Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
The Best of The Question Box
by Father I.J. Mikulski
(From the July 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
Q. I was given an interesting book on the Prophecies of St. Malachy that seem to be coming true. You may have heard about a group of evangelicals studying the Bible for clues about the coming end-times. It seems to me they have some truth to it. Is there a Catholic response?
A. Malachy’s book of so-called prophecies is a classic forgery on a par with The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk (scandals in a Catholic nunnery) and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (inside info on Jewish domination in world events). All three books were “purpose driven” (pardon the expression) like The Da Vinci Code.
There was a St. Malachy, bishop of Armagh, Ireland, (d. 1148) but he is not the author of the book. About the year 1590 some crafty rascal wrote so-called prophecies about the first 75 popes, basing his predictions on historical records of those long dead popes to give a semblance of accuracy. However, the next 37 biographies of popes after 1591 are as vague as astrology charts, the kind of readings you and I could make by taking the names out of a hat.
Cryptic writing was popular at that time. Nostradamus, with his cleverly rhymed verses, fits the spirit of the age.
The bashful author back-dated his prophecies to the 12th century and forged Malachy’s name. Does that surprise you? Think of the entertainment those little puzzles provided long before we had TV programs.
Q. I have been invited as a guest at a wedding at Kingdom Hall for a friend who is a Jehovah’s Witness. I want to be there. Is there some reason I should not attend?
A. Do not disappoint your friend. And bring a nice gift, too.
There are many doctrinal differences between us, but don’t let that become an issue. Weddings are happy events, so go and celebrate.
We and the Jehovah’s Witnesses disagree on basic articles of faith. The Trinity, the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Eucharist, the sacraments, the origin and interpretation of the Bible, the papacy, and a long list of other beliefs.
Weddings are happy events, so bring some joy.
Q. I have asked myself this question many times: How can you tell that the Bible is the inspired word of God? Or, another way, how does the Church know? I’m looking for a logical explanation.
A. The nub of your question is “inspiration.” What is it? Who has, or had, it? How did he get it? Can we trust it?
There was a time, a few centuries before Christ, when scholars of the sacred writings agreed that inspiration was a kind of direct dictation by which God communicated the right words into the mind of the authors who simply wrote what they were told.
The topic rested until 1870 when Vatican I brought it up with some vigorous discussions. In 1893 Pope Leo XIII entered the debate with an encyclical stating that “God so moved the inspired writers by his supernatural operation that He incited them to write and assisted them in their writing so that they correctly conceived, accurately wrote down and truthfully expressed all that He intended; and only thus can God be the author of the Bible.” Most scholars agree with that coverage.
How are musicians inspired? Mozart wrote a million notes as fast as he could write his symphonies, operas, quintets, quartets, trios and piano solos, with melodies overflowing his mind. He was inspired.
Authors from Genesis to Revelation were similarly inspired to write the words that came to mind. God was active as the principal cause in all the essential compositions of each book. How was that done? Ask Mozart.
If you have a few minutes, find Isaiah, Chapter 53. Read it slowly. Ask yourself how the author could have known this suffering servant so intimately. We read it on Good Friday. That’s inspired writing.
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