Why Reform Won't Ever Happen

Old institutions are hard to change. They have their own culture. Big administrations are even harder to change. They have their own culture. Which is why I don’t think the Roman Catholic Church will ever become reformed. It’s too big, too top-heavy (and that’s why this announcement is important). But it’s also clear that the laity and the bishops don’t really want church life to change.

Consider the following:

“It’s an outrage,” Peter Saunders told the National Catholic Reporter, that Pope Francis appointed Juan Barros–a man accused of covering up and witnessing a priest’s acts of sexual abuse–bishop of Osorno, Chile. (Barros denies both allegations.) “That man should be removed as a bishop because he has a very, very dubious history–corroborated by more than one person,” according to Saunders, a member of the pope’s new Commission for the Protection of Minors, and a clergy-abuse victim. Saunders went so far as to say that he would consider resigning if he doesn’t get an explanation. He wasn’t the only commission member who was shocked by the pope’s decision. “As a survivor, I’m very surprised at the appointment in Chile because it seems to go against…what the Holy Father has been saying about not wanting anyone in positions of trust in the church who don’t have an absolutely 100 percent record of child protection,” said Marie Collins. On March 31 the Holy See announced that the Congregation for Bishops had found no “objective reasons to preclude the appointment.”

That did not sit well with Saunders, Collins, and two other members of the commission (there are seventeen in total). So they flew to Rome last weekend for an unscheduled meeting with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, president of the body. What a difference a day makes. “The meeting went very well and the cardinal is going to take our concerns to the Holy Father,” Collins told NCR on Sunday. . . . Cardinal O’Malley agreed to present the concerns of the subcommittee to the Holy Father.” That’s quite a bit different from decrying the appointment as an outrage. Did Cardinal O’Malley bring them back from the brink simply by listening? What’s going to happen after he shares their concerns with Pope Francis?

Tough to say. It’s not as though the pope is left with any good options. Leave Barros in, watch the Diocese of Osorno burn, and risk blowing up the sex-abuse commission. Remove him and earn the ire of the world’s bishops for giving in to the mob. (I wouldn’t downplay that worry; it would be widely viewed as a dangerous precedent.) Should the appointment have been made in the first place? I don’t think so. But it’s been made. And now that the Congregation for Bishops has announced that there is no objective reason not to have appointed Barros, the pope’s hands are pretty well tied. Do commission members appreciate that bind? I hope so. Because this already confounding case won’t be clarified any time soon. This may not be the hill they want to die on.

All that power, all that scandal, all that public outrage, and the liberal editors at Commonweal shrug? The pope’s in a hard place? Who said being vicar of Christ was easy?

But sure, condemn the Turks.

Update: since writing the above David Mills tries to cut through the seemingly endless defense of the papacy. Like a lot of former Protestants who have doctrine on their minds, he distinguishes between the popes’ offhand comments (and perhaps even weightier statements) and the catechism, which may help with the spiritual gas that attends the bloating that follows episcopal overreach:

The pope didn’t say that even atheists get to heaven by doing good deeds. Catholic Vote has a good explanation with links to others. He only said, quoting Brian Kelly, “there can be, and is, goodness, or natural virtue, outside the Church. And that Christ’s death on the Cross redeemed all men. He paid the price so that every man could come to God and be saved.”

And if he had said something like what my friend thought he’d said, he would have been saying only what the Church teaches in sections 846-848 of the Catechism. More to the point, given my friend’s allegiances, he would only have been saying what C. S. Lewis, a writer my friend admires, said at the end of The Last Battle, when Aslan explains why a warrior who had worshipped a false god was found in heaven (the passage is found here ). That’s not dumb, even if one disagrees with it. The Catholic wouldn’t need to twist himself into a pretzel to explain that idea, had the pope said it.

The Catholic Church isn’t that hard to understand. The Church herself has created a huge paper trail of authoritative documents designed to declare and to teach.

But this view of the church doesn’t take into account all those gestures and even instances where acts say more than words. What does it say that Francis appoints Juan Barros in Chile? What does it say that the pope is willing to condemn the Turks but not homosexuals? What does it say that worries about mortal sin don’t seem to come from the bishops’ lips while they are willing to pontificate (see what I did there?) on the environment, immigration, or Indiana? Does bloated come to mind?

And to top it off, David says that any political conservative should have a certain admiration for papal authority:

Of course, the Catholic will feel hesitant to criticize the Holy Father in public, as one would hesitate to criticize one’s own father in public. The Catholic will also first ask himself what the pope has to say to us that we need to hear, even if he said it badly. He will give the pope the benefit of the doubt. He will generally say, with regard to the Holy Father’s statements, “Who am I to judge?”

This is a disposition to authority my friend, a political and cultural conservative, would admire. And I think that if he weren’t talking about the Catholic Church he’d recognize it as such. Respect and deference are very different from being forced to twist yourself into knots trying to rewrite the pope’s statements. The people who might do that (were it needed) might do it from a natural sense of filial protectiveness, of the Church and her pope. That also my friend should admire.

Maybe for a Tory but not an American conservative. The founding was not about respect for monarchical kinds of authority — hello. It was about putting limits on government — checks and balances — and its instinct is a healthy distrust of people in power. Why? Because of sin and the tendency to abuse power. And this is why it is so baffling that Roman Catholics in the U.S. would become defenders of American government unless they want to go all 2k on us. Suspicion of government is something that so many Roman Catholics find difficult to fathom when it comes to the magisterium — which may also explain why so many of the Protestant converts are so little engaged in discussions about politics (except for the bits about sex) or why the Protestant converts who do do politics don’t seem to say much about the church.

David Mills may have an effective strategy for Protestants who don’t follow all the news that Roman Catholics create — just keep it to the doctrine and the worship the way good Protestants do. But the Roman Catholic church’s footprint is hardly doctrinal and liturgical. If that’s all it were, I might have more sympathy for David’s point. But has David ever wondered why the Vatican is about so much more than doctrine or worship or why Roman Catholics write so much in defense of every single thing the papacy does, such as:

Pope Francis’ comments on the extermination of Armenian Christians in early 20th-century Turkey prompted a strongly worded criticism from the Turkish Foreign Ministry and led to the withdrawal of Turkey’s ambassador to the Holy See. But what’s the full story?

As the April 24 centenary commemoration of the Armenian genocide approaches, tensions between Turkey and Armenia run high. Despite this, Pope Francis remembered the martyrdom of the Armenian people during his April 12 Mass at the Vatican.

The Turkish government criticized the Pope and an Armenian representative in a Sunday statement, focusing on the use of the word “genocide.”

Most non-Turkish scholars consider the mass killings of 1915-1916 to be a genocide in which the Ottoman Empire systematically exterminated its minority Armenian population, who were predominantly Christian. Roughly 1.5 million Armenians — men, women and children — lost their lives in ways ranging from executions into mass graves to meticulous torture.

Turkey has repeatedly denied that the slaughter was a genocide, saying that the number of deaths was much smaller and came as a result of conflict surrounding World War I. The country holds that many ethnic Turks also lost their lives in the event.

Pope Francis’ comments on Sunday set off a firestorm of criticism among Turkish leaders, prompting the removal of the country’s Vatican ambassador.

What could be lesser known, however, is that the Pope’s introductory remarks included a precise quote of the joint text that St. John Paul II and Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos Karekin II of the Armenian Apostolic Church issued on Sept. 27, 2001, during a papal visit to Armenia.

Lots of words and gestures, so little time for interpretation. So let the paying, praying and obeying interpreters interpret. Let them do to the teaching and actions of the magisterium what Protestants allegedly do with the Bible. Spin and spin and spin and spin away.

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190 thoughts on “Why Reform Won't Ever Happen

  1. That the Pope condemned the Turkish genocide of the Armenians is good and should not be disparaged because of other actions.

    In the end here, we are not talking about mere institutions, we are talking about authoritarianism–something Reformed Theologians know much about. After all, we quote dead heroes, in essence paper popes, in the same way as loyal adherents to the Roman Church quote the Pope. And the Turkish response is not a surprise. Turkey imprisons its own people for criticisms of the state or referring to their genocide of the Armenians. For Turkey, it is the state that is the unifying factor, not Islam. And then you also have the mindless racism that exists throughout the whole world which was part of that genocide.

    And while 2Kers can brag about not supporting authoritarian states, their silence regarding the sins of the status quo is not golden. The line about us not trusting people in power is not entirely true. Look at our regard for our nation’s founding fathers. Do we realize that they wrote The Constitution in order to maintain their economic position and the status quo? That that document was written in response to Shays rebellion and widespread domestic dissent. And it was written in order to strengthen the power of the federal government especially in comparison to what was before.

    All of this points to one thing: we need to speak carefully about the sins of others. We need to because we are speaking as fellow sinners. Every group, including theologically reformed 2kers and reformed social gospelers, has their sins.

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  2. Curt, “paper popes”? Don’t look now but you’re channeling Finney. But how careful are you in speaking of the sins of others when you suggest simply being a member of a certain society (or ethnic group) means one is guilty of all its worst elements? That not careful but reckless.

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  3. Zrim,
    there is a difference between having favorite writers from elevating them to the point of being authoritarian about it. Merely having a high regard for Calvin, Luther, the Westminster Standards is not what is meant here. Quoting them as one would quote the Scriptures and insisting that people agree them by getting upset when people don’t is another matter. So saying something that is similar to what Finney said is irrelevant. And what I am referring to here is the behavior I’ve seen by SOME both here and other places.

    In addition, when you look at the relationships we have, you have to admit that we are an authoritarian lot. We are to submit to God and His Word along with those in authority over us including the government officials, Church officers, and bosses at work. Then our wives are to submit to us and the children are to submit to everybody. And we are constantly looking for authority figures to teach us while we sit at their feet: our confessions for example.

    Do you see why some of us might have a difficult time with turning off that authoritarian switch. And btw, comments on 2kers are based on the theology and people I know. Having said that, again, 2kers have stuff to teach others and I have much respect for that.

    If you look at Keller’s Center Church model and the part with the blended insights, one can get a partial idea of how to escape authoritarianism. For while his model is the view of other branches of the Church from a neo-calvinist point of view, what is most beneficial is that he recognizes what is lacking in his own branch and what each branch contributes. Not that we should have the same neo-calvinist point of view that he does, but that the recognition where one’s own group is deficient and where one can learn from other groups is an essential concept for us to learn if we are to avoid authoritarianism.

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  4. Y’all stop being so protestant. It’s money and vocations. Repeat after me; “Money and Vocations. Money and Vocations. Money and Vocations. Money and Vocations.” And when you get all impressed with Thomism or Bellarmine or Ratzinger. Remember what I taught you; “Money and Vocations” And our lady in the flour tortilla you almost ate. So, Money and Vocations and our lady in the flour tortilla. Money, vocations, lady, tortilla. MVLT.

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  5. Curt, did the pope condemn the Spanish for the Spanish Inquisition?

    Did the pope condemn the Portuguese for the Portuguese Inquisition?

    Did the pope condemn the Romans for the Roman Inquisition?

    Doh!

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  6. DGH becomes the butt of Carl, Todd, and Aimee’s little joke. Click to see a pic of the three musketeers yourself (Hi MoSers, good show, keep up the good work).

    Who’s next?

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  7. Time to warm up for the Spurs. Parsons will light up his former team, and since nobody but Harden can shoot, let him have his 35-40 and play defense against the rest. Chandler will limit Superboy to 14 or so per game. Clippers won’t beat Spurs but will push them. How long can a 65 year old center keep going anyway?

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  8. Curt,

    For what it’s worth, I think it’s really important to think more carefully about “groups having sins” or “status quo having sins.” It seems to me that such a concept is the opposite of federal headship.

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  9. Curt, the “paper pope” sentiment of Finney’s was in relation not to favorite authors but the confessions, creeds, and catechism. I’m with you on not esteeming individual men in unbecoming ways (Calvin’s unmarked grave is more genius), but not Finney or you on a high ecclesiology being a frustrated form of popery.

    And that’s because there is a difference between a Presbyterian view of authority and an authoritarian view, a difference that seems to elude you. The former simultaneously recognizes the place for a binding and authoritative role for creed and office, while also recognizing no man or group of men is above the law. It’s why Reformed pastors are under constant scrutiny by their elders and not ascribed the kind of religious power either Roman popes or Bible church pastors have. That doesn’t mean plenty of P&R don’t behave like either, it means they aren’t being good P&R.

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  10. Todd, I’m not over them losing the #2 seed. I can’t watch. It’s all radio and gamecast until the Finals. Then I make sure I’m feeling good in the pregame. The Little Red Ponies sb able to handle the Rockets.

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  11. Sean,

    And we were five points or so away from a Spurs-Mavs opening round. If I was really delusional I would say Pops lost on purpose to avoid the Mavs in first round, but not quite sure why/how they lost that game.

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  12. Todd, I wanted to believe that until I saw the starters had all logged over 30 minutes. They were trying. They just got beat.

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  13. But this view of the church doesn’t take into account all those gestures and even instances where acts say more than words. What does it say that Francis appoints Juan Barros in Chile? What does it say that the pope is willing to condemn the Turks but not homosexuals?

    I don’t think you have this “sense of proportion” thing down yet. The genocide of over a million Armenians is indeed more important than homosexuality, by any sane standard anyway.

    It is amazing how you can get your little pack to bark mindlessly at the pope with a ring of the papist bell, though.

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  14. vd, t, Maybe. But how many mortal sins does it take to go to hell? 1.5 million? 1? Popes used to ban books to protect souls. Now popes do foreign affairs.

    And how is Francis’ access to Erdogan working now?

    I guess charism doesn’t make you wise.

    vd, t, you’re an enemy of contrition.

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  15. So which is more comfortable? Condemning the Turks or bearing with them?

    “The big revolution,” he proclaims, “is how the love of Christ will enter into each one of us to transform our lives and society.” This aspiration guides the cardinal’s work and animates the spirit of Francis’ papacy. Ultimately, it offers just the solution to that “cacophony” in our church today.

    Draw the conclusions. What does it mean to be a church seeking Christ above all else?

    For one, it’s uncomfortable. Encounter drives us beyond our comfort zones. “Go to the peripheries!” Rodriguez exhorts. “We cannot be refugees in our own home!” With this, we are summoned to Christ at the margins of our culture, church and even our insular ideological circles.

    Do we open our heart to Christ present here, too? The question invites unlikely, challenging dialogue. And in today’s polarized church, it particularly demands that we venture beyond the boundaries of our competing ideological camps.

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  16. Perhaps Cardinal Burke should have been the one to rule on Turkey:

    Outspoken U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke has not been as charitable in his recent remarks on synod issues, telling an interviewer that gay couples and divorced and remarried Catholics who are trying to live good and faithful lives are like “the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.”

    “If you are living publicly in a state of mortal sin, there isn’t any good act that you can perform that justifies that situation: The person remains in grave sin,” Burke told LifeSiteNews March 24.

    “To give the impression that somehow there’s something good about living in a state of grave sin is simply contrary to what the church has always and everywhere taught,” Burke said.

    Asked if being “kind” and “generous” and “dedicated” is enough, Burke replied: “Of course it’s not. It’s like the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.”

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  17. Trying to keep up, D. With DGH, this blog and the comments continue to amaze me to, for diff reasons than TVDs.

    Sounds like your trip to Europe was OK. Glad to have you back.

    Later..

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  18. * with TVD ( that’s my allotment of three for ol comments, until the clock strikes midnight, and I go back to being plain old servant wench Cinderella (emoticon )) who be next?

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  19. Why does Erik trackback his thoughts on almost every blog post on OL? Inquiring minds want to know.

    4 comments, I know. My bad..

    who’s next?

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  20. Robert, this is money(Conrad Hilton) and vocations(80% of U.S. nuns). It doesn’t hurt that the pope is a religious(Jesuit) and liberation theologian(social justice). Ratzinger was a German aristocrat egghead with his own money and now the abbey in Vat City.

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  21. TVD,

    It is amazing how you can get your little pack to bark mindlessly at the pope with a ring of the papist bell, though

    Lol!!! I was just thinking the same thing. I can’t decide which is more pathetic

    1. Daryls constant attempts at playing polemics with the Church (that no longer merit Bryans attention)

    2.the comments and crooning that follow these silly little posts

    3. Erik Charter pretending to have given up OL….. while obsessively backtracking his thoughts on each and every post!

    I’m leaning towards number three…. but it’s close.

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  22. vdt, who can’t manage to darken the door and loser ken on a journey of finding a larger religious pool to fleece, pontificating about things pathetic. It makes sense after a fashion(my ode to Van Til).

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  23. sean, it would be nice to meet you someday

    The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
    Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
    What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
    A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
    The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens to the place where it rises.
    The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
    around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
    All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
    to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.
    All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
    the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.
    What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.
    Is there a thing of which it is said,
    “See, this is new”?
    It has been already
    in the ages before us.
    There is no remembrance of former things,
    nor will there be any remembrance
    of later things yet to be
    among those who come after.
    (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 ESV)

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  24. Kenneth, how is GoT going? I never could get into it, my wife read the first book tho..

    Just curious, it’s really popular with my peers, so I hear all about it. I almost feel like I don’t need to watch it with how much I hear. Is it a good plot worth the Christian’s time? Grace and peace.

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  25. Do you see why some of us might have a difficult time with turning off that authoritarian switch.

    Ummm, I think I see why some people have trouble turning off the authoritarian tone when they stuff the combox, but no. I didn’t know it was an actual switch.
    Where is it? On the keyboard? Underneath my Beanycopter hat? . . .

    Kenneth, Dr. Pangloss is busy carrying his Olde Rugged Cross and wielding it in a sophist fashion against all comers so he can’t be bothered. You know: “Nothing you say can falsify my belief that the Roman church is the most reasonable of all churches in all reasonable worlds”.

    That is when he isn’t arguing that Augustine taught faith and works contra Warfield’s claim of Augustine for the protestant side when is comes to justification by faith alone against Rome. Did Bryan ever quote from Augustine contra Pelagius to try to escape the charge of special pleading or did he continue to play to the fanclub as usual?

    If brevity is the soul of wit, B thinks it is a dead horse and reacts accordingly. Which is why we can’t be bothered to subject ourselves to the monotonous drone of boasting about how he already answered that question already in yet another tome.
    IOWA the guy’s an academic and he’s never heard of precis/thinks it is a mortal sin.
    No thanks.

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  26. More reasons why reform won’t happen. First, Roman Catholicism is like Italy (so much for transformation of culture):

    . . . being located in Italy is one of the Vatican’s greatest strengths and also its most chronic Achilles’ heel.

    On the positive side of things, Italian culture fosters a cosmopolitan view of the world that’s well-suited to a global Church. Just living in Italy offers an education in Catholic concepts of life, even if their imprint now can seem a bit vestigial. Until 1999, for instance, the country’s justice department was known as the “Ministry of Grace and Justice,” and you can still find that name etched over many of its buildings.

    Italians also tend to have a healthy sense of relativism about law, which is essential in trying to craft rules for a Church that have to apply in every corner of the world and every historical circumstance. (If you ever want an example of how Italians understand the elasticity of rules, stand on a sidewalk sometime in Rome or Naples and watch how drivers approach traffic and parking laws.)

    Another advantage is that Italians may be dreadful at systems, but they’re magnificent at relationships, and that’s often true of the Vatican. Once you’ve established even a nodding acquaintance with personnel, they feel obliged to help you in a way that most American functionaries never would.

    Italians also tend to be patient with bureaucracies. They don’t have overly romantic expectations about the moral virtues of their clergy. And they long ago learned to distinguish the bedrock of their faith from the merits of the human beings running the church. All are key to maintaining sanity in Catholic life.

    Do I even need to mention the food and the wine?

    As with every culture, however, there’s a downside.

    Anyone who’s ever tried to call a plumber or get the roof fixed in Italy knows that the pace of getting things done can be, to say the least, painfully slow. Though things have picked up under Francis, the same languor traditionally has characterized the Vatican. Its working motto seemed to be, “Talk to us on Wednesday and we’ll get back to you in 300 years.”

    Further, the labor system makes firing people for non-performance exceptionally complicated. Virtually every workplace has at least one employee recognized as a menefreghista, which loosely translates as someone who just doesn’t give a damn. Tellingly, Italian business literature is full of advice on how to work around such people, but precious little about how to get rid of them.

    Perhaps most troubling is that while things are slowly changing today, traditionally many Italians have tolerated, even celebrated, forms of mutual back-scratching that anywhere else would be seen as corrupt. For instance, rigging a competitive bidding process to benefit one’s relatives and friends, or making sweetheart deals for VIPs for a favor down the line, have long been considered par for the course.

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  27. Second, Roman Catholicism is like baseball:

    1. Both baseball and Catholicism venerate the past. Both cherish the memories of a Communion of Saints, including popular shrines and holy cards.
    2. Both feature obscure rules that make sense only to initiates. (Think the infield fly rule for baseball fans and the Pauline privilege for Catholics.)
    3. Both have a keen sense of ritual, in which pace is critically important. (As a footnote, that’s why basketball is more akin to Pentecostalism, since both are breathless affairs premised largely on ecstatic experience. I’d go into why football is pagan, but that’s a different conversation.)
    4. Both baseball and Catholicism generate oceans of statistics, arcana, and lore. For entry-level examples, try: Who has the highest lifetime batting average, with a minimum of 1,000 at-bats? (Ty Cobb). Which popes had the longest and the shortest reigns? (Pius IX and Urban VII).
    5. In both baseball and Catholicism, you can dip in and out, but for serious devotees, the liturgy is a daily affair.
    6. Both are global games especially big in Latin America. The Detroit Tigers are thought to have one of the most potent batting orders in baseball, featuring two Venezuelans, a Cuban, and six Americans of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Take a look at the presbyterates in many American dioceses, and the mix isn’t that different.
    7. Both baseball and Catholicism have been badly tainted by scandal, with the legacies of erstwhile superstars utterly ruined. Yet both have proved surprisingly resilient – perhaps demonstrating that the game is great enough to survive even the best efforts of those in charge at any given moment to ruin it.
    8. Both have a complex farm system, and fans love to speculate about who the next hot commodity will be in “The Show.”
    9. Both reward patience. If you’re the kind of person who needs immediate results, neither baseball nor Catholicism is really your game.

    I threw in a bonus item, which was my argument as to why the American League is actually more Catholic because it permits a designated hitter. The National League’s refusal, I contended, smacks of a quasi-Calvinist fundamentalism, while the American League better embodies what Cardinal John Henry Newman once called the development of doctrine.

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  28. Third, Roman Catholicism is like Shi’a Islam:

    A strong emphasis on clerical authority
    An approach to the Qur’an accenting both scripture and tradition
    A deep mystical streak
    Devotion to a holy family (in the case of Shi’ites, the blood relatives of Muhammad) and to saints (the Twelve Imams)
    A theology of sacrifice and atonement through Hussein, who married the daughter of Muhammad and led the early Shi’a community, and is venerated for his death in the battle of Karbala
    Belief in free will (as opposed to the Sunni doctrine of pre-destination)
    Holy days, pilgrimages, and healing shrines
    Intercessory prayer
    Strongly emotional forms of popular devotion

    As Nasr points out, anyone who’s ever watched a Good Friday procession in, say, Mexico or the Philippines, including people who flagellate themselves and even have themselves nailed to crosses to recall Christ’s crucifixion, will be struck by the eerie similarities with the Shi’a festival of Ashoura commemorating Hussein’s martyrdom.

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  29. Darryl, clearly the way through prot/cath relations is moderated blogs like CtC.

    Where would the world be without the blogmeisters who manage the message?

    Drunkexpastors especially.

    Play ball.

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  30. The Church already did reform and has reformed numerous times.

    NEWSFLASH

    Trent happened.

    NEWSFLASH

    Vatican 2 happened.

    You don’t want “reform”. You want a “deforming” of Christianity to match Calvin and Luthers heresy.

    The Charismatics have a better chance at calling for reform and getting the attention of Rome than the handful of people who care about Luther and Calvin.

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  31. @ Ken: Is that “re-form” or “development”?

    I thought reformation required an acknowledgement that one had made mistakes.

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  32. AB,

    Yes, my five year old is very concerned with Church reform lol! But not as much as the 1 year old.

    Jeff,

    Reform can come with the admission of error but not necessarily. Reform can also be used in a developmental way and not strictly in tge “it’s time to change absolutely everything” sense.

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  33. Kenneth, so who’s right? Cardinal Kasper or Archbishop Cordileone? Which one reflects apostolic teaching? Which one reflects the ministry of pope Francis?

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  34. DGHART,

    so who’s right? Cardinal Kasper or Archbishop Cordileone? Which one reflects apostolic teaching? Which one reflects the ministry of pope Francis?

    That’s a different question all together. I would say Cordileone represents Tradition while Kasper represents the views of Pope Francis. (Cue the moronic commentary)

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  35. This last paragraph nails the whole problem:

    “Lots of words and gestures, so little time for interpretation. So let the paying, praying and obeying interpreters interpret. Let them do to the teaching and actions of the magisterium what Protestants allegedly do with the Bible. Spin and spin and spin and spin away.’

    Bryan Cross clutching hi missal and his St John Paul II the Great medal can be as earnest as he wants to be, but it does not change the fact that the last few popes have essentially changed the official message.

    This quote from Avery Dulles is telling:

    “One might ask at this point whether there has been any shift in Catholic theology on the matter. The answer appears to be Yes, although the shift is not as dramatic as some imagine. The earlier pessimism was based on the unwarranted assumption that explicit Christian faith is absolutely necessary for salvation. This assumption has been corrected, particularly at Vatican II. There has also been a healthy reaction against the type of preaching that revels in depicting the sufferings of the damned in the most lurid possible light. An example would be the fictional sermon on hell that James Joyce recounts in his Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man . This kind of preaching fosters an image of God as an unloving and cruel tyrant, and in some cases leads to a complete denial of hell or even to atheism.”

    The first line is the money one, dispute Dulles’ own qualifications. “One might ask at this point whether there has been any shift in Catholic theology on the matter. The answer appears to be Yes…”
    You think? Anyone born 100 years ago would probably hardly even recognize their Catholic faith as articulated by the postconciliar Church. KW talks about Trent like it was a reform, but the problem is Vatican II all but refuted Trent! All while pretending the Catholic Magisterium dispels confusion. Are you kidding me? There is nowhere that theology today is not more confused than the Catholic Church, even while it welds the CCC. Pope Francis is exhibit A of this fact. Is he a modernist? A loyal son of the Church? Who knows? If he wants to be clear, he is a poor communicator. If he wants to be ambiguous, he is hugely successful. Either way, the Church as a Gospel voice is compromised.

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  36. Joe,

    I think that there is some truth to what you are saying. If Pope Pius X walked into the run of the mill RC parish today he would probably have a stroke! Still, I think it’s important to remember that we are only talking about a relatively small sampling of Church history when speculating on the impact of V2. If we took a similar survey on the 50 years after Nicea one might think the council had accomplished nothing at all! While certain elements of Church teaching have been muddled quite a bit I disagree with your conclusion that the RCC is the most confused of all Christian groups. The Catechism seems pretty clear to me. One might point to this or that attitude or off the cuff remark as evidence of “change” but that really doesn’t undermine the entire religion. There have been many, many, periods of confusion through Church history. Some lasting much longer and running much deeper than the current crises.

    The fact is that at the end of the day these periods of confusion are settled not by unended and everlasting schism, but by a definitive response from the magesterium of the universal Church.

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  37. The fact is that at the end of the day these periods of confusion are settled not by unended and everlasting schism, but by a definitive response from the magesterium of the universal Church.

    And in the meantime what KW? Rely on Bryan, the Stellerman’s and your (as above) private judgement of the confusion?
    Thanks, I was confused, but not anymore.

    Rome is an egregious fraud that traduces Scripture, history and reason, all in the name of a sinless and infallible love of the same. The reality doesn’t match the ad copy though, for anybody that’s paying attention.

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  38. Bob S,

    Actually no. When things get confusing we rely on sacred Tradition aND Sacred Scripture. The life and worship of the whole Church throughout the centuries. In other words, we look backwards until the magesterium gives a definitive response to the confusion at hand. What’s the problem?

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  39. loser ken, “The Catechism seems pretty clear to me.”

    Do you know that the PCUSA still confesses the Heidelberg Catechism? So what difference does having a clear catechism make if pretty much everyone ignores it.

    In other words, you’re using arguments of self-consolation that evangelicals in liberal Protestant churches use. Feel better?

    Like

  40. loser ken, “What’s the problem?”

    Cardinal Kasper.

    According to your ecclesiology you’re supposed to submit to the current group of bishops since they are the ones with the charism and the ones who succeed the apostles.

    But you decide to ignore them and look to the past. Sort of what Protestants do with the Bible.

    You’re as confused as an RC as you were as a Protestant. Confusion abides.

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  41. Daryl,

    Ha! No I didn’t know that about the PCUSA. As a lay person I am in submission to the bishops, bit I am not bound to every little opinion that they have. I realize that is inconvenient for your argument but it’s the truth. If Cardinal Kaspers opinions become dogma you will have a great point. Until then, “everything g has changed” when in fact nothing has changed at all.

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  42. I realize that 50 years is a big deal to you guys (is the OPC even 50 years old?) But to us it’s just a flash in the pan. Confusion always follows ecumenical councils until the dust settles.

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  43. loser ken, don’t you worry that Cardinal Kasper might lead souls astray? As if Roman Catholics pay attention to dogma. Psshaw.

    If that’s all it takes to give you comfort, you might as well believe in Mormonism.

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  44. Ken,

    As a lay person I am in submission to the bishops, bit I am not bound to every little opinion that they have. I realize that is inconvenient for your argument but it’s the truth.

    I think you’ve misssed DGH’s point. It’s manifestly clear that Catholics don’t share the opinions of their bishops on *many* issues. Lay dissent has never been something that DGH points to to disprove the RCC. Instead, he notes that the purported clarity and certainty of the RCC is imagined. If I’ve understood you correctly you have admitted:

    1. Francis appears to favor Kasper
    2. Kasper’s position would change doctrine of the RCC
    3. If 2 actually happens, then DGH has a “great point”

    You can call Protestants connecting the dots “moronic,” but we’re just using the syllogism you gave us.

    I realize that 50 years is a big deal to you guys (is the OPC even 50 years old?) But to us it’s just a flash in the pan. Confusion always follows ecumenical councils until the dust settles.

    Your bravado is intriguing considering that you disagree with Francis’s opinion on a matter of faith and practice (in your own characterization of Francis’s view), believe Vatican II had portions that were written to appease heretics (if I’ve improperly stated your opinions on VII feel free to clarify), and that an ecumenical council can lead to “confusion” for 50+ years. You can call my grandfather’s lifetime a “flash in the pan,” but the “confusion” shipwrecked his faith. Claiming uniformity when there is unmitigated chaos in the modern RCC makes you look aloof. Being arrogant about Catholicisms uniformity makes you look immature.

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  45. DGHART,

    don’t you worry that Cardinal Kasper might lead souls astray? As if Roman Catholics pay attention to dogma. Psshaw.

    Happily, there is no theology exam involved in our justification. The elect have been chosen before the foundation of the world. Cardinal Kasper does not put that number in jeopardy. Although he will be held accountable, as will all of our shepherds.

    If that’s all it takes to give you comfort, you might as well believe in Mormonism.

    1. I don’t think Mormonism is true.

    2. But its authority is better structured for certainty than the failed protestant experiment.

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  46. 2. But its authority is better structured for certainty than the failed protestant experiment.

    “Roman rule” is the failed experiment. Or rather, it is the failed usurpation. The loose confederacy of churches during the first three centuries were a very fine witness indeed to the world.

    Like

  47. Brandon Addison,

    I think you’ve misssed DGH’s point. It’s manifestly clear that Catholics don’t share the opinions of their bishops on *many* issues. Lay dissent has never been something that DGH points to to disprove the RCC. Instead, he notes that the purported clarity and certainty of the RCC is imagined.

    Actually, I think his “point” was that the Catholic Church is not capable of reform. After that was shown to be a retarded thesis, we have now changed the “point” to something having to do with certainty. That’s fine, I’m happy to play ball. I just want to make sure we are paying attention to the fact that the game has changed. In order for you or anyone else to show that the clarity and certainty of the RCC is merely imagined, you would need to do more than merely assert it over and over and over and over and over again without ever formulating an actual argument.

    If I’ve understood you correctly you have admitted:

    1. Francis appears to favor Kasper
    2. Kasper’s position would change doctrine of the RCC
    3. If 2 actually happens, then DGH has a “great point”

    You can call Protestants connecting the dots “moronic,” but we’re just using the syllogism you gave us.

    Ha! Ok, so then using “the syllogism I gave you” you should all be happy to admit that doctrine has not changed, and that the certainty and clarity of the RCC is not merely imagined.

    Your bravado is intriguing considering that you disagree with Francis’s opinion on a matter of faith and practice (in your own characterization of Francis’s view), believe Vatican II had portions that were written to appease heretics (if I’ve improperly stated your opinions on VII feel free to clarify), and that an ecumenical council can lead to “confusion” for 50+ years. You can call my grandfather’s lifetime a “flash in the pan,” but the “confusion” shipwrecked his faith.

    Unfortunately, periods of confusion have consequences, and it is the flock that usually suffer most of all. The Shepherds will be held accountable. The point I am making is that this is a relatively small sample of Church history. There have been several councils that have caused confusion and turmoil in the short term. There have been others that simply never ended up being useful at all. Praise God the faithful aren’t governed by sola ecclesia.

    Claiming uniformity when there is unmitigated chaos in the modern RCC makes you look aloof. Being arrogant about Catholicisms uniformity makes you look immature.

    Well, I probably am a little arrogant, aloof, and immature. I couldn’t have said it any better myself. (I certainly couldn’t have said it any better if I were you.) However, I am curious if you could point me to where I have made claims about RC “uniformity”? 🙂

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  48. John Bugay,

    You mean the “loose confederation” that treated ecumenical councils as infallibly protected from error? Phillip Schaff writes that

    Their doctrinal decisions were early invested with infallibility; the promises of the Lord respecting the indestructibleness of his church, his own perpetual presence with the ministry, and the guidance of the Spirit of truth, being applied in the full sense to those councils, as representing the whole church. After the example of the apostolic council, the usual formula for a decree was: Visum est Sprirtui Sancto et nobis. Constantine the Great, in a circular letter to the churches, styles the decrees of the Nicene council a divine command; a phrase, however, in reference to which the abuse of the word divine, in the language of the Byzantine despots, must not be forgotten. Athanasius says, with reference to the doctrine of the divinity of Christ: “What God has spoken by the council of Nice, abides forever.” The council of Chalcedon pronounced the decrees of the Nicene fathers unalterable statutes, since God himself had spoken through them. The council of Ephesus, in the sentence of deposition against Nestorius, uses the formula: “The Lord Jesus Christ, whom he has blasphemed, determines through this most holy council.” Pope Leo speaks of an “irretractabilis consensus” of the council of Chalcedon upon the doctrine of the person of Christ. Pope Gregory the Great even placed the first four councils, which refuted and destroyed respectively the heresies and impieties of Arius, Macedonius, Nestorius, and Eutyches, on a level with the four canonical Gospels. In like manner Justinian puts the dogmas of the first four councils on the same footing with the Holy Scriptures, and their canons by the side of laws of the realm.

    (History of the Christian Church, Vol. III: Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity: A.D. 311-600, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974, from the revised fifth edition of 1910, 340-342

    Interesting that most of these councils had periods of confusion worse than what we see in the aftermath of the second vatican council. Yet those “loose confederate” peeps, giving that “fine witness” didn’t seem to think it was much of a problem. Interesting isnt it?

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  49. Ken, you completely missed the boat. You’re citing the Schaff volume beginning AFTER the first three centuries that I was talking about.

    He’s talking about “ecumenical councils”. Let’s make believe you are right, and let’s go with Constantinople and Chalcedon, both of which put Rome’s “preeminence” with the fact that it was the political capital of the empire. “Oh, but THAT part wasn’t infallible”, you say.

    “The papacy” certainly is a “doctrinal decision” as well. Don’t try to weasel out of that one.

    The fact is, there was a “loose association” of churches and later “bishops”, up through the year 350, about the time that “bishops of Rome” started claiming to have some kind of leadership.

    That’s when the true Roman usurpation began. The Murderer Pope Damasus (killed 137 of his opponent’s supporters) was really the first one to claim “petrine” authority.

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  50. Hey Ken,

    I was thinking of DGH’s final paragraph (Joe quotes it above), which notes that there is perpetual interpretation of the Magisterium. In other words, you’re in a similar epistemic condition even though you claim you have a superior paradigm.

    The number of examples that show the Magisterium lacks clarity are evidenced by your own admission and writing, but there are scores more. If you’re going to lump the PCUSA in with the OPC and PCA and talk about the ambiguity Sola Scriptura brings, why can we not do the same thing with the gay priests, “rogue” (in your opinion) bishops, lesbian nuns, and even the zany Papa himself. You allege because the teaching of the Magisterium is clear. Clear as mud.

    I tried to point out that even given your syllogism it’s not “moronic” or, to use your new phrase “retarded,” to see there is rampant confusion in the RCC. That’s not an assertion, but it follows from the three items *you* affirm. You’re even arguing the infallible bishop of Rome is confused on this issue.

    You then say,

    The Shepherds will be held accountable. The point I am making is that this is a relatively small sample of Church history. There have been several councils that have caused confusion and turmoil in the short term. There have been others that simply never ended up being useful at all. Praise God the faithful aren’t governed by sola ecclesia.

    This appears to be contradictory, or at least ambiguous. In one sentence you say it’s a small sample of Church history. In the other you are saying there are several councils that have caused confusion. Considering your previous comment that 50 years is “a flash in the pan” I’m not sure you’re being coherent. I would think you’d at least need to flesh out what you mean.

    The thing I believe was most strange was your final sentence. Of course the faithful aren’t governed by sola ecclesia, they are governed by the Magisterium in RC ecclesiology. But if on *several* instances the Magisterium has left confusion in its wake then is the Magisterium governing the people with clarity? Your admission of *several* councils of confusion would seem to indicate that it is not.

    And this is ultimately what I’m referring to when I speak of uniformity. The implicit assumption is that the teaching of the Church is clear, even though there may be some rogue individuals who dissent from the Tradition. Your own testimony shows, however, that the issue is much different. The Pope himself seems to disagree with you (though we will concede that in your principles he hasn’t defined anything infallibly).

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  51. John,

    I thought you might permit the Council of Nicea as falling within your arbitrary timeline. If not, no big deal. The whole “first 300 years” thing really has scant to do with the conversation at hand. Although I’m sure it would be fascinating to hear all of your novel ideas on church history.

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  52. Brandon Addison,

    I was thinking of DGH’s final paragraph (Joe quotes it above), which notes that there is perpetual interpretation of the Magisterium. In other words, you’re in a similar epistemic condition even though you claim you have a superior paradigm.

    I would be happy to consider this once an actual argument is made. As it stands, I think it is self evident that the presence of an infallible magisterium and tradition is beneficial from an epistemic perspective. How in the world could it not be? If you grant the claims of the Universal Church it seems blindingly obvious that there are epistemic advantages.

    The number of examples that show the Magisterium lacks clarity are evidenced by your own admission and writing, but there are scores more.

    I agree.

    If you’re going to lump the PCUSA in with the OPC and PCA and talk about the ambiguity Sola Scriptura brings, why can we not do the same thing with the gay priests, “rogue” (in your opinion) bishops, lesbian nuns, and even the zany Papa himself. You allege because the teaching of the Magisterium is clear. Clear as mud.

    I’m not just lumping you together with the PCUSA. I’m lumping you together with Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Oneness Pentacostals, Nondenominationals, methodists, baptists, reformed baptists, southern baptists, whatever the hell other kind of baptists exist, Lutherans, snake handlers, Anglicans, and the rest of the sola scriptura bunch. You have every right to ask RCs about the zany papa, rogue bishops, etc. Yet, the very fact that you can identify them as “zany” and “rogue” serves as evidence that you realize they are not in step with their own (Sacred) Traditions and teachings.

    I tried to point out that even given your syllogism it’s not “moronic” or, to use your new phrase “retarded,” to see there is rampant confusion in the RCC. That’s not an assertion, but it follows from the three items *you* affirm. You’re even arguing the infallible bishop of Rome is confused on this issue.

    I have never in my life claimed that the RCC was an ecclesiastical utopia that never experiences times of confusion. I am happy to admit that it is not. The epistemic advantage isnt that we *avoid* times of confusion, but is that we have a mechanism that can *resolve* periods of confusion. The magesterium. Sola scriptura advocates have a mechanism too. Its the sin of schism.

    This appears to be contradictory, or at least ambiguous. In one sentence you say it’s a small sample of Church history. In the other you are saying there are several councils that have caused confusion. Considering your previous comment that 50 years is “a flash in the pan” I’m not sure you’re being coherent. I would think you’d at least need to flesh out what you mean.

    I was referring to the 50 years after the second vatican council as being a small sample of Church history. A flash in the pan. This statement is perfectly consistent with my other observation that there have been several councils in the 2000 year history of the Universal Church that have caused confusion and been deemed as unhelpful. I dont know of a better way to explain it….

    The thing I believe was most strange was your final sentence. Of course the faithful aren’t governed by sola ecclesia, they are governed by the Magisterium in RC ecclesiology. But if on *several* instances the Magisterium has left confusion in its wake then is the Magisterium governing the people with clarity? Your admission of *several* councils of confusion would seem to indicate that it is not.

    I would say that the faithful are governed by the STM triad and not by any leg of authority taken in isolation apart from the whole. Any one of these legs, once isolated, can be shown to be insufficient in producing doctrinal certainty. Sola scriptura, sola ecclesia, tradition alone, etc. Only when they are taken together does the picture of orthodoxy become clear. I would say that, on the whole, the magesterium has governed with clarity. During times of confusion, the faithful must lean on the teachings of scripture and tradition until the magesterium clears things up in a definitive way.

    And this is ultimately what I’m referring to when I speak of uniformity. The implicit assumption is that the teaching of the Church is clear, even though there may be some rogue individuals who dissent from the Tradition. Your own testimony shows, however, that the issue is much different. The Pope himself seems to disagree with you (though we will concede that in your principles he hasn’t defined anything infallibly).

    The teachings of the Church are clear. So clear that people like RC Sproul, James White, Michael Horton, etc can list and explain RC dogma with great accuracy (with some slips every now and again). If the teachings were not clear. you would not know who to point to as an example of “rogue” priests and popes! Think about it 🙂

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  53. Ken — 300 years is not an arbitrary time period. It takes us past Nicaea but before Constantinople. It takes us right up until the “usurpation” occurs that I mentioned. Your facile dismissal of the notion (a) that there was no primacy of Rome up until that point and (b) when there was a primacy granted from the outside, it was for political reasons, and (c) it was Rome ultimately that was not only tooting its own horn, but killing people, shows that you could probably use some of my fascinating history lessons.

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  54. John,

    No thanks. I’m still in school. If your conspiracy theory ever interests me I’ll pay someone with credentials to teach me the tale of the tape.

    PS,

    So Nicea does count afterall?

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  55. Kenneth,

    You have every right to ask RCs about the zany papa, rogue bishops, etc. Yet, the very fact that you can identify them as “zany” and “rogue” serves as evidence that you realize they are not in step with their own (Sacred) Traditions and teachings.

    But what right do you have to agree? If the Magisterium hasn’t identified them as rogue, how can you do the same? We’re just poor Protestants looking in from the outside and trying to make sense of Rome. We get Bryan Cross telling us that all is good. We get you saying all is not so good. We get the Magisterium acting as if all is good. We get leftists bishops acting as if all is not so good.

    Yeah, we give the benefit of the doubt to texts and tradition—we’re Reformed after all. But where is any evidence that Rome does the same besides your wishful thinking? We can be excused for our confusion, but once you are in the system what possible right do you have to be taking about unhelpful councils, etc. That stuff is above your pay grade until you get to be a part of the Magisterium.

    Do you honestly not see the radical disconnect between “Rome provides the principled means and is better epistemically than Protestantism” and “Things are confusing right now, but give it time”?

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  56. loser ken, interesting. So salvation is independent of the church. I don’t think Jansenists would have even gone there with their view of predestination.

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  57. loser ken, “retarded thesis”? I think the preferred term is “intellectually challenged.”

    So you prefer the much longer history that saw the magisterium approve of Crusades, Inquisitions, and the sequestration of Jews. Got it.

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  58. loser ken, “it is self evident that the presence of an infallible magisterium and tradition is beneficial from an epistemic perspective. How in the world could it not be?”

    By that logic, how is it not possible that Homer Simpson’s Land of Chocolate exists?

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  59. Robert,

    But what right do you have to agree? If the Magisterium hasn’t identified them as rogue, how can you do the same? We’re just poor Protestants looking in from the outside and trying to make sense of Rome. We get Bryan Cross telling us that all is good. We get you saying all is not so good. We get the Magisterium acting as if all is good. We get leftists bishops acting as if all is not so good.

    Are you under the impression that RC laymen can’t identify problematic teaching unless the magesterium doles out an excommunication and an anathema? Or do you think that RCs are somehow bound to give religious assent to nuns and papal interviews? I don’t even understand what you’re asking

    Yeah, we give the benefit of the doubt to texts and tradition—we’re Reformed after all. But where is any evidence that Rome does the same besides your wishful thinking? We can be excused for our confusion, but once you are in the system what possible right do you have to be taking about unhelpful councils, etc. That stuff is above your pay grade until you get to be a part of the Magisterium.

    I don’t really give to much credence to what some bible aloner thinks is above my paygrade lol what do you know Sola boy.

    Do you honestly not see the radical disconnect between “Rome provides the principled means and is better epistemically than Protestantism” and “Things are confusing right now, but give it time”?

    Nope. I honestly dont. Spell it out for me. Keep in mind that we have never claimed that the magesterium prevents confusion, but only that it resolves it.

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  60. Keep in mind that we have never claimed

    The creepy Kenneth we again.

    What season of Game of Thrones are you up to, bud?

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  61. KW:
    I just spit out my drink. Just where has the Magisterium resolved confusion in the past 20 years. “Dominos Jesus”? Fun, the guy who approved it seems to have been a Universalist. Confusion. Ordination of Women? Funny, the Pope who forbade it most recently said there is no infallible proclamation of it. The current hot-button issue of gays? Gee, we all wonder just what the Synod on the Family might actually say, given Francis’ tap dance with politic correctness since his installation.

    The last person to correctly report on Vatican II was David Well’s in “Revolution in Rome.” Everything since then has been spin. The ‘Sola Boys’ are amusing, but the claim Popes still resolve confusion is simply comical. Are you channelling Bryan Cross of what?

    JM

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  62. Joe,

    The magesterium hasn’t given any infallible declarations in the last twenty years…. so… yeah. Zero times.

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  63. Keep in mind that we have never claimed that the magesterium prevents confusion, but only that it resolves it.

    Thanks for sharing your private judgement, Ken.
    We’ll take it into consideration.
    For about as long as it takes to read it.

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  64. D. G. Hart
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink
    loser ken, “retarded thesis”? I think the preferred term is “intellectually challenged.”

    So you prefer the much longer history that saw the magisterium approve of Crusades, Inquisitions, and the sequestration of Jews. Got it.

    Winner Ken, you’ve found your Godwin’s Law for this here “theological society”: “As an Old Life discussion of Catholicism grows longer, the probability of Darryl squealing about the Crusades and/or the Inquisition approaches 1.”

    Pretty much, it means you’ve won the day and they have no choice but to overturn the chessboard.

    I’m not just lumping you together with the PCUSA. I’m lumping you together with Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Oneness Pentacostals, Nondenominationals, methodists, baptists, reformed baptists, southern baptists, whatever the hell other kind of baptists exist, Lutherans, snake handlers, Anglicans, and the rest of the sola scriptura bunch. .

    Such is the Reformation’s “catholic” church per Nicea. Loser Darryl, once again.

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  65. Kenneth,

    You mentioned something that has been pointed out again and again by yourself and others, and that is, while there is confusion and sometimes dissent, it is at the same time very easy to find out what the faith teaches and believes. That is the reason for catechesis. Anyone who is attacking the Catholic Church does not have trouble articulating what it thinks Catholicism teaches and so there exists, more or less, a unified Protestant objection to this or that Catholic teaching which indicates coherence in Catholicism. I don’t have any trouble understanding the Catholic doctrines that separate us from Reformed Protestants and I don’t think most mainline Protestants have any trouble articulating what they believe is Catholicism, so its strange that Protestants tell us that we don’t know Catholicism from what is not.

    I didn’t know if it was ok to have images or icons. The answer is that it’s good.

    I didn’t know if what view I should hold regarding the real presence. The answer is, Transubstantiation.

    I didn’t know if I could lose heaven or not by sinning. I can.

    I didn’t know using birth control was a sin. It is.

    That is just a few examples of things that have been cleared up for me. There are many more. The point is though that Protestantism doesn’t have a unified answer and some of the questions like transubstantiation, is outright rejects purely because its the Catholic doctrine. If one wants to find the truth he doesn’t first decide for himself what it is, but instead aligns himself with it.

    So while there are rogues among us, it is really beside the point because it is still easy to know the doctrines of the Catholic faith.

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  66. John,

    Well, I’m honored you wasted a least a few random paragraphs. I’m sure your super awesome history lessons will be a delight for some other deserving soul. Lol!

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  67. @Susan
    You wrote, “…while there is confusion and sometimes dissent…” There is not “sometimes dissent”, there is overwhelming dissent. The degree makes a big difference.

    My understanding is that the apologetic by CTC, Ken, and you includes that the magisterium and infallibility of the pope solves the problem of certainty, the magisterium is perspicuous (doesn’t need an interpreter unlike scripture), and you have a principled means for settling disputes once and for all.

    It seems that these assertions run into serious empirical problems:

    1) RCs in the US are more likely than Protestants (this isn’t restricted to conservative presbys or evangelicals) to believe that gay sex, divorce, and cohabitation is morally acceptable.

    Looking worldwide, there is a positive trend between the fraction of a country that is RC and the fraction of that country that believes that divorce and gay marriage are acceptable. See:
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/catholics-are-more-progressive-than-the-vatican-and-almost-everyone-else/

    If the magisterium is powerful, why are RCs so much worse off than non-RCs on this topic?

    2) There are major rifts among the clerics and religious about all sorts of matters including how the catechism should be understood and applied and if there has been change. The range of beliefs among RCs is comparable to the range of beliefs among protestants. Modernism has found a home within your church. When your priest or theology professor (approved by the Bishop) tells you that “the catechism is a guide but you shouldn’t read it as hard and fast rules, it isn’t infallible after all, – your conscience should direct you, we have to trust the sense of the faithful”, I have to wonder – who tells me how to read the catechism? Is it infallible or not? How binding is it? Is the source that tells me its binding infallible? Who’s to know? Some bishops say one thing and others say something else. It is all just so…confusing.

    3) Referring to major historical shifts as development is intellectually dishonest. Compare the opening of 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.

    to the modern statements on non-RCs. Is there anyone over the past 2000 years who hasn’t kept the catholic faith whole and undefiled not perishing everlastingly? Once the church would have said no. Now they say yes. There were no exceptions but there are now. Perhaps this creed isn’t infallible anymore? Who’s to say? Again, it is all so confusing. If the creed really settled things over 1000 years ago, why is it being continually qualified to the point of not meaning anything any more?

    If we turn our attention to non-Christian religions that do not have an episcopal structure (e.g., Islam and Judaism) we see a governance structure much more similar to protestants than RCs, yet we don’t see an explosion of sects (more comparable to the number of pre-reformation Christian sects) until you get to the modern west. Now even tiny minority religions like Islam (well minority in the west) has scores of sects. This suggests that the explosion of denominations has less to do with the specifics of the governance structure or epistemological theory than it does the entrepreneurship, wealth, and religious freedom that exists in America in particular (and the west more generally). Now you might want to respond that the RCC church hasn’t fractured into scores of sects like say Islam. But you would be wrong. The RCC is shedding members at a rate comparable the US mainline (though immigration is supporting their overall numbers for now – the collapse of the RCC in central/south america suggests that this is a short lived plateau). These people are mostly forming denominations of one as spiritual but not religious or “recovering catholic”. It isn’t clear to me what the principled difference is between this and forming denominations of multiple ex-RCs that survive more than a generation. Modernity is a corrosive acid that is eating away at the RCC just as effectively as it is the prots. Don’t be too proud of your numerical superiority.

    In summary, the problem with your apologetic is that:
    1) It does not account for the larger degree of dissent among RCs than Prots
    2) It does not account for the sharp divisions among the clergy
    3) It does not account for the break with history
    4) The experience of other religions provide a better explanations for the post-reformation differentiation of Christianity.

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  68. Susan,

    Yes, I agree. I think it’s just a rhetorical tactic they like to take to ease the insecurities built into the Sola scriptura paradigm. Notice you never hear them defend the sola scriptura experiment. We only hear about how everyone else is just as bad and suffers from the same problems.

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  69. Susan, how logocentric and evangelical of you. Christian Smith, another convert, disagrees:

    For evangelicals, things say what they mean and mean what they say. Lines are drawn, people get clear on where they stand, and clarity and consistency throughout is paramount. That is its literal, either/or, univocal approach at work again. that view also reflects Protestantism central emphasis on the word. . . . Correct words, for Protestants — particularly for evangelical rationalists — are therefore nearly themselves sacred, because Christian truth itself is presented directly in the right words.

    Catholics also care very much about right words. But their approach to words is a bit different in a way that turns out to make a big difference. Catholicism, in short, recognizes a gap between words and what the words express or represent. For Protestants, the words are the truth. That is why one must get them exactly right. For Catholics, by contrast, words formulate expressions of truth. There is not in Catholicism a literal, exact, univocal correspondence or identity between words and truth. Much of the truth, especially truth that directly concerns God, is in Catholicism a mystery. Ultimately the truth is God. And God is not words.

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  70. Kenneth,

    Nope. I honestly dont. Spell it out for me. Keep in mind that we have never claimed that the magesterium prevents confusion, but only that it resolves it.

    The question was whether you don’t honestly see the disconnect between the “magisterium settles things,Rome is better epistemically than you” and “things are confusing now, give it time.”

    If things are confusing now, how do you know what will be settled in the long run besides bare fideism that your brand of Romanism will prevail? That’s the issue. You are putting a whole lot of weight in your reading of Rome, which to be fair contradicts a whole lot of the official line we get from Rome. What member of the Magisterium is seriously questioning V2 or telling us it introduced a lot of problems?

    IOW, you’re faulting us for putting weight in our private reading of Scripture, but it’s fine and dandy for you to put weight in your private reading of the Magisterium. And at the same time, you admit that the Magisterium hasn’t settled anything recently, and you don’t know if it will in your lifetime. What you believe now might three hundred years from now be declared heresy. That’s not a problem for you?

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  71. D. G. Hart
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink
    vd, t, sure, if you can overlook the Crusades, what’s a little child molestation? Reform? My arse.

    I don’t overlook the Crusades. It’s no different [and actually less overt] than when Calvin’s successor Theodore Beza used Calvinist churches to fight the French in defense of the Huguenots. With all due respect, Mr. Historian.

    As for your flinging the molestation poo poo to distract from the real issues, all it proves is that churches are made of men. Sin and error are the rule when it comes to man. That’s your theology, and neither does Catholicism claim otherwise.

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  72. Hi SDB,

    I have a lot to do, like everyone else, so I ‘m not complaining. but I will have to take your comments and questions a bit at a time when I can take a break from my responsibilities.

    You said, “My understanding is that the apologetic by CTC, Ken, and you includes that the magisterium and infallibility of the pope solves the problem of certainty, the magisterium is perspicuous (doesn’t need an interpreter unlike scripture), and you have a principled means for settling disputes once and for all.”

    First of all, I could not and still cannot accept ” perspicuity of the scriptures” as a binding Christian doctrine( where in the tradition before the 16th century is this binding on the Christian’s conscience?) and so that was the first sin to put me outside the Reformed/ sola scriptura camp. I didn’t have to deny forensic justification initially( and I never had my fingers crossed behind my back as some accused….. or threatened), because the denial of sola scriptura itself was enough to make me not a Protestant, and that alone put me in an epistemic crisis.
    Secondly, I was taught by Reformers that tradition understood and upheld correctly the deposit of faith. Or in other words, that I could look back on a long tradition and trust that the councils through the centuries were not guessing at what Christianity consisted of, but were being instructed by the Holy Spirit, and so even as a Reformed Christian I believed that the scriptures supported only one tradition and that it was the Calvinist tradition; And I wouldn’t have thought any different unless I entertained the idea that my tradition of fallible men could have been mistaken. That leads to the third part of my dilemma,—- since I was in a real quandary about the “on the book”( different confessions of faith within Christendom) differences between professing Christians and their respective traditions, I could not accept the doctrine of perspicuity as being logical. The world of denominationalism testifies empirically that this is not so. Most people don’t see this because they are stuck in their own paradigm that provides answers to their most pressing questions, but when they meet another plausible answer they will do one of three things. They will push it aside for fear of losing the safety of their epistemic condition or what is more likely, they will not even bother with it believing it is the other group who is in error rather than themselves, or they will venture out and listen to other traditions. I trepidatiously did the latter even though I had for much of my life done the second.. But things really came to the forefront over the question of icons. A few years ago near Eastertide, I put up a picture of Da Vince’s Last Supper on my Facebook wall, and a young Westminster (West) seminarian in my church wrote me privately saying, “The Reformed don’t believe in images.” I felt like I had done something horrible, but I knew that Lutheranism allowed for icons. So why the discrepancy if the scriptures are clear? If your adult child told you that they didn’t know how to know who was right or who was wrong in Christian circles, how would you answer their dilemma? You might say, “Well icons isn’t something that will affect one’s salvation.” I understand that this is true, but it makes things very insecure that Reformers can’t agree on something less serious. How do I know they are correct on sola fide?
    If you happen at this moment, to be a Calvinist and so disagree with the Lutheran views of icons and The Lord’s Supper, but could be convinced with scripture and tradition then the perspicuity of scripture failed you and every other Calvinist;or if you don’t become Lutheran, the doctrine has failed the Lutherans. Either way someone is in error right? They can’t both be right. That situation of mine that I just shared, as small as you or someone else might think it, is representative of the ineffectiveness of sola scriptura.
    Let me repeat. I was put immediately outside the Protestant camp when I could no longer confess sola scriptura as a workable doctrine. Where does one plant their faith in the second person of the Holy Trinity when they are no longer Protestant?

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  73. Susan,

    Watch this:

    Lecture 2, Catholic, Evangelical, and Reformed:

    How do you define sovereignty and how do you apply that to your theology? The answer to that question will determine all else about what you think of God and how He relates to His creatures. Considering this, and how it applies to biblical theology, Dr. Sproul continues this series as he looks at the views of “Catholic, Evangelical, and Reformed.”

    http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/what_is_reformed_theology/catholic-evangelical-and-reformed/?

    And get back to us (me).

    Grace and peace.

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  74. Robert,

    The question was whether you don’t honestly see the disconnect between the “magisterium settles things,Rome is better epistemically than you” and “things are confusing now, give it time.”

    No, I dont see the disconnect at all.

    If things are confusing now, how do you know what will be settled in the long run besides bare fideism that your brand of Romanism will prevail? That’s the issue. You are putting a whole lot of weight in your reading of Rome, which to be fair contradicts a whole lot of the official line we get from Rome. What member of the Magisterium is seriously questioning V2 or telling us it introduced a lot of problems?

    Things are confused now, but can be rectified with an infallible declaration through the magesterium. That’s not blind faith, thats the way things have always worked. At least, according to Phillip Schaff.

    IOW, you’re faulting us for putting weight in our private reading of Scripture, but it’s fine and dandy for you to put weight in your private reading of the Magisterium. And at the same time, you admit that the Magisterium hasn’t settled anything recently, and you don’t know if it will in your lifetime. What you believe now might three hundred years from now be declared heresy. That’s not a problem for you?

    Im not faulting you for putting weight behind your private reading of scripture. I put weight in my own private reading of scripture. I am faulting you for having no mechanism for clearing away uncertainty outside of schism. Thats a problem, and you know it.

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  75. KW,

    BTW

    You’ve posted three comments on this thread. Please show restraint and post on some other thread if you want to talk to reformed people. Thank you for your many very fascintating and intriguing religious thoughts. We are all very impressed.

    Next.

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  76. Where does one plant their faith in the second person of the Holy Trinity when they are no longer Protestant?

    Uhm, the third person, duh.

    5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
    http://opc.org/wcf.html#Chapter_01

    Susan, I keep telling you to read the confession, you said you have and that you understood it, but I don’t see you exhibiting that understanding when you write here on Darryl’s blog.

    That said, keep writing. We are glad you are here.

    grace and peace..

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  77. sbd,

    1) It does not account for the larger degree of dissent among RCs than Prots

    It is not meant to account for dissent.

    2) It does not account for the sharp divisions among the clergy

    It is not meant to account for divisions among cleargy

    3) It does not account for the break with history

    How ironic that a protestant would accuse a RC with accounting for a “break with history”. The doctrine of development is far from dishonest and you have not even begun to make a meaningful case. The statement from the Athanasian creed is still true to this very day. There is no doubt that without the Catholic faith one can not be saved. Outside of the Church there is no salvation. There is also no doubt that there are varying degrees of culpability and ignorance involved depending on the person. One who is invincibly ignorant of the Church may not be guilty of the sin of heresy, but may still be damned on account of some other sin. We just dont know. The point is that there is no contradiction. Only development.

    4) The experience of other religions provide a better explanations for the post-reformation differentiation of Christianity.

    Comparing Islam to Christianity is apples and oranges. They have a completely different thing going on. Their authority structure is unique and distinct from both RC and protestant thought. The fact is that both the EO and RCC is far more organized and united than the failed protestant experiment. In fact, the muslim world is ALSO far more united than the failed protestant experiment.

    The fact that this argument bothers you all so much is an implicit admission that it is hitting home. There is no other topic more discussed on this blog when it comes to Roman Catholicism. Reformed little man syndrome rearing its ugly head. Take a step back from the minutia and ask yourself

    1. Would it be better is the OPC was endowed with infallibility and completely unable to define heresy?

    2. Would it be better if the OPCs traditions were likewise infallible and completely trustworthy?

    OBVIOUSLY the answer to 1 & 2 is “yes”. It is just mind blowing that you all keep turning your wheels denying that such a situation is helpful. On paper, the RCC has an epistemic advantage over anything the protestant world has to offer. To deny this is just madness.

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  78. AB,

    that rule was aimed at the rottweiler. i dont think it still applies. If it does, Daryl can easily upload a plugin to limit comments per post per day,

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  79. KW,

    Or pretend like you own the place and live outside the rules Darryl set down.

    You catholics sure are pretentious. Good grief.

    Hint: you can address multiple people in a comment box. Watch.

    Hi Erik Charter.

    Peace.

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  80. Kenneth,

    They are as much as for you as for Erik.

    They are for everyone.

    You are doing your religion no favors as you continue here.

    T
    H
    R
    E
    E

    P
    L
    E
    A
    S
    E

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  81. @Susan –
    1) Not all protestants hold to Sola Scriptura (e.g. methodists and many pentecostal groups, I’m pretty sure Anglicans don’t either)

    2) The reformed confessions explicitly state that all things in scripture are not equally plain, there are ambiguities that are unresolved. Interestingly enough, the RCC doesn’t claim to have provided an infallible interpretation of everything in scripture either. There is uncertainty on a whole host of issues. This isn’t a weakness in either protestantism or RC.

    3) you wrote, “since I was in a real quandary about the “on the book”( different confessions of faith within Christendom) differences between professing Christians and their respective traditions, I could not accept the doctrine of perspicuity as being logical.” OK, but why don’t the differences in RC doctrine and the disagreement among your bishops and doctors that I pointed out undermine your belief in the perspicuity of the magisterium? And if the magisterium is not perspicuous, how do you evaluate it?

    4) The doctrinal dispute between Dominicans and Jesuits over the mechanism of divine grace doesn’t strike me as all that different between the ongoing dispute between Lutherans and Reformed. In some sense it seems to me that we are as in communion with one another as these orders are – most any protestant in good standing in his/her congregation is welcome to the table of most another protestant church. The relationship between Dominicans and Jesuits versus presbyterians and anglicans is much more similar than say Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics versus Presbys and Anglicans.

    5) The foundation of the protestant insistence on Sola Scriptura is based on the example of Christ himself. While tradition and ongoing authority mattered, these had to be judged in light of scripture. So the people were told to submit to their spiritual authorities, but the authorities were clearly fallible and were corrected on the basis of scripture – even though the authorities disagreed over the scope of the canon (a disagreement much wider than that between RCs and Prots today). Of course there are going to be disagreements – that isn’t the scandal in my mind. It is the breaking of communion that is the scandal. Here it seems to me that prots are more (c)atholic than the Roman church.

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  82. There is no doubt that without the Catholic faith one can not be saved. Outside of the Church there is no salvation. There is also no doubt that there are varying degrees of culpability and ignorance involved depending on the person. One who is invincibly ignorant of the Church may not be guilty of the sin of heresy, but may still be damned on account of some other sin. We just dont know. The point is that there is no contradiction.

    The creed states that “without doubt” one who does not keep the catholic faith whole and undefiled will perish everlastingly. Now you say that one who is invincibly ignorant “may” be damned…we just don’t know. That is not a development, it is a change.

    I’m not sure what the irony is. I’m a prot, I’m OK with changing dogma if we got it wrong. You claim that your dogma is infallible and cannot change. Then it does so you call it development instead of change. I don’t find that convincing.

    The fact is that both the EO and RCC is far more organized and united than the failed protestant experiment. In fact, the muslim world is ALSO far more united than the failed protestant experiment.

    Muslim world united? Right. You need to go back and do your homework here…

    The fact that this argument bothers you all so much is an implicit admission that it is hitting home.

    Well that is one interpretation. Another is that it is the central charge brought by ex-reformed RC apologists, so it gets the most time here.

    As far as your last two points go,
    1) I don’t understand what #1 means. It isn’t…um…perspicuous.
    2) I’m not OPC
    3) It would be better if I were infallible and had never, ever done anything wrong ever. But I am not. Pretending that I am would be a really, really bad idea. Even if I was infallible, it wouldn’t do you any good unless you could understand, will, and apply what I told you to do. Further, if I was only sometimes infallible under certain conditions that couldn’t be infallibly known, it wouldn’t do you much good because you would still have to use your fallible judgement to figure out when I was infallible or not. However, there is a way out. The Holy Spirit can not only reveal truth to you, but also enlighten you so that you can understand it and empower your will so that you can implement it. The question then is what is the means God has chosen to reveal himself — not what might theoretically be the most epistemically advantageous way forward. The example we have in scripture from Christ is reliance on scripture. I’ll stick with my “failed” experiment. After all, whether you like it or not, we are all protestants now.

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  83. 5) The foundation of the protestant insistence on Sola Scriptura is based on the example of Christ himself.

    Not really. The epistles are “scripture” and hadn’t been written yet. You still needed tradition/ecclesial authority to define what’s in or out of the New Testament.

    It is the breaking of communion that is the scandal. Here it seems to me that prots are more (c)atholic than the Roman church.

    Um, no. Protestants were the schismatics. And with 100s of sects [and contrasting doctrines], not very “catholic” [universal] atall.

    I’m reading up on all the heresies of the early church. My, did Augustine have his hands full.

    “There must be heresies, that they also who are reproved may be made manifest among you” (I. Cor. ii, 19). St. Augustine, explaining this text, says that as fire is necessary to purify silver, and separate it from the dross, so heresies are necessary to prove the good Christians among the bad, and to separate the true from the false doctrine. The pride of the heretics makes them presume that they know the true faith, and that the Catholic Church is in error, but here is the mistake: our reason is not sufficient to tell us the true faith, since the truths of Divine Faith are above reason; we should, therefore, hold by that faith which God has revealed to his Church, and which the Church teaches, which is, as the Apostle says, “the pillar and the ground of truth” (I. Tim. 3:15). Hence, as St. Iraeneus says, “It is necessary that all should depend on the Roman Church as their head and fountain; all Churches should agree with this Church on account of her priority of principality, for there the traditions delivered by the Apostles have always been preserved” (St. Iraen. lib, 3, c. 3); and by the tradition derived from the Apostles which the Church founded at Rome preserves, and the Faith preserved by the succession of the Bishops, we confound those who through blindness or an evil conscience draw false conclusions (Ibid).

    Whether that “catholic” church is the one headed by the pope is actually a separate question. manifestly,the fruit of the Reformation cannot lay claim to being “catholic” in any meaningful sense. With 100s of sects and a universe of different doctrines, it’s a theological Babel.

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  84. Sbd,

    That’s a pretty wooden way of looking at doctrinal development. I look at it in this way: we take two starting points and see if we can draw a circle and make the points meet. For example, God is one and God is three. Jesus is man and Christ is Lord. God is sovereign and man is free. The early Church knew to hold to these points but had not yet developed them out in the way in which we have them today.

    It is the same with “no salvation outside of the Church”. Theologians have always know that it is absolutely mandatory to keep and live in the faith. To not do so would make on guilty of the sin of heresy. They have also known that not every two people are equally culpable for this sin. Thinking of people born into situations where they are never exposed to the faith. These two starting points developed over time and we now have a more clear (yet still in some ways mysterious) picture of how they meet.

    I noticed you dodged points 1 and 3. That’s fine. I agree that Christianity isn’t an epistemological race. We aren’t all competing to show whom has the most concrete authority structure. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a selling point.

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  85. vd, t, “Protestants were the schismatics. And with 100s of sects [and contrasting doctrines], not very “catholic” [universal] atall.”

    Putting theology in vd, t.

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  86. It is the same with “no salvation outside of the Church”. Theologians have always know that it is absolutely mandatory to keep and live in the faith.

    you mean eens?

    kenneth, you are alll over the place. you sure you haven’t been drinking before posting, like they do at your other favorite blog?

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  87. D. G. Hart
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “Protestants were the schismatics. And with 100s of sects [and contrasting doctrines], not very “catholic” [universal] atall.”

    Putting theology in vd, t.

    Another Darrylism. I said I don’t theologize at my history blog.You made up the rest.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, but I don’t turn the Crusades into the building blocks of modern liberty the way you do Calvin and Beza.

    I don’t do anything with the Crusades except protest your misuse of them. And Beza DID use the churches to organize armed resistance on the part of the French Calvinists, so you got some wiggling of your own to do, Mr. Calvinism: A History.

    Although frankly, Ken and Susan have your troops on the run, so mebbe you should take care of your own wounded first.

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  88. That’s a pretty wooden way of looking at doctrinal development. I look at it in this way: we take two starting points and see if we can draw a circle and make the points meet. For example, God is one and God is three. Jesus is man and Christ is Lord. God is sovereign and man is free. The early Church knew to hold to these points but had not yet developed them out in the way in which we have them today.

    They don’t call us the frozen chosen for nothing. Here’s the thing… first the creed says infallibly X, then the church infallibly teaches ~X. So either the words don’t mean what they say (I think this is where Christian Smith would come down…I’m too literal) or one of these infallible statements is wrong. If you want to conclude that you can’t read the docs literally, then we need some extra-document source to tell us how to make sense of it. The bishop? The pope? The parish priest? Who do I turn to tell me who I should understand? It’s almost as if the infallible magisterium is a purely theoretical construct that is so qualified as to have no practical application in the church. It is empirically indistinguishable from not having an infallible magisterium.

    Regarding points 1 & 3 (do you mean 2?):I didn’t think you were serious. Anyway, time for dinner…

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  89. “This same is the holy Church, the one Church, the true Church, the catholic Church, fighting against all heresies: fight, it can: be fought down, it cannot. As for heresies, they went all out of it, like as unprofitable branches pruned from the vine: but itself abides in its root, in its Vine, in its charity. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Augustine: On the Creed: Sermon to Catechumens (14) c. 395)

    Now you could argue that the Catholic Church isn’t the small “c” catholic church Augustine means here, but the Reformation, with its 100s of schisms and 1000s of disparate doctrines, has even less claim on it.

    Because regardless, Augustine is arguing for tradition and magisterium of some sort. As for romanticizing the early church, as we see here, heresy was common as dirt.

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  90. sdb,

    1) Ok, well then what is their reason for not being Catholic? They disagree with each other, but can’t be Catholic. It seems to me that they undermine authority and establish their own by appealing to scripture. That is solo scriptura, but tell me, are they correct? IOW, is a person who cannot be bound by the perspicuity of scripture correct and safe to place themselves under an self-appointed authority? More pointedly, does scripture give everyone who owns a bible the right to begin a church? If scripture is clear and if the first Reformers are not the one visible church then it seems to me that mainline Protestants should not bemoan or critique the fruit of their own disobedience. It was the inevitable outcome.

    2) Protestants and Catholics have doctrines that divide us from each other but there are no divisions within Catholicism that cannot be resolved by an appeal to official Catholic teaching. Further, to know what is unclear it is necessary to also know what is clear. Sure there are mysteries but evidently each of these traditions believes that was is clear isn’t clear to the other, otherwise Protestants wouldn’t be divided within themselves and they wouldn’t be divided from Catholics. IOW’s we should all have matching lists of unclear and clear scriptures.

    3). Disagreements don’t mean that there is no way to know what the truth is on a particular theological or moral question. Plus they don’t touch the average man or woman in the pew, at least, for a long time and when they do, they are always salutary. As a conservative minded person I don’t have fear that The Church is going to suddenly( or ever) declare that it’s good to change one’s sex or to marry someone of the same sex, or to use contraception. If it did this then, yes, I would have to walk away from Christianity completely. You might think that I am picking a church that agrees with me, but the reason that it is not the same thing as choosing within Protestantism is:

    1. Linearly, there is no more ancient expression of Christianity except for the EO and we have more in common with each other than any Protestant group has with both of us and,…
    2. There are scriptures that back-up the way the Church recognizes itself. If it didn’t behave as the authoritative apostolic Church, I know enough of scripture to understand that someone should( and they all do), and that any claimants to the position to be the one holy catholic and apostolic church had to fit those four marks. It is logical to recognize the Catholic Church as the bearer of those four marks. To think otherwise, I have to consciously deny what is right before my eyes and logical sense, just because Protestants say it isn’t so. What you’ve presented doesn’t help the Protestant person or any seeker discover the truth church, and it doesn’t help unravel the doctrinal differences that keep Protestants in schism from one another. There should be a case closed argument against Catholicism, not a “but you don’t either” argument, otherwise you end up presenting it as another option.

    4) Presbyterians and Lutherans don’t have the same view of communion for one thing. They are not different parishes but different denominations altogether. Even if Jesuits and Dominicans dispute something they are still said to be in religious orders of the same Catholic Church.

    5) I understand you, but remember that while Judaism had a written part of their tradition God called Abraham before Moses ever penned a word. How long was the OT church an organization that was primarily oral? They would have remained the people of God even if no one wrote a single word, so a person’s inclusion was based on their obedience to God and circumsion, not on having scrolls, even though they highly and rightly valued those written words. The authority was always God, but even God set up men( Prophets, Priests, Kings) to do His will.
    When Jesus came he told the people who were largely Jews to obey those who sat upon the Seat of Moses. Why would he tell people to do what they say but not what they do? You said they weren’t infallible. What were they correct about then if anything? God wanted people to obey their leaders and clearly there was an authoritative Judaism that included good religious men, like Nicodemus a Pharisee member of the Sanhedrin.
    So yes people were judged in light of what was in scripture but the law wasn’t only written on stone. How did the religious men that Jesus scolded miss and violate the law when they studied it everyday? This is the whole point of the royal law found in scripture, but would come to be written on our hearts, thus fulfilling the Old Covenant and making it perfect because everyone would be taught of God, now having circumcised hearts.
    Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law so in fulfilling it He instituted the new covenant that doesn’t overturn everything that had been accomplished through the Israelites. The New Testament Church isn’t a new entity altogether, but something that is in continuity with Judaism. That’s what happened at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon “everyone” there. Keep in mind that when a NT writer speaks of the scriptures he is speaking of the OT not the NT because those documents had at that point not yet been inscripturated.
    I agree that a separated body is scandal, and it hurts the whole world. There is only one head of the Church and since there is only one head there can be only one body, however we are back to our original problem and that is “how” to know which communion table is the true one. I pray that we will be one.
    Thank you for the conversation. That makes two for me, so good-night:)

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  91. AB
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
    tvd,

    like it told susan,

    follow the link and watch

    [link]

    it’s 22 minutes, you might learn something.

    grace and peace

    Sorry, I don’t argue with videos. And what’s more entertaining is reading Bryan Cross kick RC Sproul’s video ass in sterling cyberblack and white.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/07/a-reply-to-r-c-sproul-regarding-the-catholic-doctrines-of-original-sin-and-free-will/

    As usual with your crowd, they misrepresent the Catholic position and then declare victory over the straw man they created. What YOU need to do is study the real thing and stop getting your information on Catholicism from anti-Catholics.

    “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”–JS Mill

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  92. AB
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
    in other words, why should i listen to you?

    i have no idea what you believe.

    your agonizer, please.

    Actually you keep trying to make me use your agonizer on you. I decline.

    I didn’t ask you to listen to me. I ask you to question what others have told you. I’ve learned so much by questioning what I read at Old Life.

    See you later, Mr. Hello I Must Be Going. Or sooner, I suspect.

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  93. D. G. Hart
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, that’s the Crusader spirit.

    Protestant spirit. Every man his own pope. Vaya con Dios, muchacho, and don’t believe everything you hear about the Inquisition.

    Protestant propaganda that took aim at the Spanish Inquisition drew liberally from the Black Legend. But it had other sources as well. From the beginning of the Reformation, Protestants had difficulty explaining the 15-century gap between Christ’s institution of His Church and the founding of the Protestant churches. Catholics naturally pointed out this problem, accusing Protestants of having created a new church separate from that of Christ. Protestants countered that their church was the one created by Christ, but that it had been forced underground by the Catholic Church. Thus, just as the Roman Empire had persecuted Christians, so its successor, the Roman Catholic Church, continued to persecute them throughout the Middle Ages. Inconveniently, there were no Protestants in the Middle Ages, yet Protestant authors found them there anyway in the guise of various medieval heretics. In this light, the medieval Inquisition was nothing more than an attempt to crush the hidden, true church. The Spanish Inquisition, still active and extremely efficient at keeping Protestants out of Spain, was for Protestant writers merely the latest version of this persecution. Mix liberally with the Black Legend and you have everything you need to produce tract after tract about the hideous and cruel Spanish Inquisition. And so they did.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/211193/real-inquisition-thomas-f-madden

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  94. @Susan
    I’m going to start with 5 as I think that is the most substantial point:
    First I agree with much of what you’ve said there. It is true that from the Abrahamic covenant to the writing of the Law, God’s Word was not communicated to his people by the written word (as far as we know). With Moses, however, they became a people of the book as it were. I agree when you write, “The authority was always God, but even God set up men( Prophets, Priests, Kings) to do His will.” However, these men failed…miserably. When they did get back on track, they did so by rediscovering the inscripurated word (e.g., Josiah).

    You later ask, “Why would he tell people to do what they say but not what they do?” He tells them this explicitly because these fallible men and their fallible tradition (which he explicitly criticized) had authority. However, that authority is limited to when they are consistent with scripture. They erred and Jesus corrected them (indeed, this was the role of the prophet throughout the OT).

    “This is the whole point of the royal law found in scripture, but would come to be written on our hearts, thus fulfilling the Old Covenant and making it perfect because everyone would be taught of God, now having circumcised hearts.”
    YES!!! I agree. When we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and respond in saving faith the scales come off and we can see and understand the gospel correctly. The Holy Spirit is the author and interpreter of scripture and we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    “The New Testament Church isn’t a new entity altogether, but something that is in continuity with Judaism.”
    YES!!! You are absolutely correct. And just as not all of Israel was truly of Abraham, the church is mixed among the elect and non-elect (wheat and tares). Those non-elect can become leaders and create traditions that are wrong. Scripture is our lodestone for determining what is right and wrong.

    “There is only one head of the Church and since there is only one head there can be only one body, however we are back to our original problem and that is “how” to know which communion table is the true one.”
    One body with many members. If only the Roman church were truly catholic and allowed all professing Christians to her table and allowed her members to partake of their brother’s table…

    —————
    1) “Ok, well then what is their reason for not being Catholic?” I guess you would have to read Wesley. I suspect that there is a lot more he rejected in Catholicism than just this question so authority. In the case of pentecostal christians, perhaps they take Peter’s reminder that they are a “holy priesthood” to mean that they can indeed form their own congregation. I dunno? I’m not Pentecostal or Wesleyan. My only point is that Sola Scriptura is not a universal belief among protestants. Wesley’s quadrilateral where scripture is the principle authority is just one such alternative (I am a sola scriptura guy myself).

    2) I don’t follow your reasoning. The fact that something is muddled doesn’t mean that there is a clear standard against which I am interpreting the muddled communication. If you get a phone call and all you hear is static and a broken voice, you don’t need a recording of what they actually said to realize you had no idea what they meant.

    3) It is true that disagreements do not simply mean that there isn’t a correct answer. The problem is that if your authorities disagree, then you have no way of knowing who is right. Is McBrien right that the catechism is a fallible guide? Or should you follow my lead and go with what Ken calls a wooden interpretation? Is the Athanasian creed right that everyone that fails to hold the catholic faith pure and undefiled will “undoubtedly” go to hell or is Ken right that we can’t ever really know? This doesn’t strike me as an ancillary question that doesn’t touch the person in the pew. Neuhaus spent quite a bit of time pondering his “hopeful universalism” in his wonderful devotional, “death on a friday afternoon”. These questions matter to the people in the pew and the RCC is not clear on this matter…at least for wooden types like me. Maybe there is a third way – but who gets to define it? The current pope? What if he finds a third way to deal with divorce, ssm, and bc? Who are you to question his Jesuitical reasoning? While you claim this is merely theoretical, it isn’t clear to me that such a “pastoral” break would be as big as the one allowing for modernity and a sort of soft uncertain hopeful universalism.

    3.1 and 3.2 don’t make sense to me. Maybe I’m just tired.

    4) But they are in communion. I can worship and take communion at their church and vice versa. We may have different ways of construing things, but we are in communion. Imagine a Dominican leading a Jesuit parish (or whatever the equivalent would be)! The point is that the communion table at my PCA church is open to all who profess Christ. I hear the same at baptist, methodists, and lutheran churches. We may disagree about what we think rite means exactly or how the benefit is conferred, but we recognize that we are manifestations of one body.

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  95. Good Moring SDB 🙂

    I truly love discussing these things. Thank you for your charitable spirit, my friend. However, I take a long time and it seems the long route in my explanations. Somehow we have to narrow our topic because we are talking past each other.

    I guess our differences are that you believe solely in an invisible church, that proclaims a gospel that only the Reformed truly know. Am I right?
    Would you say that the RCC is a false visible church because it, by corruption or neglect or stupidity, lost or squelched the true gospel? This is what I was told. I was told that at some unknown point( I’m not being snarky; I had to think this out myself and never was told the point the church went south) the visible church on earth stopped officially preaching the gospel. I was told that Luther not only addressed the corruptions of the then visible church, but that he uncovered the true gospel that had been repressed through layers of unnecessary and wrong rites and accretions. I used to believe that he was right( and on some the selling of indulgences he absolutely was), but I could no longer buy the hidden gospel story.

    As far as the old covenant people, I agree that they had to be consistent with the moral law contained in the inscripurated books. Remember though that at the point where King Josias rediscovered the word of God his own story of rediscovering the word of God was not in the bible. What Helcius rediscovered was the Pentateuch and when it was read to the king he was fearful about the threats that followed disobedience to those commands, and so he vowed to obey the commands and set about making great reforms in worship. He didn’t start a new people of the church, he reformed what existed. Anyways my point is that the narrative describes God’s dealing with a people through history, but they were always a collective group and there was a hierarchy. The authority is not in the books but in His appointing. Otherwise, everyone can make the claim that they are the rightful authority. How does your paradigm prevent this.
    I got distracted by things I had to take care of and so this post fizzled out, sorry. But since I see it as a long and ongoing discussion I will let this go and fall as it will. Back to work. Need more coffee. Have a wonderful day!

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  96. @Susan,
    Thanks for your comments.

    I guess our differences are that you believe solely in an invisible church, that proclaims a gospel that only the Reformed truly know. Am I right?

    No. I believe in an invisible church comprised of all the elect. I also believe in visible churches to which we have an obligation to be a part. Not everyone in the visible church is elect, though ordinarily all of the elect are part of the visible church.

    I used to believe that he was right( and on some the selling of indulgences he absolutely was), but I could no longer buy the hidden gospel story.

    It is surprising (and dismaying) that an elder in a reformed church would teach such a thing. I’m no theologian, but it seems to stand in marked contrast to the Belgic Confession and the Westminster Confession. For example, the WCF writes, “This catholic Church has been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth to worship God according to His will.”

    I don’t know that anyone understands the gospel perfectly, it is more a matter of degree (analog vs. binary), but the gospel has never been completely lost on earth (nor will it be). I think the best expression of the gospel is described in the Reformed confessions, and I think the gospel has been tragically obscured by Rome. But we reformed churches aren’t right about everything and the Roman church isn’t wrong about everything (in fact we agree on quite a bit!). That being said, I believe that the leaders of the Roman church have overstepped their legitimate authority by placing extra-biblical burdens on people leading many astray. Additionally, by adapting to modernity many parishes actively work against the gospel (similar to many churches within the mainline).

    He didn’t start a new people of the church, he reformed what existed.

    Yes, but the kingdom remained divided…

    Anyways my point is that the narrative describes God’s dealing with a people through history, but they were always a collective group and there was a hierarchy.

    And by the time of the NT, there were several factions: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, etc. yet there was no criticism of this split and no hierarchy that settled their disputes. Certainly, there was no infallible hierarchy. Yet they reliably delivered the OT to us.

    The authority is not in the books but in His appointing.

    Here is where we really disagree. I believe the bible is the Word of God and has its own authority because it is God breathed. The Holy Spirit is the source of enlightenment, though of course teachers are an important means by which the Holy Spirit works. However, those teachers are fallible, so they should be evaluated by God’s word.

    Otherwise, everyone can make the claim that they are the rightful authority. How does your paradigm prevent this.

    Well sure, anyone can claim to have rightful authority and lost of people can follow them. Since the RCC lost its military power, it has also lost the ability to stop this as well. I think the question you have is how to identify legitimate authority… right?

    There is a long answer to that, but here is a very brief outline (not an argument):
    1) Creation is sufficiently clear to make everyone culpable for knowledge of God (though the details are sketchy).

    2) Scripture is sufficiently clear to make what is necessary for salvation known even to us simpletons who adopt a wooden interpretation (e.g., If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.).

    3) God has preserved his infallible word using fallible means (the OT delivered to us from a very fallible group of course) and the NT identified and delivered the same way. Scripture has been recognized and delivered to us, the OT by the Jewish church and the NT by the RCC. While neither group was infallible, they were reliable.

    4) While we should submit to those over us in the Lord, the community of believers has the responsibility to test what is taught (not in isolation, but in community).

    5) We won’t get everything right, but Christ will not lose those the Father has given him.

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  97. Here is where we really disagree. I believe the bible is the Word of God and has its own authority because it is God breathed

    Yeap:

    The Word of God is the seed from which the church grows; the seed is older than its progeny. From the earliest days of the Reformation, this was a key principle for the Protestant understanding of the relationship between God’s revelation and the church. As Luther writes, “Scripture is the womb from which arises divine truth and the Church.”

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  98. Hi again sdb,

    You are a kind and thoughtful interlocutor. I am tempted to spend great swathes of time on here, so I need to carefully look over what you said so that I can respond with as much precision as I am able. So know that I am not avoiding or ignoring you. I have a sweet daughter who needs my help with Latin grammar. I will be back! Take care!

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  99. @Susan,
    No worries. We don’t have to solve the P&R/RC divide in a single comment thread. We can always pick up where we left off (more or less) the next time Darryl asks, ” Are the CTCers Paying Attention?”. I lurk here fairly regularly, but I’m sure I miss a lot.

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  100. What about life on campus:

    The Cardinal Newman Society has identified the following Catholic colleges that are acting in direct contradiction to their Catholic mission of education:

    College of Our Lady of the Elms (Elms College) in Chicopee, Mass., will host Congressman John Lewis of Georgia as the College’s 2015 commencement speaker on May 16. As previously reported by the Newman Society, the College chose Lewis for his “personal and political focus on civil rights,” despite a consistent pro-abortion voting record. He earned 100 percent ratings with the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) Pro-Choice America in 2013 and 2014. Lewis voted against banning partial-birth abortions, barring minors from crossing state lines to procure abortions, and requiring minors to involve responsible adults before having an abortion. Lewis also co-sponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would effectively prohibit medical professionals from recommending ultrasounds or other procedures to women considering abortion. Additionally, he voted in favor of increased federal funding for contraception and embryonic stem cell research.

    Hilbert College in Hamburg, N.Y., will award an honorary doctorate of humane letters and host Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York and former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul as commencement speaker at the College’s 2015 commencement ceremony on May 16. Hochul has publicly declared her support of abortion and has gained the full endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice New York. According to On The Issues, NARAL’s Executive Director described Hochul as “a powerful counterpoint to the opponents of women’s health care” and declared that Hochul would “stand up to those who would deny women access to critical health care services,” such as abortion. “I will fight alongside NARAL Pro-Choice New York to ensure women have access to safe and adequate health services, without any interference from the federal government,” Hochul reportedly responded, adding that she was “deeply grateful” for NARAL’s support. During her 2011 run for Congress, Roll Call reported that Hochul was endorsed by EMILY’s List, an organization that financially supports pro-abortion women politicians in elected positions. According to OpenSecrets.org, Hochul received $68,445 from EMILY’s List during 2012. Additionally, she earned a 100 percent rating with NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2012.

    Loyola University New Orleans will honor former National Football League (NFL) commissioner Paul Tagliabue with an honorary degree at the University’s commencement ceremony on May 9. Tagliabue has publicly advocated for same-sex marriage and given thousands of dollars to the cause. In 2012, he and his wife donated $100,000 to a same-sex marriage campaign in Maryland. “[T]his is the time not to view this as an expense, but as a capital investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” said Tagliabue at the Marylanders for Marriage Equality fundraiser, according to the Washington Blade. He made a $1 million gift to support the LGBTQ Resource Center at Georgetown University, which has been a significant challenge to the University’s Catholic identity.

    Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., will award an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and host former Senator George Mitchell as commencement speaker on May 17, despite his legacy of pro-abortion support. Mitchell is infamously remembered as a sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have made abortion protection mandatory in state and federal laws. According to Chicago Tribune, Mitchell derided the Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, saying it rests “on assumptions about women’s decision-making power that are more suited to the 19th Century than to the present day. The state restrictions upheld rest on a premise that women cannot be trusted to make decisions about childbearing for themselves, that they need government direction.”

    Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Penn., will host Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as the undergraduate commencement speaker and present him with an honorary degree on May 16. Earlier this year, Nutter officiated a ceremony granting marriage rights at Philadelphia City Hall to a same-sex couple— Israeli diplomat Elad Strohmeyer and his partner. According to the Jewish Exponent, Strohmeyer called the mayor’s involvement a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and cited Nutter’s legacy of promoting “LGBT interests in Philadelphia.” In 2011, Nutter launched a campaign to provide free condoms to youth in Philadelphia. In May 2013, Nutter touted the fact that Philadelphia offers “safe” abortion services in the wake of the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

    Saint Mary’s College of California will feature Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC show Hardball with Chris Matthews, at the College’s 2015 commencement ceremonies according to Inside Higher Ed. Matthews has publicly stated his support of abortion and his opposition to the Church’s teaching of life beginning at conception. As previously reported by The Cardinal Newman Society, Matthews once said about the Church’s stance on marriage, “If you’re really anti-gay, you become a Catholic now.” Matthews has compared efforts to regulate the practice of abortion to Jim Crow laws that enacted literacy tests in the South aimed at preventing African Americans from voting. He reportedly told pro-life Republican Ken Blackwell that if pro-lifers want “to stop the number of abortions in this country,” then one step would be to “help people get birth control procedures available to them.” Speaking of the rights of the unborn, Matthews reportedly said, “Pursuit is a word, an active verb. I don’t think you’d associate that with a fetus. And certainly liberty is a word you would apply to people who are alive and born. I don’t know what it means to say an unborn person has liberty. I don’t even know how the Constitution, you could possibly catch up in its original intent to what these people are talking about.” Matthews also reportedly compared pro-lifers to terrorists. In 2003, when Matthews was honored at commencement ceremonies at both The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, Worcester Bishop Daniel P. Reilly and Scranton Bishop James Timlin boycotted the ceremonies.

    Saint Peter’s University in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., has selected Cornell Brooks, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), to serve as the commencement speaker for the University’s 2015 class and recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on May 18. The NAACP advocates for same-sex marriage, and although Brooks is also a minister in the African-American Episcopal Church, which has consistently voted against supporting same-sex marriage, Brooks has indicated that he would “defend” the NAACP’s position.

    Xavier University of Louisiana will honor Mary Landrieu, Eric Holder, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson as commencement speakers, as well as award them with honorary degrees, on May 9. As previously reported by the Newman Society, the University’s commencement lineup has already come under fire from Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, who expressed that he was “disappointed” in the administration’s decision and warned that “some of those to be honored do not represent the values and teachings of the Catholic Church.” Landrieu is endorsed by EMILY’s List and earned a 100 percent NARAL rating in 2013 and a 90 percent rating in 2014 (for missing a vote). Holder has consistently defended the Obama administration’s controversial HHS mandate, which forces mandatory insurance coverage of contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients, regardless of conscientious or religious objection. Holder has also played a major role in attempting to coerce the Little Sisters of the Poor to accept the mandate. And Johnson, according to the Times-Picayune, “is an outspoken advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex,” indicating contraceptive support.

    I’m sure vd, t and Bryan and the Jasons know how to spin this.

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  101. Darryl,

    You know how you guys talk about wheat and tare, the invisible vs. visible church, the city of God and the city of man? Not, to say one way or the other about anyone’s final state, and of course, we should be charitable, hoping and praying that hearts change( penance), but this is the evil of the world active even in the true church. The tragedy is that people think that if a school supports morally questionable(understatement) agendas then it is on par with The Church’s stance, but this is far from the truth. I agree this is abominable. I have no idea why Catholic universities welcome people whose ideas are clearly antithetical to Catholic dogma.

    http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/15-06-the-last-judgment-and-ho

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  102. D. G. Hart
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
    What about life on campus:

    The Cardinal Newman Society has identified the following Catholic colleges that are acting in direct contradiction to their Catholic mission of education:

    I’m sure vd, t and Bryan and the Jasons know how to spin this.

    No spin necessary. They’re not Catholic schools anymore. But that is not synonymous with the church, silly.

    They should probably make them take the “St.” off their names. Joe’s University. College of the Elms, Heart University,

    Cross. Dame.

    And what I like most about you is that as Presbyterianism circles the bowl in America, you don’t even try to spin it. You just ignore it and attack the Catholics. Well done.

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  103. Susan, what’s so hard about a bishop sitting down with a president and dean and saying you need to remember who you are? Discipline isn’t excommunication. Parents don’t kill children. Maybe bishops should be married.

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  104. Darryl,

    Personally, I’d yank my kids out of a religious school who taught idea contrary to my religion. Actually, I’d do a little more investigation before sending them away.If it was too late and they were in their third or fourth year, I might let them finish( just because so much was invested and want them to get ahead) while fortifying their faith on my own. “You know honey, that our faith doesn’t teach or support this crap?” Yes, I do this still. I am a homeschooling parent and can never leave it alone in regards to faith and morals.
    Many parents simply trust the schools to be in the know, unfortunately. I gave my kids a Great Books education for the very reason that they would be prepared against anything that exalted itself before the knowledge of Christ. It didn’t stop the secular machine from doing its damage. Thing is, the secular schools read the great conversation with suspicion…. you know, dominant privileged, and influential parts of society. He who wins writes the history books and all that.
    Don’t believe that the Church isn’t trying to stop the schools from continuing the destruction. If enough parents are fed-up it will stop. The schools will test financial backers to see just how much they will allow. If they see that the percentage of money comes from parents who give a damn maybe they will change their tune If the schools die because they lost their spine and mores, good riddance! If I was shopping for a school today, I’d definitely do my homework.

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  105. “Discipline isn’t excommunication. Parents don’t kill children. Maybe bishops should be married.”

    Oh I agree. Except for the last part. It doesn’t follow.

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  106. Susan,

    The only reason for celibate clerics was so the medieval church could move her people around just like soldiers in the Roman Army. Such and such parish needs a priest? Send Father X, he’s got no kids or wife or a farm to worry about. Not to mention they don’t want priests having heirs, for economic reasons advantageous to the church (don’t they have enough already?).

    It’s a tradition of men. The church is better without it.

    You need other interests than theology. Take fantasy for example(Hobbit?). You could read sci-fi on my blog, I have a category for it.

    Take care.

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  107. Susan, “Don’t believe that the Church isn’t trying to stop the schools from continuing the destruction. If enough parents are fed-up it will stop.”

    Why don’t you see the contradiction in those sentences?

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  108. Further attempts to read the remains in Francis’ tea cup:

    When news broke Tuesday of Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation as head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese, a primary question asked: Did he step down on his own, or was he forced out?
    The announcement from the Vatican published in its daily bulletin said Pope Francis accepted Finn’s resignation “in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.” Canon 401.2 reads: “A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.”

    While it’s possible the Vatican requested Finn resign, neither the announcement nor canon 401.2 offer clear evidence to that, according to four canon lawyers who spoke to NCR.

    Fr. John Beal, professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America, said canon 401.2 places the onus on the bishop to determine if his ministry is compromised beyond repair.

    “I’m sure there were lots of people pushing, but the canon itself doesn’t say anything about a requested resignation. It leaves the initiative with the bishop,” said Beal, who added that, like in the military, government and corporate world, there can be a thin margin between voluntary resigning and being pushed.

    A bishop has to self-apply discipline? Really?

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  109. Darryl,

    Don’t you see that it is the responsibility of both parents and The Church? I agree that something is rotten in some of the Catholic schools and colleges. This is not an entirely top down problem but as the Church takes the offensive position it will take the brunt of the fight and the negative headlines from a largely progressive media. And it is not a entirely bottom up problem even though if parents would accept and obey the Church’s teaching on morality they might be less inclined to send their kids to schools where faith is undermined. No money=No schools.
    Ultimately is every Catholic person’s problem because it directly affects our lives when there is sin and it causes scandal to the name of Christ and His body.
    You highlight the negative. I get it though, it’s what riles people up. You do see the good news sometimes right?

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Teachers and staff from four Catholic High Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area are urging their archbishop to remove morality clauses from the faculty handbook.

    Teacher Jim Jordan said Tuesday a petition with 355 signatures of teachers and staff collected in the past two days will be delivered to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone by union representatives.

    The clauses recently proposed by Cordileone outline the church’s teaching that sex outside of marriage, homosexual relations, abortion, masturbation and the viewing of pornography are “gravely evil.”

    The language “undermines the mission of Catholic education and the inclusive, diverse and welcoming community we prize at our schools,” said Jordan, who is an English teacher in San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory.

    State lawmakers have criticized the statement Cordileone proposed adding to the faculty handbook and asked for a probe of working conditions at the archdiocese’s four San Francisco Bay Area Catholic high schools.

    Late Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors joined the criticism and passed a resolution asking the conservative Catholic leader to respect the rights of teachers and administrators, the San Francisco Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/1BS8Fdz).

    “These actions really conflict with the values of San Francisco,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell, who introduced the resolution. “In San Francisco, we stand up for everyone. We stand up for our LGBT community and honor and embrace those who do the same.”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/04/san-francisco-catholic-teachers-morality_n_6799864.html

    And this: https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/a-priests-response-to-the-gay-activist-who-tried-to-silence-a-catholic-teac

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  110. “Personally, I’d yank my kids out of a religious school who taught idea contrary to my religion.”
    I think that is a very common sentiment which is why trads that make too big a deal about things like Rome’s stance of ssm get canned (like Jannuzzi almost was by her Bishop).

    I’m curious, let’s say every Cardinal and Bishop ceased to believe some infallible doctrine. In other words, everyone dissented. BUT there was no new encyclical, ex cathedra announcement, creed, or edit to the catechism. Would that mean that the magisterium did not change? Does it matter that none of the princes believe as long as the paper is orthodox? I’m not suggesting that is (or would be) the case in the RCC. I’m just curious about what the implications would be. Do the implications change for a 2/3rds majority, 50%+1, or large and significant minority?

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  111. Sdb,

    Whatever is now orthodox has always been orthodox. If everyCardinal, Bishop and priest defected from the truth, the truth wouldn’t change, but everyone would continue to argue about the nature of the truth without end.
    You know that homosexual union is wrong even if the scriptures didn’t say that it was, but if you wanted to know if it was really the case that it was wrong to practice same sex union and not just something you were bigoted about, you wouldn’t want people who happened to agree with you, you’d want a group of people who actually knew what was truth. This is the role of the Magisterium.

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  112. D. G. Hart
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink
    Susan, don’t believe everything pro-Roman Catholic you drink.

    Oh, another devastating zinger from Professor Hart! The guy is comedy gold.

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  113. susan, do you ever listen to yourself? “If everyCardinal, Bishop and priest defected from the truth, the truth wouldn’t change. . .”

    If that happened then the doctrine that God gave the magisterium to protect and defend and propagate the truth would be untrue. Sorry, ma’m, but you went all in on the hierarchy when you invested your soul in Rome. You can’t have the out of a Protestant that somehow the truth transcends the visible church.

    What part of RCIA did you miss?

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  114. Russell Shaw is one of the more reliable voices among U.S. Roman Catholics. His book, American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America, is a good overview of the U.S. church and provides the kind of honest evaluation seldom heard among the apologists. And yet, even Mr. Shaw thinks triumphalism needs to be reinvigorated. Obviously, he isn’t reading all the apologetics websites:

    Is it time to revive Catholic triumphalism? On the whole, I’d say yes. At the very least, the question isn’t frivolous and deserves serious consideration. For after several decades during which Catholics have offered repeated apologies for a host of mistakes, sometimes real and sometimes imaginary, the feeling grows that a comparable effort devoted to tooting the Church’s horn is now long overdue. . . .

    A short list of ways the Church is wonderful includes the following: its sacramental system, especially the Eucharist; its vibrant tradition of prayer and asceticism; its body of doctrine, grounded in divine revelation and faithfully transmitted by a living teaching authority called the magisterium; its liturgy (when done with dignity and reverence); its vast network of institutions and programs for relieving human suffering and meeting human needs — schools, charities, hospitals, and much else; and the huge quantity of beautiful art, music, and architecture with which the Church has enriched the world over the centuries.

    Mr. Shaw left out Bryan and the Jason’s logic (and hats).

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  115. Darryl,

    This is complicated and clearly I am not the lady for the job. But I didn’t sell my soul to Rome anymore than you have sold yours to Geneva. You trust your paper popes and I trust the visible Catholic Church that has been there through the centuries. You say that because those in this visible institution have done and still do rotten things that it proves it isn’t the church that Christ founded. I don’t see it that way at all. I needed a way to know if the Reformers were right to leave what was at least at that point, the visible church. Presupposing that they were doesn’t fix the problem. Of course, truth is truth always, but without the Magisterium we have no way to dogmatize it. I expect there to be one Holy Spirit speaking to one visible church at the beginning and then abiding with that group until the end. I don’t expect the scriptures to be only a vestige of a once visible body but, as others much smarter than I have argued, is what you get when sola scriptura becomes solo scriptura being outside the visible church wherein it was written and belongs to. If you lived in 500 BC you wouldn’t grabbed the scriptures and proclaim yourself the nation of Israel, you’d plant yourself within the OT Church. Same thing today.
    Don’t get me wrong Catholic love the scriptures and we get more of it read each Sunday then most Protestant assemblies. More if we read it daily( and we are encouraged to read it daily), or if we go to daily Mass. Chesterton, has put what I mean to say in a very wonderful way, and I have quoted him below. Darryl, I don’t get the feeling Catholics are wanted here and let’s face it you are incredibly rude, so after this I really won’t be back again. I wish you well though.

    “To this
    I owe the fact that I find it very difficult to take some of the
    Protestant propositions even seriously. What is any man who has
    been in the real outer world, for instance, to make of the
    everlasting cry that Catholic traditions are condemned by the
    Bible? It indicates a jumble of topsy-turvy tests and tail-foremost
    arguments, of which I never could at any time see the sense. The
    ordinary sensible sceptic or pagan is standing in the street (in the
    supreme character of the man in the street) and he sees a
    procession go by of the priests of some strange cult, carrying their
    object of worship under a canopy, some of them wearing high
    head-dresses and carrying symbolical staffs, others carrying
    scrolls and sacred records, others carrying sacred images and
    lighted candles before them, others sacred relics in caskets or
    cases, and so on. I can understand the spectator saying, “This is all
    hocus-pocus”; I can even understand him, in moments of irritation,
    breaking up the procession, throwing down the images, tearing up
    the scrolls, dancing on the priests and anything else that might
    express that general view. I can understand his saying, “Your
    croziers are bosh, your candles are bosh, your statues and scrolls
    and relics and all the rest of it are bosh.” But in what conceivable
    frame of mind does he rush in to select one particular scroll of the
    scriptures of this one particular group (a scroll which had always
    belonged to them and been a part of their hocus-pocus, if it was
    hocus-pocus); why in the world should the man in the street say
    that one particular scroll was not bosh, but was the one and only
    truth by which all the other things were to be condemned? Why
    should it not be as superstitious to worship the scrolls as the
    statues, of that one particular procession? Why should it not be as
    reasonable to preserve the statues as the scrolls, by the tenets of
    that particular creed? To say to the priests, “Your statues and
    scrolls are condemned by our common sense,” is sensible. To say,
    “Your statues are condemned by your scrolls, and we are going to
    worship one part of your procession and wreck the rest,” is not
    sensible from any standpoint, least of all that of the man in the street.”

    Quoted from GK.Chesterton “The Catholic Church and Conversion”

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  116. Susan, no matter what GK says, you still have the problem of truth being independent of the magisterium that is supposed to maintain and protect the truth. Nothing will change in your view even if the bishops do. That’s truth above the hierarchy. That’s Protestant. Drink more koolaid.

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  117. “You trust your paper popes and I trust the visible Catholic Church that has been there through the centuries.”

    Paper Pope? I don’t think the situation is analogous at all. The sticking point is scripture. Does it judge our paper or popes? When Paul restricts the authority of the church to enforce conscience restrictions over food and holidays, and the RCC contradicts that restriction, it seems to me the church has erred. It is possible for the reformers to get things wrong. A lot of what Calvin et al. said didn’t make it into the “paper” (this is part of what leads TVD’s method off the rails).

    “You say that because those in this visible institution have done and still do rotten things that it proves it isn’t the church that Christ founded.”
    Not at all (not to speak for dgh). The Cardinals and Popes have (and are doing) evil things. Therefore, they aren’t trustworthy and one of the motives of credibility is shot. Secondly, lots of RC authorities disagree with how to authority functions and what has been declared infallibly. Additionally, the creeds once said one thing and v2 said something different. Your leaders have no credibility and doctrine has changed.

    “I don’t see it that way at all. I needed a way to know if the Reformers were right to leave what was at least at that point, the visible church. ”
    Why was Rome right to leave the Eastern church?

    “Presupposing that they were doesn’t fix the problem. Of course, truth is truth always, but without the Magisterium we have no way to dogmatize it.”
    Perhaps one can know truth (or at least apptoach it) without dogmatizing it.

    “I expect there to be one Holy Spirit speaking to one visible church at the beginning and then abiding with that group until the end. I don’t expect the scriptures to be only a vestige of a once visible body but, as others much smarter than I have argued, is what you get when sola scriptura becomes solo scriptura being outside the visible church wherein it was written and belongs to.”

    As John pointed out there were problems from the get go. The copts, nestorians, eo, and west divided. I can’t shake the sense that you buy into rome because it is the biggest. The history of the Israel/Judah split suggests this isn’t a good bet.

    I never found the sola=solo convincing.

    Allowing that traditions may go awry does not mean that tradition has no authoritative function. It is a question of degree of deference. TVD is an autodidact who knows some history. But he is no authority. I wouldn’t defer to anything he says. I need independent verification. Darryl is an authority on the history of conservative protestantism. I defer to his authority even though he isn’t infallible. If I find evidence of a contradiction in the data, I’m not going to dismiss the evidence because I assent to his authority.

    “If you lived in 500 BC you wouldn’t grabbed the scriptures and proclaim yourself the nation of Israel, you’d plant yourself within the OT Church. Same thing today.”
    As a pharisee, saducee, zealot, essene, hellenistic jew,… so it wasnt 1000’s, but maybe that has more to do with with politics than theology…something the ctc apologetic hasn’t accounted for.

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  118. WCF – “IV. The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.”
    sdb says: “Perhaps one can know truth (or at least approach it) without dogmatizing it.”
    No way. And right here is the fatal concession. Westminster Calvinism stands on (or used to) the SELF attesting certainty (that’s what divinely inspired, inerrant and infallible means) of the scriptures. Undogmatized “truth” is a contradiction in reformation terms and is exactly as epistemologically powerless as the college of bishops.

    In fact, I’ll give the papists MORE credit for at least recognizing that certainty (dogmatism) is required at the level of ultimate authority (epistemology) for any religious truth claim to pass the snicker test. Rome’s human authority is more certain than the scriptural authority of today’s compromised Calvinists. A tragic and entirely unacceptable state of affairs.

    Somebody has to get this.

    Dr. Van Til would weep.

    Like

  119. Susan
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    This is complicated and clearly I am not the lady for the job. But I didn’t sell my soul to Rome anymore than you have sold yours to Geneva. You trust your paper popes and I trust the visible Catholic Church that has been there through the centuries. You say that because those in this visible institution have done and still do rotten things that it proves it isn’t the church that Christ founded. I don’t see it that way at all. I needed a way to know if the Reformers were right to leave what was at least at that point, the visible church. Presupposing that they were doesn’t fix the problem. Of course, truth is truth always, but without the Magisterium we have no way to dogmatize it. I expect there to be one Holy Spirit speaking to one visible church at the beginning and then abiding with that group until the end. I don’t expect the scriptures to be only a vestige of a once visible body but, as others much smarter than I have argued, is what you get when sola scriptura becomes solo scriptura being outside the visible church wherein it was written and belongs to. If you lived in 500 BC you wouldn’t grabbed the scriptures and proclaim yourself the nation of Israel, you’d plant yourself within the OT Church. Same thing today.

    Don’t get me wrong Catholic love the scriptures and we get more of it read each Sunday then most Protestant assemblies. More if we read it daily( and we are encouraged to read it daily), or if we go to daily Mass. Chesterton, has put what I mean to say in a very wonderful way, and I have quoted him below. Darryl, I don’t get the feeling Catholics are wanted here and let’s face it you are incredibly rude, so after this I really won’t be back again. I wish you well though.

    Yes, my Reformed friend who recently joined the Catholic Church is quite appalled at the rudeness here too. Best of luck, Susan. If it’s any consolation, they treat each other horribly as well. Hopefully you used this space to satisfy yourself that even the most clever of the Reformed tradition have no answer to your challenges.

    Hence the rudeness. If they could respond in a way that instead gives glory to God, surely they would.

    Like

  120. Those who live in glass houses (in eternal cities) . . .

    Francis will formally declare Serra a saint during his American trip, which will take him to DC, New York, and Philadelphia for a Vatican-sponsored meeting of families Sept 23-27.

    The pope’s outing to the NAC is organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for Latin America as well as the college. The event will be presided over by Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Vatican’s Commission for Latin America, who’s also head of the Congregation for Bishops. Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles will be on hand as a representative of the California bishops.

    Founded in 1859 under Pope Pius IX, the NAC is the main residence for roughly 250 American seminarians studying for the priesthood in various Roman universities. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, defined Francis’ brief visit as the beginning of the pope’s trip to the States.

    It may also be a preview of controversy likely to swirl when Francis canonizes Serra, a Franciscan priest who founded nine missions from San Diego to San Francisco during the 18th century. Native Americans and others claim that he imposed Christianity on the region, wiped out native populations, and enslaved converts to the faith.

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  121. Once a bishop, always a bishop:

    In a November interview with “60 Minutes,” Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston agreed that under the zero tolerance policy, he wouldn’t let Finn even teach Sunday school in Boston, let alone head a diocese.

    In a Crux interview over the weekend, Irish laywoman and abuse survivor Marie Collins, a member of a papal anti-abuse commission headed by O’Malley, echoed that sentiment.

    “I cannot understand how Bishop Finn is still in position, when anyone else with a conviction that he has could not run a Sunday school in a parish,” Collins said. “He wouldn’t pass a background check.” . . .

    the Vatican has announced the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

    The announcement came Tuesday in a brief statement in the Vatican’s daily news bulletin, released at noon Rome time. Finn, whose resignation is effective immediately, will remain a bishop, but no longer lead a diocese.

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  122. Greg,

    I might be reading sdb wrong, but I think his point is that you don’t need the church to dogmatize truth in order to know truth. He’s not talking about the self-authentication nature of Scripture.

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  123. Susan,

    You’re missing the point, I think. You were asked what would happen if all the bishops went bad, and your answer was that you had the tradition, creeds, etc. to fall back on. That’s Protestantism. It’s also what Kenneth has said, more or less. You all trying to apply a Protestant epistemology to a system that is not finally able to embrace it.

    It seems to me that the correct answer for the traditionalist RC as to what do you do if all the bishops go bad and teach error is the follow:

    “All of the bishops will never go bad and teach error. Some, maybe, but not all.”

    Its a fideistic claim, but it’s consistent with traditional RC epistemology since V1 at least.

    Like

  124. “Native Americans and others claim that he imposed Christianity on the region, wiped out native populations, and enslaved converts to the faith”

    Moscow, Idaho? Monroe, La?

    Like

  125. D. G. Hart
    Posted April 26, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink
    vd, t, I always thought that under that mullet was . . .

    a girl.

    Butch up.

    I’m butch as hell, schmendrick. But your schoolboy bullying does not glorify your religion nor does it glorify God. Hence the rudeness. If you could respond in a way that instead gives glory to God, surely you would.

    Like

  126. sdb
    Posted April 25, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Permalink
    “You trust your paper popes and I trust the visible Catholic Church that has been there through the centuries.”

    Paper Pope? I don’t think the situation is analogous at all. The sticking point is scripture. Does it judge our paper or popes?

    Allowing that traditions may go awry does not mean that tradition has no authoritative function. It is a question of degree of deference. TVD is an autodidact who knows some history. But he is no authority. I wouldn’t defer to anything he says.

    You and I are not having a conversation, sir. I have nothing to do with your inability to answer Susan’s challenges.

    Darryl is an authority on the history of conservative protestantism. I defer to his authority even though he isn’t infallible. If I find evidence of a contradiction in the data, I’m not going to dismiss the evidence because I assent to his authority.

    Sure. Caveat emptor, especially when it comes to Catholicism, on which Professor Hart is manifestly inexpert.

    Like

  127. @Robert

    That’s right. I think we can know a lot of things are true by relying on fallible sources. I know that JFK was assassinated. I didn’t witness it myself, but I have pretty reliable sources (even if they aren’t infallible – it could be a grand conspiracy, but I very much doubt it). I know that Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March even though I have to rely on fallible sources to get this information. There are lots of things we can all know without an infallible magisterium. The question is whether invoking an infallible teaching authority places us on firmer epistemological ground in principle, and if so, whether that principle is justified.

    There was a RC guy commenting here before, who wanted to bracket natural knowledge from items of faith – items of faith (i.e., truth that could only be conferred by revelation) in his mind could only be known certainly (and thus one could be justified in accepting) if one had an infallible source tell you so. I remain unconvinced that this doesn’t lead to an infinite regress and thus doesn’t fix any of the epistemological problems sola scriptura supposedly raises. Rules for defining the magisterium have to be defined (what counts and what doesn’t), rules for applying the magisterium have to be defined, and the magisterium has to be interpreted. Councils have erred and are thus post-hoc defined as illegitimate (not a problem for prots…big problem for RCs I think), Popes have taught heretical doctrine (recognized as such much later), and doctrine has changed (but we redefine it as development and don’t allow “wooden” interpretations). But with these modifiers, anything goes… Any change can be called a development, and we can never know when a pope or council might be wrong until “history judges”. Without using one’s own fallible “private interpretation” one would have followed the Pope’s teaching into Arianism at one point in history. Even today, RC theologians debate how to apply the “spirit” of the catechism rather than the letter. So in practice, I don’t see how the purported infallible magisterium helps. Further, it is ahistorical – it is not something Israel had and Jesus never suggested that its lack was a deficiency. The RC approach to scripture stands in marked contrast to Jesus’s use – tradition is always judged by scripture never vice versa.

    The trump card played by the RCs is the sectarianism among protestants. I think this trump fails for a few reasons:

    1) The church fractured prior to the reformation (copts, nestorians, EO, etc…). Subsequent fracturing had much more to do with technology, the rise of the nation state, and concomitant rise of the idea of human rights encompassing freedom of conscience. This took off in the west spawning its meteoric rise on the world stage. Combining the entrepreneurial spirit with leisure time and freedom resulted in panoply of religious movements (not just for Christianity – Islam and Judaism have seen multiple movements arise compared the restricted range in their homelands). Economics and politics aren’t everything, but their something and on the question of denominationalism, I think they are decisive. As soon as the RCC can’t kill (or get the state to kill) heretics, heresy blooms.

    2) Today RCs are just as fractured as prots in terms of the opinions held among the hierarchy. Among the laity, there is no unity either (other than a unity of “dissent”). “Recovering Catholics” are among the fastest growing demographics in the west. Why is 30,000 presbyterians leaving the mainline to form the OPC schism, while millions of RCs leaving to form denominations of 1 (spiritual but not religious) not? Brian’s answer to this remains unconvincing to me.

    3) While RCs may share unity on paper (unity of doctrine), every protestant sect could say the same thing. What RCs have is size. The example of the numerically superior Israel (to Judah) or numerically inferior example of Elijah (and others who hadn’t bowed the knee) suggest that size doesn’t count for much. Counter claims of, “yeah but, we really, really are the one true one” are just question begging.

    4) Prots do generally have a far more (c)atholic table than RCs (I realize there are the landmark types out there, but they have always been a fringe group from what I understand). In that sense we recognize that the Christ’s bride is one body of many members drawn from diverse communions reflecting our convictions and fractured understanding. Further, our understanding must always submit to scripture. Where scripture is unclear, we should defer to those over us in the Lord as they look to tradition to guide their understanding while always judging that tradition by the scriptures.

    Anyway, if I’m missing something I’ll happily stand corrected.

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  128. sean: “Hmmm, Greg and Susan share sympathies and concerns. How unsurprising.
    No sir. Not even close. (not even in the same room).
    Susan, representing Rome, makes dogmatic (that is to say certain), truth claims for her false religion based upon a foundation of sand that can never deliver on that promise.

    sdb, alleging to represent Geneva, forfeits dogmatic (that is to say certain), truth claims for the true religion which foundation actually can.

    That W-w, and oh yes, it most assuredly is one, is tragic, entirely opposed to historic reformed orthodoxy and a perversion at the most basic level of the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

    Feel free to go HERE and actually tell me where I’m wrong. Meaningless ill conceived one liners won’t do that.

    Susan is a sweetheart btw. Disastrously wrong, but a sweetheart nonetheless. I mean her no ill. Too bad she isn’t being offered the actually reformed alternative to her Aristotelian, Thomistic epistemology. Instead she’s being asked to embrace uncertainty in place of the certainty she thinks she already has.

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  129. Greg,

    sdb, alleging to represent Geneva, forfeits dogmatic (that is to say certain), truth claims for the true religion which foundation actually can.

    But SDB isn’t doing that. He’s rejecting the fact that it is the church that makes infallible dogmatic truth claims, a point that any good Protestant, Van Tillian or not, affirms.

    Like

  130. Actually, Greg, and you weren’t here in those days, but Susan’s hero is a noumenalist. So, her certainty gets her all the way to a leap of faith.

    Like

  131. Greg is like the Chuck Norris of internet Van Tillian-dom:

    When Dr. Van Till presupposed transcendentally – Greg told him he wasn’t Van Tillian enough.

    Greg and Super Man once debated on-line for a bet, the looser had to start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.

    Greg saw a Reformed & Presbyterian comment until he debated it Arminian and Baptist.

    GtT is so persuasive that he convinced a mirror he wasn’t there.

    Fear of spiders is arachnophobia, fear of tight spaces is claustrophobia, fear of engaging GtT in a never ending comment battle on the internet is called logic.

    GtT is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

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  132. Robert says: “But SDB isn’t doing that”
    Yes he is. Ask him. Be prepared for an answer about me and not the question.

    When CT addressed GtT in the past, he used to have something to say. This is not actually about Van Til. Nor is it about winning debates for the sake of it. It’s about what kind of imaginary uncertain god (some)Presbyterians are now presenting to the world.

    sean says:
    Actually, Greg, and you weren’t here in those days, but Susan’s hero is a noumenalist. So, her certainty gets her all the way to a leap of faith.

    If it be in the eternal decree of the non contingent Sovereign of certainty proclaimed in WCF II that we ever actually have a meaningful dialog on this most important and neglected area of thought for the modern Christian, we might get far enough to cover that. Which version Susan brings really doesn’t make any ultimate difference.

    I’m trying to at least be courteous enough to not disrupt another conversation. Could you guys please direct any further comments to me not related to this thread to THE OTHER ONE?

    Like

  133. No need for reform:

    A high-ranking Vatican official recently voiced serious doubts about the need to reform the Roman Curia. Believe it or not, he said talk of reform was exaggerated.
    “I personally can see no significant reason that would necessitate a reform of the Curia at the moment,” the official said.

    “One or two changes have been or will be made concerning personnel or structures, but that is part of the normal run of things,” he continued.

    “To speak of ‘Curia reform’ is, with all due respect, somewhat of an exaggeration,” he maintained.

    This wasn’t just any official. It was Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household. He’s the same one who is the private secretary and housemate of the former pope, Benedict XVI.

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  134. Or not:

    In fact, reform of the Roman Curia is more important today than at any time since Vatican II because this central structure continues to hamper the full flowering of the renewed ecclesiology that the council envisioned.

    The Curia, as it is, stands in the way of subsidiarity or decentralization of decision-making. And rather than fostering the episcopal collegiality that the council began to articulate, it has become a wall between the bishop of Rome and other diocesan bishops. The Curia, headed by titular bishops (bishops without a diocese), too often decides when to open doors in that wall and when to keep them tightly locked.

    Roman Curia offices and their leaders have also for far too long acted as if each of them were a connatural extension of papal infallibility. One official told me recently that he was shocked after he drew up documents for the appointment of new bishop and his boss, with all seriousness, said: “Congratulations, you’ve made your first bishop.” When the junior official replied, “No, I’m pretty sure the pope did,” his superior shot back even more seriously: “In this office, we are the pope!”

    Just as the Curia grew stronger as Paul VI grew weaker, it will more effectively be scaled back to its proper limits to the extent that the authority of the synod is more greatly expanded.

    This is not an exaggeration. It is part of what should have been done in the first Curia reforms after the council.

    A former Catholic priest who is now a senior Anglican/Episcopal official in Europe has been needling me for years. “When is your church going to finally implement Vatican II?” he often asks half-jokingly.

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  135. Greg,

    Did not sdb tell me that his atheist workmates might be right and his religion may be all wrong? Do I need to dig that up and copy and paste?

    I’m not sure that SDB is a Van Tillian. Even so, even Van Til was willing to set aside Christianity for the sake of argument and stand in the other person’s shoes in order to evaluate his religious worldview.

    SDB has been talking to Roman Catholics who think that if you don’t have an infallible visible church to dogmatize truth you can’t really have truth or know truth (at least in the religious sense). He’s just pointing out the self-defeating nature of that argument, nothing more.

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  136. If bishops are divinely appointed, how do you remove them?

    Mindful of Aristotle’s caution that one swallow does not a summer make, there is still good reason to celebrate that after years of intense activism, advocacy and grass-roots organizing from abuse survivors, advocates, Catholic clergy and parishioners, the Vatican has finally, formally and unceremoniously removed Bishop Robert Finn from the beleaguered diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo.

    This is a kind of move the Vatican is always loath to make since it raises serious questions about the divine hand in episcopal promotions. Thus, there was only one paltry sentence in the statement about it from the Vatican. So much for a teaching moment.

    This is why the Pope can’t simply condemn a bishop. Each guy has apostolic authority.

    That is not a recipe for reform.

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  137. If bishops are divinely appointed, Episcopalians do remove them. Should Pope Francis take cues from the Episcopal Church?

    Embattled Bishop Heather Cook has resigned as Bishop Suffragan in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and has separately been deposed by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as part of a church disciplinary action. Both announcements came Friday afternoon, with the Presiding Bishop’s office issuing a media release stating that Cook “will no longer function as an ordained person in The Episcopal Church.”

    #disciplinehappens

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  138. And just how conservative (in a U.S. sense) to let bureaucracy grow like Oleander in So.Cal?

    Third, and perhaps most significantly, the new statutes stipulate: “The Commission is an advisory body at the service of the Holy Father.” As noted, there has been a tug-of-war within the Roman Curia about who should deal with these issues and how these issues should be dealt with. The Congregation for Clergy was not alone in thinking the doctrinal congregation had too much authority over this issue. Just as a secretary of state is likely to lock horns with a secretary of defense in a U.S. Cabinet, given the different perspectives and institutional biases, solidified over time such that someone at State usually utters the word “Pentagon” as a pejorative and someone at Defense considers “Foggy Bottom” as a kind of slur, these tugs-of-war can inhibit action and paralyze executive action. Originally, the Commission for the Protection of Minors was to be a part of the doctrinal congregation. The new statutes make clear that the commission answers directly to the pope. This is the most important aspect of the statutes: If the organizational chart is a maze with ample opportunities to paralyze progress, better not to place the commission anywhere on the organizational chart and have the commission answerable directly to the pope. And Pope Francis is certainly not someone who will allow himself to be paralyzed.

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  139. Whose audacious now?

    Rome appears powerless, and no matter how much this dissent is reported, the German bishops are expected to carry on regardless (in fact plenty of evidence shows they have a well orchestrated campaign to see their pastoral innovations adopted at the synod). The consequences of this could be very grave, with some believing it could lead to schism.

    The Vatican has been strong in holding bishops accountable when it comes to clerical sex abuse within their dioceses. Pope Francis has even asked his commission on the protection of minors to draw up a system for bishops on handling sex abuse cases.

    It therefore begs the question why the Pope and the Vatican cannot be equally strong in holding Germany’s bishops accountable for driving the episcopate into heresy, leading many souls astray, and causing significant harm to the Church.

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  140. Oh the difference that papal audacity makes:

    When 25 leaders of the largest organization of US nuns met for the first time with Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle in 2012, after the Vatican appointed him to lead an overhaul of their group, they expected conflict.

    The nuns were hurt and confused when the Vatican accused them a few months earlier of straying from Catholic teaching and promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” And for many Catholics, the appointment of Sartain and two other bishops amounted to a hostile takeover.

    “Things were still quite raw,” said Sister Carol Zinn, the past president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of American nuns. “Our board members were saying to him, ‘What do we say to them, Archbishop, what do we say to our sisters?’” . . .

    The conversations focused on doctrine, said Paprocki: “The perception had been given that the sisters were abandoning their Christian identity, and they assured us that wasn’t true.”

    After about a year and a half of patient listening (“And it did require patience,” Paprocki said), the bishops and nuns formed a subcommittee to rewrite the Leadership Conference’s statutes. It helped greatly, he said, that the subcommittee included Holland, a canon lawyer who had worked many years in the Vatican. The bishops intentionally enlisted a female canon lawyer as well, said Paprocki, “so it wouldn’t just be the sisters talking to a group of men.”

    The rewritten statutes, about 10 pages long, clarify that the Leadership Conference is “an official entity established by the Holy See under canon law,” he said, “centered in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church.” But the group is no less independent or in charge of its own affairs than before the process began, he said. The Vatican approved the new statutes.

    Looks like the Vatican blinked.

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  141. Sometimes reform happens:

    Pope Pius X unintentionally began our current displacement of Confirmation in 1910 when he lowered the age of First Communion to seven years old. He said nothing of Confirmation in his letter, Quam Singulari, and seemed to assume that the practice of confirming at the age of reason would be maintained. His main concern was that the children have all the resources they need to live a rich spiritual life and carry out their mission as Christians in the modern world. Thus, the custom of receiving First Communion as a second-grader and later receiving Confirmation in middle or high school is a recent practice in the life of the Church.

    In the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the constitution on the sacred liturgy called for the Rite of Confirmation to be revised. Paul VI clearly stated in the Apostolic Constitution on the Sacrament of Confirmation that, “The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and finally are sustained by the food of eternal life in the Eucharist. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of divine life and advance towards the perfection of charity.”13 At this point we see the beginning of the move towards the ancient order of the Church: Baptism, Confirmation and then Eucharist.

    So the practice is for second-graders to start receiving the Eucharist and not be confirmed until High School. The seeds of paedo-communion?

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  142. Gullibility anyone? Body doesn’t decompose and thought wasn’t Marxist.

    Three years later, on the occasion St. John Paul II’s visit to the country, the nuns of the hospital “made a monument to the Virgin in the same place where we had buried (Romero’s) insides.”

    “When they were digging they ran into the box and the plastic bag where they had placed the insides, and the blood was still liquid and the insides didn’t have any bad smell,” he revealed.

    “I don’t want to say that it was a miracle, it’s possible that it’s a natural phenomenon, but the truth is that this happened, and we told the archbishop at the time (Arturo Rivera y Damas), look monsignor, this has happened and he said ‘be quiet, don’t tell anyone because they are going to say that they are our inventions,’” he said.

    However, “Pope John Paul II was given a small canister with Archbishop Romero’s blood,” he noted. . . .

    Despite the many accusations leveled against the archbishop of San Salvador, his Vicar General said that Romero “never had a Marxist thought or Marxist ideology in his mind.”

    “If there had been, the Vatican, which has studied so much, would not have beatified him, if they had found that he had Marxist interests.”

    The real backbone of his closeness to the poor, he said, was the Gospel and the teaching of the Church.

    “He was a servant of the Gospel, he never read anything from Liberation Theology, but he read the Bible.”

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  143. Change is hard:

    During their last sessions in April, the cardinal-advisors continued to review the work and mission of various Curia offices. They also discussed “criteria” for selecting new bishops and the role of apostolic nuncios.

    “On the final day the council worked to gather, order and integrate the various contributions that have emerged from the meetings so far, so as to begin to structure an overall proposal to offer to the pope from the council in view of the new constitution [of the Roman Curia],” the Holy See Press Office said in a statement.

    The operative — and to many, discouraging — word in that press release is “begin.” After three years and fourteen meetings, the C9 only now has begun to put together “an overall proposal” for reforming the Curia.

    Lots of people are wondering what is taking so long.

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  144. Change is hard but popes have their ways:

    After Cardinal Ratzinger became Benedict XVI he continued to direct the CDF’s work through surrogates — Cardinal William Levada and now-Cardinal Gerhard Müller. He appointed the latter to the office in the summer of 2012. And there are strong indications that he did so after having already decided that he would soon resign the papacy.

    Francis, most likely out of respect for his theologian predecessor, not only kept Müller in his post (he had only been there nine months at the papal transition) but also gave him the red hat.

    But the Argentine pope has not utilized the CDF prefect or his department in the manner of John Paul or Benedict.

    On the contrary. Francis has circumvented him and has virtually emptied the doctrinal office of any real power, authority or utility in his pontificate.

    Cardinal Müller has not been called upon to officially present any of the current pope’s writings or initiatives, expect for “his” encyclical, Lumen Fidei, in July 2013, which was actually not really his. It was the final work of Benedict XVI.

    Instead, Francis has called on other prelates and theologians — such as Christoph Schönborn, Peter Turkson, Lorenzo Baldisseri and Rino Fisichella — to explain his most important texts, such as Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si’ and Amoris Laetitia. And in a stark break from Vatican custom, he gave the CDF no major role in the elaboration of any these key documents.

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  145. As Johnny Caspar learned in Miller’s Crossing, running things isn’t all it’s cracked up to be:

    Pretty much everything a pope does is important from the point of view of shaping culture in the Catholic Church, but there’s almost nothing more critical than his personnel moves – the sort of bishops he appoints, the people he puts in charge of Vatican operations, and so on.

    Personnel is key in the Church, in part because of the wide latitude bishops and Vatican officials enjoy, and also because of their longevity. The pope gives a press conference, and the echo of it may be over tomorrow; he names a bishop, and that person will be exercising influence for the next quarter-century.

    Somewhat surprisingly for such a loquacious pope, Francis really hasn’t said much about his approach to making those crucially important personnel moves. One of the few insights we have comes from an interview he gave in June to the journalist Joaquín Morales Solá, who writes for La Nacion in Argentina.

    The question put to Francis was how he handles Church officials who may not be fully on the same page, or simply not his kind of man.

    “Nails are removed by applying pressure to the top,” the pope said, “or, you set them aside to rest when the age of retirement arrives.”

    In other words, sometimes Francis removes someone directly – the best known for-instance being American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who lost his position as head of the Vatican’s Supreme Court in November 2014.

    More often, Francis appeared to suggest, he prefers to wait it out, holding on until the person in question reaches the normal retirement age and then making a natural transition.
    The question is, what’s a pope supposed to be in the meantime, since things still have to get done in the here-and-now? In the Pope Francis era, one can supply a proper name as the answer to that question: He’s adopted what we might call the “Nunzio Galantino” solution.

    In a nutshell, it means formally keeping people in place while entrusting the real responsibility to somebody else and thus rendering the original official, if not quite irrelevant, certainly less consequential.

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