A Fundamentalist Quotes the New York Catechism

Assuming this quote is true, then I understand why one of our beloved separated brethren is concerned. This language seems to suggest that the Pope himself is actually God.

Clearly this is not my understanding of what the Church has ever taught. If that were the case I would not be Catholic, and neither would almost everyone here.

Why does the NY Catechism use this language? And in what sense, if any, can the Church faithful embrace it? Indeed, I find this very peculiar myself.

As a former Evangelical who believed in Sola Scriptura, I know that this would have freaked me out based on my understanding of the Bible. Therefore, I understand this concern.

That said, I know that sometimes our Church uses questionable language that can be easily misunderstood or incorrectly interpreted, especially by those who are looking for fault or have misguided presumptions.

Thanks for the insights!

In Christ

Allegations like this would have merit…

if the alleged Catechism actually existed.

(1) forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=141468 - this has more information. It’s a really popular quote, but there doesn’t ever seem to be an original… I’ve never even heard anything else from this alleged Catechism.

(2) There is a LOT of Protestant misinformation floating around on the Web. It’s one thing when it’s just misunderstood doctrine (like believing that the Pope is a perfect human to Catholics, and that we accept everything he says as Gospel truth), but it’s quite another when it’s quotes taken from whole cloth. That said, there ARE some pretty extreme-sounding quotes out there that *are *real (Ligouri’s stuff on Mary was surprisingly bold, in my opinion). In almost every case, a bit of context will you do you good. For example, Psalms 82:6 says

Psalms 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

Without context, that sounds at least as crazy as the fabricated catechism. (It seems to have been a reference to the role of judge - because we’re doing one of the Divine roles, and a prophetic verse… see John 10:34).

(3) Sometimes, even with context, the writer is just wrong. Often, when a doctrine gets attacked, you see people heading towards both extremes. Even on CAF, I’ve noticed some people who come awful close to denigrating the Bible to try and show the validity of Holy Tradition: a sort of knee-jerk reaction. (I think your other post about praying before posting would help some of this). Or the Society of St. Pius X, whose rejection of the abuses occurring in the wake of Vatican II, and ending up in schism. Or Calvin trying to reject what he viewed as Semi-Pelagianism. You get the idea.

The quotes are from the Boettner Anti-Catholic Book, Roman Catholicism.

Isn’t it interesting that a Google Search for New York Catechism only gives more citations from Boettner, a few links back to CAF and some questions as to whether the New York Catechism ever existed? :confused:

Boettner was notorious. Either a liar, or just an awful researcher and theologian. Whether by design or negligence, he managed to misrepresent virtually every facet of our Faith. If you get a chance, amazon.com/Roman-Catholicism-Loraine-Boettner/dp/0875520928 - read Stephen J. Garver’s review. He’s a Reformed philosophy professor at a Catholic school, and takes Boettner’s book to task for its bad analytical methods. Very well-reasoned response.

I wanted to also suggest, while we were on the subject, Gother’s *A Papist Misrepresented and Represented or a Twofold Character of Popery *, from the late 17th Century. It’s a pretty easy read for being so old, and you read it for free here: archive.org/details/apapistmisrepres00gothuoft. It’s incredible to me that even though he thoroughly debunks all of these Protestant accusations, even laying out a 20-point pledge which every Catholic could safely take, the false accusations sound eerily similar to what we’re still hearing today. He also talks a lot in the first chapter about how the early Church faced a lot of the same mischaracterisation. I think that Protestants (his intended audience) particularly should read this, if only to raise the level of discourse.

Nevertheless, although I can’t speak for any such New York Catechism, there is indeed a Papal quote that says something pretty bold as well:

“We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” – Leo XIII Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae

I would reiterate that reading it in context is essential, but really, there is no problem, since the statement is absolutely true, and utterly Biblical. Again, it follows the model of the Davidic kingdom, where the prime minister, the holder of the Davidic keys, held the place of the king, opening and shutting (binding and loosing) where he wills, fully under the King’s authority.

Using a more modern analogy, the U.S. Ambassador based in a foreign country holds the place of the President, the U.S. Head of State. Is he claiming to be the President? No. But if the host country’s head of state has an issue with the U.S. President, say, due to comments he made, who is summoned first? In most cases, it is the U.S. Ambassador. The Ambassador holds the place of the U.S. President in the host nation.

There is so much mis-information floating around on the internet, I am not even going to address this so called New York Catechism.
I would just ask non Catholic viewers that are reading this thread to take our last Pope (John Paul II) and our current Pope’s(Benedict XVI) humility and ecumenical spirit in working and praying with other Christians and Jews for peace in the world as an example of a Catholic Pope. I would also invite any one reading this, to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church at your local bookstore and see what the Catholic Church says, it is in print for everyone to see.

Could the “NY Catechism” not be a real Catechism, quoted under the name od its place of origin ?

What this boils down to is whether or not there is a catechism containing that quotation, & having some connection to New York. And to answer that question, an extensive knowledge of the Catholic catechisms in use in the USA between 1895 & 1962 would seem to be required. Alternatively, the quotation may be from a genuine Catholic catechism or other work of religious instruction, whether connected with NY or not.

Any takers ?

I actually addressed this one in my blog once. Within its proper context, the quote is not too wrong:

…A great deal, however, has been wanting to the entire fulness of that consolation. Amidst these very manifestations of public joy and reverence Our thoughts went out towards the immense multitude of those who are strangers to the gladness that filled all Catholic hearts: some because they lie in absolute ignorance of the Gospel; others because they dissent from the Catholic belief, though they bear the same name of Christians. This thought has been, and is, a source of deep concern to Us; for it is impossible to think of such a large portion of mankind deviating, as it were, from the right path, as they move away from Us, and not experience a sentiment of innermost grief. But since We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty, who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and now that Our advanced age and the bitterness of anxious cares urge Us on towards the end common to every mortal, We feel drawn to follow the example of Our Redeemer and Master, Jesus Christ, who when about to return to Heaven, implored of God, His Father, in earnest prayer, that His disciples and followers should be of one mind and of one heart: “I pray…that they all may be one, as thou Father in Me, and I in Thee: that they also may be one in Us.” And as this divine prayer and supplication does not include only the souls who then believed in Jesus Christ, but also every one of those who were henceforth to believe in Him, this prayer holds out to Us no indifferent reason for confidently expressing Our hopes, and for making all possible endeavors in order that the men of every race and clime should be called and moved to embrace the unity of divine faith.

Pressed on to Our intent by charity, that hastens fastest there where the need is greatest, We direct Our first thoughts to those most unfortunate of all nations who have never received the light of the Gospel, or who, after having possessed it, have lost it through neglect or the vicissitudes of time: hence do they ignore God, and live in the depths of error. Now, as all salvation comes from Jesus Christ–for there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved–Our ardent desire is that the most holy name of Jesus should rapidly pervade and fill every land.

Yeah, that’s not too bad, actually. Not radically different than Luke 10:16.

Ah, dear old Boettner. :frighten:

Our own Karl Keating does a nice job on him in his great book, Catholicism and Fundamentalism.

“… the refutation of a one-sentence charge may take a page, and his tome would would require a small library as an adequate reply…
The main problem with Boettner’s magnum opus is that it suffers from a real lack of intellectual rigor.” (p. 29)

CA has an article here.

Personally, I feel that if Boettner says a New York Catechism exists, then probably some earlier anti-Catholic wrote one. (He cites several such sources, and apparently never investigated them at all, just took them for the truth.)

Hmm, maybe several (or many) candidates for a Master’s in Apologetics could each write a volume refuting a few pages of Boettner’s book! :hammering:

God bless us all,


I enjoyed reading your thoughts and found them helpful. Thank you. :slight_smile:

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