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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Another View Of A Particular Objection

We Catholics say that submission to the Church is altogether different from the provisional Hobbesian submission to some body that every Protestant makes. We cannot revoke that membership in the true Body of Christ, for one. We may decide that we no longer believe something she proposes, but we know that in so doing, we threaten our souls. It's risible to suggest that any Protestant believes that his variance on a Scripture matter with Pastor Bob from First Community could cost him his soul.

In the end, the Protestant knows that Bob is fallible, and that every visible manifestation of ecclesiastical authority is likewise open to question. Why this realization doesn't send millions of people running into the arms of the Catholic Church, I'll never know. The prerequisite of believing in any Christianity at all is knowing that some things I wouldn't know at all, unless God revealed them. In light of this, one would think that a fraternal warning to the effect that you can't tell the difference between personal opinion and revelation in a particular system would be met with thanks, instead of mockery. To hear some people tell it, the whole claim of the Catholic Church is vain, because some guy on the internet was repetitive or mean.

For my part, it's very simple. Everything in Christian history prior to the Reformation is up for examination. I don't need to worry about after that, because that's a simple story; the Catholic Church asserts a thing, and someone else disagrees. Now, if Christians agree on a thing and have always agreed, it stands to reason that it has a common origin. Find the source. Be ready to submit your very being to it, if it turns out to be the Church.

To hear Ben Carmack and Triablog tell it, Catholic keyboard warriors just invented the Magisterium last decade or so, because we got bored with exegesis or something. But anybody with a few hours can find out that the history of the Roman Catholic Church demands to be accounted for. It will never be a pristine history, but the public facts must admit the possibility that Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church. An inquiry is simply that: the forthright consideration of the possibility.

Once that consideration turns to conviction, we joyfully and henceforth submit to the Church as to Christ Himself. I need not really answer the objection that the Protestant and the Catholic functionally do the same thing, because the Protestant's dogmas, and indeed, his church, did not exist. It's a theology in reaction, and I need not fear I have failed to submit to some organ of Christ that He hasn't bothered to preserve.

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