Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sometimes, The Best Prayers Are The Short Ones

Everybody has mountains to climb. Nobody's Golgotha is the same. And what would be a trivial test for one person is a crucifixion for the one who receives it. Here's the bottom line: passing the tests isn't a matter of grand, dramatic acts; it's the little things. If we are persevering, it's in the little things; if we fail, we fail in little things.

Our trials are huge to us, but they don't test God or surprise Him. If all we can do is cry out like Peter, "Lord, save me!" it's better than forgetting he's there, and taking the wide, easy road that leads to destruction. Perhaps we have, and many times. Yet Jesus himself said, "He who comes to me, I will never drive away."

Our prayer of repentance, which we must pray to hear ever new and more deeply, is, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

Friday, September 12, 2014

5 Thoughts For Tonight

5. Bryan Price has done an amazing job managing the Cincinnati Reds. Yes, they are 70-78, but the NL Central is murderous. Milwaukee sits in third place, after having led for 150 days.

4. Even the Cubs have been much better than experts expected. Look out for them in the next 2 years.

3. You can be 18-9, 2.56 ERA and not win the NL Cy Young Award as the league's best pitcher. Greg Maddux understands; he should have won at least 2 more.

2. Is there any doubt that Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates is one of the game's elite managers?

1. Maybe there is something to the Cardinal Way.

"God-Breathed And Inerrant" Is Not Synonymous With "Perspicuous"

Protestant objectors like to implicitly or explicitly make this argument that the two ideas are interchangeable. The next claim is that the Catholic apologist believes the Bible cannot be understood or read with profit in any sense. They say the Catholic sows doubt at the same time he promises dogmatic certainty in his own paradigm. This is of course nonsense, but it's not immediately obvious why this is so.

The very reason for asserting the perspicuity (full clarity) of Scripture had been the occasion of asserting that the Magisterium (teaching office; pope and bishops in communion with him) of the Church was incorrect in many of its dogmatic pronouncements. If you dispute the very organ at the heart of the Christian's method of knowing divine truth, it stands to reason you'd leave something in its place. The protestors were not atheists, after all. So, if you said the Scriptures were sufficiently clear to establish what the Christian is to believe de fide, you are by necessity denying the ecclesiastical authority at the heart of the older method. You could argue therefore that the Catholic Church's authority is unnecessary, and even harmful. The Scriptures are clear, and anyone can access them, they said. It's amazing how little has changed since this challenge was made to its greatest effect, in the 16th century. There had always been someone to claim the Church was wrong, and he or she was correct instead, with favorite Scriptures in tow. But never the perfect storm that was the Protestant "Reformation."

In any case, we can also agree that these leading figures among the protestors didn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, as it were, to varying degrees and effects, depending on the group and its leader(s). The doctrines across the divide are not wholly dissimilar, and even in methodology, searching the Scriptures is an important part of knowing God, for both groups.

Yet if you argue that Church authority was unnecessary and even harmful to the true knowledge of God, does it matter if you keep the hierarchy in a functional capacity only? As the more radical (and principled) elements in the movement might have said, "If the Pope is a usurper of Christ, there is no merit in feigned submission." We can almost hear St. Robert Bellarmine say of incrementalists like Luther, "They have a form of godliness, but deny its power." Titular authority without jurisdiction is a bit like the modern British figurehead monarchy. Would the method of governance really change if they went away? Conversely, could the reformers claim that little has changed, when the reigning king has been robbed of his scepter?

Moreover, the Catholic apologist doesn't claim any defect in the Scriptures, or in God who reveals. It's the methodology he disputes. Here's the juicy part: If the objectors say that man is depraved in every part of his being, such that he cannot do anything to move toward God, he can't search the Scriptures with profit unto salvation; even after his conversion, he cannot have any ground to prefer one interpretation over another, whether in reference to another similar community, or to the Catholic Church. He's cutting off the very hermeneutical branch he's standing on. The positivist faces the strict theological version of the Noltie Conundrum: if man's inability is asserted via total depravity, the only person left in the system to account for the obvious remaining ambiguity in dogmatic truth is the Holy Spirit. (This should be an obvious impossibility, since He is God.) On the other end, the "I don't need certainty" camp not only can't account for the divine origin of a particular set of assertions, they can't account for the similarity between us! It's impossible to posit a saving, incarnational consensus of dogma that was formed somewhere in the past if man cannot, and need not, be certain. The various dissenters from it could simply say, "Well, nothing is certain; you could be wrong." To say nothing of the ad hoc nature of identifying it! Whatever that consensus is could be as varied as the competing interpretations of Scripture!

I agree that there is a saving, incarnational consensus of dogmatic truth, in the Catholic Church. The Scriptures are God-breathed, and inerrant. Now what?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

No, The Social Doctrine Is Not A Commie Plot

There was this post, which was in response to this one, and if you don't mind me saying, I found the latter infuriating. Pro Tip: If we are in the realm of the prudential application of general principles, try to disagree with the Pope and other authorities without undermining the Church.  Thanks a bunch.

I get it, man. I'm a card-carrying Republican. Every time I hear someone mention a "just wage," I picture Castro and the corpse of Stalin smiling. But the Church condemns all forms of collectivism in the strongest terms. If you even sample the social doctrine, you realize that our shepherds over the centuries haven't been just shooting from the hip.

What is the social doctrine? It is the application of central truths of the gospel--the destiny of man and his need for redemption in and by Jesus Christ--in the concrete situations of human living. Precisely because Jesus Christ became man, it leads to the first and most important principle: Human beings possess a fundamental and inviolable dignity, by virtue of their intended eternal destiny with God.

There are other things we could say, and later, perhaps we will. In any case, the "common good" is an important concept. It does NOT mean, "the greatest (material) good for the greatest number." Both the socialist and the anarchist/capitalist actually agree with this same faulty definition; they simply use different means to get there. In fact, "common good" refers to the totality of conditions which allow each person to reach the end for which he or she was made more quickly and easily. The Church handles the spiritual common good, each of us according to our vocation and abilities; the State handles the temporal common good. Yet notice a very key point: man only has one end, ultimately. The upshot is therefore that societies are bound to the common good; they can't re-define it.

Human societies have the jurisdiction and expertise to decide exactly how to achieve the common good within the temporal sphere. They won't be defining doctrine, or enforcing ecclesiastical penalties, for example. But the "bad news" is, my fellow Americans, that the Church's rather blunt response to the oft-repeated claim, "The Church has no role in this area of life" is essentially, Oh, yes, we do. She only has direct, coercive authority over her children, but she won't shut up about anything that impacts people, because all people are at least potentially her children.

More thoughts later.

I Remember

Thirteen years ago today, some bad people attacked the United States. I want to say it like that, so it makes the most important point: The people who died that day didn't wake up to go into battle; they were not soldiers; they were just people. Whatever else we say--and I may well say things people won't like--this cannot be evaded. A just war not only has a just cause; it's conducted with just means, against warriors; that is, people who know they are in a war. Our friends, family, and fellow citizens were taken from us most unjustly, and though we may cry out in pain to Almighty God asking, "Why?" we also know that people chose to do it, and they had no right. I don't want to read the stories anymore; there is too much emotion even for me, and I didn't lose anyone close.

It was 10:30 AM when I found out. I was brushing my teeth. A guy ran in to say that some terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, and that possibly 50,000 people had been killed. That was a huge number. I intend to say this without disrespect to the loss that was suffered, but I felt relief that day that 50,000 wasn't the true toll. In any case, I knew our lives had changed.

It seemed like government officials pieced it together pretty quickly after the fact, and this still bothers me. We heard bin Laden's name all over the news that first day. Somebody messed up.

I didn't watch a ton of news coverage; even when it's good, it's annoying. I had things to do, besides. I saw my friend Liz Stover (now Garber) on the street. It was probably the oddest conversation of my life. What's going on here? we seemed to say. It's the kind of bewilderment that comes when you've been overloaded, but words still come out. Maybe I'm the only one who talks whether he's confused or not.

I went to class, actually. It was aptly titled, "Politics and War." A guy from the Middle East said we had it coming. First day. No preface, no sadness. How he remains alive, and I am not in prison is one of life's mysteries of mercy.

I studied political science, with an almost-minor in religious studies. The blog makes sense now, doesn't it? So, in fairness, I am the sort of person who thinks what the president says on any important topic is noteworthy, but we needed to hear from him, and we did.

I wish I could describe the feeling of that day. There was a numbness, but it wasn't alone. It was a numbness to ordinary routines. The rest of it came like waves; every conceivable emotion, without warning. I wasn't even connected to the people that were lost; imagine how family and friends must have felt!

President Bush was outstanding as a spokesman for us in those days. He hit all the right notes, and frankly, this is the real reason he didn't lose a few years hence. I can't even read his speech to the joint session of Congress on the 20th without getting choked up. There is room to be very critical of a great many things in his foreign policy, even. But you couldn't pay me to be personally critical of the man. Not going to happen.

I think if it's true to say that a fair amount of jingoism and fake patriotism came out of it, it's because it seemed removed from the sense of living through the days themselves. We could all probably mark a day when September 11 became a footnote, instead of an opportunity to reflect, make changes, and be thankful.

Country music takes a lot of flak from the intelligentsia for being the soundtrack for the uncritical unwashed masses, and there's some truth in that. Still, "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?" by Alan Jackson captures the whole thing perfectly. Mr. Jackson, you can write the soundtrack to my life any time, sir.

"And the greatest is love."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The 10 Books Thing

I wanted to do this here, so I could be vomit-inducing earnest if I wanted to. I'm like that. Anyway, I'm going to do an odd thing: I'm excluding the Sacred Scriptures, and even spiritual books for the most part; we all know the great saints and Doctors will help us grow in God, if we are Christians. It doesn't tell you anything that I liked the Summa Theologicae, does it? And you wouldn't pick up a book like that without a reason, if you were not Christian or seeking. So, let's not waste time with things we know we should read, or that we know we wouldn't.

Congress: The Electoral Connection, David R. Mayhew. This book will transform you from a chronic complainer about the US political system, to a person with solutions. It will actually make you realistic and optimistic at the same time. The data is old, but it's shocking in its relevance.

Shoeless Joe, by W.P. Kinsella. I did expect to like this book; it was adapted into the film, "Field Of Dreams," after all. I did not expect to cry almost uncontrollably at the end. And not because of one or the other moments, but the deep understanding of what it's like to love baseball, down pretty close to the core of yourself. It's scary that way, too, because the author understands religiosity as well, almost as if asking, "What if the gospel was baseball?"

Tuesdays With Morrie, by Mitch Albom. I'm trying not to be spiritual with this list, but there's a reason I'm me, and not someone else. If you are glib about sending people to Hell, this book will mess you up. If you practice religion because you enjoy telling others they are wrong, this book will mess you up. There is something human, and therefore good, about seeking God. You will like Morrie and Mitch, and you'll root for them. Of course, the truth is that God seeks us, but too many think those two things are mutually exclusive, and in that, they are mistaken. I digress. Great book.

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. You could say this book is about racism, and the influence of culture, but its true theme is empathy. Most of the characters have opportunities to make hasty and incorrect judgments about others, and seeing all of it through the eyes of a young girl helps us to talk about it, and to forgive ourselves if it's us.

Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey, by David Horowitz. This might be my favorite book on this list. If I could hand you one book to explain my political view of the world, this is that book. It's not a program; it's just a memoir, but I could identify with it so strongly that I still talk about this book 10 years later.

Anthem, by Ayn Rand. Her philosophy is wanting, to say the least. Still, if you want to read her at her most sympathetic, this is it. I'm a contrarian; the only thing more sickening than Christians and others falling over themselves to turn Rand into the enemy is the subsequent rush to embrace collectivism to prove their superior morality.

The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton. This is a story about government overreach, the excesses of the "national security" state, and cover-ups. It is also about how the "herd" mentality can silence the truth when it's unpopular, even among scientists.

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. This is, ironically, some kind of feminist classic. If you read it, though, you won't find a better refutation of feminism in a work of fiction, even if the author would not intend it. To wit: It's hard to say you've been liberated if you're dead.

War, by Sebastian Junger. This is a gritty, brutal punch in the face to our noble patriotic notions of American military interventions. We don't always send our best and brightest, and they rarely come back that way, either. Like any reasonable person, you'll root for the Americans you meet. But to what end? And the author just leaves it to hang in the air.

Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account Of The Death Penalty In The United States, by Sister Helen Prejean. Sr. Helen may well be a dissenting hippie, for all I know. Yet this book is gripping. If you have always favored capital punishment, this book will shake you. If you have been ambivalent, you will be hardened in opposition. Bet on it.

There you go. If you read these 10 books, it's like meeting me. What a horrifying thought!

P.S. For the love of kittens and sunshine and Skittles, Dr. Bryan Cross of Mount Mercy University, please read Torture and Eucharist, by William Cavanaugh! I'd pay a large sum to know your thoughts on that work! Actually, I wouldn't mind Dr. Alan Noble's thoughts, either.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

5 Thoughts For Today

5. I laughed at one of those allegedly offensive Mark Driscoll internet comments from 2001. I could be persuaded to be sorry about it, if you think it's truly hurtful, and you don't write for Salon.

4. "Homophobic" is not a real thing; it's a fake word, created to shame those who question the gay activist project of "homo-normativity." Seriously, have you ever heard this word used to denote anything other than this?

3. If Driscoll wasn't putatively a pastor, I doubt he'd be so shocking. It may cause us to evaluate how many pot-stirring, edgy, conservative radio hosts we have, but that's a different discussion.

2. Just to be clear, I think he's an immature adolescent, who's ironically made millions telling other people to "man up."

1. I also think the conversation about a truly Christian view of sexuality had better have more in it than, "Don't watch porn, and don't fornicate." A spokesman is only as good as his view of the world.

Abortion Politics, Reconsidered (Feminism Still Sucks)

I would not say that I know anything about the matter under discussion, primarily because I am not a woman. At this point, for legions of people, that's the end of the discussion. We should call out that intellectual laziness whenever it appears. Nobody gets a pass on considering the moral question, regardless of their sex. Side note: I said "sex" because "gender" is a fabricated word, created to confuse people.

I wouldn't say I know for sure that every politician who says crazy things while advocating for abortion is seared in their conscience, and possibly suffering post-abortive emotional wounds. That's true in many cases, but surely not in all.

I think it's more about belonging. There are now several generations of people who will not, and cannot, re-consider the morality of abortion because a "woman's right to choose" means, "The right to not be told what to do." It means feminism; it means freedom.

We might say that feminism has sold them a bill of goods in the first place, and that is true. But as long as feminism is associated with female empowerment, we won't win the fight against abortion.

I saw an article the other day, and it said something like, "Every time I see a man say he doesn't need feminism, I want to vomit." Well, sorry, ma'am, but I don't need feminism, and neither do you.

We all need to be affirmed and appreciated in our gifts and in using them; we all need to be loved as the people we are, even if that person needs to change. I'm willing to say that there might even be a cultural imbalance in how the sexes are appreciated that favors men. What I won't say is that we need feminism.

Feminism is a movement to acquire political and social power for women at the expense of all men. The last few words are the key. Just because you want to elevate women in certain situations does not mean you are a feminist. Just because you deplore sexual violence doesn't make you a feminist; perhaps, like me, you deplore various mixed messages sent to women and girls; you're still not a feminist. If, however, the way forward is the subjugation of men, and the vicious power structure that encourages them, you might be a feminist. They may count several "enlightened" men as allies, but they resent them. Sorry, fellas: If you are telling a woman you agree with her feminist politics for sex, it's not going to happen. A true feminist won't even reconsider the matter when she is what we used to call a "spinster." She would rather be unhappy than to stop blaming men for all the problems in the world. Paging Maureen Dowd!

My rant for the day.

Monday, September 08, 2014

5 Thoughts For Tonight

5. There are 2 songs that AUTOMATICALLY make me happier: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," by Wham!, and "I Love Your Smile," by Shanice. I'm sorry. But not.

4. It's hard to think of a modern dance song that isn't obscene. Good luck.

3. Even the ones I named are mildly suggestive, and pretty old.

2. I love the romantic ballad, "For You," by Kenny Lattimore, but it's certainly an example of the Great Song Divorce Coefficient, which is more than slightly depressing.

1. The same band that gave us "Always," Atlantic Starr, also gave us the disturbingly popular ode to adultery, "Secret Lovers." That's messed up.

The Implications Of Principles

I don't say, "Hurry up and become an atheist" as a real suggestion, or as an accusation that someone actually is one. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I know that most of the people reading this are Christians, or at least thinking about it. I'm counting on that. I'm counting on the fact that you'll be repulsed by the knowledge that a principle applied consistently will lead in the opposite direction of where you intend. The same thing happened to me.

It's not meant as an offense, especially with those who wrestle to be consistent with good principles, and to reject bad ones. Most of the wrestling in fact comes from the effort of knowing the difference. I'm direct because it was direct in my heart and mind.

The whisper of conscience and the Holy Spirit is pretty insistent. It's Him I'm attempting to echo. If I do it imperfectly because I'm a jerk, (very likely) then that's fine. Don't listen to me. I still know that God is the one whose voice will not be silent. No one else's voice mattered; not Bryan's, not Larry's, not Carol's. You can't read a line in a book that will "prove" the Catholic Church is the Church beyond all question. It's not going to happen. But she has very good evidence, and if you consider all that, and aren't convinced, I'll charitably assume you really are smarter than me.

If God Says Something

Let us leave aside what has been already said, and zoom in for a moment on supernatural revelation and communication. It is no trouble to grant that man would not be able to receive revealed truth from God unless he were assisted. In fact, he has been assisted. But if we are to say that salvation rests in the assent and application of divinely revealed truths, then man's deficiency must be overcome. It would seem that this has not been difficult, for the prophets have spoken infallibly even under the first covenant. One obvious reason why God would cause this to occur is that he wishes to be known, and in that knowledge, humanity may obtain salvation. Even granting that salvation does not consist solely in knowledge, but in love, we call to mind the axiom that one cannot love what one does not know.

God wishes to be known, and man has the capacity to know. The question is therefore, "To whom has God made Himself known?" In the first place, the patriarchs, Moses, and those who succeeded him. Though God was never averse to sharing His mercy outside of Israel, their centrality in the plan of God was understood by them, and those they encountered. We all know of Korah's rebellion. There was an authorized spokesman then; why not now?

My interlocutor reminds me that the Councils did not occur in a vacuum. That's really the point: It doesn't matter what the bishops had cluttering their minds and hearts; what comes out is the work of God. There is no principled reason to accept the Council of Nicea as true, and reject all others. Likewise, there is no reason to prefer the orthodox reading of the Scriptures, either. Here is the billion-dollar question, and I really want you to think and pray about this: Would we even know what "orthodoxy" was, without the Catholic Church?

This is why I'm not terribly enamored of enumerating all of the great truths that come out of Lutheranism, or the Anglican Communion; to borrow something I said earlier, I've seen this movie before. The distinctions are what matters, because those distinctions make the difference between a Lutheran and a Catholic. If they didn't, we wouldn't bother discussing it. This should, by the way, murder any notion that we are united in those essentials that people are going on about. Or I suppose the polite word is "distinctives." Well, I'll save you some time: the "distinctives" are important, and supremely so. That's why I appreciate those who hold unswervingly to those distinctives, no matter their origin or content. In my mind as a Catholic, I think of it this way: There is theological meaning in historical, dogmatic, and ecclesial continuity. The basis for the Catholic Church's claim to be the Church Christ founded is in fact this continuity, and that it has its origin in God who reveals.

If Nicea is the work of God, then the Catholic Church is the Church. It was under the authority of the Bishop of Rome, and the bishops in communion with him. If he had somehow hijacked the true Church from someone else, nobody there seemed to mind. Well, those people you named minded; but they don't count, right? Let's be plain for a moment: Why would the Church treat a dissenter from Trent any differently than a dissenter from Nicea? It's ad hoc to say it was a heroic defense of the faith in the first, and a needless abuse of power in the second.

You object that I presuppose a visible Church, and that it's Catholic. In the first case, it must be. A fundamentally invisible Church calls the Holy Spirit a liar. Two mutually exclusive doctrines concerning the same thing cannot both come from God, and thus, be true. This is why I turned in my own journey to how the visible communities function. It proved to me that the Church had to be visible. If you try someone for heresy, but you have already decided that the Church is not limited to this community or that one, but somehow spans them all, both the punishers and the punished may believe legitimately they are correct. That is, still in the Church! Literally, who's to say? What are you going to do? Invent a category of super-duper heresy, that somehow actually means the heretic is going to Hell? On whose authority? Just reason this out with me: In order for that to stick, the church must be visible, and it must be, at least in certain circumstances, infallible. Say this for Calvin: he at least had the guts to say that if you didn't agree with him and his community, you were headed for Hell. That little voice in our head tells us (rightly) that Jesus didn't leave the keys in the hands of a random French guy in Switzerland in 1540 or so. Actually, nothing Jesus does concerning eternal life gets lost, and needs "recovering." I digress. Suffice to say this: Nobody goes to eternal fire for violating the rules of the 'ol boys club. If your community is not divinely infallible, at least in certain circumstances, feel free to completely ignore what they say. "If God didn't say it, it doesn't matter." Not eternally, anyway. Isn't this why your ecclesiology is collapsing? The world of Sola Scriptura creates a million "Here I stand; I can do no other" moments, maybe even each day, and whether those are good or bad is a matter of taste.

Let me be clear: I think the appeal to "historic Christian orthodoxy" is a good one. I daresay only that you have failed to realize the full implications of its reality; it does not need fashioning or rebuilding, at least not in the main. Where we agree, we agree. What of the rest of it?

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Don't Need Infallibility? Hurry Up And Become An Atheist

From a Facebook comment:

Jamie Stober "It doesn't bother my Lutheran mind that the Councils have the possibility of erring. God does not fail. We do not get to order his words or works of providence. The Father provided the Son in flesh for us because he loved us and we needed saving, not because we decided on Christ's atonement and commanded it from below to God on high. Historically, we can trust the Christological Councils as faithful witnesses to the Holy Scriptures' witness about the Incarnate Word and Holy Trinity because of the miraculous consensus among Christians that has surrounded them. . Explain to me how 99% of Christendom throughout history has accepted the substance of the Christological Councils' teachings about Jesus in light of the confusion about who He was that existed among many in the early Church on into the tumultuous times of the later Christological Councils and the confusion of a few a heretical Christians that has continued today. There is really no need for a few Arians', Cathars', Socinians', Christadelphians', JWs',and Latter-Day Saints' denials, or for the Roman Catholic apologist's need for philosophical infallibility to believe anything concerning religion steal from Protestants the ability to believe and teach the ancient Councils as true witnesses to Jesus Christ on the basis that they teach what Scripture teaches and that their acceptance and validity has been as miraculous and perspicuous to Christians on the level that Old Testament miracles were to those who witnessed them with their own eyes and did not require the authority of an infallible Church Magisterium to believe what they saw was true and have their accounts later become what we know as the Old Testament. All Protestants need in order to faithfully believe and use the creeds of the Christological Councils is to accept that they are true on the basis that they teach what Scripture teaches and that they were and are providential witnesses to true faith in the Father, Son (both before and after the Incarnation), and Holy Spirit, given from above when they could least be expected and were most needed. express They have been believed by a miraculous near-consensus of followers of Jesus ever since."

We've got a few problems. Firstly, the distinguishing feature of divine revelation is in fact infallibility, because God cannot err, and he cannot lie. God cannot bind us to the contents of such if we do not know what he said. Give up on it if you want, but it's a bullet-train headed for agnosticism, and I'm not going. Secondly, there is no principled reason to accept the first 2 ecumenical councils, and not all others, and to accept them on the basis in which they were put forward: as the most solemn invocation of the Church's authority. The same Church headed visibly by the successor of Peter. Thirdly, I deny that Christendom outside the Catholic Church is united in anything, save their non-Catholicism. It's an arbitrary decision, to make once-central doctrines into non-essentials, and without consent, no less.

It is in fact when we remove the bad-faith assumption from the Noltie Conundrum (that the other person lacks the Holy Spirit) that Sola Scriptura collapses very fast, because it becomes a theological problem in the strict sense. I am left with 2 possibilities: Either the Holy Spirit is lying/confused, or this is the wrong way to find out what God is saying, and has said. Gotta go with (B).

I could not account for the faith of the early Church without the authority of the Catholic Church, which means that the Catholic Church is Christ's own. In order to believe otherwise, I would have to believe that the God of Israel, the God of faithfulness, who never ceased to send true prophets, no matter the stubbornness of His people, decided--even after the coming of His Son, who promised to protect the Church and draw all men to Himself--that God gave up on this, and said essentially, "Do the best you can." I don't think so.

The beauty of it is, Christians are treasures which belong to the Catholic Church. The problem with your average fundamentalist isn't that he believes in Truth; it's that he is a Church unto himself. And if you find what's true in what he says, underneath the "paint"'s Catholic. I can respect the biblicist's desire for truth. His rude awakening is simply the fact that when he's right, he's not as original as he thinks.