Sunday, May 11, 2003

Do We Stand For False Ecumenism?

Vatican Message to Buddhists for Feast of Vesakh 2003

"By Persevering in Prayer We Will Contribute to Advancing Peace"

VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2003 ( Here is the message sent by the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, to Buddhists on the feast of Vesakh.

* * *

Dear Buddhist Friends,

1. As the new President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the office of His Holiness the Pope for relations with people of different religious traditions, I wish to greet you and send this congratulatory message on the occasion of the feast of Vesakh. This gesture of friendship, initiated in 1995 by my predecessor Cardinal Francis Arinze, has almost become a tradition. I wish to continue this good tradition and express my hearty congratulations to each and every one of you.

2. In this message, I would like to invite you, my dear Buddhist friends, to join in prayer for the cause of peace in the world. Observing the current international situation, we cannot but be aware of the acuteness of the question of peace in our world. Since the beginning of this new Millennium, marked by the dramatic events of 11 September 2001, we witness every day fresh scenes of bloodshed, violence, confrontation, and crisis in almost all parts of the world. In the midst of this grave situation, we cannot lead our lives without committing ourselves to advancing the cause of peace in the world.

3. We Christians and Buddhists are convinced that the origin of all conflict is ultimately located in human hearts characterized by selfish desire, specifically by desire for power, domination and wealth often at the expense of others. It is also our common conviction that peace must inhabit people's hearts before it can become a social reality. For us, therefore, the most fundamental and efficient way to advance peace is to do our best to see that the deep-rooted selfishness of human hearts is overcome, so that people may be transformed into true artisans of peace.

4. Pope John Paul II has proclaimed the year from October 2002 to October 2003 the Year of the Rosary of the Virgin Mary. He has earnestly encouraged the frequent recitation of the Rosary in order to pray for peace in the world. His wish to revive the practice of the Rosary is closely connected with the present historical circumstances, which need more than ever constant supplication for the great gift of peace.

5. My Buddhists friends, is it not a wonderful coincidence that you also have a lengthy tradition of using the Mala for prayer? The Rosary for Catholics and the Mala for Buddhists are simple yet profound and meaningful prayer, despite essential differences in their form and content, based on our distinct doctrines and practices. For Catholics, the Rosary represents a most effective means of fostering contemplation of Jesus Christ. For Buddhists, the Mala is used to overcome the 108 sinful desires in order to reach the state of Nirvana. By virtue of their meditative character, these two prayers have in common a calming effect on those who pray them; they lead them to experience and to work for peace, and they produce fruits of love. For Catholics, the repetition and meditation of the holy names of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity and the Virgin Mary in the recitation of the Rosary makes us more willing to assimilate their love and compassion for others, especially for the poor and afflicted. In your Buddhist tradition, praying the Mala helps one to become a peacemaker.

6. Dear Buddhist friends, these are the thoughts I wish to share with you this year. I am convinced that by persevering in prayer we will contribute to advancing peace in the world both now and in the future. May this peace be with you and your families on the feast of Vesakh and at all times.

Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald,

Should faithful Catholics be a bit concerned over this document? What we see here is a prime case of false ecumenism. Catholics should be all for striving for unity, but it must be a true unity. The biggest problem we should have with this document is that it is promoting prayer to pagan gods. The document also presents some Catholic truths, but then equivocates true prayers to the One True God with the Mala. It also equivocates the Rosary's contemplation of Jesus Christ with the Mala's use to overcome the 108 sinful desires to reach the state of Nirvana. There can be no comparison to meditation on Jesus Christ to the self-serving motives to reach a false state of Nirvana. Strong words are used here to drive a point home - we, as Catholics, should not be promoting pagan prayer.

Now, what could this document have done different? Let us not just complain without suggesting a proper solution. Let us acknowledge the Buddhist desire for peace. We can even acknowledge their motives behind the Mala, but we should also include the Way, the Truth and the Life. True Nirvana is the paradise of heaven. The way to heaven is not merely through self-improvement, but through Jesus Christ - our God who became Man in order to take our place and our deserved condemnation. Jesus Christ defeated sin and death and became our Redemption. If we accept this and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, and following what He has commanded - then we shall be made coheirs with Him and have our share in the true Nirvana - heaven. Would it not be better to encourage the Buddhist with their desires for peace and happiness and point them to the true happiness?

What can we do? We can be aware that such documents have been coming from the Vatican, and we can express our concerns in whichever ways we can. We must remain respectful of our elders, but is it respectful to go along with whatever they say when what they say we perceive as wrong? If we truly have respect for them, we will stand up for what is right and hope they will join us.

This Vesakh letter is not the first, there's quite a history of them. Let us take note and be noticed. We want true ecumenism that brings people to true unity in Christ. We do not want to promote prayers to pagan gods.


2003 Vesakh Letter

2002 Vesakh Letter

2001 Vesakh Letter

1999 Vesakh Letter

ACTS Homepage

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Scott Responds to the CAI and JM Apologies
AND Some of the Reactions to Them

Jacob Michael (hereafter JM) posted his apology, publicly on the NTRMin discussion board. We have a copy of that apology available on this blog as well. JM's apology was well received by the folks at NTRMin, so well that I was pleased I was wearing boots at the time I read it! Personally, I did not think JM's apology went far enough in exposing some of the details that Michael Roberts, aka RW^, aka Mr. X (hereafter MR), had used - including exposing, to remove any doubt that remained (I still had several people coming to the #CathApol Chatroom asking me who "Mr. X" was. I spoke to JM and he said he knew Robert Sungenis (hereafter RS) would be doing that and didn't want to steal RS's thunder. Well, I accepted that and awaited the forecoming apology from RS.

Later, RS of Catholic Apologetics International (CAI) issued an apology from CAI as well. After reading this apology, I was actually pleased that more of the details were "outed" and especially that RS had confirmed the identity of MR. This is something I have been "sitting on" for over two years now, because I had given my word to not say anything about Michael Roberts converting, nor the file that he sent me that was a pre-released transcript from one of the volumes of the King/Webster publication, (Mr. King acknowledged that this file was indeed from the book, though it was not the final form).

What caught me a bit off-guard was I went to read on NTRMin's board and found little, if any, acceptance of RS's apology - and even more criticism, so I went back and reread RS's apology. Now, I'll grant you, some of the criticism is merited. I don't believe RS needed to say everything he said, specifically, he didn't need to justify why that article was posted to CAI in his absence, or permitted to stay after he returned - that's not the point. The point was that false information had been posted, and the "source" of this information was now avoiding all contact, so now the position of CAI was to consider ALL that information as false - and that WAS part of RS's apology!

The point I found ironic was that JM's apology is accepted, lauded, and with so many pats on the back, I'd think JM's back is getting a bit sore! Then, when RS posted an apology he faced almost NO acceptance, and seemingly even MORE criticism than the original article raised! We saw a gracious acceptance of JM and a vitrolic rejection of RS. Now, I'm a Catholic - but I'm not "for" or "against" either JM or RS, and as a somewhat neutral observer here - who did have some involvement in this incident, I believe there's something deeper going on here that the folks on the NTRMin message board are holding in. Now, I agree that more was said by RS than needed to be, and that could be pointed out to him - but to question the sincerity of the apology? Well, in Christian charity, I'd caution everyone from judging RS's motives. Let's accept the CAI apology for the posting of false information, THEN if there's further concerns, raise them - later - but let the apology stand.

American Catholic Truth Society - ACTS

Monday, May 05, 2003
THE CATHOLIC HERALD has a talented team of reporters who write about the main news and current affairs affecting Catholics in England and Wales

In this week's edition: -

Pope prepares to lift restrictions on Tridentine Mass
English bishops request secret report from Latin Mass Society
By Simon Caldwell

The Pope might soon allow the world's Catholic priests the right to celebrate the old rite Latin Mass on Sundays and holy days without the permission of their bishops, according to sources close to the Vatican.

John Paul II is understood to be ready to grant a "universal indult" by the end of the year to permit all priests to choose freely between the celebration of Mass in the so-called Tridentine rite used up to 1962 - before the disciplinary reforms of the Second Vatican Council - and the novus ordo Mass used after 1970.

It will mean that a priest who wants to celebrate old rite Masses will no longer need to apply for an indult to Ecclesia Dei, a pontifical commission set up to study the implications of the Lefebvrist schism, after first gaining permission from his bishop.
The indult may be announced as part of the publication of forthcoming juridical notes on Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the new encyclical on the Eucharist, published on Holy Thursday, in which the Pope affirmed the Church's traditional teaching of the sacrificial nature of the Mass.

It might also be announced at the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome on May 24, when Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy and the president of Ecclesia Dei, becomes the first cardinal prefect to celebrate an old rite Mass in a main Roman basilica for 30 years. Organised by the Latin Mass movement, Una Voce, the event is one of many indications that Rome is dropping restrictions on the celebration of the old rite.

Last month, the Holy Father, who celebrated a Tridentine Mass last summer, published a command called Rescriptum ex Audientia to authorise the celebration of the old rite Mass in St Peter's Basilica, Rome, by any priest who possessed an indult.
The Vatican also asked the Scottish bishops, ahead of their five-yearly ad limina visit to Rome in March, to reveal what provisions they made for the celebration of the old rite Mass in their dioceses. Since the meeting, the Scottish bishops have stepped up their provision from just four a year in the whole of the country to at least one a month in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The same requests have been made in a questionnaire to the English and Welsh bishops, whose next ad limina visit to Rome will take place in the autumn. The bishops have invited the Latin Mass Society (LMS), set up to promote the practice of the old rite, to submit a report on the provision of the Tridentine Mass ahead of their low week meeting in London this week when they were scheduled to discuss the issue.

John Medlin, LMS development officer, confirmed that a "full document" had been circulated to the bishops but refused to discuss its contents.

The Mr. X Saga - Conclusion?

Well, CAI (Catholic Apologetics International - Robert Sungenis) has now also offered their apology of the events that led to the posting of information from "Mr. X." Robert has given permission for that apology to be posted here:

CAI Apology: The Case of Michael Roberts

In the last week, a series of regrettable events have transpired which resulted from CAI's interaction with an individual named "Michael Roberts."

My first contact with Mr. Roberts occurred a few months ago. While I was on the Internet, Mr. Roberts sent me an Instant Message in which he claimed that he wanted to help CAI expose "fraudulent" material contained in David King's and William Webster's three volume work on Sola Scriptura. I asked Mr. Roberts what precisely King and Webster did that was so alarming. He claimed that they had seriously mishandled quotes from the Fathers, re-translating certain portions and leaving out other portions that were not favorable to their position.

Since I had had this same experience with certain Protestant apologists (many of whom I name and critique in my book Not By Scripture Alone, including William Webster), and moreover, since I had already done some critical work on King and Webster's books and found many patristic quotes that were indeed seriously compromised (my work on this issue will be soon forthcoming), I thought it plausible that Mr. Roberts was privy to some worthwhile information. I thus told him to do his research and get back to me. I discussed the IM message from Mr. Roberts with CAI staff apologist, Jacob Michael, and thus we were both waiting for Mr. Roberts to contact us again, but he never did.

Recently, while I was away debating a Protestant apologist, Mr. Michael wrote and posted an article for the purpose of rebutting a fictional dialogue created by this same Protestant apologist. In the lengthy rebuttal, Mr. Michael offhandly referred to two relatively minor claims that Mr. Roberts had previously made to me regarding his relationship and work with Mr. King (e.g., (a) that Mr. Roberts, who purported to do research for Mr. King, was converting to Catholicism; and (b) that Mr. King didn't know Latin in order to do any translating). It appears that the former was false, the latter was true. However, rather than interacting with the main points of Mr. Michael's rebuttal, this same Protestant apologist angrily focused completely on a tangential aspect of Mr. Michael's offhand comment, in particular, that Mr. King did all of his own research and never had any help with it at all. Since using research assistants is a common practice among writers, Mr. Michael was somewhat shocked and intimidated by the intensity and focus of this Protestant apologist's complaint. Consequently, he rushed to contact Mr. Roberts for further corroboration. Since Mr. Michael remembered his screen name from his initial IM correspondence with me a few months ago, he was able to contact him.

Mr. Michael completed an interview with Mr. Roberts on 4-21-03. In the interview, Mr. Roberts embellished his accusations and allegations. However, since I had already confirmed to my own satisfaction Mr. Roberts' initial information about King's and Webster's mishandling of patristic quotes, when Mr. Michael ran the interview by me, I assumed that Mr. Roberts was a credible witness. Although we still had some questions about him and his information, CAI accepted his additional claims enough to post them on the website in Mr. Michael�s interview article.

As soon as the interview was posted, we received a couple of strenuous objections from individuals other than Webster and King. To address their objections, CAI did a further investigation into the additional claims of Mr. Roberts. We made calls to various phone numbers that Mr. Roberts gave us in the interview. The numbers and addresses were in New York. We reached both numbers, but no one by the name of Michael Roberts could be located, or at the least, admitted to being Michael Roberts.

Hence, CAI cannot substantiate any of the additional claims made by Mr. Roberts, and thus I am forced to judge them as false, and am happy to do so.

In particular, in the interview of 4-21-03, Michael Roberts claimed that he paid huge sums of money to Mr. King and Mr. Webster towards publication of their three volume work on Sola Scriptura. He also claimed that he was their "research assistant," and was involved in a multi-line conversation with Webster, Andy Anderson, Richard Pierce and Colin Smith, discussing the material that was going to be published in the book. In the alleged conference call, Mr. Roberts said that William Webster asserted he was going to purposely alter quotes from the Fathers to his own advantage.

Although it is clear that Mr. Roberts has indeed interacted with these individuals in the past, Mr. Roberts has refused to supply proof of his alleged donations or proof of the alleged "conference call." As such, we must consider these claims false, and thus we owe Mr. King, Mr. Webster, Mr. Pierce, and Mr. Smith an apology, and I am forthwith making that apology to them now on behalf of all of us at CAI.

Why Mr. Roberts, or someone posing as Mr. Roberts, would make up these particular false allegations, we do not know. He seems to get some macabre satisfaction out of pitting one side against the other. Whatever his (or the person posing as Michael Roberts) motives, he has caused undue harm to both the above-named individuals and CAI. If anyone knows how to contact Michael Roberts, or where he lives, please forward that information to and we will contact the proper legal authorities to take care of the matter.

We at CAI fully acknowledge our error. In fact, as Mr. Michael has already indicated to the parties involved, he has chosen to take a hiatus from apologetics, since he feels very badly for what his comments in the original articles have spawned. As for the interview itself, unfortunately, there was a mishap in our protocol and thus it did not pass through our new personnel director before it was posted - a volunteer I had recently asked to edit articles with respect to these kinds of issues.

Finally, we want all concerned to know that we do take these things very seriously. Without sufficient corroboration, any information, especially in these kinds of sensitive areas, is as good as false. We have all learned our lesson, and we hope that Mr. King and Mr. Webster, as well as Mr. Pierce and Mr. Smith, will accept our sincere apology.

In God's Grace,

Robert Sungenis

Catholic Apologetics International


Well, that about settles it, or it would seem to. Michael Roberts, AKA "RW^", AKA "Mr. X" has been exposed - let us hope he does not attempt to perpetrate this on anyone else. How does one who claims to be a "Christian" turn around and deceive people like this?

Let's hope we're closing the book on this one.


ACTS Homepage

Sex! Now that I have your attention...

In #Scripture on Undernet, the topic of sex and homosexuality was raised, here's a synopsis:

[21:59] <Jarus> NoWar, and unfortunately for you, there are scientific studies that have confirmed same-sex activity in dogs

[21:59] <Kozubchik> Snaily face facts, the Homosexual Act is an abomination

[22:00] <BigScott> Koz - yes and it is an unnatural act.

[22:00] <Jarus> tzip, the reality is that people will deny it regardless of how many have observed it and regardless that it has been scientifically documented

[22:01] <BigScott> "nature" only works with male/female.

[22:01] <Jarus> "nature" works with male/male, male/female, female/female

[22:01] <BigScott> Jarus, that's simply not true

[22:02] <Jarus> BigScott, it is quite simply true

[22:02] <Jarus> BigScott, Catholic notions of natural law are hypocritical to the core

[22:02] <BigScott> Jarus, male/male does not reproduce, nor does female/female - hence such a relationship is contrary to nature.

[22:02] <A_C> nature doesn't work with same sex intercourse, homosexual reality in the animal kingdom would doom the species.

[22:03] <BigScott> Jarus, let's not change the subject, just because you're losing this one.

(I said that because Jarus brought up "natural law")

[22:03] <Jarus> BigScott, that is absurd to limit sexuality to simply reproduction - you cannot have your cake and eat it to by claiming that it is unnatural and then reject all the scientific observations and evidence that homosexuality is widespread amongst a variety of species

[22:03] <Jarus> BigScott, your hypocrisy is founded in your rather flexible use of "natural".

[22:03] <BigScott> Jarus, I am talking "nature" - not what you might call "pleasure"

[22:04] <Jarus> BigScott, and I am talking nature by observing that it has been documented widely in a range of species, mammalian, reptilian, insect that such homosexual relations occur from casual interaction to pair-bonding.

[22:04] <Jarus> BigScott, you can deny all of these scientific observations and evidence all you like, but don't pretend to be appealing to nature

[22:05] <BigScott> Jarus, anecdotal "happenings" are not nature.

[22:05] <BigScott> Jarus, just because you might see "some" incidents of this in nature does not make it "natural"

[22:05] <Jarus> BigScott, your denial nothwithstanding

[22:05] <Jarus> BigScott, and just because you deny that it happens does not mean it does not exist

[22:06] <BigScott> Jarus, I do not deny that "some" have been observed - but it is still contrary to the natural act.

[22:06] <Jarus> Yves, pairbonding has been observed in a wide variety of species, even lifetime pairbonding

[22:06] <BigScott> Jarus, consider the end - if any given species were to become solely homosexual - the species would end.

[22:07] <Jarus> BigScott, LOL you are reaching for absurdities now

[22:07] <BigScott> Jarus, so homosexuality is against nature.

[22:07] <BigScott> Jarus, it's not absurd, it's taking your conclusions to an end.

[22:07] <Jarus> BigScott, homosexuality is quite compatible with a species flourishing if it remains a consistently stable proportion of species

[22:08] <Jarus> BigScott, it is quite absurd since you assume that homosexuality can overtake an entire species when all the scientific evidence contradicts your false claims

[22:08] <BigScott> Jarus, "nature" intends for the sexual act to be male/female - male/male and female/female are contrary to nature, regardless of your rationalizations

[22:08] <Jarus> BigScott, again even though homosexuality has been observed in a wide range of species, it is also a consistently minority phenomenon that is maintained, along with the flourishing of species

[22:09] <Jarus> BigScott, regardless of your rationalisations, nature intends no such end

[22:09] <BigScott> Jarus, please cite your "evidence" - I've seen such "studies" too, and it is not a widespread phenomena.

[22:10] <BigScott> Jarus, and if your "scientific studies" are honest, they admit as much upfront, even if you are not doing so here.

[22:10] <Jarus> Bruce Baghemil, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity

[22:10] <Jarus> BigScott, actually scientific observations observe that homosexuality is quite compatible with the flourishing of species

[22:10] <BigScott> Jarus and if your "scientific studies" are honest, they admit as much upfront, even if you are not doing so here.

[22:11] <Jarus> BigScott, your prejudice and bigotry does not annul the facts of scientific observation

[22:11] <BigScott> oh, now the ad hominems

[22:11] <BigScott> I know I'm winning the argument when you start in with those.

[22:11] <Jarus> BigScott, it is a fact :-) Bigotry is the primary reason for people ignoring the mountain of scientific data and observation in this area

[22:12] <BigScott> Jarus, I'll tell you what, I'll have a look at your reference material, and get back to you... fair enough? I am quite sure I can find holes in it.

[22:12] <Jarus> BigScott, do that if you wish

[22:13] <BigScott> Jarus, I suggest that because you are becoming emotional and irrational in your responses - and I won't go that route.

[22:15] <Jarus> BigScott, don't play the emotional and irrational card :-) You were insane on this very topic not very long ago in #cathapol

[22:16] Jarus will BBL

[22:16] Jarus [] has quit IRC (Quit: "Great is Truth, and mighty above all things" (I Esdras 4:41))

[22:16] <JanHuss> Jarus: please be nice to big. He has treated me and other guests most rationally and fairly there. More so than I have been treated here by romanist ops and their apologists

I do not deny that such "occurances in nature" happen, but occurances does not make it "natural." The sex act is a natural act whose "primary" intention is to reproduce. One of the ways to make sexual reproduction successful is to make it enjoyable. Just because some animals have found a way to "enjoy sex" with the same sex does not make homosexual sex "natural."

One cannot deny that even in nature, such occurances are "abnormal." They are definitely not "the norm." If this were "normal" and whole populations of species were to participate in homosexuality - the species would cease to exist, hence "nature" demands heterosexual sex for the basic survival of the specie.

JanHuss redirects to a discussion of celibacy:

[22:12] <JanHuss> DID YOU KNOW that when a priest takes a vow of celibacy, this has nothing to do with curtailment of sexual activity such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and pedophilia; it simply means he cannot be married? Explanation of Catholic Morals, page 149 says it this way:

[22:12] <JanHuss> �All celibates are not chaste: celibacy is not necessarily chastity;...And one who takes the vow of Celibacy does not break it by sinning against the 6th commandment, he is true to it until he weds.�

[22:18] <BigScott> JanHuss anyway, back to your definition, I have never heard of the book you cite.

[22:19] <BigScott> anyway, here's a "common usage dictionary definition" of celibacy:

[22:19] <BigScott> Main Entry: cel�i�ba�cy

[22:19] <BigScott> Pronunciation: 'se-l&-b&-sE

[22:19] <BigScott> Function: noun

[22:19] <BigScott> Date: 1663

[22:19] <BigScott> 1 : the state of not being married

[22:19] <BigScott> 2 a : abstention from sexual intercourse b : abstention by vow from marriage

[22:21] <JanHuss> BigScott: no one doubts that is not the dictionary definition. However what is the vatikan definition is at question here. To accurately use a dictionary one would have to use one for the time when this doctrine was invented to determine the meaning of the word. But there were none. What is important then is how the vatikan defines it in its actions. Clearly they agree with what I posted

[22:29] <BigScott> JanHuss - here is a comment from the CCC on celibacy....

[22:29] <BigScott> 1599. "In the Latin Church the sacrament of Holy Orders for the presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates who are ready to embrace celibacy freely and who publicly manifest their intention of staying CELIBATE for the love of God's kingdom and the service of men. "

[22:31] <JanHuss> BigScott: right. but what do they mean by celibate? Clearly if priests who marry are automatically excommunicated, byt perverts, and degenerates ARE NOT, IT SHOWS what the vatikan understanding ot the word is

[22:32] <BigScott> JanHuss the weakness of some officials in the vatican does not change the law.

[22:32] <JanHuss> perverts are child molesters. degenerates are priests who have sex with females

[22:33] <BigScott> JanHuss and a priest who marries is not automatically excommunicated. Please cite the canon law that states so, or retract.

[22:33] <JanHuss> BigScott: sure, but not right now. I am bored with talking about pervert priests

[22:33] <BigScott> JanHuss breaking one's vow of celibacy is not an excommucatable offence... it is a sin, but not one that one is automatically forced out by.

[22:34] <BigScott> JanHuss OK, so you concede the argument. Thanks.

[22:34] JanHuss [] has left #scripture

...Priest does not break vow of chastity by-adultery (Explanation of Catholic Morals, p. 149). "All celibates are not chaste . . . one who takes the vow of celibacy does not break it by sinning against the sixth commandment; he is true to it till he weds." (anti-Catholic site)

From CATHOLICISM AGAINST ITSELF, Lambert. "Celibates are not chaste: celibacy is not necessarily chastity; by a large majority. Unless something other that selfishness suggests this choice of life, the word is apt to be a misnomer for profligacy, and one who takes the vow of celibacy does not break it by sinning against the sixth commandment. He is true to it until he weds. (EXPLANATION OF CATHOLIC MORALS, p. 149)" (Another anti-Catholic site)

Catholicism Against Itself does exist, but if you do a search for "Explanation of Catholic Morals" on, you'll not find it.

So, this ellusive book entitled "Explanation of Catholic Morals" does not seem to exist in print anymore, and the ONLY places it is cited on the Internet is in anti-Catholic web pages. This is hardly a credible source of Catholic doctrine! Most of the citations I found for this book also creditted Catholicism Against Itself as the source, so, at best we're dealing with a secondary source. This is not scholarly research, but it seems our detractors have no problem resorting to such "research."


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Sunday, May 04, 2003

Mr. X Saga (cont.)

As I understand it, "Mr. X" has "disappeared," leaving CAI with no evidence at all, just some unverified hearsay. Then, on Wednesday, April 30, 2003, Jacob Michael "formerly" of CAI publicly posted this apology and retraction:

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa


I personally spoke with both Mr. King and Mr. Webster last night over the phone to express my sincere apologies for the fiasco that took place over the last week (and more).

Both men were extremely gracious in accepting my apologies. I asked both men if there was anything I could do above and beyond the phone call (and the public retraction that is forthcoming at CAI) to make reparation. While Mr. Webster (since he is not really involved much with Internet apologetics) was content with just the phone call, Mr. King asked that I make a statement here at NTRMin, and I am happy to do so.

The evidence that we had on Mr. King and Mr. Webster was circumstantial, and as I told Mr. King on the phone last night, I wouldn't have taken it to the bank. The strongest evidence we have relates to the patristic citations in the published books, but as I related to Dr. White two days ago in a private message, the published books were precisely what I should have been focusing on, not the other personal, more "sensational" aspects.

I have also decided (and here's something Mr. King doesn't know yet) to resign my position at CAI and take a break from apologetics for a season (I cite an allegorical application of 2 Sam. 10:1-5 as my reason). I still want to interact with Mr. King on the material in his book, but this will perhaps have to wait until I return to the apologetics world, or perhaps we will simply have to interact here.

As a final request, I would appreciate it if Dr. Svendsen (or some other moderator) would change my username, since I will no longer be associated with "catholicintl."

Again, I offer my public apology to Mr. King and Mr. Webster, and I thank them for their already gracious acceptance of that apology.


My only real problem with this is that it did not go far enough. We haven't seen "Mr. X" outed absolutely. Exactly who he is should be exposed and his tactics noted. This appears to be at least the second time he's attempted something like this and it needs to end.


Saturday, May 03, 2003

The Mr. X Saga

Well, in the last week and a half a bit of a saga has been playing out between CAI (Catholic Apologetics International) and David King with William Webster. This person, only originally identified as "Mr. X" on CAI's site claimed to have some "dirt" on King and Webster regarding a book series they published on sola scriptura. What did Mr. X have to say about King and Webster?

  • He claimed he was reverting back to the Catholic Church that his family left when he was only 8 years old.
  • He claimed they had deliberately left out parts of the quotes used in the book(s) that didn't fit their agenda, or even spoke against sola scriptura. Mr. X stated King and Webster referred to these omitted sections as "bad words."
  • He claimed there was a conference call between King, Webster, Pierce and himself wherein publicity of the book was discussed.
  • He claimed he gave over $18,000 of his own money to go toward the publishing of the book.
  • He claimed he spent months working about 20 hours a week on research for King and Webster.
  • He claimed he compiled a document, which he sent to me, Steve Ray and a couple others, which contained a lot of the quotes used in the King/Webster book.
  • He told Robert Sungenis of CAI that he was now 23 years old (minor point).

Well, CAI published most of this informatioin on their website (now pulled), but did not yet have any of it verified. This is when I became interested and involved. I contacted Robert through IM and told him of my concerns, this was on Thursday, April 24, 2003. I told him that this Mr. X did indeed send me a file, 2 years earlier, and at that time claimed he was reverting back to the Catholic Faith. I was not alone in this conversation. It was initiated on IRC, where Mr. X first contacted us through the #CathApol chatroom. He was speaking to me and #CathApol co-founder who went by the "nicks" of Irish3 and Wolfsong at the time. Irish3 and I were a bit excited, at first, because this Mr. X had been an "op" (channel operator) for James White's IRC channel at the time. We kept asking him when he'd go public with his conversion, and he kept saying that he wanted James to make the announcement - that's about when the "red flags" started waving. Why in the world would James White make such an announcement? After a while, Mr. X began to state doubts about actually converting - stating his 17 year old girlfriend was having difficulty with his decision to convert. Mr. X at the time we were talking claimed to be 18 years old - keeping in mind, this was only 2 years ago.

    Points that concerned me:
  • Now, this minor point that I mentioned earlier becomes a bit heavier weighted - 2 years ago he was 18, and now he claims to be 23. Irish3 and I informed both Robert Sungenis and Jacob Michaels of the discrepency - where did the extra 3 year come from? So, we established that this Mr. X is a liar. He either lied to me 2 years ago, or he's lying to CAI now - or perhaps he lied both times? Whichever, he was lying.
  • During one of our discussions with Mr. X, two years ago, he stated that he had gone back to the Catholic Mass for the first time in 11 years. I didn't add it up till just recently, but if he was 8 when his family left the Church - and it had been 11 years since the last time he went to Mass, that would have made him 19 years old when we were talking, not 18, as he claimed.
  • Had CAI seen the copies of the checks that Mr. X allegedly had written? No. Mr. X claimed he would send them copies, but never did.
  • The document that Mr. X had sent me, I converted to HTML and showed it to James White, who showed it to David King - King claimed that was HIS work! White and King both claimed there was a person who went by the nickname of "RW^" - who was an "op" in their channel and was constantly asking for quotes from them. Somehow, somewhere along the line, King had sent "RW^" this file.
  • On CAI's website that contained the "preview" of the "full interview" Mr. X stated that my debates with James White were part of the reason that he was reverting. Funny thing, if I was so instrumental in his conversion - why had he not even contacted me since 2001? It was no biggie to me that he was going to CAI to share his story, but to not even get back in touch with me at all - that was a bit troubling.
  • The "story" he was telling CAI was like deja vu of what he had told us 2 years earlier (but two years earlier he had not informed us of the "bad words" parts of the document.

Irish3 and I shared our thoughts and concerns with both Robert and Jacob on Sunday night, 4/27/2003, the same night that they were to publish the "full interview" with Mr. X. Well, instead of this interview - they posted a "Hold on - we're checking some details" message. That, coupled with the fact that Mr. X had not shown up and was not reachable started them thinking.

Well, enough for now - I'll post more in a bit.