Catholics just can't win with some folks. They call us legalists...by which they mean this preposterous fantasy that we think we can earn our way to heaven. And yet Turretinfan (for example) is instantly ready to assume that Dr. Beckwith would act *contrary* to a legalistic gospel by acting in bad faith. So which is it? Are Catholics evil because they're legalists, or evil because they're not? Turretinfan can't have it both ways. Or maybe it's just that he thinks Catholics are evil no matter what they believe or do? Or - and this is by far the most probable - maybe it's just that he has no idea what we really believe, which is the nearly universal condition of all Protestants who hate the Catholic Church.Yet it's quite clear (reading their own comments) that those who actually know Dr. Beckwith have nothing but the highest regard for his personal integrity, even when they strongly disagree with him. So there's absolutely no basis for this malicious idea that he intended to be a Papist mole in the ETS chancery.
I respond line-by-line, as follows:
Fred: "Catholics just can't win with some folks."
I reply: I pointed out both balanced and imbalanced Roman Catholics in my original post. There are reasonable Roman Catholics and there are unreasonable Roman Catholics.
Fred: "They call us legalists...by which they mean this preposterous fantasy that we think we can earn our way to heaven. "
I reply: Consistent Roman Catholics are legalists, which means that they deny Sola Fide. The only way that charge could be a "preposterous fantasy," would be if the Council of Trent were also a preposterous fantasy. If you, Fred, deny that the Council of Trent defined Roman Catholic dogma, and call its teachings a "preposterous fantasy," then you should be aware that you are under its anathema, for whatever that's worth.
Fred: "And yet Turretinfan (for example) is instantly ready to assume that Dr. Beckwith would act *contrary* to a legalistic gospel by acting in bad faith."
I reply: I waited to publish until I had confirmation from Jimmy Akin (see my original post) that indeed Beckwith had intended to keep his new allegiance to Rome a secret, while maintaining the post of President. Prof. Beckwith's own testimony subsequently confirmed what you, Fred, falsely call an assumption, namely that Prof. Beckwith had intended to keep his switched allegiance incognito for the duration of his presidency.
Fred: "So which is it?"
I reply: This is the set up for a false dichotomy, as will be shown below.
Fred: "Are Catholics evil because they're legalists, or evil because they're not?"
I reply: This a false dichotomy. The doctrines of Rome, which deny the truth of the gospel, are evil because they contradict the Word of God. Those who hold to the doctrines of Rome can fall along a range from those who ignorantly accept the false doctrines of Rome, to those who know the truth but suppress it, because of their hatred of the truth. Secondly, those who profess legalism do not necessarily live according to their profession. Ocassionally, Roman Catholic priests who are sworn to celibacy, not only break their vows, but do so in ways that are extraordinarily reprehensible. Whether or not Prof. Beckwith's system of legalism adopted when he joined Rome would bar his attempted secrecy is open to dispute. However, even if such a thing were officially condemned by Rome, that fact is not sufficient to ensure that Prof. Beckwith would consistently follow Rome's dictates, any more than those priests who fall into immorality.
Fred: "Turretinfan can't have it both ways."
I reply: The facts are the facts. Prof. Beckwith "converted" to Roman Catholicism (whose doctrines regarding legalism were defined by the Council of Trent), and tried to keep that fact secret, as evidenced by his own testimony and that of Jimmy Akin (a practice which Jesuitical ethics would not necessarily condemn). If that is "both ways," then - as with so many other falsely dichotomous situations - I can have it both ways.
Fred: "Or maybe it's just that he thinks Catholics are evil no matter what they believe or do?"
I reply: God restrains the evil of Hindus, Muslims, and Roman Catholics, so that they often obey outwardly the moral of God in many respects.
Fred: "Or - and this is by far the most probable - maybe it's just that he has no idea what we really believe, which is the nearly universal condition of all Protestants who hate the Catholic Church."
I reply: Considering that you, Fred, call the doctrines of the Council of Trent a "preposterous fantasy," I will let the readers consider who has no idea what the Church of Rome teaches on the subject. What I have found, in my own experience, is that most of those who were baptized as Roman Catholics and even who have been confirmed have very little understanding of Roman Catholic theology or history. What you believe or don't believe is individual, and - I have found - varies from Roman Catholic to Roman Catholic.
Fred: "Yet it's quite clear (reading their own comments) that those who actually know Dr. Beckwith have nothing but the highest regard for his personal integrity, even when they strongly disagree with him. "
I reply: Even if that were true, all that it would suggest is that Prof. Beckwith would not knowingly do something that he believed to be wrong. Prof. Beckwith's comments point out that his decision was not one that was so immediately obvious that he made it alone, but instead that it was a difficult decision and that he made it after consulting with friends. Accordingly, Prof. Beckwith should not be surprised that others would come to a different conclusion regarding the propriety of his continuing to mask his change of allegiance.
Fred: "So there's absolutely no basis for this malicious idea that he intended to be a Papist mole in the ETS chancery."
I reply: That wasn't quite the charge. The charge was that he intended to go on being both a member of the organization, and the president, although he was a Roman Catholic and, consequently, no longer an adherent to Sola Scriptura, which is one of the two doctrinal requirments of ETS. But, in any event, the original post, linked here, has the details.
Apparently another poster, going by the handle "Matthew," and listing Jimmy Akin's web site as his homepage replied to Fred thus:
You are right when it comes to the popular anti-Catholic broad stoke of legalism. As Catholics if we live out our faith and abide by the Church's teachings we are labeled as legalistic. However, for those Catholics who do not attend Mass, live out their faith, etc. the broad stroke of anti-Catholic rhetoric goes in the opposite direction of being a "typical Catholic" *wink* *wink* in need of evangelization. Either way you go the pre-supposition is that there is no way one can be Catholic and a good and faithful Christian at the same time. It is sad, but an all too common theme that I've encountered with our non-Catholic brethren.
I respond: This respondent too, seems to fail to understand the connection between legalism and the rejection of Sola Fide. Those who live a godly life without Faith in Christ do better than those who live wantonly, and they receive their reward. But, as Matthew correctly notes, one cannot be a good Catholic that accepts all of what Rome teaches and be a good Christian. The gospel of Rome is not the gospel of Scripture, and those who are Rome, whether they behave themselves well or not, are in need of evangelization.