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September 03, 2007

Comments

Karen

Great article. And to the original writer, I think the dilemma you described is indicatory of conscientiousness and the desire to be genuine. Insofar as it is, it's very commendable. I am hoping that Jimmy's well-thought-out reply puts your mind at ease so that you see the issue as nothing to scruple over, in your case. Excellent job, Jimmy. And all the best to the original writer in his journey!

Bern

I don't like either term but I'd prefer people to use "Roman Catholic Church" rather than "Roman Church", because the latter is inaccurate by anyone's standards.

Roman Church refers only to the local Church of Rome which is part of the entire communion of the Catholic Church. The Greek Catholic Churches are not "part of the Roman Church" they are "in communion with the Roman Church (i.e. the local Church of Rome)".

If you absolutely must, for the purpose of making distinctions, you can call the "entire communion of the Catholic Church" the "Roman Catholic Church" - but not the "Roman Church".

Mary Kay

I will pray for the original writer in his or her journey. For as long as I've heard of the Church Fathers, I've only recently actually read them. Very edifying to read letters from that time.

SDG

Thanks for a great, clear post, Jimmy. The ongoing difficulty that this very simple point seems to pose for some people is puzzling to me.

If we Catholics felt the same way about other groups' names that a few non-Catholics seem to feel about our name, we could not use the names for the Episcopal Church or the Presbyterian Church, as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Then there's the Church of Christ (and United Church of Christ), Christian Science, Charismatics and Pentecostals, the Children of God / Family of Love, Evangelical Free, and many others who in Catholic and/or other Christian belief either have no right at all to the words in their titles, or else have no exclusive or unique claim (just as some Protestants might concede that the Catholic Church is part of what they consider the "catholic church," but not the whole thing, whereas other more anti-Catholic Protestants would entirely exclude the Catholic Church from "the catholic church").

If such considerations prevented us from using the given names for such groups, we would be unable to communicate. For whatever bizarre reason, very few Christians seem to have any difficulty with any of these titles except one, the Catholic Church.

If you absolutely must, for the purpose of making distinctions, you can call the "entire communion of the Catholic Church" the "Roman Catholic Church" - but not the "Roman Church".

NO. Although widely misused to mean the entire communion of the Catholic Church, "Roman Catholic Church" DOES NOT refer to the entire Catholic communion, but ONLY to the Roman or Latin Catholic Church. See Jimmy's new rule for more info.

SDG

P.S. Jimmy, thanks for giving the example of "saints" (in the case of the Mormons), which is objectionable to Catholics in a way that would prevent us from using that language -- and for showing how "Catholic Church" is different from that and should not pose the same objections.

Mary

Then there are terms like "Society of Friends" which end up neutralizing such terms "Quaker" -- which was an insult at first, but then, people aren't going to murder "friend" for them.

JohnD

Even if people didn't want to refer to our Church as Catholic, couldn't they say, "your Church", "your religion", "the Magisterium", etc. as needed?

Resorting to pejoratives, even without considering intent, seems unnecessary.

SDG

Even if people didn't want to refer to our Church as Catholic, couldn't they say, "your Church", "your religion", "the Magisterium", etc. as needed?

In any sustained discussion such circumlocutions will very quickly exhaust themselves.

"Your church" only works in second person address (you couldn't write an essay, a book or a blog post that way) and is too likely to become confrontational (it's a very short step from criticizing "your church" to blaming "you" for belonging to such a group).

The James Whites of the world aren't going to want to use "the Magisterium" (i.e., the teaching authority) in an unqualified way any more than "the Catholic Church." They will want to say "the Roman magisterium," etc., and we're right back where we started.

The only workable solution is to be willing to grant to other groups the courtesy of their own name/title for themselves. This is the solution that nearly everybody uses for nearly everybody else, with almost the sole glaring exception being the Church Whose Name Anti-Catholics Dare Not Speak.

JohnD

SDG. I understand, but for a purposes of writing an e-mail, or asking a direct question in a forum, "your Church" seems easy enough, unless of course the writer really wants to use a pejorative term instead.

Chester

Words are equivocal, and attempts to make them otherwise (e.g., by refusing some of their accepted meanings) is at best fruitless, at 'middlest' confusing, and at worst insulting.

Some of the best examples of this have already been given, but I'll give a couple again for those who missed them the first time around.

As a Catholic (an equivocal term to be sure, but here I'm using it to mean one who belongs to the Catholic Church of which the Bishop of Rome is the head), I have no problem referring to eastern churches as "Orthodox" even though as a Catholic I have to believe that certain of their doctrines (dox) are not right (ortho). It's a different meaning of the word; obviously related to its etymology, but not exactly the same as it.

"Orthodox" used in this way is a name, which is a vocal sound (or a written sign of a vocal sound), which signifies some thought or thing (in this case, a certain body of believers), and is certainly not the same as its etymology. "Catholic" can signify as explained above, or it can mean what its etymology means, which is "universal". Both meanings can exist in a language without creating confusion, if one simply recognizes this fact. As Chesterton was fond of saying, if etymology and meaning were exactly the same, "chivalrous" would mean "horsey".

As another example, I have no problem calling leaders in other churches (even Mormons) "bishops". This doesn't mean that I think that they have episcopal (bishopy) authority in my Church, but that's what they call themselves, and I'm happy to oblige them. Calling them bishops is in no way a concession that they have apostolic succession or anything else. Rather, it's a recognition that some words (most, in fact) have more than one meaning. Being clear about which meaning you're using is part of being a clear thinker, speaker, and writer.

Denying that these words have multiple meanings, and refusing to use ones that don't fit our understanding of things is a great way to misunderstand the nature of language and its significatory power.

Joel

I'm not bothered by the words "Romanist" or "Papist," simply because I really am both of those, being loyal to Rome and the pope. I also understand why people like Steve Camp can't bring themselves to use the word "Catholic," as they spend a great deal of effort convincing people that we are precisely the opposite. We are to him as Mormons are to us. Which was an excellent example to use, BTW.

I live in a heavily Mormon area, and I find that most of them don't object ot the word "Mormon," but they much prefer to be called "LDS." That seems reasonable, as at the least it's a lot more specific than "saint" by itself. I DO refer to their community as a "church," even though it's not apostolically established, just out of courtesy. (A courtesy which they generally return, too.) The thing is, even though I don't believe the Mormon Church has a valid apostolic succession, they DO believe it does. (Joseph Smith claimed to have been ordained by John the Baptist under the authority of the apostles Peter, James and John.) So in contrast to the Protestant churches, which neither claim nor acknnowledge apostolic succession, the Mormons at least believe there is such a thing, and that they have it, and therefore under that definition are a church in the same sense of the word that we believe we are.

Of course, I don't have the same certainty that Steve Camp has of being able to tell who is and isn't an actual saint based on their church membership. For all I know, God has made some provision for the LDS that I wot not of. Certainly I know a lot of them whose lives reflect Christ better than I ever have as either a Catholic or a Protestant. So unless I have a dead certainty that they cannot be saved, I won't purposely avoid calling them "saints."

StubbleSpark

I have no problem calling most faith communities by the names they set out for themselves but to that end, I am glad the Mormons never hit upon the idea calling themselves "The Christian Church of Joseph Smith" or some other permutation that involves the word "Christian".

With as much confusion as there is these days after the Protestant Reformation, I think it is important that we not loose sight of the meaning of the word and jealously gaurd it from corruption. On this ground, I am afraid I will resort to complicated circumlocutions before conceding the word to a non-Christian group such as the JWs or Mormons.

As far as the word "catholic" is concerned, considering there are already very old and well-established Christian denominations which traditionally made the distinction between big C and little c, I do not believe referring to us as Catholics necessarily implies belief in our catholicity.

Sure there are anti-Catholic (I hate that word because it sounds too whiny) folks who refuse to use it, there are plenty of anti-Catholics who do call us "Catholic". If one were to hold to this idea that use implies belief, then what about the likes of the AP, Reuters, the TV networks, the Masons, anti-church atheists, and Dan Brown?

Jeff

I will refuse to refer to Teddy Kennedy as "Teddy" any more. The name "Teddy" means "Gift of God" and, as far as I am concerned, he is neither a gift nor is he from God. What do I call him?

However, I will refer to Barbara Streisand with her name since "Barbara" means "foreign or strange".

I am also bothered by the use of the term "Native Americans" to refer to what I call American Indians. I was born in this country, so I am native as well.

My point in all this is that sometimes you have to use terminology to refer to people that you would rather not use.

SDG

I'm not bothered by the words "Romanist" or "Papist," simply because I really am both of those, being loyal to Rome and the pope.

The pejorative and therefore objectionable character of the words is a separate issue from their denotative accuracy or whether any individual Catholic is bothered by them. Terms like "darkie" and "dot-head" are "accurate" as far as they go, but they are pejorative terms.

I also understand why people like Steve Camp can't bring themselves to use the word "Catholic," as they spend a great deal of effort convincing people that we are precisely the opposite.

I'm sorry, but this point has been answered so many times, and in particular has been clearly and repeatedly situated within the larger context of the general issue of group-names and conflicting claims to the language behind those names, that I am at a loss how anyone can still be content to restate the anti-Catholic difficulty solely with respect to the Catholic Church without making any effort to address the larger issue.

Until someone -- anti-Catholic, Catholic, whatever -- is willing to address the anti-Catholic unwillingness to use the term "Catholic" in the context of the larger issue of other group-names besides just the Catholic Church, I cannot see that there are any grounds for regarding the anti-Catholic position as anything other than bankrupt and indefensible.

I will refuse to refer to Teddy Kennedy as "Teddy" any more. The name "Teddy" means "Gift of God" and, as far as I am concerned, he is neither a gift nor is he from God. What do I call him?

Ha! Nice.

JoAnna
I will refuse to refer to Teddy Kennedy as "Teddy" any more. The name "Teddy" means "Gift of God" and, as far as I am concerned, he is neither a gift nor is he from God. What do I call him?

He's still a child of God and loved by God. Don't we, as Catholics, believe that all life is precious from conception to natural death, including the lives of senators who may not always act in line with their alleged faith? Perhaps, in the spirit of "Love thy neighbor," you could call him Teddy with the thought that he is loved by Jesus, even if he doesn't fully realize it himself.

SDG

JoAnna, Jeff was joking.

Marcel LeJeune

I am constant conversation with many differing people. I think something that we need to acknowledge, that hasn't been addressed yet, is the fact that much of what has caused the friction is the anonymity of the internet. Most (but not all) involved would not have a problem speaking to others in a civil manner in-person. But, the problems with incivility are increased exponentially when we don't have someone in front of us.

This is a big reason I gave up the internet bulletin board apologist "king of the hill" arguments years ago. I had basically just become the big bully-king of my little internet hill. I have learned a lot since then and certainly don't accuse anyone here of the same mistakes I made, though I am sure many have had to learn the hard way - as I did.

So, a few things I will remind people of. Don't argue to win. Argue for the sake of the soul of another. Argue for truth. But, if you ever lose your cool, it is probably a good indicator that something is wrong. I am sorry to get too preachy, but Jimmy is correct in trying to keep the pejoratives out of the dialogue. It is one thing to assume civility in-person and quite another on the internet.

Thanks to Jimmy for a well-balanced and reasoned approach to it all.
One more recommendation for those in combox-land, Mark Brumley's "How Not to Share Your Faith".

Megan Elizabeth

I see that Jeff beat me to the punch, but I will post anyway.

I have a friend named Paul. I call him Paul (most of the time, anyway, sometimes I call him Evil Ruler). Paul is six feet tall or a bit more and no beanpole, either. Should I refuse to call him by his name simply because it is derived from a word meaning "small"?

I am not addressing the original writer, who was very respectful and sounds as if he is not far from the Kingdom of God. I am simply trying to make a somewhat jocular point about those who get all up in arms over the issue of what we Catholics call ourselves.

Liam

Uh, Ted Kennedy's nickname is for Edward (which does not mean gift of God), not Theodore (which does). It's a dual-purpose nickname, like some others.

Theresa

Is this reticence to call Catholics/Catholic Church by our proper name a new phenomenon? I realize that since Henry VIII’s revolt in the 16th century, the name “Roman Catholic” was born in an attempt to appropriate the name “Catholic” for the new church of which Henry became the “head.” There are Anglo-catholics, Old Catholics, and numerous others, but this reticence about which we have been writing on this board seems new to me.

I’m finding it strange, since when I was growing up (a generation ago), my Protestant friends, and most other Protestants I used to meet, would not have used “Catholic” to describe themselves for anything – saying that THEY were “Christians” and the word “Catholic” wasn’t in the Bible, etc. You all have heard that, I’m sure.

Recently, I think, Protestant apologists have begun reading the early Church Fathers more (there was a time when the Fathers’ writings were not considered to be authentic by many Protestants). Now, it seems, with the clear references to “Catholic Church” by so many of the Fathers, it’s an inescapable fact that the early Church referred to Herself, and was referred to as, Catholic.

Now, or so it seems to me, suddenly THEY want to be called “catholic” and insist that WE are not “catholic.”

Or, is there another reason why there is this reticence to even call us by our name? Can anyone enlighten me?

Ora et Labora,

Theresa

Joel

I realize that since Henry VIII’s revolt in the 16th century, the name “Roman Catholic” was born in an attempt to appropriate the name “Catholic” for the new church of which Henry became the “head.”

I always assumed it was because the name "Church of Horn*y Henry" was too long.

(Looks like the asterisk was necessary to keep it from being tagged as spam.)

Joanna,

who may not always act in line with their alleged faith

You say that as if Teddy's only sin is drinking too much or cursing on occasion. Just say that he advocates the wholesale slaughter of many unborn children who are also loved by Jesus.

God Bless,

Matt

AKFox

I will refuse to refer to Teddy Kennedy as "Teddy" any more. The name "Teddy" means "Gift of God" and, as far as I am concerned, he is neither a gift nor is he from God. What do I call him?

Call him "The Swimmer".

bill912

Or "Splash".

Monica

So what should I call my son Thomas, since he is not actually a twin?

Miss Manners says the proper thing to do is to call people what they want to be called, which is a really good general rule. Some names stick in the throat more than others, but I don't mind actually speaking the word's 'Jahovah Witness' when referring to them, because I have my fingers crossed behind my back, so to speak.

Mark

Theresa,

My guess is the James Whites of the world use names like "Romanist" or "Papist" to try to deprive Catholics of that which is properly hers: the 2,000 year legacy of the Church with the apostles, martyrs, Saints, Patristics, monks, mendicants, religious etc. Rather than face the 800 pound gorilla of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church they would rather erect a "straw-man" in the form of an arbitrary and capricious figurehead. For example, they will point to the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and her Queenship in Heaven as only having been formalized in 1950 but not address seriously the long pedigree of this belief in Scripture, the Fathers, and the 2000 year old liturgy and beliefs of the Church. Recently, I've noticed too, that some far-left Catholics will refer to the Church's clear moral teaching as belonging only to "the Vatican". Consciously or unconsciously, they are using disingenuous language to try to isolate the Magisterium or teaching office of the Church and her members.

stjepan

Mark,

can you, please, show me from what biblical text you derive "the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and her Queenship in Heaven".

Thanks

Jarnor23

You know, my wife was merely pointing out that God loves Ted Kennedy, and you jump on her?

Whatever happened to "Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you"?

Dev

NO. Although widely misused to mean the entire communion of the Catholic Church, "Roman Catholic Church" DOES NOT refer to the entire Catholic communion, but ONLY to the Roman or Latin Catholic Church.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. You're right, of course. I said that I don't like either term (Roman or RC). Both are wrong. I only meant that "Roman Catholic" is the lesser evil because at least it recognises the catholicity of the Church (even if it doesn't do justice to the fact that there are different rites). The term also tends to have less of a negative, hostile connotation than "Roman Church".

I meant that if they insist on using one of them (because they disagree that the Catholic Church is the Catholic Church) I'd prefer if people used "Roman Catholic" rather than "Roman" because, after it is explained to them, a charitable non-Catholic should be able to see that "Roman" is simply wrong and accept that it refers only to the local Church of Rome. That much at least is pretty incontrovertible.

A Simple Sinner

It occurs to me that I have yet to meet a mainstream Catholic that refers to PECUSA/ECUSA/TEC (Episcopal Church) as "The (non-sacerdotal) Episcopally-governed Ecclesial Communion"... Despite some of the contra-Roman contradistinction that eminates from modern Orthodox theologians and scholars, we don't call them heterodox or refuse to refer to them as "Orthodox".

There is something to be said for calling people by what they wish to be called. My baptismal name is one that I am proud of - I share it with a pretty darned good saint AND my grandpa - and I use the full form of it - just like grandpa did.

When I introduce myself to people, the liberties and familiarity taken to shorten it to a familiar name strikes me as sometimes odd and insulting. (If someone introduces himself as Robert, don't call him Bob until you know that is what he goes by. Jennifers are not "Jen" or "Jenny" until you get the ok!) People introduce themselves by a given moniker for a reason.

My mom calls me the familiar (let's say "Bob") - she is my mom, that is what she calls me. Two friends (affectionately) and an aunt (who is crazier than a box of frogs) get to call me the dimunutive (let's say "Robby") without raising my dander. They are my friends, they get a pass, and I enjoy that familiarity with them. Anyone else and I will not acknowledge you spoke to me.

If it makes some feel any better, I don't believe the Episcopal Church is either a church or possessed of episcopos. That as the case may be, that is what they call themselves, that is what I will call them, and if you take a minute to get to know me, you will know where I stand.

Theresa

Mark,

I think you are absolutely right - setting up a "straw man" allows James White's et al to not have to deal with the plain facts of Church history.

Our differences really come down to this - what is authoritative? And, whose interpretation?

But I note again the interesting about face that I see with many non-Catholic apologists in that, for centuries, Protestants insisted that, since the word "Catholic" is not in the Bible, but "Christian" is, then they will only call themselves by that "Biblical" name. Now, many of them want to be called "catholic," since they now accept the Fathers' writings as authentic (not authoritative), and they try to ignore the fact that the "Catholic Church" referred to by Augustine and others is the same Catholic Church we have today.

This hijacking of our very name, and refusal to call the Church by Her rightful name (even for "theological" reasons) I think, is the logical conclusion to the subjective mentality that the Protestant Revolutionaries introduced into the reading of Scripture. "My interpretation is the correct one" and therefore, "if I don't think YOUR church is the 'Catholic Church' about which the Fathers speak, then I'm not going to refer to it as such."

Millions of little popes, deciding not only the "correct" interpretation of Scripture, but of History, too.

Blackadder

Stjepan,

Try Matthew 16:18-19.

SDG

can you, please, show me from what biblical text you derive "the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and her Queenship in Heaven".

Stjepan,

Can you, please, show me from what biblical text you derive "the dogma of sola scriptura that says I have to show you the biblical text from which I derive the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and her Queenship in Heaven."

Thank you.

Blackadder

The Holy Roman Empire: neither holy, or roman, nor an empire. Discuss.

Mark

stjepan,

Thanks for reminding me. I meant to hyperlink Steve Ray's recent article about the Biblical and historical background of the Assumption and Queenship of Mary:

http://www.catholicconvert.com/Portals/0/AssumptionAndQueen2.pdf

You'll find more than a "proof text"; rather, a full treatment of the Biblical underpinnings of this Dogma.

Jay D

On my blog (if I had one), if anyone used the terms "catholic" or "catholic church", the blog owner would have no choice but to assume that the poster was referring to an entity that is inclusive to my local Lutheran Church. If the poster wants to be more specific, "Roman and Eastern catholic traditions" (or something similar) would be suggested.

There might even be a notice that the blog owner does not recognize any distinction between small and big "c" catholic. The blog owner reads the Nicene Creed as "one holy catholic and apostolic Church".

SDG

On my blog (if I had one), if anyone used the terms "catholic" or "catholic church", the blog owner would have no choice but to assume that the poster was referring to an entity that is inclusive to my local Lutheran Church.

I assume that the same hypothetical policy would apply to the construal of terms as "Orthodox Church" and "Orthodoxy" (both of which surely you believe characterize your church as much as any other), "Presbyterian" (surely your church has elders), "Church of Christ" and "United Church of Christ" (surely this includes you), "Jehovah's Witnesses" (you witness to Jehovah, do you not?), "Latter-Day Saints" (as believers you are saints in these latter days), "Pentecostal" (the Holy Spirit resides in your church, does He not?) "Charismatic" (you do have spiritual gifts, yes?), the Children of God / Family of Love (goes without saying), Episcopal Church (your pastors are shepherds or overseers, are they not?), etc., etc., etc.

I'll say it again: Comments that address this subject solely with respect to the difficulty of the non-Catholic referring to the Catholic Church, making no effort to address the larger issue of other group-names and the conflicting claims to the terms behind those group-names, have not contributed to the discussion in a meaningful way.

If the poster wants to be more specific, "Roman and Eastern catholic traditions" (or something similar) would be suggested.

"Traditions" is a fine word, but is not going to do as an effective substitute for Church/Churches. "Roman and Eastern Catholic Communions" would almost work, but that's going to get real clunky real fast. You're going to want something snappier. "Catholic Church" works well.

Jay D

I assume that the same hypothetical policy would apply to the construal of terms as...

Nah. I'll let them have their capital letter versions (e.g. Penticostal). Lutherans aren't a product of Penticostal tradition, et cetera. However, Lutherans tradition came out of historical catholicity. Remember, Luther never meant to break away, and as far as we are concerned we never did. Luther burned the papal bull as invalid.

Jay D

Hey! Why don't underlines work? The "P"s in Penticostal were supposed to be underlined for added emphasis.

bill912

Thank you for the logic, SDG, inconvenient as it may have been for some.

SDG

Nah. I'll let them have their capital letter versions (e.g. Penticostal). Lutherans aren't a product of Penticostal tradition, et cetera.

Don't give away your birthright so easily! All Christians are products of the Pentecostal tradition. Pentecost was the birthday of the Church, was it not? The coming of the Holy Spirit, and all that.

You believe in the coming of the Holy Spirit, right? Then you are Pentecostal (or pentecostal, if you like). In fact, you are just as much pentecostal as you believe yourself to be catholic.

The fact that one particular tradition of Protestant enthusiasm has (wrongly, we would both agree) laid special claim to the term "Pentecostal" doesn't change the fact that we are all heirs of Pentecost, just as you believe we are all "catholic" in the sense that you understand the word, despite how one ancient communion has laid special claim to that term (and here we would disagree on the legitimacy of this claim).

Yet you are willing to grant the "Pentecostals" their uppercase self-designation, but when it comes to the Catholic Church for some reason you seem to feel that our right to our name constitutes a threat to your own identity and self-understanding, and your only recourse is to deny us our name.

I find that fascinating.

Jay D

...when it comes to the Catholic Church for some reason you seem to feel that our right to our name constitutes a threat to your own identity and self-understanding, and your only recourse is to deny us our name.

I would not presume to deny you the use of the name Catholic Church. I would simply advise you that on my blog, I would have to assume that that term (unmodified) is inclusive to my church. Luther burned the papal bull because it was invalid. Leo simply lacked the ability to boot us out. We are catholic. Why would I assume otherwise on my blog?

"Remember, Luther never meant to break away, and as far as we are concerned we never did."

Perfect example of that subjective mentality - it reminds me of the old "We didn't leave the Church! The Church left us!!"

Regardless of your subjective beliefs, or Luther's subjective intent, the objective fact is, Luther left the Catholic Church and started his own "church." That is precisely why you have now, your "local Lutheran Church."

Theresa

"Remember, Luther never meant to break away, and as far as we are concerned we never did."

Perfect example of that subjective mentality - it reminds me of the old "We didn't leave the Church! The Church left us!!"

Regardless of your subjective beliefs, or Luther's subjective intent, the objective fact is, Luther left the Catholic Church and started his own "church." That is precisely why you have now, your "local Lutheran Church."

Theresa

Chris-2-4

When I introduce myself to people, the liberties and familiarity taken to shorten it to a familiar name strikes me as sometimes odd and insulting. (If someone introduces himself as Robert, don't call him Bob until you know that is what he goes by. Jennifers are not "Jen" or "Jenny" until you get the ok!) People introduce themselves by a given moniker for a reason.

And don't call "Christopher", "Chris" unless you know as well...

btw: You can call me "Chris-2-4" if "Christopher" is too hard to pronounce...

Blackadder

Jay,

"I would simply advise you that on my blog, I would have to assume that that term (unmodified) is inclusive to my church."

I thought you said you didn't have a blog?

Jay D

Regardless of your subjective beliefs, or Luther's subjective intent, the objective fact is, Luther left the Catholic Church and started his own "church." That is precisely why you have now, your "local Lutheran Church."

Regardless of Leo's subjective belief--no he didn't.

Theresa

"Regardless of Leo's subjective belief--no he didn't."

To say that a Pope, who is the recognized head of the Catholic Church, cannot excommunicate a member of his flock, is as silly as saying that a company president or CEO cannot fire one of his own employees.

To say the Lutheran Church is a part of the Catholic Church is as silly as saying the US is a part of England.

Theresa

SDG

I would not presume to deny you the use of the name Catholic Church. I would simply advise you that on my blog, I would have to assume that that term (unmodified) is inclusive to my church.

You could pretend to misunderstand in that way if you wish, yes, although you are again dodging the issue of whether you would equally pretend to misunderstand references to the Orthodox Church, the Pentecostals, etc.

But in fact, protest how you like, if you run across a reference to the Catholic Church (uppercase), in the absence of other context, if you had to bet what was really meant by this, you would go with my Church, the Church for which you currently have no good name and must go with such clumsy, neologistic circumlocutions as "Roman and Eastern catholic traditions."

The retort of Augustine holds as good today to you as it did in his day:

And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5 [A.D. 397])

That was as true in Luther's day, protest how he might, as it is today. Again Augustine:

We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church, which is catholic and which is called catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies. For when heretics or the adherents of schisms talk about her, not among themselves but with strangers, willy-nilly they call her nothing else but Catholic. For they will not be understood unless they distinguish her by this name which the whole world employs in her regard" (The True Religion 7:12 [A.D. 390]).

Again, from Cyril of Jerusalem:

And if you ever are visiting in cities, do not inquire simply where the house of the Lord is--for the others, sects of the impious, attempt to call their dens 'houses of the Lord'--nor ask merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the name peculiar to this holy Church, the Mother of us all, which is the Spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God" (ibid., 18:26).

As Jimmy has cogently pointed out in principles 1 and 3 above, language must serve the need to communicate as clearly and smoothly as possible. When stubborn principle gets in the way of being able to communicate effectively and efficiently, something has gone awry.

Your principle has apparently left you very nearly unable to hold a sustained conversation about my Church, for reasons noted long ago by Augustine and Cyril. That is not, it seems to me, a sustainable position.

I can prove that we are the Catholic Church. Witness a conversation I had just three short months ago with a non-denominational Evangelical:

her: my sister is married to a man from Lebanon.

me: Is he Christian? (as opposed to Muslim)

her: No, he's Catholic.

So whenever Evangelical Christians wish to make the distinction between us and themselves, they don't hesitate to call us by our proper name: Catholic.

Yes, we are Christian, too. We're the original Chriatianity.

Barbara

ARGH! My name disappeared again. The above post is mine.

"Now, or so it seems to me, suddenly THEY want to be called “catholic” and insist that WE are not “catholic.” " ----Theresa

I don't know whether this is a trend or fad but I have seen this as well. I had a letters-to-the-editor debate in our local paper with a Presbyterian minister on this very issue.

The quote to give such people is from Unitatis Redintegratio, the Decree on Ecumenism #11. "Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded." That kind of thinking could be called false irenicism.

I notice there is a lingering thought among many that the Catholic Church in Vatican II may have decided to relinquish her claim to authenticity and her apostolic claim to catholicity, but the recent clarification from the Vatican should have laid to rest that fantasy.

Jay D

SDG,

If I lived in the fourth century I would agree with Augustine. If I lived in the ninth, I would agree with Cyril. It was no doubt true in their time. Times have changed, however, and I do not think either of them intended that "test" to be valid for all time. They were only speaking for their time. Even if they did intend it to be valid for all time, can they infallibly predict the future, or what?

It is not wise to judge what is THE Church based on the who had the more successful public relations campaign.

when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house"

BTW, what if (today) there were an Eastern Church nearerby than a Latin Church. Where would a stranger inquiring about a Catholic Church be directed. (I honestly don't know.) And what implication would that have for the Eastern Church?

Tim J.

Times change, Jay, but the Catholic Church is always the Catholic Church. That's kinda the point, and is exactly what her founder intended.

This time sensitive relativism is strange to me.

I don't see how Augustine's or Cyril's observances can be taken to be any less applicable in our day, except through sheer obstinacy.

Thanks much, SDG, for those references.

Tim J.

"It is not wise to judge what is THE Church based on the who had the more successful public relations campaign."

This reminds me very much of what politicians often say after a sound drubbing at the polls... "Well, my opponent ran a more effective campaign, we were outspent, they had some very slick advertising, we didn't get our message out", etc...

It is too unpleasant to imagine that they lost because people maybe didn't like them, or thought their ideas were dumb, or didn't trust them. It's never the candidate or the message that is the problem (in their mind) but always that they just didn't deliver it as well as they should have, or that their opponent somehow fooled everyone.

So, some people want to believe that the preeminence of the Catholic Church must be the result of... better PR? Funny and quite telling at the same time.

Jay D

This time sensitive relativism is strange to me.

If anything is relativistic, it is relying on prevailing public opinion to point you to the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church is, as you say, the Catholic Church, regardless of a local's subjective opinion when a stranger asks directions. Sheesh.

bill912

Anybody got a translation of the above?

SDG

If I lived in the fourth century I would agree with Augustine. If I lived in the ninth, I would agree with Cyril. It was no doubt true in their time. Times have changed, however, and I do not think either of them intended that "test" to be valid for all time. They were only speaking for their time. Even if they did intend it to be valid for all time, can they infallibly predict the future, or what? It is not wise to judge what is THE Church based on the who had the more successful public relations campaign.

I didn't cite Augustine and Cyril as authoritative witnesses to a canonical "test" of the one true church. I cited them as experiential witnesses to a verifiable linguistic and cultural phenomenon regarding the identity and nomenclature of a particular, specific, concrete, visible communion -- a communion with a visible, structural continuity from Augustine's day to Cyril's to Luther's to ours, governed in their day as in ours by a visibly continuous succession of bishops believed to reign in the place of the apostles, with a ministerial priesthood and a sacrificial eucharist, among other things.

It's fine with me if you want to argue that structural continuity by itself does not automatically entail integrity of identity or of principles; nor am I making an in-principle argument that the communion with the best claim to the name of the Catholic Church is automatically the one true church. In principle, you can argue if you wish (and I'll certainly take issue with you, but it's a separate issue from my point here) that this visible communion that Augustine and Cyril called the Catholic Church somehow went off the rails at some point, and that some other communion today (yours, for instance) better or at least equally represents the principles that Augustine and Cyril stood for. Fine -- make that argument (and again I'll fight you every step of the way, but it's a different issue).

Even so, you can't really deny that today, as in Luther's day, Cyril's day, and Augustine's day, in the verifiable experience of the man on the street, when someone speaks without qualification of "the Catholic Church," in point of fact this usage engenders little if any actual doubt or confusion as to the specific communion in question. In principle, whether we are right or wrong is one question; that we are the Catholic Church isn't really subject to argument.

And, again, however it happened and however the blame is to be apportioned, there is really no denying the obvious fact that the followers of Martin Luther are and ever have been visibly and outwardly severed from this visible communion identified by Augustine and Cyril (again, led by a succession of bishops believed to reign in the place of the apostles). What Augustine and Cyril called the Catholic Church was a concrete community the continuing structures of which existed in Luther's day and still exist today, and which Luther was and you are outwardly separated from.

If you want to argue that your church's theology really represents the true essence of the faith proclaimed in Augustine's and Cyril's day by the Catholic Church, you're welcome to try to make that argument (good luck with that), but there is just no way that you can claim that what Augustine and Cyril called the Catholic Church is something that you today are just as much a part of as we are.

BTW, what if (today) there were an Eastern Church nearerby than a Latin Church. Where would a stranger inquiring about a Catholic Church be directed. (I honestly don't know.) And what implication would that have for the Eastern Church?

It would depend on whether the church were Eastern Catholic or Eastern Orthodox (and while the Orthodox lay just as much claim to be catholic as we Catholics do to be orthodox, when I say Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, everyone -- you, me and they -- knows exactly what I mean).

A less than august guest

The various parts of this thread that debate whether or not the Catholic Church is rightfully called "catholic" are indeed interesting; however, they tend to miss the salient point of actual practice:

In truth, if any stranger were to approach you and ask, "Where is the nearest Catholic Church?" where would you instinctively point him?

H.T.: St. Augustine.

Blackadder

The confusion here seems to be between the name of a thing and a description of that thing. The fact that a particular church is named "the Catholic Church" does not imply that it is the catholic church, anymore than the fact a man's last name is "Butler" implies that he is a butler, or the fact that a man's last name is "Armstrong" implies that he has mighty biceps. One can think that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor roman, nor an empire, but that doesn't change the fact that it is named the Holy Roman Empire. There aren't any grapes or nuts in Grapenuts, but that's still the name of the cereal. Etc.

Esau

The fact that a particular church is named "the Catholic Church" does not imply that it is the catholic church

I agree... just look at folks who call themselves "Dr." such as those w-rappers, Dr. Dre and what have you.


One can think that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor roman, nor an empire, but that doesn't change the fact that it is named the Holy Roman Empire.

True... The Catholic Church has been the "Catholic Church" from time immemorial.

Jay D

I didn't cite Augustine and Cyril as authoritative witnesses to a canonical "test" of the one true church. I cited them as experiential witnesses to a verifiable linguistic and cultural phenomenon...

OK. I misunderstood.

there is really no denying the obvious fact that the followers of Martin Luther are and ever have been visibly and outwardly severed from this visible communion identified by Augustine and Cyril

When, in history did this happen? Was it Luther's "excommunication"? Was it at the conclusion of the Diet of Augsburg, when the Holy Roman Emperor brought together both sides to hash out their differences? Was it at the conclusion of Trent, when a laundry list of dogmas were solidified making Lutherans visible outsiders?

Augsburg is especially interesting to me. No one presumes to call it an Ecumenical Council, but the similarities are there. It was called by an emperor to settle disputes of doctrine for one thing. The Emperor asked both sides to be prepared to explain what they thought it meant to be Catholic. The Lutherans did and produced the Augsburg Confession. The delegation from Rome didn't but did write a response to the Augsburg Confession called the confutation. The Lutherans responded to that with an Apology to the AC.

If you ask me who came out of this meeting called by an Emperor (which I will not presume to call a council) with the more concise and coherent statement of what it means to be catholic, it was the Lutherans. Sure I think the Emperor "declared" the Roman representatives as the winners, but I don't believe there is precedent for Emperor's being able to declare correct doctrine, only to call the council.

Esau

I didn't cite Augustine and Cyril as authoritative witnesses to a canonical "test" of the one true church. I cited them as experiential witnesses to a verifiable linguistic and cultural phenomenon regarding the identity and nomenclature of a particular, specific, concrete, visible communion -- a communion with a visible, structural continuity from Augustine's day to Cyril's to Luther's to ours, governed in their day as in ours by a visibly continuous succession of bishops believed to reign in the place of the apostles, with a ministerial priesthood and a sacrificial eucharist, among other things.


SDG,

This was a remarkable summary; however, I would have preferred:

"...governed in their day as in ours by a visibly continuous succession of bishops that reign in the place of the apostles, with a ministerial priesthood and a sacrificial Eucharist, among other things."

John

The poster said the following:

"one of the key philosophers I have been looking at is Catholic, I started considering the Roman Church. Forgive me, for "Catholic" means both "Universal" and "Whole". To accept the Roman Church as "whole" would, in my mind, be the same as agreeing that the Roman Church finds its author in Christ. This may very-well be true, and that is what I hope to explore. "


Well may we ask who is this "philiospher" and is that the best reason for deciding you want to be Catholic? It is wonderful that you have chosen such, but it is clear you already come in with predispositions where the church is expected to bend to suit you, sort of like you are shopping for a car or a good suit and with the right tailor (in this case Bishop) you may just find the right parish that is liberal or middle of the road enough for you

The Catholic church is the ONE true church by where there is no salvation out of, no matter how hard the church itself has tried to say otherwise to be ecumenical. We are a church that demands much in the way of sacrifice and though the standards have been lowered dramatically these past 40 years, it will restore herself to her greatness, and to not be part of a church that has withstood the test of time is your loss I can only say, possibly the loss is your soul which is
the sad part

God bless you on your journey

SDG

When, in history did this happen? Was it Luther's "excommunication"? Was it at the conclusion of the Diet of Augsburg, when the Holy Roman Emperor brought together both sides to hash out their differences? Was it at the conclusion of Trent, when a laundry list of dogmas were solidified making Lutherans visible outsiders?

Those are all fine questions for the historians. Not being a historian, it seems to me that something momentous happened at Augsburg when the German princes defied Charles V and supported Luther’s teachings, essentially guaranteeing the future of the Lutheran movement and the Reformation. But when a schism becomes a schism is a canonical question about which opinions may differ, especially on opposite sides of the schism. The realities after the fact are harder to dispute.

With which of the following would you take issue?

1. The Catholic Church referred to by Augustine and Cyril was a concrete, specific communion led and governed by a visible, continuous succession of bishops believed to reign in the place of the apostles, with a ministerial priesthood and a sacrificial eucharist.
2. This visible, structural continuity, with its succession of bishops and ministerial priesthood, continued into Luther's day and still continues today.
3. Throughout its history this visible, structural continuity has been and is still today known as the Catholic Church.
4. At the end of his life Luther was part of a visible, concrete communion that was neither governed by the visible, structural continuity of bishops, nor claimed to be governed by bishops reigning in the place of the apostles, or to have a ministerial priesthood or a sacrificial eucharist.
5. The same is true today of those various communions that are descended from that communion to which Luther belonged at the end of his life.

Snowman

I didn't have to look at the name at the bottom of the post. I just noted the tone, and knew who the author would be.

Jay D

With which of the following would you take issue?

1. Yes they believe the Catholic Church was a concete communion. They may have believed it was administered by a succession of bishops, but I doubt they believed it was necessarily admininstered as such. I doubt they were imagined to be "reigning" in place of apostles. If they believed in "sacraficial eucharist", let them be accursed.

5. There are no "various communions that are descended from that communion to which Luther belonged at the end of his life". There are only confessional evangelicals, who who believe, teach and confess the truths of God's Word as they are summarized and confessed in the Book">http://www.bookofconcord.org/">Book of Concord.

bill912

The "let them be accursed" connection says nothing about "sacraficial eucharist". Talk about grasping at straws!

Smoky Mountain

John,

To be Catholic, shouldn't one mentally assent to its tenets? That is, shouldn't one *believe* in things that Catholicism teaches?

That's all the reader is trying to do.

Lighten up.

SDG

Yes they believe the Catholic Church was a concete communion. They may have believed it was administered by a succession of bishops, but I doubt they believed it was necessarily admininstered as such. I doubt they were imagined to be "reigning" in place of apostles. If they believed in "sacraficial eucharist", let them be accursed.

Jay, you've just essentially accursed the entire early church. Agreement in the early church regarding the ministerial priesthood and eucharistic sacrifice was uncontroversial and unanimous; not only was the belief widespread and well attested (Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Augustine, everybody), there is no record of any denial or opposition anywhere from the earliest centuries onward. There is just no record of any controversy or countervailing opinion at all.

Secondly, Augustine and Cyril, like other fathers of their respective periods, believed that the succession of bishops from the apostles was instituted by Jesus Christ and as such was divinely constitutive of the Church (and yes, the bishops "reigned," i.e., governed or ruled, in place of the apostles). For them, there was no more question of getting away from the succession of bishops and creating new church structures than of throwing away the scriptures and writing new sacred texts. Again, this belief is amply attested and uncontroversial; I should think that any serious Protestant patristic scholar would say essentially the same.

There are no "various communions that are descended from that communion to which Luther belonged at the end of his life".

Really? The organization to which Luther belonged no longer exists in any way, shape or form?

Smoky Mountain

Jimmy,

I think there's a typo here:

"The obvious reason is that I don't think that adhering to Mormonism makes you a saint, but that's the reason I find the term objectionable"

I think you meant:
"but that's not the reason I find the term objectionable"

SDG

Smoky: No, read it again. Jimmy meant what he said: It's "the reason I find the term objectionable. It's not the reason I won't use it." In other words, depending on circumstances, Jimmy is willing to use some objectionable terms but not others.

Smoky Mountain

SDG,

Thanks. Sorry for any confusion. I suppose the placement of "but" threw me off. Maybe phrasing as:

"The obvious reason is that I don't think that adhering to Mormonism makes you a saint. That's the reason I find the term objectionable, but it's not the reason I won't use it."

would be clearer? Anyhoo.

Tim J.

"I suppose the placement of "but" threw me off."

The placement of one's "but" can be very important. A very weighty issue, for some, and even a small miscalculation could "throw one off".

Smoky Mountain

Are you mocking me Tim? :)

SDG

Are you mocking me Tim? :)

I waited all day long in the other thread for Gerald to ask me that question (not that he would have called me Tim). Some days you just never get a break. :‑(

Tim J.

One of my favorite scenes from Toy Story...

Buzz: "You're... mocking me, aren't you?"

Anyway, 'scuse my flippancy... I have been kinda punchy all day, and the whole "placement of the 'but'" thing just popped into my head and ended up in the combox before I could stop myself.

Y'uns *please* continue.

SDG

"You're... mocking me, aren't you?"

Oh no no no no no... TIM LOOK AN ALIEN!!

Mary Kay

LOL

Mary

I doubt they were imagined to be "reigning" in place of apostles. If they believed in "sacraficial eucharist", let them be accursed.

Note that for "reigning" he linked in:

"But Jesus called them to him and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant'" -- which contradicts his claim. To lay down rules to govern those in a position of ruling presupposes that such positions think.

And the "let them be accursed" passage is "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed." -- which, as has been said above says nothing about sacrificial Eucharist. If we investigate what the Eucharist did mean, we find that it is the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and whoever eats or drinks without knowing this is guilty of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, Who explicitly said when He instituted it that it was the body and blood that would be sacrificed for us.

Jeff

Uh, Ted Kennedy's nickname is for Edward (which does not mean gift of God), not Theodore (which does). It's a dual-purpose nickname, like some others.

I know. I was making a point, but you are right. Edward means "wealth protector" which is fitting for the senator if you are referring to his wealth, but not fitting if you are referring to anyone else's wealth (particularly Republicans).

I'll try another.

I refuse to refer to the Devil as "Lucifer", which means "carrier of light". I will now refer to the devil as Joe.

bill912

Coffee is the devil?

matt

Why not refer to Teddy as the devil? Or the devil as Teddy?

Sounds right to me... it seems they will be spending a lot of time together unless one repents, and I pray that he does. Moreover both delight in the blood of innocents shed for their deity Moloch.

God Bless,

Matt
ps. Jarnor23, you need to attack what I said or defend what your wife said, just crying that we opposed her position is silly. Do you disagree that we should take Teddy's wanderings from Catholic truth very seriously rather than brush them off as your wife did?

Eileen R

Oh for heaven's sake.

Jarnor, I don't think anyone was attacking your wife by saying Jeff was joking. I think they just wanted to make sure that no one thought Jeff was intentionally denying the faith.

Matt, Joanna did *not* brush off Mr. Kennedy's wanderings by pointing out he's loved by God. She wanted to make that point that in *spite* of his sins, we need to love him because God loves every person.

Basically, everyone on this threads agrees that Ted Kennedy has committed some objectively evil acts, and also that God loves Ted Kennedy and all his children and wants us all to repent of our sins. So let's not rip into each other's throats!

Joe

The answer to the Eastern Catholic Church and the Latin Catholic Church being located near each other is simple. You refer to the specific rite. St. John Maronite Catholic Church, and St. Anthony Claret Roman (or Latin) Catholic Church. This situation actually exists in the Diocese of Orange

TeresaHT

Theresa wrote: Is this reticence to call Catholics/Catholic Church by our proper name a new phenomenon?

A different Teresa answers: No, it is not new. You can find in early nineteenth-century anti-Catholicism, as well. Words like "Papist" and "Romanists" were deliberately used instead of "Catholic" or even "Roman Catholic" by writers like Charlotte Tonna. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find the practice in the eighteenth century or earlier as well.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Jeff

Boy, I didn't realize I'd start a scuffle!! ;)

Jarnor, I don't think anyone was attacking your wife by saying Jeff was joking. I think they just wanted to make sure that no one thought Jeff was intentionally denying the faith.

I am definitely NOT denying the faith...especially since I'm not Catholic. Of course, that could change...

Anyway, I certainly didn't mean to cause any serious problems. I was simply making a point that if people refuse to call others by their name (or their group's name) based on the technical meaning and how one may appear to be endorsing said meaning, communication would be difficult. (This coming from a Texas Aggie that will NOT call that school in Austin by the name they use . I will refer to them as the Longhorns or as t.u. [just another Texas university, not THE university of....], but with one caveat - the horns must be sawed off ASAP!!)

Jay D

And the "let them be accursed" passage is "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed." -- which, as has been said above says nothing about sacrificial Eucharist.

Depending on what you mean by "sacrificial Eucharist", it can be another gospel.
The way you described it sounds OK.

Jesus offered himself as the guild offering and gives us his body and blood for our forgiveness (is how I understand it).

Jay D

SDG: Not being a historian, it seems to me that something momentous happened at Augsburg when the German princes defied Charles V and supported Luther’s teachings, essentially guaranteeing the future of the Lutheran movement and the Reformation.

That does seem significant. But at that point, who broke from whom (religiously speaking, not politically)? Augsburg produced a concise expression of Christian faith by the Lutherans. The Roman delegation did not bring an expression of faith to the Augsburg table. What were the Lutherans theologically breaking from?

Yes, the Roman delegation did provide a rather rushed response to the Augsburg confession, but those points were answered in the Apology to the AC. There would not be a concise expression of faith from the Romans until Trent, making any alleged theological brake by the Lutherans ex post facto at best.

Jarnor23

I figured Jeff was likely joking, it doesn't make my wife's point invalid.

More to the point though, Matt was implying that because Kennedy supports policies that hurt others, somehow my wife's observation was wrong about God loving him. That's a dark road to travel. So, Matt, since you ask what I suggest, I suggest you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, as I said in the first place. You can decry Kennedy's actions and others like him, but you can't dehumanize them, equating them with demons, or say God does not love them, or you are a liar.

Jarnor23

Pffft, as if the Lutherans believe in anything anymore. Openly homosexual "pastors" in the ELCA now. For years I wondered if we were somehow God's church why we had no stance on anything and everything was just fine to do, nothing's immoral or wrong. It took me a while to see the level of moral relativism and political pandering, which really started day 1 with Luther. I'm just glad to be in the Church that Jesus Christ set up for us to be in now.

SDG

Depending on what you mean by "sacrificial Eucharist", it can be another gospel. The way you described it sounds OK.

I'm just reporting what the patristic record attests regarding the uncontested faith of the early Fathers regarding the sacrificial character of the Eucharist and the sacerdotal office of the ministers who offer it. As for how it is understood in Catholic theology, you will find that amply documented in the recent combox dialogue with Steve Camp (perhaps starting here).

Jesus offered himself as the guild offering and gives us his body and blood for our forgiveness (is how I understand it).

Not sure what a "guild offering" is. Jesus offered himself on the cross once for all to save mankind, and that once-for-all sacrifice is made present on every altar at every Mass, is how I understand it; again, see the discussion above.

That does seem significant. But at that point, who broke from whom (religiously speaking, not politically)? Augsburg produced a concise expression of Christian faith by the Lutherans. The Roman delegation did not bring an expression of faith to the Augsburg table. What were the Lutherans theologically breaking from?

Yes, the Roman delegation did provide a rather rushed response to the Augsburg confession, but those points were answered in the Apology to the AC. There would not be a concise expression of faith from the Romans until Trent, making any alleged theological brake by the Lutherans ex post facto at best.

These historical questions are significant and worth discussing, but they are tertiary issues and not really my bag. I'm quite willing to concede, as I suggested above and as my Church has acknowledged some time ago, that in the unhappy history of Christian division, "often enough, men on both sides were to blame." So be it. I'm not looking to lay all the blame at Luther's feet and excuse everyone involved on the Roman side.

But the fact of the division remains, and in examining the various parties that exist in the post-Reformation world it isn't hard to identify, on the one hand, the one communion in which the visible, structural continuity with the Catholic Church of Cyril and Augustine is maintained, and on the other hand the various communions that had no existence prior to the upheaval. As Thomas Howard, while still an Anglican, once put it (more or less; I don't currently have a complete source for the quote):

I know the Anglican case is that we did not begin with Henry, and the extreme case is that Canterbury and not Rome represents the true Church of the Fathers. So be it. But something started in the sixteenth century in the scuffle, and it wasn't Rome. I myself am not disposed to chase the argument into such narrow defiles as the Nag's Head business, but a certain amount of tinkering is necessary to get the Anglican phenomenon steady and on course.

FWIW.

JoAnna
Basically, everyone on this threads agrees that Ted Kennedy has committed some objectively evil acts, and also that God loves Ted Kennedy and all his children and wants us all to repent of our sins. So let's not rip into each other's throats!

Amen.

Jay D

Jay D: Jesus offered himself as the guild offering and gives us his body and blood for our forgiveness (is how I understand it).

SDG: Not sure what a "guild offering" is.

Guilt offering (oops).

Leviticus 7:1-7 1"This is the law of the guilt offering. It is most holy. 2 In the place where they kill the burnt offering they shall kill the guilt offering, and its blood shall be thrown against the sides of the altar. ... 6Every male among the priests may eat of it. It shall be eaten in a holy place. It is most holy. 7The guilt offering is just like the sin offering; there is one law for them. The priest who makes atonement with it shall have it.

Jesus is the Guilt offering. Christians (who are part of the priesthood of all believers) may eat of the guilt offering and any who makes atonement with it shall have it.

Jay D

But the fact of the division remains, and in examining the various parties that exist in the post-Reformation world it isn't hard to identify, on the one hand, the one communion in which the visible, structural continuity with the Catholic Church of Cyril and Augustine is maintained

That sounds incredibly shallow. You are basing your whole judgement on the most superficial of outward appearances. The New Testament does not teach us to be content with the appearance of our would-be teachers.

Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!

Esau

Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!


Doesn't it even strike you that it is you who preach a gospel other than what the Apostles actually taught?


Mt 16:18:
18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Jesus said He would be His Church --

I don't see anything in Scripture telling of a plurality of churches -- just a SINGULAR Church.

If Protestant churches are the true churches, than just which of these several thousands carry the authentic message of the Gospel?

Each contradict the other!

SDG

That sounds incredibly shallow. You are basing your whole judgement on the most superficial of outward appearances. The New Testament does not teach us to be content with the appearance of our would-be teachers.

I don't think you're following me.

I've already said, repeatedly, that I am not here and now making an in-principle argument that the visible, structural communion that Augustine and Cyril knew as the Catholic Church is today the one true church. What is the one true church, and what is the truth of the gospel, is outside the scope of my current point, which is very modest and straightforward.

I have explicitly allowed that you are free to argue that structural continuity by itself does not automatically entail integrity of identity or of principles, that the visible communion that Augustine and Cyril called the Catholic Church somehow went off the rails at some point, and that some other communion today (yours, for instance) better or at least equally represents the principles that Augustine and Cyril stood for. You'd be wrong, but the rebuttal of such error is beyond the scope of my current point.

My current point is very simply that (a) the visible, structural communion that Augustine and Cyril knew as the Catholic Church was still known as the Catholic Church in Martin Luther's day and continues to be known as the Catholic Church today, and (b) I'm in it and you're not.

Whose church is true, and what is the full truth of the gospel, may be a much more important subject than what is the Catholic Church. But we happened to be talking about the latter, not the former.

Jay D

My current point is very simply that (a) the visible, structural communion that Augustine and Cyril knew as the Catholic Church was still known as the Catholic Church in Martin Luther's day and continues to be known as the Catholic Church today, and (b) I'm in it and you're not.

My point is that it is superficial to judge what is or is not catholic based on outward appearances (the "visible" part you spoke about).

I do not believe Augustine and Cyril defined cathlocity on structrual trappings.

Jay D

Maybe Cyril actually. I don't know much about that guy. If he did he was superficial too.

Esau

I do not believe Augustine and Cyril defined cathlocity on structrual trappings.

Then, clearly, you haven't read his works (e.g., Enchiridion, Commentaries, Homilies).

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