Not quite alone. God promised that there would always be a faithful remnant of Israel. Some of the sola Scriptura denominations, and Torah observant Orthodox Jews, will hold fast until the ingrafting.
In the end, the Catholic Church alone will remain what it has been for two thousand years, the “Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth” 1 Tim 3:15. At the Second Coming the Church Militant and the Church Suffering, their work complete, will pass away. Jerusalem on High with its Church Triumphant, and hell ruled by Satan, will remain forever.
Immerse or Pretend
We either immerse ourselves deeply in Scripture or we live outside of Scripture and merely pretend to follow it. A non-Scriptural foundation that says only Scriptural doctrines are authentic leads inevitably to pretense. For two thousand years the Catholic Church has affirmed that contraception is contrary to God’s law. For four hundred years all of the sola Scriptura denominations, based on Scripture alone, stood with the Catholic Church in firmly declaring that contraception was contrary to God’s law.
Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience.
There is no Scripture in this startling departure from 400 years of Anglican teaching. None! The language lacks even the crisp clarity of true doctrinal statements. It pays homage to “Christian principles” but speaks of “complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary).” Complete and as far as may be necessary are opposites! It speaks of a “clearly felt moral obligation” to limit or avoid parenthood. There is a sharp difference between a clearly felt moral obligation and a moral obligation firmly grounded in Scripture 2 Pet 1:20. It speaks of a “morally sound reason” rather than a “reason firmly grounded in Scripture” for avoiding complete abstinence. These terms replace Scripture absolutes such as Jn 10:10 with relativist feelings. The Anglicans even adopted it by popular vote, 193 for, 67 against. This is not Scripture alone but me alone.
Is sola Scriptura the problem? Today most Protestant denominations say that based on Scripture alone, contraception is consistent with God’s law for us, directly opposite to what they taught less than a century ago.
The Catholic Church teaches through the apostolic succession, depending on a long history of prior interpretations going all the way back to the Church Fathers. Holy Mother Church cannot “change its mind” on infallible doctrine. In the development of doctrine every change due to new circumstances has to be reconciled with foundational teachings in Rabbi Yeshua’s time.
Pope Pius XI realized that the Christian dike against contraception had been breached. He immediately wrote Casti Connubii to reaffirm Catholic teaching on marital chastity and the Church’s firm understanding that contraception is against God’s law. All the same, within a few decades all of the sola Scriptura denominations began teaching that, based on Scripture alone, contraception is consistent with God’s law. Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae to again reaffirm Catholic teaching that contraception is contrary to God’s law. How did “contrary to God’s’ law” become “consistent with God’s law” within three decades? God told us, “I the Lord do not change” Mal 3:6. So what changed? Many of the sola Scriptura denominations abandoned Scripture as God had inspired it. To replace contrition, firm purpose of amendment, and absolution, these sola Scriptura denominations replaced Scripture with “passage of time and habit.” The “passage of time and habit” denominations have already approved of abortion and euthanasia, contrary to the Fifth Commandment, and will soon bless homosexual “marriages,” leaving the Catholic Church alone among Christians to defend God’s law against the rising tide of secularism.
The “passage of time and habit” error is that time has no influence on God who lives in eternity Mal 3:6. Passage of time deadens the sense of sin, but does not diminish the sin itself. God’s law remains in full force, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” Mt 19:6, but in secular culture unmoored to God’s law, “until death do us part” becomes “till love grows cold.”
On the last day, what will they say when Rabbi Yeshua asks, “You had my Scriptures, you loved them so much that you declared sola Scriptura, Scripture alone! You pledged your immortal soul when you were baptized into my death on the Cross Rom 6:3–4. But you feared the wrath of men. You remembered, “Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was accustomed to be heated. And he ordered certain mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace” Dan 3:19–20. And you remembered how it turned out. “Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He said to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?’ They answered the king, ‘True, O king.’ He answered, ‘But I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods’” Dan 3:24–25.
The Falling Away
Even many Catholics, mainly the Democratic voters who are told that abortion is intrinsically evil, will fall away. The Church’s Declaration on Procured Abortion § 22 tells us: “It must in any case be clearly understood that whatever may be laid down by civil law in this matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.” Catholics who know this and vote for the pro-abortion party anyway have already rejected Rabbi Yeshua and the Catholic Church as their shepherds.
§ 677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.
Look closely. This is all about cleansing the Church. At present, Catholic voting behavior is about the same as secular voting behavior. As we approach the Church’s own death and Resurrection, we see millions of lukewarm young Catholics leaving the Faith like falling leaves as winter approaches. After their lukewarm Catholic parents send them to colleges where they hear the Church condemned every day in their classrooms, why would we expect anything else? “The Church proposes. She imposes nothing” § 39. At the same time, many dioceses and parishes form robust Catholic identity through zestful defense of their Catholic faith, doctrine, practice, and morality. That joyful atmosphere is fertile ground for radical transformation toward who we all really are, God’s image and likeness Gen 1:26–27.
We see the same pattern emerging in Judaism and in the Protestant denominations. Orthodox Judaism is small but growing, while Reform Judaism has visibly chosen liberal politics over Jewishness by voting for presidents who embrace Judaism’s mortal enemy Islam. Among the sola Scriptura believers, the “mainline” denominations, such as the Anglicans above, have lost members in droves while the Evangelical congregations that make sharp clear Scriptural demands on their congregations are growing.
Now fear the wrath of God!
The Vatican’s Treasures
Every so often someone suggests that the Catholic Church sell off its treasures and give the proceeds to the poor. Most often these suggestions come from Protestants who have been trained by their pastors to believe that the Church is the “whore of Babylon.” When we reflect that the Catholic Church wrote the Bible and proclaimed it for a thousand years as Martin Luther freely admitted (Luther’s Works, 24:304), sermon on John 16, the Church would hardly accuse itself of such a thing.
To begin, these suggestions usually come from anti-Catholics who have never contributed a nickel to the Church, and whose own churches have never given their own treasures to the poor. About four-fifths of American Christians are Protestant, about one-fifth Catholic. My question to them is, “What church do you attend, what has your church sold and given to the poor?” Do you make the same demands of your own church? Your own pastor? Do you tithe? These charges are usually aimed at Catholic Church alone.
As Steve Ray explains, serious Catholics know that most of the Catholic Church’s “wealth” is hospitals, schools, social service institutions of every kind, and of course churches. The Catholic Church is the United States’ single largest provider of health care services, and the largest single network of schools that allow the government, by saving the expense of paying for them, to make its own contributions to the poor. The Catholic Church is keenly aware of the proverb, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”
But what of the Vatican’s beautiful art collections? These paintings were donated by Catholics with the specific intention that the Church have magnificent buildings that give glory to God partly by their Vatican Museum art collections. She cannot in conscience ignore the reverent intentions of her donors to sell what has been giving to their keeping forever.
Finally, even if the Catholic Church wanted to sell the paintings, international law would prevent it. Every country defends its art and other cultural treasures because the state has a duty to maintain them. The Holy See treasures are also part of Italian cultural history. The Italian government would object strenuously if the Vatican sold a large part of its cultural history.