Skip to main content


Showing posts from October 19, 2014

"Reformed Catholicity" Is A Word-Game For Smart People With Too Much Time

I would rather someone pick up a Bible and say, "Based on this string of passages, your doctrine is wrong here, here, and here" than someone who wants to claim the universal faith AND the right to interpret the Bible his own way. If you're Reformed, you're not Catholic. To say that you are truly "catholic" is a claim, which (blessedly) is made by both the Reformed and the Catholic Church. But you have to give each group credit: they want unity as far as possible, but they don't pretend it's closer than it is. They don't pretend that the differing dogmas are just semantics. But that's why the historical challenge is so devastating from the Catholic Church: She points back in history and says, "To the extent we agree, was it not formed here at the Council? Was not the Holy Father the head of the apostolic college even then? Are not the heroes of the early battles in the visible Church Catholic heroes?" Biblicism cannot account for t

5 Thoughts While Listening To Michael Bolton

5. This cat could top the charts with "Happy Birthday To You." Man alive. 4. Just so we understand each other, there is a 0% chance I'm not buying the new Streisand "Partners" album. Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Lionel, and John Legend. Are you kidding? She could have slept through the entire album, and it would still rule. 3. He doesn't know how he's supposed to live without you, but man, it sounds good. 2. I don't know what the Isley Brothers were upset about. "Love Is A Wonderful Thing" was a huge hit for Bolton, and a much better version. They sued it out of existence, even though they'll get royalties until their grandkids are 97. You make pop music, not life-saving drugs. Get over yourself. 1. Eeek, what an awful song! I can't believe Bolton lost the case! Nothing alike.

"anywhere in a Catholic rite" (CCC, 2180)

I take "Catholic rite" to mean, "in communion with the Bishop of Rome." Otherwise, the Sunday obligation is not fulfilled by a presence at even a true Eucharist celebrated by those not in communion with him, unless no other option exists. That's my read of it, unless I'm missing something. Feel free to attend an Orthodox liturgy; just go to a Catholic one, also.

5 Thoughts For Today

5. I'd say the Incarnation proves God is pretty "man-centered," but that's just me. 4. You could just say, "I don't believe you are saved, and thus, I accord your Scriptural arguments no consideration." It would save me time. 3. The logical consequence of having a makeshift "magisterium of scholarship" is being at the mercy of majority scholarly opinion, as in the opinion that John 8:1-8 isn't really in the Bible, or Mark 16:9-20. Put this in your, "Conservative Protestantism is liberal Protestantism waiting to happen" file. 2. I could have gone to worship with the Lutherans (or the soon to be formed Reformed) or to a Catholic Mass, in 15-something. What I can't get you to understand, Reformed Biblicist Guy, is exactly the power of this question: What makes you right, and the papist wrong? It does no good to point back from today to Calvin or whomever, because in that time, all options are live. The question of authority

Outside A State Of Grace, And Fear

I'm in this debate forum with Catholics and Reformed, and the Reformed keep saying, "Catholic doctrine compels one to conclude that one could and does go from regenerate to unregenerate and back again. And that's no way to live." Let me tell you about that. I would not say I know for certain that I'd have gone to Hell if I died. God's mercy is... But I know the worst part of judging yourself unworthy to receive the Eucharist, the Bread of Life, is that when you're really stuck, you don't care. Lesser sins really don't do what the grave ones do. You can experience what it means to cut yourself off from God. There is no doubt of it; we are different people at times like that. You lose the direction of your life; you sense yourself choosing against what you know to be true, because something earthly is preferable, for any number of reasons. But mercy comes again. God says, "Hey! This isn't what you want. This isn't who you are. Com

I Get That It Gets You, Leticia

I enjoyed it . But then, I like pop, and I like Madonna, in spite of herself. There is something about "faith and sex and God," as Counting Crows say. McLaren is right about that, even if he doesn't know much of what he speaks. This isn't the first time I've read your blog, by the way. If you are a "crazy-face," we need a few more. Grace teaches us the twin truth that we have no right to be in communion with God, but here we are, provided that we continue in His kindness. I come to know that this continuing does not consist in effort, but in giving and receiving. If it had been said that we are passive in the reception of grace by various dissenters, its kernel of truth is that grace is not native or natural to us.

Read This. Seriously.

Of course, we Catholics don't believe "religion" and "politics" are like the potatoes and lima beans on the plate of life which should never touch. Buahaha! But seriously, someone have the stones to challenge the Johnson Amendment!  So long as we weren't lurching toward tyranny, it'd be fun to watch avowed secularists and relativists (attempt to) explain why their morality should be imposed on churches and ecclesial communities, even if those groups flouted the prohibitions of the law. What inherent authority (beyond good old monopolies on coercive force) would sanction the taxation of groups who refused to comply? Just dare them to take away the tax exemption. What common good justifies the restriction of political activities by churches? I can't think of one. There is a difference between accepting pluralism to an extent for peace, and making pluralism the highest civic virtue. You probably know for whom your pastor voted. You know who he might

Theologians Speak Heresy

Shocking, I know. Yet it's not only because they are wrong--though they might be, depending on the context--or that they lack any shred of living faith in any form, though of course, that's entirely possible. There are other contexts where you need the freedom to be wrong, to consider even the logical outcome of the most odious theological conclusions. Speculative theology, for one. So, I think this is the main reason the Holy Father was so...conciliatory toward positions I'm sure he could readily identify as "temptations" or even occasions for sin. He doesn't know precisely why they are being offered in any one case, and even if he did, he doesn't ever close the door on an opportunity for conversion, even a bishop! When we say "conversion," by the way, we mean the ongoing process of being conformed to the image of Christ. So, a justified person undergoes conversion; an unjustified person certainly could. Obviously, I was confused by this for a l

Gravy Train, Thy Name Is Fred Noltie

I should like subscribe by e-mail or something. How did I miss this most recent post ? Was I asleep when they taught that section of the Catechism? [No, man. It's like Dukeman et al. say: no one reads the Catechism.--ed.] I aspire to! Somebody is! I would look quizzically at the CINOs in college (let the reader understand) who told me they got "days" instead of absolution. They boasted about it. I never knew why until I heard the stories of St. John Vianney, who could read souls. He'd tell you he knows you're not repentant, so come back in 3 days. It's not even a hard bar to clear: if you want to be free of a "besetting sin," in the evangelical parlance, he'll absolve you, even if he knows you may need practice in virtue before it's gone. Anyway, the Church is exceedingly merciful these days, but it's not "mercy" to say sin is no longer sin. I used to feel like some of my readers: call down fire from Heaven on all the sinner

Important Things Are Often Not Complicated

It's like this for a ton of things. In baseball, sometimes winning and losing is separated by a base hit up the middle, or a bunt. In theology, if your idea of the "Church" leads unquestionably to mutually exclusive doctrines concerning the same question coexisting, it must be false. That which Christ promised to protect is not the US Senate. I realize that this opens up unpleasant and scary possibilities, but trust me, you will not die, and Jesus is waiting for you.

11 vs. 15

Nope, it's not a Grand Slam bracket when Federer has a bad day; it's the dilemma that made me a Catholic. Here's the Westminster Confession Of Faith, Chapter XI, "Of Justification" in its entirety:  I.Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies; [1]  not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, [2]  they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God. [3] II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: [4]  yet is it not alone in the person justified, bu