Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
April 28th, 2014 by Joel Watts

Constantinism Redivivus: Pope Innocent III vs. @SarahPalinUSA

English: Pope Innocent III wearing a Y-shaped ...

English: Pope Innocent III wearing a Y-shaped pallium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Craig provided our response yesterday. I want to provided some other discussion points:

1096, Jews were massacred in the Rhineland,

As enthusiasm mounted for the First Crusade, the motivation to conquer the unbelievers in control of Jerusalem spilled over toward the unbelievers closer to home: the Jews. The mobs sweeping across Europe on their way to the Holy Land found their first victims among the Jews of the Rhineland (in modern-day Germany). Massacres and forced baptisms resulted. Rather than be murdered, large numbers of Jews committed suicide, with the fathers first killing their families and then themselves. The ancient prosperous Jewish communities of the Rhineland were destroyed. This was just the beginning of the indignities wrought upon the Jews by the Crusaders.1

This led to Pope Innocent III’s statement,

411 [DS 781] This is contrary to the Christian religion, that anyone always unwilling and interiorly objecting be compelled to receive and to observe Christianity. On this account some absurdly do not distinguish between unwilling and unwilling, and forced and forced, because he who is violently forced by terrors and punishments, and, lest he incur harm, receives the sacrament of baptism, such a one also as he who under pretense approaches baptism, receives the impressed sign of Christianity, and he himself, just as he willed conditionally although not absolutely, must be forced to the observance of Christian Faith.… But he who never consents, but inwardly contradicts, receives neither the matter nor the sign of the sacrament, because to contradict expressly is more than not to agree.… The sleeping, moreover, and the weak-minded, if before they incurred weak-mindedness, or before they went to sleep persisted in contradiction, because in these the idea of contradiction is understood to endure, although they have been so immersed, they do not receive the sign of the sacrament; not so, however, if they had first lived as catechumens and had the intention of being baptized; therefore, the Church has been accustomed to baptize such in a time of necessity. Thus, then the sacramental operation impresses the sign, when it does not meet the resisting obstacle of a contrary will.2

There is a certain gruesomeness in Sarah Palin’s speech. Not only does she misuse the sacrament, but she would wish to undo the history Christians have thus far attempted to escape — the time when we used torture and forced baptisms to conquer. When these things didn’t work, we offered murder wholesale. This is not necessarily a Catholic feature, as we Protestants have our fair share of this in Africa and the former American colonies. Yes, there is the abuse of the sacrament (and I view baptism pretty high), but there is also the abuse of history, of humanity, and of the image of God.

Her world view of Palin-Constantinism is frightening, not because of the view she necessarily holds, but because so many subscribe to it as well.

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  1. Sharon Rusten with E. Michael, The Complete Book of When & Where in the Bible and Throughout History (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2005), 168.
  2. Henry Denzinger, Roy J. Deferrari, and Karl Rahner, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1954), 161.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

2 Responses to “Constantinism Redivivus: Pope Innocent III vs. @SarahPalinUSA”
  1. The left has no reason to fear Sarah Palin; and the right shouldn’t fear HIlary Clinton either for that matter.
    However I repudiate Sarah Palin’s remarks. Holy things should be off limits in political speech; that is akin to casting pearls to the swine.
    Although I take Paul’s position on water Baptism (which is rather “cavalier” and “exempting” to say the least – I Cor 1:16-17), but if we are going to mention misquotes to spread error please, check this article (obviously written by a right winger) where Obama uses Luke 12:48 to teach something that the text does not teach and justify the heinous idea of government distribution of wealth as if Jesus taught that the government should be God’s steward, something close to Marxism:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/04/bible_verses_obama_seems_to_have_missed.html

  2. Know More Than I Should says

    Religious zealots of any stripe often behave like drunken mobs looking for somebody to lynch. That’s what makes the current brand of conservative Christian pulpit-addicts so dangerous. The only good news, before their rampage is over, they may be hanging each other from church steeples!

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