Has Roman Catholicism’s Authority Contradicted Jesus?

“A sign of contradiction, in Catholic theology, is someone who, upon manifesting holiness, is subject to extreme opposition. The term is from the biblical phrase “sign that is spoken against”, found in Luke 2:34 and in Acts 28:22, which refer to Jesus Christ and the early Christians. Contradiction comes from the Latin contra, “against” and dicere, “to speak”.

According to Catholic tradition, a sign of contradiction points to the presence of Christ or the presence of the divine due to the union of that person or reality with God. In his book, Sign of Contradiction, John Paul II says that “sign of contradiction” might be “a distinctive definition of Christ and of his Church.”[1]

Luke 2:34 refers to Jesus Christ while he is being presented in the temple by his parents. The words were spoken by Simeon to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, as a prophecy regarding her child and herself.

“Behold this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thought of many hearts may be revealed.” (Italics added; Douay Rheims Bible translates the phrase as “sign that will be contradicted.”)

The interpretation of the Navarre Bible, a Catholic bible commentary, [2] is the following:

“Jesus came to bring salvation to all men, yet he will be sign of contradiction because some people will obstinately reject him — for this reason he will be their ruin. But for those who accept him with faith Jesus will be their salvation, freeing them from sin in this life and raising them up to eternal life.” “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

The commentary also says that Mary will be intimately linked with her Son’s work of salvation. The sword indicates that Mary will have a share in her son’s sufferings. The last words of the prophecy link up with verse 34: uprightness or perversity will be demonstrated by whether one accepts or rejects Christ.

 Jesus rejected POWER, FAME, and FORTUNE! Just read about the temptation: The first three Commandments stress that power, fame, and fortune belong to the Creator-God. Isn’t that what the stories of Creation and the Great Temptation are all about? Yet, the Catholic Church failed to rebuke the power, fame, and fortune of Rome in order to avoid any more persecution from Rome.

There are three elements then involved in a sign of contradiction, according to Catholic theology: (1) An attack on Christ or people who are said to be “united” with Christ. From this attack, ensues a double-movement: (2) the downfall of those who reject Christ, and (3) the rise of those who accept him.

This double-movement is connected with the division Jesus Christ referred to in Luke 12:51–53, an external division among peoples who either follow him or not, but an internal peace for those who follow him.

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Jesus Christ was spoken against during his life: the Gospels claim that Pharisees and other critics said that he was allied with Beelzebub, that he was a drunkard and a glutton, (based upon his participation at banquets and feasts), that he was a blasphemer who made himself equal to God. According to Catholic theologians, these charges led to his torture and execution.  Have such divisions in Catholcisim gone unnoticed? What’s the current status of the Church?

Catholic theologians also say that while the devil seemed to have been able to put the Messiah to death, his death turned the tables around and became the very instrument of Christ’s victory over evil, death and the devil. His death showed the infinite love of God towards mankind (“Greater love no man has than he who lays down his life for his friend”), thus drawing men back to God.”

 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” 

One can’t lose one’s life by holding onto POWER, FAME, and FORTUNE. No, one must let those go in order to serve, to love, and depend upon the GRACE of God otherwise one is trying to be God!

The Catholic Church must REPENT and divest itself of such Power in the form of Patriarchy, Authoritarianism, Misogyny, Homophobia, such Fame as the titles of father, monsignor, excellency, eminence, holiness and such clerical garb of crimson robes, gold jewelry, thrones, and clericalism and such fortune as the Vatican and other such opulent possessions.

Until such time as the Catholic Church has true “metanoia” and repentance, The Catholic Church stands as a sign of contradiction to its founder, Jesus Christ.

Modern English translations of the Greek New Testament use the word “repentance” for both the word metanoia and metamelomai. The former term is so translated almost ten times as often as the latter.[4] Metanoia can be traced to Mark Chapter 1, where Jesus announces that the kingdom of God is at hand and asks for repentance. This mistranslation from the definition given above has vast repercussions for the entirety of Christian theology.

Matthew 27:3 uses the Greek verb metamelomai in stating that Judas “repented himself” after he saw Jesus being led away. Metamelomai denotes “painful sorrow” or “remorseful regret.” According to James Glentworth Butler, “as nearly as possible [metamelomai] is the exact equivalent of the word Repent or Repentance.”[7] Biblical scholar A. T. Robertson observes that Judas had only sorrow and regret and “mere sorrow avails nothing unless it leads to change of mind and life [metanoia].”[8]

The noun metanoia/μετάνοια, is translated “repentance,” and its cognate verb metanoeō/μετανοέω is translated “repent” in twenty two instances in the King James Version of the New Testament.

The term “…was used consistently in the literature of that time to express a fundamental change in thinking that leads to a fundamental change in behavior and/or way of living”.[10] In 2006, an ecumenical group of scholars published a study of repentance in the Bible and the Church. After “a thorough examination of Hellenistic Jewish writings,” the study found that for Jews living at the time of Jesus, “repentance” meant “a fundamental change in thinking and living.” For the New Testament, this change is a necessary ingredient in accomplishing God’s plan for salvation and community for everyone.[11]

In opposition to the Church’s interpretation of metanoia as comprising contrition, confession, and penances, Martin Luther objected that it retained its classical sense of “a change of mind.”[15] For John Staupitz, “…metanoia can be derived, though not without violence, not only from post and mentem, but also from trans and mentem, so that metanoia signifies a changing of the mind and heart, because it seemed to indicate not only a change of the heart, but also a manner of changing it, i.e., the grace of God.”.[16]

A Warning Against Hypocrisy in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 23

 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b]

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’[c]

Is the Catholic Church Hierarchy contradicting Jesus? You decide!

4Wilkin, Robert N. “New Testament Repentance: Lexical Considerations”, Bible.org

7.  Butler, J. Glentworth. Topical Analysis of the Bible (Butler Bible Work Co, 1897), 443. Available in Google Books.

8. A.T. Robertson. Word Pictures in the New Testament – Matthew (PDF). Grand Rapids, Missouri: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Retrieved 14 November 2014.

10.  Nave, Guy. The Role and function of Repentance in Luke-Acts, Society of Biblical Literature, 2002

11. Mark J. Boda and Gordon T. Smith, eds., Repentance in Christian Theology (Michael Glazier, 2006), 90, 95.

12 J. K. Elliott, editor, The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation (Oxford University Press, 2005), 425. Greek words inserted.

13. “Millennium Web Catalog”. Oed.com.librarycatalog.vts.edu. Retrieved 14 November 2014.

14. ^ “Conversion Synonyms, Conversion Antonyms”. Thesaurus.com. Retrieved 15. Luther’s Works, Vol. 48, Letters (May 30, 1518 Letter to John von Staupitz), 65-70.

16. “Letter of John Staupitz Accompanying the “Resolutions” to the XCV Theses by Dr. Martin Luther, 1518″, Works of Martin Luther, (Adolph Spaeth, L.D. Reed, Henry Eyster Jacobs, et 

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About Dr. Ernie Sherretta, D. Min.

Retired Director of Religious Education for the Catholic Church since 2014, granted a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Charles Seminary, an M.A. in Religious Studies from St. Charles Seminary, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Immaculata University, and a Doctor of Ministry from the Lutheran Theological Seminary. Spiritual Well-Being Counselor
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