Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Rebuttal Posted in Sola Scriptura Debate

For those who are interested, I have posted my rebuttal in the on-going Sola Scriptura Debate (link). My papist colleague's rebuttal is due August 1, 2008. I hope that the debate will edify and educate the readers.

-TurretinFan

6 comments:

Ben Douglass said...

Unlike the prophets and apostles who had revelation from God, the popes and councils do not perform signs and wonders testifying to their gifts. When is the last time a pope raised a man from the dead? When is the last time the shadow of a council caused cripples to walk? God gave the prophets and apostles signs that confirmed their prophetic gifts. The church of Rome does not have such tokens.

I would recommend that your read the lives of the Catholic saints. St. Pio of Pietrelcina would be a good place to start. I also recommend Our Lady of Fatima by William Thomas Walsh and Meet the Witnesses by John Haffert. This book seems appropriate as well, though I have not yet read it myself:

https://www.tanbooks.com/index.php/page/shop:flypage/product_id/253/category_id/20/

I think you will find that Catholic saints consistently fullfil John 14:12, and this indirectly establishes the authority of the Church.

Ben Douglass said...

That’s not to say that the less-papist nations are better: simply that this supposed tradition actually provides no significant benefit to those associated with the church that claims it is from God.

When Catholics actually practice their religion faithfully, this tradition does indeed provide significant benefit. Apostate or nominal Catholics do not represent Catholicism any more than apostate or nominal Protestatns represent Protestantism.

Turretinfan said...

Dear Ben,

Don't mistake me: I'm not suggesting that the tradition would be net-unbeneficial if faithfully followed.

As for the analogy to apostate/nominal Protestants ... I usually am quick to point out that the analogy does not make much sense, because "Protestantism" is not a well-defined category. It has no central body to decide who are members.

It would make sense (if I were an Eastern Orthodox person) for you to compare papist nations with "Orthodox" nations - and the result would probably be similar levels of self-sterilization and generational depopulation due to the use of abortion and contraceptives.

Yet neither Moscow/Constantinople nor Rome (afaik) has taken substantial measures to excommunicate those who are merely nominal and/or apostate except in rare circumstances.

Conservative Reformed churches do take the matter seriously and do exercise discipline against merely nominal and apostate members.

The Southern Baptists recently passed a resolution which, if they keep it, will result in them having a similar practice.

In short, while it would be absurd to suggest that the nominal/apostate folks who are in communion with Rome represent "orthodox Catholicism," they do nevertheless reflect on the religion. That is especially the case where the nominal folks make up the vast majority of the rolls of the church.

I don't know about Ireland (with which you seem to be more familiar) but it appears that in Italy nominal "Catholics" outnumber their more faithful counterparts 2-to-1.

Are these nominal/apostate people "Catholics" or aren't they? If they are, then bringing them up is fair game, don't you think? If they are not, (a) why do "Catholic" priests keep giving them the sacraments, and (b) why do they keep getting included in the "billion Catholics"-type claims?

Perhaps this is not a matter that can be easily resolved. Perhaps you feel I'm being unfair. So be it. Ultimately, the ad hominem issue only comes up because it is claimed that Roman Catholicism is "the Church," rather than "a church." All churches have problems, but if "the Church" is mostly nominal, we have a more serious problem.

-TurretinFan

Ben Douglass said...

Are these nominal/apostate people "Catholics" or aren't they?

If one is guilty of a mortal sin of heresy, schism, or apostasy, then one is not a Catholic (Mystici Corporis Christi, 23). I imagine that most non-practicing "Catholics" are guilty. As such, the claim that there are a billion Catholics in the world is probably inappropriate.

As for why Catholic priests keep giving nominal members the Sacraments, the most obvious reason is that priests don't know every person who approaches them at the Communion line. Who's to say whether this or that unfamiliar face is an apostate who comes twice a year to please Grandma, or a devout visitor from out of town? Unrepentant sinners are typically not the sort to disclose their sins to the priest (if they were, they would be penitent). In a large Catholic parish it's very easy to fly under the radar.

Furthermore, if the person's sin is private, all the priest can do is tell him not to come to Communion; he cannot refuse him Communion if he approaches anyway. Canon law requires that his sin be public before the priest can publicly deny him Communion (personally, I don't understand this rule, and would probably change it if I were Pope).

Turretinfan said...

Thanks for the very reasonable answer, Ben!

Turretinfan said...

"I would recommend that your read the lives of the Catholic saints. St. Pio of Pietrelcina would be a good place to start."

I understand that claims about "Catholic saints" are made. The issue is that normally the more amazing miracles are said to be performed primarily by those whose teachings are essentially insignificant.

Maybe things are different within your church - but I have not heard too many people quoting St. Pio as though he were inspired.

-TurretinFan