Bookmark and Share
My Photo

FROM the EDITORS:

  • IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
    Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.

NEW & UPCOMING, available from IGNATIUS PRESS

















































































« Rebuilding the economy requires restoring the traditional family... | Main | Benedict XVI on the other Ambrose »

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b7c369e20115703b6f5b970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Protestantism is dangerous. ...":

Comments

LJ

Whatever external coherence early Protestants had was largely dependent on the presence of a defining other—Catholics in the early modern period and secularists in the later modern era. This need for an external source of self-definition became part of the core of Protestantism.

Catholicism did not simply motivate the construction of a unified Protestant front; it also provided Protestants with a certain immunity against the most destructive possibilities of their core idea.

This is why a certain vehement anti-Catholicism is still alive and well within Protestantism, because those who go to the core of their faith can really only understand it in relation to Catholicism. That produces either some kind of uneasy intellectual compromise for the sake of peace, or an anti-Catholic religious fervor. And for some it produces conversion to the Catholic Church.

It also supports the teaching that anyone saved outside of the communion of the Catholic Church will be saved because of the Church, not despite her.

M. L. Hearing

Some good stuff here. I couldn't have articulated like this, but I was sensing some of these same things shortly before I became Catholic. (And then we converts always seem ever afterwards to view Catholicism only in contradistinction to Protestantism.) One good thing about Protestantism, though: it force me to learn the word "fissiparous."

M. L. Hearing

Steve Perkins

Thank you for the post of regarding both books. I am a Protestant who has been wrestling mightily for about six months with this exact issue. "Sola scriptura" is, at the end of the day, an incoherent idea. The proliferation of so-called, often self-called, authorities that conflict with one another cannot be what our Lord meant when He said that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. I look forward to reading both these books.

Evan

I greet this with a bit of a shoulder shrug. Any Protestant willing to recite the Nicene Creed recognizes the debt to the Catholic Church. But let me let you in on a little secret... when we affirm the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church", we aren't trying to fool ya! We really do intend to affirm it!

If the Catholic Church in communion with the bishop of Rome doesn't wish to recognize us as part of the Catholic Church, well, it's a problem for all the whole Church, but it has come up because it's first their problem. One must remember that the communion whose head is in Rome is not the only Christian communion claiming to stand within the catholicity of the body of Christ.

Ben

"In this way, the Catholic Church is needed for Protestantism to live up to its own positive principles."

Bouyer's whole argument here is incoherent.

Brian J. Schuettler

This is really very old hat. The "new" insight of Protestantism's lack of continuity resulting from the absence of authority as being an inherent fatal flaw was seen by Luther himself before his death. It has since that time been discussed widely inside and out of the true Church and has motivated many Protestants into full communion with the mystical Body of Christ in search of that woefully missing Magisterium. Pius IX was the first pope to use the term “Magisterium” in the sense that it is understood today, and the concept of the “ordinary and universal Magisterium” was officially established during Vatican I. In addition, this council defined the doctrine of papal infallibility, the ability of the pope to speak without error “when, acting in his capacity as pastor and teacher of all Christians, he commits his supreme authority in the universal Church on a question of faith or morals.” It has taken some time (centuries!) of discussion and debate but it appears that breakthroughs are at hand.

LJ

"One must remember that the communion whose head is in Rome is not the only Christian communion claiming to stand within the catholicity of the body of Christ."

I guess then, Evan, all that remains is to closely examine those claims. That is essentially what I did, from the perspective of authority, ie., authenticity, in my own journey to the Catholic Church. One place to start is the point when the term "Catholic" was first used and what was meant by it, considering all that was going on at the time in terms of heresy and the Councils that were defining the faith, including those at Nicea.

Perhaps even before that it would be useful to compare definitions of "church" and "apostolic." That would help to understand from the very outset why the Catholic Church "doesn't wish to recognize" the descendants of those who quite vehemently rejected her in the first place some 500 years ago and took themselves and their descendants precisely out of communion with her. When the "protest" ends, the resumption of communion can begin. I know that from experience.

Stephen  Sparrow

Protestantism dangerous ? I really don't think so. Without Catholicism it cannot exist. It is in a sense a parasite religious conviction.

Evan

"One place to start is the point when the term "Catholic" was first used and what was meant by it, considering all that was going on at the time in terms of heresy and the Councils that were defining the faith, including those at Nicea."

The concept of the Church's catholicity was a good two centuries old by Nicea... interestingly, (and I think someone like Möhler offers a cock-eyed interpretation of Ignatius on this), Ignatius sets up an analogy whereby the congregation is found with the bishop just as "wherever Jesus Christ is, there also is the katholike ekklesia." Now, as you say, how to interpret this? Well, it seems to make Christ the necessary and sufficient presence upon which the Catholic Church is identified. I assume I don't need to cite you statements from modern councils affirming the presence of Christ in the Protestant communities. The oddest part of the whole ordeal is that despite this original usage, there's an affirmation of Christ's presence in the communities of the Reformation without an affirmation of their catholicity. This strikes me as a dangerous separation to make. Certainly we can't ignore the first clause of Ignatius' passage concerning the bishop, but the extent to which a particular model of the episcopate is so privileged in modern Roman Catholic thought as a gate keeper for universality seems to go against the original usage of the term catholic, which at base is Christological.


"Perhaps even before that it would be useful to compare definitions of "church" and "apostolic." That would help to understand from the very outset why the Catholic Church "doesn't wish to recognize" the descendants of those who quite vehemently rejected her in the first place some 500 years ago and took themselves and their descendants precisely out of communion with her."

Luther didn't excommunicate himself, friend. I know, I know... the Reformers rejected the Church and her teachings, placing themselves in a position whereby excommunication was the necessary response. That claim, of course, needs to be just as "closely examined" as anything else, and I see less of this going on than a simple affirmation that the point of schism sits with the Reformers. But a mere affirmation of this simply begs the question, as does an appeal to the particular understanding of the episcopate at work in the Roman Catholic Church.

You think sola scriptura offers up hermeneutical difficulties?! (don't get me wrong, I do to!) Well, the bump in the rug just gets moved over to ecclesiastical structures in your model. And there is no way to smooth out the bump- authority will always encounter the problem of a source without stable justification (because any justification depends upon an appeal to the authority that's being justified). Hence Ignatius' original appeal to Christ as the inbreaking foundation of catholicity that supersedes any immanent claims to authority... claims made either by Protestants who wish to exclude Roman Catholics from catholicity, or Catholics who wish to exclude Protestants from catholicity.

LJ

I am glad you mentioned Sola Scriptura, Evan. At the risk of taxing Carl's patience with an extended com-box debate I am reminded of the passage from recent readings wherein Jesus points out to Thomas and the rest how blessed are those who will not see and touch him and yet believe.

That's the nub of it is it not? All of Revelation is witness. Just as Sola Scriptura is selective faith/trust only in those who received that part of revelation and wrote it down, and only secondarily in those who assembled it and those who preserved it; an appeal to Ignatius must necessarily include the intent of his arguments in their historical context. It is an interesting exercise to distill out the Christological focus of his argument and re-insert it after the fact of the Reformation separation, but it still begs the question because it is out of it's context. The point is, without the apostles and their successors we would not know about Jesus in the first place and to toss out the Church structure they gave us and its authority is to tell them we don't believe them entirely and we can take it from here. We are picking and choosing what part of the record we will accept. But casting doubt on part casts doubt on all because it has the same source. That is what I understood by authority.

The other Protestant argument that comes up in the Sola Scriptura debate is the direct immediate living influence of Christ through the Holy Spirit. But just as that doesn't ultimately help the hermeneutic of Sola Scriptura it also doesn't help us with ecclesiology and apostolic succession. The substance of what we believe is in Revelation to which the Holy Spirit attests, and once more we must accept the witness from the record and unless we wish to slide back into Sola Scriptura, that must include the witness of the apostles through the living visible Church. Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?

Evan

LJ, I'm not sure who you're debating... I wasn't the first to bring up sola scriptura here, and I don't think I disagree with you (although I'm not sure entirely what you're arguing).

You say, "The point is, without the apostles and their successors we would not know about Jesus in the first place and to toss out the Church structure they gave us and its authority is to tell them we don't believe them entirely and we can take it from here. We are picking and choosing what part of the record we will accept. But casting doubt on part casts doubt on all because it has the same source."

What I'm confused about is who you're accusing of doing this. Isn't the Reformation argument often that the Roman Catholic Church wasn't given by the apostles, but rather that it's a deviation from the tradition?! Isn't that what all of their patristic citations tried to prove?! And that's not to say you're wrong- you may be right. But simply asserting that one side rejects the tradition of the apostles and ignoring the fact that they're accusing you of the same thing doesn't answer anything. What's needed is an examination of the tradition that both sides cite as precedent and a weighing of each argument.

I don't think that all Protestant arguments can stand up to that weighing, but nor do I think that all of the arguments from Rome or Constantinople do either. But the point is that everyone is making more or less the argument that you're making here.

Dirk

Shame on you, Mr. Olson! Words are cheap, and yours seem plentiful. One does not elevate oneself on another's ascribed dung heap. One does not justify oneself on account of other people's ascribed failings. This broad painting of the Protestant brush does no justice to the piety and strengths of a great swath of what is known as the Evangelical churches. To generalize by calling Protestantism "dangerous" is disgraceful. I do not think Pope Benedict would ever support this kind of polemic. Need one ask: Where is Christian charity? For the first time I am disappointed that Ignatius Insight would associate itself with this level of polemic. For good measure, let me add that I am only a recent Catholic "convert," and am I grateful that the Church has had people like Joseph Ratzinger to make up for apologists of your caliber.

Joe

"It is remarkable, after all, that the vast majority of Protestants agree with one another and with most non-Protestant Christians about the essentials of salvation... But one wonders if this surprising agreement is not owing to ... the importance of clinging to the ancient rule of faith. If this is the case, Catholicism did not simply motivate the construction of a unified Protestant front; it also provided Protestants with a certain immunity against the most destructive possibilities of their core idea."

Exactly. But I'd say in the last years Evangelicalism has provided the exact same counterweight for Rome, against temptations toward infatuation with liberal Biblical scholarship and ideas like universalism. So the Evangelicals have provided a service to Rome, reminding it of its own best heritage.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ignatius Insight

Twitter


Ignatius Press


Catholic World Report


WORTHY OF ATTENTION:




















Blogs & Sites We Like

August 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            
Blog powered by Typepad