Welcome to Protestant Land

William Oddie wonders about the state of Roman Catholicism in ways never conceived by Jason and the Callers:

What exactly is going on, when Bishops and parish priests can so radically differ about the most elementary issues of faith and morals—about teachings which are quite clearly explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church—and when simultaneously one Cardinal describes such teachings as “crazy” and another simply expounds them as the immemorial teachings of the Church? Does nobody know what the Church believes any more?

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45 thoughts on “Welcome to Protestant Land

  1. DGH,

    Nothing about Oddie’s wondering falsifies that the Church’s teaching is knowable.

    In the place of Bryan,

    Brandon [Zrim, this is another tongue in cheek response]

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  2. The actual state of modern RC will never turn on dogmatic considerations. EVER. Whoever turns out the money and the vocations will determine the course of the RCC. All of these wonderings and jockeying for who’s more loyal to the deposit or pope is 11th, 12th,13th on the list, if that high. 1-10 is money and vocations in some form or fashion.

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  3. “‘Most Catholics but especially clergy want to be loyal to the Pope in order to maintain the unity of the Church, today that loyalty is perhaps best expressed through silence.”‘

    Haunting. With all the reforms, firings, and earth-shaking going on in the Vatican these days, it’s pretty funny that people like the CTCers still think like this just a continuation of the traditions set forth by St. Peter. It doesn’t take a genius to see that someone is turning up the stove and there a couple oblivious frogs still in the pot. Pleasantly warm right now, thank you. My rad-trad friends are currently clinging to the side – they’ll know when they need to bail lest they croak. It’s not easy being green, or being a sedevacantist – but hey, at least they’ll still have that rainbow connection to the Blessed Mother.

    So, I guess it’s time for a lot of Roman Catholics to nut up or shut up.

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  4. Hey, all of it makes perfect sense once you construct a tight semi-logical paradigm that ignores the inconvenient facts of history in order that one can lie in bed at night and say repeatedly “I did the right thing by converting. I did the right thing by converting.”

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  5. Darryl,

    William Oddie wonders about the state of Roman Catholicism in ways never conceived by Jason and the Callers

    As we have explained many times, it is precisely for cases of dispute and disagreement such as Oddie describes that there is a Magisterium, so that these disputes may be resolved. (e.g. Acts 15) Only in a straw man depiction of the Catholic position does the existence of a Magisterium mean the non-existence of disagreements.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  6. “Only in a straw man depiction of the Catholic position does the existence of a Magisterium mean the non-existence of disagreements.” Really rather laughable. Only in a dreamland does the existence of the Magisterium mean the settling of any substantial dispute since Vatican II. There are no definitive statements on women’s ordination, on inerrancy, on universalism … all hot button issues. Even on the ordination question, Ratzinger said JPIIs rather plain statement for some reason was *not* an infallible teaching! The record shows that the postconciliar Church is pretty much afraid to issue any authoritative statements that don’t echo Be Nice modernism. For every Syllabus of Errors there will be a Counter Syllabus like the VII documents, so ambiguity can reign in the Roman Big Tent. One moment Garrigou-Lagrange is the Poe’s Boy, the next it is DeLubac. With continuity like that…. Never mind.

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  7. Bryan – Only in a straw man depiction of the Catholic position does the existence of a Magisterium mean the non-existence of disagreements.

    Erik – If there is a Magisterium and an infallible interpreter, why would there be any toleration of disagreement? Does/will God tolerate disagreement in heaven?

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  8. The problem arises when we see your group selling certainty and then witness uncertainty in high places. Makes it look like the product you are selling is not the product that people actually receive. We need a Lemon Law for religious proselytization.

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  9. Ken loses (In Defense of Catholic Land), how many times does it need to be said? I grant that you have a mechanism — papal infallibility. What you won’t acknowledge is that the mechanism is broke and the post-Vat 2 popes don’t have the chops to flick the switch on.

    And what you don’t acknowledge either is that we have a mechanism too — Word and Spirit in delegated assemblies — to handle disputes. In recent years, I’d say that the confessional Presbyterians are using their mechanism. Why don’t your guys with all the charism do the same? Have you ever pondered that one? Could it be that Roman Catholicism became liberal?

    A yes answer may explain why you think the future is with tradRC’s:

    Militant traditionalism is a young persons movement. Traditional parishes are flourishing. Traditional convents are alive and well. Traditional seminaries are brimming. If anything is rattling off its dying breath its the liberal movement within the Church. I think A great comparison can be found within the protestant world. It is not liberal churches such as the PCUSA that boom in converts and win souls for the Lord. Liberal wishy washy Christianity never gets passed one generation. The children just opt out for their own private spirituality. The “Trad movement” is both the past and the future of Roman Catholicism. Neocatholics be prepared to adjust your apologetic material accordingly.

    Too bad for you Francis isn’t buying.

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  10. On Ken’s point, why are there “movements” at all? The one holy, Catholic and apostolic church should just be just that – one. The Pope should just tell it like it is and bring the hammer down on those who disagree. The fact that he does not is the embodiment of liberalism. Mr. “Who am I to Judge?” needs to get a set and be Mr. “He who judges”. Then the Callers’ call will have some teeth.

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  11. Folks can’t even agree about Pope Francis:

    Dwight Longenecker:

    Many conservative Catholics are experiencing a range of negative feelings about Pope Francis. When a headline screams that he stated that 2% of Catholic clergy are pedophiles, that he “promises to solve the celibacy problem” that he doesn’t want to convert Evangelicals or that he doesn’t judge a homosexual who “searches for the Lord and has goodwill” they experience confusion, anger, resentment, bewilderment and fear.

    Michael Sean Winters:

    . . . his article is a window into the world of a certain type of U.S. conservative Catholic, we might call them the “Tea Party Catholics,” the 15% in polls who do not approve of Pope Francis, and the conversations they are having. Regrettably, I suspect those who disapprove of Pope Francis constitute a larger share of the clergy and the episcopate than the laity. When bishops temporize in public, as we have seen for example in Bishop Robert Morlino’s ill-advised interviews, or in comments from Cardinal Raymond Burke, you can bet that those same prelates, in private, are hearing, or saying, the kinds of things Fr. Longenecker records in this remarkable piece. And, before he got booted off the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Burke was able to place many like-minded prelates in some prominent sees.

    Such differences don’t divide, though. Longenecker advises:

    Remember, where else are you going to go? A Protestant sect? The Lefebvrists? The Eastern Orthodox? Start your own garage church? Furthermore, what good does it do to get all upset and huffy about the pope? Are you going to elect a new one? All you will do is get yourself into a lather and for what? Be at peace. Pray about it. Get more involved in spreading the gospel with joy. Roll up your sleeves, get busy in serving the poor, building your parish, sharing your faith and be a Catholic alive in the Spirit and full of optimism, faith and the joy of Christ. If the present pope tries your faith and your patience, well then offer it up. There’s a chance to have a stronger faith in Christ and to grow a bit more patient.

    But couldn’t that have been a reason for Longenecker to remain Protestant?

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  12. DGHART,

    I grant that you have a mechanism — papal infallibility. What you won’t acknowledge is that the mechanism is broke and the post-Vat 2 popes don’t have the chops to flick the switch on.

    I think you are right, the Catholic Church is in need of some good old fashioned discipline. Dissent has been left unchecked for so many decades now that it is confusing the faithful. Our shepherds will be held accountable for their actions. What in the world does this have to do with Protestant Land? Absolutely nothing. The best you can do is look over the fence and say our grass is overgrown at the moment. That does not entail that the mechanism is no longer valuable or necessary for Christianity in general.

    And what you don’t acknowledge either is that we have a mechanism too — Word and Spirit in delegated assemblies — to handle disputes. In recent years, I’d say that the confessional Presbyterians are using their mechanism. Why don’t your guys with all the charism do the same? Have you ever pondered that one? Could it be that Roman Catholicism became liberal?

    In recent years, now that the people who all had major disagreements have split up and formed their own flavor of Presbyterianism, everyone is getting along great. AWESOME. That mechanism is called “hitting the road”. The “Word and Spirit” method does not move the ball forward. True progress can never be made. The baton is never handed down with certainty. Semper reformata and all that jazz.

    Too bad for you Francis isn’t buying.

    He sure doesn’t seem to be. Oh, well. I’ll take Longneckers advice on that one and plead the fifth.

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  13. Erik,

    On Ken’s point, why are there “movements” at all? The one holy, Catholic and apostolic church should just be just that – one. The Pope should just tell it like it is and bring the hammer down on those who disagree. The fact that he does not is the embodiment of liberalism. Mr. “Who am I to Judge?” needs to get a set and be Mr. “He who judges”. Then the Callers’ call will have some teeth.

    I think what you mean to say is “Then the callers call will be on display”. The teeth have always been there. Thats the whole point. The teeth EXIST and can be used whenever the judge sees fit. Hence, the draw to Roman Catholicism. My most recent blog post summed this up nicely I think.

    For all those in Protestant Land, every time the weeds creep in, it becomes time to abandon ship. In his wake there are left hundreds of empty houses with weed infested, overgrown, and messy yards. On the other hand, Pope Francis does have a lawn mower (and he is humble enough to use it!). As the weeds come up, he puts on his old beat up tennis shoes and gets to work a-weed-wackin. Now, suppose that a few weeks go by and that Pope Francis is either to lazy or undisciplined to use his lawn servicing mechanism. The weeds creep in, the grass is knee deep and the neighborhood association is stuffing mailboxes with threats and angry letters. Would it be logical for Daryl to look over the fence of his hundredth house, smile, and say “Welcome to protestant land!” “You are the same as us after all!”. Of course not! No one from Catholic Land would ever consider jumping ship and moving into the next best house just because things got a little untidy. Everyone in Pope Francis house would know that eventually things would be put back in order. They would take pride in the fact that no one from Catholic Land had ever had to abandon ship. They could all relax, and enjoy living in the exact same house that all of their family ancestors had grown up in.

    http://www.coffeehouseinquisition.com/defense-catholic-land/

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  14. As we have explained many times, it is precisely for cases of dispute and disagreement such as Oddie describes that there is a Magisterium, so that these disputes may be resolved. (e.g. Acts 15) Only in a straw man depiction of the Catholic position does the existence of a Magisterium mean the non-existence of disagreements.

    But if the shepherds and doctors of the church disagree on what the magisterium includes, how it applies, and how it is to be interpreted, then the lay RC is in the same state as the Sola Scriptura protestant. Sure Bryan and Ken have their *opinions* but why should that weigh more heavily than Garry Wills or Fr. O’Brien? I guess I could read the docs myself and decide who is interpreting the magisterium properly (maybe compare it to Scripture and apply reason?), but I fail to see how that is different from how I evaluate the claims of my confessions and the teachings of my elders…

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  15. Ken Loses, its a great house if you don’t mind no windows, roof, or heating. But you’ll never leave.

    Oh, wait. You chose to live in that house. Shazameter!

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  16. SDB,

    If I may gratuitously quote myself. I cited the problematic case of Honorius for the traditionalist Catholic notion of ecclesial perspicuity and authority and predicted (accurately) Bryan’s response as follows,

    Bryan is bound to respond that this is precisely the point. Ambiguity from Honorius is clarified by further elaboration from the “person” of the Church. This response is an example of revisionism in the highest order, however. In anticipation of Bryan’s response he will say that Honorius was unclear (and this is the charitable reading), but the Church was able to later clarify the ambiguity; problem solved. Unfortunately, this leaves those initially involved in the conversation without answers to their clarifying questions. If the actual answer to the question of Sergius of Constantinople, about the teaching of Rome, didn’t come until after Honorius’s death, how has this process brought about clarification for Sergius? Sergius died in 836 and did not receive a formal answer to his question until 860 when both Sergius and Honorius were condemned at Constantinople III. Suffice it to say, the Council was of little use to Sergius 24 years after his death, particularly since at his death he had the support of (if not agreement with) Honorius. Imagine how shocked Sergius must have been when he went before God and was informed that he had been anathematized by the Church in Rome even though he had the support of the Pope at the time of his death!

    Bryan respond in his typical fashion,

    Insofar as you take my position to have the implication that no Catholics will ever be confused by a Magisterial document or while waiting for the Magisterium to clarify a matter, you have misunderstood what I’m saying, and are criticizing a straw man.

    And then,

    Nothing about what I’m saying entails that the Magisterial answer must arrive immediately or before one dies.

    The issue is of course not whether or not some people misunderstand the Magisterium, but how the Magisterium understands and presents itself. The case of Sergius and Honorius illustrates that even if you follow the Roman bishop as he teaches in a public capacity (though I’m willing to concede for the sake of argument that he may not have been invoking his office) you may be guilty of material heresy and even potentially condemned by an ecumenical council.

    But don’t worry, the the successor of Peter will eventually give you an answer, and if he can’t, Peter himself will explain it when he bars you from entering the pearly gates.

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  17. Ken – ”The “Word and Spirit” method does not move the ball forward. True progress can never be made.

    Erik – What exactly is “progress” in the sphere of religion?

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  18. From Vatican.com (ka-ching!):

    Pope Honorius I

    Pope Honorius I was born in Campania, Italy. He was the Pope between the 27th of October 625 and the 12th of October 638. He succeeded Pope Boniface V two days after his death. Pope Honorius I is remembered in the Catholic history for having administered numerous initiatives. He was involved in the controversy between the Monophysites and orthodoxy. He argued that Christ did not possess both a divine and a human will at the same time, but that He had only a single will which was expressed through His human and divine natures. This argument was commonly known as Monotheletism. However, his belief in Monotheletism proved challenging for the popes and councils that followed thereafter because no one was ready to admit that a pope could believe and support such a sacrilegious argument as Monotheletism was later condemned as an heretical doctrine by the Third Council of Constantinople in 680In 680 and 681, pope Honorius I was retrospectively convicted as a heretic and was excommunicated from the Church by the ecumenical Council of III Constantinople.

    During his entire reign, Pope Honorius strongly maintained the deviation including in official letters which he wrote to Sergius I, patriarch of Constantinople while replying to a formal consultation and also in letters written to several other people. His letters brought about divisions in the Church with other members of the church opposing his opinion.

    Despite this problematic view which he expressed in the many letters and other documents that he wrote, Pope Honorius I was a great pope that is still remembered today due to his great works. He did a lot of work in terms of the restoring and beautifying of the churches of Rome. He cared much about the needs of the Romans and repaired the aqueduct off Trajan and he left his portrait in the apsidal mosaic of Sant Agnese fueri le mura. In addition, he played a role in reuniting the schismatic metropolitan See of Aquileia to the Roman Church,

    Most of the letters that Pope Honorius I wrote were a bit controversial and drew a lot of attention and debate. Some of them made him condemned and were discussed even during the First Vatican Council of 1870, more than 1000 years after his death. The major argument was on the issue of papal infallibility. The Council specifically stated that Pope Honorius I had advanced heretical teachings, approved them and was also responsible for distributing them (and not just negligent as it was claimed by some apologists). The Council then went ahead and condemned Pope Honorius I naming him as a heretic and excommunicating him. His heretical letters were burnt by order of the council and only a scrap survived.

    Pope Honorius I was condemned as a heretic by three ecumenical councils. After his death, all newly elected popes had to profess his condemnation before assuming office until the 11th century. He died on 12th October 638 and was succeeded by Pope Severinus.

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  19. Ken, what’s legitimate? Development since Vat II has included employment of higher criticism and psychological evaluation of sacred text writers as well as insight from lay professionals-psychologists, counselors, scientists into pastoral care, application and belief(shame or guilt). Oodles of contextualization is now par. What counts? Every great once in a while, generally heterodoxy as regards Nicene commitments, a teacher, priest or religious is admonished but then even that discipline is curbed when it’s a pope sounding off in error. Are you the arbiter? Bryan? As it is, Bryan openly sides with certain bishops against other bishops and often his bishops aren’t those bishops who are in favor with Francis. Case in point, Kasper. So, I see a lot of half measures from the rad-trads and partial genuflection and no actual abandoning oneself to the infallible principle that’s never engaged. It’s a sedative that allows you to sleep. It’s a theory on a board that doesn’t correspond to any reality. It’s a caricature. A cartoon. A castle in the air. Furthermore, you’re the one ultimately exercising what you will and won’t submit to and accommodate. Lots of consumerism, not a lot of supernaturalism.

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  20. Props to Brandon for beating Bryan to the punch and being first to comment on an anti-roman post.

    Of course a collection should be taken up on OLTS to take care of the hat pronto. (Come on. Pony up. Now that we got the word on what Don and the Mad Men is really all about, everybody’s got lots of money they haven’t wasted on it.)

    But what Ken doesn’t know and Bryan does, but suppresses, if not smothers with a vengeance, is that absolutely nothing is incompatible with implicit faith. Ignorance is blessed and idiocy is blissful.

    How sweet this is indeed. After all, consider that even for those of us who don’t know that we don’t know that Bryan’s material heretics are Vat 2’s separated brethren, we will still make the final cut anyway, cap or no.

    But this just in. If Microsoft can fire a bunch of their employees at will, how come the pope can’t just fire some of his innernet workers?
    You know, the ones that advocate sectarianism and division in the body by stigmatizing others, when they are not patronizing prots here, all on account of their blogger’s blanket nihil obstat that accompanies their baptism ex opere operato and manifests itself in an apostolic javascript chrism.

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  21. No one from Catholic Land would ever consider jumping ship and moving into the next best house just because things got a little untidy.

    When your child is raped by your priest and your bishop threatens to withhold communion from you for going to the authorities, that event can be described a number of ways. But “untidy” is understated even for a Brit. The reason for the protestant reformation was not that things had gotten a bit untidy, it was that the church had ceased teaching the gospel. As Paul stated in his epistle to the Galatians, properly preaching the gospel is kinda a big deal.

    The problem with the RC church is clericalism. The argument is not that a few bad priest prove that catholic theology is all wet (indeed, as I recall the rate of abuse among the priesthood is lower than the general population). The argument is that the sacramentalism, ecclesiology, doctrine of the priesthood, etc… of the church leads your bishops to screw over their parishioners time and time again. There are abusive ministers everywhere to be sure – but the consequences of leaving a PCA church because of an abusive minister and finding refuge in the SBC are much less traumatic than fleeing your bishop to protect your kids.

    The collapse of the RC faith in Ireland and the US over the past 15yrs should give everyone reason to exam the paradigm. Paradigms by their very nature are unassailable from within. One can construct ad hoc explanations for every new data point, but eventually the weight of the ad hoc explanations makes other paradigms much more attractive. One can never falsify a paradigm (logically or empirically), but they do become unwieldy.

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  22. Brandon Addison and Erik,

    I think that the situation with Pope Honorious is a wonderful example for us to consider. Without the “mechanism” (lawnmower) that is so cherished by Roman Catholics how would his heretical teachings have been received by the faithful? How would the next 1000 years of Christians have fared without some living and authoritative voice to guide them? If Catholics thought of “church” in the same way that protestants do, such a confusing situation would no doubt have resulted in the birth of at least 2 or 3 new denominations. These denominations would have given rise to others and on and on it goes (just as we see today only 500 years after Luther and Company). We could also speculate on how the Church may have survived the Arian controversy or any other turbulent time in Church history with a protestant theology of “church”. This is what I mean when i say that “progress can not be made” with this ecclesiology. How can one ever get to the quantum mechanics of the Christian faith if the rules of basic arithmetic are always up for reform and change? It just doesn’t work.

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  23. Victim of the crises Sean,

    Ken, what’s legitimate? Development since Vat II has included employment of higher criticism and psychological evaluation of sacred text writers as well as insight from lay professionals-psychologists, counselors, scientists into pastoral care, application and belief(shame or guilt). Oodles of contextualization is now par. What counts?

    Such “developments” are to be judged by sacred scripture and tradition. If a controversy arises, the magesterium will decide the matter.

    It’s a sedative that allows you to sleep. It’s a theory on a board that doesn’t correspond to any reality. It’s a caricature. A cartoon. A castle in the air. Furthermore, you’re the one ultimately exercising what you will and won’t submit to and accommodate. Lots of consumerism, not a lot of supernaturalism.

    I disagree with this sentiment. Our situation only *seems* to be the same as yours because the mechanism is not in use. Our yard is messy, the weeds have crept in. I get it. I agree with you that such is the case. But that does not mean that said mechanism will never be used to clarify things for the faithful. In any case, even if the present controversies are not resolved in my own lifetime, I still have a 2000 years of dogmas and controversies that have been settled and that puts me a lot closer to the truth than someone that has none. As James often says, just one infallibly defined dogma/interpretation of scripture is better than semper reformata. Like I said, you can’t get to rocket science unless you are certain of your basic algebra. We can’t unpack the mysteries of the faith unless we have at least some certain ground to stand on. In my estimation, protestants can’t even point to the new testament canon or any of its content as a certain reality. Every chapter and verse is subject for removal and heavy footnoting in every generation. You say your mechanism is “Word and Spirit”. I say It’s a sedative that allows you to sleep. It’s a theory on a board that doesn’t correspond to any reality. It’s a caricature. A cartoon. A castle in the air. Furthermore, you’re the one ultimately exercising what you will and won’t submit to and accommodate. Lots of consumerism, not a lot of supernaturalism

    God bless

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  24. sbd,

    you need to explain why clerical abuse and scandal does not fit the RC paradigm? Why would the collapse of some diocese and the existence of Judas esc bishops negate the Catholic faith? If you think that it does, that is only because you do not understand what we are trying to communicate

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  25. Ken loses, but when the mechanism was in use it involved abducting Edgardo Mortara, condemning Protestants, and asserting the pope’s temporal and spiritual powers (infallibly). So who decides which of those bits were right and which were wrong? Could it be the pope doesn’t mow the lawn anymore because the mechanism cut down so many good plants?

    Word and spirit doesn’t allow us to sleep. It keeps us vigilant. It’s papal supremacy that has you woeing the state of the church and confident that someone somewhere will do something about it. Back to sleep.

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  26. How can one ever get to the quantum mechanics of the Christian faith if the rules of basic arithmetic are always up for reform and change? It just doesn’t work.

    One, they aren’t always up for reform and change.
    Matter of fact, they are pretty simple.
    Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solo Christo, Sola Deo Gloria.

    Two, how quantum does Matthew 18:3 sound?
     Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

    In my estimation, protestants can’t even point to the new testament canon or any of its content as a certain reality.

    In that Bryan himself, can’t give us the genuine prot doctrine of Scripture, it’s probably too much to ask you to do either. And therein lies a problem.
    Not that the Romanists haven’t bought into textual criticism hook line and sinker.

    But more to the point. Your paradigm is built on a fallacy. Prots can’t know divine truth. Therefore join the Roman church because it has the truth.
    Uh huh, right. But then you are assuming prots can know divine truth because they can recognize it in Rome and join. Which means they knew the truth before they joined. Ooops.

    Not only do liars need good memories, they need to get their story straight. We make no mention of arguments.

    Unless romanists want to drop the charade and admit they are fideists in the first place, which Bryan vehemently denies.
    Get back to us when you figure it out, Honorious. My surmise at the rate we are going, is that it just might be post mortem.

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  27. Ken, weeds? Is that what they call 180 degree reversals? Weeds? Development lets you even contextualize 2000 years of Dogma(as if), such that it doesn’t ‘mean that’ anymore. As someone has said; “it’s like water being wet some times in some places” I’ve at least still got apostolic authority and writings and a subjugated church. You’ve got money and politics and modernity. You keep striving for the ‘good’, I’ll keep reading and submitting to word and spirit. “Hey look! There goes Fred Flinstone down the road, I saw him.” “Who are you to judge?” “I saw the Virgin in my flour tortilla” “Who are you to judge?” “It’s an expression of the movement of God among the people of God” “My bishop says even if it were not true, it is true by faith because of all the ‘good’ and zeal for the Virgin it encourages.”

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  28. Ken,

    You are illustrating one of the biggest problems with your version of RC. It is enough for you to know that somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight, there exists a mechanism that might be used but probably won’t because you have a universalist sitting on the papal throne, liberal higher-critics occupying the highest ranks of approved Roman Bible scholars, and so much more. The mechanism can’t work anymore even if it once could (and THAT’S debatable). The only way to hold together a communion as theologically diverse as yours is to make little tweaks around the edges. Rome is more content to hold the line as the numerically largest denomination in all of Christendom than it is to enforce orthodoxy, because you can’t have both. Enforcement of truth is not conducive to the postmodern world.

    But as I have said time and again, I have no “principled reason” to prefer your version of Roman Catholicism over Paul Knitter’s (an out an out universalist), the St. Francis Parish in New York that is full-on into the “gay rights” movement, your’s (as a relatively strict traditionalist), Bryan Cross’s (an airtight logical paradigm with holes you could drive a truck through), Thomas Weinandy’s (a relatively Protestant-friendly American theologian), the Council of Women Religious, and the uneducated layperson whose extent of piety is seeing Mary in the relfection on the side of a building during the noonday sun, or anyone else’s.Its all orthodox as far as I can tell because nobody is kicked out. And you think your side will be vindicated in the long run? How do you know that you won’t turn out to be a material heretic? You don’t, or at least with no more “certainty” that any Protestant has.

    You guys have such a deficient view of authority and epistemology that you put all your eggs into discerning the church Jesus founded according to a circular and self-reinforcing argument that only works when you ignore indisputable history. It’s sad because a lot of you guys are smart enough to know better.

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  29. Bob S,

    One, they aren’t always up for reform and change.
    Matter of fact, they are pretty simple.
    Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solo Christo, Sola Deo Gloria.

    Those represent the basic building blocks of 15th century protestant Christianity. They do are not representative of what came before. Like I said, if “algebra I” can be “reformed” at any moment, how can we get to calculus?

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  30. Robert,

    I am going to respond point by point to your comments…. but I am going to strike through everything that amounts to you looking over the fence of protestant house #467 and scoffing at weeds.

    You are illustrating one of the biggest problems with your version of RC. It is enough for you to know that somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight, there exists a mechanism that might be used but probably won’t because you have a universalist sitting on the papal throne, liberal higher-critics occupying the highest ranks of approved Roman Bible scholars, and so much more. The mechanism can’t work anymore even if it once could (and THAT’S debatable). The only way to hold together a communion as theologically diverse as yours is to make little tweaks around the edges. Rome is more content to hold the line as the numerically largest denomination in all of Christendom than it is to enforce orthodoxy, because you can’t have both. Enforcement of truth is not conducive to the postmodern world.

    I can only ask you to support this assertion with some kind of evidence. What evidence do you have to support the assertion that the Church is more concerned with population than orthodoxy? I think we both know that is a pure speculative assertion on your part.

    But as I have said time and again, I have no “principled reason” to prefer your version of Roman Catholicism over Paul Knitter’s (an out an out universalist), the St. Francis Parish in New York that is full-on into the “gay rights” movement, your’s (as a relatively strict traditionalist), Bryan Cross’s (an airtight logical paradigm with holes you could drive a truck through), Thomas Weinandy’s (a relatively Protestant-friendly American theologian), the Council of Women Religious, and the uneducated layperson whose extent of piety is seeing Mary in the relfection on the side of a building during the noonday sun, or anyone else’s.Its all orthodox as far as I can tell because nobody is kicked out. And you think your side will be vindicated in the long run? How do you know that you won’t turn out to be a material heretic? You don’t, or at least with no more “certainty” that any Protestant has.

    We do have more certainty, because we have a Church with a 2000 year history of establishing and defining dogma. Because we can have religious certainty of our “building blocks” (basic algebra) we are more certain of our calculus. Even certainty of the decisions made by the first 6 centuries is better than what you have to offer….. which is certainty of absolutely *nothing*. Semper reformata to the grave.

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  31. Sorry Honorius Ken,

    I forgot. Transubstantiation, mariolatry, the monstrance, scapulars, the blessed heart of Jesus, the lost unwritten oral traditions of which the pope can’t give us a canonical table of contents, not to mention even an index of his infallible utterances, the magisterium that can’t give us a definite read on any passage of Scripture, but condemns lay apologists like umm, yourself speaking authoritatively for Rome, the Vat 2 material development of the doctrine of anthema into separated brethren – all of this, the whole shebang, is calculus.
    Who would have guessed, Honorius Ken? Surely not anyone that isn’t a mathematician. But popery is not a pompous patronizing con job? Of course not.

    Again, that only Rome has certainty, but prots do not is the epistemological Achilles heel to the whole Rube Goldberg house of cards. Because if prots can recognize one divine truth, then they can recognize other divine truths. But then they don’t need to be Romanists, philosophy professors or amateurs in training. Which means if we had a real logical Inquisition, at best you, Bryan and Francis could only collect unemployment benefits if you had fake ID.

    I know. That you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, is so definitely not true. And the Bereans really weren’t examining Paul’s doctrine in light of the existing Scripture they had in the transition to a completed NT after the death of the apostles. And the Roman bishop is immediately chosen and inspired of God as were the apostles, which is why those who don’t listen to and reject the sectarian and schismatic bishop of Rome also don’t listen to and reject Christ. Neither does the Scripture equip us to every good work. And on and on the monotonous zombie chorus goes.

    Scripture, reason or history can not hold a candle to a religious fanatics, blinded by their own self righteous fideism that asserts what it needs to prove, the Avignon papacy or little Eddie Mortara to the contrary. Until it develops into something else. Because Francis is the pope, not you Honorius Ken.
    IOW the best thing for you to do is lay low and revert to the ignorance of implicit faith in order to really save your soul.

    For your penance, mumble along with Seargeant Schultz, your patron saint “I know nothing” a thousand times, while fondling some rosary beads and lighting a votive candle or two and all will be forgiven. Promise.

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  32. Ken’s loss, “we do have more certainty . . .”

    Then what do you do about the Index of Books? Your church did have a sense of certainty when it prohibited the faithful from reading dangerous ideas. I admire that even though I don’t think this was the way to handle dangerous ideas. But the church did away with that.

    You converts don’t seem to observe that your church is not so certain any more. You bishops pray with Jews and Muslims, break bread with Protestants. On the books your church still believes that heretics and infidels exist. But no one in your church acts like that — except for the trads.

    When the Protestant churches did this we called it modernism — so did your popes. Remember Piux X?

    So you need to change your tune. You don’t have certainty any more. Or, get this, you have more than Pope Francis. Now you know how Luther felt.

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  33. Ken,

    I can only ask you to support this assertion with some kind of evidence. What evidence do you have to support the assertion that the Church is more concerned with population than orthodoxy? I think we both know that is a pure speculative assertion on your part.

    Well if you have a better idea as to why Nancy Pelosi and Mother Teresa are both faithful RCs according to the Magisterium and its discipline, then I’m willing to hear it.

    We do have more certainty, because we have a Church with a 2000 year history of establishing and defining dogma. Because we can have religious certainty of our “building blocks” (basic algebra) we are more certain of our calculus. Even certainty of the decisions made by the first 6 centuries is better than what you have to offer….. which is certainty of absolutely *nothing*. Semper reformata to the grave.

    Um, confessional Protestants are as certain of Nicea and Chalcedon as conservative RCs. Liberal Protestants not so much, just like Liberal RCs. The difference, however, is that confessional Protestants by and large kick out those who impenitently deny the faith. Rome puts them in charge. We’re not the one with the universalist pope who encourages everyone to follow their own notion of the good.

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  34. Bob,

    Again, that only Rome has certainty, but prots do not is the epistemological Achilles heel to the whole Rube Goldberg house of cards. Because if prots can recognize one divine truth, then they can recognize other divine truths. But then they don’t need to be Romanists, philosophy professors or amateurs in training.

    Bingo. I’m still trying to figure out why RCs are so confident that we can be trusted to exercise our own judgment to evaluate the motives of credibility and know that Rome is the true church but then once we’re in, we can’t trust ourselves to read the Bible. Some might say that is an inherently contradictory part of the Roman system…

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  35. Some might say that is an inherently contradictory part of the Roman system…

    Oh come on, Robert. Get your Romanist blather on. If Honorius Ken and Bryan Bellarmine can do it, you can too. Nothing is incompatible with the implicit ignorance of implicit faith, not even an explicit appeal to prot private judgement in order to establish the superiority of the certainty of Roman uncertainty. Which is nothing more than a handwaving fideism with a smirking vengeance.

    Wait. Hold on. You’re pleading the ignorance of ignorant faith. Sorry, we forgots. It’s all good and purgatory will take care of whatever the pope missed this time around.
    It’s Francis right now, but that could change.
    Roberto (no relation of yours, right?) Calvi found out where telling the truth about messing with the Mafia Vatican Bank will get you.

    But sainthood awaits.
    But if he was a Mafia martyr and Pelosi is a martyr of the Tea Party, that means . . .

    Romanism is a vicious superstition and mendacious fraud, not to mention a joke, when it comes to Scripture, history or reason.

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  36. @Kenneth

    Every sect that wants was has a mechanism within itself to settle disagreements. Protestantism isn’t a sect, its a theological methodology. Realistically it is a class of sects that agree on a few principles, beyond those there is no agreement.

    Your sect doesn’t have any mechanism beyond other Protestants sects. When there are disagreements there are schisms and those schismatic groups begin to evolve into separate theologies. Tatian breaks off (according to your history), 5 centuries later his theology has evolved into Islam. There is a schism over the nature of God and most of Europe is Arian for centuries. There is nothing about Catholicism that prevents schisms from forming and being quite large, Protestantism is not unique in that respect. The mechanism by which the Catholic church historically effectually resolved deep theological disputes was state terror.

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