Saturday, May 30, 2009

Catholicism Not a Good Predictor of Convictions

This article, put out by the secular press, highlights a point I have made repeatedly on this blog: there is a great lack of unity of conviction among Roman Catholics (link). Key quotation:
But scholars of religion and the Supreme Court also say that the court's Catholics have spanned the ideological spectrum, from William J. Brennan Jr. on the left to Antonin Scalia on the right, suggesting that a justice's Catholic faith does not predict how he or she will rule even on issues such as abortion and gay rights, where the Catholic Church has staked out clear positions.



Alex said...

That is due to free will. Some people who claim to be members of a group are not so in heart. The Catholic Church has never claimed that each person baptized is faithful to the Church. You will find the exact same situation at protestant churches as well; therefore, why are you bringing it up? A straw man?

Turretinfan said...

Straw man? Are you even aware of what that term means?

The article is evidence in rebuttal of the myth of Romanist unity.

Your response is a tu quogue, but it simply confirms that the "disunity" in "Protestantism" has nothing to do with Sola Scriptura.

"Catholicism: Only as Disunified as Protestantism" seems to be your response.


Turretinfan said...

Someone left a comment which included the claim that there is, underlying the rationale for the post is a view that "the [Roman] Catholic Church supposedly teaches that all Catholics adhere to the doctrines that It teaches" ... .

Nope, that's not it.

The underlying rationale is the frequent claim by Romanist apologists that disunity of doctrine among Protestantism is the result of Sola Scriptura.


Mike Burgess said...

There is a large measure of infection of enlightenment and protestant weltanschauung in modern Catholicism because the same enemy who attacked the Church to subvert it with doctrinal chaos is still attacking it for the same reason. The fact that there are orthodox Catholics and unorthodox Catholics says nothing about the regula fide of Catholicism. You have asserted that but not demonstrated it. The contention that sola scriptura as a regula fide, however, leads to disunity and doctrinal chaos can be and has been demonstrated (because of its very nature). Your argument, such as it is, hangs on the premise that doctrinal disunity among Catholics is among Catholics who share the same faith and understand and adhere to it equally; this is qualitatively different from protestants who understand and adhere to sola scriptura protestantisms equally yet arrive at wildly disparate conclusions.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Mr. Fan, If you had given us some examples of Catholic apologists making a claim such as the one you purport to make here, then your point might be a valid one.

However, the point that most Catholic apologists actually address when they discuss "disunity" in Protestantism is the fact that Protestants claim to adhere to "sola scriptura," private judgment and perspicuity of the Scriptures yet the result is a number of denominations each claiming that the Scriptures require a belief in different doctrinal distinctives. We do not argue that "sola scriptura" alone leads to disunity within a particular denomination.

If you wish to attack the views of Catholic apologists, you should attack the best of our arguments, not the weakest to make a point particularly when you do not give examples to support your contentions.

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

One commenter (on his own blog) has taken the position that: "Relying on secular media accounts while not utilizing good critical thinking skills seems to have recurred as a theme."

Oddly, though, he seems to agree with the title of the post, namely that Catholicism is not a good predictor of convictions. He chalks it up as "the same enemy who attacked the Church to subvert it with doctrinal chaos is still attacking it for the same reason."

If only folks who took potshots took the time to think about whether they agreed with or opposed their target.


Turretinfan said...

I should really check the blog comments to be moderated before reading the blogs. :)

Looks like he made a similar argument above.

Anyhow, in response to PH:

1) Sometimes one must go after popular objections.

2) This argument (seen, for example, in the arguments that use the 33,000 denominations myth) is widespread enough that you should be aware of it.

In response to MB:

Everybody who follows Sola Scriptura eventually dies.

This makes Sola Scriptura sound lethal, until we point out that everyone who follows "multiple source" (or sola ecclesia) also died.

Same on the idea that there is widespread doctrinal disunity in SS churches (allegedly) - when it turns out non-SS churches have the same problem, it undermines the significance of the alleged correlation.

I'm not sure why that is hard for you to see. Hopefully you see it now.


Alex said...

Protestantism Not a Good Predictor of Convictions Either.

Abortionist Dr. George Tiller shot in the foyer at his Reformation Lutheran Church where he regularly serves as usher. Apparently among Lutheran Communion abortion is no big deal.

I obviously do not support vigilante justice.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how many of them are practicing. What you write on the census form, and what you actually are, are not the same thing.

Turretinfan said...


Generally speaking, someone baptized in the Roman Catholic Church is still considered part of the church, even if he fails to attend on the sacraments for a very long amount of time.


Anonymous said...

Errr, in certain particular recpects he may be considered part of the church, but in many ways he would not be considered a member in good standing if he didn't attend regularly without good reason.

Turretinfan said...

Yep - but he'd just have to go to confession once to be back in good standing.

Alex said...

But he would have to be contrite.

Turretinfan said...

"Apparently among Lutheran Communion abortion is no big deal."

There are multiple "Lutheran" communions and the laxity of the one in question shows how useless the label "Protestant" is for describing views and behavior.