Can You Myth-Bust These 7 Anti-Catholic Lies?

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Too often, non-Catholics believe lies about what Catholics do and believe. For example: that we added books to the Bible! In his book Forty Anti-Catholic Lies: A Myth-Busting Apologist Sets the Record StraightGerard Verschuuren refutes popular myths about Catholicism. Here are 7 of the best.

 

1. Catholics are forbidden to read the Bible

The truth of the matter: “The first reason is that, for many centuries, the faithful were not educated enough to be able to read at all. . .  Obviously, Bible reading requires readers—which were for centuries in short supply. Besides, due to invading vandals such as Huns, Visigoths, and Vikings during the ‘Dark Ages,’ the infrastructure of Europe had been devastated, and education had been hampered….Had it not been for the Catholic Church hiding all her Bibles and her textbooks from the rampaging and pillaging of these vandals, however, all schools of learning would have died during these ‘Dark Ages.’. . . The second reason Catholics did not read the Bible, was that copies of the Bible were hard to come by before the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1436.”

 

2. Catholics are led by the antichrist

“When calling the pope the antichrist, the most likely interpretation of most Protestants is that a pope claims to be and to act instead of Christ. However, popes never do make such a claim; they always refer to Christ himself. When has any pope required worship of himself, as God, instead of Christ? The pope cannot be the antichrist. For him to deny that Christ has come in the flesh would undercut the basis o his position—being the Vicar of Christ. Besides, the Catholic Church historically is seated at the Lateran and the Vatican, on Vatican Hill, where St. Peter was crucified, and those locations are certainly not on or near Rome’s seven hills, mentioned in the book of Revelation.”

 

3. Catholics venerate Mary as a goddess

“What we need to keep in mind, though, is that when Catholics ask Mary during each Hail Mary, ‘Pray for us sinners,’ they ask her to pray for sinners, not to redeem sinners. She brings them to her son. This is the acid test of proper devotion to the Blessed Lady. Ultimately, Mary challenges us with the person and message of Jesus: ‘Do whatever he tells you’ (John 2:5). Even in the great Marian churches of the world, such as Notre Dame de Paris, and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, the central act of worship is the Mass—the Lord’s Supper, the bloodless reenactment of his sacrifice on Calvary. The focus of worship is the altar, cross, and tabernacle. Christ alone is the center of Catholic Faith. He is the one mediator between God and humanity. You won’t find any Catholic priest offering a Mass to Mary; no, the sacrifice of the Mass is offered to God the Almighty Father, even on Marian feasts.”

 

4. Catholics think Heaven is only for them

“Vatican II and all the popes since (and before) speak of ‘redemption for all,’ not ‘salvation for all.’ Let us not confuse these two notions: Redemption is universal, but salvation is not. Redemption is indeed for all, because Christ ‘died for all,’ in the words of St. Paul (2 Cor. 5:15). The Catechism puts it very emphatically, ‘There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer’ (605).”

“But again, redemption is not the same as salvation. Salvation results from accepting Jesus’ redemption and living one’s life accordingly. But those who do not accept this gift of universal redemption—unless it is ‘through no fault of their own’—may still miss out on salvation. The Catechism makes it very clear that God gave us ‘the hope of salvation, by promising redemption’ (55). Redemption has opened Heaven for all, but that does not mean that everyone will be led to Heaven and to salvation. Although redemption is for everyone, salvation is not; for some there is salvation, for some there is damnation. Heaven is for those ‘on his right,’ while Hell is for those ‘on his left’ (see Matt. 25:34, 41). Catholics may end up on either side– and so may non-Catholics.”

 

5. Catholics were told to ignore the Holocaust

“Fact 1: Pope Pius XII was not silent about what was going on in Germany. Having lived thirteen years there as apostolic nuncio, he knew Germany from the inside. So when Pacelli became Pius XII—following the death in early 1939 of Pius XI, who had been very vocal against Hitler—he became the main Catholic figure of World War II. His first encyclical, Summi Pontificatus—“On the Unity of Human Society”—was issued on October 20, 1939, within two months after Hitler’s invasion of Poland. In this encyclical, the pope expressed dismay at the invasion of Poland, reiterating Church teaching against racial persecution and calling for love, compassion, and charity to prevail over war.”

“Fact 2: Pope Pius XII had no other power than his spiritual authority. . . . On several occasions, Pius XII explained that he was not speaking out because he did not want to make the situation worse. In view of the conditions found in Nazi-occupied Europe for those who lived there, perhaps the pontiff understood better than his critics what the consequences might have been of public challenges by him to the Nazis. Several sources have alleged that Hitler was plotting to kidnap Pope Pius XII and bring him to Liechtenstein. . . . Numerous people urged the pontiff to flee—and a lesser man would have done so—but instead Pius XII remained solidly at his post in Rome, leading the Church and also the anti-Nazi resistance.”

 

6. Catholics have held science back

“In the Catholic mindset, the universe is, (1) the creation of a rational Intellect, and (2) capable of being rationally interrogated. It is this very Judeo-Christian concept of a Creator God that makes science possible. Belief in a Creator God entails that nature is not a divine but a created entity. Nature is not divine in itself; only its Maker is—which opens the door for scientific exploration. . . . A created world, by definition, is not divine in itself; it is other than God, and in that very otherness, scientists find their freedom to act. . . . The only way to find out what this order looks like is to ‘interrogate’ the universe by investigation, exploration, and experiment. The door for science has been widely opened ever since. It is through scientific experiments that we can ‘read’ God’s mind, so to speak. It is this Catholic understanding that the world is both good and intelligible to us that laid the foundation for science and for Western society to pass on to successive generation the scientific discoveries that were made.”

 

7. Catholics are against women

“St. Paul preaches what Jesus told His disciples and speaks of a radical equality of all in Christ, including an equality of the sexes: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Gal. 3:28).” (emphasis added)

“Did the Church keep honoring the position of women later in history? Yes, she did—at least most of the time. From the very beginning, the Church made women and men equal in an unprecedented way, when compared with Jewish and Roman society.”

“Also, the Church Fathers taught in unison—counter to then-current opinions—that a woman has a right to consent to marriage; otherwise the marriage would be invalid. St. Ambrose insisted that the dowry system was unjust because it treated women as property. St. Augustine exhorted wives not to tolerate their husband’s infidelity. Later, the Council of Trent stood firm against marriages arranged without the consent of both spouses. Besides, the Church opened consecrated life as a vocation for women and also canonized numerous women, some of whom have become Doctors of the Church: Teresa of Ávila, Catherine of Siena, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Hildegard of Bingen. The American Catholic novelist Flannery O’Connor was right when she said, ‘The Church would just as soon canonize a woman as a man and I suppose has done more than any other force in history to free women.'”

Catholic-myth busted!

 

For 33 other lies about the Catholic Church and wonderfully thorough refutations of each, grab a copy of Gerard Verschuuren’s book Forty Anti-Catholic Lies: A Myth-Busting Apologist Sets the Record Straight.

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