The Barque of Peter: The least leaky boat?

pope in the boat newWilliam Ockham (No, not the one “of” Ockham), says:

I still have problems with the institutional Church but I believe that Christianity, and especially the Catholic Church with its deep history, traditions and emphasis on reason, offers the best description of the ultimate reality (or as William O’Malley, S.J. describes it, the “least leaky boat”).”

What keeps this “least leaky boat” afloat, and why wouldn’t it be a bad thing to sink it? Let me pull some corks, and then I’ll cork up.

In the Introduction to his “Why Be Catholic?” William J. O’Malley, S.J. writes:

If you have serious problems accepting the Roman Catholic Church, I would suggest—for your own sake—that you sit down and list them on a piece of paper, rather than letting them ramble around your mind, unfocused, vague and embittering. Really dredge them up. Then go back and cross out all those that are truly trivial: “A priest once bawled me out”; “I know some hypocritical churchgoers”; “How was Our Lady bodily lifted outside time and space where bodies don’t exist?” One consistent objection is, “All those rules!” but when pressed, the objector usually is hard put to specify what those rules are. Other than the ones that seem to overemphasize sexuality, what other specific rules do you find insupportable? Finally, go through the cut-down list and ask how many of the remaining objections result from idealistic expectations no humanly embodied institution could satisfy.”

Actually, my protestations result from a comparison between scripture and what I and many Protesants believe is the magnificent humanly embodied instituiton called “Unam Sanctam Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesaim.” Here are some of the main Roman Catholic doctrines that stick in the Protestant throat.


Plenary indulgences; for example, occasions as the Bi-millenium of St Paul and the World Meeting of Families and Sydney World Youth day.

If you were lucky enough to have attended this Youth day in Sydney officiated by Pope Benedict and died during or immediately after the meeting (having had no time to sin in thought or deed), you would have been granted a plenary indulgence and so have circumvented purgatory – one million years. Two million years – and winging your way straight to heaven.


Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” What does the Saviour save a person from? Sin, of course.

In The Little Office of the Virgin Mary, “Mary occupies a place in the Church which is highest after Christ and yet very close to us, for you chose her to give the world that very Life which renews all things, Jesus Christ your Son and our Lord. And so we praise you, Mary, virgin and mother. After the Savior himself, you alone are all holy, free from the stain of sin, gifted by God from the first instant of your conception with a unique holiness.”

The “Seraphic doctor” of the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Bonaventure goes further. In his “Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary” he substitutes Mary for the Creator and Lord of the universe, making in effect Mary the fourth person of the Godhead.

 Psalm 1:1

Bonaventure’s psalter – Blessed is the man, O Virgin Mary, who loves thy name; thy grace will comfort his soul.

Bible – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners,

Psalm 3:1a

Bonaventure (Mary replaces the Lord)  – O Lady, why are they multiplied who afflict me?

Bible – O Lord, how many are my foes!

Psalm 4:1a

Bonaventure (Mary usurps God’s throne) – When I called upon thee, thou didst hear me, O Lady: and from thy throne on high thou hast deigned to be mindful of me.

Bible – Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!   You have given me relief when I was in distress.

(See What have they done to the mother of my Lord).


23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

 The Catholic Forum mentions the following as an ”anti-Catholic whopper.”

 ”Catholics re-sacrifice Christ at every Mass because [they say] we don’t understand that His death on the cross was the FINAL sacrifice.”

In his teaching of the sacrifice of the Mass, Pope John Paul II writes: . . . the Church is the instrument of man’s salvation. It both contains and continually (my italics) draws upon the mystery of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. Through the shedding of His own blood, Jesus Christ constantly (my italics) “enters into God’s sanctuary thus obtaining eternal redemption” (cf. Heb 9:12). (Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (New York: Knopf, 1995, p. 139). The underlined section is the Pope’s rendition of Hebrews 9:12.). The Pope’s “constantly enters” resonates with the Council of Trent’s declaration that the Mass is not merely a “re-enactment”, but a real propitiatory sacrifice, which is repeated at every consecration of the wafer and the wine. “And for as much as, in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner who once offered himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross . . . For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. . . If any one saith, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; or, that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice. . . and that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other necessities: let him be anathema.”

(See The Catholic Mass, the final sacrifice: A whopping questions).


The Catholic Church teaches: “Through baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213). Many baptised babies (reborn as children of God, bornof the Spirit) never come to have faith in Christ, yet, according to “baptismal regeneration” they once were children of God.

The Bible says the Christian was chosen before the foundation of the world to become a child of God:

Ephesians 1

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. … 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Through God’s handiwork, the sinner is made alive by grace though faith. The sinner is created in Christ (born again) to do good works that God prepared in advance:

Ephesians 2

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

John 6

44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

if you are given, you will come (believe). And if you believe, then it inexorably you will be raised up – to eternal life, of course.

John 10

28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Believe, or disbelieve, anything as long as you remain faithful to your belief/disbelief. And be good and kind. Then you will be saved.

John 3

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Here is Pope Benedcit XV:

For the whole of mankind was freed from the slavery of sin by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ as their ransom, and there is no one who is excluded from the benefit of this Redemption …” Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, #1, 1914.

Surely, you can only begin to know what true freedom is once you’ve entered into the life of Christ. So, how can mankind be set free if they ignore Christ: “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).

Therefore, according to Benedict XV: if you’re a good Buddhist, Jew, Hindu, atheist (?) you receive – in Catholic terms – the ultimate gift of redemption, namely, salvation. It’s also ok to be a Jewish Hindu or a Catholic Buddhist.

Enough already!

18 thoughts on “The Barque of Peter: The least leaky boat?

  1. Let me answer your classic argument against Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass.

    When was Christ sacrificed? I bet you will directly say He offered His Sacrifice on the cross almost two thousand years ago. It is correct answer but Scripture goes much deeper than that. According to Revelation 13:8, Christ as the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world (or the creation of the world). The Greek word translated into slain in English is passive perfect tense of the verb to slay. Unlike English perfect tense Greek passive perfect tense implies completed action with continuing result. A good comparison is the phrase “it is written” (appears in a number of verses in the New Testament) in Greek is in passive perfect tense, though most Bible translate it as passive present tense. This implies that whenever you buy a new copy of the Bible the SAME words of God are NOT re-written again and again, even though it is (re)printed again and again. In the same way in Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass, Christ is NOT re-sacrificed again and again even though the Mass is offered again and again every day in all Catholic Churches all over the world. Christ as the Lamb has been sacrificed from the foundation of the world – His Sacrifice is perpetual.

    How we relate Rev 13:8 with crucifixion? Heb 9:26 says Christ appeared at the end of age (end of age starts two thousand years ago, Heb 1:2) once for all to offer His Sacrifice on the cross. Heb 9:24-26 provides scriptural explanation. Christ offered Himself as Sacrifice in heavenly sanctuary. Because of this He needs to do it only once, unlike Old Testament High Priests who must do on yearly basis (on Jewish Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur) because they offered sacrifice of animals in earthly and man-made sanctuary. If Christ did not offer His Sacrifice in heavenly sanctuary then according to Heb 9:26 He must suffer repeatedly, interestingly, not from the year He was crucified but from the foundation (creation) of the world.

    The three synoptic Gospels mention the Last Supper as the occasion when Christ instituted the Eucharist. The Last Supper is Passover meal, which is both memorial and sacrificial meal (Exodus 12:1-13) – it is not mere memorial meals like Thanksgiving meals of North Americans. In Passover meal the Jews CONSUME sacrificial Passover Lamb – without the Jerusalem Temple they can no longer do it; thus the Jews of today still celebrate Passover yearly as commanded (Exodus 12:14) but without sacrificial Lamb – a lamb bone represents the sacrificial lamb on seder plate. The three synoptic Gospels do not mention sacrificial lamb because according 1 Cor 5:7 Christ is our Passover lamb. Christ was not yet sacrificed on the cross in the Last supper of the three synoptic Gospels – but as explained earlier as the Lamb He has been slain from the foundation of the world – His Sacrifice is perpetual. The Last Gospel does not mention the Last Supper because it makes Christ crucifixion take place on Passover Eve (John 18:28, 19:14) when the Jews must consume sacrificial Passover meal. John’s Gospel makes Christ the Passover Lamb who must be sacrificed on Passover while the three synoptic Gospels make crucifixion take place one day after Passover.

    Contrary to what you believe Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass is rooted in the Bible and therefore it is scriptural. It is the Reformers who were simply deluded and too bad you follow their foot steps.

  2. What is the biblical basis of Catholic purgatory?

    The Bible refers God as refiner’s fire (Malachi 3:2) and Zech 13:8-9 says He refines some like one refines silver. A silver smith will use fire to cleanse silver from impurities and he knows his job is done when he can see his image reflected in the silver. Recall that when God created Adam (before the Fall), he was created after His image (Gen 1:26). Scripture would not refer God as refiner’s fire without any reason. According to Scripture (1 John 5:16-17 there are mortal (deadly) and non-mortal (venial) sin. Venial sins, while non-mortal, are like impurities in silver and they must be cleansed as Scripture says that nothing impure can enter heaven (Rev 21:27).

  3. You wrote “Therefore, according to Benedict XV: if you’re a good Buddhist, Jew, Hindu, atheist (?) you receive – in Catholic terms – the ultimate gift of redemption, namely, salvation. It’s also ok to be a Jewish Hindu or a Catholic Buddhist.” What made you write the above is the Reformed teaching of double predestination, i.e. God when created the world, unconditionally decided who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. Thus according to this teaching non-Christians belong to the latter. Is this belief scriptural?

    Scripture says God desires salvation of all men (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9). He has no intention to put any one in hell (Ezekiel 33:11) and His Grace brings salvation to all men (Titus 2:11) through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22). The phrase “prepared from the foundation of the world” is applied to the Elect (the sheep) in Mat 25:34 but NOT applied to the goats (the Reprobate) in Matthew 25:41 – the verse plainly says that hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, NOT for them. While Catholics agree that God predestines the Elect to heaven, for scriptural reason we reject Reformed teaching that God predestines the Reprobate to hell.

    So who is being deluded?

  4. You wrote “Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” What does the Saviour save a person from? Sin, of course.” You need to do your home-work. The Catholic Church never says she did not a saviour. She was born immaculate and remain sinless in her life came from grace of God, not from herself – she was saved by God, the Saviour. Of course you will ask the scriptural support of that? According to Gen 3:15 there will be enmity between the serpent (devil) and the woman and between the serpent’s seed and the woman seed. If you accept this verse as protoevangelicum (first Gospel) then the woman refers to Mary and her seed refers to Christ – BOTH are in enmity with the devil. This should explain why Christ always refer her as “woman”, not “mother” – Christ is not guilty of disrespecting His mother.. If Mary committed sin, even only ONCE, then she cannot fulfill this prophecy because according to Scripture he who sins belong to to the devil (1 John 3:8). We all sin because of original sin – we were born with inclination to sin. If Mary cannot sin to fulfill Gen 3:15 and 1 John 3:8 then she had to be immaculately conceived. Christ is sinless by His own power as the second Person of Holy Trinity. Mary was sinless and immaculately conceived by grace of God.

  5. For sure you know John Calvin, the founding father of your church. Regarding Baptism he wrote:

    We ought to consider that at whatever time we are baptised, we are washed and purified once for
    the whole of life. Wherefore, as often as we fall, we must recall the remembrance of our baptism,
    and thus fortify our minds, so as to feel certain and secure of the remission of sins. For though,
    when once administered, it seems to have passed, it is not abolished by subsequent sins. For the
    purity of Christ was therein offered to us, always is in force, and is not destroyed by any stain: it
    wipes and washes away all our defilements.
    Calvin: Institutes of Christian Religion 4.16.3

    It is unlikely you believe what he wrote. I don’t think even your hero and guru R.C. Sproul believe it either! While both Luther and Calvin disagreed with many of core Catholic teachings both still value Baptism as sacrament through which we are washed and purified. Calvin even went further by stating all sins, including future sins, were washed in Baptism, i.e. we do not need Sacrament of reconciliation. He did warn his follower not to abuse this teaching as licence to sin freely after Baptism.

    Here is what Luther wrote regarding Baptism:

    In Titus 3:5 St. Paul terms Baptism “a washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.” In the last chapter of Mark we read that “he who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). And in this passage Christ declares that whoever is not born anew of the water and the Holy Spirit cannot come into the kingdom of God. Therefore God’s words dare not be tampered with. Of course, we are well aware that Baptism is natural water. But after the Holy Spirit is added to it, we have more than mere water. It becomes a veritable bath of rejuvenation, a living bath which washes and purges man of sin and death, which cleanses him of all sin.
    Luther: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John Chapter 3
    English translation from Luther’s Works Vol. 22, page 284

    • Sorry for the long delay.

      1. “For sure you know John Calvin, the founding father of your church.”

      Response – Not true. Few Roman Catholics know much about the the history of Protestantism.

      2. Your reference “Calvin: Institutes of Christian Religion 4.16.3” It should be 4.15.3.

      Whatever Protestant paedobaptists mean by baptism, it is bizarre to link it to regeneration. I cannot agree with my “founder” that (your quote from Calvin above, which should be 4.15.3) that in baptism “the
purity of Christ was therein offered to us, always is in force, and is not destroyed by any stain: it
wipes and washes away all our defilements.”

      How could baptism wipe away an infant’s defilements. After all, many, indeed most, who are baptised as babies never make a profession of faith, which is required to wash away “all defilements.” Only those who believe in Jesus as their saviour are called – in the New Testament – the “children of God.” Calvin speaks like a Roman Catholic on the matter. In my view, infant baptism makes no biblical sense because it is not linked to faith in Christ.

      By the way, there are many “Calvinsts” who do not believe in infant baptism. Great names (in Protestantism) are Charles Spurgeon, John Gill and John Bunyan

      3. Your quote from Luther:

      In Titus 3:5 St. Paul terms Baptism “a washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.” In the last chapter of Mark we read that “he who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). And in this passage Christ declares that whoever is not born anew of the water and the Holy Spirit cannot come into the kingdom of God…”

      Comment: Luther quotes (Mark 16:16) “he who BELIEVES and is baptized will be saved.” Infants don’t know what “know” means, nor do they know what “believe” means

      • I don’t understand your first response “Not true. Few Roman Catholics know much about the the history of Protestantism.” I am not talking about Catholic knowledge of History of Protestantism in any of my earlier comments.
        You may disagree with Calvin since he was not your authority and neither is anyone, both living and dead. Your authority is YOURSELF, i.e. you believe what you want to believe.

        The main reason to baptize babies is to cleanse them from original sin – they are free from personal sin. Original sin is a fundamental and backbone belief that distinguish Christians with others including Judaism.

          • You were Catholic before and you joined as adult and they did not give you that information? In RC original sin was washed away through Sacrament of Baptism – the so called of Baptism of Regeneration (St. Augustine could be the first who used this term). Baptism makes us born again in newness of life (Romans 6:4). That is how Catholics understand being born again (the Greek word also means from above) through water and spirit (John 3:5). Faith is a free gift from God and nobody can believe unless he is first moved by God’s grace (John 6:44) – the so called prevenient grace. A baby will receive this gift after Baptism while an adult receive it before baptism (otherwise he won’t ask for baptism, unless he has other hidden motive, i.e. in order to marry his future Catholic wife). John 6:44 is favourite verse of Reformed scholars to justify monergism. They do not realize that the verse support synergism as well because they confuse synergism with semi-pelagianism. For more detail you may read what I wrote on the issue of synergism and monergism at:

            Click to access synergismmonergism3.pdf

            Have a good day!

            • Vivator, a secret: My question was not a request for information but for my confirmation of your understanding.

              So far so good. If a baptized – therefore born again – baby is abducted by Muslims to grow up and believe in Islam, is the baby then a born again Muslim?

              • The Original sin is still washed regardless the person later became Muslim or non-Christian. Being born again in Baptism does not guarantee heaven to anybody. To answer your question the baby was born again Christian who later abandoned his faith. There is no such thing as born again Muslim. I can return the same question: if a born again Christian, which in your understanding means to believe in Christ as Lord and personal saviour, later became a Muslim, what happened to his born again state? You might say he was not (or false) born again but how do you know? A person could be sincere enough to believe in Christ but later still abandoned his faith. Scripture mentioned those who ship-wrecked their faith (1 Tim 1:19). Nobody shipwrecked false faith!.

                • Yes, “false born again.” Because of this, for which I await your exegesis:

                  John 6:44
                  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

                  Father draws, you come (believe), you WILL have eternal life.

                  if you believe you will stay saved, because eternal life is guaranteed. Not because of you, Of your “free” will but because of the Father’s (free) will. If you are the one who ultimately decides you salvation, I hope you never sing “Amazing grace.” Sing “Amazing moi.”

                  • It seems you did not read my reply. 1 Tim 1:19 says it is possible for ones to shipwreck their faith. The verse talks about true faith, NOT FALSE BORN AGAIN! Catholics do believe that our salvation depends solely on God’s grace, NOT ON OUR FREE WILL. This may surprise you as you (like may Reformed scholars) confuse synergism with semi-pelagianism. Salvation in synergism is grace dependent – it is NOT FREE WILL dependent. Read the post I provided in the link earlier.

    • I did not quote that verse in the file. The introduction of the article, i.e. the one before two column of comparison provides you with introduction to the issue of relation between grace and free-will and the Table (from page 2) should explain to you the difference between synergism and monergism and why the latter is wrong. Monergistic regeneration before faith was developed only in 19 century, as admitted by Reformed scholars themselves and Sproul falsely claimed it was the belief of Reformers.

      • Other issues aside, isn’t infant baptism, according to the RCC, monergistic regeneration, wherein, for obvious reasons, faith does not feature? Or is it the faith of the person (usually a parent) bringing the child to the font that precedes the generation of the infant? Which would make the infant God’s grandchild?

        • Vivator, why is it necessary to know what the truth is on this matter or any religious matter, because as you might know this pope and John Paul II said you can believe or not believe anything you like as long as you remain faithful to those (dis)beliefs and are good and kind.

          Furthermore, why should we trust a pope who kisses the Koran (John Paul II) and welcomes to pray with Muslims who reject the central doctrines of the NT? Francis is following faithfully in John Paul ii’s, indeed i Vatican 2’s (Nostra Aetate) footsteps.

      • About synergism, I think you would agree that a person who is sent to hell deserves to got there. Do you think the person who goes to heaven deserves heaven? If yes, why; if no, why not?

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