Saturday, November 13, 2010


Scott Windsor is one of those nearsighted Catholic epologists who unwittingly does more damage to the case for Catholicism than I ever could.

“That being said, it IS a valid argument to say that Sts. Peter and Paul founded the Church at Rome - for they did bring the bishoprick to that city, which previously had small ‘mission’ or ‘home’ meetings for church.”

i) Except for the awkward fact that this concession represents a complete retreat from Windsor’s former position. He original said:

“Again with the straw man! Who here is claiming that St. Peter ‘founded’ the Church at Rome?”

ii) He also interpolates a distinction between the founding of Roman mission churches and “bringing the bishoprick” to Rome. But he doesn’t show where that distinction is drawn in the early church fathers–even if we were to assume the early church fathers were reliable on that score.

“Did Sts. Peter and Paul found the small, in-home mission churches? No, folks like Aquila and Priscilla did. Did they bring the hierarchy of the Church to Rome? Most certainly.”

It’s so easy to be a Catholic epologist. If you don’t have the historical facts to back up your key claims, you can simply invent whatever historical facts you need as you go along. Instant historical facts.

“Both views are correct - you’re looking at two parts of the same elephant.”

Well, Windsor is looking at a white elephant.

“If you feel I have misrepresented Catholic teaching in any way, please point such out and I will either explain myself or recant.”

Windsor is not the point-man for Catholicism. He’s just a wannabe.

“My point remains that St. Peter’s see is traced through Rome.”

Peter’s see is traced through Rome by Roman Catholic epologists. Nothing like a circular proof.

“However, the Antiochian see is also traced to St. Peter.”

Which undermines Roman primacy.

“Um, Mr. Hays - YOU started this discussion YOU framed it in Roman Catholic terms - so how does that make ME ‘begging the question?!’ Need I remind you of your own words?

Windsor can’t tell the difference between internal and external critiques. Sometimes I judge Catholicism by its own standards, and sometimes I judge Catholicism by my own standards. It varies depending on what I’m responding to.

“Now, did you or did you not use the terminology of ‘bishops’ and ‘popes’ here?”

Because there’s a basic difference between “bishop” in the Biblical sense and “bishop” in the papistical sense. (And, of course, Catholicism also uses “pope” as synonymous with “bishop of Rome”.) But Windsor can only keep one idea in his head at a time.

“In the first century we had Peter, Linus, Cletus and Clement (who took us into the second century).”

That’s a key contention which Windsor needs to prove. It’s hardly adequate to merely quote conventional papal lists. For one must also evaluate the conventional papal lists. These are not inspired records. Windsor needs to interact with scholarly analysis of these documents (e.g. Duffey, Eno, Lampe, Schatz).

“Aquila and Priscilla ‘presided’ over a mission church in their home - they did not preside over Rome…”

It’s true that Aquila and Priscilla didn’t preside over “Rome.” For that matter, neither did Peter. Rather, Caesar presided over Rome.

“…and did answer to the Apostles - who had not made it there yet.”

They were answerable to the apostles in general, not to Peter in particular.

“No, my statement of Peter’s bones being buried there is based in testimony, and the fact that those bones are actually there.”

Really? Windsor has a testimonial chain-of-custody beginning with those who saw Peter buried in Rome, along with a continuous testimony, year-by-year, decade-by-decade, and century-by-century, regarding the site of his grave, up until 21C Rome.

“...scientific testing has lent some credence to his assertion (they've been proved to belong to an older man; the bones of the feet are missing, as they would be from a man crucified upside down, as Peter is said to have been, etc.)”

Here he’s propping up one legend with another–the legend of Peter’s upside down crucifixion.

“Do I have a sample of St. Peter’s DNA to ID the bones? Again, silly question.”

To the contrary, when Windsor makes the unqualified claim that Peter’s bones are there (in Rome) “to this day,” it’s not at all silly to demand the only type of evidence which could validate that claim.

“And just what archaeological evidence did you provide regarding Aquila and Priscilla?”

If you’re really curious, you can answer your own question by reading the material I cited.

“You don’t seem to pay attention to the evidence provided even by yourself! There were several ‘in home’ churches and A&P hosted one of them. Wasn’t this part of what YOU provided?”

Windsor can’t follow the argument. The more individuals who simultaneously headed the 1C church of Rome, which was really a loose assortment of house-churches, the more that multiplicity destroys any claim that Peter founded the church of Rome, that there was a monarchical episcopate in the NT church of Rome, &c.

Windsor is trying to retrofit, then backdate a later ecclesiastical development in reference to the original church of Rome.

“As I pointed out already in the combox on Triablogue, the apostolic office IS that of bishop! If Judas Iscariot’s office was that of ‘bishoprick’ as Acts 1:20 tells us - then why wouldn’t the office of Sts. Peter and Paul have also been a bishoprick? It is not I who is making a “category mistake” here.”

i) That’s a classic semantic fallacy. As the standard lexicon on the Greek NT points out, “The ecclesiastical loanword ‘bishop’ is too technical and loaded with late historical baggage for precise signification of usage of episkopos and cognates in our literature, especially in the NT” (BDAG, 379b).

ii) The same point is made in standard commentaries on Acts 1:20, viz. “Literally ‘overseership,’ not in the technical sense. The meaning here (‘responsibility’) is much the same as that of diakonia in vv 17 and 25, and of apostole in v25” (Bruce, 1990:111); “’Take his place of leadership’ (episkopen is used in a nontechnical sense here)” (Peterson, 2009:125); “Here, as a rendering of the Hebrew and as used by Luke, it means simply office and contains no more indication of the nature of the office than readers of Acts may have brought to the text” (Barrett, 1994:1:100).

iii) In addition, Acts 1:20 is an OT quotation, from Ps 109:8, via the LXX (108:8). Needless to say, there was no episcopate or “bishoprick” in OT times.

So Windsor’s appeal is grossly anachronistic and acontextual. That’s because all he’s doing is to parrot traditional Catholic prooftexting rather than actually taking time to study the text in context.

iv) Apropos (iii), to apply Acts 1:20 to the papacy is ironically fatal the papacy, for as the text goes on to say, in 21-22, the qualifications for this office require the incumbent to a disciple of Jesus throughout his whole public ministry–from the baptism of John to the Ascension. Therefore, the “office” in question is unique and unrepeatable.

This is another instance in which a Catholic epologist is blindly reproducing traditional prooftexts without bothering to study the text in context. In the process, he winds up citing a “prooftext” which sabotages his case.

“Hmmm, in my first response to your silliness and admitted sarcasm, I not only included links to your articles, but also supplied several other sources, with links, supporting what I was saying.”

Let’s see…among other things, Windsor linked to a Wikipedia article, which illustrates the tremendous depth of his scholarship.

He also linked to a “Catholic News Agency” article. But isn’t that “preaching to the choir”? Why does he discount my sources if I cite a Protestant scholar, but he helps himself to Catholic sources–and quack sources at that?

“I didn’t use as many sources, but I did cite Scripture and a link (to a non-Catholic source) supporting what I said about Fr. Brown.”

Windsor cited a source which said “Fr. Brown held liberal, modernistic and revisionist ideas.”

That in no way deflects my argument. Did I deny Brown’s liberal credentials? No. Is that relevant to the case at hand? No.

The fact that Brown was a liberal Catholic scholar is hardly a problem for my argument. That’s an additional problem for Catholicism, not for me.

“Not true, Mr. Hays. The point is when you’re debating with a Catholic, and then you cite numerous Protestant only commentaries (which are not primary sources) you can’t expect any Catholics to be impressed. Of course, your ‘choir’ appreciates it - but you’re not scoring any debate points in merely preaching to the choir.”

i) Primary sources need to be sifted. They also need to be situated in their historical milieu. An English-speaking papist from the 21C (e.g. Scott Windsor) can’t jump straight into the church fathers without the requisite background knowledge.

ii) BTW, if he’s going to make a big deal about primary sources, does he read the church fathers in the original Greek and Latin? Does he use critical editions of the church fathers?

ii) Windsor simply disregards the arguments contained in the monographs and commentaries I cited.

iii) As you can see from his preemptory dismissal of Brown (as well as Fitzmyer, see below), Windsor equally dismissive of Catholic scholarship when it undermines his case.

iv) Windsor also relies on secondary sources. The difference is that I cite scholarly secondary sources whereas he cites pulp secondary sources.

v) No, I don’t expect anti-intellectual Catholics like Windsor to be impressed with genuine scholarship that challenges their dog-like faith in Mother Church.

“Your accusation of me only accepting pre-approved in-house authors is patently false.”

To the contrary, his treatment of Brown and Fitzmyer corroborates my allegation.

“Again, the point would be if you’re debating with a Mormon - you should cite SOME Mormon sources. If you were going after Mormonism and merely supplying Protestant commentary, you would be (fairly) criticised for that as well.”

i) To the contrary, if a Protestant monograph was well-argued, then it makes no difference. Windsor is committing the genetic fallacy.

ii) Moreover, he’s too simple-minded to realize that “Protestant commentaries” can (and often do) quote and interact with Catholic sources.

iii) But the dumbest thing about his objection is that Priscilla’s social status is not a Catholic/Protestant issue, per se. There’s nothing in Catholic dogma which opposes the notion that Priscilla was a Roman noblewoman who married a Jewish freeman.

Indeed, why does Windsor appeal to alleged archeological evidence for Peter’s bones on Vatican Hill, but waves away archaeological evidence regarding her social status from the Titulus Priscae, the Catacomb of Priscilla, and other ancient sources (e.g. Tacitus, Dio Cassius)?

But, of course, Windsor suffers from acute self-reinforcing ignorance. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, because he preemptively discounts any and all Catholic and Protestant scholarship to the contrary.

“Just because you picked one who is noted to be contrary to orthodox Catholic thought, even by non-Catholics (such as the source I quoted and cited)…”

If Brown was heterodox, then why did two popes elevate him to the Pontifical Biblical Commission? Is the papacy also contrary to “orthodox Catholic thought”?

“Get over yourself.”

That’s rich coming from a Catholic layman who credits himself with sounder discernment than two popes. As usual, we’re treated to the reductio ad absurdum of a papist defending the claims of the papacy by simultaneously derogating the competence of the papacy.

“So now you move to Fr. Brown’s PARTNER in the Jerome Bible Commentary so what are you expecting to accomplish here? Yes, he’s just as liberal minded as Fr. Brown!”

That’s true, although I wasn’t referencing the Jerome Bible Commentary. Rather, I was referring to Fitzmyer’s commentary on Romans in the Anchor series.

“Sometimes I think some Protestant apologists knowingly point to known liberal Catholics for two reasons: 1) they say what you want them to say; 2) when a more orthodox Catholic tells you they hold to liberal theology then you attack the more orthodox Catholic for the disagreement - as a red herring/distraction tactic and never deal with the FACT that these ‘scholars’ are liberals.”

Windsor is one of those shortsighted epologists who punches holes in the hull of Rome, then spends the remainder of his time frantically bailing water.

To keep accentuating the fact that Rome sanctions the liberal scholarship of Brown, Fitzmyer et al., is unwittingly damaging to the very institution he professes to defend.

Who are the “more orthodox” Catholics? Why shouldn’t we judge Catholic orthodoxy by the policy of the Magisterium? It’s not as if Fitzmyer has been disciplined by his bishop. Or the Vatican.

Yet he’s a famous, influential scholar. So it’s not as though his religious superiors are ignorant of where he stands, or his impact on Catholic thought. The same could be said for other prominent liberals like John Meier, Luke Timothy Johnson, and Jerome Murphy-O’Connor.

“And all you’ve ‘cited’ from them is their commentary - that’s not ‘evidence.’”

The evidence is contained in the body of the text, as well as the footnotes.

“All you’ve done is shore up your protesting opinion with the opinion of a liberal who himself is at odds with orthodox Catholicism.”

Notice how Windsor must malign the judgment of the popes who appointed Brown to the Pontifical Biblical Commission–as well as religious superiors who gave Brown the imprimatur on various publications.

Brown is not a religious rogue. Windsor is the religious rogue. Like Catholic epologists in general, Windsor is a Catholic dissident. He can only defend the “true” faith by dissenting from the way in which his religious superiors administer the affairs of the church.

“As I pointed out in the combox, St. Irenaeus perspective is on the founding of the hierarchical structure of “The Church” in Rome, not the founding of home-hosted mission churches.”

Although Windsor pays lip-service to the “primary sources,” you notice that he doesn’t exegete that crucial distinction from the text of Irenaeus.

“So why did cities like Jerusalem and Antioch get bishops and hierarchy, but your argument is that Rome got ‘nothing above and beyond the informal founding.”

i) In the 1C, there was no Catholic “hierarchy” in the Jerusalem church. You had apostles, elders, and deacons. Elders were a carryover from Judaism, while deacons were an afterthought.

ii) Moreover, the church of Jerusalem was, itself, informally organized. Sometimes they gathered in the temple precincts, at other times they met in house-churches (e.g. Acts 12:12). Even the church of Jerusalem, which was the mother church of Christendom, had no official “founding.” It was simply a strategic base camp. They improvised as they went along (e.g. the institution of the deaconate in Acts 6).

“So when did Rome get a real bishop? Who was that first real bishop?”

i) The 1C Roman church never had a “real bishop” (a la the monarchical episcopate). Rather, it had a number of church leaders (e.g. Priscilla and Aquila, Philologus and Julia, Asyncritus) who individually oversaw the autocephalous house-churches under their patronage. There was no bishop over the various Roman house-churches.

If you want names, then those are the earliest names we have for Roman church leaders.

ii) But if you’re asking about the historic origins of the Roman church, then that probably goes back to the early thirties, when Roman Jews came home after their Pentecostal pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Acts 2:10-11,41), to form the nucleus of the Christian community in Rome. That would antedate Peter’s itinerate ministry by about a dozen years (Acts 12:17). For a more detailed reconstruction, cf. J. Fitzmyer, Romans, 25-38; R. Jewett, Romans, 59-74.

“Through whom are ALL the successors of the Bishop of Rome traced through - bar none.”

If you’re referring to the papacy, in contradistinction to the NT church of Rome, then Pope La Bête was the inaugural pontiff.

“Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church that has found mercy in the transcendent Majesty of the Most High Father and of Jesus Christ, His only Son; the church by the will of Him who willed all things that exist, beloved and illuminated through the faith and love of Jesus Christ our God; which also presides in the chief place of the Roman territory; a church worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of felicitation, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and presiding in love, maintaining the law of Christ, and bearer of the Father's name: her do I therefore salute in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father. Heartiest good wishes for unimpaired joy in Jesus Christ our God, to those who are united in flesh and spirit by every commandment of His; who imperturbably enjoy the full measure of God's grace and have every foreign stain filtered out of them.”

Unfortunately for Windsor, this quote is counterproductive:

i) Ignatius clearly describes the Roman church as a local (or regional) church–not the one, true, universal church. It only presides over the imperial capital, or, at most, central Italy. So much for Roman primacy or catholicity.

ii) In addition, he says nothing about the bishop of Rome. Nothing about a Roman episcopate, much less a monarchical Roman episcopate. And he doesn’t even greet the bishop of Rome by name–which is not surprising, since that position didn’t exist back then.

iii) It is the Roman church, and not the Roman primate, which is said to “preside” over the city (or region).

“Pope Clement I, writing about circa 80-95ad speaks of the need for apostolic succession:”

He doesn’t explain how he comes up with an 80 AD terminus ad quo for 1 Clement.

“Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry.”

Of course, that’s fatally equivocal, for there’s no textual evidence that Clement is using these ecclesiastical terms in the specialized sense that Roman Catholicism defines them. Another semantic anachronism.

“So again I ask, who was the first Bishop of Rome?”

Coming from a Catholic, the question is equivocal–for the papacy evolves over time. There’s no date when the pope became the pope. It’s still developing at Vatican I, still developing at Vatican II. The papacy defines and redefines itself throughout church history, according to its ambitions and exigencies.

“When did this ‘official establishment’ take place in your allegedly non-mythical view?”

When is a usurper is officially established?

“Irrelevant? You proposed that they were the first bishops of Rome! You proposed they should rightly be called the first pope and popessa of Rome. It is wholly relevant to demonstrate that they were MISSIONARIES and not holding the office of bishop, as your satire alleges.”

Peter was also a missionary. So was Paul. As well as John.

“…just because Scripture does not say explicitly that Peter went to Rome.”

i) It wouldn’t matter if Peter went to Rome. No doubt he went to a variety of places after he became a refugee.

ii) Windsor is too dim to appreciate a basic asymmetry between Catholicism and Protestantism on this issue: while Peter’s presence in Rome is essential to Catholicism, Peter’s absence from Rome is inessential to Protestantism.

iii) Since, however, he keeps harping on the issue, and since he also cited 1 Peter 5:13 as a “code word” for Rome, it’s worth noting, as scholars like Kelley, Achtemeier, and Jobes have pointed out, that “Babylon” in 5:13 forms a synonymous parallel with “Diaspora” in 1:1. Hence, “Babylon” is probably a synonym, not for Rome, but for the exilic status of ex-pat Christians like Peter. Cf. K. Jobes, 1 Peter, 322f.

“What evidence?! Mr. Hays presented a bibliography and added his own comments, and didn’t quote the commentaries/opinion pieces (as if that is valid ‘evidence’) at all!”

i) Why should I manually transcribe material which Windsor can always read for himself? Go to the library.

ii) Besides, Windsor’s demand is two-faced. He preemptively excludes any Catholic or Protestants scholarship that’s injurious to his blind faith. So what’s the point of my detailing evidence that he will instantly discount?


The extrabiblical evidence that Priscilla married a Jew is complemented by the biblical evidence of gentiles who were drawn to the Jewish faith. That’s highly relevant. Not my fault if Windsor is too dim to perceive the connection.

“Again, I have not disputed the potential resources gained from the family business…Again, I have not questioned the resources of the family business.”

That’s the opposite of what I said. It’s her hereditary wealth that probably subsidized the house-churches in Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus–not the family business. (Indeed, not just a house-church, but a title-church in Rome.)

“I have not challenged her pedigree - I only stated from what Mr. Hays has presented thus far, we have no evidence other than she was married to a Jewish tentmaker. Comments on commentaries don’t count as evidence.”

They don’t count as evidence for those who refuse to read the evidence, for those who dismiss the evidence unread– because it comes scholars who don’t meet with Windsor’s prior approval.

However, it’s not Windsor’s prerogative to tell us what counts as evidence, especially when he presumes to disqualify scholars in good standing who belong to his own denomination.

“The identity of St Prisca is uncertain. One tradition claims that she is identical with Priscilla, who is mentioned in the New Testament, another that she was the daughter of Aquila and Priscilla.”

Here Windsor is quoting from Wikipedia again. In terms of our respective source material, I’m in the Grand Masters while he plays putt-putt golf.

“You try to pass yourself off as presenting scholarly material, but you haven’t. I’m sure “the choir” just accepts your commentary on commentaries of other Protestants - but pardon me for not bowing to your bibliography.”

Aside from his anti-Protestant bigotry, he also speaks with a forked-tongue, for as we’ve seen, he’s just dismissive of Catholic scholarship whenever it threatens to undercut his position.

“Missionaries are seldom the ones ‘in charge.’”

A missionary like St. Paul would surely beg to differ.

“Hmmm, where was St. John given this title? Even if that were so, which it is not, the ‘Vicar of the Churches in Asia Minor’ cannot be equivocated to the ‘Vicar of Christ.’”

The apostles were agents of Christ.

“Do the math. St. Peter is there with the rest of the Apostles and Jesus singles out St. Peter and in a threefold command the Good Shepherd has told St. Peter to feed His sheep. In short, He was passing on the reigns.”

No, Jesus doesn’t tell Peter to shepherd the sheep in opposition to the other disciples, as if he forbad the other disciples to do so. Jesus doesn’t use antithetical language to contrast Peter’s role with the role of his fellow disciples. If Christian elders are duty-bound to shepherd the sheep (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:1-4), then surely the other apostles, who outrank Christian elders, are also duty-bound to shepherd the sheep.

“You’re begging the question! The title of “pope” or “papa” comes later, so let’s not try to argue that anachronism. The fact is though that title is given later, it is given to the one who occupies the same office as St. Peter.”

Except for the awkward little fact that there’s nothing about a Petrine office in your papal prooftext (Jn 21:15-17).

“Sts. Aquila and Priscilla never held the office of bishop, as St. Peter did.”

Actually, Pauline missionaries and church-planters had to carry out the functions of a Christian elder. Consider Timothy and Titus.

“My ‘rank’ - or lack thereof - does not affect the TRUTH (or lack thereof) in what I’ve SAID. Mr. Hays would do well to study up on what constitutes a valid argument and avoid the pitfalls of the common fallacies in rhetoric.”

If Windsor thinks there’s no connection between the messenger and the veracity of the message, then he just relegated the entire Roman Magisterium to the status of a genetic fallacy.

Catholics typically think it makes quite a bit of difference who is doing the talking. Is it the pope? An ecumenical council? Hans Küng? Martin Luther?

Since, however, Windsor insists that we enjoy direct, independent access to the truth, we can now eliminate the middleman of the Roman episcopate and papacy.

“The objective reader who was paying attention (and hasn’t given up by this point) will note that Mr. Hays explicitly stated that Fr. Brown was both ‘Priest and Bishop’ - which I challenged him to show us when and where Fr. Brown was elevated to the office of the bishoprick. He is mute on that question.”

Yet another example of Windsor’s self-reinforcing ignorance, as well as his basic illiteracy. The fact that (in my post) I both capitalized and italicized the parenthetical reference to Priest and Bishop would cue a literate reader to the fact that I was citing the title of a book–just as I did with the other titles I cited in my post. I never said that “Brown” was a priest and bishop. Rather, he wrote a monograph by that title.

Of course, if Windsor weren’t such an ignoramus, he’d recognize the title. This is as good an example as any of what passes for scholarship in Catholic pop apologetics.

“Second, my conceding that the “smoke of Satan has entered the Church” in AGREEMENT with Pope Paul VI does not mean I admitted to the pope (or two of them) being ‘counterfeit shepherds.’ Again, Mr. Hays uses the invalid non sequitur here. Pope Paul VI recognizing that the “smoke of Satan has entered the Church” does not make him a fake or counterfeit! The fact that he may have been duped into allowing Fr. Brown on the Pontifical Biblical Commission does not make him any more (or less) duped than Adam and Eve were when they listened to the serpent in the Garden of Eden.”

So, according to Windsor, Pope Paul VI and John-Paul II were duped by Fr. Brown. And Windsor knows this because, unlike the dupes who occupied the papal throne, Windsor is more discerning than the “Vicar of Christ.”

When a papist has so little faith in the papacy, how can he expect a Protestant to have more faith in that institution than he has? Once again, we witness the self-defeating spectacle of a Catholic epologist who must declare the papacy incompetent, then have it involuntarily committed to the loony bin for its own safety.

Remember that a good shepherd is supposed to protect the flock from the wolf (Jn 10; Acts 20:28-29). Windsor has assured us that Fr. Brown was a wolf in sheepish attire. Yet he also tells us that Brown managed to hoodwink two gullible popes into appointing him to the Pontifical Biblical Commission. So, yes, that makes them counterfeit shepherds.

Catholic apologists constantly allege that Protestantism makes every man his own pope. Yet Windsor has clearly cast himself in the role of Superpope. Überpope. The Super-Duper-Überpope. He dashes into the telephone booth to save the papacy from the pope.

“By Mr. Hays logic, God Himself is a counterfeit for allowing that serpent to be in the Garden of Eden!”

i) God wasn’t shepherding Adam and Eve in Gen 3. That was never his intent. Rather, he was doing in Gen 3 much what he does in Job 1-2.

ii) By Windsor’s logic, God himself was duped by Old Scratch.

iii) God ordained the fall in the furtherance of a greater good (Rom11: 32). Is Windsor saying that Brown’s scholarship contributes to the greater good?

“No, he presented us with virtually nothing and then has the audacity to throw ad hominem insults my way! One way to judge who is losing a debate is to see who reduces their arguments to invalid ad hominem.”

In that event, Leo X lost the debate with Martin Luther. Just look at all the ad hominem insults he hurls:

Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. Listen to our prayers, for foxes have arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard whose winepress you alone have trod. When you were about to ascend to your Father, you committed the care, rule, and administration of the vineyard, an image of the triumphant church, to Peter, as the head and your vicar and his successors. The wild boar from the forest seeks to destroy it and every wild beast feeds upon it.

Against the Roman Church, you warned, lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom. Their tongues are fire, a restless evil, full of deadly poison. They have bitter zeal, contention in their hearts, and boast and lie against the truth.

Rebuking them, in violation of your teaching, instead of imploring them, he is not ashamed to assail them, to tear at them, and when he despairs of his cause, to stoop to insults. He is like the heretics "whose last defense," as Jerome says, "is to start spewing out a serpent's venom with their tongue when they see that their causes are about to be condemned, and spring to insults when they see they are vanquished." For although you have said that there must be heresies to test the faithful, still they must be destroyed at their very birth by your intercession and help, so they do not grow or wax strong like your wolves.

Other errors are either heretical, false, scandalous, or offensive to pious ears, as seductive of simple minds, originating with false exponents of the faith who in their proud curiosity yearn for the world's glory, and contrary to the Apostle's teaching, wish to be wiser than they should be…Therefore we, in this above enumeration, important as it is, wish to proceed with great care as is proper, and to cut off the advance of this plague and cancerous disease so it will not spread any further in the Lord's field as harmful thornbushes.


  1. Mr. Hays: Thanks for your valiant attempts at taking on the indomitable Mr. Windsor. It's been weeks since my first -- and last, I pray -- encounter with this giant, and I am still smarting something awful from the thrashing he gave me:

    God be with you, Steve, even if besting the likes of Windsor be a lost cause!

  2. Scott Windsor said: “No, my statement of Peter’s bones being buried there is based in testimony, and the fact that those bones are actually there.”

    That's provably false. If, for the sake of argument, St. Peter's bones were ever in Rome it can be proven they are not now.

    Pope Vitalian wrote a letter to King Oswy of the Britons (A.D. 665), giving him the remains (then called relics), of the apostle Peter and Paul, along with those of the Holy Martyrs Laurentius, John, Gregory and Pancratius. The bones were sent to Britain by Pope Vitalian's very own messengers.

    However there may be something very special about St. Peter's bones, as they appear to re-appear in Rome every so often. Apparently the climate in Britain doesn't suit them.

  3. "No, I don’t expect anti-intellectual Catholics like Windsor to be impressed with genuine scholarship that challenges their dog-like faith in Mother Church."

    That's a wise decision, Steve.

    "So, according to Windsor, Pope Paul VI and John-Paul II were duped by Fr. Brown."

    Yep. He said that.

    "And Windsor knows this because, unlike the dupes who occupied the papal throne, Windsor is more discerning than the “Vicar of Christ.”

    When a papist has so little faith in the papacy, how can he expect a Protestant to have more faith in that institution than he has? Once again, we witness the self-defeating spectacle of a Catholic epologist who must declare the papacy incompetent, then have it involuntarily committed to the loony bin for its own safety."

    It's an enjoyable spectacle to watch.

    "Remember that a good shepherd is supposed to protect the flock from the wolf (Jn 15; Acts 20:28-29). Windsor has assured us that Fr. Brown was a wolf in sheepish attire. Yet he also tells us that Brown managed to hoodwink two gullible popes into appointing him to the Pontifical Biblical Commission. So, yes, that makes them counterfeit shepherds."

    The other option for Scott Windsor is to retract his statement that Fr. Brown was a wolf in sheep's clothing.

  4. Assume for the sake of argument that JPII and Paul VI were duped into putting Brown on the PBC. It's possible. But why is it that JPII never put a conservative on the PBC? He was duped on every occasion?

    And lets look at Pope Benedict, who has kept all sorts of liberals on the PBC. He oversaw the PBC and attended its meetings. He's a dupe to? And what about his decision to keep Walter Kasper as the chief spokesman for religious dialogue. He doesn't know of Kasper's liberal views? Kasper is one of Europe's most prominent theologians.

    Say what you want about the current pope's theology, he is a pretty sophisticated guy.

    -Steve Jackson

  5. I think I liked the old school, virile, manly, warlike Papists better than the modern day men-in-skirts-sissies who bother altar boys and give sniffy, whining speeches about how "religion can never justify intolerance or war".

    The Crusaders would be rolling in their graves...

    Incidentally, in such a case how does the Romanist decide which Pope was correct, the warrior Pope or the pacifist Pope? Does newer necessarily supercede older? Is this a matter of private interpretation?

    In Him,

  6. Windsor cited a source which said “Fr. Brown held liberal, modernistic and revisionist ideas.”

    Brown did not actually think himself "liberal." I talked with a member of the Society of Biblical Literature who knew Brown personally.

    Brown saw his personal mission as two-fold: (a) work within a traditional historical-critical methodology for studying Scripture, and (b) work within established Catholic dogma.

    In that respect, Brown had a fine line to walk. But you should notice that his work also frequently carried the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur ("free from doctrinal error").