Catholic Controversies

Debunking 4 Biblical Myths Accepted by Many as True

by Steve Ray on December 29, 2018

There 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

34A8D4E9-74C8-4F95-98E2-35786A76BA97The 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 talks about how a camel cannot get through the small door into a city With all its merchandise and it’s back so the Kamel driver hast to remove all of the wealth from his back so he 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 by offloading his wealth. 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 which 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 coming back.

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

First, this assumes that the burial face cloth is similar to that which would be used at a meal and that rolled up or folded in the Tomb is what someone would do with a napkin at a table.  Second, even if we presume it is a table napkin or that it was folded up as one would do at a table, there is no historical or cultural evidence that this custom ever exited or took place.

Even if there was such a custom of folding a napkin and setting it aside to indicate you’d be back (which there is not), it’s a big stretch to apply that to the tomb of Christ. It, 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 a snowball fight with a local children. But Bethlehem is not Alaska and the temperatures are usually very mild even in December. I am here now walking around with only a light jacket and it’s almost New Year’s.

Even in inclement weather there are plenty of caves outside of Bethlehem and in a few days we will have Mass in Shepherds Field where the shepherds kept the ship 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 around.

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 any other “truths” like this that you think might be a myth, let me know.

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She Wrote that She is Worried about the Church…

by Steve Ray on November 10, 2018

In response to a concerned convert to the Catholic Faith.  What to think about all the scandals and the confusion and the divisions in the Church under the current Vatican? Here is my short response…

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You’re not the only one distressed by what’s going on in the Church today all the way up to the pope. There is confusion and division swirling everywhere, much of it instigated up to the highest levels and that is not a good thing. Plus we have Cardinals, bishops and priests who are acting scandalously — although in the big picture, I must say — there are only a very few in relation to the great ones that predominate in the Church.

This is a time where knowing church history is a big benefit. When you study the history of the Church you find out that there have been times much worse than now, many more scandals and awful popes. Discovering the lives of some of the popes of the past is enough to curl your hair.

But at this time, as a convert, I love being Catholic and I know this is the Church and I know that it has always been filled with sinners and often with some leaders who care more about their own well-being, agendas, and desires (even lusts) than they care about the sheep. That’s why God is always warning the shepherds because he knows their propensity towards self-interest.

But this is a great time to be a Catholic because we have a battle to fight and as far as I’m concerned, I feel I was born for a time like this. Yes, it often makes evangelism difficult but at the same time, it gives us a chance to talk with people about the Church that we may not have had before. People may want to bring up the issues and I always say, “Great, let’s talk!”.

The first one to sit on the Chair of Peter denied our Lord and of the other 11 “bishops” one of them betrayed Jesus and the rest of them fled. Later St. Paul confronted the first Pope Peter for being a hypocrite (Gal 2:11). We were never promised perfect leaders (nor perfect fellow sheep). From beginning to end Scripture warns us that many of our leaders will be problems and some even “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” So we should not be surprised.

Should we leave? Where else can we go?  Peter said to Jesus, “You’re the one who has the words of eternal life.”  Jesus is the one building his Church (not “churches”) and we know the end of the story already because the Bible tells us. In the end, we win and the Church will be triumphant. Those who have remained faithful will be rewarded, and those who have caused little ones to stumble will be punished severely.

If one thinks a pope or prelate is above criticism, read that section in my new book The Papacy: What the Pope Does and Why It Matters (released this month by Ignatius Press).

So, don’t be too discouraged but just pray and keep living out your Catholic life in a faithful way. Remember it’s not our job to fix it — though we pray and work toward that end. This is Jesus’ Church  — it’s built on him and he is building it. The pope is simply the successor of Peter. They come and go, good ones and bad ones, but the Church continues to march forward. Onward Christian soldiers!

God bless you!

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ea5bbaf0-9208-4600-9a93-fd5be29153d3A month ago Archbishop Viganó exposed the secrets of the homosexual network in the Vatican and the Catholic Church. He called on Pope Francis to resign and all the bishops and Cardinals in the network to resign with him.

Since Pope Francis has been silent (and unhappily Pope Emeritus Benedict too) Archbishop Viganó has released a new letter.

If you haven’t read it yet you need to do so.  God bless this Archbishop.

Article and full text here.

Matt Fradd explains why we can and should criticize a pope. His commentary on ++Viganó’s letter. Great video here….

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Why the Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment

September 20, 2018

If Pope Francis were to teach that capital punishment is “absolutely” immoral, he would be contradicting the teaching of scripture, the Fathers, and all previous popes, and substituting for it “some new doctrine.” June 7, 2017 Joseph M. Bessette, Dr. Edward Feser  Editor’s note: This first part of a two-part article on Catholicism and the death penalty was originally […]

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Bishop Barron: Why Remain Catholic? Why Not Cut and Run?

September 5, 2018
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An Impassioned Appeal to the Pope & Explanation Why Our Patience has RUN OUT!

September 4, 2018

A friend and well-known commentator everyone knows, Al Kresta,  President of Ave Maria Radio, sent me this today. I said it captured a lot of Catholic’s sentiment and asked if I could share it. He said YES!  I think his comments reflect the heart of all of us good Catholics in America struggling to understand […]

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“Defending Archbishop Viganò & Why We Stay Catholic” by George Weigel

August 31, 2018

I found this article by George Weigel in First Things to be very insightful and compelling. It is one more voice confirming the integrity and importance of Archbishop Viganó and what he wrote in his 11-page letter. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to read this article. He ends, “What Archbishop Viganò testifies to knowing on […]

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Really? The Pope has more important things to do ?!?!

August 28, 2018

When I saw this I couldn’t believe it. With the sex scandal raging, Cardinals exposed as perverts, young men, seminarians and priests abused and raped by clergy, men raised to Bishop and Cardinal while doing such despicable and perverted things, the Pope credibly charged with culpability — and Cupich of Chicago says there are more important […]

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Pope Francis and Capital Punishment

August 4, 2018

Excellent article by Edward Feser in First Thing Magazine that puts Pope Francis misstep in perspective … ********************** “In a move that should surprise no one, Pope Francis has once again appeared to contradict two millennia of clear and consistent scriptural and Catholic teaching. The Vatican has announced that the Catechism of the Catholic Church will […]

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Two Relevant Quotes from Two Brilliant Minds

July 17, 2018

Christopher Dawson (@cdawsonquotes) “Protestantism, Liberalism, and Communism are three successive stages by which our civilization has passed from Catholicism to complete secularism. The first eliminated the Church, the second eliminated Christianity, and the third eliminates the human soul.”   Hilaire Belloc (@bellocquotes) “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — […]

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Cardinal Burke Speaks on the Confusion in the Church and the Need for Bishops to Speak Out

May 7, 2018

Here is a real prince of the Church. God bless him. The following interview on current events in the Church with George Weigel is also excellent. You may also want to read “The German Church Divided” in the Catholic Thing. This regards communion for divorced and civilly remarried and communion for Protestants. Also Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s […]

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“Encouraging ministers to give holy Communion to divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics”?

March 5, 2018

Luke 16:18  “Every one who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” Thus says Our Lord Jesus. Some Church leaders today seem to be contradicting His words and the Laws of the Church. Canon Lawyer Ed Peters comments on new developments: “A […]

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EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo is Under Attack – even it seems from the Vatican

February 26, 2018

A number of good Catholic journalist and newscasters are speaking out about what is going on with the Vatican. Raymond Arroyo is one of them. “Raymond Arroyo is a New York Times bestselling author, journalist and a producer. He is the news director and lead anchor of EWTN News, the news division of the Eternal […]

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Does God Tempt Us to Sin? Should we Change the Words of the “Our Father” Prayer?

December 11, 2017

There are a lot of discussions this week about the Pope’s comments on the wording of the “Our Father” prayer, especially the line “Lead us not into temptation.” He said it gives the wrong impression — that God Himself leads us into sinful temptations. Of course, taken at face value without understanding the nuances of […]

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

September 29, 2017

By Canon Lawyer, Dr. Ed Peters: (Note: I am giving this one shot. If it sways some adherents of the ‘Francis-was-never-pope’ group, great; but if it only reassures observers who, regardless of what they think about how Francis is governing, are disquieted by the suggestion that his papacy itself is a chimera, that satisfies me […]

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Is Pope Francis Teaching Heresy? 66+ Scholars and Bishops Say “Yes”

September 25, 2017

I am not expressing any opinion here. I am just posting three of the many articles about a Papal Correction which is taking the Catholic world by storm. Because Pope Francis is refusing to explain his teachings there is a justified response and request for clarification or correction. Read and consider this historical situation and […]

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