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Biblical assertions

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 Contents - Oct 2012AD2000 October 2012 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The Year of Faith and Catechism of the Catholic Church - Michael Gilchrist
Anglican Ordinariate: Melbourne ordinations: historic day for Church in Australia - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Universities: Cardinal Pell's tertiary ministry at Sydney's universities - Br Barry Coldrey
The Year of Faith and true unity of faith - Cardinal Raymond Burke
Missions: Father Raphael: dynamic Nigerian parish priest - Madonna Brosnan
History: Melbourne Catholics: Dr Mannix's impact - Patrick Morgan
The new evangelisation and the culture of life - Anne Lastman
Liturgical Music: Vatican II: Singing nourishes faith ... raises minds to God - Bishop Arthur Serratelli
G.K. Chesterton on the decay of Western Christianity - Donald Boland
Schools: Saint Mary MacKillop Colleges, Wagga Wagga: progress report - Charles Morton
Letters: Information - Robert Bom
Letters: Nuclear family - Leon Voesenek
Letters: Harm-minimisation - Arnold Jago
Letters: Financial capitalism - Peter D. Howard
Letters: Christian unity - Andrew Sholl
Letters: Real Presence - Cedric Wright
Letters: Biblical assertions - Frank Mobbs
Books: AN AMAZING LOVE, by Father Ken Barker - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: Manual of Minor Exorcisms, Prayers for those in Spiritual Affliction, Porteous - Fr Nicholas Dillon
Support: 2012 Fighting Fund Progress
Books: Order books from
Reflection: The Year of Faith and the Church's missionary role - Fr Dennis W. Byrnes

Fr Brian Harrison continues to maintain (September AD2000) that a Catholic must believe every assertion (proposition) in the Bible, including such trivia as that Ruth married Boaz. It follows that if a Catholic is presented with the text of the Book of Ruth and he reads that Ruth married Boaz, but refuses to believe it, then he is disbelieving God, so is a heretic and liable to eternal punishment.

I pointed out (August AD2000) that if Fr Harrison is correct, then one's belief system would be overloaded, in that one would have to hold that God requires one to believe thousands of assertions which have nothing to do with our salvation.

To this Fr Harrison replies by attacking a straw man. He says: No-one has ever required the faithful to know all the multitude of of specific propositions contained in the Bible. This is a claim about knowing the contents of the Bible. I heartily agree, for not only is it true that I do not know all biblical assertions, but also neither does Fr Harrison nor anyone else. Seeing that Fr Harrison lacks a complete list of such assertions, then, on his own grounds, he is not believing that everything asserted in the Bible is "asserted by the Holy Spirit".

Furthermore, it is disappointing that a Catholic theologian supports the view that God chooses to act arbitrarily, disregarding all moral requirements. It is God's "divine prerogative" to do what, in fact, is evil. I would like to point out that, according to the New Testament, God in the person of Jesus has promised eternal life to those who believe in him and behave as he requires. I hope when Fr Harrison comes to judgment that he will not be upset if God breaks his promise, thus exercising his "divine prerogative".

On another matter, John Young is keen to learn whether I am a heretic in that I deny the doctrine of transubstantiation (August AD2000). Seeing that I have never denied the doctrine, the question does not arise.

Besides, the legal maxim remains in force: Qui tacet consentire videtur (Silence gives consent).

Gosford, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 25 No 9 (October 2012), p. 16

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