My Jaws Just Got Tighter

A few days ago, Terry Mattingly, of gotcha journalism fame, mocked the Washington Post for inserting a hyphen into Marco Rubio’s comments about Jesus. Here’s the quotation:

For the next few minutes, Rubio sounded more like a Sunday school teacher than a presidential candidate holding an early January town hall. He talked about John the Baptist, he referred to Jesus as “God-made man,” and he explained his yearning to share “eternity with my creator.”

Mattingly thinks that hyphen shows how little the Washington Post’s reporters know about Nicene Christianity (even though without the hyphen it the phrase “God made man” sounds strange when applied to the eternal son of God):

…for Trinitarian Christians, Jesus is not a “man,” “God-made” but, rather, “God made man” (or perhaps “God, made man”).

This may seem like rather picky stuff, and it is. However, it’s hard to name a more central doctrine in the Christian faith than the Holy Trinity. Wasn’t there someone on the Post copy desk who has taken Christianity 101, or was this simply a bad day when it came time to handle this particular piece of copy?

Now, it’s possible that the original copy for this story actually stated that Rubio “referred to Jesus as ‘God – made man’ ” and that turned into you know what?

So, will the heretical hyphen simply vanish in the online version of this story? Here is hoping that the Post editors actually do the right thing and, perhaps with the help of someone at the Catholic University of America, produce a correction. I cannot wait to read it.

Applying that logic to the church instead of newspapers, what does Mr. Mattingly think about Pope Francis’ decision to celebrate the Protestant Reformation (posted by Rod Dreher)?

Nearly 500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of a German church, beginning the Protestant Reformation that led millions to break with the Roman Catholic Church and ushered in more than a century of conflict and war.

On Monday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will participate in a joint Lutheran-Catholic worship service in Sweden this October, kicking off a series of events planned for 2017 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The effort to mend relations with Protestants has been on the agenda of many popes before Francis, but it is a delicate endeavor. The worship service in Sweden was billed by its sponsors, the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation, as a “commemoration,” not as a “celebration,” in order to avoid any inappropriate note of triumphalism. Some Catholics have criticized the notion of a pope celebrating the anniversary of a schism.

Some of those Roman Catholics who object to Lutheranism almost as much as the Obedience Boys do say this about the pope’s recent warming up to Lutherans:

According to Edward Pentin, a group of Lutheran pilgrims were given communion in St. Peter’s Basilica itself this week. What is significant here is that communion was offered to them unilaterally by the celebrants of the Mass — the Lutherans themselves were expecting to receive only a blessing, and the celebrants knew they were not Catholics.

It is scarcely possible that this happened without the knowledge of the Basilica authorities. Are we now seeing the practical effects of Francis’ ambivalent words on holy communion for Lutherans?

You would also think that if you knew your Canons of Trent the way Mattingly expects the Post’s reporters to know the Nicene Creed or the way we might expect the pope to know conciliar teaching, you wouldn’t be all that ready to celebrate Martin Luther. After all, Luther not only disobeyed the magisterium, but was inhuman:

Before the bar of every rational and decent person, does Luther not convict himself of utter inhumanity?

Before the bar of all that is reasonable in moral exhortation – from parental to educational to civil and criminal, does he not convict himself of a crime against all law? Is he, therefore, anarchical?

Before the bar of Catholic Dogma, supreme criterion on earth of what we know is and is not part of and/or in harmony with the Deposit of Faith, does he not convict himself of heresy?

Before the God whom we ought to honor, to whom we ought to ascribe only what is good and true and fitting, does he not convict himself of great blasphemies, greater even than the Gnostics who first attempted to ruin the Church? For the Gnostics distinguished two gods, one good and one evil. Does not Luther add to the evil by subtracting from the number of Gods, folding that Evil, which all right reason and right faith and common decency vomit out as execrable, into the one God?

So why would a Roman Catholic pontiff make amends with a church (a liberal one at that) started by such a person as Luther? And why wouldn’t Mattingly apply the same standards to Rome as he does to Washington?


4 thoughts on “My Jaws Just Got Tighter

  1. How it might sound if Roman Catholics didn’t make high papalist excuses for Pope Francis:

    The latest Bizarro stunt comes to us in the form of a Vatican announcement that Pope Francis will travel to Sweden in October for a joint ecumenical commemoration of the Protestant Revolt

    Yes, that’s right—the Protestant revolt, when a Catholic priest named Father Martin Luther decided that the Christian Church had been wrong for 1500 years; that Aquinas, Augustine and every Church father and saint back to Peter was mistaken about the theology of the papacy; that it was time to tear up the Bible to fit Father Luther’s Sola Scriptura theories; that it was time to deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and, by the way, time for Father Luther to find himself a cute young thing to marry— an ex-nun by the name of Sister Katie von Bora.

    The true Antichrist—said Martin Luther—is sitting in the temple of God and is reigning in Rome, that empurpled Babylon …. This from a guy who by his own admission, was infused (while on his toilet, no less) with the knowledge that the Church was the great Whore of Babylon, that four of her seven Sacraments were abominations, as were her priesthood, celibacy, papacy and monastic life.

    On his toilet, Martin Luther also discovered that Faith alone will suffice, and that “all you need is love”.

    The situation was so evil, so heretical, so immoral, so demonic, that the great St. Thomas More—a fierce opponent of Luther’s— came to consider the marriage of Father Martin Luther to Sister Katharina von Bora to be a diabolical union that in fact spawned the Antichrist—the Protestant Religion.

    Thomas More used the Greek term “anarchos” to describe Luther’s role in destroying Christendom. According to Peter Ackroyd’s The Life of Thomas More, the great martyr wrote that the “whole great change of European consciousness in the sixteenth century was due to the hatred that the Protestants bear to all good order and the great hunger they have to make [everything] disordered.”

    St. Thomas More regarded Lutherans as “daemonun satellites” (“agents of demons”) who had to be stopped before they brought civilized society to ruin.

    And yet this same Lutheran Revolt that fractured Christendom, prompted the emergency convocation of the Council of Trent, and was condemned by popes and saints at that time and ever since will now be happily commemorated by Pope Francis.

    He’s even taken it upon his humble self to apologize to the Lutherans for the terrible treatment they received from fundamentalist Catholics who, living in the dark ages of faith, had not yet walked into the light of ecumenical babble and diabolical dialogue.


  2. Darryl,

    Something tells me the answer to all this is that the Magisterium is not acting infallibly in all this. Unless, of course, the Magisterium eventually says that the Lutherans have true churches, in which case Trent wasn’t speaking infallibly. Or it was, but only the Magisterium can understand it. I mean, I’ve had RCs tell me that the original context of a council is irrelevant. It means whatever the Magisterium today says it means.

    Conservative RCs invented reader response criticism, it seems.


  3. Whatever the connection is between Mattingly’s original piece and Pope Francis’ project of great doctrinal dilution, you have lost me here. The Post line *was* problematic. And Mattingly is typically pretty reasonable and on point. This latest Catholic ecumenical machine–along with the Traditionalists’ contempt of Protestantism–is simply annoying.


  4. And besides, Rubio is the ecumenical man of the moment… he attends an Evangelical service AND goes to Mass. Now that he’s no longer Mormon. Now that is the subject of an article the Post might understandably find confusing to write!


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