Sunday, June 19, 2011

I went to Mass with my family (my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew) this afternoon. Worth noting that the 'LifeTeen' or maybe 'Life Teen' nature of this Mass generally means the songs will be catchy and simple, though why this is so is a mystery to me. [Rant deleted] [Praise the Lord!--ed.] Hey, our reader enjoys my rants. [Lies.--ed.] Anyway, the eldest member of the pastoral staff was retiring today, and this old priest gave ample evidence of having "priested," as it were, for quite some time. [Fitting, whatever I think of the whole thing, to have him retire on Father's Day.--ed.] I thought so. The homily was adequate; this being Trinity Sunday, he noted that the entirety of human history has been a wrestling to understand God, which in some sense is futile, because we will never exhaust Him, or get a handle on his character and majesty. Still, we try. And in Jesus Christ, we get the fullest picture of God; he is God, after all, and He shows us the Father. John 3:16 was contained in the Gospel reading; I understand mentioning the boundless love in this verse; what I do not understand is failing to mention what unbelief earns one, and a brief exhortation to take heed. Let me say this: I absolutely believe that Peter's successor is holding the keys of the Kingdom, and that all Christ's ministers and people ought to be in union with him. With that said, evangelical Protestant pastors NEVER miss the opportunity to exhort someone in a sermon to a robust and living faith in Christ or else, and certainly not when thrown the softball of John 3:16-18. I'm just sayin'.
In related news, if they keep using Protestant songs, as familiar and warm as that is, they may be harming the Church's case for itself. Obvious Perception #1: "Well, I guess the differences between us and other Christians are not significant." (false) Obvious Perception #2: "Well, I guess there's some core of the gospel that we all share (true, to a point) and our specific practices are just The Way We Do Things." (false) Not good. [People probably don't know those are Protestant.--ed.] True, but I doubt that makes it better. There's a third perception that's utterly disastrous that comes from a Protestant: "See, we were right all along!" Which isn't helpful at arriving where we all need to go. [I'm offended.--ed.] Good; prove my claims false. Give it everything you have. I'll be waiting when it's over, and so will the Church.


Timothy R. Butler said...

Hey, I already did. Several times. :-P

Aaanyway, I would take issue at the problem of using Protestant songs. Assuming you agree with the pope that those such as myself who are decidedly Protestant are saved (or at least can be), then how about something a little more sure than "true, to a point" about the core of the Gospel? There's only one Gospel (Gal. 1.6-9), so either we have the same Gospel or someone has no Gospel. May it not be!

Thanks for the hat tip our way on preaching, though. ;-)

Jason said...


If there is this "core", you have an obligation to identify it, and presumably you could do so without disrespecting any parties that may be included. Oh, wait. Moreover, the clear and obvious implication of such an identification would be reunification, because the remaining issues would be by definition secondary. Certainly no disrespect is intended; we simply NEED to talk about what derives from what.

Unknown said...

Slightly off topic (you're talking about music, did you think I would be silent?):

To be honest, my "obvious perception #1" was something like oh my goodness, this Bach cantata is AMAZING.

There is a problem when music is understood as anything other than music. If I were to read books only written by Christian authors then I would, sadly, run out of books rather fast and dismiss a great deal of wonderful literature written by non-Christians. The work is to be considered and critiqued as what it is, all extra-musical baggage aside.

But you're right. Music is part of a culture and has its own history and we should consider those aspects. So that would be my "obvious perception #2."

I must say it shocks me to think that an entire populace (Catholic) would have to do without Bach! (And it would shock countless Catholic musicians!)

Timothy R. Butler said...

Jason: well, I was using your word, "core," but I think there must be some core, because Paul obviously didn't think that just anyone who disagreed with him on just anything should be "eternally condemned" but he did think those who preached a different Gospel ought to be in Gal. 1. I think that Gospel core is what Paul gets to later, in ch. 2, of Gal:

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."

I think unity is a clear part of Gal. 2 as well. Paul's rebuke of Peter has interesting implications in the discussion on unity...

Anne, may it not be! I'd hate to think of eliminating Bach (or numerous others -- Isaac Watts, etc.).

Jason said...


"Anathema" does not have to mean eternal condemnation, and it does not apply to those who may be reading it in the Council of Trent as Protestants several generations later (ahem).

Peter was wrong; I don't see a difficulty there. Any protection he may enjoy in other contexts clearly wasn't in force there.

"if righteousness were through the [Mosaic] law, Christ died for no purpose." Salvation is not by works; it never has been, never will be. He's saying the same thing as in Romans 1-3, in that delicate balancing act between comforting, rebuking, and exhorting that mixed audience.

I was thinking particularly of CCM thievery, guys. Uh, I mean, "Mr. Butler and Miss Robinson."

Timothy R. Butler said...

Well, Mr. Kettinger, Mr. Butler was using anathema in reference to Galatians 1, not Trent. :-)

The point with Peter isn't an attack on Peter. It might as well have been Thomas. The issue is that Peter is eating separated from the "lesser" Gentile Christians (under pressure, of course). Paul is attacking disunity. But, could it be that this is parallel to how my Catholic Brothers eat at a separate table from us? *If* we have the same Gospel, even when we admit significant theological differences, we ought not enforce strict separation from each other. Certainly not even to the level of rejecting music on that basis -- CCM can be rejected for other, more aesthetic reasons, though. :-)

If we have one Lord and are of One Body, how is it that we essentially treat part of that Body as if it were not a part at all? If it is not a part, we ought to admit it is anathema (in the harshest sense); if it is a part, then how can we enforce separation?

Timothy R. Butler said...

And, by the way, that may have come across harshly, and I didn't intend it as such. I know you certainly don't desire to cut off those of us outside of Rome, but that's just the point.

Jason said...

Dear Timothy,

Let there be no unnecessary disunity between especially the likes of us. But you know well that the See of Rome reckons "apostolic" in terms physical and sacramental; if I were not willing to consider that I was either outside of, or at least in imperfect communion with the true Body of Christ, I would not have taken this action. That is, the Eucharist is a marker of real physical unity.

Principium Unitatis said...


how is it that we essentially treat part of that Body as if it were not a part at all? If it is not a part, we ought to admit it is anathema (in the harshest sense); if it is a part, then how can we enforce separation?

Because there are multiple dimensions to being in (or not in) communion with that Body. Having been validly baptized puts one in communion with the Church, but denying the Catholic faith makes that communion less than full communion. Excluding from the Eucharist persons not in full communion does not mean treating them as having no communion with the Church. This is why Protestants who are already validly baptized, and come into full communion with the Catholic Church, do not need to be rebaptized. But it would be untruthful to treat persons who deny the Catholic faith (even if they were validly baptized, and hold some Catholic articles of faith) as though they were "one faith" with us. That is why they non-Catholics may not receive the Eucharist with us.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan