The Roman Catholic Church’s dogma of binding and loosing sin

In the Jewish Bible (“Old Testament”) it is God, and God alone who forgives sins:

Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

In the New Testament, Jesus forgives sins, a blasphemy to the Jews:

Matthew 9:2-8 “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”

And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, “This man blasphemeth.”

And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee;’ or to say, ‘Arise, and walk?’ But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) ‘Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house’.”

And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.”

The Roman Catholic Church arrogates to its priests the divine ability to forgive sins. The RCC’s key text is Matthew 16:18-19:

“I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19a And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:

In 19b we the read:

“and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

In Matthew 16:18-19 above, Jesus is addressing Peter alone. In Matthew 18:18-20, however, Jesus is not only addressing Peter, and not even only his Apostles, but all his disciples:

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Now, it is obvious that in “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” Jesus is not giving authority to all his followers/disciples within his hearing that they have authority to forgive sins. So what can it mean? A cogent interpretation is that a disciple who has fed on the meat of the Word and is faithful will be able to 1. ascertain whether God has forgiven the sins of other Christian and thus reassure them , or 2. Admonish them to repent for unless they do, God will discipline them.

There is no problem with Peter being given the keys to understanding and the authority to correct believers when he thinks they need it. But remember Paul, when he corrected Peter:

Galatians 2
11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

The Roman Catholic dogma of “Confession,” as with all its dogmas, is based on the mother of all dogmas, the infallibility of Peter, who they claim to be their first pope, and its sister dogma, the “Apostolic succession.”

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86 thoughts on “The Roman Catholic Church’s dogma of binding and loosing sin

  1. ” Jesus is not giving authority to all his followers/disciples within his hearing that they have authority to forgive sins. So what can it mean? A cogent interpretation is that a disciple who has fed on the meat of the Word and is faithful will be able to 1. ascertain whether God has forgiven the sins of other Christian and thus reassure them , or 2. Admonish them to repent for unless they do, God will discipline them.”

    You have just confirmed to what I have told a person from the New Apostolic Church who believed that he as a Apostle of his church, can forgive sins. Thank you. .

      • I think the doubt and questions are silliness – for fun. What we have today is from Christ through His Apostles. To doubt that is to doubt that there was water at the source of a river.

        • I agree that what we have today is from Christ and his Apostles. I understand by “Apostles” the “twelve” (and Judas’s subsequent replacement). What, Francis, is your understanding of “Apostles?”

          But by “we” I think you mean the Roman Catholic Church. If so, I don’t agree. I don’t see any (incipient) doctrine of “indulgences” in what the Apostles said or wrote.

          • There is one God and one Church. I don’t think that we can rationalize, in truth, our way out of that reality. Christ gave the authority to loose and bind. So, the efficacy of indulgences are not to be doubted, unless one doubts the authority of Christ to give authority to loose and bind (something which is literally expressed in Sacred Scripture). But one may certainly doubt the personal conduct of an individual, since all of humanity is subject to the potential and reality of sinfulness, even the bishop or archbishop who may have abused the use of indulgences centuries ago in Germany (and which some refuse to forgive, even in light of the scriptural-fact that God commands that we forgive even seventy-seven times, for example). Remember, if we won’t forgive, neither will the Father forgive us…this came from the Mouth of Jesus Christ – His Words. When we don’t forgive, we get stuck in time and fail to move forward – we spend a life doubting instead of lifting our hearts in total trust to God.

            • I agree, there is one God and one church, but I don’t agree it is headed by the Vatican.

              The succession of apostolic authority through Rome is anything but an historical reality. In the second to fourth centuries AD, there were four heads who had independent authority over their own churches: Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria an Rome.

              Re: indulgences here is the reference to World Youth Day:

              VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2008 (VIS) – According to a decree made public today and signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant the faithful Plenary Indulgence to faithful who “gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage” to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, and Partial Indulgence to “all those who, wherever they are, will pray for the spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome”.

              Say one those who rocked up had a rock fall on his head, he or she would have circumvented purgatory and gone directly to heaven. Francis, one thing I’ll say, you are logical; if the Pope was indeed the infallible supreme pontiff and vicar of Christ on earth, then it logically follows that this decree of the Pope must have been from God.

              • We have evidence very early on, via St. Clement’s letters and the witness of the Apostolic Fathers, that the Church formally recognized a central authority – that being the See of Peter in Rome. But, admittedly, the existence of historical evidence tends to be scarce, and we can understand this since the Apostles were forming the Church and the printing press had not yet been invented. 🙂

                • Clement (for you the 4th pope?).

                  Clement’s theory of justification is exactly the same as the Reformers and the Apostle Paul. I referred to Romans 3 in this regard. Here is Clement in one of his “letters”:

                  “And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or WORKS which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

                  The Church of Rome, as you know, lumps regeneration, faith and works (sacraments) under “justification.”

                  What kind of subsequent (to Clement) apostolic succession is one that contradicts what defines the Gospel itself – justification?

                  • You seem opposed to Catholic teaching…Why are you persecuting the Catholic Church which Christ Himself set into motion?

                    • If you mean Roman Catholic teaching, I’m glad the penny has dropped. There is the catholic (universal) church the Roman Catholic Church. I’m not opposed to the former, for indeed the church has been called “catholic” from the beginning.

                      I’m not persecuting the RCC, I’m pro it; pro-secuting it.

                    • Okay. Thanks for revealing your true position. But just know that doubting will not help you or anyone else (as far as believing and trusting God is concerned). You should strive toward an attitude and spirit of obedience.

          • And I think we like to call St. Paul the “14th Apostle.” The Apostles were the original Apostles – those selected nearly 2000 years ago (in the 1st Century AD). While a person today may call himself an apostle, he/she is not an “Apostle” (big “A”) in the since they he/she has any authority from Christ to loose and bind. That authority only comes through the original Apostles and carries on only through their successors, the bishops of the Catholic Church.

          • While there are other offshoots within the “Church of Christ,” that is, all of the Baptized in Christ, this Church subsists in the Catholic Church. If an offshoot is a branch, it survives because it is engrafted into the trunk, which is that Deposit of Faith of the Catholic Church. There are two things primarily which keep the offshoots viable: 1) valid Baptism in Christ (and all that this expresses and implies and 2) Grace, much of which is released through the liturgical and catechetical activities of the Catholic Church. But Christ does not wish to prevent those who, while not formally aligned with the Catholic Church, are not enemies of the Catholic Church. For He said in response to those disciples who were amazed at others doing good works but who were not part of Jesus’s disciples, “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” [Luke 9:49]. And so we pray that God will give Grace to those who, while not formally members of the Catholic Church, do good works which support the Church’s mission in fidelity to Christ.

            • The Bible is clear, saving grace does not come through sacraments, where only two are mentioned. But then for Rome the Bible is its own creation, and not its only creation; there’s tradition, Rome’s “oral Torah” revealed in germ, you would maintain, in the scriptures.

              Romans 3 says justification is by faith not by works (sacraments, attending pontifical celebrations, etc). A clear antithesis of Rome.

              • Well, God gave the power to loose and bind to the Apostles, and they pass it on to their successors, and they loose and bind, even if that means that it must be done through the Sacraments. Also, we must remember that when we rely upon a one-liner from an Epistle without also considering the rest of the Canon of Scripture, we can very easily misinterpret what we read, and especially if we do not take time to understand the full context surrounding what was written. Yes, we must ready, study and pray for understanding…

                  • Bog…are you actually drinking the kool- aid that Dan was speaking about? 🙂 The Samaritan story? Christ that speaks about doing to Him what you are doing to the least of your brothers? Ect. Etc. etc…..where are they spoken ? In the book of Mormons? To Mr. Smith?
                    And also Bog I am going to reveal a secret to you…but shhhhh it is quite a secret of the Roma Catholic Church… It is quite quite difficult to receive indulgences…most of all the full plenary indulgence. It is given to you but you are supposed to subscribed to all the requirements and this means that you have to be in a special moment of perfect grace (innocence, obedience and in deep grief and understanding of all your sin ). The indulgences are a ‘game’ of endurance. It is like martial arts. More you practice them and are aligned with the meditative aspects of them and more you get closer to the goal of obtaining a full one…but it is not sooo easy at all. I think I received perhaps one and was not officially given me by the Pope. I was ‘re baptized’ through a mistake I made and it was then not voluntary ( But I still got re-baptized with ‘ a lot of water’ in complete immersion and Holy Spirit. The Baptist Church would have loved it 🙂 but I was re-baptized as a Catholic by Heaven and it happened in surreal circumstances where I didn’t decide or do anything to make it happened…it just did…but you know my great faith in good mistakes 🙂

                    But before that I had to knock for sometimes in humility etc etc…this means that I had to contribute something to the perfect ‘deal’ and also I know that I can easily go back to square one…because nothing is definite in this kind of religion. Your faith is quite easy mister at the end. Is this why you subscribed to it? Tough on the surfice you want to be…:)

                    • I have right now on this blog how my deficiency in English is serving in mistakes a good purpose. I wanted to write that you were tough on the ‘surface’ but I knew it was a lie but I didn’t know what to write instead. I don’t believe truly that you are tough only on the surface. What does happen in my not knowing English as properly as I should…well my language by its own find a way of letting my subconscious work toward the truth  even without knowing what I am saying.
                      You are tough in a ‘surfice way’ and this mean you are tough also in a rabbinical way somehow and somewhere 🙂 There is your version of the story and it doesn’t bend or get unfrozen..it doesn’t change form because you like the ‘coolness’ of the dry feeling of the deep frozen surface of ‘intelligence’. Nothing can go down or up……..trapped somewhere beneath hard rock surface. Do you like my own personal and fallacious understanding of your faith? 🙂 I don’t know where and if you got to this point of toughness but perhaps if I am even remotely right you are supposed to trace it to the point of ‘ice rock formation’. If this is needed to ‘fill’ your insecurity given by being in an open and fluid kind of navigation it is ok for…I would never object to this appealing personal tendency but it becomes somehow icy when you want to be right against the Roman Catholic church. You know that we, RCC, are fluid and rocky at the same time as an institution and its belief. It is not so ‘cool’ to keep dragging the Roman Catholic Church on your path of security blanket’ stillness. I am so sure I am right and in my own ‘righteous not so good, pitiful feeling ’ I also somehow find myself to be very fluid…understanding why you want to believe what you want to believe but please do not stretch it too thin my fluidity…if it were ever possible 🙂

                      surfice 30 up, 23 down

                      surf•iced, surf•icing, surf•ices

                      Useage limited to those combining coolness and intelligence.

                      Definition(s):
                      To more than meet present needs or requirements; far more than merely sufficient,: These rations will suffice until next week, but the Lembas bread will surfice!
                      To be far more than equal to a specified task; not just capable but extremely competent: No words will besuffice to convey my grief, but I have an interpretive dance that should prove surficient http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=surfice

                      The surf-ice
                      “HERE’S a chilling sight to freeze anyone in their tracks — massive WAVES made up of Arctic ice.”

                      Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4665007/The-surf-ice.html#ixzz2MtX3eeKE

                    • Maria,

                      Your “It is quite quite difficult to receive indulgences…most of all the full plenary indulgence. It is given to you but you are supposed to subscribed to all the requirements and this means that you have to be in a special moment of perfect grace (innocence, obedience and in deep grief and understanding of all your sin ).”

                      As I described in one of my comments above, if you were in Australia in 2005 on World Youth day and attended Pope Benedict’s do at the Sydney showgrounds, you would have qualified for a plenary indulgence.

                      Second point. Why do you think it is easy for me and hard for you? – – (to get into heaven?)

                    • Ergo right to heaven”
                      And so be it…are you jealous about it?
                      Man of Scriptures have you read this story with this interpretation (i know that you have at least 39000 interpretations avalaible for everything around your many different congragations )
                      “The sinner had been excluded by St. Paul’s order from the company of the faithful, but had truly repented. Hence the Apostle judges that to such a one “this rebuke is sufficient that is given by many” and adds: “To whom you have pardoned any thing, I also. For what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, for your sakes have I done it in the person of Christ.” St. Paul had bound the guilty one in the fetters of excommunication; he now releases the penitent from this punishment by an exercise of his authority — “in the person of Christ.” Here we have all the essentials of an indulgence”

                      ?

                    • It doesn’t matter…or does it? 🙂 (I am speaking about your question..it is quite obvious I would think)

                  • “To acquire a plenary indulgence,” says the Enchiridion, “it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent.”

                    THE TOUGHEST REQUIREMENT
                    The greatest hurdle is the last. Making a good confession is not particularly difficult, and going to Communion and praying for the Pope’s intentions are easier still. It’s being free from all attachment to sin that’s hard and it’s quite possible that even evi-dently good people, who seek plenary indulgences regularly, never, in their whole lives, obtain one, because they are unwilling to relinquish their favorite little sins.

                    There is an account of St. Philip Neri, who died in 1595, preaching a jubilee indulgence in a crowed church. A revelation was given to him that only two people in the church were actually getting it, an old char-woman and the saint himself. Not exactly encouraging, huh? But don’t worry. If you aren’t perfectly disposed and can’t get the plenary indulgence. you’ll at least come away with a partial. http://www.catholic.org/clife/prayers/indulgc.php

                    I am not at all sure that I am going in Paradise more easily than you are because I am very possibly more in fault than you are. God is the supreme judge, He is the Supreme Authority after all for Catholics, nobody would ever argue that His will is the only will that is and we only hope in His infinite mercy. I hope that my operandi and my sorrow for my sins will be not so deficient to lead me to Hell and the Catholic Church cooperates well toward this goal, more than any other Christian or not Christian supreme office on earth. It is a cooperative effort and I am grateful for this and I am sure that is given by Divine Plan. This is all.

                    • Maria, your “toughest require is being free from all attachment to sin.”

                      According to pope Benedict xiv, simply rocking up at the showgrounds accomplished that Herculean task.

                    • Why don’t you get it? To offer something doesn’t imply that you are able to receive it because you could not be ready. They are called indulgences in spiritual life but also in daily life they could be called acts of great generosity from life, friends, institutions, family, children, people in general. I have been offered many things and many things I have not been able to receive for my own fault and great refusal are part of great act of generosities every day, also because we have not enough faith. Why don’t you get it? It doesn’t want to sink…because it is icy where you are , isn’t it? 🙂

                    • VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2008 (VIS) – According to a decree made public today and signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant the faithful Plenary Indulgence to faithful who “gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage” to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, and Partial Indulgence to “all those who, wherever they are, will pray for the spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome”.

                      1. Gather 2. In a spirit (attitude) of pilgrimage 3. Collapse and die in that attitude. Ergo, direct to heaven.

  2. If you read the Bible thoroughly you will know that Christ gave the authority to forgive sins to His apostles in John 20:22.-23. Your church does not have that authority because it is NOT apostolic church – it is a man-made church!

    • John 20:23 If you remit anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not remit them, they are not forgiven.”

      Wesley and Jamieson-Fausset-Brown got it right.

      Wesley’s Notes
      20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit – (According to the tenor of the Gospel, that is, supposing them to repent and believe) they are remitted, and whose soever sins ye retain (supposing them to remain impenitent) they are retained. So far is plain. But here arises a difficulty. Are not the sins of one who truly repents, and unfeignedly believes in Christ, remitted, without sacerdotal absolution? And are not the sins of one who does not repent or believe, retained even with it? What then does this commission imply? Can it imply any more than, A power of declaring with authority the Christian terms of pardon; whose sins are remitted and whose retained? As in our daily form of absolution; and A power of inflicting and remitting ecclesiastical censures? That is, of excluding from, and re – admitting into, a Christian congregation.

      Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
      23. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, &c.-In any literal and authoritative sense this power was never exercised by one of the apostles, and plainly was never understood by themselves as possessed by them or conveyed to them. (See on [1919]Mt 16:19). The power to intrude upon the relation between men and God cannot have been given by Christ to His ministers in any but a ministerial or declarative sense-as the authorized interpreters of His word, while in the actings of His ministers, the real nature of the power committed to them is seen in the exercise of church discipline.

      Nowhere in the NT do we read of any Apostle forgiving sins. Such a power that the Roman Catholic Church arrogated to itself brought, and continues to bring, hundreds of millions under the domination of Rome. Such power, to give to a fallen man is beyond the pale.

      • Your argument is poor. First you use translation that uses the word “remit” to tune the meaning down. Open Greek New Testament and discover that the same Greek verb is used in Matthew 9:2-8 (which you quoted) and translated as to forgive (sin).. The verb itself means “to let go” or “to send away” or “to depart”. Second what is the point of giving the power to forgive sin, if according to you (and your fallible source) they (the apostles) did not understand and because of that they never exercised it? Did Christ give meaningless or empty words? Next you use classical sola scriptura to defend your position “Nowhere in the NT do we read of any Apostle forgiving sins.” Fine,but if you are consistent then you should not attend your Sunday worship in a special building named church because nowhere in NT say the first Christians did so – they gathered in their own homes (Acts 2:46).. NT nowhere says God is one God in Three Persons – you still believe it,, I hope even though that definition appeared only in fourth century AD.

        • Don’t you mean Francis Philip’s (above) “when a priest grants absolution of a sin, it carries the effect of forgiveness of sin by God?”

          Also, your “according to you (and your fallible source) they (the apostles) did not understand and because of that they never exercised it?”

          No, they did understand very well, and that is why you don’t read of anyone in the NT, except Jesus, forgiving sin.

          • Now you changed your tune from the apostles did not understand and never exercised the power to forgive sin (you cited it from Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary) to “apostles understood it well”. If they understood then it is plain clear (you don’t need to be a genius or rocket scientist to understand) that Christ gave them authority to forgive sins. It is God through the priests who forgive sins. As analogy if you are CEO of a company you have all the power but you can delegate some power to your managers to act on your behalf and at the same time you don’t lose your power.

            • Here is Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary again:

              23. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, &c.-In any literal and authoritative sense this power was never exercised by one of the apostles, and plainly was never understood by themselves as possessed by them or conveyed to them. (See on [1919]Mt 16:19.

              “plainly was never understood by themselves as possessed by them or conveyed to them” does NOT mean that they did NOT understand but that what they DID understand (interpreted, exegeted) that v. 23 did NOT mean that Christ was giving them the power to remit, forgive, absolve, take away sin.

              • I may misunderstand their statement. If you were one of the apostles how did you understand Christ’ statement in John 20:22-23? Please answer honestly and sincerely or you lie to yourself!

        • My beef is with this clownish comment:

          “If you read the Bible thoroughly you will know that Christ gave the authority to forgive sins to His apostles in John 20:22.-23. Your church does not have that authority because it is NOT apostolic church – it is a man-made church!”

          This clown is talking like the Apostles were not men….

  3. I don’t understand where are you going and perhaps I understand it but it seems obvious. Where is written in Paul’s rebuke that Peter is not the head of the church? I have argued with my superiors if I thought things were supposed to be different but in arguing I didn’t dispute their supremacy and final decisions. Why was supposed Paul to be different from our normal ways of dealing with authority at least when it is of healthy origin. There have been disagreements with every Pope in power. There have always been priests and high prelates that have viewed the ways the popes dealt with Christianity not so kosher, sometimes in a strong way but still they submitted to the higher magistrate of Popes, as with the Jesuit orders and many others that got at one point of their history disunited and defrocked by Popes’ authorities. What is the problems? It is healthy that Paul argues with Peter the better ways of dealing with Christianity…and it is also true that he never rejected Peter’s authority. Peter was perhaps the most impulsive of the apostles but from the first moment he had a special place. He was always present for example when the majority of the apostles was left behind ( Transfiguration) and in many other occasions Jesus speaks to him directly distinguishing him among the others. Why did Jesus do this? What is the purpose of calling Peter to feed the sheep three times after having asked for three times if Peter loved him? The Gospels are comparatively brief (not of a monumental weight in pages) and to the point in their account of Jesus’ life and predication. I don’t think it was mentioned without a reason in all the gospels the special place of Peter. Why are you denying what is clearly explicit in the Written Word, you man of ‘Only Scriptures”? I am happy that the Popes’ actions are contested from the beginning. It has never changed afterword. But the Jesuits and others still prefer to oblige to the authority of the Popes as the head of the Church and they still believed and believe that the Popes are guided by the Holy Spirit in their prescribing sacraments and dogma of the faith. Paul was not chosen because perfect and so Peter. Nobody has ever considered a Pope an infallible man in all of his behavior, without sin and perfect. The infallibility concerns the doctrine of the Sacraments, the dogma and the direction of the faith established and professed not only by one Pope but by all of them in their historical successions and in the mist of different adversities to the papacy. Do you understand what does this mean? As with Peter and Paul, the church has been a place where there is possibility of disagreement but not in regard of the dogma, sacraments, the direction of the faith and the idea that the Pope is the head of the Church. Whoever he has been and will be, once he has been elected as Pope he is the Vicar and nobody in the Catholic Church would disagree on this specific point, others than all the heretical people 🙂 But we know all this. My difficulty is in understanding how I read it clearly in the Gospel the predominant figure of Peter and how is seen and denied by others. But I also know that there are many, for example few Lutheran theologians, who don’t deny it.

    • Of course, Peter had a prominent place of leadership among the Apostles; after all he had the keys (prominent authority). There was no Roman Catholic pope until centuries after Peter. Roman papal apostolic succession is like a language. Max Weinreich is famous for the quip A shprakh iz a diyalekt mit an armey un a flot – “A language is a dialect with an army and a navy (1945). The popes had more than an army and a navy; they had power over a man’s soul as well, and they sure made the most of it.

      • 1. St. Peter (32-67)
        2. St. Linus (67-76)
        3. St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
        4. St. Clement I (88-97)
        5. St. Evaristus (97-105)
        6. St. Alexander I (105-115)
        7. St. Sixtus I (115-125) Also called Xystus I
        8. St. Telesphorus (125-136)
        9. St. Hyginus (136-140)
        10. St. Pius I (140-155)
        11. St. Anicetus (155-166)
        12. St. Soter (166-175)
        13. St. Eleutherius (175-189)
        14. St. Victor I (189-199)
        15. St. Zephyrinus (199-217)
        16. St. Callistus I (217-22) Callistus and the following three popes were opposed by St. Hippolytus, antipope (217-236)
        17. St. Urban I (222-30)
        18. St. Pontain (230-35)
        19. St. Anterus (235-36)
        20. St. Fabian (236-50)
        21. St. Cornelius (251-53) Opposed by Novatian, antipope (251)
        22. St. Lucius I (253-54)
        23. St. Stephen I (254-257)
        24. St. Sixtus II (257-258)
        25. St. Dionysius (260-268)
        26. St. Felix I (269-274)
        27. St. Eutychian (275-283)
        28. St. Caius (283-296) Also called Gaius
        29. St. Marcellinus (296-304)
        30. St. Marcellus I (308-309)
        31. St. Eusebius (309 or 310)
        32. St. Miltiades (311-14)
        33. St. Sylvester I (314-35)
        34. St. Marcus (336)
        35. St. Julius I (337-52)
        36. Liberius (352-66) Opposed by Felix II, antipope (355-365)
        37. St. Damasus I (366-83) Opposed by Ursicinus, antipope (366-367)
        38. St. Siricius (384-99)
        39. St. Anastasius I (399-401)
        40. St. Innocent I (401-17)
        41. St. Zosimus (417-18)
        42. St. Boniface I (418-22) Opposed by Eulalius, antipope (418-419)
        43. St. Celestine I (422-32)
        44. St. Sixtus III (432-40)
        45. St. Leo I (the Great) (440-61)
        I stop here because the list is too long to be considered….But if it is a language I would say that does have a quite mathematical not unjustified pattern to it 
        Have you heard about Linus, the successor of Peter?” From a Catholic authorial sources:
        “All the ancient records of the Roman bishops which have been handed down to us by St. Irenaeus, Julius Africanus, St. Hippolytus, Eusebius, also the Liberian catalogue of 354, place the name of Linus directly after that of the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter. These records are traced back to a list of the Roman bishops which existed in the time of Pope Eleutherus (about 174-189), when Irenaeus wrote his book “Adversus haereses”. As opposed to this testimony, we cannot accept as more reliable Tertullian’s assertion, which unquestionably places St. Clement (De praescriptione, xxii) after the Apostle Peter, as was also done later by other Latin scholars (Jerome, Illustrious Men 15). The Roman list in Irenaeus has undoubtedly greater claims to historical authority. This author claims that Pope Linus is the Linus mentioned by St. Paul in his 2 Timothy 4:21. The passage by Irenaeus (Against Heresies III.3.3) reads:
        After the Holy Apostles (Peter and Paul) had founded and set the Church in order (in Rome) they gave over the exercise of the episcopal office to Linus. The same Linus is mentioned by St. Paul in his Epistle to Timothy. His successor was Anacletus.
        We cannot be positive whether this identification of the pope as being the Linus mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21 goes back to an ancient and reliable source, or originated later on account of the similarity of the name”

        • Maria, the Liber Pontificalis, the Book of Pontiffs, was compiled in the 6th century and extended with later additions.

          It flies in the face of earlier documents such as:

          1. The 35th canon of the Apostolic Canons (dated from the 2nd to 5th centuries):

          “The bishops of every country ought to know who is the chief among them, and to esteem him as their head, and not to do any great thing without his consent; but every one to manage only the affairs that belong to his own parish, and the places subject to it. But let him not do anything without the consent of all; for it is by this means there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified by Christ, in the Holy Spirit.”

          2. The Council of Nicaea’s 6th canon:

          “Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges.”

          The prominence of the city of Rome created the pre-eminence of the Bishop of Rome. Rome had the biggest army among other things.

          • My dear Jewish brother, your statement “There was no Roman Catholic pope until centuries after Peter” qualifies you as a person in need of competent instruction.

            Rest assured, mariamaria3 is writing from a position of good instruction.

            Also, you may mis-understand the character or meaning or applicability or authority of the canons and sources you are quoting. I recommend that you seek out a competent, faithful Catholic university and take more courses. Anyone can find “Liber Pontificalis” via a quick web search, and anyone can read the published acts and canons of various councils, but they may well misinterpret them or misunderstand them or may read a bad translation or even a manipulated translation.

            Rest assured, you can trust competent, faithful Catholic instruction. Do not try to figure things out on your own. But please do seek it out. You will not regret it as I have not regretted it. It will give you a means to stop doubting and to bring you greater peace which will be very good for you. 🙂

            • Francis,

              A. What is your understanding of

              1. The 35th canon of the Apostolic Canons (dated from the 2nd to 5th centuries):

              “The bishops of every country ought to know who is the chief among them, and to esteem him as their head, and not to do any great thing without his consent; but every one to manage only the affairs that belong to his own parish, and the places subject to it. But let him not do anything without the consent of all; for it is by this means there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified by Christ, in the Holy Spirit.”

              2. The Council of Nicaea’s 6th canon:

              “Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges.”

              B. When did private confession to a priest begin in church history?

              • A. 1. Caveat: I am not aware that the “Apostolic Canons” is a document which is binding on the Church even though it may include valid entries.

                That stated, this canon apparently tells the lower bishops to respect the senior bishop in their own country and for the senior bishop not to act on matters within their authority and affecting the lower bishops under their authority without first getting the brotherly consent of those other bishops within his own country. This is a charitable way to “govern” and to retain respect and control. This tradition is very much alive today in various ways in the Catholic Church.
                A.2. This canon sought to allow the other great regional bishops to operate in their regions in a way modeled after that of the Bishop of Rome. However, this canon has nothing to do with establishing those other bishops as having the same authority as the Vicar of Christ, who is the Bishop of Rome when he acts “ex cathedra” as the Vicar. You can’t have 3 Vicars of Christ in a Church founded on the concept of Unity in the Holy Spirit and the reality that Christ chose only 1 man (not twelve Apostles) to be the “rock” upon which he would build His Church. Some protestants try to make the argument of duplicate authority (because of their bias and desire to weaken the authority of the Pope), Don’t be fooled. Seek the mind of Christ in these matters.

                B. We have documentation by the year AD 459 that secret confession to a priest was sufficient as opposed to public confession. This does not mean that this is when it started. Local customs varied in the early Church due to various external forces and heresies, but the requirement to confess/retain/remit sin did not vary as is known in the Gospels.

                • A. The Church at Rome initially was one among equals. As you know the other churches (centres) were Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem.

                  B. It is “clear from the words of Christ that the Apostles had power to forgive sins. But this was not a personal prerogative that was to erase at their death; it was granted to them in their official capacity and hence as a permanent institution in the Church — no less permanent than the mission to teach and baptize all nations.” And it “cannot be said that the Church or the priest interferes between the soul and God; on the contrary, penance is the removal of the one obstacle that keeps the soul away from God.”

                  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11618c.htm

                  So, the RCC position is this: place a priest between the sinner and God, for only in so doing can sinners atone for their sins and thus be reconciled to God.

                  “Ego te absolvo in nomine Patris, et Filiii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.” (I absolve you in the name of the father, and the son, and the holy ghost, amen). Absolve, remit, take away – in the RCC they all connote the power “to forgive sins” (first paragraph above). This power is, of course, a surrogate power.

                  Francis, with regard to private confession in the first centuries of Christianity, you appeal to “absence of evidence does not necessarily mean evidence of absence,” which, of course, is forensically valid.

                  So, in spite of the absence of evidence of “auricular” (one-on-one) confession to a priest in Clement, Ignatius, The Didache, Polycarp, Justin Martyr (same applies to penance, purgatory or indulgences), it might still be tucked away somewhere in past time, if not in “history” (the record of past time). Things may not be so bleak, because there are records of “exomologesis.”

                  “Exomologesis is the discipline which obliges a man to prostrate and humiliate himself and to adopt a manner of life that will draw down mercy.” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11618c.htm

                  Yet, Francis, wasn’t “exomologesis” a once in a lifetime, generally done in public, occurrence; and done for very serious sin only? Did the priest grant absolution?

                  (Hugh Paulinus Serenus Cressy wrote his “Exomologesis” (Paris, 1647), in which he explains why he became a Roman Catholic).

                  • I, in my ability to reason and believe and trust, do not have an issue with the Sacrament of Penance as it developed in the early centuries. I am grateful to God the Holy Spirit for His kindness and compassion and patience and healing helps which we, as a Whole, are gifted today.

            • It is very clear that those clerics in Rome who dress in the splendor of kings and royalty are the result of Constantine marrying his form of Christianity and the Roman political system. The true church was always underground being persecuted not living the cushy life of the Popes and his bishops who live like billionaires and politicians. I need no extended education to see with my own eyes the obvious ostentatious lavish lifestyle of people who reportedly reflect Christ, but seem to only follow hollow rituals and parades to pass the time and enthrall the masses

  4. “The Roman Catholic Church arrogates to its priests the divine ability to forgive sins.he Jewish Bible (“Old Testament”) it is God, and God alone who forgives sins…”

    My dear Jewish brother, you are absolutely wrong. It is apparent that you write about that which you have not studied. Only God forgives sins; the priest is God’s agent; the priest is not man’s mediator – only Jesus Christ (God incarnate) is man’s new mediator for forgiveness. This is not blasphemy; it is the fulfillment of Jewish Old Testament prophecy. However, you are probably taught to teach that this is blasphemy (very harsh and unnecessary word to use).

    It is better to ask the question than it is to assert an un-studied falsehood. I know you didn’t intend to, but this is the sort of thing which leads to strife, and so on. Please study first. Try taking some theology courses from a conservative (faithful and trusthworthy) Catholic university. Thank you.

    • Thank you Francis Philip for your gentle admonition.

      Do you think that Vivator, a Catholic apologist, requires the same admonition. He said above: “If you read the Bible thoroughly you will know that Christ gave the authority to forgive sins to His apostles in John 20:22.-23. Your church does not have that authority because it is NOT apostolic church – it is a man-made church!”

      What do you mean the priest is God’s “agent?”

      • You misunderstand. When Christ gave authority to His Apostles (from which the Pope and his college of Catholic Bishops are successors in an unbroken line of fidelity, the reason the Catholic Church is called “apostolic”), He declared who would be his formal instruments of administering His (God’s) forgiveness – the Apostles and their formal successors (as it has been). As such, when a priest grants absolution of a sin, it carries the effect of forgiveness of sin by God. But it is not the priest himself who acts of his own will or motivation, but it is God’s Will acting through the one(s) God has authorized to be His instrument. Without God and His authority and Will, there is no forgiveness.

        Christ created the Church on Peter and the Apostles. The Church grew from there under the care and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because Christ spoke and sent the Holy Spirit, the Church was born. Because Christ spoke, the Church has authority. There is nothing that anyone else but God can say to change that. Please study.

        Navarre Commentaries and the RSV Bible are good choices if you want the commentary on the full, catholic and apostolic canon of scripture without the potential admixture of non-Catholic theologies.

  5. Non every language had necessarily and army. In Italy there were no armies to promote the Tuscany dialects among so many dialects. There were navigators, great poets who also spoke about God in florentine and before the poets there was a saint, Saint Francis who wrote in his dialect but is part of the history of the language

    • Maria, it is a joke among linguists (language scientists). So it is my fault that you didn’t understand. Many people don’t like to hear that they speak MERELY a “dialect,” and not a (fully-fledged) language. Say you are one of these speakers of a “dialect” and you become a powerful leader with an army and a navy, you can just declare that you dialect IS a language. That is what the papacy has done; elevated its “dialect” to a “language” with a “little” help from its armies, one of which is purgatory.

  6. The RCC is guilty at least of one sin….Stealing Peter from the rank of the Jews and making him an Italian pope…

    If it wasn’t so sad it could have been a comedy on TV….

  7. Dan,

    Do you think Rabbi today would find it funny if a man who still calls himself a Jew would be elected pope today? If your answer is a sincere NO…then consider how difficult it was for Peter to call himself a Jew and still be at the head of the Christian faith when he was alive. Bog is right in this case, Paul was correcting Peter in a smart way. If your answer is yes then there could be a possible chance of electing a pope who calls himself a Catholic Jew after the 28th of February, 2013 :-). But we know better…in diplomacy and politics how these things work. We don’t find these things funny…Do we Dan? I mentioned Peter at the top of my list of the first Popes, in my comment published the 10th of February. The position to be elected Pope is open historically again from yesterday, 11th of February, dedicated in liturgy to the Virgin of Lourdes, the first of the Apostles for the RCC. The same decision, of the actual Pope of stepping down from the papal office, was made by a Pope 600 hundred years ago.
    Paul,
    Would you today deny again the status of King of Israel to Jesus Christ after he was mocked to be such on His wooden cross? Then pleaseee give the Vicar of the human God a posthumous bit of glittering too, glittering that we ( anyway so easily) were and are always bestowing on human kings and human chiefs in power. The Catholic Church already has enough orders dedicated today to the poverty of Christ. Give also to Cesar what is of Cesar’s and do not bring up always the same trite thing that Protestants do without a deep historical, philosophical, political, theological understanding of what does it mean to be called the VICAR OF CHRIST on earth.

    After the last time the released dove by the pope was attacked by a seagull on the day of world peace , we had on the Vatican yesterday a visible striking in the night lighting on the top of the Vatican, is still the Bible working its little signs? 🙂 Is God upset with his people? If the God of the Bible would be upset today where should He send His lightening? Where is He recognized more on earth in His position of the King of Israel? Instead of analytic discussions we should all pray in my humble opinion 🙂 and ask for mercy as the people of Israel used to do in the Old Testament.

    • I have never drunk this Kool Aid you are speaking because it is not something that appeals to me. Do you know how your saying have come about? One of the most popular reported origin is the Jonestown Massacre, Rev. Jim Jones was the responsible for it, then not sent by the RCC. Perhaps if the victims were instead Catholic they would still be alive 🙂
      And Kool Aid would not have found its saying. In fact it seems that is more connected to death: “According to scholar Rebecca Moore, early analogies to Jonestown and Kool-Aid were based around death and suicide, not blind obedience”
      You know Dan I have read enough of your comments to know that you have been kind and are kind to me…as kool aid prone or addict do you still want to be considerate to me 🙂

    • So Dan….do you know what they say… Peter was not an Italian pope he was Jewish. He came to Rome because he would have died too soon in Jerusalem…we found him and we kept him until the Romans killed him. But if he was killed in Jerusalem, he would have never built as a Jew the Vatican where we find very possibly his bones underneath it with Paul’ bones too. Finally united 🙂

      The story is as simple as this. What happens to people who are not accepted as prophets where they come from? What did happen to Columbus, an Italian who won America to the Spanish people? Dan make peace with it… or decide as with Columbus and the Italians that the territory will not speak Italian but you can still be part of it 🙂

      It is perhaps worse to stay on the fringe or be on the wrong side of the rope. I know how difficult it is…I lost a boat too and it has been said to be a huge boat of money and power 🙂 and it is a contemporary situation (not historical yet) but it is completely ok because I found the light and my spotlight is with Christ and His Sacrament given to the Catholic Church.

      I don’t need an army, the power, seduction or menace that come with belonging to tribes or Revered Jim Jones congregations to be freely part of it. And also I am very hopeful that since I found this treasure in the worst possible circumstances everybody could find it too. But I also know that it is as it is and there is a reason why it is like it is and this means that I don’t consider it a bad thing if you don’t want to get on this vessel. But for how I see it on this boat there are people who are numerous as the grain of the desert, as God promised to Abraham, then you would find yourself to be completely Jewish too. You would still be then part of a tribe but free and without a boundary kind of a tribe 🙂 and if you would ever be interested (I doubt it) you could ask the Italians the Vatican back with its Pope and many of them would very gladly give it to you more in a rush than in their giving the New world away 🙂

    • Dan, you asked in the comment posted the 13th of February, If Peter, as pope, was Jewish or Italian. In my answer the 13th of February I spoke to you about Columbus the discovery of America, losing the chance and the boat in the giving away of the new continent , the wiliness to give away the Vatican too by many Italians. Also I spoke about the idea of being present in the new continent even if it didn’t speak the language (there was no unified spoken language to begin with) Well…we have a new pope as of the 13th of March. He is from the New Continent and he is of Italian immigrant poor parents who took some kind of transportation, perhaps a boat. First time in history and first time a Jesuit ( Francis Xavier took a lot of boats…and Saint Francis (Italian) presumably in a boat came to Jerusalem and brought back from there the living nativity tradition and the manger for Christmas (after Peter, another robbery of your territory) “I would like to make a kind of living representation of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem so as to witness, so to say, with the eyes of the body the humility of the Incarnation and see Him lying in the manger between the ox and the donkey.” http://www.piercedhearts.org/theology_heart/life_saints/francis_assisi_life.htm

    • One way to prove whether the bones under St Peter’s basilica are Peter’s is to do a DNA test, which would pick up a Jewish gene or two. If the results are negative, this would mean it is definitely not Peter. But, of course, if Jewish genes are found, this only means that the bones are Jewish. Paul’s?

    • Dan, I give you not only one break but many. One definite break perhaps 🙂
      I actually do not care too much about bones and I could presume for the bones of Peter to be there, for the purpose of being somewhere important for them to be. For what I know an Italian wrote something about them possibly being in Jerusalem and I would not consider it a bad thing. It would still belong to somewhere of significance and this would make you glad 🙂 For me I would let the dead bury the dead. And what I see is life in progression. Bones are bones…what you build on bones is important and it could be any kind of bones. Bones belong to the history. My faith doesn’t rest on bones and if they are Italian or Jewish, but on the significance of resurrected life. I hope yours too.

      • When I wrote about the importance of what is built on relicts, of course I am not only speaking about stones, but also the importance of the religious piety and devotion http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1378866/Tests-relic-bones-support-legend-Christian-saints-buried-alive-Ancient-Rome.html
        I see more and more that what were considered for the most part only legends are becoming more than only that. Bog I am not concern about THe relict of Peter being not in the right place 🙂

        • “Stones” or bones?

          You seem to be saying 1. relics such as bones are important for piety and devotion AND 2. It doesn’t matter “where” Peter’s bones are, as long as they’re somewhere. So do you mean that it doesn’t matter whether the bones in the Vatican are Peter’s?

          • On relicts of bones there have been built churches (made by stones)

            I didn’t say at all that doesn’t matter 🙂 Actually I said that Saint Peter’s relict is important for different reasons. I only said previously that my faith doesn’t rest on the identification of any relict, meaning on bones DNA and so on. Of course I value relicts…I am Catholic ( and now we have the hurricane of invectives on this)I have a special relict for my devotion 🙂 The relict of the tomb of Saint Peter is in the right place for me, because it is where the bones have fully flourished the religion of Christianity…meaning the Vatican. I know that Peter was in Rome. This is for sure the last comment that I am going to post on this topic

        • In parallel of what I posted on this blog the same days,, the first homely of Pope Francis,14th of March, speaks about journey…and stones. These are the foundations of the Church of Peter:

          “Building: to build the Church. There is talk of stones: stones have consistency, but [the stones spoken of are] living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, the cornerstone of which is the same Lord. With [every] movement in our lives, let us build!

          Third, professing: we can walk as much we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a pitiful NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ. When one does not walk, one stalls. When one does not built on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency. When one does not profess Jesus Christ – I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy – “Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.” When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/03/14/full-text-pope-franciss-first-homily-in-the-sistine-chapel/

          • Maria in reply your “In parallel of what I posted on this blog the same days,, the first homely of Pope Francis,14th of March, speaks about journey…and stones. These are the foundations of the Church of Peter:….”

            Yep, that’s it: Christ is our Rock. Be careful Francis not to talk yourself out of a job.

  8. Mister Bog,
    This book is good…If you are still interested in bones :
    John Evangelist Walsh’s, The Bones of St. Peter.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bones-Peter-John-Evangelist-Walsh/dp/1933184752“The first full account of the search for the Apostle’s body
    “In the year A.D. 68, St. Peter was put to death in Rome as an enemy of the state. Roman law forbade him a proper burial and denied his friends even the right to recover his body, so few souls were able to learn his final resting place.

    For centuries, tradition held that to honor and preserve the mortal remains of this true Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter’s Basilica had been built right over St. Peter’s grave.

    Not, however, until 1939, did researchers, scholars, and scientists begin sustained, systematic efforts to discover the truth, an archaeological task that spanned 30 years. Carefully studying every known clue while literally unearthing others as they tunneled their way through a tangle of ancient structures beneath the magnificent high altar of St. Peter’s, they slowly unraveled the secrets surrounding the burial of St. Peter.

    The Bones of Saint Peter is the engrossing true story of how these determined researchers finally solved the puzzle of St. Peter’s burial and rescued his bodily remains from centuries of oblivion.

    And for Saint Paul’s bones? Rome does have presumebly many bones to account for… and this is actually the tragic truth. Not the fact that the ‘pope is italian’. For sure the ignorance of many protestants do not help to truth or Christianity
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/5685157/Bone-fragments-confirmed-to-be-Saint-Paul.html

  9. Maria, I see that Pope Francis I “explicitly stated that the plenary indulgence worked remotely through media (so if you watch the blessing on tv, hear it on the radio, watch it on the internet, it counts).”

    http://antiquitopia.blogspot.com/2013/03/plenary-indulgence-and-social-media.html

    So no need to traipse to Rome – recall Benedict and Sydney showgrounds. A flick of button will do.
    If only they had TV and internet before Vatican 2, just think of all the miillions of your coreligionists who couldl have avoided millions of extra years in purgatory.

    Here is the Benedict reference again.
    VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2008 (VIS) – According to a decree made public today and signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant the faithful Plenary Indulgence to faithful who “gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage” to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, and Partial Indulgence to “all those who, wherever they are, will pray for the spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome”.

    • At 7.30 I sent you a post about Pope Francis’ homily. We are part of the living stones of the church dear Bog, meaning that we as such can be reached everywhere we are by God and His Vicar and this is absolutely wonderful. And please stop being too coolly icy. I am reaching you from the internet :-)too. And you also are doing the same. Are you doing the right thing? Am I? What do you think?

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