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The Deutero-canonical Books of the Bible

In 01 Essential Background on 2016/03/06 at 12:00 AM

The Deutero-canonical books of the Bible are yet further proof that the Bible is a Catholic, not a Protestant book, given to the world by the Roman Catholic Church.  The following will show why. and is taken from the excellent resources of Catholic Answers founded byDr Karl Keating.

It has been asked  why it is that the “Catholic” Bible of today includes books that are not included by the Fathers of the Church.

During the Reformation, primarily for doctrinal reasons, Protestants removed seven books from the Old Testament: 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, Tobit, and Judith, and parts of two others, Daniel and Esther. They did so even though these books had been regarded as canonical since the beginning of Church history.

As Protestant church historian J. N. D. Kelly writes, “It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive [than the Protestant Bible]. . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called apocrypha or deuterocanonical books” (Early Christian Doctrines, 53), which are rejected by Protestants.

Below we give patristic quotations from each of the deuterocanonical books. Notice how the Fathers quoted these books along with the protocanonicals. The deuterocanonicals are those books of the Old Testament that were included in the Bible even though there had been some discussion about whether they should be.

Also included are the earliest official lists of the canon. For the sake of brevity these are not given in full. When the lists of the canon cited here are given in full, they include all the books and only the books found in the modern Catholic Bible.

When examining the question of what books were originally included in the Old Testament canon, it is important to note that some of the books of the Bible have been known by more than one name. Sirach is also known as Ecclesiasticus, 1 and 2 Chronicles as 1 and 2 Paralipomenon, Ezra and Nehemiah as 1 and 2 Esdras, and 1 and 2 Samuel with 1 and 2 Kings as 1, 2, 3, and 4 Kings—that is, 1 and 2 Samuel are named 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Kings are named 3 and 4 Kings. The history and use of these designations is explained more fully in Scripture reference works.

The Didache

“You shall not waver with regard to your decisions [Sir. 1:28]. Do not be someone who stretches out his hands to receive but withdraws them when it comes to giving [Sir. 4:31]” (Didache 4:5 [A.D. 70]).

The Letter of Barnabas

“Since, therefore, [Christ] was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, his suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against evil, ‘Woe to their soul, because they have counselled an evil counsel against themselves’ [Is. 3:9], saying, ‘Let us bind the righteous man because he is displeasing to us’ [Wis. 2:12.]” (Letter of Barnabas 6:7 [A.D. 74]).

Clement of Rome

“By the word of his might [God] established all things, and by his word he can overthrow them. ‘Who shall say to him, “What have you done?” or who shall resist the power of his strength?’ [Wis. 12:12]” (Letter to the Corinthians 27:5 [ca. A.D. 80]).

Polycarp of Smyrna

“Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood [1 Pet. 2:17].

. . . When you can do good, defer it not, because ‘alms delivers from death’ [Tob. 4:10, 12:9]. Be all of you subject to one another [1 Pet. 5:5], having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles [1 Pet. 2:12], and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed [Is. 52:5]!” (Letter to the Philadelphians 10 [A.D. 135]).

Irenaeus

“Those . . . who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts and do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt toward others and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat [Matt. 23:6] and work evil deeds in secret, saying ‘No man sees us,’ shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance, nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those words to be found in Daniel the prophet: ‘O you seed of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you and lust perverted your heart’ [Dan. 13:56]. You that have grown old in wicked days, now your sins which you have committed before have come to light, for you have pronounced false judgments and have been accustomed to condemn the innocent and to let the guilty go free, although the Lord says, ‘You shall not slay the innocent and the righteous’ [Dan. 13:52, citing Ex. 23:7]” (Against Heresies 4:26:3 [A.D. 189]; Daniel 13 is not in the Protestant Bible).

“Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left on the earth, should both be under the rule of the saints and to minister to this [new] Jerusalem and that [his] kingdom shall be in it, saying, ‘Look around Jerusalem toward the east and behold the joy which comes to you from God himself. Behold, your sons whom you have sent forth shall come: They shall come in a band from the east to the west. . . . God shall go before with you in the light of his splendour, with the mercy and righteousness which proceed from him’ [Bar. 4:36—5:9]” (ibid., 5:35:1; Baruch was often considered part of Jeremiah, as it is here).

Hippolytus

“What is narrated here [in the story of Susannah] happened at a later time, although it is placed at the front of the book [of Daniel], for it was a custom with the writers to narrate many things in an inverted order in their writings. . . . [W]e ought to give heed, beloved, fearing lest anyone be overtaken in any transgression and risk the loss of his soul, knowing as we do that God is the judge of all and the Word himself is the eye which nothing that is done in the world escapes. Therefore, always watchful in heart and pure in life, let us imitate Susannah” (Commentary on Daniel [A.D. 204]; the story of Susannah [Dan. 13] is not in the Protestant Bible).

Cyprian of Carthage

“In Genesis [it says], ‘And God tested Abraham and said to him, “Take your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the high land and offer him there as a burnt offering . . .”’ [Gen. 22:1–2]. . . . Of this same thing in the Wisdom of Solomon [it says], ‘Although in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality . . .’ [Wis. 3:4]. Of this same thing in the Maccabees [it says], ‘Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness’ [1 Macc. 2:52; see Jas. 2:21–23]” (Treatises 7:3:15 [A.D. 248]).

“So Daniel, too, when he was required to worship the idol Bel, which the people and the king then worshipped, in asserting the honour of his God, broke forth with full faith and freedom, saying, ‘I worship nothing but the Lord my God, who created the heaven and the earth’ [Dan. 14:5]” (Letters 55:5 [A.D. 253]; Daniel 14 is not in the Protestant Bible).

Council of Rome

“Now indeed we must treat of the divine scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun. The order of the Old Testament begins here: Genesis, one book; Exodus, one book; Leviticus, one book; Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Joshua [Son of] Nave, one book; Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; Kings, four books [that is, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings]; Paralipomenon [Chronicles], two books; Psalms, one book; Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book, Ecclesiastes, one book, [and] Canticle of Canticles [Song of Songs], one book; likewise Wisdom, one book; Ecclesiasticus [Sirach], one book . . . . Likewise the order of the historical [books]: Job, one book; Tobit, one book; Esdras, two books [Ezra and Nehemiah]; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; Maccabees, two books” (Decree of Pope Damasus [A.D. 382]).

Council of Hippo

“[It has been decided] that besides the canonical scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. But the canonical scriptures are as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the Son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, the Kings, four books, the Chronicles, two books, Job, the Psalter, the five books of Solomon [Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, and a portion of the Psalms], the twelve books of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Ezra, two books, Maccabees, two books . . .” (Canon 36 [A.D. 393]).

Council of Carthage III

“[It has been decided] that nothing except the canonical scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine scriptures. But the canonical scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon, two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees . . .” (Canon 47 [A.D. 397]).

Augustine

“The whole canon of the scriptures, however, in which we say that consideration is to be applied, is contained in these books: the five of Moses . . . and one book of Joshua [Son of] Nave, one of Judges; one little book which is called Ruth . . . then the four of Kingdoms, and the two of Paralipomenon . . . . [T]here are also others too, of a different order . . . such as Job and Tobit and Esther and Judith and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Esdras . . . . Then there are the prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David, and three of Solomon. . . . But as to those two books, one of which is entitled Wisdom and the other of which is entitled Ecclesiasticus and which are called ‘of Solomon’ because of a certain similarity to his books, it is held most certainly that they were written by Jesus Sirach. They must, however, be accounted among the prophetic books, because of the authority which is deservedly accredited to them” (Christian Instruction 2:8:13 [A.D. 397]).

“We read in the books of the Maccabees [2 Macc. 12:43] that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place” (The Care to be Had for the Dead 1:3 [A.D. 421]).

The Apostolic Constitutions

“Now women also prophesied. Of old, Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron [Ex. 15:20], and after her, Deborah [Judges. 4:4], and after these Huldah [2 Kgs. 22:14] and Judith [Judith 8], the former under Josiah and the latter under Darius” (Apostolic Constitutions 8:2 [A.D. 400]).

Jerome
Father of the original Vulgate Bible
“What sin have I committed if I follow the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating [in my preface to the book of Daniel] the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susannah [Dan. 13], the Song of the Three Children [Dan. 3:29–68, RSV-CE], and the story of Bel and the Dragon [Dan. 14], which are not found in the Hebrew volume, proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. I was not relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they are wont to make against us. If I did not reply to their views in my preface, in the interest of brevity, lest it seem that I was composing not a preface, but a book, I believe I added promptly the remark, for I said, ‘This is not the time to discuss such matters’” (Against Rufinius 11:33 [A.D. 401]).
Pope Innocent I

“A brief addition shows what books really are received in the canon. These are the things of which you desired to be informed verbally: of Moses, five books, that is, of Genesis, of Exodus, of Leviticus, of Numbers, of Deuteronomy, and Joshua, of Judges, one book, of Kings, four books, and also Ruth, of the prophets, sixteen books, of Solomon, five books, the Psalms. Likewise of the histories, Job, one book, of Tobit, one book, Esther, one, Judith, one, of the Maccabees, two, of Esdras, two, Paralipomenon, two books . . .” (Letters 7 [A.D. 408]).

The Fathers not only included the Deutero-Canonicals in the canonical texts of the Bible but liberally quoted from them and the Councils of Rome, Hippo and Carthage, which gave us the versions of the Bible that everyone uses, also included them.

The proof is conclusive.

The “Catholic” Bible is the real Bible and the Catholic Church decided which texts were in the Bible.

No Catholic Church – no Bible.

This commentary by Catholic Answers can be found here: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-old-testament-canon and it has an imprimatur from the Bishop of San Diego.

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors. Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827 permission to publish this work is hereby granted. +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

 

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The Deutero-canonical books of the Bible

In 01 Essential Background on 2013/05/05 at 12:00 AM

The Deutero-canonical Books of the Bible:

are yet further proof that the Bible is a Catholic, not a Protestant, book, given to the world by the Roman Catholic Church

 It has been asked  why it is that the “Catholic” Bible of today includes books that are not included by the Fathers of the Church.

During the Reformation, primarily for doctrinal reasons, Protestants removed seven books from the Old Testament: 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, Tobit, and Judith, and parts of two others, Daniel and Esther. They did so even though these books had been regarded as canonical since the beginning of Church history.

As Protestant church historian J. N. D. Kelly writes, “It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive [than the Protestant Bible]. . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called apocrypha or deuterocanonical books” (Early Christian Doctrines, 53), which are rejected by Protestants.

Below we give patristic quotations from each of the deuterocanonical books. Notice how the Fathers quoted these books along with the protocanonicals. The deuterocanonicals are those books of the Old Testament that were included in the Bible even though there had been some discussion about whether they should be.

Also included are the earliest official lists of the canon. For the sake of brevity these are not given in full. When the lists of the canon cited here are given in full, they include all the books and only the books found in the modern Catholic Bible.

When examining the question of what books were originally included in the Old Testament canon, it is important to note that some of the books of the Bible have been known by more than one name. Sirach is also known as Ecclesiasticus, 1 and 2 Chronicles as 1 and 2 Paralipomenon, Ezra and Nehemiah as 1 and 2 Esdras, and 1 and 2 Samuel with 1 and 2 Kings as 1, 2, 3, and 4 Kings—that is, 1 and 2 Samuel are named 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Kings are named 3 and 4 Kings. The history and use of these designations is explained more fully in Scripture reference works.

The Didache

“You shall not waver with regard to your decisions [Sir. 1:28]. Do not be someone who stretches out his hands to receive but withdraws them when it comes to giving [Sir. 4:31]” (Didache 4:5 [A.D. 70]).

The Letter of Barnabas

“Since, therefore, [Christ] was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, his suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against evil, ‘Woe to their soul, because they have counselled an evil counsel against themselves’ [Is. 3:9], saying, ‘Let us bind the righteous man because he is displeasing to us’ [Wis. 2:12.]” (Letter of Barnabas 6:7 [A.D. 74]).

Clement of Rome

“By the word of his might [God] established all things, and by his word he can overthrow them. ‘Who shall say to him, “What have you done?” or who shall resist the power of his strength?’ [Wis. 12:12]” (Letter to the Corinthians 27:5 [ca. A.D. 80]).

Polycarp of Smyrna

“Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood [1 Pet. 2:17].

. . . When you can do good, defer it not, because ‘alms delivers from death’ [Tob. 4:10, 12:9]. Be all of you subject to one another [1 Pet. 5:5], having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles [1 Pet. 2:12], and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed [Is. 52:5]!” (Letter to the Philadelphians 10 [A.D. 135]).

Irenaeus

“Those . . . who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve their own lusts and do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt toward others and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat [Matt. 23:6] and work evil deeds in secret, saying ‘No man sees us,’ shall be convicted by the Word, who does not judge after outward appearance, nor looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those words to be found in Daniel the prophet: ‘O you seed of Canaan and not of Judah, beauty has deceived you and lust perverted your heart’ [Dan. 13:56]. You that have grown old in wicked days, now your sins which you have committed before have come to light, for you have pronounced false judgments and have been accustomed to condemn the innocent and to let the guilty go free, although the Lord says, ‘You shall not slay the innocent and the righteous’ [Dan. 13:52, citing Ex. 23:7]” (Against Heresies 4:26:3 [A.D. 189]; Daniel 13 is not in the Protestant Bible).

“Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left on the earth, should both be under the rule of the saints and to minister to this [new] Jerusalem and that [his] kingdom shall be in it, saying, ‘Look around Jerusalem toward the east and behold the joy which comes to you from God himself. Behold, your sons whom you have sent forth shall come: They shall come in a band from the east to the west. . . . God shall go before with you in the light of his splendour, with the mercy and righteousness which proceed from him’ [Bar. 4:36—5:9]” (ibid., 5:35:1; Baruch was often considered part of Jeremiah, as it is here).

Hippolytus

“What is narrated here [in the story of Susannah] happened at a later time, although it is placed at the front of the book [of Daniel], for it was a custom with the writers to narrate many things in an inverted order in their writings. . . . [W]e ought to give heed, beloved, fearing lest anyone be overtaken in any transgression and risk the loss of his soul, knowing as we do that God is the judge of all and the Word himself is the eye which nothing that is done in the world escapes. Therefore, always watchful in heart and pure in life, let us imitate Susannah” (Commentary on Daniel [A.D. 204]; the story of Susannah [Dan. 13] is not in the Protestant Bible).

Cyprian of Carthage

“In Genesis [it says], ‘And God tested Abraham and said to him, “Take your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the high land and offer him there as a burnt offering . . .”’ [Gen. 22:1–2]. . . . Of this same thing in the Wisdom of Solomon [it says], ‘Although in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality . . .’ [Wis. 3:4]. Of this same thing in the Maccabees [it says], ‘Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness’ [1 Macc. 2:52; see Jas. 2:21–23]” (Treatises 7:3:15 [A.D. 248]).

“So Daniel, too, when he was required to worship the idol Bel, which the people and the king then worshipped, in asserting the honour of his God, broke forth with full faith and freedom, saying, ‘I worship nothing but the Lord my God, who created the heaven and the earth’ [Dan. 14:5]” (Letters 55:5 [A.D. 253]; Daniel 14 is not in the Protestant Bible).

Council of Rome

“Now indeed we must treat of the divine scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun. The order of the Old Testament begins here: Genesis, one book; Exodus, one book; Leviticus, one book; Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Joshua [Son of] Nave, one book; Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; Kings, four books [that is, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings]; Paralipomenon [Chronicles], two books; Psalms, one book; Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book, Ecclesiastes, one book, [and] Canticle of Canticles [Song of Songs], one book; likewise Wisdom, one book; Ecclesiasticus [Sirach], one book . . . . Likewise the order of the historical [books]: Job, one book; Tobit, one book; Esdras, two books [Ezra and Nehemiah]; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; Maccabees, two books” (Decree of Pope Damasus [A.D. 382]).

Council of Hippo

“[It has been decided] that besides the canonical scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. But the canonical scriptures are as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the Son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, the Kings, four books, the Chronicles, two books, Job, the Psalter, the five books of Solomon [Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, and a portion of the Psalms], the twelve books of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Ezra, two books, Maccabees, two books . . .” (Canon 36 [A.D. 393]).

Council of Carthage III

“[It has been decided] that nothing except the canonical scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine scriptures. But the canonical scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon, two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees . . .” (Canon 47 [A.D. 397]).

Augustine

“The whole canon of the scriptures, however, in which we say that consideration is to be applied, is contained in these books: the five of Moses . . . and one book of Joshua [Son of] Nave, one of Judges; one little book which is called Ruth . . . then the four of Kingdoms, and the two of Paralipomenon . . . . [T]here are also others too, of a different order . . . such as Job and Tobit and Esther and Judith and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Esdras . . . . Then there are the prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David, and three of Solomon. . . . But as to those two books, one of which is entitled Wisdom and the other of which is entitled Ecclesiasticus and which are called ‘of Solomon’ because of a certain similarity to his books, it is held most certainly that they were written by Jesus Sirach. They must, however, be accounted among the prophetic books, because of the authority which is deservedly accredited to them” (Christian Instruction 2:8:13 [A.D. 397]).

“We read in the books of the Maccabees [2 Macc. 12:43] that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place” (The Care to be Had for the Dead 1:3 [A.D. 421]).

The Apostolic Constitutions

“Now women also prophesied. Of old, Miriam the sister of Moses and Aaron [Ex. 15:20], and after her, Deborah [Judges. 4:4], and after these Huldah [2 Kgs. 22:14] and Judith [Judith 8], the former under Josiah and the latter under Darius” (Apostolic Constitutions 8:2 [A.D. 400]).

Jerome
Father of the original Vulgate Bible
“What sin have I committed if I follow the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating [in my preface to the book of Daniel] the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susannah [Dan. 13], the Song of the Three Children [Dan. 3:29–68, RSV-CE], and the story of Bel and the Dragon [Dan. 14], which are not found in the Hebrew volume, proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. I was not relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they are wont to make against us. If I did not reply to their views in my preface, in the interest of brevity, lest it seem that I was composing not a preface, but a book, I believe I added promptly the remark, for I said, ‘This is not the time to discuss such matters’” (Against Rufinius 11:33 [A.D. 401]).
Pope Innocent I

“A brief addition shows what books really are received in the canon. These are the things of which you desired to be informed verbally: of Moses, five books, that is, of Genesis, of Exodus, of Leviticus, of Numbers, of Deuteronomy, and Joshua, of Judges, one book, of Kings, four books, and also Ruth, of the prophets, sixteen books, of Solomon, five books, the Psalms. Likewise of the histories, Job, one book, of Tobit, one book, Esther, one, Judith, one, of the Maccabees, two, of Esdras, two, Paralipomenon, two books . . .” (Letters 7 [A.D. 408]).

The Fathers not only included the Deutero-Canonicals in the canonical texts of the Bible but liberally quoted from them and the Councils of Rome, Hippo and Carthage, which gave us the versions of the Bible that everyone uses, also included them.

The proof is conclusive.

The “Catholic” Bible is the real Bible and the Catholic Church decided which texts were in the Bible.

No Catholic Church – no Bible.

This commentary by Catholic Answers can be found here: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-old-testament-canon and it has an imprimatur from the Bishop of San Diego.

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors. Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827 permission to publish this work is hereby granted. +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

The Fathers not only included the Deutero-Canonicals in the canonical texts of the Bible but liberally quoted from them and the Councils of Rome, Hippo and Carthage, which gave us the versions of the Bible that everyone uses, also included them.

The proof is conclusive.

The “Catholic” Bible is the real Bible and the Catholic Church decided which texts were in the Bible.

No Catholic Church – no Bible.

Original Writings of Church Fathers Arranged Topically

In 01 Essential Background on 2012/06/26 at 9:01 AM

Over the years I’ve been asked for my recommendation reading lists, particularly on the Church Fathers.  For Biblically committed persons, I suggest the works of the men who fixed the original canon of the Holy Scriptures in the third and fourth centuries.

Many of you are aware of who, when, where the New Testament was originally put together and combined with the Old Testament. The men who gathered together to discuss what books would be included and, even though of value, were not to be included, did follow a criteria. Of great importance is that they stopped with the death of John the Evangelist and did not put any of their works even though some were contemporaries or disciples of John.

Reading, studying, pondering their works, I have not found anything in their writings which is not found clearly expounded in either the Old Testament or the New Testament, particularly in the Psalms and Gospels.

I have recommended non-Catholics in particular as well as persons who have spouses that are of a different religion than theirs, a book on the Fathers which is available through Ignatius Press as well as Barnes and Noble. They have told me if has led to many hours of valuable exchanges with their spouses.

John Willis, SJ, THE TEACHINGS OF THE CHURCH FATHERS is arranged by topics within 13 categories: Revealed Religion, The Church, Sacred Scripture and Tradition, One God, The Triune God, Creation, Sin, Actual Grace, Habitual Grace, The Incarnate Word, Mary, Sacraments, Last Things.

The value of this books lies in that one does not have to ferret out the materials from within the thousands of pages that constitute the voluminous collection known as the WRITINGS OF THE CHURCH FATHER (which is a very expensive collection).

Instead Fr. Willis categorizes the Doctrines giving under each topic  what each father who wrote on the topic had to say on it.   Examples:
Heading #141 The two natures of Christ are untied by a personal union:  Hilary, Nazianzen & Augustine, Lerins, Leo the Great, Origen.
Heading #142: There are two operations in Christ: one divine, the other human; Origen, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ambrose.
There are 250 topics in 480 pages.

http://www.ignatius.com/Products/TCF-E/teachings-of-the-church-fathers.aspx

John Willis graduated from Amherst College in 1939 and was first in his class at Hartford Seminary. He earned a doctorate in American church history in 1946 from Yale University.

Ordained in the Congregational Church in 1943, Fr. Willis served parishes in New Jersey and in Maine, where from 1948-55 he taught at Bates College.

Willis converted to Catholicism in 1955, and entered the Society of Jesus that same year.   Fr. Willis joined Boston College as A&S dean in 1964, after having completed his tertian year of Jesuit formation in Ghent, Belgium. Serving as dean until 1969, Fr. Willis also taught in the History Department. After retiring from BC in 1982, he held the Flannery Chair at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., from 1986-88. In 1988, he returned to Massachusetts and taught church history and modern philosophy at the Pope John Seminary in Weston.  Former Dean of Arts and Sciences Rev. John R. Willis, SJ, died at the Campion Center in Weston. He was 83.

The author of several books, Fr. Willis was best known for his four-volume work A History of Christian Thought and Pleasures Forevermore, which explored the theology of C.S. Lewis, and for The Fathers of the Church. Regarding this book, one vendor expresses: The Fathers of the Church have been a vital source of wisdom and inspiration for countless saints, popes, peasants, and converts throughout the history of the Church. In this powerful one-volume library, Father Willis presents more than 250 selected doctrinal topics in an exhaustive selection of writings from the major sources of the Fathers. He lets the Fathers speak for themselves on a wide variety of spiritual themes.

I invite you to let the Fathers speak to you personally.

Enemies: Without and Within

In 01 Essential Background on 2012/06/12 at 11:11 AM

In the Acts of the Apostles 2, Luke mentions that at Pentecost there were present “Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians…. 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” The three thousand returned to their homelands, the “turf” of the Early Church Fathers.

From the pagan secular historian, Pliny, we learn that Christianity “has spread through villages and country, till the temples are emptied of worshippers.”  Later, the former pagan, Tertullian, would write: “Men cry out that the state is beset, that the Christians are in their fields, in their forts, in their islands, They mourn the loss now every level  is going over to this sect.”

The state desired peace everywhere and wanted no change, wishing to have jurisdiction and be the final authority in every aspect of the body politics.  The Roman state came to view Christianity as a threat to the unity of the state.  Christians were seen as innovators and every innovation upon the established paganism was rigidly repressed.  Conversion to or propagation of Christianity or any other non-state religion was considered an offense against order.

The Christians were now standing outside the Roman culture.  The Roman culture was in moral decline. The Empire had all but abandoned the institution of marriage and the family.  Divorce was common, as were abortion and contraception.  Active homosexuality had become a norm for urban pagans. Capital punishment was used as genocide against the poor, and many lives were ended by euthanasia and suicide.

The Christian was at first thought to be and treated as a kind of Jew, but soon his unique commitment to his Faith became clear.  Throughout persecutions the Christians stood their ground as followers of Christ.

In 325 AD, a little less than three centuries after Pentecost being a Christian was no longer a crime against the state, but Christianity had become the religion of the empire.

But now, the enemy within rose.  This, however, was not unprecedented.  Christ had been delivered to His enemies by those from within.  Now, the Church had to deal with heretical ideas born within its bosom and those cradled in it.

HERESIES SIMPLIFIED:

All are variations on a theme: denials of or attacks on the Incarnation.

DOCETISM = Jesus only seemed to be man.

GNOSTICISM = “Inside” information.

DONATISM = Apostacy unforgivable.

MANICHEANISM = They saw matter as opposed to spirit. (A Gnostic synthesis of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism)

ARIANISM = Denied that Jesus was God.

NESTORIANISM = Asserted that Jesus was two distinct persons

MONOPHYSITISM = Asserted Jesus only has one nature, divine

MONOTHELITISM = Asserted Jesus only had one will.

PELAGIANISM = Denied original sin

Then as now, it is the failure of those within that provides opportunities for enemies who are without. The enemies will do the bloody work of crucifixion, but the greater evil is done by those who have had the Faith and lost it and are anxious to ease their conscience by destroying the root of morality.

Arianism is considered one of those heresies that dies, meaning that its invented doctrines are no longer believed in. However, the effects on society survive. In the West, Arianism led to thinking of Christ as only a good man. In the East, Arianism vanished with the tsunami of Islamic conquerors.

Today, it is harder to deal with heresy because of modern manʼs inability to understand how any society would regard religion as a matter of life and death.

Church Councils

In 01 Essential Background on 2012/06/12 at 11:09 AM

52 Council of Jerusalem

70 Destruction of Jerusalem         

ECUMENICAL/UNIVERSAL  COUNCILS

325   NICEA Divinity of Christ

381   CONSTANTINOPLE – Divinity of Holy Spirit

431   EPHESUS – Theotokos (Bearer of God)

46I    CHALCEDON – Two natures in Christ

476   Fall of Rome

553   CONSTANTINOPLE I – Corrected errors.

680   CONSTANTINOPLE II – Two wills in Christ

787   NICEA II – Veneration of Images

869   CONSTANTINOPLE – Against various heresies

1054 Eastern Schism

After the separation of Eastern churches from Rome, the East never held another council.  However, in the West, councils continued. Having settled the important theological questions in the past, they met to deal with displinary malpractices in the Church.

1123, 1139, 1179, 1215 – Four Lateran Councils

1245 and 1274 – Two Lyons Councils

1311 – Vienne

1414 – Constance (Ended Western Schism)

1453 Fall of Constantinople

1512 – Fifth Lateran Council

1545 – Trent (Addressed Luther and made Church reforms)

1869 – Vatican I

1963 – Vatican II

Apostolic Succession

In 01 Essential Background on 2012/06/05 at 11:09 AM

Clement of Rome

In his  Letter to the Corinthians, 42-44 (c. 90AD) Clement wrote: “The apostles received the gospel for us from the Lord Jesus  Christ; Jesus the Christ was sent from God. So Christ is from God, and the apostles from Christ. Both came to pass regularly by the will of God. So having received their instructions, and having been reassured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in the word of God they set forth in the convic­tion of the holy Spirit, preaching that the kingdom of God was about to come. So as they preached from country to country and from town to town, they appointed their first converts, after testing them by the Spirit, as Pastors and Deacons of those who were to believe… And what wonder, if those who in Christ were entrusted with such a task appointed those just mentioned?…

Our apostles also knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be contention for the title of overseer. On this account, as they had received full foreknowledge, they appointed those already mentioned in order that, if they should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their duties.”

  (trans. Goodspeed, 1950)

Scripture Defiled

In 01 Essential Background on 2012/03/04 at 9:11 AM

St. Paul,  as recorded in Acts 20:29-30, warns believers to be on guard against “fierce wolves who will invade” and admonishes that “even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them.”  There have been problems in each age, but the Catholic Church has always taught what Christ taught.  Jesus Christ commanded His apostles to “go teach whatsoever I have commanded you.”

The Early Church Fathers, following the Apostles, did just that: When heresies arose, they countered them with the Truth.  Councils were called to deal with them definitively.  Essentially, all the problems were the result of misinterpretations of Scripture. The most damaging was Luther’s introduction of “personal interpretation of the Bible” which led to more misinterpretations.  Luther  discarded  those books of the Canon of the Bible that he did not agree with because they did not support his interpretation.

The so-called Protestant Reformation did not give the world a new and better version of Christianity; it gave the world a new, fractured religion. Devolving into 30,000 denominations (over 1,000 Baptists groups alone), the Protestant Reformation  simply does not bear the hallmark of Christian when guided by the Holy Spirit: unity.  For Christ Himself said that his followers would be known by their love for one another, the unity.  Every denomination has split into divisions and factions to the point that their founders would not even recognize them.

Many who have left the Catholic Church tell themselves that Protestant denominations are simply alternatives to the Church. Unfortunately, Protestantism has led to a serial fracturing of Christian groups whose beliefs are founded upon personal interpretations of Scripture.  Every denomination has split into divisions and factions to the point that their founders, like Luther and Calvin, would hardly recognize them now.  Out of all the Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church is the only Church that holds all of the Sacraments established by Christ and is the Church founded by Christ Himself, whether you believe it or not, whether you accept it or not, or whether you like it or not.

If you look at the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church, only divine protection and guidance can explain why it is still around with the original teaching Christ gave it. Of all the religious founders in history: Mohammed, Buddha, Luther, Mormonism’s Joseph Smith and others, only Jesus Christ claimed to be divine.  He proved it by fulfilling the over 600 prophecies in the Old Testament and the miracles he performed while on earth. Jesus Christ set up a Church to last to the end of time and promised to be with it to the end of time. He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He did not say, however, that it would be problem free as we have seen; on the contrary, He warned us to beware of false teachers.

Hilare Belloc in his book, THE GREAT HERESIES, demonstrates how “The spiritual basis of Protestantism went to pieces through the breakdown of the Bible as a supreme authority. ” This breakdown was the result of that very spirit of skeptical inquiry  upon which Protestantism had always been based. It had begun by saying: “I deny the authority of the Church; every man must examine the credibility of every doctrine for himself.” In modern times, the Protestant culture has morphed from having revered, and in some cases, worshipped the very text of the Bible as the immutable written Word of God to doubting almost everything the Bible contains. We can say that all the seeds sown by the Protestant movement are now in full bloom: Rationalism, Modernism, Secularism, Relativism and New Age and list goes on. The ultimate victim has been Truth.

So what began with the idea of subjective evaluation and personal judgment, rather than objective and realistic evaluation and judgment, has resulted in a relativistic and fragmented practice of religion and, in turn, a society which holds that there is no objective truth, simply opinion, momentary experience and evolving truth.

Today, as Protestant theologians study the Fathers of the Early Church, they are awakening to the truth of Blessed John Henry Newman’s conclusion: “You cannot study the Fathers and remain a Protestant.”  The Apostolic Fathers died for the Truth of Christ and His Church, the Doctors of the Church defended the Truth of Christ and His Church, the Popes preserved the Truth of Christ and His Church and the Founders of Religious Orders enabled the Truth of Christ and His Church to be spread throughout the world.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we, too, are commissioned to be confessors of the Faith upholding the Truth of Christ and His Church with fortitude and confidence, without compromising belief and conforming to anything that opposes the Faith.  The question one must wrestle with today, particularly amidst such widespread fragmentation of the Christian Faith is: “What Church is, in fact, Christ’s Church?”  Through the writings of the Church Fathers, the work of the Holy Spirit and communion with the Word of God, one will likely come face-to-face with the same crossroad decision as Blessed John Henry Newman.   “You cannot study the Fathers and remain a Protestant.”

Validity of Gospels

In 01 Essential Background on 2012/02/26 at 9:11 AM

Among all the Scriptures, even those of the New Testament, the Gospels have a special pre-eminence, and rightly so, for they are the principal witness for the life and teaching of the incarnate Word, our savior. The Church has always and everywhere held and continues to hold that the four Gospels are of apostolic origin. For what the Apostles preached in fulfillment of the commission of Christ, afterwards they themselves and apostolic men, under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, handed on to us in writing: the foundation of faith, namely, the fourfold Gospel, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (Acts 1,1-2). Indeed, after the Ascension of the Lord the Apostles handed on to their hearers what He had said and done. This they did with that clearer understanding which they enjoyed after they had been instructed by the glorious events of Christ’s life and taught by the light of the Spirit of truth (Jn 14,26).

The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches and preserving the form of proclamation but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus. For their intention in writing was that either from their own memory and recollections, or from the witness of those who “themselves from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word” we might know “the truth concerning those matters about which we have been instructed” (Lk 1, 1-4).

Vatican Council II: Dogmatic Constitution on Revelation “ Dei Verbum ”, # 18-19

What About the Scriptures?

In 01 Essential Background on 2012/02/26 at 9:11 AM

Athanasius said: “No one who reads the Scriptures can plead ignorance of the facts as an excuse for error.”  In 367 Athanasius was the first to declare the twenty seven books of the New Testament a Canon binding on the whole Church, but it was not conclusively settled until the synods of Hippo (393) and Carthage (419) in the time of Augustine.

In his epistles to Timothy, Paul explicitly states all the books of the Bible are inspired by God and are therefore of great help in evangelization. The New Testamentʼs later books, particularly the Epistles of St. Paul, show also that the Church from the beginning struggled against erroneous doctrine being introduced. St. John (1 John 4:2-3) wrote specifically against the Docetist heresy which claimed that Jesus only seemed to be human, to suffer, and to die;  that He really was a pure spirit in human garb.  St. Paul and St. Jude struggled against emerging Gnosticism, the elitist, hyper-spiritual heresy emphasizing secret revelations (1 Tim 6:20-21)

As the Church spread through the vast Roman Empire, confusion in doctrine became more common.  For as the Gospel was proclaimed along the trade routes, its bearers often encountered pagans unfamiliar with the Jewish roots of Christian faith. And as time went by the culture, language and customs from the time of Jesus became more and more remote.  Doctrine was essential and not incidental to Christianity; these problems, therefore, created a crisis.   The Fathers preached, wrote and celebrated the liturgy in a manner to make the Person of Jesus Christ central.  They faithfully presented Him, His word and miracles, his suffering, dying and rising.

The Early Church Fathers firmly believed that fidelity and devotion to Jesus Christ would guarantee the accuracy of their teaching.  Most people were illiterate.  Those who were not generally could not afford to buy copied manuscripts.  So the first generations of Christians absorbed the Gospel through the liturgy of the Church and the homilies of their local bishop.  St. Paul in Romans 10:17 said, “Faith comes by hearing.”  The early Christians revered as Fathers those from whom they heard the Word. The Fathers saw themselves commissioned as transmitters of the Gospel (Good News of Christ) in the form they had received it: aurally by listening to the teachings of the Apostles.  Later, the Gospels were passed on in written form.

Clement of Rome wrote to the Corinthians: The Apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Christ therefore was was sent forth by God, and the Apostles by Christ.  Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God.” Ignatius of Antioch advised Polycarp: “Do not let yourself be upset by those who seem to be very reliable and yet put forth strange teachings. . . . Stand your guard, like an anvil under the hammer. The mark of a good athlete is to win despite taking blows.  Accept trials of all kinds for Godʼs sake, and we will be accepted by Him. Be even more diligent that you are now.”

The Fathers showed faithful devotion to Scripture. Augustine said that “reading Scripture is like reading letters from another world, letters from our Father and from our fatherland.” Ambrose said the Bible was ”the feast of wisdom and the individual books were the various dishes.” Jerome wrote: “To be ignorant of Scripture is to be ignorant of Christ”  He counseled: “Read the divine Scriptures very often. Learn what they have to teach,  keep a firm hold on the word of faith which accords with doctrine, so as to be able to exhort others with sound doctrine and win over your opponents.”

Practically every page of the Church Fathers’ own writings (homilies, letters, theological and catechetical injunctions) are filled with quotations from both the Old and the New Testament, indicating that they wanted all to know as much as possible of the Scripture and for none to be ignorant fo them. Vincent of Lerins maintained: “Religion, of its nature, must be passed on in its entirety to children with the same fidelity as it has been received by the parents themselves; we have no right to take religions and do with it what we will; rather, it is we who must follow wherever religion leads us.” Gregory the Great commented that “what is Holy Scripture if not a kind of letter from almighty God to his creature. Therefore, please study and reflect on the words of your Creator every day. Learn what the will of God is by entering deep into the words of that God. . . . No one can be saved who has not first believed, therefore, it is the task of the pastors and bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men. In this way they carry out the Lordʼs command: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.”

Lastly, the Fathers discerned in the Scriptures two levels of meaning: the literal and the spiritual. They acknowledged that each text told a literal truth, describing a historical event, person, or precept, and, at the same time, proclaimed a moral or spiritual truth essential to Christian behavior.

Meditating on the Word of God and reflecting on our experience in the light of Faith both deepen understanding of revealed Truth.  The essential meaning of the Truths of the Faith does not change.  It cannot: Because God Himself does not change, neither does He contradict Himself.

Silence and Solitude Reveal the Presence of God

In 01 Essential Background on 2012/01/30 at 9:11 AM

In a homily of Pope Benedict to  the Carthusian monks he said something that applies to us in the secular world:  

The Pope said: “Technological progress has made man’s life more comfortable but also “more agitated, even convulsive”. The growth of the communications media means that today we run the risk of virtual reality dominating reality itself. “People are increasingly, even unwittingly, immersed in a virtual dimension, thanks to the audiovisual images that accompany their lives from morning to evening. The youngest, having been born in this state, seem to fill each vacant moment with music and images, almost as if afraid to contemplate the void. … Some people are no longer capable of remaining silent and alone”.

He previously had said:  

…..the situation of modern society and culture “throws light on the specific charism of the Carthusian monastery as a precious gift for the Church and for the world, a gift which contains a profound message for our lives and for all humanity. I would summarise it in these terms: by withdrawing in silence and solitude man, so to speak, ‘exposes’ himself to the truth of his nakedness, he exposes himself to that apparent ‘void’ I mentioned earlier. But in doing so he experiences fullness, the presence of God, of the most real Reality that exists. … Monks, by leaving everything, … expose themselves to solitude and silence so as to live only from what is essential; and precisely in living from the essential they discover a profound communion with their brothers and sisters, with all mankind”.

 

 

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