"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, October 29, 2010

The Church is ONE

Neal Judisch said this:
"One of the things that paints an easy target on the chest of the Catholic Church is that there is such a thing as the Catholic Church. So when you see Catholic Christians doing superstitious or potentially idolatrous or just “pretty damn weird” stuff nowadays, it’s easy to say that that is the sort of thing Catholics do. Or again, when you look back in the past and see bad stuff — inquisitions, burnings-at-the-stake, or really any other bad thing the Church has ever done — it’s just irresistably tempting to say, “Welp, that’s what the Catholic Church did;” and when you look back into the past and see all the cool stuff — Nicaea, for instance, or saving Western culture and inspiring Western Science, for instance — it’s tempting in just the same way to say, “Welp, that’s the stuff the real Christian Church did, and look, I’m a part of that Church.” One of the cool things about Protestantism is that it lets you do this. Protestants get to dissociate themselves from all the bad things (past and contemporaneous) and lay claim to all the good stuff. Since there isn’t any “Protestant Church,” per se, there’s no Churchish chest on which a target might be painted. Ladies who see Mary in tortillias can be excluded from the denomination with which you affiliate. People who read “The Prayer of Jabez” either don’t darken the doors of your local church, or, if they do, they’re handed the most recent copy of Tabletalk, or handed a copy of the WSC to look over; and over time, they either just leave your church or they start acting and talking like the other folks in your church act or talk. “Fellowship.” And that takes care of that. No need to come to the Table with Mary-Tortillia or Prayer-of-Jabez people. And there is always the possibility of plausibile deniability: *these* people aren’t part of *my* church, even if they might by some charitable stretch of imagination be Christians. The Inquisition? The Catholics did that. Chalcedon? That was us."
That is a part of a comment in this article. I post it here today because I am going to a "Reformation Celebration" this evening and have been pondering the meaning of it. The stated purpose is to celebrate the "true catholicity" of the church. I guess I just find that quite sad. Because if what we see around us in Protestantism today is true catholicity, then the term catholic (universal) has been fully drained of all meaning indeed and Christianity is certainly a man made religion. If no visible, verifiable unity is needed to be in church, gee that sure looks a lot like I am making crap up as I go along. Think about this every-day scenario: A group of Christians has some picky doctrinal beef and splits off yet again from a church to form yet another church in yet another new denomination with new doctrinal distinctives and then has a "celebration" of the principles that led to the destructive schism. What the hell is there to celebrate about schism? If anything it should be a day of mourning and repentance for rending the Body of Christ. But of course Christ's Body cannot be rent, it is one in unity. You can point to my foot and say "that is you". And you are correct. But if you cut off my foot you can no longer say that. You might be able to place it near the stump of my leg and fool people for a time, but it will start to putrefy and break apart into pieces after some time and even it's own unity will be destroyed and become dust. The unity of my body will still be sound however. But I will have a hurt leg and perhaps a "phantom foot" that haunts me. I may even walk with a limp. But there will still be only one of me. One head, one DNA, one soul, undivided. “You know what the Catholic Church is, and what that is cut off from the Vine; if there are any among you cautious, let them come; let them find life in the Root. Come, brethren, if you wish to be engrafted in the Vine: a grief it is when we see you lying thus cut off. Number the Bishops even from the very seat of Peter: and see every succession in that line of Fathers: that is the Rock against which the proud Gates of Hell prevail not.” -St. Augustine in A.D. 393 to the schismatic Donatists, Patrologia Latina 43.30 Protestants, it is time to come home to the Church, She needs you.


  1. Agreed, protestants. Part of the reason our Church (the Catholic Church) is "messed up" is because you aren't here sharing your gifts with us.

    Becoming Catholic certainly won't take these gifts away. Rather, God will use them in a much more universal and widespread way.

    And David - This Reformation party would be a good time to share the positive impact that the reformers have had on the Catholic Church, perhaps in addition to the obvious negative effects. As a lifelong Catholic, I have to recognize that the Catholic Church is better today because of the reformation. Now, it will be even better once protestants realize that the reformation is over and join us in the perfect worship we enjoy at Mass - Perfect not because we are perfect, but perfect because we enter into the perfect worship of Jesus Christ.

    Perhaps a good starter question for your friends would be "Why are you still protesting?" In other words, take it out of the past and put it in the present.

  2. Thanks for that, zeeehjee. I've been looking for an angle to approach this thing and you said it! Very non-confrontational and totaly true.