The following series of letters appeared in the Letters to the Editor of The Courier, Ballarat, Victoria on the respective dates.

The first letter was written in response to a front page article in the Courier announcing a new accord between the Anglican and Roman Catholic dioceses in Western Victoria. The Accord opened the way for the above organisations to share schools and church buildings, with the eventual intent of leading to greater spiritual cooperation between them including a shared ministry and combined church services. (November 25, 1997) The accord was signed at a joint church service.

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The following letter was printed 2 Dec, 1997

I read with some interest of the new accord between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches reported in the Courier on Tuesday. I would love to see cooperation between Christians based on a deeper commitment to Jesus Christ.

Sadly, this agreement is made on the basis of economic convenience, and at the expense of true worship of Christ.

No Bible-believing Christian can accept such Roman Catholic doctrines as a celibate priesthood (1 Tim 3:2, 1 Pet 2:9 & 10), Sacrifice of the Mass (Hebrews 10:12-18), perpetual virginity of Mary (Matthew 13:55-56), worship of Mary (Luke 11:27-28, Matthew 12:46 to 50) and substituting God's sabbaths with pagan holydays (Deuteronomy 12:30 - 32, Lev 23:1 to 44).

As long as the Roman Catholic church continues to practice these antibiblical teachings, she remains a deceiver of her followers and an enemy of Christ.



Respectfully Yours,

Bruce Armstrong

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The letter above was answered by E. Cunningham, in this letter printed on 8 Dec, 1997

In reference to the letter of B. Armstrong (The Courier December 2) space will allow only brief comments on all the matters listed between commas, as the writer searched through Scripture to find ways to discredit the Catholic Church. There is inconsistency in that, for Christ came to fulfil the Scriptures and the New Testament came out of the faith of the early church, founded by Him and with which He identified Himself when Saul (Paul) heard Him say "Why do you persecute Me?"

Certainly Christ died once and for all - for all time and people before and after Him. On Holy Thursday night He instituted the Eucharist as a memorial of His redemptive death and the Sacrament of His Presence with His faithful throughout future generations, through the daily consecration of bread and wine.

As for 1 Tim 3:2, not only was Peter already married but so were many of the first priests and bishops at that time, before the sacramental priesthood of the New Covenant developed in closer imitation of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, and in the enlightened view of the value of celibacy.

Paul was concerned here, only for the integrity of character of these men.

Virginity is no virtue in itself, but its perfection is attained in total dedication and consecration to God for the sake of the Kingdom.

Fidelity in marriage is a parallel to the celibacy of priesthood. Because of the hardness of their hearts, Moses allowed a writ of divorce to people who lived before Christ for they could not possibly have attained the finer understanding of marriage as a spiritual union like unto that of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:22-23).

Christ gave finality to the matter in Matthew 19:3-12.

The perfection of virginity was found in Mary but neither of them had sibling brothers and sisters. In those days, members of clans and households were loosely referred to as brethren. Jesus made it clear that spiritual union with Him is closer than that of blood relationship.

We honour Mary as the woman, conceived immaculate, and uniquely blessed by God, to become the mother of His son. She is mediatrix between us and Christ who is the mediator between God and all mankind. As a living organism, the Church was given power to bind and loose, except what is absolutely bound in Heaven by God Himself (Matt 16:18-19).

While Christendom is rent by doctrinal divisions error and apostasy, the Mystical Body of Christ will continue to be crucified, and Jesus will thirst for the coming of the Kingdom, when the will of the Father is done by all, united as one, in Himself, as Saviour.

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A reply to E. Cunningham's letter was printed on Dec 22, 1997:

Mr. Cunningham, I am pleased to see you agree that most of Christ's apostles were married. However, I was stunned by your suggestion that your celibate priesthood is more righteous than the Apostles. I have never heard anyone claim that the Apostles sexually abused their congregations. The same cannot be said for the Catholic priesthood, nor any other enforced celibate priesthood I know of. God's spirit specifically warned us in 1 Tim 4:1 to 3 that in later times deceivers will come who will speak lies in hypocrisy and forbid to marry. Surely you must be aware that the Catholic papacy only forbad marriage for the priesthood many centuries after Christ as a political move to give it control over the inheritance of parishes?

Again, you are correct: Jesus broke the bread and took the wine and gave them to His followers. However, He did this on the Passover, not Holy Thursday (Matthew 26:17). But why does the Catholic Church, unlike Christ, insist on using unbroken disks like the pagan sunworshippers did? ....

Yes, Mr. Cunningham: Mary is to be honored as a wonderful woman. (Luke 1:28) But perpetual virgin? The Bible clearly says in Matthew 1:25 that Joseph and Mary began a sexual relationship after Jesus was born, and that Jesus' brothers and sisters referred to in Matthew 13:55 were indeed his siblings, just as truly as Mary was his mother. Don't you know that God says sexuality in marriage is honourable? (Hebrews 13:4) Mary was not only a fabulous mother, but also a great wife. Why do you deny it?

You claim Mary is "Mediatrix between us and Christ." Yet Jesus says "Come to me!" (Matthew 11:28). The Apostle Paul tells us: "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5) Neither of them leave any space for a mediatrix. Am I to believe they are liars? I believe them, and that the Word of God is truth. (1 Thessalonians 2:13) Who do you believe?

B. Armstrong

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