"AN ALTAR BOY SAVED"
Osterbus Publishing House
Sirs:---Ignorance, the mother of conceit, must have prompted the writing of the anti-Catholic Church leaflets among the "1000 different Gospel tracts" your center of bigotry prints and circulates, some of which were sent to me for an analysis by a reader of my Boston Pilot column.
Let's look at one of them, an "Altar Boy Saved". In it John A. Klaper of San Bernardino, Calif., "born of Roman Catholic parents", claims that "the light of salvation shined upon (him) while attending Protestant services", which led him to become a Protestant evangelist.
The darkness, which he mistakes for "light", is evidenced in his insulting reference to the Host that the priest consecrates in the Sacrifice of the Mass as Christ commanded, during the Last Supper to be done in "remembrance" of Him. This command is recorded in St. Luke 22:19; and 1 Cor. 11:24.
Your leafletist assumptively calls upon Catholics to get a Bible, the product of the Catholic Church, which she recommends that her children study; as if it refutes the teachings of its compiler. "I got a Bible", says your conceited leaflet scribbler, "and began reading. I got more light. The Holy Spirit awakened me".
Surely some other spirit than the Holy One must have "awakened" in him his perverse concept of Holy Writ. For instance, he declares "I looked for the doctrine of Purgatory, but it was not in the Bible".
That it is therein as the intermediatory state between Heaven and Hell, no man can reasonably doubt. It is where the purification of departed souls takes place, where they pay back the last farthing due God, which the Catholic Church designated Purgatory. This doctrine is embodied in the following Bible texts: 2 Machabees 12:43; St. Matt. 5:26;12:32; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; and Rev. 21:27.
Belief in the purgatorial principle on the part of the first century Christians may rightly be inferred from the request for prayers inscribed on the tombs in the Catacombs. Surely St. Monica would not have asked her son, Augustine, to offer prayers for her soul after death, if Heaven and Hell were the only abodes of the departed. She knew, as did the first century Christians, that prayers are not needed for souls in Heaven; and that they are of no avail for souls in the place of eternal suffering. Such are we of the Catholic laity taught by our Church, which is the one and the only Spiritual Society that teaches with Christ-given authority; the Church your leaflet writer abandoned for one of the hundreds of man-made churches.
The darkness, which your leafletist assumes to be "light", is plainly evidenced in his Protestant-like substitution of the Bible privately interpreted, instead of authoritatively interpreted by the Church that gave the Christian Bible to the world. That is as un-Christian as it would be un-American to proclaim belief in the Constitution of the U.S.A. while insisting upon private interpretation of its contents, in utter disregard of the authoritative Supreme Court interpretation of its contents.
The darkness, which your former "Altar Boy" assumes to be "light", is plainly evidenced in his repudiation of belief in the Sacrament of Penance. This Sacrament which calls for Confession of sin to a priest, in order to obtain moral guidance and absolution, he declares to be un-Biblical. In his endeavor to refute the obligation of sinners to enter the tribunal of penance; and the power of priests to forgive sinners, your assistant misinterpreter of the Bible quotes 1 Timothy 2:5 in part only, as do many other Protestants, viz:---"There is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ"; leaving out the connecting sentence, viz:---"Who gave Himself a ransom for all".
No priest ever claimed to be a Mediator with the capital M, as there is only one such, the Lord Jesus Christ. Neither does any priest ever claim to have given himself a "ransom for all". It is Christ, and He only, Who laid down His life for the sins of the whole of humankind. When priests forgive sinners they do so in the name of Christ, and not in their own name, with the delegated power of Christ; as they do when their administer the Sacrament of Baptism.
Priests are "ambassadors of Christ"; "ministers of reconciliation", as St. Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:20. Priests exercise the power that Christ conferred upon them when He said, as St. John tells us in his Gospel (20:21-23), "whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained".
It is an offense, based upon a degenerate concept of the Sacrament of Penance, to declare, as does your leafletist, that "Confession to a priest is only an encouragement to commit more sin and vice", when we of the laity who go to Confession regularly know, from experience, that it has the very opposite effect.
The elevating character of Confession was realized by Longfellow, who was not a Catholic. He pictured the spiritualizing nature of going to Confession in "Evangeline", thus:
But a celestial brightness---a more ethereal beauty---
Shone on the face (of Evangeline) and encircled her form,
When, after Confession,
Homeward serenely she walked with God's benediction upon her.
When she had passed, it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music.
The use of the Bible made in the" Altar Boy Saved" leaflet, shows, in the words of Byron, that its author has "just enough learning to misquote", as well as misrepresent its contents. The many anti-Catholic effusions your Publishing House prints and circulates, including those written by a violator of his God-given priestly vow of obedience, are a disservice, to say the least.
It were well for you, who claim to be Bible Christians, to obey the Commandment in Exodus 20:16, and cease "bearing false witness against thy neighbor". This violation, which you are guilty of, is evidenced in your misrepresenting and maligning the Christ-instituted Church your Catholic neighbors love; and whose mandates their love of the Lord-God prompts them to obey.
Respectfully in the name of Christian truth,