Thursday, February 22, 2007

Alleged Anglican - Roman Catholic Union.

I am historically still active in a Calvinistic list dispite my being the black sheep - the token member of Club "L". One gentleman posted the news of the possible swing of the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic communion apparently because of the issue of ordination of women. I know this is a controversial issue and some who thought that the LCA would be ordaining women, did indeed leave it and became RCs. Fortunately for the LCA, the issue did not pass, at least for now, until it re-surfaces again.

The news of the Anglican-Roman Catholic merging as reported by the Times news is found here

One respondent on the list, from the USA with candor, said this...
After 2,000 years of church history some folks still think they can get spiritual unity from organizational structures under one head. That is folly and contrary to everything we know.

I can understand that college kids would fall into that kind of sophomorish idealism but when leaders of organizations with a billion members starts to live in that fantasy we are seeing mass hysteria at work. Next I expect to see the Bishops and Cardinals all engaged in Saint Vidas Dances.

Having many different denominations, movements and groups of Christians is one of the reasons the USA has such a rich and dynamic Christian life. We need more denominations/ groupings not less. We need more splits and splinters house churches and beach churches and tall steeple churches.


I can understand his point on hysteria - a band wagon effect can come in for as I read the Times article, it gave a sense that Anglican resistance is futile , a kinda "you shall be assimilated" message was ringing in my head. There are only 78 milliion Anglicans compared to the Roman Catholic Churches' 1 billion, really the Anglicans are just a drop in the bucket but influential in the Protestant world. Shortly after that, we hear the news that the reported demise of the Anglican Church is quite pre-mature. The news dispelling such hysteria is found here

It is interesting what the Anglican Bishop of N.Sydney Dr. Glenn Davies said in that article
We believe Jesus Christ is the true leader of the church. If a Pope gives a directive, every parish priest follows it. If the Archbishop of Canterbury offers a directive, most ministers of a parish would think that a nice piece of advice. The very thought we would hand over our authority would be a romantic notion at the least

20 comments:

Venerable Aussie said...

I enjoyed the parodious take on this story found on Catholic World News here:

http://www.cwnews.com/offtherecord/offtherecord.cfm?task=singledisplay&recnum=4096

and, in particular, this comment which, by pointing to a doctrinal example, really shows how bankrupt the "we really need more denominations and more splinters" idea really is:

'In an article in NRO last November, Fr. Raymond de Souza put the problem in sharper focus: "Some argue that [homosexual acts] are sinful; others that they are sacramental. This is an unbridgeable gap and it appears impossible for Canterbury to straddle it, try as he might." '

The key, once again, is authority to speak the truth in Christ's name (doesn't it always come back to this...).

The Anglican Bishop of N Sydney may bring out the Protestant "either/or" fallacy ("Jesus Christ is the true leader of the Church" - ie no Pope for me!). But, at the end of the day, the true unity Christ wishes for can never be attained unless Christians understand the gift of the Petrine ministry given by the God-Man Jesus Christ from whom all authority, ultimately, is derived.

L P Cruz said...

Venerable,

Fr. de Souza should not forget that every denomination have their problems. Right now the USA branch of the RCC is undergoing a lot of law suits because of homosexual activities of their priests ie abuses of children etc etc.

The Anglican Church like any other section of the body of Christ need to exercise discipline a body, not by dictatorialship.

The statement of the Bishop of N Sydney "Jesus Christ is the true leader of the Church" can be proven directly from the Bible - he is the head of the Church.

However, the Pope is Christ's Vicar can not be proven directly from scripture - there needs to be some scripture wiggling (IMHO) that needs to be done to prove that.

jim said...

Dear Lito,

I have my Bible and I know that homosexuality AND peophilia are both wrong. I would add that there are MORE ORGANIZED pro-homosexual Roman Cathoilics AND NO ORGANIZED CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL HOMOSEXUALS THAT ADHEAR TO SOLA FIDE.

I'll stand on my Bible instead of contradictory human tradition. I am not illiterate and if I were I would still have the ETERNAL INVISIBLE GOD NOT THE FINITE POPE AND/OR MARY to lead me.

Protestants are truly united and truly follow only ONE ETERNAL INVISIABLE WAY AND CONFESSION despite differing outward organizations.

But in truth the human way is a compramise and uninforicble and even makes things worse:

Matthew 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

God Can both justify and sanctify but the Pope can do niether! The Pope only makes the last state of man man worse than the first.

In Christ,
Jim

L P Cruz said...

Dear Jim,

Your observation is spot on, which I hope our RC friends would notice.

It is interesting that though the Protestants have various differences on issues and yet, yes I say and yet - the Protestants are united - they are united in opposing the supremacy of the Pope! Not only that the EO is united with them.

So who is at odds with the unity of the church - 2 streams against 1. Go figure...

As per Vatican II we will not make it to heaven because we are outside the RCC and we are outside the Kingdom because we do not believe the Pope is the Vicar of Christ.

Jeff Tan said...

"God Can both justify and sanctify but the Pope can do niether!"

Amen. No Catholic in his right Catholic mind would claim that for the Pope. The authority of the pope is only as Christ spoke to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."

There are three matters of contention here: (1) did Christ give infallibility to Peter in particular and to the Twelve as a whole; (2) does this infallibility apply to the successors of Peter and of the Apostles in general; and (3) did Peter and the Apostles intend for Apostolic succession through the bishops/presbyters?

In the Catholic Church, based on Scripture and Tradition, the answers are all yes.

Another interesting point to make is whether you object to teaching authority being wielded by any human being at all. Would you have objected to Saint Peter and Paul when they wielded the authority to teach authoritatively? Would you have opposed their human traditions on the ground that they were not in Scriptures (which, at that time, was only the Old Testament)? Would you have opposed their wielding the authority to discipline via excommunication, or warnings thereof? Would you have opposed their practice of appointing and anointing successors to the offices of the Apostles, e.g., Mathias for Judas, Timothy for Paul, and presuming that these successors held any authority in turn?

"As per Vatican II we will not make it to heaven because we are outside the RCC."

Actually, Vatican II clarified the earlier pronouncements (from Popes Pelagius and Gregory the Great in the 6th or 7th century, through to Pope Pius XII in the 20th century), which was stringent in tone. Vatican II clarifies in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 14: "They could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it."

Jeff Tan said...

To clarify further, one who therefore sincerely does not ascribe to the Catholic Church (yes, Roman) and her necessity and founding by Christ, despite sincere study and prayer, cannot be expected to enter or remain in it in good faith.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

As to whether or not I would be confident with Peter or Paul teaching me, well let us see.

1. Firstly when Paul went to the Bereans, they did not say to him - ok if you say so. I gave this Scripture to you and I am sad that you ignore it. The Bereans looked at Scripture according to the book of Acts and tried to find out if it was so. In fact, Luke said that these Bereans were noble for doing that.

2. Infallability? Paul rebuked Peter in Gal 1. In Matt 16:18-25, Jesus called Peter - Satan. If one becomes infallible, at that time he is God by definition! When Paul was inspired by the HS to write or John, what they wrote was infallible - but they did not remain infallible... In otherwords, they did not stop fighting the sin nature in them - see Romans 7.

3. Yes according to Vatican II all of us none - Papal believers will not be in heaven. But I recall Jesus words though, he said - He who does not believe (in Him) in Mark 16:16 will not be saved. Jesus says if we do not believe that he is the promised Messiah, we will die in our sins. It does not say -- if you do not believe that the Pope is my Vicar - you will die in your sins. That is quite different, if I may say so.

Now the Vatican II says that he who are nota members of the RCC will not be in heaven. The EO will be excluded from heaven and we Protestants will not be in heaven - we are forever abandoned by God because we did not acknowlege nor do we acknowlege the Pope.

Jesus though says in Scripture - I will never leave you nor forsake you.

I like what one pastor said - he forsake One (Christ at the Cross) so he does not have to forssake you.

May God have mercy on us (Protestants) in that may he keep our only hope in Christ's Work Alone and not in our membership to any denomination.

L P Cruz said...

May I add, Jeff said
Would you have opposed their practice of appointing and anointing successors to the offices of the Apostles, e.g., Mathias for Judas, Timothy for Paul, and presuming that these successors held any authority in turn?

If I did not have Scripture, I probably would not because it was they who have the Gospel message so they know what is going on but now Scriptur records that message for the life of the church, so whoever does something needs to show from scripture their practice. Besides, Scripture needs to be read in light of Law/Gospel - see Ambrose's method.

Jeff Tan said...

Hi Tolits

Regarding the Bereans and consulting Scripture, while Catholics can be most remiss for not doing so, it isn't alien to what we ought to be doing. But just as you lament that Evangelicals abandon the Traditions of the Church Fathers and Councils, we are careful to avoid that situation. As I keep saying, we do take seriously St. Peter's warning about private interpretations. I believe the Catechism does say that Tradition and Magisterium are at the service -- are servants -- of Scripture. If the Magisterium appears tyrannical of Scripture, consider it the service of a most careful steward who takes very seriously the responsibility to hold fast to the traditions received from the Apostles, whether by mouth or by letter.

"2. Infallability? Paul rebuked Peter in Gal 1. In Matt 16:18-25, Jesus called Peter - Satan. If one becomes infallible, at that time he is God by definition!"

Infallibility (charism that prevents teaching error as truth) is not impeccability (immunity from sin). We acknowledge the sinful popes of all ages, including Peter, and all the Apostles and Evangelists of the Bible. Infallibility only refers to teaching faith and morals. Consider that Peter *was* indeed recipient of the keys and the authority given by the Lord in Matthew 16, and the Holy Spirit clarifies (and Peter obliges) right after this episode when Peter becomes a stumbling block, and the Lord calls him 'Satan'. That clarifies that the charism of Peter -- not Peter himself -- can be trusted. Just as it is not flesh and blood, but the Father in Heaven who gives Peter the gift of confessing truly that Jesus is Christ, so it is not flesh and blood (which remains sinful in nature) that delivers infallibility.

Infallibility is not impossible. You've hit the nail on the head that the writers of the Bible were inerrant in what they wrote, but remain sinners. So is the successor of Peter, or the entire Church in Council, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, inerrant in what they teach (binding and loosing on earth as in Heaven), but remain sinners nevertheless. And the popes and councils are not even inspired as Scripture is, only that the Spirit will prevent them from teaching in error, even as they may teach something at the worst possible time or for the wrong reasons or with the wrong intentions. The Spirit will act to protect the flock because of the love, mercy and wisdom of our Heavenly Father.

"Yes according to Vatican II all of us none - Papal believers will not be in heaven. "

Why do you still say that after I had already explained to you? Lumen Gentium (14) clarifies that this is only for those who deliberate disobey what they KNOW they should obey. Protestants who sincerely believe that they must not obey are therefore not condemned.

"It does not say -- if you do not believe that the Pope is my Vicar - you will die in your sins."

Amen, the Lord did not say that. He did say, however, that they who reject his disciples reject him, and thus reject the Father who sent him.

"Now the Vatican II says that he who are nota members of the RCC will not be in heaven. The EO will be excluded from heaven and we Protestants will not be in heaven"

Like I've been saying, this is not the case. Please check Lumen Gentium.

"it was they [the Apostles] who have the Gospel message so they know what is going on but now Scriptur records that message for the life of the church"

What proof that Scripture records ALL that the Apostles had left? St. John states that there was so much more that would not fit in writing. It is also interesting to note that Scripture does not record any instruction to write down anything. The Lord's emphasis has been to spread the gospel through warm bodies, and when he refers to a sign to the nations in John 17, he cites his disciples in visible and complete unity, not Scriptures, as the sign that the nations need to see. I am not denigrating the value of Scriptures, for it is paramount to the Christian mission, but it does not provide the entirety of the Christian mission. It is also interesting that some of the instructions to the Apostles apply in perpetuity until the coming of That Day. For example, St. Peter's role to tend and feed the flock, wielding the keys of the kingdom, binding and loosing on earth as in Heaven. These apply today, but did these responsibilities die with the Apostles?

Jeff Tan said...

I've taken the liberty of quoting from Lumen Gentium, sections 14 and 15:

"14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart."(12*) All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.(13*)

Catechumens who, moved by the Holy Spirit, seek with explicit intention to be incorporated into the Church are by that very intention joined with her. With love and solicitude Mother Church already embraces them as her own.

15. The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. (14*) For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. (15*) They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God.(16*) They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ's disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. (17*) Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth."


Not as harsh nor as antagonistic to non-Roman Catholics as you thought, Lito.

L P Cruz said...

Dear Jeff,

Here is the passage in [14] that I was thinking of Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

I appreciate your pointing out [15] and thanks for that and it can be interpreted favourably towards us but the situation is confusing.


As I see it the Canons of Trent have not been recinded but by those Canons we have been condemned. Now [15] says may be not.

This is similar to a coutry passing laws that are contradictory or laws that by implication counters another law, but with the RCC, it does not retract, it just keeps filing up one canon law/declaration after another. Thus confusion.

By the way, the RCC is not as homogenous as it thinks it is. Look here for those who dislike Vatican II and can not wait for these lines of Pope to be excommunicated...
http://www.trosch.org/b16/resign.html

BTW, did you notice that even the declaration of the Pope needs interpreting? It goes to infinite regress. Some bishops may interpret it in another way, some in another - and so on.

Jeff Tan said...

"As I see it the Canons of Trent have not been recinded but by those Canons we have been condemned. Now [15] says may be not."

Which specific pronouncements of Trent do you mean? I'll try and find time to go through it all, but it might take a few days. The text is pretty long.

"This is similar to a coutry passing laws that are contradictory or laws that by implication counters another law, but with the RCC, it does not retract, it just keeps filing up one canon law/declaration after another."

Which cases, specifically?

"Look here for those who dislike Vatican II and can not wait for these lines of Pope to be excommunicated..."

There will always be naysayers. They are everywhere in every group of peoples, no less among the flock. Actually that's the tragic thing about Vatican II. I hold the view that it was a good thing in itself. It really did let some fresh air in. But it was hijacked by hippies in the 60s and 70s, and abused left and right by those who appealed to the so-called "spirit of Vatican II", which they had to cite since the actual documents were not liberal enough for them.

"BTW, did you notice that even the declaration of the Pope needs interpreting?"

No less than the pronouncements of the Church fathers. Not to mention those of the Apostles themselves. St. Peter warned about St. Paul's writings, for example, and you know how there was the wrangling about interpreting Scriptures between Sadducees and Pharisees. With interesting (and incorrect) results for the Sadducees.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

You may start with this, in essence, the anathemas....

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

Now as I read the Canons of Trent that it anathemizes what other Prots and Anabaptists say. However perhaps this canon is common to Reformers and their children.

In regards to the Traditionalist Roman Catholics, the issue of having the right Pope as they claim is quite important and serious, at least for an RC as I see it. Why? It is because RCs believe in apostolic succession by the laying of hands, thus the issue of the legitimate Pope is important.

So if I may follow the logic... you guys criticise the evangelicals in that they have various interpretation of the Scripture. And yet, you too have the same problem ... you have guys interpreting the documents say of Vatican II within your own ranks. Now whose interpretation of Vatican II to believe?

Further, if apostolic succession by mere ordination is true, then which is the real Pope that should be seen as the real vicar of Christ?

Now I also note that these people are also seing the validity of the Protestant contention, that a Pope may be excommunicated or disobeyed with out impunity spiritually, if the Pope proves false to the faith.

I do hope you can grant the point I am making - that of the issue of authority and the way you answer my point is the same way I can answer your poing about various denominations with their interpretations of scripture etc.

jim said...

Dear Jeff,

"Justification by Faith Alone is the article upon which the Church stands or falls." (Luther)

While the Romanan Catholic Chruch might not condemn protestants to hell let it be know that Luther (and scripture) condemns deniers of Sola Fide to hell. (As unpopular and bluntly as that seems.)

In Christ,
Jim

Jeff Tan said...

Hi Jim and Lito

"CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."

Does that mean that Lutherans do not believe in free will? I thought only modern Calvinists believe that? But I must agree with Mark Shea's once mentioned observation that Protestants, despite giving assent to both Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura, and perhaps even from among those who deny free will, may actually live their faith differently. Perhaps in essence, when you look at the nuances of how many Protestants *live*, they are not as different from Roman Catholics as one might think. I have not yet met any Protestant who truly believes in the absence of free will. To me, sola fide in practice among Protestants does not exclude free will, and Trent's Canon IX, while taking aim at those who deny free will, makes no difference to most Protestants, because they do believe in free will -- and more importantly, they do give up that free will in surrender to our Heavenly Father.

"In regards to the Traditionalist Roman Catholics, the issue of having the right Pope as they claim is quite important and serious, at least for an RC as I see it."

Lito, while past anti-popes have been bishops, modern sedevacantists are not. They are mostly priests. While deploring the perceived betrayal by Vatican II, particularly in the norms of the liturgy, Bishop Lefebvre never claimed the papacy for himself, nor has his spiritual children made that move to do so. Furthermore, it takes more than just a bishop claiming the papacy for himself. Flesh and blood do not confer apostolic anointing. At the great Western Schism of long ago, the deadlock among the elected pope and the anti-popes who set themselves up against him for 40 years, was eventually broken by a Church council (of the West).

So sedevacantist anti-popes of the last generation or so are hardly cause for concern. The universal Church has never seriously entertained their charges of the papacy having been vacant all these years.

"you have guys interpreting the documents say of Vatican II within your own ranks"

That's a good point, but we always fall back on the teaching authority of the Church, which is how we get out of this mess. We believe that the bishops, as successors to the apostles, bear that heavy responsibility of teaching in truth. This belief is not because the bishops themselves are sweethearts, but because we believe in the Lord's own words based on the traditions we received (by word of mouth or by letter) from the same Apostles upon whom the notion of episcopal authority relies.

"a Pope may be excommunicated or disobeyed with out impunity spiritually, if the Pope proves false to the faith."

That sounds like the rebellion of Korah. I prefer to take David's take on God's anointing. When he had Saul, who was hunting him, lying on the ground asleep, David thought it presumptuous to lay a finger on the man (Saul) who was anointed by God through the hands of Samuel.

Regardless, it is possible to impeach the pope as in the western Schism when they needed to break the deadlock with the anti-popes. The council forced the popes and the rivals to abdicate in order to have a new one elected. It is also possible to disobey a pope's witness or example, as in the Lord's words about the Scribes and Pharisees on Moses' seat.

"the issue of authority and the way you answer my point is the same way I can answer your poing about various denominations with their interpretations of scripture etc"

Not necessarily the same thing. When I point at the tangents among Protestant interpretations, I am pointing out how contradictory interpretations are a comment on Sola Scriptura, that the problem lies in making individuals final arbiters based on their subjective interpretations. This is not to say pit bishops and popes in particular against individuals. When we cite Magisterium, we cite its exercise in the past and the present, not by popes alone but also by Councils.

I might also simply rest on two things when I make that point: the teaching authority given by the Lord to the Apostles over the new Church, and St. Peter's warning to Christians against private interpretation of Scripture.

L P Cruz said...

Dear Jeff

On Free Will - Lutheran are Augustinians. Yes we do believe that we have free will with regards to matters pertaining to self, but Free Will because of original sin is warped when it comes to loving God or making a move to God. You see Jeff, the Reformers and the RC Magisterium of Trent do not have the same concept of SIN.

Apply this logic - if you have free will to go to God at any time and follow his Will perfectly, then if you done it once, you can do it again the next time, pretty soon - it makes Jesus's Obedience to God superflous, why? Because you can do it, and save yourself!

The difference between the Lutheran and RC is that for the Lutheran, people are totally dead to God, ie unresponsive. To the RC, man is just bruised, he is just wounded, he is still breathing and all he needs is some help from God to do God's perfect Will. We call this latter position semi-Pelagian.

Your quote of Mark Shea, if it is correct, tells me that he missed what Reformers mean by Free-Will.

On the issue of impeaching the Pope, no it is not a violation of God, but a command of God in 1 Timothy 5:20 � "When they sin rebuke them in the presence of all, that the rest also may have fear." This passage refers to any church officer.

On the issue of "interpreting" Papal Decrees, the situation is the same - so which Bishop's
interpretation to we go for?

But did you notice though that though Prots are different in some doctrines, they are united in their rejectiion of the Supremacy of the Pope?

Jeff Tan said...

"Apply this logic - if you have free will to go to God at any time and follow his Will perfectly, then if you done it once, you can do it again the next time, pretty soon - it makes Jesus's Obedience to God superflous, why? Because you can do it, and save yourself!"

Actually it still seems to me that our notion of free will is the same. Catholics do not believe as Pelagius did that, in and of our own capabilities, we can perfectly follow God's will. Catholics believe instead that faith is a gift that God bestows upon us, and every inspiration to obey God's will comes from the Holy Spirit. Even the capability to actually obey God comes from God. What does not come from God is our assent, our will to say "yes" to his constant invitation to grow in his love.

"To the RC, man is just bruised, he is just wounded, he is still breathing and all he needs is some help from God to do God's perfect Will."

Not exactly. Yes, man's nature is fallen, and God heals us. But this healing is for eternity: from the moment we are baptized, we are infused with his divine life, and this life heals us, not in one go, but gradually and constantly. Even when we seem to be healthy, e.g., saintly or holy, our constitution will fall apart when we turn away from God in sin. Every attempt of man to obey God *apart from relying upon His very help* will be futile. When man seeks to obey God's will, it is only possible with God's constant help. So it is not the same notion that you speak of where God comes to heal us in one shot, e.g., in baptism, after which we are healthy children who are ever able to stand on our own capabilities and righteousness. As the apostle says -- *by no means!* It is only that lapsed Catholics give you this impression because their formation was poorly handled, brought up with the impression that being a child of God is a club membership, rather than a lifetime of offering one's self to God's will.

"Your quote of Mark Shea, if it is correct, tells me that he missed what Reformers mean by Free-Will."

No he wasn't talking about free will. He was talking about Christian living, noting that Evangelicals do not disregard works of charity despite making an issue of sola fide, i.e., they do not believe in faith alone without any works, just as they do not cease working out their salvation with fear and trembling through charity, despite all this talk of having been saved once and saved for always in that one moment.

"On the issue of impeaching the Pope, no it is not a violation of God"

Impeaching a pope is fine. As I said, the pope and the anti-popes in the western Schism were forced to step down by the Council.

""When they sin rebuke them in the presence of all, that the rest also may have fear."

There is a difference between excommunicating a pope and rebuking him. A pope must certainly be rebuked even in public, when such is necessary. St. Catherine of Sienna, I think, rebuked a pope, and the pope listened. Cardinal Ghislieri supposedly rebuked Pope Pius IV twice in his lifetime for scandalous wrongdoing. He (Ghislieri) became Pope Saint Pius V at some point, too.

"On the issue of "interpreting" Papal Decrees, the situation is the same - so which Bishop's
interpretation to we go for?"

You go where the universal Church goes. In the case of the western Schism, we may readily trust in the elevation of the new pope to resolve the deadlock of the pope in Rome plus the anti-popes elsewhere. Why? Because the new pope was elected by the universal Church through her cardinals (if you're Catholic).

"But did you notice though that though Prots are different in some doctrines, they are united in their rejectiion of the Supremacy of the Pope?"

Papal supremacy (and I don't consider this a draconian tyranny, no more than I'd consider fatherhood a tyranny in principle) stands in the way of individual freedom to the minds of protestants. But that's what we all said of our parents at some point in our lives.

I've come to believe in the papacy as an apt stumbling block to test the faith of the faithful to the calls for unity. In any other institution, e.g., an organization or a nation, the issue of having one leader, e.g., monarch, president, prime minister) is really a non-issue. So why is it such a big issue concerning the Church *in the minds and hearts of Protestants* and lapsed Catholics (and this is not a flattering association)? Because the issue continues to be one of authority. We like being authorities and we don't like having an authority above us, for various reasons. We like our independence too much. To me, it is good to have these spiritual fathers to pastor us, so that not one of us would feel too self-sufficient.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

On Free Will, if you say we agree then we got no issues then, I believe you as you I am sure are articulating your faith well.

What we disagree then is that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ's work alone. The alone bit is what we disagree, for we do agree about grace. We believe that trusting in Jesus's work is enough, however, the remarkable thing is that this faith/trust in Jesus's work produces works in the life of the believer too. Yet we are not saved by those produced works. It is the nature of that faith (as we describe it).

Most evangelicals do not subscribe to the reformation creed so you will find them of similar language as the RC.

Of course, Jeff, on the Schism, your claims are denied by the Traditionalists. The case as you stated is begging the question, for as you know, the Traditionalist are contending that the election was illegitimate. You can not prove you are legitimate simply by claiming you have been elected when in fact the election process was the issue.

There is only one test of faith as I see it in Christian life - the main test - it is about Christ and not about the Pope - Mk 16:16.

On authorities of having a visible human authority - I consider this to the Israelites asking for a king, during Samuel's days. To see fleshly authority is part of our sinful nature, we do not like to see the invisible, unlike Moses who endured seing the invisible. Faith sees, and such were the attitude of the early church, they believed that Scripture was their guide.


Lito

Jeff Tan said...

"Yet we are not saved by those produced works."

Well Amen to that. I think I've said it someplace else, but works seems (to me) to be significant in the opposite end of the spectrum, in how works of sin will damn us. Can works damn us? Well if our lives are fraught by willful and grave sin, then we probably don't have much of justifying and sanctifying faith.

Is this thesis relevant here? I believe it is. It is a half-step in talking about how works affects our salvation.

"There is only one test of faith as I see it in Christian life - the main test - it is about Christ and not about the Pope - Mk 16:16."

Well Amen, no one has ever brought up the notion yet (that I know) of offering a sacrifice to the pope, nor of offering the pope as a sacrifice to expiate sins. Nor Mama Mary, for that matter.

"the Traditionalist are contending that the election was illegitimate."

Yes, but on what grounds? If you examine the election of those popes whom they question, they (the elections) were no different than those of the previous popes whom the Traditionalists claim are legitimate.

"On authorities of having a visible human authority - I consider this to the Israelites asking for a king, during Samuel's days."

Not exactly. You see, there is nothing wrong with having a human being in a position of authority. What irked the Lord during those days was that the people took it upon themselves in deciding how that authority was to take shape. In the larger picture, you'll see that the Lord himself chose human leaders to shepherd his flock: Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, etc. It's not that God abhors having human authorities in the scheme of things per se. It is only that the anointing of the human beings who will take those roles belongs only to God. We say no differently concerning bishops and popes. Just as flesh and blood did not make Simon bar-Jonah speak those bold words, it is God, in his Holy Spirit, who gives authority to the words of those bishops and popes. Without the Holy Spirit, without Christ's delegation of teaching authority, none of what these men say would be worth anything.

But *with* the Holy Spirit, *with* Christ's authority granted to them, we cannot ignore and dismiss what they say, simply because they are human beings. If that be the logic then there is no reason for anyone to listen to us either, for we are all only human, after all.

This begs the question then: so given being human does not exclude us from the authority to evangelize, what use for the clerical hierarchy? Why should they have authorities above us? The answer lies in God's response to the rebellion of Korah, and to Aaron and Miriam who grumbled against Moses' authority.

The logic to this is simple: in the first community of Christians, Christ built his Church with his apostles as pillars, and he gave them unique authority over his Church -- not to lord it over them like tyrants, but as shepherds guarding the sheep. These shepherds believed in a succession of office, and we see that in both word (Acts 1:15-26; 1 Timothy 4:14) and tradition (of episcopal succession/ordination which extends 2000 years behind us). Being our chief witnesses, we must trust their actions of apostolic succession, and their firmness as to the particular authority by bishops over the household of God. Again, not to lord it over them but to serve them, yes, even in the ways that the apostles and the bishops they ordained were to serve: authoritative teachers, not because they are wise of themselves, but because they were anointed by the Holy Spirit in the laying/imposing of hands.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

"Special Pleading", heard about this?

You changed the context of what I am saying and specifying to you in Mk 16:16. Jesus says if you do not believe in him you shall be damned. He says in John 12:14 he is the way, the truth and the life . We are not talking about sacrificing even to the pope, it is when you believe in his teachings that are contrary to Christ that becomes perilous, at least as far as can be gatherred from what Jesus said.

You do not seem to deal with the passages I point to you and you jump straight to the normal "mantra" of RC apologetics. I hope we can hammer down on the Scripture.

The Traditionalist does not have to do a lot of proving, they just have to cast doubt on the process and that is it. So they claim that one is not assured if Benedict XVI is the legitimate pope.

Authority of leaders? We do not deny them but their authority is limited by Scripture but for you they are not. Of course we can follow our pastors and leaders and only so far as they teach things that can be confirmed from scripture. This is exactly what Augustine enjoined.

Apostolic succession? We believe in apostolic succession of "doctrine", not blanket mere laying down of hands, this is ex opere operato which we reject.

I am amazed but I should not be I guess, that your position believes that Bishops/Popes may teach things unprovable from Scripture with out impunity, simply because they were granted the keys. You do not believe they can get in trouble with God even if they teach things not provable from Scripture and things that bind the faithful to such teachings.

We have a different starting point as I have often pointed out to you Jeff. First let us discuss if the authority of Scripture alone is a bad procedure to follow. I suggest to you that this principle was followed by the early Christians.

Example from Ireneus in ANF, Vol 1. Against Heresies 3.2.1
When, however, they (the heretics) are confuted from Scriptures, they turn around and accuse these same Scriptures , as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambigous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents but viva voce...

Notice that during Ireneus' time, the heretics he was dealing with always casted doubt on the sufficiency of Scripture and these heretics appealed to tradition not written down. Now I do not know about you but this is very peculiar and has the same pattern of operation that the Papacy continued to do ie cast doubt on Sufficiency of Scripture and assert their authority.


Lastly your interpretation of the Supremacy of the Roman Bishop I am sure you know has no acceptance from the Fathers. Are we going around again into this round about?