Papal Obsession: What’s in A Name?

One positive consequence of recent interactions with Roman Catholics like Brad Gregory, Christian Smith, the indefatigable Bryan Cross, and the stellar work of Francis Oakley is an awareness of just how complicated and fascinating the history of the papacy is. Eamon Duffy puts it this way in his new book on the papacy:

Thomas Hobbes famously remarked that the papacy was “not other than the ghost of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned on the grave thereof.” The comment was certainly not intended as a compliment, but it encapsulated an important historical reality nonetheless. Through no particular initiative of their own, the Popes inherited the mantle of Empire in the West; the papacy became the conduit of Roman imperial values and symbolism into the European Middle Ages. In a time of profound historical instability at the end of antiquity and in the early Middle Ages, the see of Peter was a link to all that seemed most desirable in the ancient world, custodian of both its secular and its sacred values. The papacy embodied immemorial continuity and offered divine sanction for law and legitimacy. So popes crowned kings and emperors and, on occasion, attempted to depose them. Even in the eighth and ninth centuries papal authority stood high, although the papacy was the prisoner of local Roman politics and many of the popes themselves were the often unlearned sons of feuding local dynasties. (17-18)

Anyone with a historical awareness, with visions of Christianity having access to and reach within corridors of power, and with a desire for a church that has roots deeper than some denomination that emerged in the 1780s, would likely be drawn to membership with a church such as Rome presents. At the same time, a concern for the spiritual depths of Christianity has not always been at the forefront of the papacy’s ministry, unless maintaining supremacy in European politics and mediating the Roman Empire were crucial pieces of that spiritual service.

The historical and cultural depth of the Vatican gives almost every aspect of the papacy significance beyond surface impressions and as a result should stimulate the imagination of anyone who studies the past. The case of Gregory XVI, who became pope in 1831 and who is the subject of Owen Chadwick’s first chapter (A History of the Popes, 1830-1914), illustrates the point.

The most famous pope of the Middle Ages to assert papal power against emperors and kings was Pope Gregory VII, Hildebrand. Ever since the high Middle Ages popes were conscious that in Gregory VII they made an emperor to kneel in the snow at Canossa, that in Innocent III they acted as the international authority of Europe, that in Bonfiace VIII they asserted the ultimate secular power of the pope as well as his ultimate spiritual authority. They were also aware that these tremendous claims were not often recognized and sometimes were repudiated with contempt or with force. Gregory VII died in exile, Boniface sickened and died after being kidnapped and rescued. In the Counter-Reformation, when Spanish and afterwards French power became strong in Italy, they grew hesitant of using such names lest they remind Europe of the contrast between the past glories of the Holy See and the weakness of its present occupant. No one had chosen the name Boniface since 1389, when the see was divided by the Great Schism. Gregory XIII was a famous name of the Counter-Reformation and shortly afterwards there were two more Gregorys; one ruled for less than a year, the other for two years, yet they were important. Towards the end of the seventeenth century and early in the eighteen century there were three weighty popes who took the name Innocent. But in the eighteenth century they preferred to take gentler-sounding names, such as Clement (four of those), Pius, or Benedict. The coronation of Pius VI in 1775 stared the age of the Piuses — during the next 183 years there were only fifty-four years in which the pope was not named Pius. And when they were not called Pius they avoided high-and-mighty sounding names — with one exception. . . .

The name Gregory was a claim. This was a cardinal who reacted against the French Revolution and all that it stood for. He seems to have had Gregory VII in his mind; but also, while a cardinal, he did a lot for the Congregation de Propaganda Fide, and the last Gregory had founded the Congregation. When the French Revolution kidnapped the Pope, he published a cry of resistance to the revolution The Triumph of the Holy See and the Church against the Attacks of Innovators (1799).

Just when the papacy looked moribund, and many said that Pius VI was the last pope in the history of Europe, and no one could see how the institution could survive even in Italy, he published this book, which rejoiced in the coming victory of the Church over its enemies. . . .

In not liking the way the modern world was going Gregory XVI was characteristic of the popes, with one possible exception, for the next 127 years. (1-3_

This messiness of Europe and the papacy’s place in it is what defenders of the popes and their infallibility generally leave out. Does history undermine spiritual authority? Critical biblical scholarship has long raised the issue of the humanity of the Bible in ways the complicate assertions of Scripture’s divine origin. Conceiving of and maintaining the papacy’s spiritual rights and gifts while paying attention to its tawdry political successes, setbacks, and ambitions is perhaps just as plausible as conservative Protestant defenses of the Bible’s inerrancy. But the problem for folks like the Callers is that we actually can see how they make the sausage. The papacy is an institution that left behind records, and combated other institutions that also left a paper trail. The authors of Scripture left no such traces. We don’t know how many drafts, for instance, Paul may have written before getting it just right to send a letter to the Christians at Rome. When the Callers don’t acknowledge the actual guts of the making of the papacy and insist only on the spiritual truths of the papacy, they appear to be in denial. They may simply be ignorant. But their claims for the papacy’s power, antiquity, and charism are decidedly partial.

But for the rest of us, the papacy is breathtaking in its preservation of an ancient order, despite all the changes between Rome in 70 and Paris in 2010, even if that order is now confined to 109 square acres.

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100 Comments

  1. Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Darryl,

    When the Callers don’t acknowledge the actual guts of the making of the papacy and insist only on the spiritual truths of the papacy, they appear to be in denial.

    Of course the question is not fundamentally about *appearances,* but about truth. So precisely where in our articles have we denied or refused to acknowledge some historical event or historical document? I assume you’re not trying to make use of the argument from silence fallacy.

    They may simply be ignorant.

    Indeed we may. But it is easy to come up with ad hominems about anyone with whom one disagrees. It is much more difficult to falsify their claims.

    But their claims for the papacy’s power, antiquity, and charism are decidedly partial.

    The question is fundamentally whether our claims are true. If they are true, and partial, then they are still true. And all we are attempting to show, is that they are true. But so far you have not shown any of our claims to be false.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  2. MichaelTX
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the post Hart,
    Should make for some fruitful discussion.

    One thought, I really am new to you guys world of discussion and don’t have a link with the CTC guys blog in any way. Yet, I don’t think you give those who hold the necessity of the Papacy being part of the Church credit for not being able to look at history with Rome colored glasses. I think being able to look at the “making of the sausage” shows the providential care of Christ in and through his Mystical Body. By coming in the flesh we know and believe that God has made use of earthly things to present the beauty of His majesty. Also, by looking at the cross we can see how ugly and costly touching and embracing sinful humanity is.

    Just some thoughts,
    Mike

  3. AB
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I love the category, ‘are the CTCers paying attention.’ Can we get a foursome golf tournament and settle this blog war, once and for all? If me and Hart win, protestants may be allowed to one scripture interpretation that the Roman magisterial authority doesn’t allow us. If Cross and the partner of his choice win, we’ll wear our Vulcan ears for a week, telling everyone it’s because we begged the question just one too many times. Seriously, stop by more, BC. We miss you. Glad you are paying attention.

    Good post, Dr. Hart.

  4. MichaelTX
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    And I suppose to continue the analogy. God made some pretty good sausage with the Resurrection of Christ.

    Look for that “better resurrection.”
    Peace, Mike

  5. AB
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I’ll request the funds for this gig from our committee. RC’s are pretty cash strapped, given your size, I would think. Think about it…

  6. Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Darryl,

    Thanks for linking to my article on the Dual Profile of the Church. My prayer is that your readers would link to and read the article for themselves. Time prevents me from contributing much at CTC (I teach six classes a day, plus two nights a week in parishes), but I did enjoy putting that article together. I am not sure what you think is wrong about the post. If you have a comment directly related to that post I would be glad to respond.

  7. AB
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if people in what they believe is an infallible church, go around asking, “please point out the fault,” only to respond when corrected, “well, sure, except were infallible.” I don’t mean to be a troll, but to me, I feel like I keep hearing , “resistence is futile,” over and over. I’m checking out. Just an observation.

  8. Jeff Cagle
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    I would say that this para is a large part of the problem.


    The charism of infallibility is given by Christ to the Magisterium to assist the faithful in seeking to live out the faith as disciples.

    The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church’s shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. (CCC #890).

    Thus, the Petrine profile, as we can see, is not given so that the hierarchy could lord it over the laity, but that they might serve and bolster the faith of the laity, that they might live out the universal call to holiness expected of all God’s people. Many people have a distrust of authority, including Christians. However, we who name Christ as Lord should not be distrusting toward the Church He has given to us. The faith we possess is not something made or manufactured by us, but something received as a gift. It is not left to us as individual believers, including clergy and those in religious life, to determine what is and what is not fundamental to Catholic faith and practice. In other words, it is not our calling to stand in judgment over the Magisterium but to receive the faith from the Magisterium as coming not from men but from God.

    You’re probably familiar with Absolom?

  9. Posted April 11, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Jeff,

    What specifically is the problem? I get that you as a Protestant would disagree, but what is the particular issue in the paragraph that you disagree with? I would be happy to respond to a specific question.

    Thanks,
    Tom

  10. AB
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Butting in…

    Hi Tom,

    The Roman Catholic Church is an enigma to me. I’ve only ever been to Protestant church my entire life. I like my church quite a bit. Who is the magisterium, and how do you know? I don’t se myself as being distrusting to the church God has given us. But I have experienced hardship, when my views were at odds with others in the church. Fortunately, a delegation of our leaders led a conference, and I was encouraged and emboldened. Granted, they were the leaders of s church admitting itself fallible. But I saw and experienced the process work, and I was pleased. Other things I see happening , I am not pleased with. But that is what I would expect, for the church is fallible.

    I’m sorry if any of my words above were hurtful. I care about truth. That’s why I hit post now. You don’t need to respond, I’m just sharing. The conversation is you and Jeff. Engage as you feel led.

    Regards…

  11. Bob S
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Absalom.
    Bible.
    Pick up and read.

  12. Bob S
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    What specifically is the problem? I get that you as a Protestant would disagree, but what is the particular issue in the paragraph that you disagree with? I would be happy to respond to a specific question.

    Absalom.
    Bible.
    Pick up and read.

    That’s better.

  13. Bob S
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Indeed we may. But it is easy to come up with ad hominems about anyone with whom one disagrees. It is much more difficult to falsify their claims.

    But their claims for the papacy’s power, antiquity, and charism are decidedly partial.

    The question is fundamentally whether our claims are true. If they are true, and partial, then they are still true. And all we are attempting to show, is that they are true. But so far you have not shown any of our claims to be false.

    Uhhh, we could start with:
    1. Universal consent of the fathers on the infallibility and supremacy, ecclesial and temporal of little papa.
    2. Where in Scripture the roman claims are recognized.

    But before this gets into a nyah – nyah exchange, perhaps Mr. Cross could refrain from trying to get it started in the first place.
    As in how come the burden is on protestantism to prove romanism false?
    As in so far Mr. Cross hasn’t shown any of his claims to be true outside of the Roman paradigm which he has admitted is judged, like all paradigms, as to how well it answers all the questions and fits into reality.

    Oh well.

  14. Posted April 12, 2013 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Bryan — the only thing keeping your “claims” alive is the difficulty of proving a universal negative.

  15. Posted April 12, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Bryan, for the sake of truth, wouldn’t a full presentation of the papacy’s audacity be incumbent on you? So what do you make of all the political intrigue of the papacy? Are you simply unaware of it? Or do you ignore it because it doesn’t fit with your spiritual understanding of the papacy? The problem for you is that the papacy’s claims to spiritual primacy are everywhere bound up with the politics of Europe. It is impossible to separate them. After all, how many encyclicals are devoted to assertions of the papacy’s authority, spiritual and political? You feed the same drive from a pious desire for certainty and truth. But you ignore — even deny — the politics of that quest for certainty and truth. This is not something that postmodernists make up as if every truth claim is about power since so many papal claims are explicitly about power.

  16. Posted April 12, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Michael, so now you need to invoke a Protestant argument to explain the sausage. We too believe in God’s providential care in this mess of Methodists and Arminians.

  17. Posted April 12, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Tom, what’s wrong is that you left out the political profile of the church. I know that is not as attractive as the one CTC presents. But for the sake of honesty, it would help if you acknowledge the papacy’s flaws. But can you do that?

  18. Posted April 12, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    It would also be helpful if any consideration of the history of the Papacy was accompanied by audited financial statements.

  19. Posted April 12, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    “At the same time, a concern for the spiritual depths of Christianity has not always been at the forefront of the papacy’s ministry, unless maintaining supremacy in European politics and mediating the Roman Empire were crucial pieces of that spiritual service.”

    could be:

    “At the same time, a concern for the spiritual depths of Christianity has not always been at the forefront of the Religious Right’s ministry, unless maintaining supremacy in American politics and mediating the American Empire were crucial pieces of that spiritual service.”

  20. AB
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I’d even accept reasonable assurance only, Erik. No malfeasance or scienter, though. I sense that over at planet Vulacn (aka Ctoc)

  21. AB
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    *Vulcan. And that’s being nice. I waffle between Vulcan and the Borg cube. Happy Friday!

  22. A Reformed Realist
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    In 1555 William Hunter was singled out by the authorities because he refused to attend mass despite an order having been made that everyone in the City of London had to attend the Catholic mass. By refusing to obey, William lost his job and he returned to his hometown of Brentwood.

    “William loved the Word of God, for it was while reading it that he had found Jesus as his Saviour.It was while he was reading this precious volume back in Brentwood that he was discovered in the very act, and the Roman Catholic Church regarded such as heretics. There was only one thing to do with such disobedient people, and that was to put them to death. That is why young Hunter was brought before his judges and this is what took place:

    “‘Well,’ said Master Brown, one of his persecutors, ‘as you can expound so well, how say you to the twenty-second of St. Luke? Look here, for Christ saith that the bread is His Body.’

    “Hunter answered: ‘The text saith, that Christ took bread, but not that He changed it into another substance but gave that which He took, and brake that which He gave, which was bread, as is evident by the text; for otherwise he should have two bodies to affirm which I see no reason.’

    “At this answer Brown was very angry, and took up the Bible, and turned the leaves, and flung it down again in a fury, and said: ‘Thou naughty boy, wilt thou not take things as they are, but expound them as thou wilt? Does not Christ call bread His Body plainly, and thou wilt not believe that the bread is His Body after the consecration? Thou goest about to make Christ a liar.’

    “But Hunter answered: ‘I mean not so, sir, but I mean rather more earnestly to search what is in the mind of Christ in that holy institution, in which He commends to us the remembrance of His death, passion, resurrection, and coming again, saying: “This do in remembrance of Me” – and also though Christ call the bread His Body, as He also says He is a vine, and in another place a door, yet is His body not turned into bread any more than He is turned into a door or a vine. Wherefore Christ called the bread His body by a figure!’

    “Then Brown said: ‘Thou art a villain, indeed! ‘Wilt thou make Christ a liar still?’ and was in such a fury with Hunter and so raged that Hunter could not speak a word.

    “Wherefore, seeing him in such a fury, Hunter desired that he would either hear him quietly, and allow him to answer for himself, or else send him away.

    “Brown answered: ‘Indeed I will send thee tomorrow to my lord of London, and he shall have thee under examination’ – so he wrote a letter immediately, and sent Hunter with a constable to Bonner, the Bishop of London, who commanded his men to put Hunter in the stocks in his gatehouse, where he sat two days and nights, with only a crust of brown bread and a cup of water.

    “At the end of two days the Bishop came to him, and finding the cup of water and the crust of bread still by him on the stocks, he said to his men: ‘Take him out of the stocks, and let him break his fast with you.’ Then they let him out of the stocks, but would not let him eat with them, but called him a heretic.

    “After breakfast the Bishop demanded whether He would recant, but Hunter refused.

    “The Bishop said that he was no Christian, but that he denied the faith in which he was baptized; but Hunter answered: ‘I was baptized in the faith of the Holy Trinity, which I will not go from, God assisting me with His grace.’

    “‘Well,’ said the Bishop, ‘you will be burned ere you be twenty years old, if you will not yield yourself better than you have done already.’

    “Hunter answered: ‘God strengthen me in His truth.’

    “Now when it was day, the Sheriff set forth to the burning of William Hunter. Then came the Sheriff’s son to him, and took him by the right hand, saying: ‘William, be not afraid of these men who are here present, with blows, bills, and weapons prepared to bring you to the place where you shall be burned.’ William answered: ‘I thank God I am not afraid, for I have laid my account what it will cost me already.’ At this the Sheriff’s son could speak no more to him for weeping.

    “Then William Hunter plucked up his gown and went forward cheerfully, the Sheriff’s servant taking him by one arm, and his brother by the other. While on his way he met his Father, who spoke to his son, weeping and saying: ‘God be with thee, son William’; and William answered: ‘God be with you, good father, and be of good comfort; for I hope we shall meet again when we shall be happy.’ His Father said: ‘I hope so, William.’ Then William went to the place where the stake stood, but the things were not ready, so he kneeled down, and read the fifty-first Psalm, till he came to these words: ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.’

    Then said the Sheriff: ‘Here is a letter from the Queen. If thou wilt recant, thou shalt live; if not thou shalt be burned.’ ‘No,’ answered William, ‘I will not recant, God willing.’ He was then secured to the stake with a chain.

    “Then said William: ‘Good People, pray for me; and make speed and despatch me quickly; and pray for me while you see me alive, good people, and I will pray for you likewise.’

    “‘What!’ said one, ‘pray for thee? I will pray no more for thee than I would pray for a dog.’ William answered: ‘Now you have that which you sought for; and I pray God, it be not laid to your charge in the last day. I forgive you.’ Then said the other: ‘I ask no forgiveness of thee.’ ‘Well,’ said William, ‘if God forgive you, I shall not require my blood at your hands.’

    “Then William, seeing the priest, and perceiving how he would show him the book, said: ‘Away, thou false prophet! Beware of them, good people, and come away from their abominations, lest you be partakers of their plagues.’ Then said the priest: ‘As thou burnest here, so shalt thou burn in hell.’ William answered: ‘Thou lied, thou false prophet! Away, thou false prophet, away!’

    Upon this, fire was put to the faggots.

    “Then William flung his Psalter into his brother’s hands who said: ‘William, think on the holy passion of Christ, and be not afraid of death.’ William answered: ‘I am not afraid.’ Then he lifted up his hands to heaven and said: ‘Lord, Lord, receive my spirit’; and casting down his head again into the smoke, he yielded up his life for the truth, sealing it with his blood to the praise of God.”

    Sometimes it is easy to forget the extent of the lies, deceit, and heresy of Rome. Papal/Magisterium infalible authority is just one of many…

  23. Posted April 12, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Talking of Gregorys, didn’t one of them have something to say about the role of universal bishop? Something about the antichrist, I think.

  24. Posted April 12, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    The problem for you is that the papacy’s claims to spiritual primacy are everywhere bound up with the politics of Europe.

    That does not falsify anything we have said.

    You feed the same drive from a pious desire for certainty and truth. But you ignore — even deny — the politics of that quest for certainty and truth.

    Where, exactly, have I (or any CTC person) denied this?

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  25. sean
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    I find it interesting in your profile that you cast the papacy in terms of Mary. I’ve always been troubled by the marian focus in Rome. I understand the “idea” of nurturer and examplar, but since I was a child marian practice has always struck me as a competitor with Christ. Jesus’ refers to himself as a “hen” eager to gather her chicks, as gentle and lowly of heart, as refusing to break a bruised reed, as a shepherd to his sheep and His sheep hear his voice, as exhibiting a care so profound and loyal that He’d leave the flock to rescue the one. There has long been a confusion in the pew about Mary’s role and her place in mediation and the rather sparse mention of her in scripture, particularly in the epistles for the almost equivalent emphasis of her within the pew practice of most RC’s. It speaks to one of the strongest polemics against Rome; What she gives you on one hand, she takes away with the other. Marian doctrine also highlights the strong dependence on Tradition, in this case, over against the canonical record. It’s never been that Rome doesn’t talk about Jesus, or grace or faith et al. It’s that it adds to the ‘word of God’ and if you view it from the perspective of pew practice or simply the reformation, it’s the add-ons or “T”radtional developments that cause the greatest confusion and quite frankly plant the seeds of it’s own internal strife. And in the case of Marian dogma, actually, unintendendly, but nevertheless truly, creates a competitor to Christ.

  26. AB
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Bryan, is ctoc infallible? Olts is not (our little secret)

  27. Posted April 12, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Thanks for that, Realist.

    Perhaps as much a statement against Constantinianism as against Rome (since they could find similar stories of persecution against Catholics). If the wrong side is going to end up in hell, what’s the hurry?

  28. Posted April 12, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Hart tries to reason with Cross, to no avail (3:30):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IrCgt-Bt1I

  29. MichaelTX
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Hart,

    I’ll try to avoid respond by not invoking a protestant or catholic argument. Hopefully one that just gets us to think about it a bit. I’m not a hard liner in making points. I just hope to get people to think in light of faith, hope and love. I’ll also hope no one thinks I’m speaking harshly. I seek to speak with a heart for others and just try and get others to think about things themselves.

    To you question,
    To carry the sausage analogy along, if we both believe that there is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church” then lets say that is the complete sausage. I hope we don’t get too odd now… but God’s providential care and guidance would seem to be the casing and his promises would seem to be the creation of the grinder and the Son coming in the flesh would have been the only one who could get it going, because the power of God is love. He clearly is the one who truly loved the Father and the lost sheep. Now the complete sausage is our “heavenly Jerusalem,” but everything going in goes in within earthly time. So, to turn the grinder you have to be here on earth. Without Christ in the grinder we don’t have the presents of God with us in the Church. There is the coming of the Son and His cross. The Resurrection gives the Apostles the vision of heaven. They now have faith(takes promises) and hope(takes heavenly vision), but they lack the power of God which is love. So, they rely of their faith in the promise of the Spirit. Christ leaves the grinder to the Apostles.
    I suppose here the analogy will begin to show our differences. Christ commanded the Apostles to go like Christ went to bring men the “grinder”(the promises). The coming of the Spirit gives them the power to turn the grinder wheel(proclaim the good news) and they do. I guess around here would be where the new plans of Satan would come in and he seeks to convince men to add or remove different parts in the grinder(heresies) and these even spring up from within the earthly Church. (wheat and tares remember) The Apostle job is to keep at the right grinder(they have the promises to keep at it). If we believe the scriptures that is. The apostles, like Christ, send out other apostles to grind with them, but not all continue in the truths of the faith(heresies). Many return to the correct grinder when it is pointed out by the earthly Church in communion with the Apostles, yet others do not and say there grinder is the correct one and they are the ones sent(schism). It seems the lost sheep around the church would have been hopeless if they had to just guess who to listen to, being they weren’t the ones sent. Yet we have an interesting thing in the scriptures where not only the promises are given to the Apostles together, we also have promises given just to Peter. Catholics believe those promises continue to apply in the Church as the others apply also.

    Hope that give you a framework of where my thoughts where at. All this talk of sausage has gotten me hungry now though.

    In the peace of Christ,
    Mike

  30. MichaelTX
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I suppose it is obvious one of those promises is Matt 16 and another being at the last supper. Simon being Peter the Rock is like the gaurentee he’ll be with the sausage makers.

  31. A Reformed Realist
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Erik

    Good point about persecution against Catholics. Though far less than protestant persecution, I do not believe any persecution is acceptable as the Lord obviously will have his vengence and has not given (and rather forbidden) that to Christians.

    My primary point with the post was to remind of the gravity of the heresies (Mass, Mary, etc…) of Rome and less so to highlight the persecution. The false teaching and practice is so wrong, that we, like many before us, must die rather than participate and deny Christ.

    Sometimes I think Protestants are too eager to think of RCs as saved that we forget the core dogmas of Roman Catholicism that if adhered to and believed lead to hell.

  32. MichaelTX
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Hey,
    I suppose like Christ all Christians are to suffer the persecutions of the world to be ground up into the Heavenly Jerusalem.

    “take up you cross daily”
    Mike

  33. Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    MichaelTX,

    You tell us it’s sausage but your Catholic brothers Tom and Bryan here tell us the RCC is more akin to prime rib. Which is it?

  34. Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    With a living, breathing apostle at the helm I would at least expect it to be as good as the steak I had at Applebee’s last night. Sausage indeed.

  35. AB
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    And if its true we are the sausage, why did tom and Bryan quit and join someone else? I’m fine if they want to leave, because they disagree with us. But to set up a website and parade around, as though if you don’t expose pur errors, we don’t have any, sounds a lot like the sausage church we’ve been ‘reformanda’ing for a long time. Maybe some people just dont take criticism well, I don’t know..

  36. Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Darryl,

    Thanks for letting me know what it was that you objected to in what I wrote. Since I am not a historian of the political issues involving the Papacy and since what I aimed to write was on a topic dear to the heart of Bl John Paul II and Benedict XVI, namely the Marian and Petrine Profile of the Church, I really have nothing to say in response to your objection. If you are inclined you might be better served by reading the then Cardinal Ratzinger on Church and State Matters http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/ratzinger2.html

    Thanks,
    Tom

  37. MichaelTX
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Erik,
    If God the Father, Jesus His beloved Son, the power of the Holy Spirit is in there… I don’t care. Even if it looks like slaughterhouse sludge. That is the Image God gave us of himself. “the suffering servant”
    Mike

  38. AB
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I think it was Catholic flannery o Connor, that said you shall know the truth, and the truth will make.you odd. More than anything, I just chalk a lot of my unanswered questions and dot dot dot to oddities. I know that’s understating for some in this thread, but its as middle of the road as I go. I’m just glad my favorite book says something much better about the effect Truth has on us. Later.

  39. MichaelTX
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    AB,
    I think their Blog name points to the answer. They are called to the communion which they and myself believe is grinding the right grinder. Using Jesus’s imagery: don’t put your lamp under nothing.
    Peace Bro

  40. Posted April 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps we’ll discover the answers we can all agree on from The Beatles. Have you ever listened to “Rubber Soul” straight through? What a fabulous album:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izITCnFEpp4

  41. Posted April 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    One friend commented that some later Beatles records are better. To that I reply that if I want to hear a sitar I’ll buy a Ravi Shankar album. The only lull in “Monterey Pop” is Shankar’s segment.

  42. Posted April 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Bryan, where have you acknowledged that the spiritual claims of the papacy were bound up with its political ambitions? Have you once considered that the notion of Petrine succession might be a device to shore up power and authority against rival authorities? In which case, papal supremacy may be as much a function of European politics as of apostolic witness. If European politics were considered as a possible justification for papal audacity, I am not sure you or the other Callers would be quite so quick to convert to that narrative.

    You’re not telling the whole truth.

  43. Posted April 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Michael, you ground a metaphor into sausage.

    The promise to Peter comes in two verses. The whole primacy of the papacy hangs on that? Where is Peter or the Petrine see in the rest of the New Testament?

    To use the analogy of sausage, you start with a link and end with a link. You haven’t shown how to make sausage from the NT.

  44. Posted April 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    What I mean is this. Absalom seated himself at the gate of Jerusalem and intercepted people who came to David for justice (2 Sam 15). He received homage from them, and the Scripture says that he “stole the hearts of the people.”

    The structure of Absalom’s heart-stealing looks like this:

    * He placed himself between the king and the people.
    * He told them that the king had not provided for their needs,
    * But he could.
    * And he then received homage from them.

    What your paragraph does not see is that, no matter how well-intentioned you might be in your submission to Rome (and you probably are), the claims of Rome function just like the heart-stealing of Absalom.

    “Oh, that there were a way to rightly understand God’s word. But there is none. But, we shall do it for you! Now submit to us.”

    And your paragraph plays to this hand. You say,

    “It is not left to us as individual believers, including clergy and those in religious life, to determine what is and what is not fundamental to Catholic faith and practice. In other words, it is not our calling to stand in judgment over the Magisterium but to receive the faith from the Magisterium as coming not from men but from God.”

    What you are advocating is the same Divine Command Theory that Bryan rejects — but the Divine Commands come from the Magisterium instead of God’s Word.

    But now transport yourself back to the 13th century. Pope Innocent III calls the Albigensian Crusade. Which is the better course: To obey the Pope, or to refrain from murder?

    Bring yourself forward to today. The Magisterium says that it is acceptable to bow to crucifixes and to the Host. The 2nd Commandment says that it is not. Which is the better course?

    I can anticipate the answer: Who says that it is murder? Who says that it is idolatry?

    Yea, hath God really said … ?

  45. Posted April 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Popes are mere men, as everyone else. Some are better than others, none are infallible (not even close).

    One look at the Medici Popes will sober anyone up who believes that these men held some special ‘blue gas’ from God.

    Not discounting that there have been good Popes who were faithful stewards of God’s Word, there was a time when Popes were considered to be chaste if they limited their sexual appetites to women.

  46. MichaelTX
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Hart,
    About the metaphor,
    Yeah, but you asked. I just obliged you.

    About the scriptures,
    Like I said earlier I am new to you guy’s discussion. I would assume you know, if you have been looking at this for a while that those are not the only scriptures that do. This also would be a difference between a sola scriptura vision as opposed to the Catholic vision.

    To jump back into the sausage metaphor… the Scripture are in the grinding(proclaimation of the goodnews), but not to be used against the grinder created by Christ’s coming and sending of the Apostles in communion with Peter and empowered by the Holy Spirit’s reminding of all that is taught by Christ.

    “But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. ” John 14:26

    So, I guess in a sense, I don’t believe the Church is to be rebuilt from the Scripture but the inerrant Scriptures prove that the Apostolic elder based Church exists and must not be abandoned, for it is within the Church that the promises are held, proclaimed and are to be lived. This is what Christ did in the Old Testament assembled people of God(Kahal/Ekklesia), even though it caused His death within that assembly ordained by God. This is how we have conscience held captive by the word of God and a determination to love one another as Christ has loved us. Plenty of Catholic Saints stood against their superior elders in the Church and in some form are martyred because of it. Though this happened usually at local levels and done by secular rulers, but I wouldn’t doubt that you could come up with some exceptions to what I just stated. Yet even, if you put the axe or torch in the hand of a Pope and I don’t see the promise of Christ failing. I see the example of Christ still submitting to the cry of the High Priest Caiaphas, “Crucify Him!”, whom was part of the appointed Old Testament assembly(Kahal/Ekklesia) of God.

    Well, just passing along this Catholic’s mind.
    Peace, Mike.

  47. Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Good comments, Mike.

    But the called out ones are found in all churches where Christ and His gospel are proclaimed and believed. No one has a corner on it. And the power and authority come from the Word…alone.

  48. MichaelTX
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Steve,
    Yep, and His sheep hear His voice and follow Him even if it leads them to Rome. Although the authority doesn’t come from the Scriptures alone, but from God through Christ alone.
    Peace, Mike.

  49. Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Right, Mike.

    We don’t deny that there are Christians in the Roman Church, in spite of all the barnacles covering the pure gospel.

    And our (Lutherans, some of us, anyway) communion railings are open to you. But yours are closed to us.

    For us, the Word is Christ Jesus Himself. Him again in preaching and teaching, and then in the Bible…in that order. No Pope or historic episcopate required (“blue gas”).

    For us, it truly is the Word…alone.

    As much as you can get there, even in baby steps, we say, ‘have at it’.

  50. MichaelTX
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Steve,
    I guess that is part of the problem I had with remaining Reformed/Protestant. I do see the Scriptures saying there is a historic authoritative episcopate. After that it is just a matter of finding who I, or my ancestors, jumped of the rails.

  51. MichaelTX
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    “… finding how I, or my ancestors…
    Sorry for the typo.

  52. George
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    @ Steve Martin:

    “… And our (Lutherans, some of us, anyway) communion railings are open to you. But yours are closed to us …”

    ???? First I’d heard of this. To which Lutheran “synod” does your church belong? I know of no “confessional” Lutherans who would knowingly allow this.

  53. Posted April 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Jeff,

    The issue as to the faith is simply this: the faith, as in dogma, doctrine, and discipline is something given or handed on. The faith is not held hostage to the whims of individuals, whether they be clergy or laity, to determine as they see fit. Thus, the faith is something objective and not determined by popular vote. Pope Francis recently commented on this very thing during his reflection on the Saturday of the Octave of Easter http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/23861/

    Francis’ predecessor Benedict XVI made similar comments in his call for The Year of Faith http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20111011_porta-fidei_en.html

    Just prior to his election to the Chair of Peter, Benedict spoke about the dictatorship of relativism, referring not only to moral relativism but doctrinal relativism http://www.ewtn.com/pope/words/conclave_homily.asp

    As a Catholic, my submission to the Pope and the Magisterium in regards to faith and morals is
    rooted not in Divine Command Theory, but in faith and reason. It is reasonable to believe that Jesus Christ established His Church and endowed it with His gift of infallibility based on the Scriptures themselves and the events of history. Which Church can lay claim to be the Church intended and established by Jesus Christ in history? I believe that Church to be the Church in which Peter and his successor governs, together with the successors of the Apostles, the Bishops, which is the Church which presides in love, to borrow that most beautiful phrase from the hand of St. Ignatius, the Church of Rome, the Mother Church of the Christian faithful.

    If you are inclined to read some beautiful reflections from Pope Benedict I would recommend his Dogma and Preaching in order to get a better sense of this understanding of the Faith as something given and not fabricated according to the whims of popular opinion.

  54. Posted April 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Jeff,

    I should have added this wonderful reflection from today by Pope Francis
    http://en.radiovaticana.va/articolo.asp?c=682194

  55. Posted April 12, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    George,

    We are ELCA…BUT…we virtually have nothing to do with them anymore. We have explored leaving, but our congregation is too small to absorb a split. For the time being we will rock along as we have for the last 10 years with almost no contact with the ELCA. (they have pretty much jettisoned God’s Word in favor of a left-wing political agenda.

    As far as the Lord’s Supper is concerned, we invite ALL baptized Christians who believe that the true body and blood are present in the meal.

    We don’t believe in fencing off the pure gospel from sinners who need it, more than what I just mentioned. If there’s a problem with some of their beliefs (who has it all right, anyway?) then we believe that the Lord is more than capable of handling whatever it is.

  56. Posted April 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Mike,

    We believe that Jesus built His Church on Peter’s confession of faith…not the man.

    It doesn’t show (we believe) much trust in the Word of God to do what It will do, if it depends on certain fingertips touching people to juice them up.

    The Word creates and sustains faith, in and of itself.

    It’s very liberating to trust in Christ and His Word alone, and not in anything that we do, say, feel, or think. I spent 35 years as a Roman Catholic and never had any assurance. I honestly don’t know how anyone can have in such a system that relies partly on God and partly on you.

    Thanks, Mike.

    That’s it for tonight. Gotta run. Nice talking with you, friend.

  57. David
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Atta man Steve Martin

    I see you found Old Life my Lutheran brother. You sure make the rounds – from Old Adam Lives (great website) to Heidelblog. It sure is wonderful having a companion in law-gospel and a defense of Christ dying for sinners over at Creed Code Cult.

    How you been doing Mr Martin? Please tell Pa. Mark Anderson I send my thanks for his demons and such. I’m glad you fled from Rome to Wittenberg my friend.

    Sincerely,
    David Beilstein

  58. David
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Steve,

    Send Pa. Mark Anderson my regards for his sermons – not demons! Auto spell is a killer and can make one look foolish. I know D.G.Hart probably enjoys having your voice on here in the comment box on a regular basis.

    Blessings,
    Djbeilstein

  59. Posted April 13, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Hello David,

    Good to hear from you brother.

    Pastor Mark will be very happy to hear that you are enjoying the sermons.

    Thank you, so much.

    When one finally tastes the real freedom (as you know) of Christ…one can never again go back into bondage. We’d rather die first.

    His blessings be upon you, David.

  60. Posted April 13, 2013 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    Bryan, where have you acknowledged that the spiritual claims of the papacy were bound up with its political ambitions? Have you once considered that the notion of Petrine succession might be a device to shore up power and authority against rival authorities?

    Those are questions; they do not refute or falsify anything we have said, or specify some place where we have denied or refused to acknowledge some historical event or historical document.

    If European politics were considered as a possible justification for papal audacity, I am not sure you or the other Callers would be quite so quick to convert to that narrative.

    Again, that doesn’t falsify a single thing we have said, or refute any argument we have made. It is mere speculation.

    You’re not telling the whole truth.

    No one can tell the *whole* truth, if by “whole truth* is meant every truth there is, because we are finite creatures. But that does not make every claim false, or every argument unsound. If you think some truth falsifies a claim we have made, or refutes an argument we have laid out, then you’ll need to show how it does so.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  61. Posted April 13, 2013 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    Darryl — The Magisterium du Jour now is Francis. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

  62. Posted April 13, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Darryl — the key to Bryan’s thinking is that, at Caesarea Phillipi, Jesus handed full (Vatican 1-style) papal authority directly to Peter; which fully instituted the Roman Catholic Church at that moment (and that somehow the text of Matthew was a mere ratification of this event). Peter then handed this full papal authority to either Linus or Clement (depending upon whom you talk to), and the handing-off of full papal power has not had an interruption (or if there was an interruption, this full papal power resided in some Platonic form somewhere to be handed off) from one to another to the next and now to Francis. Whether or not the individual who held the full papal power was ambitious or greedy or power-hungry or profligate — not a part of the invisible church in any way — this did nothing to diminish the full papal power in the visible church.

    To counter the question of “what if a bad pope made a bad dogma”, the “Alias Smith and Jones” defense suffices: for all the banks they robbed and whores they bedded and people they killed, they never “taught” anything”. This was “the gates of hell not prevailing”, this was God’s divine protection of the church.

    In all of this, absolutely no recourse to Scripture is necessary. “The whole truth” is not necessary because we are finite creatures. With his statement about “falsification”, Bryan rests his case. You cannot prove a universal negative (and his own claims are thusly stated — infallibility only in certain, undefined cases — so it is a moving universal negative at that), he rests himself upon a logical argument that can never be falsified.

  63. Posted April 13, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Michael, how you read Peter (which is different from an apostolic elder based church that you see Paul argue for in his pastoral epistles) into John 14:23 is a case of seeing what you want to see (or maybe a function of the papacy restricting the laity’s access to Scripture — sorry for that shot which is true and not cheap).

  64. Posted April 13, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Bryan, if you don’t tell the whole truth when you know the whole truth you are either in denial or falsifying. Also, if you are going to be a spokesman for an institution, it is incumbent on you not to misrepresent the institution. And if you know something about an institution but don’t reveal it, then you do misrepresent.

    So why is it you present only a partial view of the papacy?

  65. Posted April 13, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    John, if Bryan were living at a time when the papacy still banned books, and he didn’t have access to historians like Chadwick and Duffy, he might get a pass. But again, the papacy changed on restricting access to books.

  66. Posted April 13, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Bryan, one more thought, it’s actually worse than you think. The history of the papacy not only raises questions about your claims about the papacy but also about the papacy’s own claims. When you begin to see that the papacy’s spiritual claims have as much to do with protecting political authority as with pastoral concern, you start a process by which claims of infallible authority die a death of a thousand qualifications — such that infallibility has been invoked on only two occasions.

  67. AB
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Just a personal sharing,you generous gents in this latest set of comments, this 12+ year OPC dude, coming in from an fundamentalist church upbringing, was ‘enlightened,’ via WCF 1.5. More important than my Genesis to Revelation papers be infallible, is that they are the Word of God. Not only is 1.5 beautifully written, but it speaks truth. I’m just sharing, because it actually meant something importantto me as a teenager, coming into contact with that language for the first time. I am thankful for your labors, even I’d I only ever talk about golf…

  68. AB
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    *if

    So if I can sum up, labor on. Bye for now.

  69. Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Tom Riello, you said above, As a Catholic, my submission to the Pope and the Magisterium in regards to faith and morals is
    rooted not in Divine Command Theory, but in faith and reason. It is reasonable to believe that Jesus Christ established His Church and endowed it with His gift of infallibility based on the Scriptures themselves and the events of history.

    If you want to talk about “the events of history”, then you must take into account such analyses which disclaim the possibility that Peter had anything at all like a “successor” — in fact your “submission” is actually rooted in an assumption of “divine command” as stated in Vatican 1, in the section “On the permanence of the primacy of blessed Peter in the Roman pontiffs”.

    “The events of history” that you hold dear relate that there were multiple house churches, and no such thing as a “bishop” in Rome until the middle or late second century. Another “event of history”, that is, the publication of the Shepherd of Hermas, relates that the multiple presbyters of the city fought among themselves as to who was greatest.

    Such “events of history” are conveniently discounted by you and yours, in favor of the much less plausible notion that Peter somehow handed his “primacy” (which he himself never acknowledged, placing himself instead among the “fellow presbyters”).

    Your “submission” is in fact based not on “reason” but “faith in the divine command”.

    Which Church can lay claim to be the Church intended and established by Jesus Christ in history?

    The invisible church which adheres to the gospel. “My kingdom is not of this world” Jesus said. That means, “my kingdom is not visible here” — “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

    Rome’s claims throughout history to be the master of this process is blasphemy.

    “I believe that Church to be the Church in which Peter and his successor governs, together with the successors of the Apostles, the Bishops, which is the Church which presides in love, to borrow that most beautiful phrase from the hand of St. Ignatius, the Church of Rome, the Mother Church of the Christian faithful.”

    Ignatius himself, whom, it has been suggested, is “the successor of Peter” at Antioch, had no conception that there was any “primacy” — Peter and Paul were the apostles who “commanded” — if anyone had any idea of a “succession”, it certainly wasn’t Ignatius.

    that most beautiful phrase from the hand of St. Ignatius, the Church of Rome, the Mother Church of the Christian faithful.

    Ignatius never called the church of Rome “mother church”. The church, he called “mother of the saints”, but he was writing to the Symernians. Your attempt to equate the church of Rome with this church is dishonest.

    In his letter to the Romans, it is said that church “hath the presidency in the country of the region of the Romans” — it was regarded as having some leadership in its own region — that is the most that can be taken from his language.

    “…the Faith as something given and not fabricated according to the whims of popular opinion.”

    The Roman Catholic faith is fabricated according to the whims of popes and bishops who place themselves far above where Ignatius, the champion of “the bishop”, ever placed himself.

  70. mark mcculley
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    sm: As far as the Lord’s Supper is concerned, we invite ALL baptized Christians who believe that the true body and blood are present in the meal. We don’t believe in fencing off the pure gospel from sinners who need it, more than what I just mentioned.

    mark: Good thing I don’t equate fencing your sacrament from me with fencing the gospel from me. Not only do I believe that regeneration by instrumental water is a false gospel, but I also deny the ubiquity of the humanity of the risen Christ. If Christ is not with us except in the terms of the Lutheran confession, then Christ is not with us. But Christ IS WITH US, and also absent from us, which is why Christians wait for His coming. WHO shows the Lord’s death until He comes?

    It is also a false gospel to teach that Christ died for all sinners and then to deny that God by Christ’s Spirit gives all for whom Christ died faith in the gospel. But it is this same false gospel which Lutherans have in common with the pope: “objective” reconciliation for everybody, but real perishing for many sinners whom they claim God loves. I don’t know if Steve’s church is inviting baptised Romanists, but they are most certainly uninviting those of who think we are the ones remembering and showing….

    Hebrews 13:20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever…

  71. Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Ames library sale last night had the largest philosophy & religion section I have ever seen (in the high hundreds if not thousands). Clearly a local Catholic or Catholics died or moved into a nursing home. Picked up a few good titles on church history, Aquinas, Francis of Assisi, etc. Also got an early edition of Edward Young’s (Westminster Seminary) introduction to the Old Testament. Half-price tomorrow and everything’s free on Monday.

    http://www.amespubliclibrary.org/

  72. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    John,

    When I wrote, “to borrow that most beautiful phrase from St. Ignatius”, I was referring to “church that presides in love”, which, as you know, he did write in reference to the Church in Rome. I apologize for not being as clear as I should have been.

    John, I would also recommend to you, and anyone else who might be reading, to take a look at James Hitchcock’s new book History of the Catholic Church. I would also encourage you to take a look at Warren Carroll’s A History of Christendom series. It would also help to pick up Diane Moczar’s Seven Lies About Catholic History. So many other wonderful titles could be added to my suggestions, for example Thomas Woods’ How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. I think the one many of the readers here would especially like is Taylor Marshall’s Eternal City: Rome and the Origins of Catholic Christianity, because Taylor has a deep appreciation and knowledge of the Reformed conception of Covenant, and he beautifully weaves his theological formation together with a masterful grasp of the Church’s history.

    You might ask, why so many book suggestions? Because these authors in their respective fields are and were scholars of the first rate, and they don’t gloss over the history and they are much superior to my feeble attempts to duplicate their already excellent work.

  73. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    Bryan, if you don’t tell the whole truth when you know the whole truth you are either in denial or falsifying.

    That, of course, is a false dilemma. A third alternative is that a person simply does not have the time to write down every truth he knows about x. A fourth alternative is that many truths about x are not relevant to the truth he intends to communicate about x.

    Also, if you are going to be a spokesman for an institution, it is incumbent on you not to misrepresent the institution.

    Of course. That’s true whether or not one is speaking *for* an institution. But it is not true that not saying x about y entails misrepresenting y. (Otherwise you would be guilty of the same thing, for not having exhaustively written out everything you know about presbyterianism, or about growing mushrooms, or about space exploration.) It takes more than not saying x about y (while knowing x to be true of y) to misrepresent y.

    And if you know something about an institution but don’t reveal it, then you do misrepresent.

    Again, that’s simply not true. To avoid misrepresenting something, one need not state everything one knows about it. Rather, one must not present it as something contrary to what it is. And nothing we have said presents the Catholic Church as contrary to what it is, nor have you shown that we have done so.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  74. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    The Catholic apologist has a tough task in that he has to defend the entire history of his church. The Protestant apologist has a much easier task in that he only has to defend his church as it exists today. Protestants can handle past instances of unfaithfulness and corruption — that’s why they are Protestants. Catholics, because of what they claim their church to be, has to embrace and reconcile it all. I don’t envy them. The only way to do it is to interpret history selectively, thus Hart’s criticisms of Cross and CTC.

  75. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    The history of the papacy not only raises questions about your claims about the papacy but also about the papacy’s own claims. When you begin to see that the papacy’s spiritual claims have as much to do with protecting political authority as with pastoral concern, you start a process by which claims of infallible authority die a death of a thousand qualifications …

    Feel free to lay out the argument. Hand-waving is easy, but not helpful.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  76. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    One of these days Hart will ask the right question in the right way and Cross will have to engage and answer. Or maybe not.

    In a video game aren’t you only allowed to use the cloak of invisibility a limited number of times?

  77. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Bryan,

    How do you account for so many of your Popes being less than faithful Christians? Or would you say they have all been faithful Christians?

  78. AB
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Holmes needs his moriarty…

    Don’t leave Olts, Bryan, until we get to the bottom of these things. You’ve been going for a while now. Unless of course you need a vacation, then just remember to set your out of office responder. We’re going to solve. Oh, and by the way, can you tell me what YOU will do, when the roman magisterial authority admits it is fallible? You do know that’s the first step to all this, right? Would you start working on your putting or tee shots, first? I mean it – stay around.

  79. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Mark M.,

    You don’t believe that God baptizes anyone, in water and the Word?

    OK.

    But millions of us do. “Those of you who have been baptized have put on Christ.” Gal. 4:4

  80. Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    To be more precise and not reduce it to soundbites, here is why we invite ALL baptized Christians who believe Christ to be truly present in the meal to come and receive His meal:

    http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/on-open-and-closed-communion.mp3

    It’s not cut and dried. But we do have our reasons.

  81. David
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I was under the impression Called To Communion had their own Internet digs? But whenever I peruse the beauty that is Old Life (and it’s mission to protect the unfettered Holy Gospel by recovering the Reformed Confessions & the Reformed Church) I constantly see a load of papists in the comment box. Interaction is perhaps good – but jeepers, you Roman Catholic’s sure do invite yourselves over without second thought.

    It is shocking to see how busy Bryan Cross’ keyboarding skills have become – from CTC to CCC to Old Life. Talk about getting around. It takes some guts, Bryan, but then again, it requires a lot of patience I’m sure dealing with us TR’s – constantly looking down our nose at evangelicals and Roman Catholics, uh?

    -djbeilstein

  82. AB
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    You are right, Erik, the RC apologist must rewrite history as a part of their current apology. Being fallible means we could someday lose to the RC’s, though, my sense is we have been gaining since the start of this over 500 years ago. Being a member of a fallible church also has the advantage of living in the real world. I know that steak tastes good, cipher…

  83. AB
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    *Cypher. That last sentence was to my RC apologists hanging out with us today. I receive no answer, I go little off the rails. Call me fallible…

  84. sean
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Bryan,

    I know you imagine that making sure your arguments are impenetrably coherent is what’s important. But, If you want to base at least a portion of your faith claims on making assertions about the historical record and then wittingly or unwittingly leaving out or de-emphasizing aspects of the historical record not in your favor, it draws into question the integrity of the claim. It also, doesn’t help to make scriptural claims and then bail out of the scriptural discussion by claiming the “lexicon and tradition”. Now, I’m no historian or exegete by trade but I know people who do it for a living, and your arguments aren’t as coherent as you’d hope to portray and seeing as your the one running an ecumenical site/recruitment center making the claims, you might want to stop schoolmarming folks who don’t craft perfect syllogisms and start engaging the substance of the polemic. Unless your goal is not to present the claims of the church with integrity, but merely to win an argument or best an opponent on the ground of your choosing and training. I’m better than a lot of people at what I’ve been trained for and paid to do and what I get to spend the prime hours of my day doing, so what.

    Maybe you could take their assertions and imperfectly crafted arguments and say; “here’s a better way to say this, and here’s what you seem to be trying to get at, right? O.K. so, I hear you saying this, right? O.K. as an RC here’s how I’d answer that, and here’s how the church answers that objection” At this point this is a matter of historical record; “a”, and based on “a” and with the additional contingencies of “b”, “c”, “d”, I/church come to this conclusion or faith claim.” This is essentially what Jeff tried to get you to do at one point and the response he got was; “It’s not my job to make an argument against the church”. Well, that’s fine, maybe it’s not your job, but then your the one leaving the hole, and creating the environment of suspicion and skepticism you then accuse others of as wrongly/falsely approaching the claims of Rome.

  85. Bob S
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    As alluded to by many, Bryan and Rome’s problem is simply that the history of the popes is not an open book, like uhm, an infallible, sufficient and perspicuous book if we could find one, so any appeal to that history might necessarily include an authoritative interpreter such as .. . . Walter Duranty for the NYT on Stalin’s show trials in the ’40’s?
    Again, it’s hard to be on the same page when we are talking about tradition or history as compared to something a little more objective like . . . the Rosetta Stone?

    Anyway.
    Neither is Bryan interested in putting forth arguments, sean.
    All he’s got to do is keep saying “you’re wrong” and sit pat. No syllogisms or succinct arguments will be forthcoming. “The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”? That’s nothing but performative handwaving.

  86. Posted April 13, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Sean – you’re the one running an ecumenical site/recruitment center

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR9HuRUUTbs

  87. Posted April 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Bryan, burying your head in the sand is not easy, nor is it an argument.

  88. MichaelTX
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Hart,
    I’ve gotten a bit behind in following you guys discussion. I’m a married guy and a father of four kiddos under the age of eight. So, doing the best I can on last weekend to finish up the taxes and such. I don’t know how you do it so regularly.

    Anyway regarding your 7:32 am post to me. The basic point I was relating to was in some of my other posts with you on here, which if my comprehension of those ideas aren’t grasped it won’t make much sense. Basically, I see in no viable way the promise in John 14 and so many other commands and promises of Christ can apply to us, being they weren’t given to us but to the ones sent, is by being in communion with the ones sent. This is how I understand the Church of the scriptures to function and why what Christ said to the disciples in Luke 10 when they were sent out to tell the good news of the kingdom. I just can’t disregard it as an understanding of how we recieve the promises to the Church.

    “Whoever listens to you listens to Me. Whoever rejects you rejects Me. And whoever rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

    Hart, I am just relaying my mind and why my convictions are where they are. I care how you think, too. Which is why I’m around here.

    Thanks again, Mike

  89. Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Daryl —

    I’m glad you are going there with the papacy argument and trying to stay focused on history rather than philosophy. Because the historical evidence is precisely in accord with what one would see with a gradually emerging organization and precisely the opposite of what one would have seen with these structures having been in place since 33 CE. The name calling about every historian, ignoring the issue and pulling in references from several centuries later doesn’t change that.

    The example you made on CtC about the 2 saints picking different popes during the Avignon Papacy was terrific. Great piece of evidence about what happened in real time.

  90. Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    CD,

    Do you have the CTC link?

  91. MichaelTX
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    David,
    I’ve personally been really enjoying my chattin over here at oldlife, and was invited over here by a regular poster. Hart has seemed to welcome my chatting and I appreciate the basic welcome I have recieved.
    Thanks again all.

    Steve I do hope to be able to continue on a few things we have touched on,but sadly I don’t have time now.
    Mike

  92. David
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    MichaelTX,

    I think it was obvious I was being sarcastic in a friendly way. I have no large issue with Roman Catholics visiting Old Life on a regular basis – it’s good for Roman Catholics to visit Old Life. Just like in manner areas, I’d recommend Protestants perusing First Things. Last time I checked, First Thing is not a Presbyterian publication.

    I think my point was (looking back with some humour) Michael, there was a time when Roman Catholics could of cared less about this site.

    One wonders what changed?

    The battle continues – but that does not mean I have personal animus toward Roman Catholics. It does not mean I intend to be priggish. Quite the opposite. If unclear Michael, allow me to clarify – though it’s Dr Hart’s digs – Roman Catholics!

    Welcome.

    :)

  93. Posted April 14, 2013 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    Tom Riello – I have a comment on Warren Carrol’s “History of Christendom, Vol 1”. It was written in 1985, and yet the source it uses for the ancient papacy is E.G. Weltin, “The Popes Through History” (The Newman Press, 1964). Weltin in turn relies on Eusebius’s history for dates – a thing that modern historians know better than to do.

    It is true that we know much of what we know about early church history from Eusebius, and Timothy Barnes, “Constantine and Eusebius” writes about the accomplishment of Eusebius in compiling his many sources, along with what is literally a blind spot in Eusebius’s thinking with respect to dates. But after an analysis of Eusebius’s sources (and method for deriving his historical dates), here is what Barnes says:

    These facts must be taken into account by any modern scholar who wishes to use the Canons as a historical source. Although in the Canons Eusebius names a source only on rare occasions, the chronological and historical traditions which he reproduces can often be identified. Hence very few dates in the Canons can be taken by themselves and made the basis for chronological deductions: even when a date is unambiguously and consistently attested in the surviving derivatives (a rare event), it must be correlated with other relevant evidence to determine what tradition Eusebius reports or whether he had any precise evidence at all. For everything [every date he gives] before the middle of the third century Eusebius perforce uses written sources, which often lacked precise daytes, and he can sometimes be convicted of error on points where exact evidence was available. It is imprudent, therefore, to base any historical arguments on the exact dates which the Chronicle offers; the modern scholar should show his respect for Eusebius’ achievement not by repeating his sometimes erroneous dates by applying his intelligence (as Eusebius did) to the substantive problems.

    Barnes is citing sources on this – noting that Eusebius relied uncritically on the work of Julius Africanus as early as “the very first scholarly study of the Chronicle” by Scaliger (1606) – providing incorrect dates – known and understood prior to 1900 and clearly established as early as the 1920’s. With that said, Carrol was either irresponsible or worse, writing in 1985, in permitting Eusebius’s historical account of the early bishops of Rome to pass uncritically into his record.

    That doesn’t stop the partisan and uncritical Roman Catholic, however, from passing along in the context of a “higher education” setting, information that is clearly discredited, for partisan purposes. That is not only irresponsible, it is far, far worse. Christendom College is becoming responsible for creating a whole generation of unknowing fundamentalist Roman Catholics.

  94. Posted April 14, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    Tom Riello — this kind of thing is bad enough, but you also feed the very thing you may think you’re trying to end, by giving vocal atheists like Richard Carrier, in his chapter “Christianity’s Success was Not Incredible” in “The End of Christianity” (ed. John Loftus, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books ©2011), opportunities to mock Christ. The criticisms of these individuals don’t have any teeth in the New Testament, but what they actually laugh at is the notion [prevalent among you CTC Roman Catholics] of a “story” that “could be changed to suit any audience, from the subversively humiliated hero to the triumphant divine dignitary who’s always in charge and needs no help. There’s certainly nothing supernatural about rewriting history to market your product” (pg 57).

    You may think you’re winning converts to the “one true Church”, but in reality, you’re perpetuating stereotypes of “stupid, working-class hicks” that Carrier laughs at — and by extension, you give scandal to the cause of Christ not for your thoughtfulness, but for your head-in-the-sand commitment to something that’s been discredited in every way. “You don’t need evidence, you just need faith”, he mocks.

  95. Posted April 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Eric —

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/03/brantly-millegan-reviews-brad-gregorys-the-unintended-reformation-how-a-religious-revolution-secularized-society/#comment-49785

    Bryan answers three posts later with a “even saints are fallible” and it doesn’t count even though lots of people on both sides thought it did. I would have figured after 700 years they would have come up with a better answer.

  96. Posted April 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi Tom,

    You wrote, The issue as to the faith is simply this: the faith, as in dogma, doctrine, and discipline is something given or handed on. The faith is not held hostage to the whims of individuals, whether they be clergy or laity, to determine as they see fit.

    I fully agree. And that’s why I am deeply suspicious of a doctrinal development that is based upon an unwritten tradition. As Irenaeus observed, If there were a secret tradition, the apostles would have told us and manifested it to the world (Adv Haer 3.1). The tradition would not take the form of “Psst! The Bishop of Rome has the charism of infallibility! Pass it on!”

    What I’m saying is that Catholics (rightly) observe that we may not alter God’s truth to suit our own whims. But they carve out an exception for the magisterium on the grounds of the charism of infallibility.

    But Scripture does not teach such a charism, passed on by “apostolic succession” or any other means. All arguments that get there are grounded in a selective use and interpretation of the apostolic fathers — which is contrary to reason.

    But as I mentioned above, the most basic problem is that the magisterial teaching contradicts Scripture at several points. This leaves a lay person in this position: Do I obey God’s Word, or do I obey the magisterium?

    On the one hand, the magisterium has claimed the ability to rightly understand God’s Word at all times. This should normally be dispositive. On the other, the magisterium is definitely encouraging and commanding something contrary to Scripture — namely, bowing to statues of Jesus.

    If one is given a direct command from a superior that contradicts a direct command from HIS superior, it is clear which should be obeyed: the arch-superior must be obeyed. Claims from the intermediate superior that “you have the wrong interpretation” are beside the point. The issue of interpretation at that point is between the subordinate and the arch-superior.

  97. MichaelTX
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    David,
    Truly sorry I took you in an unintended way. I guess being rigidity recieved and at times miss a bit of good fun ribbing.

    To your thought about what in the world is changing in Catholics. I can’t really speak to the heart of others, but me as a relatively recent mover into the Catholic Church can say I never tried to truly understand the whys of the Catholic “particulars” of the Faith from a Catholic perspective. I don’t believe I ever would have except for the love of the truth and a passion for the Word ignited in me by the Spirit.
    So, I guess I’d say the Spirit is doing some moving and He’s kicking some Catholics in the pants and convicting them with truth through the scriptures and moving others in to communion with them, but that is just my thoughts on the subject.
    Peace, Mike

  98. MichaelTX
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Typo: I guess I fear being rigidly recieved…
    Thanks

  99. B
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink
  100. Joel
    Posted April 15, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Was this analogy written by a Roman Catholic defending the infallibility of the Roman magisterium in light of the schism with the East, or was it written by a Protestant defending the idea of sola scriptura in light of multiple interpretations by different denominations?

    “When laws are passed, there may be some uncertainties in the application to particular cases. And people may disagree on those applications; presumably that is what leads to most appellate law. That doesn’t mean that the legal system as a whole or even the particular law in question fails to function, nor does such disagreement thereby eliminate the possibility of regulation. By your reasoning, the fact that there is interpretive disagreement means that there is anarchy, which is absurd.”

    The answer can be found in a link posted in one of the comments.

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