Things Every Christian Must Know About the Roman Catholic Church





The Small Stuff


          On the Calling of Priests Father:


-         The Apostles were called Father all the time, and they called those in the congregations (like Ephesus, Galatia, Corinth, etc.) they had started child, son, and daughter.  You can see this just by opening up your Bible:

§         2 Timothy 1:2 - "To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (Paul as Father)

§         2 Timothy 2:1 -  "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (Paul as Father)

§         Philemon 10 - "I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment" (Paul as Father)

§         1 Peter 5:13 - "She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark" (Peter as Father)

§         3 John 4 - "No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth" (John as Father)

§         Also 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Timothy 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:18, Phillipians 2:22, Titus 1:4, 2 Corinthians 12:14, Galatians 4:19, 1 John 2:1, 1 John 2:13-14.

§         And Especially 1 Corinthians 4:14-15 - "I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (Paul as Father)


-         Jesus’ statement not to call anyone Father is hyperbole, the same as his statement to pluck out our eyes if they cause us to sin.  He’s just making a point.  If he really meant not to call anyone a biological father (like our dads) or a spiritual father (like our priests), then Paul, Peter, and John would not have done so. 



On the Ten Commandments:


-         The Catholic Church did not change the Ten Commandments to allow for statues or stained glass.  The Ten Commandments are not numbered in the Bible, and they’re not in a list there either.  They were numbered and grouped into a list by St. Augustine in the 5th Century.  All he did was take the commandments in the Bible and put numbers in to separate different commandments.  This is the first time there was a list of the commandments.  Catholics today use the very same list that was created in the first place. 

-         Martin Luther (the founder of Protestantism) used the same numbering system as the Catholic Church.  Lutheran Churches today still use the same system.

-         The system most Protestants use today was created in the 16th century by English Protestants as a way to attack statues and stained glass. 



On Statues, and Stained Glass:


-     The Bible does not tell us not to make “graven images,” as most people believe.            

      The people who translated the King James Version of the Bible translated the

      Hebrew word pesel as “graven images” in 1611, when there was far less

            knowledge about ancient Hebrew than there is today.  Over the past 400 years,

scholars (not Catholic or Protestant or even religious scholars, but secular

linguistic scholars) have learned a lot more about the language, and have

determined that word really should be “idols,” which is why most newer translations say “idols” instead of “graven images.”

-         When the Bible says not to make an idol out of anything on earth, or in the seas, or in the heavens, it means that we must not treat anything on the earth or in the seas or in the heavens as a god.

-         The word heavens here means the sky.  The Hebrews had many different words for heaven, each meaning something different.   The word for heaven, the place where God is, and where the saved go, is a completely different word.

-         An idol is not simply a statue.  An idol was something that ancient people

worshipped as a god.  If someone treats a statue as though it itself were a god, then it is an idol.  Today, it would be right to say that money and power are idols.

-     God actually told the Jews to make graven images on the Ark of the Covenant.  In Exodus 25:18-20, he tells the people to make carved images of cherubim (angels) for the side of the Ark of the Covenant. 


On Priestly Celibacy:


-         The Bible nowhere says that a pastor must be married or have children.  1 Timothy 3:2 and 3:12 say that they must have only one wife, and that they have to raise well behaved children.  There was still a lot of polygamy during this period of time, and Paul is making sure that pastors uphold Christ’s teaching of marriage as one man and one woman and that there are not polygamists serving as pastors.

-         Paul says that it is best for a person to remain single if they want to devote themselves better to God.  A priest has to be completely devoted to God in every way.  Catholics have celibate Priests because Paul recommended it as the best way to keep a person devoted to God.



On The Catholic Church Banning The Bible in the Middle Ages


-         The Catholic Church did not ban Bibles printed in common languages.

-         There have been many, many versions of the Bible in many, many languages all throughout history.  The introduction to the 1611 King James Version (the major Protestant version) even contains a list of various Catholic English translations that had been available in the past.  (The King James Versions that are available today do not usually contain this introduction)

-         The Catholic Church did prohibit people to read certain versions of the Bible which were produced throughout the centuries.  There were a lot of cases where different people created mistranslated versions of the Bible to try to teach people heresies, such as Pelagianism which is the belief that God does nothing to save us and that we do it all on our own.  The Church said that people could not read these versions.

-         The Catholic Church did at certain times chain Bibles to the pews at churches.  They did not do this to prevent people from taking the Bibles and learning from them, they did this because before the invention of the printing press, a Bible took the skins from 250 sheep to make and cost a fortune because there were very few people that knew how to read and write and could copy a Bible, and so they were very expensive to employ.  After the printing press was invented, it still cost as much to copy a Bible as a clerk would make in 3 years.  The Bibles were chained for the same reasons banks chain pens: people would steal them if they didn’t. 


On Relics (like a dead Saint’s bone) and Sacramentals (like Holy Water)


-         Catholics do not worship relics or believe that they have magical powers.

-         Catholics do believe that God can use a physical object to convey His Grace.  Everybody believes that He uses physical water to convey His Grace in baptism, and relics are the same thing.

-         Relics are used in the Bible to convey God’s Grace.  In 2 Kings 13:20-21, a dead man is touched by the bones of the prophet Elisha, who had died.  It says that the man came back to life as soon as he touched Elisha’s bones.  This is because God’s Grace was working through them.

-         In Acts 19:11-12, Paul’s handkerchief is passed around to heal people and to drive out evil spirits from people.  This is another example of what we would call a relic.  In fact, it may be that Paul blessed the handkerchief.  If he did, then it would be what we call a Sacramental.








On Peter’s Primacy (or, his being the leader of the 12 Apostles)


-         Peter’s name is mentioned 195 times in the Bible.  The second closest apostle is John, who’s name is mentioned 29 times.  60% of the time an apostle is mentioned, it is Peter.  It would make a lot of sense for the writers of the gospels, and for Paul, James, and John to make reference to Peter the most if he was the leader and thus well known.  It is the same reason that people write more about George Bush than they do about Senator Bill Frist: Mr. Bush is the leader, whereas Mr. Frist is below him, and so Mr. Bush is more well known.  It is the same reason that we hear all about the Pope today but we do not hear about most of the Bishops: the Pope is the leader.

-         In each list of the apostles in the Bible, Peter’s name is always listed first, and Judas’ is always listed last.  It is very unlikely that this pattern would have been followed consistently for no reason.

-         Judas is without a doubt the worst apostle.  Nobody would deny this.  However, he and Peter both committed similar sins: denying Christ (in two different ways).  There is a definite parallel between the two, in that Peter denied Christ and repented, whereas Judas denied Christ and did not repent.  Also note that none of the other apostles had their faith tested in such a way.

-         Jesus tells Peter that He will give him the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.  The Greek word used in this passage is singular, meaning that Jesus was talking only to Peter.  (we don’t have verbs like this in English, but if you have studied Spanish or French, you understand this)

-         Jesus also tells Peter that He will pray for him so that his faith will never fail.  This is also in the singular, so Jesus is also speaking exclusively to Peter.

-         Peter is given the personal revelation from God that the Gentiles should be evangelized and allowed into the Church.

-         Peter is given the personal revelation from God that all foods are clean. 

-         After Paul’s conversion, he seeks out Peter specifically to confer with (Galatians 1:18).  There is disagreement as to whether or not Paul preached at all before finding Peter.  It is difficult to tell, because it requires extrapolation from the two accounts of the story given, the first in Acts and the second in Galatians.  Therefore, it is possible that Paul did not even act as an apostle until he had checked in with Peter.  In either case, one of the first things Paul does after his conversion is to find Peter.  Not James, not John, not Philip, but Peter.

-         Peter gives instructions to all of the church leaders in 1 Peter 5:1-2, in the same way the Pope would today give instructions to all of the Bishops and Priests.  This would seem like an appropriate thing to do for the leader of the Church.

-         Peter is the only of the 12 apostles to have his name changed.  Name changes in the Bible always mean something very significant.  Abram had his name changed to Abraham by God, and he is arguably the most important person in Jewish history (if he is second it is only to Moses).  Jacob has his name changed to Israel by God, and he was the man from whom all the Jews descended.  It is where the word Israel comes from!  Simon has his name changed to Peter.  The only other New Testament person to get a new name is Paul, who was originally Saul, and he wrote most of the New Testament!

-         In the original language that was spoken, the word Peter literally means “rock.”  Jesus did not simply change the name from Simon to Peter.  He changed it from Simon to Rock.  When the other apostles called for Peter, they were saying the same word they used when they were talking about a rock.  This is why Peter is the Rock of the Church.  He was the foundation upon which Jesus would build His Church  (note that Jesus is, of course the cornerstone, of the Church: the most important piece!)



The Big Stuff


          On Sola Scriptura, or Bible Only, no Tradition:



-         It never says in the Bible that we must use only the Bible.  This is a serious flaw.  If every teaching must come from the Bible or it is untrue, as Sola Scriptura teaches, then Sola Scriptura must not be true because it is not in the Bible!

-         Sola Scriptura is filled with tradition.  The problem with Sola Scriptura is that everybody takes their own interpretation out of the Bible.  This is why Baptists have different beliefs than Lutherans, and Lutherans have different beliefs than Presbyterians.  Each denomination knows what their beliefs from the Bible are because of the private tradition that each denomination has.  When a child is born a Lutheran, he or she learns the teachings that have traditionally been held by Lutherans, and when a child is born a Baptist, he or she learns the teachings that have been traditionally taught by Baptists.  This is why there is can be a lot of arguing between different denominations, because their traditions disagree.  Sola Scriptura people condemn tradition, but they have it themselves!  The difference is that their traditions come from Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli, whereas Catholic tradition comes from Peter, Paul, James, and John (who heard it from Jesus).

-         Martin Luther came up with the idea of Sola Scriptura AFTER he had decided which Catholic teachings he disagreed with, NOT before.  His beliefs were not based on his interpretation of the Bible, but rather the way he interpreted the Bible was based on his beliefs.

-         Martin Luther stated that he might be a prophet, and he said that even angels could not judge his teachings because he was a judge above all others, including the angels.  This is his basis for the accuracy of his teachings.

-         The Jews of Jesus’ time also had people who believed that Scripture alone was acceptable for teaching God’s word.  They were called the Sadducees, and they refused to accept any teachings other than those of scripture for the same reason Martin Luther did: they had beliefs which could only be backed up by interpreting scripture in their own way.  Jesus rebukes them in the Bible for their beliefs. 

-         Even when scripture is used, it still must be interpreted.  Acts 8:27-31 tells the story of a man reading scripture.  Only through Philip’s God-given ability as an Apostle are the scriptures able to be correctly interpreted. 

-         Satan tries to interpret scripture in his own way to trick Jesus during His temptations.  Jesus is able to correctly apply the teachings of Scripture, and thus He avoids sin.  There are many, many false teachings out there that can be reached by interpreting Scripture wrongly (for example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who use Scripture to “prove” that Jesus is not God!)  Sola Scriptura is an incredible tool for Satan because every person can arrive at his or her own interpretation.

-         Catholics are criticized because some of their beliefs are not explicitly stated (that is, it does not come right out and say it) in the Bible, but instead it seems to dance around what they say.  However, the truths that Jesus is God, that God is a Trinity, that Hell exists, that we should worship on Sundays, and many other standard Christian beliefs are not explicitly stated in the Bible either.  This is what has lead to the growth of many groups and denominations that teach lies using the Bible as a tool, like Jehovah’s Witnesses, who teach that Jesus is not God, and like Seventh Day Adventists, who teach that we must keep the Sabbath, worship on Saturday, and that the good will go to Heaven but the wicked will simply disappear into nothing and will not go to Hell.  No Christian would believe this, but it is what happens when you try to reason only from the Bible. 

-         With that said, it is important to point out that the beliefs in Sunday Worship, Jesus as God, the Trinity, Hell, and many other things that non-Catholics believe are actually traditions themselves!

-         The Dictionary of Christianity in America, a Protestant source, says that there were over 20,800 Christian denominations worldwide in 1980.  The United Nations World Census of Religious Activities, published in 1989, places the number at 23,000.  The reason there are so many different denominations is because Sola Scriptura allows so many different interpretations of Scripture.  People who support Sola Scriptura say that it works because the Holy Spirit will guide each person in interpreting the Bible and protect people from mistakes.  If this were true, there would not be over 20,000 different denominations.

-         One might argue that there are so many denominations because many people are lying, or do not receive the help of the Holy Spirit because they are in sin.  Even if we limit the denominations to some of the bigger ones, such as Southern Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Pentecostals, we still have this problem.  These denominations are huge, each having millions of members.  If Sola Scriptura were true, then that would mean that out of all the millions of people in these denominations, only one person is actually sincere and seeking God and is helped by the Holy Spirit.  If Sola Scriptura were true it would mean that the Holy Spirit is denying help to hundreds of thousands of devoted believers.

-         Paul tells us that it is very bad for believers to be in dissension, and that it is very important that we have unity.  See 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 3:3-4, 12:25, Philippians 2:2, and Romans 16:17.

-         If every teaching that we have is required to come from the Bible, then that would mean that it would need to list the books of the Bible in the Bible itself. 



The New Testament of the Bible did not exist until 397.  The last book written in the New Testament is probably Revelation, which was finished between 65 and 90.  Jesus ascended to Heaven around 30 or 35.  This means that for at least 362 years there was NO scripture other than the Old Testament (and different Jews had different opinions on which books belonged in the Old Testament).  Paul, Peter, James, and John’s epistles were written to specific churches (like the church at Ephesus or Galatia).  The people at these churches had these letters, but the rest of the Christian world did not.  Even if they did have a copy of one or two of these letters, they did not have a copy of all of the letters.  The only teachings that any Christians had for 362 years were those which were passed on orally and through tradition.  Paul taught Timothy, Titus, and Philemon what he knew, they taught their successors, they taught theirs, and so on.  The same goes for Peter, James, John, Philip, and the rest of the Apostles.  Sola Scriptura simply makes no sense whatsoever.  If that was the standard, then from Jesus’ crucifixion until 397, there was no teaching whatsoever, because there was no scripture. 

The letters of Paul and James and Peter and John were never written with the intent of being put together in a book.  They were written to churches to answer questions that these churches had.  It was decided in the 300s that some of these letters were inspired and should be put together as scripture.  The New Testament was put together in 397 at the Council of Carthage.  This council was an infallible ecumenical Council.  That is the only reason that we know that these books were really inspired.  There were many other books which could have been put in the Bible.  There were epistles of Barnabas, and of Clement, and other gospels, and many others.  How do Sola Scriptura people know that these books are not scripture and should not be read?  They know because the Council of Carthage said so. 

MORESO, the council used tradition to pick the books to put in the Bible.  Paul, Peter, and the rest of the apostles handed down their teachings to their successors, their successors to theirs, and so forth.  The books in the Bible were decided on the criteria of which books best represented the tradition that had been handed down from the apostles.  The entire Bible, which today Sola Scriptura people use, was put together from tradition.   

The Council of Carthage was what the Church calls and infallible ecumenical council.  The Bible does not say anything about these, it is only because of tradition that was passed down from Paul, James, Peter, etc., that we know that these councils can be used to determine things without error.  If we do not believe in tradition, then we do not have any way of knowing which books are scripture and which ones aren’t, because the tradition of the ecumenical council was used to put the Scripture together. 



On Salvation by Works and Faith Together


-         Catholics do not believe that a man can be saved by his own works.

-         Catholics believe that only faith can save a person, and that works must go side by side along with it.  Catholics believe that works without faith will not save anybody. 

-         All Christians believe that only God’s Grace saves us.  Catholics do too.  In the Catholic belief, God wants us to have faith.  When we have faith, we are cooperating with God, and letting his Grace create faith in us.  All Christians believe this.  Catholics also believe that God wants us to do good works, and that if we do them we are cooperating and letting God’s Grace do works through us.  All Christians believe this.  Catholics believe that if we do not do good works, we are not cooperating with God, and we are ignoring Him.  Non-Catholics do not believe this.  They will accept that God is doing good through a person when He is, but they deny that a person is ignoring God when someone does not do what God wants.  Catholics accept the gifts of God and the responsibility that God has given.  Non-Catholics will accept the gifts of God, but deny that He gives us any responsibility (because works are optional to them).

-         When we hear the word “faith” today, we think of something different from what the people of Jesus’ time thought.  To us, faith means we believe and we trust.  People of Jesus’ time also thought of obedience and loyalty when they spoke about faith.  When an ancient person was told to have faith in Christ, they knew that they were supposed to believe in Christ, trust Christ, and obey and be loyal to Christ.  Anytime a writer in the Bible used the word faith, they were telling us to do all four of these things.  Since Christ tells us that we must help the poor, be good to people, and do other good works, we must follow his commands. 

-         Jesus says that if we love Him we should obey his commands (John 14:15)

-         In John 9, Jesus heals a blind man.  This is the famous blind man who cries, “I was blind but now I see!”  When Jesus comes to the man, He tells the man to do something (go and wash in the pool of Siloam).  After this action, the man receives his sight.  He had to perform a work, not just have faith. 

-         Jesus says on judgment day, He will tell those who have done good works to go into Heaven, but He will tell those who have not done good works to depart from Him into the eternal fire.  (Matthew 25:31-46)

-         Non-Catholics believe that all a person has to do to be saved is believe in Jesus and believe that He is Lord.  The people Jesus sends to the eternal fire in this passage do have faith.  They call Him Lord!  When they plead with Him, Jesus does not seem to care that they call Him Lord.  He is concerned with the fact that they have done no good works.

-         James goes out of his way to tell us that faith alone is not enough.  His entire epistle was written to counter certain people who at the time were teaching things like salvation by faith alone.  He tells us many things.  He tells us that even demons believe in Jesus, and believe He is the son of God, and call Him Lord. (2:19)  He gives the most important statement on faith and works in the entire Bible in 2:20-24.  He says, “Faith without works is useless.”  He says, “You see that man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”(2:24)  Non-Catholics say that he means that if we have real faith, we will show works, and that the works are essentially a side-effect of faith, and that they are outward evidence of inward faith.  They say that we do not need to do works, but that works are the natural result of faith and that if a man doesn’t do works it just means he has no faith, because real and true faith leads to works.  This is simply not what James says.  He does not say man is justified by faith alone but that works are evidence of it.  He says men are justified by works.  He is very straightforward, and he even makes sure to be very clear to avoid misunderstanding.  To be clear, he makes sure to tell us about Abraham.  In 2:21-22, he says, “Wasn’t Abraham justified by his works when he offered his son Issac on the altar?”  Then he tells us that Abraham’s works perfected his faith.  Abraham already had faith, but it was his works that made his faith mean something.  This story is put in for the specific reason of making sure we don’t misunderstand James as non-Catholics do.  (They don’t do it on purpose of course, they’re not trying to ignore God.  They believe what they do because they were taught it by their parents, and them by theirs, and them by theirs, and so on back to Luther and Calvin).  This verse was so much against Martin Luther that he even went so far as to say that he did not want the book of James in his Bible!  He had such a difficult time trying to argue faith alone in light of this verse that instead of change his view, he would rather change the Bible, which is exactly what Catholics are accused of all the time!

-         The idea that true faith always leads to works is just wrong, and you can tell just by thinking about your experiences.  True faith can lead to works, yes.  In fact, it is only through the Grace of God that we are able to do good works at all.  If not for the Grace He gives us, we are too selfish and wicked ourselves to do anything.  However, I am sure that you know some people who do not have faith who do good works.  Their works are a result of God’s Grace working in them, but they don’t know it, and they have no faith in Him.  Even more importantly, look at yourself.  Have you ever just been too lazy to do something?  Or too selfish?  Has there been a time when your faith told you that you should give your money to the poor instead of buying a new television, or that you should help your family instead of going out?  Did you buy the TV set or go out anyways, and then feel guilty about it?  Do you believe in Christ?  If you can answer yes to these questions, then you do have true faith but you did not perform a work!  True faith can lead to works, but it does not always lead to works.  When we do good works, it is often a sacrifice for us to do so, and sacrifices are hard, and a personal choice, and we often choose not to make them.  The non-Catholic perspective often (though of course not always) denies the idea that we have to make sacrifices in our lives for God.      

-         Our faith allows us to do good works, but it does not force us to.  As any Christian will tell you, God loves us so much He gave us free will.  That is why we can choose between Heaven and Hell, even though He wants us to choose Heaven.  If faith always resulted in us performing good works, that would mean God forces us to do good works, which completely goes against the idea that He gave us free will.



On the Blessed Virgin Mary, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, and her Perpetual Virginity


-         Catholics DO NOT worship Mary.  This can not be stressed enough.  Some Catholics insist and believe that they do worship Mary.  They are saying something completely against the teaching of the Church because they either don’t understand the real teaching, or because they have personally chosen to worship Mary (just as ancient Jews under Moses’ guidance personally chose to worship Balaam and other idols even though Moses said not to).  The Second Vatican Council contains a command against such people, stating the great sin involved in worshipping Mary and condemning excessive emotional displays for the Blessed Virgin.

-         Catholics do honor Mary, and feel a great deal of love for her.  They also respect her very much.  If you watch Mel Gibson’s film. The Passion of the Christ, you will understand this very easily, and much better than could ever be expressed in words.

-         All of the Catholic teachings about Mary, such as her Immaculate Conception, her sinlessness, and her Assumption, are based on truths that can be found very easily in your Bible.  See what follows!

-         Mary tells us that all generations will call her blessed (Luke 1:48)

-         Aramaic (the language Jesus, Mary, Paul, Peter, etc. spoke) is what is called a Semitic language (Hebrew is too).  In Semitic languages, there is no way to say things like, “the most,” or “the least.”  For instance, in a Semitic language, if you want to tell somebody that they are the most wise person in the room, you must say, “You are wise among them.”  When the angel in Luke tells Mary, “Blessed art thou among women,” he/she/it is telling her that she is the most blessed of all women.  Remember that this is an angel; angels do not simply throw words around, so if the angel says she is the most blessed woman then it is true.  This has some important implications.  If Mary is the most blessed woman, that means she must be more blessed than any other woman, including Eve.  Eve was the most blessed up until that point because she was the only woman ever to live without original sin.  This is truly a blessing.  This means that Mary had to have been conceived without original sin or else she would not have even been as blessed as Eve.  This explains the Immaculate Conception.

-         Mary was sinless because of the angle’s statement, too.  If Mary had no original sin, she was only as blessed as Eve, not more blessed than Eve.  This cannot be, since the angel told her that she was the most blessed woman.  Therefore, Mary has to “one up” Eve, and live her entire life without sin.  It is the only way that she could be more blessed than Eve.  This explains Mary’s sinlessness.

-         Mary’s Assumption comes from the fact that she never sinned.  The only reason we ever die is because of sin.  When Adam and Eve sinned, death entered the world.  If Mary never sinned, if she never even had original sin, she could not die.  This is why she had to be Assumed into Heaven.

-         Many may wonder why Mary was able to go through life and not sin.  It is because God blessed her with freedom from original sin.  Adam and Eve could have never sinned, but they chose to willingly commit a sin.  This led to their fallen nature, and in this fallen nature we are prone to sin.  Mary, thanks to God’s Grace, did not have a fallen nature.  She could have sinned, but she did not have a tendency, and an urge to sin, like the rest of us do.  Original sin creates this urge to sin.  This urge is called concupiscence, and we all have it.  When we come to Jesus, He forgives us the original sin, and it is gone, but we still have our concupiscence, which is why we still sin.  Mary was born without concupiscence. 

-         Mary’s perpetual virginity is not something that Catholics just claim happened to make Mary more Holy.  It happened for a reason.  When Mary’s mother (St. Anne) became pregnant, she swore that she would devote her child to the Lord.  So, when Mary was born, she was put into something similar to today’s convents.  This required that Mary was vowed to live a virgin for he entire life.  When she became older, Mary needed a guardian who would protect her and respect her virginity.  All of the widowed men of the town were called upon, and out of them Joseph was chosen.  It happened that Joseph had a number of children from his previous marriage, which could explain the references to Jesus’ brothers in the gospels (on top of the fact that Hebrew tradition and also the Aramaic language required that all of Jesus cousins be called His brothers).  In fact, when Mary became pregnant, both her and Joseph got into trouble with the temple authorities.  All of this data is recorded in a very early document, called the Protoevangelium of James, written in 120.

-         Often times, Protestants criticize the title of Mary as “Co-redemptrix.”  They will claim that Catholics put Mary as one who works equally with Christ in the redemption of man.  This is very false, and Catholics do NOT teach this.  The prefix “Co” comes from Latin, and means, literally, “with.”  Co-redemptrix means that Mary cooperated with Christ in our redemption, but she is clearly inferior and played and inferior role.  In fact, Catholics also teach that we are all co-redemptors and co-redemptrixes, though not so much as Mary (hence her specific title), given that she is the one whom agreed to cooperate with God in bearing Christ. 



Mary is the second Eve.  This is very, very important and is the key to understanding the Catholic view of Mary.  It draws on the very, very first prophecy of Christ ever given by God, all the way back in Genesis!  In Genesis 3:15, God curses the serpent for causing Eve to sin, and God says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall crush your head, and you shall strike at His heel.”  Woman’s seed is Christ!  This prophecy is truly incredible once you understand it.  It does not just predict Christ, but also the virgin birth.  At the time it was written (and even today to a large degree), it was very unusual to talk about a woman having a seed.  Men’s seeds were always talked about, but women weren’t though of as having a seed.  The male’s semen was his seed and the language was used because in part man was seen as planting it.  People did not think of women as having seeds (most, if not all, probably did not even realize women had any reproductive organs.  It was a very popular thought that women were nothing more than incubators for the men’s semen, and that everything needed to make a child came from the male.)  Because of this, God’s statement is very odd, because he talks about a woman’s seed.  This, as we know now, is because Christ was born of only a woman, and there was no male seed to talk about.  With all of this, it is easy to see that Genesis 3:15 is prophesizing both Christ and Mary. 

Sin entered the world through Eve, a virgin, because she chose to sin.  Before her, the world was without sin.  Salvation entered the world through Mary, a virgin, because she bore Christ.  There is a parallel then between Mary and Eve.  Mary and Eve were both blessed, they both had no original sin, and neither had concupiscence.  However, Eve made the wrong choice, in disobeying God when she chose to eat the apple, so through her sin entered the world and she received concupiscence.  Mary made the right choice, by obeying God in agreeing to bear Christ, so through her Salvation entered the world.  It is very important to understand these parallels.  Parallels like this run through the entire Bible.  God seems to be very fond of them.  In any case, they mean something, and are not to simply be ignored.

Mary’s role as the second Eve is a centerpiece which connects all the rest of the Marian beliefs together.  (Of course the statement of the most blessedness from the angel does too, but it is more a starting point then a centerpiece).  Every Christian knows about the parallel between Jesus and Adam.  Jesus is the new Adam.  Through Adam, sin entered the world, but through Christ, Salvation did.  Paul talks about this in his epistles.  There is another parallel here, one between the old/new Adam and the old/new Eve.  Both the old Eve and the old Adam are similar in that sin entered the world through them, and in that they were both born without sin and both disobeyed God.  We already know that the new Adam was born with no sin, and that He obeyed God, and salvation entered the world through Him.  The key is that just like the similarity between the old Adam and old Eve, there is also a similarity between the new Adam and the new Eve.  If the new Adam was born with no sin, the new Eve had to be too.  If the new Adam was a perpetual virgin, then so was the new Eve.  If the new Adam never sinned, nor did the new Eve.  If the new Adam was assumed into Heaven, so did the new Eve.  No Christian will deny the importance of parallels in the Bible.  However, only Catholics accept this parallel. 



            On the Sacrifice of the Mass and Transubstantiation


-         Catholics do not teach or believe that Christ is sacrificed again and again during each Mass.

-         Catholics explicitly believe and teach that each Mass is a re-presentation of the sacrifice at Calvary.  Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient, and He died once and for all when He was crucified.