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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Comments

padraighh

Remind me Carl, why are you not a Catholic?

Carl Olson

I think you meant, "Remind me, Carl, why are you not a Dead Head?" And my answer is: "For the same reason I finally stopped listening to Kool and the Gang."

Ed Peters

This is an important discussion, so I'll keep my 2 cents short: oh never mind. The smart people should talk about this one....go Carl, et al.

Gail

Gee, that's sad. I have certainly been there -- not theologically, but feeling just like poor iMonk when something I wrote was taken in a way I never expected by someone I respected. Some days you can take it, some days you can't.

But as for this:

if I call myself a “Not a Catholic”, then the best I can be is just one more deficient, defective Protestant, outside of the true church with no authority to say anything anyway


That is mostly true, if a morose way to look at it. Protestans are outside the true church, according to Catholic theology, and shouldn't get upset by the idea, especially if they don't want to be there to begin with. That does NOT mean that they have "no authority to say anything, anyway." Someone should tell him so.

Poor Scott Hahn! He apparently has all the answers but, Sybil-like, speaks to no one.

Gail

Carl Olson

Poor Scott Hahn! He apparently has all the answers but, Sybil-like, speaks to no one.

Huh? What? Who ever claimed that Scott Hahn has all the answers? Has he ever said so?

AMike

I thought he was being humorous with that line, since so many Catholics rave about Hahn. I left a comment letting him know that I appreciated his humor but I guess he did't mean to be funny and didn't allow my comment.

joe

Carl, your post seemed irenic enough to me. I sense that maybe iMonk simply snapped on it after being already rubbed raw by the Reformed camp and its more shrll members. I don't know. I do know that the tone here--and at his site also--is a really nice change from the more theological smackdown type approach of some of the apologetic sites out there. They ,ust help people at certain junctures on the way, but as a consistent diet they would cause anyone stomach upset.

padraighh

Carl

Perhaps I made myself too obtuse - I think you want your link in the first line to read "Why I am no longer a Protestant" Am I wrong?

Remind me, who is Kool and does he have a gang?

Dominus vobiscum

Carl Olson

Aiiiigh....I'm apparently losing my mind and my Catholic identity. Thanks for the correction.

Kool is the Gang, and the Gang is Kool. Kool?

Sheryl and Joe

So, about this Theological Cage Fighting... where do we place our bets on Carl?

Jackson

"Protestans are outside the true church, according to Catholic theology, and shouldn't get upset by the idea, especially if they don't want to be there to begin with."

Actually, they should be mortified by the idea, and should see to it that they adjust their wants to the truth. There is no greater catastrophe than being outside the true church. Recommended reading:

http://www.newmanreader.org/works/parochial/volume6/sermon18.html

Daniel Fink

I hope the reason so many Catholics "rave about Hahn" is for the same reason I appreciate him...like Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI (as well as Carl), Hahn seizes every opportunity to present the Catholic gospel. That is, God's willing and making possible man's "divinization", man's capacity to partake of the divine nature (2 Pt 1:4) and share in the life and love of the Trinity, through the merits of Christ, in the Holy Spirit, realized most excellently in the experience of the liturgy.

Carl Olson

Nice comment, Daniel. I tend to be a bit puzzled about the Hahn-bashing that takes place among certain Catholics. I would distinguish it, btw, from those who have raised good or interesting objections to some of his more speculative theological propositions. But the vast majority of what Scott presents is solid, orthodox Catholic theology, rooted in a rather impressive knowledge of Scripture, patristics, scholasticism, and more recent Catholic theology, especially that of Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. I think that sometimes people react against the adulation or enthusiasm shown by some in regards to Scott's tapes or books. And I think some are simply jealous, for whatever reason, of Scott's profile. Again, I'm not saying that his work isn't above a proper and fair critique, but it seems that many criticisms are rather personal and petty.

Jackson

Many of those who are cool to Hahn's books might say that they're turned off not by their substance, but by their demotic, hypersentimental style. They might say, for example, "Why spend time reading Hahn when I could be reading de Lubac instead?"

Carl Olson

Jackson: The remark about "hypersentimental" I can understand to a certain degree. Have you read Letter and Spirit? It's more scholarly and avoids most of the sentimentality of some of his other, more popular books.

Sharon

"Why spend time reading Hahn when I could be reading de Lubac instead?"

Well, good on you. I read Hahn because I can't understand de Lubac!

Does that make me somehow a lesser Catholic than you Jackson?

Carl Olson

Well, good on you. I read Hahn because I can't understand de Lubac!

LOL. I think you nicely capture one of Hahn's strengths, which is being able to make theology and doctrine accessible, without being simplistic. Having met Scott and spent time with him on a few occasions, I think it's safe to say that he has the highest respect for de Lubac. And yet, de Lubac isn't for everyone (although that shouldn't stop you from buying all of his books from Ignatius Press, right?). ;-)

LJ

Converts by nature, particularly those from the Protestant clergy, tend to have an abundance of enthusiasm, and wonder how it is that there are so many Catholics that aren't jumping up and down about this great gift of the Catholic faith.

I know this about converts because I are one. It helps to temper one's enthusiasm with the recognition that having seen both sides is a gift from God in one sense, and many Catholics haven't had that experience. And, it also helps to realize that, impossible as it might seem, familiarity can sometime bring lack of appreciation even for the Catholic faith.

The temptation is to want to shake some people awake, because it appears that they are asleep. But the real danger is in presuming anything about anyone else's faith to begin with. Hard as it is, it is better to slow down, at least in my own experience, and watch and listen. Some people surprise you with the depth and understanding of the faith that they have, even though they are not bubbling over with it. If we are willing, there is much more to learn from average cradle Catholics than we, in our presumption, might first think, but it won't happen if we are making too much noise to listen.

At the same time, there are those with a gift of insight and scholarship like Scott Hahn whose perspective helps all of us in some measure, although jumping into his theological perspective with both feet might be premature. I think many just need time to reflect, while he is still full speed ahead. His insights have helped me, particularly as to understanding covenants generally, and God's covenants with his people. Dr. Hahn does make the case that he is merely re-packaging and presenting theological reflections that have been in the Church from the early fathers.

I personally am not particularly enamored of his style but many have come to the Church through listening to Scott Hahn's presentations and personal story. That is a fact, although he himself gives all the credit to God. I guess if all of us, cradle or convert, are willing to give all the glory to God, we can sort through the rest of it.

joe

Hahn's substance is great. But publishers need to to squelch his penchant for pop culture puns immediately. His most recent works, hapily, suggest this is already happening. Years ago I read somewhere he was working on a history of Catholic Biblical scholarship. A work on that subject coming from someone with his perspective would be a an exciting prospect.

Robin L. in TX

I have read a lot of Dr. Hahn's works, being a revert to the faith. I am very interesed in knowing which areas of Dr. Hahn's writings are problematic.

Anything on the internet that does a fair and judicial review?

He was a large part of my finding the Truth that is part and parcel with the Church, and I am beginning to teach a Bible Study. It is important to me to be sure that I am factual in passing on what I have been taught.

In Christ's peace and joy,

Robin

Mark Brumley

Whatever one thinks of Scott's popularizations of theology and his seemingless endless supply of subheader puns, it remains true to say that he has greatly contributed to many people's understanding of and embracing the Catholic faith. There are certainly greater theological minds in the Catholic Church today, but for whatever reason those minds aren't reaching the masses. Scott Hahn is.

Of course the danger of popularizers--and here I don't limit myself to talking about Scott Hahn--is that the process of popularizing ideas inevitably involves simplification and that can lead to a misapprehension of some elements of the truth, if those who are influenced by the popularizer don't realize that they're getting the Reader's Digest version of things. There is also the problem of elevating the teacher who has given one so much understanding to a status disportionate to his real standing in the big world of ideas.

I think Scott Hahn would agree with the points above, even with respect to risks involved with his own work.

I think others, especially those of us who popularize theology, should agree that when someone is as successful as Scott Hahn has been, there is a risk that the rest of us might succumb to jealousy or envy, and be unjustly dismissive or unduly critical of the Popular One. Why is it that he gets all the attention?

What's more, even those who don't themselves popularize theology can be tempted to bring down an iconic figure, even if only in their minds by their attitudes. The impulse to think that I, the nonexpert, can adequately critique the expert, even the popularizing expert, can be a less grandiose form of the same temptation.

With respect to the areas in which Scott Hahn's works may be "problematic", I would respectfully ask people to consider, before they sit in judgment here, whether they really know enough theology, are inclined enough to make subtle, sophisticated distinctions, and are willing to give others a fair hearing, in order to be able to give a just assessment of a theological work or a body of work. If not, then they should withhold judgment. If so, then by all means they should have at it. I think Dr. Hahn is a big enough boy to handle it.

padraighh

I think if y'all will take a look at the comments on
iMonk following his response to this weblog you will
see that a few 'apparent Protestants' dissed Hahn saying
they would never read his books.
I think a few 'apparent Catholics' piled on.

Something like an empathetic response to iMonk saying
that he would now throw away his set of IP books.

(proving how well known and what a great Catholic writer Hahn is BTW)

I was tempted to respond ala C.S. Lewis that a good
evangelical needs to be very careful what he reads
but I kept my tongue even though now I have given into temptation.

My personal favorite among sentimental writers wrote this great line

'O Lord, you have made us for your own and we are restless until we find our rest in you.'


Dominus vobiscum

Jackson

Sharon, I'm not a Catholic at all.

iMonk

Pad:

Let me deal with a couple of blatant untruths:

I said I had cleared out shelf space in the past two weeks by giving John Piper books to friends and donating some (not all) IP books to the local RCC- which I had started with a donation several weeks ago. I never threw away anything.

If you are going to amplify this into me burning books and then setting myself on fire, feel free. It's your day of judgement to account for every word. Enjoy it.

padraighh

Dear iMonk

I never read you until Carl wrote about you.

I happen to like you very much from what I have read
I mis-spoke if it appears as it now seems to me
that I claimed you were
throwing your books away, I only meant to defend Hahn
and nothing more and to give some context to the
Hahn bashing here and elsewhere.

It would be a grave mistake and a denial of the substantial
gifts you have been given by God to stop writing.

Accept my apology. Pax.

Gail


Carl: I wasn't dissing Scott Hahn in my post about the iMonk. I find some of his writing too cutesy, but I really respect him and all his work. I thought "The Lamb's Supper" was wonderful, I like the study bible, and I have enjoyed many of his tapes. For starters.

I was referring to this quote from the iMonk's post:

"(Plus, I’m unwilling to read a Scott Hahn book to get all my questions answered.)"

Hence the Sybil-with-all-the-answers line. I'm sure iMonk meant that he didn't believe Scott Hahn had all the answers and that's why he hasn't read one of his books, but that's not what he actually SAID...

Carl Olson

Gail: Ah, I get it now. I didn't think you were bashing on him, but didn't know how to take the comment. Yes, the way iMonk made the remark is rather humorous.

LJ

"With respect to the areas in which Scott Hahn's works may be "problematic", I would respectfully ask people to consider, before they sit in judgment here, whether they really know enough theology, are inclined enough to make subtle, sophisticated distinctions, and are willing to give others a fair hearing, in order to be able to give a just assessment of a theological work or a body of work. If not, then they should withhold judgment." - Mark Brumley

Precisely.

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