The Good Samaritan had the Wrong Beliefs

Samaritans were Jews who had broken away from the main Jewish religion, which worshipped at Jerusalem. After breaking away (schism), the developed different doctrines as well. So they were essentially Jews who had different beliefs and practices. Now from a Catholic point of view, the Samaritans were wrong, and the Jews who retained the ancient faith of Judaism were right. But the religion of the Samaritans was not paganism, nor atheism. It was a type of Judaism.

This leads me to a comparison. Samaritans are to Jews as Protestants are to Catholics. The Protestant denominations practice an altered version of Christianity, while Catholics continue the ancient faith. This is a very similar relationship to that of Samaritans and Jews.

So why does Jesus, in the story of the Good Samaritan, ask us to imitate the Samaritan — who had serious errors in his religious beliefs and practices — rather than the faithful Jews in the story? Let’s review the Gospel text:

{10:25} And behold, a certain expert in the law rose up, testing him and saying, “Teacher, what must I do to possess eternal life?”
{10:26} But he said to him: “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”
{10:27} In response, he said: “You shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart, and from your whole soul, and from all your strength, and from all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
{10:28} And he said to him: “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.”
{10:29} But since he wanted to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

The story of the Good Samaritan is preceded by the question and answer session about eternal life. The two great Commandments are love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself. This is the path to eternal life. But how does one love one’s neighbor?

{10:30} Then Jesus, taking this up, said: “A certain man descended from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he happened upon robbers, who now also plundered him. And inflicting him with wounds, they went away, leaving him behind, half-alive.
{10:31} And it happened that a certain priest was descending along the same way. And seeing him, he passed by.
{10:32} And similarly a Levite, when he was near the place, also saw him, and he passed by.

The Jewish priest and Levite (rather similar to a member of a religious order today, a brother or a nun) had the correct beliefs and practices. And yet they declined to help the injured man. They had the right ideas and the right religion — but the true heart of religion was absent, which is the love of God and neighbor.

Some say that the priest and Levite did not want to be ritually impure, by touching blood. (I used to think that was the case.) But notice that they were each “descending”. That means they were traveling away from Jerusalem, AFTER a feast or a visit to the Temple. So they could have touched blood without making them unable to celebrate a feast or enter the Temple. Well, they should have helped the injured man regardless.

{10:33} But a certain Samaritan, being on a journey, came near him. And seeing him, he was moved by mercy.
{10:34} And approaching him, he bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. And setting him on his pack animal, he brought him to an inn, and he took care of him.
{10:35} And the next day, he took out two denarii, and he gave them to the proprietor, and he said: ‘Take care of him. And whatever extra you will have spent, I will repay to you at my return.’
{10:36} Which of these three, does it seem to you, was a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?”
{10:37} Then he said, “The one who acted with mercy toward him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go, and act similarly.”

Jesus tells us to imitate the Samaritan, even though he had the wrong beliefs and practices. This is a timely lesson for the Church in Her current state. We can learn from Protestants who act with mercy toward those in need. We can learn from Jews, Muslims, other believers and non-believers, who act with mercy toward those in need. They are not lost to salvation or grace. They are children of God, especially when they enter and retain (or return to) the state of grace. To see non-Catholics or non-Christians as condemned or as evil is contrary to the teaching of Christ in the example of the Good Samaritan.

He is called “good” by generation after generation of Popes, Bishops, priests, religious, theologians, and laity. He is not evil, despite having the wrong views on doctrine and discipline.

The book “Infiltration” goes so far as to claim that any Church leaders who have the (supposedly) incorrect ideas on discipline or doctrine, even a Pope or Council, must be acting under the influence of Satan, as a result of some type of evil conspiracy to infiltrate the Church. Such claims are contrary to the teaching of Christ. The Samaritan had incorrect ideas, yet Christ presents him to every generation of Christians as the example to follow.

And of course, when we poor fallen sinners think that a person has the wrong ideas, they might still be right, and we could be wrong. That is a common error of papal critics. They assume that if the Pope sees things differently than they do, the Pope must be wrong. They dogmatize their own understanding and villainize anyone who disagrees. But one of the main lessons of the Good Samaritan story is that a person who does have the wrong ideas, can still be acting with grace, and loving God and neighbor.

Another lesson of the story concerns who will have eternal life. Persons who are like the Good Samaritan, who have substantial errors in their understanding of belief and practice will still go to Heaven if they love God and neighbor. This implies that not only Catholics go to Heaven. It implies that devout Jews and Muslims, as well as anyone else who truly loves God and neighbor go to Heaven. The claim of certain conservatives that non-Catholics or non-Christians or non-believers are not saved, or are rarely saved is contrary to the teaching of Jesus about the Good Samaritan.

And when we consider the Samaritan woman, the woman of Canaan, the Roman Centurion, it becomes very clear that non-Catholics, non-Christian believers, non-believers, and persons whose lives are marred by objective mortal sin can still be saved.

Should the divorced and remarried be given Communion? Jesus met with the Samaritan woman, even though she had had five husband, and the one she had next was not a husband at all. Jesus touched lepers before they were healed. (He could have healed them first, and then touched them.) Jesus said that the Centurion had great faith, meaning a faith enlivened by love and hope, even though his religion was that of pagan Rome. And the same is true for the woman of Canaan, who was a pagan, yet she was in the state of grace.

Do not be deceived by the common errors of today. Do not be deceived by the fact that a vast number of Catholics, who seem to be devout, agree with one another in their errors. You will never go astray by trusting in the teachings and decisions of Ecumenical Councils and Roman Pontiffs. But if anyone exalts himself over Councils and Popes, to decide what they did right or wrong, have nothing to do with him. Such a one is a schismatic, for refusing to submit his mind and heart to the Magisterium. Such a one is a heretic, for as soon as he stops putting his faith in the Magisterium, and instead trusts in his own understanding, he goes astray into many errors. It’s amazing how quickly schism leads to heresy.

The papal accusers have left the true Catholic faith. They are automatically excommunicated for formal schism. They are guilty of multiple heresies, such as these. They are sinning gravely by scandalizing the whole Church, by falsely accusing the Vicar of Christ of very grave sins, by refusing to have faith in the promise of Christ that the Church will remain indefectible, by refusing to trust in the work of the Holy Spirit in the Magisterium.

And the book “Infiltration” goes so far as to accuse the Roman Pontiffs and the Church Herself of having been infiltrated by Satan, through various evil conspiracies. This is tantamount to accusing Jesus Christ himself of being possessed. The Church cannot be infiltrated by Satan. The much quoted assertion by Pope Paul VI is misinterpreted.

{8:47} Whoever is of God, hears the words of God. For this reason, you do not hear them: because you are not of God.”
{8:48} Therefore, the Jews responded and said to him, “Are we not correct in saying that you are a Samaritan, and that you have a demon?”
{8:49} Jesus responded: “I do not have a demon. But I honor my Father, and you have dishonored me.
{8:50} But I am not seeking my own glory. There is One who seeks and judges.
{8:51} Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone will have kept my word, he will not see death for eternity.”
{8:52} Therefore, the Jews said: “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham is dead, and the Prophets; and yet you say, ‘If anyone will have kept my word, he shall not taste death for eternity.’

By accusing Popes, an Ecumenical Council, and the Church of being infiltrated by Satan, the author and his supporters are accusing Christ of having a demon. By accusing Popes and an Ecumenical Council of teaching heresy and grave error, they are accusing Christ of being a Samaritan. There is only One who may judge Popes and Councils.

{11:16} But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace,
{11:17} who, calling out to their companions, say: ‘We played music for you, and you did not dance. We lamented, and you did not mourn.’
{11:18} For John came neither eating nor drinking; and they say, ‘He has a demon.’
{11:19} The Son of man came eating and drinking; and they say, ‘Behold, a man who eats voraciously and who drinks wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is justified by her sons.”

The papal accusers will not accept any teaching of any Pope or Council unless it is exactly in accord with their own minds and hearts. They want the Roman Pontiff, the body of Bishops, and the Magisterium and the Church to dance when they play music and to weep when they lament.

{3:10} Avoid a man who is a heretic, after the first and second correction,
{3:11} knowing that one who is like this has been subverted, and that he offends; for he has been condemned by his own judgment.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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3 Responses to The Good Samaritan had the Wrong Beliefs

  1. Sherita Benn says:

    Good message…. Very well spoken! You have taught me some good Word this morning… I just finished reading the book of Luke Sunday…

  2. Matt says:

    Excellent post!

  3. Alessandro Arsuffi says:

    My suspicion is that Taylor Marshall, who “converted” to his own version of Catholicism under the previous Popes and condemns Vatican II (a Council officially endorsed by John Paul II and Benedict XVI!) may be himself an infilitrated enemy, a man of Satan sent by the Fallen Angel of Mischief to seduce the most doubting and fragile conservative Catholics and to break the Church apart.

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