PopeWatch: Hermeneutic of Continuity




Father Z has what he believes is an important indication that Pope Francis is following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict in how he views Vatican II:


The 450th anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent is coming up on 4 December.  We like to celebrate these great milestones in salvation history.  So, there are great doings in Trent, in the northern area of Italy which is part of the (also) German-speaking Tirol.  As is customary, Pope Francis will send a Cardinal as his personal representative.  Who better than His Eminence Walter Card. Brandmüller?

When the Pope sends a Cardinal off on one of these missions, he sends him a formal letter, charging him with his task and indicating something of his own hopes for the occasion.  The anniversary of the closing of the Council of Trent is no exception.

In his letter to Card. Brandmüller, Pope Francis explicitly cites Pope Benedict XVI pontificate-defining address in 2005 to the Roman Curia in which he spoke about the “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture” (e.g., the Karl Rahner crowd and their descendants, still active today) and the “hermeneutic of reform”, or “hermeneutic of continuity”.

In this explicit reference Francis is aligning himself with Benedict and that key moment and concept underlying Benedict’s pontificate.

This comes in the wake of Francis writing to Archbishop Marchetto (refresh your memory HERE), a critic of one of the powerhouses of the ”hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture”, the so-called “Bologna School” of interpretation of the Council.  Francis surely broke a lot of liberal hearts when he referred to Marchetto (who in this matter is completely aligned with Benedict) as one of the best interpreters of the Council that he knows.

The letter of Francis to Card. Brandmüller is available in the Latin original in the Bollettino.  Here is my rapid translation of the first part of the letter, which is the important part.  I scaled down some of the flowery stuff. The second part is the usual boilerplate and of less interest.

To our Venerable Brother Walter Cardinal (of the Holy Roman Church) Brandmüller Deacon of St. Julian of the Flemish

Since the 450th anniversary of the day on which the Council of Trent drew to its favorable end, it is fitting that the Church recall with readier and more attentive eagerness the most rich doctrine which came out of that Council held in the Tyrol. It is certainly not without good reason that the Church has for a long time given such great care to that Council’s decrees and canons which are to be recalled and heeded, seeing that, since extremely grave matters and questions sprang up in that period, the Council Fathers employed all their diligence so that the Catholic faith should come into clearer view and be better understood. Without a doubt as the Holy Spirit inspired and prompted them, it was the Fathers’ greatest concern not only that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine be defended, but also that mankind be more brightly illuminated, in order that the saving work of the Lord could be diffused throughout the entire globe and the Gospel be spread through the whole world.

Harking closely to the same Spirit, Holy Church in this age renews and meditates on the most abundant doctrine of the Council of Trent. In fact, the “hermeneutic of renewal” [interpretatio renovationis] which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI explained in 2005 before the Roman Curia, refers in no way less to the Council of Trent than to the Vatican Council. To be sure, this mode of interpretation places under a brighter light a beautiful characteristic of the Church which is taught by the Lord Himself: “She is a ‘subject’ which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God” (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia offering them his Christmas greetings – 22 December 2005).


This is a significant letter.

First, it affirms that we can indeed, and rightly, Read Francis Through Benedict.

Second, it affirms that Francis is, and rightly, reading Francis Through Benedict.

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch hopes that Father Z is correct in his interpretation.  PopeWatch also wishes that it was not necessary to rely on such “tea leaves” in figuring out where Pope Francis stands.

More to explorer


  1. “PopeWatch also wishes that it was not necessary to rely on such ‘tea leaves’ in figuring out where Pope Francis stands.”

    YES. This.

  2. Ah yes, Fr. Z. You gotta admire his relentless optimism. He’s downright determined to make Francis into what he should be. God bless him for that.

  3. My impression has been that Roman Catholicism crystallized with Trent; that it continues to teach the very same things. Is this correct, anyone?

  4. Jon,

    Whether we are speaking of the Council of Trent, the Second Vatican Council, or any of the Ecumenical Councils of the Church, the very same Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, meets, preserves and passes on ( teaches) the Apostolic Tradition, the Catholic Faith. Now it does so under very different Historical contexts, with very different questions, problems, or issues that the Church needed to face and or address.

    When the Council of Trent met, between 1545 and 1565 (The bishops did not meet for twenty straight years; there were periods of time the Council was not in session), the Medieval world and world view was collapsing being replaced with the Renaissance. The Scholastic way of teaching was being replaced by the Humanist ( here don’t think of secular humanism). The culture was changing from an oracular ( based on hearing/listening) to literary ( reading) thanks to the invention of the printing press, bringing profound changes in communication. Although it is a myth that the Medieval world thought that the world was flat- they knew from the ancient Greeks it was round, Europeans now discovered the New World of the Americas, and their native people’s, as well as discovering just how big Africa was by sailing around its southern tip. Although not yet well known, Copernicus, a Polish cleric in minor orders, had already theorized that the sun, not earth was the center:we moved around it, not it around us, as the ancient Greeks and common perception would have it ( This would all blow up in the very poorly handled Galileo affair in the 1600’s)

    The Church, as in every age, needed reform and renewal. In many ways it had grown too comfortable with the Medieval world view, and confused that with her identity and Tradition. It is true, that in certain aspects of Church life, things needed to change-big time. She was still teaching the truths of the Catholic Faith using the Scholastic method, with disputations and argumentation-a method used in the Universities. While several generations of Catholic humanists were calling for a Return to the Sources: Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church ( for example, Erasmus and Saint (Sir) Thomas More), the Church in general was resistant.

    Catholic Reform however was being called for and within the religious orders especially, was underway. One of those reforming orders were the Augustinian Friars and one of their number was Father Martin Luther. His first calls for reform were met with genuine acceptance, because they were Catholic. Because it was a Dominican, John Tetzel, who set Luther off in the way Tetzel was presenting indulgences for the sake of building the new ( our present day) Saint Peter’s Basilica, it was thought that it was simply an argument between two monks. That was not the case. Soon the whole of Germany then Northern Europe was on fire ( Much of what happened can be traced to cultural differences between Northern and Southern Europe).

    As we have spoken before early Luther was indeed Catholic, but soon he himself became enflamed, becoming more and more radicalized. Other Reformers, even more radical at first joined with him, but later broke with him over doctrinal matters ( the biggest issue was the Eucharist which Luther believed to be the Body and Blood of Christ-although he did not hold the full Catholic Teaching on the subject; the other Reformers believed the Eucharist to be symbolic but not really Christ’s Bodily Presence). Luther’s biggest issue was justification by grace and received/ accepted by faith. He limited the sacraments to two, basing that teaching to his acceptance of Scripture alone. Calvin first followed him, then broke with his teaching. King Henry VIII first fought Luther’s teaching, then forced the whole Church in England to break with Rome and see him as head of the Church. The King of Sweden did not like his Cardinal in Stockholm’s policies and all but literally overnight made the whole Church in what are now the Scandanavian countries, bishops and all, Lutheran.

    It was in response to this firestorm that the Council of Trent was called. Luther, and Calvin were invited to the Council, but refused to go. The Council had two fundamental tasks, answer the doctrinal “questions and positions” of the Reformers and totally reform, not the substance of the Church ( teachings, sacraments, governance) but the way things were behind done. No change in moral teaching but in the morals of her members. There were two groupings within the Council, one group wanted to present Church teaching, reform her ways, but be more irenic ( peaceful) toward the Reformers and their Reformation. Cardinal Reginald Pole was among their number as was the Father General of the Capuchins. They in no way accepted the teaching of the Reformers, but thought reconciliation with the Reformers might still be possible, and wanted the Council to work toward that goal. The other group, intensely reformist, believed that the Reformers wre in fact ” gone”, no reconciliation was possible. They wanted to present the Church’s teaching clearly in response to and in rejection of the Reformers. There was no real dispute in the Council over the teachings of the Church or the need for a deep reform of the Church. The dispute was how best to present and go about this reform. The second group prevailed.

    When the Council of Trent ended on December 4th, 1565, it was the same Catholic Church that emerged from it that had entered the Council, but it nonetheless looked very different. The Medieval Catholic Church had emerged from the Council, the Church of the early Modern Era, “the Tridentine” Catholic Church.

  5. I am with Elizabeth: Fr. Z is an optimist and I hope he will be right. However: Two points: the hermeneutic of rupture obviously exists, or Benedict XVI would not have spent so much time and effort trying to remediate the problem. Just anecdotally: how many times have you spoken to a priest about a matter and gotten the “Oh,-we- dont-teach-that-doctrine-since-V2-anymore” response. Recently, I brought some very good extra Catholic books to a good priest I know and admire, for his distribution to other Catholics: when he looked at some of them (all classic works, all imprimatur, some were Pre V2 catechisms), he demurred, saying, “Oh we dont teach that since Vatican II.” My point: on the ground level, there was a rupture in teaching at V2.
    2nd point: Pope Francis is being reined in—by someone, or some group of people, after his recent rhetorical blunders. DICI, a trad publication notes: “…The interview that Pope Francis granted on October 1 at the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, this interview, which was available on the Vatican website, was taken down on November 15, at the request of the Secretariat of State. One question-and-answer had already been condemned by L’Osservatore Romano, the one in which the Pope declared that everyone had his concept of good and evil and that he had to follow his conscience.

    On the day after the publication of the interview, faced with the dismayed reactions of many Catholics, Fr. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See, had explained that this was neither a Magisterial document nor an encyclical, but rather an occasion for the Supreme Pontiff to express himself “with great sincerity and simplicity” (sic). In order to justify the decision to remove it from the Vatican website, Fr. Lombardi declared: “The text is reliable on a general level, but not on the level of each individual point analyzed,” since the interview had not been recorded and no written notes were taken. Pope Francis has to stop making his personalistic comments declaratory of the Catholic Church, pure and simple. As documented before, he has a deficient theological background (certainly when compared to JP2 and BXVI). The time to get a clue has come.

  6. Thanks, Botolph, for that rather thoughtful explanation of things. I don’t think cultural differences were responsible for the profound change during this era, except in part insofar as the emergence of political nationalism and some differentiation of national identity began to emerge–though not too much. Actually, the PRotestant churches would further facilitate nationalism. Thanks for explaining the Roman church today as tridentine. I wanted to know if Vatican II brought any significant alterations, but it does not seem so. Theologically, you say it is tridentine I think.
    Interestingly, the Renaissance worldview was Medieval; it was just more elaborate (see Tillyard’s the Elizabethan World Picture). C. S. Lewis drove home the point that all we have, generally speaking, are pictures, and the intellectuals of any time usually know that. People sensed the world was round and revolving around the sun and so on, but people also have other models and approaches that work better for practical purposes, and then there’s popular or common prejudices, etc.
    I think tradition is oftentimes legitimate. The difference, and what’s at stake, is the question of its role. Protestants wish to keep tradition subservient to Scripture. The apostolic era is done and the canon is closed. To place tradition on an equal footing with Scripture at this point would create serious problems.
    When christendom split at the Reformation, cultural differences emerged. Generally, cultural differences were the effect, not the cause of that split. The cause of the split was tension that built up over Scripture versus church tradition, with the south mainly siding with Rome on tradition and the north, for different reasons, siding mostly with Scripture and independent thought.
    Some people wanted political change, others were humanists, and still others were purists of the Christian faith. The English and Scandinavian revolutions were propelled by political interests more than theological per se. But note that within the political movements new churches often emerged solely over theological reasons.
    The central difference then and more so now from my perspective is this: Roman Catholicism places tradition on a par with Scriptrure while Protestantism’s only/ultimate authority remains Scripture. Do you agree?

  7. Jon,

    First, let me make this point, a point often overlooked or under rated by many. Since 1545, the year the Council of Trent bega, the Catholic Church has had three Ecumenical Councils: Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II. These three Councils are intricately related ( just as the first four Councils are). Although all Councils need to be seen and interpreted within the whole Catholic Tradition, these three cannot be understood without eac other. All three are ultimately about the Mystery of the Church at the beginning of the Modern Era (Renaissance-Reformation: Trent), in response to radical aspects of the Enlightenment: Vatican I and finally in response the end of the Modern Age and the beginning of the Post Modern Era: Vatican II. Jon you are correct to call the present Church Tridentine, however within the new historical context of the beginning of the post modern era, it would be more precise to call today’s Church as post Vatican II.

    As to your questions concerning Tradition and Scripture, it is important to note that each of the three Councils just mentioned contain teaching on this subject, with a bit of development manifest in the next Council. Catholics and Protestants believe and hold to the the authority of the Word of God, Jesus Christ, the full revelation of God ( see Hebrews 1.1). God had revealed Himself and His saving will in ” many and various ways through the prophets” but never fully. The fullness of Revelation is the Person of Jesus Christ, and in and through Jesus Christ.

    In turn, the Risen Christ handed on (Traditio) this full revelation to the Apostles, the Apostolic Tradition ( none of which was written down, except of course the Greek version of theHebrew Scriptures, which became through Christ, the Old Testament. Within the Apostolic generation some of that Apostolic Tradition was written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those inspired texts were accepted by the Apostolic and sub apostolic ( next generations) Church as authoritative and normative. Along with these Scriptures an authoritative summary and synthesis of the whole revelation, the word of God was also handed on: the Rule (canon) of Faith. This ancient and authoritative Rule of Faith was passed on generation after generation, to each new catechumen (convert) coming into the Church in the sacraments of Initiation. This ancient Rule of Faith, a particularly well known form of which we know as the Apostles’ Creed is authoritative and normative. It is completely drawn from the Scriptures, but it also interprets Scripture. Finally, when struggling with many texts all claiming apostolic authority or authorship (Gnostic texts etc), the early Church was able to discern the texts whether they were in continuity or faithful to the Rule of Faith.

    See, Jon, Scripture and Tradition are not totally separate sources of Revelation, the word of God. Like husband and wife the two, while distinct, are intimately one. This is the contribution of Vatican II. While maintaining the distinction of Scripture and Tradition, Vatican II emphasizes the authority of the revelation of God, the word of God, handed down by the Word of God made flesh to the Apostles who in turn handed the revelation down in the Apostollic Tradition. Two particular forms of this revelation, word, Tradition are Sacred Scripure and Sacred Tradition in the Rule of Faith and Apostolic Succession.

  8. Botolph, I agree tradition was ongoing in the sense that the apostles taught and wrote and this body of teaching continued to be transmitted. I totally understand that. I just think eventually other teachings that were alien to Christianity ‘crept in’ and became part of that (T)radition. So I believe we have to unravel the true traditions from the false ones. Further, some traditions aren’t false but merely extra-biblical. These are not binding. That’s my take on tradition. In other words, not all tradition is sacred, and not everything that’s sacred is authoritative and normative. I hold to a more nuanced and complex understanding of tradition.

  9. Jon,

    First let me say that I have been using Tradition with a capital T. That distinguishes it from tradition or traditions with a diminutive t. The distinction is very important for Catholics. Tradition with a capital T is the Apostolic Tradition, Revelation which as you rightly stated in your earlier post was closed at the end of the Apostolic Age. This Apostolic Tradition can only be handed down to new generations, be preserved and protected. Nothing can be added to this Tradition or subtracted from it-by anyone- not even the popes and bishops. This Apostolic Tradition is especially manifested in the Sacred Scriptures but not limited to them. I believe that is the rub for Protestants.

    Let me ask you this. Where do you find, in any of the Books of the Bible, but for the sake of argument we will stick to the NT, the list of the Canon of the Scriptures, which books made it into the New Testament? This becomes a real issue for Protestants when the Da Vinci Code or National Geographic or the History Channel start talking about some new book found or papyrus fragment discovered claiming to be some lost writing of an apostle. Or how can you, on the basis of only referring to the Books of the Bible, declare the extra books added by the Mormons or the peculiarities of. Mormon or Jehovah Witness translations of the Bible, or even the criticisms of Moslems who claim that both Jews and Christians have corrupted Scripture but the Quuran gets them right: how can “you” answer these points, criticisms and objections using only the texts of Sacred Scripture? What, then is your authority that validates the Sacred Scriptures, since no Christians believe the Scriptures were authored only by God Himself, as the Moslems do the Quuran?? Who has the ability/ authority to choose which books made it and which books did not? By what substantive criteria do “they” use to decide this- remember, there are many books with apostole’s name on the text?

    See Jon, Apostolic Tradition both contains and passes on Apostolic Succession: the Apostolic College (Peter and Apostles) is passed on down through the centuries in the Popes, the successors of Peter and the college of bishops in communion with him. In the second century the bishops, such as Saint Irenaeus, arrived at the beginnings of what we now call the Canon. First against Marcion who wanted to throw out the whole Old Testament and most of the New, because those books were too Jewish. Then which books claiming apostolic authorship and authority were authentic, based on two further criteria: agreement with the Rule of Faith and agreement with what the Church in Rome founded on Peter and Paul, believed and taught.

    Tradition is what has been handed down, authoritatively taught, celebrated ( all seven sacraments) and preserved and not added to, by the Catholic Church. Tradition is the essence, substance of the Church and cannot be changed only developed and explained. Everything else is tradition with a small t, and while venerable etc are not of the essence or substance of the Church and can be changed.

  10. The church did not decide the canon; it discerned it. Protestants believe that and trust the Holy Spirit’s role in that. So any texts introduced later on are considered bogus. Remember, we have the Spirit within which knows the truth as well as the spirit of Antichrist. If you read the gospel of Thomas, for example, you’ll sense you’re dealing with a different spirit.
    The church is always advancing theology, which in one sense can be considered development. But Protestants understand theology is subject to scriptural critique and may be scrapped at any time. We always ‘go back’ to the Bible for continual correction. So Protestants mean something different when they speka of tradition. It’s not really development, but contextualization and re-contextualization. In terms of this, what tradition looks like now can be quite different from what it looks like somewhere else in the future. The traditions in Scripture, however, must be upheld at all times.
    Viewed from one angle, the only difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism lies in terms of how tradition is defined and/or the role afforded it. Your thoughts?

  11. Jon,

    How Catholics and Protestants define Tradition and the role afforded it is sadly not the only issue dividing Catholics and Protestants. While a Protestant can come to the Catholic Church and receive one doctrinal or moral truth when asked (here I am speaking of actual, genuine, authoritative teaching- not some ‘theological theory or opinion’) a Catholic cannot go to an authoritative Protestant source. How many denominations and non denominational groups are there? I am not attempting to be sarcastic here, just frustrated. Last count I heard there are well over thirty thousand denominations!

    The crux of the matter between Catholic and Protestant ” positions” is the relationship between Christ and the Church. Is the Church the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12), His visible presence in the world-or not? Is. The Church the Bride of Christ (Eph. 5) , the New Eve (Gen 2), drawn from the pierced side of the New Adam as He slept in death (Jn 19) and receiving new life from Her Spouse in the Garden of the Resurrection (Jn 20) which in turn, by the power of the Holy Spirit She is able to share with Her children in and through the Sacraments?

    Is the Church, according to Christ’s intention and the ‘ constitution’ He gave Her a visible or invisible community? If invisible why did He pray at the Last Supper that ” they may be one” (Jn 17)? If She was invisible who could tell and how could they tell that She was or was not “one”? When Christ ascended into heaven did He leave a Book or a Church? Can one really claim that the only way the Apostles left their authority to the future generations of the Church only in the Scriptures ? If so, how can the Scriptures ” assert” their authority without a Church reading, interpreting and yes, coming to conclusive and authoritative decisions concerning their meaning? Or are we truly left bereft with every person deciding his own interpretation?

    I will take this moment to again ask- why are you carrying on this kind of ” dialogue”? Are these questions that you have really leading anywhere or is this just a continuous dialogue carried on as if all we have are opinions outside the Scriptures themselves-which of course themselves are opened to endless interpretations with no hope of really arriving. at an authoritative Truth? To each response that I have written, you seem to simply give back the “Protestant” position with no real movement toward further insight into the truth-at least it comes off this way. If we aren’t getting anywhere, the point of this is……what?

  12. I think it’s a matter of degree. If by authoritative you mean the ability to commmunicate the gospel message and to bring it to bear on all of life, I would say that some Protestant churches do that and others don’t. That’s about as authoritative as I would expect, given the Bible is a story that culminates in the Kingdom of God and its implications. It’s a matter of believing it and becoming a part of it by faith. This also means recognizing our bankrupcy before God and his gracious gift, i. e. Jesus Christ. Plenty of churches exist that will speak prophetically and authoritatively about that. Unfortunately, many Protestant denominations choose to adopt liberal progressivism; they capitalize on the social justice aspect to the detriment of everything else. This is a travesty. These are the churhes that are unable to speak prophetically (except when it is a social matter–and oftentimes they’re wrong on those matters).
    I know many denominations and non-denominational groups exist. This was never a problem for me. I never thought of the church in the Roman Catholic sense. I only wish these grouops accepted each others’ diversity to a greater extent. Too often, they critisize and judge each other. A loving acceptance of the diversity of Christ’s body demonstrates the unity we have in Christ. The diversity is by no means a sign that we aren’t one. Of course Christ and his body are inseparable. I do not think the church must always be visibly apparent and structurally unified across time and space.
    We can and often do misread the Bible. God’s people are guided by the Spirit who is our interpreter, and that’s an ongoing process. It is not that every person decides meaning for themselves. All authentic Christians agree on the essentials of our faith. Disagreement arises concerning various particulars.
    I think you may be framing the debate in terms that are way too black-and-white. I would like to reiterate that my positoin and the position of many Christians is more complex and nuanced, not necessarily representing the stereotypically Protestant viewpoint. You seem to say the Roman Church has truth and can speak authoritatively. Well, I would point out that otehr chruches exist, which do the same. Tradition is an element for many Christian groups, but Protestants generally define it differently from Catholics.
    I suspect, in fact, that the major difference really is the role of tradition. When a church believes in the PRotestant understanding of the role of tradition, it is interpreted in terms of Scripture. Scripture is used to make sense of everything else.
    The purpose of this dialogue, as I said before, is to gain mutual insight into each others’ positions as well as our own. I think you sense we’re at an impasse now, and that is probably the role of tradition. That seems to be what it all comes down to, even if it doesn’t look like that from where you’re standing.

  13. Of course a major difference exists beyond all this, but it’s rooted in the broader problem of the role of traditiion. That difference entails justification. Is one justified by faith alone or by faith and works? My response is that we’re justified by faith alone, and that that fatih will necessarily bear fruit. So we’re justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone if that makes sense. I think the distinction is crucial. Portions of Scripture abound that hammer it in.

  14. Jon,

    Actually we have come not to an impass but crossroads. The real issue is not the role and authority of Tradition (Luther’s principle of Scripture alone), or how we are saved ( Luther’s principle of “faith alone”). These are indeed important and have been answered in the Council of Trent. The real issue is the Truth. We both believe Jesus Christ is the Truth. We both believe that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. However beyond that agreement is harder to find.

    Let me say this. Anything I say about the Catholic Church, Her teachings, Her Sacraments, Her ‘ government’ given to us by Christ, I say in humility. I have been given the gift of faith in God, in Jesus Christ and in Hiis Holy Spirit in the Church ( communion-fellowship of the Spirit). At a very young age I believed God loved me and that I was a child of God. A bit later in life I encountered Christ Who entered my life in a very deep way and lifted me up, guiding me along life’s paths, and has led me to this point. I have come realize that the Church is not an institution ” over there”, or those people ” over there”. The Church is ” We”, “us”. All who believe in their hearts that Jesus is Lord and confess with their lips that God raised Him from the dead and is baptized is a member of the Church-perhaps not (yet) in full communion with the Church, but are indeed a child of God, a member of the Body of Christ and (unless in serious post-baptismal sin) a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.

    Catholics do not possess the truth, instead we are grasped by the Truth. That truth sets us free. By the grace of the Spirit we are maintained in the Truth. With Christ’s own commission we teach everything Christ has taught us in making disciples of all nations, and are empowered by the Spirit to do so.

    What I am about to sat, Jon, you will no doubt have difficulty hearing, never mind accepting. However it is this: by Christ’s own promise and the Gift of the Spirit of Truth, the Catholic Church in substance, in Her essentials, is the same Church of the Apostolic Age, the age of the Fathers, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Modern era, and now the Post-modern age. That is not a boast. We can only boast in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. However it is the truth, to which I am called to witness. “I can do no other, so help me God”

  15. Thank you for your testimony! I’m glad you point out that Jesus Christ is the Truth to which the Spirit witnesses. But I sense you still need the church to be visibly and institutionally one, whereas unity in the Spirit is sufficient according to my understanding. The nature of the church is an issue that’s part of a larger one: the role of tradition. So in a sense, as I said before, Sola Scriptura is the central dividing point; our differences relate to the role of tradition. It is in relation to this that the justification issue and all others are decided. What do you think?

  16. Jon,

    As I stated before, we have reached a crossroads. We are no longer ” on the (same) road together”. We are no longer really speaking with each other, but sadly, past each other. That to me is an exercise in frustration. I know Catholic doctrine and Protestant interpretations do not agree, and so do you.

    I think it is interesting to note that you keep pointing out or insisting that it is Tradition/Sola Scriptura that is the flash point, when both Catholics and Lutherans stated the fundamental issue was ” justification” Catholics and Lutherans have pondered, prayed over and worked in a constructive dialogue that led to a joint confession: we are justified by the grace of Jesus Christ through faith”. We finally got past the now centuries old argument between faith alone and faith and works. I also would point out that this is the teaching of the Council of Trent.

    Since our paths are diverging once again, I wish you well, pray that the Lord blesses you and yours. I won’t be entering into any further dialogue on Catholic/Protestant differences with you on this blog site. However I do pray that we might ” merrily meet in heaven”, as Saint Thomas More once prayed

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