At the beginning of the midday Holy Mass at the Catholic Monastery, St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, California, the celebrant welcomed a large youth group in attendance. When he said the name of the well-known charismatic, Protestant-Christian church from Orange County, California, I had to make a conscious effort to not let my jaw drop.
I should not be as surprised as I was, but I was. I was surprised. I have heard that God works in threes. And, in the week before this Mass moment, I had already had two other interactions with Christians that had brought the subject of Ecumenism to my mind.
It turns out the youth group was there on retreat and the pastor of the charismatic church has been studying spiritual disciplines, in particular Celtic Spirituality. He brought the group to the monastery to expose them to Catholic Christianity.
To narrow down a definition of Ecumenism, Wikipedia is helpful…
“The word is derived from Greek οἰκουμένη (oikoumene), which means “the whole inhabited world”… The ecumenical vision comprises both the search for the visible unity of the Church (Ephesians 4.3) and the “whole inhabited earth” (Matthew 24.14) as the concern of all Christians.”
What are the common concerns of all Christians? This is a question for ecumenically-minded dialogue. I have not delved into that discussion, yet, but I think maybe God is gearing me up for it.
Years before I made the journey towards Catholic Christianity, I was told by a Fundamentalist Protestant about ecumenism. I was told that it is the “movement” with a secret agenda by which the Catholic hierarchy plans to make all people members of the Catholic Church. Actually, that is quite incorrect. “Inter-faith dialogue” is the term used to bring people of different faiths under one roof for the purpose of finding common ground in altruistic or human concerns.
There are some Christians who view ecumenism as an evil conspiracy to water down absolute truth, so that the gullible will cooperate with an anticipated assimilation of all faiths into one world religion, led by the Antichrist and the Catholic Church.
This is what they say,
“Ecumenism has come to mean “reducing all elements of faith to the lowest common denominator. God’s Word is neglected, experience is valued above truth, a false and selfish “faith” is promoted, and sound doctrine and correction are despised as “divisive” and “unloving.” (Jeremiah Project)
It is unfortunate that some Fundamentalists seek to put ALL Christians who are not in absolute agreement with their doctrinal interpretations in league with the Antichrist, of whom it is said will work to meld all faiths into one false religion. There is an anti-unity mentality that came as a bi-product and extension of Dispensational theology, an interpretation of Biblical passages that originated in the 1800’s with John Nelson Darby. Some early American proponents of Dispensational doctrine identified the Catholic Church to be the secondary antagonist along with the Anti-Christ in futurist interpretations of apocalyptic scripture. Often in their telling of future worldwide events that bring about the prophetic fulfillment of Christ’s return and millennial kingdom of Christianity on Earth, the Catholic Pope is the usual suspect for Anti-Christ fulfillment Many proponents of Dispensationism continue to teach this belief from the pulpit today, or have incorporated it in their eschatological doctrines, even though Catholic teaching is in agreement with most of the content of Dispensational interpretation (Catholic Answers). As a result, the topic of ecumenism, which actually began in the Protestant-Christian mission-field, is relegated to a truth-polluting strategy of the forces of the Anti-Christ. Zealous conspiracy theorists add their theories about the Masons and the Illuminati infiltrating and controlling the Catholic hierarchy and there you have it, titlizing subjects and story lines for next best-selling fiction book from authors like Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code)… and, the lore continues.
It would be neglectful not to address that there is a true desire for Christian unity expressed by the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) did make as part of their dialogue a stated hope for the unity of the Church with all of Christendom. There is desire to re-establish communion with the closely related Eastern Orthodox churches, and to work for unity of different forms across Christian denominational lines. The Catholic Church states,
“Vatican II described communion in terms of three basic elements: “the confession of the faith, the common celebration of divine worship and the fraternal harmony of the family of God.’ There exists already a real, though imperfect communion between the Catholic Church and the other Christian communities in varying degrees, according to specific doctrine, liturgy and communal life of each of these communities.” Pope John Paul II called the current level of spiritual unity that we share with other Christian denominations “a communion of grace.” (1)
However, there are those who think that attempts at unity are sins of theological compromise. Also from Jeremiah Project, “The Catholic-Evangelical Accord is an example of such compromise. In this accord, Evangelicals compromised essential doctrines such as justification by faith alone and the sufficiency of Scripture in order to unite with the Roman Catholics on issues such as abortion and school prayer.”(2)
This is a fallacy of “either-or”. Either you refuse to agree on anything, or you are compromising your doctrinal belief? That’s not the point, it is not a compromise of one’s doctrinal beliefs. Its an attempt to discuss points of unity so that we find what we can work together on and for. Would uniting against political and social threats to our common beliefs and religious freedoms really be a compromise? If you have any doubts, please read the accord and its clarifications for yourself and hopefully you will realize that by agreeing to work with Catholics, Evangelicals have not polluted themselves. How can Catholics force them to not believe in Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura (Faith Alone /Bible Alone). Exactly how has that belief been compromised? It really doesn’t make sense.(3)
Evangelicals and Catholics Together: the Christian Mission in the Third Millennium questions our visible lack of unity stating, “The two communities in world Christianity that are most evangelistically assertive and most rapidly growing are Evangelicals and Catholics. In many parts of the world, the relationship between these communities is marked more by conflict than by cooperation, more by animosity than by love, more by suspicion than by trust, more by propaganda and ignorance than by respect for the truth.”
Fundamentalists are grouping all ecumenical thought with the new age or sometimes emergent church approach of melding religious practices from all religions together. There are so-called ecumenists out there who will try to mix elements of other religions with Christianity, under the banner of ecumenism. This is not true Christian ecumenism. When this is going on, we should be a bit wary. I don’t doubt that the spirit of the Antichrist will work any angle to dilute people’s faith in Jesus the Messiah, the true son of God, and we need to be on our guard. But, where you see Christians stoking hatred for other true Christians, you can see the fruits are not in line with the true message of Christianity which is reconciliation. Where love is absent, the fruits of God’s Spirit are absent also. What Jesus said about unity in the church DOES matter! What the Word of God actually says about discerning the spirit of the Anti-Christ is still the valid tool for discernment. John says that the test for the spirit of the Antichrist is the following…
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already” (1John 4:2,3)
He goes on to immediately state the importance of unity and love…
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:7-12, ESV)
I assure you that if the signs of the Anti-Christ are pointing to a prominent Catholic of any position, I am not going to follow him and neither will the majority of practicing Catholics, even if we have to oppose an anti-pope in order to stand against seriously heretical teachings. By the way, if a pope were to publicly teach heresy, by this act he becomes an anti-pope, and we are not obligated to follow him. We are not drones of little intelligence or theological understanding.
German-Catholic Bishop, Cardinal Walter Kasper, a leader in ecumenical thought, was interviewed by U.S. Catholic in 2002 on the goals of Christian Ecumenism. He said, “The goal is not a uniform church– this is not what the other churches want either-but the unity of the one church in reconciled diversity.” He speaks about ecumenism occurring at the grassroots level. “Ecumenism must become a reality in people’s lives’, said Cardinal Kasper. ‘I am convinced that praying together is a very important component of ecumenical dialogue. I often say, “Ecumenical dialogue happens in two places: in the chapel praying and at the table talking and eating.”
In this article, Cardinal Kasper mentions the fundamentalist groups who go so far as to accuse the Pope of being the Anti-Christ. Read more of his thoughts at http://www.uscatholic.org – “That all may be One.”
What ecumenism seeks is to increase unity among Christians of differing denominational affiliations. Like any idea scrutinized from an opposing camp, we can look at the intentions of it with slanted suspicion, or we can try for honest and respectful communication with hope for positive outcomes. Many common Christian concerns in our world might be addressed more effectively with unity and cooperation in a respectful diversity. What concerns come to mind? How about the protection of the sanctity of life and the unborn; the defense of traditional marriage, the protection of religious freedoms; and the defense of parental rights?…to name just a few.
If you take a look at the Jeremiah Project website’s article, you will see a good example of this divisive and truthfully ignorant mentality. I can say that its typical because I speak from experience, I know many Protestant Christians who support these anti-Catholic views. I have friends who attend Christian churches that have their entire focus on preaching against the beliefs of other Christians, defining themselves by what they are NOT, and their definition of “truth” by judging other Christian preachers, teachers and denominations.
And yet, despite those leaders’ efforts, they cannot stop the deep desire for unity that springs up in the hearts of the followers of Jesus Christ. Its a desire rooted in God’s love and Spirit; in the light of our most important truths, and Our Lord’s desire for His Body to be one.
As I sat in Mass celebrated with the Benedictine Monks, just before the consecration of the Eucharist a breeze pushed by lawn sprinklers through the sliding-door entrance behind us brought the fresh fragrance of desert rosemary. The smell of rosemary startled my senses and turned my thoughts momentarily to my new Anglican friend and fellow retreatant who like the other Non-Catholic Christians with us would not be sharing in this communion feast. She and I had just talked before Mass about the notion of an imaginary “fence around the table”. I had thought out loud, “Well, maybe that subject has to be re-thought someday.” Yet, there in Mass I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me through the breeze to reaffirm my doctrinal belief, “This IS my Body and my Blood,” I heard spoken to the ears of my heart. Catholics take the words Jesus spoke, in this case, literally.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” –Jesus, Matthew 26-26-28 (KJV)
I want to take a moment to explain why we do not encourage unconfirmed Catholics to take communion in our church. There is a protective kind of love around the reception of Communion in the Catholic Church. This imaginary fence is there for a couple of reasons 1) it is to protect anyone who might risk drinking the cup unworthily, meaning they are in an unrepentant state of serious sin. First Corinthians 11:27-32 states that drinking the cup unworthily will bring down condemnation on a person. 2) A communicant cannot receive and say “Amen” (which means I believe) without faith in the real presence of Jesus in the communion elements. So having a “fence around the table” is for the protection of the belief in the real presence of Jesus in the bread and wine, and also for the protection of those who gather around the Eucharistic Table. Reverence for the Blessed Sacrament hit me on those fragrant wafts of desert rosemary, and it felt like God was quietly saying to me, “Put down your picket signs, Jen. That is not what I have in mind.” I went back to the retreat open to a more refined understanding of the greater goals of ecumenism. So, there was a lesson within a lesson. This other lesson was about the sacredness of individual revelation.
There is a time and a place for everything with God. Ecumenism gives us an opportunity to respect our differences as well.
A few days before leaving for the retreat I had a seemingly random encounter with a young woman in the park. I will call her “Mel.” She was doing an outreach for her Evangelical church’s Vacation Bible School at the playground. She asked me if I have a church home, I replied, “Yes, I do. We belong to St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Community.” I knew I would have made my pastor proud for announcing the full and correct name of our parish, which often is nicknamed “St. Luke’s.” I like using the full name sometimes because it reminds me that we Catholics are also called to be evangelists, like St. Luke. I told Mel that I do send my kids to Evangelical-Christian programs like VBS, because I want them to interact with other Christians (meaning non-Catholic). This began a conversation about her interest in ecumenism which she caught from her Fuller Seminary professor. .
ANY Christian who is open to dialogue on the pros of ecumenism is very interesting to me. NO, more than that — healing to me. After doing a research paper on Mariology in her studies at the Protestant-Christian seminary, Mel also developed an interest in ecumenical dialogue and its purpose “for healing” in Christendom, she told me.
I told Mel about my recent obstacle to these ideals in a women’s summer Bible study. You can’t be a Catholic Christian participating in a Protestant-Christian Bible Study without feeling a bit like a fish-out-of-water. Even being a former Evangelical Protestant, I feel this way some of the time, but I ignore that feeling for the greater good. There is plenty of good to be had. I have found great comfort and opportunity for growth studying God’s Word with non-Catholic, sister-Christians. While watching the first video session of a Beth Moore study on the Book of James, Beth addressed the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. For Catholic Christians this belief is actually a “dogma” of our faith. She called it a “doctrine”, which was okay I think for the purpose at hand; she said, “Even if you can just accept that James was a very close relative of Jesus, that is good enough.” Beth goes on to explain her perspective in future discussions would take the view that James was actually Jesus’ sibling through Mary. I don’t know why Beth had to take that position, really. I think she could have left it at “a very close relative”.
None of this approach was a terrible problem for me though, I predicted that it would come up. I thought, when given the opportunity in my discussion group maybe I might provide some background information on our belief that would disarm the awkwardness. In the past I had worked through some misunderstandings about differing doctrinal beliefs by sharing in small amounts when it came up in Bible study, without getting too flustered. My regular study group within this non-denominational church provided a nurturing atmosphere of mutual respect.
What gave me pause was that when Beth said the words. “The—-perpetual —- virginity —– of —- Mary”. One-third of the women there, laughed out loud. It wasn’t just nervous laughter; it was the kind like “Isn’t that ridiculous?” laughter that you share with a turn of your head to your friend next to you. This reaction was troublesome to me. (4)
Later I thought, it isn’t a problem for me if you want to agree to disagree with me, but it is a problem when you treat my belief as laughable. This was a moment for experiential learning.
After all, I was coming to their church. Shouldn’t they be free to laugh at Catholic beliefs, if they want to, in their church? I think the lesson in this example is that, even if you are not looking for it, ecumenism happens.
Hmmmm, I wondered if I should go back. At my retreat at the Abbey, I asked an Evangelical-Christian woman who is a Benedictine Oblate for her opinion. By her “profession” as a lay Benedictine, she has promised to study and practice Benedictine spirituality. So what this means is that she is a Lay Protestant-Christian who belongs to the Benedictine (Catholic) monastic community and for the rest of her life she will fellowship and study with Catholic Christians. She said that she experiences the fish-out-of-water looks sometimes in her Benedictine studies. “Oh, she’s a Protest-ant,” people chide.The Oblate said I should use it as a teachable moment.
What can we teach others about ecumenist ideals, if they themselves feel no calling to it? We have to be given that opportunity. That opportunity is a real gift. The path of the Ecumenist is the path of an explorer. There is the kind that happens at the levels of high church councils and the writing of inter-denominational accords, and then there is real life, grassroots ecumenism.
I recently went to a women’s weekend retreat with a Calvary Chapel church in Southern California. I was only visiting for the afternoon and evening by the invitation of a close friend. The women from my local Calvary Chapel had been there all weekend. I went to their evening presentation and worship service. I was surprised at how much I felt like an outsider looking in, even though I used to attend Calvary Chapel services and crusades all the time when I was in my twenties. It was not a bad feeling necessarily; it gave me a fresh perspective.
I came in during some worship and praise time and I noticed this tall, middle-aged woman singing and praising the Lord with all her heart. Her hands were lifted high in expressive worship and her face radiated beauty and love, even with her eyes shut. I watched her loving expression of adoration and found that just observing her and appreciating her was edifying for me and rejuvenating my love for Jesus. A little later, she got up to speak. The retreat leader came over to her and whispered something in her ear, asking her to make a change in her talk. She answered, “you sure?” to the other woman, and at her nodded yes said, “Okay.”
This beautiful woman proceeded to tell her personal testimony. Her speech was a little slurred because she had recently suffered cancer of the mouth and had parts of her jaw and tongue removed, but she was still beautiful. She told the story of her spiritual journey with Jesus that began as a Catholic. It started out respectful, because she did say her Catholic school upbringing was what had led her to want to study the Bible and know Jesus better. As she shared about her move away from Catholic beliefs, she would make a deprecating statement and then say “but I won’t get into that now”. Even though I saw some effort to not expound on her judgment of Catholic’s beliefs, the inaccuracy of her interpretation of Catholic doctrine made me sad. One of the things I remember she said is a comment I hear a lot, something to the effect of “you can’t work your way to heaven.” Since this is a common misrepresentation of what we believe, I get even more annoyed that I hear it all the time. What could have been a refreshing experience turned into a frustrating one. It did not bear fruit for me, it served to divide me from the rest of the group, not draw me closer to an encounter with Jesus. The experience stopped being Life-Giving for me when I heard the “We’re right and they’re wrong” talk.
Later that night, I did speak to her one-on-one and I shared that some of the things she said about what Catholics believe were incorrectly presented. I said that I respect her experience and her right to her own opinion, but would she please at least present my beliefs accurately (?) She was resistant to me at first, holding on to her version of what Catholics believe, she told me she was turned off to Catholics by the pride she saw in some religious people when they would say the “only way to salvation is through the sacraments of the Catholic Church”. I understand being turned off. I’ve heard Catholics I know who enjoy the “We’re right – they’re wrong” use of apologetics say disparaging thing about Protestants. I told her that is an unfortunate over-simplification of the different kinds of grace we receive through the sacraments and it sounds arrogant if taken on her definition of terms. If that was how it had been explained to me, then I would not have become Catholic. I introduced her to a better resource for her understanding – the Catechism of the Catholic Church, composed under the leadership of Pope John Paul II between 1986 and 1992, it is our complete statement of faith. This compilation expresses the official Catholic teaching in the most accurate language with complete presentation of concepts.
I reassured her that I have known too many genuine and devout Christians serving Jesus in profound ways who are not part of Catholic Christianity to support that narrow-mindedness, and there is a more complete explanation of our belief in the saving power of the sacraments available for her. It starts with understanding the difference between her definition of “salvation” and ours. Our understanding is not that different, but requires a careful juxtaposition of theological terms like “conversion”, “sanctification”, “salvation” and the different kinds of graces such as “salvific” (saving) grace and “actual” graces. Since clarifying our differing definitions of such important terms such as grace and salvation would require some dedicated study, its rarely pursued. But, she agreed to try to perfect her understanding, because she does not want to knowingly teach ANY falsehoods. I consider that kind of apologetic conversation healing and fruitful, even though it took a lot of courage and the road was bumpy. I love that she was open, and I won’t soon forget her moving devotion to God.
What I want to address is this – that Satan’s prime directive is to kill, steal and destroy the love, the lives and good works of the followers of Christ. The most common strategy of the forces of darkness is to divide and conquer. Divide and conquer marriages, families, edifying friendships, churches, communities, countries, and especially Christian unity.
Ecumenism should seek to undo the damage done by Satan to unity in the Body of Christ.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” – Jesus, John 17:20-21 (NIV)
Saint Paul wrote to the Philippians,
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” – Phil 2
See also Romans 16:17-18 in which Paul warns about people who like to focus on and encourage division in the body of Christ.
Whichever side you take of the Protestant Reformation, divisions in Christianity began due to sin entering in. Jesus wished for unity in the carrying of His Gospel to the world.
Did we pause to hear the “why” in those statements about unity. What did Jesus say again?? I think we need to hear it again, please…
“I (Jesus) pray also for those who will believe in me through their (Apostles’) message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
So that the WORLD will believe!!
I believe that we can allow for unity and our doctrinal differences once we begin to discover the rich returns of bringing together the parts of the Body of Christ. This journey is inspiring, but until a person has traveled it, it is a bit mystifying. Until a person’s eyes have been opened to the spiritual victory it offers, it is almost impossible to convince them of its worthwhile pursuit. This is a path offered by God’s Spirit only to willing individuals.
I know the subject of unity is bound to be controversial, and some will say it is “for dreamers.” I continue to seek out relationships with Non-Catholic Christians because I like their company, I benefit from growing and learning with them. We share in common many things. I benefit from experiencing our differing strengths brought together. I think of it as “Body-Building.”
For my contribution to grassroots ecumenism, I would like to offer some guidelines of respect for inter-denominational fellowship, study and discussion. This is just a beginning, but as I continue working towards breaking down barriers, this is what I want for myself, and what I can try to offer others. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Guideline One – Strive to make the experience Life-Giving for every participant.
In every Christian ministry, I would hope that we can make the experience Life-Giving for its participants. We are there to grow. Growing takes life-giving nutrients. We can either give life to others by journeying to a greater encounter of Jesus Christ and God’s Word with a spirit of togetherness, or we can continue the division by the attitudes we convey. Let’s choose the higher road. When differences are mentioned in the presence of someone from another Christian denomination, try to be respectful.
Guideline Two – Give equal and respectful opportunity to clarify beliefs when they present an obstacle to your goals. Seek to disarm misinterpretations and increase accurate understanding.
Apologetic discussion should be used only to better understand why a person believes the way they do, on a certain doctrinal difference – NOT to argue. We can be enlightened by another’s understanding, even if we do not agree. Enlightenment can come in the form of clarity, new information and increased respect for the other person’s beliefs that before the explanation, we might have thought of as ridiculous. Increasing respect is always good, decreasing misunderstanding is always good. When we hear the actual explanation, the superstitious suspicion is removed. We become more open to Christian fellowship, prayer and shared purpose.
On the other end, seek to increase everyone’s awareness about what beliefs we DO share in common. Affirm our common beliefs and work to decrease barriers to unity, when possible.
Guideline Three – Aim to increase unity with the practice of charity.
Focus on the greater goals, such as growing in grace, knowledge, faith, hope and love. Remember that God is Love and Jesus’ purpose for dying for us is reconciliation with that perfect love. We must not forget the big picture. We must always demonstrate love. “They will know we are Christians by our love.” Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13 gives us the priority.
“Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known. As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love.”
– I Corinthians 13:12-13
“Though I command languages both human and angelic — if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains — if I am without love, I am nothing.”
– I Corinthians 13:1-3 (ASV)
That’s it for now, three guidelines for three Novice-Ecumenist experiences, good and bad. I hope that God is telling me something in this triplet of experiences. Because this I know, we have a lot of really good stuff that we can learn from each other and experience with each other. We might have some of God’s work to do together. We have salvation history to carry on, and we – all of us – are the Body of Christ. What good does it do to shoot yourself in the foot?
About ecumenism, Pope John Paul II said, “There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without a change of heart. For it is from renewal of the inner life of our minds, from self-denial and an unstinted love that desires of unity take their rise and develop in a mature way.” (Ut Unum Sint, May 25,1995.)
Romans 15: 5-6: “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with ONE voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Cor 1:10: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be NO divisions among you, but that you be UNITED in the same mind and the same judgment.”
John 17:21: “That they may all be ONE, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Ephesians 4:4 “There is ONE body and ONE Spirit—just as you were called to the ONE hope that belongs to your call.”
1 Cor 12:12: “For just as the body is ONE and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are ONE body, so it is with Christ.” (Emphasis added)
© Copyright 2013 by Jennifer Wing Atencio, all rights reserved.
1. The Reception of Vatican II’s Teaching on Ecumenism into the Life of the CatholicChurch, William Henn
2.Link to the Vatican Document
3. The Jeremiah Project Website
4. For further reading, here is a link to some important commentaries and clarifications on the accord, Catholics and Evangelicals Together.
5. For a good, non-argumentative explanation of why Catholic Christians have scriptural and scholarly support for belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary, go to Catholic Answers “The Brethren of the Lord”.