Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quick Bible Answers: Rockin' with St. Peter

As Catholics we know that St. Peter is the "rock" on which the Catholic Church is built (Matthew 16:18), but often anti-Catholics will argue that Catholics mis-translate the original text of the Gospel of Matthew to come to the "St. Peter the rock" conclusion.

The most common anti-Catholic argument looks at the Greek translation of the Gospel of Matthew (the oldest known manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew is written in Greek but is believed to have been translated from Hebrew). The argument suggests that while Jesus did refer to St. Peter as "rock", it was akin to a type of rock that could be used as a foundation and that Jesus was in fact referring to himself as the foundation of the Church. Anti-Catholics believe that the Greek word used to describe St. Peter as "rock" was the feminite form (languages that are Latin or Greek based have "male" and "female" workds; a word ending in an 'o' is a masculine word and a word ending in an 'a' is feminine) "petra" which would translate to "small rock" "stone" or "pebble", so the anti-Catholic would argue that St. Peter couldn't possibly be the foundation of the Church because how could a "small rock" (et al) be the foundation of such an important institution like the Church?

Let's read Matthew 16:18 and full and examine the problem with this argument. Note the specific use of the pronouns in the verse (bolded for emphasis):

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it." - Matthew 16:18

Jesus is talking to and referring to St. Peter rather acutely here, don't you think? What's further of note is that since Jesus was talking to St. Peter who was obviously a man, the Greek word used for rock would have been "petros", i.e. the Greek masculine derivative of "rock" not the feminine.

What also needs to be taken into consideration - and this is the kicker - is the fact that Jesus would have been speaking to St. Peter in Aramaic. All credit for this tidbit of information goes straight to Karl Keating, by the way; I didn't know about this part until I read it in his books. We'll do this bit in steps:

1. The Greek word for "stone", "pebble" or "little rock" is "lithos" not "petra" or "petros";
2. The Aramaic word for "stone", "pebble" or "little rock" is "evna";
3. The Aramaic word for "rock" is "kepha" ("cephas" in Hebrew).

"What's your proof?" the anti-Catholic might then ask.

Well don't forget that St. Peter's name wasn't always "Peter"; he was a "Simon" before that and was sometimes referred to as Simon-Peter. the Gospel of John emphasises this name change and notes the translation from Hebrew to Greek (bolded for emphasis):

"One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah' (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, 'So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas' (which means Peter)." - John 1:40-42

Want more (these are just a handful)?

"As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen." - Matthew 4:18

"The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zeb'edee, and John his brother" - Matthew 10:2 

"Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus." - John 18:10

... And on this rock our Church is built.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quick Thought: Catholic bias?!?

I very, very recently had an exchange with a non-Catholic Christian, and to make a long story short he said something about Catholicism which was not true, and I suggested that it would be more efficacious for a person who wants to learn about the Catholic faith to ask a Catholic (preferably one who knows their faith well) for an answer. Makes sense, right? But I was told that my bias - since I am a Catholic after all - would only mislead the inquirer.

Bias?!? Mislead?!?

I beg your pardon! If I'm sick I go to a doctor because he knows what he's talking about; I'm not going to accuse him/her of being biased if they're trying to work out what's wrong with me. All I want is accuracy, consistency, and reliability!

Accuracy, consistency, and reliability.

Nuff said.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sneak Peek: Part of my new project

I'd like to treat my readers this week so I thought I'd share with you a sneak peek of [part of] my new project. How good is the zoom function on your computer/smartphone? 

Have a great week.

Pax vobiscum!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quick Thought: The warped pro-life message in 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn (Pt. 1)'

Because I love my wife dearly and deeply, I do things for her that I would rather not do and do them without complaint. Take, for instance, going along to the movies to see the latest installment of the Twilight saga. If you're a Twilight fan, then you should probably stop reading now because my [brief] review - as others have commented already - is rather harsh.

As I expected it be, 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn (Part 1)' was a steaming pile of faecal matter. Yes, those are very harsh words, but I can assure that that's about as crass as I will ever get in writing these blogs.

The acting was simply woeful and there were some very creepy and disturbing scenes (e.g. the "birth" scene and Edward "biting" Bella repeatedly in an attempt to "infect"/save her). Some might argue the movie was an "emotional rollercoaster" but 20 minutes in I didn't know myself if I wanted to gag myself or laugh out loud during those "intense" scenes. Bella was, predictably, as pandering and pathetic as she's portrayed in the books; Edward had about 20 different hair styles during the movie; and Jacob was as emo as emo can get. But to cap it all off there was a very, very warped pro-life message in the narrative.

I didn't know what to make of it. On the one hand Bella carries the baby through to term and the baby is born healthy, etc. but all this mish-mash of defending the baby's right to life before it all just left me lost and unconvinced. Edward wasn't much help either; he wanted the baby dead too!

There was definitely a pro-life message present, but I felt that it was rather lacklustre. It got lost in between all the "we have to kill it" arguments from the wolves and the "it's killing Bella" sub-narrative. Yes, in the end the baby is born, but Bella dies in the process after literally being beaten up and broken by her vampiric infant. It's not an overtly encouraging message. If anything it may plant a deep-seeded fear or apprehension towards fertility, pregnancy and childbirth. I can only imagine what pro-choicers would have made of it all.

Perhaps the underlying message here is that we shouldn't look to this sort of media for any sort of moral guidance or truth. But I say that as a man that's in a sense trained to read between the lines and abstract a meaning that is not explicit. Our youth, on the other hand, may take messages like these to heart because there's no denying that as a child gets older, influences like that pertaining to their parents, religion, etc. lessen in importance/relevance over time and the influence of the media strengthens; it - inevitably - begins to guide their moral compass. Thankfully there are exceptions to this "rule".

I'd be interested to hear what other Christians thought of this new Twilight movie. Feel free to shoot me an email with your thoughts.

Thanks again, as always, for reading.

Pax tecum.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I need your help...

No, it's not quite that dramatic, but your assistance would still be greatly appreciated.

You see, I'm working on a new project but in order to make it possible I need to do a bit of research; that's where you come in.

If you could - either by emailing me or leaving a comment reply to this blog entry - answer for me this very simple question:

What is the one thing - in your opinion - that non-Catholics misunderstand the most about the Catholic faith?

Thank you and Merry Christmas!