Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let's Dig a Bit Deeper into the Tangled Webs

Recall that Dave wrote:


Turretinfan" has recently taken to claiming not only that I am not a "real" Catholic (because I don't answer every question about my faith the way he ignorantly demands that it should be answered), but that I also have supposedly not "apparently" defined the word Christian anywhere. He even uses this as one of his excuses to not have a chat room debate with me.


We've already documented that this assertion is not fully true (though he is correct that the present author mistakenly believed that Dave had not provided any explicit definition of Christianity). Let's dig a bit deeper into the morass of Dave's position:

Note particularly Dave's remark: "because I don't answer every question about my faith the way he ignorantly demands that it should be answered."

Since when does Dave have ownership of the "Catholic faith." Isn't that the point of being "Catholic" that one holds to a universal (i.e. catholic) faith? Or is Catholicism really about people having their own individual faith? Of course the answers are that Dave does not have ownership of Catholicism, he's not even an ordained member of the Roman Catholic clergy, much less the pope. Now, on issues that the RCC has not dogmatically defined, I suppose it is reasonable to let Dave have some leeway for now, until those points get defined.

Note also I do not have any problem with Dave disagreeing with the "Catholic" faith, nor do I refuse to let Dave define his own personal faith. That's his business. But these are matters that the Roman Catholic Church has spoken on in one of the very few ways in which she actually speaks as an organization, namely by the mouth of the popes and ecumenical councils.

To call one's personal views "Catholic" when they are contrary to the teachings of the popes and ecumenical councils (all twenty-something of them) is bizarre. In other words: who defines what the Roman Catholic position is, Dave, me, or the writings of the RCC? Of course the answer is the writings of the RCC - and they are contrary to Dave's position. This is not an issue of me "demanding" (ignorantly or wisely) that he answer questions in a specific way - this is an issue of Dave answering questions the way the writings of the RCC answer the questions.

What's even more bizarre and contrary to historic Catholicism is to label (as Dave does) systems of theology as being properly "Christian" which are not part of the "Catholic" (universal) church.

Compare Dave's position (namely that anyone who affirms the Nicean Creed is Christian - apparently even without the filoque) to this description (a summary of work by a professor of Ancient History at a school that's known for its ancient history, Prof. Gillian Clark):
Chapter 2, ‘Christians and others’, investigates the problem of sources and the distinctions that historians have inherited from early Christian writings: Christians and pagans, Christians and Jews, Christians and heretics. Most of the sources for early Christianity have survived because they were acceptable to the Christians whose theology prevailed. How then can we reconstruct the perspective of people who thought they were Christians but whose theology was classed as heresy, or of people who were not Christians, or of the silent majority who did not write about their beliefs? Were the distinctions so clear in practice? Were Christians and non-Christians divided only by misunderstanding and polemic, or were there fundamental differences of beliefs and values? Did Christian groups offer an alternative family, a level of emotional and practical support, or of moral and religious teaching, that was not available in other religious options? Why would anyone choose the one religious option that carried the risk of an appalling public death?

(source) (emphasis added).
What do you think?

Is the official position of Rome (as Dave asserts) that heretics condemned by Rome and subject to the death penalty at the hands of the state for their heresy can still properly be considered Christians? Can anyone claim that they have read any history of the Spanish Inquisition and conclude that Rome's position was that heretics were Christians that just seriously disagreed?

Ah, but perhaps Gillian Clark is to left-leaning for you ... consider then this comment from newadvent.org (an allegedly Catholic encyclopedic site, but perhaps Dave will claim he knows better):

"Marriages, however, between Catholics and heretics were not subject to the same impediment. They were held as valid, though illicit if a dispensation mixtæ religionis had not been obtained." (anyone want to guess what mixtae religionis suggests?) (source)

And if marriage between Catholics and heretics was a marriage of mixed religions, and the Catholics were allegedly Christian, what would that make the heretics?

or again (from the same source, though a different page):

"The guiding principles in the Church's treatment of heretics are the following: Distinguishing between formal and material heretics, she applies to the former the canon, "Most firmly hold and in no way doubt that every heretic or schismatic is to have part with the Devil and his angels in the flames of eternal fire, unless before the end of his life he be incorporated with, and restored to the Catholic Church."" (source)

After all, contrary to Dave's implicit assertion, Rome's official position is not that the RCC is just one sect of Christianity, and that all those who adhere to the Nicean creed are properly designated "Christian" whether or not they are incorporated with Catholic Church.

Please tell me, why should Dave's personal, private interpretation of the "Catholic faith" trump either my interpretation or - more importantly - the writings of the RCC?



Carrie said...


12 Q: The many societies of persons who are baptized but who do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff as their Head do not, then, belong to the Church of Jesus Christ?
A: No, those who do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff as their Head do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.
13 Q: How can the Church of Jesus Christ be distinguished from the numerous societies or sects founded by men, and calling themselves Christian?
A: From the numerous societies or sects founded by men and calling themselves Christian, the Church of Jesus Christ is easily distinguished by four marks: She is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
15 Q: Can there not be several Churches?
A: No, there cannot be more than one Church; for as there is but one God, one Faith and one Baptism, there is and can be but one true Church.

10 Q: Who are they who do not belong to the Communion of Saints?
A: Those who are damned do not belong to the Communion of Saints in the other life; and in this life those who belong neither to the body nor to the soul of the Church, that is, those who are in mortal sin, and who are outside the true Church.
11 Q: Who are they who are outside the true Church?
A: Outside the true Church are: Infidels, Jews, heretics, apostates, schismatics, and the excommunicated.
14 Q: Who are heretics?
A: Heretics are those of the baptized who obstinately refuse to believe some truth revealed by God and taught as an article of faith by the Catholic Church; for example, the Arians, the Nestorians, and the various sects of Protestants.

Anonymous said...


I would say to Dave that "he should not"!

Even Jesus did not and He is the Son of God! He only did what He saw our Heavenly Father doing and He only spoke what He heard!!!

Now I would have to swallow a camel to strain here with Dave to believe he has attained to such accuracy in Ministry even for the claims of the RCC notwithstanding the Apostolic Catholic Church!


Turretinfan said...

Thanks for the added support, Carrie.

But - of course - who is Pope Pius X to "ignorantly demand[] that it should be answered" that way? :-)


GeneMBridges said...

Well, obviously, Pius was speaking as a private theologian...

Anonymous said...



well then, Pius X could not be one of the "Popes" of the RCC if he is a private theologian! We would obviously conclude he indeed was a true heretic made a pope by the command of men!

But, if I might be so brave, enough of this foolishness!

Here, I boldly proclaim, there is one Apostolic Catholic Church.

Who makes it who She is, is God's Way.

He chose us, we did not choose Him even though all humanity of Eve are created by the Covenant Acts of Our Blessed Heavenly Father, the Only Begotten Son and the Holy Ghost in full participation with one another, active even now forgiving sins and making New Creations in Christ.

Here, some Biblical proofs:::>

Joh 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Joh 15:17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
Joh 15:18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
Joh 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.


Col 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
Col 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Col 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
Col 1:22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
Col 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

GeneMBridges said...

well then, Pius X could not be one of the "Popes" of the RCC if he is a private theologian!

Well, as a good Reformed Protestant myself...

I'm just pointing out that "he was speaking as a private theologian" seems to be an escape clause in his contract. (If you ask me, it's in the fine print, under article: Sale of Soul, Terms thereof). I've gotten this before, for example, when talking about what particular popes have said about, well, just about anything.