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제목 The Differences Between Catholic Truths and Pagan Ones
작성자 관리자 작성일 2015-10-05

The Differences Between Catholic Truths and Pagan Ones

Q  1) I know that “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”(John 8:32) is some colleges’ Motto. And some theologians exclaim that religious pluralism is right and every religion has a common goodness and truth........ they also insist that Buddhism teaches the above (biblical) words, that is, reaching nirvana means.... the truth shall make you free, citing a famous (and mysterious)philosopher named Chuang-tzu(Chinese,B.C 4); a mysterious fish(Gon) becomes a big birds called Bung(a Roc, mythical and imaginary bird) and fly into the universe.... It is a true freedom. In Korea some priests and lay people visit Buddhist Temples and have the Temple Stay. They meditate and learn Buddhism’s teachings and celebrate the Mass there. So, many people are gradually in favor of Buddhism.....

2) Some people and theologians think that religious fundamentalism is dangerous.

A  There is a huge difference between the truth and myths, such as those found in many pagan religions (Greek mythology, Roman mythology, and Buddhist mythology, such as “a mysterious fish (Gon) becomes a big birds called Bung (a Roc, mythical and imaginary bird) and fly into the universe…”, or Hindu mythology with Vishnu, etc.)


 We can know the truth either directly or indirectly. We know directly those little truths which are at our level: things we see, hear, or intellectual first principles which everyone using his intelligence can easily grasp (e.g. the whole is greater than its parts…) We know indirectly those truths which we infer – through proper logical reasoning – from these truths known immediately, or from truth we learn from others, i.e. from witnesses. Sciences (true sciences) deal with the truths of the first kind (known by logical inference, and abstraction): it is quite evident that scientific truth is objective – it does not depend on us and is the same for all. The typical example of them is mathematics. Faith deals with those truths we know from others. Thus if I speak of past events within my family, you do not have immediate knowledge of them, but you may know them by my witness: you know them by human faith.

 Human faith is in itself the weakest argument; but divine faith – faith in the witness which God has given to His word – is the strongest argument. Yet one needs to know that it is truly God who spoke, and this is manifested by the signature of God, i.e. those signs which God alone can give, such as miracles and prophecies – not just one or two, but such number as building an absolute certitude.

  For example at Fatima in 1917, three children claimed that they saw the Blessed Virgin Mary; people dismissed them saying that they just wanted to show off… So the second time they saw her (she had told them she would come six times, each 13th of the month), they complained to her that people did not believe them, and asked for a miracle: the vision told them “in October I shall make a miracle which everyone shall be able to see.” Now if you ask me, “where can I see a miracle”, I could not give you neither place nor date: but here in Fatima there was such rendez-vous with a miracle! Based on this prophecy, around 70,000 people came to Fatima on the 13th of October 1917, most were looking forward to see a miracle, and some others thought that they would see the disappointment of deceived believers.

 Yet when Lucy Marto told them: “look at the sun!” they all saw – both the believers and the unbelievers – they all saw the sun spinning, sending all kinds of lights… then as if it were falling upon the earth: after the ensuing panic, it came back in its proper place and one could not look at it anymore, as usual. So here you had – and anyone can check in the newspapers of the time – a huge number of witnesses who saw both a marvellous miracle which itself was the fulfilment of a prophecy.

 This is typical of the “signature of God”, from which one infers that the apparitions of Fatima were genuinely from God (Who sent His mother to the children). One can go back to the Old Testament and see the importance of the miracles done by Moses to assure the Hebrews’ faith Moses’ words and thus in the promised Messiah; few in the Old Testament did miracles, but our Lord Jesus Christ came and did more miracles than anyone before Him.

 He gave His apostles that power so that they could establish the Church upon the solid witness of God and throughout the New Testament saints have performed miracles (they would never have been canonised if they had not performed some miracles!) Though sometimes it is difficult to discern individual cases, the consideration of the whole – together with the holiness of doctrine and morals, etc. – makes a most solid foundation to the true Faith, the Catholic Faith. It is because of this need of the signature of God that the Church used to require several miracles for beatification and canonisation, and each of them witnessed by several witnesses (and it is a scandal that these requirements have been lowered in some strange recent canonisations).


 No pagan doctrine has anything similar. Islam does not have anything similar. Even the Jews after the coming of Christ have nothing similar. The Protestants do not have saints, who did miracles. Sometimes you find some “faith healers”; but often the healings they perform are dubious; other times they heal in the Name of Jesus, thus giving testimony to Jesus – even if they do not follow Him, as in the Gospel: “John, answering, said: Master, we saw a certain man casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said to him: Forbid him not; for he that is not against you, is for you” (Lk. 9:49-50).


 There is no other founder of religion as our Lord Jesus Christ, who was so prophesised hundreds (even thousands) of years before His coming, that a whole people was expecting Him. He came and fulfilled the prophecies – even the prophecy of being rejected by His own people! (Dan. 9:26) This is unique in the history of religions, and one can safely conclude that the one true religion is that founded by our Lord Jesus Christ – based upon divine witness, as St John says: “He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself. He that believeth not the Son, maketh him a liar: because he believeth not in the testimony which God hath testified of his Son” (1 Jn. 5:10).


 And then among the religions that claim to be Christian, it is quite evident that this one is the true one, which comes all the way from Him. Any protestant sect, being founded more than 1500 after Christ, has evidently no title to being the religion founded by Christ! So much the more that He Himself said: “behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Mt. 28:20)

 Some claim that where the Apostles failed to pass on the teaching of Christ, Luther succeeded – not only is this a horrible blasphemy, but it is against the very words of Christ: “I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain” (Jn. 15:16). If one opens the Gospel, the very first chapter is the genealogy of Christ: indeed anyone who would pretend to be the Messiah needed to be able to show that he was “son of David, son of Abraham” to whom the promises were made, otherwise he would be immediately disqualified; in the same way, and church that cannot show its “genealogy”, i.e. the unbroken succession of bishops from the Apostles to today is disqualified from the very beginning and cannot claim to be the Church of Christ: but everyone can easily find the list of Popes from Peter to Francis. As in the genealogy of Christ some were saints and some were sinners, so in the list of Popes; but the sinners are still links in both chains.


 In conclusion, the “truth” of which our Lord Jesus Christ speaks is not whatever one subjectively things – this is not the truth – but it is that which is solidly and objectively founded on the “testimony of God”, it is the Catholic Faith.


Now what kind of “freedom” brings such truth?


 First one should notice that faith alone in that truth is not sufficient: one really becomes free when one loves the truth. Indeed St Paul says: “if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2).


 One really loves the truth when one lives the truth, i.e. puts it in practice: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me” (Jn. 14:21). St Augustine beautifully says: « Praeceptum quippe liber facit, qui libens facit – he does freely the Commandment, who does it willingly (out of love). » (De Gratia Christi et de Peccato Originali, I. 13. 14.)

 When one loves God, one wants to please Him, and thus to do His holy Will, to fulfil His commandments: one does so, not as forced form outside against one’s wishes, but rather willingly as so inclined by love, or rather as St Paul says: moved by the Spirit of God, Spirit of Divine Love! “Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

 Lest someone pretends falsely to be led by the Spirit, while not observing the Law, St Paul describes “the fruit of the Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). But let us not forget what St Paul says right after: “they that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:24-25). “Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal. 5:16-18): not under the Law, but “not without the Law” (“I was not without the law of God, but was in the law of Christ” 1 Cor. 9:21).

 St Augustine explains beautifully: not under the law, because the law is not a burden; it is not a burden because he who loves God does out of love what the Law commands and thus the Law does not condemn him, but rather approves him; hence the Law is like a friend to him, showing him the right path to please the Beloved: “the law is a light” (Pro 6:23). He lives as St Paul “IN the Law of Christ”, fulfilling the Commandments out of love, which commandments are all requirements of love (Gal. 5:14).


 Note that the very fact to do out of love what God commands is itself a gift of God, which He gives to those who ask by faith: “spiritus gratiae facit ut habeamus fidem, ut per fidem impetremus orando, ut possimus facere quae iubemur – The Spirit of graces makes that we have the faith, so that through faith we may obtain by prayer to be able to do what we are commanded.” (De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio) All good comes from God: He is the First Cause of all the good that we do, not bypassing our own will, but empowering our own will to do good lovingly and willingly – and thus really freely.


 On the contrary, he who disregards God’s commandments and follows his own will against God’s will is living a lie: he accumulates to himself a debt to God’s Justice and will have to suffer what he will not want! If he repents – and let us pray for all sinners that they do repent – then he will have to satisfy here below to God’s Justice: he will willingly satisfy but it will cost him! Why is it that God will not let evil be unpunished? Because being infinite Wisdom and Goodness,

 He will not let evil prevail! Evil must be overcome by good: either willingly (and that is reparation, willingly making up for sin) or unwillingly (and that is punishment). When the sinner repents (by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ), God forgives, and yet asks to participate in the reparation, in the Passion of Christ, as St Paul says: “we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him” (Rom. 8:16-17).


 To know the truth, to love the truth, to live the truth, this gives the true freedom of min, attached to the eternal Truth and Goodness of God, and thus indifferent to the passing things of earth: one thus sees the martyrs unmoved by the threats of the persecuting emperors, really free from these external pressures, because they delighted in the Lord and for them martyrdom is the passage from this earthly life of miseries to eternal beatitude with God in Heaven!

 Another look at freedom may also help to understand this better. God created all things, visible and invisible. Look first at all the visible creatures: from the biggest to the smallest, from the farthest and largest galaxies to every single particle in the whole universe, they all perfectly obey the laws of nature which God has set to them! There is not a single planet that says: “I am tired to turn around the sun for so many years, I want to go my own way…”

 There is not a single particle in the whole universe that does not follow the laws God has set to it. This is a marvellous lesson of obedience! But you will say: they have no merit, because they are not free! Yes indeed, and this is precisely the reason why God has created some spiritual creatures, angels and men (their soul/mind is spiritual), so that they may obey out of love and not out of necessity. God gave us our freedom so that we may obey out of love, and in this is true freedom. God did not give us our freedom to disobey His Law! When one disobeys God’s Law, he abuses of his freedom, and when you abuse of something, you deserve to lose it: sinners will lose their freedom in Hell, unless they repent before and make reparation lovingly.

 I am not a specialist of Buddhism, but from what I know it seems to me that they do not believe in a personal God, all-knowing, all-loving Who knows and loves each one of us personally, and calls us to share in His own eternal happiness, filling us with Himself; nirvana is rather an emptying rather than a filling. It seems rather to be the opposite of true spirituality. The One Way to go to the Father is our Lord Jesus Christ: “Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6).

2) There is an ambiguity about the word “fundamentalism”. Because of the Muslim’s fundamentalism, many “people and theologians” rightly think that this kind of fundamentalism is dangerous: that applies to those who want to impose by the sword, by force, their religion opinions: this is typical of false religions which do not have to support them the calm and peaceful and friendly strength of truth and persuasion! This was the case of the pagan religions that persecuted the Christians for more than 3 centuries; this was the case and still today the case of the Muslims especially today in the Middle East. The true religion, the Catholic religion, rather spread by the witness of the Martyrs, i.e. by meekly dying for Christ rather than killing! When the Church called for the crusades, it was a response to the violence of the Muslim (as in our days many are calling for military resistance against ISIS), it was “legitimate defence”.

 I hope this long response will help to understand this difficult question of freedom.

 Yours sincerely in Jesus and Mary,
 Father François Laisney