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STRAIGHT ANSWERS TO REASONABLE QUESTIONS

By David J. Webster, M. Div. Director of Save Our Churc, Box 1404 Medina OH 44258 5/15/03

Why the Roman Catholic Church Cannot Democratize or Abolish its Hierarchy and Remain the Church that Jesus Christ Established.

1. Jesus Christ was the King of Israel, God's Covenant people. He came to establish on earth "the Kingdom of God," not a democracy. There are150 references to this Kingdom in the New Testament.

2. This Kingdom of God, as in any human government, has both a subjective as well as an objective reality. The subjective essence of God's Kingdom are its ideals, laws and authority that were directly revealed from Heaven to a select group of men. Its objective essence is the Church which was ordained to perpetuate and further these ideals, laws and authority among mankind. That Church was established by Christ through these same men, not chosen by the large body of followers of Christ or even the body of disciples called the "70," but by Christ Himself (Matt. 16:18-19; 21:43-44; 13:47-48; Luke 10:1,17).

3. Human Government, based on natural moral law, gets its divine authority to rule from the consent of the people they govern, since this law was revealed by God to all men universally. Since the principles, laws and authority of Christ's Kingdom spring from special revelation, given not to man universally but to certain chosen ones, the authority of Christ's government on earth comes from these divinely chosen ones, not the body of people who make up the Church. St. Paul in Ephesians 2:20, plainly states what is obvious from Jesus in the Gospels, that these chosen ones were the Apostles, who were given ecclesiastical authority by Christ Himself, and the Prophets or Visionaries, who, though given no ecclesiastical power to impose, were given spiritual authority (also by Christ Himself) to speak to the hearts and consciences of people. When Jesus promised to be with His Apostles "until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20), He clearly meant that the Apostolic Office would be perpetuated until the end of the age. Indeed, the Early Church believed it to be true for this Office, according to I Timothy 4:14 and Titus 1:5, was perpetuated by "The Gift" given "by prophecy with the laying on of hands by the presbytery (priesthood)." This authority never came through the members of the Church at large. Neither was ecclesiastical authority bestowed from Heaven to any individual apart from the preexisting Apostolic College. St. Paul's ordination proved this. Though he had a direct call from God, the Holy Spirit required he be ordained by the Bishops in Ephesus (Acts 13:1-4). To deny this self-perpetuating hierarchy in the Church would not only violate the precedence established by Christ Himself and the practice of the early Church, but the whole idea of the Church as God's Kingdom.

4. According to the account in Isaiah 22:15-22, when Peter was given the "Keys of the Kingdom" by the Lord, he was actually being made Prime Minister of Christ's Kingdom on earth and thus would have full kingly authority in the absence of Christ on earth. The other Apostles then, and the College of priests and Bishops today, make up our Lord's "Cabinet."

5. The prophet Isaiah (9:6-7) foreseeing the coming of the Christ and of the "government" that would be placed "upon His shoulder," prophesied that this government would be established "forever." This government cannot change. To do so would be to void its founding Charter. Those who attempt to do so are subversives and betrayers of Christ and His Kingdom.

6. Since no one is forced or required to live under the authority of the Church of Christ, this form of government is not "undemocratic." Further, numerous other organizations in our free and democratic society, concerned with preserving their founding principles, are governed by self-perpetuating boards. If one cannot agree with the founding principles of such an organization, the morally right thing to do is to leave and start their own organization.

Why the Divinely Appointed Succession of Bishops in the Church Jesus Established Cannot Ordain Women to the Apostolic College.

1. Jesus challenged and changed every social custom in Jewish society that denied the equality of women, making them equal to men in the Church, just as He did for the poor and the non-Jew (See Galatians 3:28). Jesus, however, never blurred the holy distinctions and differences between the genders or ignored the differences in gifts and abilities among people. Equality to Jesus did not mean all had to have equal wealth, equal gifts, talents, abilities or position. Equality to Jesus meant, first, that He saw all men equally loved and valued by God. It meant that in the Church, regardless of any of these differences, all persons were of equal value to God and in the furtherance of this Kingdom, who were walking in faith and obedience. Were those Jesus called to celibate life as His Apostles, (yes, even those who were married.) called to inequality just because they could not live as though married and raise families? Further, men are no more to be seen as inferior or unequal to women because they cannot bear children than women are to be seen inferior or unequal because they cannot hold ecclesiastical offices in the Church. Jesus did not exclude women from ecclesiastical office because he thought they were inferior or because he was too afraid to make such a radical change in His day. He was the Truth Incarnate and He perfectly lived and spoke the truth without regard to the opinions of men. That was why He was crucified. He was the final and full revelation of Truth.

2. Women were excluded from ecclesiastical office because they had a far more vital function to fill in the Church, a function which men could not adequately fulfill. God also divinely established this order and exemplified it for our benefit in Christ and His mother Mary, His absolute equal in respect to her human nature. The Catholic Church's view of Christ's human nature and Mary as human was that they were equal in holiness and acquired virtue, but distinct in gender and the physiological, psychological and spiritual uniqueness that came with that difference. Christ as King and High Priest, and a man, represents and exemplifies the Church's public ecclesiastical authority on earth while His Holy Mother Mary, as Queen and woman, represents and exemplifies the more hidden spiritual nurturing authority in the Church. The first kind of authority primarily preserves the form of truth and God's Kingdom while the latter primarily preserves the spirit and dynamic of the Kingdom. Though these two types of truth and authority are equally important, the form of truth must precede the dynamic of truth. Where would a refreshing drink be without first a container? What would life be without first a healthy body in which to dwell? What happens to the energy in a combustion of fuel without first an engine to control, guide, and utilize it? What happens to religion and "spirituality" without first the proper form of truth? You get Jim Jones, David Koresh and an unending number of heresies and sects that have led millions to moral and spiritual death.

While from the perspective of completion we might think the dynamic of truth and authority is the most important and the ecclesiastical of less importance, but from the perspective of beginning, what is sometimes thought "lesser" now might be thought most important, because without it, the dynamic of truth and authority will be either lost or become a dangerous and destructive force. The subject here, however, is not at all about importance, but order. This is also why the first member of the Triune God (Divine Family, Ephesians 3:15) was divinely revealed to be The Father, though all the equally important "feminine" qualities are within the Triune Godhead. The Holy Spirit is thus by divine revelation, the last mentioned, even after the eternal generation of God the Son. "The first shall be last and the last shall be first," is a divinely revealed principle that negates any false concept of inequality from the important and divinely revealed order in the Divine Family, the human family and in the Church. Spiritual authority kept pure in its form is the only thing capable of restoring the Church to its holy moral and spiritual roots. Our Ecclesiastical authority is suffering terribly from this lack of support by a whole generation of religious that have abandoned the faith and have joined the forces of Hell now destroying the Church.

3. Pope John Paul has clearly indicated the male priesthood is Dogma which means that it is not only infallible unchangeable divinely revealed truth but it has been, as Dogma, emphatically delineated as such and therefore those who persist in teaching otherwise in the Church are guilty of heresy and schism.

Jesus Required Celibacy of those in the Apostolic College, even of those who had been Married before their Call to that Office.

1. The major emphasis in the early Church on the importance of celibacy among the laity alone should give us at least some indication of its importance among the priestly and religious orders. Celibacy was such a prized state and the vow to that state was so honored in the early Church that many women became martyrs rather than forsake their state in order to placate their enraged families. There is no reasonable explanation for such determination in this practice, at least in the first centuries, unless celibacy had been a major emphasis and of great importance in Jesus' teaching and in the teachings and practice of the Apostles. Those today who cannot explain this pronounced passion for the celibate state in the early Church cannot intelligently discuss this subject.

2. Jesus' own celibate example and the celibate example of the only other perfect human being to have lived on the earth, Holy Mary, should tells us volumes about those who devoted themselves to be Christ's Disciples. It is well understood that a disciple was one who followed completely and unreservedly his master in both his life and teachings. Peter confessed on behalf of all the Disciples: "Behold, we have left all things, and hath followed thee (Matthew 19:27)." Jesus' response to Peter tells what they had left: "Everyone that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife or children, or lands for My name sake, shall receive an hundredfold." Peter, Phillip and Nathaniel (Bartholomew) were the only three Disciples that were married and they all, by mutual consent of their wives, lived celibate after their call.

3. That celibacy, out of real sacrifice (not of convenience), maintained out of love for the Kingdom, was a powerful force for good in God's plan of redemption is plainly taught by Jesus and St. Paul. Jesus said in Matthew 19:12 that some become celibate "for the sake of the Kingdom of God." St. Paul said that even for the laity it was (generally) better to not marry so one could give his attention to the things of God (I Corinthians 7:7-9) and that only for lack of self control he advised marriage. No, St. Paul did not rule out the holy calling of generating and raising one's own children up for God's Kingdom but he certainly would have thought it more noble, if we had the grace to do it, to take in and raise the children left unwanted and parentless around us.