Thursday, November 17, 2011


by Atty. Marwil Llasos, O.P.


Marwil N. Llasos, O.P.
ARMANDO ANG opens his anti-Catholic book “The Dark Side of Catholicism” with a letter to his “friends in Christ” – his intended readers, i.e., Catholics. With a seeming friendly gesture, Ang started by begging the “indulgence of all Catholics who feel offended by the title or its content.”[1]
The Dark Side of Catholicism: Armando Ang's anti-Catholic bestseller
What else is new? The allegations, attacks and accusations of Armando Ang are nothing new. Ang simply lifted from anti-Catholic polemicists and repackaged them with additional lies and absurd conclusions. What is more appalling in Ang’s version of anti-Catholicism is that it is laden with sheer ignorance and plain hypocrisy. In the succeeding articles, I will debunk Ang point by point, especially the first two chapters of his book which viciously attack Catholic teachings on the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Armando Ang justifies the title of his book that it “seems appropriate because very few know the dark side of their Church history to arrive at an informed decision.”[2] But what is Ang’s basis in concluding thusly? Does he have any statistics showing how “few” are these Catholics who do not know the “dark side” of their Church history? None. In short, Ang’s claims are utterly baseless and founded purely on guesswork.
Catholics are free to consult the history of their Church from readily available sources. Scholarly sources like The New Catholic Encyclopedia are available on-line (see: Books, publications and journals on the history of the Church are extant. Catholics can read for themselves the history of the Church straight from primary sources.
Armando Ang says that it “is incumbent on every believer to know the truth and the truth shall make us free”[3] (citing Jn. 8:32). I fully concur with Ang in this regard. However, it seems that truth is the farthest consideration of Armando Ang in writing his magnum opus The Dark Side of Catholicism. The book is not concerned with the truth at all. It is replete with falsehood from cover to cover. To look for error in Ang’s book is like looking for sand on the beach.
Most of Armando Ang’s references cannot be verified. Ang heavily relies on anti-Catholic sources. He seldom, if at all, allows the Catholic Church to speak for itself. If ever Ang quotes a Church document, he does so by taking it out of context or twists its meaning and interprets it with prejudiced anti-Catholic mindset. In the succeeding articles, I will document how Armando Ang stifles the truth, covers it up and substitutes it with downright lies.
When Ang claims that he is after the truth, well, he does not walk the talk.
Armando Ang packages himself as a Bible Christian. But nothing can be farther from the truth. For instance, Ang holds that “[i]n seeking the truth there is no substitute for reading the Bible.”[4] This statement definitely lumps Ang with the Reformation “sola-scriptura”promoters. However, gauged against this man-made sola scripturabelief, Armando Ang would not be able to cite a single verse that says precisely “in seeking the truth there is no substitute for reading the Bible.”
Another scriptural blunder that Armando Ang makes is his statement that “[t]he Bible is the foundation of Christianity and it alone holds everything necessary for salvation”[5] – a teaching nowhere claimed by Scripture. Noteworthy is the fact that Ang does not even bother to support his statement with verses from the Bible.
Truth to tell, the Bible never says that “the Bible is the foundation of Christianity.” That is an Ang-made dogma not supported by a single shred of scripture. Ang’s statement would seem that Christianity originates from the Bible and not the other way around. I wonder what happened to Ang’s history. What Armando Ang conveniently forgets is that the Church already existed long before there was a complete Bible!

To repeat, Ang’s teaching that “the Bible is the foundation of Christianity” is unscriptural and anti-Biblical. Nowhere in Sacred Scripture can we find that assertion. If Ang made his homework on the Bible, he would have easily ascertained that the word “foundation” is never - ever – applied to the Bible. To whom (or what) does the Bible apply the word “foundation”? First, of course, is Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:11 that “For other foundationcan no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”[6] How dare Armando Ang rob Christ of that honor!
The Lord Jesus Christ founded His Church on the rock that is Peter: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18).
The Lord Jesus Christ gives the keys to the apostle Peter
And to what else does the Bible ascribe the word “foundation”? To the apostles and prophets as categorically stated in Ephesians 2:20: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles andprophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”
Finally, Armando Ang must have also forgotten that the Bible itself calls the Church as “foundation.” According to the apostle Paul,if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15, NIV).
The Church: The Pillar and Foundation of Truth (1 Tim. 3:15)
Let me ask Armando Ang anew: where in the Bible does it say that the Bible is the foundation of Christianity? Chapter and verse, please, Mr. Ang.
If Armando Ang cannot give me a verse, then he is guilty as charged for teaching an un-biblical doctrine. What credibility does Ang still have to preach about the Bible when his teaching has been demonstrated to be anti-Biblical?
Armando Ang lies through his teeth when he says that“[n]othing in the book [The Dark Side of Catholicism] is written against the Catholics.”[7] If Ang’s book is not written against Catholics, then against whom? Muslims? Buddhists? Mormons? Atheists? Protestants? Baptists? Evangelicals?
What do you take us for, Mr. Ang? Your book is written againstus Catholics – and no other. What makes it even more offensive to us is that it caricatures us and attacks the caricature it makes of us. Armando Ang passes off the caricature as though it is one and the same with the Catholic Church. Anent this, the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen is apropos –
The Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen
There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church – which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics “adore statues;” because they “put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God;” because they “say indulgence is a permission to commit sin;” because the Pope “is a Fascist;” because the Church “is the defender of Capitalism.” If the Church taught or believed any one of these things, it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.”[8]
Armando Ang pathetically claims that his book “is meant to enlighten them.”[9] No, Mr. Ang, your book is meant to deceive Catholics, especially the unwary. The Dark Side of Catholicism is nothing but a pack of brazen lies, heaped with fabrications and laced with innuendoes, speculations and accusations that are expertly woven so as to appear factual and veracious. And for how much do you sell your book?
A frustrated historian, Armando Ang unabashedly claims that “[u]nder the present circumstances, there is a shortage of reading materials regarding the evolution of the Catholic Church that each Catholic should know.”[10] What is Ang’s basis in saying so? None, as he does not even cite a single shred of evidence to prove it. Given his limited bibliography, Ang is unaware of the cornucopia of materials on Church History starting from St. Luke’s The Acts of Apostles, down to Eusebius’ Church History and so on to modern authors and historians, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The Internet provides a limitless resource for Church History that is readily available to anyone. If there’s anyone who is ignorant about Church history, it is Armando Ang.
Armando Ang self-righteously claims that he “would be remiss as a Christian to keep the truth away from the faithful.”[11] The reality is that Ang does not only keep the truth away from the faithful; he distorts it. He is thus not only remiss; he is culpable. Thus, for Ang to use James 4:17[12] as a pretext for his falsehood is an abominable sacrilege – a gross abuse of God’s holy word.
"The Spirit of Truth ... will guide you into all the truth" (Jn. 16:13)
Armando Ang likewise asserts that there “are many teachings of early Catholic Church that have been contaminated by new doctrines that serve no salvation value.” But such an assertion can easily be made.What precisely are these teachings of the early Catholic Church that have been contaminated by new doctrines? Ang does not say. How were these teachings contaminated by new doctrines? Ang keeps us guessing. And what are these new doctrines that serve no salvation value? Ang does not point them our. Bottomlineyou have to buy his book. What an effective sales pitch! I feel sorry for those who will buy and be deceived by Ang’s book.
Armando Ang states that the purpose of his book is to separate the truth from the myth. Well, he seems to have succeeded in doing so. He keeps the truth away and retains the myth against Catholicism and passes it off as Gospel truth – and sells it to the public. Ang’s book is a masterpiece of distortion of truth; a magnum opus of bearing false witness against one’s Catholic neighbor.
Jesus Christ remains with His Mystical Body, the Church
Armando Ang avers that the Church has enough saving grace to save Catholics.[13] But the appropriate statement is, the Church has the plenitude of grace from Christ Our Lord to save Catholics. It, too, has the fullness of truth – whether Armando Ang realizes or not. The Church has the promise from Christ that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Mt. 16:18). All hell and Armando Ang may try everything in their venal power to destroy the Church but they will never succeed. Jesus Christ promised us that that He will be with us always until the end of time (Mt. 28:20).
Hell and its cohorts attacking the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church
Finally, Armando Ang claims that his own children are devoted Catholics and ne has never tried to convince them to join another Church.[14] I have no way of verifying the veracity of this claim. But it is certain that Armando Ang does not have credibility even to his children. Otherwise, Ang’s children will join him in his new-found church if they see the quality of their father’s witness. Obviously, they don’t. And here is where Ang’s hypocrisy and inconsistency are painted in bold relief. Earlier he claimed that he would be remiss as a Christian to keep the truth away from the faithful and furthermore said that it is a sin not to do what you know is the right thing to do.[15] If Ang really believes that his devoted Catholic children are on the way to perdition because of their religion, why doesn’t he, as a good father, do the right thing to do to persuade his children by precept and example to leave the Catholic Church? Only Armando Ang can tell.

[1] Armando Ang, The Dark Side of Catholicism (Manila: A1 Publishing, 2005) flyleaf (the first page after the cover).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture citations are from the King James Version, Protestant translation of the Bible, which is the favorite translation of Armando Ang.
[7] Armando Ang, The Dark Side of Catholicism (Manila: A1 Publishing, 2005) flyleaf.
[8] Fulton Sheen, What is the Catholic Church, available at:
[9] Armando Ang, The Dark Side of Catholicism (Manila: A1 Publishing, 2005) flyleaf.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
[13] Armando Ang, The Dark Side of Catholicism (Manila: A1 Publishing, 2005) flyleaf.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid.

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