Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #27

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

A Wednesday edition for you…I have to leave on a plane early tomorrow morning and I’ll be gone for a couple of days, so I had to get this out today.

By the way, if any of you live in the Indianapolis area, I’ll be giving a talk tomorrow night (Thursday) at St. Francis Hall on the campus of Marian College…6:30 PM. And then on Friday morning for a group called Lumen Dei at Holy Rosary parish…7:00 AM.

Also, looking ahead, I will be at St. Joseph’s parish in Randolph, Ohio on Wednesday, November 15th; and I will be at St. Jeanne de Lestonnac School, in Temecula, California, on Thursday, December 7th. If you live in any of these areas, I hope you can make it…I’d love to meet you.


Since the next several issues will be taken up with debates or dialogues (or whatever you want to call them) with not just Dr. Mizzi, but one or two other folks as well, I thought I would just do a couple of questions and answers in this issue. The questions are in italics.


My brother-in-law lives in Rochester, NY…His parish priest conducts “general confessions” and gives absolution…now my brother-in-law believes that he (no one) needs to go to private confession … is this true?

Please help me to respond to this…

Your brother-in-law’s parish priest is in grave error in what he is doing, and it could very well cost him the life of his soul. And, if your brother-in-law no longer goes to private confession, then it could cost him the life of his soul, as well.

General confessions are the exception, not the rule. They are only to be used in instances where the priest does not have time to hear the confessions of all those who wish to confess, and there is a danger of death for those who wish to confess but are unable to. The perfect example is if a priest is ministering to troops who are about to go into battle. If there are hundreds of troops who wish to confess, but only limited time before they go into battle, then the priest can give “general” absolution. However, any troops that survive the battle, then have to make a private confession and receive private absolution, or the general absolution is of no effect.

In other words, general confessions, or general absolution, only has effect if it is given when there is danger of death to a large number of people, and the priest does not have time to hear each person’s individual confession. But, general absolution only takes effect if one of those persons actually dies after receiving it. If the person does not die, then, the first chance they have, they are required to go to individual (private) confession.

You need to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, pages 357-374, particularly paragraphs #1456 (“Confession to a priest is an ESSENTIAL part of the sacrament of Penance…”); #1483, and #1484.

God bless!

John Martignoni

a few times now i’ve had this happen to me so i need some help. i would be sharing my catholic faith to people and they mention to me that catholics like to drink alcohol and how wrong that is. and its like they build this wall up around them and discredit any valid points that i would make afterwards. how would i respond to this.



I would ask them to tell you where in the Scriptures does it say anything about drinking alcohol being wrong? Quick answer…it doesn’t. It says getting drunk is wrong, but it doesn’t say merely drinking is wrong. In fact, it tells us just the opposite.

1 Tim 3:8, “Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine…” Obviously, it is okay for them to drink some wine, they just cannot be addicted to “much” wine.

1 Tim 4:4, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” The materials from which alcohol is made are all natural materials made by God.

1 Tim 5:23, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” Timothy is ordered to drink wine.

All 3 accounts of the Last Supper in Matthew, Mark, and Luke have Jesus and the Apostles drinking wine (the “fruit of the vine”).

Jesus’ first miracle was to turn some 120-180 gallons of water into wine (John 2:3-10), for folks to drink. And, it was better wine than any of the wine that had already been served at that particular wedding.

Matthew 15:10-11, “Hear and understand, not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth…”

Luke 7:33-34, “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking; and you say, ’Behold, a glutton and a drunkard…” Now, what do you think Jesus was drinking that they would have called Him a drunkard? Grape juice? I don’t think so. Now, this is not to say that He was a drunkard…obviously He wasn’t. But, the only way someone could even begin to make that case would be if He was known to drink wine.

Scripture gives strong testament to the fact that merely drinking alcohol is not a sin, getting drunk on alcohol is.

God bless!

John Martignoni

In Conclusion

As always, comments are welcomed and all are read. And, as I mentioned, next week’s edition should, God willing, have the first round of my debate with Dr. Joe Mizzi…so please keep that in your prayers.

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Apologetics for the Masses