Misunderstanding Roman Catholicism … Again

Well apparently someone else thinks he understands Roman Catholicism without reading Church documents. If he had taken time to read even this one document, he wouldn’t sound so off-base. It is on the Vatican website, no less. For another helpful interaction with this issue, see Raymond Brown’s (a pope appointed member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission more than once) wonderful book The Critical Meaning of the Bible. The document explains how theologians should handle matters in which they disagree with the Magisterium. For those who might not like to read the whole thing, I’ll summarize a few points:

1. Theologians who disagree with the Magisterium should not present their views as unarguable conclusions. In other words, they admit to the fact that they could possibly be wrong and the Magisterium right.

2. Disagreements must be based on argumentation that seems well-founded to the theologian. In other words, theologians cannot reject the teaching of the Magisterium simply because it doesn’t suit them.

3. Theologians should make sure that they truly understand the teaching of the Magisterium. In other words, they are not disagreeing with a misunderstanding of the teachings of the Magisterium.

4. Theologians should address disagreements in the proper context, i.e. within the Church and not within the mass media.

5. If the disagreement persists (and yes, the document does allow for the fact that a disagreement can genuinely persist), the theologian remains open to the teaching of the Magisterium, though they may not accept it.

Perhaps this is not pure unbridled freedom of Protestant scholarship (*chortle*), but at least for me as a Roman Catholic, I find it helpful that there is official Church teaching on how to handle disagreements, rather than approach I’ve seen some Protestants in my area use of simply starting a new church. There are other important points in this document. But, this may suffice to show that the person who wrote the post I linked to has a very weak and inaccurate understanding of the function of the Magisterium – “For example, if a Roman Catholic is interpreting the Scriptures, he must come to conclusions that are in line with what Rome has already said about the subject.” Well, not according to this document on the Vatican website (overseen by Joseph Ratzinger back in the 1990s).

PS – This is not even to mention the fact that the Church doesn’t emphatically define every single solitary doctrinal issue, e.g. priestly celibacy in the Latin Rite and married priests at the parish level in the Eastern Rite.

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Rome (didn’t) Suffer an Earthquake May 11

Thousands of people are reported to be staying out of Rome for the next few days, over fears the city will be hit by a huge earthquake.

The panic was sparked by rumours that seismologist Raffaele Bendandi, who died in 1979, predicted the city would be devastated by a quake on 11 May.

Officials have insisted quakes cannot be predicted and special programmes have run on state TV calling for calm.

Experts also say there is no evidence Bendandi even made the prediction.

But many people said they were leaving the city to be on the safe side.

via BBC News – Rome braces for ‘prophet-predicted quake’.

Seriously, I think that May 2011 is the month for loons.

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4th Century Christianity: Damasus and Theodosius, 381

As we close the 4th Century, at least in this aspect (we must remember that Augustine did his fair share of doctrinal development regarding the Trinity) we find that in the end, a young Emperor used the force of Rome to settle the councils and their questions.

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4th Century Christianity: Arian Councils and a Pagan Emperor

The best part of the 4th Century of Christianity was the intervening years between 325 and 381. Here, Roman almost slipped back into Paganism at the most and a pluralistic society as the least:

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The Two Babylons

I have never read the book, The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, nor do I intend too; however, since I was recently hit with ‘facts’ from this book, I thought that maybe I would add a few links for rebuttal that I can refer to later.

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Thoughts on Onesiphorus

Remember this post? Well, it gave way to this post. On the first post, Wb made a comment which has sent me looking for confirmation – Greek, commentary, etc…

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More Thoughts on Praying for the Dead

Remember this conversation? Well TC opined as well here. On his site is the majority of the discussion, by the way, so read some of his comments. Further, another blogger has shared his opinions as well.

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Did the Apostle Paul pray for the Dead?

This is meant as interaction and discussion:

Andrew has given us several great links, but frankly, while I am more sympathetic to Rome, after understanding the starting point, I still must take issue with a few things. One of them being that Paul prayed for the dead. The basis for such a doctrine, sure in part, comes from Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy:

May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiph’orus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, [17] but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me — [18] may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day — and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus. 2 Timothy 1:16-18

The author of the above blog concerning this subject gives excellent quotes from several well respected Anglicans (with a Scottish Presbyterian, an Evangelical, and Reformed to boot!). To be honest, it is difficult to overcome the plain sense of the passage in that Onesiphorus is absent from his family, but what do we make of the absence? Is it death, imprisonment, or travel for the Cross?

If Onesiphorus was dead, and if this was Paul’s attempt to pray for the man’s judgment, then would not Paul then become a mediator between God and (the)  man? If we have one Advocate, then where does this place Paul?

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb 7:25 NKJ)

If Christ alone is our Mediator, our Intercessor, why then would we need for others to pray for us after we had breathed our last?

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2Ti 1:12 NKJ)

If Paul needed no prayers after he had passed, because of the things he had committed to God, then would Onesiphorus?

What say you?

Pastor John Hagee on Zionism and John McCain

Dan Gilgoff has posted an email exchange with John Hagee, the Christian Zionist of Christian Zionists.  During the presidential campaign last year, I and a former friend were discussing the break down in John McCain’s Campaign, especially in relation to the Religious Right, starting with John Hagee’s break.

His comment was to the effect that he admired Hagee because he stuck to his convictions – from which I understood him to mean the anti-Catholic stance as well as the pro-Israel stance. Well, while he may not back away from his pro-Israel above all stance, he has raced away from his previous anti-Catholic stances:

CUFI has recently stepped up outreach to Catholics. What precipitated that , and how is the effort going so far? What are your goals for that outreach?

Yes, we are reaching out to Catholics. These efforts started last year, during the presidential campaign, when Bill Donahue of the Catholic League claimed that I had slighted the Catholic Church while teaching from the Book of Revelation. He was mistaken on this point. But he and I handled this disagreement the way that Christians should. We met. We had fellowship. We learned from one another. A few months after the controversy, he came to our Washington, D.C., Summit as my guest. When I recognized him during my keynote address, he received a rousing ovation from our CUFI audience. I consider him a friend.

Bill and I decided that we should turn our personal reconciliation into a broader reconciliation. We decided to try to bring Catholics and Protestants together on behalf of Israel. Some of Israel’s best friends and strongest defenders are devout Catholics. They should be a part of this movement.

No, I do not think Rome is the great whore of Babylon, but I think it political that John Hagee no longer does.

Read the rest here: Exclusive: Pastor John Hagee on Zionism and John McCain – God & Country (usnews.com).

Church of England General Synod to debate communion with ACNA

As the TEC in Canada and the Unites States continues a steadily descent into liberalism, while maintianing that it is historically Christian, the Anglican Communion will have to face some serious descisions in the coming months. Personally, I see that the entire Anglican Communion will soon face balkanization heading into directly into liberalism, into Rome, and into Orthodoxy.

The General Synod of the Church of England is to be asked to decide whether it wants to be in communion with the newly founded Anglican Church of North America.

A Private Members Motion (PMM) was tabled at the York General Synod last Friday by lay member Lorna Ashworth calling for recognition of ACNA, which unites into a single church some 100,000 Anglicans in 700 parishes that have severed ties with The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada over their liberal shift.

The PMM invites Synod to “express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America”.

It has received 126 members’ signatures at the York General Synod, meaning that the Synod’s business committee will have to set a date for the debate when it meets in September.

The Bishops of Winchester, Ely, Europe, Rochester and Blackburn have all expressed public support for the PMM, as well as the Suffragan Bishops of Willesden, Beverley and Burnley.

Church of England General Synod to debate communion with ACNA.

Priest Suspended After Sex Allegations

In the closing years of the last decade of the last century of the last millennium, when the news of these types of allegations started to break, I was starting to attend orientation at my first university in Hammond, Louisiana. I met a cab driver who was a Catholic (I was a Catholic hater at the time) and we began to speak about the sexual abuse claims. It distressed him a great deal over these allegations, and proofs. He was a big fellow, tough, but teared up thinking about what these foul priest had done to his beloved church.

These allegations are still breaking, and I suspect will continue to break for the rest of the previous generation. I have my suspicions on why it seems Rome attracts these types of people – nothing conspiratorial or heinous.

A Catholic priest has been suspended in Lexington while authorities investigate claims of sexual abuse.

A spokesman for the Lexington Diocese said the Rev. Joseph N. Muench (MINCH’) was barred from performing any ministerial duties after an internal investigation and that the diocese findings were forwarded to Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland.

(snip)

The diocese said the allegations date to the mid-1980s when Muench was an associate pastor of Good Shepherd parish in Frankfort.

This is a deep and serious crime – and while I am not in favor of the death penalty, there are times I might make an exception – but what bothers me the most about all of this are the cover-ups. It is a tragedy when the young are raped of their innocense by anyone, and graver still those in authority, religious or otherwise; however, it is more heinous  yet when you see that those in authority choose not to tell legal authorities. The moment you find out that these crimes are being committed you are guilty of at least two things:

  1. You are guilty of breaking the law of reporting these crimes
  2. You are guilty, from the moment you choose not inform the Law, of every act that the pedophile commits.

Harsh, I imagine, but not so harsh as what has happened to others in the absense of your ability to do what is required by the Law and God.

I am not Catholic, and have no say in their polity, but if they find out about these cover-ups, then those who covered it, or choose not to tell for what ever imagined reason, should resign.

Priest Suspended After Sex Allegations – KYPost.com.