Sorry, You’re Not Allowed to Do That

I am going to be blunt.

You are not the arbiter of Christian doctrine. You don’t get to decide the tenets of Christianity. You don’t have permission to reverse or negate Christian teaching. You don’t have the authority to define Christianity. Neither do I.

If you are a Catholic, you don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the moral law and the Creed are valid. If you are a Protestant, you don’t get to personally interpret the Bible and tell us what you are sure Christ meant. If you are a secularist, you don’t get to remake Jesus in your own image, i.e., a New Agey, non-threatening guru who fits neatly into your own worldview.

Trust me, it’s nothing personal. You just simply don’t have that option. You didn’t establish Christianity, and you have no permission to reinvent it.

You see, Christianity is a revealed religion. It was given. It is handed down. It is not open to anyone’s personal interpretation, whether one’s name is Arius, Nestorius, Luther, Kennedy, Pelosi, Chittister, or Miller.

You can choose to accept the whole of Christianity and her teachings, or you are free to reject them. You are even free to start your own religion, teaching whatever you’d prefer. But you do not have the right to speak in the name of Christ’s Church and define authentic Christian belief for yourself or others. You do not have that right, because you do not have that authority. 

joanofarc1Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle (St. John) and the entire Deposit of Faith has been handed down intact by the only men to whom Christ delegated His authority: The Apostles and their successors, also known as the pope and the body of bishops. This teaching authority (Magisterium) is not you, and it’s definitely not me.

The Magisterium, guided by the Holy Spirit, protects the Deposit of Faith from any deviation, addition, subtraction, reversal, contradiction, distortion, or destruction offered by those who wish Church teaching to be something it is not.

So, as earnest as you are, as sincere as you are, as studious as you are, as kind as you are, even as holy as you are, you are not allowed in any way to alter, bypass, morph, undermine, negate, or redefine Christian teaching on faith or morals and still insist that it’s Christian.

You may receive the Faith, you may accept the Faith, and you may hand down the Faith pure and entire, but you may not be its arbiter.

Sorry, you’re just plain not allowed to do that.


Leila Miller is a wife and mother of eight children who has a penchant for writing and a passion for teaching the Catholic Faith in simple ways. This summa cum laude Boston College graduate also loves to debate atheists, advocate for special needs orphans, and attempt the matchmaking of young Catholic singles (not necessarily in that order). All of the above is accomplished on her three blogs: Little Catholic Bubble, Orphan Report, and the invite-only Catholic Moms Matchmaking.

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  • joan

    Go Leila! This is awesome!

  • marnie

    I really enjoyed this article and I wholeheartedly agree!

  • lightedlamp97

    Lovely, simple and true! I needed this message today. Thank you!

  • Yvonne

    Tomes and books could not state it more better. Thank you for just stating the Fact.

  • Richard III

    A priest I know once put it this way, “The Catholic Church is not Burger King; you can’t ‘have it your way’.”

  • Steve Horvath

    As the oldest of nine children, you can take your opposition to birth control and put it up the popes rear end…

  • Leila Miller

    Steve, that is totally classless. FYI, my daughter who is about to be married is the oldest of eight. She and her future husband (one of five) want tons of kids. I’m pretty sure your experience has nothing to do with a number per se, and a lot to do with other things.

  • Leila Miller

    And remind me what your tasteless comment has to do with the actual post?

  • Chris

    Steve, I have no idea why you would say such a thing regarding the existence of your younger sibs but being the 7th of eight I’m pretty happy mom and dad pressed on. And I’m pretty sure my wife and seven smiley kids would agree.

  • chris

    …and ya know, now that I think about, i’m going to go out on a limb and say that my kids future spouses, in-laws, best friends, teammates, fellow soldiers, teachers, students, patients, business partners, kids, neighbors, pastors, car salesman etc etc etc, would also agree that MY parents do good by pressing on.
    In the summer of 1968 my mom already had 6 kids in eight years. She was exhausted, sick, overwhelmed, broke and frankly on the verge of a breakdown. After not being pregnant for a couple years, having the doctor tell here she was 2 months along was damn near crushing news. The doctor passed her a small hand written note with an address and first name and told her to go see this doctor and he would ” take care” of the problem. Upon returning to the car, my grandfather (who gave my mom a ride that day) was confused at the instructions and went inside to talk to the doctor. When he returned he looked at my mom and said “you going to keep this baby and everything will work out fine God willing”.
    My grandfathers faith, my moms sacrifice and Gods plan is why I’m here today. Perhaps if my mom and grandfather felt they could “make the call” in this situation and ignore their faiths teaching just this once, I wouldn’t be here. And I ‘m pretty sure that my grandfathers great great grandkids future husband would agree they made the right call in following teach teaching.

  • tajd

    hey steve, sounds like your whining because you had to share. the most generous thing parents can give a child is a sibling. no material rewards out due a personal relationship with another human being

  • chris following church teaching.

  • OldWorldSwine

    Well, who can argue with such airtight logic?

  • John Whosoever


  • djc5283

    The issue with her logic is she probably has no background in biblical literary criticism. It is VERY easy to disagree with the bible seeing there is no proof that is was revealed. Furthermore, it the synoptics, rather than John, have a greater chance of a shred of historical relevance. John is almost entirely the Johannine theory of Christianity and was probably written between 90 and 110 AD. Furthermore, until you read the Quran, Mahabhrata/Ramayana (Hindu), and Buddhists texts such as the Pali Canon, and the quotes of Buddha. I highly doubt most of you have ever read even 1 of the above books but are absolutely sure the bible is true…

  • Cincinnatus1775

    Amen and amen!

  • chris

    Furthermore, I highly doubt that you have any idea how well read or unread anyone on this blog is but are perfectly happy to point and laugh at our unwashed existence. I have read large chunks of the Quran, I knew a really nice family of Sikh’s and I had a hippy, burnout neighbor who had a little string sticking out of his back. And when you pulled it , he would quote something from Buddha. And I’ve learned that somebody who uses the word furthermore twice after making one point, is not someone you want leading you into the crosswalk.

  • Leila Miller

    Sorry, djc, but can I get an idea of your background? Are you a believer? An atheist, a Christian (Protestant)? Help me out and then we can go from there. Christianity has always claimed to be a revealed religion, and she defines her beliefs, correct? Not outsiders? If you want to disprove Christianity in general, that is a whole other topic and post.

  • surreal4communism

    Why does his background matter? Truth is truth, no matter who you are.

  • surreal4communism

    Why is it that the pope gets to “have it his way” and define Christianity? The problem with Catholicism is that it sets some rather arbitrary and in many cases opportunistic standards on Christianity, but that is supposed to be OK because the higher your rank the closer you are to God? Nobody wants to say that, but if you go by actions that is how the catholic church is structured.

  • Leila Miller

    We discuss issues differently based on whom we talk to. Do you talk to a scientist the same way you talk to a child? If so, then you might have a really hard time communicating. I talk to Christians differently than I talk to atheists. That doesn’t change Truth. Surely you can understand such distinctions.

  • Leila Miller

    Actually, the pope has no power at all to change Truth. You fundamentally misunderstand the Church and how she operates. This might help:

  • Anne Cregon Parks

    Yeah! Amen!!

  • surreal4communism

    Thank you for the link, and the response 🙂
    The pope and the Bishops do have the power to excommunicate (done in large numbers even in this century), in other words to bar someone from the Eucharist and receiving communion. For those that are excommunicated many Catholics assume it was the right thing to do because that is what they were told, as if they don’t have the mental faculties or close enough relationship with god to decide for themselves. My question then is, why do mortal men have the power to intervene in a person’s relationship with god?

    Another question I have is why are women not allowed to be priests? I know its tradition, but WHY is it that way?

  • surreal4communism

    True enough lol

  • Leila Miller

    “My question then is, why do mortal men have the power to intervene in a person’s relationship with god?”

    They don’t. But they have a right (those who have been given authority by Christ) to govern the Church and care for souls (which includes the warning that is called excommunication). You may want to note that God has always delegated His authority from the top down (look at what happened between Korah and Moses in the Old Testament, and look at the New Testament where Jesus says to mere mortal men: “He who hears you, hears me” and “what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” for starters.)

    As for women priests, tons has been written on that, but basically, it’s Christological and good theology. Christ was a male (on purpose) and priests stand in persona chrisiti (in the person of Christ). He is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the bride. It brings up all sorts of theological confusion if the Bridegroom is a female…. Clearly, if Christ had intended to ordain women, He would have ordained his perfect and holy Mother Mary.

  • surreal4communism

    I think the point of the original post is that there are many religions out there. So what would you say to an agnostic who asks what makes Christianity the true religion?

  • Leila Miller

    Actually that wasn’t the point of the OP. The point of the OP is that no one has the right to define Christianity for himself. But as to your question, I would say to them that Jesus Christ was the only major religious figure to claim to be God Himself. No one else claimed something so outrageous, not Mohammed, not Confucius, not Buddha, no one. And His claims are backed up by a specific event in history that was witnessed by thousands:

    If Jesus rose, then He is God. If He is God, then we believe what He presents as True.

  • Cindy

    It’s not the pope’s opposition to birth control but God’s opposition to birth control which the Church teaches because that is her job, to teach the Truth God wants us to know, whether you like it or not and whether it’s popular or not. Btw, seems you’re a little bitter about having so many siblings. I sure hope you don’t treat them the way you just spoke about them here. After all, how is whining that you’re the “oldest of nine” any different from “I’m unhappy that my siblings exist, they shouldn’t”? You seem very bitter when you should be happy. We’ll pray for you! Please come into the Catholic Church and allow her to heal your wounds an teach you how to have true joy.

  • pnyikos

    No, I do not have a close enough relationship to God to decide what I can do AND still have the privilege of receiving the Eucharist. No one on earth has that close a relationship to God, nor such sublime mental faculties.

    Excommunication is a rarity nowadays, but you can still get it without any bishop knowing about it for procuring or actively assisting someone to procure it. It is a law of the Church that excommunication is automatic [latae sentiae]. You can also get it latae sentiae for desecrating a consecrated host. If you consider that automatic excommunication for such reasons is “intervening in a person’s relationship with god [sic]” then I leave it to Leila to explain why some of your fellow mortal men have that power, and ask you, “Why not?”.

    By the way, since you wrote “god” instead of “God,” let me make bold to ask: did you make your god in your own image?

  • Francis Choudhury

    A thousand contradictory doctrines (indeed a thousand contradictory images of God) abound in “Christianity” today, thanks mainly to the incredibly arrogant insistence of some Christians to privately interpret Scripture for themselves.

    That the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God is believed by all Christians generally. But it is clear that if the Scriptures are wrongly interpreted, they become the word of man. For, as the Protestant Bishop Walton says: “The Word of God does not consist in mere letters, whether written or printed, but in the true sense of it.”

    This is also what St. Jerome (who was the first to translate the Bible into Latin) had said ages before: “Let us be persuaded that the Gospel consists not in the words but in the sense. A wrong explanation turns the Word of God into the word of man, and, what is worse, into the word of the devil; for the devil himself could quote the text of Scripture…” Indeed, he did so when he tempted our Lord in the desert (Matt 4: 6).

    Those who boast that they stand by the “Bible alone”, (and as interpreted by themselves), fail to consider this point, and imagine that their standing by the Bible alone means that they do not rely upon human authority, but upon the Word of God.

    Certainly nothing can be better than to stand by the Word of God, but is what
    they call standing by the Bible alone, actually standing by the word of God?

    Firstly, the Bible, though divinely inspired, is but a written document, and a written document often so obscure, that even St. Augustine, who was so great a scholar, and a Doctor of the Church, confessed that there were more things in the Bible he did not understand than those he did!

    Secondly, the Bible, because it is a written document, always remains silent unless interpreted – that is, unless some meaning is affixed to the words, by someone. It is clear that the Bible cannot speak and interpret itself: you must take the Book in your hand, open it, read it, compare passages, and attach a certain meaning to the words in them.

    Therefore, when a “Bible believing Christian” says: “I stand by the Bible alone” (rejecting Sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Catholic Church’s Magisterium) he does not mean that he stands by the Bible uninterpreted – for in such case the Bible is mute.

    He does not mean that he stands by the Bible as interpreted by the Church – for that would be not the Protestant way but the Catholic way!

    Nor does he mean that he stands by the Bible as interpreted by somebody else; as that would be – according to his notion – to give up his right of private interpretation!

    What he really means then is that he stands by the Bible alone as interpreted by himself, and that the sense in which he personally understands it is the sure Word of God. Some claim, that!!! Breathtaking delusion, in fact!

    Protestants do this all the time. Some Catholics too indulge in such fanciful exercises at times. So who can blame the innocent non believer for also taking a shot at figuring out the Catholic Church’s scripture and faith for himself/herself?

  • surreal4communism

    Entire groups have been excommunicated even in this century, but certainly when compared to the number of practicing Catholics out there the percentage is quite low; however, my point is that it does still happen. To answer your first question, my fellow mortal men and women do not have that power because they are mortal and mortals make mistakes. “No one on earth has that close a relationship to God, nor such sublime mental faculties.” That I agree with. That brings up the question, if excommunication is automatic

    To answer the second question, I have no image of god whatsoever, and I will never make the assumption that if there is a god that I, and others, can understand what it wants, if anything. I use god instead of God, because God assumes that the god used by the Catholic church is the only true god. There is no evidence that the Catholic god is the real god instead of the god of Islam (same guy, but a slightly different interpretation and Jesus is only a prophet), or Brahma, the god of Hinduism (the many other gods are incarnations of Brahma).

  • surreal4communism

    To follow up on saying there is no evidence, what I mean is that Christianity in general has no more evidence than other religions. I appreciate the link provided to me by Leila Miller, but it proves nothing. It isn’t disputed that Jesus existed, but the question is if he really is the son of god or a cult leader with really good ideas. Priests of all religions have been able to fool the masses, so which is more likely, that a man is good at the ancient art of magic and finds himself in fortuitous circumstances or that he is the son of an invisible man? Not to mention that word of mouth, mob mentality, and predefined beliefs tend to embellish things quite quickly, as can be seen with other religions as well. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, or in the vein of David Hume, “which is more likely, that the order of nature has been suspended or that we made a mistake?”

  • Guest

    You are not right. You follow a man made religion and not the Word of God. Many places the RCC teaching contradicts the Word of God and all Catholics go with the teachings and doctrine of men over the Word of God. You base your faith on what The Magisterium teaching you and I’ll base my faith on what the Holy Bible teaches.

  • Leila Miller

    And you got that Holy Bible from….?

    On what authority do you believe the Holy Bible is from God?
    On what authority do you personally interpret the Bible?

  • Leila Miller

    Sorry, but I think you missed the point of the link, about whether or not Jesus rose. You didn’t give a plausible, reasonable alternative to how things went down. No one has given me a scenario that gives that step-by-step account of what could have happened. If you would like to be the first, please go to the link and comment there. Otherwise, you have no reasonable explanation for why countless people would be willing to be tortured and martyred for a lie or for “really good ideas” (which you did not enumerate?).

  • Leila Miller

    Excommunication simply means that one cannot be admitted to the sacraments, as one is in grave, manifest sin. It is a severe mercy. Excommunication is not damning someone to hell (no one can do that!), but it’s a very serious warning to a soul that he has placed himself outside of the communion of the Church. And yes, it’s definitely in the purview of the Magisterium to do such a thing, seeing how the Church was given that authority. Now, you may disagree, but that is Catholic teaching. You may not think Catholic teaching is valid, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is Catholic teaching. That’s the point of the post. Remember, if someone thinks that Catholicism is a bunch of bunk, then he wouldn’t care about excommunication, correct?

  • Richard III

    Wow! Kudos for your mom, your grandfather, and for you!

  • Richard III

    If the Catholic Church’s teachings were based on or changed with the times, then it would have supported birth control, abortion, sterilization, divorce, euthanasia, polygamy, and same-sex marriage long ago. As it is, the Catholic Church is the only church as whole to oppose those things, and thereby it and many of its members have been given a lot of grief. Not exactly opportunistic.

  • Francis Choudhury

    You must be so extra-ordinary to know what the Scriptures contain without help for their understanding from the Church which Jesus founded and the Holy Spirit inspired, to compile and infallibly canonize them – the same Church which God commissioned to lead all men into truth! The Church to which He declared, “He who hears you hears me, he who despises you despises me… Go ye therefore and teach all nations… and behold I am with you until the end of the age…”

    Your self-bequeathed uniqueness even leads you now to despise and slander the Magisterium of Jesus’s Church – His own precious Body – in public! Wow! Rebellious pride and a thousand erroneous theologies are precisely what afflict Christianity so deeply today and thwart her divine mission to bear the Good News to the world. It’s high time therefore for you to quit bearing false witness against your neighbor, learn a little Christlike humility, and go and sincerely discuss any concerns you might have about Catholicism with a Catholic priest. Or ask any serious Catholic. Read the Church’s Catechism, then – if you can – publish your detailed findings about what’s wrong with it and why. You owe a minimum of this much to God and to yourself.
    Christianity isn’t some do-it-yourself game to pander to anyone’s personal ego. All manner of Christians come and go, but the (Scripture producing) Catholic Church goes on – and on – until the very end of the age. Just as Her providential Master does. All else other than God’s one true Church and her one true gospel invariably fade away and eventually fall by the wayside – but you’ll know that already if you’ve even minimally studied history.

  • Richard III

    Have you ever heard the “Lord/Liar/Lunatic” test applied to the question of Christ’s divinity? It goes something like this.

    Jesus Christ said He was (and is believed by His followers to be) the Son of God, and this leads to 3 possibilities; (a) That He spoke the truth and was indeed the Son of God (Lord), (b) That He spoke falsely (Liar), or (c) That He was not in His right mind and didn’t really know what he was talking about (Lunatic).

    There is much in the Bible to support the Lord position. All the Old Testament prophets foretell of His coming, and in the New Testament, Christ comes, He gathers His apostles and disciples, He teaches, He preaches, He debates with the scribes and Pharisees, and wins each debate fairly and simply. Last but not least, He performs many miracles, the greatest of which is His Passion and Death for the sins of all the world and His Resurrection. No other religious leader has ever been able to do anything of the kind.

    If Christ was a liar, He would certainly still have taught and preached, gathered followers, and maybe performed a few wonders by either sleight of hand or some occult powers, but it is highly unlikely that He would have willingly faced death, especially such a slow and painful one, for His false teachings. More likely He would have cowered and begged to be spared, loudly insisting that nothing He had taught or done had any truth in it, and thereby would have long ago lost all his creditability.

    As for the Lunatic position, it doesn’t hold up an better than the Liar scenario. Jesus at all times spoke and acted like a man in His right mind, and a very right and intelligent Mind it was. He disarmed all the arguments and objections brought against Him by the most learned men in Israel with ease, and was able to win the minds and hearts of countless followers, from the simple to the geniuses. A lunatic might well allow himself to be put to death, but it is doubtful that he would be as calm, merciful, patient, and forgiving as Christ was.

    From the study of all 3 positions, then, the Lord argument looks by far the most likely, meaning that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, and that the Church He founded is the One, True, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

  • Richard III

    Strictly speaking, Catholics do not “use” God; we worship, know, love, and serve him. Our God is the same God believed in by Protestants, Jews, and Muslims. One big difference between Catholics and these others is that while Protestants, Jews, and Muslims can and do pray to and praise God, they cannot truly worship him because they do not have or celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which was instituted by the Son of God and celebrated by Catholics.

    I don’t know very much about Hinduism, but it’s safe to say that the God of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is not Brahma. God the Father is the First Person of the Trinity, but as the prefix points out, there are only 2 other Persons, not “many”, and while they are distinct, they are also 1 God, and only 1 Person, Jesus Christ, was Incarnated.

  • Cynthia Campos

    Leila, sometimes blunt is the only thing that gets God’s love and mercy across. Thank you for this and praise be to God!

  • surreal4communism

    I may not agree with Catholicism, but I don’t see how that means I shouldn’t care. I know someone who is Catholic so I’m trying to figure out why they are catholic. I read up on a lot of religions because I think knowledge is a good thing. Right now I have begun to look into Catholicism. I’m not looking for a god, I just think that the many faiths that people have and how they defend them are interesting.

    I apologize if I come off as an internet troll. I figure the odds of me challenging anyone’s belief in a forum like this is almost zero, which means I can ask just about anything and get a thoughtful answer. In my mind a good debate isn’t about changing anyone’s mind; instead, it is about understanding how other people think and understanding how I think.

    When it comes to excommunication I want to know WHY the people of the Magisterium, or clergy, or church officials, or whatever term is appropriate (as you can already tell I’m not a catholic) have the authority do such a thing when we know that people, including those church officials (except the pope depending on if you subscribe to Papal infallibility which was defined in 1870) make mistakes. Yes it is tradition, but that doesn’t make something right or wrong. Looking at all of the many historical, and even modern, mistakes of the clergy I don’t see how they should be given the authority to tell someone they cannot take communion, seeing as how communion is so important.

    Or in the case of women as priests, yes Jesus and his apostles were men, but isn’t there a reasonable chance this was done because it was a male dominated society and that a woman apostle in that time wouldn’t be taken seriously?

  • surreal4communism

    As for the resurrection, I will post my question on the link you provided since it may be a bit off topic here.

  • Leila Miller

    I guess the best way to answer you is to show you that God always delegated His authority, from the top down, to mortal men. Here is a post I wrote specifically on that point:

    As for the Eucharist specifically, it is a scandal to receive Communion in a state of obstinate sin, and St. Paul describes it as being “guilty of the body and blood of our Lord”. So, no one has a “right” to march up and get Communion. The Eucharist is certainly important (extremely!) which is why the withholding of Communion is so serious and should really make the soul think. Most excommunications happen via the person’s actions themselves (those who procure or help procure an abortion, for example, are not to receive — they are automatically excommunicated), but when a formal excommunication occurs, the bishop definitely has the authority, as a successor to the Apostles, to control the Sacraments in his diocese.

    Also, you may want to do more reading on infallibility (both papal and ordinary, universal), and here is info on that:

    Also, the difference between infallibility and impeccability:

    As far as women priests (priestesses), you asked: “…isn’t there a reasonable chance this was done because it was a male dominated society and that a woman apostle in that time wouldn’t be taken seriously?” No, that is not possible. First, Jesus did not give a flying fig what people thought. He did and said things that got Him murdered, so why would he be afraid of anything? He often talked and interacted with women in ways that were unheard of, and He did so without blinking. Second, Jesus was God. He cannot commit injustice. He is incapable of sin. His not choosing to ordain women had nothing to do with sin, fear, injustice, sexism, or any other weakness, fault or sin.

  • Leila Miller

    PS: I think it’s great that you are asking, and yes, it’s okay to care about Catholicism. 🙂

  • Richard III

    Exactly, that’s why the 3rd chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians begins, “O foolish (or in one translation, “O stupid”) Galatians!”

  • Richard III

    Right on, Mrs. Miller. The first people to hear of Jesus’s Resurrection were Mary Magdalene and Mary of Cleophas, and at first no one would believe them because it was believed that you couldn’t rely on the testimony of shepherds or women, and of course it was Mary, a woman, who was conceived without sin, chosen to bring Christ into the world, brought body and soul into Heaven by her Son, and crowned by Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit as Queen of Heaven and Earth. That is definitely not playing by the customs of that time.

    And on the women priests issue, I have wondered something for a while. It’s only a hypothesis and I could be extremely off base here, but I have often heard the Church referred to in feminine terms and heard it said that a priest is married to the Church, and as such, would that mean women priests would be the clerical equivalent of same-sex marriage, an impossible contradiction? :-/

  • Leila Miller

    Richard, well said! And yes, you are right, we get some messed-up theology when we have Brides as Bridegrooms! 😉

  • pnyikos

    Other religions don’t make the same claims as Christianity. Have you ever heard of The Everlasting Man, by G. K. Chesterton, where he advances (and defends at length) the thesis that the claims of Incarnation and Resurrection make nonsense of modern comparative religion?

    Sure, we will never KNOW in this life whether Christianity is true, but Roman Catholicism is, in my carefully considered opinion, the best religion–better by far than any non-Christian religion–of keeping the hope of a life after death, in the hands of a loving God, alive.

    David Hume’s greatest lapse of honesty came with his arbitrary, unsupported claim that the universal witness of mankind is that there have never been any miracles.

    But give the devil his due: he admitted that, by his own epistemological standards, the King of Siam “reasoned rightly” in his reply to an ambassador who said that it became so cold in his country that lakes would freeze to where they bear the weight of an elephant. The king’s reaction: “Now I know you are a liar.”

  • Kelsey

    If you want hope of a life after death in the hands of a Loving God you should check out the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

  • Leila Miller

    Except that Mormonism is born out of Protestantism, which is born out of a rejection of Church authority. A cursory reading of the early Church Fathers will show that at no time did they hold an LDS theology.

  • Richard III

    Thank You. 🙂

  • BillinJax

    “Christianity is a revealed religion. It was given. It is handed down.” Amen!

    Certainly to be understood as coming from a higher place or
    authority, and as a gift to be valued and cherished. It was intact and
    complete, not in need of modification or adjustments. It is a masterpiece to
    which nothing could be added to enhance the beauty of it just as all of God’s
    creation the earth, sky and water are here for us to enjoy in abundance but the
    gift of Faith is offered to guide us to the proper use and application for the
    benefit of all mankind. It is humanities one and only instruction manual
    designed and implemented by the Creator himself.

  • Lee

    Wow, I have truly enjoyed the critical thinking here! Getting feed back from Leila has been most appreciated.

  • LizEst

    “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself” (St. Augustine). Likewise, if you pick and choose what you like about the Catholic Church, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Church established by Christ that you follow, but yourself.

  • BillinJax

    Guest……”I’ll base my faith on what the Holy Bible teaches.”

    For this faith you can thank the Church Christ and his apostles establish for you and the tireless years its monks spent compiling the Word of God so that even those who have no appreciation for their work and service for our Lord to spread his light and truth through the Word have access to it. Nevertheless, even if their faith consist only of worshiping the “book’ which the Church martyrs have given their lives to preserve over the ages to be an essential part of God’s presence among his people under the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the successor of St. Peter the Bishop of Rome.

    Peace and Blessing to you through the heart and love of our Blessed Mother Mary.

  • Therese

    dear surreal…

    Have you ever investigated the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
    Here is the only place you will find out EXACTLY what the Church teaches, why the church teaches it, and the sources the Church bases her teachings on.
    Personally, I have major issues with critics of the Catholic Church who have not completely familiarized themselves with all of the pertinent information found in the Catechism.
    Read the catechism first. Then, at least your disagreement will be based on facts and not feelings or opinions.

  • surreal4communism

    Is it seen as “OK” to not receive the Eucharist by being wrongfully excommunicated? I understand that teachings and actions are seen as separate things (again, thank you for the links), but given the importance of the Eucharist it would seem that excommunication should be one of those things the holy spirit would protect, so that mortals like the pope or bishops do not make the wrong decision. (I am assuming you are aware that there have been wrongful excommunications)

    On the issue of women priests, to say “that is not possible” is a pretty strong assertion given you only have circumstantial evidence. Of course Jesus wasn’t afraid, but he must have had at least a sliver of practicality (again, who in that time and culture would take a woman priest seriously). So either Jesus had a partial practical side (he did have to eat and drink to stay alive), or women are inferior in the eyes of god. And when did Jesus ever say that women cannot be priests? Yes, the apostles were men, but when did he ever say that they had to be men? I have never driven a Dodge, but that doesn’t mean I think there is anything wrong with it.

  • surreal4communism

    Therese To be perfectly blunt, the more I read into Catholicism the more arbitrary and circular it appears, but that is an opinion so I mean no disrespect. In my mind we are dealing with opinions; after all, if I proclaim a flying unicorn lives in space you cannot disprove it so it is just an opinion no matter how much I believe in it. I can’t prove it exists and you cannot prove it does not exist.

    For now, tell me how I got my facts wrong with excommunication and women priests. Unless there is a different version, it is a fact that women are not allowed to be priests, and it is a fact that bishops and the pope can keep people from the Eucharist if they see fit. So far the explanations that justify these, either make no logical sense, conflict with history, and even conflict with the overall message found in the bible (sure, you can pick and choose passages, but I can do the same thing to justify slavery and even genocide, which we both know is wrong).

  • surreal4communism

    The suppresion of science, the abuse of indulgences, protection of child abusers, favors to royalty… that is not opportunistic?

    My position is that the church is fallible, just like people. The church has changed positions before and it will continue to do so if it is to survive.

  • Leila Miller

    I’ll take the latter topic first: The reason we are talking past each other is that you think in political-social terms, or as priesthood as a “job”. You feel that if a woman cannot be a priest it means that women are “inferior”. That is not the mind of the Church. After all, as the Church teaches, the most perfect creature ever made by God is a Woman. And there are female saints all over Church history (my two closest parishes are named for women). So, the Church doesn’t see this issue as a “political matter” as the secular world insists everything must be seen. It’s not a matter of inferiority or lack of “equality”. It’s a matter of the intrinsic nature of the priesthood. As a loose analogy, do you think it’s sexist that men cannot be mothers or bear children? Or that women cannot be fathers? Of course not. In the same way, a woman cannot stand in the person of the Bridegroom. I understand that it’s hard to transcend our political, secular realm and see to the heart of theology and the Trinity Itself, but Christianity will never have priestesses.

    You speak of “circumstantial evidence” as if we are trying to “figure out”, even 2,000 years into Christianity, what Jesus really wanted. However, if you revisit the OP, you’ll see that Christianity is a revealed religion. We don’t have to guess what Christ wanted, we already know. It’s been revealed and it’s irreformable. Praise God. Next comment I will address the Eucharist. Thanks for hanging in!

  • Leila Miller

    Oh, my! When people warn of the Church’s need to adapt or not “survive”, I have to chuckle! The Church has outlived every empire that existed when she began and she is poised to outlast all the rest. I’m not worried. It’s the churches that “adapt” (like Episcopalianism and the rest of the mainline churches) which are dying.

    The Church has never changed a thing in Revelation. Not a thing. You are talking sin, we are talking doctrine.

  • Leila Miller

    I’m sorry. Can you show me the inconsistency on those issues? You’d have to show me: 1) Where the Church has previously ordained women and 2) Where the Church has previously allowed anyone and everyone to receive the Eucharist, no matter the state of one’s soul, and with no permission necessary from the Church. Thanks!

  • Leila Miller

    Regarding the concern that the Church must change or die, this is one of my favorite quotes if you have time:

    It’s a description of the Catholic Church, written by 19th century English historian Thomas Macaulay:

    There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church.

    The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre.

    The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable.

    The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour [note from Leila: World Youth Day goes on as we speak, with a *million* youth from around the world gathered to see an old man named Francis].

    The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila….

    Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all.

    She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca.

    And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.There is no earthly explanation for the fact that the Catholic Church, grounded in the office of the papacy, survives and thrives after 20 centuries.

    And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
    — Matthew 16:18

    Jesus Christ is a Man of His word.

  • Leila Miller

    You said elsewhere: Unless there is a different version, it is a fact that women are not allowed to be priests, and it is a fact that bishops and the pope can keep people from the Eucharist if they see fit. Yes, this is true and has always been true. How is this circular?

    As far as the Eucharist: Why are you worried about a sacrament you don’t believe in? The Church has been completely consistent for 20 centuries that Christians may not receive Communion in a state of mortal sin. The Church has also been consistent that reception of Communion is an ecclesiastical matter, as is excommunication. You seem concerned about the person wrongly excommunicated, but why? What do you think will happen to the person who is wrongly excommunicated, or more specifically, what do you think the Church says will happen to the person wrongly excommunicated? Thanks!

  • pnyikos

    The main objection to women priests was very simply stated by Pope John Paul II: the Church was not authorized by Jesus to ordain women priests. The idea is that priests have the exclusive power to utter the words of consecration that change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ; and they alone have the power to forgive sins. These are such important powers that it takes a very special authorization to convey them.

    Both of these powers were given by Christ to the apostles, who handed this authorization on to bishops, who have the exclusive power to ordain priests. But almost two thousand years have elapsed and no authorization has come to ordain women.

    I might add: these arguments do not apply to deacons, and I have argued on Catholic Exchange (and met with lots of opposition on this score) that there is no overwhelming reason why the Church cannot ordain women deacons. The Vatican has not yet spoken one way or the other on this.

    And one thing more: the tradition of an exclusive male priesthood goes back well over a thousand years further in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is rooted, among other things, from the Jews being set apart from the rites of other religions of the time, which often involved human sacrifice. The Carthaginians, for example, sacrificed infants to the goddess Tanit, and she may go back to the ancient Phoenicians.

    There have been women rabbis of late, but no woman has ever been a Jewish priest. Rabbis are really more like Protestant ministers than like Catholic priests.

  • surreal4communism

    I wasn’t referring to those points in particular as being circular, so let me explain what I meant. The teachings of the church are infallible, so a bad pope (bad ACTIONS but supposedly valid TEACHINGS) can teach what he “wants”, but its OK because the holy spirit will somehow make sure that it will always be correct and the bishops will interpret wrong events like lawyers to make sure everything is OK in terms of Catholic law.

    Notice I used the word “wants” in quotations because I am sure you would disagree. A person may say,”He cant teach what he wants only what is right, so he will never teach something that is wrong.” (If that isn’t circular I don’t know what is since anything can be made right) But the crux of that is the holy spirit protecting those teachings, so its OK. To me, and this is just an opinion, that is a huge and dangerous stretch as can be seen by events in history.

    Also back to my original point, you haven’t answered my question. I want to know why Bishops have the authority to hand out a harsh sentence that directly interferes with another’s relationship to god, when those same Bishops make mistakes. I assume (in this particular sentence I may be way off) excommunication would fall under the category of action (fallible), not teaching (infallible). As far as what I think, I would think that god would understand a person’s heart regardless if a bishop made a bad call and wrongfully excommunicated a person. But again, I’m asking you. If a person was wrongfully excommunicated and then died before being exonerated what would happen? And again, why would god grant Bishops such authority?

    I do not personally care if one is excommunicated or not, I’m just curious. I think god (if he exists) should be the judge of whether or not a person receiving communion “counts”; at least in that case there will be no mistakes.

    As for my personal beliefs, there is no more evidence for Christianity than any other religions, so I take it with a grain of salt. I read your support of the resurrection and it proves nothing. Major historians of the day didn’t think the resurrection was worth mentioning, but for the sake of argument suppose the later written accounts are correct.

    Which is more likely- Jesus was a jewish cult leader who was mistakenly taken for dead (this is before modern medicine), given food and water by a concerned follower who wanted to see him alive, having thought he was actually really dead he believes he was resurrected so he told his followers before going into hiding (he knew he would be killed if he stayed), OR is it more likely that the laws of time, space, and all physics as we know it suddenly ceased to exist?

  • Leila Miller

    Wait. Are you actually saying that people in Jesus’ day did not know if people were dead? They didn’t know what death was? Oh, my. And do you know what the Romans did back then, what Crucifixion was? There is no chance (as in zero) that Jesus survived that crucifixion and was somehow buried, and then somehow a follower got through the Roman seal (look up what the Roman seal was) and gave him “food and water” and he just woke up somehow because he survived the Crucifixion and was just A-okay? Uh, not reasonable at all. Much more reasonable that God can suspend the laws of nature that He Himself created and has all power over. Who do you think created physics? If there is a God, then it was God who created physics, and life itself (and laws of time and space). That is the whole point. Jesus’ resurrected to show that He was God and has power over life and death.

    As for what the Pope teaches, you are right that I disagree with what you said. He cannot teach whatever he “wants” and in fact, as my link showed you, infallibility is a negative protection, meaning that he cannot teach anything different than what came before! So, it’s not circular, it’s linear… just look at history and see that the Deposit of Faith is the same. The Holy Spirit protects the Church from teaching error. No teaching of Revelation has changed. So, popes are not going off making up new doctrine left and right as they “want”, they are doing exactly the opposite! They are teaching NOTHING of their own, nothing new, nothing that is their opinion.

    As for wrongly excommunicated folks… I have tried to explain that excommunication does not mean that someone is damned to hell (no on has the power to say such a thing, and the Church doesn’t even say that Judas is in hell. The Church doesn’t speak on whether or which individuals go to hell. So, an unjust excommunication does not do “anything” to the soul of the person excommunicated — if it’s unjust and the soul is in a state of grace, God understands and sees all. It is a warning by the folks who have every right to warn a soul that it is in spiritual danger, and yes, they might get their subjective judgment wrong, but that would be a very rare thing. And a true saint who is persecuted by an evil bishop would understand that his calling is to continue to be virtuous, even when Communion is not available to him. God sees the hearts of all.

    The very thing you seem to dislike is the actual role of the Church: The care of souls, the salvation of souls. So, to claim that the Church cannot be the Church and do what she has always done is simply a misunderstanding, on your part, of the role and authority of the Church. I understand you may not like it, but that is the Church as she has always been. She is what she is, and the OP is clear that you can accept or reject her claims (and her authority to excommunicate, which is not “damning to hell”), but you cannot tell her what she is or what she does.

    Hope that helps!

  • surreal4communism

    First of all, thank you for your patience and thoughtful responses! I don’t believe that Christianity is definitely bunk, I just see it as being unlikely. If being a Catholic makes someone happy and gives meaning to their lives I say go with it.

    If women are so great, then why can’t they be priests. Or more to the point, why would an infinite god be concerned about one’s genitals? I would think the soul is more important, and I highly doubt God has genitals so again why would he care. I see that more as a theological problem than a social-political problem. I have made my case and you have made yours so we will just have to agree to disagree.

    A “reveled religion” is a dubious one, especially in this case. Those in the upper ranks just know what is right, so everyone underneath must accept that as truth. If the holy spirit really is guiding them, all is well. But that is a big if. My own inclination is to be skeptical (I look at the actions of the church and see a man made interpretation of religion), but for those who have had what they feel to be a divine revelation there is no skepticism. And if someone feels they have received the spirit and are happy and doing good works there is no need for skepticism.

  • surreal4communism

    “You are talking sin, we are talking doctrine.”
    You will have to elaborate on this one.

    As for change you have misinterpreted what I have said.

    Let me ask you this. If the church demanded that you believe the Sun revolves around the Earth would you be more or less likely to join knowing what we know about celestial mechanics? Of course the answer would be less likely, and fortunately the church has since reversed its position and apologized to Galileo. The selling of indulgences is no longer carried out the way it was done in medieval times. This is the change I am talking about, and fortunately for Catholics the church has been keeping up with it.

  • Leila Miller

    Thanks for your patience, too. I appreciate it. Remember, though, that Christianity is not normally chosen for its ease of life and sudden happiness. It’s a path to holiness and yes, a peace that surpasses all understanding, but it’s not just “hey, this feels good so I’m comfortable here”. If it is, then one is doing it all wrong, ha ha.

    God is definitely interested in the “genitals” (“male and female he created them”), not for the innate worthiness of the sexes (we are equal in dignity) but for the complementarity of them. Again, your comment sounds to me the same as someone saying, “If men are so great, why can’t they be mothers?” It has nothing to do with “greatness” or one-upmanship. So, we do continue to talk past each other.

    Yes, it’s a big claim that the Church makes and it’s a big claim that Christ made. We each must decide if we accept the claims as true. There is C.S. Lewis’ famous quote (he a former atheist): “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” These are true words! And of course, St. Paul himself said that if Jesus did not die and rise, then our faith is in vain, and we are the most pitiable of men.

    So, it really is not about a “good feeling” or being happy, it’s about what is true. As Peter Kreeft said, there is only one reason to believe anything and that’s because it’s true. (Otherwise, why would I want to believe a lie?)

  • Leila Miller

    This is going to sound like a weird request, but as we just had a big discussion on this very Galileo issue on my blog, I want to direct you to the comments on this post:

    There are few things more misunderstood than what happened with Galileo. Bottom line, the Church does not speak infallibly on matters of science, and the Deposit of Faith is not about science. As for the selling of indulgences, that was a corruption of a good thing. It was sinful. I wrote a simple explanation of indulgences, here:

    Remember, the abuse of a thing does not negate its proper and legitimate use. We still have indulgences today in the Church, and they are a very good thing.

  • surreal4communism

    “There is no chance (as in zero)”

    So you mean to tell me that it is more likely that all the laws of the natural world had momentarily disappeared, rather than a couple of people making a mistake (Jesus and those that moved the stone)? Are you seriously saying that?

    According to scripture Jesus would have spent about 6 hours on the cross. He also had spear wound. Given the circumstances he would certainly appear to be dead, to all including the officials and disciples so why bother to check for a pulse? If there was one it would be fairly weak, they couldn’t do the breath on the mirror test, and the poke test would be useless if he was unconscious.

    Is it likely that he would have survived? Of course not, but it is INFINITELY more likely than all laws of the physical world just magically ceasing to exist. It is much, much more likely that one of the many cult leaders of the day were to survive crucifixion (and yes, I’m aware of what is involved, and it doesn’t make it impossible to survive).

    As for moving the stone it could have been a group, and not just one person. Again, I don’t see how that is so outlandish when comparing it to a complete breakdown of the laws of nature.

  • Leila Miller

    Do you understand what a Roman seal was and how it worked (pain of death to the soldiers)? And, how “glorious” would that half dead man have appeared at his “resurrection”? He wouldn’t have even been able to walk or move or speak. And you think people back then would not be aware that it was not an actual rising from the dead, but simply a man who never quite died (but sure looked like hell and would need a long time to heal!)? What kind of resurrected God would that be? What I would really love you to do is go through the actual scenario on my blog and give me a step by step that would account for what happened, knowing what we know about human nature.

    I think the problem we have is that you dismiss the possibility of God (the creator of nature, thus easily able to suspend or transcend nature) out of hand. You start with the premise that there is no such God, and miracles do not happen. So, of course you have to find a way to make the narrative work. But it really doesn’t. Try again and leave in the possibility that God exists, and that Jesus just might be God — and that this possibility is reasonable. Then, tell me which scenario falls more in line with reason.

  • surreal4communism

    I never said that excommunication meant that a person is sent to hell, just that it is a serious thing. If the interpretation is that if a person who is wrongfully excommunicated has just as close a relationship to god, despite the wrongful act of the accuser or sentencer, I see no problem with it. I think it devalues the meaning of it and that a middle man seems pointless (if God knows whether or not one can receive the Eucharist that should be all that matters), but that is just an opinion.

    As for circular I am referring to councils where church law is modified.

    No, I don’t see a need for a church bureaucracy. I highly doubt Jesus would look at the pomp and circumstance of the Catholic church and think to himself that is what He had in mind. Beliefs of the catholic church are one of the many interpretations of the bible, something that one can do on their own. I just don’t see the need for a fallible middle man.

    Again, that too is just an opinion. And again, thanks for putting up with me, you have made some really great points.

  • Nellie

    Steve, which of your brothers and sisters would you prefer never to have been born?

  • Richard III

    The Catholic Church is like Tom Petty; “You could stand her up at the Gates of Hell, but she, wawon’t back down.” 😀

  • Dan Falcone

    It appears Ms. Miller does not realize that her strident contention “Revelation ended at the death of St. John…” is ignorant of the 12th & 13th centuries doctrinal history of the church. In the 12th & 13th centuries The church “revealed” that there is not just sin per se but “venial sin”, thus this led to the “revelation” of purgatory. which led to fiscal indulgence payments. The purgatory doctrine was a necessary adjunct to the theory of indulgences. Otherwise how could one set the exact times of release from purgatory? Only venial sins could be punished in purgatory- mortal ones sent you to hell. The theology of the venial and mortal sins gave rise to the discipline of the confessional which was formally established in the western church by canon 21 of the Fourth Lateran (1215), . This is when the formula “I absolve you of your sins” first came into use. Confession, purgatory, indulgences, crusades, and a theology of venial sin made a tightly interlocking construct whose parts seemed to confirm each other. The Lateran council “revealed” as an absolute that greek philosophy (trans-substantiation) is co-equal with the real presence. There were numerous sacraments, until the great Peter Lombard, layed down the seven centuries after St. John died.

  • Leila Miller

    You are right that excommunication is a very serious thing. And thank you for admitting that this is all your opinion (as a non-Christian, even). Church law is only “modified” on matters of discipline, not doctrine, and discipline can change and be reversed and modified, as it has nothing to do with intrinsic truth. Sort of like traffic laws can change, but the wrongness of rape cannot. Hope that helps.

    As for the middle men, remember that God always delegated His authority from the top down (He gave His authority to mere sinful men), and that is true from the Old Testament onward. One cannot find an example where it doesn’t happen. It works beautifully, which is why the Church continues to thrive and grow, and the Deposit of Faith has remained intact. The Magisterium has the protection of the Holy Spirit and cannot teach error as Truth.

    And as far as the Bible… the Catholic Church wrote and canonized and gave us the New Testament, and then protected and copied it lovingly for centuries before there was even a printing press. The Bible is a Catholic book. But even before the New Testament was canonized in the fourth century after Christ founded His Church, the Church was living, thriving, growing. Heck, it was living, thriving and growing for a decade before even the first word of the New Testament was written down. The Scriptures are that part of Sacred Tradition that was written down. The Church wrote it, a pope and the body of bishops canonized it, and it reflects what the Church teaches and believes.

    You may be confusing us with Protestants who believe in sola scriptura. They believe that all God left us was a Bible (did it fall out of the sky, leatherbound?) for us to personally interpret (reinventing the wheel with every believer and generation). That is not Catholic teaching. That is a 16th century heresy of Martin Luther.

    It’s been a pleasure having this civil discussion!

  • Leila Miller

    Well, that is odd, since the Bible itself says that there are sins which are mortal (deadly) and sins which are not (1 John 5:16-17). The Church has always taught this. And, the Church has always taught about purgatory and the necessity of cleansing after death — please, take a look at the evidence:

    You have a fundamental misunderstanding. A deeper understanding of a revealed truth does not equate to a change in teaching or a “new” revelation. And things like “formulations of words” for the implementation of sacraments are not part of “revelation”. You are confusing “binding and loosing” (discipline — which changes) with the revealed Deposit of Faith (doctrine — which is unchanging truth).

    You seem ignorant of Church history and theology, and I recommend a thorough reading of the Early Fathers and the Catechism (which is well-footnoted with sources throughout the centuries).

    Question: On what authority to you claim what you do?

  • Michelle

    Wonderful article!! Thank you!

  • Magdalena

    Yeah baby! I love this

  • James

    I don’t know if it is doctrine, but we do share the idea of ecumenism, of sharing our Catholic faith with other Christians, Protestants, Coptic, Russian, Greek, Ethiopian despite our doctrinal disagreements. This attitude that our way is the only way has led to countless crimes against humanity throughout the history of the Church.

    Surely you know some one of another faith or no faith at all that you love and respect and know has holiness in them?!

    The authority of the Church does not give you the authority to condemn others. It is only useful to use it to compare it to your personal progress and growth as a Catholic Christian.

    Is it part of your Catholic belief that God has a plan for each person, a plan that existed since before the person was born? If so, how can you dare to judge and criticize others who are following the plan God has for them?!

    Faith, Hope and Charity… Faith often begins in lack of Faith, do you hope to lead others to Faith by condemning them? In this world Hope is hard to find and many have to live with no hope at all, but Belief in Jesus Christ is the beginning of Hope and becomes the foundation of Hope for Christians.Would you deny anyone Hope in Christ because they are different than you?
    And the greatest of these, Charity, Caritas, The personal decision to commit oneself to unconditional Love of God and all people, that is ALL people. How can you limit your love only to those the same as you? Think of all the opportunities you miss to help and love others and grow yourself in God’s love.

    God Loves all of us. If you need rules and requirements try that one. Love your Neighbor as Yourself and Do unto to Others. Spread the peace and love of Jesus Christ.

  • Leila Miller

    Sorry, when did I condemn anyone? And, what does any of what you said have to do with the claims of the Church to teach the Truth? The Church either has that authority or she does not. She has always claimed she does.

    Jesus Christ was very clear that He came to teach Truth and that people were to follow Him, obey those to whom he delegated His authority, and repent of their sins. Is he unloving and condemnatory for that? Did He deny that some truth can be found everywhere? Did he deny anyone “hope in Christ” because he said these things?

    Again, on what authority do you speak? On what authority do you say that the Church is wrong and you are right? Do you determine what is or is not Christian Truth?

  • Leila Miller

    James, it could just be that you mistake legitimate claims of truth and authority for arrogance. But speaking the Truth — as the Church that was founded by Christ specifically to proclaim such Truth — is not arrogant. It is a gift to all, so that no one is lost:

  • Maud


  • Maud

    This is great.

  • Annamarie

    Steve does have a way with words, doesn’t he? I had to read it several times to get the real sense out of the way he put his comment. Why on earth do people who want to pick and choose which one of God’s laws to follow always, but always, have to be so crude and tacky? They prove the worth of their position by their language.

  • Annamarie

    djc5283, or as I should say, “Smarty Pants,” for your information I have read ALL of the books you mention. Have you? You sound more like a person who has OD’d on your precious “criticism.”

    I do believe the Holy Bible as the Catholic Church teaches it, for all the reasons that Leila stated. Who are you to come after poor old, ignorant us? I would adore seeing Leila take you on in a debate and leave just a puddle of noxious goo.

  • Annamarie

    Well said, Richard!

  • Annamarie

    Can I jump in here, Leila? The pope did NOT disagree with Galileo. It was some other ugly, and untrue things about the pope personally that he was asked to remove. Any biography of Galileo you read will talk about his temper and his arrogance. THAT is what got him in hot water, NOT his view of the sun.

  • Annamarie

    This is a wonderful article, Leila, and I agree with every word of it. I agree so strongly, in fact, that I just broke up with a wonderful man because he and I disagreed on the point of the Church’s teachings about sex before marriage. He took the same position as the people in here who want to claim for themselves the right to interpret the Scriptures as THEY want to, but I could not do it. The Church and her teachings just mean too much to me. I tried living another way, but I did not experience true happiness until I came home to the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Leila Miller

    Annamarie, I am full of admiration for you! May God bless you abundantly for your faithfulness. I know it’s not always easy to live in the Light of Christ, but it is always the best way.

  • ProtestantAgainstBabylon.

    Well.. Well.. well. A catholic who has nothing but catechism knows not the bible. The catholic abomination that rapes children, trafficking Nazis after ww2 like pope benedict, starts murderous inquisition after crusade, says i cant have it my way.. good. I’ll so what the bible says. I’ll marry and become a pastor. I’ll celebrate Passover instead of babylons easter. I’ll pray to jesus and ignore saints, My wife will actually be a virgin. Tsk tsk. Y’all have nerve. Arbiter of faith? Hah! Roman empire! Babylons harlots! You’re antichrists have raped jerusalem enough! Turn to actual christianity. You poor little sheep.

  • dagor_annon

    Just a quick question. It’s from someone else, if you cut-and-paste Google it you can probably find the source – it’s something I saved, but missed the address:

    If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?

    Further, I can’t square an absolutely moral God with the killings listed here:

    Could someone please explain to me?

  • chaizydain

    Unless you want it 13 years old…then by all means go ahead.

  • chaizydain

    Wont the Editors be surprised when they find them selves answering for the shameless sins and find themselves pitchfork down in hades. The enemies of Truth baloney. If you are going to post an OPEN forum using a WWW wide accepted service then you are ignorant and illogical to think that OPPOSING OPINIONS will not be posted. If you want a kingdom all to yourself, then required a MEMBERSHIP. Otherwise you are the ignorant ones.

    You know what Saint Peter said to Heaven’s new comers while on a tour of Heaven as they passed off the walled off section… “Shh, that’s where we keep the Catholics. They think they the only ones here.” Jesus didn’t say that the only ones receiving salvation were the followers of the Pope or even the keeper of Catholic traditions, he said that EVERYONE who accepts HIM as savior would receive salvation. You can fuss up your traditions in wherever bows and ribbons and lipstick you want, but your traditions are still nothing but swine. Jesus and not some stuffy man who is not quite in touch with modern reality is the answer…not even though he have a billion followers.

  • chaizydain

    Right, God is opposed to birth control…because the Bible says so where exactly? Oh yeah, not in any of its pages anywhere. The POPE said so and only the pope. And last I checked, no Pope has come back from the dead. If Jesus were alive today he would condemn the Church as surely as he condemned the Sadducee and the pharisees. The Church today is no better than those who put Jesus to death.

  • chaizydain

    And modern science tells us that eye witnesses rarely ever get it right. So your point is what exactly? That eye witnesses – none of who are alive today and none of whom left first person accounts of their experience – prove Jesus’ existence and demonstrate veracity of His Godhood?

    If you need to rely on eye witnesses then you simply don’t have faith. In maters of salvation – spiritual salvation that is and not bodily salvation – I put my stock in FAITH because my eyes are only human. Faith cannot be over come by any matter of scientific evidence. And since science would state that He was not actually dead and so those eye witnesses were mistaken, I will trust in FAITH.

    Heck, just in the last two years there have been all sorts of reports of people CERTIFIED as dead by the medical experts miraculously returning to life. (Baby Yasmin Gome, Baby Boy Jamie Ogg, Zuraida of Kuwait, Colleen Burns of NY) None of these people who regained life had any medical intervention after the declaration of death that restored them. Dying and returning to life is no longer reserved in this world for the Son of God. So without faith, there is no reason to believe in Jesus simply because he rose from the dead.

  • chaizydain

    Yes, but should wouldn’t be able to because Lelia has no more credential than you or I. She is not capable of such feats.

  • chaizydain

    Oh please. The MODERN Church is a power hungry bank and political monstrosity that Jesus would condemn upon first word upon His first time arrival to this world. The monks of the early centuries has about as much in common with the modern priest as fish have to monkeys.

  • chaizydain

    And you prove your simplicity and lack of basic knowledge as demonstrated by all the OTHER writings of the time. Jesus would not have sanctified his mother she was NOT a disciple. He DID sanctify Mary, the first to see him alive after death. MARY and no man was instructed to go and tell the news of his resurrection…a WOMAN was.

    You can believe as you like. But the Church’s teachings and prohibitions of women holding the priesthood have nothing to do with Jesus being the bridegroom and the Church the bride and the confusion it will bring nor of Jesus telling his disciples that only men can stand in persona christi. It has to do ONLY with the longstanding subjugation of women by men. In antiquity, priests had power and LOTS of it. Women were not allowed to have power of any kind and so could not be priests.

    Jesus said nothing to bar women from holding the priesthood, tradition alone did that.

  • chaizydain

    Then no one, including you, ever has the right to receive Communion. YOU do not have the power to know God’s mind and as a human there is NO WAY you have kept all of God’s law (Jesus did not end the law, the law and every bit of it is still in full force and command. Jesus’ death and resurrection is the ONLY thing that fixes that). You will have sin in your heart a mere moment after your next confession and that alone precludes you from Communion by these standards.

    Jesus did not say “lets confess our sin and partake” nor did He writ any rule that required a sinless heart before receiving Communion. There were vipers at the very table.

    Oh, no MAN created the rules about Communion out of a need for power.

  • chaizydain

    Countless people? For starters, try 909 souls on November 18, 1978 in Guyana. Or 83 on April 19, 1993 in TX. Or 74 between 1994 and 1997 in Canada. Or 39 on March 26, 1997 in CA.Or 778 on March 17, 2000 in Uganda. Or over 1,000 in Bali in 1906. Or over a 1,000 in 72 AD Judea.

    These just some of the many people who committed suicide in the name of their supposed saviors. Martyrs all.

    All of these people, and they couldn’t ALL have been so mentally ill, died believing COMPLETELY in their “really good ideas.”

    People do strange things. People under the compulsion of a charismatic leader do even stranger things.

    What about all the women murdered at the hands of priests on the mere accusation of witchcraft? This happened at the hands of YOUR church. And you want to sling arrows at people who would not follow a mere man and his puppets?

  • chaizydain

    By your standards then Obama is God, right up until some nutter decides to put him to death.

    If convincing people to follow you is all it takes to prove Godhood then there are a lot of gods running around. People who are lunatics can make sense. Just because you are more familiar with the people who talk to themselves as lunatics doesn’t mean that creatively charismatic people with followers are not lunatics. No one would dispute that Jim Jones was a lunatic, but he had lots of followers right up to the very end.

  • chaizydain

    Speaking the truth might not be…but LEGISLATING it certainly is the height of arrogance. The Church is nothing more than a political body seeking more power for itself and men seeking more money for themselves. Power corrupts. As demonstrated by its acts of the last 100 years, the Church is completely and totally corrupted and not anything that Jesus ever wanted. You cannot profess to know the truth let alone dictate it to others when you pander to pedophiles. As the Church has acted time and again to protect the criminal and disdain the innocent, the Church is nothing more than a pit of evil vipers.

  • chaizydain

    Jesus did not delegate to any living person. It is the height of arrogance to presume that modern priestholders of the corrupted Catholic Church have been delegated ANY of Jesus’ authority. The Church has spent countless years protecting child rapers in every country where it has priests. It regularly casts aspersions on victims who speak out – even today. No entity that would ever do this holds the authority of Jesus. Any authority passed to certain men died ages ago when the Church began to seek earthly power instead of spiritual power.

  • chaizydain

    Oh certainly, anyone who does not agree completely with Her Highness is just misunderstanding. Sorry Leila, but Dan has a 100% accurate history and you are the one who misunderstands.

    The Pope himself “revealed” that ALL priests should not marry in the 11th century. Before this time it was only some priests and only in some locations.

    The Church regularly reveals matters of doctrine and that alone is enough to state that the “truth” has continued to be revealed to this day…unless you would like to admit that new revelations are merely power grabs.

  • Leila Miller

    Legislate? You mean when Jesus had the audacity to give the Apostles the power to “bind and loose” the faithful? Your issue is with Jesus, I’m afraid.

    As for the pederasty issue (not pedophilia), I have written on that, here (two parts):

  • Leila Miller

    So everything that Jesus did, and all the authority he delegated, was meant just for that point in time? The Bible is irrelevant to our day, and all the history and understanding and practice of the Early Fathers (who were taught by the Apostles) about succession is to be disregarded? But your understanding of things, 20 centuries after the fact, is to be accepted as Truth?

  • Leila Miller

    “Her Highness”? Wow. This is your contribution to intelligent discourse?

    Chaizydain, you realize that celibacy of priests is an issue of discipline, not doctrine, right? That it is changeable and has been changeable since the time of Jesus (Paul thought priests should be unmarried like he was, Peter himself had a wife)? The eastern rite Catholics have married priests to this day, and even the Latin (Roman) rite has married priests, including a friend of mine who used to be an Anglican minister and is now a Catholic priest here in town with a wife and six kids (he is not the only married priest in our diocese, either).

    You claim this is a matter of “revelation” but it’s not, and the Church has never said it is revelation. Catholics are free to disagree with the celibacy discipline, as there is nothing inherently wrong with a married priest (or a celibate one). You seem to have set up a straw man.

    You really, truly, need to understand your subject matter (discipline vs. doctrine) before you speak out about it in this manner and embarrass yourself. I will again link the very simple post I wrote about it here, in the hopes that you might become thoughtful for just a few moments, leaving your rage and bigotry for Catholics behind, and educate yourself on this subject:

    Many blessings!

  • Leila Miller

    Gotta ask, chaizydain, have you actually read anything those monks wrote?

    You might want to start reading the writings of the earliest Church Fathers and keep going. I read them all the time and the centuries melt away between us. It’s like balm for the Catholic soul.

  • Leila Miller

    Where are you getting this? You have dropped (ignorant, angry) bombs all over this post overnight I see. Chaizydain, so that I know where you are coming from, what is your background? Ex-Catholic? Protestant? Fundamentalist Christian? Atheist? Thanks, it’ll help me focus and understand you.

    There are two degrees of sin: Deadly (mortal) and not-deadly (venial) [1 John 5-17]. The Church has always taught that. Of course we all have some degree of sin on our souls, but St. Paul said that some folks abuse Communion and should not come forward without making sure one has examined oneself and is worthy (which the Church teaches to this day:

    1 Corinthians 11:
    23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep {died}.

  • Leila Miller

    I’ve answered you up to this point, in several other place, but now I’ve just gotta ask: What the heck are you talking about?

  • Leila Miller

    Yeah, I think I’m pretty much done answering chaizydain today.

    In the meantime, check this out:

    Isn’t that cool? Jesus wasn’t kidding!

  • Leila Miller

    And your authority for all of this is….?

    See my answers to you above, esp. concerning Communion and 1 Cor 11.

  • Leila Miller

    I have no authority at all. I submit to the authority of the Church Christ founded. So, chaizydain, on what authority do you say all that you have said here? Are you the arbiter of Christian revelation? Help me out.

  • Leila Miller

    Faith means believing what is revealed, whether one has seen it or not. Faith is not opposed to reason and it’s not opposed to history. That Jesus rose is an historical fact, and it’s really quite okay to believe it and see that it’s more reasonable to believe than not believe.

    You sound like you are some sort of Christian believer, but how and why? Where do you get your faith? From the Bible? Then tell me, where did you get the Bible? It didn’t drop into your hands from Heaven, leather-bound, so how did it come to you and on whose authority do you believe it?

  • Leila Miller

    Well, there’s yet another part of the Catholic Faith that you don’t understand but are speaking on as if you do. Here is the scoop:

    You seem quite angry and bitter. You also seem to be terribly ignorant of what the Church actually teaches, versus what you’ve been told in your church community that she believes. Best to go straight to the source. I won’t misrepresent what you and your pastor believe, and you mustn’t misrepresent what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. It’s a matter of justice not to lie about someone or about an organization’s beliefs. You may not bear false witness.

    Again, on what authority do you say all that you do about Christianity?

  • Leila Miller

    Wait, you know what Jesus would do “if he were alive today”? That is very impressive. But here’s the thing: Jesus is alive today. He is risen. And he leads his Church. Too bad you think he’s dead.

    And, I suggest you read the history of Christian Tradition and thought on birth control. Are you aware that Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood in order to push birth control and make it acceptable to society, operated under the motto of “No gods; no masters”? She did. It was on the masthead of her contraception newsletters. Remember, all of Protestantism also called contraception evil then, just a few decades ago (they had for all their history). How did evil suddenly become good? Why did Protestantism embrace Sanger’s “no gods, no masters” view, and not the traditional understanding that had never changed, from the time of Christ onward? Why are you holding the Planned Parenthood view?

    Charles Provan (he is not a Catholic!) has a great little book called “The Bible and Birth Control”. I think you should get yourself a copy to see what the Bible and Christian teaching has to say on this topic.

  • Leila Miller

    You are offensive and ignorant. The priests who committed pederasty (and there were very few, about the same percentage as Protestant clergy and waaaaaaay less than public school teachers) were committing mortal sins that are worthy of hell itself. That is the teaching of the Church. If the priests had been living according to Church teaching, there would never have been any such crimes and sins. So, the Church’s teaching is RIGHT, and that is the point of my article.

  • Leila Miller

    Because the natural law is not the same as “binding and loosing” or rules and regulations. Think of the difference between a law against rape (rape is always, intrinsically immoral) and a law against going over 25 miles an hour in a residential zone (changeable, not set in eternal stone, but you still need to follow that rule, because a legitimate authority has placed it there for this time and era).

    That is the difference between doctrine and discipline. I have linked this before, but here you go:

    As for the God of the Old Testament, and the “charges” against Him, here’s a resource to get you started:

    It also helps to remember that God is the Author of Life, and He has every right to give and take life as He sees fit. He is not us. We are not Him. And, God is not just the “biggest guy in the room”, like some bully. He is Being itself. We cannot “judge” God as if He were a creature like we are. His ways are most definitely not our ways, and His perfect view and scope goes infinitely past our own limited, dark and cloudy view.

  • dagor_annon

    Thank you for the links, could you guide me on ? – The number of rapes condoned really worries me.

  • Leila Miller

    Sure, but first go ahead and give me your thoughts on what I already supplied and explained. Then I will know if you are actually interested or if you are trying to play the (boring and oft-repeated) game of “gotcha”!

  • dagor_annon

    Thank you for your reply.

    First, I really appreciated your link about the difference between discipline and doctrine. I came from a Southern Baptist background, but lost my faith. After ‘wandering’ for a while and reading the Bible I started to question why the Baptists believe what they believe, since they claim it all comes from the Bible. Seeing that it would take good interpretation to see what the Bible is actually teaching, since it can seem contradictory without a good understanding, I started talking to a Lutheran Deacon, who was ECLA (Evangelical Lutheran Church,) and what he shared seemed like a lot more cogent explanation of how to read the Bible. I started researching Lutherans, and saw that, really, they were like Catholics, but had discarded old tradition. This tradition called to me, and I am now studying about the Catholic church. Which is, I guess, a long way of saying that the difference between discipline and doctrine helped to launch me on my journey, so I appreciate a resource helping to line out some of the differences between the two. Do you have any links with lists of doctrines, or, what I would really like, is something structured like the Catechism that works its way through the doctrines starting from the basics and working from there… maybe with links back to the Catechism so I can read in depth if the basic explanation doesn’t make sense to me, or I just want to know more?

    As far as the ‘Wrathful God’ link, I found the simile of how the Church opposes fornication but doesn’t try to pass state-sanctioned criminal penalties very instructive as a justification for God giving the Deuteronomic Law, and why it doesn’t apply to Christians. However, again, I read the Bible couple of times when questioning my former Baptist beliefs, and your mention of rape as an intrinsic evil reminded me of those times in the Bible where my reading had indicated that God had commanded or allowed actions that were rape. So, I googled “Bible rape” and included the first link I saw, as an illustration of what I remembered, although they had more verses than I remembered.

    Thank you for your help so far, and the informative links, if you see fit I would appreciate further help.

  • Leila Miller

    Thanks, that helps me understand where you are coming from. First, I would just say that not all things that are intrinsically evil (i.e., offend the unchanging moral law) are legislated against or prohibited in civil law, and not all things prohibited in civil law are intrinsic evils. And of course, the Church law (as opposed to the unchanging moral law, also known as Natural Law) would be those things that are “bound and loosed” by the Apostles’ successors (bishops setting things for their diocese), and things like Canon Law.

    The best way to understand what is part of the Deposit of Faith is as 1) what we believe (contained in the Creeds) and 2) how we are to live (contained in the Ten Commandments). Generally, if something has been taught since the beginning of the Church, it’s part of the Deposit of Faith. If it’s something that has been “regulated” and rules set and relaxed during any given era, it’s a discipline.

    It is very, very difficult for a Protestant to leave the sola scriptura paradigm, but you have to mentally give it a go. “Bible only” was never how the Church has ever thought or operated (I would really give the Early Fathers a good read), so if you are looking at Catholicism through that lens, it’s going to seem very confusing and wrong to you. We Catholics know that the New Testament came from the Church, not the other way around. The Bible is simply that part of Sacred Tradition that was written down (and later canonized by a Pope and the bishops, hundreds of years after the Church had already been living, thriving, preaching, teaching, sanctifying). So, the Bible is Church-based, the Church is not “bible-based”. You can see what a very different paradigm and view that gives one.

    My friend Gayle Somers was an evangelical Bible teacher for 25 years before becoming a Catholic and she does great work for the Church now. Regarding things like those passages from Judges, etc., she has said:

    …the passage in Judges comes from a string of stories about the moral decline of the tribes of Israel after they entered the Promised Land. There is story after story of horrific stuff. It is the history of how weak God’s people were, how little they actually listened to Him, how easily they were influenced by the violent and immoral pagan culture in the land they had conquered. So, it’s hardly wise to pick out the details of one of those stories as an example of what God allows and approves of in His people! These stories form a cycle of history that revealed to the Israelites that no matter how many times God rescued them from trouble, no matter how fervent they were in their appeals to Him, once they got sprung from their difficulties, they went right back to their own wretched ways. Even the “heroes” God raised up for rescue were not people of consistent goodness or faith. This context must always be considered when plucking stories out of the Book of Judges.

    The problem is reading the Bible outside of the context of the teaching Church, where anything goes (and every possible interpretation and context has been exhausted and presented as “truth”).

    You can ask her questions directly at this site:

    I would recommend the Catechism or its Compendium for the answers you seek. It’s hard to encapsulate the Faith of the martyrs and 2,000 years of a living Church into “lists”, but it’s all there. It’s greatly footnoted, going back to the writings of antiquity. If you have a specific question on a specific topic, there’s lots on my blog, or you can ask me at any time. Blessings!

  • Leila Miller

    PS: If you want to email me at, I can help you decipher what is discipline, and what is doctrinal.

  • Cris

    I really don’t agree with this. I am Catholic and I don’t agree with some of the church’s policies or views, this doesn’t make me a bad Catholic or less of a person than you. Telling me that it’s absolutely all or nothing isn’t realistic with all the changes in peoples views today.

  • Leila Miller

    Cris, on what authority do you say this?

  • Leila Miller

    PS: No one ever claimed you were “less of a person” than anyone.

  • Julie

    I’m sorry, but I think you are being a little intolerant of other religions. And who are you to speak for an entire religion? Please tell me who gave you that power? As it is, religion was created by human because they are social beings. They gather together to make themselves feel superior to others by believing they have it right. Faith is something that one has on their own. Faith lets you believe anything that makes sense to you, because in the end its all the same force, whether its God or anyone else. Its not okay to shove what you believe down other people and expect them to be okay with it

  • Cris

    PREACH yes. Amen.

  • Cris

    On the authority that I know plenty of Catholics, some with the traditional views, others with the more progressive views. They’re all Catholic. Telling people that they have to believe everything or nothing isn’t what being a Catholic or a Christian is about. You say that if you wan’t to support Catholicism that you have to be all in or all out. No, you don’t. You don’t have to believe every single thing the Church teaches. Man wrote the bible, even though it is the word of God, man still wrote it. And if someone is going to judge me on how good I am at being a Catholic, it sure as hell better be God because I know you don’t have that authority or right to do so.

  • Julie

    Exactly! Humans have no right to judge one another. No one has the right to say what is correct or incorrect about someone else’s faith.

  • Leila Miller

    Thank you for perfectly explaining Protestantism. But we are talking Catholicism here, and traditional Christianity. I repeat: Christianity is a revealed religion. We don’t (neither you nor I) pick and choose which parts of Catholicism we will accept and reject. It doesn’t work that way. I cannot judge your soul. But if you, for example, claim that you will reject Church teaching on birth control, and that that’s okay, you are running afoul of the actual Church. You can use birth control, but doing so is not being a faithful Catholic, it’s being a dissenting Catholic. This is not rocket science. Again, to be blunt, you have no authority to say what is Christian doctrine and what isn’t. “Knowing plenty of Catholics” gives you no authority whatsoever, nor does it give me authority. I really want to suggest that you go back to the original post and re-read it. Then, tell me on what authority you speak for what is Christian revelation?

  • Leila Miller

    Absolutely false if we are talking about Catholicism. Jesus gave the Apostles authority to preach the Catholic faith, and their successors continue to do the same up to the present day. You can profess any faith you’d like, but you may not call something a “Catholic belief” if it contradicts Catholic teaching. It’s sort of like vegans eating meat. If a vegan who eats meat says, “No one has the right to tell me I’m being an incorrect vegan!” we would laugh at them, wouldn’t we? There is something called integrity. If we profess a Faith (especially a revealed Faith), then we live it (or even if we fail, we still try!). Otherwise, we are not actually living the Faith, are we? We are living a different belief system and trying to pass it off as “Catholic”. But that is dishonest. Re-read the original post and tell me what your authority is for what you say?

  • Leila Miller

    I have this weird feeling that you missed the entire post. Um, I don’t speak for any religion. I am stating that only the Apostles’ successors have the authority to speak for Catholicism. That’s what the Catholic Church teaches and has always taught, and I am a Catholic.

    As for intolerance: How am I being intolerant? What am I doing besides submitting to the Catholic Faith and her teachings? So, the only way to be “tolerant” is to believe exactly nothing? That seems odd and unprincipled.

    And obviously we are on two different pages, as I don’t believe that the Catholic Church was established by human beings in order to be social. I believe the Son of the Living God who rose from the dead founded the Church to teach in His name so that no one would be led astray. Big difference in our views here. But the essential issue remains: You don’t have to agree with Catholicism or Christianity (that is your prerogative), but you are not allowed to define it. You have no authority to do so.

  • Julie

    When you profess the faith and renew your baptismal vows at Mass, no matter what you are lying to yourself.
    Do you reject satan and all of his works?
    the minute you say I Do, you are lying and cannot, by your standards, call your belief catholic. Nobody can reject evil and EVERYONE of his works. The most we can do is try. The actual catholic teaching of the baptismal promise is unfufillable, so please tell me again, what faith do you profess?

  • Leila Miller

    What is she preaching? That Catholicism does not have a right to define itself? That Catholicism is not a revealed religion? That has been preached by non-Christians for 2,000 years. Again, that’s your prerogative to reject the teachings of the Catholic Faith, but you may not speak for her. Thanks!

  • Leila Miller

    So the Church is asking us to lie? Can’t our will be in place, even if the flesh is weak? I can still assent to the Truth, even if I fail in perfectly living it out, no? Do you assent to the Truth of the Faith, Julie?

  • Leila Miller

    Let me ask you point blank: Do you have the authority to define what is Christian revelation?

  • Julie

    No I don’t and that is exactly my point, neither do you. no one has a right to tell anyone how to live their lives or what they can and cannot call faith

  • Leila Miller

    I have said a hundred times that I have no authority to define Christianity. HOWEVER: The Magisterium has the absolute right and authority, from Christ, to proclaim, protect and defend the Deposit of Faith. That is the job of the Apostles and their Successors. What Faith do you profess? Is it the Catholic Faith?

  • Julie

    Why does it matter what faith I profess, how does that change anything? I read a comment earlier where you talk to people differently depending on their faith. Do you think yourself superior to someone because you are Catholic, because you are not. We are all equal. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY has the right to look down upon someone else because they are different from them

  • Julie

    *where you said you talk

  • Julie

    No the church is not asking us to lie, I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of the self-righteous who claim they live the faith better than others who live it differently.

  • Leila Miller

    Sorry, when did I “look down” on someone? I have rarely if ever asked this of a commenter, but Julie, did you read beyond the headline of my piece? Did you actually read the article?

  • Leila Miller

    Julie, I said nothing about “living the faith better”. Did you read the article? I think you must have skimmed it or missed the entire thing. I am talking about what Christianity is, and who has the authority to preach and protect and defend what is in reality a revealed Truth. I really have to respectfully request that you read the article, and then respond specifically to the points in the article itself. Thanks so much!

  • Julie

    I, in fact did read the article multiple times, and I am looking beyond what is just there on the screen and reading between the lines. If one were to psychoanalyze the author, as I have, and of course i may be wrong as I do not know you and cannot judge you, but it seems to me that by posting the article, you are trying to prove, perhaps to yourself or someone else, that you are better than people who “pick and choose what they believe in.” Everyone can believe in what they want and call it whatever they want. Who can say that they cant or shouldn’t? With this article you are trying to tell them that.

  • Leila Miller

    Right. Well, don’t psychoanalyze. Let’s just deal with straight-up Church teaching. What about it?

  • Leila Miller

    By the way, just above, you asked me what faith I profess, and now you get upset that I ask you the same question? That seems odd to me.

    You might find my next post interesting, as I will be talking about the idea that Christ leaving a known truth, with a clear Deposit of Faith protected by the Magisterium, is not “mean, exclusive, judgmental, superior”, etc., but is in fact a gift for all! It’s a beacon, so that no one gets lost. Praise God for his goodness and generosity! I may use some of your words, as they illustrate the point of confusion so well.

  • Cris

    Leila, in the second paragraph of your article, you claim to think, and I quote, “…you don’t get to personally interpret the Bible and tell us what you are sure Christ meant.” Are you sure about that? Isn’t that what most people and scholars who study the bible do? They read and re-read the bible and try to interpret different passages, chapters, and books? Then these people proceed to tell us what they think God or Christ is trying to say or teach in the written word of God. So essentially, that statement you made, in itself, is completely nonsensical. It’s also almost comical that you would say that when it’s obviously not true.

    Also before you said that, you stated, “…you don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the moral law and the Creed are valid.” This is also not true. You’re saying the Catholic community as a whole has to, under any circumstances, believe in everything the bible teaches. Let us look into this, shall we? Deuteronomy, a marriage is only valid if the woman is virgin, and that she should be stoned to death if she isn’t. I’m guessing half the Catholic population, much less most of the entire world didn’t think to follow that rule. This would also mean that more than half of the marriages on Earth aren’t valid, would you agree? Do you hear a lot of stories about women getting stoned to death for not waiting until marriage? No. Leviticus includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics, eating pork or shellfish, and playing with the skin of a pig (there goes football!)

    You may not be convinced of how irrational and foolish your article is yet, considering those were examples from the Old Testament. Shall we look into the new testament? “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). Well I know I call my dad ‘father’, and you probably do as well, but wait, we don’t get to pick and chose parts of the bible and its moral code to go by. How about these? Don’t plan for the future (Matthew 6:34). Don’t save money (Matthew 6:19-20). Don’t become wealthy (Mark 10:21-25). Sell everything and give it to the poor (Luke 12:33). Don’t work to obtain food (John 6:27). Don’t have sexual urges (Matthew 5:28). I would think that you would agree these are all rules and laws having to deal with morality. So stating that you don’t get to pick and chose is obviously not the case. Unless you have never worked on the Sabbath, or worn clothing of mixed fabric, eaten pork or shellfish, or saved money.

    By saying all of these things, you are being very hypocritical. So Leila, sorry, you are allowed to have free will and decide what you do and do not want to believe from the bible, the creed, or any other thing that is about 2-3,000 years old.

  • Julie

    Yes, yes, yes! Thank you, Cris, for putting that down on words. I think it is clear that not all of the bible or the catholic religion is a 100% fit for everybody and that doesn’t mean they are any less than a Christian. You, at least, understand that people are different, but still treated equally.

  • Julie

    I wish I could keep up-voting this

  • Leila Miller

    Cris, thank you for proving my point. You have shown here that you don’t know the first thing about how the Catholic Church works, or what she teaches. Yes, men have always come in and personally interpreted the Bible. But they never had authority to. You are operating from a Protestant paradigm. Let me ask you this to see if you know even the basic differences between Catholicism (and historic Christianity) and Protestantism (which came 1,500 years later):
    What are the two heresies Luther promulgated?

    Also, please articulate for me the difference between doctrine and discipline. And the proper way to read the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. And the difference in role and function and authority between a Catholic theologian and the Magisterium. Then, when you have told me the basics of Catholicism re: those issues, we can go from there.

    Yes, you and I have free will to do anything at all. It doesn’t mean it’s moral or correct. It doesn’t mean it’s in accord with Christian Revelation. I go back to: On what authority do you say any of what you do? Are you the arbiter of Christian doctrine? And if so, am I the arbiter of Christian doctrine, too? And if we all get to say what is “true” in Christianity, then what Truth can we know? How did Christ make sure we would get truth and not our own subjective opinions?

    And, finally, can you show me in any of the writings of the Church Fathers or the Bible where the individual believer is allowed to decide for himself what is revealed by God and what is True? Cite some evidence for me, either from the Bible or the early centuries of the Father’s writings. Thanks so much!

  • Leila Miller

    Julie, please read my response to Cris, and let me know your answers as well. Thanks!

  • Leila Miller

    And I’m guessing Julie identifies as Catholic but Cris doesn’t? I can’t figure it out. Could you ladies (if Cris is not a man) let me know if you are Catholic or not? Thanks so much!

  • Cris

    I find it quite hilarious when you ask me to state the authority that I have to say any of what I do. First, I have the authority because I know that your article is hypocritical and foolish. Second, what authority do YOU have saying all of this? You are honestly saying that nobody ever has any right to think for themselves when it comes to religion? Really? That’s how religion spreads and widens, through the thoughts and thinking of new people, whether they be lay people or the clergy. The bible was written by man. It’s the word of God, but still written by man. Is man always right? Essentially, this article just shows your close-mindedness and lack of the ability to possibly accept that something written well over 1,500 years ago, isn’t always the go-to thing to get all of your information from. Nor is other close-minded and hypocritical articles like your own.

  • Cris

    We are both Catholic. And yes I’m a female.

  • Leila Miller

    Cris, I can’t figure out why you won’t answer my question about what religion you profess. Are you Catholic? Also, do you really think this makes sense:

    “First, I have the authority because I know that your article is hypocritical and foolish.”

    You have authority over Christian doctrine… because my article is foolish? Huh? Could you give me a better source for your authority to be the arbiter of revelation? Thanks!

    I hate to repeat myself, but I guess I have to. You asked:

    “Second, what authority do YOU have saying all of this?”

    I told you I have no authority. What I have said is simply what the Catholic Church claims for herself. If you can show me that I have said anything at all contrary to Catholic teaching, I will correct the article immediately. I submit to the authority of the Church. To whom do you submit in obedience?

    As for the Bible being written by men, yes… but it’s inerrant. And, you have no permission to personally interpret it. If you do, show me where you have that permission? Where in the Bible or the early Church do we see that people get to personally interpret the Bible?

    Yes, you can think for yourself. You don’t have to profess Catholicism or Christianity — you are free to believe that Boo-Boo the Clown is God or that there is no God, and anything in between. But if you do profess Catholicism or Christianity, you don’t get to decide for yourself what is revealed truth. You don’t have that authority.

  • Leila Miller

    PS: It’s sort of like this: I don’t have any authority to say what Mormon doctrine is or isn’t. Mormonism has an authority. They get to say what Mormonism believes, not me. See what I mean? Same with Christ’s Church… it is hierarchical, and it is a religion based on a revelation, not personal opinions. Hope that makes sense!

  • Leila Miller

    Okay, thanks for letting me know! I thought you were Protestant. Can you tell me the salient difference between Protestantism and Catholicism? And, is there anything I wrote in the original post that contradicts our Catholic Faith? Thanks!

  • Cris

    I am Catholic, I have been going to church every Sunday since I was a child. I went to a Catholic high school. I believe most of the bible, but some of it I question. I don’t agree with everything the Church teaches, like gay marriage and marriage equality. People can’t marry the people they love just because of genitalia? Doesn’t seem right to me. However I do agree with the Church on other things such as how abortion and birth control is wrong. But just because I don’t agree with everything doesn’t mean that I can’t be good Catholic. It means I know how to think for myself instead of being close-minded and following a book written centuries ago. What your article is saying is complete rubbish. You are literally telling everyone of every religion that its all or nothing. And you have no damn authority to do that, nor do I, nor does anyone.

  • Julie

    You keep saying that we, apparently, cannot make up our own mind and must follow the belief of the masses. However, you are pushing your beliefs onto us and blanketing it under what you call “the Church Teaching” who are you to say what is or isn’t the RCC teaching? Though you have said, that these are the teachings of the magisterium, have you ever had an individual thought for yourself? Or have you just gone through life assuming everything someone tells you is true as long as they say it comes from the church. Please think about that, Thanks!

  • Leila Miller

    Julie, if you read my blog at all, you will know that I think all the time. I thought my way into the Church. But I also submit to the Church that Christ founded. Where in Catholicism (or in Jesus’ words) does it say that we may disobey legitimate authority? Why are you Catholic? Whether you like it or not, I have represented Church teaching accurately. The onus is on you to show that I am wrong. Where does your belief (that we can think and do whatever we want so long as we “think” about it) square with Church teaching? Show me in the Catechism or any Church document including the Bible. Thanks!

  • Leila Miller

    Cris, when a new Catholic comes into the Church (via RCIA for example), they make a solemn profession of Faith before God and the Church which says exactly this:

    I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.

    Could you say those words and mean them?

    One of the gravest sins is the sin of sodomy, by the way, and to now say that such a mortal sin is the same as “marriage” is the most incredible departure from the moral law. It has nothing to do with genitalia, and everything to do with the definition of marriage (even on the non-religious plane, it has never meant “romantic feelings”). There is so much written, so much out there, and I hope you will avail yourself of that information. What have you read so far? I would suggest starting here:

    and here:

    and here:

    and here:

    And there is so, so much more. The Church will continue to teach the truth of human sexuality as she always has, no matter what the spirit of the age says. In season and out of season, she teaches the same truth.

  • Leila Miller

    Whoops, sorry, I forgot to mention this. You said:

    “I know how to think for myself instead of being close-minded and following a book written centuries ago.”

    You have described a Protestant paradigm (“sola scriptura” or “bible only”). Catholics don’t subscribe to this. The Church has been teaching and preaching the truth since well before a word of the New Testament was written. The Church is not “bible-based”, the Bible is Church-based. Look, I am guessing you are somewhat young. My generation and then yours after mine was very poorly catechized. We hardly understand why we are Catholic, much less what the Church teaches. Maybe my story will help, as I almost left the Church myself due to very poor catechesis and “feel good” theology:

  • Chris

    Dude, that is the worst non answer I’ve ever heard.

  • Chris

    This conversation is giving me serious flashbacks. Like 10 million other you g Catholics, I had all the school (12 yrs)faithful home life, Mass every week etc etc. Not a clue about why I was Catholic and what the difference was from being any over Christian. It took a very strong Protestant challenging me about why I would still stay attached to this ancient false church when I didn’t accept the teaching authority anyway. Fact is I didn’t have the first clue about why the church teaches what is does, by what authority and how that makes a difference in how I live my faith or how I identify what I believe. It really is an odd thing to observe looking back. To fully feel a part of something, full ownership, but not fully accept or believe it. Strange, but man, I was there. I would have had the exact same reaction to your article Leila, thanks for taking the time to answer. Cris and Julie , when it all boils down, it is all about the teaching authority given by Christ to his church. Go find out, it’s the only way, and save yourself 20 years of wandering.

  • Leila Miller

    Chris, thank you. God bless you.

  • Richard III

    “13 years old”?

    What do you mean?

  • Richard III

    Never mind. I get you now.

  • Richard III

    So if I was an Aztec who believed that I had to capture at least 1 person every day (and capture hundreds or thousands on “holy” days), cut his heart out with a stone knife, hold it up (still beating) before his eyes, sacrifice it to the sun god to make sure that he would rise that day, feed my victim’s head and torso to the temple zoo, and take his arms, legs, and blood home for breakfast, and repeat that cycle every morning until I died, you’d have no right to challenge, question, or stop me?

  • Richard III

    Rejecting Satan and his works does not equal saying that you will never sin. It means that you recognize Satan and his works to be evil things to be avoided at all costs, and that you will do your utmost to avoid them. At times, you will fall, and that isn’t good, but when that happens, you shouldn’t give up. You should be sorry for what you did and try to do better.

  • Richard III

    Mrs. Miller isn’t making her assertions in this post on HER authority. She’s making them on the authority of the Catholic Church’s Magesterium, the Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, and all the Popes.

  • Richard III

    Talking differently to someone does NOT equal talking down to him.

  • Richard III

    We’ve had bad priests since Judas Iscariot and we’ll continue to have bad priests until Jesus’s Second Coming. But never forget that we’ve always had GOOD priests too and will always have them, even if there’s not always enough of them or if they seem powerless against the bad priests. Remember, the Gates of Hell will NEVER prevail against the Catholic Church, and that promise was given to us by Christ Himself.

  • Richard III

    heehee, thanks. 🙂

  • bunnygirl

    Well the old testament does actually mention it
    Exodus 21:22 If men strive [fight] an hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit [fetus] depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
    (in other words pay money, only male children over one month old were considered persons by Hebrew standards)

    However,in the Old Testament God was especially fond of infanticide
    Psalm 137:9
    Happy [shall he be], that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
    Exodus 13:1-2 “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether [hu]man or animal.'”
    (these were actually sacrificed)
    As a sometime pagan I know scriptures better than most Christians.
    Instead of watching Nightmare on Elm street, just read some of the Old Testament, it is very bloody, violent and scary..
    Since I am not Jewish, I see no reason to worship this jewish god..

  • Iris

    You need to read the Didache, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, written sometime between 60-100 AD. Jesus said, “Go, and teach ye all nations…” and they did, and one thing they taught was “But let none eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptized in the Lord’s Name. For concerning this also did the Lord say, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.” And “But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned.”

    Yes, the Apostles, to whom Jesus gave the instruction and the AUTHORITY to go and teach, taught that the Eucharist could most certainly be denied and in fact it must be denied to some.

  • Richard III

    The Israelites didn’t sacrifice their first-born sons. They consecrated them by circumcision.

    Psalm 137 is a lamentation of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the full last lines are “O daughter of Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall be he who repays you with what you have done to us! Happy shall be he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” I’m not a Bible scholar, and would highly recommend you consult a faithfully Catholic scholar or scholarly and Catholic writing on this psalm for it’s true meaning (as Mrs. Miller said, only the Catholic Church and those who fully adhere to her teachings and precepts have the authority to explain and interpret scripture), but to me, it looks like the psalmist is speaking hypothetically, and while he does say that the person who dashes the children against the rock will be happy, he doesn’t say that he will be right, or justified, or even if that’s going to happen. This and many other parts of the Old Testament are difficult to understand, which is one of the many reasons why Jesus Christ established His Church here on earth to help us to understand them.

    You say you aren’t Jewish (and I’m guessing also not Catholic or Christian), and that therefore you see no reason to worship the God of both religions (all Catholics are Christians, not all Christians are Catholics). But in that case, what reason(s) do you see for reading God’s Word (aka the Bible)?

  • Richard III

    Oh, and Old Testament era pagans, like the Hittites, Phonecians, and Carthaginians were far more fond of child sacrifice than the Israelites ever were, which is a lot fonder considering the Israelites never condoned such barbaric practices, and never burned widows alive like the Hindus or captured, sacrificed, and ate millions of captive human victims like the Aztecs.

  • JohnnyVoxx

    Exactly, Leila. Thank you.

  • Amen.

  • One of the aspects that defines us as Roman Catholics is Obedience to the rules. It is non-negotiable, and it is not a Democracy.

  • Mark Chance

    “If you are a Protestant, you don’t get to personally interpret the Bible and tell us what you are sure Christ meant.”

    That precisely what Protestantism means. Every Protestant is his or her own pope, just as infallible as every other Protestant.

  • Marty Dancy

    I wouldn’t call any man wonderful who would push for you to violate your conscience. If a person loves you,he would not expect this of you. Thank goodness you broke up with him. May you always have happiness and hopefully, if it is God’s will, you will meet the right man and have no doubts that he is the right man.

  • Annamarie

    You’re right, of course. My only excuse is that after my divorce (one I did NOT want! It was my ex-husband’s idea & he IS Catholic!), I was so very lonely & none too sure of my attractiveness. This shouldn’t matter, but believe me, to all women who aren’t a religious it’s one of the things we build our self-image and to some extent, out self-worth around. (There! I’ve just told you one of our feminine secrets. Don’t tell the other guys.) In short, I was vulnerable. He believes what he does because he is Protestant, and they have a very self-justifying faith. “If I believe it to be true and it fits in with my love for a person, it must ergo be true.” Besides being a really good illustration of at its core, what is wrong with Protestantism, it was literally pulling me in two. I simply couldn’t do it anymore; stay with him. Not only had Our Lord placed a strong conviction on my heart, I began to worry about setting a “scandalous example” before my new neighbors. This is a small community of garden homes where everybody knows what is going on with everybody else. That the Protestant ones might get the idea that we Catholics ignored the Commandments like that also began to gnaw at me. It wasn’t so much that I worried what “the neighbors might say,” it was that the neighbors would be RIGHT! I wouldn’t be the cause of anyone thinking that of our beautiful faith for anything!

  • Annamarie

    Oh, yeah? And just who are you and what makes you so smart? Just how do you know I DON’T have credentials running out of my ears? Lady, you aren’t half as intelligent as you think you are. Leila could debate people like you and “Smarty Pants” all day long without breaking a sweat.

  • Marty Dancy

    One should set up Christ to follow rather than depend too much on a man or a woman to follow People can sin and hurt you but Jesus never does that. If we can just keep Him at the helm, we can let some people go because they have a bad influence on us or maybe I may have a bad influence on them. Anyway, a relationship with another human is only as good as their being able to inspire each other enough to be faithful, loving and forgiving. If they don’t have that desire, then the relationship is not good and therefore leads the way to hell. Since heaven is our goal, all our relationships should help us get there. If they don’t then we need to get out of them.

  • Annamarie

    I agree completely. In fact, what you said is just another way of saying what I did to him: “If two people are in love, they are supposed to bring out the best in each other,” not the other way round which only leads to heartache.

  • Richard III

    That’s exactly what Mrs. Miller does.

  • James1225

    The most mentally healthy Catholics are those who take all these dogmas, doctrines, traditions, miracles, angels, saints, devil, demons, etc. with a grain of salt. The ones who don’t are not living for themselves but for someone else. And I don’t mean to say that we should be self absorbed and not give of ourselves for our families and those in need. But, basically, religion was made for man and not the other way around. No one’s life need be run by religious leaders whether they be Christian, Muslim, whatever.

  • Leila Miller

    Are you a psychologist?

  • Leila Miller

    Yes, that’s what they do. It doesn’t mean that they are allowed to. 😉

  • Bill S

    No. But he goes to one.

  • James1225

    Are you a psychologist?

    Why, yes I am. How did you know? 🙂

  • Leila Miller

    Oh, just a hunch. 😉

  • Phil Steinackerb

    Yawn. Another pagan “expert” on Scripture demonstrates quite the opposite of her claims to know so much while making a HUGE error (corrected by Richard III). Perusing the Bible often and knowing where some seemingly “gotcha” chapters lurk is NOT the same as knowing what you’re talking about.
    One needs to study Scripture on its own terms to know HOW to read it properly – and YOU, funnygirl, don’t!

  • Phil Steinacker

    This is the first truly candid statement you’ve made so far. Like so many other poorly catechized Catholics you lacked a solid foundation in your faith, making yourself easy pickings for a Protestant. That person purported to know “something” about the Church in contrast to your own ignorance (meaning “not knowing) but really they only filled your mind with distortions amounting to a hall pass to do whatever your own desires led you to. I know that route – I took it too.