Papacy & Catholic Hierarchy

“You are Peter” in Jesus’ language of Aramaic

by Steve Ray on December 30, 2014

Since we recently visited Caesarea Philippi, the site where Jesus renamed Simon as “Peter” or Kepha (Matt 16:13-20), I thought you would find this interesting.

So, what did it sound like at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus renamed Simon and made him the rock of the Church: “And I tell you, you are Peter [rock], and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18)? Compare this with John 1:42. (Even though the auto link here says it means Peter, it should say “means rock”.)

You know of course, that Jesus did not speak English. If most of us heard Him speak those words today we would have no clue what He was saying. Jesus spoke Aramaic and that language is still alive in very small communities in the Middle East.

Aramaic sm.jpgWhat you see written to the right is Syriac Aramaic as written by my friend Efrem Nissan in Bethlehem. He is a Syrian Orthodox Christian. (Click on the text for a larger image.)

Now, not only can you see the script — which is close to what would have been written in the time of Jesus — but you can listen to it as well. I took this short video clip of Efrem reading the words you see written here. He read them on our pilgrimage. Listen for the word “kepha” twice. Kepha is the word “rock” in Aramaic.

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What Do 2,400 Vatican Workers Actually Do?

by Steve Ray on November 11, 2014

IMG_8538.JPGInteresting article in Legatus Magazine. Read it HERE. 

It gives us an idea what goes on behind the Vatican Walls and the Swiss Guards.

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Holy Father – is he Holy?

by Steve Ray on November 8, 2014

A young man stood up at my conference in the Philippines a while ago and parroted (yelled out) the Fundamentalist mantra: “The Pope is a sinner like everyone else; why do you call him ‘HOLY Father’?”

I leaned into the microphone and said to the young man in front of 2,000 people, “You should really read your Bible more carefully and do your homework before you stand up and embarrass yourself in front of 2,000 people.” I then explained why we call the Pope our Holy Father.

There are several meanings for the word “holy” and that is what the young man did not understand. If holy simply means without sin, it is hard to see why “things” are called holy. For example, the HOLY OF HOLIES is a place. Is it called holy because it has not sinned?

And what about HOLY GROUND? God told Moses to remove his sandals — he was standing on HOLY GROUND. I guess that means that this dirt had not sinned but the dirt in the next gully had sinnned. HUH?

The word HOLY in Hebrew is kodesh and means apartness, holiness, sacredness, consecration, separateness. Holiness can mean without sin. It can also means dedicated or set apart for God.

So, is the Pope holy in the sense of being completely sinless? Of course not. But the Pope is set apart for God in a special way as the HOLY Father, the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter.

Bottom line, he is the HOLY FATHER and this fits perfectly with the Bible.

So much for a dumb challenge at a conference.

PS Remember that even WE are called holy. Paul considered all of us saints (literally “holy ones” with a small “s”). He writes,

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints (literally: “holy ones”) who are in the whole of Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:1-2).

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What My Grandpa Said About the Pope – A Boy’s Story

October 28, 2014

My grandpa is a nice old gentleman, with gray hair, and gold spectacles, and very fond of his little grandson Billy—that’s me. Grandpa and I often go out to walk together, that is, on fine days, because on cloudy days he never goes out of the house, but stays at home to keep “comfortable with [...]

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Chair of Moses, Chair of Peter

October 14, 2014

              St. Cyprian of Carthage (beheaded 257 AD) one hundred and fifty years before the New Testament writings were collected into one book called “The Bible”: “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my [...]

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Pope Francis Says He will Renounce the Papacy in the Future

June 14, 2014

Interesting story. Looks like Pope Benedict started a trend. You can read about it at… …Pope Francis May Renounce the Papacy Someday: Six Things You Should Know and Share.

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Inept Attempt to Dismiss the Petrine Primacy in the See of Rome

May 13, 2014

Someone on the Catholic Discussion Forum asserted his opinion and tradition against the papacy in the Catholic Church. I gave short, imperfect, and brief comments in the ten minutes I had free today. This is a thread on whether or not the office of the papacy with qualifications for successors is mentioned in scripture. My [...]

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Video of Pre-Canonization Rome

April 23, 2014

Janet and I arrived a few days early in Rome before our group. There will be 63 pilgrims arriving on Friday. We like to make sure everything is in order and ready for their arrival. And it is! We decided to take a walk around the walls of the Vatican and get a feel for [...]

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Rome is Happy and Excitement is in the Air; We can Feel it!

April 22, 2014

A bit goofey but fun. Nice to see young people in Rome happy and excited about the canonization of two popes. Reflecting the festive mood in Rome ahead of the imminent canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, the official website on the event, 2popesaints, has released this upbeat video with the soundtrack of [...]

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I Like the Bishops Recently Chosen; but Now a New Group of “Bishop Pickers” has been Chosen. Hum?

December 18, 2013

David Gibson of Religious News Service writes, After last month’s annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wrote a story handicapping the four American churchman who enjoyed growing influence in the new(ish) pontificate of Pope Francis. They were Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who is one of the eight members of Francis “kitchen cabinet” of advisors [...]

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Simple Chart on Hierarchy of Authority, Infallibility, Dogma and Doctrine in the Catholic Church

November 15, 2013

From Jimmy Akins’ Secret Information Club: Periodically, I’m asked what the difference is between dogma and doctrine. People have the idea that they are kinds of Church teaching, but they’re not sure precisely what the difference is (or even if there is one). To help folks understand this, I’ve created an infographic that shows how [...]

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Peter & the Primacy in the New Testament

October 12, 2013

St. Peter in the New Testament What Do We Know About Him? Peter is the big rugged fisherman who became the humble servant of the servants of God. Jesus chose him from among the Twelve to be the leader and the visible head of the Church. What do we know about Peter from the New [...]

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Are the Pope’s Off-the-Cuff Comments Destroying the Church?

September 24, 2013

Interesting Article

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Pedophile Prostitution Ring in the Vatican?

June 30, 2013

Has a gay pedophile prostitution ring been discovered at the Vatican? (8 things you need to know) by Jimmy Akin

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Another Budding Young Apologist, with a Good Sense of Humor too! -UPDATED

June 5, 2013

Introducing Joseph, young apologist who’s not just sitting around waiting for “someone else to evangelize”, he’s getting out there and doing it himself. Good work Joseph – the humor is great! Where’d you get that accent? Also check out the website below by and for young people in love with Jesus and his Church! UPDATE: [...]

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The Devilish Delight When a Bishop Screws Up

May 8, 2013

When schadenfreude turns into demonic delight   by Dr. Edward Peters The glee being expressed in open comboxes (modern near occasions of sin, if you ask me) over Bp. Robert McManus’ (Worcester, MA) arrest for drunk driving goes far beyond the schadenfreude that one has come to expect in the wake of a Catholic bishop’s fall. Much, [...]

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