Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Que soy era Immaculado Councepciou":

A Reply to the Unworthy Fiction of Turretinfan

"Nothing is anything more to me; everything is nothing to me, but Jesus: neither things nor persons, neither ideas nor emotions, neither honor nor sufferings. Jesus is for me honor, delight, heart and soul. Jesus, my God, I love you above all things.” ~ Saint Bernadette Soubirous

Over on his blog, the gentleman known by the fictional sobriquet Turretinfan posted an article entitled Lourdes and “Worthy of Belief” Fictions critical the Catholic Church’s teachings on private revelations.  Mr. Fan chose to write this particular article in response to comments I had made on his blog in response to some remarks of one “louis.” louis asked:

But does your church believe this story [the story of "St. Philomena"] is true? Or are they saying that even if this vision [revelation that Maria Luisa di Gesù, a Roman Catholic nun, claimed she received] is a delusional lie (a false sign or wonder), then it is still "not contrary to the Catholic faith", and may still be used to express devotion to this saint?
Perhaps I should have given a more detailed answer, but the reply I gave was:
Hi louis, The Church does not offer an opinion as to whether it is true or not because we, as individual Catholics, are not required to accept as true a private revelation made to a private individual as true as such do not belong to the deposit of faith. What the Church has said is that a person may accept the revelation as true if they wish without danger to their soul. [CCC 67] We recognize that such revelations are devotional in nature, not doctrinal.
Apparently Mr. Fan did not like this response. Since he could not have his way with Saint Philomena anymore, he decided to pick on little Saint Bernadette Soubirous. I was bit reluctant to reply his latest article would take me away from finishing up my posts on whether Catholics worship Mary, but because of the remarkable superficiality of the Mr. Fan’s article and specifically because he sought to use my words to attack the Church that Christ Himself founded to which I belong and love, I felt it necessary to offer a detailed response. I do not intend to respond to each and every remark he has made in his article, particularly the remarks he made about Pope Benedict XVI and his actions at Lourdes as well as the claim that Catholics worship Mary since I am addressing it elsewhere. However, I will address his criticism of the Church’s treatment of miraculous apparition of the Virgin Mary and other private revelations. At the outset, I do want it known that based on my own personal investigations of the matter, I believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary did appear to Saint Bernadette. Thus, I will be writing from standpoint of belief rather than disbelief.

Mr. Fan starts out:

The RCC is a little unusual in this regard. In some cases, things are written off as frauds. In other cases, things are indicated as being, in essence, believable or "worthy of belief." For example, people are permitted to believe that something miraculous happened at Lourdes, but a person is not required to believe that.
For starters, Mr. Fan does not state why he feels the Catholic Church’s treatment of private revelations is a “little unusual” given the fact that at least some Calvinists, called continuationists, feel apparently free to believe that God continues to distribute the biblical gifts of miracles, etc. And it is interesting that he does not discuss how his church handles such matters, so we do not have a baseline of usualness, so-to-speak, to judge the accuracy of Mr. Fan’s assessment that the way the Catholic Church handles private revelation is a “little unusual.” So while Mr. Fan feels compelled by his Calvinist tradition of men to attack all things Catholic, he doesn’t quite seem to know how to do so here. Let me help.

The Catholic faith teaches that there are two types of revelation. Universal or public revelations are those contained in the Scriptures or in the Apostolic deposit of faith transmitted by the Church. As with our separated brethren, the Catholic Church holds that universal and public revelation was completed and ceased upon the death of the last apostle. See, Vatican II, Dei Verbum 4; Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 65. Accordingly, all such revelation is binding on all Christians.

With that being said, it should be noted that while public revelation has ceased, the Catholic Church does not hold that everything that has been revealed has been fully understood. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the full significance of public revelation comes to be gradually understood by the Church. See, CCC 66. Now Mr. Fan interposes an object later in his posting that the words “Immaculate Conception” do not appear in Scripture. Likewise he will claim that the doctrine is unscriptural as well. I will merely state at this point that Mr. Fan would be right that the words “Immaculate Conception” do not appear in Scripture. Just like the words “Holy Trinity” do not appear in the Scriptures. However, just because the words are not found there, it does not mean that the Church can not come to understand that certain Scripture passages are to be understood in such a way that defines a doctrine. Thus, while a doctrine such as the Immaculate Conception is not explicitly explained in the Scriptures, nevertheless, the Church over time came to a better understanding of the Scriptures that certain passages of Scripture, such as Gen. 3:15; Lk. 1:28; and Rev. 11:19-12:2, are to be interpreted to as proof of same.

The second type of revelation is private revelation. As I correctly noted in my comment to “louis,” individual Catholics are not required to accept the verity of any particular private revelation. However, for the sake of clarity, I want to make it clear that it is also understood that a true private revelation is binding upon the person who receives it or the person to whom such revelation is directed.

The reason for this is simple: the Magisterium of the Church has the charism of infallibility only when Scriptures and the Apostolic deposit of faith (Tradition), in mutual interdependence, form the foundation for a dogma, whether solemnly defined by an ecumenical council, by an ex cathedra pronouncement of the Pope, or by the universal ordinary Magisterium which is the constant preaching and teaching (sensus fidelium) of the Church as a whole. Because private revelation is not contained in the Scriptures or in the Apostolic deposit of faith, the certitude that can be reached as a result of investigating apparitions and private revelations can never have the certitude of divine faith.

In 1734, Pope Benedict XIV writes in his encyclical, Concerning the Beatification and Canonization of Servants of God:
" Even though many of these revelations have been approved, we cannot and we ought not to give them the assent of divine faith, but only that of human faith, according to the dictates of prudence whenever these dictates enable us to decide that they are worth of pious credence.” (De canon., III, liii, xxii, II)

hen private revelations, such as Lourdes, have been approved by the Church, this only means that they do not contain anything contrary to faith and morals and that there is sufficient factual evidence to justify belief in the authenticity that the private revelation occurred. The Church does not and can not impose belief in a private revelation and its contents on the faithful at large. This is the public revelation of Scripture and the Apostolic deposit of faith is all sufficient for one’s salvation and because nothing contained in private revelation could be necessary for salvation. No Catholic is obliged to believe, as a matter of faith, in Lourdes, Fatima, etc., although, when the Church acknowledges or approves of same, one should not capriciously reject them out of hand.

CCC 67 (which for some strange reason Mr. Fan chose to disregard) summarizes:

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.
Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations."
CCC 67 acknowledges that the Church does take a role in examining private revelations to discern whether they are an authentic call to Christ or a “false sign or wonder” using the terminology that “louis’ employed. Some of these principles are outlined in the Catechism as follows:

799. Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.

800. Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms.

801. It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church's shepherds. "Their office [is] not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good," so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together "for the common good." [Footnotes omitted]
Specifically because private revelations are not contained in the Scriptures nor do they constitute part of the deposit of faith, the Church will not impose an obligation on the faithful to believe them. Private revelation, has never been understood as the means that God chooses to reveal new doctrines. Rather, it is one of the ways He uses to point the faithful back to His public revelation.

Mr. Fan can find fault all he wants with the Catholic Church in the manner in which it decides whether to “write off” a particular private revelation or not. But as Mr. Bellisario points out in his comments to Mr. Fan’s article, isn’t it silly that Mr. Fan does so on this occasion particularly when we all agree that the faithful are not be obligated to believe in private revelations?

It is not my intent to go into detail how the Church discerns whether a private revelation is true or not as there are some very excellent articles that do so here and here. What is important here to recognize is that the Church distinguishes between private revelation and public revelation because the authority of private revelation is essentially different from that of public revelation. The latter demands faith as it is the infallible Word of God. Private revelation, on the other hand, can only be an aid to help with one’s faith. Its credibility derives from its ability to by leading one back to the definitive public revelation.

Mr. Fan continues:

On the other hand, sometimes (much more rarely) the RCC adds some new requirement to the list of things that must be believed.

My response: Of course, considering Calvinists adhere to TULIP, an acronym found nowhere in the Bible, it is fair to say that Protestants, including the whatever-Turretinfan-goes-to-if-he-goes-at-all Presbyterian denomination, do the same. So in the words of Clara Peller, “Where’s the beef?”

Calvinist polemics aside, Catholics too resolve “to know nothing ... except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2) As a help to the members of the Body of Christ, the Magisterial authority granted the Church by Jesus Christ Himself permits it to define doctrines to help us understand better what it means when we know Jesus and Him crucified and how to pick up, shoulder and carry our crosses. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure.” (CCC 89) Perhaps Mr. Fan will take the time to read the Catechism §§ 88-95 and then we can take the time to discuss this issue further.

Now back to the show...

For example, about four years before the Lourdes event, the RCC defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception - requiring people to believe the unbiblical (and frankly Pelagian) doctrine of the Immaculate conception.
My response:

I have already supplied the reader with three scriptural texts that properly understood, help form the foundation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. So that the reader is not merely taking my word on it, I am also providing links to the papal bull that first defined the dogma, Ineffabilis Deus, to Fulgens Corona, a later encyclical written by Pope Pius XII that discusses the dogma, and Munificentissimus Deus wherein Pope Pius XII defined the related dogma of the Assumption of Mary. Whether Turretinfan chooses to accept the dogma as understood by the Church is an exercise of his own personal, private, and -more importantly in his mind-Protestant judgment and interpretation.

However, I am intrigued by his claim that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is somehow “Pelagian.” The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states “that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary at the first moment of Her conception was, by singular grace and privilege of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved from all stains of original sin, is revealed by God, and therefore to be firmly and resolutely believed by all the faithful.” (Dogmatic bull Ineffabilis Deus, of Dec. 8, 1854). If Mr. Fan is not purposefully dissembling in making the assertion that the Immaculate Conception is somehow “Pelagian,” it is plain then that Mr. Fan either has not read Ineffabilis Deus or does not understand it if he had as the dogma itself expressly acknowledges that Mary was preserved from original sin by virtue of the application of the merits of her Son, Jesus Christ.

It is not a coincidence that the early Church Fathers, Saint Epiphanius, Saint Ephraem, Saint Ambrose, and Saint Augustine of Hippo who actively battled the heresies of the fourth and early fifth centuries were the first to actually address Mary’s sinlessness in light of the various claims that the heretical sects such as the Arians who pointed to Jesus’ birth by Mary as proof that He was not divine, the Bardesanites, who denied that Jesus was born of a human mother, and the Pelagians who pointed to Jesus’ Incarnation through her as proof of the non-existence of original sin.

In his masterwork, The Panarion, Saint Epiphanius of Salamis (310 - 403 AD) writes:

"How will holy Mary not possess the kingdom of heaven with her flesh, since she was not unchaste, nor dissolute, nor did she ever commit adultery, and since she never did anything wrong as far as fleshly actions are concerned, but remained stainless?" (Panarion haer 42:12; PG 41:777B)

"Mary, the holy Virgin, is truly great before God and men. For how shall we not proclaim her great, who held within her the uncontainable One, whom neither heaven nor earth can contain?" (ibid 30:31; PG 41:460C)

"Whoever honors the Lord also honors the holy [vessel]; who instead dishonors the holy vessel also dishonors his Master. Mary herself is that holy Virgin, that is, the holy vessel." (ibid 78:21; PG 42:733A)
"Yes, Mary's body was holy, but it was not God. Yes, the Virgin was surely a virgin and worthy of honor; however, she was not given us for us to adore her. She herself adored him who was born of her flesh, having descended from heaven and from the bosom of the Father." (ibid 79:4; PG 42:745C-D)
We find in the writings of Saint Ephraem of Syria (306 - 373 AD), a doctor of the Church, the following on Mary’s sinlessness:

"Because there are those who dare to say that Mary cohabited with Joseph after she bore the Redeemer, we reply, 'How would it have been possible for her who was the home of the indwelling of the Spirit, whom the divine power overshadowed, that she be joined by a mortal being, and gave birth filled with birth pangs, in the image of the primeval curse?' If Mary was blessed of women, she would have been exempt from the curse from the beginning, and from the bearing of children in birth pangs and curses. It would be impossible therefore to call one who gave birth with these birth pangs blessed." (Commentary on Tatian's Diatessaron)
Since the birth pangs of women were often considered a curse and result of original sin, it is telling that Saint Ephraem writes that she was exempt from such. Here is another explicit reference to Mary’s sinlessness:

"Only you Jesus and your Mother are more beautiful than everything. For on you, O Lord, there is no mark; neither any stain in your Mother." (Carnina Nisibena 27, 8).
Saint Ambrose of Milan, the mentor of Saint Augustine of Hippo writes in 387 AD:

Come, then, and search out your sheep, not through your servants or hired men, but do it yourself. Lift me up bodily and in the flesh, which is fallen in Adam. Lift me up not from Sarah but from Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace had made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.  (Commentary on Psalm 118:22-30)
Saint Augustine of Hippo appears to hold to this notion as well when he wrote in 415 AD the following:

"With the exception, therefore, of the holy Virgin Mary, in whose case, out of respect for the Lord, I would have no question raised when there is talk of sin -- for how do we know what further grace was conferred on her for absolute victory over sin, she who deserved to conceive and bear Him who obviously had no sin? -- with the exception, then, of this Virgin, could we but gather together in their lifetime all those saints, men and women, and ask them whether they were free from sin, what in our opinion would have been their answer? ...No matter how remarkable their holiness in this body...they would have cried out with one voice: 'If we should say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us' [1 John 1:8]." (De natura et gratia, cap 36, n. 42) (However, see De nuptiis concupscentia II, 15, which suggests that the above could be understood that Saint Augustine was writing about Mary’s personal sinlessness, not that she was conceived without sin.)
Since Mr. Fan wants me to speak “frankly,” it is plain that he has never thought through the ramifications of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which in truth is a direct refutation of the Pelagian heresy. If Mary, a creature, had not been preserved through God’s advance application of the merits of His Son’s crucifixion and resurrection, one could arguably claim that Mary contributed to her own salvation through her fiat by agreeing to conceive the Son of God and through her personal effort of bearing and birthing Our Savior. One could further argue the Cross itself was made possible through Mary's consent alone and in effect makes our salvation dependent on the power of a creature, Mary, to say “Yes” to God. It is striking that only Protestants like Turretinfan make such contentions when they are misrepresenting the teachings of the Catholic Church to their readers.

However, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception prevents such contentions. Through the Immaculate Conception, it is affirmed that Mary is saved by the actions of Jesus Christ alone. She is “blessed among women” to be the New Eve who bears the New Adam, the Savior of the world because God chose to apply the merits of His Son’s death and resurrection to her in advance. Her sinlessness is due to the virtue imbued her by the saving work of Christ. As a result, her fiat (“Let it be with me according to your word”) is untainted by sin, demonstrating the hope that all Christians share that Christ’s death and resurrection has the power to undo sin and death for the members of His body, the Church. Rather than embracing Pelagianism, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is actually an unyielding defense against the Pelagian and other heresies as it emphasizes that Mary’s salvation too was totally and completely dependent on God’s gratuitous gift through His application of the merits of Our Lord’s death on the Cross and His Resurrection. God’s gift of salvation to us all, even Mary as taught by the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, is totally gratuitous, making clear that gift is not dependent upon human merit, but on grace alone.

In sum, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is but an application of the concept of sola gratia, which it is hoped that Protestants, even Calvinists such as Turretinfan and “louis,” must now acknowledge.

Let’s move on:

Interestingly, at Lourdes, a 14-year-old local girl named Bernadette Soubirous (who is the central figure in the event) claimed that the apparition of a beautiful woman told her, "I am the Immaculate Conception." This oddly ungrammatical claim (original French: "Je suis l'Immaculée conception") is probably best explained by the fact that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had recently been defined, and Bernadette, while aware of the definition, didn't fully understand it. Mary calling herself the "Immaculate Conception" would be like Jesus saying, "I am the virgin birth." Of course, an alternative is that since Mary was a Palestinian Jewess, perhaps her French just isn't that good. But this seems unlikely, because other things that Bernadette reportedly heard from the apparition were more well constructed grammatically - even to the point of being formal.
Mr. Fan does not give the source of his knowledge so-called. Unfortunately, for Mr. Fan, his source is in error as actual history recounts something a bit different than the novelization Turretinfan spins. The Blessed Virgin Mary never said, “Je suis l'Immaculée conception" but “Que soy era Immaculado Councepciou” to young Bernadette Soubirous when the girl asked ‘Aquéro’ who she was during the sixteenth apparition on March 25, 1858. The vision spoke to her in a Basque dialect patois as Saint Bernadette at that stage of her life did not speak or understand French. So if the vision spoke to Bernadette in French as Turretinfan represents, there would be little wonder why she did not understand what was said.

Mr. Fan also states that the events that occurred in the little grotto at Massabielle could “probably best explained by the fact that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had recently been defined, and Bernadette, while aware of the definition, didn't fully understand it.” Actually, I would suggest that the events that occurred at Lourdes probably could be best explained by considering actual evidence as opposed to Mr. Fan’s speculations. Here are some facts to consider: At the time she encountered the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bernadette did not know how to read or write. She did not know French. Due to her total lack of education, she had not yet received her First Communion. Thus, while it is possible that Bernadette may have heard the term “Immaculate Conception” spoken in her native patois, it is more probable that she had no idea what that term meant.

The actual record of events provides us with Bernadette’s own explanation:

After the sixteenth apparition, Bernadette went to the Curé Peyramale and told him what the Lady told her. He said to her, “You are mistaken! What does that mean, ‘the Immaculate Conception’?” Bernadette replied, “I don’t know, and that is the reason that all the way here I haven’t stopped saying the words over and over lest I forget them.” See, Blanton, Margaret, Bernadette of Lourdes [London: Longmans, Green and Co. (1939)] at page 135.

The author then adds the following:

It would certainly be unreasonable to suppose that Bernadette did not know that this was one of the titles given to the Virgin. The tiny plaster image at the grotto was so called. And the invocation to the Lady “conceived without sin” was usual in the liturgy. It is, however, quite reasonable to believe that the theological reasoning behind the title was a mystery to her. At fourteen she might easily have heard it discussed without perceiving its implications.

Mr. Fan continues:

In any event, Rome views the Immaculate Conception itself as a dogma that must be believed (despite the fact that we can't find it in Scripture or among the extant writings of orthodox Christians for the first few centuries of church history). In contrast, the fraud at Lourdes is viewed as being "worthy of belief." Rome won't say that it is true, and won't say that it is false.
Turretinfan finishes with this gem of prose:
So, while "I am the Immaculate Conception" should be seen to be a clumsy fraud, Rome approves of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and consequently sees no harm in letting people believe that the events of Lourdes are true.

As we have already discussed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, where it may be found in Scripture, and why the doctrine started to be defined in response to the heresies that arose during the fourth and fifth centuries, so I will not repeat myself here. I will merely add that the doctrine was defined specifically at a time when the heresy of Pantheism, which shares with Pelagianism the same intellectual and psychological assumptions in equating the creature and the "created will" with the Creator and the divine will, was taking hold in Europe. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception explicitly denies such.

Likewise, I will not address Mr. Fan’s comments regarding Pope Benedict XVI and his supposed Mariolatry here as I am already addressing the falsity perpetrated by some Calvinists that Catholics worship Mary in a separate series of postings.

What I will close with is addressing Mr. Fan’s claims that Lourdes is a fraud, and a clumsy one at that. Unfortunately, nowhere in his article does Mr. Fan deign to enlighten us how he discerned the “fraud.” He gives no example, offers no proof, nor cites to any authority that demonstrates the falsity of the Lourdes phenomena. We are expected to assume its falsity based on the say-so of pseudonymous anti-Catholic who presents no credentials, no evidence, and no real explanation.

If Turretinfan is claiming that what Saint Bernadette was fraudulent in what she saw, heard and did or that the apparitions were sent from hell, then let him adduce his evidence for our consideration. Prove her the liar and be done with it. I, for one, want to see how Turretinfan tested Saint Bernadette’s private revelations in accordance with Scriptural exhortation at 1 Thess. 5:19-21.

If Turretinfan is talking about the documented cures that occurred there, he has an additional problem. Whatever he wants to say about them, the cures happened. Let us see his proof that they are not miraculous. Using the thoughtful guidelines I mentioned earlier that were promulgated by Pope Benedict XIV as well as the latest medical technologies and stringent scientific enquiry, the independent medical bureau that examines miraculous cures at Lourdes has substantiated 70 cures that meet all of the criteria to be regarded as miraculous. Thousands of other individuals, including Protestants, have claimed to be cured at Lourdes. What credentials does Mr. Fan have that none of the medical and scientific professionals who have actually examined the evidence have?

If, however, Turretinfan is claiming that Lourdes is a fraud merely because he is a Calvinist cessationist, who rejects all private revelation whatsoever, or because he rejects Saint Bernadette’s private revelation and/or the cures that occurred at Lourdes merely because Saint Bernadette is a Catholic and the Lourdes sanctuary is operated by Catholics, then let him show some integrity and be honest enough to say so.

I suspect that it would make no difference to Mr. Fan how much evidence can be brought to bear, people like him will never be satisfied no matter how much evidence is adduced or what the quality of the evidence is raised because he is not seeking the learn truth of the matter. Instead, he is merely seeking to defend his particular religious viewpoint despite the fact that the evidence for the approved miracles at Lourdes is impeccable.

By the way, here is what the “fraudulent”, the official website for the Sanctuaries at the Our Lady of Lourdes has to say about the apparitions:


This judgement of the Church is essential because the Apparitions add nothing to the Creed or the Gospel; they are a reminder for an age that had a tendency to forget them, they are indeed, a prophetic Visitation to our world. God does not want us focusing on the wonderful or the extraordinary; but through the Apparitions he gives us a sign that we should return to the Gospel which is the Word of his Son, the Word of Life. Faithfulness to the message of the Gospel, the authenticity of our life of witness, the results of holiness which flow out from it for the people of God are the criteria of an authentic Apparition in the Church. At Lourdes they are verified with a special clarity: the Church is not deceived in this.

I will merely close with this: even Saint Thomas believed after seeing-all he had to do first was open his eyes. Turretinfan needs to open his.

God bless!

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing
You reign now in splendor.
with Jesus Our King

Ave, ave, ave Maria!
Ave, ave, ave Maria!

In heaven the blessed,
Your glory proclaim,
On earth we your children
implore your fair name.

Ave, ave, ave Maria!
Ave, ave, ave Maria!

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!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Managing Marian Misogyny (Part Two)

"To every human child that has preceded us to the eternal home we may address an Ave pia anima as often as we wish but not to our Mother, for that would be Catholic !"  ~ Wilhelm O. Dietlein, Protestant Theologian (translated from his book, Evangelisches Ave Maria written in 1863)

Part Two: Mr. Kurschner’s Use of Mockery as an Apologetic Stratagem

The first article I read concerning Saint Bonaventure’s Psalter of the Blessed Virgin was penned by Mr. Alan Kurschner, one of the luminaries who takes his place in the pantheon of Reformed apologists known collectively as the Alpha and Omega Apologetics Ministries. The article caught my attention because of its brevity and because of the unusual apologetic methodology it employed. Here it is in its entirety:


Keep in mind, in reading this, that Catholics DON'T WORSHIP MARY! I repeat, Catholics DON'T WORSHIP MARY! Catholics are not idolatrous!

(ht: Steve Hays)

What makes Mr. Kurschner’s squib interesting from an apologetics standpoint is that it did not pretend to overtly defend any doctrine or belief that Mr. Kurschner holds nor did it attempt to actually refute any position held by Catholics. Indeed, no effort is made to present any factual information whatsoever. Rather, Mr. Kurschner simply points to Saint Bonaventure’s Psalter of the Blessed Virgin and mocks it and the Catholics who recite it. Instead of showing how the Seraphic Doctor’s Psalter is idolatrous, Mr. Kurschner seems to rely upon the bigotry and prejudices of his audience to supply what is missing.

Now, mockery is often defined as a kind of jeering or show of contempt through the use of derision or parody. Traces of humor are often found the words of the mocker, often in the form of a caricature, satire, or sarcasm. The overriding characteristic of mockery, however, is the mocker’s malicious intent to seek to harm the object of the mock. 

The rhetorical application of mockery often has several objectives.  It is used as a way to dismiss another person's work or ideas and distract people from discerning fact from fiction.   When used in connection with an ad hominem argument, mockery seeks to taint or vilify a person’s character or personality in an effort to discount that person’s views.  Mockery is also used to create confusion by causing others to doubt the sincerity or cohesiveness of an opponent’s position.  In truth, mockery is most often employed by those who do not have any real evidentiary support for their position.  In other words, it's really not an argument at all; it's a tactic to avoid argument when you can't advance one.

With that being said, it would seem to me that using mockery as a rhetorical stratagem in apologetics is rather questionable and rather un-Christian. From my own personal experiences, mockery has seemed most often employed by playground bullies and advocates of liberal or radical causes. More importantly, it does not seem to be used with favor by prophets and apostles to proclaim the Good News.

Scripturally, one will not find mockery often used to defend and proclaim the Word of God. Aside from an instance in Chapter 18 of 1 Kings vss. 26-29 when the Prophet Elijah taunted the priests of Baal, I was not able to find an occasion when mockery was so used to bring people to God. Rather, those who mock, scoff or taunt are singled out for punishment by God.  In Proverbs, the scoffer or mocker is lumped in with the simpletons, the fools and the wicked [Prov. 1:22; 9:7 (RSV)], and is otherwise considered an abomination [Prov. 24:9 (RSV)].

In terms of the New Testament anyway, mockery is one of the weapons commonly utilized by foes of Our Lord, Christ Jesus [See, e.g. Mt. 27:27-31; Mt. 27:39-44; Mk. 15:32].  More importantly, I am not aware of an instance where Jesus Christ mocked those who opposed His teachings. Yes, He upbraided them, He spoke harshly of them; He even called them names, but he never mocked them.  If being a Christian means to imitate Our Lord, can one say that they are imitating Our Lord when they use mockery to proclaim His Gospel when He Himself did not?

Of additional concern is mockery’s limited use to persuade because it has the distinct tendency of hardening the heart of the person who is the object of the mock. In debating, as a tool of persuasion in argumentation, mockery is heavily dependent on the mind set of the audience. In the few instances that I have come across a person using mockery in legal fora, I have found that this sort of appeal works only if one’s audience is willing to suspend all objectivity and substitute in its place their own personal bias, prejudices and dictates of their passion. Happily, most folks that I have had the pleasure of interacting with or appearing before in my 25 years of legal practice are a bit more fair-minded than that and actually grant the accused the formality of due process and a trial before convicting.

Finally, as a rhetorical stratagem, I have found mockery often to be a poor substitute for the presentation of facts and evidence.  Those who are well-versed in rhetorical vilification often deploy mockery as the weapon of choice to hide their own personal ignorance appertaining to the subject of their mock and seek to prevent the audience from learning the facts as well. By focusing on the opponent rather than the argument, the mocker seeks to avoid interacting with the evidence by pretending that it doesn't exist.

In his article, Mr. Kurschner gives no clue whether he knows how Catholics use Saint Bonaventure’s Psalter of the Blessed Virgin in their devotional prayer life. He offers nothing in way of context, milieu or background to suggest that he even knows that Saint Bonaventure wrote it for particular devotional practice known as the “Little Office.” He does not present the reader with any idea of what Saint Bonaventure’s Mariology entailed. Given the paucity of evidence that Mr. Kurschner actually presents to his audience, I think it is fair to believe that he has no knowledge of the facts surrounding this particular devotional writing and made his attack on it and on Catholics out of ignorance. Or if he did have such an awareness of relevant contextual information, why did he choose to withhold such to his readers or otherwise marshal his arguments to rebut it?

Now lest the reader perceives that I am somehow singling out Mr. Kurschner, I am not. I am merely commenting on the particular writing style presented in a particular article that he posted and nothing more. I am well aware that there are Catholic apologists who use mockery as a rhetorical stratagem on occasion as well. However, since the inerrant Word of God calls upon us as Christians as stewards of His grace to make a defense to anyone who calls us to account for the hope that within us with gentleness and reverence and to do so with ungrudging hospitality and in such a way that it glorifies God [1 Pt. 2:15; 4:9-11], I do not see how one can reconcile that with the use of mockery as a legitimate apologetic stratagem. Perhaps Mr. Kurschner or another apologist who uses mockery as rhetorical tool to proclaim the Gospel, not to edit it, can enlighten us otherwise.

God Bless!

Sicut sidus radium
Profert virgo filium
Pari forma.
Neque sidus radio
Neque virgo filio
Fit corrupta. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Managing Marian Misogyny

[S]he became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as pass man's understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child. She herself is unable to find a name for this work, it is too exceeding great; all she can do is break out in the fervent cry, are great things,” impossible to describe or define. Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God. None can say of her nor announce to her greater things, even though he had as many tongues as the earth possesses flowers and blades of grass: the sky, stars; and the sea, grains of sand. It needs to be pondered in the heart what it means to be the Mother of God~Martin Luther from Commentary on the Magnificat (1521).
Part I. Some Opening Remarks.

This past December, three Calvinist Antidicomarianites decided that Advent was an opportune time to attack the devotion that Catholics show the Blessed Mother of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The particular edifice of Marian devotion against which Messrs. Turretinfan in an article entitled, Mariolatry Exemplified, Hays in an article captioned, The Immaculate Love Interest, and Kurschner in a squib with the heading, Catholics Don’t Worship Mary!,sallied forth is a work attributed to the Seraphic Doctor, Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, entitled, The Psalter of the Blessed Virgin. At the outset, I must admit that up to the time I first read the musings of Messrs, Kurschner, Hays and Turretinfan, I had never read the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin. Moreover, to the best of my recollection I have not ever commented about it in any of my apologetic endeavors nor have I ever incorporated, even accidently, any of its psalms, canticles, litanies, or hymns into my devotional prayer life--poor, tattered thing that it is. In fact, before I read these gentlemen’s three-pronged assault, I had been under the erroneous impression that The Psalter of the Blessed Virgin was just another name for the Rosary, the quintessential Marian devotional prayer.

While I truly appreciate these gentlemen taking the time to introduce me to Saint Bonaventure’s Psalter of the Blessed Virgin, I can not say that I appreciate the defamatory manner in which they made their introduction. Saint Paul at 2 Tim. 2:24-25, exhorts us to do better than that. I offer this response in such a spirit.

This presentation will be in several parts. First, I will touch upon some errors common to all of these gentlemen’s articles. Second, I will focus on some of the errors specific to each of their postings. Finally, we will examine the Mariology of Saint Bonaventure and the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin directly to see if these gentlemen actually make the case that the work is blasphemous or idolatrous. I will indicate here and now that if any of these gentlemen care to interact on what I have written here, I will be happy to entertain their rebuttals in turn. On with the argument.

Preliminarily, the objection to Marian devotion and/or devotion to the saints seems to be one of the more frequent objections that Protestant apologists make against Catholicism. There are several variations of this objection, but the most common form is that the Catholic Church requires one to pay undue homage to the Blessed Virgin (and to the Saints) which at the very least infringes upon, if it does not engross, the honor exclusively due to God thereby producing a devotion constituting, implicit, if not formal, idolatry. After interposing the objection, the Calvinist invariably will point to some poetic or florid language in a particular prayer or passage in an opus Marianum and claim that it is proof that the work smacks of “idolatry” or “blasphemy,” without offering any explanation as to why the prayer or practice happens to be idolatrous or blasphemous. The objections raised by Messrs Kurschner, Hays and Turretinfan are no different, although to be fair to Mr. Hays, he only implies that the work is idolatrous and/or blasphemous rather than labeling the work outright as such.

The problem with such these sorts of objections is that they rest upon an improper enthymematical premise which in truth is the real matter in dispute. Assume the premise that the honor Catholics pay to the Blessed Virgin is equivalent to the divine honor paid to Our God and all would have to agree that this is idolatrous (although I would not agree that such would necessarily constitute blasphemy, at least as to how the Scriptures defines the term). However, before the Calvinist can accuse the Catholic of committing such a crime against the dignity of God, he should first determine whether there is a foundation upon which to make this assumption particularly when Catholics themselves profess as a matter of dogma that they do not show Mary (or any other saint for that matter) true adoration reserved for God alone. Thus, in order to lay such a foundation, inquiry should be made as to what the Catholic means by the language he uses in his devotion to honor the Mother of God and then inquiry should be made whether, as a matter of fact, such language has really led Catholics to engage in idol-worship or other blasphemous behavior, or whether in truth the devotional practice has deepened a devotee’s relationship with God. Sadly, Calvinist apologists would rather vilify a particular devotional practice such as the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin according to their own atrophied tradition-driven eisegesis rather than proffer any sort of meaningful exegesis which examines the devotional practice within the context, historical background, and milieu surrounding it.

Going a step further, it must be noted that the objection to Marian devotion is premised on the misapprehension of how Catholics define the terms “worship” and “prayer.” Calvinist apologists apply the Protestant understanding of worship and prayer upon Catholic devotional practices without considering the verity that the Catholic understanding of what constitutes worship or how a Catholic views prayer are not identical to the Protestant view. For one thing, Calvinists do not recognize the sacrifice of the Mass as a legitimate expression of worship as Catholics do.

Here is what the 19th century Catholic apologist and philosopher, Orestes Brownson, wrote on the subject:
In every age of the Church saint-worship has obtained – never, I believe, by virtue of any positive precept, but from the overflowing of the pious Catholic heart. It is, if I may so speak, a necessity of Catholic piety. The love with which the regenerate and faithful soul is filled, cannot be satisfied without it. That love must worship, and it must worship the universal God: God in Himself and God in His works, all of which through His creative act partake of His divine being and are, through the medium of the act, identified with Him. The worship would seem to the soul incomplete, defective, if it did not embrace the creature with the Creator, and especially if it did not include the saints, who of all His creatures are the nearest and dearest to Him. The heart that does not include them in its love to God, and honor them in its honor to Him, may break no positive command, but it may be assured that it has at best only a stingy love, and no reason to applaud itself for either its logic or the fullness of its devotion.

The Protestant sects regard the worship which we render to the saints, especially to the blessed mother of our Redeemer, as idolatry. But this is because they do not consider that to worship God in His creatures, especially His saints, redeemed by His Blood and sanctified by His grace, is still to worship God; or that the worship which we render to the saints is never that which we offer to God Himself. Supreme worship is due to God alone, and to give it to another is idolatry, is treason to the Most High, to the Majesty of heaven and earth; none know this better than Catholics.

But worship is a general term, which includes not only different degrees, but different species. The word is from the Anglo-Saxon weorthscipe, which means simply the state or condition of being worthy of honor, or respect, or dignity; and to worship is to ascribe worth, honor, dignity, or excellence to someone – literally, to honor, it may be God, the magistrate, or simply any man for his office, station, acquirements, or virtues. The word itself may with like propriety designate the religious homage one owes to God, the reverence we give to the saints, or the civil respect we pay to persons in authority, whether in Church or State. Idolatry is not in rendering worship to men, but in rendering to them the worship that is due to God alone.

Protestant [critics] overlook this fact; and when they see us unmistakably worshipping saints – and perhaps rendering the saints as high a worship as that which they [protestants] in reality render to God Himself – conclude, rashly, that we are idolaters. But they seem not to be aware that the supreme and distinctive act of worship of God is sacrifice, and that we offer sacrifice never to any saint, never but to God alone. That Protestants should regard our saint-worship as idolatrous is not strange or surprising. Having rejected the sacrifice of the Mass, they have no sacrifice to offer, and therefore really no supreme, distinctive worship of God; and their [highest] worship is of the same kind, and very little, if any, higher than that which we offer to the saints themselves. Doubtless, so-called orthodox Protestants hold that a sacrifice, an all-sufficient sacrifice, has been offered by our Lord in offering Himself on the cross; but in their view, this sacrifice was completed, finished in the past, and is not an offering continuously made, and therefore made now on our altars, as really and as truly as on Calvary. In regard to men now living, according to them, [there is] no sacrifice to offer, consequently no supreme, distinctive worship of God. Hence their churches have a table, but no altar except by a figure of speech, as it is only by a figure of speech that they commune of the body of our Lord.

Their divine service or religious worship consists chiefly of prayer and singing of hymns or psalms, and comprises in kind nothing which is not perfectly lawful to offer to men. It is lawful to love our neighbor, to honor the magistrate, to pray to those in authority, to sing the praises of the conquering hero, and to confide in our friends. What in all this is distinctively religious worship, or that which can be given only to God?

But, because Protestants have, and believe in, no higher worship, it does not follow that there is none higher, or that we have it not. It is not good logic to argue that because they in their worship anthropomorphize God, we in ours divinize the saints. The sacrifice of Calvary, perpetuated in the sacrifice of the Mass, really and truly is the supreme, distinctive worship of God. As we have the true spiritual worship and offer it only to God, we can accept and encourage the over-flowings of the pious heart towards the saints without any danger of idolatry.

The holy sacrifice is never offered to a saint, not even to the mother of God; our churches and altars are all dedicated to God alone. Those that bear the name of some saint are, like all the others, dedicated to God, and simply placed under the patronage or intercession of the saint. The saints honored by offices in the church service are not the direct object of the worship. The sacrifice is offered to God in thanksgiving for them: the prayers are all addressed directly to God and only the saints’ intercession is invoked. [So, too], in the authorized litanies of the saints and of the Blessed Virgin, the saints are indeed invoked, but nothing is asked of them but their prayers for us; which is no more than we all ask daily of our pastors, of our friends, and of one another. And why may we not ask as much of a saint in heaven as of a sinful mortal on earth? Is the saint less living, or less dear to God? From Saint Worship-Part I
Applying the same sort misguided logic that used by Calvinist apologists when fulminating their Marian misogyny, we would have to wonder whether Protestants actually worship God at all given their vehement rejection of the sacrifice of the Mass, the highest, truest form of worship that man may direct to God. Catholics could argue that Protestants blaspheme God as they choose to show the Triune Deity only such honors that are shown creatures. Fortunately, most Catholics, at least the ones I know, are not infected with pretensions of the Calvinist kind and do admit that Calvinists do worship God, niggardly though their worship may be. Unfortunately, Messrs. Hays, Kurschner and Turretinfan do suffer from such pretensions as they dishonestly continue to perpetrate the falsehood that Catholics worship mere creatures in the same manner as they do God Himself for Catholics offer Him worship in the form of the sacrifice of the Mass which is never offered to Mary or any other person.

So there is no doubt as to what the Catholic understanding is in regards to how we are to honor God and how we are to honor Mary and the saints: divine worship is the act which acknowledges the uncreated and infinite excellence of God. In contrast, the honor shown Mary and the saints by Catholics recognizes the created and finite excellence conferred upon them by God. In other words, whatever honor is shown Mary and the saints is the acknowledgment that they are mere creatures who have been wonderfully blessed by God through their cooperation with God’s graces. The excellence we honor in Mary is nothing less than the unparalleled excellence God deigned to give her choosing her as the vessel for Our Lord’s incarnation and by her grace-filled exemplar as the first Christian witness and Mother of the Church. In honoring Mary, we merely follow the example of Our Maker who chose to honor her in a most special manner as well as His creation by making it a part of His salvific plan

The misapprehension over how Catholics understand the term “worship” is made worse by the Calvinist conflation of “devotion” with “faith”. To a Catholic, there is a radical distinction between the objects of faith, that is the truths essential to salvation as contained in the Holy Scriptures, and in the Apostolic Tradition of the Church which the Church teaches that all Christians must believe, and the practice of popular devotions, colored by living filter of pious traditions, custom, ethnicity and usage. The former constitute beliefs that are mandatory upon all believers and the latter constitute optional practices that an individual may choose to use in making their conversation with God more fulfilling and to deepen their relationship with Him.

The former is a product of faith, the latter is how the adherent chooses to apply that faith in his/her life in an expression of love for God and His holy ones. The former produces light, the latter warmth. While a deeper faith comes from learning, the deepest learning comes from ardent devotion.

In the case of Mary, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort states in his great inspirational work Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, that sound devotion to our Blessed Lady is that which establishes devotion to our Lord more perfectly. It may be fairly asked then why do Catholics use language that seems so exaggerated, that seems to focus on Mary alone. Fairly answered then is that words addressed to God or to the Blessed Virgin Mary or any His saints can have no more meaning on the part of him who utters them, beyond that which the person uttering them attaches to them. In other words, it is not for the Calvinist to attach their own meaning of language used in prayer or in this case, The Psalter of the Blessed Virgin by Catholics, but rather the meaning of the language employed must be derived from the sense which it is given by the person actually using it.

Therein lies the problem. Calvinists insist that we limit ourselves to consider the Scriptures within the framework of their limited style of exegesis, yet they do not hesitate to abandon it when examining the writings of Catholic writers such as Saint Bonaventure to make their crude points. Why is it that Calvinists choose to ascribe meanings to words that Catholics do not ascribe to give themselves? Why impute to Catholics the one thing that we, one and all, utterly disclaim, and ever have disclaimed since the time of the apostles, namely, that we mean to give divine honor to Mary when we pray for her intercession? In the case of Saint Bonaventure’s Mariology, why is that we never see a Calvinist apologist take on the fact that the Mystery of Christ’s Incarnation and His Redemptive action is the heart of his Marian devotion or that underlying principle of the Franciscan way of life in general is Mary’s counsel, “Do whatever He tells you?” (Jn.2:5). It is telling that Protestant apologists, particularly those in the Reformed camp, focus on external outward and ambiguous appearances of Marian devotional practices for excoriation rather than take on the doctrinal truths that lie at the heart of such devotional practices. Personally, I doubt that Messrs. Hays, Kurschner or Turretinfan have ever bothered to actually study Mariology beyond their focus on external appearances.

Now I will admit that one may find an extreme case of devotional excess that crosses the line between true worship and veneration. After all, there are approximately a billion folks today who are Catholic. However, fair inquiry would show that the Catholic Church historically has denounced such excessive devotions as heretical and has suppressed them. But just as one should not object to the doctrine of sola fide on the grounds that it causes some of the co-religionists of Messrs. Fan, Hayes, and Kurschner to fall into antinomianism; so too, the devotion shown the Blessed Virgin should not be objected to on the grounds that some may have rendered to her a homage which is unlawful. Yet, it is exactly this sort of defective logic that Calvinist apologists such as Kurschner, Hays and Turretinfan employ in attacking Marian devotional practices.

In truth, unlawful devotion to the Mother of Our Lord is really a very unlikely error for any Catholic to fall into, including small children. In my 50 years of being a member of the Catholic Church, I have never heard of a single instance where such excessive devotion could be fairly substantiated. Even in the Italian-American parish I belonged to long ago, if one were to ask any of the little old ladies fingering their rosary beads in the pews before Mass, they would all be very able to clearly and definitely discriminate in their prayers between the Creator and the creature. Catholics, even little children, clearly understand that when they pray to the Blessed Virgin they pray to one who is but a powerful intercessor with God and that when they pray to God they pray to one Who by His own almighty power can do all things. We do not pretend to believe that Mary has any power of her own to dispense graces; rather we acknowledge the verity that God uses Mary as a vehicle to dispense His graces. It is by God’s will, not Mary’s, that our prayers are answered. Mary and the saints are merely the means by which God chooses to do so.

In other words, I would suggest that Messrs, Turretinfan, Hays, and Kurschner are more likely to substantiate a sighting of a Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster than they are at finding an instance of an orthodox Catholic worshiping Mary as if she were another pagan goddess like Isis, Cybele Artemis, or Athena.

Now that I have addressed the general sort of errors I perceived in the articles of Messrs. Kurschner, Hays and Turretinfan in regards to Saint Bonaventure’s Psalter of the Blessed Virgin, my next posting will take issue with some of the problems I found in each of their postings.

God Bless!

Maria regnans in Patria
Ora pro nobis in via!