Who Holds the Keys? (Pope or Prophet)

Response to Barry Bickmore's Rebuttal
by Steve Clifford - Representing the
One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church's Teaching
on "Apostolic Succession"

Contents:
Introduction - The Debate is Over!?
  Jesus Promised the Earthly Church Would Continue
  The Church
  Continuity
  Catholic Bishops are the Successors of the Apostles
  The Early Church Fathers
  The Bishop of Rome is the Successor to Peter
  Was Peter in Rome?
  The Catholic Church has Preserved and Defended the "Apostolic Faith" Unchanged
  The Seven Sacraments (Early Church and today's Catholic Church)
  Total Apostasy Survivors?
  Four Apostles Never Died!
  Genuine Early Christian Doctrines and Practices?
  The REAL Apostasy
  The miracle of the loaves and fish
  The discourse on the bread of life
  "This Saying is Hard"
  Conclusion


Introduction - The Debate is Over!?

Barry Bickmore is to be commended for his candid honesty when he stated in his rebuttal, "If Jesus promised that the earthly Church would continue to the end, the debate is over." This is clearly the central issue of this discussion, and we should stay focused on trying to determine whether or not Jesus actually made this promise to us. Barry acknowledges with the above statement that he knows where the crux of the debate lies. We can debate endlessly about a variety of side issues such as Purgatory, Bishops vs. Apostles, Papal infallibility, gifts and miracles, "development" of the Papacy, the nature of God, and so on. However, the question still remains: "Did Jesus Christ leave His entire flock without any earthly shepherds for almost 1,800 years of total apostasy or did He keep His promise to be with His Church until the end of time through apostolic succession?"

As Barry correctly points out, the Bible verse seemingly most harmful to the LDS case for a total apostasy is Matthew 16:18: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (King James Version) The phrase "gates of hell" has been translated as "powers of death" (Revised Standard Version), "gates of the netherworld" (New American Bible), and "gates of Hades" (New International Version). The "Hades" referred to here is not the same as the Greek "Gehenna" ("sheol" in Hebrew), nor the "unquenchable fire" that Jesus so often speaks of (see Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:29-30, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 13:42, Matthew 13:50, Matthew 18:9, Matthew 23:15, Matthew 23:33, Mark 9:43-48, Luke 12:5, James 3:6). Naves Topical Index defines "Hades" as: 1) The unseen world; and 2) The realm (state) of the dead. As used in the Bible, "Hades" does not necessarily describe a dwelling place for both the just and unjust awaiting the Resurrection, as Barry would have us believe. Rather, the Bible equates it to a place of torment where "none may cross from there to us" (Luke 16:26) and "Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire" (Revelations 20:14). (see also Matthew 11:23, Luke 10:15, Luke 16:23, Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31, Revelations 1:18, Revelations 6:8, Revelations 20:13-14) Barry is also in error when he tries to equate "Hades" to the Catholic teaching on "Purgatory", which is a place for purification after death for those who die in God's grace and friendship but not totally purified in the holiness necessary to enter heaven. Those who go to Purgatory are assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they must first undergo purification (like a refiners fire), so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. (CCC 1030-1032). On the other hand, those who are in "Hades" cannot leave and must endure eternal torment.

Jesus Promised the Earthly Church Would Continue

The Church

Barry suggested in his last statement that "the Church" is not just an earthly organization, but it also exists in Heaven. I totally agree! The Catholic Church teaches us that there are three different "assemblies" of the faithful:

  1. A heavenly "assembly" of Saints who have died and gone before us into heaven (the Church triumphant).
  2. An "assembly" of suffering souls in Purgatory who have died in God's grace and friendship but are not completely purified in the holiness necessary to enter into the presence of God (the Church suffering).
  3. An earthly "assembly" of pilgrim travelers on their journey toward perfection (the Church militant).
In addition to what Barry said in his last statement, the word "church" is related to the Scots kirk, the German kirche, and the Dutch kerk, all of which are derived from the late Greek kyriakon, which means "the Lord's (house)." The classical Greek ekklesia meant "assembly of citizens" and implied a democratic equality among its members who met for legislative and other deliberations. 1

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 and 1 Corinthians 12:27, St. Paul depicts the members of the church as the members of the body of Christ. Jesus Christ is the head of the entire body. Peter is the head of the visible church on earth. Jesus Christ is the head of the church triumphant in heaven, the church militant on earth, and the church suffering in Purgatory. The Catholic Church distinguishes between Jesus as the head of the entire church and Peter as the head of the church on earth. Peter was appointed to the office (holder of the keys to the kingdom of heaven) by Jesus Christ. His subsequent successors to the position hold the same authority that Peter was given.

What did Jesus mean when he changed Simon's name to Peter (Rock) and said, "upon this rock I will build my church"? Did He mean, as Barry would have us believe, that the church as an earthly organization can disappear and reappear periodically without violating Our Lord's promise to protect it from the powers of death? I don't believe that's what He meant at all. Jesus said, "I WILL build my church", indicating an action to take place at some point in the future. Since, as Barry pointed out, the church in heaven existed before the foundation of the world, Jesus must have meant the earthly church was the institution that He was going to build in the future. It is the earthly church that He promised would be protected from being overcome by the gates of hell. The Catholic Church teaches that this promise for the establishment of an earthly church was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when Mary and the Apostles were gathered in the Upper Room and the Holy Spirit descended upon them like tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-4). Jesus said, "upon this rock", indicating that it was Peter upon whom the future Church would be built. Furthermore, Jesus said, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", indicating that the earthly Church He was going to establish on the rock (Peter) would not fail. A total apostasy of the earthly Church would mean that Jesus was wrong when He made this promise.

Continuity

The leaders of the Church have always been priests and bishops. The twelve men chosen by Christ were called Apostles (Greek meaning "one who is sent or commissioned") because of their important calling from Christ to be special witnesses to His life, death, and resurrection (John 20:21 and Matthew 16:19).  Acts 1:8 tells us the Apostles were specifically chosen by Christ to go out into the world to give witness to His resurrection. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus gives the Apostles the "great commission" to go out to all the nations and preach the gospel. He also gives them the assurance that He will be with them always, until the end of time. When Jesus says He will be with them always, it means the Apostles and their successors will be successful in their mission from God. The successors of the Apostles were bishops (Greek meaning "an overseer") who were appointed by the Apostles to continue their mission from Christ. The bishop has the authority and power of Christ to administer all the sacraments, including ordination of other men to the priesthood. All of the Apostles were bishops, but not all bishops are Apostles. As I have stated elsewhere in this debate, there were two requirements to be called an Apostle. First, the disciple was to have accompanied the Lord Jesus from the baptism of John until the day when He was crucified, and secondly to be a witness of His resurrection from the dead (Acts 1:20-22). The principal lists of Apostles are in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:13-16, and Acts 1:13. Once the criteria could no longer be met, the succeeding bishops were no longer called Apostles. Narratives of the early Church mention other titles such as prophet, evangelist, teacher, and pastor. These titles are not distinct from the priests and bishops in the Church. Every validly ordained bishop in the Catholic Church can trace his priesthood authority back through history to one of the Twelve Apostles. This authority has been passed on in an unbroken chain of ordinations by the laying-on of hands from the Apostles to their successors, the bishops, and to their successors, other bishops, and so on down the line throughout all of Catholic Christian history. The bishops of the Catholic Church are the successors to the Apostles in a continuous line of apostolic succession. The Catholic Church has existed continuously since the time of the Apostles, and it was founded as an earthly organization upon Peter, the rock. Thanks be to God, through the promises of Jesus Christ, the gates of hell have not prevailed against the Church founded upon the rock (Peter). The continuous existence of the Catholic Church from the beginning of Christian history is a living witness that there was no "total apostasy" in the ancient Church.

Catholic Bishops are the Successors of the Apostles

Once again I appeal to the facts of history, as handed down to us in the writings of the Early Church Fathers, to support the Catholic Church's claim to apostolic succession. Their writings do not give any indication that the Apostles were going about the business of shutting down the Church after the resurrection and ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. To the contrary, according to the Early Church Fathers, the Apostles were going out to the whole world, preaching the gospel, teaching their disciples the same truth that was taught to them by Christ, and appointing bishops to be their successors to continue teaching Christian believers of future generations. All of the remaining Apostles, with the exception of John the Beloved Disciple, subsequently suffered horrible martyrdom for their unswerving belief in the teachings of Christ. Many of their disciples suffered the same type of persecution and death rather than deny the truth they had received from the Apostles and their successors. Through it all the Church remained steadfast in the faith and continued to grow. Here's what some of the Early Church Fathers had to say about apostolic succession:

The Early Church Fathers

The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.

    Now, the Gospel was given to the Apostles for us by the Lord Jesus Christ; and Jesus the Christ was sent from God. That is to say, Christ received His commission from God, and the Apostles theirs from Christ. The order of these two events was in accordance with the will of God. So thereafter, when the Apostles had been given their instructions, and all their doubts had been set at rest by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, they set out in the full assurance of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the coming of God's kingdom. And as they went through the territories and townships preaching, they appointed their first converts - after testing them by the Spirit - to be bishops and deacons for the believers of the future. (This was in no way an innovation, for bishops and deacons had already been spoken of in Scripture long before that; there is a text that says, I will confirm their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.) 2

The First Epistle of Clement is one of the earliest writings outside the New Testament (A.D. 96). Its author was the same Clement who is mentioned fourth (after Peter, Linus and Anencletus) in the most reliable lists of the Bishops of Rome. The letter is from the Church of Rome to the Church of Corinth. It is written in order to address some local trouble they were having (the Church at Corinth had ejected its "blameless" leaders and installed other presbyters in their place). Staniforth mentions in his endnotes that the text referred to by Clement is from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 60:17, 'I will give thy rulers in peace and thy overseers [or bishops] in righteousness.' The writing of Clement clearly shows that the Christian ministry was established by Christ and handed down from the Apostles to the bishops they appointed.

Against Heresies by Irenaeus [inter A.D. 180/199]. 3

    It is possible, then, for everyone in every Church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles, and their successors to our own times: men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. For if the Apostles had known hidden mysteries which they taught to the elite secretly and apart from the rest, they would have handed them down especially to those very ones to whom they were committing the self-same Churches. For surely they wished all those and their successors to be perfect and without reproach, to whom they handed on their authority. (Jurgens, para 209)

    But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the Churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all Churches must agree, that is all the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic tradition. (Jurgens, para 210)
    The true gnosis is the doctrine of the Apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, and the manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of bishops, by which successions the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere; and the very complete tradition of the Scriptures, which have come down to us by being guarded against falsification, and which are received without addition or deletion; and reading without falsification, and a legitimate and diligent exposition according to the Scriptures, without danger and without blasphemy; and the pre-eminent gift of love, which is more precious than knowledge, and more glorious than prophecy, and more honored than all the other charismatic gifts. (Jurgens, para 242)
Irenaeus was the second bishop of Lyons. In his youth he was a disciple of Polycarp, the famous bishop of Smyrna, who himself was a disciple of John the Apostle. In his Refutation and Rejection of the False Gnosis, Irenaeus not only exposes the doctrinal errors of Gnosticism in no uncertain terms, but he also gives us a presentation of the true, orthodox gnosis guaranteed by the Tradition of the Apostles. He tells us that the Apostles instituted bishops as their successors. He also states that the greatest and most ancient Church, superior in origin to all other Churches and founded by the Apostles Peter and Paul, is the Church at Rome. He goes on to say that the true gnosis is the doctrine of the Apostles. This doctrine was handed down to the Church, through the succession of bishops from the Apostles, and was protected from falsification, addition, or deletion. Through his writings we can get an idea of what the early Christian Church received directly from the Apostles. We should be able to compare this ancient organization described in the writings of Irenaeus to see if it more closely resembles the present-day Catholic Church or the "Restored" Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will provide a summary of the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church a little later in this statement, and I will show their solid foundations in Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition. I challenge my LDS brothers and sisters to carefully examine the writings of Irenaeus, or any other Early Church Father, to find where the early Christian Church clearly taught and believed uniquely Mormon doctrines such as a pre-mortal existence, baptism for the dead, plural marriages, the plurality of gods, or that man may become a god of his own world.

Tertullian - The Demurrer Against the Heretics [ca. A.D. 200]

    Moreover, if there be any [heresies] bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, so that they might seem to have been handed down by the Apostles because they were from the time of the Apostles, we can say to them: let them show the origins of their Churches, let them unroll the order of their bishops, running down in succession from the beginning, so that their first bishop shall have for author and predecessor some one of the Apostles or of the apostolic men who continued steadfast with the Apostles. For this is the way in which the apostolic Churches transmit their lists: like the Church of the Smyrnaeans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John; like the Church of the Romans where Clement was ordained by Peter. In just this same way the other Churches display those whom they have as sprouts from the apostolic seed, having been established in the episcopate by the Apostles. (Jurgens, para 296)
Tertullian wrote the above comments during his Catholic period from 197 to 206 A.D. when his writings are still marked by orthodoxy of opinion. It is a clear statement on Tradition and apostolic succession. Subsequently, Tertullian abandoned the Great Church of the Catholics in order to adhere to the heresy of Montanism.

There is nothing more convincing than the testimonies and writings of those who were the immediate successors of the Apostles. They received their knowledge of the teachings of Christ directly from the Apostles and/or the bishops appointed by them.

The Bishop of Rome is the Successor to Peter

I believe it is fair to say Barry and I agree that Peter was selected by Christ to have a primacy over the other Apostles. Additionally, it was upon "this rock" (Peter) that Christ promised He would build His Church. It was to Peter alone that Christ gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven. He also promised Peter infallibility (the inability to err) when He said, "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." This authority and these promises are also perpetuated in the office of the legitimate successor to Peter.

Was Peter in Rome?

According to the writings of Tertullian (Jurgens, para 297, Jurgens, para 341 and Jurgens, para 368a), St. Clement of Alexandria (Jurgens, para 439-440), St. Peter of Alexandria (Jurgens, para 611gg), Lactantius (Jurgens, para 647a), and others, we can be fairly certain that Peter went to Rome and died there along with St. Paul.

Eusebius Pamphilus, the Father of Ecclesiastical History, wrote the following account in THE CHRONICLE [ca. A.D. 303] (Jurgens, para 651aa-651cc):

    Second year of the two hundred and fifth olympiad: the Apostle Peter, after he has established the Church in Antioch, is sent to Rome, where he remains as bishop of that city, preaching the gospel for twenty-five years.

    Third year of the two hundred and fifth olympiad: the Evangelist Mark, interpreter of Peter, announces Christ in Egypt and Alexandria.

    Fourth year of the two hundred and eleventh olympiad: Nero is the first, in addition to all his other crimes, to make a persecution against the Christians, in which Peter and Paul died gloriously at Rome.

St. Irenaeus wrote, "...while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church" (Jurgens, para 208). A little later in the same document Iranaeus goes on to say, "The blessed Apostles (Peter and Paul), having founded and built up the Church (of Rome), they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in the Epistle to Timothy. To him succeeded Anencletus; and after him, in the third place from the Apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed Apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that he still heard the echoes of the preaching of the Apostles, and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were many still remaining who had been instructed by the Apostles." (Jurgens, para 211)

This clearly shows that Peter was the bishop of the Church at Rome and that he died there after preaching the gospel for some twenty-five years. Additionally, Peter's successors to the office of the Bishop of the Church at Rome are specifically identified, by name, by Irenaeus. The early Christian Church recognized that the successors to Peter also held the same primacy of jurisdiction over the whole Church that Christ gave to Peter as the rock and shepherd over His sheep. Peter was given the keys to the kingdom of heaven and the power to "bind and loose" (uphold the truth infallibly). Whoever succeeds Peter in this office also succeeds Peter to the same primacy over the universal Church of Jesus Christ, including the keys of the kingdom of heaven and the protection of infallibility when solemnly defining matters of faith and morals.

The Catholic Church has Preserved and Defended the "Apostolic Faith" Unchanged

The newly established Christian Church immediately set about the business of preserving and defending the "deposit of faith" given by Christ to the Apostles. From the very beginning there were already factions who broke away from the teachings of the Apostles. Paul tells us that even in his day there were "deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:13). (See also 1 John 2:19 and 2 Peter 2:1) Let's examine the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church to see if these teachings and doctrines are consistent with Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the writings of the Early Church Fathers. In this way we will be able to get an indication as to whether or not the Catholic Church has preserved the "deposit of faith" from corruption. I invite members of the LDS church to make a similar examination of their own sacraments to see how well they fit into the Christian "deposit of faith" as given "once for all" (Jude 1:3) to the Apostles by Jesus Christ.

The Seven Sacraments (Early Church and today's Catholic Church)

God has given certain sacraments to the Church to be channels of His grace, His life, and His power. All of the sacraments flow from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and are based on some aspect of Jesus' life, teaching, or ministry as recorded in the New Testament. A sacrament is "a visible, tangible sign through which God approaches us, enters into our lives, and draws us to himself through his grace.". 4  Over the centuries the Catholic Church has discerned that there are seven sacraments that were instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ. The seven sacraments are Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), Eucharist (or Communion), Penance (also known as Confession or Reconciliation), Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

Baptism

Catholic Christians view baptism as the first step in accepting God's free gift of salvation. The sacrament is normally administered to infants (CCC 1250-1252) (see also Jurgens, para 201, Jurgens, para 394i, Jurgens, para 496, Jurgens, para 501, and Jurgens, para 585) by pouring water upon the baby's head or immersing him in water, using the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Baptism cleanses the child from the stain of original sin (Romans 5:12-21). For someone who has reached the age of reason, baptism cleanses both original sin and particular sin so that he can be incorporated into Christ and made a member of His Mystical Body, the Church. If water baptism is not possible, the same benefits can be supplied by "baptism of blood" or by "baptism of desire" under certain circumstances. In the Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, ca. A.D. 140) we read, "In regard to Baptism - baptize thus: After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water; and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Jurgens, para 4)

Confirmation

The Sacrament of Confirmation was instituted by Christ when He promised to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-21). After Pentecost when Peter proclaimed the basic gospel message, the people asked him, "What shall we do?", and Peter responded, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:37-38). The Holy Spirit first comes to a person in baptism. The Acts of the Apostles also talks about a prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the "laying on of hands" (Acts 8:14-17). We also see mention of this prayer, which is distinct from baptism, after Paul had baptized some disciples in the name of the Lord Jesus and then laid his hands on them and "the Holy Spirit came on them" (Acts 19:1-7). The essential rite of Confirmation is anointing the forehead of the baptized with sacred chrism (in the East other sense-organs as well), together with the laying on of the minister's hand and the words: "Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti" (Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit) in the Roman Rite, or "The seal of the gift that is the Holy Spirit" in the Byzantine rite (CCC 1286-1289).

Communion (Eucharist)

The early Church called this sacrament Eucharist. It is a re-enactment of Jesus' last supper with his apostles. The word "eucharist" means "thanksgiving". During His last supper, Jesus distributed the bread and wine with the words, "Take, this is my body" (Mark 14:22); "This is my blood" (Mark 14:24); and "Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). Later in this statement I will talk about how Jesus' words were understood by the first Christians and how the Catholic Church understands the meaning of these words today.

Confession

God, in His mercy, offers forgiveness of sins through the sacrament of reconciliation to those baptized into Christ. This sacrament is known as confession, penance, or reconciliation, depending on which aspect of the sacrament is being emphasized. Jesus scandalized many people by claiming to have the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:7, Luke 7:49). Jesus had special authority from His Father and He passed this authority on to His Apostles (John 20:21). He then gave them the power to forgive sins in His name (John 20:22-23). (see also Matthew 18:18 and 2 Corinthians 5:18) It is interesting to note the Bible tells us that God breathed on man at only one other point in history, the first time being when he made man a living soul (Genesis 2:7). This shows how important the sacrament of confession is to God. As with the priesthood authority, the authority to forgive sins in the name of Jesus Christ was also passed from the Apostles to the bishops they appointed to succeed them. From the very earliest days of the Christian Church, it was recognized that some kind of external confession was necessary for the remission of sins (see The Didache, Jurgens, para 3 and Jurgens, para 8, St. Clement, Jurgens, para 26a, Letter of Barnabas, Jurgens, para 37, St. Irenaeus, Jurgens, para 192b-193, Tertullian, Jurgens, para 315 and Jurgens, para 316, Origin, Jurgens, para 477). Origen, in his Homilies on Numbers, wrote about seven kinds of forgiveness of sins identified in the Gospels. The seventh, he said, was "hard and laborious". It involved declaring your sins to a priest (Jurgens, para 493). (see also St. Cyprian of Carthage, Jurgens, para 553)

Anointing of the Sick

This sacrament was instituted by Christ and celebrated by the Church to offer the healing grace of God to the infirm, the aged, and for those beset by illness or ailment. It was also known as Extreme Unction (Last Rites) for those who are in danger of imminent death. The basis for this sacrament can be found in two places in the New Testament (Mark 6:13 and James 5:14-15). According to the clear testimony of the Letter of James and the definitive teaching of the Council of Trent (1545-63), the priest is the one to whom Christ through the Church has given the power to anoint. Origin lists this sacrament as one of the seven kinds of forgiveness of sins identified in the Gospels (Jurgens, para 493), and Aphraates calls it a "sacrament of life" (Jurgens, para 698).

Ordination

Ordination is also called the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Jesus set apart certain men - especially "the Twelve" - and gave them the responsibility to carry on His mission and ministry in a unique way. As I have illustrated in the other sacraments, He gave them the authority to forgive sins, to preside over the breaking of the bread (the Eucharist) in His memory, and to instruct and guide new disciples (Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 2:24-25). These "Orders" and the authority derived from Christ were subsequently conferred by the apostles upon the elders appointed to succeed them by the "laying on of hands". These elders were known as bishops, presbyters, and deacons by the late first century A.D. (Jurgens, para 47a). The Catholic Church has preserved this basic pattern of priesthood authority and succession from the first century to today. (see writings of St. Hippolytus of Rome, St. Cyprian of Carthage, and compare to CCC 1572-1573)

Matrimony

Marriage is a contract, an institution, and a sacrament. The Catholic Church views marriage as a sacred contract or covenant, established by God as the natural means of procreating and educating his choicest earthly creatures (see Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 1:31, and Genesis 2:18-25). Marriage is sacred because it is the means of mutual help for husband and wife, not only for their material and temporal well-being, but to lead them to God (Ephesians 5:21-33). The Catholic Church teaches that the contract of marriage between two baptized Christians becomes a sacrament. As defined by the Church, matrimony is "truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the law of the Gospel." It was "instituted by Christ" and not merely "introduced into the Church by men." (Council of Trent, Canons on the Sacrament of Matrimony, Canon 1) 5 In other words, "because of the grace given through Christ, it is superior to the marriage unions of earlier times," and as "our holy Fathers, the councils, and the tradition of the universal Church have always rightly taught, matrimony should be included among the sacraments of the New Law." (Council of Trent, Doctrine on the Sacrament of Matrimony) 6

Marriage is an institution because the partners not only agree to take each other as husband and wife, but to continue with each other (and with whatever children God may send them) until death separates them. Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage (conjugal love is undivided and exclusive); divorce separates what God has joined together (Matthew 19:8-9); and the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its "supreme gift," the child (see GS 50).

Total Apostasy Survivors?

In his last statement, Barry said that when Latter-day Saints speak of the "apostasy", it primarily means the Priesthood authority was taken from the earth in response to man's rebellion against God. According to Barry's account, when no Priesthood keys were left on earth, the apostasy was "complete". In other words, no less than 100% of the Priesthood holders in the early Church either had their authority taken away from them or they died without properly passing on their authority through the ordination of others by the laying on of hands. A "total apostasy" means that Satan and the wicked men of the world had in fact prevailed against the Church. This view is supported by the statements of early LDS leaders such as Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith.

What if there were survivors who still held the original Priesthood keys given to them by Christ Himself? Wouldn't that mean the LDS theory of a "total apostasy" is in reality incomplete? Even if there was only one Priesthood holder who remained alive at any point in the history of the Christian Church, the "total apostasy" could not possibly be "complete", right?

Four Apostles Never Died!

According to the official canon of LDS scripture, there are actually FOUR of the original TWENTY-FOUR Apostles still alive today who never died! God allowed them to remain on the earth and "tarry in the flesh" until the Lord Jesus Christ comes again in glory. Since they are numbered among the original Apostles, they must have been given the proper Priesthood authority directly from Christ. In the absence of any other information, we must assume that they continued to preach the Gospel and live righteous lives from the time of their ordination until today. Thus, they have retained the same Priesthood authority they were given by Christ.

The four Apostles who never died, according to Mormon scripture, are the Apostle John (Doctrine and Covenants [D&C], Section 7) and the three Nephites (3 Nephi 28:7-12 and 4 Nephi 1:14). In a revelation given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery at Harmony, Pennsylvania in April 1829, John the Beloved Disciple, the only Apostle at the foot of the Cross who was a witness the crucifixion and death of Our Lord, was allowed to tarry in the flesh until Christ returns (D&C, Section 7). According to the Doctrine and Covenants Commentary by Smith and Sjodahl 7, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were discussing John 21:21-23 one day and they expressed different views on the meaning of it. In order to come to unity of faith concerning whether or not John was still alive, Joseph Smith inquired of the Lord and received the revelation contained in D&C Section 7. Smith and Sjodahl state that there was a general understanding among the apostles that John should not die until the second coming of our Lord and this revelation confirms that view. However, the Navarre Bible Commentary 8 explains that John possibly wrote these verses to dispel the idea that he would not die. If we read the text of John 21:21-23 carefully, we see that Jesus does not give a reply to Peter's question. Rather, the Navarre Commentary rightly points out that we should not be "curious about what the future will bring but to serve the Lord faithfully, keeping to the way He has marked out for one".

In the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi Chapters 11 and 12, we read about how Christ appeared to the Nephites in the land of Bountiful shortly after His death on the cross and prior to His resurrection. He is said to have imparted on the Nephites the same gospel that He taught to the Jews in the Holy Land. During this time He also calls and commissions Twelve Nephites to be His disciples, making a total of twenty-four Apostles on the earth simultaneously. My 1982 edition of the Book of Mormon introduces 3 Nephi Chapter 28 with the following words: "Nine of the Twelve desire and are promised an inheritance in Christ's kingdom when they die - The Three Nephites desire and are given power over death so as to remain on the earth until Jesus comes again - They are translated and see things not lawful to utter, and they are now ministering among men."

In their Commentary on the Book of Mormon for 3 Nephi Chapter 28, Reynolds and Sjodahl 9 provide the following list of key points about the chapter:

  1. Each of the Twelve is granted his heart's desire.
  2. Three elect to remain on Earth until the Lord comes in His glory.
  3. Marvelous manifestations to the three.
  4. They are made immune to death and disaster.
Reynolds and Sjodahl go on to say:
    "Great were the wonders that attended the labors of these servants of God who were to tarry on earth unto the end. Death had no power over them; they passed through the most terrible ordeals unhurt. Swords could not touch them; fire could not burn them; savage beasts could not harm them; prisons could not hold them; chains could not bind them; the grave could not entomb them; the earth would not conceal them. No matter how much they were abused or maltreated, they triumphed over all their persecutors." 10

Clearly the LDS canon of scripture identifies at least four Priesthood holders who have been present on the earth continuously since the time of the ancient Church. They were called and ordained to be Apostles by Jesus Christ Himself. According to LDS scripture, they never died but continued to live and bring souls to Jesus. It is not possible to have a "total apostasy" while at the same time proclaiming that four of the original twenty-four Apostles are still alive. I respectfully submit that the theory of the "total apostasy" is a fabricated myth necessary for the LDS to believe in order to justify their "Restored Gospel" doctrines. The facts of history and the LDS canon of scripture simply do not support this myth.

Genuine Early Christian Doctrines and Practices?

As we have already seen, the Apostles and their successors understood the importance of ordaining their successors. Controversies were always addressed by first establishing authority through a chain of succession back to the Apostles. These controversies arose because "deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:13) were trying to teach things that were not handed down from the Apostles to their successors as a part of the "deposit of faith". Upon reading the arguments put forth by the Early Church Fathers against these heretics, we can get a pretty good idea of the genuine early Christian doctrines and practices held to be true by the ancient Church.

Barry stated, "The doctrines and practices restored by Joseph Smith were genuine early Christian doctrines and practices." I beg to differ! An honest and open-minded reading of the Early Church Fathers reveals there is absolutely no credible evidence that unique LDS doctrines such as pre-mortal existence, baptism for the dead, plural marriages, the plurality of gods, and the notion that man may become a god of his own world, were ever taught or believed by the Church at any point after the time of Christ and prior to 1830 A.D. Why not? Are these new revelations that Christ forgot to mention to the Twelve in the Holy Land and the Twelve on the American continent? There is no mention of them in either the Bible or the Book of Mormon. These unique Mormon doctrines are only to be found in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.

The REAL Apostasy

In John Chapter 6 we can read about a well-documented apostasy that actually took place in the presence of Our Lord. Understanding the reason for this apostasy is extremely important. The true meaning of this particular chapter is one of the key differences between the Catholic Church and the LDS church. After hearing what Jesus said, many of His disciples refused to believe His discourses at Capernaum and no longer went with him. Martin Luther also rejected this doctrine which had been believed by all Christians for fifteen hundred years prior to the Protestant revolt against the Catholic Church. It is still taught and believed by the Catholic Church today.

The miracle of the loaves and fish. (John 6:1-15)

Jesus asks His disciples how they will buy bread so that the people can eat. The only thing available was five barley loaves and two fish from a young lad. Jesus took their simple offering. Using almost the exact same words ("gave thanks" or "eucharistia" in Greek) as are used in Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, and 1 Corinthians 11:23-29, to describe the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, He performed a miracle and provided enough for five thousand to eat. He then instructed them to pickup the leftovers to show them (and us) that material resources are gifts of God and should not be wasted. Through this miracle, Jesus teaches His disciples to trust in Him whenever they meet up with difficulties in their apostolic endeavours in the future. He is also preparing them for what He is going to reveal to them in the discourses at Capernaum in which Jesus presents Himself as "the Bread of Life".

The discourse on the bread of life. (John 6:25-58)

Jesus starts out by telling the people that their attitudes are wrong. He indicates that if they have the right attitude they will be able to understand His teachings yet to come. He tells them that He is the Bread of Life, come down from heaven to give Himself sacramentally as genuine food. Through this discourse, Christ promised that He would give Himself, His own flesh and blood, in a real sense, as food and drink. Jesus is telling them many months prior to the Last Supper, that it will be His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity truly present in the Holy Eucharist. He made it abundantly clear that His flesh was true food and His blood was true drink. He told them over and over again that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to have life within them. This terminology was not being used simply as a figure of speech. To the Jews, the phrase "to eat someone's flesh" meant to hate and vengefully persecute, and "to drink someone's blood" meant to visit severe punishments on them. 11 Neither of these meanings would make any sense in the context of what Jesus was saying to them. Please read John 6:25-58 very carefully again and ponder in your heart what Jesus meant by speaking these words. Was He speaking about a symbolic action to be done in remembrance of Him or did He actually mean what He was saying?

"This Saying is Hard" (John 6:60-70)

Here's where the apostasy took place even as Jesus was speaking to the people. The disciples' reaction was one of disgust. How can He give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink? "This saying is hard; who can listen to it?" Many of His disciples simply could not accept what He was saying to them and they walked away, never to follow Him again. Rather than calling them back or trying to explain that He didn't really mean it the way they interpreted His words, He turned to the Twelve and asked them, "Will you also go away?" That same piercing question from Jesus applies to us as much today as it did back then. Do we also find this saying hard to accept? Will we also turn and walk away from Our Lord? Do we not have the faith necessary to believe these words?

The Catholic Church has always taught that Jesus Christ is truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Holy Eucharist through the mystery of Transubstantiation. Compare this with the Mormon teaching that the bread and wine (water) are merely emblems or symbols (Moroni 4 and 5). However, to complicate things, (3 Nephi 18:28-29) warns us not to partake of the flesh and blood of Christ unworthily. So which is it in the LDS church, a symbolic action to be done in remembrance of the body and blood of Christ, or is the bread and wine (water) His true flesh and blood?

Death came into the world through the sin of Adam. Bread is first mentioned in the Old Testament when God gives punishment to Adam. "In the sweat of your brow, you shall eat bread" (Genesis 3:19). Scripture again uses the word bread in conjunction with the word wine, "Then Melchizedek, the king of Salem (Jerusalem), brought out bread and wine; for he was a priest of the Most High God" (Genesis 14:18). It is significant that God mentions bread in his punishment of Adam, because the new Adam, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22), identifies Himself as "The Bread of Life". In the Book of Hebrews we read that, "Jesus has - become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:20) Like Melchizedek, Jesus is the King of Jerusalem, and a High Priest of God who offers bread and wine. Christ continues through His Catholic priests to offer the sacrifice of His body and blood, under the appearance of bread and wine, according to the order of Melchizedek. It is at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, and 1 Corinthians 11:23-29) that Jesus clarifies what He spoke of earlier during His ministry. He is the true "bread of angels" (Psalms 78:23-25). Christ gives us His body, blood, soul and divinity under the taste and appearance of a meal of bread and wine. Through faith we recognize that the Holy Eucharist only appears to be bread, "they recognized Him in the breaking of the bread." (Luke 24:35)

Conclusion

By the Power of the Holy Spirit, the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary and became man. He dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. He established a visible Church on earth to spread the Good News of His Gospel to all the nations, even until the end of time. He appointed Peter (Rock) to be the visible head of His Church on earth, to feed His lambs and to tend His sheep. He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church on earth. Through apostolic succession we can be sure that the Priesthood power and authority of Jesus Christ has been maintained intact and protected by the Holy Spirit. The one holy catholic and apostolic Church has been on the earth continuously since the beginning of Christian history. The Church has remained steadfast in the faith through an unbroken chain of succession from the ancient days of the Apostles to the bishops of our Catholic Church today. God has given His Church Seven Sacraments to be channels of His grace, His life, and His power. The genuine early Christian doctrines and practices, as I have clearly shown, are the ones found in the Catholic Church, not in the LDS church. There is no evidence in the writings of the early Church Fathers to support the unique LDS doctrines such as pre-mortal existence, baptism for the dead, plural marriages, the plurality of gods, and the notion that man may become a god of his own world. I ask my LDS brothers and sisters, as well as any other honest, open-minded seeker of truth, to not only read what Barry and I have written in this debate, but to also search through other available resources in order to find the truth. God has provided all of the public revelations necessary for us to work out our eternal salvation. Jesus is the "way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). It is up to each of us to respond to His call and follow Him along the right path to holiness. I sincerely believe with all my heart that the correct path must ultimately lead to the Catholic Church, the one true Church established by Jesus Christ as a shining light to the world.



References and Footnotes

All Bible references are taken from the
Revised Standard Version (RSV) - Catholic Edition
(unless otherwise indicated)




1

Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.L. Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Our Sunday Visitor


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2

Staniforth, Maxwell, Early Christian Writings, Revised translation, (New York: Penguin Books, 1987), para 42, page 40.


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3

Jurgens, William A., The Faith of the Early Fathers, 3 vols., (Collegeville, Minnesota, The Liturgical Press, 1970-1979)


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4

Schreck, Alan, Basics of the Faith: A Catholic Catechism, (Ann Arbor, Michigan, Servant Books, 1987), p. 150.


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5

Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, Documents of the Roman Pontiffs and of the Councils, Pius IV, 1559-1565, Council of Trent, conclusion, para 971 (1801)


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6

Denzinger, 970 (1800)


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7

Smith, Hyrum M., and Sjodahl, Janne M., Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, CD-ROM, 1995, Johnston & Co. The Portals Project Inc., Chapter First Period, Pg 40, para 5.


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8

Navarre Bible Commentary, members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Second ed., 1991, reprinted 1993, Four Courts Press, Dublin, Ireland.


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9

Reynolds, George and Sjodahl, Janne M., (Deseret Book, 1976), Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol 7, Ch. 3 Nephi 28, page 223 para 2


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10

Reynolds, George and Sjodahl, Janne M., (Deseret Book, 1976), Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol 7, Ch. 3 Nephi 28, page 226 para 10 to page 227 para 10

"Wherefore," the Savior said to the Three, "more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in My glory, with the powers of Heaven. And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in My glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the Kingdom of My Father. And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of Me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto Me, while the world shall stand. And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the Kingdom of My Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given Me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are One; And the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and Me; and the Father giveth the Holy Ghost unto the children of men, because of Me."

Thus Christ spoke to the Three Nephites of whom we sometimes hear, and who either singly or together have appeared to believers in this generation.

Then Jesus with His finger touched the nine who were to die, but the Three who were to live He did not touch; He then departed. And behold, the heavens were opened, and the Three were caught up into Heaven, and saw and heard unspeakable things. And it was forbidden them that they should utter, neither was it given unto them power that they could utter, the things which they saw and heard.

Mormon here gives an interesting observation which he made from reading the Plates he was abridging. It is one of his many comments on the incidents passing before him as if in panorama. He says of the Three that were "caught up in Heaven," "Whether they were in the body or out of the body, they could not tell; for it did seem to them like a transfiguration of them, that they were changed from this body of flesh into an immortal state, that they could behold the things of God." (v. 15)

However, the change under which they passed that they might receive the blessings the Savior pronounced as theirs, (See, vv. 7-9) in no way hindered them from going about ministering, for they from that time forth went throughout the land preaching and baptizing all who believed on their words. In preaching the Savior's Gospel of Repentance and Baptism, many were added to the Church of Christ, and the Holy Ghost which was received by each one of them, affirmed in their hearts that Jesus, of Whom they both saw and heard, was indeed the Christ, the Messiah Whose coming they long had waited.

Great were the wonders that attended the labors of these servants of God who were to tarry on earth unto the end. Death had no power over them; they passed through the most terrible ordeals unhurt. Swords could not touch them; fire could not burn them; savage beasts could not harm them; prisons could not hold them; chains could not bind them; the grave could not entomb them; the earth would not conceal them. No matter how much they were abused or maltreated, they triumphed over all their persecutors.

The age in which the Three lived, marked especially by its people to whom they ministered, was a peculiar one. Under ordinary circumstances the superhuman powers shown by them would have brought the wicked to repentance. But the happy age of peace and innocence that had followed the Savior's ministry was fast passing away; the people were hardening their hearts; they were relapsing into iniquity with their eyes open; they were sinning knowingly and understandingly. Angels from Heaven would not have converted them; they had given themselves up to Satan, and every manifestation of the power of God in behalf of His servants only made them more angry and more determined upon the destruction of those who sounded in their ears the unwelcome message of divine wrath. The hurricane might demolish the dungeon; the earthquake overthrow the walls of the prison; the earth refuse to close when the Disciples were cast into it; these protests of nature simply caused their hardened hearts to conjure up fresh methods of torture and devise new means to destroy those whom they so intensely, and yet so unwarrantably hated.

But they ever failed; the Three Nephites still live!


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11

Trese, Leo J., The Faith Explained, (Manila: Sinag-Tala Publishers, Inc., 1991), p.291.


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(Matthew 5:22)

But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!' shall be liable to the hell of fire.


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(Matthew 5:29-30)

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.


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(Matthew 10:28)

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.


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(Matthew 13:42)

and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.


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(Matthew 13:50)

and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.


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(Matthew 18:9)

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be
thrown into the hell of fire.


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(Matthew 23:15)

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.


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(Matthew 23:33)

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?


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(Mark 9:43-48)

And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.


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(Luke 12:5)

But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear him!


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(James 3:6)

And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell.


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(Luke 16:26)

And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.


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(Revelations 20:14)

Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire;


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(Matthew 11:23)

And you, Caper'na-um, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.


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(Luke 10:15)

And you, Caper'na-um, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.


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(Luke 16:23)

and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Laz'arus in his bosom.


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(Acts 2:27)

For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption.


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(Acts 2:31)

he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.


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(Revelations 1:18)

and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.


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(Revelations 6:8)

And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.


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(Revelations 20:13-14)

And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire;


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1030-1032)

All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:

    As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.
This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin." From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
    Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.


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(1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free -- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.


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(1 Corinthians 12:27)

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.


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(Acts 2:1-4) When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


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(John 20:21)

Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."


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(Matthew 16:19)

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."


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(Acts 1:8)

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama'ria and to the end of the earth."


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(Matthew 28:18-20)

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."


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(Acts 1:20-22)

For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it'; and 'His office let another take.' So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us -- one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection."


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(Matthew 10:2-4)

The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zeb'edee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.


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(Mark 3:16-19)

Simon whom he surnamed Peter; James the son of Zeb'edee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Bo-aner'ges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.


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(Luke 6:13-16)

And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.


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(Acts 1:13)

and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.


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Tertulian, The Demurrer Against the Heretics, [ca. A.D. 200], (Jurgens, para 297)

Come now, if you would indulge a better curiosity in the business of your salvation, run through the apostolic Churches in which the very thrones of the Apostles remain still in place; in which their own authentic writings are read, giving sound to the voice and recalling the faces of each. Achaia is near you, so you have Corinth. If you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi. If you can cross into Asia, you have Ephesus. But if you are near to Italy, you have Rome, whence also our authority derives. How happy is that Church, on which Apostles poured out their whole doctrine along with their blood, where Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned in a death like John's, where the Apostle John, after being immersed in boiling oil and suffering no hurt, was exiled to an island.


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Tertullian, Against Marcion, [inter A.D. 207-212], (Jurgens, para 341)

In short: if it is evident that that is the truer which is earlier, if that is the earlier which is from the very beginning, if that is from the beginning which was authored by the Apostles, then it will likewise be evident that that has been handed down by the Apostles, which has been held sacrosanct in the Churches of the Apostles. Let us see what milk the Corinthians drained from Paul; against what standard the Galatians were measured for correction; what the Philippians, Thessalonians, and Ephesians read; what even the nearby Romans sound forth, to whom both Peter and Paul bequeathed the Gospel and even sealed it with their blood.


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Tertullian, Idolatry, [A.D. 211], (Jurgens, para 368a)

In Rome Nero was the first to stain with blood the rising faith. Peter was girded about by another, when he was made fast to the cross. Paul obtained a birth suited to Roman citizenship, when in that city he was given re-birth by an ennobling martyrdom.


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St. Clement of Alexandria, Fragment in Eusebius, History of the Church, (Jurgens, para 439-440)

"The Gospels containing the genealogies," he (Clement) says, "were written first. The circumstances which occasioned that of Mark were these: When Peter preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been for a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings, should write down what had been proclaimed."


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St. Peter of Alexandria, Penance or the Canonical Letter, [A.D. 306], (Jurgens, para 611gg)

Peter, the first chosen of the Apostles, having been apprehended often and thrown into prison and treated with ignominy, at last was crucified in Rome. And the reknowned Paul, oftentimes having been delivered up and put in peril of death, having endured many evils, and boasting of his numerous persecutions and afflictions, was even himself put to the sword and beheaded in the same city.


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Lactantius, The Deaths of the Persecutors, [inter A.D. 316/320], (Jurgens, para 647a)

When Nero was already reigning Peter came to Rome, where, in virtue of the performance of certain miracles which he worked by that power of God which had been given to him, he converted many to righteousness and established a firm and steadfast temple to God. When this fact was reported to Nero, he noticed that not only at Rome, but everywhere great multitudes were daily abandoning the worship of idols, and, condemning their old ways, were going over to the new religion. Being that he was a detestable and pernicious tyrant, he sprang to the task of tearing down the heavenly temple and of destroying righteousness. It was he that first persecuted the servants of God. Peter, he fixed to a cross; and Paul, he slew.


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St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, [inter A.D. 180/199], (Jurgens, para 208)

We have learned the plan of our salvation from none other than those through whom the gospel came down to us. Indeed, they first preached the gospel, and afterwards, by the will of God, they handed it down to us in the Scriptures, to be the foundation and pillar of our faith. . . . They went forth to the ends of the earth, spreading the good news of the good things which God has sent to us, and announcing the peace of heaven to men, who indeed are all equally and individually sharers in the gospel of God. Matthew also issued among the Hebrews a written Gospel in their own language, while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also handed down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, set down in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord who reclined at His bosom, also published a Gospel, while he was residing at Ephesus in Asia.


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St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, [inter A.D. 180/199], (Jurgens, para 211)

The blessed Apostles (Peter and Paul), having founded and built up the Church (of Rome), they handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus. Paul makes mention of this Linus in the Epistle to Timothy. To him succeeded Anencletus; and after him, in the third place from the Apostles, Clement was chosen for the episcopate. He had seen the blessed Apostles and was acquainted with them. It might be said that he still heard the echoes of the preaching of the Apostles, and had their traditions before his eyes. And not only he, for there were many still remaining who had been instructed by the Apostles.

In the time of Clement, no small dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the Church in Rome sent a very strong letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace and renewing their faith. . . . To this Clement, Evaristus succeeded; and Alexander succeeded Evaristus. Then, sixth after the Apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telesphorus, who also was gloriously martyred. Then Hyginus; after him, Pius; and after him, Anicetus. Soter succeeded Anicetus, and now, in the Twelfth place after the Apostles, the lot of the episcopate has fallen to Eleutherus. In this order, and by the teaching of the Apostles handed down in the Church, the preaching of the truth has come down to us.


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(2 Corinthians 11:13)

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.


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(1 John 2:19)

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us.


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(2 Peter 2:1)

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.


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(Jude 1:3)

Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.


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(Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1250-1252)

Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.

Christian parents will recognize that this practice also accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them.

The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole "households" received baptism, infants may also have been baptized.


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St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, [inter A.D. 180/199], (Jurgens, para 201)

He came to save all through Himself, - all, I say, who through Him are reborn in God, - infants, and children, and youths and old men. Therefore He passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children, sanctifying those who are of that age, and at the same time becoming for them an example of piety, of righteousness, and of submission; a young man for youths, becoming an example for youths and sanctifying them for the Lord. So also He became an old man for old men so that He might be the perfect teacher in all things, - perfect not only in respect to the setting forth of truth, but perfect also in respect to relative age, - sanctifying the elderly and at the same time becoming an example to them. Then He even experienced death itself, so that He might be the firstborn from the dead, having the first place in all things, the originator of life, before all and preceding all.


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St. Hippolytus of Rome, The Apostolic Tradition, [ca. A.D. 215], (Jurgens, para 394i)

At dawn a prayer shall be offered over the water. Where there is no scarcity of water the stream shall flow through the baptismal font or pour into it from above; but if water is scarce, whether as a constant condition or on occasion, then use whatever water is available.

Let them remove their clothing. Baptise first the children; and if they can speak for themselves, let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them. Next, baptize the men, and last of all the women. The latter must first let down their hair and put aside any gold or silver ornaments they may be wearing. Let no one take any foreign object into the water with him.


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Origen, Homilies on Leviticus, [post A.D. 244], (Jurgens, para 496)

Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. . . . And if it should seem necessary to do so, there may be added to the aforementioned considerations the fact that in the Church, Baptism is given for the remission of sins; and according to the usage of the Church, Baptism is given even to infants. And indeed if there were nothing in infants which required a remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of Baptism would seem superfluous.


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Origen, Commentaries on Romans, [post A.D. 244], (Jurgens, para 501)

The church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit.


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St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter of Cyprian and of His Colleagues in Council to the Number of Sixty-Six: To Fidus, [A.D. 251/252], (Jurgens, para 585)

As to what pertains to the case of infants: you said that they ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, and that the old law of circumcision must be taken into consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No one agreed to the course which you thought should be taken. Rather, we all judged that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born.


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(Matthew 28:19)

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.


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(Romans 5:12-21)

Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned -- sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous. Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


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(Baptism of Blood)

A person (even an infant) who dies for the Faith before being baptized is said to have received the "Baptism of blood," that is, the removal of sin and the bestowal of sanctifying grace which are the effects of the Sacrament of Baptism.

Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.L. Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, Our Sunday Visitor.


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(Baptism of Desire)

A person (not an infant) who performs a perfect act of charity that at least implicitly includes the desire for Baptism by water is said to have received the "Baptism of desire." The implicit desire for baptism by water is thought to be included in a person's desire to do God's will: such a person would want to receive Baptism by water if he or she knew that this was God's will. Baptism of desire brings with it the grace of salvation, even for the non-Christian. But when faith becomes explicit, Baptism by water should nonetheless be sought.

Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.L. Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, Our Sunday Visitor.


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(John 14:15-21)

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. "I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."


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(Acts 2:37-38)

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


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(Acts 8:14-17)

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Sama'ria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.


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(Acts 19:1-7)

While Apol'los was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve of them in all.


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(Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1286-1289)

In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission.[90] The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him "without measure."

This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah's, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people. On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit, a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost. Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim "the mighty works of God," and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age. Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn.

"From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ's will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church."

Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands. This anointing highlights the name "Christian," which means "anointed" and derives from that of Christ himself whom God "anointed with the Holy Spirit." This rite of anointing has continued ever since, in both East and West. For this reason the Eastern Churches call this sacrament Chrismation, anointing with chrism, or myron which means "chrism." In the West, Confirmation suggests both the ratification of Baptism, thus completing Christian initiation, and the strengthening of baptismal grace - both fruits of the Holy Spirit.


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(Mark 14:22)

And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."


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(Mark 14:24)

And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.


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(Luke 22:19)

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."


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(Mark 2:7)

"Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"


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(Luke 7:49)

Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?"


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(John 20:21)

Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."


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(John 20:22-23)

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."


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(Matthew 18:18)

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.


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(2 Corinthians 5:18)

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;


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(Genesis 2:7)

then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.


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Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, [ca. A.D. 140], (Jurgens, para 3)

Confess your offenses in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.


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The Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, [ca. A.D. 140], (Jurgens, para 8)

On the Lord's Day of the Lord gather together, break bread and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure. Let no one who has a quarrel with his neighbor join you until he is reconciles, lest your sacrifice be defiled. For this is that which was proclaimed by the Lord: "In every place and time let there be offered to Me a clean sacrifice. For I am a Great King," says the Lord, "and My name is wonderful among the gentiles."


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St. Clement, Letter to the Corinthians, [ca. A.D. 80], (Jurgens, para 26a)

For whatever our transgressions, and whatever we have done through the attacks of the adversary, let us pray that we may be forgiven. . . . For it is good for a man to confess his failings rather than to harden his heart.


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Letter of Barnabas, [ca. A.D. 70/79 or 117/132], (Jurgens, para 37)

You shall not make a schism; but you shall pacify and bring together those who are quarreling. You shall confess your sins. You shall not go up to pray in the consciousness of having done evil. This is the way of light.


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St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies [inter A.D. 180/199], (Jurgens, para 192b-193)

When after much effort the brethren had converted her, she persevered for a long time in confession, weeping and lamenting over the defilement which she had suffered from this magician.

(The gnostic disciples of Marcus) have deluded many women in our own district of the Rhone, by saying and doing such things. Their consciences branded as with a hot iron, some of these women make a public confession; but others are ashamed to do this, and in silence, as if withdrawing from themselves the hope of the life of God, they either apostatize entirely or hesitate between the two courses.


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Tertullian, Repentance, [A.D. 203/204], (Jurgens, para 315)

In regard to this second and single repentance, then: - since it is such a serious affair, so much the more laborious is its examination. It is not conducted before the conscience alone, but it is to be carried out by some external act. This act, which is more usually expressed and spoken of by the Greek word, is exomologesis, by which we confess our sin to the Lord, not indeed as if He did not know it, but because satisfaction is arranged by confession, of confession is repentance born, and by repentance is God appeased.


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Tertullian, Repentance, [A.D. 203/204], (Jurgens, para 316)

With one and two individuals, there is the Church; and the Church, indeed, is Christ. Therefore, when you cast yourself at the knees of the brethren, you are dealing with Christ, you are entreating Christ. In the same way, when they shed tears over you, it is Christ who suffers, Christ who implores the Father. When it is a son who asks, the request is always more easily granted. How very grand is the reward of modesty, which the concealing of our sin promises! If in fact we conceal something from the notice of men, shall we at the same time hide it from God? Are, then, the good opinion of men and the knowledge of God to be equated? Is it better to be damned in secret than to be absolved in public? "But it is a miserable thing thus to come to confession!" Yes, evil leads to misery. But where there is repentance misery ceases, because it is thereby turned to salvation.


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Origin, Homilies on Luke, [paulo post A.D. 233], (Jurgens, para 477)

If we have sinned we ought to say: "My sins I have made known to you and my wickedness I have not hidden. I said, 'I will accuse myself to the Lord, of my injustice.'" If we will do this and will reveal our sins not only to God but also to those who are able to remedy our wounds and sins, then our sins will be blotted out by Him who says, "Behold, I have blotted out your iniquities like a cloud, and your sins as the mist."


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Origen, Homilies on Leviticus, [post A.D. 244], (Jurgens, para 493)

In addition to these there is also a seventh, albeit hard and laborious: the remission of sins through penance, when the sinner washes his pillow in tears, when his tears are day and night his nourishment, and when he does not shrink from declaring his sin to a priest of the Lord and from seeking medicine, after the manner of him who says, "I said, 'To the Lord I will accuse myself of my iniquity', and you forgave the disloyalty of my heart." In this way there is fulfilled that too, which the Apostle James says: "If, then, there is anyone sick, let him call the presbyters of the Church, and let them impose hands upon him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him."


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St. Cyprian of Carthage, The Lapsed, [A.D. 251], (Jurgens, para 553)

Finally, of how much greater faith and more salutary fear are they who, though bound by no crime of sacrifice or certificate, but since they did take thought of doing such a thing, confess even this to the priests of God in a straightforward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. Thus they remove the weight from their souls and seek the saving remedy for their wounds however small and slight they be; for they know that it is written: "God is not mocked."


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(Mark 6:13)

And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.


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(James 5:14-15)

Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.


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Origen, Homilies on Leviticus, [post A.D. 244], (Jurgens, para 493)

In addition to these there is also a seventh, albeit hard and laborious: the remission of sins through penance, when the sinner washes his pillow in tears, when his tears are day and night his nourishment, and when he does not shrink from declaring his sin to a priest of the Lord and from seeking medicine, after the manner of him who says, "I said, 'To the Lord I will accuse myself of my iniquity', and you forgave the disloyalty of my heart." In this way there is fulfilled that too, which the Apostle James says: "If, then, there is anyone sick, let him call the presbyters of the Church, and let them impose hands upon him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him."


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Aphraates the Persian Sage, Treatises, [inter A.D. 336-345], (Jurgens, para 698)

Indeed, because the first human being gave ear and listened to the serpent, he received the sentence of malediction, by which he became food for the serpent; and the curse passed on to all his progeny. . . . But a gate has been opened for seeking peace, whereby the mist has lifted from the reason of the multitude; and light has dawned in the mind; and from the glistening olive, fruits are put forth, in which there is a sign of the sacrament of life, by which Christians are perfected, as well as priests and kings and prophets. It illuminates the darkness, anoints the sick, and leads back penitents in its secret sacrament.


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(Acts 20:28)

Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers (episkipous), to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.


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(1 Peter 2:24-25)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian (episkipous) of your souls.


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St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians [ca. A.D. 110] (Jurgens, para 47a)

Take care, therefore, to be confirmed in the decrees of the Lord and of the Apostles, in order that in everything you do, you may prosper in body and in soul, in faith and in love, in Son and in Father and in Spirit, in beginning and in end, together with your most reverend bishop; and with that fittingly woven spiritual crown, the presbytery; and with the deacons, men of God. Be subject to the bishop and to one another, as Jesus Christ was subject to the Father, and the Apostles were subject to Christ and to the Father; so that there may be unity in both body and in spirit.


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St. Hippolytus of Rome The Apostolic Tradition [ca. A.D. 215], (Jurgens, para 394a)

Let the bishop be ordained after he has been chosen by all the people. When someone pleasing to all has been named, let the people assemble on the Lord's Day with the presbyters and with such bishops as may be present. All giving assent, the bishops shall impose hands on him, and the presbytery shall stand by in silence. Indeed, all shall remain silent, praying in their hearts for the descent of the Spirit.

Then one of the bishops present shall, at the request of all, impose his hand on the one who is being ordained bishop....


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St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter of Cyprian in Council with Thirty-Six Other Bishops, to Certain Clergy and Laity of Spain. A.D. 256, (Jurgens, para 588)

The people, in obedience to the precepts of the Lord and in the fear of God, ought to separate themselves from a sinful prelate, nor ought they associate themselves with the sacrifices of a sacrilegious priest, especially inasmuch as they have the power both of electing worthy priests and of refusing the unworthy. This very thing, too, we note, stems from divine authority - that a priest be chosen in the presence of the people and under the eyes of all, and that he be approved as worthy and suitable by public judgment and testimony.... That point of divine tradition and apostolic observance is to be kept diligently and held fast, which is indeed observed among us and throughout almost all the provinces, that for the proper celebrating of ordinations all the neighboring bishops of the same province should assemble with that people for whom a prelate is being ordained; and the bishop should be chosen in the presence of the people, who are thoroughly familiar with the life of each one, and who have looked into the doings of each one in respect to his habitual conduct. And we see that this was done by you in the ordination of our colleague Sabinus, so that the episcopate was conferred upon him and hands were imposed upon him in place of Basilides, with the applause of the whole brotherhood and in conformity with the judgment of the bishops.


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1572-1573

Given the importance that the ordination of a bishop, a priest, or a deacon has for the life of the particular Church, its celebration calls for as many of the faithful as possible to take part. It should take place preferably on Sunday, in the cathedral, with solemnity appropriate to the occasion. All three ordinations, of the bishop, of the priest, and of the deacon, follow the same movement. Their proper place is within the Eucharistic liturgy.

The essential rite of the sacrament of Holy Orders for all three degrees consists in the bishop's imposition of hands on the head of the ordinand and in the bishop's specific consecratory prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidate is being ordained.


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(Genesis 1:26-28)

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."


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(Genesis 1:31)

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.


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(Genesis 2:18-25)

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.


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(Ephesians 5:21-33)

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


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(Matthew 19:8-9)

He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."


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Vatican Council II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (GAUDIUM ET SPES), para 50

Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. The God Himself Who said, "it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18) and "Who made man from the beginning male and female" (Matthew 19:4), wishing to share with man a certain special participation in His own creative work, blessed male and female, saying: "Increase and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). Hence, while not making the other purposes of matrimony of less account, the true practice of conjugal love, and the whole meaning of the family life which results from it, have this aim: that the couple be ready with stout hearts to cooperate with the love of the Creator and the Savior. Who through them will enlarge and enrich His own family day by day.


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Journal of Discourses, Book 13, Orson Pratt, 1870, para 124

But to fulfill ancient prophecies the Lord suffered that kingdom to be uprooted; in other words, the kingdoms of this world made war against the kingdom of God, established eighteen centuries ago, and they prevailed against it, and the kingdom ceased to exist. The great beast that John saw made war with it and prevailed against it, and human institutions, without prophets or inspired men, usurped the place of the ancient kingdom of God.


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Journal of Discourses, Book 24, Joseph F. Smith, 1883, para 190

After Satan and wicked men had prevailed against the Church, crucified the Savior and killed the Apostles, the keys of the kingdom were taken from the earth.


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(FOUR Apostles never died)

  • The Apostle John, the Beloved Disciple of Jesus (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 7)

  • The Three Nephite Apostles (no names given) (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi, Chapter 28)


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(There were a total of TWENTY-FOUR Apostles)

According to the Book of Mormon, Third Nephi, Chapters 11-12, Christ appeared to the Nephites in the land of Bountiful to proclaim His atonement shortly after His death on the cross and prior to His resurrection. He proceeds to teach the Nephites the same gospel that He taught to the Jews in the Holy Land. He calls and commissions Twelve Nephites to be His disciples. Thus, according to the LDS church canon of scripture, there were actually twelve Apostles in the Holy Land and twelve Nephite Apostles in the land of Bountiful, for a total of TWENTY-FOUR Apostles on the earth at the same time!


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(Doctrine and Covenants [D&C], Section 7)

And the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you.

And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.

And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.

And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter: If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desired of me that he might bring souls unto me, but thou desiredst that thou mightest speedily come unto me in my kingdom.

I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire; but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done.

Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth.

And I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James; and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come.

Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which ye have desired.


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(3 Nephi 28:7-12)

Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.

And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.

And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;

And the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and the Father giveth the Holy Ghost unto the children of men, because of me.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he touched every one of them with his finger save it were the three who were to tarry, and then he departed.


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(4 Nephi 1:14)

And it came to pass that the seventy and first year passed away, and also the seventy and second year, yea, and in fine, till the seventy and ninth year had passed away; yea, even an hundred years had passed away, and the disciples of Jesus, whom he had chosen, had all gone to the paradise of God, save it were the three who should tarry; and there were other disciples ordained in their stead; and also many of that generation had passed away.


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(John 21:21-23)

When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!" The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?"


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(2 Corinthians 11:13)

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.


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(John 6:1-15)

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiber'i-as.
And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased.
Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples.
Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?"
This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little."
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,
"There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?"
Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost."
So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten.
When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!"
Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.


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(Matthew 26:26-28)

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.


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(Mark 14:22-24)

And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.

And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.


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(Luke 22:19-20)

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.


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(1 Corinthians 11:23-29)

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,

and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.

Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.


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(John 6:25-58)

When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal."
Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"
Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."
So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?
Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."
They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.
But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;
and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven."
They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?"
Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."


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(John 6:60-70)

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"

But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?

Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?

It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.

And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.

Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;

and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?"


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(Transubstantiation)

The "change of substance" of bread into the Body of Christ and wine into the Blood of Christ at the Consecration of the Mass. Although this fundamental doctrine of the Catholic Church was held by the faithful since apostolic days, the term "transubstantiation" was adopted by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, to describe the Eucharistic mystery. This was reinforced by the Council of Trent (1545-63), which spoke of "a wonderful and singular conversion" of the Eucharistic elements.

Only a validly ordained priest can confect the Eucharist. Because of the reality of transubstantiation, reference to the Eucharistic Species as "bread and wine" is wrong. They are properly called the Body and Blood of Christ.

Reverend Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.L. Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia. Copyright © 1994, Our Sunday Visitor.


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(Book of Mormon, Moroni Chapters 4 and 5)

Chapter 4

1 The manner of their elders and priests administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church; and they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true; and the elder or priest did minister it --

2 And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:

3 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

Chapter 5

1 The manner of administering the wine -- Behold, they took the cup, and said:

2 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.


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(Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 18:28-29)

28 And now behold, this is the commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it;

29 For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him.


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(Genesis 3:19)

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.


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(Genesis 14:18)

And Mel-chiz'edek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High.


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(1 Corinthians 15:22)

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.


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(Hebrews 6:20) where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchiz'edek.


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(Matthew 26:26-28)

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.


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(Mark 14:22-24)

And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.

And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.


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(Luke 22:19-20)

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.


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(1 Corinthians 11:23-29)

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,

and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.

Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.


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(Psalms 78:23-25)

Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven;

and he rained down upon them manna to eat, and gave them the grain of heaven.

Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.


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(Luke 24:35)

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.


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(John 14:6)

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.


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