Discourse 89 - BENEDICT XVI: The Jewish and the Catholic View of Jesus of Nazareth.




The Jewish Interpretation of Scripture.

Are the Oral Traditions the Key to Interpreting Holy Scripture? / Book by Pope Benedict XVI, pp. 103f.

The Rabbinical Tradition.

The Fiasco of Jewish Theology.

The Interpretation of Scripture in the Catholic Church.

The Exegesis of the Parables.

Crimen Sollicitationis/ A secret Document of the Catholic Church.

The healing of the man born blind, Gospel of John, Chapter 9: / Commentary, Alexandra Klein 00, 2012-08-21.

Benedict XVI: Between Claim and Reality.

The New Declaration of the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Christian Churches.



The Jewish Interpretation of Scripture.

In chapter four, “The Sermon on the Mount”, of his recently published book, Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI quotes, among others, a Jewish biblical scholar, Jacob Neusner and points out what a great help Neusner’s book, A Rabbi Talks with Jesus, has been in the pope’s search for answers regarding the theme of the Sermon on the Mount. Since both Neusner and Ratzinger expound their views with relative openness, we can gain valuable insight into the backgrounds of both the Jewish and Catholic interpretations of Scripture. Let us look, for example, at the following passage:


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Are the Oral Traditions the Key to Interpreting Holy Scripture? / Book by Pope Benedict XVI, pp. 103f.)

In my search for answers, I have been greatly helped by the book I mentioned earlier by the Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner: A Rabbi Talks with Jesus (Doubleday Publishers, New YorK 1993; German: Ein Rabbi spricht mit Jesus: Ein jüdisch-christlicher Dialog. Claudius Verlag, Munich 1997).

Neusner, a believing Jew and rabbi, grew up with Catholic and Protestant friends, teaches with Christian theologians at the university, and is deeply respectful of the faith of his Christian colleagues. He remains, however, profoundly convinced of the validity of the Jewish interpretation of Holy Scripture. His reverence for the Christian faith and his fidelity to Judaism prompted him to seek a dialogue with Jesus.

In this book, he takes his place among the crowds of Jesus’ disciples on the “mount” in Galilee. He listens to Jesus and compares his words with those of the Old Testament and with the rabbinic traditions as set down in the Mishnah and Talmud. He sees in these works an oral tradition going back to the beginnings, which gives him the key to interpreting the Torah. He listens, he compares, and he speaks with Jesus himself. He is touched by the greatness and the purity of what is said, and yet at the same time he is troubled by the ultimate incompatibility that he finds at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount. He then accompanies Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem and listens as Jesus’ words return to the same ideas and develop them further. He constantly tries to understand; he is constantly moved by the greatness of Jesus; again and again he talks with him. But in the end he decides not to follow Jesus. He remains - as he himself puts it - with the “eternal Israel” [Neusner, A Rabbi, p. 362).

(Extract from the book ␄Jesus of Nazareth” (Page 134f) by Joseph Ratzinger - Pope Benedikt XVI. Doubleday Verlag)



The Rabbinical Tradition.

Thus, Neusner finds the “key to interpreting the Torah” (the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses, or the first five books of the Bible) in the Mishnah and the Talmud, works containing oral traditions of the Jewish exegesis of the Holy Scriptures. The Talmud (instruction or study) exists in two versions, i.e. the Babylonian Talmud and the Palestinian Talmud, and is one of the two most important Jewish works. It is much more extensive than the Bible: complete editions come to almost 10,000 pages spread over a dozen volumes.

The Mishnah (repetition, or tradition, science) is the basis of the Talmud and is the most important collection of the traditions of religious laws in rabbinical Judaism. The Mishnah deals with that part of the Torah that God, according to Jewish tradition, revealed orally (!) to Moses on Mt. Sinai. It was transmitted only orally at first but was finally codified in the first two centuries of our era. The Mishnah written in Hebrew was given its final shape in the second century of our era through the editorial work of Jehuda ha-Nasi. It is identical in the Babylonian and Palestinian versions of the Talmud.

In addition to the Mishnah, there is another section found in the Talmud, the Gemara (study, learning, completion), which consists of commentaries and analyses on the Mishnah in Aramaic. They are the fruit of extensive discussions among Jewish scholars, particularly in the Palestinian and Babylonian academies. Starting with questions that are purely legal in nature, the scholars then draw connections to other areas, such as medicine, natural science, history or pedagogics. Moreover, the rather matter-of-fact style of the Mishnah is enriched by various fables, sagas, parables, riddles, etc. The Gemara was completed between the 5th and 8th centuries of our era. Unlike the standardized Mishnah, the versions of the Gemara are different in the Babylonian and Palestinian versions of the Talmud.

The Talmud thus consists of the Mishnah and Gemara and is “dialogical” in structure. Whereas the Mishnah is a collection of the uses and adaptations of the oral tradition, the Gemara discusses the former and also presents opposing views, which are then discussed in turn. Hence, there are many different voices in the Talmud, and the discussion often digresses into minor and major discourses on other key terms. Thus, the Talmud discusses not only religious laws (halachah) but also stories, explanations, sayings and parables (haggadah).

The steady development of the tradition through discussions, commentaries and analyses shaped the general dialectical style of the Talmud. The preferred means for presenting the material is the form of a dialogue between two different rabbinical opinions, which leads to a decision in the end and expresses the decisive position of the tradition.

Thus far a brief description of those works of the rabbinical tradition that J. Ratzinger mentions in the above excerpt from his book and that Jacob Neusner cites as the foundation of his interpretation of Scripture. These brief comments should make it obvious to everyone, including laypeople, what the whole problem of the Jewish interpretation of Scripture is. Beginning with the peculiar rabbinical teaching that God also gave Moses oral instructions in addition to those commandments written down in the Torah (the five books of Moses) - this teaching opens the door, of course, to all kinds of other additions, including fables, sagas, parables and riddles - we have here a completely deformed interpretation of Scripture stamped by hundreds of partly contradictory viewpoints.

It is no longer Holy Scripture (Torah) that occupies center stage but all the commentaries and opinions that innumerable rabbis have written about it and were then added to the Talmud. As Neusner confirms above, for Jewish biblical scholars, these rabbinical traditions are the “key to interpreting” the Torah, i.e. the first five books of Holy Scripture. It is a human word to which they turn to first when interpreting God’s Word, rather than the Word of God, the Bible, which is to be studied first with the help of the Holy Spirit. And only then - if necessary - is one to examine and compare different interpretations.



The Fiasco of Jewish Theology.

This phenomenon is not something found only in the modern period but was also a problem for the scribes already two thousand years ago. Otherwise, it would be impossible to explain why the Jews did not acknowledge the many references in the Old Testament to their Messiah that should actually have been familiar to them, and why, when the Son of God came, they handed him over to be crucified as a deceiver and blasphemer. And it would be impossible to explain why they did so, even though our Lord Jesus Christ himself had impressed upon them time and again that he had been sent to them by God and cited the Old Testament Scriptural passages on this point. In the Holy Spirit, the Lord thus quoted the prophet Isaiah and explained to them that this prophecy had been fulfilled in their hearing:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me.

Lk 4,17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 4,18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, 4,19 to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."
4,20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 4,21 And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Lk 4,17-21;


This passage from chapter 61 of the book of the prophet Isaiah is found in a section that covers Isa 60-62, among prophecies concerning the Kingdom of God on earth, the Messiah’s millennial kingdom of peace. In these three chapters, the prophet promises Israel that God will gather them together and that they will have a glorious future under the leadership of the Son of God. And in Isa 61,1 it is this anointed One of God, the Messiah, who can be recognized here.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me.

Isa 61,1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; 61,2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 61,3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. Isa 61, 1- 3;

(See also Chapter 10: “The Millennium.”)


If the Israelites had accepted their Messiah at that time, all these blessings and prophecies would have been fulfilled then. The millennial kingdom of peace - the Kingdom of God on earth - would have begun then and Israel would have become “chief of the nations” (Jer 31,7). But the Israelites did not want to acknowledge him and thus led themselves and the rest of the world into almost two thousand years of war, hate, envy and violence that has lasted until now. Nevertheless, these prophecies will be fulfilled when the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ returns. He will rapture the Christian believers, gather Israel together and take up his reign in the world.

The Holy Spirit also predicted that Israel would reject its Messiah and prophesied that already in the book of Psalms:

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.

Ps 118,16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. 118,17 I will not die, but live, And tell of the works of the LORD. 118,18 The LORD has disciplined me severely, But He has not given me over to death. 118,19 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD. 118,20 This is the gate of the LORD; The righteous will enter through it. 118,21 I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation. 118,22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. 118,23 This is the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. 118,24 This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Ps 118,16-24;


The Lord referred to this Old Testament passage, when he reminded the religious leaders of Israel, the “builders,” that the Son of God in human form, whom they had despised and rejected, would now become the foundation of God’s building of salvation for all people of all nations.

Did you never read in the Scriptures, “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone?”

Mt 21,42 Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the LORD, and it is marvelous in our eyes’"? (Ps 118,22-23) 21,43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 21,44 "And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust." 21,45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. 21,46 When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet. Mt 21,42-46;


In the statement above in Mt 21,43, the Lord also announces this change in God’s plan of salvation. From that point on, the Kingdom of God would be taken away from Israel and given to those who produce the fruit of the kingdom. And, as Mt 21,45 confirms, the high priests and Pharisees, who heard his parables understood perfectly well that he was talking about them. The parable of the vine-growers leaves no doubt as to the role Jewish theology and the biblical scholars of Israel play here.

This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!.

Mk 12,1 And He began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the vine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. 12,2 "At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. 12,3 "They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 12,4 "Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 12,5 "And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others.

12,6 "He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 12,7 "But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ 12,8 "They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.

12,9 "What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. Mk 12, 1- 9;


The owner of the vineyard in this parable is, of course, God, and the vineyard is the people of God of Israel. The vine-growers to whom the vineyard is entrusted are the leaders of the people of Israel throughout their long history. The slaves are the servants of God, the prophets of Israel, who were sent by God to proclaim to the leaders that they should repent, and time and again the rulers of Israel persecuted them, drove them out or even killed them. Finally, the last one sent to them, the owner’s beloved son, is the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. And the last vine-growers, those who killed the son, are the biblical scholars, the religious leaders of the people of Israel at the time of Jesus, i.e. the members of the Sanhedrin under the leadership of the high priest Caiaphas.

The last verse in this parable, "What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others,” leads us to the parable of the king who gave a wedding feast for his son.

Tell those who have been invited, everything is ready; come to the wedding feast!

Mt 22,1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 22,2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 22,3 And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 22,4 Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast”.’

22,5 But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 22,6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 22,7 But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire.” Mt 22, 1- 7;


In this parable the king is God and the first guests who had been invited to the wedding but did not want to come are the people of Israel. They were “invited” to receive their Messiah but were unwilling to do so. The slaves who conveyed the invitations are the prophets of the Old Testament here as well, who made numerous prophecies about the Messiah and the Son of God for the people of Israel. But these leaders did not listen to them - they did not want to listen to them and instead persecuted and killed them.

The forces that the king sent out to destroy these murderers and to set their city on fire turned out to be Titus’ Roman soldiers, who destroyed Jerusalem completely about 40 years later, in 70 A.D, burning the temple to the ground and driving the Israelites out of their country. It is actually surprising that, up until the present, Mosaic Jews in Israel (not most of the orthodox Jews in the Diaspora) have not seen that the Diaspora, which has lasted for almost two thousand years, was a punishment by God for their rejection of his Son and their Messiah.

After the refusal of the invitation by the people of Israel in the above parable of this king who wanted give his son a wedding feast, the king now invites other guests to the wedding.

Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.

Mt 22,8 "Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 22,9 ‘Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 22,10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.

22,11 But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 22,12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 22,13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 22,14 For many are called, but few are chosen." Mt 22, 8-14;


There is no selection this time: whoever is found on the street or road is invited. Whoever wants to may come to the wedding. And this is the new covenant. All the nations of the world are now invited to accept God’s offer to believe in his Son. To be sure, in the last verse of this parable we do see that, even though all are invited, not all may take part in the wedding feast. Only those who accept the redeeming sacrifice of the crucified Son of God for our sins - thus those who have put on the “wedding clothes” and are delivered from their sins - may stay. The others are thrown out. Thus it was, thus it is, and thus it will be until that day when the Lord returns.

The Kingdom of God was taken away from Israel. That was the greatest catastrophe to befall the people of Israel up until that time and in their further history up until the present. They were cut off on the spiritual plane of their God and on the earthly plane of their country. This catastrophe happened because of Israel’s biblical scholars and their inability to interpret correctly the prophecies of the Torah about the Messiah. This is to be traced back to the way and method in which they studied, interpreted and taught Holy Scripture - and still do so today.

It is here that Jewish theology failed absolutely. Despite thousands of years of studying Scripture and all kinds of analyses and interpretations - or perhaps precisely because of that - they failed miserably at that time. They removed the true key of knowledge, the Holy Spirit in the Bible, and replaced it with a “key to interpreting” the Torah on the basis of human views and opinions in the Talmud. But the biblical scholars of Israel did not only ruin their chances for themselves but dragged down their whole people with them, as the Lord told them in Lk 11,52.

Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge.

Lk 11,52 "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering." 11,53 When He left there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to question Him closely on many subjects, 11,54 plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say. Lk 11,52-54;


As can be gathered from Ratzinger’s statements above, contemporary Jewish biblical scholars - like Jacob Neusner - also refer to the Mishnah and Talmud first when asked about the foundation of their interpretation of Scripture. Thus, nothing has changed since the time of Jesus. It is apparent that the direct study of Holy Scripture - without the Mishnah and the Talmud - is rather rare nowadays as well in the rabbinical tradition. And this also appears to be the reason why, right until the present, Jewish theology has not acknowledged and understood the Scriptural facts concerning the first coming of their Messiah on earth and why they made such a huge mistake at the time.

That is also why the question arises here as to what kind of great help Rabbi Neusner could be for the pope if, at the end of his “conversation with Jesus,” he rejects faith in Jesus Christ, despite the current state of knowledge, and thus commits the same mistake that his forbears did 2000 years ago. That could not be any great help at all, unless the pope - rather improbably - was thinking of converting to Judaism.

Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Mt 5,18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 5,19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 5,20 "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt 5,18-20;



The Interpretation of Scripture in the Catholic Church.

But Jewish theology has found an eager imitator in the Catholic Church regarding the study of Scripture - as well as on many other points (think only of the liturgy). There as well, the Bible is studied only by very few members of the clergy and there too Holy Scripture plays a secondary role with respect to foundational questions of faith. The Council of Trent (1545-63) rejected the Bible as the only source of divine revelation and recognized Catholic tradition - i.e. the oral and written passing on of Catholic, i.e. human, doctrinal opinions, including dogmas - as a main source of the faith equivalent to and as authoritative as Holy Scripture. And my Catholic, very informed, discussion partner in discourse 78, Dr. John Waterfield, also stated to me that in the Catholic Church

“... the superiority of tradition (the depositum fidei, or what Cardinal Newman called ‘the economy of revelation’) to the written word of the Bible [is] important and indispensable.”

(See also Discourse 78: “The doctrine of the Catholic church and the Bible - a debate.”)


As in Jewish theology, the Catholic “tradition” includes both the written and oral traditions (as partly in the Catechism).” If these extracanonical oral and written traditions are imposed on the statements of Holy Scripture in the Catholic Church, then it has committed the same offense as Jewish biblical scholars have: the church has removed the key of knowledge and thus hindered those who want to enter the only true faith.

Consequently, we therefore see the same lack of understanding in the interpretation of Scripture here as we see in the Jewish biblical scholars from the time of Jesus up until now.



The Exegesis of the Parables.

(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The Symbolism of Water in the Gospel of John / The Book “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict XVI, pp. 239f.)

But let us now turn from these general remarks about water symbolism in religious history to the Gospel of John. Water symbolism pervades the Gospel from beginning to end. We meet it for the first time in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in chapter 3. In order to be able to enter the Kingdom of God, man must be made new, he must become another person - he must be born again of water and the Spirit (cf. Jn 3:5). What does this mean?

Baptism, the gateway into communion with Christ, is being interpreted for us here as rebirth. This rebirth - by analogy with natural birth from the begetting of the man and the conception of the woman - involves a double principle: God’s Spirit and “water, the ‘universal mother’ of natural life - which grace raises up in the sacrament to a be sister-image of the virginal Theotokos” (Rech, Inbild, II, p. 303).


(Excerpt from the book Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, Doubleday)



Since Ratzinger does not supply the text of the references cited from Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, we will look at them more closely in their context in order to examine the above interpretation.

Unless one is born of water and the Spirit.

Jn 3,3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 3,4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?" 3,5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 3,6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Jn 3, 3- 6.


In verse 3 the Lord says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God,” and this leads Ratzinger to conclude: “Baptism, the gateway into communion with Christ, is being interpreted for us here as rebirth.” But there is nothing here about “baptism” or a “gateway into communion with Christ.”

Nicodemus only knew about biological, physical birth and therefore asked the Lord if we would have to go back into our mother’s womb in order to be born again. The Lord explains to him that, in order to enter the kingdom of God, we need to be born biologically of our mother’s womb - the birth of water (amniotic fluid!) - and to be reborn, namely by the Spirit at the resurrection (see also Jn 16:21-23). Whoever is not born biologically - of water - is not alive and therefore cannot be born again - of the Spirit - at the resurrection either.

The Lord’s answer was therefore both an answer to the question by this biblical scholar as well as a resumption of the theme of being reborn that they had been discussing. He said: “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” That means that both our biological, physical birth - that of water (amniotic fluid) - and our rebirth as well, namely that of the Spirit at the resurrection of the dead, are necessary if we want to enter the Kingdom of God.

And, therefore, the rebirth that the Lord is talking about here is not what Christians so often call “rebirth” during one’s lifetime. According to the Bible, this is not spiritual rebirth but only spiritual re-engendering.

(See also Discourse 85: “True and false rebirth.”)


In addition to the statements above in Jn 3,5, where the Lord says that we must be born of water and of the Spirit - thus born and reborn, we also have a very concrete statement by him about rebirth.

In the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne.

Mt 19,28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Mt 19,28;


The Greek text speaks explicitly of “rebirth” (palingenesis) and not of “re-engendering” (anagennesis) as in those places (1Pet 1,3; 1,23, etc.) which are often wrongly translated as Christians’ rebirth in this life.

This rebirth of which the Lord is speaking above in Mt 19,28 is not something that humans can attain during their lifetime. Rather, on the basis of this reference, it obviously lies in the future, i.e. when the Lord sits on the throne and judges the world. The apostles will also sit on thrones then and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. This is when the world judgment will occur, and the event that immediately precedes the world judgment is the general resurrection. All people of all nations will be raised from the dead to appear before the throne of God. And it is this resurrection, in which the dead will be made alive by the Spirit again and will be reborn that the Lord now calls the actual rebirth.

(See also Table 13: “The judgment upon the resurrected nations.”)


We thus see that the words of the Lord in Jn 3,5 , concerning “water and spirit” cannot be interpreted as “baptism” and a “gateway into communion with Christ.” Rather, it is the literal explanation of an entirely real process: no one can enter eternal life who is not born both physically - of water - and also reborn spiritually - at the resurrection.

Therefore, the further conclusions the pope or the theologian he cites, Photina Rech, draw concerning “God’s Spirit and water, the ‘universal mother’ of natural life” - aside from the “universal mother” - are not that wrong. To be sure, they have a completely different background here and - which is not at all surprising - echo the “sister-image of the virginal Theotokos” (Theotokos means “bearer of God” and is a title given to the Catholic Mary in the Orthodox Churches).

Ratzinger therefore interprets the water - of which the Lord simply and plainly told Nicodemus that the human being is born from his mother’s womb - as a symbol of baptism, and then as a symbol of rebirth, and finally as “water, the ‘universal mother’ of natural life,” and as the “sister-image” of the Catholic Mary. Here we can see quite clearly how an exegesis that does not constantly test itself by Scripture but allows the imagination and dogmatically charged wishful thinking free reign sinks continually deeper into the morass of self-made doctrines. By doing so, it influences and seduces all those who believe these opinions and claims without checking if they are true and adopt them in their walk of faith.



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Rebirth / The Book “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict XVI, p. 240.)

Rebirth - to put it another way - involves the creative power of God’s Spirit, but it also requires the sacrament of the maternal womb of the receiving and welcoming Church. Photina Rech cites Tertullian: Never was Christ without water (Tertullian, De baptismo, IX, 4). She then gives this somewhat enigmatic saying of the early Church writer its correction interpretation: “Christ never was, and never is, without the Ekklesia” (Rech, Ibild, II, p. 304). Spirit and water, heaven and earth, Christ and the Church, belong together. And that is how “rebirth” happens. In the sacrament, water stands for the maternal earth, the holy Church, which welcomes creation into herself and stands in place of it.


(Excerpt from the book Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, Doubleday)



This interpretation also alarmingly demonstrates the absurd and completely outlandish ideas that result if human opinions and explanations (Rech, Tertullian), rather than Scripture, are the basis of interpretation. Whereas the water was interpreted just previously as baptism and rebirth, it is now claimed that “water stands for the maternal earth, the holy Church, which welcomes creation into herself and stands in place of it.”

To lighten up the discussion somewhat, allow me to insert an example from the military world here of the effectiveness of such stratified communication. This is also often used in management seminars as documentation for case studies from the world of work.

The Solar Eclipse / A Study in Communication Theory

Company Commander to Captain:

0

A solar eclipse will occur tomorrow morning at 9:00. Thus, something we don’t see every day. Have the company get into full dress uniform. When we observe this rare event, I myself will give the commentary. If it rains, we will not be able to see it very well. In that case, the company will proceed to the mess hall.


Captain to Lieutenant:

0

By order of the company commander, a solar eclipse will occur tomorrow morning at 9:00. If it rains, we will not be able to see it well in dress uniform in the barrack square. In that case we will carry out the disappearance of the sun in the mess hall. Thus, something we don’t see every day.


Lieutenant to Non-Commissioned Officer:

0

By order of the company commander, the disappearance of the sun will be carried out in dress uniform in the mess hall at 9:00 tomorrow morning. The company commander will give orders if it rains. Thus, something we don’t see every day.


Non-Commissioned Officer to Private First Class:

0

If it rains tomorrow morning in the mess hall - thus something we don’t see every day - our company commander will disappear in dress uniform at 9:00.

Private First Class to the Soldiers:

0

Tomorrow morning at 9:00 our company commander will disappear. It’s a pity we don’t see that every day.



The pope’s exegesis of Scripture above follows a very similar process: the holy Catholic Church suddenly emerges from the birth from water, and immediately, in turn, welcomes the whole creation into itself. Even though we can laugh about the result of such “studies,” the pope’s explanations and the conclusions he draws from them give rise rather to serious concerns, as we will see in a moment.

To the statement above alone - “In the sacrament, water stands for the maternal earth [!], the holy Church [!], which welcomes creation into herself [!] and stands in place of it” - we could bring innumerable counterarguments. But we will only explore the evident and entirely dangerous background of Ratzinger’s formulation here. In line with many other statements by the Vatican as well, the formulation concerns inviting the religions of the world to join “the one and only Roman Catholic church.” Here “maternal earth,” the “mother earth” worshipped by many primitive peoples, is meant to be the Catholic Church, which welcomes creation into herself, thus uniting all peoples and religions in herself.

And this invitation went simply to natural religions of whatever kind. Where the Catholic Church has been established for centuries, as, e.g. in Brazil, where today 93% of the population is Catholic, these “Christians” - and their Catholic priests - see no harm at all in worshiping, after Sunday Mass, the spirits of the earth and forest - which have in the meantime been promoted to Catholic “saints” - and to bring them sacrifices. Entirely similar practices can be found in Africa with respect to shamanism and voodoo cults. That is the real Catholicism that exists in these countries.

But animists are also welcome, with their cult of the dead, for which the Catholic Church already laid the groundwork through its veneration of the saints, because they increase the number of members and therewith strengthen the power of the Catholic Church. And although it should be much more difficult in the great religions, like Buddhism, Hinduism and the two other monotheistic religions, Judaism and Islam, they endeavor enthusiastically to find adherents and to convert them into Catholics (not Christians!).

To this end, they misuse the parable of the Good Samaritan which they interpret wrongly. Jesus wanted to impress on the biblical scholars that it was not the “person in need” who is the Samaritan’s neighbor but rather the reverse, i.e. the Samaritan who gives aid is the neighbor who should be loved by the one in need because of the aid he gives him. But Ratzinger turns this parable around in the usual Catholic way and explains it as follows:

“At this point a Samaritan comes along, presumably a merchant who often has occasion to traverse this stretch of road and is evidently acquainted with the proprietor of the nearest inn; a Samaritan - someone, in other words, who does not belong to Israel’s community of solidarity and is not obliged to see the assault victim as his ‘neighbor’.” (P. 196)


The concern of this parable by the Lord, in Lk 10,27-29, is first the question posed by a biblical scholar: Who is my neighbor (whom I must love as myself)? This question is answered as follows in Lk 10,36-37: My neighbor is the one who shows me mercy. Thus, it is not the one who has been ambushed who is the Samaritan’s neighbor but the opposite: the Samaritan is the neighbor of the one who has been ambushed because of his help and must be loved by the latter as he loves himself. Therefore, all those requests to help the poor of the whole world in the name of love of neighbor lie completely outside the intention of this parable, for love of neighbor here means love of the needy person for his benefactor, and the demand to love one’s neighbor should therefore be directed at the poor.

The Catholic Church is always asking people to give for the sake of the Third World. But the Vatican itself is obviously excluded from that. The Catholic Church always distributes only the money that its members have collected from people in general for different causes. I have never heard of the pope himself - i.e. the Vatican - making any considerable financial contribution. It is not the payments of the Catholic Church to the poor that are well known but rather the punitive damages it has had to pay because of the sexual abuse of children by its celibate clergy. Several trials have been recently concluded in the USA where the court has ordered the Roman Catholic Church to pay punitive damages.

o  In the Californian diocese of Santa Rosa, the Catholic Church has been ordered to pay damages of 3.3 million dollars (3.5 million euros), because a priest sexually molested a 14-year-old girl.

o  In the Covington diocese in the state of Kentucky, the court upheld a class action suit by several hundred victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and ordered the Catholic church to pay damages of 120 million dollars (92 million euros).

o  The Roman Catholic diocese of Boston had to pay 85 million dollars (about 65 million euros) to 300 victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in past years.

o  And still current - as of mid-July 2007 - in Los Angeles, in a class action suit by victims of abuse, a day before the trial began, the archdiocese declared themselves prepared to pay a sum of 480 million dollars (about 370 million euros) in an out-of-court settlement.

o  There are another 150 suits pending in dioceses in northern California at this time.


In most of these crimes, however, the child molesters in the Catholic Church were not punished but simply transferred by their superiors in the diocese from one parish to another and could continue to molest other children there. The Catholic Church also refused to hand the priests over to the authorities. If international warrants are issued, the priests in question are transferred to the Vatican, which, as an extraterritorial area, does not permit the authorities to take any action.

Or do you not know that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God?

1Cor 6,9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 6,10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1Cor 6, 9-10;


In May 2002, then Prefect of the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter on this subject to all Catholic bishops worldwide, instructing them as to how to proceed in cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. In that work he also referred to a secret document issued in Latin in 1962 by the Holy Office (now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), called ␄Crimen Solicitationis”, whose regulations are to be applied in such cases. The Catholic Church cannot, however, evade the judgment of the courts ordering them to pay damages and punitive damages.



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Crimen Sollicitationis / A Secret Document of the Catholic Church)

Crimen sollicitationis (translated from Latin as The crime of solicitation or The crime of harassment) is a secret document issued by the Holy Office of the Vatican (now named the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) in 1962, instructing bishops about how to deal with cases in which priests were accused of abusing the sacrament of penance to sexually proposition penitents, thus its title. The same legal procedure, but with some adjustment, is also extended to clerics accused of homosexuality pedophilia and zoophilia. The document calls for all cases to be handled in secret and extends that secrecy to the document itself. Perhaps as a result, some bishops claim not to have known of its existence. The document was drawn up by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani and approved by Pope John XXIII. Canon lawyers disagree about the extent to which the document is still in force.

The document governs a special case of canonical trial, a legal procedure aiming at suspending from ministerial activities or expelling from clergy priests guilty of major sins. Note that 70 out of 74 items of the text of the procedure deal exclusively with the crime of taking advantage of confession hearings to harass or solicit a penitent.

Crimen sollicitationis first came to light in 2001 because it was referenced to in a letter [1] written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the Roman Catholic bishops of the world regarding new procedures for handling accusations that priests had sexually abused minors. Lawyers involved in cases against the church have argued that the document is evidence of obstruction of justice .

Father Tom Doyle, a former canon lawyer, said in an interview with the British BBC, this document is “an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy, to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen”.


Complete Latin text of Crimen sollicitationis 1.9 MB PDF 
English Translation, 1.8 MB PDF


Excerpt from Wikipedia-Crimen sollicitationis




It appears as if the Catholic Church, with wagging finger, asks the whole world to give to the poor in the Third World, allowing it to afford the colossal punitive damages it has to pay for the sexual offenses of its clergy. It is precisely the people in the Third World whom the pope invites to enter “the holy Church, which welcomes creation into herself and stands in place of it”. Apparently, the Catholic Church presents itself in such a way that the citizens of the developed countries support the poor of the Third World financially and the latter should show their gratitude by - as in Brazil - joining the Catholic Church. This can be seen in the following words by the pope:

“The topical relevance of the parable [of the Good Samaritan] is evident. When we transpose it into the dimensions of world society, we see how the peoples of Africa, lying robbed and plundered, matter to us.” (P 198)


The pope refers here to Africa in his comments, but it should be above all the people of Latin America who should be mentioned in this context - they were butchered with great brutality about 500 years ago by the Catholic Spaniards (conquistadores) so that they could plunder their gold and silver. Through their conquest, the conquistadores destroyed the great empires of the Incas (Battle of Cajamarca), the Mayans and the Aztecs. The number of indios who were killed directly or indirectly by the conquistadores between 1500 and 1600 is estimated at about 50 million. Everything was done with the approval of the pope who appointed the Spanish king to be his representative for this purpose and ordered the Catholicization of the indios.

In this period we also find the following story about Hatuey, a famous Indian cazique (chieftain) in Cuba and a prominent figure in the resistance to Spanish rule. Before being burned at the stake, Hatuey was asked by a Franciscan friar who accompanied the conquistadores if he wanted to repent, so that he could go to heaven.

“The chieftain thought about this for a while and asked the friar if Spanish Christians would be in heaven as well. Certainly, the friar answered, all good Christians will go to heaven, including the Spanish! Immediately and without any further hesitation, the chieftain replied that he did not want to go there but would rather go to hell, so that he would no longer encounter such cruel people.”


It is all the more astonishing that, during his short visit to Brazil, the pope expressed the opinion that the Catholic Church did not use force on the native peoples of Latin America. Rather, they had been silently longing (sic!) for the arrival of the priests who accompanied the Spanish conquest. Further, “the proclamation of Jesus and of his Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbian cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture.” Anyone with knowledge of history knows better.

Since people can no longer be forced to convert to the Catholic faith through being burned at the stake, the Church changed its tactics and promised the people that the gods and spirits of their own religions would be taken up and integrated into the Catholic religion. And thus the pope touches on this concealed strategy of the Catholic Church, when he writes:

“Instead of giving them God, the God who has come close to us in Christ, which would have integrated and brought to completion all that is precious and great in their own traditions, we have given them the cynicism of a world without God in which all that counts is power and profit .... ” (P. 198)


Thus, the Catholic Church wants to integrate “all that is precious and great” in the traditions of the primitive peoples - such as their gods, ancestor worship, worship of spirits or voodoo religions and to bring them to completion (!). The example of Brazil cited above shows how successful this strategy has already been in the past. The old nature and spirit religions there continue to survive cheerfully within Catholicism under the name of the Catholic Church. And this explains why completely unbiblical customs are practiced in Catholicism, such as idolatry (the veneration of the Catholic “Mary” and other wooden and stone figures), the cult of the dead (the veneration of deceased “saints”), the baptism of innocent children, the worship of magic in which bread and wine are allegedly changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ through “transubstantiation” and much more.

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands.

Ps 115,3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. 115,4 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of man’s hands. 115,5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see;6 They have ears, but they cannot hear; 115,6,They have noses, but they cannot smell; 115,7 They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat. 115,8 Those who make them will become like them, Everyone who trusts in them. Ps 115, 3- 8;

Like a scarecrow are their statutes, and they cannot speak; They must be carried, because they cannot walk.

Jer 10,2 Thus says the LORD, "Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; 10,3 For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. 10,4 "They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter. 10,5 "Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good." Jer 10, 2- 5;


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Pilgrims greet the statue of the Mother of God             In Portugal the Mother of God is carried    
on May 13, 2007 in Fatima.                                                by the army     
http://www.heiliggeist-seminar.de/90%20Jahre%20Fatima.htm


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(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Baptism / The Book “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict, p.242)

We come across water symbolism again in chapter 9, where Jesus heals the man born blind. The process of healing involves the sick man, on Jesus’ instructions, washing in the Pool of Siloam. In this way he obtains his sight. “Siloam means, being translated: the One Sent” (Jn 9:7), as the Evangelist notes for the reader who knows no Hebrew. But this is more than a philological observation. It is a way of identifying the real cause of the miracle. For “the One Sent” is Jesus. When all is said and done, Jesus is the one through whom and in whom the blind man is cleansed so that he can gain his sight. The whole chapter turns out to be an interpretation of Baptism, which enables us to see. Christ is the power of light, and he opens our eyes through the mediation of the sacrament.


(Excerpt from the book Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, Doubleday)



Obviously, here the pope is not relying on other exegetes but is interpreting the text himself. We can agree absolutely with the interpretation of Christ as the power of light and, with some reservation, with that of the healing of the man born blind as a symbol for baptism. Baptism does not enable us to “see” - thus turn us into believers - for, according to Scripture, it is the consequence and not the presupposition of conversion.

Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Acts 2,38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2,38;


However, if it were actually so, as the pope believes, that people’s eyes are opened “through the mediation of the sacrament” and thus baptism is the act of conversion itself, it would then be the Catholic Church itself that would stand in the way of this realization of one’s condition. For the Catholic does not practice adult baptism but rather baptizes infants fairly quickly after birth. And since these children have no consciousness at all of any guilt, Catholic baptism cannot, following Ratzinger’s explanation, enable them “to see.”

The infallible (according to Catholic doctrine) pope thus makes a twofold error here: on the one hand, he holds that baptism is the act of conversion itself - which is contrary to Scripture - and, on the other, the Catholic Church practices infant baptism, which is unbiblical, and infant baptism would wholly exclude such an intellectual act by an infant. But this twofold error of the pope could also be an indication that he is actually speaking here ex cathedra, i.e. in the Holy Spirit, who wanted to point out to him that his own interpretation in reference to (adult) baptism clearly contradicts the teaching of the Catholic Church on this point with its infant baptism.



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The healing of the man born blind, Gospel of John, Chapter 9: / Commentary, Alexandra Klein 00, 2012-08-21)

The healing of the man born blind, if taken as a symbol of baptism, is entirely invalid / impossible, for the simple reason that in the Gospel of John Jesus does not baptize himself. In Jn 4:1-3, Jesus learns that the Pharisees have heard that he is making and baptizing more disciples than John – though Jesus himself was not baptizing, but his disciples were – and so he leaves Judea and goes away again into Galilee.
The man born blind, then, cannot have approached Jesus as the one who had been sent by God with any intention of being baptized – and in fact he did not do so.
From the time where Jesus meets the man blind from birth on the road to the time where he man recovers his sight – Jn 9:1-7 – the man born blind does not express any desires or intentions of any kind. Up to verse 7 he doesn’t even have any idea what is going on! And the important thing is – he doesn’t receive any kind of teaching.
In verse 4 it is stated: “WE must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work”.
WE, then, means the disciples AND Jesus.
This is just the familiar interpretation of the Christian evangelizing mission. Nothing is said here about baptism, either by Jesus, the disciples or the man born blind himself. Nor are we told anywhere that the man born blind needed to DO something, as Pope Benedict XVI actually says.
In the Latin / Greek / English translation of Mt 28,19 we find it correctly stated (by contrast with the Einheitsübersetzung [the German "Unity Translation"]):

  28:19 poreuqenteV oun maqhteusate panta ta eqnh
   baptizonteV autouV
   eiV to onoma tou PatroV kai tou Uiou kai tou Agiou PneumatoV

 euntes ergo docete omnes gentes 
 baptizantes eos
 in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti

GO THEREFORE / AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL THE NATIONS /
BAPTIZING THEM /
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER /AND THE SON / AND THE HOLY SPIRIT /



Alexandra Klein, blind Catholic organist, student from 1991 to 1994 of the Bavarian State College for the Blind in Munich (the chapel of which had a giant picture of the healing of the man born blind, on the significance of the evangelizing mission of the college).





(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Rivers of Living Water / The Book “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict XVII, pp. 244ff.

Let us turn now to Jesus’ words of revelation in the context of the Feast of Tabernacles that John transmits to us at 7:37-39. “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, ‘If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” ’ ” ….

But now we must listen more carefully to the text. It continues: “As the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his body shall flow rivers of living water” (Jn 7:38). Out of whose body? Since the earliest times there have been two different answers to this question. The tradition started by Origen, which is associated with Alexandria, though the great Latin Fathers Jerome and Augustine also subscribe to it, reads the text thus: “He who believes ... out of his body ...” The believer himself becomes a spring, an oasis out of which bubbles up fresh, uncontaminated water, the life-giving power of the Creator Spirit.

Alongside this tradition is another, albeit much less widespread, from Asia Minor, which is closer to John in its origins. It is documented by Justin (d. 165), Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Cyprian, and Ephraim of Syria. It punctuates the text differently: “... As the Scripture says: out of his body rivers will flow.” “His body” is now applied to Christ: He is the source, the living rock, from which the new water comes.


(Excerpt from the book Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, Doubleday)



Let us now look at this verse that is interpreted so differently by the fathers of the Catholic Church in the translation of the New American Standard Bible:

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.

Jn 7,37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 7,38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’" Jn 7,37-38;


And so as to dispel right at the start any uncertainties regarding the correct translation, here is the translation of the Greek text of Nestle-Aland in the interlinear edition:

Jn 7,37 On the last day, the great of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 7,38 The believing in me, as the Scripture said, from his body will flow living water. Jn 7,37-38


If this text is read impartially and without any dogmatic spectacles, there is no problem in agreeing with the version cited by J. Ratzinger above from the “Alexandrian” tradition:

“The believer himself becomes a spring, an oasis out of which bubbles up fresh, uncontaminated water, the life-giving power of the Creator Spirit.”


Nevertheless, in his further discussion, the pope favors the other tradition from Asia Minor that sees the “body” as referring to Christ and thus deprives those who have come to faith of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Two things can be clearly recognized here. First, the question with regard to the interpretation of this text is not one of punctuation, as Benedict believes, but rather that the tradition from Asia Minor is simply and plainly attempting to hush up the promise of the Lord that those who believe would have the “living water” of the Spirit of God within them. 

Second, precisely these statements by the pope are the best examples of the completely wrong approach of Catholic theology in its interpretation of Scripture, similar to what we established earlier with respect to Judaism. Here as well the procedure is to consult the tradition and to argue back and forth as to who is right, instead of consulting Scripture itself.

That is precisely what we want to do now and will attempt to resolve this issue of Catholic tradition in a simple - biblical - way. To begin with, we see the first explanation immediately in the next verse of the Johannine text cited by the pope:

But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.

Jn 7,39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Jn 7,39;


According to the explanation by the evangelist John, the Lord’s statement in the prior verse, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’,” thus refers to those who believe in Jesus Christ. This answers precisely that question which the Catholic tradition - at least the tradition from Asia Minor that includes Justin, Ireneaus, Hippolytus, Cyprian, and Ephraim - presents as a problem. And it is a problem that must now be corrected through their own interpretation, namely that the Lord did not mean believers here but was speaking about himself.

Since the evangelist John is apparently not trustworthy enough for these church writers to believe what he says, we will therefore attempt to find a direct statement of the Lord himself on this issue. And in his conversation with the Samaritan woman in Jn 4,14 we find a word choice that is almost identical:

The water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.

Jn 4,10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." 4,11 She said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 4,12 "You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?"

4,13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 4,14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." Jn 4,10-14;


Thus, there can be no better proof that, in his statement in Jn 7,38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’,” the Lord Jesus meant the Holy Spirit whom those who believe in him (Jesus) would receive and who would lead them into eternal life. That the pope favors the wrong interpretation here is not that surprising. He had, after all, settled on “a land of salt” and trusted the fathers of the Catholic tradition.

Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength.

Jer 17,5 Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. 17,6 "For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant.

17,7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD.17,8 "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. Jer 17, 5- 8;


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

The Eucharist a Passing through the Cross? / The Book "Jesus of Nazareth" by Pope Benedict XVI, pp. 269f.)

Jesus’ bread discourse, on one hand, points the main movement of the Incarnation and of the Paschal journey toward the sacrament, in which Incarnation and Easter are permanently present, but conversely, this has the effect of integrating the sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, into the larger context of God’s descent to us and for us.

On one hand, then, the Eucharist emphatically moves to the center of Christian existence; here God does indeed give us the manna that humanity is waiting for, the true “bread of heaven,” - the nourishment we can most deeply live upon as human beings. At the same time, however, the Eucharist is revealed as man’s unceasing great encounter with God, in which the Lord gives himself as “flesh,” so that in him, and by participating in his way, we may become “spirit.” Just as he was transformed through the Cross into a new manner of bodiliness and of being-human pervaded by God’s own being, so too for us this food must become an opening out of our existence, a passing through the Cross, and an anticipation of the new life in God and with God.

(Excerpt from the book Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, Doubleday)



The Pope characterizes the Catholic Eucharist above as

o  manna, for which humanity is waiting, as

o  the “bread of heaven” and

o  the nourishment we can most deeply live upon as human beings.


Here, obviously, the notion of “eating” is prominent: the emphasis lies on “food.” There is no mention of wine, for the Catholic tradition forbids wine to the members of the church during the Lord’s Supper. The Catholic Eucharist is described as “man’s ... encounter with God, in which the Lord gives himself as flesh,” so that Catholics participate with him in his suffering by eating this flesh and can become “spirit” so that it thus becomes “a passing though the cross” for them as well.

According to this doctrine, Jesus did not suffer on the cross for the sins of the world but to make it possible for Catholics to pass “through” the cross as well by means of this weekly eating of his body and thus save themselves as an “anticipation of the new existence of life in God and with God.”

But what is the true background of what the Lord says here? The Scripture tells us something completely different:

This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me!

Lk 22,14 When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 22,15 And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 22,16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." 22,17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves; 22,18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes."

22,19 And when He had taken some bread and 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." 22,20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Lk 22,14-20;


As we see, it is not the sense of eating that has priority here, for the bread and wine are only the bearers of what is to be remembered in this memorial meal that the Lord commanded they hold. And the Lord did not command either “Do this so that you may participate in my suffering,” but rather “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Thus, the real center of this event is not bread and wine but the redeeming sacrifice of the Lord on the cross for the sins of the world. His body and blood were offered to God on the cross as an offer that was well-pleasing to him, so that everyone who believes in that sacrifice will be delivered from their sins. Therefore, according to the Lord’s command, what we should remember at this supper is his death through crucifixion that saves us from our sins and reconciles us with God.

I make known to you the gospel, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures

1Cor 15,1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 15,2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 15,3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 15,4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 15,5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.. 1Cor 15, 1- 5;

Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins.

Gal 1,1 Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), 1,2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 1,3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 1,4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,1,5 to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. Gal 1, 1- 5;


This is the true Gospel, the good tidings. But Ratzinger does not go into this at all. The reason for this is, of course, the completely wrong understanding of this passage. As we can read in the excerpt above, Catholic doctrine sees the Eucharist “as man’s unceasing great encounter with God, in which the Lord gives himself as ‘flesh,’ so that in him, and by participating in his way, we may become ‘spirit’.”

In the Catholic interpretation of the Lord’s Supper, it is the Lord who gives himself as “flesh” so that we can participate in his suffering through this “eating.” And so as to leave no doubt: Ratzinger means this precisely as he writes it! In his book Introduction to Christianity (San Francisco: Ignatius), Ratzinger cites Plato in this context and writes that

“A man’s righteousness is only complete and guaranteed when he takes on the appearance of unrighteousness .... ‘They will say that our just man will be scourged, racked, fettered, will have his eyes burned out, and at last, after all manner of suffering, will be crucified. ’” (P. 292)


Here we see the Catholic view of the Lord’s death on the cross: it was not for our sins that the Lord died on the cross; rather, human beings must undergo suffering themselves in order to be justified by God. According to Catholic doctrine, this is what Jesus Christ showed us and we must follow him along this path of suffering in order to be saved. And, consistent with this, the pope argues in the book we are discussing here, Jesus of Nazareth:

“Job’s sufferings serve to justify man. By his faith, proved through suffering, he restores man’s honor. Job’s sufferings are thus by anticipation sufferings in communion with Christ, who restores the honor of us all before God and shows us the way never to lose faith in God even amid the deepest darkness.” (P. 162)


If we take Ratzinger’s two statements above together, we arrive at the following conclusion:

o  In the pope’s view, Jesus Christ restored our honor and showed us the way. He restored all our honor before God through his suffering on the cross and showed us the way that we must travel in communion with him. In the Eucharist, in which the Lord gives himself as “flesh,” we can participate in his suffering. As he was transformed through the cross, so eating the body of Christ must also be for us a passing through the cross in order that we can save ourselves as “an anticipation of the new life in God and with God.”


In contrast to this Catholic interpretation that we save ourselves through suffering, the Bible teaches us that it is not even possible for humans to save themselves. The wages of sin is death - indeed, of every sin however large or small it may be. And since, according to Scripture, all people are sinners, they must all die in order to be saved. 

But it is precisely for that reason that God sent his Son, who gave his life as a redeeming sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all people. We no longer have to die nor suffer on the cross to be saved. We only have to accept this invitation of God and believe that we are saved through this sacrifice on the cross.

We have discussed the argument of the pope above concerning Jn 7,37-38 where he writes:

“Let us turn now to Jesus’ words of revelation in the context of the feast of Tabernacles that John transmits to us at 7:37-39. “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, ‘If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart shall flow streams of living water. ’” ....
But now we must listen more carefully to the text. It continues: “As the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his body shall flow rivers of living water” (Jn 7:38). Out of whose body: Since the earliest times there have been two different answers to this question.”


Aside from the fact that it would have been - as already stated above - better if the pope had also read the following verse, Jn 7,39, which would have immediately given him the correct answer to his question above, there is a far more important and more substantial question. What did the Lord mean by “He who believes in me”? Does it mean to believe that he existed and became a human being? That he performed miracles? That he founded a religion? That he was the Son of God? That he was God himself? All of these things are involved, but does any of them constitute the essence of what it means to believe in Jesus?

No, the essence of belief in Jesus Christ is the cross! If the Son of God had come to earth and had done everything he did and yet avoided the cross, then perhaps the Jews would have been satisfied, for that was how they had imagined the Messiah. But the rest of humanity would have been lost. Therefore, “believing in Jesus Christ” is believing both that before God the human being is a sinner deserving death because of his own conduct in his life and that his sins are forgiven and he is saved because of the redeeming sacrifice of his Savior on the cross.

Here we would recommend that both Joseph Ratzinger and Rabbi Jacob Neusner whom he quotes so favorably read the Old Testament. Chapter 53 of the prophet Isaiah deals precisely with this theme - the servant of God. Incidentally, is this is a text that the biblical scholars in Jesus’ day did not apparently know either?

Our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried.

Isa 53,1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 53,2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 53,3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 53,4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. Isa 53, 1- 4;

But He was pierced through for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities

Isa 53,5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 53,6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 53,7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 53,8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due Isa 53, 5- 8;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

Isa 53,9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. 53,10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. 53,11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. 53,12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. Isa 53, 9-12;


If the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation (transformation) is taken seriously and it is supposed that the actual body of our Lord can be produced at will by every Catholic priest from a piece of bread and thus that the Son of God is at the disposal of the Catholic clergy, one has the impression that the Catholic Church clearly goes beyond the boundary between God and human beings and is attempting to play “God.” In particular, one can see how completely depressing this false doctrine is when one remembers that the same hands that contain the body of Christ and distribute it to the church people have perhaps only hours before - as in the USA (see above) - sexually abused and violated children.

But thanks be to the Lord that this is only one of the unhealthy growths in the Catholic Church. In addition to the doctrinal rejection of the unbiblical doctrine of transubstantiation by the Christian churches, there is also a biblical reason that demonstrates that such an incarnation is entirely unrealistic. At the Passover meal with his apostles, the Lord himself was present; he broke and distributed the bread, and commanded the apostles to do this in remembrance of him. If this had been a “Transubstatiation” in line with Catholic doctrine, the Lord would have changed the bread into his own body and would then have existed doubly. We can see from this that the Lord instituted this sacrament precisely as a memorial meal, in which we proclaim his death for our salvation, and not as a Transubstatiation.

This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

Lk 22,14 When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 22,15 And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 22,16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." 22,17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves; 22,18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes."

22,19 And when He had taken some bread and 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." 22,20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Lk 22,14-20;

This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

1Cor 11,23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 11,24 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." 11,25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 11,26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 1Cor 11,23-26;


(See also Discourse 92: “The Lord’s Supper: A Memorial Meal or a Transubstatiation?”)



Benedict XVI: Between Claim and Reality.

At the end of his foreword the pope writes:

“It goes without saying that this book is in no way an exercise of the magisterium, but is solely an expression of my personal search >for the face of the Lord< (cf. Ps 27:8). Every one is free, then, to contradict me. I would only ask my readers for that initial goodwill without which there can be no understanding (Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI.)”


Many readers will certainly comply to the pope’s request for “initial goodwill,” not least because of this confession of his personal search “for the face of the Lord.” And I also must confess that I find Ratzinger very appealing in the way and manner in which he presents himself and how he speaks, entirely unlike his predecessor. To be sure, it must be pointed out that precisely in Christian theological discussions and in questions of faith it cannot be goodwill that makes it possible to understand opposing positions. I believe firmly that this can be achieved only through well-reasoned arguments that show that the view in question rests on the statements in the Bible. Whoever grounds Christian faith on something other than biblical foundations finds oneself outside biblical teaching and thus outside Christianity.

This also helps us to understand what the Lord says in the Gospel of John that the pope cites:

He who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, he is a thief and a robber.

Jn 10,1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. 10,2 "But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 10,3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 10,4 "When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 10,5 "A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers." 10,6 This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. 10,7 So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. Jn 10, 1- 7;

Thus, whoever does not point to Jesus Christ as the “door” as the only way and mediator to God is a thief and a robber.

In the Catholic Church, the veneration of the Catholic Mary as “mediatrix” and the use of the title “mother of God” that is applied to her were decided already at the Council of Ephesus (431). This teaching was confirmed by Pope Pius XI 1500 years later, i.e. in 1931! The completely unbiblical dogma of the immaculate conception of Mary - which means that Mary did not inherit any original sin from her mother (!!), Anna - was made a dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854. This decided similarity with the birth of the Lord Jesus was made more complete when Pope Pius XII declared in 1950 that Mary had also ascended to heaven and made this view - obviously on the basis of his fictitious “infallibility” - a dogma.

Likewise, as Holy Scripture is robbed of its exclusive claim to be divine revelation by the human tradition of the Catholic Church, here the claim of the Son of God as the exclusive mediator between God and human beings is replaced by a “mediatrix.” Catholics are thus asked concerning the various appearances of Mary in the Catholic Church (e.g. 1977 in Rome):

“You must use me as a holy and unique means to come to God and to bring souls to me” [2]


Where these souls will finally end up is obvious.

The apparitions of Mary in Medjugorje also proclaim the well-known message in a series of public messages from 1981 until the 1990s:

I am the Mediatrix between you and God.” [3]


(See also Discourse 52: “Can the actions of Mary be effective in averting the Bible’s prophecies of the Last Days?”)


But the Bible teaches us that there is only one mediator between human beings and God, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. We will cite the well-known statements of 1Tim 2,5 und Jn 14,6:

One is mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

1Tim 2,5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.. 1Tim 2,5;

I am the way; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Jn 14,6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Jn 14, 6;

And - with all goodwill - here the man Joseph Ratzinger cannot be separated from his office as pope and the one responsible for the largest church in the world (over 1 billion members). Whoever seeks the face of God should not lose sight of his Son. That fatal error was made once already - almost 2000 years ago.

The New Declaration of the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Christian Churches.

Because of its current importance, we will finally also mention that, in its most recent statement which was approved by the pope, the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith denies Protestants as well as other Christian faith communities the right to call themselves churches. Already in 2001, the Declaration of the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dominus Jesus, drawn up by Ratzinger - then Cardinal and Prefect of the Congregation - was cited with the statement:

“The Catholic Church is the one unique church of Christ that makes salvation possible.” and

“The Catholic Church, the foundation of which through Christ goes back to Peter and his rightful successors, is of the greatest significance for the truth, because she is of divine origin.”  [4]


In the new document, this arrogant and, in view of the Bible, completely erroneous raising of the Catholic Church to priority above Christian churches - “Communities”, as the pope calls them - is substantiated in the following way:

“According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense. ”


But it is actually the other way around: the Catholic Church enjoys no such succession, precisely because it appeals to Peter. According to Scripture, it is Paul who was elected together with Barnabas to bring the Gospel to the non-Jewish world.

The Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them!"

Acts 13,1 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 13,2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 13,3 Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13, 1- 3;


According to Gal 2,9, it was also for that reason that Peter entrusted the apostle Paul with the task of evangelizing the nations (non-Jews), given to him by the Lord in Mt 16,18-19. It is this task which the Catholic Church cites for the idea of apostolic succession.

That we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

Gal 2,6 But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)-well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. 2,7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 2,8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), 2,9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Gal 2, 6- 9;


According to the Bible, since that time it was Peter’s (Cephas’) task to evangelize the Jews (the circumcised) and Paul brought the Gospel to the nations (non-Jews). God confirmed this decision as well by making Paul the founder and blessing of the churches among the nations. You can follow his founding of churches in the New Testament: 17 of the 21 epistles in total were written by Paul. At 101 pages, this is more than 70% of the text of all the letters (Peter wrote 2 letters totaling 5 pages together). Thus, it was Paul who spread and safeguarded the Christian teaching in the primitive churches.

But the pope, obviously, cannot accept this, and thus he comments on the above verse in Gal 2,9 in his book Jesus of Nazareth as follows, contradicting the content of this verse:

“(Gal 2,9). First Peter, and then later the three pillars, are thus presented as the guarantors of communio, as its indispensable reference points, who vouch for the correctness and unity of the Gospel and so of the nascent Church. ...
In his passionate apologia in the Letter to the Galatians, Paul very clearly presupposes Peter’s special commission; this primacy is in fact attested by the whole spectrum of the tradition in all of its diverse strands.” (Pp. 296f.)


However, this is what Paul writes in Gal 2.9:

Gal 2,9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Gal 2, 9;


As we can see, it is James (the brother of the Lord and leader of the congregation in Jerusalem) who is mentioned first. Peter is called one of the three pillars (James, Cephas and John) of this congregation in Jerusalem. With the term communio, Ratzinger is obviously attempting - by using a Catholic concept - to cover up the fact that these three confirmed Paul’s task to evangelize the nations because they recognized the grace that had been given to him by the Lord.

Gal 2,7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 2,8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), Gal 2, 7- 8;


With those “indispensable reference points, who vouch for the correctness and unity of the Gospel and so of the nascent Church” that Ratzinger mentions, he manages to save what could no longer be saved: it would awaken the impression that James, Cephas and John were still responsible in Jerusalem “for the correctness and unity of the Gospel” and that Paul was subordinate to them in some way. On the other hand, with the reference to these three thus vouching “for the nascent Church,” the Catholic Church with its “apostolic succession” comes into play.

The “primacy” of Peter that Ratzinger finally postulates and the prime importance of the Catholic Church derived from that is not to be found in the Letter to the Galatians, which was foundational for the Reformation. To the contrary, Paul reports that he opposed Peter in Antioch, because the latter “stood condemned” by his own conduct.

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

Gal 2,11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 2,12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.

2,13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 2,14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? Gal 2,11-14;



This is then also obviously the reason why “the tradition in all of its diverse strands” must be called in as evidence for this fictitious primacy.

Actually, Paul had preached the Gospel among the nations completely independently of Peter and the congregation in Jerusalem, while Peter evangelized among the Jews (see Acts 10, esp. v. 28). If the Catholic Church appeals to Peter, its scriptural mission and the “apostolic succession” it claims is limited to the Jews. The nations in the world, however, are evangelized on the basis of Pauline succession of the Christian church (ekklesia) that is faithful to the Bible.

The “sacramental priesthood” that the Vatican mobilizes again and again also lacks any biblical foundation. First, the Lord Jesus instituted only two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Not only has the Catholic Church made up five additional sacraments (1439), it has also distorted the two real sacraments completely:

o  Instead of adult baptism, where the adults made the conscious decision themselves knowing what the consequences would be, infants are brought by their parents to the Catholic Church to be baptized a few days after their birth. These parents have often themselves never held a Bible in their hand.

o  In the Lord’s Supper, the Lord commanded that we break bread and drink the cup in remembrance of him (a memorial meal, Lk 22,19) for his redeeming sacrifice. The Catholic Church has not allowed its members to drink from the cup since 1414. Moreover, it is claimed that the priest, through a whispered formula, can transform the bread into the actual (!) body of Christ (transubstantiation: 1215). An event - which Catholics themselves do not even taken seriously - whereby they must assume that they eat the actual body of Christ in communion and therefore should not go to communion on Friday (the custom of not eating meat on Fridays). This “Transubstatiation” - which the Lord never commanded - is therefore to be classified with the occult.


And no Catholic priest is needed to administer the sacraments. The English word “priest” comes from the Greek πρεσβύτερος, presbyteros, which means “elder.” According to Scripture, an elder has characteristics and qualifications that a Catholic Priest is barred from having by the doctrine of his church:

The Qualification of a Priest.

Tit 1,6 namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 1,7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 1,8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 1,9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. Tit 1, 6- 9;


Thus, because of the Catholic Church’s requirement that a priest be celibate, a Catholic priest can neither be the husband of one wife nor have children. That there are, nevertheless, many Catholic priests worldwide who often have both openly or in secret contributes considerably to reducing child molestation and proves that the Catholic Church has invented and turned into dogma many things that correspond neither to Scripture nor to the reality of human life. Also, there are no Catholic priests who hold “fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching,” because the faithful word - the Bible - is valued less than tradition. And every priest who wants to hold fast to the Bible would soon come into conflict with Catholic teaching and would probably be excommunicated.

But that is what, in Christian churches, characterizes the presbyteros, the elder - next to the other qualifications that are cited: holding fast to the faithful word of Scripture and the ability both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. And such elders may also perform both the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper in the proper way.


The Apostolic Succession of the Catholic church?

Catholic priests who in thousands of cases worldwide have dispensed the "transformed" eucharist with their hands in the Mass have proceeded, with those same hands, to abuse and violate children (1Cor 6:9). Catholic bishops who earlier had blessed the "sheep" of their flock, have gone on to be arrested for corruption (Vatican Bank, see report in Der Spiegel of 6.28.2013).

Bishop blessind

Of course it is true that you find black sheep everywhere. But when the "very reverend" violators are shielded and hidden in the ranks of the church for decades, and even corrupt "shepherds" holding office as bishops have to be unmasked by the police, this shows up the organization itself as being altogether without conscience, depraved and corrupt (Mt 7:16-20).

Having the face to speak of the "Apostolic Succession", in the light of these facts, is the most egregious insult to the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.



The Catholic Church Cannot be Called a “Christian” Church

The Catholic Church has distorted the 10 commandments by suppressing - because of the many images and statues in its churches - the second commandment and making two commandments out of the tenth, and thus ending up with ten again. Instead of the Lord’s Supper, which we celebrate as a memorial meal in line with the Lord’s command, they have introduced an occult magical Transubstatiation, in which the believers allegedly consume the body of Christ. And with the veneration of the Catholic Mary (the rosary), and the deceased saints, they have introduced idolatry and the cult of the dead into their teachings.

With these and other serious transgressions against biblical teaching, the Catholic Church has followed the way of apostasy from the orthodox faith and the teaching of Christ. Under these conditions, the church must be deprived of its authority and ability to evangelize and teach in line with Scripture. And for that reason as well it cannot be called a “Christian” church.

It is shameful that those in responsible positions in the Christian churches have not yet found the courage to distance themselves from this Catholic church but do the entire opposite: lead those brothers and sisters entrusted to them by God into a completely unbiblical “ecumenism” into communion with non-Christian religions and faith content.

(See also Discourse 32: “Commentary on the manifesto ‘Dominus Jesus’ of the Catholic Congregation of Faith.”)


Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.

2Jn 1,9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 1,10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 1,11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. 2Jn 1,9-11;









[1]For an English translation of this letter of 2001 see http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/churchdocs/EpistulaEnglish.htm

[2]Erscheinungen und Botschaften der Gottesmutter Maria - Vollständige Dokumentation durch zwei Jahrtausende (Apparitions and Messages of Mary, the Mother of God - Complete Documentation through Two Thousand Years) by G. Hierzenberger and O. Nedomansky. Aschaffenburg: Pattloch/1993, p. 469

[3]ibd.,  p. 484

[4]Dominus Jesus as cited by the General Superior for the Holy Land, Dik. St. Bertagnolli OFM, A-1010 Vienna, Franziskanerplatz 4, in the Catholic essay “Im Land des Herrn” [“In the Land of the Lord”], Journal on the Holy Land, Issue 1/2001