Monday, November 16, 2015

I WOULDN'T DARE GIVE YOU PERMISSION, BUT I WOULDN'T DARE STOP YOU! INTER-COMMUNION A LA THE 1970'S ONCE THOUGHT DEAD COMES BACK TO LIFE THROUGH POPE FRANCIS AND HIS RECOVERY OF THE 1970'S!

One progressive blog states that what the pope said off-the-cuff on Sunday in a Lutheran Church to a Lutheran woman wanting to receive Holy Communion with her Catholic husband in his Church is revolutionary for a pope to say. Yes a revolution similar to what happened in the 1970's, the time of the greatest crisis in the Church, 1974 being the worse year! Read the John Jay Report.

As it regards inter-communion, there are canons that allow it in specific situations and these go back to the 1970's or maybe early 1980's. These are the requirements:

1. A person who is not Catholic cannot attend their own Church for Holy Communion (there is no such Church nearby).
2. The person believes in the "real presence" of Christ in the Eucharist
3. Finally, and most importantly, the local bishop gives permission for the non-Catholic to receive Holy Communion (nothing is said, though, about Confession, which I presume goes hand-in-hand with the permission to receive Holy Communion, meaning, the Sacrament of Confession may also be received). (In other words, a local priest can't give this permission, only the bishop and on a case-by-case basis, not a blanket permission.)

What the pope seems to do today is a bit of an assault on subsidiarity. The canons above leave the decision to the bishop who seeks to ascertain the actual reasons for a non-Catholic asking to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church. There is a process of mutual discernment.

What the pope seems to be indicating, but not daring to go so far, is that only the individual decides. This is fierce individualism. The pope once again, as he has done in the past with phone calls, by-passes the local bishop and local priests and allows the person to make his own decision of conscience independently of the local bishop or local priest.

I sought permission from my previous bishop about an aging Episcopal nun who attended Mass each Sunday because she had become disaffected with her community and the women priests in her convent. She was more Catholic than me. After discussing the possibility of Holy Communion in my parish with her and that she sincerely desired to receive and believed in the real presence as Catholics do, transubstantiation, I sought my bishop's permission, which he gave. A few years later, she was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church and remained an Episcopal nun. She died at 101 and her convent sisters, some priestesses, attended her Catholic funeral which I celebrated.

I'm not sure what to make of what Pope Francis said, reprinted from Whispers in the Loggia, other than it is more of Pope Francis' ambiguous speak and also speaking out of both sides of his mouth. This is not an insult, just a fact:

This is copied from Whispers in the Loggia:

Sunday, November 15, 2015


"Life Is Bigger Than Explanations" – To Rome's Lutherans, Pope Talks Conscience on Communion

Before anything else, greetings from Baltimore and the eve of this 97th November Plenary of the Stateside bishops, the public sessions beginning just after 10am Eastern Monday due to early regional meetings.

Even if the halls here are already full of conversation, yet again this Sunday's sudden top-line comes from Rome, where the Pope visited the city's Evangelical Lutheran church for an ecumenical dialogue. (Indeed, with an eye to the coming 500th anniversary of the German Reformation in 2017, today's event follows quickly on the heels of Declaration on the Way, a major joint statement from the USCCB and Evangelical Lutheran Church of America rolled out earlier this month as a roadmap for the path forward.)

Among the handful chosen to take part in today's Q&A, Francis heard from a member of the mostly German-Swiss congregation who, speaking of her marriage to a Catholic, addressed "the hurt we've felt together due to [their] difference of faith" and asked about their ability "to finally participate together in Communion."

In an answer that's almost certain to resonate broadly across the ecumenical scene (and elsewhere, quite possibly show his hand on his intended course following last month's Synod on the Family), the pontiff – clearly wrestling with the plea – pointedly appealed less to the standard prohibition of the Eucharist for Protestant communities than to the woman's discernment in conscience.

As if to reinforce the point, in a move clearly decided in advance, Francis publicly presented the pastor with a chalice which appeared identical to the ones the Pope gave the archbishops of Washington, New York and Philadelphia during his late September US trip.

On another context front, meanwhile, having employed Q&A as a favorite format with no shortage of groups over time, Papa Bergoglio is customarily appraised of the questions to be put to him in advance – and given the situation here, it'd be practically impossible to believe that Francis didn't anticipate the topic coming up. Along these lines, it was oddly telling that the Pope referred positively to the deeply irregular situation of Jerónimo Podestá – the Argentine bishop who fled his ministry to marry in 1968 – to whom the now-Pope was close at his death in 2000, and to whose widow Francis has remained in contact both before and since his election, all while the country's other prelates kept a disapproving distance.

All that said, as Cardinal Walter Kasper looked on between the current Ecumenism Czar Cardinal Kurt Koch and the Papal Vicar for Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, below is the fullvideo of the exchange on intercommunion, and an English translation of the Pope's reply, which the congregation greeted with warm smiles and an ovation:


The question on sharing the Lord’s Supper isn’t easy for me to respond to, above all in front of a theologian like Cardinal Kasper – I’m scared!

I think of how the Lord told us when he gave us this mandatum to “do this in memory of me,” and when we share the Lord’s Supper, we recall and we imitate the same as the Lord. And there will be the Lord’s Supper in the final banquet in the new Jerusalem – it’ll be there! But that will be the last one… in the meantime, I ask myself and don’t know how to respond – what you’re asking me, I ask myself the question. To share the Lord’s banquet: is it the goal of the path or is it the viaticum [etym. “to accompany you on the journey”] for walking together? I leave that question to the theologians and those who understand.

It’s true that in a certain sense, to share means that there aren’t differences between us, that we have the same doctrine – underscoring that word, a difficult word to understand. But I ask myself: but don’t we have the same Baptism? If we have the same Baptism, shouldn’t we be walking together? And you’re a witness of a likewise profound journey, a journey of marriage: itself a journey of family and human love and of a shared faith, no? We have the same Baptism.

When you feel yourself a sinner – and I’m much more of a sinner – when your husband feels he’s sinned, you go forward to the Lord and ask forgiveness; your husband does the same and also goes to the priest and asks absolution, [thus] I’m healed and kept alive in my Baptism. When you pray together, that Baptism grows, becomes stronger. When you teach your kids who is Jesus? Why did Jesus come? What did Jesus do for us?, you’re doing the same thing, whether in the Lutheran language or the Catholic one, but it’s the same.

The question [Pope draws question mark with his finger]…. The supper? There are questions that only if one is sincere with oneself and the little theological light one has, must be responded to on one’s own. See for yourself. This is my body. This is my blood. Do it in remembrance of me – this is a viaticum that helps us to journey on.

I once had a great friendship with a bishop who went a little wrong – 48 years old, he married [then had] two children. This made for great discomfort in him – a Catholic wife, Catholic children, him a bishop. He accompanied them on Sunday, his wife and children, to Mass, and then went to worship with his community…. It was a step toward his participation in the Lord’s Supper. Then he went forward, then the Lord called him [to realize] “I’m not right.”

I can only respond to your question with a question: what can I do with my husband that the Lord’s Supper might accompany me on my path? It’s a problem that each must answer [for themselves], but a pastor-friend once told me that “We believe that the Lord is present there, he is present” – you believe that the Lord is present. And what's the difference? There are explanations, interpretations, but life is bigger than explanations and interpretations. Always refer back to your baptism – one faith, one baptism, one Lord: this Paul tells us; and then consequences come later.

I would never dare to give permission to do this, because it’s not my own competence. One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward. [Pauses] And I wouldn't dare – I don’t dare say anything more.
SVILUPPO: In a Sunday afternoon email to its collaborators obtained by Whispers, the US-based Evangelical Lutheran Church of America announced that – at a Chicago meeting of its governing council today – the group "voted unanimously, and with warm enthusiasm, to accept the Statement of [32] Agreements" in its joint Declaration on the Way with the nation's Catholic bishops, and that "receiving the agreements recognizes that there are no longer church-dividing issues with respect to these Statements."

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I heard what the pope said yesterday. Surprisingly I wasn't upset or shocked. I was saddened to see another bishop who refuses to protect the integrity of the Eucharist.

Instead of being scandalized and upset I beg God for help to endure this terrible moment in the life of the Church. My example is that of Christ in the agony of the garden. He was completely calm in the midst of chaos. It's time to stop pretending that Francis believes in all of the teachings of the Catholic Faith. I am not saying he is not the pope, I am not saying he is a heretic I AM SAYING that all is not well and the constant back braking attempts to justify the indefensible statements from this man need to stop. What needs to be done is for bishops and priests to publicly teach the Catholic Faith while begging for prayers for the pope. He needs them. The pope was wrong in what he said at this Lutheran house of worship. He needs prayers because he is obviously under attack by Satan.

Vox Cantoris said...

The time is coming, if it not already here, when Cardinals and Bishops are going to need to publicly correct him. He is flirting with heresy and indifferentism.

Anonymous said...

If I'm still suppose to be reading Francis through Benedict, then perhaps I missed a few chapters...


RC

Mark Thomas said...

I would like to make two points please in regard to Pope Francis' participation yesterday (Sunday) at a Lutheran liturgical/ecumenical event.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_25031993_principles-and-norms-on-ecumenism_en.html

DIRECTORY FOR THE APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES AND NORMS ON ECUMENISM

"115. It is not advisable therefore to organize ecumenical services on Sundays, and it must be remembered that even when Catholics participate in ecumenical services or in services of other Churches and ecclesial Communities, the obligation of participating at Mass on these days remains."

1. The Church teaches that it's not advisable to participate in an ecumenical events on Sundays. Why did His Holiness participate in an ecumenical event on a Sunday?

2. Pope Francis participated in a Protestant liturgical service. Recent Popes have done that as well.

Therefore, please let's end the nonsense that Catholics should, for example, shun the SSPX. Let us stop the nonsense that Catholics commit sins whenever they attend chapels (whatever) where ordained Catholic priests, although whose status may be "irregular", offer Latin Masses.

Our Popes, Cardinals, bishops, and priests, have for decades prayed and/or worshiped with non-Catholics inside Protestant churches, Synagogues, and mosques.

Our Churchmen have, for example, bowed before Protestant ministers, including priestesses, to receive "blessings."

I refuse to pay heed to the "we must shun the SSPX" (and additional "irregular" TLM Catholic groups) nonsense when our Popes have participated in Protestant liturgical services.

By the way, the FSSP, for example, offers Masses in Rome. Why is it that our Popes won't visit TLM parishes on Sunday in Rome?

Popes Saint John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis each visited Lutheran churches. But they never visited a TLM parish...let alone offered the TLM publicly. Why?

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Jusadbellum said...

So.... what about post baptismal mortal sin committed by these Lutherans? Do we just presume they have perfect contrition? How about adulterers and sodomites? How about bosses who refuse to pay a living wage or anti-Immigrant politicians who build a wall? How about torturers from the CIA, might they too stand to receive communion since they're baptized and believe in the real presence and are "on a journey" too?

Why bother having a sacrament of reconciliation at all if every baptized soul can approach the Eucharist as "medicine for the journey"?

How could we speak of 'excommunication'? Thinking of the various canons. One includes harming the person of the Pope, bishops, or clergy: instant excommunication to inflict physical aggression against a clergyman. But what if that assaulter is a baptized soul who believes in the real presence, might they too immediately after laying down a clergyman flat on his back rise and receive as he too needs "medicine" for the journey?

Something tells me when put in those particular terms, most of those in favor of post-baptismal mortal sinners receiving the Body and Blood will balk. See, it's OK when it's "just sex" but start letting in polluters, xenophobes, the violent, and the greedy to communion that what'll happen?

I must hope that once again our Holy Father was misquoted. Otherwise this is indefensible and will lead to further loss of faith not some sort of miracle growth. Lax consciences don't lead to awe and gratitude. Lowering the threshold doesn't make people aspire more for something but makes them value it less....

Anonymous said...

You know I just don't even know why I'm a Roman Catholic since we are all the same now? So in the end it turns out the Lutherans were right after all, I must admit this has finally driven me to the S.S.P.X. I held off as long as possible but I did it. I will let God be my judge and take it from there this papacy almost destroyed my faith, but the S.S.P.X. still holds on to the Holy Faith. I still wonder why Benedict the XVI stepped down?? I hope one day the Holy Ghost will give the Faith back to Rome.

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous said..."I must admit this has finally driven me to the S.S.P.X. I held off as long as possible but I did it. I will let God be my judge and take it from there this papacy almost destroyed my faith, but the S.S.P.X. still holds on to the Holy Faith. I still wonder why Benedict the XVI stepped down?? I hope one day the Holy Ghost will give the Faith back to Rome."

Do not permit anybody, including a Pope, to disturb your faith. Place your trust in God. I understand your frustration. But please don't allow the current insanity within the Church to upset your faith.

Consider that which our brothers and sisters faced 2,000 years ago when, at times, our first Pope, Saint Peter, experienced his dreadful moments. Saint Peter three times denied Jesus Christ.

Judas betrayed Jesus. Apostles scattered...consider the Arian Crisis...the Church has experienced great difficulties from the dawn of Her existence.

As far as being "driven to the S.S.P.X." is concerned...

Please recall that His Holiness Pope Francis two months ago noted the SSPX's "good faith and sacramental practice..."

You have been "driven" into a 100 percent Catholic society in the SSPX. The SSPX is Catholic. They belong to the True Church. It is legitimate for you to attend SSPX Masses and chapels.

That said, as is the case throughout the Church, the SSPX has its share of problems. There is infighting within the SSPX. There are people within the Society who insist that Bishop Fellay has "sold out" to "NewChurch".

There are SSPX "Resistance" folks who have gathered about Bishop Williamson. They fancy themselves as the "true" SSPX. There are those within the SSPX who badmouth the SSPX. There are problems within the SSPX.

However, the good news is the overall situation within the SSPX is that of "good faith and sacramental practice."

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Part 1 of 2

Vatican Radio reported that during his visit yesterday to a Lutheran church yesterday, His Holiness Pope Francis "said it is essential that the Catholic Church continues courageously and honestly to re-evaluate the intentions of the Reformation and of Martin Luther in particular, as he strove for a Church that was continually being reformed (‘Ecclesia semper reformanda’). The recent joint document ‘From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017’, he said, has taken up this reflection in a very promising way."

Here are excerpts from the document in question that plans to whitewash Martin Luther.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/lutheran-fed-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_2013_dal-conflitto-alla-comunione_en.html

Chapter II

New Perspectives on Martin Luther and the Reformation

16. While the past itself is unalterable, the presence of the past in the present is alterable. In view of 2017, the point is not to tell a different history, but to tell that history differently.

17. Lutherans and Catholics have many reasons to retell their history in new ways. They have been brought closer together through family relations, through their service to the larger world mission, and through their common resistance to tyrannies in many places. These deepened contacts have changed mutual perceptions, bringing new urgency for ecumenical dialogue and further research. The ecumenical movement has altered the orientation of the churches’ perceptions of the Reformation: ecumenical theologians have decided not to pursue their confessional self-assertions at the expense of their dialogue partners but rather to search for that which is common within the differences, even within the oppositions, and thus work toward overcoming church-dividing differences.

Contributions of research on the Middle Ages

18. Research has contributed much to changing the perception of the past in a number of ways. On the Catholic side that applies especially to the newer research on Luther and Reformation...

21. The breakthrough for Catholic scholarship came with the thesis that Luther overcame within himself a Catholicism that was not fully Catholic. According to this view, the life and teaching of the church in the late Middle Ages served mainly as a negative foil for the Reformation; the crisis in Catholicism made Luther’s religious protest quite convincing to some.

22. In a new way, Luther was portrayed as an earnest religious person and conscientious man of prayer. Painstaking and detailed historical research has demonstrated that Catholic literature on Luther over the previous four centuries right up through modernity had been significantly shaped by the commentaries of

Johannes Cochaleus, a contemporary opponent of Luther and advisor to Duke George of Saxony. Cochaleus had characterized Luther as an apostatized monk, a destroyer of Christendom, a corrupter of morals, and a heretic. The achievement of this first period of critical, but sympathetic, engagement with Luther’s character was the freeing of Catholic research from the one-sided approach of such polemical works on Luther.

Sober historical analyses by other Catholic theologians showed that it was not the core concerns of the Reformation, such as the doctrine of justification, which led to the division of the church but, rather, Luther’s criticisms of the condition of the church at his time that sprang from these concerns.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Part 2 of 2

23. The next step for Catholic research on Luther was to uncover analogous contents embedded in different theological thought structures and systems, carried out especially by a systematic comparison between the exemplary theologians of the two confessions, Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther. This work allowed theologians to understand Luther’s theology within its own framework. At the same time, Catholic research examined the meaning of the doctrine of justification within the Augsburg Confession. Here Luther’s reforming concerns could be set within the broader context of the composition of the Lutheran confessions, with the result that the intention of the Augsburg Confession could be seen as expressing fundamental reforming concerns as well as preserving the unity of the church.

Ecumenical projects preparing the way for consensus

24. These efforts led directly to the ecumenical project, begun in 1980 by Lutheran and Catholic theologians in Germany on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, of a Catholic recognition of the Augsburg Confession. The extensive achievements of a later ecumenical working group of Protestant and Catholic theologians, tracing its roots back to this project of Catholic research on Luther, resulted in the study The Condemnations of the Reformation Era: Do They Still Divide?(3)

25. The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,(4) signed by both the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church in 1999, built on this groundwork as well as on the work of the US dialogue Justification by Faith,(5) and affirmed a consensus in the basic truths of the doctrine of justification between Lutherans and Catholics.

28. In light of the renewal of Catholic theology evident in the Second Vatican Council, Catholics today can appreciate Martin Luther’s reforming concerns and regard them with more openness than seemed possible earlier.

29. Implicit rapprochement with Luther’s concerns has led to a new evaluation of his catholicity, which took place in the context of recognizing that his intention was to reform, not to divide, the church. This is evident in the statements of Johannes Cardinal Willebrands and Pope John Paul II.(7) The rediscovery of these two central characteristics of his person and theology led to a new ecumenical understanding of Luther as a “witness to the gospel.”

30. Pope Benedict also recognized the ways in which the person and theology of Martin Luther pose a spiritual and theological challenge to Catholic theology today when, in 2011, he visited the Augustinian Friary in Erfurt where Luther had lived as a friar for about six years.

Pope Benedict commented, “What constantly exercised [Luther] was the question of God, the deep passion and driving force of his whole life’s journey. ‘How do I find a gracious God?’ – this question struck him in the heart and lay at the foundation of all his theological searching and inner struggle. For him, theology was no mere academic pursuit, but the struggle for oneself, which in turn was a struggle for and with God. ‘How do I find a gracious God?’ The fact that this question was the driving force of his whole life never ceases to make an impression on me. For who is actually concerned about this today—even among Christians? What does the question of God mean in our lives? In our preaching? Most people today, even Christians, set out from the presupposition that God is not fundamentally interested in our sins and virtues."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For some 450 years, the Church was wrong about Martin Luther. But thanks to "renewal of Catholic theology evident in the Second Vatican Council, Catholics today can appreciate Martin Luther’s reforming concerns and regard them with more openness than seemed possible earlier."

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Marc said...

It is pretty clear that one who believes the Catholic faith as it was taught and practiced prior to and immediately following Vatican II is no longer in any meaningful communion with the men in charge of the Vatican. Either the Church was wrong then or the Church is wrong now, but it cannot be both ways, even if one agrees with the development of doctrine theory.

Whether the Church was wrong then or is wrong now, it follows that there was a massive apostasy, the date of which would be important to discern in order to locate the true Church (which must exist somewhere if Christ's words are to be given their plain meaning). Alternatively, one could sidestep the problem and buy into the idea that doctrine can develop in such a way as to render the previous doctrine hollow -- that seems to be the idea that the men running the Vatican are banking on (literally) the people buying into.

Gene said...

It will take a lot of white washing to make Luther Catholic. Calvin and Calvinism is where the dialogue should be because most major protestant denominations owe far more to Calvin than to Luther. Calvin was a dogmatist and theologian of the first order and delineates very clearly the issues between Catholics and protestants. Here is a good starting point: for Luther, God's sovereignty is shown in love; for Calvin, God's love is shown in sovereignty. Everyone's knee jerk, modernist reaction is likely to be that Luther sounds more Catholic. This is not true, however. The entire meaning of Catholic theology is based upon the sovreignty and majesty of God. Every Catholic doctrine presupposes a sovereign God with the power to accomplish his will and sustain His Church and whose love is poured out into the Incarnate Christ from His throne of power. Luther is a humanist at heart; Calvin is a Christian.

Anonymous said...

as a former protestant and former Calvinist I say " GO Gene, you hit the nail on the head

Jusadbellum said...

What I have never understood about the Protestant revolt is:

1) Luther supposedly was scandalized by how utterly corrupt and sinful Rome (the city and by implication, the Curia and Pope) was....

2) but then he went on to work up a theology that nullified sin as a threat to one's salvation!

3) If sin is no big deal for those who put all their faith in Jesus, then why was it such a big deal when the Pope, cardinals and other Catholics committed it?

How is it that sin in others provokes one to jettison the entire sacramental system and the hierarchy in favor of "every man is his own pope and curia" in the name of rejecting sin.... but then this leads countless men to conclude that their sin doesn't matter so long as they believe in Jesus as Lord?

I read the Old and New Testament and fail to see the "faith alone" system at work inasmuch as God does consistently warn about sin. If it was no existential threat to a man's friendship with God, then why act as though it is? If faith "alone" is all that matters, then why did Our Lord bother warning us about temptation, occasions of sin, the need to seek forgiveness and forgive others, to be pure and perfect and strive (at all)?

The Pope's own use of the "field hospital" meme with respect to the Church "works" but only if the field hospital is in a battlefield, not if it's in a disaster situation. War has two sides. It's active, not passive. One is wounded or killed actively not passively. Sin isn't something passive that "happens" to you like an earthquake, it's something active that one exposes oneself to, says 'yes' to.

Thus to say Hey, we're both baptized so our doctrinal disputes are of no consequence is - at the best - to flee towards invincible ignorance as a refuge for our unity rather than face the doctrinal division head on, actively, and overcome it by opting for the truth rather than opting for a life in the fog of theological agnosticism wherein none of us "really knows" what's what, who's who, and what Our Lord positively wants of his friends.

Marc said...

While I think Gene has an interesting point, it assumes something about ecumenism that I think is false. It would appear that ecumenism is focused on a dialogue between Catholics and leaders of denominations to the end that the denomination would return to the fold of the Catholic Church. That is an impossibility.

If "The Lutherans" were to "reunite" with the Catholic Church, they would cease to be Lutherans. Since not all Lutherans would go along with the unification, "The Lutherans" would still continue to exist. It is clear that there is no end to ecumenism that does not depend on individual conversions to the Catholic Church, even if those individual conversions take place in the context of an apparently institutional situation, as in the case of the Anglicans who ceased being Anglican to become individually Catholic whilst the Anglicans continue in existence.

To suggest that all denominations could be eradicated by a unification with the Catholic Church would necessarily involve a syncretistic indifference. If that were to come to pass, then the Catholic Church itself would have ceased to exist and still the ecumenism would have been a waste.

Ecumenism is a waste of time insofar as it is seen as anything more than an academic exercise in comparative religion. The only practical evangelical effect it can have is opening up the individual to an experience and individual conversion. But that is a two-way street since it also opens up the Catholic believer to a dialogue with perceived error and has the potential to have the very effects we have seen over the last few decades.

Marc said...

Jus brings out an interesting point about the issue of common baptism. The current conception of baptism by heretics being valid leads to the result that you are seeing in Francis's "theology." It is probably the case that the Church previously taught that the baptisms done by heretics were not valid since there are no sacraments outside the Church. One can still find this more ancient teaching in the Orthodox Church, which does not accept the validity of baptisms outside the Orthodox Church.

In my opinion, it is a more consistent way of understanding the Church and the sacraments. The Roman Church has a different doctrine on the matter, though.

Gene said...

Marc, I agree with you...I speak of dialogue meaning that, if the issues between protestants, namely Calvinists, and Catholics are clearly delineated and understood, then those protestants who are considering Catholicism as an alternative to the failed Reformation churches will be better able to see where they need to reconcile their understanding with Catholic doctrine. Some with theological backgrounds may have difficulty making the change (it took me a long time), but many might do so if they decide they can confess all that the Catholic Church believes and teaches. I have absolutely no vision of any wholesale assimilation of protestant denominations into the Church. The Church would only lose in that game. But, I do think that dialogue might enable both prots and Catholics to understand one another better.

Jusadbellum said...

Gene, what was the spark that lit the fire in your heart with respect to thinking "gee, maybe Christ does want me to become Catholic?"

George said...



Marc:
You bring up some valid concerns about evangelization,as does Jusad.

As far as your comment below:

" It is probably the case that the Church previously taught that the baptisms done by heretics were not valid since there are no sacraments outside the Church."


The Church recognizes the marriage of a man and a woman who were wed in another denomination. You do not believe at it should do so?

If a mother baptizes her new-born infant who is in danger of death, the Church recognizes this as valid (provided the necessary form and matter are used). If a Protestant minister does the same, the Church likewise recognizes this a a valid baptism. Am I to take it that you do not believe that it should?

George said...

From what I've read, St Francis De Sales,Doctor of the Church, Bishop of Geneva, took a more ecumenical approach to the Calvinists.

He became noted for his non-confrontational approach to Protestants. From what I remember reading, he was quite familiar with the works of John Calvin. Of course given the religious attitudes of the Calvinists toward Catholicism during that period of time, they did not return the favor. At least on his part though, he did not hold any antagonism towards them.

Marc said...

George, in the case of marriage, there is a difference between a sacraments marriage and a natural marriage. Where marriages happen outside the Church, it is more consistent to hold these as natural marriages than attempting to impose a sacraments character on them. The sacraments Coke from Christ through the Church for the sanctification of souls. It is inconsistent to find sacraments outside the Church both from the perspective of their coming into existence and their orientation toward sanctification, which only happens within the Church and through the Church.

The same principle applies to baptism. You can find support for the idea that I am discussing in the councils where the fathers addressed whether certain people had to be baptized to enter the Church, for example. So it is not my idea that sacraments only happen within the church. Furthermore the teaching is not as harsh as it might appear since the conception of original sin is a later innovation. The purpose of baptism as an initiation into the life of the church, as understood by the fathers, makes no sense if the baptism occurs outside the Church. On the other hand, the legalistic cleansing from original sin does make sense in that context, and so you see the related development of these ideas.

I'm not really saying what I believe to be right or wrong. I'm just pointing out that the idea of sacraments happening outside the Church doesn't make much sense. And now we see the fruit of the rather modern conception of baptism being more universally valid.

George said...


"3) If sin is no big deal for those who put all their faith in Jesus, then why was it such a big deal when the Pope, cardinals and other Catholics committed it?"

Well, wasn't Luther in effect making a statement about the faith (or lack of - or falsity, according to how he came to see things) of those leading the Church at the time? Certainly, he rejected the authority of the Pope.

How much heresy has its foundation in how this or that part of scripture is interpreted?. There is always enough veracity and acceptability in every heretics arguments to convince enough people to believe in what is being proffered to them.

It is in a certain part of the nature of man to compromise and accommodate and give in to what easier to accept and practice. In seeking something less demanding, men will institute or give in to that which is more easily acceptable to themselves. There are those, while still claiming to adhere to the precepts of what they claim to believe in,adapt and compromise their beliefs to suit what is easier and more amenable to their paticular lifestyle. We can see that down through history, men respond to what they find difficult by leaving the Church and in some cases starting other religions with teachings and proscriptions that are easier to obey, accept and follow. Of course there have been those who left not to start another "church", but to join some other false religion which constituted an appealing alternative to them.
There have been exceptions to this in those who have forgotten the Mercy of God and so became more puritanical in their religious practices. This kind of response(and other similar ones) represents a false attempt to recover that which was lost and to get back to some purer "faith" but which, because it represents a false response by those who choose this path will only lead to a continuance in error.

Still, it is not for us to judge, but rather to pray, give alms, and offer sacrifices in our God-given role to aid in the salvation of others.

George said...

Marc
I was speaking only to the issue of the validity of marriage and baptism outside of the the sacramental structure of the Church.

The benefits of having a nuptial Mass celebrated in conjunction with the wedding ceremony and also a sacramental baptism performed by a priest are the attendant blessings and graces which are conferred.There are likewise graces and blessing conferred with the convalidation of a marriage.

" the conception of original sin is a later innovation".

I could not characterize the doctrine of Original Sin that way. There have been disputes over the centuries between theologians over the nature and character of Original Sin, but not over its existence. As for baptism, Catholic teaching sees two effects(1) the cleansing of the soul of Original Sin and the remission of any actual sins that the person to be baptized is guilty of and,(2) initiation of the recipient into the life of Christ through membership in His Holy Church.

A baptized person outside the Catholic Church is considered a part of her in some sense, and if and when that person were to join her, would become at that time fully a part of her without the need for subsequent baptism. As an example from the political sphere, if the citizens of Puerto Rico were to vote in favor of statehood, they would not need to re-apply foe U.S. citizenship since they already have citizenship.

Marc said...

George, with regard to "original sin," as an historical issue, you've raised a definitional problem that, frankly, I don't feel like discussing. I'm aware of the Church's teaching on the effects of baptism. All I'm saying is that the current view hasn't always been the Church's view on the subject. And the new innovative teaching causes other issues, as we are seeing.