Habemus Papam!

Mar 13th, 2013 | By | Category: Blog Posts

Habemus Papam! Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina has been elected to be the successor of Pope Benedict XVI, and has chosen the name Francis, the first pope to take the name ‘Francis.’ He is also the first Latin American pope, and the first Jesuit pope. John Allen writes of him, “Bergoglio’s reputation for personal simplicity also exercised an undeniable appeal – a Prince of the Church who chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace, who gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work, and who cooked his own meals.”

PopeFrancis

Below is a video of Pope Francis’s first words from the balcony at St. Peter’s Square (he arrives 11 minutes into the video), followed by an English translation.

Brothers and sisters good evening.

You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have come almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.

First of all I would say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI.. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady protect him.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to the Father…

And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood . My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with help of my Cardinal Vicar, be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.

And now I would like to give the blessing, but first I want to ask you a favour. Before the bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.

[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.]

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.

[Urbi et Orbi blessing] May the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in whose power and authority we have confidence, intercede on our behalf to the Lord.

Response: Amen.

Through the prayers and merits of the Blessed Mary ever-virgin, of Blessed Michael the Archangel, of Blessed John the Baptist, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, may Almighty God have mercy on you, and with your sins forgiven, may Jesus Christ lead you into everlasting life.

Response: Amen.

May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant you indulgence, absolution, and remission of all your sins, time for a true and fruitful penance, an always repentant heart and amendment of life, the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit, and final perseverance in good works.

Response: Amen.

And may the blessing of Almighty God, + the Father, + the Son, and + the Holy Spirit, descend on you and remain with you always.

Response: Amen.

Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon. We will see one another soon. Tomorrow I want to go to pray the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.
Good night and sleep well!

(source)[A video that shows the whole time from the appearance of the white smoke until Pope Francis departs from the balcony, can be found here.)

232 comments
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  1. Praise God, and may He give grace and guidance to Pope Francis!

    This was an exciting day, and the internet provided a unique participation in its events. My wife and I were watching live–all work ceased for an hour. The pilgrims and faithful gathered were so excited. So much was new: his origins, his order, and his chosen name, his omission of a traditional vestment, his humble request for their prayers for him before the blessing–it seems as though the crowd were shocked for a moment. I certainly was not expecting the name of Cardinal Bergoglio when he was introduced.

    As for all our readers, Protestant and Catholic, may the Holy Father continue the work of Christian unity!

    In case anyone wants to pray for him, there is the traditional prayer for the pope on the right hand column at New Advent.

  2. Thanks Barrett, I’ve pasted the prayer below, in case New Advent later removes it.

    TRADITIONAL PRAYER (LATIN)

    V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco
    R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

    Pater Noster, Ave Maria

    Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Francisco, quem pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quæsumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus præest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

    TRADITIONAL PRAYER (ENGLISH)

    V. Let us pray for Francis, our Pope.
    R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

    Our Father, Hail Mary

    O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  3. Cardinal Dolan answers questions at a press conference after the conclave:

  4. Barrett (#1) – does this mean you’ll give your 4th child the middle name of Francis/Frances?

    I’m glad the Church will be led by someone whom barely anyone in the media was offering as a “lead candidate,” because in a small way it reflects the way the Holy Spirit thinks and acts not as men do, but as God does. May the Lord bless and preserve our Holy Father Francis I!

  5. What do you guys think of this?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwS9umpEkvs

  6. Folks, please remove this or move it to another place if it’s more appropriate elsewhere:

    Out of curiosity, if I understand correctly, the only way to subsequently obtain this indulgence is to be in full communion with the Catholic Church, yes?

  7. Hello Joel, (re: #5)

    Ideally the giant puppets and dancing song leaders would be replaced with sacred music, but it is a youth mass, and they tend to be less formal simply by being directed toward the youth. Nevertheless, I see in [then] Cardinal Bergoglio’s homily a sincere and passionate teacher and pastor, who engages the youth as a father who cares for them, and seeks to communicate to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. So we’ll have to wait and see what he does liturgically. His strength is clearly his humility, which makes him very comfortable with the youth; perhaps excellence in liturgy has not been his strength (I don’t know, and can’t tell, from one video). Because he was the ordinary for the faithful of the Eastern Rite in Argentina, he may also have learned to celebrate the Eastern liturgy. I don’t know. [UPDATE: See here.] But no perfect man has ever been selected to the office of pope, and yet the Holy Spirit has nevertheless protected and guided the Church through this office for almost two thousand years. I don’t see him reversing Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum, if that’s what you’re wondering. [UPDATE: See here.] And history shows that men change, when they are selected for the Chair of St. Peter, because of what is required in order to exercise the office faithfully. So we’ll just have to see what happens. As I said in my previous post, this is part of the act of faith as a Catholic, trusting God to lead the Church through the pope, even if one sees actions or statements in his past that might be less than ideal, which was the case even for the young Ratzinger. The Church is not built on the man, but on Christ’s promise regarding the office.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  8. Joel, (re: #5)

    I am saddened but not surprised by the irreverence and silliness of so-called “youth” masses. That then-Cardinal Bergoglio celebrated such a mass is not surprising, either.

    What especially frustrates me, though, is that trying to connect with young people in this way is misguided in the first place. Does anyone really think that such silly celebrations of the mass impress young people? Most young people see right through the inauthenticity and are embarrassed by the awkward attempts by adults to “get on their level.” I think the men and women behind these kinds of masses are truly delusional.

  9. Bryan Cross,

    This may be off topic, but is there a work or reference besides Ireneaus and hegessipus that proves that Rome had a monarchial episcopate?

  10. Chris (re: #6),

    Yes, that’s true. One must be in full communion with the Church to gain an indulgence.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  11. Erick, (re: #9)

    St. Optatus provides a list here, and St. Augustine provides a list here. Of course one can discredit such lists as mere copies of older lists. But this was also an oral culture, and the early non-existence of a monepiscopacy in Rome and its later coming into existence would have been known by all the Churches, which looked to Rome as their exemplar, and the earlier lists would have been treated as false history.

    The evidence regarding the monepiscopacy in all the Churches (see the relevant section in “Holy Orders and the Sacrificial Priesthood” implies (in addition to the four witnesses already provided) that there was always in Roman only one bishop having jurisdictional authority, even if there were other bishops (i.e. persons with episcopal Holy Orders, and thus the authority to ordain) present in the Church at Rome. But as I show here, there is evidence that all the early apostolic Churches had a single governing bishop. Except possibly for the case mentioned by St. Jerome, we know of no particular Church governed by multiple bishops with equal supreme jurisdictional authority. Even nature teaches us that this does not work, as I showed here. And the early Christians were not unaware of what even nature teaches us, and is known by common sense.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  12. We’re still learning about the man who is succeeding Pope Benedict XVI as pope. See Sandro Magister’s 2002 article titled “Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Profession: Servant of the Servants of God.”

    Here’s a photo of him with his family:

    Here [then] Cardinal Bergoglio meets Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in 2007:

    Bergoglio has only one lung, according to Time magazine, his second one having been removed because of an infection when he was a teenager. Before Easter in 1999, about a year after being named archbishop, he washed the feet of 12 AIDS patients in a Buenos Aires hospital and the following year washed the feet of 12 prison inmates. He’s done the same every year since, with members of different social groupings. (source)

    Here he is on Holy Thursday washing and kissing the feet of 12 AIDS patients (“with humility, respect, and great love”) at the chapel (Our Lady of Lujan) of a drug rehab center in Buenos Aires:

    Washing the feet of recovering drug addicts on Holy Thursday 2008:

    Riding the bus:

    Washing the feet of women at a maternity hospital on Holy Thursday in 2005:

    First full day as Pope:

    First Things also has a page with many helpful links on Pope Francis. John Thavis also has a helpful post on Pope Francis’s first day in office.

  13. Although I am not surprised to see cardinals like Bergoglio celebrating notorious “youth” masses, I am somewhat surprised to see him acting contrary to custom and law by washing the feet of women on Holy Thursday. Not the end of the world, of course!

  14. Brian (re: #13),

    The custom and law to which you refer pertain to the liturgy. They do not forbid the washing of women’s feet outside the liturgy as an act of charity and mercy. And it may be the case that the event seen in the photo did not take place during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, but was an act of charity in the maternity hospital apart from the liturgy. And it is more charitable to assume the best of a person, when such an option is available.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  15. If our new Pope is going to go around the world and get people upset by caring for the poor, the sinner and the outcast, breaking breakable customs at times, I say, “Yippee!”. Sounds like Jesus.

    If the Pope were in his previous days less wise, prone to error, doing silly things, I say, “Woo-hoo!” Sounds like Peter.

    The office of the Papacy is not set aside for the perfect, but is a gift to the imperfect. Through those graces, may our Lord make the successor of St. Peter, Pope Francis, ever wise, growing in grace and holiness, as we journey with him on the road to heaven. Amen.

  16. Amen Brent! Could someone please explain what that is about anyway? I am entering the Church in a few weeks and hearing things like, no washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday makes me scratch my head and say “what is that about?!” I know they’re two seperate things but, how does this mesh with Luke 10:13-17?

  17. Hey Brent,

    That was really well said. Thank you!

    Habemus Papam, everyone! I think I’m going to celebrate by having a treat, and then go back to Lent.

    Sincerely,

    K. Doran

  18. Concerning the indulgence-“the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church”–what must happen for this to be applied to an individual?

  19. Hunter on Holy Thursday during mass the priest washes the feet of 12 men in memorial to the last super. According to small t tradition (ie changeable ) these should be only males. As I understand it the rule doesn’t apply outside of the context of mass. Also the rule is somewhat abused in certain parishes which causes some to become upset.

  20. Scott Hahn shared this on facebook:

    Translations of teachings by Pope Francis (Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio) are available from a solid Jesuit’s blog here: http://jmgarciaiii.blogspot.com/search?q=bergoglio (Be sure to scroll down to the post of Sept 30, 2008, where you can read Cardinal Bergoglio’s catechetical talk at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, on “Eucharist and Covenant”)

  21. I confirm that Cardinal Bergoglio’s washing the feet of a woman in a maternity was not performed as part of the celebration of a Mass. Spanish-fluent people can check for themselves here:

    http://www.infobae.com/notas/509014-Bergoglio-realizo-el-tradicional-lavado-de-pies-en-el-Hospital-Borda.html

    The news item above covers similar acts performed in several years, all of them apart from the celebration of Holy Thursday’s Eucharist, which obviously took place at the Cathedral and not at hospitals, maternities, prisons, etc.

  22. Brent,

    Amen!

  23. Johannes,

    Thanks for that. If I remember correctly, you live (or have lived) in Argentina. If so, do you have any first-hand experiences or observations regarding Pope Francis?

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  24. Kim (#18)
    To get a plenary indulgence there is the work (in this case the pope offered one to all viewers… so no work needs doing), and then some standard conditions:

    -Be in a state of grace
    -Confession within 8 days
    -Eucharist within 8 days
    -Pray for the popes intentions
    -Detachment from venial sin (this is the tricky part)

    This can only happen once a day.
    Intention to gain the indulgence is also needed.
    Can be applied to self -or- to the dead, not the living.

    Cool fact:
    1/2 hour of bible reading or a rosary said with family members will give a plenary indulgence.

    I strongly suggest you google this info and research it for yourself though.

    -David M.

  25. Johannes, (re: #21)

    Thanks for the correction, and I must apologize for being so rash. God help me to grow in charitable attitudes and thoughts!

    Thanks,
    Brian

  26. Pope Francis’s first homily as pope:

    In these three readings I see that there is something in common: it is movement. In the first reading, movement is the journey [itself]; in the second reading, movement is in the up-building of the Church. In the third, in the Gospel, the movement is in [the act of] profession: walking, building, professing.

    Walking: the House of Jacob. “O house of Jacob, Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” This is the first thing God said to Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” Walking: our life is a journey and when we stop, there is something wrong. Walking always, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with that blamelessness, which God asks of Abraham, in his promise.

    Building: to build the Church. There is talk of stones: stones have consistency, but [the stones spoken of are] living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, the cornerstone of which is the same Lord. With [every] movement in our lives, let us build!

    Third, professing: we can walk as much we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a pitiful NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ. When one does not walk, one stalls. When one does not built on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency. When one does not profess Jesus Christ – I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy – “Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.” When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.

    Walking, building-constructing, professing: the thing, however, is not so easy, because in walking, in building, in professing, there are sometimes shake-ups – there are movements that are not part of the path: there are movements that pull us back.

    This Gospel continues with a special situation. The same Peter who confessed Jesus Christ, says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. This has nothing to do with it.” He says, “I’ll follow you on other ways, that do not include the Cross.” When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, Popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

    I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage – the courage – to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward.

    My hope for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, that the prayer of Our Lady, our Mother, might grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ Crucified. So be it. (source)

  27. @Brian Cross

    Yes, in fact I live in Buenos Aires, so Cardinal Bergoglio was my bishop. My first-hand experiences with him were limited to seeing and hearing him in Eucharists he celebrated. Which were particularly spiritually profitable because of the quality of his homilies.

    @Brian Ortiz

    No problem, man. Just a couple of comments.

    Re #8, the key is having in mind that the celebration was intended for children (“niños”), not for youth (“jóvenes”).

    Re #13, even having cleared that the feet washings in question were not performed during an Eucharist, it may be useful to have a look at the relevant document:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDWEASTR.HTM

    51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.[58] This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.

    58. Mt 20:28.

    Clearly the “tradition” that “should be maintaned” refers to “the washing of the feet”, not to the restriction that the chosen people should be male.

    And I will share a reflection on the issue that just came to my mind. First of all, the reason why Jesus performed that act on the twelve apostles is quite clear: to instill in them the attitude of humility and service. And it was critical that the lesson was taught to THEM (the 12) in the most effective way because it was THEY who, from that time on, would have to live it in their apostolic office and hand it down to their successors and the faithful in general.

    Back to the present today, the sense, or lack thereof, of having women among the people being washed (the “washees”) depends on who(m?) we see as the audience receiving the lesson of humility and service that comes from the act. If the audience is the 12 washees, then it makes sense that they all be male, because women in general have the attitude of humility and service much more “engrained” in them than men do, so it is we men who need to be reminded of that lesson. But if we see the whole of the faithful attending the celebration as the audience, then it makes sense that some of the washees be women.

    Of course, I am just giving a possible reason why the lifting up of the restriction will be reasonable when it happens IF it ever happens. Meanwhile, let’s abide by the rules!

  28. As he did when made a cardinal in 2001, Pope Francis has requested to the people of his homeland that instead of coming to Rome for his inauguration on March 19, they give the money they would have spent on travel, to the poor.

    (source)

  29. Based on some of the articles and comments that I am reading on both so-called “progressive, dissenting” sites and “radical traditionalist” sites, Pope Francis is already catching grief from many people, both inside the Church and outside of her. I already like him. :-)

    This Pope may not turn out to have (I say “may not,” because I simply don’t know at this point) the exact same kind of liturgical mind that the Church had with Benedict XVI. This does not at all mean that Pope Francis “opposes” the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and it does not mean that he will necessarily roll back *anything* that the previous Pope did in relation to the liturgy of the Latin rite of the Church. I commend any Catholics with “traditionalist” leanings (among whom I would certainly number myself, although I am not a “rad-trad”) to this blog piece by official CTC contributor, Taylor Marshall: http://www.taylormarshall.com/2013/03/traditionalists-and-pope-francis-can-we.html

    From his history as a Cardinal, and from the very fact of his being elected Pope, we can be sure (while always still praying for him, of course!) that Pope Francis will *not* teach heresy on matters of faith and morals. We can and should hope and pray for much more than that from a Pope, but we at least have that assurance.

    If one looks into his various public addresses and statements, one will find a man who is orthodox on all official, binding Church teaching. He is a stalwart champion of the sacredness of human life. He is a clear and vocal opponent of secularizing trends around the world that create an atmosphere which is hostile to Christianity. He is not afraid to stand up to lukewarmness in his own Church. He is a champion of being “in the world but not of the world.” He is a Christ-centered (and Marian, as the two go together!) promoter and practitioner of the “New Evangelization” of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

    From the evidence that I have seen on this site and from many other sources (including in his very first words to the crowd from the balcony after being elected), Pope Francis is a man who is not afraid to challenge certain received but non-dogmatic, non-binding ideas of how a Pope should conduct himself. Personally speaking, I *love* that he asked for a blessing (i.e. a prayer) from us, before he gave his blessing to us. I *love* that he rode the bus to work every day as an Archbishop and Cardinal. Other Popes have made different choices, and they were not wrong in doing so– but he is not wrong in his own choices.

    This man clearly strives to live a very simple Catholic Christian life– which does not make him “low-church” at all, contrary to some uncharitable claims I have heard. He is known for visiting (more than a few times, apparently) the slums of Argentina. He has challenged some people in his own Church for not being enthusiastically willing to mix with, and actively love, the poor. (This particularly warms my heart, as a person with a physical disability who lives well below the U.S. poverty line). He has challenged secularist socialism *and* a savage, unrestrained capitalism, both of which are not Christ-like in theory or practice.

    I am very, very fallible, and I could be wrong about this– but thinking about his manner and his words on the balcony yesterday, and about so much of what I have read concerning him since then (including his first Papal homily above), I think that we may have a future Saint here. (I also think that the last two Popes could well be future Saints!) Thanks be to God for Pope Francis! Pray for him!

  30. Johannes,

    Bryan suggests that you might live in Argentina. Is that true? I have been researching a Eucharistic miracle that occurred in Buenos Aires (when, incidentally, then-Cardinal Bergoglio was the diocesan bishop). Do you mind giving me your email so that we can chat? You might be able to help me.

    Thanks,
    Brian

  31. Here is an interesting interview from Luis Palau, an evangelical preacher from Argentina about Pope Francis. There are some very interesting insights that give much hope to those who desire deeper friendship between evangelicals and Catholics.

  32. “When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, Popes, but not disciples of the Lord.”

    St. Francis of Assisi, pray for Pope Francis! May we all be disciples of our Lord and not just “laymen,” “apologists,” or what have you.

    The fact that he prayed at the tomb of Pope St. Pius V tells me that reformation is on the way. If the last 50 years have felt like the times of Luther, may the next 50 be like the times of Pope St. Pius V! What a glorious time in history to be Catholic. Habemus Papam!

  33. Andy (re: #19)

    Thanks for the explanation!

  34. @Brian Ortiz

    Yes, I live in Argentina as I said above. Re the miracle, I did not know about it until reading your comment. So googled it and found that it took place on 15 August 1996 at Parroquia Santa María in the city of Buenos Aires, before Bergoglio took office as coadjutor bishop in 1997 and titular bishop in 1998. These are good accounts in English and Spanish respectively:

    http://www.catholicjournal.us/2012/03/30/this-is-my-body-this-is-my-blood/
    http://diaconojorge.blogspot.com/2010/07/ricardo-castanon-gomez-milagro.html

    Ricardo Castañón Gómez is the scientist that coordinated the testing process, which included tests by several laboratories and scientists. The test results agreed with those of the tests performed on the miracle of Lanciano:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_Lanciano

    I.e. heart muscle tissue and AB blood type, which is the same blood type in the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo. There is one data point that IMO is not accurate in the two pages linked first, namely that the DNA of the Lanciano and Buenos Aires miracles matched, because there was no DNA testing in 1971 when tests on the Lanciano sample were conducted.

    I’m sorry I cannot help you more on the subject.

  35. I just published this over at Ignitum Today: “Five Reasons I Love Pope Francis”

  36. Bryan, (re: #36)

    Thank you for sharing that video. I was holding back tears as the video ended.

    I have noticed something in the media coverage of this new papacy that “irks” me, though. The media is picking up on Pope Francis’ simplicity and poor spirit and is contrasting that with the “extravagance” of his predecessors. The suggestion, of course, is that the Catholic Church is that Pope Francis might rebuke his predecessors in that regard. One of the top stories on Yahoo! News , for example, contrasts the style of Pope Pius XII and Pope Francis. They show a photo of Pius XII on a throne lifted by twelve men. Has anyone else noticed this narrative emerging?

    I hope to hear what Pope Francis thinks about the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith.

  37. Brent, you wrote: “If our new Pope is going to go around the world and get people upset by caring for the poor, the sinner and the outcast, breaking breakable customs at times, I say, “Yippee!”. Sounds like Jesus.”

    So what are you saying about the previous popes? Were they worldly in your estimation? I seem to have heard that before in church history.

  38. As for the youth masses, I’m not sure Protestantism can match them. But I’ve heard that what ever Rome does it’s good.

  39. This morning Pope Francis preached at St. Anne Parish. He preached on the woman caught in adultery, from the eighth chapter of St. John’s Gospel. Below is his homily, with an English translation.

    Among the reasons to give thanks for Pope Francis is his ability to communicate the gospel in a way that allows us to see clearly and affirm together the common ground between Protestants and Catholics. And this is a cause for gratitude and hope, in our continual prayer that God will bring about a reconciliation of Protestants and Catholics.

  40. The media will always look for signs that the Church is letting up on being the “heavy.” That Medieval institution which they believe, deep down in their dysfunctional consciences, ruins all the fun and enslaves the common folk in guilt.
    They look forward to that day when a good guy pope (small p intended), along the lines of a John XXXII,
    will come along and lighten up on all those backward, judgmental positions that make the enlightened secular progressives uncomfortable. Many of them look to the Jesuits as those smart guys who wink at the traditional Catholic stuff, while sipping from their scotch glasses, and really support the more liberal progressive causes of abortion, contraceptives, homosexual life styles, same sex marriage, married and woman priests. That’s why journalists are obsessed with anyone who breaks from that traditional decorum. They’ll deify him and he’ll be the darling of the liberal press. On the other hand they will belittle and ridicule anyone who embraces tradition, celebrating a traditional Latin Mass, wearing the old-style vestments, or who ever was carried on a throne or wore a Papal tiara. It’s important for a priest, bishop and certainly a Pope, not to fall for the trap of “being with it.” The folksy informal approach can be very impressive and effective, but I have seen some of the clergy carry it to an extreme. The dignity of the ecclessiastical office calls for a certain decorum and separation from the mundane. It’s like a parent who wants to be the kid’s friend and stops doing their job, which is to parent the child. There is a need for a balance between humility and plainess and a firm posture of dignified, reserved authority. As Catholics, we understand the impotance of symbols and traditional trappings. The mystical nature of the Papacy is very important and very necessary in a world inundated with relativism. I pray that Pope Francis will find a true balance in his Petrine ministry.

  41. Michael J., “On the other hand they will belittle and ridicule anyone who embraces tradition, celebrating a traditional Latin Mass, wearing the old-style vestments, or who ever was carried on a throne or wore a Papal tiara.” You mean the way SSPX embraces tradition?

  42. dghart,

    You asked:

    So what are you saying about the previous popes? Were they worldly in your estimation? I seem to have heard that before in church history.

    I am not saying anything about the previous popes — my comment was about this pope (although the writings of Pope Benedict XVI were very instrumental in my conversion). Regarding your second question, I’m not sure which one(s) you are talking about so it would be hard to comment here about 200 or so people in a combox and do it fairly. Have there been bad popes? Yep. So, regarding your last comment, I’m not sure you just “heard” that but okay.

    Nevertheless, I understand the narrative you are after. Here’s the one I’m after, then. If the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon and all that hoopla, how in the world did we luck into this Pope? Why aren’t we just going the way of the Episcopalians? While it takes some apologetical muscle to sift through the sordid history of the late medieval papacy, it takes even more apologetical muscle — in my estimation — to disregard 2,000 years of persistence, and more specifically, the possibility of a Church emerging as such (as She is) after late medieval history and the abuse scandal everyone loves to talk about in recent memory.

    All that aside, you caught us (me) in a moment of effusive happiness. Maybe instead of looking to take a jab, I would hope you would pause to listen to Pope Francis.

    Peace in Christ,

    Brent

  43. dghart,

    Actually I was thinking more in line with the tradition of a Cardinal Burke or Benedict XVI.

  44. Brent, well you could actually exert a little more effort and admit the church has changed. SSPX has. Why can’t you?

  45. Though I am deeply moved by Pope Francis’ small gestures of simplicity, I think I share Brian’s (#38) unease. What is Pope Francis trying to convey with his simplistic style? I am concerned that the Pope is creating tension between the splendor of our traditions and a spirituality which emphasizes humility.

    Have you noticed how Pope Francis has broken with some traditions? Admittedly, all of them are non-vital (e.g., black shoes over red shoes), but I am concerned that he is trying to convey that these traditions are incompatible with his call for “gospel simplicity.” What would that say about his predecessors?

    Traditionally, I think the Church has reconciled these aspects of our tradition by pointing to saints like St. John Vianney. Though he lived and dressed simply, he made sure that he offered the most beautiful worship that he could. Perhaps one could interpret Pope Francis in that light, but he seems to be going further than that. On Sunday, I noticed that he spontaneously greeted the crowd that had gathered to hear him. A few of the men and boys tried to genuflect and kiss his hand, but he did not give them the opportunity.

    I love our Holy Father, of course, but I am not alone in wondering how his style is in harmony with other styles that treasure the splendor of these traditions. Take a look at Father Z’s recent blog post on the matter.

    How can we interpret Pope Francis’ style in a way that does not pit the Church against herself? That does not lead us to be critical of the splendor of our traditions? Or does Pope Francis really represent a change in that regard?

  46. Antonio, (re: #47)

    What is Pope Francis trying to convey with his simplistic style?

    Apparently, given all that he has said publicly the last five days, he is trying to convey that he wants his pontificate especially to reflect a concern for the poor and solidarity with the poor.

    I am concerned that the Pope is creating tension between the splendor of our traditions and a spirituality which emphasizes humility. Have you noticed how Pope Francis has broken with some traditions? Admittedly, all of them are non-vital (e.g., black shoes over red shoes), but I am concerned that he is trying to convey that these traditions are incompatible with his call for “gospel simplicity.” What would that say about his predecessors?

    I think you’re reasoning here is a bit too quick. When a pope departs from or changes some small-t tradition observed by his predecessors, he is not necessarily saying that his predecessors were wrong. He can be saying that this is what he believes God is calling him to do in this present time for some particular reason. And that’s the charitable way to interpret Pope Francis’s actions insofar as they depart from such traditions, even if it were to turn out that he is wrong (that God is calling him to these actions, and/or that it is prudential for him to take these actions at this time). It does not entail that these traditions are wrong or incompatible with the gospel or that he believes them to be wrong or incompatible with the gospel, just as a monk’s simplicity does does not entail that plain dress or even finery is wrong or incompatible with the gospel. Such measures of simplicity can be for a particular person, or a particular season, because of what it is needed for a particular time or circumstance, without nullifying their goodness, truth, and beauty in ordinary circumstances. The diversity we see in the styles and emphases in the lives of saints does not imply that each saint is saying that all the other saints who didn’t adopt his or her style were wrong.

    Traditionally, I think the Church has reconciled these aspects of our tradition by pointing to saints like St. John Vianney. Though he lived and dressed simply, he made sure that he offered the most beautiful worship that he could.

    True, but that’s not the only way to “reconcile” these things.

    Perhaps one could interpret Pope Francis in that light, but he seems to be going further than that. On Sunday, I noticed that he spontaneously greeted the crowd that had gathered to hear him. A few of the men and boys tried to genuflect and kiss his hand, but he did not give them the opportunity.

    Many people kissed his hand after mass, as you can see if you watch this video.

    I love our Holy Father, of course, but I am not alone in wondering how his style is in harmony with other styles that treasure the splendor of these traditions. Take a look at Father Z’s recent blog post on the matter.

    I fully agree with what Fr. Z says there, but what he says is compatible with what I just said above.

    How can we interpret Pope Francis’ style in a way that does not pit the Church against herself? That does not lead us to be critical of the splendor of our traditions?

    See above. We should not be anxious, but trust in the Lord who guides His Church, especially through St. Peter’s successor. A good bit of logic will help us understand that the good and true and beautiful things Pope Francis is teaching (both in word and in action) need not be understood as denying the truth and goodness and beauty of certain traditions observed by prior popes, but instead possibly as a temporary or particular calling for the sake of communicating the heart of the gospel to the world in its present circumstance. The act of faith as a Catholic includes trust in Christ that He will protect the Church through the papacy, until He returns in glory, as I explained in “The Papacy and the Catholic Act of Faith,” and as Brent explained in comment #44. And that’s why this aspect of the Catholic faith is tested in every Catholic whenever one pope is replaced with another.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

    UPDATE: Consider Micah Murphy’s comments:

    Consider that maybe the pope, elected by all accounts to reform a curia corrupted with self-exaltation, is trying to make a point.

    Dispensing with the trappings of the papacy out of a Judas-like hatred of opulence for God’s glory? Bad.

    Dispensing with those same trappings to teach a lesson to those who think the trappings exist to glorify them? Good.

    If that’s the case, then Francis isn’t really eschewing such things at all. Rather, he’s leaving them behind for a sort of spiritual sackcloth, so that when a return is made to the finery of the office, in his pontificate or the next, the intention behind them may be properly understood and imitated by the curia and all the Church.

  47. Antonio, (re#47)

    Pope Francis does not sing, but according to the words of St Augustine: Qui cantat, bis orat.

  48. dgh,

    Brent, well you could actually exert a little more effort and admit the church has changed. SSPX has. Why can’t you?

    #1- I’m not sure how admitting something follows from exerting more effort.

    #2- I’m not sure what change you are talking about, nor to what “church” you are referring.

    #3- I’m not sure what status SSPX has for you, as if (a maybe one time???) a schismatic group (hyper-anti-Protestant so-to-speak nonetheless) would be some kind of standard of how I (a Catholic) should think about “the church”. All this coming from a Protestant.

    If the church has changed, as you want me to admit, how has it changed (in your view) and how has it made the Protestant view of Roman Catholic history (whore of Babylon and all that hoopla) any more or less tenable? I’m assuming, of course, that the question about ecclesial narrative is germane to the Protestant-Catholic divide. However, to answer all of those questions would take us way off of this thread. The point of this thread, I think, is to acknowledge this Pope. Your emphasis is to turn into the past and to prove how different he is (I think) in order to prove change — substantial, disturbing change. I, instead, see that change as a progress only (rightly) understood within a paradigm of charis: God working through His Church (the One he founded) to perfect Her.

    A quick jab in a combox won’t undo that.

  49. Of course the Church has changed; oak trees don’t remain acorns.

    But, in the process of changing, oak trees don’t transform spontaneously into pine trees or greenbriars or kudzu or azaleas.

    The relevant issue is whether the kind of change undergone by the Catholic Church during the last two thousand years ever changed from the kind of thing Jesus intended her to be into a completely different kind of thing, or whether she merely matured into ever-fuller expressions of the kind of thing Jesus intended her to be.

    Jesus intended His Church to be visible, with objectively-identifiable visible authorities empowered to render authoritative judgments — judgments ratified by Heaven because they originated in Heaven, and universally authoritative in a way sufficient to produce unity of agreement among a particular category of souls; namely, those on earth willing to heed the judgement of Heaven, even when they don’t understand it, so long as they know objectively know where to find it. That Jesus intended such attributes for His Church can be demonstrated from Scripture even without regarding Scripture as inerrant, if only one regards the relevant passages (most prominently Matthew 18) as being accurate representations of the words and teaching of Christ and His apostles.

    There are many arguments for the Catholic Church, but to me the most persuasive is an intersection of three things:

    1. The continuity of the kind of thing the Catholic Church is: She has remained the same kind of thing from our earliest records of her to the present day;

    2. The fact that her Magisterium makes her a plausible contender to be the kind of authoritative Church Jesus founded;

    3. The fact that no other Christian body on earth is anywhere near as plausible a contender. (The Orthodox would come next, but lacking the ability to convene a truly worldwide and complete ecumenical council, they don’t quite make the cut. They would seem to be the Bride of Christ frozen in stasis, or something.) In fact very few pretend anything like a capacity for pronouncing authoritative judgments to be held by all the faithful, and those that do, have egregious doctrinal changes easily demonstrable (the JW’s and Mormons come to mind), usually coupled with other problems (implausible backstories, failed authoritative prophecies).

    I can’t know Christianity with reliability unless the Catholic Church is what she claims, because no other plausible and time-tested epistemology for doctrinal truths of faith and morals exists in the world. Either the Catholic Church is what she claims, or that knowledge is lost in the mists of time, and everybody’s modern guesses are just hopeful reconstructions. But in that case we have no real reliable path to the “truth which sets us free.” And in that case Jesus did not fulfill His promises. And in that case He is not God.

    But He is God.

    Ergo….

    (I should note that in mentioning the JW’s and Mormons, I am using the term “Christian” loosely in the “self-identified-as” fashion, not the doctrinally more accurate fashion that requires valid Trinitarian baptisms.)

  50. I love this new pope. And I love our pope emeritus. The awsome thing about Catholicism is that it has many different faces, all good. Simplicity is beautiful. Extravagance is beautiful. Yet how can both of these beauties be properly exibited by the same person at the same time? It is very dificult. Yet we have Teresa of Calcutta and Francis of Asissi (and our new pope in some ways) to exibit the Church’s humility, and we have other popes and art/architecture to display the grand extravagance. I am not sure we should ever want one person to try to display opposite parts of the church’s body if that is not something they are called to. We should each be what we are called to be. For B16 that was one thing, for F1 it will be different. What it shows is that God uses people as people, not as gloves or puppets. And that is what is so wonderful about the papacy, that it is men that are in charge, but Christ promised to guide them.
    Honestly, I am hoping he comes out of his instalation mass today wearing a brown robe and sandals. Why not? Or perhaps because he is a Jesuit a black robe? After all, the white is a recent (1566) inovation.
    When Burke is elected next conclave (*crosses fingers*) we will get to see the full extravagance of the papacy again. But for now I am very happy with this popes style.

  51. Great points, David.

    Some people think Francis is saying, “Out with the old, in with the new.” But it’s clear from his effusive praise for Benedict that this is not Francis’s intention. I see his “style” as a reminder — in the context of continuity — that the Papacy is ultimately about service to others. He’s spitting in the face of the careerists, not in the face of tradition.

    I think a lot of the traditionally-minded folks who are put off by the new style are missing the bigger picture.

  52. Prior to his inauguration, Pope Francis stopped the popemobile to go bless a disabled man; the event starts around 55 seconds into the video:

    In one act, by stopping the car and doing this, he teaches the Church and the whole world not only the dignity of the human person, but that the disabled, the weak, the poor, and the helpless are our greatest treasure and blessing, and that we ought to cherish and honor and care for them as if they were Christ Himself.

  53. His homily was so moving. To protect with love. Yes, this is the vocation which Christ has given us. So many times, when the successors of the apostles have preached, I have heard the same message of Jesus, made ever present in the world by the messengers He has left behind for us. It is such a blessing to be Catholic. I wish that everyone in the world could share that blessing!

  54. Prior to the inauguration mass today, Pope Francis along with Patriarchs from various Eastern Churches, prayed at the tomb of St. Peter under the altar inside St. Peter’s Basilica, as shown in the following video:

    Below is a video of Pope Francis’ giving the homily at his inauguration mass, accompanied by an English translation:

    Here is the full text of his homily, courtesy of Vatican Radio:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.

    I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.

    In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1).

    How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.

    How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!

    The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

    Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.

    Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!

    Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!

    Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!

    In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, “hoping against hope, believed” (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock which is God.

    To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!

    I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen.

  55. Brent,

    The change is this. At one point Rome condemned the modern world and insisted that the papacy should not accommodate the modern world (Syllabus of Errors). Then Vatican II said the church should engage the modern world. SSPX held on to the old view, presumably because you can’t resist and embrace the modern world at the same time.

    The issue relates to questions of history in that 1) RC converts say Rome never changes and Protestants are too diverse; well, is Rome now diverse and trending toward liberal Protestantism’s embrace of modernity? 2) how do RC converts view the history of their church and are they honest about significant tensions (like even the one between the papacy’s worldiness — all the pomp and ceremony — and all the talk about social justice and the oppression of the poor)?

    I understand these are difficult questions. Ignoring them is easy.

  56. Darryl, (re: #57)

    I assume Brent will reply to you at some point when he has time, but in the mean time I have some thoughts regarding your comment. The Church never “condemned the modern world.” What she condemned was the heresy of modernism, which has different aspects, but was summarized well in the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis by Pope Pius X. The Second Vatican Council did not embrace modernism, but for the better promulgation of the gospel sought to reorient the manner in which the Church engaged the modern world, on account of the ways the world had changed. That can be seen in Gaudium et Spes. So it is important not to confuse or conflate the heresy of modernism with the modern world. They are not the same. Update: See Fr. Barron’s talk on Gaudium et Spes just below:

    Which “RC converts” have claimed that “Rome never changes”? I myself have pointed out to you that we do not claim that Rome never changes. As I wrote in that comment:

    No, we’ve never claimed that. Development is precisely a kind of change. But not all change is development. Tom explained that distinction in the very article you linked. The particular way in which the Catholic Church does not change, and cannot change, is by denying or abandoning any previously held dogma. But she does change by developing in her understanding of the deposit of faith.

    You asked:

    is Rome now diverse and trending toward liberal Protestantism’s embrace of modernity?

    Diverse and divided are not the same. Protestantism is divided in doctrine and in governance, unable to agree even on what are the essentials, and unable to remain in one visible body. But Catholicism is not divided, as I have explained in some detail in “The “Catholics are Divided Too” Objection.” At the same time that the Catholic Church is united in all three bonds of unity, there is within her a great diversity in many other things, including rites, styles, gifts, etc. And this adds to her beauty, for the diversity of gifts within the Church contributes to her beauty.

    Regarding your question “is Rome now … trending toward liberal Protestantism’s embrace of modernity? the answer is “no,” if you mean liberal Protestantism’s embrace of modernism. The Church can embrace the world in love and service, without embracing the heresy of modernism.

    2) how do RC converts view the history of their church and are they honest about significant tensions (like even the one between the papacy’s worldiness — all the pomp and ceremony — and all the talk about social justice and the oppression of the poor)? I understand these are difficult questions. Ignoring them is easy.

    Rhetorical questions are also very easy, and so is using rhetorical questions to smear by suggestion the character of other persons. It is more honest to make an argument, rather than simply imply by suggestion that your interlocutors are dishonest for not acknowledging an alleged contradiction within the Catholic Church.

    There is not ‘tension’ between the pomp and ceremony of the Church on the one hand, and her concern for the poor on the other hand, if by ‘tension’ you mean contradiction or incompatibility. It was Judas who thought there was such a contradiction, as we see in Mark 14 and John 12. It is right and proper to give due honor to the office of Apostle on Christ’s behalf, and to their successors for this same reason. It is also right to give charity and service to the poor, the weak, the helpless, because they too bear the image of God, and as we do it unto them, we do it unto Christ. But this is not an either/or. Christ is present to us both in the poor, and in the successors of the Apostles, in different ways. And we honor Him without contradiction both when we care for the poor and when we kiss the ring of the pope or bishop who represents Him, as St. Ignatius of Antioch explained at the end of the first century.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  57. The following video presents the entirety of today’s inauguration mass. The mass itself begins at the 60th minute of the video. The chanting of the gospel in Greek by the Greek Catholic Deacon begins at about 1 hour 16 minutes into the video:

  58. What are we to make of this? He seems to be implying that the settled teachings of the Church should change:

    BERGOGLIO: Staying, remaining faithful implies an outgoing. Precisely if one remains in the Lord one goes out of oneself. Paradoxically precisely because one remains, precisely if one is faithful one changes. One does not remain faithful, like the traditionalists or the fundamentalists, to the letter. Fidelity is always a change, a blossoming, a growth. The Lord brings about a change in those who are faithful to Him. That is Catholic doctrine. Saint Vincent of Lerins makes the comparison between the biologic development of the person, between the person who grows, and the Tradition which, in handing on the depositum fidei from one age to another, grows and consolidates with the passage of time: «Ut annis scilicet consolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimetur aetate».

  59. Rock, (re: #60)

    The meaning of his statement is quite clear in light of the immediate context and the broader Catholic Tradition. In the immediate context he is talking about his third point, which is missions. The “outgoing” to which he refers is missional, because it is rooted in love, which pours itself out in self-giving, and does not close in on itself. The way in which we remain faithful to the deposit of faith is not by stasis or stagnation. Fidelity to the deposit requires fidelity to it in-growth, to the Church-in-growth, because the Tradition is living and developing by the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit who is love, and who operates not in the Church-in-stasis but in the Church-loving, the Church out-reaching, as the very soul [animating principle] of the Church. St. Thomas has said the same in relating the contemplative life and the practical life, the relation of Mary and Martha. And then Cardinal Bergoglio refers to St. Vincent of Lérins, who explained the Church’s doctrine of development, as I have discussed here. That is the context provided by the Tradition. The line he quotes from St. Vincent is part of the following paragraph (I’ve placed in bold the English translation of the Latin line he quoted at the end of the paragraph you cited):

    In like manner, it behooves Christian doctrine to follow the same laws of progress, so as to be consolidated by years, enlarged by time, refined by age, and yet, withal, to continue uncorrupt and unadulterate, complete and perfect in all the measurement of its parts, and, so to speak, in all its proper members and senses, admitting no change, no waste of its distinctive property, no variation in its limits.

    So then-Cardinal Bergoglio is not speaking of departing from or abandoning the Tradition, but of remaining faithful to the Tradition by remaining in the self-giving love that is the true missional spirit, and in engaging the world in love in giving this treasure we have received to those in darkness. This engagement provokes development, and we remain true to the Tradition by embracing its authentic development over time, because development belongs to Tradition itself, and Tradition cannot be served faithfully without recognizing and embracing its dynamic, living dimension, a recognition and embrace in which the Church does not neglect or deny what has been received, but nurtures and explicates it more deeply with the help of the Holy Spirit, in the very act of giving it to the world, and the challenges and “accidents” such encounters “in the streets” provoke.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  60. Rock,

    Thanks for commenting here. Welcome, I look forward to your participation in conversation. You don’t mention your faith tradition at all, I take it you aren’t Catholic?

    Anyway, I think you are quoting from this article: Interview with Cardinal Bergoglio in “30 Days” Now everyone can read the quotes in context. I knew where it was from because I had read it previously and been very impressed with this quote:

    BERGOGLIO: “Harmony”, I said, that’s the right word. In the Church harmony is the work of the Holy Spirit. One of the early Fathers of the Church wrote that the Holy Spirit «ipse harmonia est», He Himself is harmony. He alone is author at the same time of plurality and of unity. Only the Spirit can stir diversity, plurality, multiplicity and at the same time make unity. Because when it’s us who decide to create diversity we create schisms and when it’s us who decide to create unity we create uniformity, leveling. At Aparecida we collaborated in this work of the Holy Spirit. And the document, if one reads it well, one sees that it has circular, harmonic thinking. The harmony is perceived not as passive, but creative, that urges creativity because it is of the Spirit.

    This is just 1 short paragraph above the section you cited.

    The overall context is the publication of the Aparacida document resulting from the Latin American Bishops 5th general conference, so reference to that document is useful for understanding context. You can find that document Here.

    I think it is quite clear from the context of the interview, particularly the quote that I find so moving, that he isn’t talking about changing doctrine or even changing the nature of the Church. He is talking about growing in holiness, about being docile to the Holy Spirit, going on mission.

  61. Thanks! I guess what is still troubling me is two points.

    First, he says: “One does not remain faithful, like the traditionalists or the fundamentalists, to the letter.” This seems to imply that one can be unfaithful to the letter, if one is faithful to the “spirit” of a teaching. What doctrines could he possibly be talking about that we should be unfaithful to the letter to?

    Second, I guess I just don’t understand the connection between missions and the development of doctrine. I mean, it seems to me that one can go out and do ones missions faithfully and obediently based on the current interpretations. And that one’s mission work would not force the development of doctrine. The development of doctrine, I’d think is more the work of theologians (being, perhaps, metaphorically adventurous) than missionaries being literally adventurous.

    So it kind of seems as if he means modernizing the doctrines so that they are more palatable to the people missionaries serve, is that right?

  62. Rock, (re: #63)

    First, he says: “One does not remain faithful, like the traditionalists or the fundamentalists, to the letter.” This seems to imply that one can be unfaithful to the letter, if one is faithful to the “spirit” of a teaching. What doctrines could he possibly be talking about that we should be unfaithful to the letter to?

    That’s not what he means. What he is criticizing is not fidelity to the doctrines that have been received, but resistance to authentic development of doctrine. To remain faithful to a doctrine does not mean clinging to the letter, but to the essence of the doctrine.

    Second, I guess I just don’t understand the connection between missions and the development of doctrine. I mean, it seems to me that one can go out and do ones missions faithfully and obediently based on the current interpretations. And that one’s mission work would not force the development of doctrine. The development of doctrine, I’d think is more the work of theologians (being, perhaps, metaphorically adventurous) than missionaries being literally adventurous. So it kind of seems as if he means modernizing the doctrines so that they are more palatable to the people missionaries serve, is that right?

    In my opinion, it is uncharitable to treat him with the hermeneutic of suspicion, when a hermeneutic of charity is available. He in no way is suggesting “modernizing the doctrines so that they are more palatable to the people missionaries serve.” Rather, he is saying that development occurs precisely in the challenges and objections raised by our encounter with non-Catholics, whether pagans or non-Catholic Christians. He is challenging your working assumption that authentic development is something left to ivory tower theologians disassociated from the missional encounter between the Church and those to whom she brings the message of truth. And Church history only bears him out, because the Church’s doctrinal definitions and developments always seem to have occurred in response to challenges from heresies or other forms of opposition to the faith.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  63. Rock,

    Thanks for continuing dialogue. Again, I am assuming you aren’t Catholic? Perhaps that is reflected in your perspective here, or perhaps I’m wrong. I can tell you I know the kind of Catholic attitudes that I think then Cardinal Bergoglio was talking about. Just in the past week I have had discussions with Catholics who are upset that John Paul II proposed a new set of mysteries for the Rosary (The Luminous Mysteries) because ….. . Folks who were terribly upset that Pappa Francesco isn’t wearing red shoes and didn’t where the Mozetta in his first appearance. Folks who are upset because my home parish is doing more chant and latin and they want Vatican II back. Etc. Etc. and I could go on for a while.

    In the interview then Cardinal Bergoglio makes clear that listening to the Holy Spirit is dynamic. That God needs to be in charge. That focusing efforts on diversity and change, without being in the fold of the Holy Spirit and the authentic tradition, is chaotic. Equally, rigidly demanding adherence to forms and faithfulness to the “letter” leads to “uniformity and leveling.”

    Also, the examples I mention are all small t tradition not Doctrine (although some people treat them like doctrine) and I think very much that that is what Pappa Francesco has in mind. People tend to get hung up on an aspect of the faith they understand and lose track of the bigger picture. He is calling us out of our comfort zones.

    It is going to be quite a ride.

  64. Bryan, rhetorical questions are only easy because so many apologists for Rome fail to tell the entire story. George Weigel writes a book on the deep reform of Leo XIII and never mentions Testem Benevolentia Nostrae. You don’t acknowledge the changes in Rome since Vatican II that most mainstream Roman Catholic historians acknowledge. So you interpret Pascendi one way, in a way that is typical in your search for continuity. But you don’t mention the Syllabus of Errors which contain condemnations of assertions like:

    55. The Church ought to be separated from the .State, and the State from the Church.

    80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.

    I understand Protestants have the wrong paradigm, but plenty of Roman Catholics blessed with your holy water fail to understand how Vatican II is in continuity with such assertions.

    I understand why you have trouble doing so. It would take you very close to admitting that the church erred. Can’t go there. But because of that paradigm, you wind up having to make interpretive leaps and ignore huge swaths of the past.

    BTW, Protestants are every bit as united as Roman Catholics are. We are united by word and Spirit. If our unity isn’t noticeable, neither is Rome’s after Vatican II.

  65. dgh,

    I’ll defer to Bryan on the main. As to your latest comment to Bryan, I might add (since your comment finally brings forth the specificity to which you hope your gesturing alludes):

    55. The Church ought to be separated from the .State, and the State from the Church.

    80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.

    In what sense do you believe these statements are incompatible with the Roman Catholic Church as is? Again, rather than just appealing to rhetorical gesturing, spill the beans. More importantly, and to the point of this post, how does Pope Francis rub you as authentically inauthentic? I get the enemy of my enemy is my friend bit (see SSPX), but I need you to do more work than just “they disagree, see you should take them more serious!” That all happened before, remember? A: Luther.

    Warmly in Christ,

    Brent

  66. Darryl, (re: #66)

    Bryan, rhetorical questions are only easy because so many apologists for Rome fail to tell the entire story.

    Rhetorical questions are easy regardless of the topic. That’s because it is much easier to ask a rhetorical question than to do the hard work of constructing an argument for the truth of one’s position. One of the first things we learn/teach in beginning logic is that questions cannot do the work of arguments, and thus to see questions for what they are: i.e. mere questions.

    George Weigel writes a book on the deep reform of Leo XIII and never mentions Testem Benevolentia Nostrae. You don’t acknowledge the changes in Rome since Vatican II that most mainstream Roman Catholic historians acknowledge.

    Those are just ad hominems — notice the subjects of both sentences (“George Weigel” and “You”). If you think there is some contradiction between preconciliar and post-conciliar teaching, feel free to make your case. Criticizing persons does not demonstrate a contradiction between preconciliar and post-conciliar teaching.

    So you interpret Pascendi one way, in a way that is typical in your search for continuity.

    I’ve taught Pascendi at a Catholic seminary. If you have an interpretation of Pascendi that you think is better than the one I have stated, feel free to make your case for it. The deconstructive ad hominem [i.e. you interpret Pascendi in a way that satisfies your search for continuity] is a kind of an ad hominem, because it does not provide evidence from the text or its context that what I’ve said about Pascendi is false, but psychologizes what I said as merely the fruit of some desire within me for something other than truth. As soon as you take that route, as though it is legitimate, be prepared to have everything you say dismissed as merely a rationalization to justify not being a Catholic (e.g. you interpret the Bible in a Calvinist way simply because you desire x). Or, preferably, we could agree to avoid the ad hominems, and just focus on the evidence.

    But you don’t mention the Syllabus of Errors which contain condemnations of assertions like:
    55. The Church ought to be separated from the .State, and the State from the Church.
    80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.

    Whether I have “mentioned” these two errors is, again, irrelevant to the truth regarding their coherence with Vatican II.

    I understand Protestants have the wrong paradigm, but plenty of Roman Catholics blessed with your holy water fail to understand how Vatican II is in continuity with such assertions.

    That’s true, but a red herring. The truth of a doctrine or coherence of a theology does not depend on the percentage of persons in that tradition who understand how it fits together, or can articulate its coherence.

    I understand why you have trouble doing so.

    Here you are presuming that I have trouble explaining how Vatican II is in continuity with those two statements from the Syllabus of Errors. Do you think they are contradicted by Vatican II? If so, which statements of Vatican II do think you contradict them?

    BTW, Protestants are every bit as united as Roman Catholics are. We are united by word and Spirit.

    What exactly do you mean by “united by word and Spirit”?

    If our unity isn’t noticeable, neither is Rome’s after Vatican II.

    Sure it is. We have one faith laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We share all the same seven sacraments. And we share the same Church government.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  67. dgh,

    One more thing, thanks for mentioning Testem Benevolentia Nostrae. I had never read it. Great stuff! I’ve linked to it, so that anyone who finds your reference alarming (ooh, I wonder what that scary phrase means — I word it like that because I can imagine myself at one time thinking that way) can go read it themselves. I really liked:

    From the foregoing it is manifest, beloved son, that we are not able to give approval to those views which, in their collective sense, are called by some “Americanism.” But if by this name are to be understood certain endowments of mind which belong to the American people, just as other characteristics belong to various other nations, and if, moreover, by it is designated your political condition and the laws and customs by which you are governed, there is no reason to take exception to the name. But if this is to be so understood that the doctrines which have been adverted to above are not only indicated, but exalted, there can be no manner of doubt that our venerable brethren, the bishops of America, would be the first to repudiate and condemn it as being most injurious to themselves and to their country. For it would give rise to the suspicion that there are among you some who conceive and would have the Church in America to be different from what it is in the rest of the world.

    Just fabulous! Amen!

  68. Darryl (re: #66),

    You wrote:

    rhetorical questions are only easy because so many apologists for Rome fail to tell the entire story

    That’s not the only reason rhetorical questions are ‘easy’. Another reason they are found to be ‘easy’ is because the asker of rhetorical questions does not realize why they are fallacious when they are deployed in the context of an argument. That is, they are found to be easy by those who do not know any better than to use them to score points, perhaps under the mistaken assumption that point-scoring is what helps two parties arrive at the truth of a matter.

    You also wrote:

    you wind up having to make interpretive leaps and ignore huge swaths of the past

    I’ve been following along in the discussion, but I missed the interpretive leaps to which you make reference. Could you list them out, for the sake of clarity? In addition, to speak of ‘ignoring huge swaths of the past’ is to speak of the intent on the part of one interlocutor to shelve certain considerations that the other interlocutor believes are relevant to the argument. But unless there has been some private correspondence of which I am unaware, I don’t note any place in the preceding discussion where such intent [to shelve certain considerations you believe are relevant to the discussion] has been established. Perhaps you could clarify.

    You had written:

    If our unity isn’t noticeable, neither is Rome’s after Vatican II.

    And Bryan responded (in #68):

    Sure it is. We have one faith laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We share all the same seven sacraments. And we share the same Church government.

    But as I’m sure you and Bryan are both aware, any particular Protestant denomination could claim the same three marks of unity. What renders the Catholic claim distinct is that it is immune to the charge that it functions as a purely ad hoc claim, by virtue of apostolic succession. Not only does the Catholic Church enjoy the clarity of one faith laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the same [seven] sacraments, and the same Church government, but it does so contiguously with every generation from the present one back to the apostles. And that is something that no other tradition save the Orthodox can claim.

    In the grace of Christ,

    Chad

  69. “They brought forth the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that, when Peter came, his shadow at the least might overshadow any of them and they might be delivered from their infirmities.” Acts 5:15

  70. Bryan, Brent, and Chad, you could start by reading Lacey and Oakley on conciliarism and the papacy. Here is a brief synopsis. http://catholicbooksreview.org/2012/lacey.htm

    Most historians of Vatican II recognize that the church’s posture changed. Practically every historian of Roman Catholicism recognizes that the posture of Rome changed at Vatican II. It used to be conservative and resisted democracy, republicanism, separation of church and state, and critical scholarship. Vatican II explicitly wanted to engage the modern world. I don’t have to give quotations. Everyone outside the bubble of Called to Communion concedes this. As do most cradle Roman Catholics. Just listen to this show:
    http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/03/12/the-conclave-begins-picking-a-pope For some reason they aren’t calling converts like you guys to speak on the church. Funny how these cradle RC’s with positions in the church sound very different from you.

  71. Darryl, (re: #72)

    I’m quite familiar with conciliarism. Merely pointing to a book on the subject does not show any contradiction between pre and post-conciliar teaching.

    Most historians of Vatican II recognize that the church’s posture changed. Practically every historian of Roman Catholicism recognizes that the posture of Rome changed at Vatican II. It used to be conservative and resisted democracy, republicanism, separation of church and state, and critical scholarship. Vatican II explicitly wanted to engage the modern world.

    Regarding “posture,” no one here has denied that there was a change at Vatican II. I explicitly acknowledged it in the first paragraph of comment #58.

    I don’t have to give quotations. Everyone outside the bubble of Called to Communion concedes this.

    In claiming that we don’t “concede” this, you are criticizing a straw man. What you keep doing is conflating a change in “posture” with a change in doctrine that contradicts previous doctrine, as if showing the former is sufficient to demonstrate the latter.

    . Just listen to this show: For some reason they aren’t calling converts like you guys to speak on the church. Funny how these cradle RC’s with positions in the church sound very different from you.

    That the persons on that show “sound very different” from us, or how “funny” that is, does not show that anything we have said is false or is contrary to Church teaching.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  72. Bryan et al, here is the early assessment of Vatican II by John O’Malley (http://www.ts.mu.edu/readers/content/pdf/32/32.4/32.4.1.pdf):

    “How can we, therefore, briefly describe Vatican II’s aggiornamento? We can say that the desire to bring the Church up to date and to make it effective in the contemporary world was the pervasive theme of the Council. Such a desire argues a greater alertness to historical and cultural differences than any previous council had shown. In its pervasiveness and implications aggiornamento marked a revolutionary shift in reform thinking as religion was changed by and for men in order to accommodate these new historical and cultural differences. In this respect Vatican II stands in marked discontinuity with the councils which preceded it. The fact that the Council fathers spoke of their experience in terms of a new Pentecost suggests some awareness among them that the Council had radical implications.102 What the Council documents insist upon, however, is that the accommodations which the Council wanted to effect did not change the venerable patrimony of the Christian past, nor did they break the stream of faithful continuity with the apostolic age.”

    You keep asking what I mean about changes at Vatican II, as if you are playing dumb to what everyone else realizes. Again, this isn’t a gotcha. It is simply asking you to be honest about the history that you often ignore.

  73. Bryan, listen to the show.

    It’s a straw man to say that I am saying RC doctrine is false. I am saying that your portrait of the church is dishonest. You portray Rome as an oasis that lacks Protestantism’s many problems. But you never describe Rome’s problems. Why?

  74. Darryl, (re: #74, #75)

    I don’t disagree with the quotation from Fr. O’Malley, nor does it contradict anything I’ve said. The “discontinuity” of which he speaks is not doctrinal, but that of stance or posture, which I already acknowledged in the first paragraph of comment #58.

    You keep asking what I mean about changes at Vatican II, as if you are playing dumb to what everyone else realizes.

    Again with the ad hominems. Please refrain from that. When I’m asking you to specify which statements of Vatican II you think contradict the statements you cited from the Syllabus of Errors, I’m not “playing dumb.” I’m asking you to substantiate your claims, rather than merely criticize by way of unsubstantiated assertions.

    Again, this isn’t a gotcha. It is simply asking you to be honest about the history that you often ignore.

    By asking me to “be honest,” you imply that I have been dishonest, and thus again resort to a personal attack. If you think something we have said here is false, please show it. If you think something we have said is falsified or refuted by something we haven’t said, please show it. But personal attacks are not permitted here.

    Bryan, listen to the show.

    I have, in its entirety. Again, as I said in comment #73, any difference between the way the persons on that show “sound” and how we at CTC “sound” does not show that anything we have said is false or is contrary to Church teaching.

    It’s a straw man to say that I am saying RC doctrine is false.

    Fair enough. Your statements about the Syllabus of Errors in relation to Vatican II seemed to be implying that the Church had contradicted itself. If you’re not claiming that, then I don’t see why you brought it up.

    I am saying that your portrait of the church is dishonest. You portray Rome as an oasis that lacks Protestantism’s many problems. But you never describe Rome’s problems. Why?

    If you inferred from what we’ve written that Rome has no problems, then you’ve drawn an unjustified conclusion from what we’ve written, because nothing we’ve written has entailed that. None of your comments in this thread have referred to biochemistry. But that’s not a fault on your part because writing about biochemistry wasn’t your purpose here. Nor does it mean that you are being dishonest. Likewise, our purpose here is not to be an exhaustive encyclopedia of the Catholic Church. To criticize us for not saying x about the Catholic Church presupposes that we have some obligation to say x about the Catholic Church. But you have not established that we have such an obligation. The arguments we are making here do not require that we be an encyclopedia of the Catholic Church, or require listing all the problems of the Catholic Church. You are assuming that good arguments for the truth of the Catholic Church require listing out all the problems faced by the Catholic Church. But that’s not an assumption we share; it is an assumption you hold, but have not demonstrated. And by presupposing the truth of that assumption, your criticism begs the question. If you think something we have not said refutes an argument we have made, then please point to the argument we have made, and show how some truth we haven’t mentioned refutes that argument.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  75. dgh (Daryll)

    I appreciate your efforts here, please continue the conversation. However, please also actually make your case. You allude to something you seem to think is obvious. That may not seem untoward to you, but consider your opponents situation. You keep insisting Bryan respond to vague allegations. You are placing him in the position of trying to guess what the makes best case for YOUR position and respond to it. Inevitably, Bryan’s response (were he to make one directly) would not get at whatever YOU are specifically looking at.

    I write because I don’t want you to think this is just Bryan being obtuse. I’d like you to continue in dialogue here, and I’d like to understand your perspective. Communication will be greatly improved if you simply build your argument, and point to specifics, rather than insisting that others make both your case and their own.

  76. That is the thing about Vatican II. Often we hear of a vague appeal to ‘Vatican II.’ Rather than being vague, let us be specific. DGH, please site, specifically, those passages of Vatican II that contradict earlier dogmatic professions.

  77. Bryan and GNW, it is obvious to the folks at SSPX. If you guys were really conservative RC’s you might think this(http://www.sspx.org/sspx_faqs/q6_vatican_ii.htm):

    “The Council itself both encouraged liberal trends (and its encouragement became post-conciliar Vatican policy) and departed from traditional Catholic teaching, but it has no authority for either (principle 5).”

    Otherwise, you’ve simply bought a version of the church shared as much by progressives as by conservatives. And that puts you much closer to liberal Protestantism than to anything evangelical (yuck).

  78. Daryll (re:#75),

    On the subject of “Rome’s problems,” by which I think that you mean problems in the Catholic Church, you may find this piece to be of interest: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/04/liberalism-in-the-catholic-church/

  79. Christopher, thanks. So what’s good for Rome is also good for Protestantism:

    “In summary, there is liberalism among Protestants, and we should be prepared to encounter it. Because of the promise Christ gave the church, churches will never liberalism in spite of the liberal element’s best efforts. The gates of hell cannot prevail over the Church. To see liberals fighting to influence the Church away from her dogmas is to witness the effects of the war between the forces of heaven and the forces of evil. Liberalism should be expected in the Church that Christ founded, because Satan hates the Church and wishes to destroy her.”

  80. Daryll (re:#81),

    You’re certainly welcome. You write that “what’s good for Rome is also good for Protestantism.” However, liberalism among Protestants is not *precisely* comparable to liberalism in the Catholic Church. There are some similarities but also great differences.

    In Protestantism, to which visible teaching authority should I go to find the truth about Biblical and apostolic teaching? As a Protestant, how do I know if I have unwittingly stumbled into heresy in my interpretation of the Bible? As a Protestant, where do I go to find the Church that Christ founded?

  81. dgh,

    You keep asking what I mean about changes at Vatican II, as if you are playing dumb to what everyone else realizes.

    Let’s focus on your meaning of “what everyone else realizes.” I’m genuinely wondering what you think constitutes “everyone else” and how important that “everyone else” plays in your assessment. Rather than assume what you mean, I would ask you to clarify. Particularly as you do (if you will), consider a similarly sized “everyone else” in some Protestant group and what import you are willing to grant to that (Protestant) “everyone else” in shaping the dominant interpretive paradigm for some particular set of data. Secondly, I’m wondering if your argument for the position of “everyone else” is an argument ad populum or if you truly find Bryan (and our) position less tenable than “everyone else”?

    Regards,

    Brent

  82. Darryl (re: #79)

    You wrote:

    Bryan and GNW, it is obvious to the folks at SSPX. If you guys were really conservative RC’s you might think this:

    “The Council itself both encouraged liberal trends (and its encouragement became post-conciliar Vatican policy) and departed from traditional Catholic teaching, but it has no authority for either (principle 5).”

    Otherwise, you’ve simply bought a version of the church shared as much by progressives as by conservatives. And that puts you much closer to liberal Protestantism than to anything evangelical (yuck).

    Here are your three claims:

    (1) x is obvious to the SSPX folks
    (2) If you were really conservative you might think x.
    (3) If you don’t think x, you’ve bought into something close to liberalism.

    Regarding (1), the fact that some people think x does not make x true. (Otherwise 1.2 billion Catholics trumps the 30,000 in your denomination.) That’s the ad populum fallacy, as Brent pointed out in #83.

    Regarding (2), that is not true, for the reasons I explained in the last paragraph of comment #61, namely, that development is intrinsic to the Tradition, and therefore to conserve it one must be open to its authentic development which preserves, and does not contradict, what came before.

    And (3) is false as well, because Protestant liberalism is in essence rationalism, whereas following the Church in her authentic development of doctrine is the contrary of rationalism, because it rests on assent in faith to what Christ’s Church teaches, on account of her divine authority.

    In order for the dialogue to be productive, it will have to evolve beyond mere general, unsubstantiated assertions. If you think that at least one of the SSPX claims regarding Vatican II teaching is correct, then please specify the one you think is most problematic.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  83. dgh (Daryll)

    Thanks for continuing the dialogue. Maybe we are making progress? At least you seem to be focusing on the SSPX. Is that your main area of concern, or just one of many objections you are interested in raising?

    For what it is worth, I have more than a passing familiarity with the SSPX, what they believe and why. I’ve never “gone over” but my exploration of there thinking was more than flirtation and I still know people who I talk to on occasion who are in the SSPX and I have quite a few friends who either were fully committed to SSPX or who have seriously investigated SSPX and attended their Churches. I’ve also gone a little further and flirted with a full on sede vacantist organization.

    Obviously I have rejected their reasoning. I am convinced they are wrong. I remain willing to discuss specific claims. I suggest you pick the one issue / objection that the SSPX has to Vatican II and we can take a look at it.

    Paul

  84. Darryl Hart,

    I am a recent convert to the RCC. Believe you me, that Catholicism does not go in for what is vogue in the modern world. Has the Church changed its stance about life ( how many other religions do you know of that call contraception a sin) ? Has the RC Church changed its stance about the nature of marital relationships?……it still calls marriage between one male and one female the only recognizable kind and even calls it a a “sacrament”( no other powerful institution does this ,except the EO). Does it allow women into the priesthood? Nope. Thank God, right??
    I was worried about these things before converting, because I understood that if the RCC did not stand against the spirit of modernism there is no one who does who also has the weight of God behind them, so much so that any deterrent is riffling with divine power. If I thought I could find conservativism in the Protestant world, institutional wise , I also understood that even that institution could eventually sub come to a break and splinter because it cannot claim the right to authoritatively define and uphold dogma ( it would always be so-and –so’s interpretation against mine). This is the shackles of sola scriptura.
    The best I could hope for was to jump from church to church where the prospect of modern change did not linger and threaten( liberalism will never ever be made RCC dogma). But I knew that I’d eventually get tired of the defensive position where it is, ”my learned and Holy Spirit filled opinion against yours”. Protestantism offers a shrinking orthodoxy, because it cannot authoritatively define what constitutes orthodoxy. Will it not be in the Protestant realm….if it isn’t already, “our interpretation against yours…ad infinitum?” How does one put a stop to, “Well,that’s just your( or whatever Magisterial Reformer’s) interpretation, and it isn’t entirely biblically informed lacking such and such nuance, so I’m heading on to do my own thing.”? Look, as long as you agree with a Magisterial Reformer, you’re “in”, but if you veer so much as a hair’s breadth, you’re out. I could not adhere to sola scriptura and was forced out of the fold. So much for fair sola scriptura. Over there in the Protestant realm, it is a shrinking island and you may be the last man standing, but your remnant would be very small. And there is nothing wrong with a remnant so long as it’s an orthodox remnant, but an orthodox remnant better have an infallible orthodoxy or it’s your interpretation and authority over against equally plausible biblical views with no way to ascertain the correct( infallible) one. It’s really less messy( and less confusing) over here.

    I hope that you will backup what are those teachings that are liberal post Vatican II.

    Susan

  85. Bryan and GNW:

    Here’s the Roman Catechism on Eternal Life:

    “The supreme happiness of the blessed is called by this name (life everlasting) principally to exclude the notion that it consists in corporeal and transitory things, which cannot be everlasting. The word blessedness is insufficient to express the idea, particularly as there have not been wanting men who, puffed up by the teachings of a vain philosophy, would place the supreme good in sensible things. But these grow old and perish, while supreme happiness is to be terminated by no lapse of time. Nay more, so far is the enjoyment of the goods of this life from conferring real happiness that, on the contrary, he who is captivated by a love of the world is farthest removed from true happiness; for it is written: Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him, and a little farther on we read: The world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof.”

    Here’s John Paul II (from Gospel of Life):

    “38. Eternal life is therefore the life of God himself and at the same time the life of the children of God. As they ponder this unexpected and inexpressible truth which comes to us from God in Christ, believers cannot fail to be filled with ever new wonder and unbounded gratitude. They can say in the words of the Apostle John: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. … Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:1-2).
    Here the Christian truth about life becomes most sublime. The dignity of this life is linked not only to its beginning, to the fact that it comes from God, but also to its final end, to its destiny of fellowship with God in knowledge and love of him. In the light of this truth Saint Irenaeus qualifies and completes his praise of man: “the glory of God” is indeed, “man, living man”, but “the life of man consists in the vision of God”.27

    “Immediate consequences arise from this for human life in its earthly state, in which, for that matter, eternal life already springs forth and begins to grow. Although man instinctively loves life because it is a good, this love will find further inspiration and strength, and new breadth and depth, in the divine dimensions of this good. Similarly, the love which every human being has for life cannot be reduced simply to a desire to have sufficient space for self-expression and for entering into relationships with others; rather, it devel- ops in a joyous awareness that life can become the “place” where God manifests himself, where we meet him and enter into communion with him. The life which Jesus gives in no way lessens the value of our existence in time; it takes it and directs it to its final destiny: “I am the resurrection and the life … whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (Jn 11:25-26).”

    For all of the possible ways you can reconcile them, the former is otherworldly and the latter is this worldly in their understanding of salvation.

    That is a classic example of what happens with liberalism (and part of the reason why Pius X condemned modernism).

  86. Susan,

    Sorry but I’m not sure you (or other Callers) are representative of U.S RC’s:

    “In a nationwide Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 28-March 3, 2013, that included 184 Catholics (out of a total of 1,003 adults), nearly one-in-ten U.S. Catholics (9%) say that the church faces a lack of credibility or trust. And 7% cite low attendance at Mass, a loss of followers or a general loss of faith in society as the most important problem facing the church at this time. An equal number (7%) say the church’s most important problem is that it is outdated or out of touch and needs to become more modern or adapt to changes in society. Just one-in-twenty U.S. Catholics (5%) mention the temporary lack of a pope or the need to choose a new pope as the church’s most important problem today. About one-in-six (17%) decline to offer an opinion or say they do not know what is the most important problem facing the church.

    “More than a quarter of U.S. Catholics (27%) say the most important way the Catholic Church helps society today is by serving those in need through charitable works. This includes those who cite efforts by Catholics in general to help the poor, feed the hungry and heal the sick as well as those who mention Catholic Charities or other organizations providing services in the United States or overseas.”

    http://www.pewforum.org/Christian/Catholic/US-Catholics-See-Sex-Abuse-as-the-Churchs-Most-Important-Problem-Charity-as-Its-Most-Important-Contribution.aspx

    I’m not sure that Roman Catholics, with all of those sacraments and all those merits in the treasury of merits, think about the church and what it does any differently than mainline Protestants. Is this a straw man? Is this ad hominem? I’m not up on logic, but I do sense that Rome’s problems are every bit as deep as those of the mainline Protestant churches.

  87. Darryl (re: #87)

    There is no contradiction between the two quotations. The former is stating that the object of our supreme happiness does not consist in anything corporeal or transitory, but in God who is eternal. The latter quotation is referring to our present participation in divine life, which present participation is grace. That is the basis for the theological dictum: “grace is the seed of glory.” That’s what Pope John Paul II means in saying “eternal life already springs forth and begins to grow.” In baptism we already are made participants in eternal life. In this present life our participation is only a shadow of the glory to be revealed when we shall see Him face to face. The agape we receive from God in baptism loves all the things God has made, for God’s sake. It does not love anything above God, or treat any creature as its highest end or supreme end. What’s confusing you here is thinking of “eternal life” as merely an everlasting condition, rather than as God Himself, or participation in the divine life. In the Catholic paradigm eternal life is God Himself, not everlasting existence, because God alone is eternal. So to “participate in the divine nature” as one does in the sacraments is to receive eternal life already, in this present life. Those who receive God Himself during this present life, will share in His life in the glory of the world to come. And that’s fully compatible with God alone being the object of our supreme happiness.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  88. Hi again Darryl,

    Before I converted( and I hate that term because it makes it sound like I went from Hinduism to Christianity), I knew no conservative Catholics. I take that back, I knew one family through a homeschool group and they were great, but a little odd, I thought at the time;I was just becoming Reformed and was thoroughly enjoying my newfound liberty ( alcohol!), and they were not drinkers. So besides them the only Catholics I knew about were the ones my daughter’s were meeting on the college campus( we live in CA;)~ ) Inevitably these Catholics were big on helping the disenfranchised and that included LGBT’s as well as the poor. My suspicions were confirmed….the RCC is a liberal machine and the college professors must really be liking having these stupid kids to help further their agenda. I wondered if the parishes these kids went to or the homes they were brought up in ever told them that Jesus is God and not a social reformer. So in the mix there is some liberation theology and there are some who don’t care what the Church official teaches and thinks that the Church should change with the popular vote. There’s no doubt that there are plenty of malcontents in the RCC who would like to see The Church officially change its position on social issues.

    All this was important to me as well as The Church’s view on Just War, or on Capital Punishment. I happened to believe in Just War Theory and in Capital Punishment, so I was afraid that The Church was going to tell me what I was allowed to believe concerning these things. But I also understood that there were liberals that didn’t appreciate being told what to believe concerning abortion, homosexual union, contraception, what have you…
    I didn’t want to be the one deciding based on my environmental influences( I am around conservatives mostly) but by what is morally orthodox. That cannot happen unless there is a Church that is guided by God to teach authority what the mind of God is. I stay close to orthodoxy in as much as I stick close to The Church that will not err in matters of faith and morals.

    Right before I started investigating the RCC, I had already had my fill of the Two Kingdom Theory. ” We cannot confound the “Gospel” message with social justice.” This was lopsided and it kept me from doing good works because I feared that I was doing them and actually trying to work for my salvation. There had to be a way to combine the two and keep from reducing Jesus to a guru, and so I was leaning towards a more Kuyperian view of society because I believed that while Jesus’s Kingdom is not of this world He has placed us here to proclaim His message and to love and help others. How does one get away from believing that God really wants us to do good works that He has prepared for us to walk in?
    I’ve been fortunate to have gone to three different parishes were the priests are faithful to Catholic moral teaching and even warn people that when they vote they are morally culpable for that vote. Sure there are people who ignore The Church’s official teaching, but the Church really does have dogmatic official teaching. Jesus as the Messiah, and faith in Jesus as God will always what is central to The Church’s heart. The RCC knows how to keep the balance.

    Susan

  89. Bryan, surprise. Never a contradiction. Have you seen “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”? I think you’d like it.

  90. Susan,

    If you really want a full bore Roman Catholic social teaching, try Unam Sanctus for a change of pace. If only all powers on earth reported to the pope. . . .

  91. Darryl (re: #92)

    If the Pharisees had responded to Jesus with that kind of quip, every time He refuted them, it wouldn’t have made their position any more correct, or Jesus’s statements any less true.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  92. Daryll (dgh) re:#87

    I didn’t respond initially, since you are interacting with 3 interlocutors at the moment. Not surprisingly, I agree with Bryan that the two passages you cite aren’t contradictory in the least.

    Could you indicate exactly what you find contradictory? I’m serious. I’m not trying to be obtuse. I honestly find the statements completely compatible. I’d never even think of them as contradictory – at all.

    The quote from Evangelium Vitae (even without looking at the context and without considering that it isn’t intended as a Catechetical statement) starts with “Eternal life is therefore the life of God himself ” and further on states “The dignity of this life is linked not only to its beginning, to the fact that it comes from God, but also to its final end, to its destiny of fellowship with God in knowledge and love of him. ” These statement make it clear that God is the Author of Life and life itself is good only because of God. In Evangelium Vitaehappiness can only be found in loving God. Clearly John Paul II is not opening the door to seeking happiness in “the world” and materialism. Rather he explicitly states:

    ..it develops in a joyous awareness that life can become the “place” where God manifests himself, where we meet him and enter into communion with him. The life which Jesus gives in no way lessens the value of our existence in time; it takes it and directs it to its final destiny: “I am the resurrection and the life … whoever lives and believes in me shall never die”

    Yes, John Paul II is speaking more positively than Trent. However, he is in now way contradicting the main Message. The dignity of this world derives from God and happiness is to be found in Jesus Christ.

    One parting shot since you seem to be a fan of brevity and incisive quips. The entire Catechism of the Council of Trent is roughly the same length as Evangelium Vitae. John Paul II has the luxury hear of writing much more expansively on the very focused topics addressed in this encyclical. Simply put, read the whole document.

  93. Bryan, so now you’re Jesus?

  94. GNW, you are predisposed to see them in harmony. So were Protestant liberals predisposed to see that “Jesus rose from the dead on the third day” and “Jesus did not rise from the dead on the third day” as communicating the same truth. When you’re in the realm of not reading things literally, which is what you have to do with a lot of the former teachings of Rome (such as Trent’s anathemas), then you can see harmony wherever you please.

    But here’s where the discontinuity may lie. Post Vatican II is soft on those outside the church. That certainly would fit with an expansive view of redemption (or salvation as recreation — thank you Du Lubac). But when Rome was thoroughly Thomist and believed no salvation outside the church, when heaven and hell were pressing matters, not social justice and the oppression of the poor, Protestants were schismatics and heretics. Just look at the Catholic Encyclopedia.

  95. Daryll (dghart),

    Thanks for the reply. I hope we can get into some substantial interaction at this point.

    Can you please point out to me where the two statement you cited are contradictory? Following the model of your simple X, not X example, what I see is “Supreme Happiness is in God” from Trent and John Paul II says ” Although man instinctively loves life because it is a good, this love will find further inspiration and strength, and new breadth and depth, in the divine dimensions of this good. ” BOTH say that the highest (supreme) good is found in the divine (God). Where do you see a literal contradiction?

    Further, you criticize me for not reading these two statement literally in your judgement. These are both statements of the Catholic Church. Where does the Catholic Church (who makes the statements) indicate that She intends them to be read in a what Protestants believe is a literal sense? The Church herself says these two statements are not in contradiction. Why do you, as a protestant outsider, get to demand we read our own statements in the literal sense that you would prefer we read them? Catholic understanding and interpretation are absolutely appropriate for Catholic documents. If we were discussing the confessions of a Protestant church your rules might apply.

    Do you read Jesus’ words literally in Jn 6:53?

    Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, you have no life within you; he who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My Flesh is food indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

  96. Daryll,

    Regarding the second half of your comment #97 and Salvation Outside the Church, the Church still teaches that there is no salvation outside the Church and Protestants still believe in heretical doctrines but we properly recognize that the vast majority of Protestants today are only “materially heretics” and not “formally heretics” because they have been taught Protestant heresy before knowing the true faith. They are not guilty of heresy in the sense of having rejecting orthodox doctrine.

  97. Before the Palm Sunday Mass:

  98. Pope Francis’s Palm Sunday homily:

    1. Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Lk 19:38).

    Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul. Now he enters the Holy City! This is Jesus.This is the heart that looks on all of us, watching our illnesses, our sins. The love of Jesus is great. He enters Jerusalem with this love and watches all of us.

    It is a beautiful scene, the light of the love of Jesus, that light of his heart, joy, celebration.

    At the beginning of Mass, we repeated all this. We waved our palms, our olive branches, we sang “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Antiphon); we too welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus is God, but he humbled himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. Here, he enlightens us on the journey. And so today we welcome Him And here the first word that comes to mind is “joy!” Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but from having encountered a Person: Jesus, from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them! It is at this time that the enemy comes, the devil comes, often disguised as an angel who insidiously tells us his word. Do not listen to him! We follow Jesus!

    We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world of ours. Let us bring the joy of the faith to everyone! Let us not be robbed of hope! Let us not be robbed of hope! The hope that Jesus gives us!

    2. A second word: why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: he is riding on a donkey, he is not accompanied by a court, he is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk, who sense that there is more to Jesus, who have the sense of faith that says, “This is the Savior.”

    Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood. And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals: “You are princes but of a Crucified King”that is Christ’s throne. Jesus takes it upon himself..why? Why the Cross? Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which no-one can bring with him. My grandmother would say to us children, no shroud has pockets! Greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And – each of us knows well – our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Christ brings to all of us from the Cross, his throne. Christ’s Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy! The joy of being saved and doing a little bit what he did that day of his death.

    3. Today in this Square, there are many young people: for 28 years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day! This is our third word: youth! Dear young people, I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches. I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty.! A young heart! With Christ, the heart never grows old! Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves that we have true joy and that God has conquered evil through love. You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus’ call: “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), which is the theme of World Youth Day this year. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace. Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you, from today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of Christ’s Cross. I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well – prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world. Young people need to tell the world: “It is good to follow Jesus, it is good to go with Jesus, the message of Jesus is good, it is good to come out of ourselves, from the edges of existence of the world and to bring Jesus to others!”

    Three words: Joy, Cross and Youth.

    Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives. Amen. (source)

  99. GNW, look, I could quote statements to you until I’m blue in the face. I know about the Syllabus of Errors and Unam Sanctum and the papacy no longer speaks in those terms. You are programmed to say that nothing is in tension or in contradiction.

    Then how do you explain SSPX’s reaction to Vatican II? Not to mention the many Roman Catholic historians who do show how a church that was once fearful of Americanism is dominated in the U.S. by trying to harmonize American political and economic realities with Romes teaching (whether on the left — Schindler — or the right — Weigel).

    I get it. The church doesn’t err, doctrine develops, everything’s good. But your call to communion is not going to sound real credible to anyone who studies the history of the church.

  100. Daryll, (dghart) I do appreciate your interaction here, but I would much prefer you decide whether you wish to engage in a charitable and constructive conversation or if in charity you should resist commenting.

    You have twice now addressed ad hominem comments towards me. In #97 you allege that I am “predisposed to see them in harmony.” An ad hominem I ignored and would be willing to ignore except for the latest comment with this more serious ad hominem:

    You are programmed to say that nothing is in tension or in contradiction.

    So rather than addressing my statement, or providing support for you own statements, you simply pound the table, insist that you are right, and that I am “programmed.”

    I find this particularly rich because in comment #79 and again in #88 you vaguely allege that one “problem” with the Catholic Church is that too many people Don’t Actually Believe / Follow What the Church Teaches then in the same series of comments you make the accusation that I am programmed (because I actually Follow and Believe what the Church teaches). So, which is it? You want to use both as attacks: That he Church fails because people think for themselves AND the Church is evil because people who believe are programmed and deceived.

    At the same time, possibly unintentionally, you making the allegation that the Catholic Church is a cult that programs her members. While making that Charge you continue to vaguely point to the existence of the SSPX as ‘evidence’ for your point. I really wish you knew enough about the SSPX to see some of the irony in that.

    [ BTW – did you read my comment #85? I spent a good portion of about 3 years seriously investigating and considering the question of Salvation outside the Church and whether the Vatican II formulation is compatible with Trent and particularly another formulation that I’m not going to cite – you can find it on your own (do your own homework). Since that time it has been one of my specialties in apologetics. It might be the ONE topic where I can actually keep up with Bryan, Brent et. al. on this website and I will, and do, go toe to toe and face to face with SSPX types on that issue. For what it’s worth, I take a more strict understanding of the Vatican II formulation than most, and while I admit some people not visibly united with the Catholic Church might or may be saved, I think it likely that the vast majority (along with a significant portion of Catholics) will NOT be saved. ]

    I hope you do continue to comment, although perhaps you should take a few days off and consider what argument you are really willing to make the effort to support. However, if you are only going to continue in the vein you have demonstrated so far, I am not longer interested.

    In essence, Show us the goods. You keep insisting that there is obvious contradictions, but in 18 comments you have made negligible effort to actually demonstrate a single allegation.

  101. Daryll

    Responding to the part of your comment that isn’t Ad Hominem.

    You say:

    Then how do you explain SSPX’s reaction to Vatican II? Not to mention the many Roman Catholic historians who do show how a church that was once fearful of Americanism is dominated in the U.S. by trying to harmonize American political and economic realities with Romes teaching(whether on the left — Schindler — or the right — Weigel).

    Yet another rhetorical question? Are you ever g0ing to produce an actual argument supporting your claims?

    Neither Weigel or Schindler is definitive. The points you are making require we go to the sources: the Church documents. If you are relying mostly on second hand sources and interpretations (left or right, Weigle or Schindler) you may easily be seeing contradictions that aren’t there.

    As for the SSPX reaction to Vatican II: Why is that relevant? Some people still think the world is flat, is that a problem for science? No it isn’t. Some people take Algebra and never “get it” and can’t solve a quadratic equation, does that mean that Mathematics is flawed? The SSPX can’t wrap there collective heads around few particular statements in Vatican II. Is that really of any more consequence than young earth / 6 day creationists?

  102. GNW, how is saying you are predisposed to a certain reading an ad hominem (and why can’t you carry on a conversation without appealing to the rules of logic as if that were Scripture — you know, since de Lubac scholasticism is over, right?). The point of Ken Howell’s article here at CTC was that RC historians are predisposed to read history in search of coherence.

    As for the remark about programming, I’m still reacting to Bryan Cross who does respond often like a computer.

    You may want to consider that many of the conversion accounts here are ad hominems directed at all the errors and howlers of Protestants. If you want people to respond here in a less ad hominem manner, then maybe you should correct some of the conversion narratives. And perhaps you should have a church that actually does all that the conversion claims say it does.

    My argument is simple: Rome changes at Vatican II. Even Mark Noll says this in Is the Reformation Over? But the presentation here is that Rome never changes. That would be an interesting case to make with Unigenitus (1713) in mind.

    The follow up is also relatively simple: they way conservative RC’s defend Rome’s “changes” is to point to development of doctrine. And I am trying to show the affinities between the hermeneutics of DofD and liberal Protestantism — both which try to say that nothing has changed even while the church is updating itself and becoming modern.

  103. Darryl (re: #105)

    My argument is simple: Rome changes at Vatican II. Even Mark Noll says this in Is the Reformation Over? But the presentation here is that Rome never changes.

    You made this same claim in comment #57 above, and then in comment #58 I pointed out to you (for the second time) that no one here claims that “Rome never changes,” and that you’re criticizing a straw man.

    The follow up is also relatively simple: they way conservative RC’s defend Rome’s “changes” is to point to development of doctrine. And I am trying to show the affinities between the hermeneutics of DofD and liberal Protestantism — both which try to say that nothing has changed even while the church is updating itself and becoming modern.

    No one denies that that there are “affinities,” or more precisely, similarities, between the authentic development of doctrine, and the corruption of doctrine by way of liberalism. But showing such similarities is not the same as showing that these developments are corruptions, nor does it entail that such developments are corruptions.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  104. Here’s a rough translation of the Pope on Sacred Tradition from Sobre el Cielo y la Tierra published in 2010 .

    For me also the essence of what remains is in the testimony of the Fathers. In our case, that of the Apostles. In the third and fourth centuries they theologically formulated truths of faith revealed and transmitted that are not negotiable, inheritance. That does not mean that throughout history study and research does not shed light on finding those truths as Jesus, as Jesus is configured as configured Church as the true Christian behavior, such as commandments. All this is enriched with explanations. Some things are debatable, but – again – the inheritance is not negotiated. The content of religious faith is likely to be deepened by human thought, but when that deepening collides with inheritance it is heresy. Anyway, religions tune some expressions with time, although it is a slow process because of the sacred bond we have with the inheritance received. Such is the respect that we must be careful not to screw it up by going too fast. A Medieval theologian expressed this progress in the understanding of inheritance, the revelation received: “The legitimate ruler of all progress and all growing right standard are that heredity is consolidated through the ages, is developed with the passage the years and grow over time. ” Answers with the heritage received the new issue of the day takes time and when issues of conscience are played. When I was a kid a divorced family usually did not house, treading it is less if they returned to get married. Today the Pope invites those who are in a new union to participate in the life of the Church. He asks them to pray, to work in parish communities, in works of charity. By the fact that they are aside from a command does not delete them baptism. I admit that the pace can not follow the speed of social change, but leaders and saints are seeking the voice of God, they have to take the time to go find the answers. We also run the risk of mixing other economic, cultural, geopolitical. You have to know the difference.”

    Sorry for the rough translation. Thoughts?

  105. Darryl,

    and why can’t you carry on a conversation without appealing to the rules of logic

    Catholics are perfectly capable of carrying on conversation without appeals to the rules of logic; however, like most folks, we have the bad habit of thinking the rules of logic are rather important when the conversation in question involves an actual argument.

    You may want to consider that many of the conversion accounts here are ad hominems directed at all the errors and howlers of Protestants.

    Conversion accounts are not ipso facto ad hominem, whether offered by a former catholic converting to Protestantism or vice-a-versa. To show that any of the conversion accounts here at CTC commit one or more ad hominem fallacies, you would need to show where in the narrative the convert appeals to the nature or disposition of some person or persons as in some way supportive of an argument for Catholicism or against Protestantism. I don’t find that sort of thing within the conversion narratives on this site, and if an ad hominem were found within some such account, I suspect every catholic here (including the convert) would willingly recognize it as such and admit that it either ruins or diminishes the argument in which it was deployed. Like others, I think it would be helpful to see arguments with respect to your positions (premises, conclusions, etc). Hand waiving about pre-post Vatican II theological contradictions or discontinuities, ad hominem conversion stories, etc. is not productive.

    Pax Christi,

    Ray

  106. Bryan, straw man.

  107. Ray, I know it’s not productive. But it’s not honest to acknowledge the confusion and disorder that exists among Roman Catholics when confusion and disorder among Protestants is a reason to convert to Rome. That is the most annoying part of Called to Communion — the smug superiority in the face of widespread doubts about the health of the Roman Catholic Church. I am more than willing to let you guys have your truth and rites and fellowship, and all your problems (which no one here really acknowledges). I tire of the “it’s always sunny in Rome” perspective when the whole world knows — even the most widely read RC websites (National Catholic Reporter and New Advent) — that Roman Catholicism faces a crisis on a whole host of fronts, perhaps the U.S. Church, which you guys regularly ignore, being among the largest.

  108. Darryl (110),

    You seem to be conflating the fact that “Roman Catholicism faces a crisis on a whole host of fronts” with total disorder. You mentioned “confusion and disorder” among Catholics and among Protestants, and say it is annoying that we converts have a smug superiority in the face of “doubts” about the health of Catholicism.

    The “confusion and disorder” that can no doubt be found in both Catholicism and Protestantism, (yes you are correct) does have a crucial difference. And that difference is the title of this article.

    We have a pope, Protestantism does not. I don’t mean to sound smug or condecending, just to let you peek behind the curtain of why this formerly Reformed, now Catholic finds so much to be excited about now that I am Catholic. The magisterium is what I am excited about. A living body of shepherds given authority to guard the transmision of the Apostolic Tradition is what I am excited about.

    That is something (right or wrong) that Protestantism does not have. And that is what I came to believe the true Church of Christ absolutely was supposed to have. I might be decieved, and all the CTC guys might be decieved, but we are not decieved to see a magisterium in Catholicism and none in Protestantism. That is plain as day.

    And because of that difference, the “confusion and disorder” of each body is not comparable when we consider the living magisterium.

    Do you think there will ever be women priests in Catholicism? The answer to that question and the explaination of it is why I am Catholic.

  109. Darryl (dghart) ,

    Again, thanks for continuing to dialogue. It can be frustrating, I know.

    In your #105 You asked me:

    GNW, how is saying you are predisposed to a certain reading an ad hominem

    ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attacking your interlocutor personally rather than addressing their argument, or making the case for your position. So by accusing me of “being programmed to say nothing is in tension or contradiction” (# 102) is ad hominem because it does nothing to address my actual argument nor to support your own argument.

    (and why can’t you carry on a conversation without appealing to the rules of logic as if that were Scripture — you know, since de Lubac scholasticism is over, right?).

    Were we conducting a casual, social conversation I would have a choice of a) invoking logic and elevating the “conversation” to a discussion or debate, b) dropping the conversation and walking away, and c) changing the subject. However, we are on a site committed to ecumenical dialogue.

    The posting guidelines, and Welcome statement of this website make clear that charitable discussion is the goal. You will notice the responses you received to your first statements did not escalate to a shouting match. Rather, Bryan, Brent, Michael responded with general charity (perhaps imperfectly) and attempted to engage you in a reasoned discussion. A reasoned discussion is one based on logical principles. Simply put, there isn’t any point in having an ecumenical conversation if we aren’t going to discuss issues rationally and according to basic logical principles.

    Are you actually proposing that we simply shout various accusations at each other?

    you know, since de Lubac scholasticism is over, right?

    No, I didn’t know that de Lubac had the authority to declare scholasticism over. Further I would make a distinction between “Scholasticism” as a school of Philosophical and Theological thinking and scholarship as disciplined investigation and discourse. I am pretty sure the rules of Logic are still in force (and neither Pope Francis or President Obama have the authority to abolish logic).

    You entered this “conversation” in comments #39, 40, 43 and 46 with a series of pointed jabs at Catholicism. Clearly you weren’t looking for a friendly conversation. Although you don’t even state what exactly you object to in Catholicism your statement are clearly written to provoke an argument not a conversation:

    #39 Brent, you wrote: “If our new Pope is going to go around the world and get people upset by caring for the poor, the sinner and the outcast, breaking breakable customs at times, I say, “Yippee!”. Sounds like Jesus.”
    So what are you saying about the previous popes? Were they worldly in your estimation? I seem to have heard that before in church history.

    #43Michael J., “On the other hand they will belittle and ridicule anyone who embraces tradition, celebrating a traditional Latin Mass, wearing the old-style vestments, or who ever was carried on a throne or wore a Papal tiara.” You mean the way SSPX embraces tradition?

    #46Brent, well you could actually exert a little more effort and admit the church has changed. SSPX has. Why can’t you?

    Brent responded in comments #42 and #50 and particular in #50 invites you to actually engage in this topic and make your point:

    If the church has changed, as you want me to admit, how has it changed (in your view) and how has it made the Protestant view of Roman Catholic history (whore of Babylon and all that hoopla) any more or less tenable? I’m assuming, of course, that the question about ecclesial narrative is germane to the Protestant-Catholic divide. However, to answer all of those questions would take us way off of this thread. The point of this thread, I think, is to acknowledge this Pope. Your emphasis is to turn into the past and to prove how different he is (I think) in order to prove change — substantial, disturbing change. I, instead, see that change as a progress only (rightly) understood within a paradigm of charis: God working through His Church (the One he founded) to perfect Her.
    A quick jab in a combox won’t undo that.

    Your response in #57 was heading the right direction and I thought – up until now that this was the main point you are arguing.

    The change [charge] is this. At one point Rome condemned the modern world and insisted that the papacy should not accommodate the modern world (Syllabus of Errors). Then Vatican II said the church should engage the modern world. SSPX held on to the old view, presumably because you can’t resist and embrace the modern world at the same time.

    You seem to be supporting that thesis with:

    RC converts say Rome never changes and Protestants are too diverse; well, is Rome now diverse and trending toward liberal Protestantism’s embrace of modernity? 2) how do RC converts view the history of their church and are they honest about significant tensions (like even the one between the papacy’s worldiness — all the pomp and ceremony — and all the talk about social justice and the oppression of the poor)?

    Where 1) does support your point with a bare assertion but 2) is a rhetorical question with an ad hominem or two buried in it.

    Your statement in #105 also reinforces that this is indeed your main point:

    My argument is simple: Rome changes at Vatican II. Even Mark Noll says this in Is the Reformation Over? But the presentation here is that Rome never changes. That would be an interesting case to make with Unigenitus (1713) in mind.

    IF that is indeed your main point is [That Rome once condemned the modern world but now embraces modernism – and therefor has fundamentally changed], then very many of your further statements are ad hominems because whether or not we “presuppose” or are presenting a full picture is irrelevant to making your case for that thesis or refuting our objections.

    However, in the comments that follow you mostly accuse Bryan, Brent et. al; and Catholic apologists in general of some form of dishonesty or deception. Your #66 in particular only makes a general hand wave in the direction of supporting your thesis by quoting two statements from the Syllabus of Errors. It isn’t until comment #87 – after several other logically weak comments – that you seem to make any effort to make a case for what we have assumed is your main thesis. Even here you provide barely any context of your own to logically support your thesis and simply provide two [almost random] quotes alleging a contradiction and seem afterwards exasperated that we don’t see your point of view. You’ve made vague gestures towards an argument based on the reasons the SSPX is in near schism and alluded to “salvation outside the Church” as a proof of contradiction between Trent and Vatican II but you have not made the effort to actually produce that argument. I am looking forward to seeing it.

    As for the remark about programming, I’m still reacting to Bryan Cross who does respond often like a computer

    #71 you accuse Bryan and other unspecified interlocutors of “Playing Dumb.”
    #75 – “I am saying that your portrait of the church is dishonest. You portray Rome as an oasis that lacks Protestantism’s many problems. But you never describe Rome’s problems.”
    #79 – Allege that Bryan and I are not “really” conservative Catholics
    # 92 – Allege that Bryan is deceitfully painting a “Sunny” picture of the Church
    IF and only if you are intending to argue for something like how I have summarized you #57 “That Rome once condemned the modern world but now embraces modernism – and therefor has fundamentally changed” THEN these are all blatant ad hominem statements. IF on the other hand, you intention is mainly to accuse Bryan and others on this site of dishonesty and deception, THEN those statement are thinly supported assertions supporting your argument and not ad hominems. Even in this case however, you seem to be depending on your #57 charge as the main evidence for our dishonesty.

    Meanwhile, Bryan and Brent the rest of us have made several comments to you addressing your premises and reasoning, but you don’t respond to those with anything but rhetroical questions and ad hominems

    As for the remark about programming, I’m still reacting to Bryan Cross who does respond often like a computer.

    Yes, I agree, Brian is amazing in how fast he can write and post an amazingly well thought out response. Like all of us here, Bryan has had this exact debate dozens of times. Sometimes it is like playing chess – another classic Ruy Lopez opening. The first 12 moves become perfunctory after a while. Bryan can play out this whole line of argument for 25 moves without hardly paying attention because he has probably worked through it as a Protestant 100 times and then 200 times as a Catholic.

    In # 105 directed at me:

    You may want to consider that many of the conversion accounts here are ad hominems directed at all the errors and howlers of Protestants. If you want people to respond here in a less ad hominem manner, then maybe you should correct some of the conversion narratives. And perhaps you should have a church that actually does all that the conversion claims say it does.

    Well, I hope by now you see that the problem with ad hominems has nothing to do with how I feel about them, or even with the fact that most ad hominems are also rude and even insulting. The reason we keep calling out ad hominems is that they are logically irrelevant.

  110. GNW, glad you could get that off your chest. Look if Bryan doesn’t like my jabs, he can delete them. It wouldn’t be the first time that Rome cracked down on dissent.

    For all of your good effort to prove that I have violated the etiquette and logic of CTC, you haven’t really responded to the point about change in Roman Catholicism or how CTC’s effort to read history in continuity distorts the past. You wrote:

    “IF that is indeed your main point is [That Rome once condemned the modern world but now embraces modernism – and therefor has fundamentally changed], then very many of your further statements are ad hominems because whether or not we “presuppose” or are presenting a full picture is irrelevant to making your case for that thesis or refuting our objections.”

    Is that it? I have pointed you to several statements from JPII, the catechism of Trent, historians, which conclude that Rome has changed. But instead of responding you find fault with my other statements. Looks like an evasion.

    So let me put it this way: Did Vatican II follow Unam Sanctum when it claimed, “Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered for the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest”? In other words, would Boniface be happy with Vatican II?

    I don’t think so. And the only way to talk about continuity between statements from the monarchical papacy and Vatican II is to resort to a hermeneutic first perfected by Protestant modernists. That doesn’t make the hermeneutic wrong. It simply may cause surprise for evangelicals and fundamentalists who convert to Rome and find that the intellectual inconsistency they used to associate with the mainline churches is a regular tool of Roman Catholics (even ones who think they are conservative).

  111. Darryl (dghart),

    You continue to make assertions and insinuations without stating your argument. You expect me to guess what in “Vatican II” you are aiming at. In this case I think I can generally guess, so I’ll indulge you a little.

    I have pointed you to several statements from JPII, the catechism of Trent, historians, which conclude that Rome has changed. But instead of responding you find fault with my other statements. Looks like an evasion.

    You “have pointed to several statements” however you have done nothing to show specifically how Vatican II contradicts those statements, leaving very little to respond to. Produce an argument that demonstrates a specific contradiction and I will respond to it in full. Merely handwaving that you see, or others see, a contradiction “over there somewhere” is not sufficient.

    Also, I did respond to your #87 in my #95 and #98 as did Bryan Cross. Instead of making a case for your argument, you responded with ad hominem.

    Did Vatican II follow Unam Sanctum when it claimed, “Both, therefore, are in the power of the Church, that is to say, the spiritual and the material sword, but the former is to be administered for the Church but the latter by the Church; the former in the hands of the priest; the latter by the hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest”? In other words, would Boniface be happy with Vatican II?
    I don’t think so.

    First, I notice your quotation seemed mixed up. Here is an accurate quote (I bolded the two words whose position is transposed above):

    Therefore, each is in the power of the Church, that is, a spiritual and a material sword. But the latter, indeed, must be exercised for the Church, the former by the Church. The former (by the hand) of the priest, the latter by the hand of kings and soldiers, but at the will and sufferance of the priest. For it is necessary that a sword be under a sword and that temporal authority be subject to spiritual power

    Now, as to your question “In other words, would Boniface be happy with Vatican II?I don’t think so.” How would we know? How could we answer that question AND why would it really matter. It isn’t just Vatican II and the Church that has changed in 700 years. Boniface VIII was a product of his age and engaged in a power struggle in fully Catholic Europe. We could guess that should a copy of Dignitatis Humanae be transported back to 1330 AD that Boniface VIII would be outraged. However, how would he react as Pope in our time under current circumstances – pure speculation. I speculate that despite his tactical flaws, he would understand that the modern world presents drastically different issues in the relationship of the Church to Government and society that did medieval Christian Europe.
    Further, why would it really matter? The Catholic Church only claims that the Popes are infallible on matters of “Faith and Morals” under specified conditions. Nowhere do we claim that Popes are clairvoyant and can anticipate massive shifts in world events. The general theology of Unam Sanctam is still reflected in Dignitatis Humanae. The specific application of these principle in a Bull written to the Catholic King Philippe IV of France addressing the contemporaneous geopolitical issues of Christian Western Europe ruled by Catholic kings is not an infallible act of the magisterium.

    Further, the relationship between Church and State is something that changed long before Vatican II in both actuality and in magisterial pronouncements. For example an excerpt from Immortale Dei, 1885:

    1931 [Finally] many do not approve the separation of Church and state but yet think that the Church ought to yield to the times, and adapt and accommodate herself to what the prudence of the day in administering governments demands. The opinion of these is good, if this is understood of some equitable plan which can be consistent with truth and justice, namely, such that the Church, exploring the hope of some great good, would show herself indulgent and bestow upon the times that which she can, while preserving the sanctity of her office.—But this is not so in matters and doctrines which a change of morals and a fallacious judgment have unlawfully introduced …

    So it is fallacious to insist this revolves around Vatican II. It is merely the reflection of a massive shift in political circumstances and theory that had been evolving for 500 years (at least).

  112. David Meyer, you write: “We have a pope, Protestantism does not. I don’t mean to sound smug or condecending, just to let you peek behind the curtain of why this formerly Reformed, now Catholic finds so much to be excited about now that I am Catholic. The magisterium is what I am excited about. A living body of shepherds given authority to guard the transmision of the Apostolic Tradition is what I am excited about.”

    Have you read Unam Sanctum or Unigenitus (1713)? Are you excited about those statements of papal supremacy that the Curia no longer follows?

  113. GNW, I took the quote right from the papal encyclicals website. Now you doubt the popes?

    You write: “Boniface VIII was a product of his age and engaged in a power struggle in fully Catholic Europe. We could guess that should a copy of Dignitatis Humanae be transported back to 1330 AD that Boniface VIII would be outraged. However, how would he react as Pope in our time under current circumstances – pure speculation. I speculate that despite his tactical flaws, he would understand that the modern world presents drastically different issues in the relationship of the Church to Government and society that did medieval Christian Europe.

    “Further, why would it really matter? The Catholic Church only claims that the Popes are infallible on matters of “Faith and Morals” under specified conditions.”

    So you have done exactly what Protestant liberals did — chalked up what was true at one time to historical circumstances. Granted, I would hate to have the kind of responsibility that you ascribe to one office holder. And I agree that the pope shouldn’t have to be able to read historical tea leaves. But if he is a subject of his times, and if you as a later resident in human history can see his limitations, then how is the current pope any less a product of his time?

    There goes David Meyer’s certainty and excitement about Roman Catholicism.

  114. Darryl, (re: #116)

    Every pope is indeed a product of his time, but as Catholics we believe that in every time the office is protected and guided by the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the Church. David can speak for himself, if he wishes, but his certainty and excitement is not based on a belief that popes are not men of their times, as were Abraham and Moses and King David and Nehemiah and Peter, but on the presence of the Lord with them through all time, until Christ returns.

    And if you think there is some contradiction between Unam Sanctum and a teaching of Vatican II, or between Unigenitus and a teaching of Vatican II, please feel free to lay that out. And if you think that any doctrinal developments were inauthentic please lay out your reasons or argumentation showing that these are inauthentic developments, accretions, or corruptions, and not authentic developments. Mere hand-waving suggestions and innuendo are unhelpful.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  115. dgh,

    You continue to make the charge (explicitly or implicitly) that we are being elusive: purposively intending to whitewash parts of history or to deconstruct history to meet our narrative ends. This charge is about intent, and not so much about making an error of judgment. In logic, it is called an ad hominem. You seem to think that is “dissent.” However, that is not dissent but rather an appeal to emotions (patheos). Some Protestants (maybe you included) seem to think that because Calvin or other Reformers at times acted this way, they are somehow justified in their behavior. However, I think they (and you, possibly) may have overlooked the fact that the Reformers were trained in classic rhetoric. In that discipline (as opposed to logic), one such appeal a speaker makes is to emotion, but that is not enough. You need ethos and logos. So, to reiterate what Bryan continues to ask, please lay out your reasons for your suspicions.

    An argument ad populum does not meet the threshold of the logos, as I noted here.

    Respectfully,

    Brent

  116. Bryan, I don’t really need to lay out the argument since Roman Catholic historians have already done so. I am thinking here of John O’Malley’s book, What Happened at Vatican II (Harvard U., 2008), and Mark Massa’s The American Catholic Revolution (Oxford U., 2010). (I hope Sean Patrick doesn’t look at Harvard and Oxford University Press the way he does the National Catholic Reporter).

    Here’s a summary of O’Malley (http://www.transfigurationpittsford.org/christian_formation/Book%20Reviews/What_Happened_at_Vatican2.pdf):

    “O’Malley gives a short history of past councils. And then he notes the dramatic change in the
    style of Vatican II. “It issued no canons, no anathemas, no verdicts of ‘guilty as charged’. In so
    speaking it marked a significant break with past councils.” (p.45)

    “The Council defined the church as “the people of God” and emphasized the centrality of our call
    to holiness. It encouraged more prominence for the scriptures and more active roles for laity. It
    tore down walls to ecumenism. It described the church as more mother than disciplinarian. It
    established the permanent diaconate and allowed married men to be included in it. It took the
    side of religious liberty and spoke to the supremacy of conscience as opposed to the old position
    that “error has no rights.” It emphasized the relationship dimension of marriage, downplaying
    some the reproductive responsibility.

    “Paul VI, John-Paul II, and now Benedict XVI have in some measure put brakes on the “liberal”
    momentum of Vatican II. Benedict, for example, has moved to encourage revival of the Latin
    mass. But their own basic premise (We never make a mistake that we need to change) makes it
    awkward for them to roll back the decisions of the Council. So we live and worship now in a
    Vatican II church.”

    It is the historical perspective of scholars like Massa and O’Malley that is so notably non-existent at CTC. But then again, that makes sense since you guys are much more philosophical than historical and as Massa shows, Vatican II tried to update Rome’s lack of historical sensibility (historicism). Prior to Vatican II, Rome had uniformly condemned historicist biblical scholarship. Now it reigns in RC universities.

    But again, I am a straw man with the wrong paradigm.

  117. Darryl, (re: #119)

    I don’t really need to lay out the argument since Roman Catholic historians have already done so. I am thinking here of John O’Malley’s book, What Happened at Vatican II ….

    The problem, however, is that the series of statements from O’Malley you cited in comment #119 is not an argument. So, if you think there is some contradiction between preconciliar teaching and the teaching of Vatican II, or if you think any doctrinal developments were inauthentic, you need to lay out the argument.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  118. dgh,

    You wrote: ” Prior to Vatican II, Rome had uniformly condemned historicist biblical scholarship. Now it reigns in RC universities.”

    This is not true for many reasons. For a trivial example, read Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu.

    Now, can you please give two magisterial statements that you think contradict each other: one from before Vatican II, the other from after Vatican II? Then will you please explain in words precisely why these two statements contradict each other?

    Once you have done that, we can all have a discussion. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but I get the impression that you believe that you can somehow persuade us to believe there has been a magisterial contradiction without taking the steps above. I am giving you this advice out of complete honesty, not to set you up into some kind of trap: you will not convince anyone unless you actually lay out a specific case of magisterial contradiction; a case which includes the two pieces of “data”, accompanied by an argument (not an assertion) for why they contradict each other. This is the only set of actions that could ever convince someone of your claim. It is really in your own interest to take it.

    Sincerely,

    K. Doran

  119. Catholic World Report has a piece up covering the notes from Cardinal Brogoglio’s (Pope Francis) address to the preconclave gathering of cardinals. Sandro Maestro released the notes earlier today (and I saw that) but CWR has more analysis and connects the thinking of Brogoglio (Francis) to that of Henri de Lubac S.J., whom we have seen mentioned several times in these comments.

    Interesting, both the article and the de Lubac connection.

  120. Brent, I’d say Bryan’s comment in 120 is proof of evasion. I invoke arguments of Roman Catholic historians but that’s not an argument so he doesn’t have to respond. I am not the forcing these historians to write what they do. I read them and then I read CTC and I get very different impressions of church history. Whom should I believe? And why doesn’t CTC engage the historical arguments of priests in the Callers’ own communion?

  121. Bryan, never said I was making an argument. I invoked arguments widely available from Roman Catholic sources. You can evade, or you can sometime reply to some of this historical scholarship on Vatican II. Even First Things does that. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/09/001-what-really-happened-at-vatican-ii-30 What are you hiding?

  122. K. Doran, and then came Humani Generis which reversed Pius’ openness and there went John Courtney Murray having to write under a pseudonym. Can we talk now?

    BTW, Bill McSweeney in Roman Catholicism: The Search for Relevance writes: “One thing is certain about modern Catholicism: it has changed. It is not what it was. Roman Catholics routinely behave and think today in ways that would have seemed extraordinary in the 1950s. A transformation has taken place, but no one seems sure what has happened.”

    I don’t make this stuff up. Lots of people make these assertions. But CTC seems particularly stubborn in either denying the existence of such widespread notions, or if mentioned discrediting them. I’d say that CTC’s program would be more intellectually interesting if it actually took into account the change in the church since Vatican II. But given the tone of the conversion narratives here, such an admission would not conform to converts’ expectations for their church.

  123. dghart (re #125):

    Regarding the First Things article, here is what Fr. Neuhaus concludes in 2008:

    It is almost half a century after the council. The pontificates of Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, along with the scholarly arguments represented by books such as Vatican II: Renewal Within Tradition, make it evident that the hermeneutics of continuity is prevailing, if it has not already definitively prevailed

    So how does this support your case that the Church has “changed”? It supports instead precisely what you’ve been hearing from Bryan, Mike, etc., much as you might wish it to be otherwise.

    Frank La Rocca

  124. Darryl, (re: #125)

    I invoked arguments widely available from Roman Catholic sources.

    Which arguments have you invoked? I haven’t yet seen you invoke any argument, but if I’ve missed it, please point me to where you did so.

    You can evade, or you can sometime reply to some of this historical scholarship on Vatican II.

    If you have no argument (either from yourself or from other sources) demonstrating or attempting to demonstrate either some contradiction between conciliar and preconciliar teaching, or some inauthentic development, then you’ve provided no reason why I need to “reply” to this scholarship, or why my not replying to it is some sort of “evasion.” We call this the phantom argument fallacy. You keep alluding to a hidden argument that allegedly shows some contradiction between conciliar and preconciliar teaching, but until now you are unable or unwilling to lay out that argument.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  125. dgh,

    Let me get this straight, you want us to take *statements* (without arguments), imply arguments or go find the arguments, and then come back here and rebut them for you? I’m sure we are all open to doing some historical work, and I know we have NO reason to be evasive (being Protestant would make my life a whole lot easier). Moreover, I’m a student of history first, philosophy second (although I consider myself a philosopher first — but I think everyone is a philosopher first; you don’t study history sans a philosophy), but wouldn’t it be more charitable for either you to (a) go find the arguments in contradiction to the *statements* you find troubling or (b) provide for us the arguments for your statements and then see if we can rebut them? I say charitable since you are chiding us as dense or elusive. For example, you write:

    BTW, Bill McSweeney in Roman Catholicism: The Search for Relevance writes: “One thing is certain about modern Catholicism: it has changed. It is not what it was. Roman Catholics routinely behave and think today in ways that would have seemed extraordinary in the 1950s. A transformation has taken place, but no one seems sure what has happened.”

    Go read Bad Religion: How we Became a Nation of Heretics. I have a review of that book I need to finish, but I’ve recently welcomed a new child, moved for a new job and started a new job to get in the way of it. I think McSweeney has the western world (mostly America) in mind. He’s a former NCR guy, so I’m not sure exactly what that means but probably that the comment is as much self-commentary as anything. Nevertheless, the point I want to make is how this is not an argument. For instance, if I reworded the statement to talk about “dgh”:

    “One thing is certain about dgh today: he has changed. He is not what he was. DGH routinely behaves and thinks today in ways that would have seemed extraordinary only decades ago. A transformation has taken place, but no one seems sure what has happened.”

    Imagine one of your friends emailed that to all of your friends and family (or put it on their Facebook wall). I’m sure that some of them, incredulously, would become worried. Nevertheless, notice what is missing:

    1. How DGH has changed
    2. What DGH was allegedly before he changed
    3. How 1 and 2 are incompatible, mutative, etc.
    4. How DGH behaves

    And so forth. Hand-waving and appeals to emotion can get people’s attention. However, they are not arguments, and CTC is not a Facebook wall. Have all of us had to consider the dynamics of the last 100 years of Catholicism? A: Yes. For the sake of clarity, we just ask you to determine exactly what part of that history you want us to talk about, and what you believe follows as a conclusion from that history. But please understand my previous comment: history is not done without a philosophy, so the issues at hand are not like the retelling of a car accident. Nevertheless, just like in a court case for vehicular manslaughter, evidence and arguments are necessary for proving conclusions that impugn or imply anything. Statements can be disregarded as just hearsay.

    Respectfully,

    Brent

  126. Frank, Neuhaus doesn’t support the point that the church has changed. O’Malley does and Neuhaus has to agree with him. The point was that at least First Things doesn’t cover up the way CTC does what the Roman Catholic historians are revealing about change in the Roman Catholic Church.

  127. Bryan, you are truly being evasive. I have asserted here that the church changed. I contrasted Trent and JPII on everlasting life. I brought up papal encyclicals that Roman Catholics no longer believed. You took the modernist way out — popes are creatures of their times. I’ve said repeatedly that everyone knows Rome changed with Vatican II. Then I cited books written by Roman Catholic priests published by reputable presses.

    And you say I haven’t made an argument. If I had made half the assertions here with my wife I’d be in the doghouse. But no argument.

    You are Jesuitical. Say hello to Francis.

  128. Darryl, (re: #131)

    Bryan, you are truly being evasive.

    Well, let’s see (below) whether that accusation is justified.

    I have asserted here that the church changed.

    Indeed you did. And, as you know, my response in comments #58 and #73, was to agree.

    I contrasted Trent and JPII on everlasting life.

    Yes, you did, in comment #87. But even though I’m very willing to acknowledge development of doctrine, this example you brought up in #87 is not an example of development of doctrine. The Church has always believed that in baptism we become already in this present life participants in eternal life. That’s thesosis, and it is all throughout the patristic writers.

    I brought up papal encyclicals that Roman Catholics no longer believed. You took the modernist way out — popes are creatures of their times.

    There, the mistake on your part was inferring from the fact that some Catholics no longer believe encyclical x, to the conclusion that what x teaches concerning faith and morals is no longer true or authoritative. That conclusion does not follow. And the fact that popes are creatures of their times is simply a truth, and is not falsified by sticking the label ‘modernist’ on it. If you want to falsify it, you need to lay out an argument showing it to be false.

    I’ve said repeatedly that everyone knows Rome changed with Vatican II.

    And this is the third time in this thread that I’ve acknowledged that the Catholic Church changed with Vatican II. But when I say that, you don’t respond with, “Well, Bryan, I’m glad we agree on that.” And that’s because you’re saying more than “Rome changed.” You’re seemingly alluding to a hidden argument allegedly showing that Vatican II contradicted previous Catholic doctrine. Yet so far you have been unwilling or unable to present that argument. So either you agree with me (that Catholic doctrine developed at Vatican II without contradicting prior Catholic doctrine), or you don’t agree with me, but haven’t yet provided an argument showing that Vatican II contradicted prior doctrine.

    Then I cited books written by Roman Catholic priests published by reputable presses.

    Yes, you did, but without presenting any argument.

    And you say I haven’t made an argument. If I had made half the assertions here with my wife I’d be in the doghouse. But no argument.

    What, exactly, do you think an argument is? It is not a ‘gotcha’ question. If you give an answer that differs from what I understand an argument to be, then I’ll explain what I understand an argument to be, and it will be clear at that point (I hope) why I’m saying that you haven’t made an argument.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  129. Hi dghart,

    Regarding O’Malley’s views on VII, I don’t think they are as supportive to what you seem to be wanting to argue here. See this article: http://www.ts.mu.edu/readers/content/pdf/67/67.1/67.1.1.pdf . Where O’Malley says:

    “Yes, Vatican II affirmed again and again its continuity with the Catholic tradition, especially with the councils of Trent and Vatican I. That is incontestable. Vatican II changed nothing in what Cardinal Dulles calls its ‘substantive teaching’ Moreover, it did nothing that in any way diminished the authority structures in the Church. ‘Servant leaders’ know the buck stops with them, as the council insisted…”

    He insists on discontinuity, by which he means change. Because something obviously happened at VII. But he also says that previous doctrines and teaching on morality were not overturned. So there is continuity and discontinuity at once, which he explicitly refers to as development. This is essentially the same thing Bryan and others here at CtC have admitted. Further, in the article O’Malley expresses his agreement in whole with the 1985’s Synod of Bishops guidance on how VII should be interpreted; the Synod was called by Pope JPII and led Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as head of CDF.

    Take care,
    Erich

  130. Darryl,

    With respect to the very nature of fruitful dialogue . . .

    Frank had quoted Neuhaus as follows:

    ”It is almost half a century after the council. The pontificates of Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, along with the scholarly arguments represented by books such as Vatican II: Renewal Within Tradition, make it evident that the hermeneutics of continuity is prevailing, if it has not already definitively prevailed”

    You responded:

    ”Neuhaus doesn’t support the point that the church has changed. O’Malley does and Neuhaus has to agree with him.”

    What can this mean? Neuhaus “doesn’t support the point that the church has changed”, but Neuhaus “has to agree” with O’Malley who does support the point that the church has changed?

    Here again philosophical imprecision bogs down dialogue. I would like to use this example to help clarify the wider failure to communicate which seems to have emerged – even about the very nature of argument vs. assertion.

    To begin with, your claim can be taken in two ways, but which way you wish it to be taken is unclear because you leave it unclear:

    First, it might simply be an empirical claim about the position(s) Neuhaus himself held. But in that case you would be (no doubt unintentionally) characterizing Neuhaus as a schizophrenic; portraying him as simultaneously holding that the Church has not changed [apparently on evidence such as that presented by Frank], while simultaneously holding that the Church has changed [because O’Malley supports that claim].

    But I doubt you intended to attribute that sort of dissonance to Neuhaus.

    Secondly, you might be asserting that, while Neuhaus did not in fact hold that the Church had changed; his position was nevertheless unreasonable because – given the work of O’Malley – Neuhaus should have acknowledged that the Church had changed.

    Now that approach, while it may seem to possess the traits of an argument, turns out to be more akin to an assertion. One can see why by attempting to structure that approach in an argumentative form:

    Premise 1: Neuhaus doesn’t support the point that the church has changed

    Premise 2: O’Malley does support the point that the church has changed

    Conclusion: Therefore, Neuhaus should support the point that the church has changed.

    The conclusion neither follows from the premises, nor from their conjunction. Moreover, the fact that the conclusion does not follow from the premises does not arise because one of the premises is likely to be false, but because, even if both premises are true (which they may well be); the conclusion still does not follow. In other words, the veracity of the conclusion is not affected one way or the other by any amount of attention paid to the truth or falsity of either premise – or their conjunction. Both premises (and their conjunction) are utterly irrelevant to the conclusion as a matter of structure. That is why this sort of approach is more akin to an assertion, rather than an argument: the very structure of the argument has no point with respect to settling some disputed matter. Merely stating the facts about the divergent views of two men regarding the same subject, provides no reason for suggesting that one of the two should reasonably adopt the other’s position. The structure is merely descriptive-assertive, not determinative. Additional or altered premises would be needed just to achieve a useful logical structure, much less discover the truth of the matter.

    The only useful dialogical work which can be advanced within the context of assertion is definition of terms: an invaluable task which can save much time and effort in the long run, so long as it is pursued in a patient and systematic way.

    For instance, in the structure laid out above, two parties could advance a dialogue by first clarifying what is meant by the term “change” (used in both premises and the conclusion); as well as discussing the impact of that term with respect to the broader dispute to which the dialogue is ordered. Thus, both parties may agree that the Church has “changed” in some sense or another, so that the dispute is not about whether the Church has changed simpliciter; but, rather, about some specific kind of change. And that clarification might lead to a more precise dialogue regarding exactly what kind of change within the Church the two parties actually still disagree about. And with a bit of additional dialogue, both parties might come to agree that the kind of change which they continue to disagree about would be “change” related to one or more teachings which the Church claims (or claimed) is protected from error by Christ.

    And with a bit more dialogue both parties might agree that (alleged) error-protected Church teachings do, in fact, change in some sense or another, so that the dispute is not even about whether definitive Church teachings can change; but, rather, about some specific kind of change to definitive Church teaching. And with a bit more dialogue it might be agreed that the specific kind of change to definitive Church teaching which both parties continue to disagree about would only be “change-claims” which – if true – would undermine the credibility of the Church’s broader claim to being always protected from error by Christ in her definitive teachings across time. And the reason that this specific kind of change might be settled upon as the epicenter of the dispute, is because the wider context (and indeed the inception of the dispute) surrounds the assertion that one reason Protestants should become Catholic is because the Catholic Church is always protected from error in her definitive teachings by Christ across time.

    And given this further clarification and focus it might be agreed that the only way the truth of a change-claim [to a definitive teaching] could be responsible for undermining the Church’s boarder claim to always being protected from error in her definitive teaching by Christ, would be if one definitive Church teaching were contradicted by a “change” to that same, or some other, definitive Church teaching; since two incompatible claims cannot both be true in the same way at the same time (the law of non-contradiction being universally recognized as a positive test for error). The excellent result of such a careful dialogical effort to define terms would be the ability to actually begin a clear and focused argumentative dialogue.

    I bring out these details because, with respect to your comments concerning pre-post council changes in the Catholic Church, the Neuhaus-O’Malley motif represents the essential structure of your overall case thus far; a case which you seem to think has involved substantial argument(s), while I and others see little more than assertions, with nary a nod to term definition. In my view, your general approach looks much like the Neuhaus-O’Malley approach:

    Premise 1: You folks at CTC hold that the Church has not changed

    Premise 2: This person (or group of persons) hold that the Church has changed

    Conclusion: Therefore, you folks at CTC should acknowledge that the church has changed

    And as I have explained (lacking even an effort at term definition), such an approach strikes me as well . . .useless.

    By contrast, having made an effort at term definition, the following structurally useful argument could be constructed toward the goal of eventually reaching agreement in truth:

    Premise 1: CTC folk hold that there has not been a change to one or more definitive teachings of the Catholic Church which contradicts that same, or some other, definitive teaching(s) of the Catholic Church..[uncontroversial]

    Premise 2: Historians hold that there has been a change to one or more definitive teachings of the Catholic Church which contradicts that same, or some other, definitive teaching(s) of the Catholic Church. [uncontroversial]

    Premise 3: If it were shown that some change to a definitive Church teaching involves a contradiction with that same, or some other, definitive Church teaching; that showing would establish the fact of error within the body of the Church’s definitive teaching. [pre-agreed from prior definitional dialogue]

    Premise 4: Establishing the fact of error within the Church’s body of definitive teaching establishes that the Catholic Church is not always protected from error in her definitive teaching across time. [pre-agreed from prior definitional dialogue]

    Premise 5: One or more historical change(s) to definitive Church teaching does establish a contradiction in definitive Church teaching whereby incompatible claims are said to be true in the same way at the same time [KEY PREMISE]

    Conclusion: Therefore, the Catholic Church is not always protected from error in her definitive teaching and CTC folk should acknowledge as much (and stop using this claim to proselytize Protestants) [from 3, 4, & 5]

    Why would this be a useful strategy? In the first place, this strategy involves an actual argument with a working structure. The first and second premises do not formally impact the structure of the argument, but merely exist for context and parity with the Neuhaus-O’Malley example. The third and fourth premises are taken to be true based upon previous dialogical spade-work. The net result is that if the fifth premise is true, then (given prior definitional agreements respecting 3 & 4), both parties should acknowledge the conclusion. If the fifth premise is false, then both parties should acknowledge that the claim of the Catholic Church to be protected from error by Christ in her definitive teaching across time is not undermined by any (as yet) considered historical change-claim. Within this context then, both parties can work in a focused and productive way be channeling all of their dialogical energy upon the fifth premise; discussing whether or not any specific historical change to a definitive Church teaching, in fact, resulted in a contradiction with that same, or some other, definitive Church teaching. Moreover, both parties would clearly understand that the law of non-contradiction itself requires that to establish such a contradiction, the change in question will need to have established a situation wherein definitive Church teaching promulgated incompatible claims as being true in the same way and at the same time (where “at the same time” applies not to the date of promulgation but to the *content* of the promulgation).

    It is this good faith effort to carefully structure dialogue for the benefit of all which “philosopher types” to keep asking you to engage in, and which you seem insistent upon avoiding or neglecting. Describing your interlocutors as “evasive” or “Jesuitical” could, of course, be because they really are evasive or acting in bad faith. However, it can also be a defensive measure to cover the frustration one feels when it is pointed out to him that his arguments are poorly or imprecisely formulated.

    Pax Christ,

    Ray

  131. Ray and Erich, here is my beef. On the one hand, CTC presents a view of Rome that some converts find consoling because it offers certainty in the midst of chaos (whether Protestant or secular — as if for some Roman Catholics there is a difference).

    On the other hand, Roman Catholic historians of Roman Catholicism present an alternate view of Rome, like this one by Eamon Duffy in his history of the papacy (Saints and Sinners — the same Duffy to whom conservative Roman Catholics appeal for his critique of the English Reformation):

    On every front, then, the Council (Vatican 2) redrew the boundaries of what had seemed till 1959 a fixed and immutable system. For some Catholics, these changes were the long-awaited harvest of the New Theology, the reward of years of patient endurance during the winter of Pius XII. For others, they were apostasy, the capitulation of the Church to the corrupt and worldly values of the Enlightenment and the Revolution, which the popes from Pius IX to Pius XII had rightly denounced. And for others, perhaps the majority, they were a bewildering stream of directives from above, to be obeyed as best they could. Many of the older clergy of the Catholic Church found themselves sleep-walking through the Conciliar and post-Conciliar years, loyalty an authority which called them to embrace attitudes which the same authority had once denounced as heresy. Pope John’s successor would have to deal with all of this.” (274-275).

    I for one have doubts that the conversion narratives at CTC would be so excited about the glories of the magisterium of those stories had to factor in Duffy’s account of 1965 and all that.

  132. Darryl, (re: #135)

    What puzzles me is again the hidden argument (hidden because you have yet to lay it out), according to which a statement such as that which you cite from Duffy allegedly undermines the Catholic advantage of providing “certainty in the midst of chaos.” You seem to be suggesting that if in the Catholic Church there is development of doctrine or changes in disciplines, then there is no certainty in the midst of chaos, or at least no more certainty in the Catholic Church than one can find in Protestant denominations. Is that your thesis?

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  133. Bryan,

    The change of discipline while the doctrine remains the same is not a small matter. For instance, in the early Church, there was no toleration of half-hearted disciples, or those who would live in total apathy and indifference to the commands of Christ and partake of the Lord’s Supper. If many of the early Church Fathers saw take place what takes place today in their church, they would have thought it a matter essential to doctrine to excommunicate false disciples. I have a whole family, Catholic, who live in outright indifference to what Christ ever said, but they post things on facebook which are sentimental to Christ and Mary.

    All that I am arguing is that You cannot say that because doctrine has not changed, but discipline has, that thereby the Church retains it’s purity. I would at least like to see some Bishops stand up for righteousness and defend Christ, by not allowing certain unworthy people from partaking of Communion.

    I have a local Catholic Church here that accepts people who support the LGBT community (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transvesdyte). This particular person is very strong in their support of abortion and the LGBT approval, and yet admires this Church because they “dont judge”. Sometimes, a change in discipline is an outright disgrace against Christ, so much so that He threatens to remove the Spirit from the Church (Rev 1-3).

  134. Darryl,

    I am a convert (14 years ago), and I can assure you that I entered the Church with eyes wide open, fully aware of statements like that of Duffy. But similar statements could have been made by Duffy-like post-conciliar historians during the first 50-100 years after any number of ecumenical councils (even – and perhaps especially – the Nicene). But such statements would in no way prejudice the continuity – in fact – of the formal and definitive doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church. Why? Because the entire Duffy quote which you provide is about the subjective experience of various persons and groups in the wake of conciliar teaching, and there are as many possible subjective experiences and attitudes as there are people and groups.

    But none of that addresses the question of objective contradiction with respect to the teaching of any council – including Vatican II – with prior Catholic doctrine. This is exactly why many historians who write paragraphs much like Duffy’s continue to remain Catholic historians. The social nature of the Catholic Church, understood as both a human and divine institution, provides exactly the sort of theoretical context in which intellectual and emotional confusion about one or more aspects of the faith can exist; while the objective content of faith – upon careful and clear reflection over time – is shown to remain free from contradiction, and to have become clearer and richer precisely as a result of the temporary discomfort and struggle associated with fides quaerens intellectum. Moreover, statements such as Duffy’s:

    “an authority which called them to embrace attitudes which the same authority had once denounced as heresy”

    is clearly a bit of sloppy (though forgivable) historiography, since the Magisterium of the Catholic Church has never denounced any “attitude” as heretical. Only propositionally expressed beliefs can (and have been) declared anathema (which is why it is possible to inquire about formal contradiction within the body of definitive Church teaching). Attitudes can (and have been) described as sinful or disordered, but not heretical per se.

    So again, the thought that definitive Catholic teaching across the centuries, and amidst the chaos of cultural and religious upheavals (including those arising from and surrounding Church councils), continues to evidence a substantial unity which grounds a mode of theological certainty which Protestantism knows nothing of, remains untouched by what you have to say (so far).

    Pax Christi,

    Ray

  135. Erick (re: #137)

    The change of discipline while the doctrine remains the same is not a small matter.

    I never said it was a small (or large) matter. That’s not the point in question in this discussion, and debating whether it is a small or large matter would take us off the point in question in this discussion.

    All that I am arguing is that You cannot say that because doctrine has not changed, but discipline has, that thereby the Church retains it’s purity.

    The purity of the Church, though an important question (discussed in “The Holiness of the Church“) is not the question in this discussion some of us are having with Darryl.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  136. Darryl (#135)

    I for one have doubts that the conversion narratives at CTC would be so excited about the glories of the magisterium of those stories had to factor in Duffy’s account of 1965 and all that.

    I don’t understand at all why you would say this. I, for one, became a Catholic through reading Newman and other pre-V2 Catholics, and coming to faith – not merely a historical/philosophical conclusion (as you correctly perceived over in the Jason Stellman thread) – that the Church is what it says it is, then, seeing this confusion that Duffy and others have talked about, my response is to see them as ‘difficulties’ (in Newman’s phrase: ‘a thousand difficulties to not make one doubt’) to explain, not as reasons for doubt. You – surely! – have the same attitude toward the Bible. When people point out discrepancies amongst the Resurrection stories, for example, do you suddenly wonder if, after all, the Bible is God’s Word? Or do you, quite reasonably, conclude that some sort of police-report accuracy is not what is expected; that John’s Gospel saying that Jesus’s trial was at the ‘sixth hour’ – whereas Matthew’s says that at the sixth hour, Jesus was already on the Cross and darkness spread over the land – you simply respond by assuming that John is counting hours from midnight, as we do, rather than from sunrise? I am sure you do.

    When all sorts of nonsense comes in response to V2 – and I am told that following most previous counsels there were similar reactions – why should I suddenly conclude that the Church is not what I thought? I work from my belief – based on the faith God has given me, but itself – that faith – given in response to examining the strong ‘motives of credibility’ I mentioned – that the Church is what I believe to the conclusion that these people – both the far-out clown-Mass ‘lefties’ and the sede vacante hyper-traditionalist schismatics and SSPX types – that these people are simply wrong.

    Do you not do the same regarding challenges to Scripture?

    The question is whether those ‘motives of credibility’ lead to the Church (and, thence, to the Scripture; in becoming a Catholic you do not lose anything you now believe; you gain). That is a longer story and I strongly recommend Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine and Knox’s The Belief of Catholics (both of which you can read free on-line).

    But you are confused if you think that, once having faith in the God-founded nature of something, you think that difficulties that arise are somehow things that will shake that faith. If they do, you didn’t have faith in the first place. On this I recommend (more difficult to read :-)) An Essay in aid of a Grammar of Assent by Newman – which examines what faith is.

    jj

  137. Dghart # 135

    I have been following your debate with Bryan and the rest with keen interest. You state that the Church has changed because of Vatican 2. If you feel that there has been changes to the beliefs of the Church then why don’t you state what you think those changes are and they can respond to those specific changes that you feel the Church has made in Her beliefs? Then there is no beating around the bush so to speak. The manner of proclaiming the faith may have changed but if the faith itself has not changed then I don’t see there being a big problem. What are the changes that you see are affecting the Church ? There are a good ly number of people out there that are proclaiming to be Catholic (even in the universities) but they are not following the precepts of the Church. I don’t see the Church being at fault if they don’t follow her teachings.

    Blessings
    NHU

  138. Actually the past 50 years (my lifetime roughly) in the Catholic Church and society at large demonstrate Exactly why we need “certainty in the midst of chaos”. For those who look for it and remain anchored by it, the Catholic Church and the Papacy DO provide that certainty regarding doctrine. Also, I think it is a gross oversimplification to focus solely on Vatican II as an isolated event and/or a set of documents. Rather, Vatican II is itself a product of a point in history that react towards and reflects the dynamic shifts in society during our time.

    Faith in the Church itself, in the magisterium, in the Papacy is certainty and it is certainty that is well founded. The Church has not failed in these times or any other and never will. Darryl’s example via Eamon Duffy shows both why that certainty is necessary and that many people can have weak faith and get distracted by events and bad tidings. This is life.

    We must be clear that the certainty we have in the Church is not regarding things of the world but is of the Truth of the Faith and lordship of Jesus Christ as head of the Church (and distinct from simply our personal relationship). We know that the Church won’t fail to preserve the full truth of Revelation. That is our certainty and our only certainty. We know that the Content of divine revelation will be preserved, in it’s entirety, without corruption.

    Emphatically, we do not have, and emphatically we do not claim to have, certainty or more confidence regarding anything beyond the content of divine revelation. We have no additional certainty regarding the holiness of any person or group of people in the Church. We claim and expect no additional certainty regarding how well the Church in corporate will carry out the task of evangelizing and teaching in our generation.

    Recognizing the Church and placing one’s self under Her authority is not a “magic carpet ride” for escaping the confusion of the world in general. It is simply climbing aboard the Barque of Peter that preserves the truth. If anything, perhaps one’s experience of the eddies and cataracts might be more intense. Know this, where ever the points of conflict between the World and Truth are most intense, the Church will be right there in the middle of it.

    The confusion among Catholics in our times is not simply a result of Vatican II. Vatican II was itself a response to a moment in history that had many complex currents. Also, the confusion revolves just as much around what Vatican II did not change, in any way shape or form, as it is over what Vatican II did change.

    Further, lets be clear, a great many changes were in progress in Western Civilization as a whole during these years and this was exacerbated greatly by the inherent weakness of Protestant ecclessiology and the collapse of Protestantism on contraception, divorce and for large portions virtually everything else related to family. The economy, industrialisation (late stage) followed rapidly by the information age and the space age, chemical contraception, sexual revolution, peace movement, civil rights all of which interacted significantly with modernist and postmodernist philosophy and scholarship and scientific materialism. Never forgetting greed and power, corruption and oppression.

    Vatican I convened in 1868 still had one foot in Monarchial Europe. The Napoleonic Wars were just ended and the French Republic was still in indeterminate form. Italy had just barely become independent. It was just 20 years since the Revolutions of 1848. At the same time the United States was still of little consequence in the world, not yet a world power. Although the errors of Modernism were known the way this was going to play out in the world was very unclear. Vatican I could not help but emphasize a hard stand on doctrine against the errors of rationalism, liberalism and materialsim (as defined by Philosophical movements not ‘popular’ conception).

    100 years later, that was war that had been fought. Vatican II was about orienting the Church to the new reality of the world around it. It was NOT about breaking from tradition, fundamentally altering the nature of the Church or changing doctrine. This is clearly demonstrated throughout the documents of Vatican II, but most especially in the Opening Address of the Second Vatican Council by Pope John XXIII. (Emphasis in original). The whole address if really quite good, I recommend re-reading it.

    PRINCIPLE DUTY OF THE COUNCIL: THE DEFENSE AND ADVANCEMENT OF TRUTH

    The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more
    efficaciously. That doctrine embraces the whole of man, composed as he is of body and soul. And, since he is a pilgrim on this earth, it commands him to tend always toward heaven.

    This demonstrates how our mortal life is to be ordered in such a way as to fulfill our duties as citizens of earth and of heaven, and thus to attain the aim of life as established by God. That is, all men, whether taken singly or as united in society, today have the duty of tending ceaselessly during their lifetime toward the attainment of heavenly things and to use. for this purpose only, the earthly goods, the employment of which must not prejudice their eternal happiness.

    The Lord has said: “Seek first the kingdom of Cod and his justice” (Mt. 6:33). The word “first” expresses the direction in which our thoughts and energies must move. We must not, however, neglect the other words of this exhortation of our Lord, namely: “And all these things shall be given you besides” (Ibid. ). In reality, there always have been in the Church, and there are still today, those who, while seeking the practice of evangelical perfection with all their might, do not fail to make themselves useful to society. Indeed, it from their constant example of life and their charitable undertakings that all that is highest and noblest in human society takes its strength and growth.

    In order, however, that this doctrine may influence the numerous fields of human activity, with reference to individuals, to families, and to social life, it is necessary first of all that the Church should never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth received from the Fathers. But at the same time she must ever look to the present, to the new conditions and new forms of life introduced into the modern world, which have opened new avenues to the Catholic apostolate.

    For this reason, the Church has not watched inertly the marvelous progress of the discoveries of human genius, an has not been backward in evaluating them rightly. But, while following these developments, she does not neglect to admonish men so that, over and above sense — perceived things — they may raise their eyes to God, the Source of all wisdom and all beauty. And may they never forget the most serious command: “The Lord thy God shalt thou worship, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Mt. 4:10; Lk. 4:8), so that it may happen that the fleeting fascination of visible things should impede true progress.

    The manner in which sacred doctrine is spread, this having been established, it becomes clear how much is expected from the Council in regard to doctrine. That is, the Twenty-first Ecumenical Council, which will draw upon the effective and important wealth of juridical, liturgical, apostolic, and administrative experiences, wishes to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion, which throughout twenty centuries, notwithstanding difficulties and contrasts, has become the common patrimony of men. It is a patrimony not well received by all, but always a rich treasure available to men of good will.

    Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest
    will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us, pursuing thus the path which the Church has followed for twenty centuries.

    The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.

    For this a Council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a Magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character.

    Now, if Daryll or someone else want to argue that despite the stated purpose of Vatican II, the council did indeed change that which should not have been changed, let us see the case. Pointing to the “chaos” as described by Duffy is fallacious. The times we live in are dynamic and confusing (although perhaps less so than we think relative to other periods of history). The premises that “people are confused” and “there is confusion” and “some people are convervative” do not necessitate the conclusion that Vatican II broke the Church, changed doctrine, or is not the True Church. Nor do those premises necessitate the conclusion that Vatican II is the primary cause of that confusion.

    Reading John XXIII opening the Council it is striking that he and the Bishops were well aware at the time of the uncertain currents of history at that moment.

  139. Darryl (115)

    Have you read Unam Sanctum or Unigenitus (1713)? Are you excited about those statements of papal supremacy that the Curia no longer follows?

    Yes, of course I studied those before becoming Catholic. They are near the top of the list of objections my Reformed friends were giving me about Catholicism. Particularly Unam Sanctum. I was told it was an obvious example of how the Catholic Magisterium has contradicted itself. And after studying them, and comparing with what is taught now, I was NOT excited. I was ecstatic. I went from looking for contradictions in Magisterial teaching from what appears to be a human institution, to being convinced this institution must be divinely protected from error.

    For so many men of such varying quality to go 2000 years without contradiction, and the best their opponents can come up with is Unam Sanctum? Come on. I have no trouble being excited about Unam Sanctum, because it is the same truth that has always and will always be taught by the Magisterium. Nothing in V2 contradicts it, and no modernist / liberal theology is needed to make it fit with V2.
    “Are you excited about those statements of papal supremacy that the Curia no longer follows?”

    This is like asking when I stopped beating my wife. My answer would depend on which statements you are talking about, and why you think they no longer follow them. If you mean the “money” statement in Unam Sanctum about submission to the pope being necessary for salvation, that is still true. Always has been always will. Unam Sanctum taught it and V2 taught it, just as St. Augustine taught it. And there was elaboration and qualification about that truth from St. Augustine and other fathers then, just as there is elaboration and qualification now from the V2 fathers. In saecula saeculorum. If some curia members don’t teach / believe it, then they are wrong. But the Magisterium is not.

  140. David, If Vatican II taught it, you need a hermeneutic similar to Protestant liberals to find it in this statement:

    “It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.” http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_unitatis-redintegratio_en.html

    I don’t think this is what Boniface or Trent had in mind, but I don’t have the paradigm, only the Holy Spirit (separated brother, right?).

  141. On Easter Sunday, after mass, Pope Francis greeted many pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, but one in particular stood out. An eight year old boy named “Dominic,” with cerebral palsy, was lifted up to him. The event can be seen in the tenth minute of the following video:

    Dominic’s father wrote about the event here. He wrote:

    Pope Francis’ embrace of my son yesterday turns this logic completely on its head … The lesson my disabled son gives stands as a powerful testament to the dignity and infinite value of every human person, especially of those the world deems the weakest and most “useless.” Through their sharing in the “folly” of the Cross, the disabled are, in truth, the most powerful and the most productive among us.

  142. Yesterday, April 7, Pope Francis officially took possession of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. This cathedral was dedicated on November 9, 324 by Pope Sylvester I (AD 314-335). It was a gift from Constantine to the Christians, and is the official seat of the bishop of Rome, i.e. the Chair of St. Peter. I have written more about the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in “Feast of St. John Lateran.”

    When Pope Francis entered the Basilica yesterday, he first stopped to greet and bless the disabled, elderly, and infirmed. This can be seen from 13′ to 20′ in the video below.

    In those seven minutes we see how the greatest affirmation of the “culture of life” is the strongest blow to the “culture of death.”

    His homily focused on Divine Mercy, and in it we see much common ground with Protestantism regarding the primacy of divine grace and mercy, and the error of Pelagianism:

    It is with joy that I am celebrating the Eucharist for the first time in this Lateran Basilica, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with great affection: the very dear Cardinal Vicar, the auxiliary bishops, the diocesan presbyterate, the deacons, the men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I offer my greetings, too, to the mayor and his wife, and to all the civil authorities. Together let us walk in the light of the risen Lord.

    1. Today we are celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday”. What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on.

    2. In today’s Gospel, the Apostle Thomas personally experiences this mercy of God, which has a concrete face, the face of Jesus, the risen Jesus. Thomas does not believe it when the other Apostles tell him: “We have seen the Lord”. It isn’t enough for him that Jesus had foretold it, promised it: “On the third day I will rise”. He wants to see, he wants to put his hand in the place of the nails and in Jesus’ side. And how does Jesus react? With patience: Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief; he gives him a week’s time, he does not close the door, he waits. And Thomas acknowledges his own poverty, his little faith. “My Lord and my God!”: with this simple yet faith-filled invocation, he responds to Jesus’ patience. He lets himself be enveloped by divine mercy; he sees it before his eyes, in the wounds of Christ’s hands and feet and in his open side, and he discovers trust: he is a new man, no longer an unbeliever, but a believer.

    Let us also remember Peter: three times he denied Jesus, precisely when he should have been closest to him; and when he hits bottom he meets the gaze of Jesus who patiently, wordlessly, says to him: “Peter, don’t be afraid of your weakness, trust in me”. Peter understands, he feels the loving gaze of Jesus, and he weeps. How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus – how much tenderness is there! Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!

    Let us think too of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: their sad faces, their barren journey, their despair. But Jesus does not abandon them: he walks beside them, and not only that! Patiently he explains the Scriptures which spoke of him, and he stays to share a meal with them. This is God’s way of doing things: he is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people. God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence; they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive. Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us.

    I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father; it impresses me because it always gives me great hope. Think of that younger son who was in the Father’s house, who was loved; and yet he wants his part of the inheritance; he goes off, spends everything, hits rock bottom, where he could not be more distant from the Father, yet when he is at his lowest, he misses the warmth of the Father’s house and he goes back. And the Father? Had he forgotten the son? No, never. He is there, he sees the son from afar, he was waiting for him every hour of every day, the son was always in his father’s heart, even though he had left him, even though he had squandered his whole inheritance, his freedom. The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about him, and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach: he is back! And that is the joy of the Father. In that embrace of the son there is all of this joy: he is back! God is always waiting for us, he never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence, hope – always! A great German theologian, Romano Guardini, said that God responds to our weakness by his patience, and this is the reason for our confidence, our hope (cf. Glaubenserkenntnis, Würzburg, 1949, p. 28). It is like a dialogue between our weakness and the patience of God, a dialogue that, if we will engage in it, gives us hope.

    3. I would like to emphasize one other thing: God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. Jesus tells Thomas to put his hand in the wounds of his hands and his feet, and in his side. We too can enter into the wounds of Jesus, we can actually touch him. This happens every time that we receive the sacraments with faith. Saint Bernard, in a fine homily, says: “Through the wounds of Jesus I can suck honey from the rock and oil from the flinty rock (cf. Deut 32:13), I can taste and see the goodness of the Lord” (On the Song of Songs, 61:4). It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of his heart. Thomas understood this. Saint Bernard goes on to ask: What can I count on? On my own merits? No, “My merit is God’s mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as he is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits” (ibid., 5). This is important: the courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, to trust in his patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of his love. Saint Bernard even states: “So what if my conscience gnaws at me for my many sins? ‘Where sin has abounded, there grace has abounded all the more’ (Rom 5:20)” (ibid.). But some of us may think: my sin is so great, I am as far from God as the younger son in the parable, my unbelief is like that of Thomas; I don’t have the courage to go back, to believe that God can welcome me and that he is waiting for me, of all people. But God is indeed waiting for you; he asks of you only the courage to go to him. How many times in my pastoral ministry have I heard it said: “Father, I have many sins”; and I have always pleaded: “Don’t be afraid, go to him, he is waiting for you, he will take care of everything”. We hear many offers from the world around us; but let us take up God’s offer instead: his is a caress of love. For God, we are not numbers, we are important, indeed we are the most important thing to him; even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to his heart.

    Adam, after his sin, experiences shame, he feels naked, he senses the weight of what he has done; and yet God does not abandon him: if that moment of sin marks the beginning of his exile from God, there is already a promise of return, a possibility of return. God immediately asks: “Adam, where are you?” He seeks him out. Jesus took on our nakedness, he took upon himself the shame of Adam, the nakedness of his sin, in order to wash away our sin: by his wounds we have been healed. Remember what Saint Paul says: “What shall I boast of, if not my weakness, my poverty? Precisely in feeling my sinfulness, in looking at my sins, I can see and encounter God’s mercy, his love, and go to him to receive forgiveness.

    In my own life, I have so often seen God’s merciful countenance, his patience; I have also seen so many people find the courage to enter the wounds of Jesus by saying to him: Lord, I am here, accept my poverty, hide my sin in your wounds, wash it away with your blood. And I have always seen that God did just this – he accepted them, consoled them, cleansed them, loved them.

    Dear brothers and sisters, let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in his patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to his house, to dwell in his loving wounds, allowing ourselves be loved by him and to encounter his mercy in the sacraments. We will feel his tenderness, so beautiful, we will feel his embrace, and we too will become more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love.

    (Source: Vatican Radio)

  143. Bryan Re: 146,

    Thanks for this passage. I don’t mean to repost a large swath of text, but I was particularly moved by this section towards the end,

    He seeks him out. Jesus took on our nakedness, he took upon himself the shame of Adam, the nakedness of his sin, in order to wash away our sin: by his wounds we have been healed. Remember what Saint Paul says: “What shall I boast of, if not my weakness, my poverty? Precisely in feeling my sinfulness, in looking at my sins, I can see and encounter God’s mercy, his love, and go to him to receive forgiveness.

    Leaving the historical arguments on the table, of whether or not Trent anathematized the Gospel or if VII demonstrates a radical break with Catholicism after Trent, this is encouraging to me. Sometimes Protestants read Catholicism as if they were Catholic themselves, as if Rome’s positions cannot change. Whether you elect to call it “development” is inconsequential for me. This homily does not solve all of our problems. But I’m glad both Protestants and Catholics can praise God for the grace that He shows to us naked sinners!

  144. Refprot, for a different take on the gospel, you may want to check JPII’s Gospel of Life: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html

    “At such times the People of God, and this includes every believer, is called to profess with humility and courage its faith in Jesus Christ, “the Word of life” (1 Jn 1:1). The Gospel of life is not simply a reflection, however new and profound, on human life. Nor is it merely a commandment aimed at raising awareness and bringing about significant changes in society. Still less is it an illusory promise of a better future. The Gospel of life is something concrete and personal, for it consists in the proclamation of the very person of Jesus. Jesus made himself known to the Apostle Thomas, and in him to every person, with the words: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). This is also how he spoke of himself to Martha, the sister of Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (Jn 11:25-26). Jesus is the Son who from all eternity receives life from the Father (cf. Jn 5:26), and who has come among men to make them sharers in this gift: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10).”

    Lots of affirmation, not a lot of sin and atonement.

  145. RefProt, (re: #147)

    I agree. A tendency, when attempting to resolve disagreements, is failing to keep in mind how much we have in common. This homily is a helpful reminder in that respect.

    And I’m also grateful, as usual, for your charitable approach to this dialogue.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  146. Darryl, (re: #148)

    Lots of affirmation, not a lot of sin and atonement.

    Of course that paragraph is not the only paragraph Pope John Paul II wrote about salvation. In many other places he did write about sin and atonement. So drawing any kind of theological conclusion from the absence of “sin and atonement” in this paragraph would be a bad inference — the fallacy of the argument from silence.

    One consequence of believing that philosophy is not all that important (as you suggest in comment #59 of “The Papacy and the Catholic Act of Faith” thread) is believing that logic is not all that important (since logic belongs to philosophy), and thereby repeatedly falling into fallacies of reasoning, without even knowing that one is doing so. One cannot even reason rightly from the words of the Bible without following the rules of logic.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  147. Bryan, I don’t find much sin and atonement in the entire “Gospel of Life.” But I’m just a straw man. Still, the nature and grace of JPII is not the nature and grace of Leo XIII.

    Be sure to throw in an ad hominem.

  148. Stanley Hauerwas on Pope Francis:

  149. Along with Stanley Hauerwas’s statements about Pope Francis in comment #152 above, Timothy George (dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University) has also written about Pope Francis in Christianity Today, in an article titled “Our Francis, Too.”

  150. Pope Francis (when still Cardinal Bergoglio) interviewed by Alejandro Rodríguez, president of YWAM Argentina:

  151. Recent interviews/letters with or from Pope Francis include his letter to Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica, dated September 4, 2013, (an English translation is available here and here), his interview with Antonio Spadaro, S.J., which was titled “A Big Heart Open to God,” (published in mid-September), and his interview with Eugenio Scalfari, published on October 1, 2013, available in English here. (According to John Allen, the interview with Scalfari was not taped, nor did Scalfari take notes; it was an “after-the-fact reconstruction.” See also “Scalfari Confesses: Pope’s Words in Interview May Not Have Been His Own.”)

    Fr. Barron comments on the Fr. Spadaro interview:

  152. Someone recently asked me a question about the following statement in Pope Francis’s interview with Fr. Spadaro, linked in comment #156. In that interview Pope Francis says:

    I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence. But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing.

    The questioner asked me how my criticism of indicative-imperative theology in one form of Reformed theology fits with the indicative-imperative distinction Pope Francis makes in the quotation just cited, in which he says that “the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.”

    I think that’s an excellent question. The first thing to say is that there is some common ground between the indicative-imperative distinction as it is made in this strand of Reformed (and Lutheran) theology, and the indicative-imperative distinction as it is made in Catholic theology. A recognition of that common ground is precisely what motivated the questioner to ask me this question. This common ground can be seen in the Fr. Barron response in #156 above. It can be seen in the homily Pope Francis gave two days ago:

    In this homily Pope Francis said:

    “The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology. And ideology does not beckon [people]. In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.” Jesus told us: “You burden the shoulders of people [with] many things; only one is necessary.” This, therefore, is the “spiritual, mental” thought process of one who wants to keep the key in his pocket and the door closed:

    “The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people. But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh? Already the Apostle John, in his first Letter, spoke of this. Christians who lose the faith and prefer the ideologies. His attitude is: be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. This can be the question, no? But why is it that a Christian can become like this? Just one thing: this Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you always close the door.” “The key that opens the door to the faith, is prayer.”

    The common ground can also be seen clearly in the following Unnatural Law trailer:

    Unnatural Law? Teaser Trailer from Blackstone Films on Vimeo.

    The common ground is that what Christ has already done for us in love, and personal friendship with Him in love is the necessary context in which we are to teach and understand and follow the moral law. We cannot earn our way to acceptance with God through good works of any sort. That is not the gospel; that’s a misrepresentation of the gospel, and it has no power. It draws no one. Rather, mercy and grace always goes before, not only in history, and in our own hearts, but also in how we ought to think about following the law, and in how we ought to present the law to others. Pope Francis is situating the moral imperatives and the theological system taught by the Church within and under the broader fullness of the gospel rather than as just a big set of rules or propositions, as popular and public media so typically misrepresent the Church. In this way he is reminding Catholics that the laws and rules have to be understood and presented within what I refer to as the agape paradigm, as a loving response to the preceding redemptive work of Christ in history by which He merited the grace of eternal life for us and through the preceding operation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds so that with openness we receive the good news of Christ’s objective work of reconciliation, respond freely with faith, and through the sacraments Christ instituted receive into our hearts the sanctifying grace and agape He merited for us.

    So does that mean that Pope Francis is endorsing the Reformed-Lutheran Law-Gospel position? No, it does not. There is a fundamental difference between the indicative-imperative dichotomy in this Reformed-Lutheran theology, and what Pope Francis is saying. As I explained in my response to Darrin Patrick, in the Reformed-Lutheran Law-Gospel hermeutic, there is no room left for participation in Christ’s saving work. (And I’m using the term ‘participation’ here as I explain in comment #182 of “The Church Fathers on Transubstantiation.”) According to this particular Reformed position, because everything God has done falls under the indicative, therefore everything we do must fall under the imperative, and none of what we do falls under the indicative. In short, the Reformed-Lutheran denial of the Catholic doctrine of participation entails that nothing we do, even by grace, has any authentic redemptive significance or meaning, since (by the denial of participation) any degree of participation on our part would detract from Christ receiving all the glory. (See “The Gospel and the Paradox of Glory.”) According to this view, grace means monergism, and sanctification is either monergistic, or if not monergistic then of no salvific consequence, because by extra nos imputation we’re already perfectly righteous, no degree of falling short in sanctification can remove [extra nos] imputed justification once received, and at the moment of glorification [guaranteed by having received justification by the extra nos imputation of Christ’s righteousness] every deficiency in sanctification will be immediately patched up.

    The Catholic position, by contrast, allows participation in Christ’s redemptive work in each of the ways I have explain in my response to Darrin, in merit as well, and contributing to and receiving from the treasury of merit, and in many other ways. But in the matter of this disagreement regarding the relation between the indicatives and the imperatives, as with any other disagreement it is important to avoid two mistakes here: (1) so emphasizing the common ground that we overlook the important differences, and (2) so emphasizing the differences that we miss the common ground.

    Update: Cardinal Burke offers a similar explanation in “The Pope’s radical call to the new evangelization.” (Feb 21, 2014)

  153. “The Church should be like Mary when she went, we heard it in the Gospel, when she went to visit Elizabeth. What did she bring with her? Jesus! And the Church carries Jesus! Hypothetically, if a Church no longer carries Jesus, then that is a dead Church! Do you understand? It should carry Jesus!” – Pope Francis (Oct. 23, 2013)

  154. Boy Wanders Onto Stage To Hang Out With Pope Francis.”

  155. Bryan (re:#160),

    Thank you for that link. I was moved to tears by it. I hope that many people click on it and see, again, just what a gift the Church and the world has been given in the leadership of this Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis. (I deeply loved Pope Benedict XVI too and will not allow anyone to negatively influence my thinking by wrongly pitting Francis against Benedict. I am thankful that CTC has not encouraged this mistaken tendency that I’ve seen on some websites. They are both loyal sons of the Church.)

  156. I would kiss that guy’s hand. And the Holy Father’s.

  157. Pope Francis Kisses Man Plagued With Boils.” (The Washington Post has more; CNN does too.)

    This scene depicts the very gospel itself: man as disfigured by sin, embraced in deep love by a merciful God.

    Update: The man tells his side of the story here.

  158. Would I kiss both those hands? I hope so.

  159. The NYT recently published an article titled “Conservative U.S. Catholics Feel Left Out of the Pope’s Embrace.” However, it should be pointed out that there is no such thing as “conservative Catholics” as a *theological* category, for reasons I explained in 2010 in comment #37 in the “Is Scripture Sufficient?” thread. And the NYT’s use of the term is not limited to Catholics who are *politically* conservative. So the title is misleading by positing a class that does not exist.

  160. Pope Francis does it again. What in Catholic theology makes Catholics (and Pope Francis) so at home with crowds, streets, dirty people, men with boils, children, handicapped persons, disfigured men, etc.? It is not gnostic. Grace walks calmly and comfortably right within nature, and that is why grace can and does perfect nature. This easiness with our earthiness and all its frailty reflects the truth of the incarnation contra Marcionism. He who made us is among us, and seeks to perfect and elevate us with Him in His ascension, to heaven. Supernatural love is not limited to the soul, and not limited to the activity of the individual. It extends to all that God has made, and it operates both through man as individual and through man as a society, not ignoring or denying man’s social nature or the role and responsibility in nature of the visible society formed by grace.

  161. Pope Francis holds a chest containing the bones of St. Peter, on the last day of the Year of Faith:

  162. Pope Francis is named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year:

  163. Pope Francis visits a children’s hospital for Christmas:

  164. Bryan (re: #168),

    What do you think about how the guy in the video mentions liberals and conservatives within the church?

    Peace,
    John D.

  165. Hello JohnD (re: #170)

    That’s a very open-ended question. Could you make your question more specific? (See comment #165 above.)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  166. JohnD (re:#170),

    Merry Christmas, brother! I don’t mean to intrude on your and Bryan’s discussion, but on the subject of “liberals” in the Catholic Church, if you haven’t read this post, you might find it to be helpful. (I did. When it was posted, I was still a fairly recent “revert” to the Church.) Blessings to you! http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2011/04/liberalism-in-the-catholic-church/

  167. John D., but why would anyone convert to a church that tolerates liberalism? Conservative Protestants do not tolerate liberals. So why aren’t we superior to Roman Catholicism, especially since allegedly Roman Catholics have the mechanism to insure orthodoxy that Protestants allegedly don’t?

  168. Darryl (re: #173)

    but why would anyone convert to a church that tolerates liberalism?

    Tolerating “liberals” (i.e. dissenters) and tolerating “liberalism” are not the same thing. The Church tolerates “dissenters” for the reason she tolerates sinners such as myself, in the merciful hope that in the bosom of holy Mother Church, such sinners have the best opportunity to be restored, healed, and brought more fully into conformity with the truth. But the Church does not tolerate the ideology of “liberalism.”

    As for the question, “Why would anyone convert to a church that tolerates liberals?,” one answer is “Because he or she discovers that it is the Church Christ founded, and not a man-made sect, and so abandons ecclesial consumerism.”

    Merry Christmas!

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  169. But Bryan, liberal bishops? http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/09/cardinal-martini-and-the-timeless-church

    “Yet there was another side to Cardinal Martini, one far removed from the contemplative exegete and spiritual master. This was the prominence he adopted as public commentator, would-be Church reformer, and unofficial pope of progressive Catholics. It is a role he evidently welcomed, right up to his last interview.

    “‘Many of his positions on social issues,” noted CBS, “were frowned upon by the Vatican. He was open-minded toward homosexuality, believed that divorced and remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive full sacraments, and said he understood—even if he did not support—abortion.”

    “This is actually an understatement. Cardinal Martini was not merely “open” toward homosexuality, he approved civil unions for same-sex couples. He often praised the family and Christian love, yes—but did so in the context of assailing Humanae Vitae, and advocating the use of condoms to fight AIDS. He challenged the Church’s position on bioethics. Most seriously, he wrote that there was a “positive” aspect to legalizing abortion, and referred to this crime euphemistically as a “termination of pregnancy.”

    “The Cardinal’s defenders say these statements shouldn’t be isolated, but viewed in a broader picture, alongside his strong statements in favor of life, traditional marriage, and the papacy. But they don’t realize, anymore than did the late Cardinal, that once you make a statement undermining Church teaching, it contradicts and fatally undermines anything orthodox you say. The world hears only the dissent, and edits out all the rest.

    “The biggest disappointment here is that the Cardinal’s persona as a public commentator was often at odds with his strengths as a biblical interpreter. Serving as the latter, he stressed the need for interior conversion, a renunciation of worldly values, and deeper obedience to Christ. Yet his outreaches to the world became not so much pastoral as fashionable. There was a reason he was “respected among nonbelievers and lapsed Catholics,” as the Washington Post put it, and it wasn’t because he challenged his secular audiences: it was because he accommodated them.

    “The word “reform” was often mentioned in connection with Cardinal Martini, but rarely in its proper Christian sense. Authentic Christian reform does not—as so many dissenters think—mean secularization and moral laxity, but a deepening of commitment to Christianity’s highest standards. Vatican II called for a vibrant spiritual renewal, not dissolution.”

  170. Darryl, (re: #175)

    But Bryan, liberal bishops?

    Yes, even in the case of liberal bishops. They too are sinners, and in need of mercy. We are to pray for them, not to enter into schism on account of them. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And if the Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded, then there is no where else to go, nor will liberalism ever overcome Christ’s Church. We don’t get to make the members of the Church as perfect as we would want them. Instead, we are called to take up our cross, and serve faithfully to the death in the Church Christ founded, washing the feet of the sinners around us, and confessing our own sins, unlike the Pharisee who would not associate himself with the publican, on account of his pride. At the very least, we cannot reform the Church from the outside, only from the inside, and not by rebellion against divinely established authority, but rather by faithful obedience to that authority, even to the death if necessary. No one in schism has the moral credibility to correct anyone within the Church, because of the log in his own eye (even if he himself does not see it as a log). Woe to him through him scandal comes, no doubt. But being in schism is also a scandal to others, and the inquirer (you ask about in the previous comment) sees that he must get this log out of his own eye. He knows that those in error will answer to God, and he recognizes that he is responsible to follow Christ and be faithful to His Church, even if he would prefer to dip seven times in what to him would seem to be cleaner waters.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  171. Bryan, tails you lose.

    How can Rome be the true church when its messengers are false (and when it’s up to those without the proper pay grade to determine which messengers/bishops are true)?

    Conservative Presbyterians don’t have liberal pastors. You decided on the basis of your own rationality and its determination of the true church to leave a conservative church for a liberal one. You should let those you are calling to communion that they are leaving communions free from liberalism for a church that tolerates liberalism. (Did you never study the modernist controversy in American Presbyterianism?)

    Not to mention that you are not being honest about what your bishops say about salvation outside Roman Catholicism. Vat II is on record that salvation may be found even among the separated brethren. You need to be honest about disagreeing with your bishops, or that you are still a Protestant with your own opinions about Christianity.

  172. Darryl (#173)

    John D., but why would anyone convert to a church that tolerates liberalism? Conservative Protestants do not tolerate liberals. So why aren’t we superior to Roman Catholicism, especially since allegedly Roman Catholics have the mechanism to insure orthodoxy that Protestants allegedly don’t?

    Because liberalism – which, for purposes of the current discussion I take to mean heterodox views, not merely broad-mindedness within the range of orthodoxy – liberalism in individuals is not inherently worse than other sins in individuals. The liberal, like the sexual sinner, the violent person, the greedy person – is given the opportunity to repent.

    That said, there are serious limits to the degree of heterdoxy the Church can tolerate in those whose calling is to influence others – witness the removal of the permission of Hans Küng’s right to teach theology.

    And of course there can be no meaning to the Church’s tolerating heterodoxy in itself, since, ex hypothesi, the Church is itself infallible and the faith of the Church (as distinct from that of any of its members, bar the Pope in special circumstances) is the measure of heterodoxy.

    If, by ‘liberalism,’ you simply mean ‘broad opinions which are not necessarily heterodox,’ why would this prevent one from becoming a Catholic if a person did believe in the infallibility of the Church itself?

    jj

  173. Darryl, (re: #177)

    How can Rome be the true church when its messengers are false (and when it’s up to those without the proper pay grade to determine which messengers/bishops are true)?

    First, one claim within your question has to be disambiguated, and that is the claim that “its messengers are false.” That is ambiguous in two ways. In one way, because the phrase could mean either that *some* of her teachers are false, or that *all* of her teachers are false. In other way, because “false” can mean heresy, or it can mean false beliefs concerning what has not been decided or defined. So, clearing away the ambiguities in your question, at any given time only some of the Church’s teachers can teach heresy. So the disambiguated question would be: “How can the Catholic Church be the Church Christ founded when some of her pastors hold and teach heresy, and the laity have to determine which claims made by their bishop are orthodox and which are heterodox?”

    Second, notice that your question presupposes that if Christ founded a Church, then (a) no teacher within this Church can ever teach heresy, and (b) the laity within Christ’s Church can never be put in a situation in which they must distinguish between orthodoxy and heterodoxy. But you haven’t established the truth of that presupposition, and the Church Church does not hold it; so it is a question-begging presupposition.

    Third, in answer to your question, the infalliblity of the Magisterium does not entail that every bishop or priest will be orthodox on every point. It entails rather, as the second Vatican Council teaches, that the bishops are protected from teaching error when they, maintaining the bond of communion with the successor of St. Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, are all in agreement on one position as definitively to be held:

    Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.(40*) This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith. (Lumen Gentium, 25)

    Fourth, the lay faithful have always been called to hold on to the Apostolic Tradition, and be on the watch for false teachers. But this doesn’t entail either sola scriptura or making the individual the highest interpretive authority, as I have explained in the last two paragraphs of the section titled “XI. The Authority of the Magisterium in Relation to Scripture” in my reply to Michael Horton’s last response in my Modern Reformation interview with Michael. The fact that you, as a Protestant, can already recognize when a bishop is not conforming to the teaching of the Magisterium already shows that it can be done. In this way, those who raise questions about liberal bishops in an attempt to argue that authentic Catholic doctrine cannot be known, performatively contradict themselves, by already using authentic Catholic doctrine to identify the cases in which certain bishops deviate from it.

    Fifth, if the very question were an indication that the Catholic Church can’t be the Church Christ founded, then we can put the name of any denomination into your question, and likewise show that that denomination cannot be the Church Christ founded. So, for example, how can the Orthodox Presbyterian Church be the Church Christ founded when none of its pastors (individually or collectively) have the charism of infallibility (by their own admission) and thus each Sunday in each congregation it’s up to those “without the proper pay grade” to determine which messengers/pastors are true? You obviously don’t think such a question is a problem for the OPC, and yet you pose it as if it is a problem for Catholicism. So if it is a problem for Catholicism, it is also a problem for the OPC. But if it is not a problem for the OPC, then it is also not a problem for Catholicism.

    Next you wrote:

    Conservative Presbyterians don’t have liberal pastors.

    True, but they are also operating in an invisible-church paradigm, where anyone can start a church, because there is no sacrament of Holy Orders. Hence, if some significant percentage of persons in one’s denomination become ‘liberal,’ one can just leave and start a new denomination, and cast it as “the Church.” One is never *stuck* with the Church Christ founded, and all its troubles, woes, etc., as Neal explains in comment #53 of the “Doug Wilson’s “Authority and Apostolic Succession”” post. One can start with a clean slate anyone time one wishes, e.g. 1936.

    You decided on the basis of your own rationality and its determination of the true church to leave a conservative church for a liberal one.

    Two things can be said here. First, you assert that the Catholic Church is “liberal.” But the Catholic Church is not “liberal” in the sense of teaching heterodoxy. Nor have you demonstrated her to be so. If, however, by ‘liberal’ you mean “having one or more pastors who hold one or more heretical beliefs” then you would need to demonstrate why (rather than merely presume) the Church Christ founded cannot be “liberal” in that sense of the term.

    Second, your “You decided …” objection is the tu quoque objection which I have addressed in “The Tu Quoque.”

    You should let those you are calling to communion that they are leaving communions free from liberalism for a church that tolerates liberalism.

    As I explained in #174, tolerating “liberals” (i.e. dissenters) and tolerating “liberalism” are not the same thing. Moreover, what you are suggesting we do is something we’ve already done; see the link in comment #172.

    (Did you never study the modernist controversy in American Presbyterianism?)

    Indeed I did.

    Not to mention that you are not being honest about what your bishops say about salvation outside Roman Catholicism. Vat II is on record that salvation may be found even among the separated brethren.

    I agree that the Church teaches that salvation may be found even among the separated brethren. (See my comments following Tom Brown’s “VanDrunen on Catholic Inclusivity and Change,” or my 2008 post titled “Baptism, Schism, Full Communion, Salvation.”) But that does not entail that I am not being honest about what the bishops say concerning the possibility of salvation outside full communion with the Catholic Church. Again, here you are asserting that I am not being honest, but you provide no evidence that I am not being honest. And hand-waving accusations of dishonesty are both uncharitable and unhelpful.

    You need to be honest about disagreeing with your bishops, or that you are still a Protestant with your own opinions about Christianity.

    The problem with your statement is that it presumes that I disagree with the bishops, when in fact I do not. As I have said to you before, rather than merely guessing at what I believe, only to be shown wrong, a much more fruitful form of dialogue is first to ask what is my position on some matter, before criticizing what you [mistakenly] presume to be my position.

    Again, I wish you a merry Christmas!

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  174. John, because CTC tells potential buyers that Rome has the mechanism to fix Protestantism’s many, many opinions. Turns out — as I’ve been saying many times here — that the mechanism doesn’t work. So why would a Protestant go to a church that has more liberalism than what he currently has?

  175. Bryan, thanks for rephrasing? The question still stands: “How can the Catholic Church be the Church Christ founded when some of her pastors hold and teach heresy, and the laity have to determine which claims made by their bishop are orthodox and which are heterodox?”

    Once you admit that some of the bishops teach or tolerate heresy or heterodoxy, you have allowed the very uncertainty that your paradigm was not supposed to allow. Because now the laity faces the question: which bishop is teaching the truth, and how do I KNOW the truth? The truth is now up to the person to determine.

    Your system is no better than mine. In fact, it’s worse. The OPC has no pastors or teachers who promote liberalism and if any of the officers did, they would be disciplined.

    BTW, no one is talking about being orthodox at every point. We’re talking about a Cardinal and Bishop of Martini’s stature who got away with more than Hans Kung ever imagined (and he’s only 100 miles from Rome).

    And since you think that 95 percent of Roman Catholics don’t actually affirm or practice what Rome teaches and affirms, you’re going to have a hard time finding the laity who will hold a bishop’s feet to the fire.

    And your attempt to disambiguate the “church” teaching something from specific bishops like Martini is a clever move but it won’t fly since apostolic succession extends to all bishops, including liberal ones like a Martini.

    Well, if you studied the 1920s in the PCUSA, tolerating liberalism is no different effectively from teaching liberalism.

  176. Darryl, (re: #181)

    The question still stands: “How can the Catholic Church be the Church Christ founded when some of her pastors hold and teach heresy, and the laity have to determine which claims made by their bishop are orthodox and which are heterodox?”

    I’ve answered that question in my previous comment. If you think that the Church Christ founded can never have within her any pastors who hold or teach heretical doctrines, you’ll need to make an argument for that claim.

    Once you admit that some of the bishops teach or tolerate heresy or heterodoxy, you have allowed the very uncertainty that your paradigm was not supposed to allow. Because now the laity faces the question: which bishop is teaching the truth, and how do I KNOW the truth? The truth is now up to the person to determine.

    Every individual always has to decide what is the truth. That does not eliminate the possibility of certainty.

    Your system is no better than mine. In fact, it’s worse. The OPC has no pastors or teachers who promote liberalism and if any of the officers did, they would be disciplined.

    You’re claiming that if the Catholic laity have to determine what is true (and be on guard for bishops who teach false doctrine), then no more doctrinal certainty is possible in Catholicism than in Protestantism. But that conclusion does not follow. That’s in part because, as I explained in my previous comment, Catholicism always retains an infallible Magisterium, while Protestantism does not.

    Let’s grant that the OPC has no pastors or teachers who promote liberalism. In that respect, let’s say, the OPC is superior to the Catholic Church. The problem with the OPC, however, is that it is not the Church Christ founded, and does not have all the sacraments, or the entire deposit of faith. The official teaching of the OPC is “liberal” in the same way that the opinions of liberal Catholic bishops are liberal; it deviates from the Magisterial teaching of the Church Christ founded.

    And since you think that 95 percent of Roman Catholics don’t actually affirm or practice what Rome teaches and affirms, …

    Again, rather than presuming falsely what I believe, a more fruitful form of dialogue is to ask me first what I believe.

    And your attempt to disambiguate the “church” teaching something from specific bishops like Martini is a clever move but it won’t fly since apostolic succession extends to all bishops, including liberal ones like a Martini.

    I agree that apostolic succession extends to all Catholic bishops, including the liberal ones. That’s fully compatible with everything I’ve said.

    Well, if you studied the 1920s in the PCUSA, tolerating liberalism is no different effectively from teaching liberalism.

    Again (for the third time), tolerating “liberals” (i.e. dissenters) and tolerating “liberalism” are not the same thing. So long as you conflate that distinction, your criticism will continue to go after a straw man.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  177. Darryl (#180)

    John, because CTC tells potential buyers that Rome has the mechanism to fix Protestantism’s many, many opinions. Turns out — as I’ve been saying many times here — that the mechanism doesn’t work. So why would a Protestant go to a church that has more liberalism than what he currently has?

    Not at all what I said, Darryl, and question-begging as well – but all of this is seriously off-topic. I’d be glad to discuss off-list with you, though if you want to e-mail me (just click on my name there), there will only be a point in it if we actually address what the other says. I said nothing about mechanisms for fixing things and don’t at all think that has anything to do with what I said. I was just trying to answer your question.

    jj

  178. Darryl,

    First of all, Merry Christmas, and thanks for engaging here! Over the last year, reading your comments and replies to Bryan and others here, I have often been perplexed at some of the views that you attribute to the authors at CTC. It brings me to wonder how much time you have put in reading the posts/articles/comments from the official contributors here. To my awareness, *none* of them has ever written *anything* on this site either saying, or even suggesting, that Protestants cannot be saved outside of full communion with the Church. What the Church teaches, and what is articulated by the authors at CTC, is two-fold:

    1. All salvation that does happen, for Catholics, Protestants, and/or anyone else who is saved, happens through Christ and the Church, as founded by Him– including for those who are in an “imperfect communion” with the Church, as she teaches is the case with Protestants who are validly baptized according to the Trinitarian formula and persevering in charity (i.e. faith in Christ and the life of good works which flows from that faith).

    2. Protestants, and others, cannot be saved if they (come to) know that the Church is what (and Whose) she claims to be, and they refuse to come into full communion with her.

    From the Catechism:

    Who belongs to the Catholic Church?

    836 “All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God…. and to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God’s grace to salvation.”320

    837 “Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who – by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion – are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but ‘in body’ not ‘in heart.'”321

    838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.”322 Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.”323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”324

    and:

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

    After having read the above, you may be asking– why would any Protestant *ever* become Catholic, or return to the Church, given that the Church teaches that Protestants can be saved *without* coming into full communion with her? I can at least help to answer that question from the events and choices of my own life.

    Well before I returned to the Catholic Church, I knew that, in doing so (and by definition, in leaving the “Reformed Baptist,” “9 Marks of a Healthy Church” theology and ecclesiology which I had previously held), I would be under church discipline for apostasy (according to neo-Calvinist “9 Marks” thinking). I also knew I would likely be losing many, many friends in those circles (which did happen). I knew that I would be losing a previously-strongly-desired (and somewhat already-in-process, in terms of being trained for it) life of ministry as a “Biblical Counselor,” in the vein of CCEF. I knew that these three related realities were going to bring a level of pain and disturbance into my life that would not be worth it, *unless* I came to believe the Church’s claims about herself– in which case I *had* to return to the Church, out of love for Christ and objective truth, *and* out of concern for my own salvation.

    You may also be asking, who would *ever* refuse to come into full communion with the Church *while knowing* (or, over time, coming to believe) that she is the Church Christ founded with continuing apostolic succession by His authority? I can only answer that it is a real temptation for some. It was for me.

    I had Calvinist friends strongly urging me toward a more “liturgical form” of Reformed theology/ecclesiology, in which I could still hold to what *they* still held to be the “Biblical Gospel.” However, they didn’t understand the shift that was taking place for me. It wasn’t fundamentally about a certain kind of church service that I preferred or did not prefer.

    I had my own internal dialogue, in which I tried, at times, to convince myself that I could, in good conscience, continue to embrace justification by faith alone and the other Sola’s, and the five points of Calvinism, while simply being a more “Catholic-friendly Calvinist” than I had been in the past. J.I. Packer had, seemingly, done just that with his involvement in “Evangelicals and Catholics Together”– why couldn’t I? I also, at times, tried to convince myself that I could, in good conscience, become Eastern Orthodox, *instead of* returning to the Catholic Church. Either one of those two choices would have likely resulted in either my undergoing *no* church discipline process at all, or undergoing one, but still having my most of my Calvinist friends continue on in our friendships, believing me to still be a Christian but just “confused” and “misguided” on certain matters.

    Well, as things turned out, I could not simply be a “Catholic-friendly, liturgical Calvinist,” and I could not become EO– because I was coming to very seriously consider that the Church’s claims about herself were/are true. So much so that, one Sunday morning, after the “main preaching elder” at my church decided that we were all going to stand and recite the Nicene Creed (which we had seldom ever previously done in any service I had attended), I suddenly realized and thought to myself, “When this elder and the other members here, say ‘I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church,’ I know that they are understanding that statement very, very differently from how the composers of the Creed, and the early Church in general, understood it.” Quite soon after that morning, I left that congregation and never returned.

    I wasn’t yet sure of where else to go, church-wise, so I stayed home but continued to meet with an elder, studying Scripture, Church documents, Catholic and Reformed authors, etc. In time, though, I knew that, if I claimed to care about God and truth at all, I had to return to the Catholic Church, regardless of what it would cost me. Most of my Protestant friends were deeply grieved at what they believed to be my apostasy (which I fully understood, having previously held that view myself!), and, as soon as I publicly announced it, many (though not all) of them quickly decided to shun me, which they are still doing to this day (which I also understand while still sometimes struggling with it personally).

    Anyway, I’ve written *all* of the lengthy above (and sorry for the lengthiness!) to say, that, yes, the Catholic Church teaches, and CTC affirms, that it is possible for Protestants to be saved without coming into full communion with the Church– but also, that if they come to believe the Church’s claims about herself, they cannot be saved while remaining *outside* of full communion with her.

    That’s why I returned to the Church, though I wrestled with *strong* temptations not to do so, because of the insidious fear and love of man, which exists within all of us, and which possibly *could have* won out for me, over the fear and love of God. Thanks be to Him, the latter won.

  179. Christopher Lake, Thanks for all that and on paper you may be justified in what you say about Rome and Protestants. I’m having troubling reconciling what you say about all that you had to give up when entering the RCC and the reality of folks like Garry Wills and Cardinal Martini. What lots of conservative Presbyterians see in Roman Catholicism is a church that gets the gospel wrong (Trent) and has no discipline. It also has a pope that says basically what Bill Clinton would say — hate is bad (Christmas eve homily as reported in the press). I don’t need all that charism and apostolic succession to get such boilerplate truisms.

  180. Bryan, you may think the distinction between teaching liberalism and tolerating is important. If I were in your shoes, and I had all that liberalism in the church, I’d likely make it too, just like evangelicals in the mainline Presbyterian church have been doing for decades.

    But you yourself don’t operate by this policy. You would not tolerate liberal views at this website. If one of the contributors did espouse a liberal or heterodox view, you wouldn’t publish it.

    So why can’t the Roman Catholic Church do what CTC does? Maybe because it doesn’t understand either orthodoxy or heterodoxy the way that CTC does. I think that’s true. And that’s why I think you are presenting a false picture of the church. You have a view of what Roman Catholicism is that is not shared by the mainstream of the European and North American dioceses. And yet you present that view as the real one, and you also make excuses for the rest of the church.

    The parallel with evangelicals in the mainline denominations is particularly apt. When are you going to leave a modernist church and join a church that is committed to the truth?

  181. Darryl (re: #186),

    You have a view of what Roman Catholicism is that is not shared by the mainstream of the European and North American dioceses. And yet you present that view as the real one, and you also make excuses for the rest of the church.

    What is this “special view” of Roman Catholicism that Bryan holds? I ask because I have found that at CTC they often cite the Catechism, Early Fathers, St. Thomas, and other Church documents to back up their claims.

    Peace,
    John D.

  182. Daryll (re:#185),

    It is true that many conservative Presbyterians still see the Catholic Church as preaching a false gospel. However, I’m also seeing more and more conservative Anglicans, Lutherans, and Presbyterians reaching the conclusion (partially due to the Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification) that the Catholic Church does *not* teach a false gospel, even on the all-important matter of justification: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

    When I was a so-called “Reformed Baptist,” I thought, as you likely do still think, that “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” was/is a very bad idea. Whether it is a bad idea or not though, it does signify that, even with the continuing, serious, dividing differences between the Catholic Church and historic Protestantism, at least *some* committed Protestants are coming to understand the “Catholic gospel” as being much more in accordance with historic Christian orthodoxy than they once thought– and the same goes for some committed Catholics (including, significantly, the recent Popes!) and the “historic Protestant” gospel: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-clarifies-luther-s-idea-of-justification

    About Garry Wills and other “dissenting” Catholics, they used to really, really get to me, and I still do point their followers to the Catechism for the official teachings of the Church as I have the chance to do so. At times, I do wish that the Pope and the Magisterium would “bring the hammer down” on dissenters more often, in terms of quick, decisive church discipline. The longer that I’ve been back in the Church though, the more I have realized that it’s a very good thing that I’m *not* the Pope, *and* that he, and many of the other bishops, have more wisdom on this matter than I do. (Yep, I’m not more Catholic than the Pope, nor are any of the people who officially write for CTC, and they know it!)

    As for the Pope saying, in his midnight Mass homily, what Bill Clinton says, I know Bill Clinton too well for me to agree with that! I voted for the man in ’92. What can I say? I was young, foolish, and far, far away from any practice of Christianity at the time. The Pope is no Bill Clinton. Bill would not call a gay marriage bill the work of Satan, as the Pope did when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/cardinal_bergoglio_hits_out_at_same-sex_marriage

    Unlike the Pope, Bill Clinton would also not care to qualify “who am I to judge?” regarding homosexuals, by saying that they must be seeking the Lord and be of good will. I’ve been reading Church documents for years, and “seeking the Lord and being of good will,” means, in Catholic language, for both homosexuals and unmarried heterosexuals, seeking to live chastely and avoiding sexual sin. Don’t let the MSM define Catholic theology and language for you, any more than you would trust them to understand and present Reformed theology accurately. Consider the source(s) and the presuppositions at work therein.

  183. Darryl, (re: #186)

    Bryan, you may think the distinction between teaching liberalism and tolerating is important.

    You are still misrepresenting the distinction. The distinction is not between teaching liberalism and tolerating liberalism. The distinction is between tolerating liberalism, and tolerating liberals. There is no such possible distinction in the Protestant paradigm, because there is no Protestant Magisterium. Hence, in Protestantism, tolerating a liberal person within one’s organization just is tolerating liberalism. But in the Catholic paradigm, that’s not the case, because the teaching of the Magisterium is not whatever is being taught by one or more bishops at any given time, as I explained in comment #179 above. The Church can never teach dissent, but it is possible (as the two thousand years of Church history have shown) for particular Catholic teachers to fall into error, as, for example, in the case of Paul of Samosata.

    But you yourself don’t operate by this policy. You would not tolerate liberal views at this website. If one of the contributors did espouse a liberal or heterodox view, you wouldn’t publish it.

    One reason you think this example is analogous is because you do not see the distinctions between the different types of Catholic teaching. Protestantism (internally) does not make distinctions of this sort, and this tends to create a blind spot for such persons when they approach the Catholic Church. But the Catholic Church distinguishes between divine truths, Catholic truths (that include theological conclusions, dogmatic facts, and truths of reason), non-infallible magisterial teaching, and theological opinions. I’ve explained this in the “Catholic are Divided Too” post. From the Church’s point of view, these are not all equally important. That’s why your appeal to the late Cardinal Martini is disanalogous. To the best of my knowledge, none of the claims he taught is heretical as the Magisterium defines ‘heresy.’ But when a Catholic priest publicly denies a dogma of the Catholic faith, the Church (though slow, like an ent) eventually takes action, as we saw in the recent excommunication of Fr. Greg Reynolds.

    So behind your loaded “So why can’t the Roman Catholic Church do what CTC does?” question is a mistaken assumption that there is no such distinction between doctrines. Your other loaded question, “When are you going to leave a modernist church and join a church that is committed to the truth?” presupposes (a) that the Catholic Church is “modernist” and (b) is not “committed to the truth,” and (c) is not the Church Christ founded. And those three presuppositions are not only false, they also beg the question, i.e. presuppose precisely what is in question.

    In response to Christopher you wrote:

    the reality of folks like Garry Wills and Cardinal Martini. What lots of conservative Presbyterians see in Roman Catholicism is a church that gets the gospel wrong (Trent) and has no discipline. It also has a pope that says basically what Bill Clinton would say — hate is bad (Christmas eve homily as reported in the press). I don’t need all that charism and apostolic succession to get such boilerplate truisms.

    Regarding Cardinal Martini, see what I wrote just above. Regarding Wills, he has already excommunicated himself, as I explained to you recently here. As for “getting the gospel wrong,” that just begs the question. From the Catholic paradigm, Trent is the infallible standard by which deviations from it are determined to be heretical. Anyone can posit his own interpretation of Scripture as the standard by which to judge the determinations of ecumenical councils, but that presupposes that he has more interpretive authority than do ecumenical councils. As for the pope saying “basically what Bill Clinton would say” … “as reported in the press,” my suggestion is to stop going by what the mainstream press report concerning the pope, and instead read what he actually says, as in, for example, his actual Christmas homily. Or you can watch and listen to it in the video below; his homily begins in the 41st minute.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  184. Bryan, I read the homily and I can hardly detect even an implied gospel. No cross, no atonement — just incarnation, possibility, and Jesus as journey sharer. I believe both Bono and Joel Osteen would find little to disagree with herein.

  185. C. Weakly, (re: #190)

    I read the homily and I can hardly detect even an implied gospel. No cross, no atonement — just incarnation, possibility, and Jesus as journey sharer.

    Here you indicate that for you the incarnation is not part of the gospel, nor is the process of sanctification which Pope Francis discusses in the “walking” section of his homily. Nor is the revelation of the tender love of the Father through the Son. Nor is the grace and mercy of God, which frees us from darkness, all of which he discusses in this homily. The Catholic conception of the gospel is much broader than the Passion and death of Christ; it includes the whole of redemptive history, culminating in the life of Christ, and the gift and blessed hope He has brought to the whole world. (And this is how the Church has always conceived of the gospel; hence the names of the first four books of the NT.) The Church is liturgical, so at Christmas you will hear about the incarnation. If you want to hear about the cross and the atonement, listen to the readings and homilies during the Triduum. And because the argument from silence is a fallacy, not mentioning the cross during a homily on the birth of Christ does not imply or entail that the cross is not part of the Church’s (and thus Pope Francis’s) gospel.

    I believe both Bono and Joel Osteen would find little to disagree with herein.

    That’s true, but that’s because they are both Christians, and thus share with Catholics our belief in the incarnation.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  186. John D., if you read National Catholic Reporter and CTC, I think you’ll see a difference. I may be wrong, but NCR is mainstream. CTC is sideline.

  187. Bryan, you are sounding more and more like an evangelical in the PCUSA. Protestants do — though you don’t understand it — distinguish between the theological standards of the church (confession and catechisms) and what individual pastors or theologians say. And for almost 75 years, evangelicals in the PCUSA have claimed that the teaching of the church is still orthodox and that is why they can remain.

    So again, Rome is doing what the mainline does.

    As for the discipline of the Australian priest, this proves nothing about the orthodoxy of Rome or Francis since the priest was excommunicated for his views on women’s ordination which is a matter of discipline not dogma.

    I read the mainstream press plenty on Pope Francis. I read National Catholic Reporter and Vatican Insider for starters. They also report the way the mainstream media does on Pope Francis.

    And you’re in the mainstream of which church?

  188. Darryl, (re: #193)

    Bryan, you are sounding more and more like an evangelical in the PCUSA.

    This is a statement about me, and does not refute anything I said above. That is, such a claim is fully compatible with everything I said above being true.

    Protestants do — though you don’t understand it — distinguish between the theological standards of the church (confession and catechisms) and what individual pastors or theologians say.

    I’m aware of that, and it is fully compatible with what I said above.

    And for almost 75 years, evangelicals in the PCUSA have claimed that the teaching of the church is still orthodox and that is why they can remain. So again, Rome is doing what the mainline does.

    That’s a non sequitur, because there are other relevant differences, one being that the PCUSA does not have any standard it recognizes to be infallible, and so every theological claim in its standards is subject to revocation. Not so for the Catholic Church.

    As for the discipline of the Australian priest, this proves nothing about the orthodoxy of Rome or Francis since the priest was excommunicated for his views on women’s ordination which is a matter of discipline not dogma.

    That’s simply not true, as the CDF made explicit in 1995. It belongs to the deposit of faith; if it were a mere discipline, the Church would have the authority to change it.

    I read the mainstream press plenty on Pope Francis. I read National Catholic Reporter and Vatican Insider for starters. They also report the way the mainstream media does on Pope Francis.

    Your statement suggests that you think there is some principled difference between the National Catholic Reporter and Vatican Insider on the one hand, and the mainstream press on the other hand. But the NCR and Vatican Insider are entirely independent of the Catholic Church, and the former has even been condemned by the local ordinary (see, for example, here). Vatican Insider is run by La Stampa, which is owned by Fiat (yes, the automobile company). Both NCR and Vatican Insider are part of the mainstream media.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  189. Bryan, I was only doing what you suggested here:

    ‘As for the pope saying “basically what Bill Clinton would say” … “as reported in the press,” my suggestion is to stop going by what the mainstream press report concerning the pope, and instead read what he actually says, as in, for example, his actual Christmas homily.’

    I found little distinctively Christian in his remarks, except for the incarnation. I did not imply that the incarnation is not part of the gospel or is unimportant, only that it is not the gospel. You recommended the homily as evidence that the charge of liberalism (or something like it) was unfounded. I dutifully read it and found, as I said, nothing that Bono (who shuns the visible church and rejects creeds) or Osteen (can we agree that there is little distinctively Christian in his teaching?) would object to.

    Again, the issue was liberalism. And you know that Machen’s Warrior Children consider liberalism to be another religion because it denies the gospel. With sadness I would say that there was little gospel in the homily and therefore no evidence against the charge of liberalism. It is certainly not necessary that a full-orbed gospel be presented every time a bishop takes the pulpit, but one might expect a little more than platitudes and incarnation when much of the world is listening.

  190. C. Weakly, (re: #195)

    I found little distinctively Christian in his remarks, except for the incarnation.

    That’s the exception that proves the rule! That’s the very heart of Christianity!

    I did not imply that the incarnation is not part of the gospel or is unimportant, only that it is not the gospel.

    Again, as I explained in my previous comment, the Church presents the gospel to us liturgically, such that it is spread out throughout the liturgical year, not only in one reading or one homily. Yet every part of the gospel is the gospel, as every part of Christ is Christ.

    You recommended the homily as evidence that the charge of liberalism (or something like it) was unfounded. I dutifully read it and found, as I said, nothing that Bono (who shuns the visible church and rejects creeds) or Osteen (can we agree that there is little distinctively Christian in his teaching?) would object to.

    That’s because you’re looking myopically at the teaching of the Church, rather than at the teaching of the Church (and the Pope) throughout the whole liturgical year. If you think I pointed to the Pope’s Christmas Eve homily in order to suggest that the entirety of the gospel is explicitly spelled out in that 700 word homily, then you significantly misunderstood me.

    Again, the issue was liberalism. And you know that Machen’s Warrior Children consider liberalism to be another religion because it denies the gospel. With sadness I would say that there was little gospel in the homily and therefore no evidence against the charge of liberalism. It is certainly not necessary that a full-orbed gospel be presented every time a bishop takes the pulpit, but one might expect a little more than platitudes and incarnation when much of the world is listening.

    One can always “expect” more. Persons in schism can always demand more, that actions and practices conform to their own stipulations, that homilies conform to their own desired length, intensity, complexity, rigor, comprehensiveness, etc. in order to rationalize their state of schism. They can pick, complain, and gripe, until they end up in splinters of splinters of splinters, numbering 30,000 or less, traveling to their own rivers in which to dip. Hence the phenomenon of ecclesial consumerism, church-shopping, etc. However, those seeking the Church Christ founded do not demand that the Church (or her homilists) conform to their own desires in order to enter her, but submit to the Church Christ gave us and the leaders he authorized, dip seven times in the river He designated, and express gratitude for the truths proclaimed to them within His Church. They don’t demand that the Church conform to themselves, but instead seek to be conformed to the Church. If the Church Christ established presents the gospel liturgically, then we accept and receive the gospel liturgically, knowing that God in His wisdom has ordained that we learn the gospel in this way, and we meditate gratefully on and internalize whatever truth is contained within each such homily we in His providential kindness have the opportunity to hear.

    That the full complexity of the gospel was not laid out in the Pope’s 700 word Christmas Eve homily is not a complaint worth discussing, because the complaint says more about the complainer than about the identity, authority, or orthodoxy of the Catholic Church. On a site dedicated to Protestant-Catholic reconciliation, we’re talking about the absence of a reference to the cross in a 700 word Christmas Eve homily.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  191. C. Weakley,

    I echo Bryan’s words and if you are inclined, you might want to check out Pope Francis’ words today at the Angelus:

    “In the joyful atmosphere of Christmas,” the pope noted, “this commemoration might seem out of place. Christmas in fact is the celebration of life and gives us feelings of serenity and peace. Why upset its charm with the memory of such brutal violence? In reality, from the perspective of faith, the Feast of St Stephen is in full harmony with the deeper meaning of Christmas. In martyrdom in fact, violence is overcome by love, death by life. The Church sees in the sacrifice of the martyrs their “birth in heaven.” Let us therefore celebrate today Stephen’s “birth”, which deeply stems from the birth of Christ. Jesus transforms the death of those who love him into the dawn of new life! The same clash between good and evil, between hatred and forgiveness, between gentleness and violence, which culminated in the Cross of Christ, is played out in Stephen’s martyrdom. Thus, the memory of the first martyr comes immediately to dissolve the false image of Christmas as a mushy fairy tale that does not exist in the Gospel! The liturgy brings us back to the true meaning of the Incarnation, connecting Bethlehem to Calvary, and reminding us that divine salvation involves a struggle against sin through the narrow gate of the Cross.”

  192. Daryll (re:#192),

    If The National Catholic Reporter is “mainstream,” that is apparently news to the current local bishop where the NCR is based. It was also news, apparently, to their local bishop who, in 1968, condemned the paper and admonished that the word “Catholic” should be dropped from their name: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/canon-lawyer-bishop-has-warned-national-catholic-reporter/

  193. Everyone,

    I have not made it a secret to any of my friends– whether they be Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, agnostic, or atheist– that I love Pope Francis. It’s not simply that I submit to his teaching authority on matters of faith and morals, though, as a Catholic, I do. It’s not simply that I honor the office of the Papacy, though, as a Catholic, I do. I love Pope Francis *himself*. I love his passion for communicating Christian truths to a Western world that is awash in secularism. I love the radical nature of his statements about the need for believers to actively love the poor and to lead lives that are not ruled by consumeristic materialism. I love his passion for reaching out to all people, to communicate to them that *God loves them*, and, that *because* He loves them, God speaks about the realities of sin and Satan.

    For some reason, Pope Francis is being taken to be a “breath of fresh air” in the Church. Certainly his very simple personal “style” (i.e. not living in the usual Papal dwelling, driving an old, beaten-up car, calling and writing lay Catholics personally, etc.) is different from that of some past Popes. Doctrinally and morally though, I am hearing the very same things from him that I have heard from all of the Popes within my living memory (I was born in 1973), and as I read the writings and speeches of Popes from long before my birth, I see that his writings and speeches are teaching the same fundamental Catholic truths as have been taught in the Church historically.

    By the standards of 21st-century, largely comfortable (though not in many geographical regions!), increasingly secular America, Pope Francis is a radical. Pope Benedict XVI was also a radical by these same standards, but his style of teaching was a more obviously scholarly one, and for whatever reasons, many people did not seem to hear the very radical nature of his exhortations, whether to Catholics, non-Catholic Christians and/or to non-Christians (and, sometimes, to all three at the same time). Benedict’s economic thinking in his encyclicals is, from what I can tell, similar to that of Francis. The two men are definitely on the same page doctrinally and morally, as loyal sons of the Church (to paraphrase/almost quote Pope Francis!). I love both of them, because they have both called me to a more radical life in Christ as a Catholic.

    Marc Barnes, who blogs at “Bad Catholic,” has written one of the best pieces on our current Pope that I have read since the beginning of his Pontificate. If you want to be reminded of just how radical “basic Catholicism” is, I commend the reading of this post. Honestly, I have not emerged from it unscathed… but my being “scathed” is that of the re-recognition of basic Catholic truth, and that of being refined by the *fire* of that truth, the truth of the Church that Christ founded– the good and healing pain of realizing, yet again, the radical nature of His call on my life. Thank You, Jesus, thank you, Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, and thank you, Marc Barnes, a young lay Catholic who “gets” Francis so well. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2013/12/drawing-stuff-on-the-popes-face.html

  194. Bryan, as I’ve said many times, Rome’s history is so long and varied that once YOU start to pull a thread YOU don’t know what will unravel. And when I look around at your sources, I see even more reasons to question whether you give an accurate portrayal of your church. I do understand, though, why you want to inhabit a world of logic and dogma — the realities of Roman Catholic life must cause you to turn your head.

    On the point of women’s ordination and infallibility, not every Roman Catholic agrees. Can you believe it, opinions exist in the RC church (just like among Protestants)! http://www.uscatholic.org/blog/2011/05/infallible-teaching-womens-ordination
    Meanwhile, the National Catholic Reporter has raised questions about a creeping papal fundamentalism in reaction to the liberalism in the church. http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/long-simmering-tension-over-creeping-infallibility

    I understand you don’t regard NCR highly, but you go to a strange source for episcopal support since Bishop Finn is not exactly having a good time of it right now: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/03/us/bishop-robert-finn-criticized-for-not-reporting-priest.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1388145638-Ab4LLOE/+RmI21O+DmdgFg

    Really, Bryan, talk about selective. I’m also not sure how wise it was to invoke Finn because it wasn’t that hard to find this story. Why not mention both Finn’s reaction to NCR and the possible connection to allegations against his handling of another scandal.

    And then we have the really amazing data on how many Roman Catholics agree with a CTC understanding of the faith (I know this doesn’t settle who is right or incorrect, but why don’t you ever talk about being a minority in the world of U.S. Roman Catholicism?). Just look at these numbers: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=1961

    American Catholics support same-sex marriage 60 – 31 percent, compared to the 56 – 36 percent support among all U.S. adults.

    More devout Catholics, who attend religious services about once a week, support same- sex marriage 53 – 40 percent, while less observant Catholics support it 65 – 26 percent.

    Catholic women support same-sex marriage 72 – 22 percent, while Catholic men support it 49 – 40 percent. Support ranges from 46 – 37 percent among Catholics over 65 years old to 64 – 27 percent among Catholics 18 to 49 years old.

    Catholics like their new Pope: 36 percent have a “very favorable” opinion of him and 53 percent have a “favorable” opinion, with 4 percent “unfavorable.”

    “American Catholics liked what they heard when Pope Francis said the Church should stop talking so much about issues like gay marriage, abortion and contraception,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

    “Maybe they were just waiting for a Jesuit. Overwhelmingly, across the demographic board, Catholics – men and women, regular or not-so-regular church-goers, young and old – have a favorable opinion of Pope Francis.”

    American Catholics support 60 – 30 percent the ordination of women priests. Those who attend religious services about once a week support women priests 52 – 38 percent, compared to 66 – 25 percent among those who attend services less frequently.

    There is almost no gender gap.

    Support for women priests grows with age, from 57 – 32 percent among Catholics 18 to 49 years old to 68 – 28 percent among those over 65 years old.

    Catholic opinion on abortion is similar of the opinions of all American adults:
    16 percent of Catholics say abortion should be legal in all cases, compared to 19 percent of all Americans;
    36 percent of Catholics say abortion should be legal in most cases, compared to 34 percent of all Americans;
    21 percent of Catholics say abortion should be illegal in most cases, compared to 23 percent of all Americans;
    21 percent of Catholics say abortion should be illegal in all cases, compared to 16 percent of all Americans.

    Me: all of a sudden, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church just got smaller.

  195. Tom, that’s all well and good though a Protestant doesn’t need feasts and festivals of saints and martyrs to invoke Christ’s sacrificial death. And we don’t hear much about the cross in the interviews the pope gives to the secular press, do we? As Darryl said earlier, in those he sounds something like a UN official or rockstar-activist.

  196. Darryl, (re: #200)

    Bryan, as I’ve said many times, Rome’s history is so long and varied that once YOU start to pull a thread YOU don’t know what will unravel.

    That’s why in general it is better to study the history first. Then you’ve already “unravelled” it.

    And when I look around at your sources, I see even more reasons to question whether you give an accurate portrayal of your church.

    You’ve shown nothing untrustworthy about my sources, or my moral character. You’ve merely engaged in innuendos. And that’s easy, but unhelpful (and uncharitable).

    I do understand, though, why you want to inhabit a world of logic and dogma — the realities of Roman Catholic life must cause you to turn your head.

    No, they don’t; I’m quite at peace. But feel free to present an argument for your mere assertion.

    On the point of women’s ordination and infallibility, not every Roman Catholic agrees.

    I’m aware of that. But it does not refute what I said. The author of the link you cite (Bryan Cones) doesn’t understand what is required for infallibility. His description is ” Bryan Cones is a writer living in Chicago.” If you would like to know how he is mistaken, we could talk about that, but that should be on a different thread; this one is on Pope Francis.

    Meanwhile, the National Catholic Reporter has raised questions about a creeping papal fundamentalism in reaction to the liberalism in the church.

    Labels do not establish anything. Anyone can put any kind of label on anything. However, if you have an argument demonstrating that something I’ve said is false, you’re welcome to present it.

    I understand you don’t regard NCR highly, but you go to a strange source for episcopal support since Bishop Finn is not exactly having a good time of it right now:

    I didn’t refer to Bishop Finn.

    And then we have the really amazing data on how many Roman Catholics agree with a CTC understanding of the faith (I know this doesn’t settle who is right or incorrect, but why don’t you ever talk about being a minority in the world of U.S. Roman Catholicism?).

    We said many times that the state of catechesis in the Church in the US is abysmal. But that problem does not change the identity of the Catholic Church, either by causing her no longer to be the Church Christ founded, or by removing her holiness. It does not change what is the Catholic faith, the Catholic Tradition, or what is in the Catechism. It changes nothing about the arguments we have raised here. If you think it does, feel free to show how it refutes any of the arguments we have made. Rather, it means only (as we have said many times) that there is plenty of work to do within the Church, and many of us here are doing that sort of work in our local parishes.

    Part of taking up one’s cross is dying to ecclesial consumerism. And dying to ecclesial consumerism includes dying to the stipulation that one will not enter Christ’s Church unless or until there are no dirty, sinful, uncatechized persons within her. In order to take the stance of Christ in the Garden (“Not my will …”) and Mary at the Annunciation (“Be it done unto me …”), we have to die to ecclesial consumerism. We have to be willing to dip seven times in the divinely designated river, even if it appears to us to be muddy, rather than ‘washing’ in a river of our own choosing. Following the divine directive over our own theological system is true faith. Choosing or constructing our own river, one that meets our own specified strictures, is the rationalism from which the very word ‘heresy’ (haeresis, i.e. choice) takes its meaning (see comment #714 in the “How John Calvin Made Me Catholic” thread).

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  197. Darryl (re:#200),

    I’m not sure why you think that the statistics you cite, as lamentable as they are, will cause Catholics who believe the Church’s claims about herself to turn their heads in any other ecclesial direction. Believe me, I have spent time in Catholic parishes with very poor, and even heretical, homilies and “dissenting” lay Catholics. Nothing that I heard or experienced in those parishes changed the official teachings of the Church one bit.

    Even at the worst extremes in the Church, heretics do not change the objective fact that there *is* an identifiable orthodoxy for Catholics, because there is a *visible, divinely authorized teaching authority*, in the Pope and the Magisterium, to *define* that orthodoxy and to *authoritatively settle* disputes when they need to be settled.

    In the 4th century, many, many Catholic bishops embraced Arianism. That fact, however, obviously did not make Arianism part of Catholic doctrine and dogma, and it also did not do *anything* to make Catholic doctrine and dogma any less *authoritative*.

    Every self-identifying Catholic in my Archdiocese could be a heretic, and it would not change the objective Catholic faith. Nor would such a terrible predicament change my own submission to the objective Catholic faith, as defined and articulated by the Church’s teaching authority.

    Every self-identified “Catholic” theologian and self-identified lay “Catholic” in North America could *claim* that women’s ordination is a discipline and not a settled matter of the Catholic faith– but the objective fact is that the CDF and the Pope spoke authoritatively on the subject. People can rebel against that fact, and they can even teach against it, sometimes, in the Church, as if it were somehow not the objective reality– but a Catholic who listens to the Church’s teaching authority will not be misled on the subject.

  198. Bryan, right you didn’t mention Finn who also like his predecessor in Kansas City condemned the National Catholic Reporter. http://kcur.org/post/bishop-finn-condemns-national-catholic-reporter-0 Why choose one bishop and not the other (and you have to wonder what Helmsing knew that Finn covered up.

    I am engaging “merely” in “innuendo.” That’s what you call bringing to light facts about the church in the present and the past that you fail to mention or address? And you say I engage in ad hominems?

    What you call ecclesial consumerism I call insurmountable barrier to reform. If Christ or Mary had thought about Jerusalem and the Temple the way you do about Rome and the papacy, we wouldn’t have Christianity.

  199. Darryl,

    I referred to Bishop Helmsing’s actions because they were adequate to demonstrate the problem with NCR in relation to the Catholic Magisterium. Your suggestion that I purposely omitted mentioning Bishop Finn is uncharitable speculation. Your statement that you “wonder what Helmsing knew that Finn covered up” is an illustration of sophistry. It is easy to speculate publicly about the possible sins of others, without any evidence. But doing so is uncharitable. And as the moderator of this thread, I won’t permit that here, whether by Protestants or Catholics.

    What you call ecclesial consumerism I call insurmountable barrier to reform.

    Putting a different label on it doesn’t change what it is. Nor does it refute what I said.

    The purpose of this thread, however, is to discuss Pope Francis. Anything else is off-topic.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  200. Bryan, again, this is rigged. You can appeal to ONE bishop and that shows the magisterium’s view of National Catholic Reporter? But if I cite statements by Cardinal Martini does that also show the magisterium’s liberalism?

    You don’t play fair.

    It’s your website.

  201. Its interesting that we are supposed to now adopt the positions of the obviously heterodox “National Catholic Reporter” because the paper has the word ‘Catholic’ in it and reports on Catholic matters.

    I didn’t realize that when I became Catholic in 2007. They must have forgot to announce that at the Easter Vigil.

  202. Darryl, (re: #206)

    You’re right that appealing to one bishop’s statement does not demonstrate the Magisterial position on a question. My referring to Bishop Helmsing’s condemnation of the NCR does not demonstrate that this is also the Magisterial position. Discipline of laity belongs to the local ordinary, which Bishop Helmsing was. My point was that NCR is not an official Catholic publication, operated either by the USCCB or the Apostolic See.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  203. Re: #203. Christopher, you said “I have spent time in Catholic parishes with….even heretical, homilies and “dissenting” lay Catholics. “ And, you stated that the statistics that DG Hart cites in #200 are “lamentable”, so I assume you do not dispute the statistics.

    Protestants would concede that anecdotal instances of rogue priests giving heretical homilies does not, necessarily, invalidate the official doctrinal posture of the RCC. Nor does the existence of all the dissent within RCC ranks, necessarily, invalidate the official doctrinal posture of the RCC. (These things raise some serious questions, however.)

    However, can you or someone else at CTC elaborate and/or clarify something. On the one hand, you mourn that protestants are schismatic. The protestants that interact with CTC are largely fervent in their own faith and Biblically literate…folks that you would consider to be “separated brethren”. On the other hand, you concede that there is some significant number of very liberal, if not outright heretical, laymen and priests who are official members of the visible RCC. And, you concede that there is considerable lack of adherence, within RCC ranks, by its members to official RCC teachings.

    My sincere question is this. In the hierarchy of ‘sins’, which crowd has committed the worse sin? Is it worse, in your view, for fervent Christ-following protestants to be schismatic, or is it worse for there to be heretics and dissenters within the RCC ranks?

  204. “My point was that NCR is not an official Catholic publication, operated either by the USCCB or the Apostolic See.”

    Exactly. And everbody knows it.

  205. Hello Corn-Czar (re: #209)

    My sincere question is this. In the hierarchy of ‘sins’, which crowd has committed the worse sin? Is it worse, in your view, for fervent Christ-following protestants to be schismatic, or is it worse for there to be heretics and dissenters within the RCC ranks?

    I’ve given Darryl some latitude above, but your question would take the discussion off the topic of this thread. The post at the link in comment #172 above would be a more appropriate post for that question.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  206. Pope Francis invites rabbis for lunch at his residence Casa Santa Marta to celebrate the day dedicated to Jewish-Christian Dialogue

    Dear friends, we are sharing a nice unofficial photo taken at the House Santa Martha, the Vatican’s guesthouse where Pope Francis lives, showing the Pope having lunch with his old friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka from Buenos Aires, and with other rabbis who were invited to the Vatican to mark the day of Jewish-Christian Dialogue, on January, 16. (News.va)

  207. Bryan,

    I’ve read protestant liberals justifying Brother Martin’s and the subsequent Magisterial Reformers breaking ranks from Rome, using Luke 20 as justification that Jesus there when asked what authority he had, turned the question on the religious and refused to answer. I wonder if you have considered this angle st CtC, if so, can you deep link me to it? Its interesting historical thought maybe, if nothing else, and I’d be happy to cite the liberal in referring to, his work is free at religion online dot org. Just sharing thoughts here, not arguing with you or taking away from your blog post. Let this through moderation at your discretion, of course.

    Grace and peace.

  208. Andrew, (re: #213)

    Jesus does not “refuse to answer,” or indicate that the question itself is illegitimate or inappropriate. Rather, he exposes the duplicitous motives of the chief priests, Scribes and elders, in asking Him this question, by pointing to their hypocrisy regarding John the Baptist. They had ignored the testimony of John the Baptist concerning Jesus, while outwardly feigning belief in John’s teaching. In many other ways Jesus had already given proof of His divine mission through His miracles and fulfillment of prophecy. He Himself taught that if He had not proved His divine mission through His teaching and miracles, it would not have been a sin not to believe in Him. (John 5:31, 36; 10:25,37; 15:22, 24) This post and this thread are for discussing Pope Francis. A better thread for the question you are asking is the motives of credibility thread.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  209. Bryan, heartfelt thanks for the response and suggestion for how to proceed if I deem that necessary for my puposes for visiting this website here. Take care.

  210. Pope Francis was supposed to go hear confessions; instead, he first went and confessed his own sins:

  211. 60 Minutes on Pope Francis:

  212. Bryan (re: #217),

    Just about every time Catholic folk are on mainstream television where some aspect of the faith is a topic, the conservative/liberal “distinction” is mentioned. I find it interesting.

    Peace,
    John D.

  213. JohnD (re: #218)

    See comment #165 above.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  214. Thanks for the links, Bryan.

    May I ask how this activity of Pope Francis should be understood in light of how the Apostles interacted with the unbelieving Jews? I do not mean to imply here that anyone is wrong or that there is any one way to act in this regard, but take a brief look at the below encounter of St. Paul who was confronted by some Jews who did not accept his message and the way in which he spoke to them.

    The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.[j] 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. 46 Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

    ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles,
    so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
    48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. 49 Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
    (Acts 13:44-52

    It would only seem to me that the Spirit guided St. Paul in his ministering to the Jews and the Gentiles. Could you comment on that?

  215. Eric, (re: #220)

    Sts. Paul and Barnabas spoke this way only to Jews who culpably rejected Christ, in this case for reasons of jealousy. We have no good reason to believe that the Jews with whom Pope Francis has spoken have definitively rejected Christ, let alone done so culpably. Their very willingness to talk with Pope Francis in an open and authentic manner suggests that they remain open to understanding more about Christ and His Church, and are thus not at all in the same epistemic condition as were the Jews described in Acts 13. Pope Francis’s dialogue with them is a reflection of the Church’s recognition of kinship with and affection for the Jewish people as the root from whom we come (see Nostra Aetate, 4), and continued prayer and hope for their recognition and acceptance of Christ as the promised Messiah.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  216. Bryan,

    Very good answer. That helps.

  217. Pope Francis washing feet on Holy Thursday, 2014:

  218. Truth reveals itself in action, in love:

    But this prompts a question:

    “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2)

    “But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” (John 9:16)

    “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” (John 9:33)

    Similarly, if Pope Francis were, as the Reformed tradition still claims him to be, “that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God,” and thus were unregenerate and opposed to Christ and His Gospel, how could Pope Francis live in such a Christ-like way, in a life of self-giving love for the sick, the deformed, the impoverished, the elderly, the disabled, the burdened, etc., as visible in the photos and videos above? How could he love sacrificially in this Christ-like way if he were not actually following Christ?

    “By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2:5-6)

    “The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” (1 John 2:10)

    “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.” (1 John 2:29)

    “the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7)

    “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;” (1 John 3:10-11)

    “everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)

    “if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12)

    “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)

    Thus the question: If Pope Francis’s actions show him to be following Christ, then how can he be the Antichrist? But if he is not the Antichrist, then the theological assumption in WCF XXV.6 that he cannot be the visible head of the visible Church under Christ is also called into question. That’s because WCF XXV.6 assumes that the papal office itself is opposed to Christ. So if it turns out that a person holding that office is not opposed to Christ, but is following Christ while simultaneously holding and fulfilling the function of that office, then it follows that the office is not intrinsically opposed to Christ. Otherwise, a person could not be both regenerate and fulfilling the office, without contradiction, because one cannot be obeying Christ and exalting himself “against Christ” at the same time. (No man can serve two masters, as Christ taught.) So this creates a dilemma for the Reformed tradition: either Pope Francis is truly following Christ, in which case the papal office is not inherently exalted against Christ, or Pope Francis is not truly following Christ, even while living a life of Christ-like self-giving love, in which case the verses cited above from 1 John are entirely unhelpful and misleading. Which is it?

  219. Bryan (re: #224),

    Similarly, if Pope Francis were, as the Reformed tradition still claims him to be, “that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God,” and thus were unregenerate and opposed to Christ and His Gospel, how could Pope Francis live in such a Christ-like way, in a life of self-giving love for the sick, the deformed, the impoverished, the elderly, the disabled, the burdened, etc., as visible in the photos and videos above? How could he love sacrificially in this Christ-like way if he were not actually following Christ?

    I think the simple answer that reformed folks would give is that he is not actually living in a supernaturally good way. While some of his actions give the outward appearance of such supernatural goodness, only God can see the hearts of men, and he can still do these externally-good things without being regenerate. So, I think they can just quote the WCF 16.7 and deny that the Pope’s works are supernaturally good, even while admitting that his actions are “things which God commands” and are “of good use to both to themselves and others”.

    WCF 16.7: Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands; and of good use both to themselves and others:[23] yet, because they proceed not from an heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God: and yet, their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.

    So, your dilemma will not go through since they can simply deny the premise that the Pope’s actions show him to be following Christ. However, for those who are comparing paradigms and seeking to weigh evidence, your dilemma might have more effect, though I can only speculate.

    Peace,
    John D.

  220. JohnD (re: #225)

    since they can simply deny the premise that the Pope’s actions show him to be following Christ.

    I recognize that. But there are consequences to biting that bullet, as I explained in #224. It would mean that the verses I cited from 1 John are worthless, useless, superfluous, and thus ought not have been included in the canon of Scripture.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  221. JohnD (#225)

    I think the simple answer that reformed folks would give is that he is not actually living in a supernaturally good way.

    Precisely. I remember when I was becoming Reformed, and having the T of TULIP being explained to me – Total Depravity – that good acts were, in fact, being performed for selfish reasons – self-aggrandisement, or the pride of trying to earn one’s salvation. The Pope, on this hypothesis, simply trying to be goody-goody, in order to impress God and earn his way to Heaven.

    I recall being a little uncertain even back then about accepting it…

    jj

  222. Bryan (#226)

    I recognize that. But there are consequences to biting that bullet, as I explained in #224. It would mean that the verses I cited from 1 John are worthless, useless, superfluous, and thus ought not have been included in the canon of Scripture.

    And – as I am sure you will know from your own Reformed past – these and all the vast body of Scriptural quotes one could bring forth to the same end – are simply there as ‘the law’ to drive us to Christ. These are telling us things that if we could do would show we are His – but we cannot, in fact, be one tiniest bit righteous in fact (I mean, according to Total Depravity). These verses are there – I was told when I was becoming a Calvinist – to make us despair of relying on our own righteousness.

    All of which is, I think, one reason the Church in Reformation times feared, amongst other consequences of Reformed theology, that it would corrupt men’s morals even more. Why try to do well if you know you are doomed to failure?

    jj

  223. As you have done it unto the least of these, …

  224. Perhaps this is what “προκαθημένη τῆς ἀγάπης” looks like:

  225. Pope Francis in today’s General Audience:

    All this makes us understand that, to be holy, it is not necessary to be Bishops, priests or religious … We are all called to become saints! Very often, however, we are tempted to think that holiness is reserved only to those who have the possibility to detach themselves from ordinary tasks, to dedicate themselves exclusively to prayer. But it is not so! Some people think that holiness is closing your eyes and putting on a pious face… No! That is not holiness! Holiness is something greater, more profound that God gives us. In fact, it is precisely by living with love and offering Christian witness in our daily tasks that we are called to become Saints – and each one in the conditions and in the state in which he finds himself. Are you consecrated? Be holy by living with joy your donation and your ministry. Are you married? Be holy by loving and taking care of your husband or your wife, as Christ did with the Church. Are you an unmarried baptized person? Be holy by doing your work with honesty and competence and offering time to the service of brothers. “But, father, I work in a factory … I work as an accountant, always with the numbers, I cannot be a saint there…” – “Yes, you can! There, where you work you can become a saint.

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