Friday, February 20, 2009

Back to Work!

Sorry for the delays. Since my last post, I have lost my job, gone through the holidays, got a new job and moved 200 miles. Whew!

Right now I am working on a review of one chapter from Dave Hunt's book, "A Woman Rides the Beast" I have read this book and I am tired of it being trotted out as the end-all be-all of books about Catholicism. I am taking it one section at a time, so it is going to be a slow process.

Here is my first installment, I highlighted his sources: Catholic sources are in red, and non-catholic or anti-catholic sources are in green. Hope you enjoy:

A City on Seven Hills

A woman rides the beast, and that woman is a city built on seven hills that reigns over the kings of the earth! Was ever in all of history such a statement made? John immediately equates the readers' acceptance of this revelation with "wisdom." We dare not pass over such a disclosure casually. It merits our careful and prayerful attention.

Yes, it does, and our open-minded interpretation, but does Mr. Hunt do that?

Here is no mystical or allegorical language but an unambiguous statement in plain words: "The woman ... is that great city." There is no justification for seeking some other hidden meaning. Yet books have been written and sermons preached insisting that "Mystery Babylon" is the United States. That is clearly not the case, for the United States is a country, not a city. One might justifiably refer to the United States as Sodom, considering the honor now given to homosexuals, but it is definitely not the Babylon that John sees in this vision. The woman is a city.

Furthermore, she is a city built on seven hills. That specification eliminates ancient Babylon. Only one city has for more than 2000 years been known as the city on seven hills. That city is Rome. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper is now confined."(The Catholic Encyclopedia (Thomas Nelson, 1976), s.v. "Rome.")

That is correct. But one must wonder why Mr. Hunt felt the need to go to the Catholic Encyclopedia to cite that fact. No reason, any number of modern and ancient books refer to Rome as the "City on seven hills". But he goes to a Catholic source, presumibly to show that even Catholics acknowledge that it is called that. Heck, the Catholic Encyclopedia even acknowledges that Austin is the Capitol of Texas, does that mean that it is part of some grand conspiracy? No, it just means that Austin is the Capitol of Texas.

There are, of course, other cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, that were also built on seven hills. Therefore, John provides at least seven more characteristics to limit the identification to Rome alone. We will examine each one in detail in subsequent chapters. However, as a preview of where we are going, we will list them now and discuss each one briefly. As we shall see, there is only one city on the earth which, in both historical and contemporary perspectives, passes every test John gives, including its identification as Mystery Babylon. That city is Rome, and more specifically, Vatican City.

Two completely different places, the Vatican does not sit on one of the seven hills of Rome, it actually sits on the opposite side of the Tiber from the ancient city. Mr. Hunt does seem to constantly confuse Rome with the Vatican, not realizing that is like constantly confusing New York with the UN Building.

Even Catholic apologist Karl Keating admits that Rome has long been known as Babylon. Keating claims that Peter's statement "The church here in Babylon ... sends you her greeting" (from I Peter 5:13) proves that Peter was writing from Rome. He explains further:

"Babylon is a code word for Rome. It is used that way six times in the last book of the Bible [four of the six are in chapters 17 and 18 and in extrabiblical works such as Sibylling Oracles (5, 159f.), the Apocalypse of Baruch (ii, 1), and 4 Esdras (3:1).
Eusebius Pamphilius, writing about 303, noted that "it is said that Peter's first epistle... was composed at Rome itself; and that he himself indicates this, referring to the city figuratively as Babylon."(Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on "Romanism" by "Bible Christians" (Ignatius Press, 1988), p. 200.)
Of course quite a few fundamentalists would dispute Mr. Hunts acceptance of this "code word" for Imperial Rome, being "Babylon" Many loudly proclaim that it is NOT a word for Rome but that Peter was literally in Babylon WA Christwell even states "There is no evidence that Rome was ever called "Babylon" until after the Book of the Revelation was written. The Revelation was written about 95 A.D., many years after the death of Simon Peter. If I Peter 5:13 refers to Rome, then Simon Peter did not write the letter and we have a forgery in the Bible. " So which is it? Clearly Babylon is a code word for Imperial Rome, which was in existence at the time of John and Peter, and that obviously the early church refered to it as Babylon, the city that persecuted the Jews, and now the city of Rome was persecuting the Christians, so the correlarry makes sense.

As for "Mystery," that name imprinted on the woman's forehead is the perfect designation for Vatican City. Mystery is at the very heart of Roman Catholicism, from the words "Mysterium fide" pronounced at the alleged transformation of the bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ to the enigmatic apparitions of Mary around the world. Every sacrament, from baptism to extreme unction, manifests the mysterious power which the faithful must believe the priests wield, but for which there is no visible evidence. Rome's new Catechism explains that liturgy "aims to initiate souls into the mystery of Christ (It is 'mystagogy.')" and that all of the Church's liturgy is "mystery."(Catechism of the Catholic Church (The Wanderer Press, 1994), p. 279, para. 1075.)

Here he shows his ignorance of Catholicism (again). He presumes to state that "powers" come from the Priests. The "power" is from the Holy Spirit, the Priest is merely the vessel. The water may come out of the faucet, but the faucet does not manifest the water. Now, as for his catechism reference:
1075 Liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ ( It is "mystagogy." ) by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the "sacraments" to the "mysteries." Such catechesis is to be presented by local and regional catechisms. This Catechism, which aims to serve the whole Church in all the diversity of her rites and cultures,(Cf. SC 3-4.) will present what is fundamental and common to the whole Church in the liturgy as mystery and as celebration (Section One), and then the seven sacraments and the sacramentals (Section Two).

Christ is a mystery, how can he be 100% man and 100% God? How could he raise himself from the dead? How can simple bread and wine become his true presence? Hunt obviously demands phyisical proof for his miracles. But as Christ said to St. Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen, yet still believe"

1 comment:

MaryC said...

These fundies crack me up. Rome is 'Babylon' when it suits their agenda, but it's definitely not 'Babylon' when it goes against them.