Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #40

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

I was able to get some time to get out a newsletter after all…this time last Friday I didn’t think I’d be able to. By the way, if someone is still having a problem with the formatting of their newsletter, or if you’re getting a number of strange and unusual characters popping up in your newsletter, please let me know.

I was in Savannah, Tennessee, last week giving some talks, and then just this past Wednesday I was in Troy, Alabama, talking to the Catholic students at Troy University – both of them (just kidding). Enjoyed myself immensely in both places. In Savannah, Fr. Francis Chiawa is a truly incredible priest and his parish, St. Mary’s, and its wonderful parishioners are a testament to that fact.

And, if the students at Troy are any indication of where our Church is headed here in these United States, then the future is indeed bright. I spoke to an audience that was fully 1/3 non-Catholic, thanks to the efforts of these students. It was awesome!

These young men and women are stepping out in faith and evangelizing on their campus…not being afraid to “shake things up” in order to bring the truths of our faith to their fellow students. I was very proud of them. Would that there were Catholic students like that at all of our colleges and universities. (Sidenote: Anthony, if you’re reading this, send me an email…I can maybe get you in touch with Fr. Groeschel if you’re interested.)

My next speaking engagement will be at a Catholic homeschoolers conference on the campus of Belmont Abbey College near Charlotte. The date is Saturday, April 14th. I think you can get on their website to get the conference schedule, but I believe my talk is late in the afternoon, if anyone is in the neighborhood.


Well, still no word from Matt Johnson. It’s been a full two weeks since I sent him my last response. Normally, he would have answered by now. Hmmm…maybe he’s having to “consult” with others in order to answer those questions I asked him. Or, perhaps, he is trying to devise his own set of yes-no questions for me. I guess we’ll just have to continue to wait and see.

So, given the fact that we have no response from Matt, I am going to have another couple of questions and answers in this newsletter. If I don’t hear back from Matt in time for next week’s newsletter, then I’ll move on to the next person who has been waiting in line and come back to Matt in a few weeks.

Below are questions from two separate gentlemen, both of whom happened to be named Bert.



Thank you so much for what you are doing. I can’t stop listening to your talks. They have certainly, helped me in my own formation (converted two Easters ago)…I have a question for you, John, being a “cradle Catholic”, how do feel about the “Novus Ordo” in relation to the old “Traditional Mass” (Tridentine) and what is your stance?

In my search for “Truth”….going to Mass, Bible study, listening to your CD’s, reading books on my own (Catholic) and internet, especially…I have come across some interesting websites, speaking of the “Novus Ordo Mass”…and I am getting confused. I hope you can shed some light for me. God Bless you,


Dear Bert,

When I was relatively new in my return to the Faith, I received a bunch of literature in the mail that really confused me. Things that said the Novus Ordo was not valid, that the Pope wasn’t really the Pope, that Vatican Council II wasn’t a real council, and a bunch of other stuff along those lines. It had me pretty bothered for a few weeks, until I realized that all the stuff they were saying was such that I would basically have to have a Ph.D. in Theology, be fluent in Latin, be an expert in Canon Law, and a whole bunch of other things in order to even have a chance of verifying what all these folks were saying, much less be certain about any of it. So, I asked myself, “Would God set things up so that I would have to be an expert in all of these things in order to know the truth that He wants me to know?” The answer came back, “No.” And, I was no longer confused or upset. I knew immediately to reject that which was causing the confusion. God is not a God of confusion.

One of the early Church Fathers said, where Peter is, there is the Church. The Mass was promulgated by the Pope. If the Pope is indeed infallible, as all the folks writing the stuff you described believe him to be, then when he promulgated the Novus Ordo, to the entire Church, it had to be free from doctrinal error. If it’s not free from doctrinal error, then the Pope is not infallible, and we are basically left with a situation of every man for himself…just like the Protestants.

I had one of these guys who believes all of this stuff write me some emails. He said I was wrong to believe the Novus Ordo was valid and other things along those lines, and gave me a couple of websites that he said I needed to go to and read to see if what he was saying was true. I asked him five questions:

1) Vatican Council I dogmatically defined the teaching on the infallibility of the Pope. Do you believe the teaching of Vatican Council I? He said, “Yes.”

2) Therefore, based on the teaching of Vatican Council I, who has final authority to decide on matters of faith and morals? He said, “The Pope.”

3) Are issues relating to the Mass issues of faith? He said, “Yes.”

4) Do the guys who run this website have more authority than the Pope to decide on matters of faith and morals? He said, “No.”

5) Why, then, should I listen to what these guys who run these websites say over what the Pope says regarding the Mass? He had no answer, but he got very angry with me.

Ask those questions to anyone who is telling you that the Novus Ordo is not valid or contains errors or any such thing. They cannot answer them and be consistent in their Faith. They either have to say the Pope is not infallible (which is heretical), or they have to say that the Mass is not about a matter of faith (which is ridiculous), or they have to say that someone other than the Pope has the final say in matters of faith and morals (which is thoroughly Protestant).

Basically, I boil it down to this: Who do you listen to on matters of faith and morals? The successor of Peter, or some guys who write a book or run a website? Let’s say, for example, that you die and go to Heaven, and God says, “Why did you go to the invalid Novus Ordo Mass?” And you answer, “Because the guy You told me to listen to in the Church You established said it was okay,” what do you think God would say? However, if you die and go to Heaven, and God says: “Why did you believe that My Novus Ordo Mass was invalid?” And you answer, “Because some guy at this website said so,” what do you think God would say?

I am more than happy to take my chances with the former situation. I wouldn’t ever want to find myself in the latter situation.

Hope that helps.

God bless!



Once cremated does the church allow the ashes to be spread?


No. The ashes should be interred in a place of respect and honor so that anyone who wishes to do so may come and pay their respects. The scattering of ashes is forbidden.


That is part of my not understanding, if from dust to dust and ashes to ashes and it is the persons desire to be spread over a particular area what is wrong with it, once a person is buried it is only for a very short time that anyone visits the grave but lives with the memory why not the other?


Well, if everything was okay or not okay based upon a “person’s desire,” where would we be? If a man desires to marry another man…what’s wrong with that? After all, they love each other…isn’t love a good thing? If I desire to look at pornography, what’s wrong with that…no one gets hurt and it makes me feel good? What a person desires is not the issue. I cannot give you the precise theological reasons behind this particular aspect of Church teaching. What I can say, though, is that the Church, the Body of Christ, teaches it, so I believe it.

Let’s look at the 4 possibilites: 1) If the Church is right in its teaching, and they don’t have their ashes scattered…then that will go well with them in the next life. 2) If the Church is right in its teaching, and they decide to disobey the clear teaching of the Church…then that may not bode well with them in the next life. To deliberately disobey the authority of the Church, which was founded by Jesus Christ Himself, and which was given the power to bind and loose on earth, by Jesus Christ Himself, is not a good thing. It is a very serious sin. 3) If the Church is wrong in its teaching (saying that just for the sake of argument) and they don’t have their ashes scattered, how are they harmed? After all, they’re dead. 4) If the Church is wrong in its teaching, and they have their ashes scattered…how do they gain any benefit? Again, they’re dead.

If I’m a risk averse, thinking person, I look at all the possibilities and go with the action that carries that highest potential benefit with the least risk. That would be to not have my ashes scattered. Again, I cannot give precise theological reasons here, but I can say that I believe everything I believe about Jesus, about God, about religion, because of the Church. I believe these things based on the authority of the Church. It makes no sense to me to believe one thing based on the Church’s authority, but then not to believe something else that is taught by that same Church authority.

Don’t know if that helps, but that’s the way I see things.


In Conclusion

Comments are welcome and all will be read and taken under consideration. If you have questions, you can send them, but I can’t guarantee that I’ll have time to answer them.

One thing I do want to mention, is that if you have questions about your faith, first, check in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you don’t have a Catechism, then you need to get one. If you can’t find an answer to your particular question there, then an absolutely wonderful resource is www.catholic.com (Catholic Answers website). On their homepage they have a search engine. Let’s say you’re interested in finding out information on why the Catholic Church doesn’t allow women priests (or some such topic). Just type “women priests” or “priestesses” into their search engine and a whole bunch of articles from This Rock (their monthly apologetics magazine) will pop up.

In addition, you can contact them through their website, or by phone, and ask one of their apologists a question. They have a staff of full-time apologists who do nothing but answer folks’ questions all day long. You can do things like hire staff apologists when you have a budget like theirs – who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to do something like that, but it ain’t this day.

Hope ya’ll have a great week!

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Apologetics for the Masses