Archives for October 2014

Testimonies from ex-Roman Catholic Priests
by Matt Slick

The following quotes are taken from the book by Richard Bennet, Far from Rome, Near to God: Testimonies of 50 Converted Roman Catholic Priests, Carlisle, PN: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1997. They are quite interesting and valuable since they give an insight to Catholicism from those who were priests in the Catholic Church and then left it to find salvation in Jesus.
Following are excerpts from only a few of the fifty testimonies in the book:
1. Henry Gregory Adams. Born in Saskatchewan, Canada. He entered the Basilian Order of monks and adopted the monastic name of “Saint Hilarion the Great.” He was ordained as a priest and served five parishes in the Lemont, Alberta area.
A. Sacraments. “The monastic life and the sacraments prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church did not help me to come to know Christ personally and find salvation . . . I realized that the man-made sacraments of my church and my good works were in vain for salvation. They lead to a false security.” (p. 3)
2. Joseph Tremblay. Born in Quebec, Canada, 1924. He was ordained a priest in Rome, Italy and was sent to Bolivia, Chile where he served for 13 years “as a missionary in the congregation of the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate.”
A. Salvation by works. “My theology has taught me that salvation is by works and sacrifices . . . my theology gives me no assurance of salvation; the Bible offers me that assurance . . . I had been trying to save myself on my works . . . I was stifled in a setting in which I was pushed to do good works to merit my salvation.” (pp. 9, 11-12)
3. Bartholomew F. Brewer. He applied to the Discalced Carmelites, a strict monastic order. He received training of “four years of high school seminary, two years in the novitiate, three years of philosophy, and four years of theology (the last after ordination).” He was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in Washington, D.C. He eventually served as a diocesan priest in San Diego, California and entered the Navy as a Roman Catholic chaplain.
A. Upon questioning Rome’s Beliefs, “At first I did not understand, but gradually I observed a wonderful change in mother. Her influence helped me realize the importance of the Bible in determining what we believe. We often discussed subjects such as the primacy of Peter, papal infallibility, the priesthood, infant baptism, confession, the mass, purgatory, the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven. In time I realized that not only are these beliefs not in the Bible, they are actually contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture.” (pp. 21-22)
B. Relying on works. He left the Roman Catholic Church, got married and through conversations with his wife and other Christians, “I finally understood that I had been relying on my own righteousness and religious efforts and not upon the completed and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic religion had never taught me that our own righteousness is fleshly and not acceptable to God, nor that we need to trust in his righteousness alone . . . during all those years of monastic life I had relied on the sacraments of Rome to give me grace, to save me.” (p. 25)
4. Hugh Farrell. Born in Denver, Colorado. Entered the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel, commonly called the Discalced Carmelite Fathers. Ordained as a priest.
A. Priestly power to change elements: “The priest, according to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, has the power to take ordinary bread and wine, and, by pronouncing the words of the consecration prayer in the sacrifice of the Mass, to change it into the actual body and blood and soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Hence, since one cannot separate the human nature of Christ from his divinity, the bread and wine, after being changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, are entitled to the worship of adoration.” (pp. 28)
B. Temporal punishment due to sins. “I knew from the teachings of the priests and nuns that I could not hope to go directly to heaven after my death. My Roman Catholic catechism taught me that after death I had to pay for the temporal punishment due to my sins. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that ‘the souls of the just which, in a moment of death, are burdened with venial sins or temporal punishment due to sin, enter purgatory.'” (p. 29)
C. Penance. Regarding life in the monastery and doing penance. “These penances consist of standing with the arms outstretched to form a cross, kissing the sandaled feet of the monks, receiving a blow upon the face from the monks, and, at the end of the meal, lying prostrate before the entrance to the refectory so that the departing monks must step over one’s body. These, and other penances, are supposed to gain one merit in heaven and increase one’s ‘spiritual bank account.'” (p. 36)
D. The Mass and sorcery. “According to the teaching of the Roman Church the priest, no matter how unworthy he may personally be, even if he has just made a pact with the devil for his soul, has the power to change the elements of bread and wine into the actual body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ. Provided he pronounces the words of consecration properly and has the intention of consecrating, God must come down on the altar and enter and take over the elements.” (p. 39)
5. Alexander Carson. Baptized into the Roman Catholic Church as an infant. His priesthood studies were at St. John’s seminary, Brighton, Massachusetts. He was ordained by Bishop Lawrence Shehan of Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1955 and was a priest in Alexandria, Louisiana. Also, he was pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Rayville, Louisiana.
A. Bible or Tradition. ” . . . the Holy Spirit led me to judge Roman Catholic theology by the standard of the Bible. Previously, I had always judged the Bible by Roman Catholic doctrine and theology.” (p. 53)
B. Mass contrary to scripture. “In my letter of resignation from the Roman Catholic Church and Ministry, I stated to the bishop that I was leaving the priesthood because I could no longer offer the Mass, as it was contrary to the Word of God and to my conscience.” (pp. 54-55)
6. Charles Berry. He entered the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine and became a priest after 17 years. He was given orders to continue studying until he achieved a Ph.D. in chemistry and was then “transferred to the headquarters of the Augustinian order in the United States.”
A. Superstition. “In the United States the Roman Catholic Church is on its best behavior, putting its best foot forward because of its critics and opponents. In a Roman Catholic country, where it has few opponents or critics, it is a very different matter. Ignorance and superstition and idolatry are everywhere, and little effort, if any, is made to change the situation. Instead of following the Christianity taught in the Bible the people concentrate on the worship of statues and their local patron saints.” (p. 59)
B. Idols and Statues. “When I met in Cuba a genuine pagan who worshiped idols (a religion transplanted from Africa by his ancestors), I asked how he could believe that a plaster idol could help him. He replied that the idol was not expected to help him; it only represented the power in heaven which could. What horrified me about his reply was that it was almost word for word the explanation Roman Catholics give for rendering honor to the statues of the saints.” (p. 59)
7. Bob Bush. He went to a Jesuit Seminary and studied for 13 years before being ordained in 1966. He entered a post graduate program in Rome.
A. Works: “When I entered the order, the first thing that happened was that I was told I had to keep all the rules and regulations, that to do so would be pleasing to God, and that this was what he wanted for me. We were taught the motto, ‘Keep the rule and the rule will keep you.'” (p. 66).
B. Salvation is by faith: “It took me many years to realize that I was compromising by staying in the Roman Catholic Church. Throughout all those years I continued to stress that salvation is only in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and not in the infant baptism; that there is only one source of authority which is the Bible, the word of God; and that there is no purgatory but rather that when we die to either go to heaven or hell.” (p. 69)
C. Salvation by works: “The Roman Catholic Church then goes on to say that in order to be saved you must keep its laws, rules and regulations. And in these laws are violated (for example, laws concerning birth control or fasting or attendance at Mass every Sunday), then you have committed a sin . . . ‘individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the only ordinary way by which the faithful person who was aware of serious sin can be reconciled with God, and with the church’ (Canon 9609).” (p. 75)
D. Works: “The Roman Catholic Church adds works, and that you have to do these specific things [keeping its laws, rule and regulations] ]in order to be saved, whereas the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that it is by grace that we are saved, not by works.” (pp. 75-76)
As you can see, even Roman Catholic Priests can discover the truth found in God’s word and escape the error of the Roman Catholic system of works righteousness. To God be the glory.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Pope Francis addresses Schoenstatt pilgrims. He urges priests to listen to families

In an address to over 7,000 pilgrims of the Schoenstatt Movement, an international Marian apostolic movement celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding in Germany, Pope Francis noted that the recent Synod of Bishops reported on how increasingly a model of family is proposed in society that is understood as a form of “association.” The meeting took place in Paul VI Hall on Oct. 25.

In replying to questions put to him, the Holy Father noted, “That the family is hit, that the family is knocked and that the family is debased as [how can this be] a way of association … Can everything be called a family? How many families are divided, how many marriages are broken, how much relativism there is in the concept of the Sacrament of Marriage. At present, from a sociological point of view and from the point of view of human values, as well as, in fact, of the Catholic Sacrament, of the Christian Sacrament, there is a crisis of the family, a crisis because it is hit from all sides and left very wounded!”

Asked about marriage and what advice he can offer those who don’t feel welcome in the Church, Pope Francis stressed the need for priests to stay close to each one of their flock without becoming scandalized over what takes place within the family.   He said a bishop during the recent Synod on the family asked whether priests are aware of what children feel and the psychological damage caused when their parents separate? The Pope noted how sometimes in these cases the parent who is separating ends up living at home only part-time with the children, which he described as a “new and totally destructive” form of co-habitation.

For Zenit’s report of the Schoenstatt meeting (Oct. 28, 2014), click here.

For the Vatican Radio (Oct. 25, 2014) summary of the Schoenstatt meeting, click here.

Owensboro Council

The August minutes of the Owensboro Council began with a report by the diocesan chief financial officer about various building projects. Members recommended approval of the proposal for a parish hall and recommended approval of a multi-purpose facility at a parish pending review by the Diocesan Building Committee.

  • Members heard a progress report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Assessments. When a draft of the assessment plan is completed, the panel will present it to the Council for deanery review and suggestions.
  • Minutes note that ARISE, a project of Renew International, received an overall favorable assessment from parishes where it took place.
  • Finally, the president of President of Brescia University gave a report on the capital campaign. It is still in the silent stage. Enrollment is at the highest level in 46 years. Plans are afoot to build a multi-purpose signature building as well as to enhance the campus in general.

Address to World Meeting of Popular Movements: combat structural causes of poverty

In an address on Tuesday, Oct. 28 to the World Meeting of Popular Movements, Pope Francis told his audience “You came to be in the presence of God, of the church… [to speak about] a reality that is often silenced. The poor not only suffer from injustice, but they also fight against it.” The meeting was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences.

In invoking the principle of solidarity, the pope called for solidarity amidst trying times. “Solidarity is a word that…means more than some generous, sporadic acts. It is to think and act in terms of the community…It is also to fight against the structural causes of poverty, inequality, unemployment, and [loss of] land, housing, and social and labour rights. It is to confront the destructive effects of the ‘Empire of Money:’ forcible displacements and migrations, human and drug trafficking, war, violence, and all of these realities that many of you suffer and that we all are called to address and transform. Solidarity, understood in its most profound sense, is a way of making history, and that is what the Popular Movements movement is doing,” he said.

For Zenit’s report of the World Meeting of Popular Movements (Oct. 29, 2014), click here.

For the Vatican Radio (Oct. 28, 2014) summary of the World Meeting report, click here.

Bishop Robert McElroy reflects on poverty, exclusion and income inequality

In a thoughtful essay posted on the America magazine web site (Nov. 3, 2014), San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy reflects on why many American Catholics have criticized Pope Francis’ comments on income inequality as “being radical, simplistic and confusing.” In Bishop McElroy’s essay, titled, “Market Assumptions,” the point of departure is in the understanding of the free market system and its inherent failure to consider the dignity of every human being made in the image of God. By this he means a cultural assumption “that current levels of domestic and international inequality are a natural part of a healthy economic life.”

Bishop McElroy goes on to write about “the sacred market” and an idea that popped up during the 2012 presidential campaign that there are “makers” and “takers.” “The makers” are those who pay more in taxes than they receive in government benefits. “The takers” are those who receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes. This ideology of “makers” and takers” regards market outcomes not merely as an efficient first-level filter through which material goods are distributed in society but as a moral arbiter of worthiness, effort and talent. And it constitutes a subversive influence in American society, one that sows division and discord.

For Bishop McElroy’s entire America essay, click here.


Fr. Shawn McKnight: Psych. standards for seminary admission may be too high 

Fr. W. Shawn McKnight. Internet stock photo

Fr. W. Shawn McKnight. Internet stock photo

In heading a panel discussion at the annual conference of the Catholic Psychology Association on Oct. 23-25, Father W. Shawn McKnight, Executive Director of the US bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, cautioned about “having standards so high that nobody can get in.”

Beside Fr. McKnight, panel members included Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, President of St. Luke Institute and Msgr. Robert Panke, Rector of St. John Paul II Seminary. The discussion was titled “The Use of Psychology in Seminary Admissions: A Need for Guidance.” Fr. McKnight said, “It’s not about finding the perfect guy. It’s about who’s called. If God is about calling a man, we have an obligation to heed that call and to nourish that man.” He illustrated the importance of respecting the “human element” in Catholic psychotherapy by showing a picture of “The Calling of St. Matthew,” a 16th-century oil painting by the Italian master Caravaggio. The painting invokes the moment when Jesus called Matthew to follow him. Matthew was not the perfect man, Father McKnight explained, “he was the perfect man for the role.” Father McKnight stressed that every seminary and diocese must devise a written admissions policy and put it into effect. This policy should cover legal, canonical and psychological issues. It should require that any previous formations be consulted and that an applicant wait at least two years after dismissal from formation before reapplying.

For the Catholic News Service, News Briefs (Oct. 29, 2014), click here.

From Vatican II to Pope Francis: Charting a Catholic Future

Vat2_P_FranFrom Vatican II to Pope Francis: Charting a Catholic Future, by Fr. Paul Crowley, SJ is a collection of essays that were developed from a symposium and a course given at Stanford University. A sentence in the Introduction gives a hint to what this volume is about: “The aim of this book is to get some kind of indication, in broad strokes, of how the promise of the Council might be realized in the future, as read from the present vantage point.” The eleven chapters are divided into three main headings: Contemporary Contexts, Recasting Conciliar Achievements, and Future Directions for the Church. Contributors include, Fr. Stephen Schloesser, SJ; Jerome Baggett; Most Rev. John R. Quinn; Sr. Barbara Green, OP; Kristin Heyer, Fr. Bryan Massingale, Paul Lakeland, and more. Available for 28.00 from Orbis, Books, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, NY 10545. Tel: (800) 258-5838. Fax: (914) 941-7005. E-mail: [email protected] Web site:

How to Read the Bible Without Losing Your Mind: A Truth-Seeker’s Guide to Making Sense of Scripture

WIPFSTOCK_TemplateHow to Read the Bible Without Losing Your Mind: A Truth-Seeker’s Guide to Making Sense of Scripture, by Kent Blevins is a fine primer for anyone in the beginning stage of studying scripture. The volume’s eight chapters are, as the author explains, “not primarily (for) fellow academics.” What readers will find are, “questions explored that are seldom raised in church.” Throughout the chapters are text boxes containing questions for reflection. At the end of the book are study questions that can facilitate group interaction. Here’s Blevin’s best explanation: “The premise behind this book is that Bible reading/study can be intellectually stimulating, devotionally rewarding, ethically and theologically challenging, pastorally comforting, and spiritually enriching.

Available for the Web price of $20.00 from Wipf & Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave., Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401. (541) 344-1528. Fax: (541) 344-1506. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

Getting to Know the Gospels

Getting to Know the Gospels, by Father Scott M. Lewis, SJ. Each resource is a 32-page pocket-size pamphlet that gives basic information and shares practical wisdom in each of the Synoptic Gospel stories. A very handy guide, especially as the new Church year is set to begin on Nov. 30, 2014 with Year B. Each resource is available for $1.76 (web site price) from Twenty-Third Publications, 1 Montauk Ave. Suite 200, New London, CT 06320. Tel: (800) 321-0411. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

Gosp_Luke  Gosp_Mark Gosp_Matt

What Pope Francis Says about Jesus

Fran_JesusWhat Pope Francis Says about Jesus, by Gwen Costello is pocket-size, 32-page resource that invites readers to spend thirty days with the Holy Father as he focuses on Jesus Christ. Each day contains a page, which includes a title, such as The Gift of Forgiveness, a sentence taken from Pope Francis’ own words, a reflection by the author, two points to ponder, a short prayer, and ending with a suggestion to: “Spend ten minutes sitting quietly with Jesus.” Available for $1.95 (Quantity pricing available) from Twenty-Third Publications, 1 Montauk Ave. Suite 200, New London, CT 06320. Tel: (800) 321-0411. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site: