From Mortara to Murray

Michael Sean Winters reviews a new book on John Courtney Murray, the man whom many believe is responsible for warming up the Roman curia and the magisterium to America’s version of political liberty. In his first part, Winters highlights the real change that took place at Vatican II on a theological assumption that Rome had defended longer than any other Christian communion:

Hudock quotes from a 1948 article in Civilta Cattolica that stated:

The Roman Catholic Church, convinced, through its divine prerogatives, of being the only true Church, must demand the right to freedom for herself alone, because such a right can only be possessed by truth, never by error. As to other religions, the Church will certainly never draw the sword, but she will require that by legitimate means they shall not be allowed to propagate false doctrine. Consequently, in a State where the majority of the people are Catholic, the Church will require that legal existence be denied to error, and that if religious minorities actually exist, they shall have only a de facto existence, without opportunity to spread their beliefs. If, however, actual circumstances….make the complete application of this principle impossible, then the Church will require for herself all possible concessions…..

This is a decent emblematic statement of the received position. The preferred arrangement, known in theological jargon as the “thesis,” was legal unification of Church and State wherever Catholics were in the majority. In countries like Murray’s United States, the “hypothesis” of Church-State separation could be accepted given the circumstances. The double standard was obvious to all, but trapped inside a closed theological circle, the authorities in Rome, with plenty of assistance from conservative Catholic theologians in the U.S., simply persisted in saying the double standard was appropriate, because truth had rights that could never be extended, in principle, to error.

As hard as it may be for boomer and millennial Roman Catholics to believe, Murray’s positive reading of American political liberty got him in trouble with the bishops:

That same year, 1948, Murray gave a paper at the Catholic Theological Society of America meeting in which he criticized the “thesis-hypothesis” approach. He noted, correctly, the rights inhere in persons, not in propositions, and so the claim that “error has not rights” was meaningless, that “if it means anything, it means that error is error; but it is hardly a ‘principle’ from which to draw any conclusions with regard to the powers of the state.” Murray also introduced an historical analysis of the issue, arguing that the current teaching was rooted in the experience of the Middle Ages, in which Church and State were “coextensive and united,” membership in the one was essential to membership in the other, and in this context, deviation from Church doctrine really was understood as a threat to the common good of society. . . .

Attacking a “received opinion” made Murray enemies on both sides of the Atlantic and Hudock relishes telling the cloak-and-dagger, better to say ferriola and quill, struggle that ensued. The reader is introduced to Francis Connell and Joseph Fenton who would not only oppose Murray in theological journals, but use their extensive contacts with Roman authorities to place Murray under a cloud of suspicion. Hudock ably recapitulates Murray’s ideas as they developed, which may be the best contribution the book makes. But, despite Hudock’s comments in the introduction to the effect that this is a story both contemporary conservatives and liberals can celebrate, on nearly every page of the tale, Murray is the good guy pitted against the various bad guys. To be clear, some of Fenton’s shenanigans really strike the modern reader as underhanded, although it is clear that Murray was also pushing the less powerful levers of ecclesiastical power to which he had access as well. The author might have delved more deeply into what motivated Connell and Fenton.

In the second part of his review, Winters unintentionally shows the bind in which Roman Catholic bishops have operated since Vatican II. Is political freedom good or is it destructive?

Murray favored a political-historical argument for religious freedom that was more accessible to unbelievers and relevant to the work of lawmaking in the modern world. Among European bishops and theologians (Yves Congar, for example) there was a preference for a more scriptural-theology approach. Murray explained privately that the text produced in March [by the Europeans] dialed to “do justice to the political-social argument” and that the Europeans were “over-theologizing” the concept of religious freedom.

Hudock does not cite which scriptural and theological arguments the Europeans wanted. Nor does he explain why the difference of opinion was important – at the time, and even more, subsequently. Murray wanted the Church to embrace the negative conception of liberty, freedom from, that is at the heart of the American constitutional framework. But, the European theologians perceived the difficulty here. A formal freedom was not the contentless, free market of religious ideas Murray claimed it to be, but rested on an ontological prioritization of freedom over truth. As well, the dualism he suggested between the temporal and the spiritual was too absolutized, and while it might work in a country in which the Christian moral framework largely held sway through democratic means, it was ill-equipped to use the power of the State to achieve the common good if that framework atrophied.

Murray was asked about this difference at a colloquium at the University of Notre Dame after the Council concluded its work. He admitted that the document “skated around” the difficulty of whether or not the Church can embrace a negative conception of liberty. But, the ice was thinner than Murray imagined and the skating would not last for long. As we have seen in our own time, and despite his argument to the contrary, an immunity from government coercion can be strengthened or weakened by civil law for which a negative conception of liberty has no answer. That is what the fights over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act are all about.

No one said church-state relations in the modern era would be easy. Nor did Protestants ever think that an infallible magisterium would figure those relations out. That’s why pastors are called to a different and higher work.

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86 thoughts on “From Mortara to Murray

  1. As Bob Dylan sings it, “things have changed”.

    In the good old days, before religious liberty, the church could minster to the entire society and get involved in controlling how parents raised their children. Step one, public registry of public infant ritual. Step two, those who delay showing up are under suspicion for going back to the Romanists for the ritual (or to the anabaptists). Step three, accept whatever it was that they did, do not repeat but include….water before teaching catechism, punishment for not sending children to catechism, learning catechism before “the sacrament”… Mike Horton: “Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t (first) belong?”

    https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/renaissance_quarterly/v059/59.1witt.html

    “Karen Spierling’s book explores the many-sided significance of the practice of baptizing infants in mid-sixteenth-century Geneva. Persons were called before Council AND Consistory for not baptizing their children at all, for baptizing them in Catholic territory, for lying about children born out of wedlock, for not showing up for their child’s baptismal service, for giving their children idolatrous or Catholic-sounding names….”

    Cuddihy —- “Civility is that part of the modernization process that requires the separation of private affect from public demeanor. It is the great bourgeois project to adapt the individual’s inner life to the socially appropriate. ‘Niceness’ is as good a name as any for the informally yet pervasively
    nstitutionalized civility expected—indeed required—of members of the community. . Intensity, fanaticism, inwardness—too much of anything, in fact—is unseemly and bids fair to destroy our fragile solidarity Civility is not merely regulative of social behavior. Civility is an order of “appearance” constitutive of modern social behavior.”.

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  2. I see dramatic diffs made in the denomination after V2, not sure why our practicing members on here insist on screaming 1,000 times that there isn’t one.

    There might even be good things that were brought in, who knows?

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  3. “Winters unintentionally shows the bind in which Roman Catholic bishops have operated since Vatican II. Is political freedom good or is it destructive?”

    And if political freedom is good for the public sphere, why not have more of it in the church? If Catholic public officials or voters can ignore the church’s policy desires, why not let the Nuns on the Bus have a voice in saying what those policies should be?

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  4. Seems like freedom is busting out all over, and anyone with a twitter feed gets a voice in determining what the nagisterium will look like:

    “The first session of the synod on the family showed how much things have changed. It witnessed furious disputes between cardinals over issues central to the lives of Catholics – the eligibility of divorced and remarried people to receive Holy Communion and the place of gay people in the Church. Suddenly senior prelates discovered that they had to use the internet in order to stop their opponents’ version of events becoming the official narrative.

    Friendly journalists received urgent text messages from cardinals. This was not the “gossip” denounced by Pope Francis, they told themselves: the faithful had to know what was going on, mid-synod, in order to spread the word online that the proceedings were being hijacked.

    There was nothing the Pope could do to stop this leaking by both sides. And there will be nothing he can do to stop it happening again when the synod resumes this October. The laity have been empowered – not by the documents of Vatican II but by digital technology. Moreover, those lay people do not, on the whole, support the liberal agenda of many bishops (including, tentatively, the English hierarchy) and they are implacably opposed to the radical aggiornamento demanded by the secular media. They know how to manipulate the internet and – unlike the Holy Father and the millions of people who greeted him in Latin America – they speak its lingua franca: English.”

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/july-31-2015/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-catholic-blogosphere/

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  5. You guys still don’t have this magisterium thing down.

    [Darryl, I don’t think you want to, which is why you troll liberal dissidents like Michael Sean Winters instead of what the Catholic Church herself actually says.]

    http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/OEBPS/11-chapter2.xhtml#para85

    The Magisterium of the Church

    85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.”47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome. (888-892, 2032-2040)

    86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication, and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”48 (688)

    87 Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me,” the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms. (1548, 2037)

    The supernatural sense of faith

    91 All the faithful share in understanding and handing on revealed truth. They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who instructs them and guides them into all truth. (737)

    92 “The whole body of the faithful… cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of faith (sensus fidei) on the part of the whole people, when, ‘from the bishops to the last of the faithful,’ they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals.”55 (785)

    To flog the exceedingly rare invocations of papal infallibility while ignoring sensus fidei is dishonest, an unconcern for the truth.

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  6. “” the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms. ”

    I don’t see a lot of docility going around. Post VII, I fail to see how anyone would expect there to be.
    For the record, the link I posted is not from someone who appears to be a Winters’ clone.

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  7. (A different) Dan
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Permalink
    “” the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms. ”

    I don’t see a lot of docility going around. Post VII, I fail to see how anyone would expect there to be.
    For the record, the link I posted is not from someone who appears to be a Winters’ clone.

    I thought the cleverest among you would pick that one out. I left it in anyway, out of honesty.

    Ignoring all the rest is not honesty. 😉 Address the rest first.

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  8. Dan, Tom,

    the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.

    If they don’t receive with docility (“being easily teachable”), in what possible way do they qualify as “the faithful” -?

    Interesting that the meaning “obedient, submissive” is ca. 1770s – another example of Enlightenment-era perversion of traditional concepts, burdening us Americans in particular?

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  9. TVD, busy day ahead. As for what you call “the rest”‘, see what Kent said. It strikes me that the RC church has, post VII, an uneasy relationship with the truth and authority claims made in documents such as the one you quoted from. It further strikes me that if you want a stable ally in the culture wars, the RCC is the wrong place to look,for at least that reason. I thought the article I linked to was fascinating– Bishops using the internet to enlist the faithful against other Bishops in the setting of a synod!

    I don’t think you have to be clever to see VII as a fundamental, historic change. After all, I’m not smart enough to be Reformed.

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  10. vd, t, I don’t think you do. Ratzinger said the assumption of Mary was not apostolic. But now it’s divine. You tell me how that is subservient to Scripture.

    Wait.

    Evade.

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  11. vd, t, when will you read the German rest?

    A Catholic priest who participated in May’s closed-door meeting with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming synod on the family in October suggested that acts the Church considers intrinsically evil — contraception and homosexual activity — cannot be considered so, given the individual’s experience.

    Jesuit Father Alain Thomasset was among approximately 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and select media representatives, who took part in the May 25 invitation-only gathering, at the behest of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, Switzerland and France — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop Markus Büchel and Archbishop Georges Pontier.
    Only a few journalists were invited to participate in the meeting — under the condition that they would not attribute by name what they heard there. One participant told CNA they were barred from granting interviews, as “confidentiality has been requested about the discussions at stake.”

    Nearly two months later, the German bishops’ conference released the text of the meeting’s talks, in French, German and Italian. Missing, however, was the final speech from Cardinal Marx of Munich and Freising.
    The document’s introduction explained that the convention was divided into three parts: a reflection on Christ’s words regarding marriage and divorce; on sexuality as an expression of love and “a theology of love”; and on the gift of life and “a narrative theology” — theology based on personal experience.

    Father Thomasset, a professor of moral theology at Centre Sèvres, a Jesuit university in Paris, introduced the “narrative theology” in his speech.

    His paper was titled “Taking Into Consideration the History and Biographical Developments of the Moral Life and Pastoral Care of the Family,” and in it, he rejected the notion that any act can be intrinsically evil.

    And I didn’t even use Michael Sean Winters.

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  12. Dan, yes, you forgot to read all of what vd, t told you to read:

    The problem was that the conversations kept turning nasty. The blog was invaded by sneering atheists and – far more damaging – far-right Catholics raging against Jews and “faggots”. I still shudder at the mention of one commenter, a neo-fascist with a shaky grasp of English; in the end we had to block his IP address, whereupon he started up his own blog. It’s still going. As I write, he is fulminating against “Frankie the Evil Clown” and his cohort of “satanic criminals”.

    Such people were easy to dismiss, but what about Catholic bloggers who dabbled more gently in conspiracy theories? A lot of my blog’s traffic was driven by devout Americans who worried about a homosexual mafia in the Vatican. As the “Vatileaks” scandal revealed, there was an element of truth to this, just as there was in my speculation about senior liberal English churchmen twisting arms in Rome to secure “jobs for the boys”. But their outpourings did little to improve the reputation of the Catholic blogosphere.

    Perhaps it was just as well that the election of Pope Francis took the wind out of our sails. By 2013, one-man blogs in general were in any case flagging. Their authors, myself included, were exhausted by the pressure to serve up a daily dish of sarcasm and spiky opinion. And there was no money it in. Even the Telegraph couldn’t make a profit out of Holy Smoke’s traffic. Those hundreds of thousands of hits were “empty calories”, a social media expert told me.

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  13. DGH, oh, I read that all right, but the fate of individual Catholic bloggers seems kind of insignificant compared to Bishops engaged in flame wars with each other!

    I go back to my initial comment on July 29. I encountered Murray in a college class back in the early 70’s, in the larger context of what VII meant, and in that era the received wisdom was that the RCC’s embrace of political freedom was unreservedly good, that the laity would be empowered in matters of doctrine and praxis, and church structures would become dramatically less monarchial. I still see this interpretation as the only way to make VII cohere, but that is an outsider’s view. (Though I wouldn’t have too much trouble in finding Catholic sources who agree with that interpretation. ). I would hazard that, particularly if Francis is succeeded by another Pope from the global South, the reigns of JPII and Benedict will be seen as unsuccessful efforts to hold back the tides unleashed at VII. And Kent is right- good could come out of the whole thing, it just might not be something American trads are comfortable with.

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  14. DGH, probably. Since the CtC types aren’t fishing in my non-reformed Baptist pond, who am I to judge whether that is a good thing? You Reformed guys seem to be catnip to them. Many thanks!

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  15. <i.(A different) Dan
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink
    TVD, busy day ahead. As for what you call “the rest”‘, see what Kent said. It strikes me that the RC church has, post VII, an uneasy relationship with the truth and authority claims made in documents such as the one you quoted from. It further strikes me that if you want a stable ally in the culture wars, the RCC is the wrong place to look,for at least that reason. I thought the article I linked to was fascinating– Bishops using the internet to enlist the faithful against other Bishops in the setting of a synod!

    I don’t think you have to be clever to see VII as a fundamental, historic change. After all, I’m not smart enough to be Reformed.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink
    vd, t, I don’t think you do. Ratzinger said the assumption of Mary was not apostolic. But now it’s divine. You tell me how that is subservient to Scripture.

    Wait.

    Evade.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink
    mr. eVaDe tells someone don’t eVaDe.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink
    vd, t, when will you read the German rest?

    A Catholic priest who participated in May’s closed-door meeting with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming synod on the family in October suggested that acts the Church considers intrinsically evil — contraception and homosexual activity — cannot be considered so, given the individual’s experience.

    Jesuit Father Alain Thomasset was among approximately 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and select media representatives, who took part in the May 25 invitation-only gathering, at the behest of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, Switzerland and France — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop Markus Büchel and Archbishop Georges Pontier.
    Only a few journalists were invited to participate in the meeting — under the condition that they would not attribute by name what they heard there. One participant told CNA they were barred from granting interviews, as “confidentiality has been requested about the discussions at stake.”

    Nearly two months later, the German bishops’ conference released the text of the meeting’s talks, in French, German and Italian. Missing, however, was the final speech from Cardinal Marx of Munich and Freising.
    The document’s introduction explained that the convention was divided into three parts: a reflection on Christ’s words regarding marriage and divorce; on sexuality as an expression of love and “a theology of love”; and on the gift of life and “a narrative theology” — theology based on personal experience.

    Father Thomasset, a professor of moral theology at Centre Sèvres, a Jesuit university in Paris, introduced the “narrative theology” in his speech.

    His paper was titled “Taking Into Consideration the History and Biographical Developments of the Moral Life and Pastoral Care of the Family,” and in it, he rejected the notion that any act can be intrinsically evil.

    And I didn’t even use Michael Sean Winters.

    Talk about evading, Uncle Screwtape. You skipped right over the normative teaching on the Magisterium for more of your Google ankle-biting.

    Start telling the truth, Elder Hart. You’re making your church look like it’s built on lies.

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  16. ADD,
    One of, if not THE distinguishing features of the CTC is that they are ex P&Rs.

    At least nominally, because more often than not, they show up spouting the usual Roman prop about some point of prot theology and you gotta ask them where that came from/were they asleep in their Shorter Catechism class?

    IOW ecumenical dialogue for them is patronizing us as inferior students of reformed theology who can’t see the Roman answers to at best generally evangelical arminian questions, if not that reformed scholasticism has already anticipated and exploded the Roman arguments.

    But shallow is as shallow does and you’re a hater begging the question if you don’t buy into the one way skepticism and the infallible Roman definition of the Prot paradigm.

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  17. Bob S
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink
    ADD,
    One of, if not THE distinguishing features of the CTC is that they are ex P&Rs.

    At least nominally, because more often than not, they show up spouting the usual Roman prop about some point of prot theology and you gotta ask them where that came from/were they asleep in their Shorter Catechism class?

    Any examples? I’ve read some of their comments sections and just like at Old Life, it’s the Protestants attacking Catholicism and usually getting it laughably wrong.

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  18. Bob, I am aware of the background. I have a non-irenic response (something about infant Baptism) formed, but I will refrain. (Emoticon). We do have a few Baptists who have called themselves Bapto-catholics, but aside from one smaller seminary, they haven’t gotten much traction. Kellerite wannabes are more of a problem in the circles I move in.

    TVD, I tried to provide you with as substantive a response as time allowed. Sorry it didn’t really register, and I am out until tomorrow afternoon.

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  19. (A different) Dan
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    TVD, I tried to provide you with as substantive a response as time allowed. Sorry it didn’t really register, and I am out until tomorrow afternoon.

    I appreciate that, Dan, however, arguing the exceptions against the rule is to miss the forest for the trees.

    To flog the exceedingly rare invocations of papal infallibility while ignoring “sensus fidei” is dishonest, an unconcern for the truth.

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  20. <i.D. G. Hart
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, ethically, appealing to a sensus fidei when you don’t practice or believe infallible dogma is unethical.

    Pathetic ad hom, Butch. What’s unethical is your manifest inability to present authentic Catholic teaching fully and clearly. Use the catechism first, then go trolling the internet for gotchas.

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  21. Darryl,

    “Ratzinger said the assumption of Mary was not apostolic.”

    He said no such thing. He said “yet was already handed down in the original Word.” He was criticizing a certain approach and hermeneutic that would lead to viewing it as not apostolic.

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  22. Dan, as a former Babdist, I think I know what yur non eyerenick argument is.
    cheers.

    TVD you’re getting to sound more and more like a butchophobe.
    Careful, don’t let all that bile and venom cloud your vision to the point you can’t drive to church tomorrow. (Since when did Bryan let practicing agnostics onto his team?)

    Like

  23. Bob S
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 2:11 am | Permalink
    Dan, as a former Babdist, I think I know what yur non eyerenick argument is.
    cheers.

    TVD you’re getting to sound more and more like a butchophobe.
    Careful, don’t let all that bile and venom cloud your vision to the point you can’t drive to church tomorrow. (Since when did Bryan let practicing agnostics onto his team?)

    Bob, Dr. Hart makes himself–and I think your religion–look bad when he distorts Catholicism.

    I just point out how he gets it wrong, Bob, no bile or venom. We’re both from Philly, grew up within 10 miles of each other. This is how we Philly boys do it. And in fact, I’m far kinder to him than he is to the nice Catholic ladies he abuses here. And JG Machen was far more intellectually decent to Catholicism than DG Hart is.

    I’ve learned much about the Catholic Church here at Old Life, Darryl, mostly by double-checking the crap you write about it and going, “that doesn’t sound right.”

    And almost always, that’s because it isn’t right–like when you googled some Rosary website last week and completely misunderstood it, then told your students like BobS a bunch of crap that wasn’t the Rosary.

    And Bob, your repeating Darryl’s clever ad hom on me personally, again, that’s just cheap and desperate. I decline to disclose my denomination or liturgy because at the Old Life Theological Society, when its theology’s failing, it gets downright anti-social and instead of the mind or heart, it goes for the throat.

    I remain fascinated at the Protestant schism from the Christian religion–and constant schism thereafter–how much is theological interpretation/speculation [TULIP], and how much could be reconciled if only

    1 Corinthians 1:10
    I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought

    were a First Thing instead of the last thing.

    Am I a “practicing agnostic,” Bob? What an intriguing and delightful turn of phrase!

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  24. James Young, yup.

    If you want to play it out, Ratzinger said that the magisterium lies because the historical record shows that the assumption was not part of apostolic teaching:

    Before Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven was defined, all theological faculties in the world were consulted for their opinion. Our teachers’ answer was emphatically negative. What here became evident was the one-sidedness, not only of the historical, but also of the historicist method in theology. “Tradition” was identified with what could be proved on the basis of texts. Altaner, the patrologist from Wurzburg (who also had come from Breslau), had proven in a scientifically persuasive manner that the doctrine of Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven was unknown before the fifth century; this doctrine, therefore, he argued, could not belong to the “apostolic tradition.” And this was his conclusion, which my teachers at Munich shared

    cool.

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  25. vd, t, ” I decline to disclose my denomination or liturgy because at the Old Life Theological Society, when its theology’s failing, it gets downright anti-social and instead of the mind or heart, it goes for the throat.”

    You told Sean he was supposed to disclose he was “ex-RC.”

    What gives?

    Meanwhile, you continue to charge me with distorting Roman Catholicism. How is that the case when I post material from Roman Catholic websites? Maybe your problem is with Roman Catholicism but you can’t admit it now that you’ve gone all Hollywood, Philly suburb guy (we’d both get chewed up in West Philly).

    If you think Michael Sean Winters is a distortion of Roman Catholicism, you need to step up and identify as a true Roman Catholic.

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  26. Darryl,

    The magisterium would be lying if it adopted the one-sided historicist approach to theology Ratzinger is contrasting and criticizing but Ratzingers point is thar it shouldnt and it doesnt. Not difficult.

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  27. Cletus said,

    The magisterium would be lying if it adopted the one-sided historicist approach to theology Ratzinger is contrasting and criticizing but Ratzingers point is thar it shouldnt and it doesnt. Not difficult.

    Translation: Who cares if the Magisterium is making it up as they go along or if there’s any historical evidence for certain doctrines?

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  28. TVD
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink
    (A different) Dan
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    TVD, I tried to provide you with as substantive a response as time allowed. Sorry it didn’t really register, and I am out until tomorrow afternoon.

    I appreciate that, Dan, however, arguing the exceptions against the rule is to miss the forest for the trees.

    To flog the exceedingly rare invocations of papal infallibility while ignoring “sensus fidei” is dishonest, an unconcern for the truth.

    TVD, I have not mentioned papal infallibility in this thread or any other thread on OL as far as I can recall. What I have tried to say in this thread is really pretty simple- VII has changed everything. If you look back through the thread, I have essentially said that what is happening now — humorously (to me at any rate)– including Bishops anathematizing each other over the internet at a Synod on the family– is a feature, not a bug, of VII as it was commonly understood when I first studied it (and Murray) back in the early 70’s.

    Kent, at least, in his July 29 response, is honest enough to recognize that the post VII church is at least something of a different animal. He is also smart enough to hold open the possibility that something good might come from it. I suspect, looking on a global basis, he is right, though the future might not make Michael Sean Winters or Bryan Cross (or Tom Van Dyke) happy.

    Like

  29. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink
    vd, t, ” I decline to disclose my denomination or liturgy because at the Old Life Theological Society, when its theology’s failing, it gets downright anti-social and instead of the mind or heart, it goes for the throat.”

    You told Sean he was supposed to disclose he was “ex-RC.”

    What gives?

    Meanwhile, you continue to charge me with distorting Roman Catholicism. How is that the case when I post material from Roman Catholic websites?

    Because they don’t speak for the Catholic Church. You completely screwed up what’s in the Rosary; you continue to ignore the proper understanding of the Magisterium. The problem is your ignorance and/or unconcern for the actual truth.

    Like

  30. (A different) Dan
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
    TVD
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink
    (A different) Dan
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    TVD, I tried to provide you with as substantive a response as time allowed. Sorry it didn’t really register, and I am out until tomorrow afternoon.

    I appreciate that, Dan, however, arguing the exceptions against the rule is to miss the forest for the trees.

    “To flog the exceedingly rare invocations of papal infallibility while ignoring “sensus fidei” is dishonest, an unconcern for the truth.”

    TVD, I have not mentioned papal infallibility in this thread or any other thread on OL as far as I can recall. What I have tried to say in this thread is really pretty simple- VII has changed everything.

    In some opinions. And unless you’re Catholic, your opinion isn’t the least bit relevant, and if you’re not Catholic, you may have an anti-Catholic animus as the ex-Catholic commenter Sean certainly does, as does Dr. Hart.

    To many or even most Catholics as well as many observers, in the context of 2000 years of the Catholic Church, Vatican II remains rather small potatoes, and especially compared with Protestantism, which creates schisms by the sackful.

    Like

  31. TVD,
    I was born and raised in the Roman “communion”. Consequently I know something first hand about Rome whatever Darryl says right or wrong.
    And in the main he is correct even if his emphasis is history, while I might prefer Scripture and reason.
    Which is to say on the face of it, in light of Scripture, I consider Rome to be a gigantic fraud. You can niggle about the finer points of the rosary, but in the end it’s Acts 4:12 vs. Mary and the saints.
    Further your skepticism only goes one way and unless I am wrong, you acknowledged being a non practicing Romanist, in my opinion a practical atheist/agnostic/pagan.
    Am I wrong? What of it? It is hardly material to the real question unless you hypocritically champion Rome, but don’t bother to obey it’s infallible dictates.
    Which is what a number of us here have been claiming all along. Rome is the nominal and toothless “true” church which philosophically – not Scripturally – looks good on paper, but fails in reality.
    cheers

    Like

  32. James Young, that’s funny, yup, since Ratzinger admitted that all his teachers took the socalled one-sided historicist approach.

    So you don’t believe historians who say that the assumption came later. That’s on you.

    Cool.

    Like

  33. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, Vatican II is small potatoes. That’s not what your pope thinks.

    Regardless, it doesn’t explain why your version of the Christian religion is so radically different from the Eastern Orthodox, who have nothing to do with Vatican II, but who share the same sacraments. Your attacks on Catholicism via Vatican II are thus without meaningful foundation, since the Eucharist is the core of traditional Christianity, and Vatican II left the theology of the Eucharist untouched.

    You make mountains of molehills and molehills of mountains: You don’t understand Catholicism in the least.

    Like

  34. (A different) Dan
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
    TVD, if VII was small potatoes, why did Ratzinger spill so much ink trying to put it in a box? http://www.firstthings.com/article/2006/02/from-ratzinger-to-benedict

    My opinion doesn’t matter? Is the RC Church a global religion making public truth claims open to public discussion, or is it a cult? Heck of a way to treat a separated brother.

    Well, no, outsiders’ opinions don’t matter re any religion’s internal affairs, except perhaps how it affects you, say jihad. Vatican II is not non-Catholics’ business–especially the Church’s enemies like Darryl and Sean and BobS and perhaps even yourself.

    Further, even in Catholicism there’s a limit to how much dissent is permissible re Vatican II–the rogue Society of St. Pius X [SSPX] was excommunicated temporarily. This had to do with the Mass, not the minor theological details that Darryl’s always trying to make a big deal of.

    Still, in the 2000 year history of Catholicism, this Vatican II stuff is indeed small potatoes, 500 priests out of a worldwide total of over 400,000. That’s a little over 1 in 1000 for those obsessed with ecclesiastical math like Dr. Hart.

    From your own link, Pope Ratzinger argued explicitly contra outside instigators such as non-Catholic Presbyterian Elder Darryl G. Hart [and it appears, unfortunately, your estimable self] that Vatican II “changed everything”:

    The misinterpretations, according to Ratzinger, must be overcome before an authentic reception can begin. Traditionalists and progressives, he said, fell into the same error: They failed to see that Vatican II stood in fundamental continuity with the past.

    Although the Polish philosopher [John Paul II] and the German theologian differ in outlook, they agree that the council has been seriously misinterpreted. It needs to be understood in conformity with the constant teaching of the Church. The true spirit of the council is to be found in, and not apart from, the letter.

    [Props for citing Avery Cardinal Dulles rather than the fringe crap Dr. Hart often passes off as authentic Catholicism, Dan.]

    Like

  35. Tom,

    Your attacks on Catholicism via Vatican II are thus without meaningful foundation, since the Eucharist is the core of traditional Christianity, and Vatican II left the theology of the Eucharist untouched.

    And the East doesn’t have the same theology of the Eucharist. Transubstantiation is a Western Roman Catholic idea. The East doesn’t teach it. It’s view isn’t really all that objectionable to a traditional Reformed view of real presence.

    Another significant difference between East and Rome: (From the Orth. Church in America)

    “The eucharist is always given to all members of the Church, including infants who are baptized and confirmed. It is always given in both forms—bread and wine.”

    Yeah, Rome and the East both have the Eucharist. That’s about where the similarity ends on that sacrament at least. We have the Eucharist, too, by the way.

    Like

  36. Robert
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “Your attacks on Catholicism via Vatican II are thus without meaningful foundation, since the Eucharist is the core of traditional Christianity, and Vatican II left the theology of the Eucharist untouched.”

    And the East doesn’t have the same theology of the Eucharist. Transubstantiation is a Western Roman Catholic idea. The East doesn’t teach it. It’s view isn’t really all that objectionable to a traditional Reformed view of real presence.

    Since Rome recognizes the Eastern Orthodox Eucharist as licit [lawful and genuine], the theologizing is moot.

    Exactly my point about Elder Hart’s attacks on Catholicism that cannot tell the mountains from the molehills.

    Like

  37. TVD, I bear no animosity toward anyone’s church. The community activities that mean so much to me at this stage of my life much more often than not include Catholics. I have been an on and off subscriber to First Things since the mid-90’s.

    What internal affairs of the RC Church do not involve public truth claims? I guess how much the local Bishop pays my brothérs best friend’s daughter (a Baptist) to serve as diocesan accountant, but that is hardly what we are talking about here.

    The argument that Ratzinger had was not with DGH- it was with other Catholics. The part you highlighted does accurately state his position– but he had to repeat it time after time and it was always contested, in large part by other European’s who were also participants. Hardly small potatoes.

    But I will give him and JPII props for fighting their corner. Had they not, the RCC would today be dominated by liberal Western European and American Bishops and Cardinals and their theological (pelvic) concerns would have changed the faith beyond recognition. But PFII and his successors might well change it even more radically than us Westerners can even begin to fathom– just in a different direction.

    Like

  38. Bob S.:
    Which is to say on the face of it, in light of Scripture, I consider Rome to be a gigantic fraud. >>>>>

    That is your personal opinion, and you have a right to hold to it. However, if you say “in light of Scripture, I consider…”, well which is it? Is it Scripture that tells you the Catholic Church is a gigantic fraud, or is it your own, personal consideration that informs you?

    Now, I could come along and say that Calvinism is, according to Scripture, in my opinion a gigantic fraud.

    You have no way to refute what I say. Your argument is irrelevant.

    Now, what would you do if I were to make that assertion?

    Like

  39. “They failed to see that Vatican II stood in fundamental continuity with the past.”

    But if Ratzinger heard from historians that the early church had no belief in the assmumption of Mary and then still affirmed it, what possible credibility could he have about being in continuity with the past. Unless, of course, you want to make up continuity.

    Like

  40. D. G. Hart
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 9:44 pm | Permalink
    “They failed to see that Vatican II stood in fundamental continuity with the past.”

    But if Ratzinger heard from historians that the early church had no belief in the assmumption of Mary and then still affirmed it, what possible credibility could he have about being in continuity with the past. Unless, of course, you want to make up continuity.

    The Assumption is piddly stuff, one of your molehills. You’re so far away from the important stuff like the Eucharist and divorce it’s a different world.

    (A different) Dan
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink
    TVD, I bear no animosity toward anyone’s church. The community activities that mean so much to me at this stage of my life much more often than not include Catholics. I have been an on and off subscriber to First Things since the mid-90’s.

    What internal affairs of the RC Church do not involve public truth claims?

    The Assumption is a “public” truth claim, I suppose, but makes no difference in most Catholic lives, let alone yours. It’s one of Elder Hart’s phony issues. Good on you for the First Things sub, though. The Reformed represent well, Leithart, Trueman. [DG Hart in the letters sections, not so much.]

    😉

    I guess how much the local Bishop pays my brothérs best friend’s daughter (a Baptist) to serve as diocesan accountant, but that is hardly what we are talking about here.

    The argument that Ratzinger had was not with DGH- it was with other Catholics. The part you highlighted does accurately state his position– but he had to repeat it time after time and it was always contested, in large part by other European’s who were also participants. Hardly small potatoes.

    How can an outsider possibly know whether it’s a major or a minor issue? I make 500 priests out of 400,000 small potatoes. That doesn’t mean the Pope shouldn’t try to bring the 100th sheep back to the flock [although mathematically in this case it’s more like the 999th!].

    But I will give him and JPII props for fighting their corner. Had they not, the RCC would today be dominated by liberal Western European and American Bishops and Cardinals and their theological (pelvic) concerns would have changed the faith beyond recognition. But PFII and his successors might well change it even more radically than us Westerners can even begin to fathom– just in a different direction.

    I do agree that such radical (pelvic, well put!) change would spell the end of Catholicism as we know it. But even The Great Schism, the Reformation–no, not really. It’s the same church in all the essentials that it was 1000 years ago, despite its enemies’ ankle-biting on it. Pre-Reformation Christianity is about the sacraments, not rabbinical niggling over jots and tittles.

    Like

  41. Tom,

    Since Rome recognizes the Eastern Orthodox Eucharist as licit [lawful and genuine], the theologizing is moot.

    Tell the EO that theologizing is moot. That Rome accepts it shows just how superficial its acceptance of the East is. Heck, it accepts our baptism. I guess that means we look exactly the same as Rome.

    Like

  42. Tom,

    But even The Great Schism, the Reformation–no, not really. It’s the same church in all the essentials that it was 1000 years ago, despite its enemies’ ankle-biting on it.

    That’s just demonstrably false. Rome doesn’t wield the sword anymore, believes that all people go to heaven unless they’re like REALLY bad, now teaches papal infallibility and other things as dogma, and we could go on.

    Pre-Reformation Christianity is about the sacraments, not rabbinical niggling over jots and tittles.

    This is oversimplification. There’s fifteen hundred years between Jesus and the Reformation, and it’s not all about the sacraments.

    But the kernel of truth is that Rome is all about the sacraments. The actual theology is largely irrelevant to most of the laity, and Rome’s happy with implicit faith. Basically, you can believe whatever you want as long as you don’t make too much noise about it and give nominal assent to Rome, who will do the hard work of believing for you.

    Like

  43. Robert
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “Since Rome recognizes the Eastern Orthodox Eucharist as licit [lawful and genuine], the theologizing is moot.”

    Tell the EO that theologizing is moot. That Rome accepts it shows just how superficial its acceptance of the East is. Heck, it accepts our baptism. I guess that means we look exactly the same as Rome.

    Sorry, you’re blurring necessary distinctions. Any lay person can baptize. Edgardo Mortara. Don’t you read this blog? 😉

    Only priests, ordained in “apostolic succession,” can consecrate the Eucharist. Eastern Orthodox priests and therefore their Eucharist are licit. Your “Lord’s Supper” thing is not the Eucharist. By what authority did John Calvin and his re-invention of Christianity dump the Eucharist? Dump “apostolic succession,” which the Eastern Orthodox still have 1000 years after the Great Schism?

    That’s your puzzle: Rome is not your only theological problem, which is why these attacks on Vatican II are meaningless.

    Like

  44. Robert
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 11:00 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “But even The Great Schism, the Reformation–no, not really. It’s the same church in all the essentials that it was 1000 years ago, despite its enemies’ ankle-biting on it.”

    That’s just demonstrably false. Rome doesn’t wield the sword anymore, believes that all people go to heaven unless they’re like REALLY bad, now teaches papal infallibility and other things as dogma, and we could go on.

    “Pre-Reformation Christianity is about the sacraments, not rabbinical niggling over jots and tittles”

    This is oversimplification. There’s fifteen hundred years between Jesus and the Reformation, and it’s not all about the sacraments.

    But the kernel of truth is that Rome is all about the sacraments. The actual theology is largely irrelevant to most of the laity, and Rome’s happy with implicit faith. Basically, you can believe whatever you want as long as you don’t make too much noise about it and give nominal assent to Rome, who will do the hard work of believing for you.

    BF mine. Rome is all about the sacraments. So is the Eastern Orthodox Church. Non-Reformation Christianity is still the same 1000 years after the Great Schism of 1054. It’s still the same Christian religion. Why is your version so radically different?

    As for Rome doing “the hard work of believing for you,” believe in what? The Immaculate Conception?

    It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin.”
    (Martin Luther sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527)

    http://catholicbridge.com/catholic/martin_luther_on_mary.php

    I have no idea of the provenance of the quote or if Luther refudiated it later. But you and Darryl want to destroy Christian unity over non-essential stuff like this? And how does Luther know the truth of any of what he says here? Tradition? Theology? Sola scriptura?

    You tell me.

    Like

  45. Tom,

    Sorry, you’re blurring necessary distinctions. Any lay person can baptize. Edgardo Mortara. Don’t you read this blog?

    Hey, it’s not my fault that Roman sacramental theology is fundamentally incoherent. Not only can any lay person baptize, you can be a full-on pagan. You must be baptized to be saved, but not really if you can’t get it. Etc. Etc.

    Only priests, ordained in “apostolic succession,” can consecrate the Eucharist. Eastern Orthodox priests and therefore their Eucharist are licit. Your “Lord’s Supper” thing is not the Eucharist.

    Translation: because Rome says theologizing is moot, theologizing is moot. Again, ask the EO. They really aren’t very friendly to the the Roman doctrine of the Eucharist.

    By what authority did John Calvin and his re-invention of Christianity dump the Eucharist?

    Where did Calvin “dump” the Eucharist. He dumped transubstantiation and the idea of the mass as a propitiatory sacrifice, neither of which have anything resembling a 1,500 year old pedigree at the time of the Reformation.

    Dump “apostolic succession,” which the Eastern Orthodox still have 1000 years after the Great Schism?

    Actually, if you go back to the actual originators of this doctrine, they were well aware that succession wasn’t guaranteed merely by the laying on of hands apart from orthodoxy. The problem is that Rome and the East have kind of forgotten that point.

    That’s your puzzle: Rome is not your only theological problem, which is why these attacks on Vatican II are meaningless.

    Sure it’s not. Just as Protestantism isn’t Rome’s only theological problem. And yet we’re so “insignificant” that Rome continues to deal with us.

    Some of the issues with the East are similar, others are not. The attacks on Vatican 2 aren’t meaningless. If we’re all trying to find the true church, and a church professing to never change and to be infallible reinvents itself radically so that it it’s theology is barely recognizable after V2, that pretty much rules out Rome as a contender. It doesn’t automatically make the OPC the one true church, nor would Darryl concede that it does.

    You’re applying the typical CTC apologetic to us as if we believe it. Their argument is “Protestantism is wrong, therefore Rome.” Ours is NOT “Romanism is wrong, therefore Protestantism.”

    Like

  46. Robert
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    “Sorry, you’re blurring necessary distinctions. Any lay person can baptize. Edgardo Mortara. Don’t you read this blog?”

    Hey, it’s not my fault that Roman sacramental theology is fundamentally incoherent.

    No, that sort of overturning the chessboard won’t do.

    Not only can any lay person baptize, you can be a full-on pagan. You must be baptized to be saved, but not really if you can’t get it. Etc. Etc.

    Only priests, ordained in “apostolic succession,” can consecrate the Eucharist. Eastern Orthodox priests and therefore their Eucharist are licit. Your “Lord’s Supper” thing is not the Eucharist.

    Translation: because Rome says theologizing is moot, theologizing is moot.

    That won’t do either. Apostolic succession and therefore the real Eucharist are essential; “transubstantiation” is an ex post facto explanation.

    The Aristotelian understanding of “substance” is metaphysics, not physics. It’s a stupid hairsplitting once again.

    Again, ask the EO. They really aren’t very friendly to the the Roman doctrine of the Eucharist.

    See above. And since you reject both, this is a waste of time.

    “By what authority did John Calvin and his re-invention of Christianity dump the Eucharist?”

    Where did Calvin “dump” the Eucharist. He dumped transubstantiation and the idea of the mass as a propitiatory sacrifice, neither of which have anything resembling a 1,500 year old pedigree at the time of the Reformation.

    Of course he dumped the Eucharist, by abandoning apostolic succession. Forget the “transubstantiation” metaphysics. Leave Rome out of it–argue your version of Christianity against the eastern orthodox.

    Dump “apostolic succession,” which the Eastern Orthodox still have 1000 years after the Great Schism?

    Actually, if you go back to the actual originators of this doctrine, they were well aware that succession wasn’t guaranteed merely by the laying on of hands apart from orthodoxy. The problem is that Rome and the East have kind of forgotten that point.

    So now you’re back to arguing that Christ left his church in error for at least 1000 years.

    That’s your puzzle: Rome is not your only theological problem, which is why these attacks on Vatican II are meaningless.

    Sure it’s not. Just as Protestantism isn’t Rome’s only theological problem. And yet we’re so “insignificant” that Rome continues to deal with us.

    Rome doesn’t “deal” with you, it recognizes that your Baptism is licit.

    Some of the issues with the East are similar, others are not. The attacks on Vatican 2 aren’t meaningless.

    They’re meaningless unless you’re Catholic.

    If we’re all trying to find the true church

    Actually I’d say the Catholic position is if they’re not it, there is no “true church,” only theological anarchy, as evidenced by Protestantism’s semper schismata.

    and a church professing to never change and to be infallible reinvents itself radically</i.

    Well, "infallible" is used too loosely here to be of any value whatsoever, since the Catholic Church doesn't claim to have always been right about everything. That's just more of Old Life rhetorical dishonesty, frankly.

    so that it it’s theology is barely recognizable after V2,

    So is this.

    that pretty much rules out Rome as a contender. It doesn’t automatically make the OPC the one true church, nor would Darryl concede that it does.

    Actually, he and they seem to shy away from any claims there is any ‘one true church’, let alone them. Their theological vocabulary is restricted to mindlessly cutting & pasting their rather vacuous “Confessions” and attacking the Catholic Church on all matters great and small [mostly small].

    You’re applying the typical CTC apologetic to us as if we believe it. Their argument is “Protestantism is wrong, therefore Rome.” Ours is NOT “Romanism is wrong, therefore Protestantism.”

    So say you, but you certainly can’t tell by Darryl desperately gumming on The Assumption. Hell, you can’t even get your fellow Protestants to take you seriously. Romanism is the least of your problems.

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  47. And since Elder Hart has such a jihad on Mariology, let’s not evade this one. Go for it, Butch. Might as well d-bag Luther and all your other enemies in the Christian religion while you’re at it.

    “As for Rome doing ‘the hard work of believing for you,’ believe in what? The Immaculate Conception?”

    It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin.”
    (Martin Luther sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527)

    http://catholicbridge.com/catholic/martin_luther_on_mary.php

    I have no idea of the provenance of the quote or if Luther refudiated it later. But you and Darryl want to destroy Christian unity over non-essential stuff like this? And how does Luther know the truth of any of what he says here? Tradition? Theology? Sola scriptura?

    You tell me.

    “from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin.”

    Baptism didn’t even exist yet. How could Mary be born without sin? How did Martin Luther come up with this? Sola scriptura? What does “the first moment she began to live” even mean? Conception? “Birth?” “Quickening?”

    Sola scripturate away. I’m all eyes and ears.

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  48. Mrs.W
    I’ve been at this longer than you have been a romanist and I started out one to boot and was more than willing to give it the benefit of doubt.
    But regardless of personal anecdotes, the testimony of the Reformation is clear. Whether it is the five solas, that the mass is an accursed idolatry in the Heidelberg or the original West. Confession which considered the pope the antiChrist. (Re. the last, suffice it to say that the modern presbyterian denominations that modified the last are either now playing footsie with Rome or having problems with Romish theology, aka Fed.Vision.)

    Rome is the epitome of Christianity gone to seed and religion according to the natural man; it’s all about the external and walking by sight with Rome doling out grace through the spigots of her carnal sacraments.

    She is not to be trusted even when she says things are true, because many times she claims them on her own authority and not God or Scripture.

    But then tradition and the magisterium are equal to Scripture, which means they are Scripture for all practical purposes. Even if Rome denies on the one hand what she gives on the other.

    She speaks with a forked tongue and is THE incarnation of Body of Christ which cannot sin, all the while the pope claims to be the infallible head of the body – but only on earth mind you, not in heaven where Jesus really is the head etc. etc.

    While I have pleasant memories of growing up, sociology is not soteriology. Of Rome’s despicable Jesuitical dialectic I have no patience. (Nor Tommy’s best imitation of pyrrhonnism, aka the skepticism of Veron, an intellectual/theological venereal disease of the first order). Death by a thousand paper cuts and a million qualifications still stinks and still is death. And Romanists are still spiritually dead according to Scripture, even though Rome does it’s carnal best to pre-empt any kind of spiritual concern that is not man centered will worship.

    For you though the shiny new car smell is still paramount. Great, I’m happy for ya’ sweets, but like so many ex evangelical prots, modern evangelical arminianism is not reformed protestantism.
    All that glitters is not gold and not all gospels are good news. God willing, you’ll learn, but then again maybe not, Rome’s tete-a-tete with universalism to the contrary.

    Still on that great day you won’t be able to say that you weren’t warned.

    The Assumption is piddly stuff, one of your molehills. You’re so far away from the important stuff like the Eucharist and divorce it’s a different world.

    And Christ did not say those who are faithful in the least, shall be entrusted with greater?
    This is the infallible church we are talking about, you know, which actually claims to speak for Christ. Or in the place of Christ. Or . . . .
    Or that we should speak to Mary to speak to Christ in our behalf or something to do with little, less important things like co-redemptrix.

    Yeah, that vomit damnable nonsense sure sounds good and strokes the pride of the natural man.

    Wait this just in (sorry Mud).

    Leave Rome out of it–argue your version of Christianity against the eastern orthodox.

    My WhackATrollMole Strategy Indicator says,”Keep changing the topic”. Forget Scripture, forget Rome, let’s make it about the EO. Red herring much?

    Like

  49. Robert,

    “Translation: Who cares if the Magisterium is making it up as they go along or if there’s any historical evidence for certain doctrines?”

    The historicist approach is not practiced by conservative Protestants either. One doesn’t reduce matters of divine revelation to shifting sands of temporal historical scholarship (well, no one rationally should). I also don’t think you’ll say the OT/NT historians and scholars who reject aspects of its historicity are dolts who don’t know how to practice their craft (especially if you want to be consistent with the 2k approach – remember Christian plumbers and Christian math gets derided here).

    Making it up as they go along would entail just arbitrarily bringing something out of the blue. Development doesn’t work that way – as Ratzinger said his teachers said there was evidence for its belief in the 5th century – maybe it just randomly popped up in the 5th century as you would contend and magically became a universal feast day east and west in the 6th/7th century because everyone got fooled, but there’s no historical evidence for that – remember WL Craig’s “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” he loves to use in debates against atheists who endorse similar principles as the one-sided historicist approach.

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  50. Cletus,

    The historicist approach is not practiced by conservative Protestants either. One doesn’t reduce matters of divine revelation to shifting sands of temporal historical scholarship (well, no one rationally should).

    Translation: Rome said it, I believe it, that settles it.

    No one’s “reducing divine revelation to shifting sands of temporal historical scholarship.” We’re pointing out that there’s no evidence for this not only in Scripture but also in “tradition,” whatever tradition is.

    I also don’t think you’ll say the OT/NT historians and scholars who reject aspects of its historicity are dolts who don’t know how to practice their craft (especially if you want to be consistent with the 2k approach – remember Christian plumbers and Christian math gets derided here).

    Not necessarily dolts. More like stopped watches that are right twice a day. And I’m not 2K to the degree that this blog is.

    Making it up as they go along would entail just arbitrarily bringing something out of the blue. Development doesn’t work that way – as Ratzinger said his teachers said there was evidence for its belief in the 5th century – maybe it just randomly popped up in the 5th century as you would contend and magically became a universal feast day east and west in the 6th/7th century because everyone got fooled, but there’s no historical evidence for that – remember WL Craig’s “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” he loves to use in debates against atheists who endorse similar principles as the one-sided historicist approach.

    1. I don’t follow WL Craig.
    2. Yes, absence of evidence is not automatically evidence of absence. But when you have evidence of absence plus no biblical warrant plus people questioning the belief when it first appears, you’ve got pretty strong evidence of absence.

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  51. James Young, “One doesn’t reduce matters of divine revelation to shifting sands of temporal historical scholarship (well, no one rationally should).”

    Where’s your three-legged stool now?

    Scripture on bodily assumption? Not.

    Reason/history on bodily assumption? Not.

    Tradition that is alive and coming to your town soon on the bodily assumption? of course.

    And tradition needs to cooperate with Scripture and reason, my arse.

    Yup.

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  52. Tom,

    No, that sort of overturning the chessboard won’t do.

    Translation: I recognize that Rome’s sacramental theology is incoherent, so I can’t defend my position.

    That won’t do either. Apostolic succession and therefore the real Eucharist are essential;

    Apostolic succession of the nature that Rome teaches isn’t necessary for a valid Eucharist. The Apostles never teach that.

    “transubstantiation” is an ex post facto explanation.
    The Aristotelian understanding of “substance” is metaphysics, not physics. It’s a stupid hairsplitting once again.

    Thank you for noting how incoherent you find Rome’s sacramental theology, which begs the question as to why you insist on defending Rome.

    This isn’t stupid hairsplitting. My soul is in danger of hell if I reject the peculiarly Roman doctrines. Or do you not remember the Reformation?

    You can’t defend Rome as the one true church and then tell her what she says is essential is nonessential. That’s theological liberalism.

    See above. And since you reject both, this is a waste of time.

    I don’t necessarily reject the East’s understanding. From what I have read from the East, they don’t try to explain how Christ is present, they just know that He is. That’s what Calvin essentially taught.

    Of course he dumped the Eucharist, by abandoning apostolic succession.

    Wrong-o. Apostles don’t teach that the Eucharist is valid only if consecrated according to Rome’s view of apostolic succession. Or the East’s, for that matter.

    Forget the “transubstantiation” metaphysics.

    One of the main reasons for the Reformation was transubstantiation, so no. You don’t get to tell us what to disregard from Rome when Rome makes it an article of faith.

    Leave Rome out of it–argue your version of Christianity against the eastern orthodox.

    Simple. The Word of God does not teach Apostolic succession of the nature that Rome or the East affirms. It doesn’t teach the veneration of icons. It doesn’t teach the infallibility of the church. So while some or other of these might have been practiced for a long time, they are all invalid, and most certainly invalid as defining aspects of Christianity.

    To the East’s credit, however, they are true conciliarists. Just like us Presbyterians.

    So now you’re back to arguing that Christ left his church in error for at least 1000 years.

    The true church of God always teaches some error. It’s not infallible. People get things wrong. This complaint is really off base, because now Rome has to figure out why God left his people in error for thousands of years before Christ. You don’t really want to go down this route.

    Rome doesn’t “deal” with you, it recognizes that your Baptism is licit.

    Yes, incoherently it does. And Rome deals with us all the time. See Trent. See Vatican 2. See Rome’s attempt at ecumenism, although to be fair these attempts are always with liberals. Makes sense because Rome is liberal.

    They’re meaningless unless you’re Catholic.

    Um, aren’t you the one defending the RC Church.

    Actually I’d say the Catholic position is if they’re not it, there is no “true church,”

    That’s probably accurate.
    only theological anarchy, as evidenced by Protestantism’s semper schismata.

    Protestants are just honest about our disagreements. Roman Catholics aren’t, or at least the Magisterium isn’t. The vast majority of RC laity flouts the most literal readings of the the church’s moral theology on sex. They just don’t leave the church. They’re no less schismatic, they’re just undermining the church from within.

    Well, “infallible” is used too loosely here to be of any value whatsoever, since the Catholic Church doesn’t claim to have always been right about everything. That’s just more of Old Life rhetorical dishonesty, frankly.

    Unless Rome has specifically said it has erred, it is the duty of the laity to accept what is taught as infallible even if it has not yet been declared so. At least that’s what the most conservative RC apologists teach, and it’s how Rome has acted. Or did you forget that Rome tried to kill Luther BEFORE Trent gave its infallible doctrine of justification.

    So is this.

    Separated brethren, charism of the laity, saved Muslims, and so forth all evidence a fundamentally different view of the church post V2 than the majority of RC history before it. And since the doctrine of the church is the only thing that matters in RCism, you have a fundamentally different church.

    Actually, he and they seem to shy away from any claims there is any ‘one true church’, let alone them.

    Actually, Presbyterian theology is pretty clear that there is one true invisible church.

    Their theological vocabulary is restricted to mindlessly cutting & pasting their rather vacuous “Confessions” and attacking the Catholic Church on all matters great and small [mostly small].

    When you can actually affirm the RC confessions, then you can accuse ours of being vacuous. Otherwise, you’re just showing that you show Rome’s confessions to be equally vacuous, and thus there’s no reason for you to waste time defending them.

    So say you, but you certainly can’t tell by Darryl desperately gumming on The Assumption.

    If the Assumption is no big deal, then it shouldn’t be an article of faith that must be believed. So there’s no desperate gumming. You’re the one who has misplaced priorities, telling us how united Rome is and then denying the very things it is supposed to be united about.

    Hell, you can’t even get your fellow Protestants to take you seriously. Romanism is the least of your problems.

    I don’t even know what you mean here. If you mean that the liberals overlook us, we don’t really much care. They aren’t Protestants or even Christian at all.

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  53. Murray seems to still be a polarizing figure amongst the American Catholic intelligentsia:

    “Of course, for Protestants, the fate of the United States and the fate of American Protestantism have been deeply intertwined from the very beginning, so adherence to the civic project must stem not simply from confidence that American liberty was generally hospitable to the flourishing of Christianity but from a deep, if inchoate, conviction that the American experiment itself was the political outworking of a Protestant sense of “nature and nature’s God.” For Catholics, whose experience in this country was at least initially very different from that of Protestants, common commitment to this project is testimony to the long shadow cast by John Courtney Murray. Catholics generally find his argument for the compatibility of Catholicism with the principles of the American founding convincing because they believe that the argument has been vindicated by the growth and assimilation of the Church in the United States and by the apparent vitality of American Catholicism in comparison with Catholicism in Europe. Rarely do political or theological disagreements penetrate deeply enough to disturb this shared foundation. Liberal or conservative, postconciliar Catholicism in America is essentially Murrayite.”
    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/02/the-civic-project-of-american-christianity

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  54. Dan, if American RC’sm is Murrayite, isn’t also global RC’sm? I mean, Vatican 2 was not the conference of U.S. bishops. Of course, the Roman curia had a little more trouble adjusting to U.S. notions of liberty and individualism thanks to at least 400 years of saying no to any modern development — Reformation, Scientific Revolution, and modern politics and economics. But adjusting four hundred years after Trent wasn’t so bad.

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  55. DGH: Dan, if American RC’sm is Murrayite, isn’t also global RC’sm?

    Dan: That is precisely the right question, IMO. I’m not so sure that it is. Is the present Pope in more or less full retreat from Murrayism? If that is the direction he is heading, will his successors follow?

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  56. Dan, what makes this question particularly poignant in my estimate is the degree to which Murray may be a victim of anti-Americanism. In the 1960s (early), the U.S. and its ideals looked largely benign if not good. Now that we are the super power in excess, it’s easy for U.S. RC’s, third-world types like Francis, and European bishops to regard Americanism as the problem rather than the solution.

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  57. DGH, ding! ding!

    The camp associated with Denen, Schindler, etc reminds me very much of the New Left critique of the 1960’s. I don’t know if the name means anything to you or not, but think Theodore Lowi with metaphysics.

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  58. Dan, don’t know him, though it’s curious to see Lowi hails from Alabama. I was thinking of the folks that Paul Hollander identified in his book Anti-Americanism. But on the flipside there are all the Americanists (Weigel et al). The dilemma is that Americanism was a heresy.

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  59. DGH, Lowi’s 1969 book ” The End of Liberalism” caused quite a stir in the poly sci world back in the day. It has subsequently undergone a revision/expansion that I have not read. I may have overstated the case in lumping him with the Deneen/Schindler types– I think they would consider him too much of an optimist about America. Several libertarians actually find at least The End of Liberalism congenial, though Lowi is definitely a man of the left.

    Still, life is kind of funny– I get out of college and law school, work almost 40 years for a living, retire and find the time to catch up on what is going on in the world, and damned if I don’t find these old issues alive and well but with a theological spin. The First Things/ Communio debate seems awfully reminiscent of the debate that used to make maintainiñg subscriptions to Commentary and the New York Review of Books so much fun.

    I will have to take a look at the Hollander book..I do agree that the RCC hasn’t ever come to a stable relationship with Americanism.

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  60. Robert
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Actually I’d say the Catholic position is if they’re not it, there is no “true church,”

    That’s probably accurate.

    “only theological anarchy, as evidenced by Protestantism’s semper schismata.”

    Protestants are just honest about our disagreements.

    As if you could hide them, with 1000s of competing theologies, denominations and sub-denominations? There is no “Yes, but…” here. This is the entire point.

    Roman Catholics aren’t, or at least the Magisterium isn’t. The vast majority of RC laity flouts the most literal readings of the the church’s moral theology on sex. They just don’t leave the church. They’re no less schismatic, they’re just undermining the church from within.

    That’s not what schism means. You don’t get to redefine it. Further, dissent from the Magisterium is by definition non-magisterial, be it the lay people or clergy. You keep repeating Darryl’s formal error of conflating polls and praxis with theology and ecclesiology.

    You seem unable to view Catholicism through its own eyes, only Protestant ones, where theological dissent soon spells a new denomination opening up down the street. Being “honest” about sola scriptura’s fatal flaw makes it no less fatal. There is no “Yes, but…”

    What we don’t have is anything remotely close to: “Here is a list of all and only the texts that count as scriptural” — and even if we did, we’d have to ask how we know that that text is itself really scriptural.) Then there all the various specific doctrinal matters which (a) advocates of sola scriptura typically regard as definitive of Christian orthodoxy even though (b) advocates of sola scriptura have also taken radically different and opposed positions on. In my previous post, I gave as examples the centuries-old controversies concerning the Trinity, the Incarnation, justification, transubstantiation, contraception, divorce and remarriage, Sunday observance, infant baptism, slavery, pacifism, the consistency of scripture with scientific claims, and sola scriptura itself. If the sola scriptura advocate says (for example) “You must be a Trinitarian on pain of heresy” even though advocates of sola scriptura disagree about whether Trinitarianism is really scriptural, then he is in a position analogous to that of the Humean who makes use of mathematics, even though it is extremely dubious at best whether mathematics can be analyzed in terms of either “relations of ideas” or “matters of fact.”

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/07/empiricism-and-sola-scriptura-redux.html

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  61. Coates is everything you say he is. Did you see his 10 best books list from last week? Terribly impressive that Wedgwood’s 30 Years War is on it. Good book, not sure I would rate it that high, but a very revealing choice (as are the others. )
    http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/tmagazine/2015/07/31/ta-nehisi-coates-reading-list/?referrer=

    But if you ever want President Sasse to appoint you to anything, you need to be careful what you say about Lincoln. (Emoticon)

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  62. Tom,

    That’s not what schism means. You don’t get to redefine it.

    I know what schism means. And I’m not bound to define things as Roman Catholics do. I’m not Roman Catholic. Those laity are guilty of informal schism in my mind.

    Further, dissent from the Magisterium is by definition non-magisterial, be it the lay people or clergy. You keep repeating Darryl’s formal error of conflating polls and praxis with theology and ecclesiology.

    Rome does not get to claim that it is the one true church and infallible and the way to definitely know doctrine when it’s doctrine is unclear. Again, you expect us to read the Magisterial documents and think it’s all so tidy while ignoring dissent, but God forbid anyone do that with Scripture. If the bishops and clergy disagree and the pope does nothing, there goes infallible doctrine. Jesus says we will know true preachers from their fruit. The fruit of Roman Catholicism ain’t pretty.

    You seem unable to view Catholicism through its own eyes,

    No, I know RCism’s view of itself. I reject it as coherent. And I especially reject it as superior to Protestant ecclesiology when it is unable to prevent the problems everyone wants to impute to Protestantism.

    only Protestant ones, where theological dissent soon spells a new denomination opening up down the street.

    As opposed to Liberal RC theologians being allowed to set up shop in house. Why is that better?

    Being “honest” about sola scriptura’s fatal flaw makes it no less fatal. There is no “Yes, but…”

    The fault is in ourselves and in sin, just as any RC would have to admit about its own position. If the fact that people don’t agree with and openly reject the Magisterium is their own sin, we can say the exact same thing about Scripture. Cue Bryan “Well at least Rome has a principled means…” Problem is, you have no principled means for discerning that Rome is the church of principled means. The RC apologetics schtick wouldn’t nearly be so objectionable if they’d just be honest.

    Further, what you presume to call sola Scriptura’s fatal flaw is only fatal if you think that the visible church is the be all and end all of the Christian faith. I don’t accept that, and with good biblical warrant.

    And you don’t have much of a standing to criticize Protestantism exhort the superiority of Romanism when you exercise non-Magisterial dissent by telling us that transubstantiation and the IC and the Assumption of Mary are no big deal. Talk about not seeing Roman Catholicism as Roman Catholicism sees itself.

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  63. Robert,

    How is transubstantiation different from stating that Christ has two natures and that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son? It’s an application of philosophical thought to truths- a means to understand and explain. In neither case do the form of words and underlying concepts alter what is spoken of.

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  64. Dan, I don’t want to be appointed to anything. Politics is evil and I am trying to be holy.

    But a night in the White House is on my bucket list. So is meeting Coates.

    Like

  65. I’m not active anymore, but I still know some big time GOP fundraisers. I will do everything I can to get you put up in the Lincoln Bedroom.

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  66. Kevin,

    How is transubstantiation different from stating that Christ has two natures and that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son? It’s an application of philosophical thought to truths- a means to understand and explain. In neither case do the form of words and underlying concepts alter what is spoken of.

    I think the former is more appropriate question, as I’m not sure what the HG procession has to say about this. Christ’s two natures, while united, each retain their own essence and accidents. Christ’s human nature has the essence and accidents of humanity, and ditto for the divine nature having the same for deity. Transubstantiation says that bread has the accidents of bread and the essence of Christ’s body. But we don’t say Christ has the essence of deity and the accidents of man.

    While I don’t buy transubstantiation, I think the main problem with the doctrine is not its formulation per se but the fact that Rome has bound people to believe Christ is present in that way. It has defined and explained a mystery that Scripture does not explain. It also seems to make the human nature of Christ omnipresent, but I’ve had some RCs explain that such is not what is happening and that Christ is present personally, but not bodily. If that is what it means, that’s really not all that different than what Calvin taught, as far as I understand it at least.

    It’s similar to the Assumption. If people wanted to hold that as a personal theological opinion and not go all out with the Mary veneration, I don’t have as much of an issue. The problem is that it is imposed on people for their salvation without biblical warrant. And I’m not sure it could be imposed without veneration.

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  67. Robert,

    My intention in raising Christological and Trinitarian definitions was to say that these are particular theological expressions of our understanding of divine truth – in that sense similar to Transubstantiation.

    I can imagine Assyrian Church of the East members or various Oriental or Eastern Orthodox rejecting One-Person-Two-Natures or Filioque formulations, and yet in fact sharing a belief in the content of the formulations, which could come out through discussion – (indeed, I think this has happened many times, e.g. in what is termed “Ecumenical Dialogue” – what would be your thoughts here – can they be orthodox in this respect in your view?). I take this to be true of Transubstantiation as well.

    I get your primary objection that the RCC isn’t warranted in imposing this understanding – as with the Assumption, it is similar to Jeff Cagle’s and Sdb’s objection with regard to the I.C., I believe.

    Not sure whether you saw two replies I made on another thread, which I’d be interested in your thoughts on: https://oldlife.org/2015/07/a-church-i-could-believe-in/comment-page-5/#comments

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  68. Robert
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink
    Tom,

    That’s not what schism means. You don’t get to redefine it.

    I know what schism means. And I’m not bound to define things as Roman Catholics do. I’m not Roman Catholic. Those laity are guilty of informal schism in my mind.

    Further, dissent from the Magisterium is by definition non-magisterial, be it the lay people or clergy. You keep repeating Darryl’s formal error of conflating polls and praxis with theology and ecclesiology.

    Rome does not get to claim that it is the one true church and infallible and the way to definitely know doctrine when it’s doctrine is unclear. Again, you expect us to read the Magisterial documents and think it’s all so tidy while ignoring dissent, but God forbid anyone do that with Scripture. If the bishops and clergy disagree and the pope does nothing, there goes infallible doctrine. Jesus says we will know true preachers from their fruit. The fruit of Roman Catholicism ain’t pretty.

    You seem unable to view Catholicism through its own eyes,

    No, I know RCism’s view of itself. I reject it as coherent. And I especially reject it as superior to Protestant ecclesiology when it is unable to prevent the problems everyone wants to impute to Protestantism.

    only Protestant ones, where theological dissent soon spells a new denomination opening up down the street.

    As opposed to Liberal RC theologians being allowed to set up shop in house. Why is that better?

    Being “honest” about sola scriptura’s fatal flaw makes it no less fatal. There is no “Yes, but…”

    The fault is in ourselves and in sin, just as any RC would have to admit about its own position. If the fact that people don’t agree with and openly reject the Magisterium is their own sin, we can say the exact same thing about Scripture. Cue Bryan “Well at least Rome has a principled means…” Problem is, you have no principled means for discerning that Rome is the church of principled means. The RC apologetics schtick wouldn’t nearly be so objectionable if they’d just be honest.

    Further, what you presume to call sola Scriptura’s fatal flaw is only fatal if you think that the visible church is the be all and end all of the Christian faith. I don’t accept that, and with good biblical warrant.

    And you don’t have much of a standing to criticize Protestantism exhort the superiority of Romanism when you exercise non-Magisterial dissent by telling us that transubstantiation and the IC and the Assumption of Mary are no big deal. Talk about not seeing Roman Catholicism as Roman Catholicism sees itself.

    Well, basically with your redefinitions and rejections, you just overturn the chessboard and declare victory, which is the only way you can ‘win.’

    Y’all ought to check what “transubstantiation” really means though. I doubt anyone here could actually define it. As for the Assumption and stuff like that, turning every minor piece of dogma into a dealbreaker is why Protestantism is a ‘visible’ mess.

    Peace, out.

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