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Sunday, August 24, 2014

If Nicea Is Correct, Then Christ Founded The Catholic Church

At the end of the day, it's that simple. Because the Council Fathers did not and could not use an hermeneutical method that did not exist (Sola Scriptura). They also knew that arguing with heretics and schismatics concerning the literal sense of Scripture theoretically and in fact has no end-point.

So when you see a patristic quote about testing everything by Scripture, they are speaking of it in its mystical sense. A mystical sense that they understood from their own ecclesial self-awareness. If you will pardon the simplification, there is no "them" if there is no "us." Schism is always a schism from; it can't be a sin if it's just an unfortunate separation. It's always unfortunate, but tragic, culpable, and provoked by the sins of others are not mutually exclusive.

The only good reason to accept an ecumenical council is that it is the most solemn invocation of the authority of the Church Christ founded. I was unwilling to accept one or two, and deny the others. I was also unwilling to deny them all. Therefore, I had but one choice to avoid atheism: become Catholic.

It is better to be ad hoc concerning the dogmatic determinations of the ancient Church than to reject them all; it is precisely at the points of our concurrence that we are being impelled toward unity. But we ought not mistake real but imperfect communion for its fullness. If any important dogma had been articulated without the consent of the Bishop of Rome, perhaps that Church's exclusive claims would not be so strong. Alas.

The humanistic explanation of Christian doctrine and practice is simply the Protestant option to reject ecclesiastical authority pushed to its logical end. In effect to say, "God had nothing to do with any of this." The middle positions accuse God of revelatory peek-a-boo, but at least there is something revealed.

But what if the See of Peter is the anchor of "classic Christian orthodoxy," as many are fond of calling it?

1 comment:

Timothy R. Butler said...

I guess it matters how you define "consent" of the Roman bishop. Certainly, there were times ecumenical councils were intentionally distant from him. But, he didn't outright oppose them, that's true.