Playing at Religion

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Kennedy Canonization

After his presiding over the canonization funeral mass of Ted Kennedy, read all about it here , I have expected little from Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, but his latest stunt does seem to sum up the essential fecklessness of the man:


Cdl. Sean O’Malley is considered the closest American to the pope, if not his “BFF”. Considering how bursting with ecumenism O’Malley is, it’s no mystery why.

“Cardinal O’Malley, female Methodist pastor team up on ritual” (January 14, 2014, The Patriot Ledger)

“What moved me was not so much that I was anointing him,” she said. “It was him being willing to accept that from my hand – to ask me, as a woman in ministry, to do that.” … She paused with the priest at the cardinal’s pew, so they could receive the baptism water from Cardinal O’Malley. The next moment, the cardinal quietly asked the Rev. Robertson to administer the water for him. “My heart immediately went to my throat,” she said. “To be asked that by the man who might be pope someday – I was stunned. I was choking back tears for hours.”

Go here to FideCogitActio to read the rest.  Pope Francis has highlighted what he believes are some problem areas within the Church.   May I humbly suggest that one of the main problems within contemporary Catholicism is that too many people in positions of power within the Church give every indication that they do not really believe what the Church teaches and are merely playing at religion.  A fake shepherd is worse than no shepherd at all.

Update:  The clergyperson who “anointed” the Cardinal has written about the experience.  The money quote:

And then, as the two of us stood there together, Cardinal O’Malley looked me in the eye and asked me to anoint him.  I did.  The divorced, Scotch Protestant clergywoman anointed the Irish Catholic Cardinal in front of a pew of Catholic clergy and a Catholic Bishop, any one of whom would probably have given their eye teeth to have the honor.  I choked back sobs all the way to the overflow room.


At the root of the word “significance” is the word “sign,” and that is what occurred in that moment of anointing.  You don’t get to be a Cardinal by being unaware of the significance of your public acts.  In a completely spontaneous moment, Cardinal O’Malley seized the opportunity of signifying the truth of Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”  Which is, of course, also the truth of baptism.

In that moment of anointing–as he anointed me and I anointed him–we were not Protestant or Catholic, Scotch or Irish, male or female, cardinal or clergywoman.  We were Christians, babes in Christ, spiritually naked before the Lord who called us both to service.  Nothing could have better signified what everyone in that room had just reaffirmed.  In baptism, we are one.

The things that came to divide us after our baptism exist still.  There was a reason beyond the accident of the day that we celebrated a reaffirmation of our baptism together and not Holy Communion.  There are uncomfortable realities even in the world of Protestants, even in the world of United Methodists, that resulted in me being the only vested clergywoman of any kind in that service.  And there were other symbols of unity that it was not even possible to signify because those exclusions run too deep still.

It was imperfect.  In a perfect world this reflection would not exist because a a United Methodist clergywoman anointing a Roman Catholic Cardinal would be routine and unremarkable.  In a perfect world Cardinal O’Malley and I would preside together at the Lord’s Table.  In a perfect world I might preside with a Cardinal Brighid O’Malley. 


More to explorer

Keeping a Promise

As faithful readers of this blog know, I was a very reluctant, and late, supporter of Donald Trump in 2016.  I grudgingly


  1. In the name of Ecumenism, Cardinal O’Malley has signed onto “Hope and Change”. He Hopes the Church will Change by embracing the feminine priesthood. Will revised Dogma soon follow in the name of developed Revelation?

    The good Cardinal didn’t let a little thing like 2000 years of Church Tradition get in the way of his progressive pastoral initiative; Ted Kennedy would be pleased.

  2. “In fairness he had his baptismal vows renewed by a fellow baptised Christian. Is that necessarily a bad thing?”

    He is, God help us, a Prince of the Church, not a Methodist. His action was farcial unless he was attempting to make a point contrary to Church teaching.

  3. I’m not sure exactly in which way he contradicted Church teaching here unless I’m missing something. There is only one baptism and Methodists validly administer it as well as any other laypeople do.

    I have much more of an issue with Cardinals presiding at funerals of pro abortion “Catholics” than ecumenical gestures such as this.

  4. Honestly, is this REALLY a surprise?

    ……where did I put that lava lamp, my old VW, those old cool pink courduroy bell bottoms, those love beads……..

    Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end……..but they are coming back!

    I wonder, didn’t I see Jorge at Woodstock? I seem to remember……..

  5. “1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon. In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize, by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.”

    Needless to say there was no necessity at all in this silly gesture.

  6. I’ve read Canon Law too. This wasn’t a sacrament it was a layperson reminding a Cardinal to remember and be grateful for his baptism. It wasn’t a baptism and still can’t see how it contravenes Canon Law.

    If a lady in re street says to me, “Remember you received Holy Communion and be grateful.” I’d probably nod politely – I wouldn’t think she’s attempting to give me communion.

  7. So the Cardinal submitted to a ritual that he regarded as meaningless just to please the ministress? Please. I rather suspect that even if he is as much of a buffoon as Cardinal O’Malley gives every sign of being, he thought that it was rather more important than that, especially considering all the hoopla that this event received in the press:

  8. “…as a woman in ministry…”

    I think this is the key quote. Its not that she is a Methodist minister reminding the Cardinal to follow his Baptismal promises. Its that a woman in ministry is offering it. I don’t know what meaning Methodists attach to sacramentals like this but she appears to consider it of substance and the particular import is linked to her gender.

  9. The key thing is surely what do we as Catholics consider her to be? She isn’t ordained a priest (the Methodist community doesn’t and can’t do that) and so in the eyes of the Church she is a fellow baptised Christian

    When Pope Benedict XVI entered Westminster Abbey in England he warmly met male and female Anglican ministers and rightly so: they represent a separated Christian community and their female ministries are as valid as their male ones.

  10. “they represent a separated Christian community and their female ministries are as valid as their male ones.”
    Pope Benedict did not submit to an “anointing” by any of them I am sure. Catholics do no good by submitting to such pernicious mummery. Pope Benedict’s Anglican ordinariate is a model of true ecumenicalism, and is the way the Church dealt with “separated brethren” until the day before yesterday in historical terms.

  11. What’s your definition of “pernicious mummery”?

    As Catholics, presuming we actually believe Apostolicae Curae the anointing wasn’t an anointing in any sacramental sense whatsoever.

    I do agree that the Odinariate is an excellent example if true oecumenism.

    How about we all agree that we can pray at least one Hail Mary for this lady, for her conversion to the Church and that she might find a ministry here – perhaps handing mantillae out to other ladies before High Mass?

  12. “What’s your definition of “pernicious mummery”?”
    Engaging in a fake religious ritual that you do not believe in.

    “How about we all agree that we can pray at least one Hail Mary for this lady, for her conversion to the Church and that she might find a ministry here – perhaps handing mantillae out to other ladies before High Mass?”

    Agreed! Judging from her blog she needs all the prayers she can get!

  13. “The key thing is surely what do we as Catholics consider her to be? ”

    No, I think the key is what does everyone consider this to mean. Clearly to the minister, it is a woman in ministry issue.

  14. This incident makes it rather obvious the catholic church in america has been corrupted. Stick to the real church and hang on for dear life – eternal life.

  15. Christopher Ferrara and The Latin Mass have been making the case for over a decade that the fandango of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue has been malignant in ways few people appreciate.

  16. “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins” Catholics confess this each Sunday whether we say it in Latin or the vernacular. While the ancient baptismal creed spoke only of the ‘forgiveness of sins’: the fruit of Christ’s Death and Resurrection and the action of the Holy Spirit, the Fathers at Nicea wanted to ‘nail this one down’ since there had been a great deal of confusion, and worse, actual dissent and schism over the issue.

    Even the great Saint Cyprian of Carthage did not ‘get it’. He and the bishops of North Africa refused to recognize the baptism administered by the heretics of the time, and insisted on rebaptizing them when they sought to come home to Holy Mother Church. Nonetheless, he was opposed by Pope Saint Stephen who claimed apostolic tradition as the grounds of his teaching: that anyone baptized by water and the Name of the Most Blessed Trinity was indeed baptized. Saint Cyprian, who wrote such a great treatise o Church Unity almost took the whole of North Africa into schism with him over this issue. It took a great deal of letter writing on both Stephen and Cyprian’s part to even begin to sort things out [BTW in those days the Church used persuasive arguments as the means of communicating teaching etc]

    I don’t see Cardinal O’Malley as going against Catholic teaching at all but instead upholding it-that which has been handed down from Apostolic times and was enshrined in the Nicean Creed

  17. Botolph: “Even the great Saint Cyprian of Carthage did not ‘get it’. He and the bishops of North Africa refused to recognize the baptism administered by the heretics of the time, and insisted on rebaptizing them when they sought to come home to Holy Mother Church.”
    I again agree with everything you say. However. I see to St. Cyprian’s mistrust of the heretics. If the heretics do not know or understand the Faith, how can they do the Sacrament of Baptism the right way. Therefore, conditional Baptism must be done. Here, Cardinal O’Malley is present to witness to the correctness of the Sacrament, whereas, St. Cyprian was not present to witness. St Cyprian had to concern himself first with the soul of the baptized then with the souls of the heretics.

  18. I was taught with the Baltimore Catechism. We were told back then that anyone can baptize, even an atheist (as wild as that sounds lol) if they have the intention of baptizing the person with water and the Name of the Blessed Trinity.

    Of course ‘heretics’ do not agree with other teachings of the Church. That is their ‘nature’ however, if they have the intention of administering Christian baptism it is the Sacrament of Baptism period. The Church only administers conditional baptism if there is a real doubt about whether the person was ever baptized at all [for example Salvation Army, Quakers] or if the form of the rite was problematic: for example some Evangelicals baptize in the Name of Jesus or mainline Protestant churches who baptize in the Name of the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.

  19. English Catholic you’re pretty sassy. That is offensive to me “perhaps handing mantillae out to other ladies before High Mass?” You may think it is funny to suggest that as a proper role for a woman is the church…but really- How rude and what a terrible misunderstanding of mass and the women who cover their heads.
    ” mantillae” … a person decides to wear a head covering for deeply personal reasons.

    This woman did not anoint the cardinal. you don’t anoint with water. The rituals and practices of the Church are heavy laden with symbolism and the symbolism of what the Cardinal did there is murky and difficult to understand.

  20. Anzlyne,

    Perhaps the issue here is a cultural linguistic one. English Catholic is…English while almost all the rest of us are American. Assume it was not meant as a rub etc. I have no problem with mantillae -a lot better than the little pieces of tissue I remember women and girls put on their heads when making a visit etc, way back when I was a boy.

    As for the ‘little ceremony” I don’t find it murky (of course we can disagree). It is simply a reminder of baptism applied in much the same way we have ashes applied. As for the woman doing this….my mother would ‘anoint’ my head with holy water every night when I was going to bed. I don’t find a problem with what my mother did or this ‘little ritual’

  21. EnglishCatholic- God Bless all English Catholics.

    But, that bottom image looks odd.

    A woman dressed in Preist-like garb, blessing a Cardinal of the Catholic Church…

    I place no fault on the female “minister”, as I actually believe she was thrilled at “blessing” a Cardinal.

    The Cardinal hasnt violated any laws, but a mature-aged Cardinal of The Catholic Church partaking in washy washy kumbaya hoopla? Surely you can understand the cringe-factor of this scenario…

    It doesn’t compare to Mary Magdalen washing the feet of Jesus with her tears.

    The latter was a gesture done out of remorse and the pleading for forgiveness for her broken soul.

    But this just can’t be taken seriously, as much as you try.

  22. My problem (Boy, have I got problems!) with priestesses and such-like is that I don’t see them being filled with zeal for the glory of God or ardor for the salvation of souls.

    I see them as being filled with the

    O, yeah! Lo the noble heretic . . .

  23. 1st Timothy chapter 2

    9 also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire 10 but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion.11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. 12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness and modesty

  24. You know one of the most ironic things history/history of the Church reveals to us is that one of the major criticisms of the Reformers was that they thought the Catholic Church gave far too much ‘authority’ to women. As we do now, the Church had abbeys of women led by abbesses in full garb including a modified mitre and crozier (just as their counterparts, the Abbots did/do) Smaller religious houses had prioresses, who, although not at the authority level of an abbess, nonetheless carried a great deal of clout.

    At night prayer the abbess blesses her flock with holy water, making the sign of the cross and it was/is understood that all venial sins were forgiven.

    These women, as heads of their institutions would be in charge of great tracks of land and even had lay people working under them on the farms etc.

    Yet not one of them was considered to be a priest or bishop. The Catholic Church has never had women priests or bishops, and never will.

    The Protestant Reformers not only rejected the three vows but especially rejected this amount authority given to women. According to their view of Scripture women belonged in the home only. It is from them we get the phrase “barefoot and pregnant”. That is not Catholic in any way.

    Now we have the Protestant churches with women ‘ministers’. I wonder what Luther, Calvin and Cranmer would make of all this lol

  25. Botolph, can Catholic parents have their child validly baptized into the Catholic faith by having the baptism performed in an Anglican or Presbyterian Church or whichever church was closest to them.

    I know I’m going out on a limb with this question, but it seems to be relevant on the question of Church Unity. Does Catholic baptism convery anything different from a Protestant baptism?

  26. Slainte,

    Ahhhhhhhh. You are not going out on a limb at all-at least not with me 😉 The answer is “no” but let me explain the reason.

    By baptism (by water and the Name of the Most Blessed Trinity) a person is baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ which subsists in the Catholic Church. While the baptism would indeed be a ‘valid baptism’ in say a Methodist church (given the minister’s church in the above storyline) a child baptized in that church while truly baptized would already be separated from the full communion of the Catholic Church.

    Let’s say we are living under a persecution of such an extent that there is no Catholic church for hundreds perhaps thousands of miles, yet there was a Protestant Church right down the street [they too probably would be persecuted now a days but let’s just give this] It would be better for you yourself to baptize your child, because the child would not be baptized into automatic separation from the Catholic Church. Same with schismatic churches, Orthodox etc. Make sense?

    The baptism is real. We share one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. However their baptism initiates a person into separation from the Catholic Church

  27. So whatever the Methodist Minister did with Cardinal O’Malley was essentially a symbolic event.
    But as it appears he also baptized her, he thus brought her into the fullness of the Catholic Church.

  28. While I was not there, it is safe to say that all they were doing was ‘renewing’ their own baptism, and then simply blessing each other with holy water. She did not make him a Methodist nor he make her a Catholic.

    BTW I can understand the ‘shock’ of seeing this in a picture etc without any preparation (catechesis-which I assume went on there) or real sense of what it did mean. That’s why I am not shocked at any reactions in here. I think people who love the Church very much have been expressing their concern. The thing is is to get under ‘the picture’ to what was really going on-vis a vis in terms of Catholic teaching [traditional at that] Am I making sense?

  29. I wasn’t shocked. I think the photo sends a confusing message. To those within Catholicism who believe that Tradition will allow a feminine priesthood, it gives hope when a Prince of the Church is baptized (or renewed) by a female protestant minister.
    For others, it’s just inclear what is happening and requires interpretation…as you did when you had to dig under to discern what was occurring.
    It is reminiscent of this….

    “Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, gave the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart for an ‘ordination’ ceremony of new Methodist ministers in Texas. The event, which took place on May 28, 2013, was presided over by Methodist ‘bishop’ Janice Riggle Huie, who appears above ‘ordaining’ a ‘woman priest.’…”

    At the end of the day, I want unity but always envisioned unity as leading protestants back to Catholicism.

  30. Slainte,

    Yes, the picture does send a confusing message. Photos do that as do television etc. Ever wonder what a non-believer thinks when clicking through TV and come upon one of the many Masses televised? I don’t want this practice to stop for the sake of the elderly and shutins but in the early Church only fully baptized-confirmed Catholics were present during the Liturgy of the Eucharist-even Catechumens had to leave at the end of the Liturgy of the Word. Or ever wonder what people are thinking if they see one of our Eucharistic processions going through the streets? We all know what we are doing and Who is present in the monstrance but especially non-believers or non-Christians? Pictures cannot catch the levels of meaning which are indeed present [I am not comparing this little para-liturgy with the Cardinal and minister to the Mass or an Eucharistic Procession but I think you can get my drift.

    To be honest I have a problem with a Catholic cathedral being used for an ‘ordination’ of any other church or ecclesial community’s bishop. So no argument from me on that. Although I can understand the good intentions behind it.

    We are approaching the Prayer for Christianity Unity Octave [January 18-25th]. Each of us and all of us must be involved with this prayer, however, rest assured, the unity can only be in the One Church of Jesus Christ which subsists in the Catholic Church.

    BTW we are also being asked by the American bishops to set aside this time and pray for the return to a respect for human life from the moment of conception until natural death, an end to abortion, all forms of euthanaisia etc.

  31. Botolph writes, “…. Or ever wonder what people are thinking if they see one of our Eucharistic processions going through the streets?..”
    The first time I walked in a procession (Corpus Christi two years ago) I felt very strange and self conscious as well; I think we Connecticut-ites are a little protestantized in our reactions…although there was a great beauty and reverence to the procession. We said the Rosary as we paraded with Jesus in the monstrance.
    Just received notice from my diocese about the Right to Life March in Washington…and a novena in connection with children who have been lost to abortion. The season of life is upon us!

  32. anzlyne,

    I’m not sure why the wearing of a mantilla is offensive to you.

    In the church I go to in Hong Kong (exclusively the old rite) – they have given girls roles such as giving a book to the Mass goers or a mantilla to ladies who don’t have one. Girls don’t serve Mass but they do the collection – they have found ways of including women and girls without going against tradition.

  33. didn’t make myself clear. I have no problem with mantillas or any head covering, tisuue or not, that is used to honor God. Why be bothered by that? It is a personal choice of a way of relating to God the Father. Some people dress up for Sunday Mass, others don’t. Up to them.. How we dress has to do with our personal relationship to God and our understanding of ways a person can honor him. Some people kneel to receive communion on the tongue, others stand and take it in their own hand. Personal choice.

    1 Mantillas are generally used by more traditional Catholic women.
    2 The Methodist woman and her actions are not seen as traditional.. The actions could be seen as new, freeing, liberal, revolutionary, thought provoking – any number of things but not “traditional”
    3 The sauce lies in saying that a proper job for this non traditional woman to do as a woman in the church is to hand out what has come to signify a traditional woman…..before “high” Mass.

    The implications of the Cardinal’s action are not clear- His actions signify different things to different people, depending on their personal understanding of authority, rites, ordination.
    Anne’s ruminations conflate various things and near the end she says::
    “In a perfect world….a United Methodist clergywoman anointing a Roman Catholic Cardinal would be routine and unremarkable. In a perfect world Cardinal O’Malley and I would preside together at the Lord’s Table. In a perfect world I might preside with a Cardinal Brighid O’Malley.”


    Our mothers blessing us with holy water as children, even as adults, is marvelous. We children routinely blessed our mother with a sign of the cross on her forehead and a kiss at bedtime. We bless our friends and pray for them similarly in hospital visits. Great.
    However in a perfect world there Will be distinctions and certain roles to fill.
    Blessings depend a bit upon the authority of the giver of the blessing. Who is doing the blessing, with what authority? A priestly blessing is a sacramental. A priest can bless water and “make” holy water. I can’t do that. Methodists can’t either. In her dreams in a perfect world she could “preside” at the Lord’s table. No, that authority came from Jesus and is given in our present generation through apostolic succession.

    The pictures of this behavior by the Cardinal makes it more difficult for people to understand what the distinctions are and why. His behavior does seem like “playing at religion” without taking it seriously. Instead, clarity would help with advances in ecumenism

  34. The talk of priestesses is a little fanciful.

    Only the Catholic and Orthodoc Churches have a sacrificial priesthood.

    Anglican and other Protestant bodies have ministers sometimes wrongly called “priests” and “bishops” but they’re not. As. Catholics we recognise them as ministers of their faith and don’t deny their goodwill but I think we should be careful with our language.

    No Christian Church with valid ordinations has ordained women and if they attempted to it would be illicit.

  35. anzlyne,

    I’m still confused as to why you think it would be wrong to pray for the conversion of this lady and for her to become a traditional Catholic.

    I agree that clarity is important but we must recall that baptism is one of just two sacraments we have in common with Methodists.

  36. “If women prayed and prophecied in the early church, can we not assume they served a pastoral-like role?”

    No we can’t because there is zilch evidence of it in the historical record. Christians were noted for not having priestesses.

  37. PS: I do also think that as Christians we should presume the goodwill of those writing including the lady Methodist minister, the writer of the article and one another. Yes, let’s debate the issues but not presume to judge and condemn someone.

  38. Before that development, Donald, women prayed and prophecied and St. Paul speaks of his fellow-laborors, many of whom were women. Priscilla is listed before Aquila and Junia, it is argued, had quite a role to play in things. I think many Catholics and Protestants alike have been guilty of prooftexting to arrive at quick criteria for the ministry.

  39. “we should presume the goodwill”

    Why, when it is clear that she is motivated by feminism rather than Christianity? Presuming good will is as much a mistake as presuming ill will. Such things should be based on evidence and facts rather than presumptions.

  40. Donald,

    Apologies, we obviously come from different standpoints here. Let me explain mine: I am a traditional, Roman Catholic who believes all that the Church teaches to be revealed by God.

    Scripture, which the Church compiled states that Christ Himself said we should love one another. I know that some cafeteria catholics don’t seem to think that being charitable applies to them but as a Catholic, were I to publically attack someone’s goodwill (as opposed to their error) I would be sinning and would need to go to Confession.

  41. Jon,

    Easiest way to put this is this: churches that have ministers have rejected holy orders as Catholics have them [yes we did pre-exist the Reformation, in fact we go back to the beginning] Ministers and those in ministry do not share in the holy orders of the Catholic Church nor do they want to. Catholics have always had women in ministry [religious women in teaching, nursing, orphanages etc from the very beginning of the Church] However we have not had nor ever will have women priests or bishops. It is an impossibility, an impossiblity because Christ gave the order to the Church, not us.

  42. “Scripture, which the Church compiled states that Christ Himself said we should love one another.”
    And loving one another EC often means a fairly blunt relating of the Truth. I have not gone as far as Christ in calling people engaged in falsehood whited sepulchers, generation of vipers, etc., although I do understand the value of calling a spade a spade as He always did.

  43. We know from elsewhere that women were praying and prophecying, so it can’t be that women are prohibited from speaking.

  44. They could have been praying outside of the Church or they could have been disobeying the command of Saint Paul:

    “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.”

    1 Corinthians 14:34

    Don’t go wobbly in the legs on your Sola Scriptura now Jon!

  45. St. Paul instructed them to cover their heads when praying and prophecying. It seems this would have been in everyone’s midst.

  46. The praying to God of course would not have to be aloud. Additionally it would not have to be in Church. Men still remove their hats when prayers are said, and not just in Church.

    The seeming contradiction of course is resolved by reference to 1 Timothy 2:12:

    “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

    Saint Paul was not mandating absolute silence from women but rather silence in regard to filling the role of a priest.

  47. Mantillas are not offensive. I wear them and other head coverings myself. I never said I was against praying for anyone’s conversion- where did that idea come from?
    I like to anticipate goodwill. I apologize for my part in increasing confusion here by not making myself clear.

    The bringing up of the mantilla seemed incongruent with post and it seemed to me that to suggest the non traditional feminist be given a job handing out mantillas would be not only offensive to her, but also seemed to not recognize the personal meaning of the mantilla to the wearer as an expression of faith, not just an item to be handed out at random to people to wear, detaching meaningfulness from the wearing.

    It is wonderful to have lay people serve in various jobs handing out bulletins etc, Not necessarily boys or girls or old or young. It seems almost like we cater to a type of sibling rivalry between divisions of people – if the boys get to do this, what do the girls get. To me that’s the kind of thinking that leads to rivalry and jealousy about position.
    My concern is reading this news article is the apparently diminishing Church, sinking away into shades of gray pulled down by misguided democratization.

  48. Women could not prophecy in silence, Donald. The fact is that this is one issue for which many interpretations exist. It is difficult to clear it up or to reconcile what we’re reading in different places.

  49. To say the silence pertained to priest solves nothing. The term priest would have reminded them of the O.T. role attached to the Temple. The idea of the Roman Cathlic priest hadn’t yet arisen.

  50. “The fact is that this is one issue for which many interpretations exist. It is difficult to clear it up or to reconcile what we’re reading in different places.”

    It really isn’t difficult at all Jon and it points to women not having the role of priest, let alone bishop, in the Church from the earliest times.

  51. I’d like to see a lot more silence in church from everyone – not just women. Priests and readers who don’t pause for breath in the New Rite when the rubrics specifically require it and the canon of the Mass prayed aloud mean that the Mass nowadays allows very little time for personal prayer.

  52. Wrong Jon. The sacrifice of the mass was being offered from the earliest days of the Church:

    1 Corinthians 10:

    [16] The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? [17] For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread. [18] Behold Israel according to the flesh: are not they, that eat of the sacrifices, partakers of the altar? [19] What then? Do I say, that what is offered in sacrifice to idols, is any thing? Or, that the idol is any thing? [20] But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils.

    [21] You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of devils: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of devils.

  53. Donald, I don’t see how you can successfully reconcile all those verses in a way that adequately solves the prolbem. Schoalrs can’t get on the same page.
    Botolph, presbyter, elder, and bishop are synonomous in teh N. T. Priest is not a term for a role in the church. It was a role in the Temple with its sacrificial system. Now we have a great high Priest, as we learn, Jesus Christ the Rigteous ONe. And the doctrine we call the priesthood of believers because we are made a kingdom of priests unto God in Christ. Sound correct?

  54. Donald, we can quibble about words and call it diffeent things, and ofcourse it was there from the start. But to call it a sacrifice doesn’t make sense since it commemorates a sacrifice. It was a meal that held significance for it spoke to the communion of believers with each otehr in Christ who made that possible by his death and resurrection, who promised to return to bring the mission to completion. To call the meal a sacrifice wouldn’t really make sense.

  55. Jon

    Take a look at any good English dictionary that gives a history of the development of the word “priest” It comes from “presbyter” by way of Anglo-Saxon “Prester”. I will grant you that there was not a great distinction between episkopoi (bishops) and presbyters (priests) in the NT times but by 107 AD Saint Ignatius of Antioch writes that no Church calling itself a church does not have bishops priests and deacons. BTW read his seven letters. They are on line, easily accessible you will find the Catholic Church in his letters [even the role of Rome)

  56. “Donald, I don’t see how you can successfully reconcile all those verses in a way that adequately solves the prolbem.”

    There is no problem Jon. Women never served as priests or bishops in the Church and the teaching of Saint Paul shows how deeply rooted this teaching is.

  57. Jon,

    Yet Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 says “When we eat this Bread and Drink this Cup we proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes” That’s the Sacrifice of the Mass, Jon-from the beginning

  58. Botolph and DOnald:
    It is my contention that basic teachings came to be interpreted and developed in ways that went beyond their original meaning and application. It is true that bishops eventually oversaw churches that were run by pastors and that an episcopacy arose. I’m not saying all development is wrong. We improvise to an extent. But to turn the meal into a sacrificial Mass doesn’t really make sense. Neither does it make sense ot apply the term ‘priest’ to pastor/elder/presbyter/bishop.

  59. Jon,

    Yet the “Passover Meal” is considered to be a Sacrifice- look it up in Exodus 12-14. Also the ancient Todah [Thanksgiving] Sacrifice was a meal-of bread and wine-see Psalm 116 among others.

    As for your inability/ ‘refusal? to see presbyter as priest, any dictionary will bear it out. However Martin Luther was the first to quarrel with this–do you really want to base your arguments on a priest who lived in the 1500’s?

  60. Jon,

    The New Testament make it very clear to me that the Church always believed in the sacrifice of the Mass and The Gospel of John, chapter 6 emphasises the real presence in the strongest possible way. Terminology may change but the Church believes that Christ himself instituted the sacrifice of the Mass.


    Thank you. Yes, I agree a little cringeworthy but pales in comparison to other things bishops do and have done (eg laughing and joking with Obama the enemy of the unborn or presiding at the funeral of a rich and powerful pro-death politician.)

  61. Botolph, of course the passover was a sacrifice. THey would sacrifice the lamb that signified Christ. And Christ came and died and resurrected. So the sacrifice was fulfilled. This is a matter of fulfillment. As for Martin Luther, I really don’t care. I’m aiming for accuracy. The term priest pertained to the function of the priesthood in the Temple system. The New Testmantent redefines certain thins. Christ is our high priest. There is now a priesthood of beleivers in Christ. Why call the presbyter/elder/ bishop a priest? What would be the point of that? And why refer to the meal, now, as a sacrifice? This does not make any sense.

  62. English Catholic, I think you’re reading back into the text something that’s not there. I’ll admit the ritual meal is a mysterious thing. But I don’t get the notion of sacrifice at all. The notion of the sacrifice of the mass is something that grew up later on. But it’s very hard to explain this if someone is accepting chruch tradition wholesale. As for me, I distinguish between traditions that are scriptural or scripturally congruent and those that are not.

  63. Jon,

    The Church Fathers taught that the Mass was the true Sacrifice. It was not a new sacrifice but a participation in the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross. They understood that there are two parts to a sacrifice, the slaying of the victim and the offering up of the fruits. The Mass is the second part. Such a sacrifice was foretold in the Old Testament. In Malachi 1:11 we read: “From the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering, for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.” The sacrifice spoken of is not the Judaic sacrifice. The passage refers to a pure sacrifice (Jesus) that will take place everywhere among the nations (Gentiles). The sacrifice of the Mass is the sacrifice which takes place everywhere among the nations.


    Ambrose of Milan

    We saw the prince of priests coming to us, we saw and heard him offering his blood for us. We follow, inasmuch as we are able, being priests, and we offer the sacrifice on behalf of the people. Even if we are of but little merit, still, in the sacrifice, we are honorable. Even if Christ is not now seen as the one who offers the sacrifice, nevertheless it is he himself that is offered in sacrifice here on earth when the body of Christ is offered. Indeed, to offer himself he is made visible in us, he whose word makes holy the sacrifice that is offered (Commentaries on twelve Psalms of David 38:25 [A.D. 389]).


    Then, having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth his Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before him, that he may make the bread the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ, for whatsoever the Holy Spirit has touched is surely sanctified and changed. Then, upon the completion of the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless worship, over that propitiatory victim we call upon God for the common peace of the churches, for the welfare of the world, for kings, for soldiers and allies, for the sick, for the afflicted; and in summary, we all pray and offer this sacrifice for all who are in need (Catechetical Lectures 23:7-8 [A.D. 350]).


    The Didache

    Assemble on the Lord’s Day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist: but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:23—24]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, “Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations” [Mal. 1:11, 14] (Didache 14 [A.D. 70).


    The Mass as Sacrifice and the Priest as Alter Christi


    If Christ Jesus, our Lord and God, is himself the high priest of God the Father; and if he offered himself as a sacrifice to the Father; and if he commanded that this be done in commemoration of himself, then certainly the priest, who imitates that which Christ did, truly functions in place of Christ (Letters 63:14 [A.D 253]).

    Source for the above referenced quotes…

    The Early Church Fathers on The Mass,

  64. Jon,

    Your comment about reconciling verses points to different understandings.

    The Catholic Church wrote the New Testament and compiled the Bible and therefore is able to authoritatively interpret it what is meant.

    I’ve always disliked the term “Roman Catholic” as it is often used to denigrate the Church Christ founded and is perhaps better used to describe on of our 23 rites.

    Catholics believe that the Church was founded by Christ, that He gave His life for her and that the Word of God, which is Christ is revealed in both Tradition and Scripture.

  65. Slainte, that’s very impressive. St. Paul well understood O.T. prophecy and its fulfillment. He brought offerings to Jerusalem and the Gentiles are an offering. He knew he was a part of that fulfillment. I would still argue that some of the content of those quotes misattributes the meaning to the meal itself, and I don’t think that was the point. That a transition took place between the first generation of apostles and the leaders afterwards I am aware. I do think some of hte meaning attached to these things got a little too complex to where later misunderstanding developed.
    English Catholic, Christians are catholic. We beleive in one catholic church. We believe in one Lord, one Faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Christians confess the creeds and uphold orthodox doctrine. This is all catholic. I don’t think the Roman branch can lay claim to that catholicity apart from the entire church.

  66. I rather think each church has elements of catholic Christianity and that we strive for completion. I don’t think the Roman branch is altogether correct regarding justification.

  67. Jon,

    The Catholic Church is correct regarding justification. Your disagreement with it does not make the Catholic Church wrong (which, I charitably remind you, is not a “Roman” branch of anything).

    It should be pointed out that “Roman Catholic” is a term used exclusively in the Anglosphere and started out as a perjorative term. Ruthenain Catholics, Ukrainian Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Syro-Malabar Catholics, Coptic Catholics and Melkite Catholics are certainly not “Roman” in traditon or practice, but we all have the same faith.

  68. Jon,

    The statement with quotes was copied and pasted (for your convenience from the source referenced at the bottom); it is not my work product and I did not include all the quotes that might be helpful to you.

    I would suggest that since you trust the integrity of the Patristics, it might be helpful to go to the sources of the quotes directly and read them in their entirety.

    The “unchangeability” of dogma and doctrine was also upheld by the Church Fathers. Thus what the Church Fathers believed about the Mass as Sacrifice, the Church continues today. If the source of all the Church’s knowledge is the Holy Spirit, it can never be proven wrong. It is always and forever just as Our Lord is.
    “”The Church of Christ, zealous and cautious guardian of the dogmas deposited with it, never changes any phase of them. It does not diminish them or add to them; it neither trims what seems necessary nor grafts things superfluous; it neither gives up its own or usurps what does not belong to it. But it devotes all its diligence to one aim: to treat tradition faithfully and wisely; to nurse and polish what from old times may have remain unshaped and unfinished; to consolidate and strengthen what already was clear and plain; and to guard what already was confirmed and defined.”

    (St. Vincent of Lerins, 5th century A.D.)

  69. To clarify – the Mass, or the Divine Liturgy, or the Holy Quorbono is, theologically, the Holy Sacrifice of Christ. The priest is “alter Christus” – he celebrates the Liturgy in the place of Christ, and we, as laity in attendance, are, theologically, at the Last Supper when we receive Communion. This occurs at each Catholic Liturgy, be it Sunday, Holy Day, weekday, wedding, funeral, etc.

    This is such, in part, because of the Catholic teaching of the sacramental priesthood. Whether or not this is completely spelled out in Holy Scripture is a non sequitur because the Church, founded by Christ and not Henry Tudor, Luther, Calvin, John Smith, etc., existed before the New Testament was compiled and as such Holy Scripture is a part of Church teaching, not all of it.

  70. Penguin’s Fan:
    No one but Christ is its head. SO Smith, Lutehr, the Tudors and others cannot be considered its head. You trust the institutional machinery through its transitions. How would you know if it took a detour in one or more areas? You fall back on the instiution. I fall back on Scripture. We need an authority, for sure. And a Smith or Calvin willl not do.

  71. Slainte, you seem to believe in an organic continuity between the earliest sources/leaders and the Roman tradition as it continued through the centuries. You beleive its doctrine and dogma cannot be mistaken. That it cannot err in this way. So the development, you beleive, is safely in line with whatever went before it. You don’t think problematic transtions could have occured. You don’t consider a left turn could have been made. I thihk that’s always a possiblitly for the church at any time and place. I’m always aware of that possiblity. We don’t want to go in wrong directions.

  72. Jon,

    I very much believe in the Organic Unity of the Church through time. I believe that the Holy Spirit inspires the Pope and the successors of the apostles (the bishops), through infused knowledge, to discern the proper iterpretation of scripture and natural law (the eternal law as apprehended by reason) in accord with God’s will. I believe that it has been this way from the time Christ told Peter that he would build His Church upon him. The Holy Spirit as Comforter succeeded Jesus at Pentecost and has infused God’s will to Peter’s successors (the Popes) and the Apostle’s successors (the Bishops).
    On the issue of Error, I recall engaging another poster on this issue at “Crisis Magazine” in response to an article, “Modern Ambiguity Amid Baroque Splendor”, dated October 7, 2013
    The query proceeded as follows:
    MPS: “That is why, at the heart of ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, we should be seeking to “recognize what the Spirit has sown in the other as a gift for us.”..”
    Slainte: “But what do we do when they [protestants] insist that we accept and incorporate their Error(s) in addition to their gifts of the Spirit?….”
    MPS: “: “…That is the role of discernment…”
    Slainte; “But can the Catholic Church discern and intentionally choose to embrace Error?”
    MPS: “No, for her tradition of saving faith prevents her from falling into error; erroneous opinions can be held in the Church for a time, until she condemns them (one thinks of the question of heretical baptism in the 4th & 5th centuries, when the Church’s judgment took a long time to mature), but never by the Church, as part of her faith.”

  73. Slainte:
    Your argument represents the Roman Catholic reading. You trace it all back to the start and maintain an unbroken succession of leadership and truth. I think you connect some dots or blend some disparate things together, but anyway, I’m feeling frustration over the differnce in paradigms. Looking back in time, the Roman Catholic sees unbroken continuity. I think anyone can understand this if they’ve learned that outlook and utilize empathetic understanding. I can see where you and all Roman Cathlics are coming from, and frankly I can see it’s convincing when that’s your paradigm. What if we adopted a different paradigm? You can see that presuppositons undergird each one and that each is a sort of closed system.
    Since inspired Sciprutre is what it is regardless of our awareness of it, and since truth is what it is regardless of our acceptance of it, to say the chruch decided anything is irrelevant. What we know is that the people of God are entrusted with the Word of God. That’s a principle in the O.T. and the N. T. We know that the people of God in these times possess the Holy Spirit. So what happens should not, in my opinion, be put down to organizational efforts or religious machinery. People can and do err. Groups can and do err. So we need to identify some other kind of continuity without ignoring visible structures. We need to get to the core of it without becoming dualistic or gnostic in our conception. We are not focusing, then, on a structure per se, but upon what all the people of God maintain is true. We do have an orthodox body of doctrine that can be verified with Scripture. People have always existed for whom this doctrine has represented the true Faith.

  74. Jon,

    We are Roman Catholics. We are not children of the liberal Enlightenment seeking to assert any alleged primacy of Individual will over the hierarchical Authority of the Church. We are the flock that, by each member’s free will, consents to and does follow Our Lord Jesus Christ, by following the Pope, who is Peter’s successor, in communion with the bishops, as apostolic successors.

    18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
    19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:18-19
    The Church is all of God’s people united through time and all ages with Jesus Christ. Its mission on earth is to bring all souls to Christ so that we may be saved.
    18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and * teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:18–20
    The Son of man came that the world might be saved through Him (John iii. 17).

    For there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts iv. 12).
    The Church is the bride of Christ and He is her Head; we were made for Him. As Catholics, we seek to do the will of our Head by following His will for us on earth, confident that we may sanctify our lives through conforming our ways to His ways. We rely on the Pope and bishops to discern His will through the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He has gifted us each with a Conscience through which we may hear His still small voice.
    Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world [Matt, xxviii. 20].
    79 in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: “God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church – and through her in the world – leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.”39 “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, Article 2, The Transmission of Divine Revelation, I. The Apostolic Tradition, 79. (see also, 75-93)
    The Holy Spirit aids the Bishops to discern God’s will for His Church by recourse to Holy Scripture (Old and New Testaments), Natural Law, Magisterial teachings, and Holy Tradition, collectively.
    86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”48 “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, Article 2, Transmission of Divine Revelation, III The Interpretation of the Heritage of Faith, The Magisterium of the Church, 86. (see also, 75-93)
    87 Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me”,49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms. “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, Article 2, Transmission of Divine Revelation, III The Interpretation of the Heritage of Faith, The Magisterium of the Church, 87. (see also, 75-93)
    The Church is Holy in its formation; its Mission; and its Holy Tradition. We believe in its Authority, Indefectibility, and Infallibility. The infallible Church may not Err in matters of belief.
    91 All the faithful share in understanding and handing on revealed truth. They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who instructs them53 and guides them into all truth.54 “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, Article 2, Transmission of Divine Revelation, III The Interpretation of the Heritage of Faith, The supernatural sense of faith, 91. (see also, 75-93)

    92 “The whole body of the faithful. . . cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of faith (sensus fidei) on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals.”55 “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, Article 2, Transmission of Divine Revelation, III The Interpretation of the Heritage of Faith, The supernatural sense of faith, 92. (see also, 75-93)

    93 “By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (Magisterium),. . . receives. . . the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. . . The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life.”56 “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, Article 2, Transmission of Divine Revelation, III The Interpretation of the Heritage of Faith, The Supernatural sense of faith, 93. (see also, 75-93)
    We know that God has promised that He will never abandon His Church, and that the Holy Spirit remains to guard and protect His Church on earth until the Second Coming. And He has promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her. (Matthew 16:18)
    Jon, as Catholics we cannot acquiesce to or accept alternative “paradigms” to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church because our Faith is Truth itself infused by the Holy Spirit. This world and humanity must bring itself into conformity with the Truth as taught by the Catholic Church for the salvation of souls. Pax.

  75. I am just catching up after having signed off last night. I want to affirm.applaud all who responded to Jon. I believe that we collectively have offered him a very good insight into who Catholics are [remember none of us knows each other outside here nor are we in communication with each other outside here] and what we hold to be the Truth.

    I have been talking with Jon off and on for some time now. I sometimes get frustrated with him, but he hangs in there. I will give him that! I am not sure why he likes ‘hanging out with us’ or ‘gathering with us’ or ‘communicating with us’ but he obviously does. I don’t believe he is looking to debate or looking for an argument although he sometimes gets both lol

    I will say this to you, Jon, directly. I have said it before but will say it again. Reflect on why you do come and gather and communicate with us. In the meantime do you really think that you are going to see things ‘by another paradigm’? I am not saying this in a challenging way, I am simply talking about the elephant in the living room. Jon, you hold to the Scriptures-so do we. You hold to the first three hundred years of Church history-so do we.However,why? Why is it that you hold those first three hundred years or so so sacred but the rest goes blurry? Perhaps it really is blurry for you. However, can you possibly imagine that for others, it is not blurry-in fact with all the various struggles etc it is not blurry even up to this very moment etc.

    I have heard over the years of many different theories of how and why things went wrong. Some believe things went wrong right after the death of the last Apostle—frankly that does not give much due to Christ, His victory or His promises. Others think things went south right after the first three hundred years or so-but why? Where did the Church supposedly go wrong? Fighting off the Arian crisis? Do you want us no longer believing in the Divinity of Jesus Christ and therefore that God is triune?

    The Church did have struggles coming to terms with the best way to explain the Mystery of the Incarnation [in the 400’s]. Two distinct and opposing groups [the original liberals and conservatives lol] broke away thinking the Church too conservative in emphasizing the unity of Christ or too liberal in emphasizing the two natures of Christ. But notice something Jon. Other than those positions, those churches some 1600 years later have seven sacraments, bishops, priests, deacons etc-they look just like us etc but do not agree with our emphases in teaching [thanks be to God that is being worked out as we speak]

    The next major split was between Catholic and Orthodox Churches, East and West. It was mostly a cultural split. Other than the actual authority of the pope [they believe he has significance just not what we believe], there are very few substantive issues dividing us. Both sides are at fault in how we handled ourselves. We got into all sorts of fights over such major (sic) issues as whether our priests married or not, whether they wore beards or not, what language the Liturgy was in: Latin or Greek and whether we used leavened or unleavened bread-yup real substantive issues lol However, look at the Orthodox Jon,. You will see all seven sacraments, bishops, priests and deacons etc. Although we use different ways of teaching things, we still teach the same truths of the faith and morality.

    Now we come to the next crisis. The Protestant Reformation. There are so many positions of the original reformers it is impossible to summarize them. Each have different approaches to even ‘protestant doctrines’ such as Sola Scriptura etc. However, when I look at any of the Protestant ‘churches’ I do not see ‘the same Church”. Gone are the seven sacraments [none of them hold to the seven although some revere the other five] Most Protestant communities hold to baptism (although some insist only those old enough to make an act of faith may be baptized-again a new invention; the Church has always baptized whole households-you can read that in Acts). While all have some form of the Lord’s Supper, only the Lutherans and some high Anglicans believe it is really the Body and Blood of Christ [and they explain it differently than the Catholic CHurch-for example Lutherans hold that it is both bread AND Body, wine AND Blood). All other Protestant groups hold that the Eucharist is merely a symbol. Gone also are the three levels of Holy Orders (not considered to be a sacrament by Protestants) Yes some have “bishops” but they do not share in apostolic succession (for various reasons-not even the Anglicans) gone are the ‘priests and deacons’ in any comon understanding with Catholic and Orthodox. And now since they allow women to ‘be ordained’ they have moved even further away revealing they even have less a common understanding of Holy Orders than the original Reformers did. You do not see women priests or bishops in any of the other Churches Jon

    So here we are in the 21st century. Same Church that existed in the first, looking out at the ecumenical field (other Christians). We see the Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian Churches (400’s) drawing ever closer to us. We are mutually drawing closer to the Orthodox. But the Protestants? They, you, Jon, are our brothers and sisters in Christ, but ‘you’ collectively are very far away. There is some real movement with some evangelical churches and the Assembly of God but the traditional mainline churches seem to be moving away further and further. Some Anglicans recognizing this sought union with the Catholic Church and have achieved that bringing with them some of the beautiful traditions from Medieval England that survived in Anglicanis, There are some Lutheran groups seeking to become one with the Catholic Church (mostly from the Scandanavian churches) but I am not sure of their status right now or how it will be handled [similar to the Anglican Ordinariate?]

    But here we are, carrying on this conversation with you Jon. This is us. This is who we are. In continuing this conversation you need to come to grips with this-who we really are and not what you think we are or should be. We are entering the week of prayer for Church unity. Believe me, we Catholics are really praying for this, but you can see that we will not be suddenly turning away from all that I have just described-from the First Century on-and seeing things, as you put it, in another paradigm. Just won’t happen, Jon

  76. Wow, that’s quite a lot of information. When Jesus said to Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…, I take it to mean that the church is built upon the confession Peter just made. We learn elsewhere that Christ is the chief cornerstone upon whom the church is built. The gates of hell will not prevail against the church because whatever is built by God is lasting. The foundation is sure.
    I believe you raise an important point about the Enlightenmennt, which stressed individual autonomy. It was built on false philosophic premises and led to monstrous ‘isms, the “gods of the age” as one writer put it. If individual autonomy were my starting point, I would be standing upon shaky ground indeed. As I mentioned earlier, Scripture is my final authority, and whether it makes sense in every way or not, I must bow before its authority. It is God’s revelation to us. It is my belief that the church and its leadership derive its authority from God, mediated by Scripture. Scritpure is the disclosure of God. So any pronouncements we make should derive from it. We really don’t have any other source of authority. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. He cannot contradict Himself. What the Holy Spirit teaches is in accord with Scripture. He is the Spirit of truth.
    Claims for scriptural supremacy were made down through the ages, way before the Enlightenment came along. Calvin and Luther made their claims during the Renaissance, an era very reliant upon authority, and a time when thinkers were not likely to begin with an anthropocentric epistemology. Many other spokespeople for the primacy of Scripture thought and wrote prior to that.
    The Enlightenment resulted in a secular arena which enlarged itself over time. And Enlightenment thought certainly tended to erode belief in the supernatural and God’s providential activity. But arguments for the primacy of Scripture have always been around. Your thoughts?

  77. How is it that Protesters – that is to say Protestants – can believe that the Catholic Church selected the right books to be in the Bible that they consider inerrant, and rightly rejected the wrong books, but the Church Herself (while being inerrant in such a selection) is not otherwise inerrant and indefectible? One cannot accept the inerrancy of Scripture determined as Scripture by the Church without accepting the inerrancy of the Church. It simply is not otherwise logical. Therefore, the entire edifice of Protestantism is built on a logical fallacy. It is a rebellion against Authority appointed by God and a deification of individual interpretation – self-will run riot.

  78. Botolph, I agree many similarities exist between the Eastern and Latin churches. But many differences exist too. The seven sacraments are there, I guess. But what about the views on Mary? Are these not different? And yes, the pope is not accepted among Eastern Christians. They believe in the assembly of bishops through succession, though. Then there is the issue of icons versus statues, which I think is a matter of idolatry for easterners, though I can’t say I really udnerstand that argument. Then there is a whole different emphasis in eastern theology. Their ‘fathers’ are different after a certain point. They don’t even have Augustine. What is similar or the same are the seven sacraments and the notion of apostolic succession. Beyond that, I’m not sure it’s that simple.
    Protestants have many differences, for sure. The Assembly of God, a Pentecostal organization, believes in speaking in tongues. They also believe that a person can be saved and then become unsaved. Then they believe that people can stand up and give messages to each other from God. I’m not sure what ecumenical potential there might be between this Pentecostal organization (they do not consider themselves a church) and the Roman Catholic chruch and/or Eastern orthodoxy. It seems to me that this would be the last church that could unify in any outward sort of way. But perhaps I’m mistaken.
    As far as the traditional mainline churches go, several of them have gone off the deep end. The Episcopal church has I guess capitulated to the culture in every way. Many United Methodists and Baptists still hold out. The Presbyterians (USA) have also capitulated. So it’s a complicate situation. It’s not a simple matter of Catholics versus Protestants. Each church and each doctrine needs to be looked at in isolation and examined closely. That’s what I’ve been gtryine to do wtih justification and the role of the church and Scripture. I feel, to be honest, that it all comes down to justification. That’s my bottom line.

  79. Paul, I think what’s key here is that the ancient church did not decide the canon. They discovered it. The Word of God was revealed by the Holy Spirit. That’s a key difference.

  80. Jon,
    The word Peter (or the Greek, Petros) means little rock or stone; and it was upon a little rock that Jesus built His Church. SImon Peter was the man upon whom the Church was built.
    Regarding the liberal Enlightenment, I believe that some of its roots are to be found in the Reformation when the reformers liberated (or freed) themselves from the Authority of the Catholic Church, and some will argue, the express will of God. Jesus erected the Church (His bride) which the reformers summarily rejected. The unity of the Church was thus severed.
    Note that the Reformation asserted the “right” of an individual person to read and interpret the Bible as that individual willed. This amounted to a further rejection of Christ by casting off the Church’s hierarchical structure (the Pope in communion with the Bishop’s) which had interpreted Scripture and was put in place by Christ, and guided by the Holy Spirit.
    The practical result of individual interpretation of Scripture was a confluence of disagreements, schisms, and eventually separated brethren among protestant groups. There are now in excess of 30,000 protestant denominations. The Reformation severed the unity of Christians each from the other, and ultimately from God’s laws.
    Man super-imposed his will over the law of God by displacing the pope and the teaching authority of the apostolic succession (the bishops) and thus rejected Jesus’ plan for His bride.
    The progression of the Enlightenment to secular rationalism and secular humanism was an inevitable descent of man from His rejection of Christ accompanied by an extraordinary hubris (pride) whereby man elevated himself to god and turned his back on Truth.
    We must reject the fruits of the Enlightenment which are bitter indeed.

  81. Gosh Jon the other day you said you didn’t know about the apocrypha– so: the Holy Spirit revealed the apocrypha to the Church but you don’t accept that? Or you think the Church slipped up on the totality of what was revealed for the canon? misunderstood the Holy Spirit? the Holy Spirit would allow that? or what else might have been missed/ misunderstood. Maybe we just can’t rely on the canon because it came to us by the teaching authority of the Church. Scripture doesn’t tell us what should be included.
    It seems you are dancing with doubt. Mental gymanastics can be fun and satisfying in themselves if we do not care to come to a conclusion.

  82. Slainte,

    In your response to Jon you are right on. Beginning in the fourteenth century (1300’s) with the Franciscan William of Occam, Nominalism entered into the Western Church and world’s mind. Fundamentally it bases itself on the will: the Will of God [versus the Mind of God as proposed by Aquinas and the Realists] and man’s will. [I could really go on and how it has hampered the Church in her catechesis especially her moral teaching: because with nominalism the commandments were emphasized whereas the tradtional Catholic and thomistic approach was on growth in the virtues {it is not an either or situation, We cannot cast out the commandments but emphasis must be on grace empowering us to grow in the virtues]

    From the Nominalist wing of the Church came the reformers. Luther and Calvin both had Nominalist professors etc What is the underlying issue of the reformation on the moral level? “the will” I will decide how to interpret Scripture. I will decide to believe I will decide what church I want to belong to etc.. What was Martin Luther’s ultimate statement? “Here I stand, I can do no other” His call was for FAITH ALONE

    Roughly a hundred years later, Descartes in his philosophical revolution turned philosophy upside down and on its head. For Descartes Epistemology [what I know] takes priority over reality/being [metaphysics]: Cogito ergo sum: I think, therefore I am. He called for a revolution [the Enlightenment] in which REASON ALONE was the working principle-and as they say, the rest is history

  83. here’s something I wrote a long time ago – maybe it will makes sense to you Jon even though I know you don’t think you doubt God. in a sense, you are not trusting His work in the Church he claimed to build. God is good and would not leave us here without a leader, each man for himself, to think what he will…

    CCC 397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

    God is not a delusion. He is a real person who loves us. People naturally have doubt, and that can be a good thing– causing us to look deeper into the realities of God. But when we entertain doubt, when we dance with doubt, when we love doubt, we lose our capacity for faith. If doubt keeps us from accepting truth it does not serve its purpose, but becomes another god to us, replacing the truth we are to seek.
    If we habitually doubt, and sort of interrupt God with our “yeah, but” and “in MY opinion” — can we trust? Be still and listen. Is our intellect or pride a stumbling block that keeps us from accepting the revelations God has made to us historically and personally? It takes humility to be a student, to receive wisdom, to trust an intellect other than our own with our very lives and our eternity.
    Also we can look to our sources. We can help ourselves by taking seriously the teachings of our Church, of all the holy men and women who have gone before us. God revealed Himself to us when He revealed himself to Moses. When he whispered to Elijah, when he guided the events and activities and growth in understanding of all those who would incline their ear to him– he whispered to me and to you.

  84. The Apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote the New Testament. Their successors – the Bishops and Pope – decided on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit what writings were Apostolic and to be accepted in the Canon and what were not.

    The Church wrote the New Testament. The Church decided what would be in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit guided and protected the Church from error back then and today.

  85. 2nd Peter 2

    * Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,
    for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.

    Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, Cranmer and all the rest of the Protesters are wrong.

  86. Botolph,

    Thank you for your comment. I recall much of what you wrote from a book I read a few years ago…”Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years” by Diarmaid MacCulloch; it covered a great deal of material as you might imagine.
    I appreciate your explaining the historical and philosophical background of the ideas that so greatly impacted our culture. Your explanation helps me helps me to organize my understanding of the material.
    I hope that we have been able to assist Jon and that my comment linking the Reformation and the Enlightenment was not too offensive. This evangelizing with which we are engaged helps me a great deal to more thoroughly understand the Faith. Thanks for your insights; they are very helpful.

  87. Slainte

    It is fascinating that this series of comments have turned to the subject of the Church vis a vis Church Unity. Tomorrow we begin the Octave of Prayer for Church Unity [January 18-25]

    I have not seen any attacks on Jon-nor should there be of course. We have been putting out what it means to be Catholic. Jon might be struggling to understand it, but I don’t think he could say there have been any polemics or power games [that is the essence of proselytizing]. We have been evangelizing by way of ‘apologetics’

    Thank you for your imput as well

  88. The aesthetic or philosophic inclination is in the direction of unity. It’s always like that. One can cite Occam as the departure leading to the rift. But other historical factors existed alongside his philosophic influence, and it was the confluence of these factors, if anything, that made the impact. Occam’s approach alone would have been insufficient. By 1500, Catholic and Protestant historians recognize there had been, for some time, a number of corruptions that had crept into the church. Calvin began with authority and Lutehr, though he may seem to have been arguing for the individual’s interpretation, really wasn’t. We know that even for him, authority existed in Scirpture and he did not hesitate to stop others from goin too far, as when he called upon the princes to protect Christianity from radicalism. It woudl seem that the church disintegrated from that point, since new groups always arise with their own interpretations. But many of these groups still maintain Scripture as their authority. A few others began to say it was conscience or subjective experience and that beame a problem, but that does not represent the Reformation so much as its excesses.
    THis reminds me of how the Protestatn postion, if there is one, is a very tricky thing. We’re not talking about somethin subjective but it will appear so to the Catholic. It’s really an assertion about the nature and role of Scripture. That it can break down and result in cults is true, but I believe worth it, for I consider that milton was right in advocating this freedom: how else can we maintain authenticity in the realm of religion?

  89. Jon,
    Would you do me a huge favor? An experiment, if you will. Would you consider attending a Eucharistic Adoration at a Catholic Church local to you….perhaps just sit in the back row….for about 20 minutes, or more if you like? Then let us know about your experience.
    It’s fine to decline if you are uncomfortable with my request. Pax.

  90. Slainte, I’ve sat in on masses before where they’ve had the Eucharist–though perhaps not eucharistic adoration. Experiences can never be the judge of whether something’s true or not. One can have a sublime feeling that relates to something beautiful or inspiring. I’ve experienced that in different places around the world, though these experiences were not connected with worship. I’ve had feelings and a great appreciation for nature, like when I’m in the Sonoran or Mojave desert, parts of the Midwest, or Pacific islands. I just don’t think feelings are reliable in themselves. The last time I visited a Mass was about six or seven years ago, and it left me with no feeling at all that I can remember.

  91. Jon,

    My brother, as you continue to write you give certain repeated emphases. I am not sure at what level you have come to know philosophy and theology but you do reveal a certain ‘education’ in both fields.

    You consistently throw out things such as “the aesthetic and philosophic inclination is in the direction of unity” as if our Catholic belief is nothing but aesthetics. Do you have any idea how insulting that sounds? Our convictions, our faith are not ‘mere aesthetics’. I actually do not believe you are attempting to be insulting but you indeed are, brother. Consider this fraternal correction.

    However, in your various posts you have revealed your inclination toward multiplicity, etc and you seem almost incapable of approaching the ‘one” , unity. This has been a recurring tendency within humanity. Yet, and here I will turn to revelation, how did God first reveal Himself? As “One”. It was not for centuries, after Israel finally got the picture that God is One, that He is their only God, that He wil have no other gods besides Him, then that He is the ONLY God-of all nations-that God was “able” to reveal His fullest revelation in Jesus Christ and the Gift of the Holy Spirit: Triune God. First One then Triune
    The Church in the Council of Nicaea realizing it could not rely on Sscripture verses to counter act the heresy of Arius, used the Greek philosophical word homoousios to define Jesus Christ as consubstantial with the Father: One God three Persons

    When the Church was struggling to come to terms with the mystery of the Incarnation, there was a catechetical school that stressed Christ’s two natures, then attempted to work back to His unity. One of their members, Nestorius overstressed the duality of natures in Christ going so far as to really have Christ have two distinct “I’s”, identities. The Church was confronted with something they knew was wrong but was struggling to get the doctrine right. It was the Unity of the Person of Christ, the Person of the Word made flesh, that brought agreement among the bishops gathered at Ephesus. There is one Person in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Word) made flesh. Then and only then could they do justice to his two natures, divine and human twenty years later at Chalcedon when the Church declared Jesus Christ to be One Person with two natures

    When the Council of Nicaea wanted to express in a fuller manner the identity of the Church which up until that time had simply been called “the Catholic Church’-since it was also opened to misinterpretation, the Council Fathers nailed the identity of the Church down to four characteristics or marks: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Notice what the first one is: the Church is one. She is visibly one united in faith, sacraments and community

    The unity of the Church is not achieved by man. It was given to us by Christ with a mission to preserve that unity-that communion. That’s why you are experiencing such ‘resistance’ to what you are saying on this blog. We believe this deep down in our bones.

    Whatever you think of us however, don’t relegate our faith to mere ‘paradigms’ or ‘aesthetics’ or just a “Roman trajectory’ or ‘mere sacramentalism’. You just have no idea how insulting that sounds

    I will be signing off in a few minutes so do not think I am avoiding or ignoring you I will be back on tomorrow

  92. Jon,

    I think that God will touch someone who is searching for Him in a way that far exceeds a sensory or emotional experience.

    Being in the presence of Our Lord at adoration is a soulful encounter that is difficult to describe verbally; an intangible something that touches one profoundly on a deep level in the recesses of one’s being. I believe that experience may be possible for one who seeks God. Many Catholics experience it when they receive Holy Eucharist and while you are not able to receive with us (yet 🙂 ), who knows what God will deliver to you.
    You are older and wiser since you last attended mass…so if the opportunity should present…. : )

  93. Botoloph, I am terribly sorry for any offence I caused. Where i was going was this: I wanted to point out that everyone yearns for unity. We try, at our best, to achieve that at every level. Protestants have traditionally emphasized that unity in the Spirit is most important, and that once achieved, it may suffice, though others have said it is necessary to mend insititutional divisions. But again, I’m sorry for any offense I caused throughout these interactions which, in some way or another, have been going on for years. I graciously accept the fraternal correction with consideration.
    You raise improtant points about God’s disclosure: He revealed himself as One and ultimately as a tri-unity. So we have unity and diversity and this means something, obviously, for theology and philsophy. We have a world and a humanity created by a triune God. So this unity in diversity and diversity in unity is reflected in all creation. This solves the problem of ‘the many and the one,’ of freedom and order, and I suppose a bunch of other things I’m not privy to, not being a trinitarian specialist (one could have loads of fun with it!). The importance of getting right the Incarnation and the dual nature of Christ cannot be overestimated, since the Faith was at stake. And I too will sign off now, knowing we have had a meaningful and lengthy exchange today.

  94. “So we have unity and diversity”
    No, we do not, Jon, we do not have diversity. Jesus said: “I and the Father are ONE” No diversity here only unity. Jesus is “consubstantial” with the Father. If you want diversity, well, the rest is censored.

  95. Slainté wrote, “I believe that experience may be possible for one who seeks God…”

    Of course. As Abbé Henri Brémond reminds us, “In the course of the normal development of man, there occur moments in which the discursive reason gives place to a higher activity, imperfectly understood and indeed at first disquieting.”

    However, he cautions that this kind of knowledge is “like bathing in a fathomless ocean, or breathing an intangible and limitless air. It gives contact and certitude, but not understanding: as breathing or bathing give us certitude about the air and the ocean, but no information about their chemical constitution.” This is why all who have written on the interior life have stressed that need of a prudent spiritual director.

  96. back to Cardinal O’Malley’s behavior: Baptism re-affirmed by Methodist Anne Robertson
    I’ve been thinking about this idea of having your baptism reaffirmed by someone else whether or not he be Catholic. When we renew our vows and reject Satan, we each do that. NO one else, not even a priest sprinkles nor douses us. WE PERSONALLY RENEW OUR REJECTION OF SATAN and take up anew the demands of our baptism.
    Cardinal O’Malley’s request blurs lines. The idea of baptizing is intending what the Church intends, when it has become clear to us that Methodists do not believe exactly what the Catholic Church teaches about baptism. They may call it a sacrament but do not think it effects the cleansing of original sin or that it is necessary for salvation. So, what did Cardinal O’Malley teach his own flock in this exercise?

  97. Anzlyne,

    You may criticize Cardinal O’Malley blurring lines (I don’t but that’s ok lol). However where did you get the idea that Methodists don’t believe in original sin or the necessity of baptism? As a mainline Protestant Church I would be stunned to find that in their ‘doctrines’ both are not affirmed. Where did you get your information?

  98. Bl John Henry Newman, with his unrivalled knowledge of the Fathers, has a very good summary of the debate in the early church over heretical baptism.
    “The imperial See of Peter, ever on the watch for the extension of Christ’s kingdom, understood this well; and, while its tradition was unfavourable to heretical ordination, it was strong and clear in behalf of the validity of heretical baptism.
    Pope Stephen took this side then in a memorable controversy, and maintained it against almost the whole Christian world. It was a signal instance of the triumph, under Divine Providence, of a high, generous expediency over a conception of Christian doctrine, which logically indeed seemed unanswerable. One must grant indeed, as I have said, that he based his decision upon Tradition, not on expediency, but why was such a Tradition in the first instance begun? The reason of the Tradition has to be explained; and, if Stephen is not to have the credit of the large and wise views which occasioned his conduct, that credit belongs to the Popes who went before him. These he had on his side certainly, but whom had he besides them? The Apostolical Canons say, “Those who are baptized by heretics cannot be believers.” The Synods of Iconium and Synnada declare that “those who came from the heretics were to be washed and purified from the filth of their old impure leaven.” Clement of Alexandria, that “Wisdom pronounces that strange waters do not belong to her.” Firmilian, that “we recognize one only Church of God, and account baptism to belong only to the Holy Church.” “It seemed good from the beginning,” says St. Basil, “wholly to annul the baptism of heretics.” Tertullian says, “We have not the same baptism with heretics; since they have it not rightly; without, they have it not at all.” “Then may there be one baptism,” says St. Cyprian, “when there is one faith. We and heretics cannot have a common baptism, since we have not the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost in common. Heretics in their baptism are polluted by their profane water.” St. Cyril says, “None but heretics are re-baptized, since their former baptism was not baptism.” St. Athanasius asks, “Is not the rite administered by the Arians, altogether empty and unprofitable? He that is sprinkled by them is rather polluted than redeemed.” Optatus says, “The stained baptism cannot wash a man, the polluted cannot cleanse.” “The baptism of traitors.” says St. Ambrose, “does not heal, does not cleanse, but defiles.”

    Expedience is an argument which grows in cogency with the course of years; a hundred and fifty years after St. Stephen, the ecclesiastical conclusion which he had upheld was accepted generally by the School of Theologians, in an adhesion to it on the part of St. Augustine.”

    “[T]here was, in various parts of the world, both among the educated and the uneducated, an indignant rising against this innovation, as it was conceived, of their rulers. Montanus and his sect in the East, represent the feelings of the multitude at Rome, the school of Tertullian, Novatian, and the author of the Elenchus, able and learned men, stood out in behalf of what they considered the Old Theology, terminating their course in the Novatian schism; while the learned Donatist Bishops and the mad Circumcelliones illustrate a like sentiment, and a like temper, in Africa.”

  99. I got that idea from Methodists. I got that idea from John Wesley’s list of means of grace. (Wesley remained Anglican but is considered foundational to Methodism) Wesley considered baptism to be strictly symbolic.
    I got that idea from Methodists who relate that sin cleansing idea to Augustine and prefer to go to pre Augustinian ideas. As you know there is much fracturing in the Methodist Church even the ones called Wesleyan. You might be interested to read “Why Methodists need a Catechism” Some of my methodist friends seem to share a pretty Catholic or even Lutheran idea of sacraments but many many don’t even like the term doctrine. I don’t know how much good the cardinal did in his actions, I doubt very much.
    Ecumenism would rely on At Least shared understanding of terms in order to have even a meaningful discussion much less agreement on resolution.
    I say the lines are blurry.

  100. Thank you Michael P-S I love seeing the history of how our development of understanding has unfolded!
    I may be a bit lame in my connection here, but I think of it pretty much the same as I think of the Sacrifice offered by an unworthy unbelieving priest… (and unworthy recipient) that is, the work is of God and the miracle happens despite us.

    I am not questioning the Church’s recognition of Methodist baptism, Mother Church has already answered that.
    I am questioning the wisdom of the Cardinal’s actions; and also why any Catholics would submit to anyone else Re- Affirming the baptism of the Catholic person. What does re-affirming mean when done by someone else? We personally renew our baptismal vows, involving our own intellect and will.

  101. Anzlyne,

    Thanks for your response. Still something was gnawing away in the back of my mind about this issue of Methodist Baptism. This is what I found, putting to rest questions concerning Methodist baptism:

    In 1948, the Holy Office [today’s Congregation for the Faith], during the ministry of Pope Pius XII made this authoritative statement:

    “Baptism conferred in the sects of the Disciples of Christ, the Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists and Methodists” is “presumed valid unless in a particular case it is proven to the contrary” as long as “the necessary matter and form have been used”

    FYI matter in this case is ‘water’ and the form is to baptize in the Name of the Most Blessed Trinity

    This is not even ‘post Vatican II’, as you can see from the year it is from 1948, during the Pontificate of Pius XII, long before Vatican II

    In 1993, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity called for ecumenical agreements on baptism:

    “Baptism is conferred with water and with the formula which clearly indicates that Baptism is done in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It is therefore, of the utmost importance for all the disciples of Christ that baptism be administered in this manner by all and that the various Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities arrive as closely as possible to an agreement about its significance and valid celebration”

    This [agreements] has already been done or is being done as we speak.

    What is becoming an issue is in some congregations the baptized being baptized in the Name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier-this would and does make the baptism invalid. However, various denominations are dealing with this issue.

  102. The Methodists I know are post Vatican !! era Methodists. The intention of the Church is not mentioned in the 1948 statement. Maybe at that time such a caveat was not deemed necessary. This 1993 part is more interesting to me:
    In 1993, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity called for ecumenical agreements on baptism :…. that baptism be administered in this manner by all and that the various Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities arrive as closely as possible to an agreement about its significance and valid celebration”

    As I said I am not really questioning the Church’s recognition of Methodist baptism but the wisdom of the Cardinal’s action in this time Doctrinal Drift and confusion.
    Yes I am aware of controversy about Creator etc

  103. Anzlyne,

    We had more unity with Protestant communities [ecclesial communities] before Vatican II than after. That is a very sad reality. Everything said and done concerning ecumenism in VII was based on the unity we did in fact share. However, sadly, almost every denomination has shifted on so many of the issues in which we had common ground. I am not speaking of individual Protestants but their ‘denominations’: they seem to have gone into a free fall and have not even begun to stop or turn this situation around. It is indeed very sad.

    As for the Cardinal, I think we can agree to disagree. The little ‘ritual’ was simply a ‘blessing of each person with water especially blessed (not sure whether it would be fully what we mean by holy water)

  104. “We had more unity with Protestant communities [ecclesial communities] before Vatican II than after.”
    Perhaps because Vatican II attacked and dismantled the traditional Catholics.

    “The little ‘ritual’ was simply a ‘blessing of each person with water especially blessed (not sure whether it would be fully what we mean by holy water)”

    The water does not have to be Holy for blessings. What is horrendous, here, is that Cardinal O’Malley allowed a woman minster to perform a baptism in his presence without doing the baptism himself.

  105. Mary

    I respectively but vehemently disagree with your reading of Vatican II. Of course, I am speaking about the actual Council and not some ‘spirit of Vatican II’ person who came down the pike after it was over claiming to know what it ‘intended to say’

  106. Botolph wrote, “…….my mother would ‘anoint’ my head with holy water every night when I was going to bed. I don’t find a problem with what my mother did or this ‘little ritual’ ….”

    What a lovely image and a beautiful thing for a mom to do for her child.

  107. When it comes to Protestant diversity there are two issues to consider. First, many variations simply have to do with peripheral disagreements. Second, mainline denominations have moved away from essential doctrines that once bound all Christians together. Peripheral disagreements will always exist, as they do to some extent even among Roman Catholics. But some Protestant deonominations have altered the very meaning of orthodox Christianity to such an extent that it is difficult if not impossible to regard them as Christian any longer.

  108. Mary, in response to your assertion that we have unity without diversity, I would point out that Trinity implies both. We see that reflected in creation. Islam is monotheistic but denies diversity, and that’s part of the problem with that (Christian) heresy. It portrays an imbalanced view of God which has philosophic implications.

  109. It is important to point out in the discussion regarding the ecumenical ritual that United Methodists differ from congregation to congregatoin. They are under different districts that are run by superintendents or bishops. United Methodists exist on a spectrum running from fundamentalism to universalist-unitarianism. It’s difficult to tell just what this pastor’s standpoint may have been when she met with the Cardinal and what significance she may have assigned to it.

  110. In examining the matter of baptism and the ritual of sprinkling/pouring/immersion, I see that St. Paul ascribed to this rite the meaning of washing away of sin, of death, burial and resurrection in Christ, and introduction into the church. In defeating the Donatists, Augustine essentially asserted it was the ritual that counted, not the spiritual state of the administrator. It was decided by the early Protestant reformers that re-baptizing is illigetimate, since the act in itself is sufficient the first time around. Anabaptists interpreted baptism as a ritual for believers alone, ruling out the possiblity of infant baptism. As for the practice of baptismal renewal, I can only think that it is without precedent in the early church. I have never come across anything suggesting this was a practice then.

  111. Anzlyne wrote: “…..It takes humility to be a student, to receive wisdom, to trust an intellect other than our own with our very lives and our eternity. Also we can look to our sources. We can help ourselves by taking seriously the teachings of our Church, of all the holy men and women who have gone before us. God revealed Himself to us when He revealed himself to Moses. When he whispered to Elijah, when he guided the events and activities and growth in understanding of all those who would incline their ear to him– he whispered to me and to you.”
    Lovely quote. Humility is the virtue that counters Pride. We are so fortunate that He speaks Truth to us today as He has done through the ages.

  112. MPS writes, “….This is why all who have written on the interior life have stressed that need of a prudent spiritual director.”
    I have a friend who has a “spiritual director” but I was never quite sure what such a person did and I thought it too intrusive to inquire. Abbe Bremond does capture the nature of the experience I described to Jon. Thank you for your comment and affirmation.
    By dropping in as you have done, I suspect you have unwittingly become part of the evangelization team here at TAC ready, willing, and able to respond to Jon’s incisive questions about all things Catholic. You didn’t know such a team existed? Neither did we until the Holy Spirit drafted each of us informally to engage a brother Christian (Methodist) interested in learning more about Catholicism relative to protestanism, which of course, leads us to issue(s) of Church Unity.
    The history you provided via Blessed Newman relative to heretical baptism and Divine Providence touches on a point we were discussing, to wit, how the Holy Spirit enables the Church to develop, but not change doctrine while remaining true to Tradition and Magisterial teaching. Your quote is timely and well received.


  113. Botolph: It was three decades before Pope Benedict XVI discovered that Vatican II did not forbid the Latin Mass. I understand that Pope Paul VI did ban the Latin Mass.
    Cardinal O’Malley is a priest and therein lies the difference and the scandal. Now, why should the Methodist minister come into the Catholic Church when the Cardinal is coming to her church? The Methodist minister is very impressed with herself. Faith is a gift from God. Abuse it and lose it.

  114. I must say I agree with Botolph. The little ceremony carried out had two aims:

    1. To remember baptism
    2. To encourage one another to be grateful.

    Surely it doesn’t matter that the Methodist minister was a woman. All Methodist clergy are lay people and so the gender is irrelevant.

  115. Mary, my sister in Christ,

    There was no baptism at that service. Both blessed each other with blessed water. Hope this helps a bit anyways

  116. The Will of God is made known to the Church, by the Holy Spirit, through Scripture, Natural Law, Holy Tradition and the Magisterium.
    Natural law is God’s Eternal unwritten law apprehended through the intellect by reason/logic.
    St. Thomas Aquinas essentially merged the Catholic with Aristotelian reasoning thus permitting the Faith to become more knowable to man.
    Some Catholics, at the time, resisted the marriage of Faith and Reason.
    Were those who resisted correct? If not, why not?

  117. St. Thomas Aquinas essentially merged the Catholic with Aristotelian reasoning thus permitting the Faith to become more knowable to man.
    should read:
    St. Thomas Aquinas essentially merged the Catholic “FAITH” with Aristotelian reasoning thus permitting the Faith to become more knowable to man.

  118. Slainte,

    If you don’t mind, may I add a very minor corrective here? Aquinas didn’t so much merge the Catholic Faith and Aristotelianism [there would be fusion, confusion and compromising of the Faith if he had—-this in fact was Luther’s criticism of Aquinas-that’s why Luther burned the Summa in one of his famous bonfires of books] What Aquinas did was to ‘translate’ the Catholic Faith into the language of Aristotle (that had just been suddenly imported from Moslem Spain and was tearing apart the Catholic universities etc). However, as one can see in the Summa etc, he had no problem ‘changing’ Aristotle’s language, paradigms etc to conform to the Faith and not vice versa

    Hope this doesn’t offend you or seem too abstract

  119. Botolph,
    Thank you for the correction.
    In Thomas’ time did his detrators reject the new translation because of a concern that reason was a threat to Faith?
    Was the Jansenists’ view which elevated grace and denounced reason consistent with a pre-Thomas Catholic Church?

  120. Slainte,

    Both good questions. I will start with the first

    The Catholic Church had/always always accepted the fundamental ‘marriage’ of faith and reason, long before Thomas. First, remember we received from Israel, not only the Law and the Prophets [let’s call them the vertical dimension of the ancient faith] but also the “Wisdom tradition” [the horizontal dimension of the ancient faith]. This was then ‘funneled” by way of John’s Gospel and certain Letters of Paul (esp Colossians) into the Catholic Tradition. It was further developed by the Apologists [Justin Martyr, Diogentus, Clement of Alexandria,] and later Origen and Tertullian into the Church Fathers with Saint Augustine being the synthesis of all this for the West [just in time before the Barbarian Invasions/ dissolution of the Western Roman Empire] Always remember, it was the monks of St Benedict who through their scribal (clerical) copying of ancient texts that kept both the Faith and the Classical World alive in the darkness of those centuries. The Church was not the cause of the Dark Ages but its solution bringing the Middle Ages and then the “ressourcement’ of the Renaissance

    The key is this. Augustine, in fact all the Church Fathers relied heavily on Plato (actually neo-platonism). Of all the Greek philosophers Plato was seen to be most amenable to the faith. Stoicism was useful but did not really admit of a need for salvation or ‘grace’. [the later Pelagianism was Stoic]. Roughly around 200 or so two young men were in a class in Alexandria taught by a Platonist Ammonius Saccus. The two young men were Origen and Plotinus. Origen was a brilliant young Christian, son of a martyr. Plotinus was a brilliant young cosmopolitan pagan.

    Origen went on to become the ‘philosophical/theological foundation of all Eastern Christian thought and theology [There were problems that had to be corrected but nonetheless this is factual]. Eastern Christianity, even today, is suffused with the thought categories etc and theology (corrected) of Origen.

    Plotinus went on to become the founder of what is known as Neo-platonism ( a variation/ development of Platonism). Although other Fathers in the West were influenced by Neo-platonism, none were so influenced as Augustine who in his voluminous writings [much as Aquinas did with Aristotle] translated the Catholic Faith using Plotinus’ Neoplatonic categories etc.. From Augustine by way of the benedictine monks, western Europe was suffused with neoplatonic Augustinianism.

    A momentous occasion happened in Paris. The Archbishop of Paris established a school to educate young men first in the arts, philosophy and theology in preparation for the priesthood: the University of Paris was born. It would soon be educating not only future priests but the future leadership (elite) of Europe. From Paris, Cambridge in England and then Oxford were founded. [Harvard in Massachusetts was founded out of Cambridge etc.]
    Over time a new way of teaching came into vogue: scholasticism: taking up a source, whether Scripture, a philosopher, a Father, or the Sentences of Peter Lombard and parcing them out. However, Augustinianism still flourished and was the major/only paradigm.

    Now Aristotle-Aristotle was found wanting by early Christian thinkers and not (in their mindset) not open to the Faith. They were already highly PLationic in thinking etc and after all Aristotle although a student of Plato, was a very great contrast to his old master. Philosophies/philosophers that did not help the faith (or the Empire) were scorned and eventually under the Emperor Justinian (the one responsible for the building of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople/Istanbul) were banished from the empire. All the non platonic philosophers went east into Arabia, what is now Iraq and Iran-including all Aristotelians.

    Early Islam was, while militant and aggressive more open to reason, learning, the arts etc. The Aristotelian philosophers found a home among the early Moslems esp in places like Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo. They brought all of Aristotle’s writings with them and eventually Moslem scholars, imbued with Aristotle began creating their own great works [Avicenna, Averroes}. They especially prospered in Spain (under Islamic control). It was from Islamic Spain, that Aristotle’s texts were first smuggled out and came to the University of Paris etc. It was like nuclear war had hit.Up until then Augustinianism and its version of neoplatonic thought had held complete sway. Now there was a totally new way of looking at reality. This new way of thinking spread from the University of Paris on the left bank of the Seine river-giving rise to the ideological terms “Left/Right”. The intellectual world of Europe was entering a civil war. However, what about the Faith? How could/would the Faith continue to be expressed faithful to the Faith ‘of Augustine” but in the new language of Aristotle?

    A generation earlier Saint Dominic had founded the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) [same time as Francis and Franciscans]. While Francis’ movement was to reevangelize the poor of Europe etc, Dominic’s cause was to reevangelize the ‘intellectual elites’ and the intellectural heresies etc of the time, especially the Albigensians (Cathars) in southern France. They were a gnostic system and no longer really Christian at all, and a great threat to both Church and State. Now a generation later, a new challenge, crisis took shape. A older Dominican by the name of Fr Albert {St Albert the Great] a great scholar in his own right, saw in a young Italian (from Aquino) student friar of his a great potential. He encouraged Thomas of Aquino to take up the study of Aristotle to see if and how Aristotle could be used in expressing the Faith and giving a solid foundation to a world no longer as confident in its Augustinian-neoplatonic foundations. Thus Thomas became the Master (teacher) of the new expression of philosophy and the faith: Aristotelian Thomism, a new synthesis of faith and reason was born and flourished in Europe.

    Thomas of Aquino [Thomas Aquinas] was not as you say, without his detractors or those who disagreed with him. First, the Archbishop of Paris put his works on the Index [forbidding any and all to read them!!!! lolol] The good Archbishop a good old fashioned Augustinian (in thought etc) man just thought Thomas was crazy as well as too dangerous. Of course that did not last long, thanks be to God. More seriously, a young Franciscan by the name of Bonaventure (Saint) began to resynthesize Augustine and created a whole new approach to Augustine (now called the Franciscan School]. While Aquinas emphasized the intellect, Bonaventure emphasized the heart (not the emotions but desire/love]. One of his students was Blessed Duns Scotus who furthered our understanding of the Immaculate Conception of Mary but also gravely confounded our philosophy/theology by putting God and us in the same category: ‘being’ making God the Supreme Being among beings. Scotus emphasized ‘the will of God’ (versus the Mind of God of Aquinas). One of Scotus’ disciples was the englishman, William of Occam [Occam’s razor fame] who is the founder of Nominalism and all the havoc that Nominalism created and is still creating: the focus of Catholic moral theology on commandment-sin rather than on grace-virtue [the traditional manner of teaching. With this focus moral teaching leaned toward the law, legalism etc and ‘how far can I go before it is a sin etc/ or begin a moral question with its negative: is it a sin etc if….]
    Nominalism created the Protestant Reformation and Secular humanism. Nice huh? If only we kept listening to Thomas.

    Ok your second question.The Jansenists were not consistent with pre-thomistic Catholic thinking// etc. They took up a ‘left-wing’ or radical interpretation of Saint Augustine-the same radical reading that Calvin had taken up a century and a half before them. The Reformers and Jansenists came out of an attempt to get back to the older Augustinian model [pre-Thomisitc/pre-Scholastic] but instead put in place a more radicalized nominalist variation/”bastardized form’ Although they would never admit it, Jansenists were “Catholic Calvinists” They were vehemently anti-Jesuit who themselves were Thomists (however from Suarez who himself was too nominalist) Hope that was not too blunt lol

  121. Botolph,


    I am overwhelmed with your response. Thank you for doing this.

    Two points.

    You wrote: “Aristotle was found wanting by early Christian thinkers and not (in their mindset) not open to the Faith. They were already highly PLationic in thinking etc and after all Aristotle although a student of Plato, was a very great contrast to his old master.”
    What were the pertinent points of disagreement between the Augustinian (Neo-Platonist) inspired Catholic clergy and the Aristotelians that gave rise to a near civil war? Merely a matter of approach, ie., Neo-platonic categories v. Aristotelian scholastic sources? or, Emphasis… will and grace v. mind and the law?
    Botolph also writes, “The Reformers and Jansenists came out of an attempt to get back to the older Augustinian model [pre-Thomisitc/pre-Scholastic] but instead put in place a more radicalized nominalist variation/”bastardized form’ Although they would never admit it, Jansenists were “Catholic Calvinists”.
    Michael Paterson-Seymour….from reading Pascal’s “Lettres Provinciales” and some of his “Pensees”, I concluded that perhaps Pascal might have adopted a quasi-Calvinist approach to his Catholicism. Is it your view that Pascal and Jansen were trying to reclaim some form of pre-Thomism Augustinianism? If so, why? What was so attractive about Augustinian inspired thought that Thomism lacked? Or was Pascal intrigued with a radical Nominalism?
    Botolph I am interested in your view on all these questions including the question posed to MPS…please respond at your convenience. Thank you for your kindness in responding to these queries.

  122. Slainte,

    In the Vatican Museum there is a fascinating painting done by Raphael named “The School of Athens”. There are a number of philosophers gathered but at the center there are the two figures of Plato (disciple of Socrates) and Aristotle (disciple of Plato; Alexander the Great was a student of Aristotle: interesting contrast!). Plato is there holding in his hand his Timaeus, his treatment of the origin of the world. His other hand is stretched upward with his finger pointing toward the heavens. Next to Plato is his disciple, Aristotle, holding a copy of his Nichomachean Ethics describing the earth and the realm of moral teaching (and social justice) with his other hand stretched horizontally. Plato-the vertical, heavenly, spiritual, the ideal; Aristotle-the horizontal, worldly, materialist (good sense), practical.

    That of course is a Renaissance understanding of the two Philosophers, but I believe a good one nonetheless. It gives a person the sense of where they are coming from and where they are going to. You can see, how among the early Christians, and then Patristic, Dark Ages, and early medieval descendants, Plato (neo-platonism) would be seen as easily assimilated to the Gospel. I need to say however, if one looks carefully in the Book of Wisdom one finds the four foundational virtues mentioned that arise in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics: Prudence (wisdom), Temperance, Justice and Fortitude [BTW they appear in Dorothy and her three friends in the Wizard of Oz: Dorothy (temperance: balance between extremes) Scarecrow (wants a mind: prudence/wisdom) Tinman (wants a heart with his axe-Justice) and Lion (Courage/Fortitude)]

    Augustinian (platonic) theology and spirituality was heaven-oriented/ emphasis on the transcendant and transcendentals. Its Christian anthropology was simple that “our hearts do not rest until they rest in You O Lord”. It is based on the fundamental religious nature of man, the orientation and reorientation of human desire toward its fulfillment in God. Benedictine Monastaries and other forms of religious life were oriented toward the Kingdom of heaven. Monastaries in principle were the Kingdom made present on earth. The Medieval Cathedrals were vast hymns rising ever upward toward heaven with the music of their architecture [the proportions and dimensions of such Cathedrals as Notre Dame and Chartres actually translate into chant like music! Here one encountered the Invisible in the visible, the eternal in the temporal, but always in the process of being swept upward, ever upward toward heaven. Keep in mind that picture in Rome: Plato’s arm outstretched and pointing toward heaven, the transcendent, the Beyond.

    With Thomas Aquinas’ transformation of Aristotelianism the emphasis was ‘Incarnational”. It took up the ancient faith which the earlier Fathers had while joining it to Plato, and now Thomas joined the ancient faith to Aristotle [rather put it in the language of Aristotle] Here Keep in mind that Raphael painting with Aristotle’s arm outstretched horizontally. Thomas was no longer ‘looking’ heavenward, but toward the Mystery of the Incarnation, the Person of Jesus Christ. Thomism is incarnational [Augustinianism is transcendental]. With Augustine the Church was led toward the Transcendant. With Thomas, the Church was led toward the Incarnation. Slainte, while they obviously express the very same Catholic Faith, they are nonetheless two very distinct paradigms and give the Church two distinct (but not contradictory) trajectories [missions] and spiritualities.

    The problem was never and never has been in the two distinct Masters: Augustine and Thomas. The problem arose in those who claimed to be their philosophical/theological disciples. Schools of thought formed around Augustine (after his death) and later around Thomas, and continue to this day. Many of those schools of interpretation are not faithful to the original ‘master’ but insinuate their own interpretation etc. Even among those more faithful to the original there are still some distinctions and divergences that take place.

    But let me put this in clearer explanation. We had in Blessed John Paul II a Thomist-his philosophical foundations, theological school of thought and even his doctorate on John of the Cross (who’s work was based on the thomist school of Salamanca) are all Thomas. He got all sorts of flack on his first encyclical, the Redeemer of Man, in which he said that the Gospel is another name for the amazement we have in man [not a direct quote but it gives the sense]. That is Incarnational-thomist- the horizontal

    Pope Benedict on the other hand was a pure Augustinian. He sought to draw us all into recognizing man’s desire for God, his/our need to begin with adoration. He wanted to reorient the whole world (never mind the Church) toward the Transcendent, the One, the True, the Good and the Beautiful-the vertical

    Now Pope Francis, not surprisingly as a Jesuit, is taking up once again the Thomist vision of the Incarnation, but now in the horizontal dimension of mission, of recognizing Christ in the poorest, the marginalized etc-the horizontal. It is a far more ‘particular’ and ‘practical’ vision of Thomas and the horizontal dimension.

    I honestly am torn. I am very much rooted in the Augustinian while I am attracted to the Thomist. I for one do not think one has to choose, since both continue to serve the Church-that is the real Augustinian and the real Thomist schools. One problem that has continually arisen in the history of the Church is one attempting to take over and completely exclude the other. It is the cause of much tension in today’s Church as well. The Church needs both to be fully Catholic. That’s what I really appreciate about our recent popes, they express both schools and not just one. But since when has the Cross been simply the vertical dimension (beam) or the horizontal dimension (beam)?

    I hope I have begun at least to answer your question.

  123. I did make a mistake. Thank you English Catholic and Botolph for your kind correction. “In that moment of anointing–as he anointed me and I anointed him–we were not Protestant or Catholic, Scotch or Irish, male or female, cardinal or clergywoman. We were Christians, babes in Christ, spiritually naked before the Lord who called us both to service. Nothing could have better signified what everyone in that room had just reaffirmed. In baptism, we are one.”
    “In a perfect world Cardinal O’Malley and I would preside together at the Lord’s Table. In a perfect world I might preside with a Cardinal Brighid O’Malley .”
    All this talk of baptism and baptismal water and no baptism. Sacramentals but no Sacraments.
    Robertson wants to be a cardinal.

  124. God is LOVE and God loves. God is Justice and God wills Justice. God is the Supreme Sovereign Being WHO is Being and God wills to be. God knows that God is God.
    Grace is a gift from God. Accepting grace is an act of the free will (the works of the New Testament) of man. God is LOVE. God wills to LOVE. God is the Ten Commandments, the Law, The Lord. God keeps the Ten Commandments. Sin is so very evil. Sin takes us away from the love of God. While in sin, man cannot accept the grace of salvation. While in sin, man is separated from God and can do nothing to save himself, unless he wills to accept His Maker and God’s graces, sanctifying and actual.
    The mind of God is WHO God is. The will of God is God being WHO God is.
    “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
    Botolph: Thank you for all.

  125. ““Robertson wants to be a Cardinal” ROFL Now you are cooking lol” As with the nuns on the bus and sister Joan Chitister (sp) it is, in psycobable: “penis envy”, a condition in my (humble) estimation, of immaturity and not being able to, or refusing to, accept their femininity, the unhappy ending of which is gender reassignment, which changes nothing because “penis envy” is non-tangible, a problem of the metaphysical soul. If you do not read this it is because I did not Post Comment.

  126. You are right Mary. All that talk and no baptism. Just a reaffirmation of one – performed by someone else– not reaffirming his own baptism, but a sprinkling reaffirmation by a person who (possibly probably) doesn’t attach the same meaning to his baptism as he does, sprinkled by one who believes who knows what about what “blessed” water means..

    Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs … just popped into my mind for some reason.
    They had a song called – “Oh That’s Good, No That’s Bad”

  127. Botolph,
    Thank you for your extraordinary generosity. I think I finally get it.
    Because of the different focus of each tradition, the “nature of man” will likely be viewed differently.
    Augustineanism….man exists, wretched and fallen, in a state of nature darkened by the temporal effects of original sin with no ability to aid in his own salvation and completely dependent on a distant God. Only through the intercession and unmerited Grace of God is man able to be saved. Nothing man can do on his own initiative may contribute to his salvation.
    Thomism… exists in nature darkened by the temporal effects of original sin but through the unmerited Grace of God and the Church, man is saved. Through his intellect and reason, albeit skewed by original sin, man may come to know God and aid in his own salvation.

  128. Botolph and Slainté

    Many of the Fathers disliked the method of Aristotle rather than his conclusions. Bl John Henry Newman gives a number of examples:-

    “[I]t is well known what jealousy and dislike were felt, in the early Church, of dialectics, rhetoric, and the kindred sciences. Aristotle was looked upon as the teacher of all that was unfit for a Christian to hold, “That miserable Aristotle!” says Tertullian, “who invented dialects, the art of building up and pulling down.”—De Præscr. 7. Nazianzen speaks of “the artifice of Aristotle’s art as among the plagues of Egypt.”—Orat. 26. Jerome says, that “the dialecticians, whose master is Aristotle, pass whole days and nights in asking and answering questions, giving or accepting a thesis, stating, proving, concluding.”—In Tit. iii. 9. Faustinus, the Luciferian, calls Aristotle the Bishop of the Arians; and Damascene says that the Monophysites made him a thirteenth Apostle. All parts of the Church unite in condemning him and his art; we have a consensus veterum on the subject, and the general feeling is summed up by Ambrose in the beautiful apothegm, “Non in dialecticâ complacuit Deo salvum facere populum suum.””

    One senses Newman was not without sympathy for them; he was no lover of the Schoolmen and seldom quotes a writer later than Damascene

    Pascal is another story. He was a profound philosophical sceptic (and a friend of Descartes). “We must say summarily: ‘This is made by figure and motion,’ for it is true. But to say what these are, and to compose the machine, is ridiculous.” Pascal accepted that physical reality consisted of extension or quantity, to which qualitative phenomena could be reduced; he quoted Wisdom 11:20, “Thou hast ordered all things in measure and number and weight,” but he refused to speculate about first principles. Thus, in his apologetics, he lays great stress on miracles and on the fulfilment of prophecy. He sees no need to explain miracles in terms of mechanistic physics, since historical proof suffices to establish them.

  129. Slainte,

    You certainly have captured Thomas’ vision of ‘man’ [called Christian anthropology]. If I may offer a slight corrective to your Augustinian vision of man [Christian anthropology]. First let me say there are interpretations of Augustine which would be in complete accord with what you wrote. I call them ‘left wing (radical) Augustinianism’. Luther tended toward it but Calvin excelled in it-as did the Jansenists. This more radical interpretation of Augustine would state man is fundamentally depraved in his Fallen state/condition, and that he can do nothing without the grace of Christ. Thus the emphasis on predestination etc.

    The Catholic interpretation of Augustine however is a bit more positive. Fallen man is gravely wounded and divided by original sin [deprived but not depraved] and is in radical need of the grace of salvation from God that comes through the Redemptive act of Jesus Christ. However (and here is the correction), God who created us without our cooperation will not save us without our cooperation [that’s actually a quote directly from Augustine

    Thomist Christian anthropology is more positive-Why? Because it focuses on the Incarnation, recognizing that the Incarnation itself is salvific [not however denying the necessity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery]. Thomist Christian anthropology is awestruck by the Incarnation and all its implications for man, humanity, and all aspects of man’s existence.

  130. MPS and Slainte,

    Thank you for that wonderful comment from Blessed Henry Cardinal Newman. I have read Tertullian but must have missed that statement concerning Aristotle. Of course he is the one who famously wrote [in much contradiction with the rest of the Early Church: “What does Athens [philosophy] have to do with Jerusalem [faith/theology]?” He certainly was unique lol

    Slainte you asked a question in an earlier post whether there was an attempt to get back to the older ‘traditional’ Catholic Faith before Aquinas had got his hands on it. No, not in any way like that. However, there was even at the time of Aquinas [Bonaventure taught at same time in the U of Paris] an attempt to preserve the traditional Augustinian/Cathedral-monastic approach to theology rather than the “scholastic” dialetics. St Bernard of Clairvaux roughly 200 years before hand had already been warning about the dialectic approach. Scholasticism was a method, a method we might find strange even-all you have to do is pick up the Summa without much introduction etc. It is definitely dry, academic. [You just have to know how to really read it].

    More to the point however, in the 1300’s another movement, the Christian (Catholic) humanist movement beginning with Plutarch and others in Italy desired to return to the ‘methodology of the “sources”: the Fathers etc.. This movement continued and flourished in the Renaissance. It desired to “return to the sources”, and was dead set against the Scholastic approach.

    This humanist movement split up into three parts during the Renaissance. One part, desiring to ‘return to the sources’ sought to read the Greek philosophers and Roman writers as they were without any reference to theology or Church etc. They sought to revive love for and reading of the ancient classics as they were, to promote the wonders of Graeco-Roman civilization and culture without the ‘trappings’ of Judaeo=Christianity. They brought forth the ancient art forms etc and relished everything ‘classical’ (and pagan). They divested Plato of all his Christian interpretations and did likewise with Aristotle, as one Italian philosopher wrote, “standing Aristotle on his head”. This form of humanism believed that education in the liberal arts, the classics and philosophers were the ‘salvation’ of the human race. The university, not the Church, the classics, not the Scriptures, education, not the grace of the sacraments, reason not faith, were the future of mankind [You can see the real sources of the Enlightenment and secular humanism today in these].

    In direct reaction to this form of humanism, emerged the second group of humanists: the Protestant Reformers. Shocked at almost everything they witnessed among the ‘humanists’ they reacted, emphasizing exactly what this first group rejected: salvation through Christ alone, not education; exalting Scripture alone, over the Graeco-Roman classics; faith alone not reason or anything else man can do. Instead of the pseudo pagan exaltation of man, this group saw man as depraved: as Martin Luther put it, Redeemed man is like a dung hill covered with snow [notice how grace does not enter in and permeate the sinful condition but only ‘covers it’]

    The third group are the Catholic humanists. They preceded the breakup of humanism, endured the process of the breakup and survived afterward to bring about true reform in the Council of Trent and a new culture called the Baroque. They are not a synthesis of the first two. They preceded both; both broke away from them. However, maintaining their ‘balance’ in a tumultuous age, they were savagely attacked by both break away groups. The ‘secular humanists’ savaged them for being too conservative, caught up in the past [rooted in Tradition] anti reason (they were not. they maintained the synthesis of faith and reason]. Although the first scientists came from the Catholic humanist school [Copernicus and others] the Catholic Church was portrayed as anti-science etc.

    On the other hand, although the Catholic humanist movement was calling for a return to the Sources, a return to a non-scholastic approach to theology and a real reform of the Church [St Catherine of Genoa, St Thomas More, St John Fisher, Erasmus, John Colet, and many more], the Protestant Reformers saw the Catholic humanists as pelagian and pagan and thought the Catholic Church had hopelessly fallen and needed radical reform vis a vis the Reformation.

    The Catholic humanist movement never died out. It was hampered by its divisions (not as profound as what happened during the Renaissance). Many of the saints and doctors of the Church in the post-Tridentine era would be known as Catholic humanists. Among others, certainly the Jesuit order, founded by St Ignatius of Loyola with their emophasis on education etc exalted Catholic humanism and while taking up Thomas (in some friendly and not so friendly competition with the Dominicans and their interpretation of Thomas) continued the positive Incarnational approach in passing on the Catholic Faith.

    As I said the Catholic humanist movement never died out. In the 1800’s it reemerged in the Liturgical Renewal movement, the great work of French scholars in translating the Fathers of the Church [Migne Library], and other movements. In the twentieth century the Catholic humanist movement would be represented by “the Ressourcement” movemet which paved the way for Vatican II. Vatican II marks a full flowering of the Catholic humanism over the scholastic approach of the previous centuries. It sought to return to the Sources: Revelation, Liturgy, the Church. It continues today in the Church which sees Vatican II in continuity with the tradition and not a break (in contrast to the Progressive or radical traditionalist wings’ interpretations)

  131. Botolph and MPS,
    Thank you both for your incisive contributions.
    Follow up point.
    What was so objectionable about the Scholastics and/or the Aristotelian Dialectic that caused the Augustineans, Catholic Humanists, Protestant reformers, and even Blessed John Henry Newman to collectively oppose this philosophy/theology? Was it something other than a shift from focusing on the heavens to man?
    MPS quotes Blessed Newman,
    “….All parts of the Church unite in condemning him [Aristotle] and his art; we have a consensus veterum on the subject, and the general feeling is summed up by Ambrose in the beautiful apothegm, “Non in dialecticâ complacuit Deo salvum facere populum suum.””….[my translation, “It is not the will of God to save his people through dialectics.”]
    Botolph writes “…although the Catholic humanist movement was calling for a return to the Sources, a return to a non-scholastic approach to theology and a real reform of the Church….”
    Botolph, I think that the concern of many regarding humanism in its Catholic form is that by elevating man, one does so at the expense of lowering the focus from God’s supremacy and Jesus’ passion, crucifixion, and resurrection. You will often hear those who oppose Vatican II express concern that social justice aimed at enhancing the human condition occupies a greater role in the present day Church than the importance of worshipping God and the integrity of the Liturgy.
    The issue of primacy….the Heavens or Man… is still alive today as it was during the transtion from Augustineanism to Thomism. I found your commentary on humanism fascinating.

  132. Botolph & Slainté

    The dichotomies of Heaven and Earth, this world and the next, the natural and the supernatural are Aristotelian notions, with its heavy emphasis on the divine transcendence.

    One sees this particularly in methods of devotion: the Aristotelian imagines prayer as a colloquy, in which he addresses God, as one person might address another, only God is invisible and infinitely great. The Platonist, by contrast, imagines his own being as welling up out of God’s creative act. His hope is that his thoughts may become diaphanous, so that the Divine Cause can be perceived through the created effect, for that effect is itself spirit; he gazes at the deep waters of created spirit, so that, as they settle into stillness, he can glimpse in their depths the Eternal Spring that feeds them. This is particularly true in the moral life, the Divine Legislator and Judge, speaking in the depths of conscience.

    According to Mgr Ronald Knox, “The issue hangs on the question whether the Divine Fact is something given, or something to be inferred. Your Platonist, satisfied that he has formed his notion of God without the aid of syllogisms or analogies, will divorce reason from religion.” So, we have Bl John Henry Newman, “what, again, as others hold, is the popular argument from final causes but an “Economia” suited to the practical wants of the multitude, as teaching them in the simplest way the active presence of Him, who after all dwells intelligibly, prior to argument, in their heart and conscience?” “Prior to argument” – that is the authentic voice of Platonism. Pascal says, « Voilà ce que c’est que la foi parfaite, Dieu sensible au cœur » [This, then, is perfect faith: God felt in the heart.]

  133. Slainte,

    The problem is not fundamentally Aristotle’s pointing toward the world nor is it certainly Thomas’ focus and interpretation of everything through the Incarnation. The great criticism an rejection was of the whole ‘scholastic method’ [method in place in the academic world at the time: question: several possible answers, objections, resolution and explication of the truth]. While I love THomas’ Summa, I can’t stand his method. For me, rooted in the Church Fathers, it is like eating sawdust lol. When reading the Summa I take in the question, then go to his answer-which may be actually some distance down in his text. This way I am able to separate the pure gold from all the alloy of his method

    There are some, mostly not Catholic who would claim that with Thomism the whole Church changed and lost it. However, that is an inaccurate reading of Church teaching, history, Thomas himself and the whole Thomistic movement. It is always a bit dangerous to over simplify, but Augustinianism focused on God, The One and Three while Thomism focuses on the Incarnate Christ and all that He reveals and means about God, and all He reveals and means about man. There is obviously a change in focus etc but can anyone honestly say one is more Catholic than the other?

    As to your second point Slainte, I am a bit confused by your question. While ‘they’ are criticizing “Catholic humanism” they actually seem to be confusing it with what I have called “Secular Humanism”.

    Catholic humanism fundamentally is a call to return to the Sources: Revelation [Word of God] in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. It is a call to return to the ancient (Patristic) understanding of the Church (with all the beautiful images: Christ the Light: the Church, the moon, etc). It is a call to return to the sources of the Liturgy-going way beyond which rite is being used, to the foundational teachings on Liturgy that underly all the Rites of the Church. It is a call to return to the ancient/Patristic art of persuasion -when a dispute comes up rather than the syllogisms, debates and condemnations

    More specifically, Catholic humanism from its beginning has focused not n man alone, but the vision of man in Christ. That’s where Thomas’ teaching (not his method lol) is so valuable. It is taking the Council of Chalcedon at its word, in its most profound sense. In Jesus Christ, true God and true man: consubstantial with God as to His Divinity and consubstantial with man (us) as to His humanity we have the fullest revelation of God AND the fullest revelation of man

    You can see, my brother Slainte, that Catholic humanism not only does not but cannot ‘lower the focus of God’s supremacy, or Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection [the Paschal Mystery]. Vatican II, a synthesis of the return to the sources and Thomas’ focus on the Incarnation has done none of this (although progressives think it has and ultra traditionalists fear it has).

    A concern for ‘social justice’ did not begin with Vatican II or the post Vatican II Church. Catholic Social Teaching in its modern form began with Pope Leo XIII’s social encyclical Rerum Novarum. Why? Theologically because he was a Thomist and sought to bring renewal in the Church by means of a Thomist revival [see how this is all intricately interconnected] That Thomist revival in turn gave the underpinning and preparatory work for what led to Vatican II

    As to the integrity of the Liturgy. I am not exactly sure what you mean by that. Which Liturgy? There are 21 Eastern Rites. Even the Latin Rite (pre-Vatican II) had several variations. The Ambrosian Rite centered in Milan is roughly as ancient as the Roman Rite itself. The Roman Rite developed from its earlier simpler forms with one major ritual change put into effect by Pope Saint Gregory the Great. Later “Sacramentaries” added their own emphasis. The roots of what is commonly called the Tridentine Rite lie in the Gallican {France] inculturated form of the ancient Roman Rite. [BTW it was Charlemagne who mandated the continued use of Latin in the Liturgy to maintain political unity and order in the Holy Roman Empire-up until this point the Mass kept going back and forth between Latin and Greek with some vernacular]. Over time several variations of the Roman Rite developed. The Gallo-Roman Rite (“Tridentine”), the Sarum Rite (England) the Mozarabic (Spain), the Braga Rite (Portugal) as well as a Carmelite Rite (which I myself witnessed as a boy; I went to serve the Mass and the priest told me I probably would not be able to serve because it was so different lol) and others connected with the reliigous orders.

    WIth the Protestant Reformation’s radical rejection of the Mass as sacrifice and the expunging of all sacrificial theology etc from the texts of their liturgies etc, the Church at the Council of Trent restated its traditional teaching that the Mass is a Sacrifice a representation (a participation in) the Cross of Jesus Christ (Paschal Mystery). With the 1570 promulgation of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist, Pope Saint Pius V stated what they sought to do was to RETURN TO THE MASS OF THE FATHERS (see the humanism?) Except for the Masses connected with the religious orders he suppressed [notice: a pope having the authority to suppress rites] all the Latin Rite Liturgies that were not over two hundred years old [thus the Sarum, the Mozarabic, and Braga rites all but disappeared; the Sarum however lived on in the Anglican ritual, although butchered by Archbishop Cranmer who believed in neither the Mass as Sacrifice, nor the Real Presence]. The two remaining Latin Rites were the ancient Ambrosian and the Gallo-Roman Rite which we now call the Tridentine Rite or most recently the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

    In the Constitution on the Liturgy of Vatican II, the Council Fathers sought to ‘return to the sources’ of the Fathers [NOT, as many suppose and imagine: a Protestant model]. Both the Liturgical Movement begun by the Benedictines in the 19th century and the Patristic Renewal in France brought rich resources to the understanding of both Liturgy in general and the Liturgies of the Fathers. The renewed Roman Rite (Ordinary Form) is extremely close to the classical Roman Liturgy. The Roman rite has always been simple, even sparce. Its mystery comes by participating in the Liturgy itself rather than in the elaborate style of the East. The fact that the Church in ancient France found the Roman Rite too simple and sparce and added repetitions in the Mass texts (multiple signs of the cross etc) and even some beautiful traditions (such as Palm Sunday Procession-which was not in the original Roman Rite-and thankfully has been preserved for us in the Ordinary Form) tells us of the ability of the Church in ancient France being able to ADD things to the Roman Rite-now found in the Gallo-Roman Rite [Tridentine Rite]

    The Roman Rite, while the major rite is still not the only rite of the Latin Rite. There is still the Ambrosian and now, thanks to Pope Benedict, the “Sarum Rite” by means of the Anglican Ordinariate. Now the Latin Rite has the Roman Rite in two forms: the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form, the Ambrosian and the Anglican Usage. Pope Benedict wanted all of us to begin to recognize that the Latin Liturgy is bigger than the rite with which we are familiar. He wanted us to become more open to see the beauty in each of the rites, but most of all to deepen our awareness and faith in the Liturgy by which through Christ’s sacrifical Paschal Mystery we offer worship to our triune God

  134. Botolph,
    There is so much to digest from your response and MPS’….I am so grateful to both of you as well as Mr. McClarey for not requesting that we conclude this discussion.
    I hope that Jon is reading along with us and learning how beautifully intertwined, complex, and rich our Catholic faith tradition is. And moreover how the Holy Spirit must be at work in our Catholic Church because otherwise it would be absolutely impossible for Catholicism to have remained viable and united in the wake of all the turbulence the Church has encountered through millenia both from internal and external sources.
    I am so pleased to be Catholic and to have such amazing people like you , Michael Paterson-Seymour, and all the other people on this forum to share the Faith.
    For the moment though….I am your sister Slainte, not your brother Slainte. 🙂
    I will comment further a little later…work calls.

  135. Botolph

    As we seem to be ranging fairly widely on this thread, I would mention that, of the 120 French dioceses, only 56 adopted the Tridentine missal; the remainder relied on the 200 prescription to retain their old Gallican uses. Indeed, 7 of these reverted to their earlier use in the following century, when new editions of their service books had been edited and published, for the 200 years continuous user referred to the period up to the date of the bull.

    They disappeared, when Pope Pius VII took advantage of the 1801 Concordat to reorganize the dioceses to coincide with the new civil divisions of the country. Many of the smaller dioceses and their chapters were suppressed and these had always been the staunchest defenders of the old uses, regarding them as badges of “the liberties and immunities of the Gallican Church.” Plus ça change…

  136. MPS,

    Thank you for that information. I was generally aware that the Tridentine reforms including that of the Mass did not go into effect in France until the time of Napoleon, but I did not have the full stats. It is also fascinating but extremely important to note that so many things ‘we’ believe are all but eternal are actually far from it. That is not to relativize everything by a long shot (although it could be misconstrued that way) bu instead to keep a keen sense of history alongside Tradition (unchangeable but able to be developed) and traditions (able to be changed, developed or even put aside if necessary).

  137. Botolph,
    Apologies for failing to respond earlier. I re-read the entire thread to make certain I understood your points; I do understand and am grateful for your apologetics. To bring this discussion to a conclusion, I would like to inquire on two final issues.
    (i) What does the Church understand the term “Imago Dei” to include….man’s sharing in the physical likeness of Our Lord, or His mind, or something else? And woman…is she a derivative creature?
    For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man” (I Corinthians 11:7-9).
    (ii) Natura Pura.

    I want to clarify that I am not a nun or a religious sister; merely a female person. I referred to myself as sister slainte in response to your referring to me as brother slainte.

  138. MPS, Thank you for your patience. I know that my wide ranging inquiries may have been tedious for you.
    In reading your writings, I identify with some of your theological views. Your words resonate with me,
    “….The Platonist, by contrast, imagines his own being as welling up out of God’s creative act. His hope is that his thoughts may become diaphanous, so that the Divine Cause can be perceived through the created effect, for that effect is itself spirit; he gazes at the deep waters of created spirit, so that, as they settle into stillness, he can glimpse in their depths the Eternal Spring that feeds them. This is particularly true in the moral life, the Divine Legislator and Judge, speaking in the depths of conscience…”
    Can we know and understand God through Natural Law?

  139. Slainté

    St Augustine is rather good on women and the imagio dei
    In His Literal Commentary on Genesis (III, 22) he says, “Some people have suggested that it was now (Gen 1:27) that the human mind [interiorem] was made, while the human body came later, when scripture says, ‘And God fashioned man from the slime of the earth’ (Gen 2:7); so that where it says ‘he made’ (1:26), it refers to the spirit, while ‘he fashioned’ (2:7) refers to the body. But they fail to take into account that male and female could only be made with respect to the body. While indeed it may be acutely argued [This is St Augustine’s own argument in De Trinitate, XII] that the human mind, in which the human being is made to God’s image and which is a kind of rational life, has two functions: the contemplation of eternal truth and the management of temporal affairs; and that thus you get a kind of male and female, the one part directing, the other complying; it is still the case that the mind is only rightly called the image of God in that function by which it adheres in contemplation to the unchangeable truth. It is to symbolize or represent this point that the apostle Paul says that it is only the man who is the image and glory of God; ‘but the woman’, he says, ‘is the glory of the man’ (1 Cor 11:7).
    Thus while that which is to be observed in the one mind of the interior person is symbolized by two persons who are outwardly of different sex in the body; still the woman too, who is female in the body, she too is being renewed in the spirit of her mind, where there is neither male nor female, to the recognition of God according to the image of him who created her (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23, Col 3:10, Gal 3:28). Women, after all, are not excluded from this grace of renewal and the refashioning of God’s image, although their bodily sex symbolizes something else, which is why only the man is called the image and glory of God. In the same way, too, in the original creation of the human race, because the woman, too, was human, she obviously had a mind and a rational one at that [habebat utique mentem suam eamdemque rationalem], in respect of which she too was made to the image of God.”

  140. Slainté

    “I know that my wide ranging inquiries may have been tedious for you.” On the contrary, they help me revisit neglected topics and, as Miss Anscombe used to tell us “What you can’t explain, you don’t really understand.”

    “Can we know and understand God through Natural Law?”

    Following the Fall, the law of nature has only one purpose: namely to make man inexcusable before God. Since it becomes manifest in the dictates of conscience, the latter too has no other object but that of depriving man of the pretext of ignorance and making clear his responsibility before the judgment of God. All this, however, does not imply that in this way man can attain a real knowledge of the divine will. As man is enclosed by the darkness of error, the natural law gives him scarce an inkling of the kind of service which is pleasing to God. The ability to distinguish between good and evil have ceased to be healthy and intact in the mind of fallen man.

    Under grace, it is otherwise.

  141. Slainte,

    The “Imago Dei” is fundamentally ‘the heart (memory), mind (intellect) and will (love)’ for Augustine. It has been shortened to ‘knowledge’ and ‘love’ in Aquinas (I believe he was the one who shortened it lol). Since the imago is fundamentally ‘spiritual’, man and woman possess both equally.

    In the Catholic tradition there has always been, even if often overlooked or even suppressed, and exaltation of the feminine, most especially in Mary. Rodney Stark a Protestant sociologist of religion claims that the majority of Christians in the early Church were women because women saw the Church as revolutionary in their approach to women. In the Middle Ages women held high positions in religious life but also they cannot be forgotten in such figures as St Margaret of Scotland, St Elizabeth of Hungary, or even Elainor of Aquitaine. It was Mary however that gave womanhood their full meaning in the Middle Ages: “our Lady” “our Queen”…….
    It was the Protestant Reformation in attempting to bring everything back into Old Testament biblical categories that overthrew the Catholic synthesis of masculine and feminine and exalted Patriarchy [btw you would never guess that now however]. It was the Reformers who claimed woman belonged in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant. Catholics always gave women the opportunity for other forms of life: consecrated religious, consecrated virgins. By our standards today that would be considered too constrictive but in context it was revolutionary

  142. MPS…. on Natural Law, thank you.
    On December 21, 2013, your mentor the late Ms. Anscombe was joined before the Beatific Vision by her beloved husband Peter Geach who died that day. Christmas 2013 was thus an undoubtedly happy one for the devoted couple. Requiescat in pace et lux perpetua.
    You write, “..The ability to distinguish between good and evil have ceased to be healthy and intact in the mind of fallen man…”

    It’s curious that our fallen human nature, though redeemed, still tends toward concupiscence. In our prideful vanity, we iinsist upon imposing our will over His insisting that we can distinguish good from evil and right from wrong. The fruits of our vanity are everywhere present; in particular within a system of positve laws, denuded from Revelation and Natural Law, which exalts individual freedom by recognizing an illusory righr to kill the unborn or divide what God has made indivisible. We then label these rights and freedoms “good”. Quite unfortunate.
    Natural Law, imperfect though it be, yields diamond-like glimmers of God’s wisdom. For atheists who seek God through reason, Natural Law may be a path home to the Church.

  143. MPS…on Imago Dei…

    I appreciate Saint Augustine more and more each day.
    First because he was so imperfect in his own life; struggling constantly with all the temptations of the flesh and a strong will to boot. He fell short on so many occasions incapable of disciplining his own fallen nature, on his own initiative, sans God. Only by acquiescing to God’s will did Augustine find peace and joy. He is Everyman and Everywoman….all fallen and in need of God’s mercy and Grace.
    Secondly, I recall from Augustine’s “Confessions” his early view of women as merely objects of lust hardly capable of rational thought, higher learning, or even minimal dignity. Yet notwithstanding his and the world’s narrow view of women, God channeled through women the great gift of new life which continues to renew the world. When Augustine came to know God, no doubt by virtue of his mom St. Monica’s prayers, his vision of women expanded to recognize their humanity and their claim to dignity.
    Thank you for a beautiful and concise argument MPS, and for helping all those who may read this thread to find God.
    Your are an evangelizer MPS….even if you don’t realize it.

  144. If I’m not mistaken, this United Methodist woman belongs to a denomination that supports abortion “rights” and “gay” “marriage.” It also encourages unnatural birth control and other manipulations as a way to “help” victims of human trafficking.

    Sharing a common baptism is probably an accident of infancy. Sharing a podium or sanctuary is not an accident.

    One might consult the Catechism, 2284-2287, especially 2285, for a discussion of scandal.

  145. Botolph,
    Your ability to make understandable complex issues within philosophy and theology has caused me to withdraw almost all of my objections to Vatican II. In particular, your analysis and discussion of the foundational truths of Augustineanism (neo-platonism) and Thomism (Aristotelianism) and the reconcilable tensions between the two are compelling to me. I do take issue with those who comprise the “spirit of VII” as I view many in this camp to advance ideas that are enemical to the Faith and the overall well being of the Church.
    My fundamental point of disagreement with Vatican II was a misperception that the post VII Church inordinately focused on Man rather than God’s right of primacy to be worshipped properly, respectfully, and with great solemnity and beauty in accord with Church Tradition. Your explanation of the differing theological foci of Augustineanism and Thomism dispelled my concerns that secular humanism had somehow invaded and internalized itself within the Church. I think it is the age old Thomistic approach to man in his relation to the Incarnation that I mistook for secular humanism and which caused me consternation.
    Your emphasis on the Church’s constant and unremitting dedication to renewal and a return to the Sources is of great consequence as it confirms that the Church, through the Holy Spirit, is “as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be”. On a personal level, it compels me to recall my duty to renew my relationship with God every day through prayer, reflection, and focus on the Church’s teachings.
    I read Augustine’s “Confessions” some years ago and thought his initial view of women was comical; yet I had to concede that something amazing occurred when Augustine came to know God intimately through the Church. He was transformed not only in his ability, through God, to restrain his passions, but, also in his awakening to the dignity due Woman….a human being previously viewed as an object of lust. Augustine’s ability to know God, through the Church, permitted him to see God in the humanity of others, however fallen, and thus conclude that all humans should be accorded great dignity. The Church’s elevation of Augustine’s praying mother Monica to sainthood is a further recognition of the Church’s time honored tradition of recognizing the special gifts that women bring to the world; and thus ignoring a world view that treats women as objects.
    You are right Botolph, it was and continues to be the Church, not the world, that recognizes the value and worth of woman and all other marginalized persons.
    The ultimate tribute to Woman is encompassed in Our Blessed Mother Mary whom God the Father chose to bless with the conception and birth of their son, Our Lord Jesus Christ…no greater gift can be bestowed upon a woman than the recognition accorded by God himself, to select a woman to bear His son. So too does Our Lord Jesus model love, mercy, and respect upon the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, and Mary Magdalene in her fallen state….those the world would summarily condemn, He embraces just as Our Holy Father Pope Francis does today. During His own passion and crucifixion, Jesus compassionately acknowledged Our Blessed Mother’s suffering as she witnessed her only son beaten and killed. Notwithstanding His own pain and great distress, Our Lord Jesus saw fit to ensure her care by commending her to St. Thomas. He did not abandon His mother; He will not abandon His bride, the Church.
    Thank you, Botolph, for clearing away so many cobwebs that kept me from seeing clearly that the Church wrestles today with age old issues which, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are being addressed by a return to the Sources and a renewal of God’s message through his Bride, the Church.
    You and MPS are very compelling evangelizers, individually, and as a team. Your collective and deep knowledge of philosophy and theology permits you to penetrate through the myriad of errors causing lay Catholics and good faith protestants to be misled. I hope that you both engage Jon and others to lead more souls back to mother Church. You have each made a difference in my life.
    Thank you for engaging me in this lengthy discourse. I am grateful also to you Mr. McClarey for your patience and indulgence. Pax.

  146. Slainte

    You are too kind. I only attempted to help make things clearer, give some context and perhaps a new narrative.

    I totally agree that the “spirit of VII’ is a totally false interpretation of the Council and has done great great harm to the Church. A harm we are only really beginning to be able to sort through.

    Thank you for engaging me in such vigorous and energetic dialogue. I loved it

    Cead Mille Failte

  147. Botolph said: “Mary, my sister in Christ,”
    Botolph: I am addressed by you as “my sister in Christ.” Meditating on the appellation, it has occurred to me that without Christ, there is no brotherhood of man. There may not even be a brotherhood of atheists, secular humanists, conjurers of perjury and fratricide raising Cain.
    Man, all men, are of one species Homo Sapiens. Demons and angels are each and everyone an individual species unto himself. Devils are called “legion”. Angels are called “hosts”, “choirs”. Therefore, the possessed declaring his atheism chooses only for himself. I must choose for myself. The purveyors of perjury are an individual substance of an irrational demonic nature. The adherent of human sacrifice, be it abortion, cannibalism or homicide cannot be a brother or sister without Christ. Those who would degrade themselves and deny their rational, immortal human souls to exercise gay behavior cannot be my brother without Christ.
    In fact, people who pretend to represent us as we become their constituents by law, cannot represent us without Christ. Without Christ, there is no state, no community, no brotherhood, only individuals possessed by one or more demons.
    Botolph, you have demonstrated a true and tender affection in your writing, as do most writers at The American Catholic. I speak of this because there is a church state-connection between brotherhood and patriotism. On the dollar one might read: “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” Currency becomes the tangible evidence of love and affection, tender love and affection. The Polish people give money to children wishing them a good life. Even the stones cry out.
    When Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the professed atheist, went before the Supreme Court to have prayer banned from public school, O’Hair used public money, legal tender. The Court said: “She can go her own way.” It was the atheistic media that bannered “PRAYER BAN”. “She can go her own way”, she cannot take us with her, for I get to choose to believe in God and the Son of Man , Jesus Christ. No policy, no Court decree can change my vote, my right to choose life, my power “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity”, all future generations. In fact, atheists have no right to say “I AM”. This is the atheist using God’s name in vain. Using God’s name in vain would preclude the atheist from voting and giving testimony in court, which the atheist did in Prayer Ban.
    When a newly begotten sovereign person is empowered to create a mother and a father of a woman and a man, for himself, by himself, with the grace of God, it is because the child needs a mother and a father, not two men or two women. The child may be a ward of the court, by virtue of the child’s personhood constituting the nation, but the court does not own the person. Only by denying the person, can the court commit its ward to an alternate lifestyle denying the child’s informed consent.
    Botolph, my brother, in Christ.

  148. Mary De Voe,

    My sister in Christ.

    I was quite touched by your latest post. Not to go on a long reflection on this, I believe that one of the great faults of Catholics today is to forget how united we are as family in and through Christ. I thank you for your thoughtful post and sentiments

    Your brother in Christ,


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