Sunday, February 04, 2007

Luigi Desanctis I

I am a proud owner of a very rare book printed in 1903 by this former RC priest turned Waldensian in the late 19th c. (1865) Fr. Desanctis wrote a series of letters in the style of C. S. Lewis compiled into a book he entitled Roma Papale (trans. Roman Papacy?) and was translated to English by Maria Betts entitled Popery, Puseyism and Jesuitism.

Apparently the ex-Father Desanctis has the following credentials : born in a RC family, 22 years in a Congregation of priests associated with Jesuits. He was Confessor in Rome for 15 years. He was 8 years the parsih priest of Church of the Magdalene in Rome.


I am not so sure if his boook can be classified as another conspiracy theory that proposes the notion that the Jesuits have a program to win back Protestants to the Pope. I judge a book by its contents not by what it says in its cover. The reason why I like to study this book is because some of the the things he said in his Preface rings true to my experience.

Here is an example. I have often said and observe to the ex-Prots that the RC you see in western countries is not the same thing you see in Latinized countries like the Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela etc. I say this as a person who was also raised Roman and was devoted to the practice of the 7 sacraments and devotion to the saints. Remarkably here is what Desanctis says in p. 4.

He who wishes to know Roman Catholicism as it is, must study it in Rome, and study it, not in books, but see it in action in the Pope, in the Cardinals, and in the Roman congregations. Books often give a false, and always an incomplete, idea of Roman Catholicism. One finds in books either the barbarous and superstitious Papacy of the Middle Ages, or the poetical Papacy of Chateaubriand.

If you observe the Papacy in different countries, you will find it most varied. In the south of Italy you will still find all the superstitions of the medieval age; in England, and in Germany where Roman Catholics are mixed with Protestants, you will find a Papacy less superstitious and more tolerant, to be transformed into superstition and intolerance in the day when it shall have become dominant

Back home, when someone wants to have a child baptized, you will be asked in the church office if you want special or regular baptism which implies that the fee for the special one is dearer than the one for the regular one. In p. 6 Desanctis writes with strong words...
To know that Roman Catholicism is the religion of money, you need to go to Rome, to enter the Chancery, and the Roman Court of equity, and to see in what way bishoprics, canonries, benefices, matrimonial dispensations, and all spiritual favours are bought, to see how the price is haggled over, and to see a class of persons authorized to be the agents of such sales, under the specious title of Apostolic Commisioner.

There are fanatics on both sides of the divide, Desanctis does not seem to be one of them for he writes that he does not want to be controversial and he does not deny that there are good people who are RC and honourable in character. He does not deny that there are people who are acting in good faith but he does contend that it is an effect of culpable ignorance and keeping to pursue childhood prejudices (p.6). Amazingly, I recall my prejudices when I was a young lad.


more later...






8 comments:

Jeff Tan said...

Hi Lito. I can only comment on one thing in this post, at this time, since I don't know Desanctis and this book, although the fantastic nature of his claims, which I found via google, fills me with skepticism. As I told you in my blog, be wary that he is not another Alberto Rivera.

My comment is concerning baptism back home. I had my son baptized at Malate Church just 7 years ago, and the matter of payment was as how it was done for my other two kids here in Melbourne: no price is set, I may donate however much I wish. There was no mention of special or regular baptism. If that was how it was with the baptism of your children back home, which I assume was the case, then that is scandalous. Catholics can be sinners, and our leaders can be chief sinners.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

My purpose for discussing Desanctis is to allow people to comment if there is a case such as that of Rivera about him. Rivera just died 1977, Desanctis died 100 years ago so it will take some work on the skeptics to debunk some of his claims. I will comment on his claims that are theological in nature.

It is good that you recognized that Catholics are sinners and Protestants are sinners too.

Now knowing this, then common sense dictates that one should not claim infallability for oneself. Yet this is what RCC claims for its Pope in matters when it speaks ex-cathedra.

Thus you prove to me that common sense is not operating when one asserts that the Pope can be infallible at the point that it speaks on doctrine ex-cathedra. Desanctis seems correct about common sense.

By the way,do you believe that the chair there in the Vatican where the Pope can sit when he makes pronouncements was the actual chair of Peter? I am interested in your answer if you have one.

Jeff Tan said...

"Now knowing this, then common sense dictates that one should not claim infallability for oneself."

I remember reading Luther agreeing with catholic teaching that the efficacy of the sacrament, e.g., baptism or the Eucharist, is not lost because of the sinfulness of the one administering the sacrament. Infallibility is not an aspect of the man who is pope. Neither is it an aspect of all the men who made decisions in the ecumenical councils. Likewise, it is not because the writers of the Bible are sinless that we believe the inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible. Infallibility is a gift of the Holy Spirit, a charism to the Church, through the pope, so that the pope will not teach errors in faith and morals to the flock. It is not we who claim it for the pope, it was granted by the Lord. He granted it to Peter when he told gave him the keys and his authority to bind and to loose (or to open and shut). I would think it reasonable, given that the Lord promises that whatever Peter binds on earth is also bound in Heaven. To not give him infallibility is to compromise Truth, which cannot be compromised.

"By the way,do you believe that the chair there in the Vatican where the Pope can sit when he makes pronouncements was the actual chair of Peter? I am interested in your answer if you have one."

Are you kidding? Whoever said that the chair of Peter is a real, physical chair? It is as metaphorical as the seat of Moses as mentioned in the Gospels. It is a metaphor for authority. If you find a Catholic who thinks it is a real chair then please disabuse him for me. You will do him a favor, but please do so charitably.

There is mention of the Chair of Peter from St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (early 9th century) when writing to Pope Paschal, and another to Emperor Michael. It was also mentioned by Stephen, bishop of Dota in Palestine in the 7th century. St. Athanasius in the 4th century and Theodoret, bishop of Cyrus in Syria in the 5th century calls Rome the Apostolic Throne. St. John Chrysostom says this:

And why, then, passing by the others, does He converse with Peter on these things? (John 21:15). He was the chosen one of the Apostles, and the mouth of the disciples, and the leader of the choir. On this account, Paul also went up on a time to see him rather than the others (Galatians 1:18). And withal, to show him that he must thenceforward have confidence, as the denial was done away with, He puts into his hands the presidency over the brethren. And He brings not forward the denial, nor reproches him with what had past, but says, 'If you love me, preside over the brethren, ...and the third time He gives him the same injunction, showing what a price He sets the presidency over His own sheep. And if one should say, 'How then did James receive the throne of Jerusalem?,' this I would answer that He appointed this man (Peter) teacher, not of that throne, but of the whole world. (Chrysostom, In Joan. Hom. 1xxxviii. n. 1, tom. viii)

BTW, those are all Eastern fathers. :-)

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

You said this Infallibility is a gift of the Holy Spirit, a charism to the Church, through the pope, so that the pope will not teach errors in faith and morals to the flock. It is not we who claim it for the pope, it was granted by the Lord. He granted it to Peter when he told gave him the keys and his authority to bind and to loose (or to open and shut). I would think it reasonable, given that the Lord promises that whatever Peter binds on earth is also bound in Heaven. To not give him infallibility is to compromise Truth, which cannot be compromised.


If you can show me from clear teaching of scripture infallibility is given to the Pope/Magisterium I would be impressed. By the way does this imply he can pronounce new teachings that may not have actual Scriptural support like Immaculate Conception of Mary or her Bodily Assumption to Heaven?


As to the chair of Peter in the Vatican, isn't there a chair billed as the Chair of St Peter being venerated today? Or is the word 'chair' another one of those with double meaning?

You said that I should disabuse those who believe in an actual chair, for me that is not an issue because I do not venerate relics at all. Yet is this information in this web site wrong?
We conclude, therefore, that there is no reason for doubting the genuineness of the relic preserved at the Vatican, and known as the Cathedra Petri. According to Eusebius, Jerusalem preserved the cathedra of St. James (Hist. Eccl., VII, xix), Alexandria that of St. Mark (G. Secchi, La cattedra alessandrina di San Marco, Venice, 1853). Tertullian, in the above quoted passage, refers to the value placed by the Apostolic Churches on the possession of the chairs of their founders (apud quas ipsæ adhuc cathedræ apostolorum suis locis præsident), and in enumerating them he puts Rome first. Moreover, the other writers above quoted, and whose testimony reaches back to the second century, all postulate the presence in Rome of an actual Cathedra Petri, See also PETER, SAINT; PRIMACY..
This is found in this web site
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03551e.htm

So Jeff, please write an email to them that they are wrong, kindly cc copy me ;-)

Relax, your friend


Lito

Jeff Tan said...

"If you can show me from clear teaching of scripture infallibility is given to the Pope/Magisterium I would be impressed."

I'm groping about on this, but I think the first step is to see from Scripture, based on Matthew 16, Isaiah 22, the teaching authority given to Peter. There is also in Isaiah 22 the notion of a visible office with the keys, and the role of the keyholder not only as prime minister or vizier over the household of the king, but also as father to Jerusalem's inhabitants. Liken that to Jesus appointing Peter to tend/feed his flock as well as to strengthen the other apostles. Then we see from Peter's own weaknesses and missteps that he is not impeccable. Indeed, Paul points out that Peter was guilty of hypocrisy. But what of that special gift to him to bind and to loose on earth as in Heaven? Obviously, Heaven will not be held hostage by the erroneous teaching of a sinful man. It stands to reason that the Holy Spirit will not allow it, and it's not by the holiness of Peter, which is really cast in doubt in many places. Just seconds after being called the rock and being given the keys, he is called 'stumbling block' and 'Satan'. That does not, however, prevent Jesus from nevertheless conferring upon him the responsibility of tending/feeding the flock and strengthening his brother apostles.

Next is to see in Isaiah 22 and examples in Acts (Matthias' election and ordination) and Paul's epistles about the succession of office and the authority that comes with that office. The clearest examples are Matthias taking over Judas' office, and Timothy as bishop being a child in faith of Paul. There is also the long line of anointing with oil to pass both appointment from the Lord and authority with that appointment, e.g., Moses and Joshua, Abraham and Isaac, Isaac and Jacob, etc.

Now assuming that you this far and agree about apostolic succession in the bishops, and that Peter did have that special responsibility and the authority he needs to have with it, consider this: his job isn't over. Peter has long since gone to blessed martyrdom but the flock of the faithful remains today. Who tends the flock today? If you say "Jesus" then that would also be true when the Lord had just risen, so why give Peter this role? Likewise his words about strengthening the other apostles. Again, responsibility for the keys of the kingdom are as relevant today as they were at Caesarea Philippi. Who holds those keys? If you say it's all the believers, then what was the point in conferring it to Peter in particular when the Lord could have conferred that to the apostles in general, as he did the authority to forgive or retain sins?

I hope this is making some sense.

As to the Cathedra Petri, strangely enough, I've never heard of it. It was never taught to me, and while I'm not seminary trained, I would consider myself a typical Catholic. And yet my Catholic schooling from kinder through college, with the Dominicans, Jesuits, La Sallian brothers and Opus Dei mentors, and my reading -- none have ever mentioned this chair, and all I've ever learned about the Petrine authority are about Peter's authority, not a specific seat.

In any case, the relic is not the source of the pope's authority. The source of Petrine authority is Jesus Christ, because that authority is the same one that the Lord conferred when he gave Peter the keys and the teaching authority to bind and loose. We don't recognize the pope's authority based only on the pope's person. If we did not have the Lord's conferment at Caesarea Philippi, we would have no reason to recognize papal authority.

L P Cruz said...

Dear Jeff,

We should look at the context of Matt 16 - here Desanctis has an interesting but I believe well argued case to say - I am sorry I have to hold you in suspense until I copy the portion on the keys from his book.

Just a simple thought for now is that in the Council of Jerusalem - James presided, now if everyone nows from the disciples that Peter is the man above them, why did James seem to have taken that leadership role - I am referring to Acts 15.13.

Now as for the actual Chair of Peter - here Desanctis seems to be correct by the way you stated your lack of knowlege of it - he says that the RCC has really 3 layers of teaching - the official, the theological and the real. You must have missed the real teaching to the masses then.

Do not worry, I will supply Desanctis comment so that the discussion might be fruitful.

Jeff Tan said...

"Just a simple thought for now is that in the Council of Jerusalem - James presided, now if everyone nows from the disciples that Peter is the man above them, why did James seem to have taken that leadership role"

There is no dispute from Tradition that Jerusalem was not St. Peter's to govern. While some popes did abuse the authority, it is not their role to micro-manage the entire Church.

"You must have missed the real teaching to the masses then."

What? I'm not counted among the masses? ;-) Given the breadth of my exposure to the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church in the Philippines, both in the province where I grew up and in the capital where I went to college and worked for close to 10 years... I can't say I buy this. :P

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

The First Council recorded in scripture and Peter did not preside it? then that shows that that the thesis he had supremacy over the others is negated.

It might be to your good fortune ;-) that you missed the real doctrine to the masses. As an RC boy and now a much older person, what Desanctis said on the layers (see the most recent post) layers of doctrine jives with my personal witness/observation.

I gave the documentation that as far as the new advent website is concerned there is such a teaching on the actual chair, at least Jeff, the folk in the New Advent website did not miss what you miss. I do not know who is the poorer for it.