2 Paradigms and a 2K Wrinkle

Maura Jane Farrelly thinks the difference between the way Roman Catholics and Protestants know God also explains support for political freedom:

What is curious about this unwillingness of non-specialists in American Catholic history to entertain the possibility that nineteenth-century anti-Catholicism might have been rooted in something real is that historians who focus on the American Catholic experience have acknowledged for many years now that there was (and to some extent still is) a fundamental tension between “American” and “Catholic” values. Granted, polemicists like George Weigel and Michael Novak would have us believe that there is a seamless philosophical and even theological line running from “Thomas Aquinas to [the Italian Jesuit] Robert Bellarmine to the Anglican divine, Richard Hooker; then from Hooker to John Locke to Thomas Jefferson.” In an essay kicking off the American Catholic bishops’ campaign against the Affordable Care Act in 2012, Weigel insisted that the United States owes more to Catholics for its tradition of religious liberty “than the Sage of Monticello likely ever knew.”

But among those writers on Catholicism who have been motivated by a desire to engage with a faithful rendering of the past (rather than a desire to use history to dismantle the signature legislative achievement of a Democratic president), the consensus is that American Catholics have been animated, in historian Jay Dolan’s words, by “two very diverse traditions,” one exemplified by “Thomas Aquinas and Ignatius of Loyola,” and the other exemplified by “Jefferson and Lincoln.”

Dolan has been joined by John McGreevy, Jim O’Toole, Mark Massa, and others in acknowledging that—to quote Massa —”in the history of Western Christianity, there have been two distinctive (and to some extent, opposing) conceptual languages that have shaped how Christians understand God and themselves.” The first language—which shapes the world of people who have been raised as Catholics, American or otherwise—”utilizes things we know to understand things we don’t know, including and especially God.” The Church, in this language, becomes an incarnation of Jesus—its community and the doctrines and hierarchies that govern that community and can be known and experienced by the community’s members become a tangible (dare we even say “fleshy”?) way for Catholics to comprehend God and the salvation that God promises. The mindset that emerges from a language such as this, according to Mark Massa, is one that exhibits a “fundamental trust and confidence in the goodness of … human institutions.”

The second language, utilized by Protestant theologians from Martin Luther and Jean Calvin to Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich, emphasizes the “fact of human estrangement and distance from God.” In this language, it is the Word—the message of judgment and grace, embodied in Christ and found not in the institution of the Church, but in the sanctified lines of Scripture—that convicts the soul, convinces it of its sinfulness, and “prepares us for an internal conversion that makes us true children of God.” The mindset that emerges from language such as this is one that tends to be suspicious of institutions and sees them as distractions that stand between the individual and the Word. Doctrines and hierarchies are “potentially an idolatrous source of overweening pride,” Massa writes; the danger in them is that they are corruptible examples of human beings’ mistaken belief that they can save themselves.

(Parenthetically, if a difference does exist between American and Roman Catholic ideals, then Pope Francis’ encyclical may be another indication of such.)

Farrelly goes on to use this difference — between respect for institutions and hierarchy and promoting civil liberties — to conclude that the U.S. bishops Fortnight for Freedom is more American than Roman Catholic:

It is probably still true that the politicians and religious leaders who railed against Catholicism in the first half of the nineteenth century were motivated by a certain degree of status anxiety—some, perhaps, such as Lyman Beecher, more than others. But it is also true that these leaders were motivated by a real sense that the Catholic understanding of freedom was different from theirs, and they were right to see Catholics’ support of the institution of slavery as the embodiment of this difference. Freedom, for Catholics, was corporate; it was born of the “reciprocal duties” that one priest from colonial Maryland insisted all people had to one another. Freedom, for Catholics, was not “personal,” the way it was for Protestants like Theodore Parker.

It is no small irony, therefore, that modern-day Catholics like Bishop William Lori of Baltimore have been appealing to personal freedom in their attempt to protect the collective freedom of the Catholic Church from the mandates of a law that supporters say defines healthcare as a “requirement of a free life that the community has an obligation to provide.” In 2012, on the eve of the Church’s first “Fortnight for Freedom”—a now annual event that highlights “government coercions against conscience” such as the birth control provision in the Affordable Care Act—Lori made his reasons for opposing the healthcare overhaul clear: “If we fail to defend the rights of individuals,” he warned, “the freedom of institutions will be at risk.”

The problem with this analysis is — see what I’m doing here — two-fold.

Conceptually, a religious conviction need not — and here I duck because of the A2K blow back — require a political practice or ideal. At least for confessional Protestants who distinguish between the civil and spiritual realms, one can, for instance, advocate aristocracy (Presbyterianism) in the church while still supporting monarchy in the kingdom (most Scottish Presbyterians did this). And if Roman Catholics were 2k, you could conceivably support hierarchy and submission in the church (say hello to papal monarchy) and republicanism in society. Think Richard John Neuhaus.

Practically, Farrelly’s distinction also fails to make sense of American Protestants and the civil religion they have cultivated. If God is only known in Scripture, then why can his ways be discerned either in the “redeemer nation,” the United States, or in the God-and-country party, the GOP? If only Protestants were as wary of nation-states and political parties as Farrelly suggests they are.

The difference between Roman Catholics and Protestants is this. The former are conflicted about the United States. The options appear to be either a sloppy wet kiss of America and its ways, or an ultramontanist critique of the United States as a land of self-centered, imperialistic ambition (see Laudato Si). Protestants are also conflicted but not in the same way. Evangelical and liberal Protestants think of America as a Christian nation — either it is a beacon of truth and liberty and justice or it should be condemned for failing to be such. Confessional Protestants who reside in America think about the nation not redemptively but politically and so appear to be insufficiently patriotic.

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77 thoughts on “2 Paradigms and a 2K Wrinkle

  1. from a review of Professor John Murray Cuddihy’s No Offense: Civil Religion and Protestant Taste (1978)

    John Courtney Murray was able to baptize the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and sing the praises of separation of church and state on natural law grounds. But his Jesuit confrere Leonard Feeney would not accept the neo-Protestant civil religion. Both Murray and Feeney believed to their dying day that there was only one true religion but Murray was able to think his way to compromise while Feeney scorned selling out to the civil religion. For 7 1/2 years he and 80 followers thundered every Sunday afternoon in Boston Common, “There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.” For his pains he was silenced, stripped of his priestly faculties and for 19 years excommunicated.

    Similar things happened to Jews and Protestants who continued to assert their faith’s uniqueness and superiority. The civil religion had quietly, politely but ruthlessly swept its competitors into public insignificance.

    http://www.lukeford.net/blog/?p=64234

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  2. DGH, or somebody:

    A2K = ?

    As a dumb Baptist who thinks 2K doctrine does not need modifiers, I guess I will always be confused , but I do try to understand the various currents in the Reformed world. Perhaps someone could make a cheat sheet explaining the differences between 2K, R2K, NL2K, Escondido 2K, and now,A2K.
    K

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  3. DGH, or somebody:

    A2K = ?

    As a dumb Baptist who thinks 2K doctrine does not need modifiers, I guess I will always be confused , but I do try to understand the various currents in the Reformed world. Perhaps someone could make a cheat sheet explaining the differences between 2K, R2K, NL2K, Escondido 2K, and now,A2K.
    OK?

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  4. DG – Great article.

    In-line approach to comments ok?:
    Evangelical and liberal Protestants [and the majority of US Catholics] think of America as a Christian nation — either it is a beacon of truth and liberty and justice or it should be condemned [excepting by most Catholics, of course] for failing to be such. Confessional Protestants [and those who follow Catholic tradition] who reside in America think about the nation not redemptively but politically and so appear to be insufficiently patriotic.

    the possibility that nineteenth-century anti-Catholicism might have been rooted in something real – absolutely – a different vision of the role of civil society was at least one of the most important factors, perhaps the most important.

    It is probably still true that the politicians and religious leaders who railed against Catholicism in the first half of the nineteenth century were motivated by a certain degree of status anxiety – I’ve never heard this idea; my impression had always been Catholicism was looked on as low-class.

    The ones who had a real problem with status anxiety were the Catholics – who abandoned so much that was good (e.g., St. Paul Archbishop John Ireland’s attack on Catholic schools, German linguistic communities, legitimate German cultural practices… although toward the end of his life he seems to have substantially altered his thinking, expressing sadness when a German parish doesn’t have a special love for Boniface, the English missionary who Christianized Germany).

    And if Roman Catholics were 2k – Ahh, the power of the counterfactual. I do not believe Weigel, Novak, and Neuhaus represent Catholic teachings on the role of government. I know them mostly through their critics, though. Still learning what constitutes 2k.

    Jay Dolan… John McGreevy, Jim O’Toole, Mark Massa – I’m not familiar with these writers, but I like Massa’s quotes, e.g., The ‘Catholic conceptual language’ utilizes things we know to understand things we don’t know, including and especially God.

    ‘In the Reformed or Protestant conceptual language,’ it is the Word—the message of judgment and grace, embodied in Christ and found not in the institution of the Church, but in the sanctified lines of Scripture—that convicts the soul, convinces it of its sinfulness, and “prepares us for an internal conversion that makes us true children of God.” – But how do we come to understand the Word?

    We can memorize the text of scripture (a praiseworthy use of time), but how do we learn what the words mean or how to live by them without relating them to what we know? Imagine a child being catechized – he can parrot back responses, but doesn’t he need to be taught what the words mean? That the cedars of Lebanon are like our North American trees, but much straighter and taller, and that they grow much more quickly – think of all the diverse mental faculties we call into play in explaining this – the child must remember, imagine, consider, and have a sense of time, change, and drawing distinctions- all of this goes into learning.

    How is a child to develop a concept of ‘all-powerful’ without considering what it means in his own experience to have (or not have) power? My 18-lb 5-month year old has no words (saving “Mama”), but he is developing a concept of what is within his power and what is within my power- I will build on this when teaching him of God’s infinitely greater power. My point is that we learn by analogy and that there is no way around it.

    The ‘Catholic conceptual language’ creates a “fundamental trust and confidence in the goodness of … human institutions.” – In their ability to be used to good ends, at least, hopefully not a divinized ‘city-on-a-hill’ view. If a family can act to a good end, why not an extended family? Why not a small village, small town, or small city? That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though.

    It is no small irony, therefore, that modern-day Catholics like Bishop William Lori of Baltimore have been appealing to personal freedom… “If we fail to defend the rights of individuals,” he warned, “the freedom of institutions will be at risk.” – Agreed, it looks like an ultimately-counterproductive cart-before-the-horse situation. It’s possible, though, that the goal is to defeat the legislation and, given American culture and legal traditions, the bishops think the best strategy is appealing to individual rights. It is also possible this is not the best long-term strategy.

    The Church, in this language, becomes an incarnation of Jesus – the idea of the Church as the “Mystical Body of Christ” – perhaps riling to most readers present. Although its not obviously relevant to DG’s post, it is mentioned, so I feel obliged to note:

    “St. Paul speaks of all Christians as members of Christ, so that with Him, they form one Mystical Body (Cf. 1 Cor 12:12-31; Col 1:18; 2:18-20; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:19; 4:13). St. Paul did not use the word Mystical. It was developed more recently to bring out the fact that this union is unique, there is no parallel to it. It is not the same as the union of a physical body, nor that of a business corporation”
    http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/chura1.htm

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  5. Kevin, the status anxiety you referenced is as much a factor of the waning of the influence of traditional protestantism, particularly in New England, as it had to do with the influx of Catholic immigrants into the Northern cities. The early 19th century was the heyday of transcendentalists and Unitarians. Folks like Lyman Beecher headed west where they could build a culture free of the baleful influence of both Catholics and the Unitarian types. As the decade went on, say by 1850, anti-slavery agitation became more dominant and blurred some of these intra-protestant distinctions. The antipathy to Catholics remained.

    There is an old saw about the New England Congregationalist fracture that gives a clue as to why someone like Beecher may have been a little anxious: “the Trinitarians kept the faith, the Unitarians kept the furniture”.

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  6. (Parenthetically,…)

    DGH, they invented a special punctuation for that, oh wait, looks like you forgot you already discovered it…

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  7. (A different) Dan
    Posted June 22, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    There is an old saw about the New England Congregationalist fracture that gives a clue as to why someone like Beecher may have been a little anxious: “the Trinitarians kept the faith, the Unitarians kept the furniture”.

    I love that one. Well-cited.

    And unfortunately true. The UUs have possession of a lot of the old churches, and I was reading about a Wiccan priestess in the pulpit of the church John Adams is buried in. Strange days indeed.

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  8. Kevin: “…The ‘Catholic conceptual language’ creates a “fundamental trust and confidence in the goodness of … human institutions.” – In their ability to be used to good ends, at least, hopefully not a divinized ‘city-on-a-hill’ view. If a family can act to a good end, why not an extended family? Why not a small village, small town, or small city?…”

    Me: Nice words. I’ll try to keep them in mind when I ride the bike just 4 miles over to the local Trader Joe’s to shop for groceries (remember, I’m doing this for the good of the planet per Pope Frank) and I have to ride mainly on the sidewalk to keep from being run over by the mostly RCC population around this dense suburban area.

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  9. Bob – auf Deutsche would be “weltanschauung.” I think “ww” is DGH’s own abbreviation for something like it, though I’ve never been able to figure it out either.

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  10. Darryl,

    “Conceptually, a religious conviction need not — and here I duck because of the A2K blow back — require a political practice or ideal.”

    This is true, somewhat. I don’t think we can make the government force pharmaceuticals to stop making birth control( although that would be ideal), but we should use our democratic rights to prevent doctors from prescribing abortifacients. If we do more than pray for the end of abortion we are practicing politically as well as morally. What else do we legislate, the state bird? That was a nugget I gleaned from RC Sproul.
    I don’t think you would disagree with me about this unless you don’t think that slavery was an moral plague.
    But if you got upset at the remark made by our President in the aftermath of Charleston massacre…. something about us being a nation that forgives as if that is our national oath , when in fact it is a very specific faith that teaches that we are to forgive our enemies. Besides, it was the families that gave forgiveness, and only they are the ones that can give it.
    It is the followers of Jesus that do the almost impossible commands of Jesus. But look what happens; the violence can’t continue.
    The whole nation is not Christian but make no mistake, it is Christians that teach the rest what it means to be interested in peace for the good of the all.

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  11. Kevin in Newark,

    I would think the Roman church is anti 2K because of its Kuyperian way of connecting theology and worldview. In fact, when I was in a Catholic study of John, the leader of it was critiquing 2K doctrine.

    Then again, he also liked Karl Rahner a lot so I don’t know how ya’ll hang with that.

    o/

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  12. Susan, seriously? Think Crusades and say that about Christians having the monopoly on teaching peace and good for all. You make it sound like the church is the soul of a nation, but family is actually a society’s soul. The church holds out the gospel, which is to say what it means for sinners to be reconciled to God. If by “peace” you mean that, ok, but something tells me you mean something more along the lines of how a peaceful civil society should be fostered. In which case, hello worldview (meet paradigm).

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  13. Lost cause, Muddy. We have a handful of people on here who can’t practice any self control at all when a Catholic says the same old thing they keep on spouting without even pretending to want a discussion.

    And this lack of self control sadly runs very high in the hierarchy here.

    Stop replying to their endless drivel, please???

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  14. Let’s realize that patriotism is directly related to tribalism: the more patriotic one is, the more tribalistic one is. And here the tribalism is seen when loyalty to national identity trumps commitment to principles and morals. And when one’s principles and morals come from God’s Word, then the tendency to intertwine patriotism with one’s commitment to morals and principles can only be viewed as an attempt to embrace polytheism.

    With political conservatism’s embrace of patriotism along with American Conservative Christianity’s embrace of political conservatism (it must be the conservative label), we see polytheism in both the Roman and the Protestant Churches. For even when patriotism isn’t the 3rd partner between the Church and God, allegiance to Capitalism is–this is especially true when it comes to today’s Neoliberal Capitalism.

    For all of the Conservative Protestant criticisms of the Roman Church, the Pope seems to at least partially understand how to approach these encroachments caused by our identities. He speaks prophetically against their abuses sans offering a “Christian” alternative. Such would include a 2K perspective while compensating for its inherent weaknesses.

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  15. AB,

    “”But other more conventional methods, such as the rhythm method, diaphragm, condoms, etc., are not forbidden in the Scripture. In this area I do believe that the Christian has liberty. (Caution: “the pill”—an example of hormonal contraception—apparently can cause abortions, since it can prevent a fertilized egg from implantation. For that reason, it would be good for the Christian to avoid that method of “birth control” as well.)”

    I used birth control as an example to show how moral concerns are at the same time political, not carping on Protestant and Catholic differences. However this issue ,that appears to you, and many, to be only between us, is a rather good case to use to show how attempts to resolve moral issues in the public sector requires legislation. It’s not an in-house debate, it effects all of society. Law isn’t incumbent upon people only IF they recognize it as if morality is subjective and relative. I mean, it isn’t only Christians who must obey moral law, and so the only way a state can demand law keeping is by criminalizing law breaking. It doesn’t mean that the state will always legislate morally—abortion is a good case of the state being anti-Christ—-but the morality of the issue has never lessened, and so we can’t be silent or still. This is the language of explanation we have to use with our secular friends since they will reject the term “sinful” since it carries with it culpability after death, and they will reject that on the grounds of the separation of church and state( thought they misunderstand what this means or even where it comes from).
    You can’t prevent people from using contraception, just like you can’t prevent someone from procuring an abortion, but you can make it harder by legislating to make it illegal.
    AB, do you think people should vote for leaders, on all levels, who will work to protect the dignity of life and all that that entails? That’s really the simple question.

    Steve,

    I definitely care about fostering a peaceful society. It’s better than beheading and shooting sprees, riots, hatred and abortion. We are suppose to be stewards of society as well as ambassadors for Christ.( Remember you will know them by their love?) Yes, with the proclamation of the Cross and Resurrection, but that isn’t lost in also believing that this world is God’s, in fact it demonstrates God’s love. We are his hands and feet and all that……Matthew 25:34-46.
    The family is supposed to be the domestic church, and charity should begin at home. But it isn’t suppose to stop there. The church is supposed to be the salt of the earth.
    Where do we disagree exactly? What’s wrong with understanding world views or paradigms. If “the other” operates within them, how else are we to understand each other’s ideas without acknowledging them?

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  16. AB,

    For your further consideration I’m linking an article that explains why the Catholic Church says any contraception is a sin. This isn’t about how we disagree, but is instead an explanation of why. The truthfulness isn’t dependent on what a protester wants to believe. Truth doesn’t need us to legitimize itself, it just is, and the Catholic Church claims to know whether or not contraception is sinful. If she is wrong then the truth is elusive to us all. We can just go back to fighting about something we can never know without a doubt
    .http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control

    The question about how do we know for sure, has been my whole argument here at OLTS, now presented in a nutshell.

    But, I am done for now. Take care.

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  17. Susan,

    The question about how do we know for sure

    Why do you insist on stopping this question before asking it of how you know the RCC is the church Jesus founded? You’re awfully certain that Rome is the true church, a decision you had to make according to the evidence, but why can you be sure of that and I can’t be sure that Rome isn’t the church Jesus founded?

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  18. Susan, we disagree that the church has any truck in helping to arrange or influence civil society, overtly or covertly. You may care about fostering a peaceful society, but how that translates into “it is Christians that teach the rest what it means to be interested in peace for the good of the all” isn’t obvious at all, especially since plenty of non-Christians have just as much interest as Christians in a peaceful society. Why not stick to the rather simple and exclusive charge the church has in making disciples of the nations (baptizing and teaching to obey)?

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  19. Robert,

    All I can say to this is that it is the only, longer in history, body of Christians that don’t merely claim biblical authority but all- of- what- is- true authority. Is there anybody else on earth that settles questions?
    Yes, I did use evidence such as longevity, apostolic succession, a religious ethos, the EO looking a lot like Western Catholicism, church fathers that looked more EO and Western Catholic than Protestant, utilization of the deteurocanon by EO and Western Catholicism but not by Protestants.

    I came to a place where the claims of the early Reformers against such things as a Petrine ministry and apostolic succession couldn’t be determined outside merely accepting their interpretation. And they admitted that they could be wrong.
    Further, the scriptures could conceivably work either way as in being underdetermined although always true, since the Catholic Church also had credible interpretations. But it also became apparent that in order to get a Protestant interpretation of some scripture, it meant twisting what was clear, and that more and more began to hurt my reason and psyche.

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  20. Susan,

    So you are grounding your entire belief that Rome gives you certainty in you own fallible uncertain opinion. And you then criticize Protestants for saying that the church is fallible? Do you really not see the disconnect.

    Here’s another question for you: Why is the Bible underdetermined but your interpretation of the Magisterium is not? Why the double standard—everything is uncertain except for Susan’s opinion?

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  21. Susan,

    All I can say to this is that it is the only, longer in history, body of Christians that don’t merely claim biblical authority but all- of- what- is- true authority. Is there anybody else on earth that settles questions?

    If everything is so settled, why can you be a faithful RC and be pro-life and be a faithful RC and pro-abortion. You and Nancy Pelosi are equally faithful daughters of the church according to the Magisterium. Why are you so certain of doctrinal pronouncements when the discipline doesn’t line up?

    Yes, I did use evidence such as longevity, apostolic succession, a religious ethos, the EO looking a lot like Western Catholicism, church fathers that looked more EO and Western Catholic than Protestant, utilization of the deteurocanon by EO and Western Catholicism but not by Protestants.

    But as Darryl and many other historians have pointed out, not even the most credible RC historians endorsed by the Vatican buy into this fairy tale of unbroken apostolic succession from day one.

    I came to a place where the claims of the early Reformers against such things as a Petrine ministry and apostolic succession couldn’t be determined outside merely accepting their interpretation. And they admitted that they could be wrong.

    But you can’t determine anything outside of your own interpretation of the Magisterium, and you could be wrong. Why can you trust yourself and not the Reformers? Simple question.

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  22. Steve,

    Well, I think that it is the church that is suppose to baptize people( into the church) and to teach all nations about Christ so that they can lead lives worthy of their calling, as well as teaching them to obey by both example and through law. I want murder to be illegal.

    “Susan, we disagree that the church has any truck in helping to arrange or influence civil society, overtly or covertly”

    But that is to ignore what is real. It has been helping arrange society. It is keeping society in check by it’s teaching and by its actions( its actions are manifest through persons though so it isn’t perfect).
    Those people at Emmanuel Baptist in order to follow Jesus had to forgive. They didn’t have to do it at the first hearing, but they would have to eventually. That influences society. It’s the last word. No one can trump forgiveness; that changes society. It stops the cycle of violence and that is good for the temporal order. On a larger scale( in size not magnitude) is the church’s worldwide known social teaching about contraception, adultery, divorce, homosexual activity etc.
    I’ve never read all of Humanae Vitae, but I can see that its message would help society. Have your read Cartitas in Veritate? It is also very helpful for society.
    http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate.html

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  23. Robert,

    “So you are grounding your entire belief that Rome gives you certainty in you own fallible uncertain opinion”

    No I am grounding my entire belief in Jesus giving/founding a church. And the belief that one church would continue to the end of time. I am using reason and evidence, both of which are fully operable. I don’t adopt the idea that my reason is broken but that I can use it anyways. That would be contradictory, because logic tells me so. I believe that my reason can help me to know what is real, and I’m looking out on the world and seeing a divided church. That is not my opinion and neither is it my opinion that Rome states such-and-such. She really dogmatizes, and she really claims infallibility. If she is lying or deceiving herself, I’m not in a better place, epistemically, to return to a Protestant denomination,because they *all* claim biblical authority, and so I still have to decide which( with my reason, now asserting authority) doctrines I find true while also accepting their stated authority( that I give them by putting myself under them). Is each Protestant church out there my authority? Does the bible give people authority to start churches?

    And you then criticize Protestants for saying that the church is fallible? Do you really not see the disconnect.

    I am not having to live with disconnect. None at all. The church better not be fallible otherwise all those attempts in history to call doctrines orthodox are a shot in the dark, and completely meaningless.

    Here’s another question for you: Why is the Bible underdetermined but your interpretation of the Magisterium is not? Why the double standard—everything is uncertain except for Susan’s opinion?

    Because I can see that the bible demonstrates a Petrine Ministry and that is also found in reality out there in the world. The thing is it isn’t dependent on me. If there is no Roman Catholic Church there would be nothing to substantiated my interpretation, but that isn’t true. There is a Roman Catholic Church that claims to have been founded by Jesus and even has internal evidence. Evidence is evidence. You must be able to see how I could reach such a conclusion given the inductive evidence?

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  24. Susan, nobody needs the Great Commission in order to do civil society. You say the church “has been helping arrange society. It is keeping society in check by it’s teaching and by its actions its actions are manifest through persons though so it isn’t perfect).” Here is the great western arrogance. You don’t think societies before the advent of the church and in places where she hasn’t had any cultural presence have hummed along just fine (if imperfectly)? Maybe you’re right, if human history is only that which descends from Constantine, but that’s a pretty selective view. I thought you said recently that Catholicism had a much more expansive take on human history?

    Have you ever read the Code of Hammurabi? Evidently the Babylonian king didn’t need Cartitas in Veritate to know how to order society.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/ancient/hammpre.asp

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  25. Susan,

    No I am grounding my entire belief in Jesus giving/founding a church. And the belief that one church would continue to the end of time.

    Based on your presupposition that we can’t know anything for sure without the church being what Rome it says, you’re grounding it in a particular view of the church, a view you developed in tandem with your own investigation and your own particular reading of Rome’s claims. Not every RC reads Rome as you do. Why are they right and you’re wrong?

    My point is that you absolutely refuse to apply the same epistemological standards to yourself that you apply to the Bible. And you absolutely refuse to apply the same epistemological standard of certainty to your reading of your Magisterium that you apply to your reading of the Bible. To read you talk, it’s as if the Bible is a muddled mess and Rome is crystal clear. If that were so, why can I talk to 15 different RCs and get 15 different interpretations of the Magisterium?

    I am using reason and evidence, both of which are fully operable. I don’t adopt the idea that my reason is broken but that I can use it anyways. That would be contradictory, because logic tells me so.

    Your reason isn’t broken? You always reason correctly? Maybe you want to dial back this statement.

    I believe that my reason can help me to know what is real, and I’m looking out on the world and seeing a divided church. That is not my opinion and neither is it my opinion that Rome states such-and-such. She really dogmatizes, and she really claims infallibility.

    Good. Now why can you not apply this reason to the Bible? Why is it wrong for Protestants to do the same? And don’t tell me “the result is division” until you can offer a coherent explanation for how Rome isn’t divided when pro-lifers, pro-choicers, pro-capitalists, anti-capitalists, pro-capital punishment, anti-capital punishment, pro-Christ is the only way of salvation, anti-Christ is the only way of salvation, and on and on are all equally welcome at the table.

    If she is lying or deceiving herself, I’m not in a better place, epistemically, to return to a Protestant denomination,because they *all* claim biblical authority, and so I still have to decide which( with my reason, now asserting authority) doctrines I find true while also accepting their stated authority( that I give them by putting myself under them). Is each Protestant church out there my authority? Does the bible give people authority to start churches?

    You had to decide Rome was true with your reason asserting authority. Your entire submission to Rome is based on your authority of what you found most plausible. You “gave” Rome authority over you by deciding to submit, unless you want to tell me that you hate being Roman Catholic and you have a priest continually pointing a gun at your head to keep you at mass. Welcome to humanity. This is why the CTC argument is just bad.

    I am not having to live with disconnect. None at all. The church better not be fallible otherwise all those attempts in history to call doctrines orthodox are a shot in the dark, and completely meaningless.

    Why? Why does the church have to be infallible to recognize truth? You believe that you are fallible, right? I guess that means you can’t recognize truth, then. Explain the disconnect.

    Because I can see that the bible demonstrates a Petrine Ministry and that is also found in reality out there in the world. The thing is it isn’t dependent on me. If there is no Roman Catholic Church there would be nothing to substantiated my interpretation, but that isn’t true. There is a Roman Catholic Church that claims to have been founded by Jesus and even has internal evidence. Evidence is evidence. You must be able to see how I could reach such a conclusion given the inductive evidence?

    I could say most if not all of that about my own Presbyterian church, so you haven’t answered the question about how it isn’t dependent on you.

    But in any case, I can that Rome presents evidence for its position. I can also see that Protestants present evidence for their position. What I can’t see is why your choice to be Roman Catholic is any less dependent on your own reason and on your own authority to decide things for yourself than mine is. But that is the heart of the CTC argument, namely, that somehow you’re submitting to the evidence but we’re not, that somehow you’re better off epistemologically than Protestants.

    Like

  26. Steve,

    Okay, I think I understand what you mean. My answer to this is that goodness and truth always exist and when they are believed and subsequently practiced in pagan society they still remain God’s goodness and God’s truth. Christ is also God though so all truth is Christ’s truth. Christianity and Judaism before it, didn’t baptize goods, adopting them in as they went along as if it were just another religious group trying to stabilize itself and survive while picking its embellishments from among the nations of the earth. All things that are good have always belonged to Christ. Understanding things this way is the only way that Christians can be Humanists in the true sense.

    Take a look at this again. It explains well how the The Code of Hammurabi can have good laws, and how the Egyptians could have books of proverbs too that overlap with the Book of Proverbs, and how the Apostle Paul could quote a pagan poet inside Holy Scripture.

    “The phenomenon, admitted on all hands, is this:—That great portion of what is generally received as Christian truth is, in its rudiments or in its separate parts, to be found in heathen philosophies and religions. For instance, the doctrine of a Trinity is found both in the East and in the West; so is the ceremony of washing; so is the rite of sacrifice. The doctrine of the Divine Word is Platonic; the doctrine of the Incarnation is Indian; of a divine kingdom is Judaic; of Angels and demons is Magian; the connexion of sin with the body is Gnostic; celibacy is known to Bonze and Talapoin; a sacerdotal order is Egyptian; the idea of a new birth is Chinese and Eleusinian; belief in sacramental virtue is Pythagorean; and honours to the dead are a polytheism. Such is the general nature of the fact before us; Mr. Milman argues from it,—’These things are in heathenism, therefore they are not Christian:’ we, on the contrary, prefer to say, ‘these things are in Christianity, therefore they are not heathen.’ That is, we prefer to say, and we think that Scripture bears us out in saying, that from the beginning the Moral Governor of the world has scattered the seeds of truth far and wide over its extent; that these have variously taken root, and grown as in the wilderness, wild plants indeed but living; and hence that, as the inferior animals have tokens of an immaterial {381} principle in them, yet have not souls, so the philosophies and religions of men have their life in certain true ideas, though they are not directly divine. What man is amid the brute creation, such is the Church among the schools of the world; and as Adam gave names to the animals about him, so has the Church from the first looked round upon the earth, noting and visiting the doctrines she found there. She began in Chaldea, and then sojourned among the Canannites, and went down into Egypt, and thence passed into Arabia, till she rested in her own land. Next she encountered the merchants of Tyre, and the wisdom of the East country, and the luxury of Sheba. Then she was carried away to Babylon, and wandered to the schools of Greece. And wherever she went, in trouble or in triumph, still she was a living spirit, the mind and voice of the Most High; ‘sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions;’ claiming to herself what they said rightly, correcting their errors, supplying their defects, completing their beginnings, expanding their surmises, and thus gradually by means of them enlarging the range and refining the sense of her own teaching. So far then from her creed being of doubtful credit because it resembles foreign theologies, we even hold that one special way in which Providence has imparted divine knowledge to us has been by enabling her to draw and collect it together out of the world, and, in this sense, as in others, to ‘suck the milk of the Gentiles and to suck the breast of kings.’

    “How far in fact this process has gone, is a question of history; and we believe it has before now been grossly exaggerated and misrepresented by those who, like Mr. Milman, have thought that its existence told against Catholic doctrine; but so little antecedent difficulty have we in the matter, that we could readily grant, unless it were a question of fact not of theory, that Balaam was an Eastern sage, or a Sibyl was inspired, or Solomon learnt of the sons of Mahol, or Moses was a scholar of the Egyptian hierophants. We are not distressed to be told that the doctrine of the angelic host came from Babylon, while we know that they did sing at the Nativity; nor that the vision of a Mediator is in Philo, if in very deed {382} He died for us on Calvary. Nor are we afraid to allow, that, even after His coming, the Church has been a treasure-house, giving forth things old and new, casting the gold of fresh tributaries into her refiner’s fire, or stamping upon her own, as time required it, a deeper impress of her Master’s image.

    “The distinction between these two theories is broad and obvious. The advocates of the one imply that Revelation was a single, entire, solitary act, or nearly so, introducing a certain message; whereas we, who maintain the other, consider that Divine teaching has been in fact, what the analogy of nature would lead us to expect, ‘at sundry times and in divers manners,’ various, complex, progressive, and supplemental of itself. We consider the Christian doctrine, when analyzed, to appear, like the human frame, ‘fearfully and wonderfully made;’ but they think it some one tenet or certain principles given out at one time in their fulness, without gradual enlargement before Christ’s coming or elucidation afterwards. They cast off all that they also find in Pharisee or heathen; we conceive that the Church, like Aaron’s rod, devours the serpent of the magicians. They are ever hunting for a fabulous primitive simplicity; we repose in Catholic fulness. They seek what never has been found; we accept and use what even they acknowledge to be a substance. They are driven to maintain, on their part, that the Church’s doctrine was never pure; we say that it can never be corrupt. We consider that a divine promise keeps the Church Catholic from doctrinal corruption; but on what promise, or on what encouragement, they are seeking for their visionary purity does not appear.”

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  27. Anyone have Chuck Muether’s number?

    How about those strong drugs they use to put horses down.

    Send either my way.

    Like

  28. Off topic, I know, but just so everyone knows – 157 years ago today, six-year-old Edgardo Mortara, a Jew, was kidnapped at his family home in Bologna by the Papal authorities and brought to Rome to be raised as a ward of the Papal State.

    I guess they go a little easier these days.

    Like

  29. I’m looking into having Old Life committed.

    Just a few more legal hoops to jump through and a padded bus will be sent around to pick you all up – Protestants & Catholics alike.

    You’ll be dropped off in the desert with a week’s supply of water and enough magic mushrooms to fully contemplate the meaning of the universe in hopes of reaching a peaceful accord.

    After that week you’ll either be returned to your families as changed men and women or left in the desert in the hands of God.

    Your choice.

    Oh, and Greg will be manning an optional sweat lodge.

    Like

  30. Hi Robert,

    It’s hard to know what issue I should talk to you about. I’m sorry I don’t think I can really do this topic justice. I simply believe that Jesus founded a church so therefore I should be on the lookout for the church He began. If the scriptures don’t demonstrate this outright or allude to it enough to convince, then I and many many people in this world are reading the scriptures wrongly, but of course, I don’t believe this otherwise I would have walked away from Christianity altogether.

    I believe in my ability( and yours) to reason, as long as I( we) am doing it properly. Our faculties should not fail us, if all of our premises are true. The only time reason can fail is if one or more of our premises is mistaken. We should believe that God gave us brains for a reason. So I have a very high view of reason. And, I’ve reasoned the MOC are reasonable.

    Like

  31. Susan – I believe in my ability( and yours) to reason, as long as I( we) am doing it properly. Our faculties should not fail us, if all of our premises are true.

    Like

  32. Susan
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
    Hi Robert,

    It’s hard to know what issue I should talk to you about. I’m sorry I don’t think I can really do this topic justice. I simply believe that Jesus founded a church so therefore I should be on the lookout for the church He began.

    Interesting hermeneutic. If there is a true church, what would it be?

    Like

  33. Erik,

    Cute:) I loved Mr. Magoo when I was a kid. He’s blind though( literally) and doesn’t know it.
    Not that I think you’re trying to disprove my point, but let me just reiterate that all of our premises have to be true. If Mr. Magoo was to claim that a crane is a palm tree we can all find out what is true and remind poor Mr. Magoo that he’s blind and so if he got out of his little car and touched it or waited for a coconut to drop on his head, he would then know we’re right:) That’s why we have five senses.
    I don’t want to destroy your ability reason for then I destroy my own!

    Anyways, I’m preparing for my daughter’s upcoming wedding so I should stay off of this crazy thing before you commit me. You already had a daughter get married didn’t you? It’s a lot of work! Still love that name, Beatrice, btw:) You and your wife have very nice taste in names.

    Oh, I wanted to ask you. I watched an Ingrid Bergman last night called Journey to Italy. Have you ever seen it?

    Like

  34. (Erik noting to put a canopy over the Southern California bus stop so as to prevent the large contingent of riders from getting sunstroke while waiting for the bus)

    Like

  35. Susan, then I’m not sure how your remarks harmonize. I mean, if “goodness and truth always exist and when they are believed and subsequently practiced in pagan society they still remain God’s goodness and God’s truth,” then what does it mean that “it is Christians that teach the rest what it means to be interested in peace for the good of the all”? The former statement makes it sound like un/believers alike have equal access to goodness and truth, while the latter makes it sound like only believers have it.

    Like

  36. Zrim
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
    Susan, then I’m not sure how your remarks harmonize. I mean, if “goodness and truth always exist and when they are believed and subsequently practiced in pagan society they still remain God’s goodness and God’s truth,” then what does it mean that “it is Christians that teach the rest what it means to be interested in peace for the good of the all”? The former statement makes it sound like un/believers alike have equal access to goodness and truth, while the latter makes it sound like only believers have it.

    With all due respect, Mr. Z, you’re unfamiliar with the concepts of general and special revelation?

    Like

  37. Muddy Gravel
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    AB, don’t get started. And don’t reply to this.

    kent
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Lost cause, Muddy. We have a handful of people on here who can’t practice any self control at all when a Catholic says the same old thing they keep on spouting without even pretending to want a discussion.

    And this lack of self control sadly runs very high in the hierarchy here.

    Stop replying to their endless drivel, please???

    Hilarious.
    The old guard is watching in horror as things disintegrate (again) before their very eyes.
    ‘Man, it was such a nice gig, a cool venue; I could always kick back and relax and now the hoi polloi are going to ruin it. Why does this always have to happen/where is the justice?’
    (Don’t even think of touching that keyboard EC AB. You will regret it.)

    And, I’ve reasoned the MOC are reasonable.

    Of course, what the Scripture says is immaterial in all this which is why we have always considered the CtC and its ilk to be enamored of a vicious circular reasoning that in its own way is a autonomous anabaptist approach to the question of where is the church that Jesus found. IOW “I think Romanism is the perfect church” while historically, ahem, it has been the Roman church itself that has told us its opinion about which is the true church and (surprise surprise), it is the Roman church. Neither does she give a hoot for what your opinion is in that implicit faith is all that is expected out of you. So shaddup.

    Then there’s also the despicable and hypocritical double standard about protestant private judgement.
    Meanwhile our average papist feels free to imbibe of PJ when it suits them in determining even the true church. Which is the Roman church. BecauseIsayso.
    Anyway.

    Wake us up when the rubes and dubes shut their trap for once because they finally realize the G&N consequences of their opinion.

    [Take Two]

    Why? Why does the church have to be infallible to recognize truth? You believe that you are fallible, right? I guess that means you can’t recognize truth, then. Explain the disconnect.

    Given up arguing with the bots yet, Robert?
    I know. Dumb question.
    True, but for the grace of God go we all, but it does at times get a little old.
    There are no mirrors in Rome, yet she is still the fairest of all says the blind man after a cool survey of the apostolic bones.
    Why? Because I say so and Rome agrees with me which is also what Rome says.

    Sounds like a slammed duck to me, too.
    Quack, quack.
    Don’t be daffy, just call me Donald, please.
    Yes sir.

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  38. Bob,

    “Then there’s also the despicable and hypocritical double standard about protestant private judgement.
    Meanwhile our average papist feels free to imbibe of PJ when it suits them in determining even the true church. Which is the Roman church. BecauseIsayso.”

    That you think there’s a double standard shows you either ignore or don’t grasp what papists mean by the term “private judgment” (hint: it’s not that humans evaluate and determine and make choices). Given it’s been explained a billion times before here, I’m guessing the former.

    Like

  39. Tom, if that’s a question then it’s dumb. If I didn’t know any better I’d ask if you were new here.

    Like

  40. Hi Robert,

    It’s hard to know what issue I should talk to you about. I’m sorry I don’t think I can really do this topic justice.

    Fair enough. My issue at this point is less the truth or falsehood of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism but rather just getting the RCs I’ve interacted with online to acknowledge that they’re really doing nothing different than any Protestant does as they approach their church and submit to it. This is the hubris of the CTC apologetic, namely, that you all aren’t the ones who submit to Rome only insofar as you agree with Rome while Protestants make themselves the final arbiter of right and wrong with regard to doctrine. That’s a facile observation that doesn’t reflect the truth, it reflects epistemological pride, not humility. It is patently untrue for any RC who demonstrates even the smallest ability of critical thought. It ignores the fact that for all the criticism of Protestants that they submit only when they agree, Rome’s system has no room for those who will submit when they disagree. For Rome, submission equals full agreement on all points. Bryan Cross’ 10,000-word diatribes notwithstanding, that means you guys submit to and remain RCs only insofar as what it says gels with your interpretation of Scripture, tradition, et al.

    What’s funny is that Reformed churches actually have a system that allows for people to submit even where they don’t agree.

    I simply believe that Jesus founded a church so therefore I should be on the lookout for the church He began. If the scriptures don’t demonstrate this outright or allude to it enough to convince, then I and many many people in this world are reading the scriptures wrongly, but of course, I don’t believe this otherwise I would have walked away from Christianity altogether.

    Okay and that’s great. What is strange is that you come across, along with others influenced by CTC and traditional Romanism, as if Protestants aren’t looking for the church Jesus began. There’s not one Protestant who is saying, “I don’t want to be a part of the church Jesus began.”

    The trouble is the undefended presuppositions of what the church Jesus began must look like.

    I believe in my ability( and yours) to reason, as long as I( we) am doing it properly. Our faculties should not fail us, if all of our premises are true. The only time reason can fail is if one or more of our premises is mistaken. We should believe that God gave us brains for a reason. So I have a very high view of reason.

    But our reason can fail us even when all our premises are true. It’s called the Deductive Fallacy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deductive_fallacy

    I have a high view of reason. But I also have a high view of man’s depravity. Rome is missing the latter.

    And, I’ve reasoned the MOC are reasonable.

    And that’s fine as well, as long as you recognize that there is a large degree of circularity in the MOC.

    1. Rome defines the MOC.
    2. Rome defines how the MOC should be interpreted.
    3. Rome explains why the MOC still are valid even when RCs don’t live up to them.

    In other words, it’s all Rome.

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  41. “Susan, we disagree that the church has any truck in helping to arrange or influence civil society, overtly or covertly”

    Susan:
    But that is to ignore what is real. It has been helping arrange society. It is keeping society in check by it’s teaching and by its actions( its actions are manifest through persons though so it isn’t perfect).>>>>

    Well said, Susan. Thank you. Good arguments.

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  42. (ad)D – in, the status anxiety you referenced is as much a factor of the waning of the influence of traditional protestantism, particularly in New England, as it had to do with the influx of Catholic immigrants into the Northern cities. The early 19th century was the heyday of transcendentalists and Unitarians. Folks like Lyman Beecher headed west where they could build a culture free of the baleful influence of both Catholics and the Unitarian types. As the decade went on, say by 1850, anti-slavery agitation became more dominant and blurred some of these intra-protestant distinctions. The antipathy to Catholics remained.

    It is exactly this type of cultural history that I am most interested in understanding here.

    I hope I’m not being dense, but:
    I can understand status anxiety towards Unitarians – they were the movers and shakers in New England back when New England was more influential. But am I reading you correctly that ‘traditional protestants’ had status anxiety against Catholics (doesn’t seem likely to me)? Let’s say just in the period you identify, before the Civil War and run-up.

    Or do you mean status anxiety in America didn’t exist / was less significant prior to the birth of Unitarianism, and was shared by both ‘traditional protestants’ and Catholics in contradistinction to Unitarians?

    Apologies if my reading comprehension is not at its best at the moment (I’ve been skipping sleep to comment on Oldlife). Please feel free to elaborate or share a link.

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  43. George –

    Kevin: Catholicism states that human institutions can be used to good ends, but should not be divinized with a ‘city-on-a-hill’ view (qualifying or countering a statement in the original article that “…The ‘Catholic conceptual language’ creates a “fundamental trust and confidence in the goodness of … human institutions.”)

    George: […] when I ride the bike just 4 miles over to the local Trader Joe’s to shop for groceries […] I have to ride mainly on the sidewalk to keep from being run over by the mostly RCC population around this dense suburban area.

    I am guessing you don’t buy as many 10 lb cans of beans and gallons of olive oil as my wife and I do.

    Are they rude drivers because:
    a) They are following Catholic principles;
    b) They are not following Catholic principles.

    Would they cease to be rude drivers if:
    a) They followed Catholic principles;
    b) They were Reformed Christians;
    c) They were illegal immigrants terrified of being deported.

    I used to bike to work, these days I walk (it’s just a mile); and I hereby pre-empt the joke that as an “RCC” I ought prenitentially to crawl.

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  44. SJG, (ad)D –

    I would think the Roman church is anti 2K because of its Kuyperian way of connecting theology and worldview. In fact, when I was in a Catholic study of John, the leader of it was critiquing 2K doctrine.

    Could you send a link which explains 2K? Ideally something with depth that I can spend some time on.

    Like


  45. Zrim
    Posted June 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink
    Susan, then I’m not sure how your remarks harmonize. I mean, if “goodness and truth always exist and when they are believed and subsequently practiced in pagan society they still remain God’s goodness and God’s truth,” then what does it mean that “it is Christians that teach the rest what it means to be interested in peace for the good of the all”? The former statement makes it sound like un/believers alike have equal access to goodness and truth, while the latter makes it sound like only believers have it.

    TVD: With all due respect, Mr. Z, you’re unfamiliar with the concepts of general and special revelation?

    Zrim
    Posted June 24, 2015 at 8:03 am | Permalink
    Tom, if that’s a question then it’s dumb. If I didn’t know any better I’d ask if you were new here.

    One of us doesn’t get it, true. Perhaps if you looked for truth instead of to trap people in contradictions, you wouldn’t get tied up in meaningless knots like this.

    Like

  46. 157 years ago today, six-year-old Edgardo Mortara, a Jew, was kidnapped at his family home in Bologna by the Papal authorities and brought to Rome to be raised as a ward of the Papal State.

    One must have an understanding of belief in the efficacy of Baptism as described in the Gospels and interpreted by the Church to understand Pius IX’s reason for action.

    It is worth committing to memory that Mortara became a priest, was a missionary to Jews (i.e., spent much-to-most of his waking days with them), and visited his (Jewish) family frequently. Seems to me he loved Jews, loved Christ, and loved the Church.

    -Was he ‘deprived of his culture’? – true culture is culture built upon Christ, and he became deeply immersed in Christian culture; further, he spent his whole life amongst Jews.

    -Of his family? – In his childhood, yes- and there is undeniable human sadness here – I am sure he and his parents were both greatly saddened by the event. Separation is painful. And yet he made himself quite the companion of Christ.

    -Did he regret Pius IX’s act? –
    “Regarding the beatification of Pius IX, the priest [Mortara] stated, ‘I greatly desire the beatification and canonization of the Servant of God (Pius IX).'”

    -Is he more or less likely to have been sanctified in Christ as a result of his Christian faith, education, and ministry?

    -I’ve never in my life written this phrase and fear my reputation will be insolubly tarnished, but What Would Jesus Do (or have had Peter do) with the children of the Centurion Cornelius if his parents had gone apostate, back to Judaism?

    “An angel spoke to Cornelius saying, ‘Send to Joppa, and have Simon, who is called Peter, brought here; and he shall speak words to you by which you will be saved, and all your household.'”

    Sincere question: Do you (does anyone here) believe a Baptism performed on a baby loses its meaning if the baby is raised as a part of a non-Christian religion? Or as basically non-religious? If so, what meaning did it halve to begin with? Would you have them re-Baptisized if they became interested in Christianity and requested it?

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  47. Correction: for with the children of the Centurion Cornelius if his parents
    Read: with the children of the Centurion Cornelius if Cornelius & his wife

    Correction: what meaning did it halve;
    Read: (figure it out)

    I need sleep.

    Like

  48. Comments are open DVC, go for it.
    After all you guys as ex prots screw up so much on what protestantism teaches, we’re allowed a few mulligans, if that is what they are.

    And the correct Roman view of PJ wouldn’t be the old stand by of qualify, qualify, qualify, would it?
    Or something like calling a dog a cat in order to evade the leash law?
    You know, the whole doulia latria dialectic.
    ‘We’re not idolaters because our intentions are good.’
    Good luck with that, pal/cheers buddy.

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  49. Augustine, Aquinas. Sounds reasonable to me.

    (Greek doulia; Latin servitus), a theological term signifying the honour paid to the saints, while latria means worship given to God alone, and hyperdulia the veneration offered to the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Augustine (City of God X.2) distinguishes two kinds of servitus: “one which is due to men . . . which in Greek is called dulia; the other, latria, which is the service pertaining to the worship of God”. St. Thomas (II-II:103:3) bases the distinction on the difference between God’s supreme dominion and that which one man may exercise over another. Catholic theologians insist that the difference is one of kind and not merely of degree; dulia and latria being as far apart as are the creature and the Creator.

    I’ve always admired that clever tactic of actually stating the other position honestly, but then going on to declare it doesn’t refute your argument, which of course it does.

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  50. vd, t, not official teaching. It’s not Rome’s position. It’s only a website.

    If New Advent is truly authoritative, then you don’t want to look at what it says about Protestantism and Church and State.

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  51. Bob,

    “Comments are open DVC, go for it.”

    Ask and ye shall receive. Let’s see what RCs have said about PJ:

    BC Butler: “Now no one, so far as I know, has ever maintained that an act of faith, in one who has reached the age of reason, does not involve or imply an act of personal decision, and a Roman Catholic advocate has no inclination to contest this point. The Church teaches that an act of faith is a virtuous act, and no act can be virtuous unless it comes from the intelligence and will of the agent. We do not merely concede the point, we strongly maintain it.”

    Ronald Knox: “Reject private judgment? Of course Catholics have never rejected private judgment; they only profess to delimit the spheres in which private judgment and authority have their respective parts to play.

    Is it really so difficult to see that a revealed religion demands, from its very nature, a place for private judgment and a place for authority? A place for private judgment, in determining that the revelation itself comes from God, in discovering the Medium through which that revelation comes to us, and the rule of faith by which we are enabled to determine what is, and what is not, revealed. A place for authority to step in, when these preliminary investigations are over, and say “Now, be careful, for you are out of your depth here … .these and a hundred other questions are questions which your human reason cannot investigate for itself, and upon which it can pronounce no sentence, since it moves in the natural not in the supernatural order. At this point, then, you must begin to believe by hearsay; from this point onwards you must ask, not to be convinced, but to be taught.” Is it really so illogical in us, to fix the point at which our private judgment is no longer of any service?”

    Henry Graham: “When we speak of private judgment, then, let us be quite clear as to what we mean; it has its uses and it has its abuses. Private judgment, in the sense of compiling a creed for yourself out of the Bible, of accepting this doctrine and rejecting that, of judging what should be and what should not be an integral part of the truth revealed by God — this, of course, is entirely forbidden, for it is directly contrary to the method of arriving at the truth instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ…. The use of private judgment, on the other hand, in the sense of an inquiry into the ‘motives of credibility,’ and a study of the evidences for the Faith, to enable you to find out which is the one Church founded by Jesus Christ — this is permissible, and not only permissible, but strictly necessary for all outside the Fold who wish to save their souls. But mark well: having once found the true Church, private judgment of this kind ceases; having discovered the authority established by God, you must submit to it at once. There is no need of further search for the doctrines contained in the Christian Gospel, for the Church brings them all with her and will teach you them all. You have sought for the Teacher sent by God, and you have secured him; what need of further speculation?”

    Newman: “While, then, the conversions recorded in Scripture are brought about in a very marked way through a teacher, and not by means of private judgment, so again, if an appeal is made to private judgment, this is done in order to settle who the teacher is, and what are his notes or tokens, rather than to substantiate this or that religious opinion or practice. And if such instances bear upon our conduct at this day, as it is natural to think they do, then of course the practical question before us is, who is the teacher now, from whose mouth we are to seek the law, and what are his notes?”

    Robin Philips is an EO convert and delineated the difference as PJ1 and PJ2. PJ2 is “we all interpret” and is irrelevant and pointless to the dispute – everyone accepts we fallibly interpret and determine and those who argue against it are just being overzealous or shortsighted and are the people Robin is criticizing. PJ1 (i.e. the divine authority question) however is where the dispute lies – conflating PJ1 and PJ2 just muddies the waters.

    “At least half a dozen people shared with me how they had themselves converted to Orthodoxy only after recognizing that their personal understanding or “private judgment” was utterly unreliable. (It should be pointed out that by “private judgment” they were not referring merely to the normativity of an individual’s judgment of matters ecclesiastical, which we can refer to as PJ1. Private judgment in this sense should rightly be regarded as defective. Rather, they were using “private judgment” to refer more broadly to the notion that each individual has to meet epistemological conditions for their knowledge claims, what we may call PJ2. In theological discussion on a lay level, Protestants and Orthodox alike use “private judgment” to refer both to PJ1 and PJ2. In this article, when I respectively critique the attack against “private judgment” and sympathize for those protestants who defend it, I only have in mind PJ2, as the context of my foregoing remarks should make clear. Some of my critics have been uncomfortable for me even calling PJ2 “private judgment” at all, but I do so on the grounds that this is how the term is often used in theological discussion on a lay level. That it is used as such on lay level is a point I can provide evidence for should that become necessary.)”

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  52. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, not official teaching. It’s not Rome’s position. It’s only a website.

    If New Advent is truly authoritative, then you don’t want to look at what it says about Protestantism and Church and State.

    Dr. Calvinism: A History, why do you play such epistemological games? As a semi-professional scribbler, you know better than that.

    The link was a) presented for information purposes and b) does bear an imprimatur and a nihil obstat

    The nihil obstat and imprimatur are declarations that a book or pamphlet is free of doctrinal or moral error. No implication is contained therein that those who have granted the nihil obstat or imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions or statements expressed.

    giving it at least some official sanction, as opposed to some of the crap you drum up from various amateur websites to attack the Catholicism with. Although you already knew that. I explain for those who are unfamiliar with your techniques and tactics. 😉

    To return to the actual discussion, the charge of idolatry against the Catholic Church is a well-rehearsed one. Augustine is helpful here.

    St. Augustine (City of God X.2) distinguishes two kinds of servitus: “one which is due to men . . . which in Greek is called dulia; the other, latria, which is the service pertaining to the worship of God”.

    The distinction should be clear to the honest seeker of the truth of the matter. That veneration of the saints should be lumped in with worship of God is an error if not a slander.

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  53. vd, t, then why are you so bullish on the American founding? The American founders thought Roman Catholicism was filled with idolatry because Roman Catholics worship saints.

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  54. Hart, just a comment.
    Don’t forget one of those founders working right along the others was Roman Catholic, Charles Carroll of Carrollton. At least he would disagree that he was an idol worshiper.

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  55. Hart,
    You really believe this?

    if an unordained person pours water over someone in the name of the Trinity, it’s just that — pouring water. Not a baptism.

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  56. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 25, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, then why are you so bullish on the American founding? The American founders thought Roman Catholicism was filled with idolatry because Roman Catholics worship saints.

    Anti-Catholicism is what made this country great, Butch. Now, you hate Catholicism and you hate America, just like liberals do, yet pass yourself off as “conservative.” Odious, yet riveting.

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  57. Mark,
    Not a big Jeb fan here, but I read the link to see what you are talking about. I’m confused. What has Jeb been doing?

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  58. DG – Kevin, if an unordained person pours water over someone in the name of the Trinity, it’s just that — pouring water. Not a baptism.

    I can understand an objection to other aspects of the Church’s teaching on who is able to administer Baptism (as expressed at or around the Council of Florence), but doesn’t a lay Christian’s ability to administer it fall pretty clearly under the concept of ‘apostolic general priesthood’ a.k.a. ‘priesthood of all believers?’ There is a Catholic understanding of this concept- anecdotally, I recall a very traditional Spanish priest (from Murcia) stationed in New Jersey (small, historic parish in the great little town of Raritan) give an excellent sermon on the topic. I went to Mass there for years, and grew to admire him. Daily Confessions, Mass in the E.F. as well as Spanish and English.

    not official teaching. It’s not Rome’s position. It’s only a website.
    As someone professionally bound to defend correct citation principles (library degree), it isn’t “New Advent” or “a website” – it is the Catholic Encyclopedia (accessed via New Advent), a great work of scholarship, much-used.

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  59. Kevin in Newark
    Posted June 25, 2015 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    As someone professionally bound to defend correct citation principles (library degree), it isn’t “New Advent” or “a website” – it is the Catholic Encyclopedia (accessed via New Advent), a great work of scholarship, much-used.

    Darryl was referring to me questioning some layperson’s website he found on Google and was using to attack Catholicism. I said it was not authoritative [magisterial], and so it was unfair to use it as a bludgeon.

    I’m not sure the Catholic Encyclopedia is magisterial either, and you do not want to get stuck with defending its every word, especially to someone as clever and well-rehearsed as Darryl, who will pick you apart. It’s quasi-official [imprimatur, nihil obstat, see above], but It’s not the official catechism [CCC], with which you are indeed stuck defending every word.

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  60. If politicians (baptist popes) like jerry falwell jr and Bob Jones 3 and russel moore can give political support to a Mormon, surely they will also not separate themselves from a papist. Those you used to criticize Graham for including black people and Roman Catholics…are now including white Roman Catholics.

    Mr. Bush is not the first Catholic in his family. His great-grandfather George Herbert Walker was a Jesuit-educated Roman Catholic who married a Presbyterian.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/18/us/politics/jeb-bush-20-years-after-conversion-is-guided-by-his-catholic-faith.html?_r=0

    In 1994, Mr. Bush ran unsuccessfully for governor, employing language that some viewed as mean-spirited, in part because of a comment suggesting that he did not see a role for government in helping African-Americans, After his defeat, he acknowledged that his marriage was experiencing some stress and said he was going to take some time to regroup. During that period, he began the formal process of becoming a Catholic, taking classes at Epiphany Parish in South Miami.

    “I love the sacraments of the Catholic Church, the timeless nature of the message of the Catholic Church, the fact that the Catholic Church believes in, and acts on, absolute truth as its foundational principle and doesn’t move with the tides of modern times, as my former Episcopal religion did,” he said in the speech in Italy in 2009.

    Mr. Bush is now courting Protestant leaders as well, presenting himself as a man of faith who understands the concerns of religious voters. Last spring, he hosted Russell Moore, a prominent Southern Baptist, in Coral Gables, welcoming him to his office, having lunch with him, giving him a tour and even driving him to the airport. “He talked quite openly about his own faith journey, and we talked about C. S. Lewis, whose writings are significant in both of our lives,” Mr. Moore said.

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