Rev. W. S. Whitcombe
Editor Protestant Action
Sir:---Your anti-Catholic Church monthly is in the forefront of bigoted publications; the like of which has not appeared in the United States or Canada since the demise of Socialist leader Wayland, and his publication, The Menace.
Nearly every page of your publication is filled with misinterpretations and misrepresentations, prompted by perverse mentalities. It would take a book-sized document to fully answer its contents; therefore I will confine myself to a matter of Biblical and doctrinal import therein, Confession, rather than the diatribes therein. Here it is:
"Romanism---(is) completely at variance with---The Bible. Romanism---(declares) We must confess to a priest".
Members of the Christ-established Catholic Church, the Church in which I, fortunately, happen to be one of the hundreds of million members who go to Confession, know that God, and God alone forgives sinners. But God can, and did, delegate His absolving power to His priestly "ambassadors" (2 Cor. 5:20-21); just as the head of the U. S. Government delegates his presidential power to his ambassadors.
We of the laity know, as you should know, that the absolving of sinners, and the penance enjoined by priests in the confessional, is in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and not in the name of priests. Priests act as agents of God, as channels, so to speak, through which God forgives. To declare that this is "Completely at variance with the Bible" is due to utter ignorance of the contents of the Bible, or deliberate misinterpretation.
Confession of sin to priests, and making satisfaction for them, like Baptism, is not of Christian origin. It is specifically commanded in the Mosaic Law (Num. 5:5-8). When you, and your fellow Protestant ministers Baptize by immersion, or by pouring water prayerfully on the head of the recipients of that Sacrament, saying, "I Baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", as Christ commanded (St. Matt. 28:18-20), do you not wash away sin, Original Sin, from the Baptized soul? Baptism would only benefit temporarily if Christ had not instituted, as He did, a means of absolving repentant sinners from sins committed after Baptism.
You, Sir Anti-Catholic, and your fellow ministers, are "completely at Variance With the Bible", and not Catholic priests, when you cocksuredly declare that "We Must Confess to God", to the exclusion of the priest as the intermediary. You are at "variance" with St. Matthew 16:19 part of the Bible, in which Christ is recorded to have promised His priests the power to forgive sin, viz:" ... I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven". You are at "variance" with St. John's Gospel part of the Bible, in which Christ is recorded to have said to the Apostles," ... whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." You are at "variance" with St. Paul, who was not one of The Twelve. He wrote "Let a man account of us as ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God" (1 Cor. 4:1); and "For what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, for your sakes have I done it in the person of Christ" (2 Cor. 2:10).
Your brazen assumptiveness of Biblical knowledge superior to the Catholic Church, the Church that gave the Christian Bible to the world, put you at "variance" with the foremost Christian personages in the pre-16th century Deformation years. Here is the evidence of some of the dozens of Christian authorities who have held that priests have the delegated Christ-bestowed power to forgive sin:
St. Cyprian, Bishop of Toulon, said: "To those who implore the mercy of God, peace can be granted through His priests" (Ep. Lv, n. 29).
St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, said: "Both (binding and loosing) is allowed to the Church (that is the Catholic Church); neither is allowed to heretics; because it is a right conceded only to priests. This right the Church justly claims to herself, since she alone has true priests" (De Poenito L. 1, c. 11, p. 391).
St. Ephraem, Doctor of the Church, said: "The exalted dignity of the Priesthood is far above understanding, and the power of speech. The remission of sins is not granted to mortals, but through the ministry of the Priest" (De Sacerdotis, T. 111, p. 72).
St. Jerome, author of the Vulgate Edition of the Bible, said, " ... the Bishop or priest does not bind those who are innocent, and loose the guilty; but having heard the difference of sins, he knows whom he should bind, and whom to loose, in the discharge of his ministry" (Comm. in cap. XVI, Matt. T. iv, Par. 1. p. 75).
St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, said: "and when he (the sinner) shall have passed on himself a severe, but medicinal sentence, let him come to the priests, by whom, in the Church (that is the Catholic Church) the power of the keys is administered. Whatsoever is loosed by the keys of the Church, is promised to be loosed in Heaven" (Serm. CCCLI, V. P. 1385-1363).
Catholics who read your insults (which I have refrained from quoting, in order to deal with the above Biblical, historical, doctrinal matter) may find satisfaction in saying with St. Matthew (5:11-12): "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you."