Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I was in the process of fact checking what I had written about for a future installment of my defense of Saint Bonaventure's Psalter of the Vlessed Virgin when I happened to read some things that Mr. Fan recently posted in an article entitled "An Argument for Fallibility, not Against Infallibility" wherein he started with a criticism about the Pope falling asleep during Mass and ending with a rant about a particular Marian devotion. Since I am already dealing with the Mariolatry charge that Mr. Fan frequently feels compelled to make against Catholics in the current series of articles that I am writing, I did not feel the need to respond to them on his website.

However, some of the remarks written by one "louis" (who apparently is of cessationist camp of the Calvinist conclave as opposed to those who fall into the smaller continuationist school of Calvinism) in the comments section gave me pause. He first started out criticizing the "Roman magisterium" whatever that purports to be, moved on to attacking the verity of whether Saint Philomena was a real saint or not, and then wrote these words:

"Evidently your church disagrees with you, since they feel the need to invent and ascribe miracles to their saints."
Ignoring the veiled accusation that every single person who has ever witnessed a miracle after the close of the canon or the death of the apostle John is a liar, mountebank, or dupe, I was somewhat amazed to see someone in this day and age, even if they happen to be a Calvinist, suggest that Catholics believe that saints perform miracles under their own power.

Here is my short response:

Hello louis and all. I am afraid that you harbor a serious misapprehension in regards to miracles. I do not know what particular flavor of Protestantism you adhere to, but I am well aware that even among Calvinists there is a disagreement with respect as to whether miracles still occur or not. Thus, singling out the "Roman magisterium" however your warped logic figures to define it for your derision and scorn is rather juvenile at best and bigoted at worst.

Second, your understanding of what constitutes a miracle is abysmal. Catholics DO NOT BELIEVE that any human being, dead or alive, performs miracles. Rather, we believe that God manifests HIS POWER, HIS GLORY, HIS AUTHORITY, HIS PROVIDENCE over HIS CREATION in ways that suit His purposes. In the case of saints, God chooses to perform miracles to persuade and to confirm that a person is a saint. Thus your comments are not only ill-researched and poorly constructed but downright blasphemous as well. If you are going to attack the Catholic faith, you should at least read a book or two about it before doing so. I would start with the Catechism of the Catholic Church or better yet, maybe you should read Saint Francis de Sales, "the Catholic Controversy" which does a fine job of summarizing what the Church teaches about miracles. It worked well enought to convert tens of thousands of Calvinists, maybe it will work for you.

If you wish to discuss the matter further, you may do so on my website. I will even be happy to entertain your queries about Saint Philomena since she seems to be of particular interest to you.

God bless!
I hope and pray that "louis" takes me up on my offer.

BTW  in 2005, a scientific inquiry determined that the remains of Saint Philomena were of a young teen age girl who was martyred in approximately 202 AD, that her resting place had not been tampered with and that the blood in the ampulla found with her was genuine.  So much for "louis' " in-depth researches.

God bless!

Saint Philomena, powerful with God, pray for us!

P.S.:   I guess I am supposed to find entirely coincidental that I happened across a book about Saint Philomena at a garage sale this past weekend.

P.P.S.:  Kudos to Alexander and Blogahon who give a vigorous defense of the faith in their responses to "louis."


At Mr. Fan's Blog below offered this response to my posting:

"By the way, I'd respond to the accusations of having false premises and misapprehensions, but I'm not even sure on what points I'm alleged to have those things.

If it concerns miracles being "ascribed" to saints, this is just shorthand for miracles performed through saints. I don't think the Roman church or anybody else who claims to be a Christian thinks that people perform miracles in their own power."
Having courteously offered this statement in the spirit of clarifying his earlier remarks, I wanted to take the time here to note such and thank him for doing so.  

God bless!


Alexander said...

It's good to see you back to blogging!

Still waiting on the Augustine debate...

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Alexander,

I am still waiting on the Augustine debate myself. Whenver TF says he is ready to go, I am ready to start.

louis said...

"I was somewhat amazed to see someone in this day and age... suggest that Catholics believe that saints perform miracles under their own power."

Um, because that's not what I was suggesting. But thanks for giving me my 15 minutes of fame.


Paul Hoffer said...

louis, you are welcome. Also I wanted to thank you for clarifying your remarks on TF's blog and the cordial way you did so-I will be posting that here as an update as well so folks who do read my blog will not have an erroneous impression of you.

Thank you for posting!

God bless!

louis said...

Thank you, Mr. Hoffer.