About Venerable John Henry Newman

Statue of Venerable Cardinal John Henry Newman by Donny MacManus

Young John Henry Newman (painting at Keble College, Oxford)

Reblogged from John Henry Newman with permission from Fr. Velez

Also, Fr. Velez and Mike Aquilina have a new devotional using the writings of Cardinal Newman:

Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman

Newman, one of the leading figures of 19th C England, was born in London on February 21st 1801 and died in Birmingham on August 11th, 1890.

After graduating from Trinity College, Oxford, he became a Tutor at Oriel College, Oxford, and vicar of St. Mary’s University Church. In 1833 he, along with others, initiated a spiritual and doctrinal revival of Anglicanism known as the Oxford Movement.

Through his historical study of heresies, which occurred during the first six centuries of Christianity, he gradually became convinced of the errors of Anglicanism.

At the age of 44, he became a Roman Catholic. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest and established the English Oratory of St. Philip Neri.

Newman dedicated his life to educational endeavors and the pastoral work of the Oratory. In 1854 he started the Catholic University of Ireland.

He published numerous articles and books which have brought greater understanding of the Catholic Church to many, both in the past and in the present.

Newman’s Apologia pro vita sua is an autobiographical account of his conversion and a defense of Roman Catholicism.

In 1879, Newman was created a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.

Newman was an outstanding writer of English prose and poetry; he was also both a Church historian and a theologian.

Bishops are False Teachers!

Joe: The false teachers that Paul warned about may make the same claim of having a lineage back to the Apostles or even Peter, and yet, that has no weight whatsoever.

BFHU: Joe, you are not basing this in fact but purely conjecture.

Joe:Paul said (1 Timothy 4: 1-3; Acts 20: 28-31) that they are false teachers, even though they are bishops.

BFHU: The passages that you cite do not say that bishops are false teachers. Some bishops may be false teachers, in fact I know of one who aids and abets heresy, heterodoxy, and liturgical abuse. But the first passage doesn’t even mention bishops. Of course there will be false teachers. Jesus promised us that. But we trust Christ to keep the Church’s teaching free from error just as He promised. Individuals may err and teach error but the teaching of the faith is indefectible and these passages, I and all Catholics totally accept. We do not accept the way you seem to be interpreting them however. We do not accept you as an infallible teacher and interpreter of Scripture. Sorry.

Joe:: Being a properly ordained bishop in no way guarantees faithfulness.

BFHU: Correct. Same goes for priests, nuns and every Catholic. We do not and have never  taught or believed,  that the ordained or any other Catholics are guaranteed to be faithful.

Joe:In fact, it is guaranteed that bishops who did have a lineage back to the Apostles did go astray, did teach damnable heresies, and they did draw many after themselves (1 Timothy 4: 1-3; Acts 20: 28-31).

BFHU: The I Tim passages merely says “some” will abandon the Faith. It does not say anything about bishops let alone all bishops including the pope. I know that you have been taught to understand this passage this way, but it just does NOT say what you are trying to convince us it says. Joe, we do not believed that we will be save only if we have a perfect theology. We trust in God’s mercy. If priests or bishops have erred and taught error they will be accountable for it not the people who trusted them to be teaching them the truth. I do not in any way mean to diminish good theological education. Some have a keen interest and will study and read and seek to learn all they can. But many people are content to trust a teacher they trust. This is true in every religion.

Joe: That is why Paul said that if anyone, even he himself, or an angel from Heaven, were to preach anything different than that which had already been preached, they were to be accursed. Paul also said that we were to follow him AS HE FOLLOWED CHRIST. That means that if he is following Christ, we are to follow him. However, If he ceases to follow Christ, we are to cease from following him.

BFHU: I agree.But first one must realize that the leader is, in fact, NOT following Christ.

Joe:How do we know if our overseers are following Christ or not?

BFHU: Easy. If a deacon, priest, or bishop teaches anything contrary to the Faith it is obvious if one is well educated in the Catholic Faith. Even if one is not well educated,  if there is a question, all one has to do is look it up in the Catechism. But if someone is clueless God will have mercy on them. We are judged by our hearts before God, not the knowledge in our head. The Catechism is an orderly presentation of what is to be believed; unlike the Bible, precious as it is, it is not an orderly presentation of the Faith. It is not a book of systematic theology. The teaching of the Bible must be ordered and interpreted by someone.

Joe: We test all things and hold fast that which may be proven good.

BFHU: Absolutely.

Joe: How do we test the doctrine of our overseers? We may compare all things to the Scriptures that are able to make us perfect and to thoroughly equip us unto every good work (2 Timothy 3: 16-17).

BFHU: Of course this is one way but it is dependent upon one having an infallible interpretation of Scripture. Do you have an infallible interpretation of Scripture, Joe? And as I have discussed before, this passage, again, just does not say that scripture is ALL WE NEED. It says All Scripture is Good…. That is NOT the same thing. But I know that this is how you have been taught to interpret this scripture. We do not because we know that there is so much more that never got written down ( I John 21:25) and Paul even exhorted us to cling to the Traditions he taught, BOTH ORAL AND WRITTEN. Protestants, unwittingly reject all that Paul taught orally and accept only what He wrote down.

Joe: If something contradicts the Scriptures, it cannot possibly be true.

BFHU:This is not an accurate statement. Scripture contradicts scripture if one takes it dead literally. The order of the universe as portrayed in Scripture contradicts Science. There is a website 101 Contradictions in the Bible . Some of these are not convincing but others seem to be legitimate on the face of it. So, this means that you and Sola Scriptura Protestants have a problem.

But then there is this site to the resuce. Cleared Up-101 Contradictions in the Bible

And here we go. If you looked at the site above, it is obvious, the Scriptures NEED to be interpreted and commented on. I have not read this site but it clearly shows that one needs MORE that Scripture alone. And how about the Protestant use of grape juice for communion when Jesus used wine. What about the contradiction between the Protestant view of Communion being symbolic (found nowhere in scripture) and Jesus saying, “This is my body. Eat This is my blood. Drink. and “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood to have eternal life.”???????

Joe: It is not possible that an unmarried man may be a bishop by God’s authority. It is not possible that a man can refuse to allow another man to be a bishop without swearing an oath of celibacy, seeing as how it is not lawful to refuse a man to marry (1 Timothy 4: 1-3), it is not possible for an unmarried man to be a bishop (1 Timothy 3: 1-2), and it is not lawful to swear an oath (Matthew 5: 33-37).

BFHU: That is merely your interpretation.

Joe:Paul said, “5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then NEITHER HE WHO PLANTS IS ANYTHING, NOR HE WHO WATERS, BUT GOD WHO GIVES THE INCREASE (1 Corinthians 3: 5-7). Earlier Paul included Peter in the same vain with Apollos and himself. They are mere servants! It is God who gives the increase! They are authorized to preach the Truth, which, if they do they receive blessing from God.

BFHU:: I completely agree. We can see here and in your other comments on this blog that you have an inaccurate understanding about what the Catholic Church actually believes and teaches. Some of your questions and the use of certain scriptures indicated that you think they will nail a Catholic to the wall.

Joe:The Roman Catholic Church has no authority. They are not the church of God! They had to revise their list of “Popes” because it was proven wrong. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that they do have a linage back to the Apostles. But even if they did, that would be meaningless also.

BFHU: These are merely your assertions. Anyone can say anything. You have no back up, no citing of authoritative sources for what you say here. Your interpretation of scripture is not authoritative for me. I have no reason to believe that you are infallible.

Joe: Peter is not the foundation of the church. Your interpretation of Matthew 16 may be a legitimate one if you look at that passage alone.

BFHU:: Well Thanks.

Joe: However, if you look at the Scriptures as a whole, it becomes evident that it is not possible that your interpretation is the meaning that God intended. The Scriptures do not allow that interpretation, because the Scriptures explicitly state that Jesus is the foundation of God’s building, and that no one may lay any other foundation. If we look at the context of Matthew 16 we see that there is one rock and one foundation. There is not room for another foundation. There is no room for Peter to be the foundation or the Rock that the church is founded upon in that context. In another context all of the Apostles are included as part of the foundation, but there Peter is made equal to the rest of the Apostles. God’s Word is also an integral part of the foundation, because Jesus and His word are one. If you reject Jesus’ word, you reject Him. Jesus said that a man who hears and obeys His words is like a wise man that dug deep and built his house on a rock. We know that the Bible is His Word. If we do not heed that which we know for sure is His word, He says we are like a fool who built his house on sand.

BFHU: Again we come down to the Either/Or Protestant culture of interpretation. Either Jesus is the foundation of the Church Or Jesus built the Church on Peter. We KNOW Jesus is THE Foundation. But He is the one who said, “Simon you are Rock and on this rock I will build My Church.” We are just taking Jesus literally

Joe: Lastly, when Jesus says that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against the church, he is not saying that men will not fall into apostasy.

BFHU: True.

Joe: That would be contradicting plain statements made by Paul and other of the Apostles (which would demonstrate that the Bible is not the Word of God). If we understand the Scriptures and the point of the gospel we can easily understand that Jesus is speaking about salvation. He is saying that those who He adds to His church and who remain faithful to the end, shall receive everlasting life.

BFHU: The Scripture just does not actually SAY that. You are interpreting it that way.

Joe:The gates of Hades has no power over us who are members of Christ’s church, as long as we choose to stay faithful. If we walk away from Him, we also walk away from His church, and we are lost. The gates of Hades will prevail against us in that case, because we are no longer Christ’s church.

BFHU: What you say is true for individuals but Jesus was talking about His Church which He was going to build on Peter. He wasn’t talking about salvation per se. And He certainly wasn’t talking about the salvation of individuals. He was referring to the CHURCH He was going to Build. He said,

Mt 16:18 And I tell you that you are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

If that Church that Jesus founded veered into apostasy as Protestants contend, then Jesus was not able to keep His promise.

How Can A Man Be Infallible?

Q. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Paul to Timothy in (2) Timothy 3v16.
A. I love this verse but I am not sure why you have quoted it here.

Q. When I said: “how can the decrees or words of any man be infallible…?” I was not referring to scripture “for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Pet.1v21)

A. Would you say that these holy men spoke infallibly?

Q. If the Bible is the Word of God – then clearly it must be infallible.
A. An atheist would not say it is clearly infallible. It does not seem to be infallible when speaking about scientific things according to man’s knowledge of the universe now. We believe it is inerrant when it refers to faith and morals. I think we agree on this. This is the same way God makes the Pope infallible. He doesn’t make him infallible in everything, only in what is important about faith and morals. I wish you would read my post, Infallible?

Q. Also, it is a serious matter to interfere with scriptures – either to add to it or to take away from it, as we are reminded in Rev. 22v18&19.
A. Of course it is a serious matter to interfere with scriptures but I think you are interpreting Rev. incorrectly. But did you know that the Old Testament says the same thing.

Deuteronomy 4:2” You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Prov. 30:5 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 6 Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

And if you interpret these verses exactly like you are interpreting the passage in Revelation, then that would make the New Testament anathema, because it adds to the Old Testament scriptures.

Did you know Martin Luther removed seven books from the Old Testament? He also removed seven books from the New Testament that contradicted his theology but later returned the New Testament books. But Protestants are still missing seven Old Testament books from the Christian Bible used for 1500 years before Martin Luther.

Q. As for scriptures being written by “sinful men,” they were clearly not sinful, if they were “moved by the Holy Ghost.”
A. Do you believe that in order to write infallibly a man would have to be sinless? Don’t you think a person could be moved by the Holy Ghost to write infallibly without being immaculate? We do believe that the writers of scripture were empowered by God to write inerrantly?

We do not believe they had to be sinless in order to do this. We believe Jesus and Mary His mother were immaculate but neither of them wrote any of the scriptures.

So, you see, you DO believe that God is able to cause a man to be infallible, also. The only difference is that you limit this infallibility to the writing of scripture. We do not.

I see you also believe, along with us, that God is able to make a human being sinless. You believe that all the writers of scripture were sinless. We do not. We believe only Mary was immaculate.

Q. Psalm 1 reminds us that “the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” Bfhu, those people you originally encountered before you adopted Catholicism would have preached a “sinning religion.” Nowhere in God’s Word have I ever encountered His servants being referred to as “sinners,” yet this term is now used extensively throughout the world.

A. That is true but I believe it is used in deference to the fact that even though we are Christian we still fall short and commit sin every day.

Proverbs 24:16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

Q. In Eph. 4v6 we read that there is “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” If Jesus plainly says: “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven,” (Matt. 23v9) then I must obey His commandment.

A. Then do you call your father, “father”? Also, let’s look at that passage in context.

Matt 23: 8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,‘ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.

Do you call teachers, “teacher”? Would you call a Jewish rabbi, “rabbi”? Please read this post: Call No Man Father

And you will see that Paul calls himself a spiritual father to those he begot to eternal life. And, even Jesus Himself calls a man Father, and He is NOT referring to God. Stephen calls men who were spiritual leaders, “fathers”. Therefore, the interpretation of this verse to condemn the Catholic practice of addressing our priests as “Father” must be incorrect. The Catholic Church is actually following scripture by calling the men who are used by God to beget children unto Eternal Life, Father.

40 Professors Decry Attacks on the Pope

Statement: Sex Abuse, the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI: An Appeal for Perspective and Fairness

In light of recent events and media coverage concerning the sexual abuse of minors by members of the Catholic clergy, we, the undersigned, would like to express the following sentiments:

1) We condemn in the strongest possible terms any sexual abuse of minors by any members of the Catholic Church, especially the clergy.

2) We share in a collective sense of sorrow and shame for the harm done to victims of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy.

3) We resolve to pray and fast for all victims of clergy sexual abuse and those who have committed these crimes.

4) We recognize that mistakes have been made in the past by Church authorities in dealing with the sexual abuse of minors, and we applaud measures to correct these mistakes by conferences of bishops throughout the world. We likewise support more rigorous screening of candidates for the priesthood, especially in the areas of chastity and adherence to Catholic moral teachings.

5) We express our gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for his leadership and courage in dealing with the problem of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, and we condemn the unjust attacks made against him by certain elements of the secular media.

6) We condemn as unfair and inaccurate all efforts to link the sexual abuse of minors to the Latin rite Catholic discipline of priestly celibacy. We likewise affirm consecrated celibacy as a gift to the Catholic Church which, “in many ways, is in harmony with the priesthood” (Vatican II, Presbyterorum ordinis, 16).

7) We recognize the sexual abuse of minors as a grave problem that affects many segments of society. We reject, as inaccurate and unjust, all attempts to portray the sexual abuse of minors as a problem particular to the Catholic Church. We support all efforts of the criminal justice system to deal swiftly and effectively with those who sexually abuse minors in public or private settings.


Robert L. Fastiggi, Ph.D. Professor of Systematic Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Jane Adolphe, LL.B/B.C.L, J.C.D. Associate Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, Fl USA

Eduardo Echeverria, S.T.L., Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Board of Directors and Membership of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, Steubenville, Ohio USA,

Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y. USA, Editor, International Philosophical Quarterly, President, Fellowship of Catholic Scholars

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., Th.D. Founder and Editor, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA USA

Fr. J. Michael McDermott, S.J. S.T.D. Professor of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA, Consultant, U.S. Bishops Committee on Doctrine

Fr. Earl Muller, S.J., Ph.D. Bishop Kevin M. Britt Chair in Theology/Christology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. David Meconi, S.J., Ph.D. Professor of Theology, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO USA, and Editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review

Fr. Dennis J. Billy, C.S.s.R., Ph.D., S.T.D. John Cardinal Krol Chair of Moral Theology, St. Charles Borremeo Seminary, Philadelphia, PA USA

Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S. S.T.D. Associate Professor of Theology (emeritus), Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, Ponce, P.R., St. Louis, MO USA

Scott Hahn, Ph.D. Professor of Biblical Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH USA

Fr. Richard J. Cassidy, Ph.D. Professor of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. Daniel Trapp, S.T.D. Professor of Theology and Graduate Spiritual Director, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. Daniel Jones, S.T.D., Assistant Professor of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. Michael J. Byrnes, S.T.D., Vice Rector/Dean of Formation, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Fr. Michael Orsi, Ph.D., Chaplain and Research Fellow in Law and Religion, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL USA

Stephen L. Mikochik, J.D. Ll.M. M.A. (Philosophy), M.A. (Religious Studies), Professor of Law, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA USA and Visiting Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL, USA

Ligia De Jesus, Ll.M. Assistant Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL, USA

J. Brian Scarnecchia, J.D., M.Div. M.A. Associate Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL, USA

Peter Williamson, S.T.D. Adam Cardinal Maida Chair of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Astrid Caicedo, B.A. Assistant Dean of Studies, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Philip Blosser, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Mark S. Latkovic, S.T.D. Professor of Moral Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Daniel Keating, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

Mary Healy, S.T.D. Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI USA

John P. Hittinger, Professor of Philosophy, Thomistic Institute, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX USA

Mark Lowery, Associate Professor of Theology, University of Dallas, Irving, TX USA

Kenneth J. Howell, Ph.D. Senior Fellow and Director, St. John Institute of Catholic Thought and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL USA

David Moss, President, Association of Hebrew Catholics, St. Louis, MO USA

Anne Englund Nash, Ph.D. Book Editor and Translator, Cambria, CA USA

Carolyn R. Lemon, Production Editor, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA USA and Vice President, Guadalupe Associates, Inc.

Peter Pagan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy, Aquinas College, Nashville, TN USA

Margaret Schatkin, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA USA

Judith Marie Gentle, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH USA

Dennis Bonnette, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy (retired), Niagara University, Lewiston, N.Y. USA

José V. Pereira, Ph.D. Professor of Theology (emeritus), Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y. USA

James Likoudis, M.A. Catholic Author, Montour Falls, N.Y. USA

Damian Fedoryka, Ph.D. Center for Personalist Anthropology and Ethics, Ypsilanti, MI USA

Eugene R. Milhizer, Ll.M., J.D., President and Dean, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL USA

Bernard Dobranski, J.D., Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law, Ave Maria School of Law, Naples, FL, USA

Teresa Tomeo, Author and Radio Personality, St. Clair Shores, MI USA

Another Attack on Holy Father

A Priest in California was put on Probation for abusing boys in Oakland. Because, at the time it was thought this disorder was curable, his Bishop allowed him to volunteer with youth ministry despite being suspended from clerical duties.

This priest then asked to be dispensed from the cerical state which would remove the promise of celibacy, thus removing a restraint.

At that time however, b/c so many priests were being dispensed from a lifelong promise of celibacy and priesthood, many married people were wondering why priests could be dispensed from their lifelong vows while they could not.

So as Pope John Paul II took over, dispensations from the clerical state were reduced to nearly zero. It was at this time that the Oakland Priest asked for a dispensation. This was his request it was not a punishment. His request was delayed as per Vatican policy of reducing the granting of these requests. All power and responsibility for protecting the faithful in the diocese of Oakland resided in its bishop. This was not the responsibility of the Vatican or Cardinal Ratzinger. Below is a synopis of the case from Fr. Z’s website linked above.
From Father Z’s blog What Does the Prayer Really Say
Some bullet points about the California case with which APs and others continue to try to smear Pope Benedict.

1.At the time, the CDF did not have competence in the cases of clerical pedophilia.
2.The case before the CDF concerned a request by a priest for a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state.

3.It was not a punitive case or an appeal about a sanction.
4.The request was submitted by the priest and not the priest’s diocese of Oakland.
5.The CDF didn’t not grant immediate dispensations to men who were not at least 40 years old.
6.Once the CDF studied the case and the priest reached 40 years of age, the dispensation was granted.
There was no cover up.
7.If the Diocese of Oakland was pressing the Holy See to dispense this man so quickly, why did that same Diocese of Oakland permit the suspended priest to work as a volunteer with young people? The Holy See had nothing to do with that.
8.The AP and now all other MSM outlets who without hesitation or verification pick up the AP’s sloppy work, never bother to do background and ask basic questions about procedures and timing. They fail in the basics of curiosity, much less journalistic professionalism.

Why are they trying to smear Pope Benedict?

To shut him up or to cast into doubt what he has said and what he will say concerning moral issues.

For more information see Fr. Fessios article here–Let’s Get the Story Straight

Fishers of Men

Fishers of Men

This is a two minute version of the DVD which is about 20 minutes. To see the whole video click –>Fishers of Men

and here–> for part II

Why Can’t Women be Catholic Priests?

Q. Why can’t women be Catholic Priestesses?

A. Jesus’ choice to be born male was not accidental or arbitrary. First of all, in the sacrificial system of Israel the Sin Offering and the Passover Lamb were always perfect MALES. Other offerings could be either male or female but not the Passover Lamb or the Sin Offering. Therefore, since, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ fulfills all the sacrifices, but most especially the Sin offering and the Passover lamb HE was incarnated as a MAN. And, of course, God chose this pattern of male sacrificial animals in the OT in foreknowledge of the sacrifice of His Son.

Also, the people of God, both Israel and the Church, have always been imaged in sacred scripture as a Bride with God as the Bridegroom (Is 62:5 and Rev. 21:9). In the Catholic faith the priest acts in persona Christi (in the person of Christ) as Jesus celebrates the sacraments for His bride, the Church, through the actions of the male priest. The Church, as bride, is in a spousal relationship with Christ the bridegroom. This beautiful image culminates in the wedding feast of the Lamb at the end of time. This typology of the spousal relationship is fittingly imaged by the male priest. Priestesses or womenpriests would project another typology altogether but it would not be Holy Matrimony.

Q. Aren’t women second-class citizens in the Catholic Church?

A. Absolutely not. The most revered status in the Catholic Church is open to both men and women. Contrary to popular opinion the Pope, although highly honored is exceeded in honor by the Saints and the Doctors of the Church. There are hundreds of female saints. And, out of 33 Doctors of the Church, three are women. Also, the most highly honored human person (excluding Jesus) in the history of the Church is a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

You can read more about the Priesthood—->Priesthood of All Believers

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Why Can’t Catholic Priests Get Married?

To answer this question I am posting a discussion I had in the comments section of Priesthood of all believers.

Peter’s style in the comments section was casual/IM…thus, without punctuation or capitalizations. This is normal in those venues and does NOT mean he doesn’t know how to punctuate or capitalize. I didn’t make all of the corrections needed to make his comments and questions formally correct b/c it would have been a lot of work. I thought he had very good and honest questions, representative of the questions many people have so I decided to put them in a post. So, here is our discussion:

Peter: i think you are dead right about presbyters (being the word translated “priest” in English). that is why some are placed into positions of leadership (like james the just or peter and paul, etc). however, these leadership positions are extensively talked about by paul in timothy and other places. in timothy, paul says that presbyters are to be husbands of but one wife and their kids are to be respectful because if they can’t control their family they can’t control the church.

so now tell me, how can a claim be made that presbyters are supposed to be celibate? there is no mandate that presbyters are celibate. in fact, the exact opposite. paul says that they should marry if they can’t control their passions.


You are absolutely correct. There is no Biblical mandate that Priests are to be celibate. In fact, we know since Peter had a mother-in-law that he must have been married, at some point. The normal discipline of priestly celibacy could be changed to allow priests to marry. Celibacy is a discipline in the Latin Rite Catholic Church it is not an unchangeable doctrine or dogma. Eating fish on Fridays, similarly, was a discipline in the Church but it was changed and priestly celibacy might be changed, could be changed, theoretically. But it probably will not be changed any time soon. So disciplines can change but dogma does not change.

There are many good reasons to keep celibacy but the best is because the celibate Priest most closely models Jesus Christ, who was celibate. He also, stands in Persona Christi in most of the sacraments and since in Heaven there will be no marriage, the priest also models life in the age to come. In the Eastern Orthodox churches and even some non-Latin rite Catholic Churches married men are ordained to the priesthood. But the married ones cannot become Bishops. And people in these churches prefer the unmarried priests to the married ones for the obvious reason that an unmarried priest can be married to the Church as he is called to be, and a more available father. But they must marry before ordination; they cannot afterwards marry. And in the Latin Rite Catholic Church Deacons can be married but if their wife dies they may not remarry. These are the disciplines of ordination.

Peter: so why should we discount the ministry of a man simply because he has chosen marriage?

BFHU: The ministry of a man who marries is not discounted by the Church. It is his vocation just like priesthood is a vocation. The married man is purified through his marriage and models the loving union of the Trinity-Man/Woman/child. The fruitfulness of their love brings new life. And he fulfills his priesthood of believers by being:

a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

And the priest, also, is purified through the difficulties of his vocation. The fruitfulness of the Priest’s love of the bride of Christ brings new life, born for eternity in Heaven.

Peter: don’t we learn many otherwise impossible lessons through oneness with our wives? isn’t that why JB, JC, and paul all spoke of the relationship between man and wife as an allegory for Christ and the church?

BFHU: Absolutely accurate there! Thank you for your polite and excellent questions.

Peter: thanks for the response. i agree with you about your points, minus one problematic thing i have always disagreed with the church on. why if the word presbyter is the only word for “priest” do we think that now a priest SHOULD NOT be married.

BFHU: It is not a matter of “should not” but it is a matter of discipline for those who wish to shepherd the church of God, to give up marriage and family in order to devote all attention to the Bride of Christ. The Church does not forbid marriage to any one. All who feel called to the vocation of marriage are free to marry. Part of the discernment for the priesthood is, Am I willing? Am I able to give up marriage? Most are not called to the priesthood. It is a gift.

I Cor 7:1 It is good for a man not to marry…An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs —how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided.”

Peter: i understand there are some whom God calls to live celibate lives, but most of us burn with passion if we aren’t married.

And as St. Paul said, ” it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

BFHU:Very true and then they should marry but as Jesus said….

Matthew 19:12For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”


besides that we are supposed to follow Tradition as it is passed down to us. the very earliest traditions (not only in the New Testament, but also in church history) there were many priests and bishops who were married.

BFHU: Please read I Cor 7 and realize that the Catholic Church takes Paul’s advice much more literally than most Protestants. The New Testament is the earliest Tradition. And we follow it. The Catholic Church still has married priests and celibate priests. The unmarried more closely follow the example of Christ in this matter.

Peter: so what do you do with the fact that peter (and others seemed to be married)? peter, according to the catholic church, is the first pope. what a precedent to set for popes who have the “discipline” of celebacy. we are to go by tradition, the church just seems to pick and choose which traditions it likes.

BFHU: Have you done any research to understand how and why the Church has made the decisions she has? I have experienced over and over thinking, “OK, now there can’t be a good explanation for this! But, once I looked into it, the explanation was beautiful and absolutely sublime. For instance, when a Jewish Levitical Priest was chosen to go into the Holy of Holies,as Zechariah father of John the Baptist was, they had to remain celibate for a month. Celibacy was a discipline for entering into the presence of God just one time on one day. But our priests are in the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist every day. Therefore, perpetual celibacy is a fitting fulfillment of the OT law. For more information, you might be interested in this article about the History of Celibacy. Also, and excellent book Clerical Celebacy is summarized herre–>Clerical Celibacy. Additionally, Tradition with a capital “T” refers to the unwritten teaching of the apostles. And the Catholic Church is as bound to follow that teaching as sacred scripture. Tradition with a lower case “t” would apply to the traditions of men, family traditions, ethnic traditions etc. Celibacy is a Church discipline, as it was passed down from the disciples and is what you WILL find today in the Catholic Church to this day.

Where do Catholics get this stuff?

Q.Where did Christ: Teach us to erect statues of His mom and make beaded necklaces to hold and pray to His mom with? Teach us to erect statues of dead people, great servants of God or not, and put them in our churches?

BFHU: But where in Scripture is it forbidden? Statues and pictures were used to remind thousands of generations of Christians, unable to read, about the stories and people of the Bible, as well as heroes of the faith. That is a very good thing and still a wonderful tradition in our churches. There is nothing scripturally wrong with it.

Q. Is Peter really the Rock upon whom the church is founded, or is Christ the eternal Rock whom Peter confessed, the real foundation?

BFHU Both. Of course, Jesus is the Foundation but there is no denying that Jesus said to Peter

” Rock (Peter), upon this Rock I will build my Church”

Q.Peter is not strong enough to be the foundation of the Church of Christ, only Christ is!!!

BFHU: Not by himself, but supported by Jesus he can do all things, in Christ.

Q.We all represent Christ here!! Christ in us is the true Rock of the Church.

BFHU That is true in one way. But it does not refute the Truth that Jesus founded a Church and He founded it upon Peter and gave him and his successors the Keys of the Kingdom to bind and loose. (a Hebrew idiom that means to rule)

Q.Where did Christ:Teach us to believe that Mary never sinned and has already ascended to heaven, making her equal to Jesus Christ?

BFHU Mary is not equal to Jesus. We believe in the Trinity. Mary is fully human and not divine. She is human in exactly the same way as Adam and Eve were in the fullness and sinlessnes of humanity. Adam and Eve sinned. Mary by the graces and power of God, not her own strength, did not sin. Gabriel addresses her as FULL OF GRACE. This is her title. If one is FULL of grace there is no room for sin.

Q. Christ is the only one who is sinless!!

BFHU: No. Many humans may have a fallen nature but are not guilty of sin. Innocent babies and children who have not reached the age of accountablility. Nevertheless, they all need a savior. As did Mary. She was saved from a fallen nature, before she sinned .

Q. We all await the resurrection, He is the first-fruits. You deny the grace of God when you say that Jesus couldn’t be born by a woman, a normal human like you and me, yes a servant of God, but human, with sin, dead, alive in the spirit, yes, but powerless to save you.

BFHU: God could have been born by any woman He chose. But why not create a pure vessel to reside in for nine months and to be your mother?

Q. Read Acts. Baptism is a symbolic act by a conscious choice, by a repentant person to turn from sin and choose Christ for salvation. That’s what Baptism is. A baby can’t do that. A baby can’t repent. A baby doesn’t know what sin is. You can splash all the water on their head that you want, but don’t call it what it isn’t. It’s not baptism. Jesus got baptized when he was 30.

BFHU Please see my post Infant Baptism You make many assertions in your comments about baptism. Please back them up with scripture. I believe that what you have said above is Protestant Tradition about Baptism. Not asserted in Sacred Scripture.

Q. I know these aren’t all the teachings and maybe you’ll say they aren’t right, and maybe you don’t practice them, but you are still supporting them. And I know also that many Protestant churces are full of idolatrous worship and bad doctrine. If you look up the true doctrine of the Roman Catholic church, you will find these and many others. If these teachings aren’t found in the Scriptures, even in the Apocrypha which I enjoy, good Jewish history, then where are they from? Man? You can try to support these things with interpretation from the Scripture but in the end, they just aren’t there and you are left standing on the teachings of deceived men.

BFHU We accept and believe in the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture. BUT…it must be interpreted. We have historical, 2000 year-old, interpretations to draw upon. Protestant interpretations are only about 500 years old or less. I will go with the ancient faith, thank you.

Q. The Bible is the only objective (unbiased) source we have to know that what we teach is the truth. If man’s teaching can’t be found in the Scriptures, then how can we know it’s true? Jesus taught the Law and the Prophets, the Scriptures. That’s what we have to teach today, the Scriptures. Don’t you want to know that you know the truth? for sure?

BFHU I do want the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. I have examined the scriptures and the historical claims of the Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church. I did not want to be Catholic but I had no Choice when I examined the competing claims or the Protestants and the Catholics. You might want to read my Conversion Story

Q. Please, read the Scriptures.
BFHU; As you may have seen from my Conversion Story, I have certainly done this extensively.

Q.You must worship in spirit and truth. The apostles didn’t even imagine the things that the Catholic church is doing.
BFHU How can you KNOW what the apostles imagined? John clearly says that the world could not contain all the books if they were to be written about everything Jesus did. John 21:25

Q.Turn from idolatry. Repent. Turn to the Lord, Jesus Christ.

BFHU I know you mean well. But Sola Scriptura is a Protestant Tradition of men.

Did Jesus Teach us to Pray to Mary?

Q. Did Christ or the Apostles:Teach us to talk to Mary or to other people to pray for us after there bodies had experienced the first death?
BFHU:Where did He say it is forbidden?

Q. Also please don’t pray to angels, they are servants of God, messengers, they are not your mediator to God, and neither are people.

BFHU:We don’t pray TO Angels. We pray, asking for their intercessory prayer. Ditto for the Saints in Heaven.

Q. Read Hebrews. Did Christ or the Apostles:Teach us about a place (purgatory) where we go when we die that we can be liberated from if we died in unbelief or deserving condemnation?

BFHU:We don’t believe that Purgatory is for unbelievers or those who are condemned. We do believe that unbelievers who, through no fault of their own were not Christian, can be saved through God’s mercy. We are judged based on what we knew and how we responded to that knowledge. No one will go to Hell because they were ignorant of Christ. ie. babies who die at birth, or through abortion, the Indians on the North American Continent before the advent of Christianity, or those before the death of Jesus. All of these will be judged by God based on what they knew and how they responded to God.

Q. There are 2 types of people who die. 1)Saved in Christ, 2)dead apart from Christ. The saved will rise at His coming to life, the dead will rise to be judged after the 1000 year reign, their works will not save them and they will be cast into the lake of fire. Read the entire New Testament

BFHU:There are two types of people….but not as defined above. Those who go to Purgatory will have been judged to be worthy of Heaven once they are purified in Purgatory. The others will be lost to Hell.

Q. Did Christ or the Apostles: Teach us to set up a system of priests to which we must confess to for forgiveness of sin? Ok, so yes it’s Ok to share sin with our brother, it’s good to open ourselves up like that, but a lot of people think that you have to tell the priest or it doesn’t count. Christ is our High Priest. Read Hebrews.

BFHU:Where is Scripture does it say what you assert? In the OT there were ministerial priests as well as the priesthood of all the believers. So also in the Church. So, having a ministerial priesthood is God’s idea.

Jesus certainly did set up confession in

Jn 20:19-2319On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Here we see Jesus annointed ONLY the disciples, the first priests and bishops of the Christian Church, with a special dispensation of the Holy Spirit. He gave them authority to forgive or not… sin. The only way to do this would be if they heard confession audibly. And we know historically that this was done since the earliest era of the Church.