Saturday, September 24, 2011

GOING OUT ON A LIMB

I wonder if Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gets exasperated with His sheep when they go out on a limb and He can't find them thinking they are lost?

23 comments:

Pater Ignotus said...

No, Jesus does not get exasperated with wandering disciples. The Road to Emmaus story (Luke 24:13-32) presents us with such an encounter. Although he might have been angry and although he might have chastised his weak-of-faith disciples, Jesus simply entered into their conversation.

"What are you discussing as you walk along?" The disciples were able to express their anxiety and disappointment. "We thought he would be the one to restore Israel!"
He simply reminded them of what was written of the Messiah in all the prophets.

Then, within the context of ordinary hospitality, Jesus opened their eyes - restored their faith - and they bounded back to Jerusalem in the dead of night (!) to share the Good News with the Eleven and those who were gathered with them.

This is an instructive pericope to all pastors who are tempted, understandably, to berate, condescend to, or in other ways speak harshly to wandering "sheep" when he encounters them.

Pater Ignotus said...

And example of "meeting people where they are," a la Emmaus, may be found in B16's recent address to representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of Germany.

"It was the error of the Reformation period that for the most part we could only see what divided us and we failed to grasp existentially what we have in common in terms of the great deposit of sacred Scripture and the early Christian creeds. The great ecumenical step forward of recent decades is that we have become aware of all this common ground and that we acknowledge it as we pray and sing together, as we make our joint commitment to the Christian ethos in our dealings with the world, as we bear common witness to the God of Jesus Christ in this world as our undying foundation."

Frajm said...

Maybe I should have titled this, "going out on a lamb!"

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they trying to cross a sarchasm.

rcg

pinanv525 said...

So, Ignotus, what are you willing to give up to Protestantism? The Pope was being broad and very generous...on the surface. I doubt he is willing to give up very much, however, when it comes to doctrine and dogma.
Having been intimately associated with Protestantism for many years on both an academic and pastoral level, I can tell you that the Church has nothing to gain from Protestantism and quite a bit to lose.
"Ecumenical" actually means (from the Greek), "that the Church should inhabit the whole world." I am assuming that we mean the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." The Church is already quite generous, recognizing most Protestant Baptisms and having worked to find common ground on certain doctrines such as Justification by Faith. But, as I review true Protestant "doctrine," which is best embodied in Calvin (all prot churches are in debt to him to some degree), I do not see much room for theological compromise other than that we are all Trinitarian. That's a great start but, when you get to the TULIP: Total depravity,Unconditional salvation, Limited atonement, Irresistable grace, and Perseverance of the Saints,it all breaks down. The differences are just too significant and fundamental.
Now, Ignotus, my initial question was not rhetorical...what are you willing to give up? I hope you can answer without getting yourself in trouble with the Bishop. LOL!

P. Ignotus said...

I, and the Catholic Church, don't see the progress of ecumenism as involving "giving up" any revealed Truth. This is a caricature of ecumenism that, while popular among some circles, is wholly inaccurate.

Blessed John Paul The Great called for a reform of the papcy in Ut Unum Sint, hoping to make the Petrine Office a better servant of all Christians. He asked Catholic and Protestant scholars for their input, and many have responded.

The Orthodox Churches also find the current Vatican polity an obstacle to unity, noting that a Patriarch is impeded by current practice from "speaking with Peter," a brother bishop.

In that regard we could, and, I think, should examine how "primus inter pares" might be implemented to the benefit of all Christians.

Other practices that might be reconsidered and changed are the requirement of celibacy for clergy (except from those minsiters who, with wives and families, enter the Church and seek ordination to the prieshood), the sometimes exaggerated role pious Catholics assign to the Blessed Virgin Mary ("Co-Redemptrix" or "Mediatrix), the order of the celebration of the sacraments of Initiation (the Orthodox are right, we are wrong), among others.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, For protestants, it is an issue of the Catholic Church giving up some stuff. I was htere at the COCU and big ecumenical conferences in the 70's. So, here we go...
Our relationship with the Orthodox Churches is, for me, a totally separate issue from ecumenicism with Protestantism.
Then, you refer to "Maryolatry," which is a favorite prot slur. There are those Catholics who misunderstand the role of Mary and afford her "co-redemptrix" status. That is an in-house problem. There is no danger of any prot ever doing that! However, why should the Catholic Church diminish the legitimate and wonderful veneration of the Virgin or downplay it when there are respected prot theologians writing books about how prots have missed the boat on Mary?
Then, you cite another in-house issue with regard to the order of the sacraments of initiation. That is hardly something about which protestants are concerned.
Ah, then we get to Priestly celibacy...you are getting warm. That is a favorite issue of the progressive ecumenicists and probably the least vital issue. Let me help you out...I know a number of progressive Priests and Catholics, went to grad school with them, have been to ecumenical seminars with them. I also know a whole wagon load of lib prots. Almost to a man, they quickly move from the celibacy thing to ordination of women, open communion, pro-choice, gay marriage, and the ordination of gays. Do not tell me you do not know this.
You did not even address theological issues, except for a mention of "revealed truth." Calvin thought his TULIP theology was revealed truth, Luther thought sola scriptura was revealed truth, Wesley thought "moving to perfection in this life" was revealed truth, and a whole bunch of folks in Appalachia think tossing snakes around is revealed truth. So, once again, what are you willing to give up...I mean, like, really?

Templar said...

PI said: .."the sometimes exaggerated role pious Catholics assign to the Blessed Virgin Mary ("Co-Redemptrix" or "Mediatrix),.."

Wow. Pious Catholics exaggerate the role of the Blessed Virgin. Wow.

Pious Catholics such as St Antonius, St Bernard, St Bonaventure, and St Alphonsus? Or Pope XI who gave her the title of Co-Redemtrix? Or Blessed John Paul II who recognized Mary as Co-Redemtrix on several occasions, not the least of which was his encyclical Redemptoris Mater in 1987 where he addressed her as Mediatrix 3 times and Advocate twice?

While not infalliably declared, support for the same has broad support across the Catholic World, and in fact a petition for such a declartion was submitted to Blessed John Paul II in 2000 barring 6 million signatures, including over 550 Bishops, 42 Cardinals and Mother Theresa.

I'd love to see such a Papal Declaration of Infallability, nothing would Hammer the Heresy of Protestantism quite as effectively as that.

pinanv525 said...

Templar...I stand corrected...somewhat. I certainly believe that the veneration of Mary is a wonderful and Blessed thing. However, there is a major theological conflict over her having a role in our actual redemption. Certainly, no protestant theologian would ever grant Mary actual salvific efficacy...I have a bit of a problem with it, too. But, I am still growing in faith and understanding. Co-redemptrix is a bit of a stretch for a former Calvinist!

P. Ignotus said...

As I am not a Protestant, it is not an issue of giving up anything. As Catholics, we don't determine the goals of other denominations.

While the issues to be resolved differ, the relationship of the Catholic Church to ANY other Christian denomination is an ecumenical relationship, Orthodox included. How "you" might view it doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

The Church should not diminish legitimate devotion. Illegitimate devotion needs correction as it stands in the way of Christian unity.

What "I" might be willing to give up is inconsequential. The Church is the decider here, and I am quite comfortable with that.

"While not infalliably declared,..." Temp, you have clearly stated that, as a Catholic seeking the Truth, you don't have to pay no nevermind to anything that's not declared infallibly. So you can't go waving non-infallible statements around as if 1) you feel obliged to follow them - you've said you don't, and 2) as if others must be bound to follow them when you, yourself, are exempt from such.

Consistency is what you seek, Temp.

pinanv525 said...

Well, then, Ignotus, What do you think the Church should be willing to give up? Quit dodging the question. You haven't answered anything. Just more gobbledy gook.

Templar said...

I know we're supposed to be charitable and all, but there's no other way to say this PI, but you're just an idiot.

There is no discussing anything with you because you are so completely one sided and close minded. You hold up the foreword of a non-Catholic book as proof of something and I take exception; and here I support a point with many references not the least of which is a Papal Encyclical, and you want to declare some equivalence to the two.

For the life of me I really just can not believe you are actually a Priest. Your level of maturity in a discussion is worse than my 18 year old son's.

Templar said...

Pin, as I've said before, I'm a simple man, and for me the issue of Mary boils down to this bumper sticker. No Mary, No Christ; Know Mary, Know Christ.

I don't wish to make it trite, but seriously, if Mary says "no not interested" to the Angel what have we got? And we must assume she could have said that, as immaculate or not, she had free will. On the other end of the human life of Christ we have Mary at the foot of the Cross. You show me any Mother anywhere, who does not ache when their child aches, and Mary endured that Crucifixion as our Mother. I mean, there's all sorts of arguments that can be elaborated on, but for me it's completely unnecessary. It's just too obvious that Christ and Mary are inextricably tied together.

And the role of Mediator is unquestionable in my opinion. I mean, how many approved apparitions do we need before we accept that premise right?

pinanv525 said...

Templar, thank you for saying what I have tried to say a couple of times, but I used some bad words so Fr. properly did not post it.

pinanv525 said...

Templar, I am in agreement with you here. I believe that Mary is certainly our Mediatrix, and that our petitions to have special meaning. I tell my protestant friends and former fellow pastors, when they question devotion to the Virgin, "hey, she is the Mother of God who brought Christ into the world, nursed Him, fed Him, wept over Him, was present at His death...do you not think she might have a special place in the heart of God?" This, at least, sets them thinking.
But, the term "co-redemptrix," depending on how it is understood, makes Mary a goddess sort of like Athena. It adds a person to the Trinity, and diminishes the role of Christ in salvation. Lots of problems there.
The Church and various Popes have been very generous in accomodating the legends, superstitions, and peasant/common man devotions around the world. This has not always been a good thing...

Templar said...

I make no claims of Godhood for Mary. But she is the Queen of Heaven, the only Human known to be Ascended to heaven body AND soul. As with any Queen in a patriarchal hierarchy, she may not have the final word on our judgement, but her intimacy with God allows us to trust her direction implicitly. Her role in our redemption is as role model, mediator and advisor. Christ is the way and the truth and the light, but none of us can be Christ. Mary is one of us, and for a time, was one with God. She, like all good Mother's, shows her children the way, guides them towards the truth, and points them to the light. For me, if I am to be redeemed, the path to Christ is through Mary.

Anonymous said...

"If the Pope rules infalliably on something he has my obiedence. Everything is, and by obligation to Turth, subject to questioning."

Temp, these were YOUR words on 20 September. Does this apply to all of us, or just you? You get to question the non-infallible stuff, and the rest of us have to toe the non-infallible line? Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

I'm not being closed minded. I am using your own words, which do NOT represent Catholic doctrine, to show that you simply do not understand Catholic doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Assumptions made about people who disagree with us:

They're stupid. If not that, then ...
They're ignorant. If not that, then ...
They're evil.

pinanv525 said...

Anon, what if they are simply wrong? Ever consider that?

P. Ignotus said...

Of course. I've been wrong, you've been wrong, but that doesn't mean that you or I were "stupid, ignorant, or evil."

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, for once, we agree.

Templar said...

I know what I said PI, and stand by it. Everything must be questioned because abusive liberal modernist Clergy have destroyed the credibility the Church once had. The faith remains, and what is infallible is clearly that, and what is not must be questioned to be sure it's not just another version of the Bugnini Boogie we all still labor under. We the Laity have a duty, or at least a right, to question the Clergy to make sure you are not causing any more damage to the Church.

Now hopefully that is clear to you and you can go on to explain how that's got anything to do with you supporting a point with the foreword of a non-catholic book being the equivalent of my support of a point with a Papal Encyclical. But you won't of course, you'll spout some other drivel and tell me I'm the one who doesn't understand Catholic Doctrine. Maybe I just won't swallow it the way you want to package it.

Templar said...

If the "stupid, ignorant, evil" post is aimed at me because I called you an idiot, please allow me to elaborate.

I do not think you are stupid. You're actually way too smart by half as evidenced by the way you play games with semantics but never answer anything.

I do not think you're ignorant. I believe you are a dyed in the wool full blown Modernist and willingly embrace the ideas you espouse.

I do not know if you are evil, God shall judge not I. But you are clearly the enemy of everything I hold Dear about the Catholic Faith.

My use of the word idiot was an attempt to self censor since the word that came to my mind would have certainly not made Father MacDonald happy, and clearly doesn't come close to the adjective I shooting for.

Cheers.