I return now to my response to the articles by Mark Bonocore, noted in the blog responses on Dave Armstrong’s page. The article that was sited was on Apolonio Latar’s site (http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num18.htm). But since it had been a very long time since I had taken the time to track down what Mark Bonocore was up to, I did a little digging this evening. What I found is most interesting.

For those familiar with the ebb and flow of Roman Catholic apologetics organizations that have come into existence since the late 1980s and the advent of Catholic Answers, the split up of the Sungenis/Sippo coalition is a well known event. Two men who had once stood shoulder to shoulder in heaping abusive speech on others in the service of the Papacy turned their guns upon each other, and the result was predictable. But as the dust settled, and Sungenis and his few followers moved ever farther into obscurity and irrelevance in the larger Roman Catholic apologetics movement, those who refused to follow Sungenis’ odd views gravitated toward one another. Eventually, The Catholic Legate came to be home for many of those who had once been in the Sungenis orbit of influence. Its primary proprietors today form a triumvirate of the nastiest of the nasty: Art Sippo, John Pacheco, and Mark Bonocore. Anyone who has been the object of the condescending, abusive nastiness of these men will testify that I am truly being kind in my description thus far. My files are filled with nastigrams from Sippo, for example.

Well, I decided to look up their website, and discovered that the article to which I am replying is linked right on the front page. But more than that, you could surely get a taste of what it is like to be a member of the Catholic Legate by listening to their own self-descriptions:

Mark Bonocore, Apologist – Mark Bonocore is one of the best Catholic apologists in e-debate. He uses is vast wealth of patristic knowledge to rebut any historical objections to the Catholic faith. He has the very rare ability to set apparent contradictions of Church teaching in their proper context.

For over a decade now, Eric Svendsen and James White have been pushing the heõs hou canard in Matthew 1:25. The phrase in question, according to Svendsen, proves that Mary lost her virginity. The Catholic Legate is proud to present a collection of articles and dialogues from various parties, including John Pacheco’s main critique of this thesis, which completely obliterates Svendsen’s argument.

Mark Bonocore puts Protestant Pseudo-intellectualism to rest in this rather long dialogue. Read why Mark Bonocore is one of the top Catholic Apologists today.

Read how Mark Bonocore methodically dismantles James White’s belief in sola scriptura.

Mark Bonocore pulls the plug on some dirty water. Read how Mark masterfully defends both the Catholic Church’s authority and sacramental baptism through his appeals to early patristics. Pastor Billy sure don’ got himself a edUcation!

Jason Engwer receives a remedial lesson in basic apologetics. Read how Mark Bonocore completely obliterates Engwer’s position on sola scriptura, showing him that he has no objective standard for his interpretations of the bible.

And finally, in reference to the article containing the material on Isaiah 22:20-22:

Read this short exchange between Mark Bonocore and James White. Readers will agree that Mark locks out White time and time again. The man is a glutton for punishment but he just keeps coming back for more.

One gets the idea that the folks at The Catholic Legate are rather impressed…with themselves, anyway. 🙂

Well, being a “glutton for punishment,” let’s see if there’s anything beyond the bravado, shall we? Evidently, at some point, it seems in a BBS conversation long ago, I had written:

JW> 3) I’ve asked Gerry Matatics and others this question, and never gotten an answer: can you name anyone in the first 1000 years of church history who presented the argument you do from Isaiah 22? >>

Bonocore replies:

Sure. What about St. John Cassian (c. 362-435), who writes:

“O Peter, Prince of Apostles, it is just that you should teach us, since you were yourself taught by the Lord; and also that you should open to us the gate of which you have received the Key (singular). Keep out all those who are undermining the heavenly House; turn away those who are trying to enter through false caverns and unlawful gates since it is certain that no one can enter in at the gate of the Kingdom except the one unto whom the Key (singular), placed by you in the churches, shall open it.” (John Cassian, Book III, Chap 12, Against the Nestorians on the Incarnation)

Compare this to Isaiah 22, which reads:

“On that day I shall summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. …I will place the Key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, and when he shuts, no one shall open.”

Cassian is clearly drawing from Isaiah 22, and applying it to Matt 16.

At first glance this seems like a good start, though, it hardly actually answers the challenge. I did not ask if anyone in the early church ever referred to Isaiah 22:20-22. The use of the text by modern Roman Catholic apologists like Hahn and Matatics is very full: indeed, they use it to find a basis for succession in the papal office via Matthew 16:18. Is that what Cassian is doing? Most assuredly not, as the context of his comments would indicate. Let’s take a look.

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