"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." -Cardinal Francis George

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Pope in my belly wants enchiladas

Andrew McCallum, Thanks for commenting, and sorry I didnt respond sooner. I think your point is a good one, and it took me a few minutes to sort of understand what you are getting at. You said: "There is a huge continuum of belief systems within the RCC from the very liberal to the ultra-conservative and the debates never get resolved and everyone thinks that they are being faithful to the historic Christian Church. David can stick with the small group of conservatives in the RCC and hope that their interpretation of the Church is right, but isn't this like the situation he just came from?" Hmm, really? I picked up a copy of the CCC a few months ago and have read most of it. I wasn’t too confused as to what it was saying. The other day I saw some story about a pro-abortion organization called "Catholics for choice" or something. I am assuming this sort of thing is what you are referring to. The problem with your argument about me being in the same position as before as far as choosing doctrine is as follows: In the PCA being pro-abortion is not a matter of doctrine in the sense that the WCF forbids it. It is not a doctrine that all are made to submit to the church on. It is agreed to be evil by almost all members because they have chosen to belong to a group of likeminded Biblical interpreters who collectively agree that the Bible says abortion is murder. The church did not pronounce that the Holy Spirit has made it so, the individuals submit to their collective interpretations. (in this case they are submitting to the Catholic magisterium without really knowing it, and will be blessed accordingly) On the other hand, Catholics can clearly see in the CCC Paragraph 2272: "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"" Per-darn-clear to me. I love it when Protestants try to say that the magisterium needs interpretation just like scripture! If there are Catholics that are idiots and willfully don't submit to the above doctrine that is proclaimed by the Holy Spirit through the Church, that really has no correlation AT ALL to the situation I was in as a Protestant. Can't you see the difference? Even if there are Bishops that are unfaithful in this way, is it really so unclear what is true that I will be left to my own authority? No way. Let me ask you this Andrew: what does the Catholic magisterium say about the Federal Vision debate? Now, don't get me wrong they don't address it specifically so the answer here is "nothing". But you and I know what they WOULD say if it became an issue like in the PCA. And the probable dissenters to my theoretical magisterial ruling would (A)know which side they were on. And if they didn’t, or wanted to play possum, the magisterium would (B)CLARIFY. Then the beautiful situation of(C)the church speaking and making a definitive statement. When the dust settled, those in communion with Rome would be the ones with the correct doctrine. If the process took a while, then I guess i'm just left to my own interpretation, right? That makes me think of the ancient people under Arian bishops. It took a while for word to get to them that they were heretics, but they at least got a DEFINITIVE ANSWER. There will be no such answer and has never been such an answer for Protestants. Come on, Andrew, show me all these issues which divide Catholics that the magisterium has been silent on or needs interpreting on because Catholics disagree about them. Please list them. Abortion should be on your list. OK, now go down the list and mark off the ones that you think I will have the same type of difficulty in finding the definitive magisterial teaching on. (Compare with me determining the truth of church teaching on the FV issue) I bet you 7.7 trillion dollars that the people in the PCA after a "definitive" FV determination is made, will have no idea other than their own interpretation of scripture, which side was right. (PCA or FV) They can submit to the PCA all day long, which is to say they are submitting to their own agreement with the PCA. If they don't like it, they will go to the CREC and "submit" to them. Again, submitting to their own agreement. You see, neither of these churches claim that any single thing they decide is the truth from the Holy Spirit, so therefore dissent becomes a matter of what the "Pope in my belly" (Martin Luther's term) is hungry for. If he is hungry for enchiladas, then by golly enchiladas he’s getting! If they are too spicy, then enchiladas are evil and he must be fed tacos. When Mexican food makes him sick, then he moves on to Thai food, on and on it goes. You are saying that I am just choosing the Italian food of Catholicism. What I am doing, however is pulling the tapeworm out of my belly and looking for the bread from above. What does God want me to eat? I looked for authority that claims supernatural, sacramental guidance. No serious Protestant claims this about his church. Again, they DON’T EVEN CLAIM IT. See the difference? Go ahead and deny the claim that the Catholic Church is THE one and only church and it's doctrine is the truth of the Holy Spirit. You may have good reasons for claiming this. I’m sure you do. But don't try to convince me that Catholics are in the same situation as Protestants when it comes to knowing true doctrine. I must say that is laughable. Even you, as a Protestant, can give me a very detailed explanation of what Catholics teach as defined doctrine according to their official documents. If you were to talk about justification, for instance, I bet you would not be all that baffled at what Catholics believe the Holy Spirit defined at Trent for instance. The list could go on and on, and you or most any moderately educated Protestant with an internet connection and Google could tell me what the Magisterium says about nearly any doctrine. The fact that there are lay-unfaithful or unfaithful Bishops does not even elicit a yawn from me. Even Peter was called satan by Jesus during a moment of unfaithfulness. Ironically, the very Catholic doctrines you are claiming are so unclear that they will cause me to not have any more doctrinal assurance than when I was Protestant, are the VERY DOCTRINES that are clear enough that you point out that there are dissenters! To put it another way, you are using the backdrop of the Catholic church’s unity to point out the dissenters who are so easily seen against such a backdrop! It proves all the more to me that Catholicism is true when I see in her ranks diabolical tares that hunger for dead babies trying to change her doctrine. This situation could never happen in Protestantism, because of a lack of any visible church to try to change! The diabolical tares just become the PCUSA, the wheat form the PCA, and ye-haw on we go with the Reformation! No need to change the church, just make a new one! The game is over Andrew, I see through the attempts to use Catholic unity to try to prove there is no unity. Even in a situation like the Arian heresy where if I remember right, MANY bishops succumbed to the heresy, the point remains that when we talk about the Arian heresy, we are talking about the Arian HERESY. NOT the Arian CONTROVERSY. Protestants have absolutely, positively, 100%, no possible way to make that kind of determination now that they removed themselves from the church. Anyway, sorry for the book. Hope I didn’t sound too angry here, I’m not, but can come off that way due to poor communication skills and sin. I also am super hungry (for enchiladas!) and can get ornery when that happens. In Christian brotherhood, David M.


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