The Legacy of the True (?) Historical Patrick: Catholic Thinker Commentary

This is my take on an article that claims to reveal the legacy of the true Saint Patrick of Ireland. When I noticed some errors on the life of my patron saint, I couldn’t help resist responding. All dark quotations are from original article.

(Original article: https://pilgrimsprogressrevisted.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/the-legacy-of-the-true-historical-patrick-by-richard-bennett/ )

“Catholicism now, and to some extent even in Patrick’s time, looks to sacraments as necessary for salvation. Patrick saw himself only as a sinner saved by grace in Christ Jesus. Patrick’s message is that salvation is totally in Christ alone–a message utterly diverse from that of Roman Catholicism then and now.”

First I wish to state that Catholics teach that we are saved by Christ’s grace alone also. We taught this before any Protestant sect was created. While their have been clerical abuses in teaching, that does not mean that the official teaching of the Church changed. A sacrament, by definition, is the way Christ’s grace is given to a person.

“A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.” (Baltimore catechism No. 3 – Lesson 13 – Question 574)

Now, we can spend all day arguing how exactly God communicates grace to us, as I am sure we disagree on some points, but the sacraments communicate Christ’s grace. They are instituted by Christ. To say that the Catholic Church does not trust in its salvation through Christ is extremely laughable, when one realizes what sacraments truly are.

Interestingly, in his Confessio, St. Patrick states:

“All of us deserved this slavery because we had turned away from God, and did not keep His commandments. We had not been obedient to our priests, who were encouraging us to do those things necessary for salvation.” (St. Patrick’s Confessio [1])

Patrick saw it necessary to not only have faith, but also keep the commandments. Patrick also says that he deserved slavery because he hadn’t listened to the priests, who instructed people in the way of salvation. Gee, seems like Patrick was different from Protestants today! He said he should have listened to the priests. Why would there be priests if St. Patrick was a Christian so unlike the Roman Catholic Church?

Furthermore, Patrick cites distributing several sacraments while in Ireland:

“…those thousands of my children whom I have baptized into the Lord” (St. Patrick’s Confessio [14])

“He has given me so many graces, so many people have been reborn for eternal life in God and afterwards confirmed and some have been ordained as clergy throughout the land…” (St. Patrick’s Confessio [37])

Patrick also speaks about religious orders of men and women, the same types of orders and vows Catholic religious undergo today:

“How come the sons and daughters of Irish kings are becoming monks and virgins consecrated to Christ?” (St. Patrick’s Confessio [41])

Patrick speaks of an altar also; why would he do this if he was nothing like a Catholic?

“They laid gifts on the altar from their jewelry and were shocked at me when I returned these to them.” (St. Patrick’s Confessio [49])

These are just a few questionable things that a person so unlike the Roman Catholics of today said. It makes you think that the writer of the original post tried to make Patrick fit the image he had in mind.

“Patrick, the Christian Evangelist, being about 30 years old and together with some brothers in the Lord, set out for Ireland. He arrived in or about the year 405. This fact of history is authentic and verified. For example, Marcus, an Irish Bishop, who lived at the beginning of the ninth century, states that Patrick came to Ireland in the year 405 AD and Nennius, who lived about the same time, repeats the statement. This date is of great importance because many centuries later there was an attempt made to confuse Patrick with Palladius, who had been sent out by Pope Celestine as a missionary to Ireland. When news of Patrick’s Christian success had reached Rome, Pope Celestine then sent Palladius as a bishop to bring the churches under the control of the Papacy. It was in 432, at least 27 years after Patrick’s commission from God, that Palladius from Rome came on the scene. When Palladius did come to Ireland, it was to an Ireland that had many Christian churches and that did not accept his message of subservience to the Bishop of Rome. In actual fact, Palladius was greatly discouraged by his lack of success. To quote from the historian Philip Schaff, ‘Palladius was so discouraged that he soon abandoned the field, with his assistants, for north Britain, where he died among the Picts….The Roman mission of Palladius failed; the independent mission of Patrick succeeded. He is the true Apostle of Ireland, and has impressed his memory in indelible characters upon the Irish race at home and abroad.’ “

It should be noted that dates in St. Patrick’s life cannot be placed with certainty. The entry for 431 AD Chronicle of Prosper of Aquitaine says:

Palladius, having been ordained by Pope Celestine, is sent as first bishop to the Irish believing in Christ

Many historians believe that Palladius was on Ireland slightly before or at the same time as Patrick. But one cannot conclusively determine the exact date. But this quote above is not “many centuries later” as the author suggests that it was following centuries that Pallagius was confused with Patrick.

Pallagius is said to have exited Ireland the same year of his arrival, not due to the Christian people not accepting his message, but because he was banished by the king of Leinster.

“Darkness covered Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. The Dark Ages had begun and the Roman Church, having gained rulership through intrigue and persecution, now held most of Europe in her iron grip. Even so, in those dark centuries, the Irish missionaries continued to spread the true Gospel, seed which for centuries to come would bear much good fruit all across Europe.”

Who exactly did the Church persecute during the 9th and 10th centuries?? And why were these ages called “Dark”? I speak about the accomplishments of the “Dark” Ages here: https://whysoseriousdotcom.wordpress.com/2017/05/13/the-dark-ages-a-historical-misnomer/

It seems like Mr. Bennett did not take in everything that St. Patrick’s Confession actually had to say, but attempted to make the character of Saint Patrick fit his own agenda. What a pity.

 


 

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

(Lorica of Saint Patrick)

 

 

 

 

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14 thoughts on “The Legacy of the True (?) Historical Patrick: Catholic Thinker Commentary

  1. Patrick, first, I’ve read Patrick’s Confession and did not find a mention of priests in the church he grew up in in Scotland or those he planted in Ireland (to the best of my memory). His father was a presbyter (elder) in the British church in which Patrick was raised.

    http://www.truecovenanter.com/history/patrick_confession_ireland.html

    It’s vital to remember differences in means of grace – you must agree! It can’t simply be set aside to say that both Rome and Bible believers teach salvation by grace. It’s a source of contention still and Rome anathematized us for rejecting her view of grace. Rome says grace comes sacramentally through a mediatorial priesthood via sacraments which the Lord Jesus Christ instituted, and that Mary is the Mediator of all graces. Bible believers believe in grace coming through faith upon the hearing of the Gospel and preaching of the Word, and through ordinary means such as prayer to God and fellowship and the remembrance of His death in the Lord’s supper. I can’t argue these things anymore because I don’t believe it will get anywhere with you at this time. What I’m urging you to do is to go to the Lord with all of this.

    Two cannot walk together unless agreed, you see. So after I answer you about Tom’s post, I will unsubscribe from your blog and not answer any of your posts with a post of my own.

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      • Pat, the Catholic belief about grace is that it is infused, and that it is conveyed through a priesthood, sacramentally, beginning with justification at baptism (decree on justification). Let me study further. I put these links up for study so that distinctions could be grasped.

        Like

      • I know this, but at the same time, what is this “grace”? It is Christ’s grace that Catholic profess they are saved by. While we may differ on how grace is conveyed on a person, you cannot say that Catholics do not believe that they are saved by Christ’s grace.

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    • But how can he say:

      “Patrick’s message is that salvation is totally in Christ alone–a message utterly diverse from that of Roman Catholicism then and now.”

      hen the Church teaches that we are saved through Christ’s grace?

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      • Patrick, I’ve subscribed. Let’s see if this will post or go to your spam folder.

        The only way to decide what the Church of Rome and Protestant churches hold and teach is to go to the sources and not try to reframe doctrine in our own words. This is also true of Patrick of Ireland’s faith and history, let’s leave it to experts.

        I would like to send you links that we can look at:

        Canon of Trent on justification
        Catholic Catechism
        Westminster Confession of Faith
        London Baptist Confession of Faith

        Let’s see first if this posts.

        Like

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