CATHOLICS AND THE BIBLE
Rev. Carl Kunz
Director Outdoor Gospel Work
Brooklyn, N. Y.
Sir:---I am in receipt of your envelope with anti-Catholic leaflets therein. They prove that you, and your group of anti-Catholics, are entitled to a booby prize for assumptiveness based upon a gross misconception of the Catholic Church in relation to the Bible.
Let's look at one of the leaflets, "WHEN ROMAN CATHOLICS READ THE BIBLE." It is a sample of many of your leaflets that prove "ignorance to be the domain of absurdity." It is based upon the assumption that if Catholics read the Christian Bible (which the Catholic Church gave to the world), they would cease to be Catholics. This would no doubt be true, if they were to interpret its contents as do you, and other perverters of the Word of God.
The declaration is made in the leaflet that "the word 'Pope' does not occur in the Bible," therefore it is un-Christian to so designate Peter and his successors. Before answering that declaration, I desire to call your attention to some things Protestants, as well as Catholics, profess that are not designated in the Bible as Christians designate them. The word Incarnation is not in the Bible; yet there is warrant sufficient in the Bible for the designation of this glorious event by the Catholic Church, as the Incarnation. One instance, is the declaration of St. John, that "the Word (God) was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (1:14). Would you reject that designation, because it is not in the Bible?
Would you cease declaring that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath day, because it is not so designated in the Bible? The first authoritative designation of it as Sunday was by St. Justin, the Catholic apologist during the 2nd century, in his description of the Mass, its prayers and the reading of the Scriptures.
Do you object to the use of the term Easter, when referring to the Sunday in which the Resurrection of Christ from the dead is prayerfully remembered? Certainly not! Yet the term is not in the Bible. It is of Catholic origin. Still more, you, and other Protestants, will very likely celebrate the Resurrection anniversary day on the date set by the Catholic Church. It was the Church you delight to malign that declared, in her Council of Nice (325 A.D.), that the Easter Feast Day shall be on the Sunday following the 14th day of the paschal moon.
You may continue to turn minds against the Catholic Church through your "Outdoor Gospel Work," yet you cannot help but honor her by calling the union of Christ with manhood, the Incarnation; by declaring the Lord's Day to be Sunday; and by designating the Resurrection Day Easter.
As to the term Pope, it is not in the Bible; but the distinguished person Catholics call the Pope, his office and powers, are outlined therein. Pope means father, a person with paternal authority, such as the Bishop of Rome always exercised in the "household of the Faith," as St. Paul designated the Church Catholic, that Christ established (Gal. 6:10). This authority centered in the Church under the universal jurisdiction of the Pope during all of the Christian centuries. This Church came into active operation on the First Pentecost Day with the promise of its Founder that it would endure until the end of the world; despite the attempts of the "gates of Hell," such as your work in Brooklyn, to prevail against her. This authority Christ, the Pastor per se, delegated to the first Pope and his successors, when He made Peter, the first Pope, pastor of His flock, saying "feed My lambs, feed My sheep" (St. John 21:15). By giving Peter His Keys, Christ delegated His power to the first Pope to bind and to loose, that is to forbid or allow, to act as judge as to what is, and what is not the will of Christ (St. Matt. 16:18-20). It was from Peter's boat that Jesus preached to the multitude on the shore; and it is through the Bark of Peter, the Catholic Church, that Jesus Christ, Our Lord and our God, speaks to the world today.
This Christ-delegated power was passed down to succeeding Bishops of Rome, occupants of the Chair of Peter, throughout the Christian ages. This authority abides today in Pope Pius XII, the father of Christendom, as truly as the power of Washington, the father of our country, abides today in President Eisenhower, occupant of the Chair of Washington. This succession of Bishops of Rome has been named by foremost personages in Christendom. St. Irenaes (130-202), Bishop of Lyons, listed the Popes who succeeded Peter until his day, thus; "Linus, Anacletus, Clement, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, Soter, and Eleuterius, the twelfth from the Apostles, who now governs the Church" (Adversus Haereses). St. Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo, named 37 Popes who succeeded Peter as Bishops of Rome up to his day, ending with "Anastasius, who occupies the same See" (Epistle L III, to Generosus).
No written document has ever been so brazenly appropriated, so grossly misinterpreted and misapplied, as Protestantism, whose teachings you echo, misinterprets and misapplies the principles and history in the Bible, related to the Catholic Church. She it was who collected, preserved, and declared the writings which formed the volume she named the Bible, to have been Divinely inspired. She, the Catholic Church, it was that safeguarded her children from counterfeit Protestant versions of the Bible as faithfully as the State safeguards its citizens from counterfeit currency. It is simply absurd to even imagine that the Catholic Bishops, assembled in the Council of Carthage, would have selected writings for the canon of inspired Scripture, and presented them to the Pope for confirmation, if those writings contained a repudiation of the status and basic teachings of their Church.
The length of this communication, which I intend to publish in my Boston Pilot column, bars me from answering the other fallacious assertions in your leaflet.
Catholics are your neighbors, my dear sir, hence bearing false witness against them is a Bible-recorded sin it were well to avoid.
Prayerfully in Christ,