Friday, June 12, 2009

Charles Hastings Collette on the Canon of the Fathers

Collette wrote:
Romanism is full of inconsistencies! Again, with the assumed attribute of infallibility, it is strange that the Roman Church has never authoritatively declared which are the genuine productions of the Fathers, that we may know with certainty what is the faith of the Church, and precisely to know what we should believe. Except according to the unanimous consent of these same doubtful, uncertain, and contradictory writings, no portion of Scripture must be interpreted, and yet the Roman Church has put forward no canon of the Fathers!
(Popish Frauds, p. 89)

Collette makes an excellent point. Trent does suggest that the unanimous consent of the fathers is a rule of interpreting Scripture ("Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, --wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established."), but they dare not tell us which are the genuine works and genuine editions of those works of the fathers. As such, it is a perfectly useless standard - a nose of wax to take on whatever shape is thought to serve Rome's interest.


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