How Times Have Changed

As Robbie George explains it, from one THE-ROCK star:

I grew up in West Virginia as a Catholic in a Protestant culture, the kind we would today describe as evangelical. We Catholics had the pope — but he was a distant and, to be blunt, foreign figure. Our Protestant neighbors had Billy Graham, the friend of presidents, business magnates and celebrities, who through the magic of television was a frequent, familiar guest in the homes of ordinary people; and he was as American as apple pie.

We didn’t admit it in those days, but we Appalachian Catholics — like, I suspect, many of our coreligionists throughout the land — envied those Protestants. We figured that Billy Graham made being a Protestant in America something like what it was to be a Catholic in Italy. And while we weren’t quite sure it wasn’t a little bit disloyal to watch, listen to and even like and admire a Protestant preacher, watch and listen many of us did — sometimes against the warnings of our parish priests or the nuns who taught us in parochial schools.

It was hard not to watch and listen to Graham. He was mesmerizing: movie star looks; a strong, compelling voice; a charmingly soft Southern accent; stage presence. His message was as simple as it was powerful: Our lives on earth are short. Soon enough each of us will die. Do you want to go to heaven? Then you must give your life to Christ. You must accept him as your Lord and Savior and enter into a personal relationship with him. He is even now lovingly extending his hand to you. Will you not take it? Quoting Scripture, he would say, “ ‘Now is the accepted time; today is the day of salvation.’ This is the hour of decision.”

Then would come the altar call: As Graham’s superb musical team played and sang the moving old hymn “Just as I Am,” the acclaimed evangelist would invite — encourage — those attending his “crusades,” or listening to his “Hour of Decision” program, first on radio, then television, to stand up and give their lives to Christ. Watching from home, even we Catholics felt the impulse to get out of our seats, though we believed that we already belonged to Christ sacramentally, through baptism.

To another:

I suspect that Graham’s only real competitor for the title of most influential Christian evangelist of the 20th century is Pope John Paul II. And the comparison is apt. A John Paul II event, whether in Paris, New York, Los Angeles or Manila, resembled nothing so much as one of Graham’s crusades — a vast crowd in an allegedly postreligious age, and often in an allegedly post-Christian city, drawn to a larger-than-life figure preaching a demanding message of repentance and reform, but doing it with the accent on God’s mercy and the liberating joy of the Christian life.

Wacker reports that Graham and John Paul II met three times, and that Graham’s admiration for John Paul was “manifest.” Did the pope reciprocate that admiration? At one of their meetings, he grasped the Protestant preacher by the thumb — yes, the thumb — and said, “We are brothers.” John Paul II was not a glad-hander or a flatterer. He didn’t say what he didn’t mean. In Graham he clearly saw a fellow Christian, a fellow evangelist and, no doubt, a fellow pioneer in the effort to heal the divisions that had fractured Christianity. Graham, who earlier in his life had been suspicious of Catholics, took great satisfaction in the pope’s regard for him.

All of which confirms my hunch: without a celebrity pope, Roman Catholicism would not have picked up the Protestant following that it has. The irony of course is that after Vatican 2 Protestants didn’t need to convert. Even the pope recognized Protestants as saved.

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126 thoughts on “How Times Have Changed

  1. Darryl,

    The irony of course is that after Vatican 2 Protestants didn’t need to convert.

    The problem with that claim is that the Second Vatican Council never says it. Instead, the 1992 Catechism teaches: “Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (CCC 846)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  2. Nothing we have ever written or expressed admits, implies or supports your assertion that the celebrity of a pontiff (living or dead, Roman or Avignonal) or the lack thereof has ever served, should have served, or could have served as a factor in any of our conversions to the Church Christ Founded. This is mere hand waving. I see that hand! I see that hand! All over the building…er, sorry.

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  3. Bryan,

    Are protestants fellow xtians:

    FOR OUR FELLOW CHRISTIANS
    We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21)

    Curious for your thoughts,
    Andrew

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  4. Bryan,

    One more. Then it’s your turn (or Darryl’s, obviously).

    knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ

    Do you know this? If so, how, might I ask?

    Peace.

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  5. He does take you off sometimes, Mr. Hat. The power of google has revealed such things to me.

    But sure, I’ll wait for his response. Bryan, hope your classes are going well, maybe you are off for the winter break? Enjoy the time with your family, friend. Grace and peace, Andrew

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  6. Bryan Cross
    Posted December 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    The irony of course is that after Vatican 2 Protestants didn’t need to convert.

    The problem with that claim is that the Second Vatican Council never says it. Instead, the 1992 Catechism teaches: “Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (CCC 846)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

    That pretty much leaves everyone but Darryl off the hook. 😉

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  7. Bryan,

    The problem with your explanation, as I understand it, is that it’s so broad that it doesn’t say anything at all. I’ll use myself as an example.

    I studied Catholicism earnestly, which you can attest. I certainly don’t know everything, but I know more than 99% of average Protestants and probably more than most of my friends in seminary. There are many many people that know more than me, but I’m not your ordinary Protestant ignorant of Catholicism. I reject that, “the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ.” Historically, rejecting such a thing could warrant an anathema and execution. What is different about my situation today?

    Perhaps you’d move on to Paragraph 847 (Citing from Lumen Gentium 16) which states,

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    Is it because I act in good faith (by the grace of God) that my opposition to the RCC does not require me to become part of the church? It would seem that in order to meet this criteria, all one needs to do is reject Catholic claims, in which case, they would not need to convert and the sincerity of our hearts (inspired by grace, of course) would provide us the opportunity to “achieve eternal salvation.”

    If ever there were someone that would not be invincibly ignorant, I think it would be someone like myself. DGH’s point is that if people like me can be warmly received by priests and bishops as separated brethren, then in what way can you meaningful say that Protestants need to become Catholic? Maybe you would say that someone like me is in danger of Hell, but that certainly isn’t the note that Francis is singing.

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  8. Brandon,

    There is a fundamental difference between that for which a person is culpable before God, and that by which we (humans) may judge another human. The Catechism is speaking about the former, but your reply is focusing on the latter. Catholics such as Pope Francis, bishops, priests, lay people, and myself as well, will approach you with the principle of charity, not presuming that there is some intellectual dishonesty in your heart at the level of the will regarding the Catholic question, and not presuming that you are violating your conscience, but will instead approach you by way of the principle of charity, i.e. with the assumption that you are following your conscience as best you can, and desire to know the truth, and will in fact sacrifice all to find and follow the truth no matter what it is. All that is fully compatible with the truth of the CCC excerpt I cited above. The obligation to follow the truth, including the truth about baptism and the truth about Christ’s Church, does not require of Catholics that we presume of those who have not fully embraced these truths (or who have embraced some of them, but not others) that they are intellectually dishonest, or in a state of mortal sin, etc. Our obligation before God to receive baptism, and not to form a schism or remain in a schism, is an obligation before God. He alone ultimately is our judge. Each man will have to give an account to Him on the last Day. Just as a man who knowingly (and thus culpably) spurns the gift of baptism is committing a grave sin, and thus places himself in a state of mortal sin, so the man who knowingly (and thus culpably) spurns the Church and places himself in a state of schism from the Church, is committing a grave sin, and thus places himself in a state of mortal sin. If he remains unrepentant, and dies in that condition, he cannot enter heaven. But it is not for me (or any other Catholic) to judge the hearts of our fellow man and determine that this one or that one has placed himself in a state of mortal sin by such a choice. We cannot read hearts; only God can. Nor would it be charitable for us to presume the worst of someone. The principle of charity calls us to believe the best about someone, all other things being equal, and to pray for those we see in error, rather than judge them.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  9. Bryan,

    “and not presuming that you are violating your conscience”

    “Conscience?” Huh? There is an idea that is mighty mighty charitable. Almost modern. So when exactly did the idea of violation of the “conscience” enter the Catholic idiom? Is this “conscience” an historical development that came along with changing political conditions or is it an eternal principle of soul? Why didn’t the Church charitably recognize Luther’s conscience?

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  10. Bryan,

    Always glad to see you come around, even when there are those around who post here as your hat.

    Personally, as a Zen Calvinist, I am truly untroubled by both your presence here and your website:

    Like the Buddhist movement which shares the same name, Zen-Calvinism is a school of religious thought which allows its adherents to live at one with the world, untroubled in any ultimate sense by the slings and arrows which life throws their way. It is also counter-cultural and thus represents a deeply alternative lifestyle. Let me elaborate a little on this counter-cultural mentality.

    So you’ll never see me post under a pseudonym to try to get at you. Just honest questioning, to try to get you talking. That’s all (all about) I am about.

    I just hope you, though not a Zen Calvinist, have no problem of my hanging around in these chatrooms, and asking you questions when you come by. If you are troubled, please let me know. I’d certainly like to open up to you more about Zen Calvinism, my friend, if that’s the case.

    Merry Christmas and happy new year, to you and yours, from mine and me.

    Regards,
    Andrew

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  11. And by Jimminy-crickets, even our dogs and cats go straight to heaven and “pass go” without the sacraments, penances, and invocations to Mary too. Well, well, well. Ain’t that just peachy-keen?

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  12. almost tweeted to @BryanRCross, @Oldlife, @Pontifex, couldn’t fit in 140:

    Francis, insisting we remember that Jesus is the way, or we end up an ecclesiastical debating society, comparing syllogisms,

    Maybe Erik is the bold one here to tweet those three and see what happens. #I’m_Chicken.

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  13. It is all a crock of enormous proportions. Even if I know the Catholic Church is true, but refuse to enter out of fear my family will skewer me, am I then condemned to Hell? Of course not. There is not a Pope alive (either of them…) who would say it is so. So once again the qualifier is bogus in the extreme. Who knows the Catholic Church is true and also refuses to join? Or who does this with malicious intent so as to make it a mortal sin? Another example of modern Catholicism so qualifying things that they neutralize their own appeal in absurd theological pretzels Aquinas would laugh at. Everything ends up being rather relative, unless you ascribe to CtC apologetics, which no Catholics today but the Caller do. They are they heirs to Fr. Feeney, whether they like it or not.

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  14. Bryan:

    Catholics such as Pope Francis, bishops, priests, lay people, and myself as well, will approach you with the principle of charity, not presuming that there is some intellectual dishonesty in your heart at the level of the will regarding the Catholic question, and not presuming that you are violating your conscience, but will instead approach you by way of the principle of charity, i.e. with the assumption that you are following your conscience as best you can, and desire to know the truth, and will in fact sacrifice all to find and follow the truth no matter what it is.

    So why did Trent anathematize Luther and Calvin?

    No peace, no justice.

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  15. Darryl,

    Bryan, why didn’t John Paul II know that?

    Your question presupposes he didn’t, which you would first need to establish.

    So why did Trent anathematize Luther and Calvin?

    Again, your question presupposes it did, which you would first need to establish.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  16. Bryan, is this how you answer your children?

    Child: “daddy, why do you wear such a strange hat?”

    Bryan, “your question presupposes the hat is strange. you need to prove that.”

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  17. Darryl,

    Bryan, is this how you answer your children?

    Children ask questions because they want to learn the answers. But as your last two and a years of anti-CTC posting here show, you ask questions not because you want to learn the answers, but only as a substitute for argumentation, to be used rhetorically against your interlocutor. So don’t expect your questions to be treated as though they come from a child who asks them sincerely to learn the answer, rather than as coming from a hostile critic who uses questions only as a substitute for argumentation.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  18. So I’ve had a discussion with more than one RC who has said that Trent does not condemn Protestants to hell and that its decree on justification is not directed in its entirety against Protestantism.

    I suppose its the only way to explain how Protestants are now fully orthodox, if separated brethren, from the RCC. Something tells me Rome’s view of us pre-V2 wasn’t so sanguine.

    Ultimately the CTC apologetic comes down to this: “You Protestants are begging the question by assuming that you can interpret the Magisterium according to what it says in its original context. When what it says in its original context matches what the current Magisterium says about what it meant, then you’re golden. If you interpret a Magisterial statement in its original context but the Magisterium today says that it didn’t mean that even though for 500 years everyone else thought it meant that, you are wrong.”

    Sola Ecclesia. Whatever the Magisterium of the moment says is what something means. Who cares what the Magisterium of yesterday means.

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  19. Bryan,

    If you are angry, just don’t visit this site. 2 and a half years of anti-CTC?

    Why can’t you see all your words, anti-reformed protestantism, and helping effect conversions to your religion provoked us. We don’t have a choice but to counter attack. You started this. If you really have deep religious convictions, ask yourself: what would you do if you were in Darryl’s shoes.

    Hint: we are not stopping anytime soon.

    Darryl, great post. I would go off and share about converting people myself at Graham crusades as a teenager, and oh so much more I could write. But Bryan needs space to talk and vent, let’s let him. We keep the anti CTC rhetoric machine going, it’s working, and Bryan still comes here.

    No peace, no justice.

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  20. Robert, as far as I can tell, about the only difference between RCism and Protism is they count about 1.2 Billion on wiki, we about 800 million. We’re both divided, we’re both growing, we’re both firmly entrenched.

    Oh, they have a pope and don’t believe.in contraception.

    And of course, we are right, they aren’t. They schismd from us and all that.

    Peace.

    Who’s next, yo?

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  21. Where does Bryan stand on Francis’ 15 spiritual diseases? Lots of new law here.

    VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis held nothing back on Monday (Dec. 22) in addressing the ills of the Roman Catholic Church in a blistering critique of what ails the Curia, the church’s central bureaucracy. From the “terrorism of gossip” to “spiritual Alzheimer’s,” Francis has a few get-healthy New Year’s resolutions in mind for his staff:

    1.The disease: Feeling “immortal” or “immune” or even “indispensable”

    The cure: A visit to the cemetery, Francis said, could help us see the names of those who “maybe thought they were immortal, immune and indispensable.”

    2.The disease: Excessive activity

    The cure: It is the disease of those who, like Martha in the Gospels, “lose themselves in their work, inevitably neglecting ‘what is better’: sitting at Jesus’ feet.”

    3.The disease: Mental and spiritual “petrification”

    The symptoms: It is the disease of those who “lose their internal peace, their vivacity and audacity, to hide under papers and become ‘procedural machines’ instead of ‘men of God.’”

    4.The disease: Overplanning and functionalism
    The symptoms: “When the apostle plans everything in minute detail and believes that, through this, things progress effectively, they are becoming an accountant. Good planning is necessary — but without falling into the temptation of wanting to enclose or steer the freedom of the Holy Spirit.”

    5.The disease: Bad coordination

    The symptoms: It is the disease of members who “lose the community between themselves … becoming ‘an orchestra producing undisciplined noise.’”

    6.The disease: Spiritual Alzheimer’s

    The symptoms: A “progressive decline of spiritual faculties,” making victims live in a “state of absolute dependence on their, often imagined, views.” It’s most seen, Francis said, in those “who have ‘lost their memory’ of their encounter with the Lord.”

    7.The disease: Rivalry and vainglory

    The symptoms: “When the appearance, the color of vestments and honors become the first objectives of life … it is the disease that leads us to become false men and women, living a false ‘mysticism.’”

    8.The disease : Existential schizophrenia

    The symptoms: It is the disease of those who live “a double life, a result of the hypocrisy typical of mediocre people and of advancing spiritual emptiness, which degrees or academic titles cannot fill.”

    9.The disease: Gossip and chatter

    The symptoms: A “serious illness,” the pope warned, that can begin with a simple chat and sometimes end up with “cold-blooded murder.” It is the disease of cowards, who do not have the courage to speak upfront and so talk behind one’s back. “Look out for the terrorism of gossip!”

    10.The disease: Deifying leaders

    The symptoms: Those who “court their superior,” becoming victims of “careerism and opportunism” and “live their vocation thinking only of what they must gain and not of what they should give.”

    11.The disease: Indifference

    The symptoms: “When, because of jealousy or cunning, we rejoice in seeing others fall, rather than lifting them up and encouraging them.”

    12.The disease: The funeral face

    The symptoms: People who are “scowling and unfriendly” with a “theatrical severity” and “sterile pessimism” that are often symptoms of “fear and insecurity.”

    13.The disease: Hoarding

    The symptoms: “When the apostle seeks to fill an existential void in his heart by hoarding material possessions, not because of necessity, but only to feel secure. In reality we can carry nothing material with us … and all our earthly treasures — even gifts — can never fill the void.”

    14.The disease: Closed circles

    The symptoms: “When belonging to a clique becomes more important than belonging to the Body and, in some situations, than belonging to Christ himself. Even this disease starts from good intentions, but in time it enslaves all its members becoming ‘a cancer’ that threatens the harmony of the body and causes so much illness.”

    15.The disease: Worldly profit and exhibitionism

    The symptoms: “It is the disease of those people who relentlessly seek to increase their powers. To achieve that, they may defame, slander and discredit others, even in newspapers and magazines. Naturally, that is in order to show off and exhibit their superiority.”

    Let’s all get in the spirit and start applying them to one another. C’mon!!!

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  22. Bryan, I asked questions originally to challenge your claims to superiority. Then came the lessons in logic and w-w paradigm. Now I do ask questions to show the limits of your call. Bingo.

    But at some point, you might actually want to look in the mirror and think about how you come across — meaning, think HAL the computer. In case you haven’t noticed, evangelicals are high on affect and low on logic. You are off putting.

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  23. cw, Bryan is an elitist. He only responds here to academics like Brandon and me.

    BTW, I love #4:

    4.The disease: Overplanning and functionalism
    The symptoms: “When the apostle plans everything in minute detail and believes that, through this, things progress effectively, they are becoming an accountant. Good planning is necessary — but without falling into the temptation of wanting to enclose or steer the freedom of the Holy Spirit.”

    If only the Vatican Bank Institute for Religious Works suffered from such illness.

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  24. Darryl,

    But at some point, you might actually want to look in the mirror and think about how you come across — meaning, think HAL the computer. In case you haven’t noticed, evangelicals are high on affect and low on logic. You are off putting.

    I’m willing to engage in fully human dialogue, and do so frequently elsewhere. But as I’ve mentioned before here, I don’t attempt to do so in a context where logic is despised and unchecked invective abounds and is lauded, because no genuine dialogue is possible in such a context. In such a context I only point out the errors in the criticisms, in this particular case, your false claim about Vatican 2. A loss in the appearance-of-charm category is the necessary price to pay for being true to the context. Genuine truth-seekers, however, are not foiled by mere appearances, though for sophists it is all about the appearances.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  25. Bryan corrected nothing. With Vat2, non Cats can be saved.

    He doesn’t dialog here, just corrects e
    Darryl. Who are you going to believe?

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  26. I don’t know what planet Bryan is living on, but on planet earth “genuine truth seekers” can be as lost as a ball in tall weeds, especially religious “genuine truth seekers”.

    These “devout Buddhists”, for example:

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-storage-unit-full-of-porn-20141223-story.html

    His logic lessons are ultimately lame because logic does not get him all the way to proving his claims for Catholicism. That being the case, he might consider chilling out so non-sycophants can take him seriously.

    And if the only ones who are “genuine” in their “truth seeking” are the ones who reach the same conclusions as Bryan, then that is double-lame.

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  27. Bryan, I consider H. L. Mencken and Richard John Neuhaus to have been human and they could mix it up — meaning, they didn’t punt when people didn’t follow someone else’s rules of engagement.

    I thought Neuhaus was one of your good guys. Take a page.

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  28. Literally laughed out loud this morning when I read the WSJ article on God is not Dead in Gotham. Who’d have ever thought D Hart would be defending Tim Keller in a comments thread??!!! 🙂
    What an excellent development!

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  29. Jr, thanks for that! I’ll read more on the can. How times change, indeed.

    he two MIT professors attending your church, it could be that they both have a side interest in anthropology and your congregation is the closest thing to a stone age community that can be found locally. One might also be investigating how the low aptitude for science among the congregation might be improved artificially, and the medical guy could be searching out the dread virus that causes religiosity. These experts can be sneaky and crafty, you know. I would propose that one should try developing an artificial brain immune to Alzheimer’s and into which my memory could be loaded, and the other should try to solve urinary tract and colon ailments which should be simple plumbing design problems. Then they both will have trumped God when it comes to Intelligent Design, my bod being rather lacking in such design. Better yet, unlike God, they could take a tip from Henry Ford and come up with intelligent designs of replacement parts for these functions.

    D HartD Hart 2 hours ago
    @TOM BRADSHAW @D Hart Nope, you guessed wrong about the MIT professors. There are also several of us who graduated from MIT and/or work there, plus doctors, folks who work in the biotech industry, an analytical chemist, architects, and even a lawyer or two;-)

    D HartD Hart 8 hours ago
    Speaking of Jefferson(as Leslie Keller did), people have been trying to separate morality from the supernatural for a long time.I don’t think it can work.Morality is just advice.We don’t need advice, we need help.(And I don’t just say this in religious contexts; I say that to people who give me advice about my startup!).The help has to come from outside (again, the startup version: the advice is “work 25 hours each day.Become an expert at everything.”)The best morality (advice) can’t be implemented because, as Tim Keller said “Relax—it’s worse than you think” Humans are totally messed up.But the Good News is even better: Someone loves me, and stands ready to help. And it’s not disinterested, abstract help—it’s help for my own good.(Which is why Christianity is better than an abstract morality, where you implement what you can& don’t sweat the rest.)

    D HartD Hart 8 hours ago
    Leslie, If you could restate your main point briefly, that might help.The answer, I’m pretty sure, will be found by reading what Jesus said in an accessible translation: New International Version is what I’ve used for decades, but I”ve heard the English Standard Version is even better.If you want something super-readable, “The Message” is an excellent paraphrase. Try any of the Gospels: Mark is shortest. John’s version of Christmas doesn’t have Herod or the angels or shepherds, but he gets right to the point of who Jesus is.

    TOM BRADSHAWTOM BRADSHAW 12 hours ago
    “…I hate to say it, recessions are wonderful times for that message to fall on more open people…” It is to laugh. Bars do very well during recessions, too. I used to thank my lucky stars (LOL, not a god) that I had invested in a recession-proof business. Opium dens are likely even more recession-proof. But preachers are onto a far superior con, legal and tax exempt. Frightened people, especially non-scientists, grasp at straws, straw men, straw gods, bottles, pipes… The reporter here mentions bankers, lawyers, actors, artists, her perceived make up of these congregations she’s reporting on. Do any such qualify as philosophers? Does anyone here seriously suppose that she saw any scientists among them? And the numbers of attendees are negligible. On any given Sunday in NYC there would be way more bankers, lawyers, actors and artists donning Stetson hats and cowboy boots, swilling beer and listening to hillbilly music. Johnny Cash isn’t dead in Gotham, Q.E.D. Nor is Batman.

    D HartD Hart 8 hours ago
    @TOM BRADSHAW My church has not one but two MIT professors in attendance, both in the sciences(artificial intelligence and medicine). I would expect Tim Keller’s church has even more college professors than ours.

    Laura LaredoLaura Laredo 13 hours ago
    @Michael Newkirk
    “The PCA takes no particular position on modern Israel one way or the other.”

    So your denomination split off from the other Presbyterians, and you don’t support the so-called boycott of Israel. Too bad your denomination doesn’t have the cajones to support Israel, the way most other Evangelical Christian denominations do!

    PS I dig the WSJ cartoon and TKNY making it his TWTR avatar, yo.

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  30. Bryan, btw, at the risk of listening to my inner Bryan, here are few posts that should have warned you what you were in for at Oldlife (Protestant believe in transparency):

    This is a blog:

    Regular readers of Oldlife likely don’t need any explanation about the nature of this site but those unfamiliar with the medium or genre of blogging may need some guidance on how to read the posts published here. Genre may sound like a high-faluttin’ word to affix to a blog, suggesting some kind of artifice or even art to the mode of communication. But genre is fitting if only because a blog is a different kind of communication from older forms of publishing and readers who look at a post as if it were another kind of publication may hurt themselves as well as the author (I’m thinking here of the lack of charity or benefit of the doubt that some readers of blogs display, thus raising questions not only about the virtue of the author but also about the motives of the reader).

    A blog – at least as I read them and participate in several – is somewhere between a Facebook page and an editorial in a magazine. Blogging is almost entirely personal since the author is his own editor in most cases; no editorial staff or marketing department oversees the writing. A blog is also a forum for thinking out loud – “here is something I read or observed, and I thought I’d write about it and see what readers think.” Magazines are in themselves ephemeral. I used to save old copies of magazines but soon gave up after several moves not only owing to sloth (or declining strength as aging happens) but also because highlighted articles were not as pertinent at the time of the move as they were when saved. If magazines lack permanency, blogs do so even more.

    In which case readers, readers should not take a blog too seriously. It is not only an ephemeral medium but often times the author’s thoughts are highly transitional – again, this is a way of thinking out loud.

    The resident blogger values wit and sarcasm:

    Oldlife.org is the on-line presence of the Nicotine Theological Journal. Long before provocations started at this blog, the editors and authors of the NTJ were provoking readers and library patrons in hopes of thinking through the implications of Reformed faith and practice today, with a little levity and sarcasm thrown in. The editors’ inspiration was partly Andrew Sullivan whose time at the New Republic made it one of the most thoughtful, rancorous, and witty magazines on politics and culture at the time. But Sullivan was not the only inspiration. Other authors who wrote on serious matters with wit and sarcasm that provided models for the NTJ were Richard John Neuhaus, P. J. O’Rourke, Joseph Epstein, H. L. Mencken, and Calvin Trillin.

    None of these sources, readers may object, are Reformed. Which raises the question whether Reformed authors may engage in wit and sarcasm when pursuing their convictions. Well, the answer is yes. If you spend much time in the polemical writings of the Old School and Princeton theologians, you will find a fair amount of wit and sarcasm.

    So if you thought you were going to find something substantive, think again (which may also prompt you to re-think posting academic articles at Jason and the Callers).

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  31. Bryan,

    “I don’t attempt to do so in a context where logic is despised and unchecked invective abounds and is lauded”

    That’s not charitable. Again, what is this “conscience” of which you speak earlier in the thread?

    From the blog post you cite:

    “fruitful dialogue depends on much more than good argumentation and sound reasoning; it depends even more so on the presence of particular virtues in the heart of each participant.”

    The heart? Conscience? Are you sure you’re not still a closet evangelical?

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  32. The real problem is blogs are public.

    Bryan, if you want true dialogue, you need to e-mail people privately, or meet them in person (golf?).

    You advertise your website as a place for dialogue to occur, but the dialogue is only one way. People talking to Bryan, and Bryan approving what get’s shown. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church has a one way dialogue feature as well, it is under the auspices of our church website, but is not officially the position of the OPC.

    So you are a shell game. I fear your website is more the personal quest for illegitimate religious dialogue of Bryan Cross than it is the healing of the Romish/Protestant schism of the western church, promulgated at the council of Trent almost 450 years ago, as your own personal blog keeps a time ticker.

    Your move, friend. Peace.

    Like

  33. BC sounds *exactly* like an LDS missionary who tells you how much he wants to dialog, as long as he is doing all the talking and you allow him to stay on point with his missionary manual. Protestants are guilty of “The Great Apostasy” and he has God’s appointed “One True Church” to introduce… even if John Paul II and successors practically lip-kissed non-believers in their eager bridge-building encyclicals and p.r. efforts. If your questions can’t be answered by non-answers, you just aren’t sincere in your seeking.

    The Church he describes exists only on paper… But wait, if you actually follow all the paper trails you disappointingly discover it no long exists there after all either, despite his wishful insistence or the poorly-informed estimates of thinly-read Evangelical theologians to the contrary.

    Like

  34. Probably worth a re-post, yo:

    WHY DO SOME PROTESTANTS BECOME CATHOLICS?
    March 14, 2013 | by: Sam Storms| 8 Comments

    I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question. Of course, I have to be careful in giving an answer, insofar as I can’t peer into the hearts and thought processes of another human. Only they know the true answer to that question. But let me venture a few thoughts.
    Notwithstanding the efforts of ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together), the divisions between Catholicism and Protestantism are long-standing and the reasons multi-faceted. Whereas the vast majority of Protestants remain suspicious of Roman Catholicism, a few, often well-known figures (e.g., the late Richard John Neuhaus, Thomas Howard, Scott Hahn, Francis Beckwith), find a home in Rome. Before I address why we see such “conversions,” let me say a few words about why most evangelical Protestants are still suspicious of Rome.
    The following are merely observations. I make no attempt to determine whether or not these evangelical fears are justified or misguided.
    (1) Many Protestant evangelicals are energized by the Protestant martyrs of the reformation and post-reformation period: Hus, Cranmer, Tyndale, Hugh Latimer, Ridley, etc. They fear that dialogue with the RCC is a disservice and dishonor to those who gave their lives for their convictions. They were tortured and died for their refusal to embrace the Roman Catholic Mass or bow to papal authority. ECT represents for many evangelicals a tacit dismissal of such heroes of the faith: “Are we selling out those who sacrificed so much? Why are we willing to compromise so easily on matters that were to them a question of life and death?”
    (2) Evangelicals fear the loss of theological integrity. They believe that the only way to enter a dialogue with Rome is by compromising on several key theological issues. Most evangelicals believe that unity is theologically based. Cooperative efforts must be grounded in theological consensus. Is this biblical? Is it feasible?
    (3) Many evangelicals are afraid of liturgy and ritual. They are put off by the external trappings of the RCC and believe them to be a threat to the simplicity, genuineness, freedom, and spontaneity of faith in Jesus. Perhaps they grew up Catholic or know someone who is Catholic and are personally aware of the potential of relying on a religious ritual devoid of spiritual substance. A biblically based theology of symbol and sacrament would go a long way in diminishing such fears.
    (4) Evangelicals often fear that Roman Catholic theology and practice detract from a single-minded focus on Jesus. Devotion to Mary, praying the rosary, penance, confession, etc., strike them as distractions from and perhaps substitutions for the worship of the Son of God alone. Associated with this is their belief that Catholics are obsessed with the pope, a mere man (as evidenced by the deference shown him, the honorific titles given him, and the habit of bowing in his presence or the kissing of his hand, foot, ring, etc.).
    (5) Evangelicals are concerned that the RC concept of justification, doing penance, and the Mass, etc., detract from, and perhaps even deny, the centrality and sufficiency of divine grace. This raises the question of whether or not Sola Fide is itself the gospel.
    (6) Evangelicals tend to be individualistic in their faith. Thus they do not like being told what to do and what not to do. They fear that papal authority and the magisterium of the church would rob them of their freedom as Christians. In other words, evangelicals are quite serious about the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer and the concept of “soul competency” (a favorite term among Baptists).
    (7) The single most basic reason for evangelical reluctance to ECT and other forms of dialogue or ecumenical activity is their suspicion that Catholics are not saved. The question they ask themselves is: “How can someone be born again who denies Sola Scriptura, who puts their trust in the sacrifice of the mass, who affirms the existence of purgatory, who grants such high privilege and power to both the Pope on earth and Mary in heaven, who believes that salvation is, at minimum, a cooperative effort of God and man?” This suspicion casts a long shadow over all efforts at dialogue between evangelical and Catholic. But do Catholics, in fact, believe what evangelicals think they believe? It would appear that open and honest and prolonged dialogue is at this point absolutely essential.
    O.K., so why then do some (many?) evangelical Protestants “convert” to Catholicism?
    1) Aesthetic – Many appeal to the experience of being moved by the architecture of RC church structures, the incense, the beauty of liturgy, the mystery, the solemnity, the drama, the vestments of the clergy, the church calendar, the sense of transcendence, religious symbolism, etc.
    2) Historical – Some appeal to the belief that the reformation was a rebellion and that Protestantism is a deviation from the historic stream of the true church. They also point to a desire for unity with the past and the appeal of tradition.
    3) Theological – Some convert for strictly theological reasons. They insist that sola scriptura, sola fide, etc. are wrong. Many have become persuaded of a sacramental/sacerdotal approach to God’s mechanism for dispensing grace together with a belief that Protestantism is Gnostic and fails to embrace the incarnational principle of scripture.
    4) Social – The growing secularization of society, together with the diminishing influence of the evangelical church, have led many to Rome. They often find in the RCC a stabilizing anchor and unified front to fight the battle against the paganizing of culture.
    5) Personal – Many Protestants point to their bad experience in the church, often citing an oppressive and legalistic fundamentalism.
    (6) Authority – Many appeal to papal infallibility, as over against the theological schisms in Protestantism, that they believe offers a stability in which their souls/minds might find rest in an uncertain and irrational age. In other words, it is the allure of a purported unshakable voice of authority that puts to rest countless and otherwise irresolvable theological disputes that draws so many to Rome. The idea of a Spirit-led, authoritative teaching office, known as the Magisterium, brings a measure of relief to those who’ve grown weary of arguments, debates, and doubts about what the Bible means and how we should live.
    (7) Denominational – By this I have in mind the disdain many feel toward the divisions and denominations in Protestantism. They are offended by the obvious disunity that exists and what they perceive as the failure to take seriously the prayer of Jesus in John 17 that we all be one. Needless to say, this wrongly assumes that there is in contemporary Catholicism a monolithic and unified theology, when in fact there are numerous “catholicisms” that often deviate from Rome.
    I’m sure there are other reasons people give for their spiritual pilgrimage to Rome, but these are the ones I most often hear.

    Fore!

    Like

  35. Darryl,

    So if you thought you were going to find something substantive, think again

    You met your goal on this one. But you try to have it both ways, i.e. treat your criticisms as legitimate reasons for not being Catholic and for rejecting argumentation made at CTC, while at the same time (and especially in response to having your criticisms shown to be fallacious) dismissing everything you say here as merely non-substantive levity. So don’t mind me while I keep the non-substantive nature of your criticisms clear by pointing out their fallacious nature, in case some readers less attuned to your commitment to avoiding substantive writing might unknowingly take them seriously.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  36. Bryan,

    I do understand there is a distinction between being culpable before God and before men, and I appreciate you approaching me with charity, but I’m not really sure it addresses my question.

    I was under the impression that the RCC was able to define those articles of faith there were necessary for salvation and that if I rejected them that I was in danger of condemnation. That was the very reason ecumenical councils were convened and anathemas pronounced.

    For example, the fourth session of Trent pronounces the anathema over any whom,

    receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition

    This list includes Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus and Baruch, all of which I deny as canonical. Such anathema is repeated at Vatican I.

    Trent also says,

    If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.

    I ardently and strenuously claim that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in divine mercy, which would place me under this anathema.

    Vatican I says,

    if anyone says that
    blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed by Christ the lord as prince of all the apostles and visible head of the whole church militant; or that it was a primacy of honour only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction that he directly and immediately received from our lord Jesus Christ himself:
    let him be anathema.

    After much study, I strenuously object to this and stand in opposition to such a statement which means that I also reject the definition of papal infallibility found in the fourth chapter, which again places me under the anathema of the RCC.

    My point in bringing this out is that regardless of how charitable you may feel about me, your church says that my beliefs place me under an anathema. Notice that the language is about ideas but the anathema is focused upon individuals who believe such ideas (anathematizing an idea is nonsensical anyway—as if ideas will join individuals in Hell).

    In other words, the distinction between someone rejecting the church in ignorance on the one hand and with sufficient knowledge on the other is cryptically vague. You’re not actually addressing the question when you say,

    But it is not for me (or any other Catholic) to judge the hearts of our fellow man and determine that this one or that one has placed himself in a state of mortal sin by such a choice.

    Would you say the same thing for the person living in unrepentant homosexual unions? For someone who divorced their spouse and remarried? For someone using contraception?

    If so, that would seem to relativize mortal sin so that one’s actions don’t determine mortal sin, only the intentions of their heart, which are completely inaccessible to anyone (it is often difficult to know the intentions of my own heart let alone someone else’s). You say that it would not be “charitable for us to presume the worst of someone,” but saying that I’m anathema doesn’t assume the worst about me, it simply provides an evaluation of my beliefs.

    I know what the church teaches, I’ve studied it in good faith, but I believe things to which councils and Popes have anathematized. From this I have two questions: 1. Am I truly a separated brother given that I am knowledgably rejecting the RCC? 2. How would Francis respond to my question?

    I know that it’s impossible to speak for someone else, but I’m just interested in knowing your sense of Francis’s ministry because my sense is that he would still accept me as part of the body of Christ. The point DGH is getting at is that if this is the case, then Protestants don’t need to convert to be saved. For Protestants, this sounds like a very new tune—if it’s not an entirely new song altogether—given the history of violence and the bevy of anathemas.

    Like

  37. Here’s one spin on the Pope’s list:

    The Post article illustrates the mainstream media’s failure to achieve a thorough understanding of Catholicism. The article closes by showing pictures from a meeting of the pope with the families of people who work for the Vatican. It looks like they are all having fun, so the Post says that it seems this was a “friendlier” meeting. That in turn implies that the talk the pope gave to the curia was “unfriendly.” I don’t mean to press this point too hard. The piece has a kind of lighthearted quality, and the authors may be right to note that it is unusual for a pope to use a talk like this to warn curial officials against a bunch of sins to which they may be tempted. Still, what they miss is that for a Catholic, criticism need not be unfriendly. Quite the opposite, warning people against sin is a very important act of friendship, an act of love and concern for them. This is true among Catholics generally, but it would also be a duty of a pastor towards his flock. The pope is the pastor of all Catholics in a way, but the people who work for him in the curia are immediately under his supervision. He would have a particular duty to admonish them against whatever errors he might see them making. Also, it may be that the Post is making a bigger deal of the talk than it deserves. Is the pope really lambasting the curia, or is he simply warning them against the kind of mediocrity, shallowness, and indifference that can overtake anyone who does not remain on his toes, spiritually speaking.

    But if Francis can say about homosexuals, who am I to judge, what’s up with being so hard on and not walking along side the curia?

    Like

  38. Then again, Tim divvies up the blogging world (in the way only an experimental Calvinist can):

    Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of blog. There are blogs that provide a platform for content creation and there are blogs that provide a platform for content curation. The creators are the ones who think of the ideas and write them out a few hundred words at a time; the curators are the ones who collect other people’s ideas, provide links to them, and sometimes comment on them. Both kinds of blog can be very successful and both kinds can be very helpful.

    When I first began blogging, I was committed almost entirely to content creation. I was interested in exploring new ideas, reading new books, and discussing current events, and I found unexpected joy in doing it out loud and in public through the Internet. At that time I was (sinfully) opposed to curating content and linking to other people’s material. Somehow Envy had shown up and convinced me that if I did that, I would diminish my own readership. The best thing, and the safest thing, he told me, was to pretend that my site was the only one out there worth reading. It was both stupid and prideful. It’s rather embarrassing in retrospect.

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  39. Bryan, right back at you. As long as we’re interacting in ephemeral contexts, I’ll continue to disregard what you write as being all that serious. Funny thing is, your presence is even funnier because you take blogging seriously.

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  40. Bryan also continually makes the mistake of recognizing that comedy and satire are much harder to write and pull off than drama (and its variation of which he is the embodiment – melodrama).

    And people learn from these forms of art & of dialogue. Which has had a bigger impact on the culture, “Groundhog Day” or boring ProtCatholic apologetics blogs that are dry as toast that has been left outside in the sun for the month of July?

    You’re competing for peoples’ free time when you do this stuff. You need to make it interesting.

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  41. wjw, I’m with you. I’ve been reading WASPy, midwestern, elitist (all redundant, I understand) from jump. Bryan likes to claim Darryl(we) refused to engage substantially, which is just dishonest(uncharitable). We all got CIPed and PIPed into oblivion. In true tail chasing fashion we firmly established then we denied each other’s initial philosophic, even biblical, presuppositions. Which at least is fair. ‘They affirm, we deny” and vice versa. After that it’s become an observational(being human, with requisite capacity) tallying, and Bryan’s crew turns out to be not fully in accord with the audacity of his pope. Big shocker. But, he(Bryan) is a big fan of Burke, the guy heading up the Malta charity. Papal audacity cuts both ways.

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  42. Bryan may be the Catholic version of our own Pietist Reformed knuckleheads who see no value in reading fiction. I wish those guys would convert, but it is my private curse to always have to deal with them, unfortunately.

    Something tells me Flannery O’Connor, Evelyn Waugh and Walker Percy wouldn’t have gotten The Callers.

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  43. Brandon,

    I was under the impression that the RCC was able to define those articles of faith there were necessary for salvation and that if I rejected them that I was in danger of condemnation.

    That is true. But “in danger of” is not the same thing as necessarily being in a state of mortal sin, or culpably rejecting divinely established authority. Material heresy is not necessarily formal heresy.

    Regarding the anathemas of Trent and the First Vatican Council, those do not ipso facto entail that anyone who holds one of the anthematized positions is culpable for doing so, or has thereby committed a mortal sin. The anathemas ipso facto condemn positions; they do not ipso facto condemn persons. They condemn persons only when other factors are satisfied, including the person does so with full knowledge and deliberate consent.

    My point in bringing this out is that regardless of how charitable you may feel about me, your church says that my beliefs place me under an anathema. Notice that the language is about ideas but the anathema is focused upon individuals who believe such ideas (anathematizing an idea is nonsensical anyway—as if ideas will join individuals in Hell).

    I’m quite aware of how they are worded, and what they say. But you have misunderstood their meaning. I’ve explained this in more detail in comment #53 of the VanDrunen thread on CTC.

    From this I have two questions: 1. Am I truly a separated brother given that I am knowledgably rejecting the RCC? 2. How would Francis respond to my question?

    To your first question, yes, again for the same reason I explained in my previous comment to you here. You are baptized, and you have not renounced your baptism. Therefore you are Christian. Therefore, as a Christian who is not in full communion with the Catholic Church, you are a separated brother, whether or not you are presently in a state of grace. Pope Francis would say the same.

    The point DGH is getting at is that if this is the case, then Protestants don’t need to convert to be saved.

    Again, this claim has to be disambiguated. The necessity of entering the Church is the same as the necessity of receiving baptism. Is there such a thing as baptism by desire? Yes. Does the doctrine of “baptism by desire” mean that unbaptized persons “don’t need to [be baptized] in order to be saved”? Absolutely not. Those who with full knowledge and deliberate consent reject baptism, cannot be saved. Only those who have at least baptism by desire can be saved. Likewise, in the very same way, is there such a thing as being in imperfect communion with the Church Christ founded? Yes. Does the doctrine of imperfect communion mean that those not in full communion ‘don’t need to come into full communion in order to be saved”? Again, absolutely not. As the excerpt I posted from the CCC at the beginning of this thread explains, those who with full knowledge and deliberate consent reject full communion with the Church Christ founded and enter into or remain in schism from His Church, cannot be saved. Only those who are at least in imperfect communion with Christ’s Church, and are not with full knowledge and deliberate consent rejecting full communion with the Church Christ founded, can be saved. Just as we (humans) cannot know that a person who rejects baptism has done so with full knowledge and deliberate consent, so we cannot know that a person who rejects full communion with Christ’s Church has done so with full knowledge and deliberate consent. In such cases, God alone knows each man’s heart.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  44. Brandon: Bryan said:

    Therefore you are Christian. Therefore, as a Christian who is not in full communion with the Catholic Church, you are a separated brother, whether or not you are presently in a state of grace. Pope Francis would say the same.

    But the bad news for you is that, not being in “full communion”, you don’t have access to “the sacrament of reconciliation” (“confession”, it used to be called), and if you’ve ever in your life committed a mortal sin, you’re in deep doo-doo, and if you get hit by a bus, well, that would be bad.

    Don’t know that “Pope Francis” would tell you that.

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  45. @Brandon

    Building on your question to Bryan, it is interesting to consider the opening to the Athanasian Creed,

    Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

    At what point do qualifications (e.g., about culpability) in later RC docs constitute a change in dogma? In other words, must a change be a flat out contradiction? I’m also interested in how folks like Neuhaus who hold to a sort of hopeful universalism account for dogmatic statements like this that bluntly state that there is no doubt about the damnation of those who do not keep the entire catholic faith whole and undefiled.

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  46. By the way, the phrase “knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ” is one of those Vatican II weasel phrases that can include or exclude anyone you want.

    Here’s how Vatican II proceeded:

    the Council searched for … reconciling statement[s] which would be ambiguous enough to accommodate both schools of thought. When the Council was successful, both viewpoints were represented in one statement which obviously meant different things to different people

    Ratzinger himself said:

    But for every statement advanced in one direction the text offers one supporting the other side, and this restores the balance, leaving interpretations open in both directions.

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2013/10/ratzinger-for-every-statement-advanced.html

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  47. I didn’t see Bryan’s response until after I posted, but it does sharpen my own question. The Athanasian Creed does not qualify its statement that only “those who with full knowledge and deliberate consent reject” the faith will perish everlastingly. It states that every one who does not keep the faith whole and undefiled will without doubt perish everlastingly. This strikes me as a clear change in dogma.

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  48. Men having control of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell seems like a wonderful scam — probably the best ever.

    What better tool for getting people to empty their wallets and do whatever you say?

    I can’t think of one, other than perhaps the charms of a young woman, and she has to keep holding herself out there. She’ll also get old and it will no longer work.

    Rome keeps on binding peoples’ consciences their whole lives long. Masterful.

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  49. It’s at time like this, reading this thread, where I pull out my Machen:

    At this point, a question may perhaps be asked. We
    have said that saving faith is acceptance of Christ, not

    FAITH AND THE GOSPEL 155

    merely in general, but as He is offered to us in the gos-
    pel. How much, then, of the gospel, it may be asked,
    does a man need to accept in order that he may be saved;
    what, to put it baldly, are the minimum doctrinal re-
    quirements in order that a man may be a Christian?
    That is a question which, in one form or another, I
    am often asked; but it is also a question which I have
    never answered, and which I have not the slightest in-
    tention of answering now. Indeed it is a question
    which I think no human being can answer. Who can
    presume to say for certain what is the condition of
    another man’s soul; who can presume to say whether
    the other man’s attitude toward Christ, which he can
    express but badly in words, is an attitude of saving
    faith or not? This is one of the things which must
    surely be left to God.

    Bryan’s got nice and fine opinions and all. But I’m sticking with the ordained dudes around this parlor.

    Oh, and funny about that D.Hart on the wsj thread. Unless Darryl graduated from MIT, there’s a D Hart Tim Keller fan whose name may not (or maybe is? who knows) be Darryl, but it ain’t our resident dude.

    PS If golf aint your thing, there’s always bowling..Happy Festivus.

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  50. AB, the problem is he sells his opinions as ‘truth’ and faithful representation of apostolic doctrine. This is a problem and not nice or fine. Also, even from a matter of charity and good conscience from within RC deliberations, he’s out of accord on both counts. According to his pope. He’s neither truly ecumenical or charitable, but small minded and stifling. Signing off ‘In the peace of Christ’ and remaining pretentious and aloof in dialog does not make one virtuous in comparison to ‘boorish’ behavior, it makes you a prude or worse. He had plenty of opportunities to deal substantively and fairly with rebuttals but more often than not he decided to grade syllogisms( a dodge) and presume to instruct those who don’t regard him as he regards himself.

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  51. Sean, what do we expect? He was stumped by mormonism. That’s all I needed to know.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, from me and mine. Of course you are right here, bro.

    Peace.

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  52. Sean – and presume to instruct those who don’t regard him as he regards himself.

    Erik – That’s a good point. I don’t recall registering for Bryan’s class and, if I did register, I certainly don’t remember sending in my tuition check.

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  53. PS, anyone reading, if you are bored, you can click on Tim Keller’s latest tweet, and just watch as the retweets and favorites come in. Hit the refresh button your browser, it’s rad. They just keep pouring in…Boy, is that guy poop-ular. I’m out.

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  54. If Bryan was the master logician he thinks he is, one would think he would have gotten around to making an affirmative case for Roman Catholicism here by now. It’s been two years.

    You don’t see Cletus or Kenneth complaining endlessly about the playing field — they just get on it and make their case. They take some lumps, but they deliver some, too.

    Other than linking to his own articles (which I suspect everyone gave up reading 18 months ago) he rarely makes an affirmative case here. He’s perpetually in defensive mode so all we have is a stalemate. I could conclude Darryl is a buffoon, but I have no reason to conclude that Bryan is not a buffoon too, based on what he has given us, and a haughty buffoon at that.

    Darryl references far more Catholic authors than Bryan does, not counting Bryan’s references to himself.

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  55. And Bryan can’t afford to remain forever in defensive mode as he does not claim to offer merely an alternative paradigm, but THE SUPERIOR paradigm.

    He needs to be General Grant as opposed to General Meade, in other words.

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  56. Erik, I used to bother my older brother, arminian dispensational babdist, and he eventually grew tired of me and all my right answers. So he would remind me how much better at golf he is than me. Here, try this out for size:

    As it turns out, however, Barth is right, that the best theology would indeed need no advocates. For when we discuss theology, we are discussing matters pertaining to the divine, and in truth, some things we simply are not meant to know for God speaking in the Scriptures says:

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
    For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV)

    Ah, so there it is. The point at last: God is above our debating of theology, online or elsewhere. Wouldn’t that be funny if even if one of us is right, and the other wrong, in such a hypothetical debate on a theological topic, such a person is in fact right, but for all the wrong reasons? God, it may end up in the end, does have a sense of humor.

    I also use to bug my OP ministers during sunday school, with all my genius uncoverings. It was the PCA guy that talked to me afterwards and told me I just keep asking Deut 29:29 questions all the time.

    Bryan just needs to sit in Sunday School and ask his philosophical questions there. Why he still comes over here is anyone’s guess. But hey, we do get a kick out of it. I just hope he does too.

    NOW I’m out. :mrgreen:

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  57. The thing that would be really interesting to know is how Bryan is viewed in his Parish by life-long Catholics.

    Is he a novelty? A throwback? A guy who is still wet behind the ears who has yet to learn how it really works? An irritation? A respected lay teacher?

    Presumably he is at least getting to know some folks as opposed to Jason who is always having to go to Mass alone. I’m sure that teaching at a Catholic college certainly helps. Cedar Rapids is a lot smaller pool than St. Louis, too.

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  58. Michael,

    It’s just an honest question about who you are. Because the way you post after I do, it seems to me you might just have a crush on someone….

    I get wanting to stay anon, so no need to respond to anything I say. Just take quick drive bys and jokes that miss the mark (winky emoticon). I was like you once, as well. Young Padawan.

    Glad you like Darryl’s blog, as I do. Peace, friend. Until next time. And Merry Christmas, yo.

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  59. @dgh Right…how silly of me. When dogma changes, it transforms into discipline. And here I thought transubstantiation was hard to swallow. So it really is impossible for the church to err…kinda like it is impossible for Calvin to lose at Calvin ball.

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  60. AB,

    My story in short: I live on the west coast and am a member of the PCA. I find xmas cheer annoying and Star Wars geekdom even more so.

    Bahumbug.

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  61. Michael, I have enjoyed every comment you have made since you showed up (especially your first)(fwiw). You’re batting 1.000, keep it up.

    PS if you were OPC, then we’d really be cool. As it stands, however..

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  62. Darryl, that’s more than fair, even with how Steph and my warriors are playing.

    We’re even. Let’s never speak of this again, yo.

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  63. PS

    Michael,

    I will indeed try to comment less here on Darryl’s blog, I take your initial complaint against me quite seriously. Of course me saying that may not at all change my habits. Just know that as an orthodox presbyterian deacon (inactive), I take some interest in what goes on on this blog, so I read many of the comboxxes. If you post again, I may even read yours. Some may call this cyberstalking. Me? I’m just plain bored, is all.

    Peace.

    Like

  64. Come on CW, where’s the apostolic bones on the list?
    That’s Bry’s real objective/epistemological ace in the hole, all the philosophical paradigm mongering notwithstanding.

    But Bryan would get a lot more respect, whatever the medium – bwogging ultimately has nothing to do with it – if he would practice what he preaches.
    Like correctly characterizing his opponent’s position, which he has no excuse for not knowing.
    But Sola Sophistry rules, we have never really got past the anarchic anabaptist bosom burning or Bryan’s poisoning of the prot paradigm, which is the supposed whole raisin (sic) d’ etre/ justification of his Roman conversion due to his mormon crisis of faith. (Brigham Young, we hardly knew ye.)

    Nevertheless, imitating a solemn and sincere priss and a smooth and smug ass, he shows up here to engage in yet even more equivocation and qualifications of the “pope as paradigm killer” paradigm. IOW “my never ending question begging nuances good, your’s question begging”.
    Well, maybe, but coming from somebody that does enough handwaving regarding the true church – which can only be Roman – Snow White’s suppressed premises are hardly as pure as the wind driven. Rome semper eadem, as in the lies may change, but Rome remains ever the liar.

    Yet in all of this, he then has the patronizing audacity to wonder aloud why he receives such a “childish” welcome of bronx cheers in a prot neighborhood, instead of the gushing bootlick sycophancy of the pseudo intellectual adults swooning over the latest “conversion” lite narrative or penetrating application of jargon and detailed obscurantism logic and philosophy over at CtC. (His ingratitude aside, OLTS to its credit just might be the closest Bryan will ever come to the fabled/nonexistent Roman purgatory. He ought to enjoy it while he can.)

    For one, Bryan is sure to tell us that he knows – or maybe it’s the pope, he hasn’t been real clear on the assumed identity thing – that prots can only know religious opinions, all the while romanists can know truth. Of Romanism. Which prots can’t know because they’re prots. For if prots can know the truth of Romanism, they don’t need to become Romanists to know truth.
    Which is just the problem. Bryan’s paradigmatic ministry is a useless, if not compromised fraud, and a call to confusion, never mind philosophical idolatry idiocy.
    Double blind, double bind indeed.

    The gentleman is a despicable and self righteous fool, if not a liar and if he only interacts with academics, then to be sure, the apostolic testimony of Gal. 1:8,9 or 5:12 is beneath his paradigm purview, never mind pride.
    Somehow, I don’t think that will be a good enough excuse on that day.

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  65. The fundamental problem with the CTC apologetic is that those who employ it are absolutely blind to how their critiques/caricatures of Protestantism apply no less forcefully to themselves.

    1. Bryan et al complain about Protestants looking for a church that agrees with their interpretation of the Bible. Bryan decided that he had to have an infallible church in order to have a “principled means,” then he went looking for a church that agreed with that point of view.

    2. Bryan et al complain about Protestants not having a principled means of the kind they think we should have in order to separate dogma from opinion. But they don’t have a principled means of the kind they think we should have to separate their opinion of what Rome is from what Rome actually is.

    3. They fail to see that the motives of credibility don’t point to Rome any more than they point to the OPC, PCA, EO, LCMS, or any other communion unless you first accept Rome’s definition of what the motives are and what they mean.

    Its a viciously circular apologetic that seems to have a certain kind of appeal to certain kind of people. There seems to be this real—”Well, Bryan is obviously very smart. If I can accept what he’s saying, that means I’m really smart too.”

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  66. Robert, and apparently, Bryan and his team are not calling us to Rome, they are calling us to dialogue. Well, it’s Calvin ball (thanks sdb) I say. All one needs to do is create a website, and you will have accomplished with Bryan, David, and his co-hort have. Seriously, nothing to see here. Move along, move along.

    I’m so thankful for Oldlife, Confessional outhouse, literate comments, just to name a few. There’s always room for one more, Robert ( 😯 )

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    Like

  67. @Erik —

    The thing that would be really interesting to know is how Bryan is viewed in his Parish by life-long Catholics. Is he a novelty? A throwback? A guy who is still wet behind the ears who has yet to learn how it really works? An irritation? A respected lay teacher?

    My daughter, who is also an atheist, calls Francis “our pope”. I’ve tried correcting her, that he ain’t her pope he is just “the pope”. But she really likes him and her feeling is that there is only one guy on earth who has the title “pope” and he wants to represent all humanity so unlike Benedict Francis is for her “our pope”. That’s what most Catholics would consider a successful apologetic. To convert you they want you to be Catholic not agree with Catholicism. And that is where they fundamentally would disagree with Bryan.

    OTOH Catholics like everyone else appreciates that thinkers are part of any society and for lifelong Catholics the church is a society. So I don’t know of course but I suspect that they like him. Catholics think of religion like you probably think of cooking. What makes a religion good is the interplay of different aspects and flavors. Each flavor in and of itself might taste dreadfully overpowering or bland or too fatty but when combined together they produce a rich tapestry. Catholics don’t want a simple unified faith. So Bryan with his pre-Vat 1 apologetic offers a terrific spice. One doesn’t have an entire meal of paprika but they want it their kitchen.

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  68. The score is Q to 12

    So funny.

    Merry Xmas CD, sdb, and anyone else who posts here (even Doug and PLM). You’re what makes this place what it is (don’t tell Darryl).

    Scene.

    Like

  69. CD – So Bryan with his pre-Vat 1 apologetic offers a terrific spice.

    Erik – Vatican I was in 1868 so that would certainly make Bryan a throwback. The hat would have been in style back then.

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  70. Reading through this thread has stimulated a question in my mind: Does the Roman Catholic Church still evangelize? Might sound like a strange thing to ask, but for a major world religion (THE major world religion, perhaps?), I don’t get the impression that they still do the kinds of things they used to do over the past centuries – send missionaries to convert indigenous tribes over to Christianity.

    Around the world one can easily detect their footprints in this regard in many third world cultures. Today, however, not so much it would seem. In this country, for example, I don’t see them going from door-to-door like the JW’s or Mormons. I don’t see them advertising their services in the local media like the evangelicals and others. I’m not even sure that those TV commercials they ran a few years ago about calling people to “come home” were aimed at anyone other than disenfranchised Catholics.

    If my perceptions are correct then the RCC is little more than a self perpetuating entity relying almost entirely on growth via attrition, reinforced by continuous threats from pulpit to “be fruitful and multiply,” a message that has fallen on deaf ears in the current culture.

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  71. George,

    Bryan proposed lowering The Paradigm into the Amazon rainforest but he couldn’t commandeer a big enough helicopter to lift it.

    He’ll continue to peddle it to middle aged American white dudes living in mom’s basement, though.

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  72. Not to rehash, Robt. but I think it’s “freakishly smart” as Jase says.
    IOW our converts want to piggyback on the infallibility thing by becoming a member of The church, i.e. ecclesiastical “tribalism” if you will.

    As to how our elementary logician gets from “Those who hear you, hear me” addressed to the apostles, to applying it to infallible roman bishops as well, if you can find him wandering about in the never never land of non sequiturs, query him for me. Bryan et al overlook any alternatives to an an infallible church hierarchy as a solution to the question and then reason themselves into the corresponding Vatican corner on the truth. But this is categorically not question begging.

    As for the universal consent of the ECF on the papacy . . which morphed into the universal lack of dissent to the papacy, enough said.

    Motives of credibility? That wouldn’t be an appeal to private judgement now, would it? Perish the thought. Let your little reasonable soul swill the holywater rather than exercise itself.

    But I do think “absolutely blind” is a mite harsh as applied to CtC.
    Could we not charitably temper the polemic?

    Maybe not.

     And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Is. 6:9,10

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  73. Bryan Cross
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    To your first question, yes, again for the same reason I explained in my previous comment to you here. You are baptized, and you have not renounced your baptism. Therefore you are Christian. Therefore, as a Christian who is not in full communion with the Catholic Church, you are a separated brother, whether or not you are presently in a state of grace. Pope Francis would say the same.

    >>>>>>>>>>The point DGH is getting at is that if this is the case, then Protestants don’t need to convert to be saved.

    Again, this claim has to be disambiguated. The necessity of entering the Church is the same as the necessity of receiving baptism. Is there such a thing as baptism by desire? Yes. Does the doctrine of “baptism by desire” mean that unbaptized persons “don’t need to [be baptized] in order to be saved”? Absolutely not. Those who with full knowledge and deliberate consent reject baptism, cannot be saved. Only those who have at least baptism by desire can be saved. Likewise, in the very same way, is there such a thing as being in imperfect communion with the Church Christ founded? Yes. Does the doctrine of imperfect communion mean that those not in full communion ‘don’t need to come into full communion in order to be saved”? Again, absolutely not. As the excerpt I posted from the CCC at the beginning of this thread explains, those who with full knowledge and deliberate consent reject full communion with the Church Christ founded and enter into or remain in schism from His Church, cannot be saved. Only those who are at least in imperfect communion with Christ’s Church, and are not with full knowledge and deliberate consent rejecting full communion with the Church Christ founded, can be saved. Just as we (humans) cannot know that a person who rejects baptism has done so with full knowledge and deliberate consent, so we cannot know that a person who rejects full communion with Christ’s Church has done so with full knowledge and deliberate consent. In such cases, God alone knows each man’s heart.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

    Elegant. DGH refuted, as usual.

    Erik Charter
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
    If Bryan was the master logician he thinks he is, one would think he would have gotten around to making an affirmative case for Roman Catholicism here by now. It’s been two years.

    His blog does that. Since this blog is polemical, not affirmative, he stops by to refute Darryl’s refutations. As once again he does here, masterfully.

    You folks should really read Aquinas, just to see how to state all positions, objections, and refutations honestly. Since as a polemicist Dr. Hart is content merely to take potshots at apparent contradictions in Catholic theology, he loses simply by being unable to draft its positions accurately.

    Like

  74. Bryan Cross
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink
    Darryl,

    >>>>>>>>>>Bryan, is this how you answer your children?

    Children ask questions because they want to learn the answers. But as your last two and a years of anti-CTC posting here show, you ask questions not because you want to learn the answers, but only as a substitute for argumentation, to be used rhetorically against your interlocutor. So don’t expect your questions to be treated as though they come from a child who asks them sincerely to learn the answer, rather than as coming from a hostile critic who uses questions only as a substitute for argumentation.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

    heh heh

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  75. John Yeazel
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink
    Quotes about logic:

    1) Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.
    Joseph Wood Krutch

    2) Logic: an instrument used for bolstering a prejudice.
    Elbert Hubbard

    3) It is always better to say right out what you think without trying to prove anything much: for all our proofs are only variations of our opinions, and the contrary-minded listen neither to one nor the other.
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

    4) Most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do.
    James Harvey Robinson

    5) Logic is neither a science nor an art, but a dodge.
    Benjamin Jowett

    6) Logic, like whiskey, loses its beneficial effect when taken in too large quantities.
    Lord Dunsany

    7) He was in Logic a great critic,
    Profoundly skill’d in Analytic;
    He could distinguish, and divide
    A hair ‘twixt south and south-west side.
    Samuel Butler, Hudibras.

    8) We must beware of needless innovations, especially when guided by logic.
    Sir Winston Churchill, Reply, House of Commons, Dec. 17, 1942.

    …logic, the refuge of fools. The pedant and the priest have always been the most expert of logicians—and the most diligent disseminators of nonsense and worse.
    H. L. Mencken. The American Mercury. p. 75.

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  76. Darryl Hart devotes most of his attacks on Catholicism to alleging logical contradictions. It’s to him you should address your remarks.

    That Darryl is most often wrong in his allegations just makes it all the more tragic, or laughable. It shows the emptiness of seeking out error instead of seeking out truth.

    8) We must beware of needless innovations, especially when guided by logic.
    Sir Winston Churchill, Reply, House of Commons, Dec. 17, 1942.

    Actually a good argument against Luther and Calvin, who in “reforming” Christianity ended up inventing new theologies instead, and questionable ones at that.

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  77. Actually, I want to retract that. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored of arguing with Tom or arguing at Tom. No more arguing with or at Tom in 2015. No more arguing with people who just want to argue, period. It’s a huge bore.

    Like

  78. Erik, bingo. I’m telling you, just quote Scripture, the confessions, and tell them to read the Bible and go to church. Love this:
    To this day, many of the Scripture verses I keep in my mind and heart are from the King James Version, a sign that I memorized them early in life, before copies of the New International Version appeared in my church’s pews.

    To me, John 3:16 will always be a child’s linguistic challenge: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

    Everything important to know in life, I embraced by age 3 or 4. God my Creator, Jesus my Savior, the Spirit my Helper, the Bible my rule. To someone who didn’t come from a Christian home or grow up in the church, this probably sounds lovely. But it took me most of my life to appreciate just how extraordinary was the grace I had received in ordinary circumstances.

    G’night.

    Like

  79. Erik Charter
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink
    Actually, I want to retract that. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored of arguing with Tom or arguing at Tom. No more arguing with or at Tom in 2015. No more arguing with people who just want to argue, period. It’s a huge bore.</i.

    You don't argue, Erik. You mock and disrupt. And boring is as boring does.
    _______________
    AB
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink
    Darryl’s obviously respected in the wider world, despite yours or my opinion. Get with the program, is all. G’night.

    Again, people not ideas. And he doesn’t quite behave this way in the real world. His attacks on the Called to Communion Catholics are quite bizarre. When he does try his luck in the real world, such as the letters sections of First Things, the results are more principled, or let’s say more Protestant in their anti-ecumenical certitude.

    Which I like, although as you know I find the idea that the REAL “catholic” Church [you!] being so small, hateful and irrational to be real, catholic or even much of a church.

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  80. speaking of CA and Bob Dole reminds me of being at a Bob Dole rally in 1996, I shook his good hand. Being a CA republican is great, I got to vote for this guy.

    have a nice Lord’s Day, DGH.

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  81. Always assumed the hat served the same purpose it did for the member of a rock and roll band like Mike Love and the drummer for The Hollies.

    Was there a hat dude in The Cookies?

    Like

  82. I’ve watched a heckler the last two weekends at professional sporting events. Best to just watch them work vs. engaging them. Sometimes you laugh at their comments, sometimes you just laugh at them. They just need to be viewed for what they are — like Tom.

    Like

  83. My favorite comment re: hecklers comes via sean.

    here comes a shoe!.

    enough AB posts, I need to catch up on all the DGH posts, many links to good articles and thoughts, can’t have those falling off the latest comments for those that don’t use feedly.

    have a nice Lord’s day, Erik. Toodles.

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  84. I thought the papacy’s duty was to defend and promote the truth. So why is it that Pope Francis has his unique contribution to make?

    There are five revealing details that emerge from the papal trip to Sri Lanka and Philippines. Five details that perhaps help us to understand better this pontificate, as well the expectations surrounding it. Each of these details can be understood through a single interpretative key, as explained by Pope Francis himself: the Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, that Francis considers something like his governing program.

    Evangelii gaudium is first of all the criterion through which Pope Francis chooses saints to be canonized. The formula the Pope has often used is that of the “equipollent canonization,” i.e., the proclamation of a saint whose veneration is widespread, without the need of a second miracle as required by the regular procedure. Pope Francis wanted to explain in person why he continues to make saints this way, probably aware that he had been much criticized for excessive use of the procedure. The Pope explained his ‘picks’ among new saints during his in-flight presser from Sri Lanka to the Philippines on January 15th. At the beginning of his remarks, he underscored that he had inherited from Benedict XVI the process of equipollent canonization (that of Angela of Foligno), and that he then chose other saints to canonize with the “simplified procedure” on the basis of the evangelizing criterion in Evangelii gaudium which calls for the Church to be in a state of permament mission. So in his view the saints he selects for this special procedure are noteworthy evangelizers who exemplify the central message of Evangelii gaudium. After Joseph Vaz, the most important missionary of Asia, who was canonized last week in the Philippines, the next candidate for equipollent canonization will be Junipero Serra when the Pope travels to the United States in September.

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  85. EC: “Yeah, what became of the Tom is Blocked conspiracy theories? He must have plugged his modem back in.”

    Tom is all excited that Radio Shack is going under, he can get some bargains from the Tandy Warehouse, he’s only been telling everyone (again???) about how Tandy will be the wave of the 80s and beyond in computer dominance.

    Like

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