Friday, November 20, 2015

Questions for Catholics - Part 2

As a continuation of the "Questions for Catholics" series, which are in response to the Moriel Ministries, Jacob Prasch website this section we will answer to the questions of "Co-" which Moriel/Prasch has put forth.  
We are told in the New Testament there is one intercessor between God and man, Jesus the righteous. (1 Tim. 2:5) One intercessor, only one, Jesus. Man can’t reach God so God had to reach man by becoming one of us. If there is one intercessor, how can I be expected to believe that Mary “co-redeemed” us, “co-saved” us, and she is the “co-mediatrix” if there’s only one Savior? The Hebrew prophets said all along, “Yahweh – God is our Savior; there is no Savior but Me”. (Is. 43:11; Hos. 13:4) Only one Savior, only one intercessor.
We must begin by explaining that "co-" does not mean "another" it means "with."  That being said, the use of such "co-" terms in Catholicism, thus far, are not dogmatically defined.  No Catholic is "bound" to use such terms, but even so - what do they really mean?  Are these terms fundamentally wrong?  Let us take them one at a time in the order Moriel/Prasch has presented them.

Co-Redeemed:  The title used by some (and again, not all) Catholics is actually "Co-Redemptrix." In, what we refer to as "the economy of salvation," the Blessed Virgin most definitely plays a role.  While she is not THE Redeemer, it was through her fiat that the Redeemer came to us.  Had she not consented we can be sure that God would have chosen another vessel/ark to carry the Only Begotten Son of the Father and through the Holy Ghost, but since she gave her fiat such speculations are a bit of a waste of time.  The Blessed Virgin and Mother was with the Christ throughout his mortal life and now in eternity.   So how did she assist with the redemption process?

  1. She said "Yes" (her fiat).  When confronted by the archangel Gabriel, she consented "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word." (Luke 1:38).
  2. At the first public miracle, the Wedding at Cana, she instructed the servants to "do as He told them," even though just previous to that Jesus had shown reluctance to begin the public ministry and miracles but through His mother's prompting and perhaps due to her prompting - the water becomes wine.
  3. She passively followed Him throughout His life and even through the via delorosa, for which she is also known as Our Lady of Sorrows.  Through life, death and then in resurrection and beyond, the Blessed Mother was and is with her Son.
  4. In John 19:25-27 we see with Jesus on the Cross giving His Mother over to St. John to be his Mother and he her son, as a handing on of that relationship to all of us.
  5. During the formation of the Church, the Blessed Mother was there with the Apostles at the Pentecost gathering and post-paschal events.
  6. Our Blessed Mother remains at Jesus' side in Heaven.

Now, is our redemption due to the actions of the Blessed Mother?  Yes!  Is she THE Redeemer?  No!  While not being THE Redeemer, she most definitely played a role - and thus the title of "Co-Redemptrix" is appropriate.  Not only is it appropriate for her, but each of us should work as co-redemptors in bringing more to the One, True Faith.

Co-Saved:  I am not familiar with any Catholic teaching or title for the Blessed Mother co-saving us or her having the title of Co-Savior.  This assertion is nothing more than a red herring argument attempting to draw us off-track from real teachings and/or practices of the Catholic Church.

Co-Mediatrix:  Now here I believe Moriel/Prasch is confusing topics.  While this IS a topic of apologetics for Catholics - this article appears to be equivocating "mediatrix" with "savior" since the author states:  
If there is one intercessor, how can I be expected to believe that Mary “co-redeemed” us, “co-saved” us, and she is the “co-mediatrix” if there’s only one Savior? The Hebrew prophets said all along, “Yahweh – God is our Savior; there is no Savior but Me”. (Is. 43:11; Hos. 13:4) Only one Savior, only one intercessor.
There is a theological difference between one who intercedes and one who saves.  The Blessed Mother (again) is not our Savior, who is Jesus Christ, alone but this author mixes and interchanges the terms as if they are equal.  As Catholics, we believe in, as the Apostles Creed professes, "the communion of saints," which refers to ALL the saints - whether part of the Church Militant (those of us still here on Earth fighting for our Faith), the Church Suffering (those in Purgatory who can surely use our prayers) and the Church Triumphant (those saints who are in Heaven).  We do not believe that the death of the body equates to the death of the person.  The person carries on into eternity either in or on the way to Heaven, or in Hell and eternal damnation.  Those saints who are part of the Church Triumphant are alive in Heaven, and we ask them - through the communion of saints - to pray with and for us.  The Blessed Mother, in her very special role and relationship to her Son makes her a very special one among the Church Triumphant to intercede for and with us.  No Christian is an island, we all rely upon each other for support and the death of the body does not end the life of the soul, so again we turn to those in Heaven and ask them to continue praying for us who still struggle with the trials and temptations of this life.

I would add as well, while the term "Co-Mediatrix" is used by many Catholics, like "Co-Redemptrix" there is no dogma binding all Catholics to accept this terminology.  While, as I have explained above, there is nothing "wrong" with the terms - if they make you feel uncomfortable, do not use them - you don't have to.

Part Three - Purgatory

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Questions for Catholics - Part 1

Questions For Catholics Part 1


With a little prompting from my priest, I am beginning a series of responses to Moriel Ministries which has presented "Five Questions for Catholics," however the article title says the number is thirty-three and perhaps through secondary questions they reach the higher number, but the inconsistency is noted upfront.

Who is this?  James Jacob Prasch (Jacob Prasch) was raised in a mixed household of Catholic and Jewish.  He states he was "forced" to attend Catholic school as a youth, but also attending the Jewish Community Center.  This left him agnostic and in college while he was attempting to use science to disprove Christianity but came to the conclusion that it took more faith to reject Jesus and the Bible than to accept it.  Subscribing to Marxism and the "hippee culture" and nearly subcombing to drugs, he hit bottom and "put his faith in Jesus."  He and Moriel (have not found more about Moriel on the site which bares his name) got together in Moriel Ministries, which Prasch is now the director.

Without further ado, let us proceed into the series of questions presented to Catholics.

The first question we come to on Moriel's homepage is "Should I believe Mary or the Vatican?"

Without doubt Mary – her real name was “Miryam” – Mary the mother of Jesus was the greatest woman who ever lived.
The angel Gabriel. the archangel “Gabriy’el”, “the mighty one of God” appeared to her and told her that God Himself would become incarnate inside of her, she would be the mother of the Messiah, the Savior, who would save His people from their sin. This is the greatest woman who ever lived. And the greatest woman who ever lived, who has ever lived, was told she’s going to be the mother of the Savior who would save His people from their sin in the Magnificat in St. Luke’s Gospel. (
Lk. 1:46-55) The only thing that the greatest woman who ever lived could say when she was told she was the greatest woman who ever lived – “Blessed are you among women” (Lk. 1:42) – and she was told she’s going to be the mother of the Savior who would save His people from their sin is, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior”. (Lk. 1:47)
If the greatest woman who ever lived tells me that she needs to be saved from sin, that she needs a Savior when she's told she's going to be the mother of the Savior who would save people from sin, who am I to argue with the greatest woman who ever lived? Who am I to argue with St. Luke? When God says, “All have sinned, all fall short of the glory of God” (
Rom. 3:23), “None is righteous, no not one”, (Rom. 3:10) Well who am I to argue with God? I believe Mary, but we have Ineffablilis Deus, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
If all have sinned and all full short of the glory of God, and if Mary said she needs to be saved from sin, who do I believe: Mary or the Vatican? Personally, I believe Mary. I'm convinced Mary was right; I'm convinced that Mary told the truth; I'm convinced all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God.


Well, first off in the passage cited is not the Blessed Mother admitting to have sinned, but only "My spirit rejoices in God my Savior."  Did Mary need a savior?  Yes!  In the definition of the Immaculate Conception (hereafter IC) of the the Blessed Virgin Mary (found here) it says:

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.


Note, it says she was preserved from the stain of original sin, not the penalty!  The Blessed Virgin, whom Catholics would agree with Moriel/Prasch, is the "greatest woman who ever lived," did not need to be freed from the stain of any actual sin - but from the penalty of original sin.  The Blessed Virgin therefore too needed the Savior, the Redeemer, the Messiah.  It should also be noted that in the entire document of Ineffabilis Deus, that one sentence is the only "infallible" statement.

The author of the article (whether it be Moriel or Prasch) goes on to say:

The Roman church speculated and then deduced that if that was the case, Jesus would have been born from a sinful vessel. But if Mary had no sin, by the same token that would have to mean that Mary's mother had no sin, and that Mary's grandmother had no sin, and that Mary’s great-grandmother had no sin all the way back to Eve. But we know Eve had sin and we know Mary had sin.

Yes, we know Eve had sin, but Scripture does not tell us that Mary had sin and again the definition of the IC only states she was preserved from the stain, not the penalty.  We also do not need to buy into the slippery slope (invalid) argument that if Mary was without sin, her mother must have been and her grandmother, etc., etc., for the Catholic teaching on the IC is that the Blessed Virgin, alone, was singled out "in the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God."  So not only is the Moriel/Prasch argument a slippery slope, it is a straw man built upon a faulty premise that the author proceeds to knock down.  If we know our Catholic Faith, we are not taken in by such invalid argumentation.

The author goes on to state and ask:

Again, this doctrine was not proclaimed until modern times, until the 20th Century. Do you believe Mary was wrong?

The definition of the IC was proclaimed in 1864, that would make it the 19th Century, which is a minor error here, but nonetheless, an error.  One would think that an author who is based in science would not make such an error and especially publish it. Am I the first to point this out to him?  It will be interesting to see if that statement changes on their website.  The timing of the actual definition is really inconsequential, and that would lead us to question Moriel/Prasch - does the Church have the authority to bind or loose such things?  The answer to that is a resounding YES!  In Matthew 16:18-19, in a singular decree our Blessed Lord bestows that authority on St. Peter, alone and then two chapters later that authority is also given to the Apostles (the Bishoprick) as a group in Matthew 18:18, but that takes us down another (however much more fundamental) path, so, for now, let us not digress.   

Now, to answer the question, "Do you believe Mary was wrong?"  No, as stated earlier, the Blessed Virgin was not wrong, but the premise of the Moriel/Prasch argument is wrong which leaves them with nothing but a house of cards which has just been knocked down.