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Letters to a Roman Catholic : Part 1 - The First Letter
Mr. John Martignoni had published the conversation he was having with Pastor Edward Walker in his newsletter and after reading some of the discussion Mr. Ernest Martinez contacted Mr. John Martignoni. They sent e-mail messages back and forth. They were mainly cordial, sometimes challenging, and always respectful. Mr. Ernest Martinez asked Mr. John Martignoni and Mr. Edward Walker if he could publish their conversation on Access Christian, and the letters between Mr. John Martignoni and Mr. Edward Walker.

When Mr. A. Martinez, a committed Roman Catholic, first contacted Roman Catholic Apologist, John Martignoni, I had already been in a conversation with Mr. Martinez for several years. Pastor Walker, after reading several of the letters, contacted Mr. Martinez and began a dialogue with Mr. A. Martinez. Mr. A. Martinez asked John Martignoni for assistance to address some the topics they were discussing and John Martignoni agreed to dialogue with Pastor Walker. The main conversation between John Martignoni and Edward Walker is on the main page of Theword. I got into the fray with John Martignoni after reading John's newsletter.

My Request

John and Edward,

I am going to do some changes on my website,, to include access to the debate between the both of you, with your permission of course. If you agree, I will post the debate in a format that includes all your argument, while maintaining correct context, so that readers can follow the discussion. I will also put my questions for John and his responses in a section on Access Christian. This may not happen for a few weeks, since I am doing 12 hour night shifts at the Gunnery Range. John, you may not be aware, but I am in the Army on Active Duty, so I sometimes have to train soldiers. MTF (More to Follow)


Mr. John Martignoni's Response


Fine by me.

God bless!


P.S. Thank you for your service to our country!

Part 1 - The First Letter - Mr. Ernest Martinez

Mr. Martignoni,

You told Mr. Walker that Roman Catholic's do not worship Mary, they simple honor her and pray for her help and protection. However, the following was interesting, since it would seem that you must now recant your faith and become a Protestant, since you said if you were shown that the Roman Catholic officially teaches that you are to worship Mary you would recant your faith.

From Vatican Collection Volume 1, Vatican Council II, The Conciliar and Post Conciliar documents. General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. New revised edition 1992; Costello publishing company, Northport, New York. 1992 pages 420-421 (par. 65)

65. But while in the most Blessed Virgin the church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph. 5:27), the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Devoutly meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church reverently penetrates more deeply into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her spouse. Having entered deeply into the history of salvation, Mary, in a way, unites in her person and re-echeos the most important doctrines of the Faith: and when she is the subject of preaching and worship she prompts the faithful to come to her son, to his sacrifice and to the love of the Father. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her lofty type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things. The Church, therefore, in her apostolic work too, rightly looks to her who gave birth to Christ, who was thus conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, in order that through the church he could be born and increase in the hearts of the faithful. In her life the Virgin has been a model of that motherly love with which all who joined in the church's apostolic mission for the regeneration of mankind should be animated.

Ernest Martinez

Part 1 - The First Letter - A Response: Mr. John Martignoni

Dear Ernest,

Thank you for your email. I do not, however, feel the need to renounce my faith over a bad translation. Would you suggest that I do so? In the Vatican's official English translation of "Lumen Gentium" - the document you referenced below - it does not use the word "worship." In the Vatican's official English translation it says that "when she is proclaimed and venerated..." In Latin, the word used is "colitur." It's Latin root is "colo," which means, "to cherish." I do not know Latin, but I checked with someone who does and was told that the word "colitur" means: "to honor" or "to revere".

Anytime you translate something from one language to another, you have the potential to come up with different renderings of the same word and you have the potential for error. Which is why we have various translations of the Bible, is it not? Also, when translating from one type of English (British) to another (American) you can have problems. Plus, the meanings of words can change from one era to another. So, "groovy," "cool," "hot," "righteous," all mean the same thing, just in different eras.

You know, in 2 Tim 2:15 of the KJV, it talks about "rightly dividing" the truth. Are we supposed to "divide" the truth? Yet, that's what the King James bible says to do.

If you would like to see the official teaching of the Catholic Church on Mary, without any translation errors, I point to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 971: "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship. The Church rightly honors the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs...This very special devotion...DIFFERS ESSENTIALLY from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration."

Now, perhaps you could answer my questions that Pastor Walker apparently cannot:

1) By what authority do you trust each and every one of the books of the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God? For example, do you rely upon the Bible, or upon tradition, for your belief that the Gospel of Mark was actually written by Mark, and that this particular Mark was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he wrote that particular Gospel? I believe there are 73 books in the Bible, not 66 - can you tell me where in the Bible is the list that says there are only 66 books in the Bible?

2) Please give me your interpretation of the analogy made in James 2:26: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." This verse makes an analogy between the body and the spirit on one hand, and faith and works on the other hand, does it not? It compares faith to the body and works to the spirit. It says that both body and spirit are necessary for life. So, for the analogy to hold, both faith and works must be necessary for life. One is physical life, the other is spiritual life. Pastor Walker seems to think this analogy means that faith without works isn't really faith. But, that would make the analogy fall apart. James 2:26 does not say that the body without the spirit isn't really a body, it says it's a dead body and that it has no life in it. So, faith without works is still faith, but it's just dead faith...there is no life in it. Which means, James 2:24, which says that we are justified by works and not by faith alone, is not saying works show our faith, it's saying that faith and works are both necessary for our salvation/justification. Faith alone? Not in the Bible.

The truth of the matter is, Ernest, that your Pastor Walker's...are actually not found in the Bible. The Bible, in fact, says the exact opposite of what you believe. You believe in salvation by faith alone...the Bible says "NOT BY faith alone." You believe Baptism doesn't save...the Bible says " saves you." You believe works have nothing to do with salvation...the Bible says that "[God] will render unto every man according to his DEEDS," and that if a man seeks for glory through patient continuance in well doing, then God will give him eternal life! You believe we should go by the Bible alone...but the Bible says to go by both the word of mouth (oral traditions) and the letters (scripture) of Paul.

Sorry, but the example you gave from the American English version of the Documents of Vatican II, is not an official instance of the Church teaching its members to "worship" Mary, so I will hold onto my faith for now. I find it very, very interesting, though, that you think this one word would "prove" the Church teaches worship of Mary, but when the Bible says the exact opposite of what you believe, "justified by works and NOT BY faith alone," you have no problem simply explaining that away and feeling very good about yourself in doing so. It looks like you have one standard for Catholics, and another for yourself. Tsk, tsk.

God bless!

John Martignoni

Part 1 - Second Letter - Response: Mr. Ernest Martinez

Mr. Martignoni,

Could you tell me if this is a bad translation?

"This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.

“English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America copyright © 1994, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.—Libreria Editrice Vaticana. English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Modifications from the Editio Typica copyright © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.—Libreria Editrice Vaticana.”

This portion of the Roman Catholic Catechism, taken in whole from the official translation, states that Mary, according to Roman Catholic doctrine, is Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. The Scriptures clearly state that there is one Advocate and Helper, the Holy Spirit and that there is only one Mediator between man and God, Jesus Christ. I will continue with my next e-mail with the discussion of authority, but I would like to know where in Scripture it allows us to use the titles for God for a human.

Part 1 - Second Letter - Response: Mr. John Martignoni

Please tell me, Pastor Martinez, do you worship the king of kings? There is only one king of kings, is there not? And, we should not address any human being by the title of king of kings, correct? If I told you that I was addressing someone as the king of kings, would you excoriate me for that?

Yet, God Himself describes Nebuchadnezzar as "king of kings." How about that!?

We have only one foundation, do we not? Jesus Christ. Yet, Scripture identifies the prophets and the apostles as "foundation." We have only one Father, right? Yet, in Scripture, Paul and Stephen both address the Jewish leaders as "father." And, are you not a "father" of your children? Scripture also says to call no one "teacher." But, didn't you call all the folks who taught you in 1st - 12th grades, and in your Bible college, "teacher?" Plus, we have only one judge do we not? Yet, the apostles are to be judges.

So, it seems to me, that there are a lot of places where titles that are used specifically for God, are also used for men. Which leads me to believe that you simply do not understand the concept of the Body of Christ and how the members of the Body share in the various aspects, to different degrees, of the Head - Jesus Christ.

No bad translation below, as far as I can tell. At least, not on the part of the folks who wrote that. There is, however, a bad translation as to what it means on your part. Don't condemn Catholics for your lack of understanding.

God bless!

John Martignoni

Part 1 - Third Letter - Response: Mr. Ernest Martinez

Dear John,

The following is from the Latin Vulgate: (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

qui adversatur et extollitur supra omne quod dicitur Deus aut quod colitur ita ut in templo Dei sedeat ostendens se quia sit Deus

You said that the Latin word “colitur” translated, as you said, “to cherish” used in the Vatican’s official translation comes from the Latin. Well, above is from the Official Latin Vulgate. The word used above is “colitur.” When the NAB translated from the Greek and the Latin they translated the above verse as follows:

who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, 4 claiming that he is a god—

They understood that word, colitur, to mean “worship,” so you can’t use the argument that it is a bad translation, It is a good translation, and I have demonstrated how the official teaching of the RCC says we are to “colitur” Mary. What say you?


Part 1 - Third Letter - Response: Mr. John Martignoni

Dear Pastor Martinez,

You really are hung up on this word, aren't you? Do you admit that the same word can be translated in different ways? I do not speak or read Latin, so I simply have to go by what my Latin "expert" tells me. The fact of the matter is, the word "colitur" can be, and is, translated as "to honor" and "to revere". If one of the possible translations is "to worship," so what? I pointed out that it was translated as "venerate" in the Vatican's official English translation of the Vatican II documents that you have previously brought up. That same word could indeed be translated differently in other places, depending on the context. As your own fellow pastor has testified in one of his emails, the word "worship" may or may not indicate deity. If I said I "worship" the ground my wife walks you accuse me of believing the ground to be a god? Does context mean anything to you or not?

The fact is, that everything I said in my previous email is true and I stand by it. You have not proven otherwise. You may have proven that "colitur" can be translated in different ways, but so what? Tell me, what does the word "mediate" mean? What does the word "cool" mean? With all due respect, Pastor, but you're grabbing at straws here.

I have noticed, however, that you are not answering my questions:

1) Do you seek God...yes or no? Do you fear God...yes or no?

2) By what authority do you trust each and every one of the books of the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God? I believe there to be 73, not 66, books of the what authority do you say that I'm wrong? The Bible?

3) Please give me your interpretation of James 2:26...what exactly is the analogy in this verse saying? Is it saying that faith without works really isn't faith, or is it saying that faith without works is faith, but it's a dead faith...a faith which does not give life?

4) One more question that I haven't asked before, but I'm curious as to how you would answer: What happens to a baby if it dies before reaching the age of being able to accept Jesus Christ as his/her personal Lord and Savior? Does it go to Heaven or to Hell?

God bless!

John Martignoni

Posted on Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:47 am by accesservant

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Re: Part 1 - The above Letters (Score: 1)
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Happy Christmas and may I look forward to 2009.

With my prayers, Nik A Morris.

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