This Is How Bad Protestantism Is

When scandal hits the Roman Catholic church, Roman Catholics would never countenance becoming Protestant.

In fact, when scandal happens, you rinse and repeat that Jesus promised the gates of hell would not prevail against the church:

He knew we’d sometimes have really bad shepherds. The Church has gone through a lot of bad patches in her almost 2,000-year history. She tells us, yes, these popes and those bishops and that crowd of priests, awful people. And those laymen, just as bad, and maybe worse. But those popes upheld the Church’s teaching and unified the Church, and those bishops and priests celebrated the sacraments that brings Jesus to his people.

The fundamental things, the necessary things, they always work no matter how bad Catholics get. Jesus lives with us in the Tabernacle and gives himself to us in the Mass.

Our Father didn’t promise all of these men would be saints, or even just run-of-the-mill good guys. He promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against his Church, no matter what. He promised to be with us to the end of the age. He promised to write straight with crooked lines. For God so loved the world, and so deeply knew his people, that he gave us the Church.

And most relevant here, perhaps, he gave us the sacrament of confession. We can’t do much directly to change the culture of the Church in America. We can do something to change ourselves, with God’s help. And therefore, together and over time, change the Church.

Two curious pieces of this standard apologetic. Why do you think that priests and bishops who are awful shepherds will get the doctrine right, will do the right thing in the confessional, and they will actually understand the sacraments correctly? This is contrary to every single way that humans view flawed officials: they are awful, wicked, despicable. But we still trust them because Christ gave them to us.

That’s not exactly how it worked for the churches in the apostles’ day:

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has ethe sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev 2)

Somehow we’re supposed to think the danger of apostasy doesn’t apply to Rome? Talk about exceptionalism.

The other curiosity in this defense of Rome is that it never seems to take into account what happened to Israel. God made all sorts of promises to Abraham, Moses, and David. But those promises did not mean the nation or the people would always be faithful or that they would escape God’s punishment. In fact, they were (Christians, Protestants and Roman Catholics believe) promises to the spiritual seed of Abraham and his descendants (see Galatians). But now all of a sudden institution in redemptive history, one institution trumps faithfulness.

Can it really be true that no Christianity exists outside Roman Catholicism? Vatican II even admitted that Protestants were brothers. So why is it so unthinkable, when the going gets tough for Roman Catholics, to think about following Christ in a Protestant communion?

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51 thoughts on “This Is How Bad Protestantism Is

  1. This post reminds me of a point I’ve been thing about in regards to Machen’s claim that liberalism exists as an entirely different religion, so I’ll tie that in here.

    I’m sympathetic to Machen’s main idea in _Christianity and Liberalism_ and your somewhat analogous point here about the irrationality of remaining in an institution marred by moral scandal or heresy. However I can’t help but remember that the OT contains many examples of Israel moving to virtually unthinkable depths of apostasy (Judges 19 and II Chronicles 33:9, for example). Even after these horrible episodes, Israel remained God’s covenant people and the only home for true worshipers of God- schism was a punishment from God, not something the priests and Levites initiated themselves. The OT experience would seem justify the RC argument you quoted above (as well as the “unity seekers” that opposed Machen in the Fundamentalist-Modernist debates).

    I’d to think that I’m wrong here, given that I’m not a catholic, but how would you reconcile the OT example with the use of schisms to maintain doctrinal purity? Maybe the NT changes upends his entirely owing to the spiritual nature of the church as compared to the physical/ familial nature of Israel.

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  2. Nice piece. I’m so glad NAPARC is immune to all of this. So that when we use the same rinse and repeat about our sessions, councils,confessions and synods it really really means something. I feel so much better.

    Indeed I think the bigger message here rather than they get it so wrong and we get it so right, is that the spirituality of the Church is more important than the bureaucratic institution. Not saying I want to start a “home church” , (calm down you blue bloods) but I am saying there is such a thing as over realized ecclesiology. A too high a view of the church, whether RC or Protestant is a problem. NAPARC churches and leaders would do well to remember this too.

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  3. Susan,

    Your church has actively covered up homosexual and pederast priests. More than 1,000 victims in Pennsylvania alone. Your pope just changed the historic Roman Catholic teaching on the death penalty. He told a little boy that his atheist father was in heaven simply because he allowed the boy to be baptized. He routinely issues confusing statements that contradict what past popes said.

    What will it take for you to even entertain the thought that maybe, just maybe, the visible Roman institution is not the church that Jesus promised to overcome the gates of hell?

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  4. Robert,

    You do not understand what the act of faith is. Belief in God is not faith. That God exists can be know by natural reason. Faith is believing what God has spoken. God says that he founded a church. I look out in the world and I only see one that was started in 33 AD, by Jesus and his apostles, has a succession of Pope’s and is still here today. The OT church had leaders like King Ahab and the NT one, that is in continuity, had a priest named Judas.

    No Protestant church could still be around after 2000 with the kind of gross atrocities that members, even hierarchical ones, commit. It has to have a supernatural source. Hellish activity within can’t make it crumble.

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  5. “Faith is believing what God has spoken.” The Holy Spirit says,

    “But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved… “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    “The OT church had leaders like King Ahab”
    Ahab ruled Judah? Wasn’t there two nations? By the time of Christ, there were dozens of sects… who was the rightful leader? The Sadducees who controlled the temple? The Pharisees keeping the law? The Essenes who gave us John the Baptist?

    “Hellish activity within can’t make it crumble.”
    Perhaps, but it can cause God to cut it out and throw it in the fire…

    Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

    Remember what God has said about those who cause a little one to stumble, then consider the fact that all of your bishops new what was going on (the rape of little boys by your Cardinals, bishops, and priests) and said nothing. No one spoke out. They all circled the wagons and defended their own. Not one single bishop has proactively responded to something the documents indicate that they all knew about. Not one. Every single prince of your so-called church is compromised. Neuhaus knew what this meant, which is why he literally screamed at journalists uncovering this filth – the MOC have been utterly and totally undermined. Belief in RCC as the church that Christ founded is rank fideism. The system has proven itself to be an abuse factory – from Lincoln to Pittsburgh to Boston to Ireland to Chile to Paraguay. The clericalism that gave rise to the protestant reformation and return to biblical Christianity continued to eat at the RCC until we see it as the shell that it is today.

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  6. “Hold this in your mind: a little girl who had just had her tonsils removed was raped by her priest while recovering in the hospital. And the only reason we know about this is because, against the will of the bishops, the cover-up was dragged to light.”

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  7. Father Thomas Rosica writes glowingly about Francis,
    “Our Church has entered a new phase…it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by…the dictates of tradition plus Scripture”

    …and here I thought that Christ was the head of the Church.

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  8. Susan,

    “[John] said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Luke 3:7–9)

    The first-century Jews prided themselves in being descended from the patriarchs and John said God could and would get rid of said Jewish leaders and raise up new ones. I wouldn’t be trusting so much in your succession of popes and bishops. God can take them out and raise up new ones from stones.

    You really need to read the PA grand jury report. Your PA bishops knowingly protected a ring of priests who were producing child pornography from their victims, even posing them like Christ before raping them. The same priests gave gold crosses to boys that had already been abused so that the other pedophile priests would know which boys would be more willing victims when they saw them wearing them.

    Your bishops can’t even recognize what the pagans recognize about the horrors of child abuse. Your leadership is thoroughly corrupt, so why can I trust them to tell me the truths of Christ? We’re not talking about fallen men who slipped up and then repented. We are talking about an institution that is deliberately hiding and enabling some of the worst sins imaginable.

    Christ never once said that there is one visible church or bishop that would prevail. He repeatedly warns in the New Testament that he will take away the lampstand of churches that persist in unfaithfulness. SDB is right. The motives of credibility for Rome are shot.

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  9. Robert,

    “Christ never once said that there is one visible church or bishop that would prevail. He repeatedly warns in the New Testament that he will take away the lampstand of churches that persist in unfaithfulness. SDB is right. The motives of credibility for Rome are shot”

    So you are saying that those sheep who hear the voice of the shepherd are not then guided to a visible church( that functions abjectly or glowingly in its parts{ wheat and tare side-by-side…] ), but are instead guided to a community that also recently left some other sect to set up shop, hanging a placard on the door with the words “Church” on it? If that is what Jesus meant by “the” church, then you’re right, it cannot fall. I hate to bring up my former pastor’s again, but in my search out of doctoral quagmire(from Vineyard to Calvary Chapel then from Calvary Chapel to Dutch Calvinist), both pastors congratulating quoted John 10:27 to me, referencing their own particular communion as the right place to end up( I noted this and pondered what it could mean. It was one of the things that kept me searching)..

    Another thing is that the prophecy in Daniel sees something that is very big, tangible, and doctrinally unified. You view is subjective and that doesn’t square with the rest of scripture nor history( a succession of bishops, a doctrinal creed, seven sacraments..).

    I just want to clarify. No good Catholic condones the disgusting behavior of predatory homosexual priests. I am so damn angry and ashamed of those who misrepresent God and his church, and I grieve for the victims( I was sexually abused three times as a child), but leaving doesn’t do anything but remove a person from the grace of the sacraments and leaves them with no way to know a sect from the church. Unless you already hold( contrary to scripture and tradition), a subjective view of what the “church” means.

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  10. Robert,

    One more thing, my FB is filled with conversation about Cardinal Wuerl, the disgusting behavior, empathy for the victims, and the cover-up, so don’t think that Catholics have our heads in the sand. The laundry people are angry at rotten men, but not at the church.
    Men come and go( some leave a legacy of corruption some are saints), but the church militant will remain until the end of the world.

    We need more reform, more accountability, less liberal propaganda. In short people who believe that we can live pure and holy lives and will bravwly cut off the head of Satan when he prowls in our midst.

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  11. Hi sdb,

    You wrote to me:

    “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved… “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    Yes, of course, but you can’t trust in the believablness of the gospel message( the word of faith that the church proclaims); that is, that Jesus the Lord, the promised Messiah, who was crucified, died, and was burried and rose again, according to the scripture if you didn’t first believe that God exists.
    Supernatural faith( not belief in God’s existence) is a gift that comes by hearing the word of God ( written or spoken) who cannot lie or be deceived.

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  12. ” less liberal propaganda”
    Lincoln was a jewel in the conservative crown and a hot bed of sex abuse. This isn’t a liberal/conservative thing. All of the US Bishops were told of the horrific abuse, and not even one spoke up. Matthew Brendan Dougherty – a trade himself is essential reading here.

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  13. “So you are saying that those sheep who hear the voice of the shepherd are not then guided to a visible church.”
    You know we don’t say that. We say that there are visible churches- some more, some less pure. What you illigetimately and disparaginly call sects, we call different parts of the body. Not so different from the relationship among essenes, Sadducees, etc… No human central authority – particularly if you are claiming Ahab (!) – to adjudicate disputes.

    The true church – whether Old or New – is not defined genealogically. It is defined by faith and right doctrine. Serving as a repository of the Oracles of God confers no special authority, but it does bring special responsibility. Rome has failed in it’s responsibility going back 500yrs, and now we see the fruit of that as light is shines in what was once kept secret. Why believe any of this is new?

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  14. PAH, Israel would seem to justify Rome’s position if Jews still offered sacrifices in Jerusalem. That old order is gone because of Christ. Protestantism came along because Rome obscured Christ. Not an exact parallel, but it works for me.

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  15. Susan, a notion of the church as spiritual is not one of the church as subjective. The New Testament says over and over again — sermon on the mount to Galatians — that the stuff that the eye cannot see is where God’s kingdom is.

    But you. You let the papal tiara and the cathedral art fool you? For shame.

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  16. sdb,

    “The true church – whether Old or New – is not defined genealogically. It is defined by faith and right doctrine. Serving as a repository of the Oracles of God confers no special authority, but it does bring special responsibility. Rome has failed in it’s responsibility going back 500yrs, and now we see the fruit of that as light is shines in what was once kept secret. Why believe any of this is new?’

    Yes, I agree that it isn’t defined genealogically. The Jews weren’t a people, but they were chosen and did have authority. God never took authority away, He gave them the wonderful Law and added( grafted) the Gentile people into the church over the ages until the fullness of time.
    The new covenant didn’t obliterate the old. The Jews who understood the scriptures and recognized the Messiah were the early NT church. Their nationhood was due to God’s having spoken to them, so its civil society existed because it was a religious organization first of all.
    I don’t understand how you can believe that neither a person, group, or institution has authority.

    Of course, no sin is new. But this is bad, really, bad. What people will do and
    Everyone is not corrupt though. In truth, most aren’t; however, if it was more heavily corrupt than not, I would stay as part of the remnant.

    Busy with work, so I will bow out now.

    ,
    ~Susan

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  17. Susan,

    Yes, I agree that it isn’t defined genealogically.

    No, you don’t agree. If you did, you couldn’t be Roman Catholic. Apostolic Succession, especially the non-Protestant variety, defines the church genealogically.

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  18. Robert —
    Exactly.

    Susan — Every diocese in the US was given multiple reports about what was up. Sipe and Keating, among others, have presented the depth of the problem and they were stonewalled. Not one single bishop called out a fellow bishop to repent of his sin even as they were publicly lying. They all knew. Every single one is complicit. Not some. Not most. Every single one. And no one spoke out. There are no good bishops.

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  19. Can an excommunicated priest dispense grace (according to RC doctrine)? My understanding is that the answer is no. Iif a priest got a little girl pregnant and then procured an abortion for her, he is automatically excommunicated right? What does that mean for his sacramental duties? What does it say about the bishop who argued for leniency when it came to light?

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  20. Robert, SDB,

    My apologies. I wondered why you threw genealogy in there, and was confused, but thought I’d try to answer it anyway. Now that I understand what you meant, I will be adamant about it and say, yes, the church is supposed to be led by a succession of bishops. Jesus made St Peter vice-regent of the Davidic Kingdom in Matthew 16:19
    “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven …”

    If you are interested here’s a longer explanation. http://www.catholic-pages.com/pope/hahn.asp

    Believe me, Protestants don’t have a corner on outrage. I have to separate my disgust at rotten priests, from my love for the church. God have mercy.

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  21. Susan,

    The problem is that you and other RCs come on here and want to tell us that said succession of bishops is the answer when it is clear that such clericalism contributed in large measure to this scandal. I’m glad most RCs are outraged, but I don’t see how you can pushback against the bishops without becoming effectively Protestant in practice.

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  22. Robert,

    I’m glad most RCs are outraged, but I don’t see how you can pushback against the bishops without becoming effectively Protestant in practice.

    It’s right to pushback against wickedness, as sdb pointed out that Dougherty did at NR.

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  23. Susan,

    Yes it’s right to pushback against wickedness, but what happens when the bishops define wickedness differently than you do or the Scriptures do? This clearly has happened in practice here, and plenty of bishops throughout church history have argued that it is a sin to talk against a bishop, particularly the bishop of Rome.

    I think Dougherty and others are just being inconsistent RCs. If the church really is the mediator of salvation, then questioning its judgment puts your soul in mortal danger.

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  24. “ I’m glad most RCs are outraged, but I don’t see how you can pushback against the bishops without becoming effectively Protestant in practice.“

    Which is what Neuhaus astray. The problem is that every US bishop is compromised. The outrage is not that a few priest committed atrocities. The outrage is that all bishops knrw about it and no one spoke out. I agree with you that pushing back is effectively protestsnt. It is also biblical. RC ecclesiilogy is fundamentally flawed, and the fruits consistently show that.

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  25. I never understood why anyone finds Hahn convincing:
    “I mean that is held by 99.9 percent of all scholars. ”

    “So, I worked and worked and I put these notecards together and when I made the presentation — I should add, this was a very interesting experience because all the other students who presented papers, the professor encouraged the rest of the students to interact with the presenter. And he seldom, if ever asked questions in interacting. He wanted the students to get involved. But when it came to presenting a 30-page paper presenting the evidence that Peter is the Rock and that the keys denote succession and that the Catholic position is right, not one student spoke up for the entire two and one-half hour seminar. He did all the talking and we even went over. I ended up leaving the classroom like forty-five minutes after the seminar was supposed to end. It was the most grueling cross- examination I’d ever undergone, and I might add, I had intestinal digestive problems for about a week afterwards because of how nerve- wracking it was.”

    This is Ken Ham quality rhetoric. The used car salesman approach favored by the CTC gang. Interesting to contrast this with what Wills writes about the origin of the priesthood.

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  26. “I have to separate my disgust at rotten priests, from my love for the church.”
    The scandal is not that bad guys became priests and did bad things. That can happen to any organization. The scandal is that all of the bishops knew this was happening and worked actively to cover it up by intervening with journalists, suppressing priests who spoke up, and lying about steps they were taking to rid themselves of the rot. Sipe made his reports available to all of the bishops going back nearly 50years. In the 00’s the bishops lied about becoming aware of the situation and claimed the worst cases were in the past. Yet the situation in Lincoln, with McCarrick, etc… was ongoing as they talked about the past. They all knew, and not one single bishop stood up and called McCarrick on his lies. Everyone knew and did nothing. But hey, they had the charism. They followed the right rituals. Remind me what God says about obedience versus sacrifice? I seem to recall that he prefers one over the other.

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  27. Robert,
    “I don’t see how you can pushback against the bishops without becoming effectively Protestant in practice.”

    Plenty of examples in history of the faithful questioning, correcting, criticizing priests, bishops, popes without becoming schismatic. The faithful are not supposed to be mindless lemmings.

    sdb,
    The MOC do not reduce to how holy were the American bishops in recent history.
    Is it your contention that because the RC “system” is an “abuse factory”, we see similar abuse and coverups in every diocese worldwide and in every diocese worldwide for the past say 100 years?

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  28. Clete,

    Plenty of examples in history of the faithful questioning, correcting, criticizing priests, bishops, popes without becoming schismatic. The faithful are not supposed to be mindless lemmings.

    What happens when bishops and popes refuse to be corrected? Just stay in and get abused. That’s what happened in PA. And the evidence is quite good that the knowledge of a lot of this stuff went up to the top.

    The church dispenses grace necessary for salvation and that leaving her puts one in a state of mortal danger for salvation AND the laity can criticize those dispensers of grace. Do you not see the disconnect?

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  29. Robert,
    Priests in error or mortal sin can still administer valid sacraments. Maybe you don’t like ex opere operato or the RC church’s condemnation of donatism, but them’s the facts. So criticizing the dispensers of grace is not a disconnect.

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  30. @cvd
    I don’t think the MOC reduce to the personal holiness of the bishops. My understanding is that the MOCs for the claims the RCC makes for itself are:

    1. her marvelous propagation – of course the church is shrinking in many places and in what was once the largest bastion of Catholicism S/C America is rapidly trending Pentecostal. This one is on thin ice.
    2. her wondrous sanctity – here we have major problems. In the US, there is scant evidence sanctity among the bishops. Keating is spot on here, and his remarks indicate positive evidence for the lack of any integrity among any of the bishops. They all knew and no one spoke out. The same is true in Ireland, Chile, Italy, Uruguay, etc… it is a worldwide problem. I have no reason to believe that this is current.

    3. her inexhaustible fruitfulness in good works.
    This one *might* have some merit.

    4. her Catholic unity,
    Who’s united? Martin and Douthat? I see turmoil, shifting doctrine, and rancour.

    5. and her enduring stability.
    Well the orthodox churches would quibble here. No papacy, no reformation. Or so they assert.

    My claim is that the exposure of the rot throughout the RCC undermines item 2 and compromises the others. This doesn’t mean that the claim that the rcc is the one true church is wrong necessarily. It does undermine the reasons for accepting that claim. Looks like fideism to me (not that there is anything wrong with that).

    “Is it your contention that because the RC “system” is an “abuse factory”, we see similar abuse and coverups in every diocese worldwide and in every diocese worldwide for the past say 100 years?”

    It is my contention that because the RCC is an abuse factory that I am not surprised that we find similar abuses everywhere we shine a light. Hondorous, Ireland, Chile, Belgium, …

    More to the point, I conclude that all churches are more or less pure, but certain ecclesiologies make some churches particularly hard to reform.

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  31. Crete,

    It’s hardly Donatism to question the validity of a system when there is no mechanism for reforming the system.

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  32. Clete,

    And hence the problem with ex opere operato sacramentalism. The most important thing is to have the validly ordained man in place so you can stay plugged into the grace. Shortage of priest? Can’t get rid of the heretic or abuser because then the people can’t get their grace. Better to have an abusive priest who destroys the faith of children than no priest at all.

    The system is inherently corrupt and has no mechanism for correction because it is bound to nothing outside itself.

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  33. Not all mortal sins automatically result in excommunication. Procuring an abortion is an exception though. Let’s say a bishop knocks up a 14 year old girl and takes her to get an abortion. Presumably the bishop is then automatically excommunicated. Are the ordinations that come from him valid? If an excommunicated cleric can validly administer sacraments, etc… why not a separated brother?

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  34. SDB,

    If an excommunicated cleric can validly administer sacraments, etc… why not a separated brother?

    Because the Reformation actually accomplished something and Rome is still trying to get over its embarrassment.

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  35. @ SDB, Robert: The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither does the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that does administer it: but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.

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  36. Jeff,

    Sure. But the nature of sacramental grace in Romanism demands Apostolic succession and priesthood in a way that it doesn’t in Reformed theology.

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  37. @Jeff – Exactly for the case of the reformed understanding of the clergy. But I do think there are problems for apostolic succession and the MOCs given the depth and breadth of the ongoing scandal. We know that these bishops that have taught things Rome doesn’t like (e.g., ordaining women) have been excommunicated and the ordination of priests is seen to be invalid. But if a bishop excommunicates himself through a mortal sin that causes that, I think you have a pretty serious problem – namely an excommunicated priest is in the line succession. I suspect this has been worked out somewhere along the line, but from an outsider’s perspective it looks like a real problem. That succession doesn’t look like such a very strong motive to believe the truth claims of the RCC.

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  38. James Young, so how about all those Roman Catholics who simply ignore papal teaching (on contraception) and bishops do nothing about those souls who are guilty of mortal sin?

    But no one is schismatic. Oh great.

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  39. Robert, exactly, because no matter what happens it’s still the true church, just like John wrote about the churches in Revelation.

    Wait, the deposit of faith.

    Okay, add tradition and a dash of development.

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  40. I honestly don’t understand why schism is the worst of all possible sins in Romanism. If we could rank sins, it would seem that leading a little one astray would be far worse, according to the words of Jesus. These abusive priests and bishops do that every time they abuse a child.

    So if you are a Roman Catholic in a diocese where the bishop is guilty of abuse, guilty of looking the other way when there is abuse, and guilty of moving priests around and not informing parishes when they get an abusive priest, what are you to do? You have to stay plugged into the mass to remain in a state of salvation. You can’t go to the local Lutheran church or even an EO church because then you are a schismatic. Is your only option to just attend public mass? You would likely not want to attend a confession with the priests. You definitely don’t sign up your children for the youth group with Father so-and-so. You don’t want them to go to the local RC school.

    If you are a RC parent who wants to keep your child safe from abuse, is your only local option to punch your timecard at mass once a week and avoid everything else in parish life OR commit the grave sin of schism? That’s what it looks like to this outsider.

    You get no real faith formation from the parish. I guess you might be okay if you have a parent who knows the dogma and can teach it to you, but that’s pretty shaky and really starts veering toward the private judgment of Protestantism. But you still can’t ever trust the priest or bishop.

    I feel bad for faithful RCs. It looks like they have no good options. They are bound to a doctrine of the church that makes change essentially impossible. They can’t leave lest they end up in mortal sin. It’s a system rigged for abuse and exploitation.

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  41. To be a politician, you have to say some things. America was always great, except for that time when America did not trust popes. Also, that time when American isolationists did not trust warmongers.

    “Our nation aches for truth-tellers,” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said in a statement, “This man will be greatly missed.”

    https://www.ketv.com/article/nebraska-iowa-lawmakers-respond-to-sen-john-mccains-passing/22831483

    I Thessalonians 2: 8 The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders,10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the TRUTH IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion in order that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

    John McCain: “Pope Benedict’s lifelong dedication to virtue and the authenticity of his principles serve as a guiding example to people throughout the world. When His Holiness travels to America, his visits are historic in scope and remind us of the profound contributions to AMERICA’S CULTURAL VALUES that he and the Church he leads have made. The Holy Father is a calming, spiritual presence to be welcomed and respected.”

    There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God” (25:6).

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