Wednesday, April 28, 2010

28-APRIL- St. Louis De Montfort

J.M. + J.D.

Today, the Dominican Order commemorates of of my favourite Saints of all time:

St. Louis Marie Grignion De Montfort...

    Born poor. Studied in Paris, France, and ordained in 1700. While a seminarian he delighted in researching the writings of Church Fathers, Doctors and Saints as they related to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom he was singularly devoted.

    Under Our Lady's inspiration, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Wisdom, a religious institute of women devoted to the care of the destitute. During this work, he began his apostolate of preaching the Rosary and authentic Marian devotion. He preached so forcefully and effectively against the errors of Jansenism that he was expelled from several dioceses in France. In Rome Pope Clement XI conferred on him the title and authority of Missionary Apostolic, which enabled him to continue his apostolate after returning to France. He preached Mary everywhere and to everyone. A member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, Saint Louis was one of the greatest apostles of the Rosary in his day, and by means his miraculously inspiring book, The Secret of the Rosary, he is still so today; the most common manner of reciting the Rosary is the method that originated with Saint Louis’s preaching. In 1715, he founded a missionary band known as the Company of Mary.

    His greatest contribution to the Church and world is Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin. He propagated this in his day by preaching and after his own death by his other famous book True Devotion to Mary. Consecration to Mary is for Saint Louis the perfect manner of renewing one’s baptismal promises. 

In True Devotion to Mary, Saint Louis prophesied that the army of souls consecrated to Mary will be Her instrument in defeating the Devil and his Antichrist. As Satan gains power in the world, so much more shall the new Eve triumph over him and crush his head.

 The cause for his declaration as a Doctor of the Church is now being pursued.

V. Pray for us Blessed Louis Marie
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Let us pray:

V.O God, who didst make Thy confessor, the blessed Louis Marie, a wonderful preacher of the mystery of the cross and of the most holy rosary, and who, through his means did implant a new order in Thy Church; grant through his intercession and merits, that through the life, death, and resurrection of Thy only-begotten Son, we may attain to the rewards of eternal salvation. Throught the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen

(Taken from the Dominican Tertiarie's Manual commemoration prayers for Vespers)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Questions I was asked this week

J.M. + J.D.

I think I am going to be doing a weekly post of Questions I have been asked throughout the week by Catholics and non-Catholics and my answers to them.  I was thinking tonight after Vespers; about all of the interesting (and sometimes silly questions I have been asked already this week)

Do animals go to Heaven after they die?
While the idea of having fido or muffy in Heaven is very cute and actually very modern however; animals have a material soul and not immortal soul. Meaning that when the body of an animal dies, so too does it's soul. However, we humans we are gifted with immortal souls and therefore, when our bodies die, our soul does not. Since we have immortal we can go to heaven or Hell and animals can not............

Why do we Catholics pray a Hail Mary when its not even in the Bible?
Lemme guess, you go to the Novus Ordo don't you?
if you read Sacred Scripture (as you should) check out, Luke 1:28 &  Luke 1:42
Now, regarding the last part of the prayer the (New) Catechism explains its significance thusly:
"Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the "Mother of Mercy," the All-Holy One. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender "the hour of our death" wholly to her care" (paragraph 2677).

Why do you think that the Catholic Religion is the One True Religion, afterall we are all Christians....
Pope Leo XIII condemned tolerance toward Protestantism under the name of Americanism, the heresy of Americanism, to be more precise not to mention to consider heretics as Christians has NEVER been the teaching of the Church.

Before the disaster of Vatican II, the Magisterium was always crystal clear: It is not a matter of an individual’s character or traits. No one can be in the Church of Christ without professing the ensemble of the truths of Catholic Faith, being in unity with the Chair of Peter and receiving the same Seven Sacraments. The only Christian is one who accepts Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church he established. 

In short, only those who profess the one Catholic Faith and are united with the Mystical Body of Christ are members of the Church of Christ. And only those members can legitimately bear the title of honor of Christian. 

The Holy Bible provides an unambiguous defense that the custody of the vineyard has been committed by Christ to the Catholic Church alone. Here are a few verses.
  • “He who hears you (Peter) hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me (Lk 10:16).” It could not be clearer: the Protestant who rejects the head, rejects Christ himself, and should not be granted the name Christian.

  • Christ establishes one Church with a single head: "And I will give unto 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" (Matt 16:19).
  • St. Paul is severe in his condemnation of false teachers, e.g. Protestants: “If any man preaches any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1: 9).

  • In another passage he instructs Catholics to remove themselves from the bad society of non-Catholics: “And we charge you, brethren, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the Tradition which they have received of us” (2 Thess 3:6).
  • The Apostle St. John forbade any intercourse with heretics: “If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house or welcome him” (2 Jo 1:10)”
Holy Scriptures are clear on the point that only those who belong to the one Church founded by Christ, the Catholic Church, can rightfully be considered Christians.

Pictures from the Requiem Mass for Confederate Vets..

J.M. + J.D.

Here are a few pics from the Requiem Mass for Confederate Vets celebrated by Rev. Father Marshall Roberts OP, served by myself & Br. Jason Roberts OSSM
(I am on the Epistle Side )

Elevation of the Sacred Host at the Requiem Mass for the repose of the souls of all Confederate Veterans. Proudly displaying both the Vatican flag and the first national flag of the Confederate States of America 
(Epistle side of the sanctuary).

 Elevation of the Chalice at the Requiem Mass for the repose of the souls of all Confederate Veterans.

 Here I am clearing the Altar after Mass.
Notice the First National Confederate Flag to the right of myself and St. Michael.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Confederate Memorial Day

 J.M. +J.D

Today is Confederate Memorial Day in the Stae of Florda and tomorrow our Parish is having a Requiem Mass said for our Confederate Floridian Dead. With that I thought I would share some of the proud Confederate history of my state.

Florida seceded from the Union 10 January, 1861.
In 1862 minor engagements between the yankee and Confederate forces took place; the yankee troops occupied Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Fernandina, however; Confederates, under General Finegan, gained a decisive victory over the Union forces commanded by General Seymour at Olustee in 1864.
(On a side note, I live in Jacksonville and Olustee is only about 45min from my home)

In proportion to population Florida furnished more troops than any other Confederate State; and we took an honourable part in the campaigns of Tennessee and Virginia, and bore a distinguished reputation for steadfast endurance on the march and conspicuous gallantry on the battlefield. Florida gave to the higher ranks of the Confederate service three major-generals, Loring, Anderson, and Smith, and the Brigadier-Generals Brevard, Bullock, Finegan, Miller, Davis, Finley, Perry, and Shoup.

  During the so-called "reconstruction" period where yankee forces brutally raped the South, Florida was full of  despair and disaster when honest citizens witnessed the control of public affairs pass into the hands of Greedy and vile Federalists.

Though Catholicism was a minority religion in both parts of the country, the Catholic influence in American society was much stronger in the less populous South than in the North at the time of the war..

 In the South family mattered, numerous leading families were Catholic. The Carrolls of Maryland can be cited in this regard. Charles Carroll was the wealthiest man in the Colonies when he signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Many leading Southern families that were not Catholic had members who were. An example would be the Lees of Virginia from whom was sprung the Confederacy’s Gen. Robert E. Lee. A nephew of his was the founding pastor of the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, D.C.

Even when the leading families of the South were not Catholic — and most were not — they tended to have a high regard and deep respect for the Church and her institutions, especially her schools. It was very common for these families to send their children to them simply because that is where the best education was to be had. An example in this regard is Jefferson Davis himself, the eventual President of the C.S.A. His father sent him as a boy to Kentucky to be schooled by Dominicans.  (I LOVE my Order!)

While among them young Davis — he was but nine — asked to be received into the Church. His desire was not realized. Alas, for what amounts to secondary concerns (family, youth, etc.),

Despite the ostentatious piety of many of his public pronouncements, Abraham Lincoln is not known ever to have joined any so-called "Christian body" (as Protestants are not TRUE Christians) as a member.
In contrast, Davis embraced a form of Episcopalianism adhered to by many leading Southerners that was very “High Church,” very “Catholic” in its externals. It was exemplified by the cleric who received Davis into Episcopalianism, his former West Point classmate Bishop Leonidas Polk, who would die in battle during the War Between the States as a general of the Army of the C.S.A.

Add to the fact that Davis became the kind of “High Church” Episcopalian he did, the additional one that the southern part of Mississippi from which he hailed was quite Catholic on account of the area’s Spanish and French past. (His home, Beauvoir, was within easy striking distance of New Orleans, where he would die while on a visit.) Further, Davis and his wife, Varina, were comfortable enough around Catholics to count numerous of them among their friends. Then there is also the fact that it was in Catholic places they took refuge when exile was their lot. All this, and more, suggests that the desire of Davis to become a Catholic when a boy was preserved into his manhood!

I would like to end my blog by inviting you to our Requiem Mass for the souls of our brave and heroic Confederate dead, and one of my personal favourire Confederate Songs:

Sing along!!

The Star-Spangled Cross 
and the pure field of white 
click for a MIDI of the tune

The Star-spangled Cross and the pure field of white
Is the banner we give to the breeze:
'Tis an emblem of Freedom unfurled in the right,
O'er our homes and our lands and our seas.

We'll stand by the Cross and the pure field of white,
While a shred's left to float in the air:
Our trust is in God, who can help us in fight,
And defend those who ask Him in prayer.

For years have we cringed to the unlifted red,
For years have demanded our right;
Pur voice shouts defiance--our trust is in God,
And the strong arm that gives us our might.


Our hills and our vales with the death-shriek may ring,
And our forests may swarm with the foe:
But still to the breeze our proud banner we'll fling,
And to Victory or Death we will go.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Feast of the Most Holy Crown of Thorns (OP)

Tuam Coronam adoramus, Domine, alleluia.
Tuum gloriosum recolimus triumphum, alleluia.

J.M. + J.D.

Today, we Dominicans celebrate the Feast of The Crown of Thorns.

St Louis IX was gifted by Baldwin II (Latin Emperor of Constantinople) with the sacred relic of the Passion that is Our Lord's Crown of Thorns.  A kingly gift!  One refrains from enquiring too deeply into the sad events that led to the Latin Empire of Constantinople, and the redistribution of holy treasures from East to West...

Good king Louis commissioned the building of the Sainte-Chapelle, that marvel of stained glass, as a noble edifice itself one grand reliquary for the Crown of Thorns.  Later, after the outrages of the French Revolution, the relic was translated into the metropolitan church of Notre-Dame de Paris.  As two Friars Preachers had been deputed to bring the Crown to the king, St Louis gave several Spines therefrom as a gift to the Dominican Order; as the king ordered kept in his Holy Chapel the feast of the reception of the Crown of Thorns, so too the feast entered the calendar of the Dominican Order in the mid-thirteenth century.
 Here is a meditation on The Crown of Thorns by a Passionist Father (1879)

"The thorns, with which the adorable head of our Lord was crowned, were not planted upon earth by the paternal hand of God, but they were maliciously sowed by a treacherous enemy. From the Gospel we learn that this enemy was the Devil, and the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve was the noxious seed. The curse of God made them grow long and sharp. These thorns and thistles were more intended to prick the sinner's conscience than the callous hand of the industrious laborer. This is the wise reflection of St. John Chrysostom: "when God said to our fallen parents: Cursed is the earth in thy work; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." He intended to signify: thy conscience O sinner, shall never cease producing thorns and stings which will prick thy guilty soul. (St. John Chrys. in Mark 10:19) The thorns of this accursed earth are therefore the figures of our sins. They are the brand of God's malediction impressed on the forehead of sinners. Even the learned Protestant Grotius discovered this truth and said: "The curse of sin was the origin of thorns." "Maledictio in spinis Coepit." (Grot. comm. in Mark 15:17)

Now our Lord Jesus Christ, being the second Person of the most adorable Trinity, essential holiness in human flesh, Verbum Caro factum and the most cherished object of the eternal predilection of His heavenly Father, could never be defiled by the least shadow of sin and consequently He never could be subject to the malediction of God. In His infinite mercy He could however consent to experience the temporary effects of both. Jesus could assume and wear for our sake the infamous badge of sin. He could in mercy for us taste and drink the loathsome bitterness of the cup filled up to the brim with the gall and vinegar of God's malediction.
Our Divine Redeemer did in fact consent to wear during His whole mortal life, the sinner's garb and He daily drank in large doses the disgusting potion squeezed from the corrupted hearts of sinful men as from sour grapes by the weight of God's anathema. But because the large and deep vessel containing the poison of sin was not exhausted, being daily and hourly replenished by new crimes; so our dear Lord was obliged to make a most painful effort in order to drain it all at once and completely during His bitter Passion. This heroic act was accomplished in the garden of Gethsemani wherein He was so copiously drenched with the large chalice of sin that He was cast into a deadly swoon and His life's Blood was forced out from every pore of His agonizing Body.
Now we should attentively observe that the same plan was followed by our merciful Redeemer in wearing the filthy badge of sin. Having once assumed it in His incarnation with our human nature, He had to wear it continually during His whole mortal life. At the time, however, of His Passion our Lord had to be publicly and solemnly installed as the King of Sinners and Sorrows. Oh! the grand and sublime mystery of the Crown of Thorns.

It was then in the city of Jerusalem, the capital of Judea, it was in the hall of Pilate, the Roman Governor, that our Divine Lord chose to be crowned with thorns and to assume the full uniform of sinner and the infamous wreath of sin. It was on this memorable occasion that the great and eternal Son of God the Incarnate Word was installed as the King of Sinners and consequently as the man deepest in infamy and greatest in sorrow: "Despised and the most abject of men! ..." Our sins are Jesus' Crown of Thorns. "Corona ex spinis peccata sunt... (Theopil. in Matt. 27) Thorns being the offshoot and the stigma of God's malediction against sin, hence, by consenting to be crowned with thorns, our merciful Lord voluntarily became the responsible head and the willing victim of God's anathema directed and intended for sinners only. It is thus according to St. Paul that "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." (Gal. 3:13) Hence, by wearing the Crown of Thorns, our most holy Redeemer received upon His adorable head the curse pronounced by the irritated justice of God against our sinful race, and through this act of mercy He shielded us from its terrible blow. "In corona spinea maledictum solvit antiquum," says Origen.

Our merciful Savior effected still more in our behalf. Thorns and thistles, as we have remarked, are the principal offshoot of God's curse against sin. Now by consenting to take these sharp thorns upon His adorable head, He removed this malediction and changed it into a blessing for mankind. In this way our Lord Jesus Christ diminished the quantity and the intensity of our temporal sufferings; and through His blessing, grace and example, He rendered all our labors and toils meritorous of eternal reward. Children of sinful parents, conceived and born in sin, we have indeed much to suffer yet; but had not our blessed Lord come to our relief our temporal sufferings should have been by far more numerous in quantity and more intense in quality as daily experience testifies among Infidel and Pagan nations. Moreover we should have been condemned to pass from temporal to eternal misery. Through His merciful Crown of Thorns our Savior has removed from mankind the brand of everlasting infamy and has secured for His faithful servants the diadem of heavenly glory. "In that day, the prophet Isaias says, the Lord of Hosts shall be a crown of glory, and a garland of joy to the residue of His people." (Is. 28:5) Hence St. Jerome could with reason say that: Through the merit of the thorny crown of Jesus' head we have acquired a right to the diadem of the heavenly kingdom. "Corona spinea capitis ejus diadema regni adepti sumus." (In Marc. 15)

In all our sufferings then let us look up to the King of Sorrows crowned with thorns. This should be done more especially when by irksome neuralgia, and severe headaches, we are invited to bear a share of the thorny crown of our Divine Master. St. Bernard justly remarks that: "Christians should be ashamed to be too delicate members of a Divine head crowned with thorns." We should however acknowledge that persons afflicted with these sufferings deserve more charitable compassion than they do generally receive. These afflictions being internal and invisible do not excite to commiseration those especially who had never experienced their painful and saddening effects. We should also reflect that headaches are often caused by an overflow of blood to the head which produces a flush on the face and this is mistaken by many superficial observers for a sign of vigorous health. Hence compliments are offered which to the ears of the sufferer sound like irony. Moreover these painful attacks of the head are naturally the cause of mistakes and of awkward failures, which bring upon their victim ridicule and undeserved humiliations. The best and perhaps the only comfort and consolation on these mortifying occasions, will be a devout glance at Jesus crowned with thorns and mocked in the hall of Pilate. He is fully aware of our sufferings and trials. He suffered more than we do both in physical pain and in humiliations. Our Lord can compassionate our misery and will abundantly reward our humility, meekness and patience.
In the lives of the Fathers of the Desert, we read that St. Pacomius towards the end of his life, while suffering intense pain in his head and oppressed with interior anguish of mind, had recourse to prayer to obtain some relief and consolation from God. On this occasion our Lord appeared to him accompanied by many holy Angels and wearing a Crown of Thorns but at the same time shining with dazzling glory. Surprised at the heavenly vision the suffering servant of God prostrated himself with his face to the ground when one of the Angels very affectionately raised him up and informed him that Jesus Christ had come to console him in his affliction. Our Lord then spoke to Pacomius words of heavenly comfort encouraging him to bear his trials and sufferings with resignation, assuring him that they were intended for the purification of his soul, and for a great increase of merit which was soon to be crowned with corresponding glory and bliss for all eternity in Heaven.'
Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui in memoriam passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi Coronam ejus spineam veneramur in terris, ab ipso gloria et honore coronari mereamur in cælis: Qui tecum vivit et regnat...
Grant, we beg, almighty God: that we, who in memory of the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ do revere His thorny Crown on earth, by Him may deserve "to be crowned with glory and honour" (cf. Ps 8:6) in heaven: Who with Thee liveth and reigneth...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of the Secular Third Order of Saint Dominic

J.M. + J.D.
The Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of the
Secular Third Order of Saint Dominic

Approved by Pope Pius XI
by a Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Religious
April 23, 1923

The Nature and Object of the Third Order
The Third Order of Penance of Saint Dominic, also called the Militia of Jesus Christ, is an association of Christians living in the world who, sharing in the religious and apostolic life of the Order of Friars Preachers, according to their own Rule approved by the Holy See, strive to attain to Christian perfection under the government of the same Order.
The end of the Third Order is the sanctification of its own members by the practice of a more perfect Christian life and the promotion of the salvation of souls in a way that is suitable to the state of the faithful living in the world.
The means of obtaining this end, over and above the common precepts and duties of one’s state in life; - the observance of this Rule, continual prayer, and as far as possible, liturgical prayer, the practice of penance, apostolic and charitable works for the Faith and the Church according to one’s condition and particular state in life.
The associations into which the Third Order is divided are called fraternities. Nevertheless a person may be received into the Third Order who for some special reason cannot be enrolled in a fraternity.
Fraternities cannot be validly erected without the consent of the ordinary of the place. As far as possible, there should be separate fraternities for men and women.
What is said of tertiaries in the masculine applies also to women unless from the context or the nature of the case the contrary is evident.
Insofar as possible, there should be erected fraternities of secular priests, who, under the direction of some father of the Order, shall strive to lead a more apostolic life.
Chapter II
Concerning those to be received and the Conditions required
Since the increase and progress of the Third Order depend chiefly on the good qualities of the members, no one should be admitted into its ranks until he has been examined and then subjected to a term of probation. It should be proved to the satisfaction of the Director that the postulant is a good Catholic of honest life, good reputation, sincere in his desire to tend towards perfection, giving a well-founded hope, especially if he is young, of persevering in his good resolutions. Nay, more, he should be filled with a burning zeal for the promotion of the truth and should be characterized by a devoted loyalty toward the Church and the Pope.
All the faithful who have these qualities may be admitted into the Third Order of St. Dominic. Men and women, clergy or laity, married or single, may become members provided they have completed their eighteenth year and do not belong to a Religious Order or to any other Third Order. With the permission of the Father Provincial for a good reason one may be admitted at the completion of his seventeenth year. Married persons ordinarily should not be admitted without the consent of the marriage partner unless there be a good reason for doing otherwise.
The following have the power to receive into the Third Order:
1. The Master General of the Order or the Provincial within the limits of his jurisdiction;
2. The Director of the Third Order legitimately instituted for his Fraternity or in particular cases his delegate;
3. Any priest delegated by the Master General or by the Father Provincial.
In places where a Fraternity has been legitimately erected, no one, without the permission of the Director of the Fraternity or without special permission of the Superior who delegated him, may make use of these faculties. Delegation received from the Master General is for life. Delegation received from a Provincial needs confirmation by his successor.
In order that one may be admitted to a definite Fraternity of the Third Order, besides the favorable decision of the Director, the consent of the Council of the Fraternity is required.
Chapter III
The Habit of the Brothers and Sisters
The Habit of the Third Order should be made of common wool. It consists of a white robe, gathered at the waist with a leather belt, a black cloak with a hood for the Brothers and a linen guimpe for the Sisters.
Tertiaries ordinarily wear a scapular of white wool under their secular dress, in place of the Habit of the Order.
With the permission of the Ordinary of the place Tertiaries may wear in public religious functions the full Habit of the Order, or some special insignia according to custom. When they meet in a body wearing their insignia at such functions, they should march behind the cross of the Fraternity.
It is forbidden to wear the Habit of the Order publicly without the consent of the Master General and the permission of the local Ordinary.
After death, Tertiaries may be clothed with the full Habit of the Third Order, or even that of the First Order or of the Second Order.
The attire of Tertiaries should be according to approved custom and age. That Christian modesty may shine in the dress of Tertiaries; all worldly vanity should be shunned, especially in the form of fashion of one’s garments. This is becoming to the servants and the handmaids of Jesus Christ.
Chapter IV
Reception into the Third Order and the Blessing of the Habit
The time of probation having expired, the postulant is received by the Director or by his delegate before the altar of the Church or in some convenient place, according to the ceremonial of the Third Order, in the presence of at least some of the members of the Fraternity. Witnesses are not required if the postulant is not to be enrolled in a Fraternity.
Having received the Habit, the postulant is admitted to a share in all the spiritual favors of the Brothers and Sisters of the Order.
Every new Scapular should be blessed. Besides those having the faculty of receiving to the Habit, all the priests of the Dominican Order may give this blessing. In places where there is neither a priest of the Order nor a Director of a Fraternity, any priest approved for hearing confessions has the power to bless the scapular.
Chapter V
The Novitiate and Profession
Before being admitted to Profession, Novices should devote themselves to the study of the Rule for one year under the direction of the Novice Master, so that they may know their own obligations and try to become imbued with the spirit of our Holy Father, St. Dominic.
At the end of the year of probation or even before, if the particular circumstances of the person seem to demand it, the Novice may be admitted to profession by the Director with the consent of the majority of the Council of the Fraternity.
Those who are received privately into the Third Order may be admitted to profession according to the prudent judgment of anyone having the legitimate faculty.
Profession consists in the formal promise, but without a vow, of living according to the Rule of the Third Order of Friars Preachers.
The profession is made in the following manner: “To the honor of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of Blessed Dominic, I … before you, the Director, and the Prior (or Prioress) of the Fraternity of the Third Order of Penance of Blessed Dominic, of this place, who hold the place of the Most Reverend Master General of the Order, do make profession that henceforth I will live according to the Rule and form of the Brothers and Sisters of this same Order of Penance of Blessed Dominic until death.”
There should be a register in every Fraternity for its own members in which are noted the name of the one received and the day of Reception and of Profession. Those who receive Tertiaries privately should send this same information to the Provincial of that territory in which the said tertiary resides, or to the Superior, from whom they received their faculty.
After Profession, which holds until death, Tertiaries are bound to perseverance in the Order and they may not, without a just cause, pass to another Third Order.
Chapter VI
The Recitation of the Office
Tertiaries should say the Office every day: either the old Office known as the Pater Noster, or the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the Dominican Rite or the entire Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If they be hindered from saying any of the above, they should say one of the little Offices approved by the Order, or a third part of the Rosary.
In reciting the old Office known as the Pater Noster, Tertiaries should say 28 Our Fathers and Hail Marys for Matins; 14 for Vespers and 7 for each of the other five Hours. The Apostles Creed should be recited before Matins and Prime and at the end of Compline. Matins are usually said on the evening of the preceding evening or in the morning; the Little Hours before mid-day; Vespers and Compline before the end of the day. They may, however be said at any hour of the day provided the regular order of Hours is observed.
Priests and those in major Orders will satisfy this obligation by the mere recitation of the Divine Office. They should say once a day the Responsory O Spem Miram with versicle and prayer in honor of Saint Dominic.
Tertiary priests having obtained the permission from the Master General of the Order may use the Breviary and Missal according to the calendar of the Order.
Chapter VII
Confession, Communion, And Other Pious Practices
Tertiaries should approach the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist at least twice a month unless legitimately hindered. If they wish to be refreshed more frequently, even every day, by the Most Holy Body of Christ, their devotion is to be commended.
Tertiaries should make an effort to be present, as far as they are able, at the daily Sacrifice of the Mass and to follow the priest with devout attention during the course of the Mass. They should devote themselves to mental prayer and apply themselves to pious works suited to the spirit of the Order.
They should cultivate a special devotion based on a particular attraction toward the most faithful Patroness of the whole Order, the Virgin Mary; Saint Joseph, her spouse; our Blessed Patriarch, Dominic; Catherine of Siena, Virgin, Patroness of the Third Order; and all the Saints and Blesseds of the Order.
They should conduct themselves in churches with great reverence, particularly during the divine mysteries, and they should always show a good example to all the faithful.
It is strongly recommended that a retreat of three days, at least once a year, be made in each Fraternity.
Chapter VIII
Besides the fasts and abstinences instituted by the Church, Tertiaries, if not legitimately hindered, should fast on the vigils of the Most Holy Rosary, our Holy Father, Saint Dominic, and Saint Catherine of Siena. Moreover, adhering to the spirit of penance characteristic of the Order and of the ancient Rule, they should observe the Fridays of the whole year as fasts and exercise themselves in other works of penance-with the advice, however, of the Director or a discreet confessor.
Chapter IX
The Avoidance of Worldliness
Tertiaries should refrain from visiting places of worldly amusement. They should not go to dances or worldly banquets or frivolous shows. If, however, it is impossible to abstain from all these, they should ask the permission of the Director or at least inform him.
Chapter X
Reverence toward Prelates and Clergy
Tertiaries should have the deepest reverence for the Bishops and the priest of their respective churches, and they should faithfully fulfill their duties towards them according to the rules and customs of each place. They should also hold all other clergy in honor according to their various positions and offices.
Chapter XI
Apostolic and Charitable Works
Following in the footsteps of the Apostolic Patriarch Dominic and of the Seraphic Virgin Catherine of Siena, all Tertiaries should devote their lives to the glory of God and the salvation of their neighbors in an ardent and generous spirit.
Mindful of the traditions of our ancestors, Tertiaries should labor in behalf of the truth of the Catholic Faith and for the Church and the Pope, in word and deed, showing themselves to be ardent defenders of their rights in all things and at all times. They should also help in apostolic works, particularly those of the Order.
They should devote themselves to works of charity and mercy according to the conditions of time and the necessities of place, either privately or as a body, according to their limits and capabilities under the direction of their Superiors.
They should also willingly assist the parish priest in pious works and particularly where there is a necessity in imparting religious instruction to boys and girls.
Chapter XII
Visiting and Assisting the Sick
In every Fraternity there should be named Visitors for the sick that shall take pains to visit members according to the wish of the Director and assist them spiritually and temporally.
Chapter XIII
Death of the Brethren and Suffrages
The death of a member of the Fraternity should be announced to the other members of the Fraternity as soon as convenient, and all the members should be present at the obsequies of the deceased member, unless legitimately hindered.
Moreover within the eight days immediately following the death notice, each member of the same Fraternity shall recite a third part of the Rosary, hear one Mass and apply one Communion for the repose of the deceased member’s soul.
Tertiaries should say, every day, one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Eternal rest… for the living and the dead of the whole Order.
Every member within the year should have three Masses said (or should at least hear three Masses) for the welfare of the Brothers and Sisters, living and dead.
Chapter XIV
The Superiors of the Third Order
The Third Order of Friars Preachers is placed under the immediate direction and correction of the Master General, to whom, therefore, all Fraternities, all Directors, and individual Tertiaries are subject as regards those things that pertain to their living according to the Rule.
In virtue of their office, Provincials, also, within the limits of their own Provinces have care of the Third Order.
The Master General and Priors Provincial have the right to visit the Fraternities every year and more frequently if the situation demands it. They may conduct their visits through a delegate. What they deem profitable in the Lord by way of counsel, admonition, orders, or correction, even the removal of some official, should be received by all with a grateful and humble spirit.
Tertiaries who are not members of some Fraternity should regard the Master General or the Prior Provincial as their Superior in the Third Order. Others who have been enrolled in some Fraternity depend also on the Director and other Superiors of this same Fraternity.
The institution of the Director of each Fraternity in the churches of the Order is exclusively reserved to the Master General or the Prior provincial. In churches not belonging to the Order the consent of the local Ordinary is also required beforehand.
The office of Director lasts for three years at the end of which time the same Director may be reappointed.
The Director during his term of office can, by virtue of the said office, do those things, which pertain to the spiritual instruction and direction of the Brothers and Sisters. The laws of the Church should be observed in regard to the sermons to be preached.
At least once a year secular directors must send to the Provincial a statement concerning the condition and progress of the Fraternity committed to their care.
Chapter XV
In every Fraternity there should be a Prior, a Sub-Prior, a Novice Master and other Officials and Councilors.
The Council of the Fraternity should not exceed twelve members. The Prior, Sub-Prior, and Novice Master are members of the Council in virtue of their offices.
In establishing a Fraternity all officers will be installed by the Provincial. The same will be done after the dissolution of the Council, which takes place as often as the Council for any cause leaves office.
The term of office of the Officials and Councilors, lasts for three years; but each year a third part of the Councilors will be renewed by the Director with the cooperation of the remainder of the Council. In the year in which the Officials are to be removed, let the Council be first completed. Then let the Prior and other Officials be instituted by the Director conjointly with the completed Council. In case of dissension between the Director and Council, recourse should be had to the Prior Provincial.
Chapter XVI
The Office of Prior and Other Officials
It will be the duty of the Prior to take care that the Rule is observed by all. He should also take care that nothing in deportment, manner of life, and dress be done by any Brother of the Fraternity that can give disedification. If he sees any transgression or negligence, he should charitably rebuke and correct it, or if it seems more advantageous, he should have recourse to the authority of the Director.
The other Officials of the Fraternity should perform those duties, which, according to those particular customs and necessities of each Fraternity, seem most fitting.
The Sub-Prior holds place of the Prior in his absence.
The Council should be called by the Director, who presides at it in person, each time the vote of the Council is required according to the Rule, or when matters of greater moment are to be handled according to its particular rule.
Chapter XVIII
The Meetings of the Brethren
Once a month the members of the Fraternity, should assemble to hear instructions given by the Director and to assist at Mass if the hour makes this possible.
The Director, himself, should read and expound the Rule, he should inform the Brethren of the activities, he should correct and rebuke carelessness as occasion demands and as he deems expedient, according to God and the Rule.
The Suffrages should be said for the living and the dead with absolution from faults because of transgressions of the Rule.
Chapter XVIII
The Correction of the Brethren
If anyone shall have committed a notable fault and, admonished by the Director, will not reform, he should be corrected according to his condition and according to the grave or light nature of the fault. He may be excluded for a time from the companionship of the Brethren or even entirely – with the consent, however, of the Council of the Fraternity. If after one or more admonitions he neglects to mend his ways, he cannot be readmitted without the consent of the Council.
Only the Master General or the Provincial has the right to dismiss anyone for grave reasons from the Third Order, and, in case of grave scandal, without previous warning.
Chapter XIX
The Master General has full power to dispense from any precept of this Rule. Moreover, the Provincial within the limits of his jurisdiction, or even the Director in his Fraternity, or one delegated by them has the power to dispense the Tertiaries in particular cases for a reasonable cause.
The precepts of this Rule, except those which are divine or ecclesiastical laws, do not oblige the Brothers and the Sisters under pain of sin before God, but only under penalty fixed by the law, or to be fixed by the Prelate or Director as was stated in Chapter XVIII. However, mindful of their Profession, all the Brethren should fulfill the precepts of the Rule with the help and grace of our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, God, forever and ever.

Very few Traditional Catholic Third Order Chapters exist today.
Why should I become a Third Order Tertiary?

The Third Order has been in existence for over 700 years, and provides an abundance of graces and indulgences, including monthly plenary indulgences. In addition, all members are entitled to the reward for the good works of all other members. Though one should not seek to join a Third Order for the sole purpose of seeking graces and indulgences. Those considering joining any Third Order should first have a motive or "calling" to strive for perfection. Not all Catholics may have this motive (or at least may not have it yet).

Once a person feels they have this motive, then seeking graces and indulgences through membership in a Third Order may become a natural desire. Another inspiration for us to become Third Order Tertiaries; if we look at the list of Saints and Blesseds that have been Dominican Tertiaries over the last 700 years (see link above), becoming a member is clearly a sign of predestination!

How do I become a member?

To inquire about becoming a  tertiary e-mail me at: 
Or, you may also ask your traditional priest.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tertiaries' Manual & April Chapter meeting

I am happy to announce that I have just won a first edition (1952) copy in very good condition of the Dominican Tertiaries Manual!!    These are very hard to come by these day and I have been looking for one and praying that I would be able to find and afford one...

This book measures just 3 3/4" x 5" x 3/4" thick. The book has a red cloth cover and is in pretty nice condition. There is some minor wear, but not much, and the pages are all very nice and clean, none of which are torn, bent, or written upon, and the binding is solid

This is solid true Dominican spirituality at its best free from all of the Vatican 2 and post Conciliar heresies that have sprung up in our beloved Religious Order and the Church worldwide..

I thank firstly Our Blessed Mother for Her intercession and helping me find one of these,
Secondly the powerful intercession of our Holy Father Dominic, and all our Dominican Saints...

Our April Chapter Meeting covered 
First Part, Question 1, Article 10 of the Summa:

First Part, Question 1, Article 10. Whether in Holy Scripture a word may have several senses?

Objection 1. It seems that in Holy Writ a word cannot have several senses, historical or literal, allegorical, tropological or moral, and anagogical. For many different senses in one text produce confusion and deception and destroy all force of argument. Hence no argument, but only fallacies, can be deduced from a multiplicity of propositions. But Holy Writ ought to be able to state the truth without any fallacy. Therefore in it there cannot be several senses to a word. 

Objection 2. Further, Augustine says (De util. cred. iii) that "the Old Testament has a fourfold division as to history, etiology, analogy and allegory." Now these four seem altogether different from the four divisions mentioned in the first objection. Therefore it does not seem fitting to explain the same word of Holy Writ according to the four different senses mentioned above.

Objection 3. Further, besides these senses, there is the parabolical, which is not one of these four. 

On the contrary, Gregory says (Moral. xx, 1): "Holy Writ by the manner of its speech transcends every science, because in one and the same sentence, while it describes a fact, it reveals a mystery." 

I answer that, I answer that, The author of Holy Writ is God, in whose power it is to signify His meaning, not by words only (as man also can do), but also by things themselves. So, whereas in every other science things are signified by words, this science has the property, that the things signified by the words have themselves also a signification. Therefore that first signification whereby words signify things belongs to the first sense, the historical or literal. That signification whereby things signified by words have themselves also a signification is called the spiritual sense, which is based on the literal, and presupposes it. Now this spiritual sense has a threefold division. For as the Apostle says (Hebrews 10:1) the Old Law is a figure of the New Law, and Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. i) "the New Law itself is a figure of future glory." Again, in the New Law, whatever our Head has done is a type of what we ought to do. Therefore, so far as the things of the Old Law signify the things of the New Law, there is the allegorical sense; so far as the things done in Christ, or so far as the things which signify Christ, are types of what we ought to do, there is the moral sense. But so far as they signify what relates to eternal glory, there is the anagogical sense. Since the literal sense is that which the author intends, and since the author of Holy Writ is God, Who by one act comprehends all things by His intellect, it is not unfitting, as Augustine says (Confess. xii), if, even according to the literal sense, one word in Holy Writ should have several senses. 

Reply to Objection 1. The multiplicity of these senses does not produce equivocation or any other kind of multiplicity, seeing that these senses are not multiplied because one word signifies several things, but because the things signified by the words can be themselves types of other things. Thus in Holy Writ no confusion results, for all the senses are founded on one — the literal — from which alone can any argument be drawn, and not from those intended in allegory, as Augustine says (Epis. 48). Nevertheless, nothing of Holy Scripture perishes on account of this, since nothing necessary to faith is contained under the spiritual sense which is not elsewhere put forward by the Scripture in its literal sense. 

Reply to Objection 2. These three — history, etiology, analogy — are grouped under the literal sense. For it is called history, as Augustine expounds (Epis. 48), whenever anything is simply related; it is called etiology when its cause is assigned, as when Our Lord gave the reason why Moses allowed the putting away of wives — namely, on account of the hardness of men's hearts; it is called analogy whenever the truth of one text of Scripture is shown not to contradict the truth of another. Of these four, allegory alone stands for the three spiritual senses. Thus Hugh of St. Victor (Sacram. iv, 4 Prolog.) includes the anagogical under the allegorical sense, laying down three senses only — the historical, the allegorical, and the tropological. 

Reply to Objection 3. The parabolical sense is contained in the literal, for by words things are signified properly and figuratively. Nor is the figure itself, but that which is figured, the literal sense. When Scripture speaks of God's arm, the literal sense is not that God has such a member, but only what is signified by this member, namely operative power. Hence it is plain that nothing false can ever underlie the literal sense of Holy Writ.

Are you AWAKE about The Watchtower?


Recently I have been inundated with comments from the JWs with their standard critiques and challenges. Now for you my dear Catholic readers who may not know that much about them or their organization formally known as:  The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society I posting here a copy of a long out of print Catholic critique of the JWs Originally published in 1963 and distributed by the Knights of Columbus.

After posting this I am moving on from the JWs and will offer a full 15 Decade Rosary for the conversion of these poor misguided souls..

A Catholic Critique of Jehovah's Witnesses

In what follows we shall attempt to investigate the more outstanding pecularities of the Witnesses’ creed….We would emphasize our purpose in doing this, which is not to ridicule or make light of anyone’s beliefs simply because they are not our beliefs. What has prompted this analysis is the Witnesses’ own insistence on their beliefs as truths which contradict our beliefs and are incompatible with them. We shall approach the Witnesses’ creed from the standpoint of those elements in it which are avowedly destructive of the Judeo-Christian tradition in which we stand. In doing so, we hope to do a service not merely for those of the Catholic religion but also for all who share the concern of the Catholic Church for the fundamental doctrines and values of the Christianity which has molded our society….

If our judgments have sounded harsh, we insist that we have intended no ridicule for honestly held beliefs as such. Sincerity in belief is an admirable quality. Respect for sincerity, however, may not ever blind us to the duty of service to the truth, and of the defense of our own cherished heritage. We have addressed ourselves far less to the Witnesses themselves than to those who have been the targets of their propagandizing.

Made in America

The sect known today as Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has become one of the familiar oddities of the religious scene in America, can hardly be adequately explained apart from the history of the land that gave it birth. In its own way, it is as American as hot dogs and baseball. It has sprung from the same fertile soil that has produced Christian Science, Mormonism, the Black Muslims, and the hundreds of other religious curiosities that have left American without rival in this particular line of human endeavor.

Though the Witnesses claim to have existed for some six thousand years or more, less romantic and more objective historians trace their origin to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, about the year 1872. It was in this year that Charles Taze Russell (“Pastor Russell”), a Congregationalist layman, came to the many of the conclusions that have remained ever after the basic Witness dogmas. Russell published his conclusions in a series entitled Studies in the Scriptures which gained him a large reading public and many followers. The Watchtower, the now quite famous publication of the group whose first leader he was, began to appear in 1879.

The Adventist movement was very strong in the America of Russell’s day, and it was on Adventism that Russell founded his main body of doctrine, thus forming one of an endless series of sects that have emerged from Adventist speculation. Despite the Lord’s own words concerning His Second Coming, “Of that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Mark 13:32), words that have always convinced orthodox Christians that such speculation is not only useless but also unscriptural, prophets like Russell have appeared with deadly regularity to play on the religious credulity and curiosity and have generally succeeded, as he did, in gathering a following of devout believers.

Russell’s most precise predictions were made in 1891. The Second Coming of Christ, he proclaimed, had already taken place, invisibly in 1874. The Millennium itself would begin before the close of 1914, after a forty-years period during which the true members of Christ’s Church would be prepared under Russell’s guidance. At the time of the Millennium would occur the general resurrection and final judgment. The results of the latter would be the complete annihilation of the wicked—Russell had also come to the conclusion that there could be no such thing as eternal punishment—and the everlasting life granted to the “saints,” either in heaven or on a new earth cleansed of all evil.

The Great Pyramid

Russell’s grounds for these beliefs was the usual mishmash of Biblical passages inherited from generations of free-lance interpretation in fundamentalist circles. However, he combined with this another mother lode of fruitless speculation that commanded much interest in America at this time. This was the curious superstition that pretends to find secret wisdom and prophecy hidden in the dimensions and structure of the Great Pyramid of Egypt. Readers may be familiar with one form of this superstition from the newspaper advertisements of the Rosacrucians, a sect which has no pretensions to the “Bible religion” of the Witnesses. Here Russell was influenced by a certain Charles Piazzi Smyth, who had already combined Biblical speculation with “pyramidology,” finding references to the Great Pyramid in such passages as this: “In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt…” (Isa. 19:19-20). Russell’s predictions were based equally on the Bible and the Great Pyramid.

The original legal name of Russell’s followers was Zion’s Watchtower Tract Society, which was changed in 1896 to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. His followers generally referred to themselves as “Bible Students,” which was taken from another one of their legal corporations: International Bible Students Association. The name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” was adopted in 1931 at the suggestion of Russell’s successor, “Judge” J.F. Rutherford, who took it from such Biblical passages as Isaiah 43:12 and John 18:37, identifying the sect with those of whom the Bible had spoken. It was Rutherford, too, who rid the sect of the embarrassment of “pyramidology” after Russell’s death in 1916. The Witnesses now claim to base themselves on the Bible alone, without reference to the Great Pyramid.

 Russell’s Millennium, of course, did not break out in 1914. The first World War did begin in Europe at that time, however, and it seemed that that was what the founder had somehow been talking about all along. Later, Russell’s works were revised to clear up the discrepancy: whereas he had written, “…The deliverance of the saints must take place sometime before 1914….,” the revised text read: “…The deliverance of the saints must take place very soon after 1914…” The current party line has it that in 1914 Christ began “an invisible reign of righteousness”—whatever that may mean. (The belief that 1874 marked Christ’s Second Coming has long since been discarded.) Prophets like Russell rarely lose their following merely because their prophecies prove to be false; the credulity that can accept them in the first place remains strong enough to survive scandals of this kind. However, the Witnesses today, now that both Russell and Rutherford are dead, have learnt to make their prophecies in very general terms, and they do not encourage the reading of their founders’ prophetical works.


Neither Russell nor Rutherford were men of much education, despite the
scraps of borrowed learning that appear in their pages. Both of them had a
genius for organization, however, and their sect has continued to grow and
flourish within the framework they gave it, displaying a zeal worthy of far
better causes and flooding the world with literally millions of books and
pamphlets in scores of languages. In recent years it has even developed a
scholarship of sorts, represented in its own translation of the Bible and
the studies which have accompanied it. Of this we shall say more later.

The Americanism of the sect is readily apparent in its publications, despite
the fact that many of these are published abroad. The articles that one
finds in the German, French, Italian, or Spanish editions of the Watchtower
and other Witness literature, or in the editions of other European, African,
and Asian languages, are all faithful translations of what appeared
originally in American English and emanated from headquarters in Brooklyn.
One is reminded of nothing so much as the foreign editions of the Reader's
Digest, particularly in view of the fact that many of the articles are not
even sectarian in character but are of the "uplift" and "self-help" variety.
Though obviously the teachings of the sect have struck a responsive chord in
minds of like disposition throughout the world, and though the claim is made
that matters of administration are handled by an international board, one
has the impression that in every sense of the word the leadership of the
Witnesses has remained solidly in American hands. The keen business sense
and efficient production methods shown by this leadership are also quite
American, and cause us to believe that the movement will be with us yet for
a long time.

The Witnesses

Because of these facts and because of the intense and capable propagandizing
carried out by the sect, it has occurred to us that the Witnesses are
deserving of the short analysis that appears in the following pages.
Americans, it seems to us, should be particularly interested in an
organization whose character and existence could hardly be accounted for
outside the peculiar religious and other influences that have long existed
in our country. In what follows we shall attempt to investigate the more
outstanding peculiarities of the Witnesses' creed, along the lines that have
already been outlined above. We would emphasize our purpose in doing this,
which is not to ridicule or make light of anyone's beliefs simply because
they are not our beliefs. What has prompted this analysis is the Witnesses'
own insistence on their beliefs as truths which contradict our beliefs and
are incompatible with them. We shall approach the Witnesses' creed from the
standpoint of those elements in it which are avowedly destructive of the
Judeo-Christian tradition in which we stand. In doing so, we hope to do a
service not merely for those of the Catholic religion but also for all who
share the concern of the Catholic Church for the fundamental doctrines and
values of the Christianity which has molded our society.

Bible Versus Cult

As has already been indicated, the Witnesses owe the origin of their curious
beliefs to that complete disdain for any traditional control of Biblical
interpretation that has accounted for the scores of marvelous sects that
have arisen from "Bible religion." The principle of private judgment as the
determinant of Bible faith has rightly been blamed for this often scandalous
state of affairs, though, to be sure, the question is somewhat more delicate
than this. Though Protestantism adopts the Bible as a rule of faith in a way
somewhat different from that of Catholicism, and though private judgment
determines this rule for Protestantism in a way that it does not in
Catholicism, actually Protestantism has never maintained the absolute
independence of private judgment against the tradition within which the
Bible was written and in which it has been used. Here, of course, we are
speaking of those authentically Protestant bodies which regard themselves as
constituting the Christian Church in reform. For them to have done otherwise
would be to invite anarchy--the very anarchy, in fact, to which groups like
the Witnesses have brought us.

That a person with no other equipment than a knowledge of the English
language and a seventeenth century English translation of the Bible in his
hands is qualified to decide all matters of eternal consequence for himself
and the rest of mankind, is the ridiculous conclusion to which the principle
of private judgment can finally be brought. In such a process, the countless
generations of devout people who have lived and died according to other
beliefs simply count for nothing. The centuries of thought and prayer that
have gone into the interpretation of the Bible for all these generations
likewise count for nothing. The very men who wrote the Bible--who,
obviously, held to a faith that could not be sustained by a patchwork of
texts culled from Genesis to Revelation and back again, books that did not
then exist--these men, too, count for nothing. All that does matter,
apparently, is that a Pennsylvania draper ignorant of the Biblical languages
and without the vaguest conception of the Bible's historical origins should
have the right to pronounce on the meaning of a book and to judge all
mankind of the past, present, and future on the basis of his pronouncements.
Here, as a Protestant author once observed, is a species of arrogance
compared with which the Pope of Rome, with his claim to infallibility, is
grovelling in the dust. For the Pope claims only to be the voice of
Christian tradition. He cannot, as Pastor Russell did, discover new truths
about which Christian antiquity was ignorant.

Bible Scholarship

The most obvious trademark of a crank or cultist interpretation of the
Bible, as of anything else, is the fact that it stands in contradiction to
the agreed conclusions of sound and disinterested scholarship. This is the
case with regard to the Witnesses' approach to what they claim to be
Biblical religion. It is inevitable that this should be the case, since this
approach grew out of a total ignorance of Biblical scholarship--a fact which
none of the Hebrew and Greek words which the Witnesses have lately begun to scatter throughout their publications will ever be able to conceal.

Take, for example, the very name by which the Witnesses wish to be known.
The word "Jehovah" has become one of the fetishes of their cult, assuming an
importance for them which it has certainly had for no other group known to
mankind. The word is derived from the name which the ancient Israelites used
to distinguish their God from the gods of the Gentiles. It is derived from
that name, however, quite incorrectly. The Hebrews called their God by a
name which was written YHWH--all in consonants, we note, since the Hebrew
alphabet has no vowels. The pronunciation of the name, which existed
independently of the spelling, was doubtless something like "Yahweh."
Through an exaggerated type of reverence for the name--and also because the
name eventually ceased to be used--later Jews never pronounced it, and as a
result the original pronunciation is not sure to this day. What is
absolutely sure, however, is that it was never pronounced "Jehovah." This
version derives from a  misreading of the Hebrew Bible after it had been
supplied with vowel indications in later Christian times. The vowel
indications that had been attached to this word were actually taken from
another, the Hebrew word for "My Lord" which was customarily pronounced
instead of the sacred name YHWH.

Now the Witnesses themselves know this nowadays, even if earlier Witnesses
did not. On page 25 of their New World Translation of the Christian Greek
Scriptures they admit this fact, but say that they have "retained the form
`Jehovah' because of people's familiarity with it since the fourteenth
century" (that is, the fourteenth century after Christ). The fact is,
however, as the editors of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible have
pointed out: "1) The word `Jehovah' does not accurately represent any form
of the Name ever used in Hebrew; and 2) the use of any proper name for the
one and only God as though there were other gods from whom He had to be
distinguished, was discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is
entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church." The
editors make this sensible statement in justifying their abandonment of the
impossible "Jehovah" that has found its way into some older English
translations of the Bible.


What began, therefore, merely as an erroneous reading of an ancient Hebrew
word has now become a dogma of faith to be supported by any argument and to held at all costs out of proportion to its importance. In the Foreword to
the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures (1950 edition)
no less than fifteen pages are devoted to this question, not simply to
justify the use of the word at all, but in order to justify its use in
translating the New Testament. The Witnesses make much of the fact that in
the ancient manuscripts of the Old Testament (known as the Septuagint or
LXX), the name YHWH was frequently left untranslated in its Hebrew
consonants. From this they somehow want to draw the conclusion that the same thing was true of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. As a matter of fact, out of the thousands of New Testament manuscripts that we possess there is not a single one that will justify such a conclusion--and the NewTestament is the best and most meticulously documented body of literature of all antiquity. Not only is there no evidence in any single instance to
justify the 237 times the Witnesses have placed "Jehovah" in the New
Testament text, there is no evidence to justify even the correct Old
Testament form in such cases. The early Christians who wrote the New
Testament certainly did not use this name, but rather the word "Lord," which
they also applied to Christ. Here, therefore, we have a pathetic example of
pseudoscholarship attempting to defend the indefensible.

The gradual abandonment of the use of YHWH by the Israelites can be seen in
the Old Testament itself. The most ancient parts of the Mosaic traditions
that have been assembled in the Pentateuch, for example, tend to use the
name YHWH for Israel's God, while the parts that were written down later
tend to use the word Elohim ("deity," or, simply, "God"). But one of the
most obvious evidences is in the so-called Elohistic Psalter, that is,
Psalms 42 to 83. In all these Psalms the word Elohim was systematically
substituted for YHWH wherever it occurred. Thus it is that Psalm 53 actually reproduces a Psalm that had already been taken into the Psalter at an earlier stage in its formation (Psalm 14), the only difference, for all practical purposes, being the use of the divine name.

Why such a thing should have occurred is not too difficult to explain. Even though the Bible ascribes the name YHWH to divine revelation (Ex. 6:3) and though it was therefore most sacred to the Israelites, there was also the danger that it could be misunderstood. It might be thought that Yahweh was
the local god of the Hebrews, just as Chemosh was the god of the Moabites,Marduk the god of the Babylonians, and so on. It was to insist on the fact
that Yahweh was the one true God of all mankind, therefore, that the proper name was increasingly avoided or replaced by other terms. Even when the Jews continued to write YHWH, they said "God" or "Lord"--whence the later vowel indications in the Hebrew Bible which have nothing to do with the
pronunciation of YHWH at all. "Lord," in Greek Kyrios, became the ordinary substitute for the YHWH of the Old Testament. That "Lord" had such divine connotations is the point of Christ's question in Mark 12:35-37. It was withthe same connotations that Christ was recognized by the first Christians as
"the Lord Jesus."

Language Confusion

The limits to which imagination will go in attempting to support the unsupportable are shown in the argument which the Witnesses employ to justify some of the "Jehovahs" in their translation of the New Testament.
First of all, the tradition that the Apostle Matthew originally wrote his Gospel in "Hebrew" is interpreted to mean Old Testament Hebrew rather than the Aramaic which was the language of Palestinian Jews in Matthew's time."In recent years," the Witnesses write, "some have claimed that Matthew's
Gospel account was at first written in Hebrew rather than in its kindred language, the Aramaic." Some have claimed this, indeed, but on the basis of evidence that has not convinced the ordinary scholar. The Witnesses, however, prefer Hebrew to an Aramaic Matthew, since YHWH was not used in
Aramaic. The Witnesses go on: "It is now believed Matthew himself translated his Gospel account into the Greek," and: "He could follow the LXX practice
and incorporate the divine name in its proper place in the Greek text." Just by whom it is believed that Matthew translated his Semitic Gospel into
Greek, is not made clear. The tradition by which alone we know that there was an Aramaic Matthew indicates precisely the opposite. Most scholars agree
that the Greek Matthew of our Bibles is hardly a "translation" in the accepted sense of the word at all, but a Greek work through and through.
That it was heavily dependant on the Aramaic work known from tradition and used it as a model justifies our calling it Matthew's Gospel, but does make
it a translation in the strict sense of the word. Who its inspired author was, we do not know. The list of names which the Witnesses allege from the
early Church as testifying to the existence of a Semitic Gospel of Matthew in the fourth and fifth Christian centuries is quite worthless. As is now known, these persons had mistaken Matthew's original Gospel for the "Gospel of the Hebrews," an apocryphal work which still survives in fragments and which is filled with legendary additions to the authentic Gospel history.

All in all, the pages which the Witnesses have devoted to the subject of "Jehovah" appear to the disinterested observer as much ado about nothing. Even if it were true, which it emphatically is not, that the Hebrews called God by the name "Jehovah," the matter would be entirely irrelevant to Christians. The introduction of the name and the importance attached to it
in the Witnesses' translation of the New Testament simply stamp thistranslation as eccentric.


Another matter of greater consequence which rose from Pastor Russell's misunderstanding of the Bible also characterizes the creed of the Witnesses.
This is their denial of the immortality of the human soul, a denial that ties in with their rejection of eternal punishment and the strange interpretation they give to certain passages of the Book of Revelation which concern the future life of the elect.

In the appendix to the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures (1950 edition) some five pages are devoted to the translations given the word "soul."  In the appendix to the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (1953 edition) another eleven pages deal with the same subject. What all of these references go to prove is that the Semites who
wrote the Bible looked on the human personality in a somewhat different fashion from our own. This is not a question of Biblical revelation, but of the notions of human psychology entertained by Biblical authors.

The Hebrew did not, as we do, think of man as a composite of body and soul. When he used the word nefesh, which in older translations of the Bible
appears as "soul," he meant the whole personality--body and soul together,
as we would think of it. Thus it is that modern translations of the Bible ordinarily do not translate the word as "soul," since that is to give an erroneous impression of what the Bible author would have been talking about.The word nefesh simply meant a living being, animal or human. In the same way, he used the same word, ruach, translated "spirit" or "breath," for the life principle of all living things. Neither does this word mean "soul"--it simply designated the concrete evidence and fact of breathing life. The same ideas lie behind the Greek words which were used in the LXX to translate the Hebrew, and which the New Testament authors used in their own works.

We repeat, this is not Biblical revelation, but part of the mental framework of the Biblical authors. The better insights that we have into the physical make-up of the human personality are a gain of subsequent scientific knowledge that is as much the gift of God as Biblical revelation itself. We are no more to be restricted by the limitations of the Biblical authors in
their knowledge of human psychology than we are to be restricted by their limitations in other realms of science. What we have to do is accept
Biblical revelation, but accept it in terms that we know must agree with sound scientific knowledge, since the God of revelation and the God Who is
also the Author of nature's laws cannot contradict Himself. Thus, whereas the Bible does not, it is true, speak of the immortality of the human soul--a concept which it does not have in our sense of the word--it does speak of the immortality of the human person. And in our language, this means the immortality of the human soul.

Science and Scripture

A good example to illustrate how we must translate Biblical language into our own in a similar instance can be found in the revelation of the creation of the world in Genesis. The Biblical authors thought of the earth as a flat disk floating on water ("the waters beneath the earth," Gen 1:2, Job 28:14,etc.), anchored there by foundation pillars (Job 38:4, Prov. 8:29, Ps 18:16,
etc.), over which was arched the sky, a "firmament" shiny and "hard as a bronze mirror" (Job 37:18, etc.).  Obviously, this conception of the universe is not our own--we have far better knowledge of the structure of the earth and sky and their make-up than did the Biblical authors.  What we must take from the Bible is not its authors' unscientific view of the universe, but the revealed truth that the universe is God's creation, a revelation which the author of Genesis communicated using his unscientific conception of its structure.

In the same way, when Revelation 6:14 speaks of "heaven passing away as a scroll that is rolled up," the author is thinking of the sky in the Old Testament conception, a kind of bowl inverted over the earth, hard and shiny. The Hebrew word we translate as "firmament" means just that: something solid that has been beaten out and shaped. The sky, we know, is
not really this, even though that is the way the Biblical authors thought of it. Once again we have Biblical revelation--the end of the present universe as we know it--which, however, we must understand in terms other than those the Biblical authors used.

Does the Bible, then, teach the immortality of the human person? Most assuredly. To restrict ourselves solely to the words of Christ as reported in the Gospels, consider His teaching in Matthew 25:31-46 (Witnesses' translation): "When the Son of man arrives in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right: `Come, you who have my Father's blessing, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world's foundation...' Then he will say, in turn, to those on his left: `Be on your way from me, you who have been
cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels...' And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life."


The Witnesses would have us believe that this language is to be taken figuratively, at least as far as the accursed are concerned. An everlasting fire, they say, but it burns nobody--immortality is God's gift to the just, but the wicked are simply annihilated. Thus their strange translation,"cutting-off," in the above passage, for what other translations universally
render "punishment." The Witnesses suggest in a footnote  that the word means "Literally, a `pruning'; hence a curtailing, a holding in check." This is quite incorrect, as anyone can verify by consulting a Greek dictionary on the word kolasis. It means "mutilation," "torture," "punishment." The precise word occurs one other time, in 1 John 4:18, where it has been again
mistranslated by the Witnesses--here, however, probably because the translator simply did not understand the text. The verb of the same root,
kolazein, also occurs twice in 2 Peter 2:9 where again it is a question of eternal punishment, the Witnesses deliberately avoid using this word, and
translate "to be cut off." But in Acts 4:21, where none of their dogma is at stake, they finally come right out and translate "to punish," which is exactly what the word means.

It is pointless to attempt to deny the obvious fact that the Bible teaches an eternal reward for the just and an eternal punishment for the wicked. One
may not like such a teaching, but it is the height of dishonesty to change the Bible in order to suit one's likes and dislikes and still claim to depend on the Bible as the word of God. Eternal punishment, of course, involves a natural immortality in man. We refer to this as man's immortal soul. The Biblical authors referred to it otherwise, since they did not use
the word "soul" as we do.

Neither does the idea of eternal punishment make God into a vindictive torturer. He is a Judge, not an executioner. Hell is a state which the wicked have willingly chosen for themselves, and the punishment that they must endure there is only what is due their sins. They are their own executioners. Furthermore, no suffering that could possibly be inflicted on
them would equal that which is the very essence of hell itself--to endure for all eternity the realization that they have closed upon themselves the gateway to salvation, that they have denied to themselves what their souls were designed for, to be united with God. This is the denial of that hope which is at the heart of the New Testament message of salvation.

Judaizing the Gospel

From the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline letters we know of one of the earliest heresies that afflicted the young Christian Church, the heresy of Judaizing. This heresy took various forms, but all of them had one trait in common, and that was a misunderstanding of the relation of the Old Testament to the New.

In its most blatant form, Judaizing attempted to impose the Mosaic Law on Christian converts, including ritual circumcision and the Jewish dietary
laws which were a figure only of the realities which had been fulfilled in Christ. Despite the fact that such a movement could only end in denying the efficacy of Christ's salvation, and despite the fact that the New Testament record is quite clear in its rejection of this entire heresy, one still finds isolated instances today of those who call themselves Christians advocating such practices--"calling to account for what you eat or drink or in regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath" (Col. 2:16)--and even appealing for their justification to the words and example of Christ
Himself. Obviously, any sect which can adopt such a viewpoint towards the divine revelation contained in the Bible is not Christian at all. It is, rather, a religion like that of Islam, which has made for itself a unique
combination of Jewish and Christian elements along with its own modifications.

The Witnesses are such a Judaizing sect. They do not, it is true, profess the Mosaic Law in its entirety as of divine obligation for mankind under the rule of Christ's grace. Neither do they insist on the Jewish Sabbath as do some other allegedly Christian sects. Nevertheless, their entire attitude towards the Old Testament is a Judaizing one, as will be seen from a few examples.

In the preceding section we spoke of the Witnesses' denial of the immortality of the soul. To support this belief, they lay great stress on such passages as this from Ezekiel 18:4, "The soul that sins shall die."

To quote Ezekiel to prove such a thing, one has to forget or to be ignorant of certain things. One thing, as we already pointed out, is that the word translated here as "soul" does not mean what we understand by the human soul. It means, rather, the human person himself. Thus, more accurate modern translations have something quite different: "The person who sins shall die" ( An American Translation); "Only the one who sins shall die" (Confraternity Translation). On the other hand, Ezekiel is repeating the well-known
Biblical doctrine, that death is the consequence of sin (Gen. 2:17).

Secondly, when Ezekiel is read in his context, it becomes obvious why he makes this statement, which is not to say anything at all about the immortality of man one way or the other, but to define the limits of divine punishment. Whereas in the past God had dealt with man as a member of a people, therefore "inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness on
the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation" (Ex. 20:5), in the New Covenant that was to come, it would not be so. In the
New Covenant, Ezekiel revealed in the name of God, punishment would be inflicted only on the one who sinned. When one reads the entire passage, this meaning becomes quite clear.

The Witnesses' use of such a text, however, is entirely indicative of their approach to the Old and New Testaments, in which the relation of the one to
the other is obscured, and no account is taken of the stage of history to which each refer and in which each becomes comprehensible. This attitude is
typical of the frame of mind sometimes called Fundamentalism or, less correctly, Biblical Literalism, in which the Bible simply becomes a mine of
texts to be slapped together in any helter-skelter fashion, without reference to author, context, or literary background.

Life After Death

Associated with the question we discussed in the preceding section is the idea of retribution for saint and sinner that the Witnesses derive from
their Judaizing interpretation of the Bible. Specifically, we refer to the state of the dead  as portrayed in the Old Testament.

It is only at the very end of the Old Testament period that the Jews were given any clear-cut revelation concerning the nature of life after death.
The most explicit references to this occur in those books which the Witnesses exclude from their translation of the Old Testament--books,
however, which modern Scripture scholars admit are necessary for understanding the progress of revelation from the Old Testament to the New.
For all practical purposes, therefore, the revelation of a resurrection, of a blessed immortality for the just, and of eternal punishment must be sought in the New Testament. There are several reasons why this should have been the case.

Firstly, the very relation of the Old Testament to the New made an early revelation of these truths inadvisable. Since our Lord Jesus Christ was to
be the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18), whose return to the Father victorious from the sacrifice of the cross and resurrection from the dead
was necessary that a place be prepared for all who believe (John 14:2), there was little point in giving the people of the Old Testament too precise
a knowledge of the afterlife. They could merely have been told that it was their lot at best to wait, perhaps for ages, until the coming of the Redeemer made heaven a possibility for them. This was not a possibility until the coming of Christ (John 3:13); until then, the dead could only wait in "prison" for the redemption (1 Pet. 3:19-20).

Secondly, by lack of precise knowledge of the afterlife the Israelites were spared the many superstitions and vain observances of their Gentile
neighbors with respect to the dead. In this, the religion of Israel contrasts strikingly with that of ancient Egypt, for example, or ancient Babylonia, where a man's whole life and much of his substance might be
frittered away in vain preoccupations about his condition after death. The pyramids of Egypt are monuments to other follies than that of Pastor
Russell's speculations on the Second Coming of Christ.

The Mystery of the Afterlife

For whatever reason, the fact remains that the Old Testament has little to say about the afterlife. The people of the Old Testament knew that death did not end all, but precisely what did take place after death was largely a mystery to them. As a result, the orientation of the Old Testament is almost entirely towards a this-worldly view of rewards and punishments. This in turn explains some of the “problem” literature of the Old Testament, such as the book of Job. Had Job known of the New Testament revelation concerning the afterlife, much of what troubled him would have already found an explanation in his mind.

The Old Testament calls the place of the dead by the name Sheol, a word the exact meaning of which is unknown. Older translations used to put this in English as “hell.” Actually, there is nothing wrong with this translation, since the English word originally meant any place to which the dead went, without regard to the condition of the dead in that place. Thus we say in the Apostles’ Creed that Christ “descended into hell,” merely repeating the idea of such Biblical texts as 1 Peter 3:18-20. However, because “hell” in present-day English means for most people the hell of damnation, other translations are now used for Sheol. The Revised Standard Version simply transliterates the word as Sheol; the Confraternity Translation gives it as “the nether world.” Sometimes the Old Testament calls Sheol “the pit” or abaddon, a word that probably means “the place of those who have perished.” In the LXX and in the New Testament the Greek equivalent for Sheol is Hades.

The Old Testament thought of Sheol as a definite place, not merely the grave. It was a place beneath the earth, and also beneath the “waters under the earth” (see Job 26:5-6 and 38:16-17). It was barred by gates (Job 38:17), a place of darkness (Ps. 88:7) and of silence (Ps. 115:17).

There is not a single Old Testament view of Sheol and the fate of the dead beyond the few facts that we have just outlined—in the Old Testament times mystery surrounds the afterlife that is only to be solved by the revelation given on the threshold of the New Testament. Thus Job, who had not received the revelation of the resurrection, believed that no one ever returned from Sheol (7:9, 10:21, 14:12), and also that everyone, good and bad, went without distinction to the same place (3:3-19). This seems to have been the majority view. On the other hand, Ezekiel emphatically distinguishes the fate of the uncircumcised enemies of Israel from that of the heroes of ancient times—both are in Sheol, but not together (32:17-32). For Isaiah 24:21-22 the pit is a place of punishment, which he calls a prison.

Punishment After Death

The idea that the wicked find a place of punishment after death is expressed very clearly in Isaiah 66:22-24….In contrast to the new Jerusalem which will be the dwelling of the elect of mankind, says the prophet, “They shall go out and see the corpses of the men who rebelled against me; their worm shall not die, nor their fire be extinguished; and they shall be abhorrent to al mankind.” When we remember that for the ancient Israelite the worst fate that could befall the dead was that their bodies should be burnt or left unburied, we understand what is meant by this apparent contradictory picture of bodies being forever burnt and yet consumed by worms. The author is using partly symbolic language to describe an everlasting punishment. It is not surprising, therefore, that Christ quotes this passage in speaking of an eternal punishment that is far worse than death itself (Mark 9:42-48).

Though the author of Isaiah 66:22-24 does not say so explicitly, he was doubtless thinking of the valley of Ge-Hinnom, the rubbish heap outside Jerusalem, as the site of this everlasting punishment of the wicked (see Jeremiah 7:30-8:3). Certainly our Lord uses this word, translated Gehenna in Greek, to designate the place of eternal punishment. The name, of course, is only symbolic, just as is the name “heaven” (which means simply “the sky”) to designate eternal happiness in the presence of God. Daniel 12:2, another passage that comes from a late period in Old Testament times, knows of an eternal life and an eternal disgrace that follow on the resurrection of the dead: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.”

We see, therefore, that the ideas of the Old Testament on the condition of the dead and the matter of retribution are somewhat complex. They also suppose a development leading towards the New Testament. To quote the Old Testament without recognition of these facts adds to the confusion which contributes to the existence of sects like the Witnesses.

The New Testament, in any case, is certainly clear on this matter. The alternative to everlasting life, according to our Lord, is to be thrown into everlasting fire of Gehenna (Matt. 18:8-9). Gehenna is the lot of the wicked following the judgment of God (Matt. 23:33). Where the wicked go, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12). Various other expressions are used to signify the happiness of the just and the punishment of the rejected. One of the best known examples is the parable of the wicked rich man and the poor Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, where the place of torments is called Hades and the place of Lazarus’ reward “Abraham’s bosom.” Now it is very true that this is a parable told by our Lord not to give us precise information about heaven and hell, but to teach other lessons. However, in His parables Jesus did not deal in mythology but with familiar realities—it was with well known and accepted truths that He illustrated His new teaching. In this story, therefore, He supposes along with those who heard him that there was a reward for good and a punishment for the wicked after death.

Blood and Life

Another outstanding example of the way in which the Witnesses have misconstrued the relation of the Old Testament to the New can be found in their strange teaching about blood. As is well known, the Witnesses hold that blood transfusions are a violation of God's law. There are instanceswhere they have permitted persons to die rather than have a  recourse to the remedy which preserves life. Whence comes this extraordinary idea?

In the Old Testament the eating of blood was forbidden by many passages of the Mosaic Law. The reason for this appears in Leviticus 17:11-12: "Since
the life of a living body is in its blood, I have made you put it on the altar, so that atonement may thereby be made for your own lives, because it is the blood, as the seat of life, that makes atonement. That is why I have told the Israelites: No one among you, not even a resident alien, may partake of blood."

In other words, blood, like breath, was regarded as the concrete embodimentof life, the gift of God, and therefore a thing sacred to God. Blood, according to the Law of Moses, was to be used in certain sacred functions of Old Testament ritual, chief among them being the rites whereby atonement was made for sins in the various involved rituals of animal sacrifice. Because of this sacred character, blood was withdrawn from human consumption. To this day orthodox Jews do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood--this is one of the "kosher" or dietary laws.

But not even the most rigorous Jew ever dreamed that this law constitutes a prohibition of blood transfusions! In coming to such a conclusion the
Witnesses have out-rabbied the rabbis of the Middle  Ages. For the law against eating blood obviously had nothing to do with human blood--cannibalism was not a problem for the Israelites. In extending a law
that had one purpose to another conclusion that is totally foreign to that purpose, the Witnesses have truly turned the divine pronouncement into a
senseless legalism and have become guilty of the kind of casuistry that makes a laughingstock out of God's word.

In any case, what does such a law have to do with Christians, for whom the blood rituals of the Mosaic Law are meaningless? An end to the significance
of blood under the Mosaic Law was proclaimed in the pouring out of Christ's blood by which the New Covenant was inaugurated--read the ninth and tenth
chapters of Hebrews, in which it is shown how the blood ritual and the other provisions of the Law were but the shadow of good things to come.

It is true, according to Acts 15:12-29, the infant Church in Jerusalem mentioned blood as one of the things that the Gentile converts to Christianity in the regions of Antioch and Syria and Cilicia should avoid.
The reason for this was also made clear. Since the Jewish population in these regions was extensive, the new Christians were instructed to avoid
giving offense by conforming to Jewish custom in matters  which involved no sacrifice of Christian principle. The decree of the Jerusalem Council was
not a universal ruling of the Church. It was directed to Gentile converts amongst a Jewish population. At the same time, it was made perfectly clear that no Christian was under any obligation to observe the Mosaic Law as a means of salvation--that to recognize any such obligation, as a matter of
fact, would be a denial of Christ. In much the same way, Paul had Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:3), not because he believed that it was in any way
necessary, but because he did not wish to offend the Jews needlessly among whom he planned to work, and the Jews would have been scandalized at the
uncircumcised state of Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman.

The prohibition of blood appears in Genesis 9:4, in one of the later parts of the Mosaic traditions brought into the Pentateuch, as an anticipation of
this provision of the Mosaic Law. The Jews insisted upon this regulation for all who lived among them, Gentiles as well as Israelites, as has been seen
in the law of Leviticus 17:12, mentioned above. It was to avoid giving needless offence to them in the early missionary work of the Church, therefore, that the instruction was given to the Gentile Christians of
Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. It was never intended by the apostolic Church as the expression of any permanent duty of all Christians.

When the word of God is bent to make it a decree of death rather than part of the way of life, truly the Scripture has been perverted. The bizarre interpretation that the Witnesses have given to the Old Testament law of blood has shocked many people because of the wide publicity that it has occasionally been given. Those who believe in the inspired character of the Scripture in the history of God's salvation are even more shocked, however,
by no less pernicious interpretations that have been given to other parts of the divine word, making of it in every true sense a letter that kills.

In the Beginning Was the Word

From the Christian point of view, the worst of the Witnesses’ Judaizing of the Goepel lies in their rejection of the fundamental doctrine of Christianity, the divinity of Jesus Christ.

On an earlier page we spoke of the supreme arrogance that presumes to regard all traditional interpretation of the Scripture as irrelevant. Not only is this an arrogance, however, it is also a total folly that no one would dare to apply to any other area of life than religion.

What would happen, may we imagine, if every doctor were to begin his practice of medicine by disregarding everything that every other doctor before him had done or written? What would be the progress of science, if every scientist were forbidden to profit from the advances and mistakes of his predecessors, and had to begin precisely from the ground up in whatever generation he should find himself? Obviously, there would never be any progress at all. Science would always be beginning, never going anywhere. The same would be true of any other human endeavor, if such were the methodology that had to be followed.

Theology—the science of revelation—and exegesis—the scientific interpretation of the Scriptures—are among such human endeavors. God has committed His word to His people, and the elucidation of this word has been and is being carried out among this people as part of the work He has given them to do. For anyone in a later age to disregard the study of the word of God from the beginning is not only unsound procedure, it is to disregard the very will of God in communicating the word from the beginning.

Because the Witnesses do spurn the historical study of the Bible, reading their Unitarian literature is like taking a refresher course in the ancient Christian heresies. Not a mistake was ever made in these matters that has not been faithfully repeated by the Witnesses—the great difference being that the Witnesses have managed somehow to make contradictory rather than consistent mistakes. The heresies relating to Christology (the study of Christ) are many and varied—embracing such almost forgotten titles as Arianism, Modalism, Adoptionism, Subordinationism (heresies which ran their course in the early Church and disappeared from the Christian scene). But simply name it and read the Witnesses’ literature; eventually you are sure to run across it. The amusing thing is that it will be presented to you as a brand-new idea. This is as true of their arguments on the childhood level—counting three fingers to disprove the Trinity—as of those which spring from their newly acquired acquaintance with Greek words.

The Holy Trinity

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity in God is a Christian revelation not found in the Old Testament. It was a revelation made to men whose only literature was the Old Testament. Perhaps what is even more important, it was a revelation transmitted through human authors who had such an intellectual background. It was inevitable that the new content of Christianity appears in terminology that comes mainly from the Old Testament, and takes on new meaning in the process.

The Old Testament, for example, knew of a Spirit of God, but it did not know of Him as a distinct divine Person. It is our Lord Who has revealed to us this new truth about the nature of God. In revealing it He adhered to the Old Testament term. In the same way, the remainder of the New Testament speaks of the Trinity, but in Old Testament language.

How were the writers of the New Testament, and our Lord Himself, to make known this new revelation to men who were familiar only with the Old Testament doctrine of God? Not by baldly saying, as later theology could, “Christ is God, the Spirit is God, the Father is God.” This would have been understood by Jews to mean three Gods—even as the Witnesses willfully misunderstand Christian language today. The New Testament shows a far better concern for human understanding than this. Even as our Lord made Himself known to His contemporaries in His messianic character only gradually, lest misunderstandings about its nature cause Him to be accepted or rejected as the kind of Messiah He was not, in the same way He revealed His divine nature by degrees and in terms that would not lead to false conclusions.

First of all, He took the familiar term “Son,” and by its use related Himself to God in a unique way. “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matt. 11:27). Now, it is true, “son of God” was a title that any devout Jew could use of himself (as in Hosea 2:1, see also Romans 9:26). It was also a title used of the messianic king (as in 2 Samuel 7:14, Psalm 2:7). But it should be evident that Christ was saying more of Himself than that He was the Son of God in these senses. For He claims to be the only Person Who really knows the Father, and that only through Himself can anyone else come to a true knowledge of the Father. This implies a unity of lie between the Father that is shared by no other. Furthermore, what is perhaps even more important, no one knows the Son, Christ, except the Father. Only the divine knowledge itself can penetrate the mystery of the personality of Christ. There is obviously a relationship here that is outside the realm of that of Creator and creature. It is an equal knowledge shared equally between the Son and the Father. When we remember that “knowledge” to the Semite did not mean something merely intellectual, but implied a community of life, we have a fuller comprehension of our Lord’s words.

Equal to God

Similarly, Christ did not make the bald statement, “I am equal to God,” or, “I am equal to the Father.” To a Jew, this could only have signified another God, for in his mentality, something equal to another had at the same time to be numerically different from it. What Christ did was to make the equivalent claim, in entirely different words, “I do the works of the Father,” He said (John 10:37). This was language a Jew could understand. For again, Jesus was not saying merely that He was doing the work of God in a way any devout person could do it. He was claiming a community of activity with His Father that was entirely unique. “My Father is working still, and I am working” (John 5:17). Note John’s comment in the following verse—that despite the caution with which our Lord has introduced this claim, “This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God.” The Jews had grasped the essence of His claim to divinity, though they had drawn an erroneous conclusion from it as regards monotheism. It is for the same purpose that He made the many protestations that the Son was only doing the will of the Father, and so forth (John 5:30, etc.)—not to subordinate Himself to the Father but to insist that His activity and the Father’s were one. The oneness of the Holy Spirit with the Father and Son is similarly brought out in such passages as John 16:13.

It was in such ways that the doctrine of the Trinity of Persons in one God was first revealed. It was, mainly, in such language that the doctrine was communicated by the writers of the New Testament. However, these writers also record the doctrine in more emphatic language. After the resurrection of Christ the fullness of His meaning became much more evident. After the resurrection Thomas the Apostle greeted Christ with the most explicit act of faith in the Gospels, employing two divine titles, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). After the resurrection the Christian Church, in the great hymn found in Philippians 2:5-11, acknowledged that the Jesus Who had appeared among men in human form had first “emptied himself” of the divine prerogatives He owned by right and had returned to the throne of God the triumphant bearer of the divine title “Lord.” After the resurrection the Evangelist John composed the magnificent prologue to his Gospel, in which he names Christ the Word of God Who from eternity was with God and was God.

The Christological heresy of the Witnesses resembles more than any other that of the Arians of the fourth century. They admit that Christ was, at least before His coming on earth and after His resurrection, something more than man. They call Him a “spirit person,” a non-Biblical term that they have invented. They say He was “a god,” but not God Himself. They claim that this is not to deny monotheism—the thing our Lord was so concerned not to do—since the Scripture also speaks of others as “gods.” They have worked out some rules of Greek usage unknown to the authors of the New Testament in order to justify these conclusions.

Greek Usage

It is in obedience to these rules of Greek usage that they first of all deny
that the explicit affirmation of Thomas is an affirmation at all. It is, they say, simply an emotional ejaculation, in which Thomas was not actually referring to Christ. Why so? Because what Thomas is reported as saying is ho
kyrios mou kai ho theos mou--"My Lord and my God." Ho Theos, that is, the word "God" with the Greek article, is used only of God in the true sense. The word theos only, without the article, they say means only "a god," and this word can be used of Christ to mean something less than God. They point to John's prologue, in which he says "the Word was with God" (pros ton theon--the word "God" with the article), and then "the Word was a god" (theos).

Does this really work out in practice? Let us take only a single page from the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures (1950 ed.) in order to show that it does not. This page includes the ending of Paul's letter to the Romans and the beginning of the First Letter to the
Corinthians, that is, Romans 16:21-27 and 1 Corinthians 1:1-2. On this page the word "God" appears four times--"the everlasting God," "to God wise alone," "through God's will," "the congregation of God." Note that in each
case the Witnesses have translated "God" with a capital "G." Yet in the Greek text only the first and last theos has an article. Why not "to an only
wise god" and "through the will of a god"? It seems that when no doctrinal issue is involved, the Witnesses' rule becomes very elastic.

As a matter of fact, the Greek does ordinarily use the article with "God,"just as it does with the proper names and a great number of other words that are used in English without the article. It is not proper to translate "the" in these cases, or to translate "a" or "an" when the article is omitted,
simply because usage differs between the two languages. The article is a determiner. Also, as we have shown, the article can sometimes be omitted
without changing the meaning.

Why does John say that "the Word was with God," employing the article, and also "the Word was God," omitting the article? For two reasons, the first being purely grammatical. When one gives a little thought to the subject,one realizes that the same word "was" in these two statements actually meanstwo different things. In the first instance it indicates a condition, a relationship: the Word stands in some kind of relation to Someone else, to God. In the second instance it is merely the equivalent of an equal sign: Word and God refer to the same Person. Now this second kind of use of the verb "to be" involves a subject to which another word is placed as its predicate, the two being the same. In Greek, the subject has the article, while the predicate does not. In English we know the two by position rather than by the use of an article. Thus we translate "the Word (subject) was God (predicate)," not "God was the Word." In John 4:24 our Lord says to the
Samaritan woman, "God is spirit." Now the Greek here, actually is pneuma (spirit) ho theos (God)--in that order. Still, it is not correct to translate, "The Spirit is God," because the article shows that "God" is the subject and the lack of the article shows that "spirit" is the predicate. Note, too, that no verb "to be" occurs here at all, as often is the case in Greek: the "equal sign" is just omitted.

The other reason that John does not use the article in saying "the Word was God" is theological. Actually, it would be very poor Trinitarian theology for him to have done so. Ordinarily, as we stated above, the article is used with proper names as a determiner. John has placed the Word in relation to God as a determined Person. But at the same time he affirms that the Word is God. Obviously the Word is not the determined Person with Whom He stands in relation--He is a different Person altogether. It would have been to court confusion, therefore, to repeat the article.

There is no objection whatever to translating, as some modern versions do, something like "the Word was divine," as long as this is not falsely
construed as signifying something less than "God." Throughout the entire New Testament, however, there is not the slightest shred of evidence for holding that any New Testament author means anything but "God" when he uses the word
theos in relation to the monotheistic religion in which he believed. The Greek word, of course, is like our own: we can also speak of false "gods" or
a false "god," using the same word that we use for the true God. In 1 Corinthians 8:5 and Galatians 4:8, Paul uses the term for such as are falsely called "gods." In the same sense, he speaks
of "the god of this world" (2 Cor, 4:4), even as our Lord speaks of "the prince of this world"
(John 12:21). But whenever a New Testament author refers the word theos to the one, true God of his faith, he can only mean "God."

But does not Christ Himself use such language, and justify His use of it from the Scripture? In John 10:31-39 we read: "The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, `I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?' The Jews answered him, `We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.' Jesus answered them, `Is it not written in your law: I said, you are gods? If he then called them gods to whom the word of God came (and Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated
and sent into the world: "You are blaspheming," because I said: I am the Son of God? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.' Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands."

Here Jesus does not take back a single word of His claims that had provoked His enemies to the charge of blasphemy, as their reaction proves. What He does only is to ask them to think, referring them to Psalm 82 where a divine
title (translated "gods" in the LXX used here by John) was employed of human judges. If such a title could be used in one sense in the Scripture, asks Jesus, could not another sense be readily applicable to Himself? Or does His suggestion of His divinity rule out, as they think, the monotheistic idea of God?

The Hebrew word used in Psalm 82 is elohim. This word, which is used of the one true God throughout the Old Testament, is as flexible as the Greek theos or the English "god." It could also mean much more. Sometimes it was used for angels. In 1 Samuel 28:13 it is even used for the spirit of Samuel called up by the witch of Endor. Also it was used for pagan deities. The very ambiguity of the word serves as a basis for our Lord's argument--which might be a lesson for the Witnesses to take to heart: "What's in a name?"
What is important is the meaning that words have in context, not what they are made to mean. There is no doubt what John the Evangelist meant when he said, "The Word was God."

For this Word, this utterance of the Father, already, before all creation and from all eternity, was with God. He becamewas. The opening phrase of John's prologue did not say, "In the beginning the Word came to be," but that in the beginning--wherever you place it--the Word
already was. It would require the passing of centuries before the precise theological language of Christian Trinitarianism doctrine would be worked out, language that would learn from heresies like the collection enshrined in Witness literature what errors to avoid as well as from the thinking of devout Christian men. As the Protestant Biblical scholar William Sanday once
wrote: "The decisions in question were the outcome of a long evolution, every step in which was keenly debated by minds of great acumen and power, really far better equipped for such discussion than the average Anglo-American mind of today." They produced the Christian theology that characterizes orthodox Christianity. But they began where we begin, with John's affirmation of the truth:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..." flesh, but already in the beginning He

The Witnesses and the Bible

In 1950 the Witnesses published the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, rendered from the original language by the New World Bible Translation Committee. In 1960 they published the final volume (Volume 5) of the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Subsequently, single-volume editions of the complete Bible in this translation has appeared in several languages. The publications are well printed and
excellently got out, and are marketed at an incredibly low price. [Since1990, Witness literature has been distributed on a donation basis in manycountries.] They are, as a matter of fact, additional cases in point of what we mentioned earlier regarding the zeal of these people  which deserves a better cause than it serves.

The Witnesses’ translation is the culmination of an increasing interest they have taken in the many versions of the Scripture that are available today.
It is not unusual for one of the Witnesses' publications to cite as many as ten or more different translations. Moreover, for a number of years they have been making a point of appealing to the original texts of the
Scriptures, at least to the standard editions of these texts. All of this is something of a switch from the origins of the Witnesses in Pastor Russell's meditations over the King James Bible.

From what we have brought out above, the major reason for the Witnesses' making their own translation of the Bible is not hard to find. No sect has
ever been able to resist the temptation to vindicate its teachings as close to their alleged source as possible. Private judgment in interpretation will carry one a long way, and the claim of mistranslation will solve other
difficulties. But what better thing than for a religion based on the Bible to have its own Bible to prove it? And, as it happens, there are countless
instances in the Witnesses' Bible where the sacred text has been thoroughly tailored to fit the Witnesses' measurements. We have brought out some of the
instances above.

In general, it must be said that where there are no sectarian issues at stake, the Witnesses' translation maintains a reasonably high standard of
journeyman scholarship. The work has been done by those who have studied their grammars and dictionaries. There is an excellent system of
cross-referencing of texts. The "critical" footnotes are voluminous, even though mainly worthless and irrelevant, as are the appendices.

A translation made for crank purposes, however, will inevitably turn up with eccentricities that really have nothing to do with its main purpose. It is simply that eccentricity breeds a way of thought. Anyone who reads very far in the translation of the Old Testament, for example, will soon be bewildered by the strange way the verb tenses come one after another and by
the equally strange way that verbs tend at times to be modified by words that contribute little or nothing to meaning. If he bothers to read the Foreword he will get the explanation of this. The translators have discarded the generally accepted rules of Hebrew syntax on the verb and have followed another isolated view that has never commended itself to many scholars.

The Cross

Certain bizarre translations turn up that obviously mean a great deal to the translators but which could not matter very much to anyone else. As an
example, we might take the translation given in the New Testament to the Greek word stauros, "cross." This word did, it is true, refer principally to
the instrument of execution used by the Romans, without necessarily involving the form that the instrument took. It seems to be equally true,
however, that the form was customarily that of a cross as we know it, that is, of an upright together with a crossbar of some kind. This was the form
in which the cross as a symbol was adopted by the earliest Christians, who were at that time close enough to the practice of crucifixion to know what
would have been the most likely instrument used in the case of our Lord's suffering and death. At the same time, it obviously doesn't matter one bit
whether Christ was crucified on a single upright stake or one with a crossbar. The fact that Christian tradition has varied from East to West and
back again in representing the cross in different forms shows how secondary the whole question is. The cross is for us a symbol, merely that, to remind
us of a great event that took place, and not necessarily a photographic description of it. In any case, the words "cross" and "crucifixion" have a
meaning for everybody that commits nobody to any decision as to whether Christ was put to death on a Latin or Greek or Tau cross. For the Witnesses
to insist on using the word "torture stake" for this instrument, and to substitute the word "impale" for "crucify," adds up merely to another of the oddities of this Bible translation.

This matter of terminology is, however, another mark of cultist religion, which generally aims at a private vocabulary that  substitutes for conventional language. Anyone who reads much of the Witnesses' literature
speedily discovers this. Not only does he run across terms like "spirit person," "Bride class," "sanctuary class," and the like, terms that have their home only among the initiates of the sect, but also conventional
words, like "religion," have had special meanings attached to them. "Religion," in Witness terminology,  was at one time viewed as a bad word which
was used to designate any organized or unorganized, visible or invisible church or other religious (since we can't avoid the term here) movement or body or influence that was not Jehovah's Witnesses. The term has since been rehabilitated and most Witnesses today are unaware of the special meaning
that was once attached to the word "religion." As we have seen above, the fixation on the name of "Jehovah" is another manifestation of cultist

The Watchtower

It is not the Witnesses' translation of the Bible that is so important, of course, as the use, or rather, the misuse that they have made of it. Aside
from its obvious doctrinal biases reflected in translation, the New World version of the Scriptures might very well have been welcomed as another
effort to put the word of God into modern dress and have stood the test of impartial examination. It is the sect that lies behind the translation that has spoiled any chance of that.

The various publications which the Witnesses have issued on the Bible are somewhat like the Watchtower itself--there is apt to be a great deal of
material that is harmless, some occasional information that is actually helpful and profitable, and still more that is either nonsense or actually pernicious. In the first category one might put their oft-repeated polemic
against the use of the terms "New Testament" and "Old Testament." Everyone will agree, presumably, that these terms are not entirely accurate. However,
they refer to recognizable literary units, and the Witnesses will never succeed in getting anyone to substitute for them "Christian Greek Scriptures" and "Hebrew Scriptures" or, for that matter, in getting many people to think the point important enough to bother about. In the second category one might class much of what the Witnesses have written on the
history of the Biblical text and the various manuscript evidence. Here they have usually depended on scholarship that, if second-hand is at least solid.

The Witnesses represent the most primitive kind of Fundamentalism, with all its inconsistencies and disservice to the rational service of God. Their
frequent citation of recent scholarly opinions and literature, their whole approach to scholarship itself, is only for providing grist for their private mills. The same critics who will be eagerly quoted when it is a
question of supporting, or seeming to support some peculiarity of the Witness creed, will be mercilessly ridiculed or studiously ignored in any other matter. It is difficult to ascertain which has an uglier sound for a
Witness: "higher critic" or "Roman hierarchy." The real problems of Biblical translation or criticism, involving distinctions of authorship or of sources or the like, are simply ignored....The poor critics are dredged up from the depths and quoted with approval even for their most extreme opinions when it
is a question of analyzing the "apocrypha," only to be abused again when they dare to venture opinions on the other books of the Bible. The Biblical
chronology of events and books which appear frequently in Witness publications is a masterpiece of the incredible. All the above is mainly the general fundamentalist tradition, which does not differentiate the Witnesses much from other groups of a similar religious background.

Jehovah’s Witnesses began, first and foremost, as an Adventist sect, which is to say that it began from a misunderstanding of the very meaning of Biblical revelation and prophecy. In every generation known to man there have been those like Pastor Russell and Judge Rutherford, who have interpreted the Bible as a great code-book which reveals a detailed blueprint of the future leading up, by the merest coincidence, just to the present time. The Witnesses have followed faithfully in the footsteps of their founders, and it is not surprising that we find much, if not most of their literature devoted to detailed explanations of where in the Books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation we may find specific reference made to the League of Nations, the First and Second World Wars, the United Nations, and events in their denominational history. There does not seem to be very much that can be said about all this. As we indicated before, the ability to swallow such an interpretation of the Bible—let alone the great Pyramid—carries with it the ability to survive such trivial setbacks as the systematic failure of the prophets when they have ventured out of the safe past and into the uncertain future. “Millions now living will never die,” said the Witnesses as they emerged into this world. “Millions now living will never die,” they say today. And “millions now living will never die” they will doubtless be saying after the millions are all dead, should they remain with us that long. And doubtless they will still have their faithful following.

The Witnesses lean very heavily on the apocalyptic literature of the Bible, that maze of lush imagery and symbolism which, unfortunately, as the Baptist Biblical scholar C.H. Dodd has written, has become “the licensed playground of every crank.” It is from the Book of Revelation that they have extracted another of the venerable old heresies of primitive Christianity, that of Millenarianism—the belief in a literal thousand year reign of the saints on earth. It is from the same Book of Revelation that they have been able to determine the precise population of heaven: the symbolic 144,000 of Revelation 7:4-8, the four-square number of the symbolic twelve tribes of Israel with which the Biblical author peopled the four-square heavenly Jerusalem (21:9-21).  They insist the total number of 144,000 is literal yet at the same time say the number 12,000 from each tribe is symbolic.

With this we take our leave of Jehovah’s Witnesses, repeating the statements with which we began. If our judgments have sounded harsh, we insist that we have intended no ridicule for honestly held beliefs as such. Sincerity in belief is an admirable quality. Respect for sincerity, however, may not ever blind us to the duty of service to the truth, and of the defense of our own cherished heritage. We have addressed ourselves far less to the Witnesses themselves than to those who have been the targets of their propagandizing. If we have helped any of these to see their way the clearer through the intricacies of this propaganda, we shall be most grateful for this opportunity to serve the cause of the God of truth—whose name is not “Jehovah.”