostle John from the cross. He would not have done so if he had a brother living. Yet, we know that James was alive at that time.

      All these people KNEW Jesus and his relations and his family, yet we have no objections, no writings, no hint of a scandal. We DO have positive attestation from the Fathers.

      I choose to learn from Scripture and the Church. I don't presume to tell it what is meant.

      Please re-read what I sent you and listen to the evidence. Even if you do not find the data conclusive, you must admit that this is not "mind-boggling" as you have asserted before.

      Use all the data, not just the data you like.

    2. Joe,
      I agree that we must use all the evidence from Scripture because it is Scripture that tells us Jesus had blood siblings. What you are forced to do by your church is to protect its doctrine that Mary was a perpetual virgin even though such an idea is foreign to the Scripture that a married woman would be a life long virgin. That is a perversion of the Scripture.

      James was not a close relative of Jesus but His brother via Mary.

      The reason that Jesus gave Mary to John to care for her is:
      1) His brothers may not have been aware of the events because they were not in Jerusalem.
      2) Jesus's arrest and punishment happened very quickly and by stealth for the most part.
      3) Christ' punishment on the cross happened quickly.

      Keep in mind that the church fathers are not infallible and they do teach some things that are false.

      Josephus, a well-known Jewish historian, writing in the 90's A.D., confirms that James was the Lord's brother saying, "the brother of Jesus, who was called the Christ, whose name was James" (Antiquities- Book 20: Ch 9). He also says James, the Lord's brother was martyred in 62 A.D. One of the early church fathers, Origen (185-254 A.D.) in 3 of his writings confirms that Josephus did indeed say this: (1. Commentary on Mt 10:17)(2. Against Celsus 1:47)(3. Against Celsus 2:13).

    3. James,

      Again, Scripture does not tell us that Jesus had blood siblings. I cannot understand how you repeat the same objections and ignore what I have told you. It would seem that you do not read what I have given you or you do not accept the authority of the Church to whom Jesus entrusted His authority.

      I accept Jesus and the authority of the Church He founded. If you do not, I am sorry. Nothing that you have stated in any way disproves (or even casts doubt) upon the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.

      Lastly, I find it interesting that you would appeal to a non-NT authority who is not even Christian. How in the world would Josephus know? There is no connection.

      Thank you for the discussion.

  7. It seems to me that we are debating something that really needs no debating. In the Annunciation we read that Mary questioned how she could conceive a child since she did not know man. Luke 1:35 gives us much information.

    Two things to consider in Luke, 1st the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. In other words He placed her under His protection and became her spouse for she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and her son Jesus was the Son of God. 2nd, Joseph we know was a just and upright man and once finding out that his betrothed was with child without his benefit, he would quietly divorce her, but in a dream the angel told him not to be afraid but to take her as his wife anyway for her conception was by the most high.

    Joseph from then on was considered Mary's 'husband' in the eyes of the Jewish world, but more in the way of protector and guardian of Mary and her son, Jesus. He knew that the baby she carried was the son of God and that made the Holy Spirit her true spouse. If Joseph and Mary had had sexual relations after Jesus was born, both would have been guilty of adultery, for she was the true spouse of the Holy Spirit who overshadowed her and claimed her as His own. This line of thought is also supported in Ezekiel 8. "I passed by you again and saw that you were now old enough for love. So I spread the corner of my cloak* over you to cover your nakedness; I swore an oath to you and entered into covenant with you—oracle of the Lord GOD—and you became mine."

    Also in the Book of Ruth we read, Ruth 3:9 “[Boaz]Who are you?” he asked. She replied, “I am your servant Ruth. Spread the wing of your cloak* over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

    At the USCCB website here, it cites, " [3:9] Spread the wing of your cloak: Ez 16:8 makes it clear that this is a request for marriage. Ruth connects it to “redeemer” responsibility. A wordplay on “wing” links what Boaz is asked to do to what he has asked God to do for Ruth in 2:12.

    So if there was any question as to whose spouse Mary was then her being "overshadowed" by the Holy Spirit should answer it.

    To question her perpetual virginity because of the words til or until has no foothold as it has been shown above. Until does not always mean a specific time period. It can also mean unending as again shown above in Joe's responses.

    "3) ...The idea that a person who is about to be married is taking or has taken a vow of perpetual virginity is unheard of Biblically. There is no indication from the OT or NT that it would be acceptable to be married and yet chose to be a perpetual virgin. Married Jewish couples were to be fruitful and multiply. This is OT teaching."

    Maybe so but you forget, Mary IS pregnant and fruitful BY the Holy Spirit, her spouse to whom she now must remain faithful to when she said yes. If she had had relations with Joseph, she would be committing adultery because she belonged to another. She physically retained her virginity(perpetual) but conceived and gave birth by the power of the Holy Spirit. All conditions of her perpetual virginity are satisfied as well as being 'fruitful' as a spouse.

    One more thing. Jesus being Mary's first-born does not indicate more children to follow. Being first-born was more than just being the first in line of a succession of children. It was more importantly a title, a very important title for being first-born guaranteed the rights to inheritance above all other children if more were to be had. A mother may have had only one child, but when the child was known as first-born, the connotation was much more than just the first of many or no siblings and people knew that the first-born meant the next in line, the successor.

    Seems to me that there is more wrangling to be made trying to disprove Mary's perpetual virginity than there is to prove it.

    1. The problem with your view is that its not supported by Scripture. Matt 13:55-56 clearly shows that Mary had other children of her own. There is also nothing to be gained for Mary or Jesus or anyone else for her to be a perpetual virgin. It has no affect on any theological doctrine that was taught by the apostles. The apostles never taught that she was a perpetual virgin.

    2. You demonstrate two tests by which you determine whether a belief is true or false. One is whether the view is supported by Scripture. By this you mean whether it is explicitly stated in scripture. I would agree with supported, but unfortunately for the "explicit" view, scripture explicitly states that more was done than was written.

      Two is whether it "adds" to the faith. This is a curious one, since this doctrine adds immense theological profundity to our faith. However even if it did not, it would still be true.

      Rather than tackle these two, let's begin with this. Why do you reject the Church's teaching on doctrine, yet accept its doctrinal pronouncement on which writings are "scripture"? If you can accept non-apostolic teaching on the canon of scripture (which is not contained in the body of scripture) then why can you not accept non-apostolic teaching on doctrine?

      The apostles themselves never adhered to your view.

  8. The situation we have here Anonymous is that you have in mind only ONE definition for brother or sister and that is one who is connected as blood siblings. To you there are no other meanings for these relations, not even the cultural meanings as has been shown in Jewish history as meaning relatives OTHER than siblings.

    We don't even have to go back that far in history to see the same thing in our culture. Look at the black culture in this country. How many times have you seen American blacks refer to others that are not siblings in any way, shape or form, call themselves brothers and sisters? By your logic, they are all siblings by blood by one or two of the same parents. If American black culture can call each other brothers and sisters without being siblings, explain why the Jews couldn't.

    Again, how many times in the Liturgy of the word does one hear of St. Paul's epistles begin with a greeting of the faithful by the words Dear Brothers and Sisters? Are they all siblings of St. Paul? Of course not, yet brothers and sisters are still used, not as cousins this time but as brothers and sisters in faith. See? Another meaning other than blood siblings. They were used to mean cousins also, or other relations, but dismissing these other meanings is more convenient to you to fit the facts in your tight, little box of truths that is comfortable for you.

    Your problem is not with Jesus being an only child of Mary, but that you see no value in the act of a woman that could actually make a vow of perpetual virginity as a sign of faithfulness and service to God alone and to no other. Today in this culture, the value of a vow of virginity and keeping oneself pure in this manner for the sake of God alone is almost completely lost as shown in your statement that nothing could be gained by Mary or Jesus by her vow.

    1. When brothers and sisters are used in connection with father or mother then it does not mean cousins but actual blood brothers and sisters. See Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 3:31-32; Mark 6:3; John 2:12

      There are Greek words for cousin—anepsios as in Colossians 4:10 or kinsman = sungenis which is used in Luke 1:36. The bible never uses these two Greek words anepsiosor sungenisin reference to Jesus brothers.

      Your right. There is no "value in the act of a woman that could actually make a vow of perpetual virginity as a sign of faithfulness and service to God alone and to no other" in the context of marriage. In fact it goes against the command of Scripture for couples to have children. A woman was considered blessed to have many children. Ps 127:3-5

    2. Good Morning,
      I was perusing my notes on a book called “Hail Holy Queen” by Dr. Scott Hahn (Presbyterian convert to Catholicism and Catholic apologist/theologian/author).

      He was commenting about the Jews in Jesus’ time and says, “Precisely because Jesus was an only child, His cousins would assume the legal status of siblings for him, as they were his nearest relatives”.

      This could explain why a Greek writer, knowing Jesus was an only child, would still want to use the Greek words for brothers & sisters instead of the Greek words for cousins or kinsmen, espcially when in connection with "Father" or "Mother". It shows a closer family connection.

    3. Ben,
      This is clever but there is no evidence for this in the case of Jesus. With such reasoning we could never determine who is a real blood brother-sister if we go by what Hahn says.

    4. James (I think this is James),
      I agree. There would be no way to know for sure UNLESS God provided a way to know. Catholics believe that Jesus Christ founded an authoritative Church 2000 years ago that has never disappeared; a pillar and foundation of Truth.

    5. Assuming it's James,

      There IS evidence, but you choose not to accept it. The apostles passed this knowledge on to their successors, the Fathers of the Church. THEY wrote about it and continued to pass it on.

      I completely understand that you do not want to use data that is not in the book (again, the people who gave you the book are those same Fathers whom you don't trust) and so can only see the text.

      What is troubling is that you insist that it CANNOT be so. It can and it is.

      Please respond to how the Bible you use is the Word of God without someone you trust attesting to it. Jesus did not endorse the NT you hold, nor did any apostle endorse all the books. Only those who came after, the Church, did. You don't believe them when they speak of the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Mother, yet you do when they define the canon of Scripture. Please explain.

    6. Hi Joe-Ben, this is James.
      Even if something is passed on does not mean its true. If it shows in the gospels that Mary had children (Matt 13:55-56) we should accept the plain reading of Scripture unless there is strong evidence to the contrary. Paul also in Gal 1:19 calls James the Lord's brother. The case is very strong that Mary had her own children. Couple of other things to think about: there is no mention in the OT that the Messiah would not have His own blood brothers and sisters. Psalm 69 which is a messianic Psalm clearly shows that Jesus has brothers. Verse 8—“ I have become estranged from my brothers
      And an alien to my mother’s sons.”

      The church father Basil (Ca 350 AD) commented that the view that Mary had other children after Jesus “was widely held and, though not accepted by himself, was not incompatible with orthodoxy” (J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines [San Francisco, California: HarperCollins Publishers, 1978], p. 495).
      Hegesippus (Ca 160AD)refers to Jude as “the Lord’s brother according to the flesh” (church history of Eusebius, 3:20). He refers elsewhere to Symeon, a “cousin of the Lord” (church history of Eusebius, 4:22). We know, then, that Hegesippus understood the differences between the Greek terms for “brother” and “cousin”. He chose “brother”, and added the words “according to the flesh”, to describe Jesus’ sibling named Jude.

      I do believe that the church of the 4th century got the NT canon correct. It does not follow that the church always gets things right. I doubt you believe and support everything your church has said and done. Do you?

    7. Thank you again James. You have just pointed out that, just because someone says something, you need an authority to attest to its truth or not.

      That Authority is the Church who has always taught that Mary was a perpetual virgin. Any individual can express an opinion, but the final say is the Church who has the authentic understanding of all the Scripture and Tradition that has been handed down and of which it is the custodian and infallible interpreter.

      If there were no mention of the Blessed Mother's perpetual virginity, the plain reading of the text would indeed lead one toward your view. Unfortunately, there is the constant Church teaching to the contrary.

      I do indeed believe everything that the Catholic Church believes and teaches. That is why I am Catholic. By this I mean the doctrine/dogma.

      I think we have reached the end of this subject. Thank you.

    8. One quick note. The Church Father Origen is not a canonized saint. While the Church has attested to many of his teachings, he also held opinions contrary to the teachings of the Church. This shows that the Church is not just a collection of the beliefs of some people. There is a set of beliefs SEPARATE from individuals, against which individuals' beliefs can be compared and tested. Anything contrary to that belief is rejected.

  9. Ben-Joe,
    Since you 2 are experts on the RCC I thought I would ask you how Biden and Pelosi could receive communion at the Vatican even though both of them are strong supporters of abortion and same sex marriage. How could it be that the Vatican would allow this knowing that the supporting abortion and homosexuality are wicked evils? Isn’t the allowing of this a mockery to Christ and your church?


    1. James,

      I have to agree that VP Biden and Sen Pelosi should not have received communion at that time. The issue is how to apply the Canon law in a pastoral way and prevent further scandal.

      It is summed up pretty well by Fr Orsi, a Church canon lawyer, here:

      I am hopeful the bishops all over the world will act to prevent this kind of scandal.