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  #1  
Old 15th September 2017, 03:30 PM
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Default Why Catholic ?

Hi,

There are many reasons why a Christian ought to be Catholic and in this series of posts, I’m going to mention some. This is a continuation from the thread called “Why Christian?”, so for a background to this thread, I recommend you to read that post if you haven’t already done so.
http://www.catholicplanet.net/forum/...5111#post45111

Also the post “Why Believe in God?”
http://www.catholicplanet.net/forum/...ead.php?t=6058

As followers of Jesus, or any man or woman of good will, we are all seeking truth, and what is truth? Jesus Christ Himself is Truth (John 14:6), so let’s seek that Truth with sincere heart and mind.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8 ).

As mentioned at the beginning of the previous post, a Christian is the person who follows Jesus. It was at Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Christianity, by the way, regards as to the group of people who follow Jesus. Now, those who follow Jesus, follow “The Way” for He Himself said “I’m the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). He is the way of salvation: “this girl, following Paul and us, was crying out, saying: “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are announcing to you the way of salvation!” (Acts 16:17); so the term for where to go in order to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ was called “The Way” since the early years (Acts 18:25-26), or “The Way of the Lord” (Acts 19:9) (Acts 19:23), for through Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father.

But Jesus Christ (who is the Way) founded a Church for His followers (the Christians) so that they may not be abandoned when He had to leave this world in His human nature (Matthew 9:36). Therefore, by His own authority, He selected some men (He selected only twelve Apostles among His disciples) in order for them to guide or pasture the rest of His flock (Mat 16:18-29) (Matt 18:18 ) (Luke 6:13-16) (Luke 9:1) (1 Tes 2:7), and so that, through His Church, His Good News shall continue to be preached to all the world (Mark 16:15) from generations to generations until the consummation of age (Matt 28:19-20).

What is a Church? A Church refers to a convocation or assembly united in prayer, creed, worship, obedience; and can also refer to a building erected for purposes of worship by their members.

So, if Jesus Christ founded a Church, is the Catholic Church THE Church that He founded? This is what we are going to honestly see in these series of posts. If you seek the Truth, you seek Jesus Christ.

“O Lord, I have loved the beauty of your house and the dwelling place of your glory.” (Psalm 26 [27]:8 ).

Will continue...
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  #2  
Old 21st September 2017, 04:27 PM
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“If anyone serves me, let him follow me. And where I am, there too my minister shall be. If anyone has served me, my Father will honor him.” (John 12:26).

The passage where Jesus Christ clearly teaches that He was going to build a Church we find it in Matthew 16:17-19:

[Matthew]
{16:17} And in response, Jesus said to him: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father, who is in heaven.
{16:18} And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
{16:19} And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.”

Now, let’s not only read this passage as 21st century Americans, but as early 1st century Jews.

Jesus generally spoke Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, the common language of Judea in the first century A.D.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Aramaic-language

The Bible itself has references that Jesus’ primary and common language was Aramaic and this is even written in the Greek translated version of the Sacred text.

“Talitha koumi”:
“And taking the girl by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koumi,” which means, “Little girl, (I say to you) arise.” (Mark 5:41).

“Ephphatha”:
“And gazing up to heaven, He groaned and said to him: “Ephphatha,” which is, “Be opened.” (Mark 7:34).

“Abba”:
“And he said: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you….” (Mark 14:36).

Some Romans and perhaps not Hebraic descent Jews (not Aramaic speaking Jews) thought that Jesus was calling upon prophet Elijah when He said the Aramaic words “Eli Eli….” on the Cross (Matthew 27:46-47).

This is an indication that Jesus’ common language was Aramaic. Now, He can also have spoken Hebrew especially when reading the Scriptures at the synagogues because the Jewish Scriptures were written in Hebrew, their faith language, though they (the Jews) spoke mainly in Aramaic. Jesus may have also spoken in Latin (the Roman’s language) in cases such as when He talked with the Centurion (Matthew 8:5-13) or any Roman. He may have spoken some Greek but to a lesser extent, or sporadically, because His ministry was aimed mainly at the Hebraic Jews (Matthew 15:26), and they, by the way, did not get along with the Greek speaking Jews (non Hebraic descent Jews) (Acts 21:27-28 ). But when Jesus spoke privately with His fellow Apostles, or spoke directed at them, He would not be speaking in a language foreign to them, or with a language that the majority of them might not understand, something other than Aramaic with perhaps some Hebrew included, which by the way, are similar languages. Out the twelve Apostles, the most learned during Jesus’ three year ministry might have been Matthew who was a tax collector working for the Romans and Jews so he was literate, fluent and able to write in Latin as well, but the rest were just working class, and fishermen Jews. Jesus did not choose “high class” among His Apostles, and the Apostle Simon specifically, was a fisherman.

That being said, though Matthew may have written his Gospel in Hebrew (the Torah language of Scriptures) for his fellow Jews converts to Christianity; however, when Jesus gathered the twelve at Caesarea Philippi in order to teach that He was going to build His Church, He spoke in Aramaic to them, the language that all twelve can clearly understand at that time especially regarding such important announcement.

{16:18} And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

The English translation of the text diminish somehow what the Apostles heard from Jesus saying.

Speaking in Aramaic, Jesus used a play of words and it was more like:

“And I say to you (Simon), that you are [Kepha], and upon this [Kepha] I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”.

Which is like saying:

“And I say to you (Simon), that you are [Rock], and upon this [Rock] I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”.

Notice that Jesus changes the name of the Apostle Simon only, from Simon to Kepha which means “Rock” (name translated to “Peter” in English). When God changes the name of a person, it means a new path/function in this person's life, such as in the cases of Abram to Abraham, or Jacob to Israel. So this name change does has a meaning and purpose for this particular Apostle. He does not change the name of any of the other Apostles, only to Simon, so this disregards any idea that Jesus gave the exact same calling, equal role, or non-distinctive role to all the twelve.
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Old 6th October 2017, 06:16 PM
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Now, Jesus Christ is the Rock which the builders rejected (Acts 4:10-11) (1 Peter 2:7) (1 Cor 10:4), He is our Cornerstone, our Main Rock, no doubt about it. But it was Jesus Himself who decided build His Church upon the truth of one of His Apostles by changing his name from Simon to “Rock” (Peter in English) after this Apostle proclaimed that He is the Messiah “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16) by a revelation from the Father Himself (16:17). Therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone and Peter is the Rock upon which the Cornerstone, or our Main Rock, built His own Church. Prior to that, Jesus explains of how a man needs to build his house over a rock, not over sand, so that his house will stand still and will not go down when the winds or floods come. When Jesus was teaching this at the end of His sermon on the mount, He did not teach or implied that this particular rock on which the house is built is the same person building the house (Matt 7:24-27), (Luke 6:48:49).

Notice that Jesus gives this charge as a custodian of His Church to Simon because God has revealed him a truth, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Similarly, the Pharaoh entrusted Joseph (the O.T. Joseph) a charge only subordinate to himself because God has revealed to Joseph the correct interpretation of the Pharaoh’s dreams: “Therefore, he [the Pharaoh] said to Joseph: “Because God has revealed to you all that you have said, would I be able to find anyone wiser and as much like you? You will be over my house, and to the authority of your mouth, all the people will show obedience. Only in one way, in the throne of the kingdom, will I go before you.” And again, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, I have appointed you over the entire land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:39-41).

The claim made by some Protestants that Jesus may have been speaking in “Greek” to these Hebraic working class descent Jews is not supportable. Greek was a later translation of the Bible, not the language that Jesus was speaking to the Apostles for the above mentioned reasons. They claim that Jesus did not called the Apostle Simon with the Aramaic word Kepha, but with the Greek word “Petros” so that they can say that Jesus did not built His Church on the Apostle Peter but on another rock, a feminine noun called “Petra” which refers to a bigger kind of rock that can be pointed at Jesus Himself. But with this hypothesis, why would Jesus change the name of the Apostle Simon to “Rock” in the first place? It doesn’t make any sense, it is like saying “I’m changing your name to “Rock”, but I’m going to build my Church on a bigger Rock, Myself”. Jesus would not try to fool or mock or confuse not even His closes friends, and what’s more, during an important announcement such as this. But the truth is that the Bible itself teaches the contrary, even before Jesus said this declaration at Caesarea Philippi, the Apostle John (one of the twelve who were present there) explains and makes it clear in his own Gospel that Simon was to be called Kepha or “Cephas” (as English transliterations state it), not “Petros”. The following is from the Gospel of John 1:42: “And he led him to Jesus. And Jesus, gazing at him, said: “You are Simon, son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas,” (which is translated as Peter).” - English translation of John 1:42. Jesus said that to Simon even since the beginning of His ministry when He was calling Simon to be one of His Apostles, way before His declaration at Caesarea Philippi.

And even the Greek version of the Bible itself, John 1:42 reads the following:

“Su ei Simon ho huios Ioannou, su klethese Kephas (ho hermeneuetai Petros)”
“ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν. ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Σὺ εἶ Σίμων ὁ υἱὸς Ἰωάννου: σὺ κληθήσῃ Κηφᾶς {ὃ ἑρμηνεύεται Πέτρος}”.
“Thou art Simon the son of John, thou shalt be called Kephas (which is translated Peter)”.
http://www.greekbible.com/index.php

So this makes it clear enough that Jesus did not called Simon “Petros”, but in His spoken Aramaic language, Kepha. And the mention of the Apostle Simon as “Kepha” or “Cephas” (as the transliteration states it) continue to be indicated in St. Paul’s letters which can even be read in the English translations of the Bible (1 Cor 1:12) (1 Cor 3:22) (1 Cor 9:5) (1 Cor 15:5) (Gal 2:9). Even the King James Bible says “Cephas” (the English transliteration). English translations leave Peter’s name here with original Aramaic transliterating it to “Cephas” to show how his name sounded; therefore, there is no doubt that Peter is the “Rock” on which Jesus’ Church was founded. “Kephas” or “Cephas” is the Rock on which Jesus wanted to build His Church and it is how He originally said it.
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Old 17th October 2017, 06:44 PM
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Jesus is the Owner of the Church, He says “MY” Church, Peter is not the owner, he was appointed to be the custodian of our Lord’s one and only Church, for He also says “My Church”, not “My Churches”.

Why does our Lord build a Church? We can see it just a few verses earlier:

{16:13} Then Jesus went into parts of Caesarea Philippi. And he questioned his disciples, saying, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?”
{16:14} And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, and others say Elijah, still others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
{16:15} Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
{16:16} Simon Peter responded by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
{16:17} And in response, Jesus said to him: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father, who is in heaven.

At this point Jesus has been teaching the Good News in the synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, performing great miracles among the people, confronting the Pharisees and the Sadducees and great crowds have been following Him through His travels of the region (Matt 4:23-25). Jesus has also sent His Apostles to do likewise (10:5 on). After this, Jesus brings His Apostles to Caesarea Philippi, He is going to have an important meeting with them in order to ask them a very significant question: “Who do men say that the Son of man is?”. They responded that some say “John the Baptist” – Incorrect. Others that, “Elijah” – Incorrect. Others, “Jeremiah or one of the prophets” – again, incorrect. So people were wondering around giving their own opinion of who Jesus is. Groups had their own versions of Jesus, they were saying nice things about Him but they were mistaken, they did not hold the Truth. So, knowing that He was going to physically stop walking on this earth for many years, and in order to avoid incorrect teachings among people, in order for people of all generations to hold to His True Doctrine, He builds His Church, and for this reason His Church must be indefectible. When Jesus then asks the Apostles “But who do you say that I am?” Peter is the first (and only one) to respond and says: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” No creature had told him this, it was God Himself (the Father) who revealed this infallible truth to Peter. Therefore Jesus responds:

“And I say to you, that you are Peter [Kepha], and upon this rock [Kepha] I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.” (Matt 16:18-19).

The Church will be guided by God Himself until the end of time holding Jesus’ true doctrine: “Therefore, go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have ever commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, even to the consummation of the age.” (Matt 29:29-20). Jesus does not say “I’ll be with you but as long as you behave well, if not I will leave you” No. He says, “I’m with you ALWAYS” because Peter has received the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven from God Himself.

Why do you think the Pharaoh appointed Joseph (as mentioned above) over the entire land of Egypt? It was because he knew that God was with Joseph. Only by a revelation from God is that Joseph was able to correctly interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams with certainty, in other words, infallibly. So the Pharaoh knew that God was going to guide Joseph administrating his land, and when the Pharaoh is appointing Joseph as his administrator over the entire land of Egypt, see what he does:

{41:42} And he took the ring from his own hand, and he gave it into his hand. And he clothed him with a robe of fine linen, and he placed a necklace of gold around his neck.

Taking his ring from his own hand and giving it to Joseph is a sign of giving authority, as well as of clothing him with a robe of fine linen and a necklace of gold on his neck.

Similarly, Jesus says to Peter: “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.”

The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven belong to God, but He gives them to Peter as a sign of giving him authority.

The words: “whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven” echo Isaiah 22:22 that says: “And when he opens, no one will close. And when he closes, no one will open”. The keys of the house of David were given to Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah in order to take care of this house and also this giving away of the keys is a sign of giving authority in order to guard the house.

{22:20} And this shall be in that day: I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah.
{22:21} And I will clothe him with your vestment, and I will strengthen him with your belt, and I will give your authority to his hand. And he shall be like a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.
{22:22} And I will place the key of the house of David upon his shoulder. And when he opens, no one will close. And when he closes, no one will open.
{22:23} And I will fasten him like a peg in a trustworthy place. And he will be upon a throne of glory in the house of his father.

Here Eliakim is being appointed as the successor of Shebna who was in charge of the Temple (22:15), by receiving the proper vestments, belt and keys of the house of David, so here we know that this particular position is of authority and has/requires succession.

Scriptures tells us that the role of Eliakim is to become a “Father” to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. So, when Jesus gives Peter the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, it is so that he becomes a “Father” figure for all nations, for His Church is Universal. God is the creator of the Universe, thus His Church must be Universal. The Kingdom of Heaven is available to all, for everyone. So here we see that the role of Peter was appointed to be the first man in charge of Jesus’ Universal Church.

The words “whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven” also have a resemblance of what God told Abraham:

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and magnify your name, and you will be blessed. I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 3: 2-3).

The fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham is Jesus Christ who, in turn, gives the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to the man that He has appointed to be in charge of His Church, His Vicar, while He is away walking on this earth with words of similar connotations “whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven and whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven”. These words are a promise, also a prophecy, that His Church will always remain indefectible, that is She cannot err to the extent of teaching heresy which is a teaching contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ, or past dogmatic teachings, otherwise, the gates of Hell would have prevailed because this “heretical” teaching will be leading Jesus’ faithful away from the path of salvation.

An analogy of what teaching heresy can cause: 'Someone tells that X link brings to the Vatican website where people can learn how one can be saved, but if that link has at least one letter wrong of the Vatican website, that link can instead bring people to another website, a pornographic website where souls sin mortally, lose the state of grace and are headed to end up in Hell'. In this case, the gates of Hell have been opened and prevailed. A situation like this can never happen with Jesus Church teachings because Jesus made a promise and the Holy Spirit guides His Church. Jesus made this promise and He cannot err because He is God, Jesus cannot lie (which is worst), for the same reason that He is God. Therefore, His Church will always remain teaching true doctrine.

In a counter-actual hypothetical, If Peter or one of his successors teaches a heresy, Jesus would be in the impossible situation that this heretical teaching will need to be bound in Heaven, per His own words, and if He doesn’t do it, He would be left as a liar. Therefore, this cannot happen under any circumstance because Jesus is Truth (John 14:6). Similarly, the teachings of the Magisterium of His Church, Peter and the Apostles in communion with Peter and their respective successors (Matt 18:18 ).

We have a place to trust of sane doctrine that comes from God which is Jesus' own Church, His Universal Church. He gave His word and we trust Him.
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