Catholic Controversies

On his podcast Pints with Aquinas, Matt Fradd and I discussed the Papacy. Very lively and wide-ranging conversation. Matt is an excellent interviewer. He entitled the show “A Conversation with the “Indiana Jones” of the Catholic Church”

I interviewed on Reason & Faith on the Crisis in the Church with William Albrecht, Erick Ybarra and Michael Lofton.

Topics we discuss on Reason & Faith: What do we mean “Crisis in the Church”? What can we do as faithful members of the Church? You chose to become Catholic even though you saw the problems in the Church, why? What are your thoughts on the current papacy? and much more.

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34A8D4E9-74C8-4F95-98E2-35786A76BA97There are three “truths” I have been asked about many times. Often people tell me these as though they’re explaining to me something I’ve never heard before. However, in each case, there is no historical, biblical or actual basis to any three of them. In each case they started being taught in recent times and because their side so often they “become true.”

In each case, they started being taught in recent times and because they’re sad so often they “become true.“

1) BREAKING THE LEG OF A WANDERING LAMB

The first of these is that shepherds in the Middle East break the leg of a wandering lamb to keep it close by. And being close to the shepherd makes the lamb very affectionate.

This does not happen and there are no traditions or incidents known of it happening. In fact, there are a good number of reasons why it would not happen. It is simply a manufactured myth.

2). THE “ EYE OF A NEEDLE” IS A GATE

FE7E50AF-5E9C-4045-B107-0FDAFCF875A9The story is lovely for preaching because it graphically explains how a camel cannot get through the small door in a wall to enter a city. With all the merchandise on it’s back the camel driver hast to remove everything from the camel’s back so it can stoop down and we go through the small gate.

However, there is no historical, written or archaeological evidence there was ever such a gate. The camel was the largest thing people usually saw and the eye of the needle the smallest, therefore, it made an excellent visual image about how a rich man could into heaven only by offloading his wealth and possessions. But the idea that the “eye of the needle” was a gate – is a myth.

3) THE FOLDED NAPKIN IN THE TOMB MEANT JESUS WOULD COME BACK

4515AF0D-50CE-49A7-98D1-A4D808F76F07 The Gospel of John tells us that the napkin or face cloth of Christ was rolled or folded up in a place by itself. Some have invented a custom that never existed, that a man would crumple up his napkin and toss it aside if he was done with dinner but would fold it neatly and set it aside if he was leaving but would come right back.

Therefore, since Jesus‘s face cloth or napkin was folded up in the empty tomb, it was a signal that Jesus would return.

“It has been rumored that folding the napkin at the table is a Jewish custom that means the person folding the napkin intends to return. Numerous Bible study sources have been checked, but there is nothing about this alleged Jewish custom of the folded napkins. The only references to this story seem to be from internet postings and emails that appear to have originated in 2007…. The truth is that table napkins, such as we use today, were not used in Jesus’ day. Jews would do an after-meal hand washing as part of the eating ritual….The folding of the napkin as a sign that a dinner guest was finished may be good European custom, but it appears this custom was unknown in the land of Israel in the time of Jesus.” (Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2013).

The folded napkin, like the other three, is a myth.

4) JESUS COULDN’T HAVE BEEN BORN DECEMBER 25 BECAUSE SHEEP AREN’T OUT  IN THE FIELDS IN WINTER

A5754794-4161-4869-9DBB-C8D5C4B0F68EPresumably wool is not enough to keep sheep warm so the have to stay home during winter. Not true. It can get cold in Bethlehem and on rare occasions I’ve even had snowball fights with local children. But Bethlehem is not Alaska and the temperatures are usually very mild even in December. I have often worn a light jacket even on New Years Day.

Even in inclement weather there are plenty of caves outside of Bethlehem and we often celebrate Mass in Shepherds Field where the shepherds kept the sheep overnight on the first Christmas Eve. Caves are abundant and on a cold night sheep can enjoy the warmth of the caves.

With my own eyes, I tell you, sheep are in the fields eating year-round.

5) SAUL OF TARSUS WAS GIVEN A NEW NAME AT HIS CONVERSION OR CALLING

5ECB630B-F0E9-41D9-B3B2-96E5E319B858Abram was renamed Abraham when God formed a covenant with him (Gen 17:5) and Simon was given his new name Peter (Rock) when he was commissioned as Royal Steward by Jesus (Matt 16:18). However, Saul was never given a new name. Saul of Tarsus had duel citizenship, both a Jew of Israel and also a Roman citizen (Acts 22:26-28). Up until he was called by God to go to the Gentiles, we see him referred to by his Jewish name Saul. After his call, he was referred to by his Roman name Paul (Acts 13:9) because he was now going out to preach to the Gentiles so he used his Roman name.

So Paul was not granted a new name but had two names from birth, his Jewish name and his Roman name.

There’s an old saying that if you say something often enough it becomes true. However, even though these things are said often enough, they are NOT true.

If you’ve heard of other “truths” like this that you think might be a myth, let me know.

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Update: Cardinal Sarah denied having been a signatory.

May 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic clergy led by former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Cardinals Robert Sarah, Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, Joseph Zen, and Janis Pujats have joined an appeal “for the Church and the world” that warns that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used as a “pretext” by world leaders to “control” people, strip them of their fundamental rights, while providing a “disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control” (read full text below).

In the face of restrictions around the world on the public celebration of the sacraments, the signatories assert the right of the Church to offer public worship, unimpeded by State interventions.

Finally, as Pastors responsible for the flock of Christ, let us remember that the Church firmly asserts her autonomy to govern, worship, and teach. This autonomy and freedom are an innate right that Our Lord Jesus Christ has given her for the pursuit of her proper ends. For this reason, as Pastors we firmly assert the right to decide autonomously on the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, just as we claim absolute autonomy in matters falling within our immediate jurisdiction, such as liturgical norms and ways of administering Communion and the Sacraments. The State has no right to interfere, for any reason whatsoever, in the sovereignty of the Church.

The signatories ask that “restrictions on the celebration of public ceremonies be removed.”

Along with the 4 cardinals signing the appeal are 8 bishops, 3 priests, 21 journalists, 11 medical doctors, 13 lawyers, 18 teachers and professionals, and 12 various groups and associations.

For the whole article, click here.

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More and more Catholics identifying as “born-again”

March 13, 2020

This is an unsettling development in the American Catholic Church. However, we had it coming. With priestly scandals, weak-kneed bishops, liberal and leftist theology and politics — what are serious Catholics to do? The answer is to hunker down, pray and work for revival, but many are looking to the conservative, experiential, emotionally-satisfying Evangelical churches […]

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This is the Faith! Thank you Cardinal Müller!

January 21, 2020

Speaking into the confusion of our modern world, and unfortunately the Vatican. Bravo Cardinal Müller!

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“Francis was never pope? Call me unpersuaded.” By Dr. Ed Peters

January 20, 2020

Article below by Canon Lawyer, Dr. Ed Peters: (Steve Ray here: It is amazing how many people today are rejecting the papacy of Pope Francis, claiming that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is really the pope. It comes up on my Twitter and Facebook accounts almost daily. Even though Canon Lawyer Ed Peters wrote his legal […]

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If the Barrage of Bad News from Rome causes Anxiety…

November 24, 2019

If following the problems in Rome is causing you to stumble, be depressed or anxious— just turn it off and live your Catholic life locally and be holy. This is what all Catholics did before the prevalence of the mass media.

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Free Webinar: Keeping Faith in a Hostile World

October 27, 2019

Keeping Faith In A Hostile World – Living as Catholics in a Non-Christian World Join Teresa Tomeo with guests Steve Ray and Al Kresta Free Webcast!  Wednesday, October 30th; 11am-Noon ET The culture has grown hostile to our faith, bombarding us with contradictory messages. With scandals and confusion even seeping into the Catholic Church, it can be hard to stay […]

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My Talk on Pope Francis is now available

October 24, 2019

A few weeks ago I gave a controversial talk entitled “How Does a John Paul 2 Catholic Survive in a Pope Francis World.” The talk was given to a 6-state gathering of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre with a number of bishops in the audience. Al Kresta spoke first with the same topic […]

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Pagan Idols into the Tiber River: It Wasn’t a Stunt

October 22, 2019

Whatever that was, it wasn’t a ‘stunt’ By Ed Peters, Canon Lawyer October 22, 2019 A few days ago men removed some female figurines (centerpieces for several weird ceremonies in Rome the last few weeks) from a church and tossed them into the Tiber River. Vatican spokesman Paolo Ruffini dismissed the act as a “stunt”. […]

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EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo is Under Attack; Pope Says He’s Honored to be Attacked by Americans

September 11, 2019

The post below was from a year ago but certainly still very timely. The blog hit a nerve so I am reposting this. Having been on EWTN a couple of times since this original posting, I must say that EWTN and affiliates are spot on and I support them and their ministry and assessment of the Church all […]

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Pope Says Capital Punishment is Inadmissible, Cardinal Dolan Praises the Decision, Ed Peter’s Challenges Both

June 18, 2019

A comment on a cardinal’s tweet re capital punishment, by Canon Lawyer Ed Peters: June 17, 2019 Earlier today Cdl. Dolan of New York tweeted: “With the clear and cogent clarification of the successor of St. Peter, there now exists no loophole to morally justify capital punishment.” The supposedly clear and cogent clarification that Dolan […]

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Does the Bible Contain Errors, or is it Inerrant?

March 10, 2019

An e-mail I received today with a very important and pertinent question. It involves the inerrancy of Scripture. In short, this means that the Scriptures do not contain errors. I decided to answer the e-mail and share my response. Pope Leo XIII wrote, “For all the books that the Church receives as sacred and canonical […]

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Why Stay with the Church? Make Rome Catholic Again! Steve Ray Talks Straight with Teresa Tomeo

March 9, 2019

Steve’s segment starts 24:00 minutes into the show. The questions are multiple. What is happening to the Church? Why aren’t Rome and the bishops doing something about homosexual clergy? Why should I stay with the Church with all the confusion and lack of action with Pope Francis and the Vatican? I am angry and don’t […]

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A MUST READ: Cardinal Müller issues Manifesto: A quasi correction of Pope Francis’ pontificate

February 9, 2019

“February 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) (News also released by Catholic News Agency) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, has released a Manifesto which reads like a correction of many of the doctrinal errors Pope Francis has taught during his tenure as Pope…. …Pope Francis removed Cardinal Müller from his post as […]

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Headline-Making Homily after Young Man’s Suicide

December 17, 2018

Must-read: the headline-making homily delivered after a young man’s suicide Deacon Greg Kandra Ed Peters has the scoop:  If the text recently sent to me really was the homily that Fr. Don LaCuesta preached at the funeral Mass of a young man who suddenly killed himself a few days ago, for which homily LaCuesta has been savaged in the […]

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