Called to Answer

Jason and the Callers don’t include the fine print in their call. We know. But I can’t imagine even the Callers have enough time to fill out all the surveys the bishops (and others) are sending.

Here’s one in preparation for the next Synod on the family:

The Socio-Cultural Context (ns. 5 – 8)

1. What initiatives are taking place and what are those planned in relation to the challenges these cultural changes pose to the family (cf. ns. 6 – 7): which initiatives are geared to reawaken an awareness of God’s presence in family life; to teaching and establishing sound interpersonal relationships; to fostering social and economic policies useful to the family; to alleviating difficulties associated with attention given to children, the elderly and family members who are ill; and to addressing more specific cultural factors present in the local Church?

2. What analytical tools are currently being used in these times of anthropological and cultural changes; what are the more significant positive or negative results? (cf. n. 5)

3. Beyond proclaiming God’s Word and pointing out extreme situations, how does the Church choose to be present “as Church” and to draw near families in extreme situations? (cf. n. 8). How does the Church seek to prevent these situations? What can be done to support and strengthen families of believers and those faithful to the bonds of marriage?

4. How does the Church respond, in her pastoral activity, to the diffusion of cultural relativism in secularized society and to the consequent rejection, on the part of many, of the model of family formed by a man and woman united in the marriage and open to life?

The Importance of Affectivity in Life (ns. 9 – 10)

5. How do Christian families bear witness, for succeeding generations, to the development and growth of a life of sentiment? (cf. ns. 9 – 10). In this regard, how might the formation of ordained ministers be improved? What qualified persons are urgently needed in this pastoral activity?

Pastoral Challenges (n. 11)

6. To what extent and by what means is the ordinary pastoral care of families addressed to those on the periphery? (cf. n. 11). What are the operational guidelines available to foster and appreciate the “desire to form a family” planted by the Creator in the heart of every person, especially among young people, including those in family situations which do not correspond to the Christian vision? How do they respond to the Church’s efforts in her mission to them? How prevalent is natural marriage among the non-baptized, also in relation to the desire to form a family among the young?

Part II
Looking at Christ: The Gospel of the Family . . .

7. A fixed gaze on Christ opens up new possibilities. “Indeed, every time we return to the source of the Christian experience, new paths and undreamed of possibilities open up” (n. 12). How is the teaching from Sacred Scripture utilized in pastoral activity on behalf of families. To what extent does “fixing our gaze on Christ” nourish a pastoral care of the family which is courageous and faithful?

8. What marriage and family values can be seen to be realized in the life of young people and married couples? What form do they take? Are there values which can be highlighted? (cf. n. 13) What sinful aspects are to be avoided and overcome?

9. What human pedagogy needs to be taken into account — in keeping with divine pedagogy — so as better to understand what is required in the Church’s pastoral activity in light of the maturation of a couple’s life together which would lead to marriage in the future? (cf. n. 13)

10. What is being done to demonstrate the greatness and beauty of the gift of indissolubility so as to prompt a desire to live it and strengthen it more and more? (cf. n. 14)

11. How can people be helped to understand that a relationship with God can assist couples in overcoming the inherent weaknesses in marital relations? (cf. n. 14) How do people bear witness to the fact that divine blessings accompany every true marriage? How do people manifest that the grace of the Sacrament sustains married couples throughout their life together?

That is only the first eleven of FORTY-SIX!!!! sets of questions.

And then we have a survey on Pope Francis:

1. My view of Pope Francis is:
Favorable
Mostly Favorable
Mostly Unfavorable
Unfavorable
2. Since Pope Francis was elected, I am more interested in the Catholic faith.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

3. Since Pope Francis was elected, I have attended Mass more often.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

4. Pope Francis represents a major change in the direction of the church.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

5. By now, I expected that Pope Francis would have made more concrete changes in the church.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

6. The widespread media coverage of Pope Francis has been:
A big help in reforming the image of the Catholic Church.
Irrelevant to the life of the church.
Harmful because the media often misrepresents what Francis says.
Other
Other

7. The comments Pope Francis has made on controversial topics often distort church teaching.
Agree
Disagree
Other
Other

8. The area where I would most like to see more action from Pope Francis is:
Holding bishops accountable for not dealing properly with abusers in their dioceses.
Creating more leadership roles for women in the church.
Reforming the Curia.
Cleaning up the Vatican Bank.
Stopping the Vatican investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Enforcing better global standards for dealing with priest sexual abuse.
Other
Other

9. I think Pope Francis’ frequent off-the-cuff interviews and informal approach have:
Made the papacy much more appealing to the average Catholic.
Robbed the papacy of much of its grandeur.
Not made much difference to how the pope is viewed.
Other
Other

10. I have found myself paying closer attention to Catholic news since Pope Francis was elected.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

11. I have been inspired by Pope Francis’ humble and simple lifestyle.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

12. Laypeople are getting more of a role and voice in the church under Pope Francis.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

13. I believe that Francis will make major reforms in the Vatican during his papacy.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

14. Pope Francis doesn’t speak enough about abortion.
Agree
Disagree
Don’t have an opinion
Comments

15. I find Pope Francis’ comments on homosexuality and same-sex relationships troubling.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

16. I think Pope Francis is causing too much division within the church.
Agree
Disagree
Comments

17. The best pope in the last 50 years has been:
Francis
Benedict XVI
John Paul II
John Paul I
Paul VI
Comments

18. The most memorable thing Francis has done so far in his papacy is…

19. One thing about Pope Francis that has been a disappointment to me is…

20. If I could meet Pope Francis, I’d tell him…

21. If I had to grade Francis as pope so far, I’d give him a _____, because…

22. The quality that I like most about Pope Francis is…

23. The biggest surprise from Pope Francis has been…

24. One area in which Pope Francis is challenging me to become a better Catholic is…

25. My greatest hope for the remainder of Pope Francis’ papacy is…

Did ever a hierarchical church look more Babdist?

Audacious indeed.

Advertisements

61 thoughts on “Called to Answer

  1. Brad
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink
    Did Luther post a survey?

    In “Protestantism” they have votes all the time on what God says. The losers vote with their feet and just start a new church down the street. That’s how your church got started.

    And if Christ’s teaching on divorce gets too unpopular, you just ignore it. In fact, the more marriages, the merrier!

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/19/us/presbyterian-church-same-sex-marriage/

    Like

  2. Tom: my Church is perfect in every way

    Us: no it isn’t, here’s a thousand inconsistencies and problems with it

    Tom: your Church isn’t perfect, so don’t pick on mine not being perfect

    Us: we never said we were perfect, you were the one that said yours was perfect

    Tom: your church isn’t perfect (repeat a million times)

    Like

  3. kent, you left out this:

    vd, t: your church isn’t perfect.

    Us: no kidding.

    vd, t: I never go to mine.

    Us: you should go to church.

    vd, t: your church gave American liberty to the world.

    Us: are you for real?

    Like

  4. Tom, here, have some Rabies theologorum for Xmas:

    We think of the Reformation. This was a moment in the history of the Church in which the question of authority was once more in the center of events. Luther, and consequently the whole Protestant world, broke away from the Roman Church and from 1500 years of Christian tradition when no agreement about the authority of the pope and the councils could be reached. Here, again, someone had arisen who spoke and acted with an authority the sources of which could not be determined by legal means. And here also we must ask, “Are the Catholic authorities who rejected him in the name of their established authority to be blamed for it?” But if we do not blame them, we can ask them, “Why do you blame the Jewish authorities who did exactly the same as you did when the people said of the Reformers that they spoke with authority and not like the priests and monks?” Is the same thing so different if it is done by the Jewish high priest and if it is done by the Roman high priest? And one may ask the present-day Protestant authorities in Europe and in this country, “Are you certain that the insistence on your authority, on your tradition, and on your experience does not suppress the kind of authority which Jesus had in mind?”

    Merry Christmas and happy new year from Paul Tillich and AB, yo.

    Like

  5. kent
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink
    Tom: my Church is perfect in every way

    Us: no it isn’t, here’s a thousand inconsistencies and problems with it

    Tom: your Church isn’t perfect, so don’t pick on mine not being perfect

    Us: we never said we were perfect, you were the one that said yours was perfect

    Tom: your church isn’t perfect (repeat a million times)

    D. G. Hart
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink
    kent, you left out this:

    vd, t: your church isn’t perfect.

    Us: no kidding.

    vd, t: I never go to mine.

    Us: you should go to church.

    vd, t: your church gave American liberty to the world.

    Us: are you for real?

    TVD: You keep attacking the Catholic discussion of marriage, but you’re the ones [and your co-religionists in the other sects] who ignore Christ’s teaching on marriage. You’ve solved the problem in the worst way possible.

    Your ad homs at me confirm and confess your confusion, for you have no principled reply. Work on thine own motes: “The Burden of Being Presbyterian” lies in your fellow Presbyterians, not the Catholics. That you choose as your targets those who have escaped your increasingly corrupted religion [“Jason and the Callers”] instead of those who are corrupting it

    http://time.com/2911830/what-affirming-same-sex-marriage-means-for-the-presbyterian-church/

    is the most fascinating thing of all about you people.

    Like

  6. AB
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink
    Tom, here, have some Rabies theologorum for Xmas:

    We think of the Reformation. This was a moment in the history of the Church in which the question of authority was once more in the center of events. Luther, and consequently the whole Protestant world, broke away from the Roman Church and from 1500 years of Christian tradition when no agreement about the authority of the pope and the councils could be reached. Here, again, someone had arisen who spoke and acted with an authority the sources of which could not be determined by legal means. And here also we must ask, “Are the Catholic authorities who rejected him in the name of their established authority to be blamed for it?” But if we do not blame them, we can ask them, “Why do you blame the Jewish authorities who did exactly the same as you did when the people said of the Reformers that they spoke with authority and not like the priests and monks?” Is the same thing so different if it is done by the Jewish high priest and if it is done by the Roman high priest? And one may ask the present-day Protestant authorities in Europe and in this country, “Are you certain that the insistence on your authority, on your tradition, and on your experience does not suppress the kind of authority which Jesus had in mind?”

    Merry Christmas and happy new year from Paul Tillich and AB, yo.

    As [St.] Thomas More pointed out–predicted–rejecting the Magisterium created more chaos than truth. The Reformation has thousands [or millions] of popes.

    That is not reform. They multiplied the problem of error exponentially. Indeed, Tillich mentions Luther approvingly, but Lutherans get dissed around here too!

    So thx for the principled reply, Brother Buckingham, a rare gift hereabouts indeed. Happy Xmas to you as well, although you Puritans are pretty much humbugs about the whole deal.

    Like

  7. TVD,

    Jason has gone so far to say that Protestantism isn’t even Christianity:

    One thing I have begun to notice — especially after starting to fall in love with G.K. Chesterton about five years ago — is how practically and ecclesiologically atheistic Protestantism seems from a Catholic perspective.

    If Jason and Bryan wanted to leave, that’s fine. They turned their guns on us, and we had to put up with it for 2.5 years after Jason apostasized. Now, if you listen to his podcast, he’s lightened up some, although I’m sure he would relish the opportunity to start firing and me, Machen, and Darryl. The JATC channel at OLTS is a defensive posture, PERIOD. And as Erik said, it’s working, because you don’t really see any more trophy conversions. So get used to this feature here. Sorry.

    I fail to see what point you are trying to make about protestantism and homosexuality, so please, elaborate for me and those reading here.

    Like

  8. Tom,

    Thomas More, the killer of many protestants, yes I know the name. Please feel free to continue this discussion here if you want to. It’s an old and very trodden path if we are to do that. Post to your heart’s content on my site, anything you like. I’m not up to the prot/cath throw anything at us slugfest right now. I’m going to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with my wife pretty soon, and go to bed.

    Go in peace, friend.

    Like

  9. I was merely crediting More for his argument, to illustrate that it’s 500 years old.

    As for your pal Tillich, here is he denying the bodily resurrection of Christ, where his Catholic cohort accepts it because the Magisterium teaches it.

    http://is.gd/Cl6AOZ

    This is not to discredit Tillich personally–as you attempt to do here with Thomas More–but to point out the problem of “every man his own magisterium.” Or worse, that one’s church “votes” in some heresy that forces one to leave [and start a new “orthodox” church down the block].

    Probably my biggest problem with this little “theological society” here is its propensity to sink to ad hom at the drop of a hat. To your credit, at least you spare your interlocutors, even if you don’t spare third parties.

    As for your quote from Jason Stellman, you do realize that it’s rather a mirror image of RC Sproul’s rejection of Catholicism as authentically Christian

    http://www.ligonier.org/blog/the-manhattan-declaration/

    if not Machen’s.

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/05/gresham-machen-friend-to-catholics

    [As for Chesterton’s argument via Stellman, heh heh, it’s beyond the hand-to-hand combat level of this blog. It’s nuclear warfare.]

    Like

  10. Tom, the OPC believes she not only is the true succession to presbyterianism in America, but along with the divines, the catholic church too:

    (1/2)The divines considered themselves reformed Catholics and therefore did not want to isolate themselves from the rest of the church,

    (2/2)but saw their broader engagement with other periods of history and other theological traditions as evidence of their catholicity.-Fesko

    more later. peace.

    Like

  11. Tom,

    Re: Thomas More:

    Jeremy,

    I’ve written way to much, so I’ll simply post an abstract here followed with the details which you may or may not be interested in.

    Bryan & Neal’s argument was not compelling. The infallible magisterium runs counter to the spirit of the NT. That church teaching is falsifiable does not imply that it is false. The splintering of denominations in the US is due to religious freedom rather than various theological positions on Chruch authority. The infallibility of the magisterium does not solve the problem it purports to solve because there are no infallible interpreters of the magisterium.

    Bryan & Neal do not demonstrate that there is no principled difference between Sol@ scritptura. This is just a commbox, so I won’t go into a lot of detail. I’ll summarize my criticism of Bryan’s objections and point to a couple of themes from scripture that make Bryan’s approach problematic:
    1) He writes, “The [Tu Quoque] objection is understandable, but it can be made only by those who do not see the principled difference between the discovery of the Catholic Church, and joining a Protestant denomination or congregation.” This is essentially to say, yes, but ours is actually true. I could just as easily [re]write his statement that:

    So for the person becoming [presbyterian], when he recognizes the authority of [his elders], he recognizes that his beliefs and interpretation of Scripture must conform to the authoritative teachings of the [WCF].

    Now you might retort that the presbyterian can always claim exceptions to the WCF. But of course RCs do the same to the Magisterium (ironically, the most orthodox Christians in the US are members of the Assembly of God). If what you mean is that you get in more trouble as an RC for rejecting the authority of the Magisterium than as a presbyterian for rejecting the authority of the WCF, I think you are still on shaky ground.

    2) Sola Ecclesia:

    According to this objection, if the Church’s Magisterium has final interpretive authority, then the Church is placing itself above Scripture, making itself autonomous, and entirely unaccountable.

    Bryan writes, “It cannot be Scripture itself [because] Scripture needs to be interpreted. So it must be some other person or persons. Designate those to whom the Magisterium is accountable as x. Now, to whom are x accountable? Designate those to whom x are accountable as y. Now to whom are y accountable? We can keep asking this question. Either there is an infinite regress, or there is a final interpretive authority. But an infinite regress of accountability is absurd. So if there is to be accountability with respect to doctrinal and interpretive judgments, there must be a highest or final interpretive authority.”

    This is unsound. First the Magisterium has to be interpreted as well and the argument as it stands applies the same way. More significantly though, protestants believe that we have been given the Holy Spirit who helps us understand what we need from scripture. The means by which the HS works is proclamation of the word, prayer, reading of scripture, practice of spiritual gifts (such as teaching), etc… The regression stops with God. The means God has implemented for stopping this regression is revealed in scripture and exemplified by the Bereans (for example).

    3) Democracy:

    Philosophies and theologies more fully manifest their nature over time. If there is no principled difference between sola scriptura and solo scriptura, then we would expect the sola scriptura doctrine taught by the early Protestant to come to manifest its true nature over time as outright solo scriptura. Sola scriptura could temporarily conceal its true nature, as Protestantism lived on the inertial remnants of Catholic conceptions of sacramental authority.

    I don’t see any reason to take the assertion at face value. He is making a sociological argument which should have some empirical evidence. What we see rather is that US RC laity and clergy are less orthodox than US solo scriptura evangelicals that Mathison excoriates. Arguments about why protestants (and RCs) have evolved the way they have over the past 500yrs are hard to make. A more convincing argument is that recognition of religious freedom (the 1st amendment in the US) and celebration of democracy has undermined decidedly undemocratic institutions. Whether they are heavy handed sessions telling their pastors that indeed the atonement is limited or a council of Bishops telling their parishioners that they really mean it when they say BCPs are a no-no. If one were to become convinced that a central teaching of the RCC was false, would you keep confessing it because of the purported infallibility of the magisterium? This is an odd stance to take.

    But my problems with an infallible Magisterial authority aren’t based on Bryan and Neal’s failure to demonstrate that there is no principled difference between Sol@ scritptura. It goes back to the example laid out in scripture itself:

    1) The Bereans who were commended by Paul for testing what he said against the scriptures (I noticed in the comments to Bryan’s unfortunate article that the only response to the question of the Bereans is that it is naive to believe we are all Bereans now…how unfortunate). Note that Paul did not chide the Bereans for having the audacity to believe they could adequately interpret the scriptures on their own and thereby test what he said.

    2) We have the example in Revelations that churches can and did go astray and come under judgement.

    3) Paul insists to the Galatians that even if another apostle or angel come and contradict his teaching that that person (angel?) be anathema.

    4) Christ assumed the authority of the scriptures even without an institutional interpretive authority. A rather vague tradition determined the OT canon. Even without a council to provide its stamp of approval, its authority was accepted as a given. Why should I expect more for the NT?

    5) there are repeated instructions through Paul’s epistles to judge teaching, test what one hears, etc…

    6) there are repeated instructions to submit/respect the elders.

    7) Jesus excoriates “man-made” additions to the teachings of the scriptures

    8) Paul insists that there are limits to which religious leaders can bind the conscience of believers – limits that run head long into things like holy days of obligation.

    What I take from these examples from scripture are the following:
    1) Church leaders have real authority over their flock and to act dismissively towards that authority is sinful. But,
    2) Church leaders are not above testing and challenge. The presumption is that they can be wrong (as Peter was) and need to be corrected by other Christians – this correction takes place in community.
    3) Churches can go astray and cease to exist. Church authority is no guarantee of truth.
    4) Just as falsifiable does not mean false, fallible does not mean wrong. Just as there are scientific statements that are no longer seriously challengeable, they are in principle falsifiable (you aren’t going to falsify the heliocentric model of the solar system even though it is in principle falsifiable). The data reigns supreme even if not everyone is equally able to interpret the data or if sometimes there are problems with the measurements. Similarly, the fact that statements such as the apostle’s creed must be subjected to the scrutiny of scripture does not mean that there is any chance that it is wrong. But we believe it is true because it is a faithful summary of teaching in scripture.
    5) The authority of church leaders is limited and should be checked.

    The assertion that the Infallible Magisterium solves anything epistemologically is false – the Magisterium has to be interpreted (by me? my priest? Bryan?). But what if my priest leads me astray by a false teaching? What if my local bishop, seminary prof, etc… misinterprets the Infallible Magisterium (do you agree with Fr. McBrien about everything he teaches ND students about the diversity of the early church?). Of course the teaching authorities aren’t infallible, the pope could be a heretic after all. So who can I turn to for an infallible interpretation of the Infallible Magisterium. All Rome has done is kick the can down the road, and you are left with a cacophony of claims about what it means to be a good Catholic. So what makes Rome more unified? That they accept common sacraments? But see, I would argue that presbyterians are generally more catholic than rome in this regard – see an Anglican, Lutheran, Baptist, or even RC could join our church without being re-baptized. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper we declare that it is not the table of our congregation or even the table of the PCA, but it is for all baptized believers who are members in good standing with their local congregation.

    But again, we are left with the question of how we know who to trust to teach us about the infallible magisterium. You choose Bryan, I choose Garry Wills and conclude the priesthood is a sham. Why shouldn’t I turn to the LCWR to interpret what the infallible magisterium teaches:

    “I was rooted in the story of Jesus, and it remains at my core, but I’ve also moved beyond Jesus.” The Jesus narrative is not the only or the most important narrative for these women. They still hold up and reverence the values of the Gospel, but they also recognize that these same values are not solely the property of Christianity. Buddhism, Native American spirituality, Judaism, Islam and others hold similar tenets for right behavior within the community, right relationship with the earth and right relationship with the Divine. With these insights come a shattering or freeing realization—depending on where you stand. Jesus is not the only son of God.

    Why should I accept the perspicuity of the Magisterium and not of scripture?

    Shall I keep going?

    Like

  12. AB, you should ask vd, t, which kind of RC he is and why even traditional RC’s are so wobbly:

    The first thing that leaps out is how divided the Catholic Church in America is, two generations after Vatican II. Traditional Catholic are 5.7 percent of the population; liberal Catholics are slightly more numerous, at 5.8 percent; the plurality of Catholics — 7.5 percent of Americans — dub themselves “moderate,” while 3.2 percent of Americans choose the label “other” Catholics. The wording of the question may not perfectly map orthodoxy (“traditionalist” Catholics in my world are those who support the Latin Mass, for example, which many perfectly orthodox Catholics are not especially interested in attending).

    But the labels are clearly capturing something real, because by every measure in this study (and unsurprisingly), traditional Catholics are more supportive of Catholic teaching and practice than are liberal Catholics, with moderate Catholics falling in between and “other” Catholics generally less actively involved than liberal Catholics. Traditional Catholics are three times as likely as liberal Catholics to attend mass in a given week, for instance (58 percent to 21 percent). They are ten percentage points more likely to say they believe in one of the most basic Christian teachings: life after death (85 percent to 75 percent). Each week in Mass, Catholics like me recite the Creed, which includes our faith in the “resurrection of the dead and life in the world to come.” Traditional Catholics are twice as likely as liberal Catholics to say they believe in the resurrection of the body (51 percent to 24 percent). Thirty-five percent of liberal Catholic men consumed porn in the last week, compared with 21 percent of traditional Catholic men, to pick just one measure of self-reported behavior.

    Traditional Catholics and liberal Catholics are about equal proportions of the U.S. population, but at Mass on a given Sunday, the balance shifts dramatically. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations based on the data presented, 39.5 percent of Catholics at Mass on any given Sunday are traditional Catholics, 39.5 percent are moderate Catholics, and just 14 percent are liberal Catholics (and 7 percent “other”). Traditional Catholics are a hefty chunk of practicing Catholics but by no means the majority. The Catholic Church in America remains seriously divided.

    Is he one of those Roman Catholics who doesn’t believe in the resurrection?

    And for all his bluster, mainline Protestants are two times more likely to affirm the value of marriage as traditional Roman Catholics.

    Like

  13. DGH, I would, but my family needs me. It’s your blog.

    If you want, ping me on Twitter etc anytime. I figured out how to outfit my website with a Disqus format (like at Patheos, just FYI). Thanks for the links!!

    Like

  14. PS

    Tom,

    As I understand, JGM said RCism could be a perversion of Xtianity, contrasted with the liberal Xtianity of his day, which was much worse. Of course I am in Machen’s regiment, not Tillich’s.

    Thanks for reading. My family needs me now. Toodles.

    Like

  15. AB
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 12:49 am | Permalink
    Tom, the OPC believes she not only is the true succession to presbyterianism in America, but along with the divines, the catholic church too:

    That’s what I like about it. You think you’re the Catholic Church too, only instead of getting bigger, you keep getting smaller___________
    AB
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    Re: Thomas More:

    Jeremy,

    I’ve written way to much, so I’ll simply post an abstract here followed with the details which you may or may not be interested in.

    Bryan & Neal’s argument was not compelling. The infallible magisterium runs counter to the spirit of the NT.

    Well, here you’re using the sola Scriptura hermeneutic, so of course magisterium is “contrary to the NT.” Sola scriptura is the direct opposition to magisterium, so basically, your argument is circular.

    One big problem is that sola scriptura isn’t in the Bible, no matter how much the sons of the Reformation torture the Scriptures to say so.
    __________________________

    D. G. Hart
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink
    AB, you should ask vd, t, which kind of RC he is and why even traditional RC’s are so wobbly:

    What don’t you ask him yourself?

    Because you know my answer is that I’m interested in ideas and concepts, not trashing people and playing your contradiction and nullification game. If a pope can be wrong–and they can–see Aquinas

    http://spectator.org/articles/54802/when-paul-corrected-peter

    so can any other Catholic or Christian. so once again, Darryl, you lose the debate you yourself started just by proceeding on a false premise.
    _________________________

    AB
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
    PS

    Tom,

    As I understand, JGM said RCism could be a perversion of Xtianity, contrasted with the liberal Xtianity of his day, which was much worse.

    Unfortunately, Old Life, its author and its followers are far more obsessed with Catholicism rather than the perversion of Presbyterianism.

    Of course I am in Machen’s regiment, not Tillich’s.

    Again, I brought up Tillich only to show that even a Protestant you quote so approvingly is capable of grave error precisely because he rejects the Magisterium. A Catholic theologian isn’t free to reject Jesus’s resurrection. A Protestant [or “Presbyterian” or “Reformed”] theologian, the sky’s the limit.

    And although you cling to your Confessions–which is a good thing–like constitutions, they can be changed by a vote–and indeed were created by one.

    As for Machen, I like him. One of the few reasons I abide the sophistry around here. That, and to give you the chance to justify your positions. In this discussion, Christ’s explicit teaching on marriage in the Bible was ignored, and I don’t blame you.

    Like

  16. Tom, you, Bryan, and so many others hate on Oldlife. Yet none of you can get enough. It’s cool, we know you could hang around Patheos blogs withs Enns and his disqus, or Bryan and his moderated comments with no ad-homs. We know you like it here. Just try to enjoy yourself. We’re not changing anything here, just sitting at the bar as drinking buds. I’m out.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink
    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).

    Like

  17. AB
    Posted December 26, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink
    Tom, you, Bryan, and so many others hate on Oldlife. Yet none of you can get enough. It’s cool, we know you could hang around Patheos blogs withs Enns and his disqus, or Bryan and his moderated comments with no ad-homs. We know you like it here. Just try to enjoy yourself. We’re not changing anything here, just sitting at the bar as drinking buds. I’m out.</i.

    As long as Darryl keeps ginning up such inept attacks on Catholicism and Bryan keeps smacking him down, I'll keep reading.

    It's wonderful for learning about the actual truth about Catholicism, and the depth of ignorance of otherwise intelligent and educated people.

    “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.”—Fulton Sheen

    See, I could easily put Darryl in the former category, but he’s yet to prove he understands a damn thing about Catholicism–as Bryan proves weekly.

    As for the rest, I keep giving you and Darryl’s acolytes a chance to make your case, but mostly we get the resident attack chihuahua junking up the threads with YouTube links to teenage boy movies.

    Like

  18. AB
    Posted December 27, 2014 at 12:04 am | Permalink
    Tom, so file a complaint against me to presbytery. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill. Chill.

    Beer time. Lates.

    You left 10 comments ago, Mr. Hello I Must Be Going. And you’re not really an attack chihuahua, I was thinking of that other fellow. You make a good-faith attempt at apologetics for your religion and I dutifully read the evidence and arguments you present.

    I was favorably disposed to Tillich until I stumbled across that thing about him denying the Resurrection, which was kind of appalling and a deal-breaker. Hell, even the unitarian near-infidel Joseph Priestley believed in the Resurrection!

    The more I listen to you people, the more I think More was right, is all. The Reformation didn’t correct error, it multiplied it!

    Like

  19. Ok, Tom.

    By the way, Tillich was a womanizer:

    First there are the personal charges which need to be addressed before any retrieval of his ideas can get started. The reality has to be faced that for many, Tillich’s work was definitively discredited by the salacious details of his personal life revealed in his widow’s From Time to Time. Here it would seem that a path needs to be trodden carefully between two extreme judgments. The first error would be to assume that an ad hominem dismissal of Tillich the womanizing theologian absolves his critics from the responsibility of undertaking a proper evaluation of his ideas. After all, disordered private lives are not the exclusive domain of theological liberals, as anyone familiar with the story of the painful triangular domestic relationship between Karl Barth, his wife Nelly and assistant Charlotte von Kirschbaum (without whom the Church Dogmatics would never have seen the light of day) ought to be aware.[1] Nor does the uncovering of moral failings on the part of a theologian automatically mean that their work should be declared null and void of ethical power. Martin Luther King Jr., who corresponded briefly with Tillich in the early 1950s during his Boston University doctoral project on his work and famously quoted Tillich in his Letter from Birmingham Jail,[2] serves as a telling example in this respect. King’s extra-marital activities have long been public knowledge, as has his tendency to plagiarism, most flagrant in the case of his doctorate (of which entire passages were taken verbatim from the work of fellow BU student Jack Boozer). And yet to regard these flaws as somehow invalidating King’s status as one of Christianity’s greatest ever prophets arguably says more about the small-mindedness of his critics and the hypocrisy of our ambiguous desire for morally perfect heroes – whom we wish to admire rather than imitate – than anything else.

    Stick with Scripture, but yeah yeah, Saint Thomas More, I know I know.

    You do know you are talking to a Saint right now, right? That’s how St. Paul addresses Xtians in his letters.

    Like

  20. I hear you:

    Andrew Buckingham on July 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm
    Thanks, Lane. There is a lot of things to think about here. I’ll be doing just that.

    I made a comment on another string about Bultmann, and the question in my mind of whether it’s wise to quote him. I know full well that, ‘not everything a heretic says is necessarily heretical.’

    But here’s the thing. I keep getting the vibe that I don’t quite fit in with the fellows on this blog. Maybe I am too cavalier. Maybe I don’t know my OT from my NT. But my history with moderns says Bultmann is kind of an electric third rail I don’t want to get near.

    I really struggle with what I believe was his denial of a physical resurrection.

    I am not trying to put you down publicly. Just I think maybe you should reply to my comment here, just clarifying that Bultmann indeed can be dangerous.Maybe my comment is sufficient. Just if its true I don’t know my stuff, know people like me are reading, and could be led astray without proper precaution and prefacing.

    Just my musings and general concerns.

    No biggee,

    Andrew

    Hello, I must be going. Movies and booze await, yo.
    Peace.

    Like

  21. vd, t, what does George Weigel not understand?

    However, if you were going to claim the right to appoint, then you must also in my view own the right to dismiss, and this is perhaps the single biggest management problem in the Catholic Church today, is that we do not have a mechanism in place for dealing with instances of manifest incompetence or worse in the exercise of the local Episcopal office, and that problem in turn explains a large amount, I think, of the dissatisfaction of not marginal Catholics, but serious Catholics, regular Church-going Catholics, major donor Catholics, with local bishops, with the quality of the Episcopate throughout the world Church.

    So here is another huge problem that has got to be addressed presumably in the next pontificate. How does the Church get the quality of leadership that the people of the Church deserve, and how does the Church deal with the problem of, frankly, failed appointments? When we get it wrong, how do we deal with this?

    This has got to be addressed. I addressed it actually a bit in The Courage to be Catholic, and it’s perhaps a shining example of how little influence I have over things that none of this has had the slightest dent that I can tell on the way things are done.

    But it’s a big, big problem, and it’s perhaps in the abuse crisis, if one is thinking about this over the long term, it’s the biggest problem that has come to the surface that will have real effect on the life of the Church and the life of the people of the Church for the next 50 to 100 years.

    Like

  22. Tom – Unfortunately, Old Life, its author and its followers are far more obsessed with Catholicism rather than the perversion of Presbyterianism

    Erik – Maybe because Catholics recruit our members, occasionally successfully, while Mainline Presbyterians really don’t recruit anyone. They’re old and dying. They don’t need our help to fade away into oblivion — they take care of that themselves.

    Do I worry about the neighborhood bully or the senile little old lady out walking her cat?

    Like

  23. And if you paid attention, Tom, you would realize that the entire thrust of our project is to point out the difference between the unrealistic Roman Catholic ideal to which Bryan & the Callers point and the Roman Catholic Church we see in real life — a church that becomes more & more liberal with each day’s headlines.

    If you didn’t have a chip on your shoulder and weren’t so bent on cheering for what you somehow think is your home team, you might actually agree with us and help us, being that liberalism appears to be your own personal mortal enemy.

    Like

  24. If Weigel was listened to, the first step would be to drop the priestly celibacy requirement. Attract married men with testosterone and leadership ability — husbands and fathers. The Church would tear it up.

    Like

  25. I don’t mind Tom on the (rare) days that he actually has a point to make.

    The problem is, when you’re a semi-somehow-kinda-sorta religious universalist you’re really not affirming much, so any criticisms you have of anyone else’s religion don’t carry much weight.

    It’s like setting up an apologetics website and calling it Called to Meh.

    Like

  26. Erik, well said. The game plan with him is get him to mass. We dont need more caller websites, as fun as Called to Meh would be, for me to a moderator of. Merry Xmas and happy new year, bro.

    Like

  27. Being that he circulates in a milieu of Los Angeles actors, musicians, and attorneys it’s amazing he is as close to orthodox Christianity as he is. And by close I mean, not very.

    Like

  28. I know my method of pointing people to Tillich is .. suspect. There’s a method to my madness. I like that him and me were on game shows..

    Like

  29. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 28, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
    Erik, but remember, vd, t is also on David Barton’s team. (Figuring that out would cause you to lose a mullet.)

    Erik Charter
    Posted December 28, 2014 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
    I don’t mind Tom on the (rare) days that he actually has a point to make.

    The problem is, when you’re a semi-somehow-kinda-sorta religious universalist you’re really not affirming much, so any criticisms you have of anyone else’s religion don’t carry much weight.

    It’s like setting up an apologetics website and calling it Called to Meh.

    Erik Charter
    Posted December 28, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
    Tom feels things strongly. He’s just not exactly sure why.

    AB
    Posted December 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
    Erik, well said. The game plan with him is get him to mass. We dont need more caller websites, as fun as Called to Meh would be, for me to a moderator of. Merry Xmas and happy new year, bro.

    Erik Charter
    Posted December 28, 2014 at 9:42 pm | Permalink
    Being that he circulates in a milieu of Los Angeles actors, musicians, and attorneys it’s amazing he is as close to orthodox Christianity as he is. And by close I mean, not very.

    AB
    Posted December 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink
    I know my method of pointing people to Tillich is .. suspect. There’s a method to my madness. I like that him and me were on game shows..

    AB
    Posted December 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
    I dug his latest post.

    AB
    Posted December 28, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
    Of course If You Can Put A Woman in the Pulpit, You Can Self-Serve the Lord’s Supper on the Moon. Yo.

    Because NASA was receiving flack from Madalyn Murray O’Hair for the astronauts on Apollo 8 reading from Genesis, the federal authorities decided to let Aldrin commune on his own without a radio broadcast of the event.

    Oh, am I still here? I thought I left. I sure tried, Mr. Hello, I Must be Going.

    And no, Darryl, I’m not on Barton’s team. I won’t insult your intelligence to suggest you really believe what you just said.

    [HT: WFB.]

    Like

  30. Called yet again to sign:

    In view of the Synod on the family to be held in October 2015, we filially address Your Holiness to express our fears and hopes regarding the future of the family.

    Our fears arise from witnessing a decades-long sexual revolution promoted by an alliance of powerful organizations, political forces and the mass media that consistently work against the very existence of the family as the basic unit of society. Ever since the so-called May 1968 Sorbonne Revolution, a morality opposed to both Divine and natural law has been gradually and systematically imposed on us so implacably as to make it possible, for example, to teach the abhorrent “gender theory” to young children in many countries.

    Catholic teaching on the Sixth Commandment of the Law of God shines like a beacon in face of this ominous ideological objective. This beacon attracts many people—overwhelmed by this hedonistic propaganda—to the chaste and fecund family model taught by the Gospel and in accordance with natural law.

    Your Holiness, in light of information published on the last Synod, we note with anguish that, for millions of faithful Catholics, the beacon seems to have dimmed in face of the onslaught of lifestyles spread by anti-Christian lobbies. In fact we see widespread confusion arising from the possibility that a breach has been opened within the Church that would accept adultery—by permitting divorced and then civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion—and would virtually accept even homosexual unions when such practices are categorically condemned as being contrary to Divine and natural law.

    Paradoxically, our hope stems from this confusion.

    Like

  31. How does the Church respond, in her pastoral activity, to the diffusion of cultural relativism in secularized society and to the consequent rejection, on the part of many, of the model of family formed by a man and woman united in the marriage and open to life?

    Well, the church asks the laity what to do.

    20. How can people be helped to understand that no one is beyond the mercy of God? How can this truth be expressed in the Church’s pastoral activity towards families, especially those which are wounded and fragile?

    21. In the case of those who have not yet arrived at a full understanding of the gift of Christ’s love, how can the faithful express a friendly attitude and offer trustworthy guidance without failing to proclaim the demands of the Gospel?

    22. What can be done so that persons in the various forms of union between a man and a woman – in which human values can be present – might experience a sense of respect, trust and encouragement to grow in the Church’s good will and be helped to arrive at the fullness of Christian marriage?

    Like

  32. Below their pay grade?

    Consistent with Pope Francis’ emphasis on social justice, the questionnaire repeatedly solicits thoughts on the social, economic and political causes of stress on the family. But it also asks how the church should respond to the “diffusion of cultural relativism in secularized society and to the consequent rejection, on the part of many, of the model of family formed by a man and woman united in marriage and open to life.”

    In asking how to “guide the consciences of married couples” with respect to contraception, which is forbidden by church teaching, the questionnaire emphasizes the practice’s impact on birth rates, asking: “Are people aware of the grave consequences of demographic change?”

    The questionnaire alludes to in-vitro fertilization, which was not a prominent topic at the 2014 synod, asking how the church can uphold the “human ecology of reproduction” in its dialogue with the “sciences and biomedical technologies.” It also asks how to “combat the scourge of abortion and foster an effective culture of life.”

    Like

  33. Will the bishops listen to the laity on the death penalty?

    The editorial, published simultaneously on the news organizations’ four websites, says fighting against the death penalty is part of the Church’s “pro-life” platform. It quotes a number of conservative and moderate prelates, including Popes John Paul II and Francis, as well as Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput and Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

    “We join our bishops in hoping the court will reach the conclusion that it is time for our nation to embody its commitment to the right to life by abolishing the death penalty once and for all,” the editorial concluded.

    Though a majority of Catholics — 59 percent of white Catholics in one recent poll — still favor the use of the death penalty, the editors of the publications said they sought to show that opposition does not follow a left/right divide.

    Like

  34. The only life the bishops don’t favor is the life that could have come forth from their own loins

    Think about that. The genetics of those with the charism continually die off.

    Like

  35. Answering not with logic but their feet (and other body parts):

    The statistics show that while there were over 420,000 Catholic marriages in 1970, that number has dwindled to just over 154,000 for the year 2014.

    “There’s no definitive answer” for this trend, according to Mark Gray, a senior research associate and poll director at the center. He cited some of the leading hypotheses about the decrease.

    “We’re seeing an increase in cohabitation,” he said, which can “create a hurdle to receiving the sacrament of marriage, depending on the parish or diocese’s policies,” Gray said in an interview with Catholic News Service. “There’s also the notion of a destination wedding trumping the traditional notion of getting married within the church.”

    And there has been “no increase in Catholics marrying non-Catholics that might lead us to believe that they’re marrying in other churches,” he said.

    “Some things have changed culturally. … The church just isn’t seen as important” to many young Catholics, Gray said.

    Like

  36. But does the hierarchy want to hear from the priests? Not so much:

    MANCHESTER, England — Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster urged priests to end debating the upcoming synod on the family in the press after more than 450 priests published a letter calling on the Catholic Church to retain the prohibition on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion.

    “Every priest in England and Wales has been asked to reflect on the synod discussion. It is my understanding that this has been taken up in every diocese, and that channels of communication have been established,” Cardinal Nichols, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said in a statement March 25:

    “The pastoral experience and concern of all priests in these matters are of great importance and are welcomed by the Bishops. Pope Francis has asked for a period of spiritual discernment. This dialogue, between a priest and his bishop, is not best conducted through the press.”

    So polls are a valuable means of communication, public letters are not.

    Should a priest call his universal bishop?

    Like

  37. Called to pay, pray, obey, duck, and cover:

    As I expected, the leaders of the Catholic Church have done everything they can to avoid saying anything in response to the furor over the Indiana RFRA. Their counsel is “dialogue,” an unfortunate weasel word long used by administrators who don’t want to take a stand.

    On its face, the wording of this bland statement suggests the bishops believe the Indiana law could permit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. (They’re calling for “dialogue” to make sure that doesn’t happen.) But this is an over-reading of the statement. It’s really just a political evasion of responsibility searching for words.

    Some months ago, I predicted that Catholicism in America would basically accommodate itself to whatever sexual regime dominates our society. The accommodation won’t be explicit. The Church won’t endorse homosexuality or gay marriage. Instead, the bishops will step aside, avoid controversy, and just stop talking about things that carry a high price for dissent. This duck-and-cover non-statement fits perfectly into this trajectory.

    My first impulse is to laugh. The statement tries to signal support for religious freedom, but qualifies. “The rights of a person should never be used inappropriately in order to deny the rights of another.” And so maybe Tim Cook is right to denounce the Indiana law. Time for dialogue. Oh, “justice and mercy” too. But wait, religious liberty is important. Except when it’s not. But sometimes it really is . . .

    But I can’t laugh, because the tragedy is too poignant.

    Like

  38. Called to advertise:

    . . . more than 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members signed a full-page ad running Thursday in The Chronicle that calls on Pope Francis to replace San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for fostering “an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”

    The plea follows months of dissent within the archdiocese over Cordileone’s emphasis on traditional, conservative church doctrine — including asking high school teachers and staffers at Catholic schools to sign a morality clause that characterizes sex outside of marriage and homosexual relations as “gravely evil.”

    In their open letter to the pope, Cordileone’s critics say his morality-clause push is mean-spirited and “sets a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization.”

    Like

  39. When Pew surveys, we can ignore, but when the bishops survey, does Mark advocate the same?

    Given the signal failure of democracy, along with all the other forms of government and philosophy on the day that man showed himself unworthy of the God he so enthusiastically nailed to a cross, it is not terribly surprising that the New Testament does not concern itself overmuch with things like Pew Surveys. The popularity of the Church has ever waxed and waned and the reasons for that are all over the map. Sometimes the Church is popular because it is right. Sometimes it is unpopular because it is right. Sometimes a saint is beloved because he is a saint. Sometimes a saint is martyred because he is a saint.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s