June 30, 2008
vol 19, no. 182

Word Twisting to Change the Meaning

    They say sticks and stones can break bones, but names will never hurt, however words can hurt souls when they are deceived and it has been done for ages by those who are hellbent on cramming square pegs into round holes. It is how the Arian heresy gained such prominence; how Luther altered Christian belief to apostasize from the true Church and take billions since with him; how one side has forced their ideology on others by twisting words and meaning to indicate something totally different than the authority conveying said words intended. This intentional twisting is done all the time and it is wrong. With that in mind, this first installment in this series "The Art of Scholastic Dishonesty" revs up with some obvious dishonesty in Sacred Scripture that has resulted in a chaotic array of over 34,000 sects that have apostasized from Christ's True Church.

      "As seen here, many of the methods of twisting Sacred Scripture can also be equally applied to twisting of other nonscriptural sources upon which we must also rely in helping us understand, interpret, and apply the Scriptural counsel. And obviously such nonscriptural sources need not be limited to scholastic sources even as such 'twisting' is not limited to Sacred Scripture itself. Church Fathers, Doctors, Canonists, classical Theologians, Popes, Councils, and even the other writings of the great saintly Mystics of the Church are all similarly open to such deliberate corruptions of their actual content."

    There are two kinds of authority, living authority and "dead" authority. Living authority is simply that which is performed by actual, living and acting, leaders who wield their authority hopefully for good, more often for bad, but at least usually for at least some semblance of order.

    However, it is the other kind of authority of which I wish to speak of here, namely that which is "dead" in the sense of being only of a documentary fashion. I refer therefore such authority as that of Sacred Scripture, but also that of other authoritative sources, the Church Fathers, Doctors, classical theologians, popes, councils, canonists, and finally scholars and other writers.

    Of course one of the reasons to have a living authority is to arbitrate between varying schools of thought regarding the interpretation or application of all the information contained within the "dead" authorities. And it is often the area of interpretation which is where the problem often enters in. Literal wars (as in with swords, guns, bombs, soldiers, secular armies...) have been fought over conflicting interpretations of the authoritative sources, so this is no mere speculative or mere academic concern.

    Let us start with the interpretation of Sacred Scripture itself. I write this (and all my articles thus far) within the context of, at least, a basic Judeo-Christian perspective which believes in God, His Church, and the Bible, and in most cases also in a specifically Catholic outlook. Now in such a context, God is believed to exist as a Being capable of knowing all that is happening and of being involved or at least interested in it all, and the Bible is recognized as being authoritative as to who God is, what He has done for us, and what He expects of us.

    The Church teaches us in no uncertain terms that Sacred Scripture is infallible, certainly as to all matters of faith and morals, and to the history of salvation and of God's workings with Mankind. It certainly would not be proper to call anyone a Christian who did not so take the Bible as being thus authoritative. Now when God speaks and makes it clear that our salvation or damnation depends upon our love for Him and our obedience to His will, then absolutely we must obey. And by that same token, those who do not know are to be instructed, and those that know but refuse to obey are to be shunned, or worse.

    It therefore matters a great deal what the Bible says. But what exactly DOES it say?

    Unfortunately, the Bible is not arranged topically, like a catechism, such that one can get a good solid grounding in what is taught by reading it sequentially as later chapters build on the more basic teachings of the earlier chapters, nor it is arranged alphabetically like an encyclopedia which can be consulted directly as a reference to any topic of question or interest. And while attempts to arrange it thus might be made on occasion, these attempts tend to fail because the Bible itself does not directly address a great many doctrines.

    Many of its most important doctrines must be inferred from a wide variety of various and diverse and scattered passages which themselves address often quite different topics.

    For example, there is no place in the Bible that discusses in any detail the dogma of the Holy Trinity. Not until the famous "Tome" written by Pope St. Leo the Great does there occur anywhere in writing such a formal and doctrinally detailed description of the dogma of the Holy Trinity.

    So subtle is the Trinity in Sacred Scripture that whole groups, ranging from the Arians of old, to certain various modern groups, namely Unitarians, Christadelphians, The Way International, certain Pentecostal groups, and most notably, the Watchtower Society ("Jehovah's Witnesses"), have dismissed the dogma as "unscriptural." Surely, one might expect, if the dogma of the Trinity were all that central and important it would have been far more clearly and directly addressed at least somewhere in the pages of Holy Writ. But this just points up yet another limitation of the Bible as the infallible source of authority that it is.

    But look again at just how important interpretation of the Bible, or for that matter of any authoritative source upon which we base our actions, really is. If our interpretation tells us that we have some duty before God to kill a person, then we shall kill that person, and we will do it without the faintest twinge of conscience since it was God Himself who ordered the act, or so we see it.

    How significant the sheer power of those living authorities who interpret the "dead" sources of authority for us! And yet how overlooked this little detail is.

    Over these interpretations men have fought wars of total genocide, waged wars that lasted several centuries, imprisoned, tortured, and even killed by slow torture those who disagreed with whatever opinion was held by those in power or of opposing sides in a controversy, flown airplanes full of passengers into buildings, broken up families, marriages, orphaned children, and left the elderly to die ahead of their time.

    Scripture itself actually states that the times would come in which those doing these monstrous things wrongly would nevertheless actually imagine that they are thereby doing the will of God. The thing is that IF the interpretation were correct, they would be, but IF NOT, then does that not attempt to attribute to God the responsibility for many of the worst of such wanton atrocities? What a terrible and frightful responsibility must hover over the teachers and expounders of Holy Writ who wield such power!

    And what most particularly frightful judgments must come upon the heads of those who have used this power irresponsibly, whether for gain, revenge, power, reputation, or any other such base motive!

    But how is this done? Surely, the Bible and all other such authoritative but "dead" sources should be sufficiently clear as to our duties, rights, and responsibilities before God and Man. But who has the time to become sufficiently familiar with all these sources?

    Even a simple straight-through cursory reading of the Bible, as though one were reading a novel, would take weeks even if a person had nothing else to do. How much the longer this would be for those of us who have obligations and responsibilities, who must work and eat and sleep and do various errands and chores and take care of other persons in various capacities and so forth? By and large, we are therefore heavily dependent upon those few who actually have the time to do all of this firsthand research, and to distill the most salient portions of it for our use. So there really can't be all that much skill required to mislead such overburdened individuals.

    My sojourn with the Jehovah's Witnesses did however provide me with a close up view of many of the ways these things can be done. Anyone who has ever spoken at any length with any of these "Apostles of Denial" at their doorstep must know that they deny the Dogma of the Holy Trinity (together with a great many other beliefs intrinsic to Christianity), and most shockingly, base this denial (and their others) on the contents of Sacred Scripture itself!

    How can this be? Did not Jesus Himself say when imparting the Great Commission that we should be baptizing them "in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost"? Yet such basic passages such as this (that in most readers shows the Trinity sufficiently) are simply dismissed with a wave of the hand and merely stating that "Scriptures Mentioning Father, Son and Holy Spirit Together Do Not Say They Are Equal, Coeternal or One God" (Make Sure Of All Things - Hold Fast To What Is Fine, page 488), or words to that effect, thus eliminating this scriptural passage as a basis for the Trinity in the minds of most who hear them.

    Even here there is the dishonesty of deliberately passing over in silence the main reason theologians do regard this as a support of the Dogma, in that the nations are to be baptized into the "Name" (singular) of the "Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost" (all three, hence all three are one). By their understanding it should have read "Names of the Father and the Son..." or else "Name of the Father and the Name of the Son..." While their own distinctive translation of the Bible does not read either of those ways at this point, the same idea is subtly injected into the passage (and again without comment) so that it reads "in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." Notice how the mere addition of the word "of" in two places so blunts (though without actually quite denying) the Trinitarian thrust of that passage!

    Another technique used is to misrepresent what the Dogma of the Holy Trinity itself actually teaches. In an older version of their "basic catechism" titled "Let God Be True" (both 1946 and 1952 Editions), they introduce the Dogma of the Trinity thus: "The doctrine, in brief, is that there are three gods in one." Well excuse me, but such blatant polytheism has never been a part of any Christian belief, and no Trinitarian theologian (of any denomination, I might add), has ever defined the Trinity as being "three gods [sic] in one."

    But since your average "man-in-the-street" they encounter at the doors is generally unaware of that fact, such a description goes unquestioned, and automatically biases one against the Dogma, making it sound like something absurd and confusing, or even self-contradictory. And of course, nothing in the Bible (or Catholic teaching) supports that kind of belief! The Three Persons are the One God, and the One God only, never "three gods!"

    Having introduced such an absurd distortion of the Dogma of the Trinity as something to reject, they find themselves in the peculiar position of having to explain just why it would be that Catholics (and even most Protestant denominations!) would happen to be so strenuous in their resolution to support this supposed "absurdity." And the only thing they can come up with is claims to a pagan origin, as if all Christians (except them) are actually mere pagans.

    There is a salient point to be drawn from this and that is regarding the claim made by certain Protestant writers and groups that belief in Purgatory, the priesthood, the papacy, images in worship, veneration of Mary, or even at times such holidays as Christmas, would be mere pagan practices "grafted into" the Visible Church. I refer here to cranks who follow the writings of Alexander Hislop who wrote "The Two Babylons" or even Ralph Woodrow who wrote "Babylon Mystery Religion" (but who later repented of that and refuted and withdrew his book - good for him). My point about this sort of outlook is this: If Purgatory or the veneration of Mary or any other such Catholic teaching or practice were to be refutable by such comparisons then so would their own Protestant beliefs in Heaven and Hell, and also the Trinity, for many pagan religions have their various "heavens" and "hells" and some such pagan religions even have their own "trinities" (or triads or trilogies of a sort), for example Hinduism's Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. At least Charles T. Russell and Joseph F. Rutherford (Watchtower Society's first two presidents who, between them, formulated 95% of what Jehovah's Witnesses still believe today) can be credited with following this diseased line of "reasoning" to its logical conclusion, to the rejection of the Trinity, Hell, Christmas celebrations, and even Heaven (for any but a tiny elite group of "the Anointed"). But I digress.

    One way of creating the false impression that the Bible does not teach the Dogma of the Holy Trinity is the use of very selective quotes, and in fact quotes that are not addressing the topic at all, or at least not in the way one might be made to think if they are presented in a certain "light." Such passages as "The Father is greater than I" (John 14:28) which are actually meant to refer to the station Jesus Christ held as a man, who had in the Incarnation "emptied Himself, taking on the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man," and in that station "He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:7-8), are instead presented as a claim that Jesus Christ is supposedly some sort of "lesser" being than the Father, of an inferior nature, and as such something short of being God at all.

    Subtle alterations of the text get used to plant other ideas, for example in the Apocalypse (Revelation) 3:14 Jesus Christ is described as "the beginning [e. g. "source," i. e. God Himself] of the Creation OF God" their Bible translates it as saying "the beginning of the creation BY God" thus making Him out to be the first Creation of God. Other quotes have to be explained away, or else even mutilated as regards to their actual content. It is too clear (and no one can deny) that "the Word" as written in the Gospel of Saint John is meant to refer to Jesus Christ. Yet the very first verse of John states that "the Word was God."

    In this case all they could do is claim that this is a mistranslation and supply their own "translation" to the effect that "the Word was a god." Given their incorrect and unscholarly attempt to explain the original Greek of the text regarding this phrase, and saying of this particular instance of the word "God" in the text that "It merely expresses a certain quality about the Word, or Logos, but it does not identify him as one and the same as God himself," I have never understood why they didn't just have it say "and the Word was godly," or at least employ the more widely precedented "What God was the Word was." (New English Bible) Instead they have persistently continued to use the exact wording used by Spiritualist (!?!) Johannes Greber, "the Word was a god." (Johannes Greber's "translation" goes far further than the Watchtower's by even replacing the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit) with "God's holy spirits" by which he referred to the spiritualist "messengers" who conveyed from "the beyond" his translation and other spiritualist messages!)

    In my personal library I have a book titled "Scripture Twisting" by James W. Sire which actually enumerates 20 different ways the Bible can be, and has been, misquoted, misapplied, misused, and even abused by the various sects and false religions current in recent decades. Among them are such things as a twisted translation (e. g. "the Word was a god"), inaccurate quotation (e. g. "Christ said, 'be still and know that I am God.' Be still and know that you are God and when you know that you are God you will begin to live Godhood, and living Godhood there is no reason to suffer" used by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation), saying but not citing (e. g. "Without actually consulting Exodus I seem to remember that the Ark was often surrounded by flashing sparks…" as written by Erich von Däniken).

    And such misrepresentations of Sacred Scripture are not by any means the only thing to which the "dark art" of scholastic dishonesty is applied. Observe this statement regarding the Holy Trinity contained in the Watchtower book, "The Truth that leads to Eternal Life,":

This doctrine was unknown to the Hebrew prophets and Christian apostles. The New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967 edition, Vol. XIV, p. 306) admits that "the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught in the OT [Old Testament]." It also admits that the doctrine must be dated as from about three hundred and fifty years after the death of Jesus Christ. So the early Christians who were taught directly by Jesus Christ did not believe that God is a "trinity."

    One would think from this how shocking that even Catholic scholars (presumably who wrote the Catholic Encyclopedia) would claim that the Trinity would be such a late invention. But is that what the Catholic scholars who wrote the Catholic Encyclopedia actually published therein? Here the Jehovah's Witnesses take advantage of the fact that your average householder whom they visit at the doors will almost never actually have a copy of the New Catholic Encyclopedia (or any other edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia for that matter) readily on hand so as to be able to look it up. One would have to go to some library, and even then in most cases have this massive multivolume work, or at least the most relevant volume thereof, shipped from another library (at cost) just to be able to consult the original text as published. How many ordinary householders are actually going to do that, even if they should be such Bereans as to feel that the claims of the Watchtower representative at their door are worth examining closely?

    Looking up a Bible text is one thing, but chasing down some scholastic reference is quite another. In this case what we have is the "quotation out of context" coupled with a "saying but not citing" which in fact runs directly counter to what is actually stated in the scholastic source. For the relevant article in the quoted edition of the New Catholic Encyclopedia actually states (in part):

    The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught in the OT. In the NT the oldest evidence is in the Pauline epistles, especially 2 Cor 13.13, and 1 Cor 12.4-6. In the Gospels evidence of the Trinity is found explicitly only in the baptismal formula of Mt 28.19.

    In the Old Testament. The mystery of the Holy Trinity was not revealed to the Chosen People of the OT. On account of the polytheistic religions of Israel's pagan neighbors it was necessary for the teachers of Israel to stress the oneness of God. In many places of the OT, however, expressions are used in which some of the Fathers of the Church saw references or foreshadowings of the Trinity. The personified use of such terms as the *Word of God [Ps 32(33).6] and the *Spirit of God (Is 63.14) is merely by way of poetic license, though it shows that the minds of God's people were being prepared for the concepts that would be involved in the forthcoming revelation of the doctrine of the Trinity.

    In the New Testament. The revelation of the truth of the triune life of God was first made in the NT, where the earliest references to it are in the Pauline epistles. The doctrine is most easily seen in St. Paul's recurrent use of the terms God, Lord, and Spirit. What makes his use of these terms so significant is that they appear against a strictly monotheistic background.

    In the Pauline Epistles. The clearest instance of this usage is found in 2 Cor 13.13, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." This blessing is perhaps a quotation from the early Christian liturgy. The grammatical usage in this blessing ... gives us a basis not only for the distinction of persons, but also for their equality inasmuch as all the benefits are to flow from the one Godhead.

    Another example of Paul's probable reference to the Trinity by use of the triad, Spirit, Lord, God, can be seen in 1 Cor 12.4-6...

    In the Gospels. The only place in the gospels where the three divine Persons are explicitly mentioned together is in St. Matthew's account of Christ's last command to His Apostles... In this commission Christ commands the Apostles to baptize all men "in the name of" the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The expression "in the name of" ... indicates a dedication or consecration to the one named. Thus Christian Baptism is a dedication or consecration to God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since the Son and the Holy Spirit are mentioned here on par with the Father, the passage clearly teaches that they are equally divine with the Father, who is obviously God...

    One simply does not find here in the New Catholic Encyclopedia any basis for the Watchtower's claim that "it also admits that the doctrine must be dated as from about three hundred and fifty years after the death of Jesus Christ."

    As seen here, many of the methods of twisting Sacred Scripture can also be equally applied to twisting of other nonscriptural sources upon which we must also rely in helping us understand, interpret, and apply the Scriptural counsel. And obviously such nonscriptural sources need not be limited to scholastic sources even as such "twisting" is not limited to Sacred Scripture itself. Church Fathers, Doctors, Canonists, classical Theologians, Popes, Councils, and even the other writings of the great saintly Mystics of the Church are all similarly open to such deliberate corruptions of their actual content.

    And such "twisting" is not limited to mere cults and sects and oddball religions. Even mainline Protestants have done the same, though on a much much smaller scale. For example we have Martin Luther's famous addition of "alone" to Romans 3:28 in order to introduce his own notion of "salvation by faith alone" into the very text of Scripture.

    Many Bibles falsely translate St. Luke 1:34 to conceal what it really shows about Mary. When the angel told her that she was to be the mother of Christ she actually protested, asking how such a thing could be, "for I do not know man?" In a quick survey of how the various Bible translations render the phrase, many Protestant, secular, and idiosyncratic versions treat of her virginity as a mere past event, as if to say that she is merely saying that she "has not" as yet known any man:

  • The New English Bible reads "I am still a virgin,"
  • The Holy Bible From Ancient Eastern Manuscripts by George M. Lamsa reads "for no man has known me,"
  • The New Testament an Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest reads "since I do not have an experiential knowledge of a man,"
  • the New Life New Testament translated by Gleason H. Ledyard reads "I have never had a man,"
  • the Bible in Basic English reads "because I have no knowledge of a man,"
  • the Christian Counselor's new testament by Jay E. Adams reads "since I haven't known any man,"
  • the Holman Christian Standard Bible reads "since I have not been intimate with a man,"
  • The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language reads "I've never slept with a man,"
  • The New Testament, A New Translation Based on the Oldest Manuscripts by Johannes Greber (the spiritualist Bible mentioned above) reads "when I have had relations with no man,"
  • The Rhyming Gospels, A poetic paraphrase of Holy Scripture by Bernard Williams reads "You know I'm still a virgin,"
  • The Complete Gospels (the "Jesus Seminar" version, edited by Robert J. Miller, Robert W. Funk, and others) crudely puts it "since I've not had sex with any man," and worst of all,
  • the Jehovah's Witness's own version, The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures reads "since I am having no intercourse with a man," which aside from also putting it almost as crudely as the "Jesus Seminar" version, also seems to allow that she might possibly have lost her virginity in the past, to say nothing of the future.
  • The most unusual thing done with this passage is in the Joseph Smith translation (Mormon, but only the Reorganized and other lesser Mormon groups "correctly" reprint this as Joseph Smith intended) in which the phrase is wholly omitted altogether!

    Many other prominent versions of the Bible mistranslate the phrase to refer merely to her presently unmarried state, again suggesting the same:

  • The New Testament in Modern English (J. B. Phillips) and the Word (Contemporary English Version) read "I am not married,"
  • the Translator's New Testament reads "since I am not married,"
  • The Revised Standard Version (Common Bible) and The Modern Language Bible (New Berkeley Version) read "since I have no husband,"
  • the James Moffatt Translation reads "I have no husband,"
  • the New Testament, a New Translation by William Barclay and The New Testament Translated by Edgar J. Goodspeed read "when I have no husband."
  • Still other translations, The Good News Bible (the Bible in Today's English Version), the Everyday Bible (New Century Version), the Living Bible (Paraphrased), The New American Standard Bible, the Holy Bible (New International Version), The Jerusalem Bible, the English Standard Version, The Jewish New Testament Translation by David H. Stern, merely have her stating "I am a virgin," or "since I am a virgin." That rendering is ambiguous, perhaps an attempt to be open to both Catholic and Protestant interpretations, in that "virgin" as written here could either refer to someone who merely happens to be as yet in the virginal state (Protestant interpretation) or else a consecrated virgin (Catholic interpretation).

    Fortunately, there are some other Bibles in which the passage is correctly translated, including most notably the Catholic Bible:

  • The Holy Bible (Douay Rheims Version) reads "because I know not man,"
  • The New American Bible and The Bible in Living English (by Steven T. Byington) read "since I do not know man."

    Several others, with perhaps somewhat lesser clarity (to provide a little "wiggle room" for a more Protestant interpretation perhaps?), seem to say the same thing:

  • the original King James Version and the American Standard Version (1901) read "seeing I know not a man,"
  • the King James II version, The Four Gospels and the Revelation Newly Translated from the Greek by Richard Lattimore and The Emphatic Diaglott (by Benjamin Wilson) read "since I know no man,"
  • The New King James Version reads "since I do not know a man,"
  • Young's Literal Translation of the Bible reads "seeing a husband I do not know,"
  • The Amplified Bible reads "since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband."

    A couple other lesser-known translations which pride themselves for bringing the reader closer to the literal text also handle this passage correctly:

  • The Concordant Literal New Testament reads "since I know not a man" (bold emphasis to mark which words are actually in the Greek text)
  • The Emphasized Bible by Joseph Bryant Rotherham reads "seeing that |a man| I know not" (|marks| used for emphasis).

    In summary, many (defective) translations have her saying that she "has not" known any man, whereas the Catholic translation (and any other which renders this passage correctly, especially by attempting to be faithful to the literal text) has our Lady saying that she "does not" know any man. To see the various renderings provided by the many various translators cited above, one gets the idea that many of them just seem to shove this distinction under the rug, ("'Do not,' or 'have not,' who cares? What difference does it make?")

    But to any serious Catholic who must therefore believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary, it makes all the difference in the world. "Have not" merely speaks only of chance, happenstance, circumstances, a matter only of what may or may not have as yet transpired in the life of an individual, with no clear initiative on the part of the passively involved individual concerned. "Does not" speaks of a choice, a commitment, a personal policy, an active decision which the person makes actively and on their own initiative.

    In our Lady's case "I do not know man" is a matter of being consecrated before God "never to" under any circumstances whatsoever, her total virginal integrity to be preserved at all times and at all costs, with never the slightest yielding of any kind to fleshly concupiscence.

    Allow me to borrow one more illustration from my Jehovah's Witness days: To be in good standing, a devout Jehovah's Witness is absolutely forbidden to vote in secular political elections of any kind, and to be caught doing so is a matter for disfellowshipping (their term for excommunication).

    On an election day, any person in the street might ask of one "have you voted?" Assuming one has not, most persons could easily say "I have not voted." This leaves clear room for the possibility that they may yet before the day ends and the polls close, whether they ever actually get around to it or not. But a Jehovah's Witness would be obliged to reply "I do not vote." So not only have they not voted, never will they vote, and that is no mere accident of circumstance or opportunity. Again, I hope the distinction between "do not" and "have not" is made clear.

    All of that being the case however, I now arrive at what all of this talk of scholastic dishonesty is really all about. I provided some reminiscence of my Watchtower days as a useful life lesson to draw some pertinent points from, since the main point of all this is not really to discuss the Jehovah's Witness misinterpretations of the Bible, nor even that of the Protestants, but only to use both as illustrations of the relevant concepts of scholastic dishonesty.

    My real concern here is with a small but significant group of Catholics who have fallen into a certain error in which certain Catholic doctrines, though nominally adhered to, are nevertheless understood and applied in a slightly oversimplified manner which thereby somewhat distorts their true content. Of course it is not only certain Catholics who have fallen into this error; a small percentage of outright Protestants make the same mistake (albeit in their own distinctive Protestant manner), however it is the Catholics with whom I am principally concerned here. The irony to it all here is that these Catholics, practically to a man, can all well enough understand and appreciate the distinction between "have not" and "do not" as I have made above with respect to our Lady's perpetual virginity and the correct interpretation (and translation) of Luke 1:34.

    When it comes to the question of water baptism, and particularly it's relationship to salvation, this group, equally practically to a man, shoves the distinction between "do not" and "have not" under the rug. One Church teaching which all Catholics are constrained to admit is that those who DO NOT get baptized in water must be damned. There is any number of official magisterial documents and statements to this effect, such that it is to be above (and without) question.

    But no matter how many such statements and declarations there may be, or with how much of St. Peter's authority they have been promulgated, or how emphatically they may be worded, upon close examination of each one will necessarily find it intrinsically impossible to squeeze and draw from any or all of them the least ghost of a claim that "everyone who HAS NOT been baptized in water is necessarily damned." This is no accident. Those who "do not" allow themselves to be baptized in water have made a terrible choice, and for that they are to be damned. But regarding those who merely "have not" been baptized the Church has always been more generous in allowing for God's mercy to be a part of the equation. But this particular group is having nothing of this distinction.

    Recently one of their more vocal members published lengthy work at gathering in all the "useful quotes" with which they attempt to prove a position the Church has never taught. To those who are not conversant in the methods of scholastic dishonesty by which the official magisterial documents can be made to seem as if they teach something they in fact do not teach, such a cavalcade of quotes from official Magisterial documents of holy Mother Church can seem quite impressive. This is what makes those of said group so committed to their position despite its total and universal lack of support from the Church in general.

    But as we shall see in succeeding installments of this series, one shall learn that scholastic dishonesty has been employed to defend the indefensible and that one need not feel any obligation to depart from Catholic doctrine by following these self-styled and self-appointed "experts."

Griff L. Ruby

Griff's book is available from Books for $26.95 or can be read on-line at We at The Daily Catholic strongly urge you to share it with all you can for that could be the gentle shove that moves your friends back to where the True Faith resides forever, rooted in the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church as Christ intended and promised.

    Griff Ruby's STRAIGHT STUFF
    June 30, 2008
    Volume 19, no. 182