Friday, July 25, 2008

Centuri0n is an Anti-Catholic? (I am not!)

In a recent post, Centuri0n (Frank Turk) has declared that he is an "anti-Catholic" (link) or at least why he's ok with being called that. While I appreciate his basic rationale (which could be paraphrased as: "they've anathematized me, so - yeah - we are anti-one-another"), I am certainly not interested in adopting the title.

Why is that? Because the term is usually associated with nutcases like the college professor discussed here (link), who go out of their way to offend other people for the point of offending them. That's not me.

I realize that some of things I say are going to offend, and there's just no way around that:

1) Telling people that their religion is based on a false gospel that will not save them, is not something most people like to hear, even if it is the truth.

2) Telling people that the church they were raised in is not a pure church of Christ is something that bothers people who have been taught (and have believed) that it is such a church.

3) As we have discovered, even using a word other than their preferred title (e.g. not using "Catholic") to describe them (even when done to avoid theological and historical confusion) is something that can upset people (see here for example).

4) In fact, telling people generally that they are in sin offends them. People don't like to hear: "Repent and believe."

That message is offensive, but it is offensive incidentally, just as calling one's church "the universal church" is offensive to other churches that are part of the true universal church. Moreover, the message is truly "Catholic" in the original and proper sense of the word: it is the message of the universal Christian church. All who come to Christ do so in repentance and faith in Christ. This, of course, makes the whole "anti-Catholic" slur that much more inapplicable to folks like Centuri0n who in fact hold to what is properly (though not popularly today) designated the Catholic faith, though not to the doctrines of Rome.

The nutcase above, in contrast, aims to offend (and particularly to offend those who are transubstantionists - although he also has tried to offend many other groups). Others who would be properly labeled "anti-Catholic" hate people who call themselves "Catholics" (the KKK comes to mind). These are the folks that can properly be labeled for what they are.

We need to remember not to be like those groups. The Vatican has set itself against us and against the gospel. In past ages, it openly persecuted and had put to death many of our spiritual forefathers. Today, it opposes the gospel in other ways. It is not a good institution, and it is especially evil in arrogantly claiming to be "the Church."

That said, Scriptures tell us to love those who persecute us (and frankly, while modern Rome doesn't like what we have to say, "persecute" is a rather strong word for what they do in most English-speaking parts of the world today).

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Thus, to associate ourselves with the likes of vicious, godless mockers and haters simply because we oppose the doctrines and practices of the Vatican is wrong. That's one reason I object to being mislabeled by certain hostile Vatican-friendly apologists as an "anti-Catholic," and why I think Frank Turk should do the same.

I don't think Centuri0n should be considered an "anti-Catholic," because I am quite sure he doesn't hate "Catholics," because I am fairly confident that he doesn't do things especially to offend them, and because the main source of offense between him and them is the Gospel. In fact, I think if you asked Frank if he loves "Catholics," his sincere answer (like mine) would be, "yes" - as well it ought to be.

To those of you who happen to read this blog and who happen to consider yourselves "Catholics." As strongly as I am opposed to the doctrines and practices of your church, I do care for you as a person. In fact, one reason I spend time trying to demonstrate the errors of the Vatican is for your benefit.


P.S. This is an issue that comes up from time to time. Accordingly, I may end up date bumping this post either to the top of the blog in the event that it needs to be said again, or to the back of the blog, if it needs to go to a reference post status.


Alexander Greco said...

Anyways, why haven't you posted Mr. Bellisario's rebuttal yet? I see it over at his blog.

Turretinfan said...

I had sent Mr. Bellisario an email about it and was waiting for a reply.


Frank Turk said...

T-Fan --

The history of that label is interesting. 300 years ago, being "anti-catholic" was on-par with being "anti-semitic" in terms of reputation. In fact, I'd say as recently as 1999, that's what that word meant when reputable people used it.

But sometime between the cancellation of Seinfeld and the discovery of water on Mars, Roman Catholic apologists stopped calling honest-to-Turretin Protestants "Protestants" (a term which was invented to scorn those who rejected Rome's positions) and adopted the much more harsh "anti-catholic" term to advance their agendas.

The fall-out from that in popular discourse, sadly, is that "anti-catholic" no longer means "a bigot with a political agenda against anyone who practices the Catholic religion, including removing them from the political process and eliminating their ability to earn a living". What it means now is "person I can't really argue with because he doesn't accept any of my claims to authority".

You can't stop popularist apologists from using the term. You can take a deep breath and just say, "well, if you're going to use the word that way, whatever."

Turretinfan said...

Dear Frank,

Thanks for replying. I wish the usage were as you suggest. I'm not persuaded that such is the case. I still very often see the word "bigot" within a few words of "anti-Catholic," and I suspect that the two words pop up together in the heads of many readers, even when the author of the words does not intend such a connection.

Oh well.

I appreciate your practical solution ... if they are going to use the label, there's virtually nothing you can do to stop them.