Sunday, June 24, 2007

John Calvin on Latria and Dulia

A DISTINCTION WITHOUT A DIFFERENCE
In fact, the distinction between latria and dulia, as they called them, was invented in order that divine honors might seem to be transferred with impunity to angels and the dead. For it is obvious that the honor the papists give to the saints really does not differ from the honoring of God. Indeed, they worship both God and the saints indiscriminately, except that, when they are pressed, they wriggle out with the excuse that they keep unimpaired for God what is due him because they leave latria to him. But since the thing itself, not the word, is in question, who can permit them to make light of this most important of all matters?

But — to pass over this also — their distinction in the end boils down to this: they render honor [cultus] to God alone, but undergo servitude [servitium] for the others. For latreia, among the Greeks means the same thing as cultus among the Latins; douleia properly signifies servitus; and yet in Scripture this distinction is sometimes blurred. But suppose we concede it to be unvarying. Then we must inquire what both words mean: douleia is servitude; latreia, honor. Now no one doubts that it is greater to be enslaved than to honor. For it would very often be hard for you to be enslaved to one whom you were not unwilling to honor. Thus it would be unequal dealing to assign to the saints what is greater and leave to God what is lesser. Yet many of the old writers used this distinction. What, then, if all perceive that it is not only inept but entirely worthless?
Source: Calvin's Institutes, 1:12:2 (Battles Translation)
Alternate translation: (Beveridge Translation)
"The distinction of what is called dulia and latria was invented for the very purpose of permitting divine honors to be paid to angels and dead men with apparent impunity. For it is plain that the worship which Papists pay to saints differs in no respect from the worship of God: for this worship is paid without distinction; only when they are pressed they have recourse to the evasion, that what belongs to God is kept unimpaired, because they leave him latria. But since the question relates not to the word, but the thing, how can they be allowed to sport at will with a matter of the highest moment? But not to insist on this, the utmost they will obtain by their distinction is, that they give worship to God, and service to the others. For "latreia" in Greek has the same meaning as worship in Latin; whereas "douleia" properly means service, though the words are sometimes used in Scripture indiscriminately. But granting that the distinction is invariably preserved, the thing to be inquired into is the meaning of each. "Douleia" unquestionably means service, and "latreia" worship. But no man doubts that to serve is something higher than to worship. For it were often a hard thing to serve him whom you would not refuse to reverence. It is, therefore, an unjust division to assign the greater to the saints and leave the less to God. But several of the ancient fathers observed this distinction. What if they did, when all men see that it is not only improper, but utterly frivolous?

29 comments:

Theo said...

Calvin wrote...
"In fact, the distinction between latria and dulia, as they called them, was invented in order that divine honors might seem to be transferred with impunity to angels and the dead. For it is obvious that the honor the papists give to the saints really does not differ from the honoring of God."

Brothers and sisters:

The difference between the honor given any person or thing that is not God and God Himself is infinite. Simply asserting otherwise and assigning sinister reasons for it to be so does not make it so. Rather, it violates the principle of parsimony. If Catholics actually worshipped these other people and things, why should they deny it? How do they get others to worship them when they keep saying "we do not worship them?" Unless you swallow some Jack Chick flavor of "Catholics are devil worshipping witches who want to be damned and want to see you damned" conspiracy theory, it makes little sense.

Respectfully submitted, I remain your brother in Christ,
--Theo

pilgrim said...

I call straw man on the Jack Chick reference...

There is nothing remotely Jack Cick-esque in the post.

" If Catholics actually worshipped these other people and things, why should they deny it?"

So they can tell Protestants they don't worship Mary?

Ree said...

"So they can tell Protestants they don't worship Mary?"

The question mark seems to indicate that this response is tongue-in-cheek, but I think this kind of response is what makes this charge against Roman Catholics seem so ridiculous to them. It seems more likely to me that when professing Christians offer inappropriate honor (i.e., worship) to Mary or any of the saints or anyone who isn't God, they would deny it because they wouldn't recognize it for what it is. When those who profess faith in the triune God set up an idol in God's place to satisfy whatever perceived need or desire they're doing it for, whether that idol be some created being or money or pleasure or whatever, they would deny that's what they're doing because they're in denial, themselves.

Am I the only one to whom that seems obvious?

GeneMBridges said...

Ahem,

Theo doesn't understand Calvin's argument. He's not "assigning sinister reasons" like Jack Chick. That's Theo's tententious characterization, not what Calvin actually states.

He's pointing to a historical origin for the distinction. It arises not from Scripture but from Scholasticism.

So, what we have is a Scholastic distinction given normative status, for a specific purpose. Where's the supporting argument for doing that?

Theo has given us none in times past that isn't question begging.

If Catholics actually worshipped these other people and things, why should they deny it? How do they get others to worship them when they keep saying "we do not worship them?"

1. Because they are too incompetent to understand the difference and its origin.

2. The same way as any other false gospel gains followers.

pilgrim said...

Let me assure you my answer was not tongue in cheek. It seems to me that's the case.

but I posed it as a question.
If I just say it as a statement it could get all sorts of nasty remarks that don't actually address the statement--with a question mark--it's a question--straight and simple.
If they want to go ad hominem on me for that--well--let them.

It doesn't help their case.

I do believe that much of contemporary RCism is some sort of reaction to positions taken against them where they go too far, or they just should have stuck to their beliefs and not tried to make them more palatable.

Anyway you slice it dulia and hyperdulia work out to be idolatry.

I do present the RC belief on this correctly though. When I am asked if RC's worship Mary (Which I do get asked when people find out I used to be one), I answer "According to their teachings and beliefs they don't, but in practice they do."

In my nswer I present what they believe and may unpack it more (I usually do.) I also present why in practice it is idloatry. I realize they do not believe it is, nor do they intend it to be, but neither did the Hebrews at Sinai while Moses was up the mountain.
They wanted to worship their way, not God's way.

Theo said...

Ree wrote:

"It seems more likely to me that when professing Christians offer inappropriate honor (i.e., worship) to Mary or any of the saints or anyone who isn't God, they would deny it because they wouldn't recognize it for what it is.



Dear Ree:

I believe your points are the most cogent I've encountered along these lines. Indeed the question is whether or not such honors are *appropriate.* I agree that you make an excellent point! Just as the Israelites provoked God by attributing inappropriate honor to the gilded serpent that was fashioned (after all) by God's own command, we risk provoking God if we inappropriately honor the saints, angels, relics or anything.

Your point about self-deception also has merit: just as an enamored child might lavish inappropriate honor on some teen idol (We don't call them idols for nothing.) and in her zeal fail to recognize that this devotion has become an obsession, a Christian could obsess with inappropriate devotion to something that is not God. Thus, by an act of will (Our hypothetical teen still has willfully chosen to honor the idol, even if she's also self-deceived about it in her obsession) a Christian could slip into a form of idolatry while at the same time deny it and believe he is correct to do so. Excellent point!

Catholic doctrine strictly and clearly prohibits such idolatry. The practice of some Catholics might appear contrary. Jesus alone shall judge; however, it would be prudent for we who believe giving *appropriate* honor where it is due should look to our own house first: ask the Holy Spirit to help us disabuse ourselves of any self-deceit. Obviously, Catholics are not the only Christians capable of professing Christ while at the same time holding some idol dearer. Still the point is well taken, for our doctrines of veneration might easily be misconstrued. Let no one who calls upon the name of the Lord give honor to due Him to another.

With this insight in mind, let me amend my former assertion, "We (Catholics) do not worship idols" to "We Catholics are commanded not to worship idols. May God disabuse any of us (He alone knows who these might be.) who nevertheless might do so."

With grateful thanks, I remain your brother in Christ,
--Theo

Carrie said...

Theo,

You keep denying that Catholics "worship" Mary by saying the "worship" of Mary is different than the worship of God.

So, why don't we come at this from another angle and you tell us how you worship God.

Carrie said...

Simply asserting otherwise and assigning sinister reasons for it to be so does not make it so.

Likewise, simply asserting otherwise and assigning good reasons for it to be so does not make it so.

Like saying we don't worship Mary, we just put crowns on her statues, pray to her, call her the Queen of heaven, accept revelation from her at Fatima, etc. Or simply coming up with latria vs dulia.

Ree said...

Theo,

I'm glad you found my posts helpful, although no doubt you'll have a change of heart after this one.

Although it's true that any professing Christian can inadvertently fall into idolatry, and I'd even agree with Calvin's assessment of the human heart as a perpetual factory of idols, the difference, as I see it, between the general human tendency toward idolatry and the Roman Catholic Church is this. Like the gospel of the "word of faith" churches in which the worship of mammon is inherent (even though its proponents don't recognize it as such and vehemently deny it), so the gospel of Roman Catholicism, with its undue emphasis on Mary, is also inherently idolatrous.

No doubt, some Roman Catholics, individually, avoid this error, but in order to do so, they need to avoid and ignore a huge part of their church's faith and practice.

Theo said...

Ree wrote:
"...Like the gospel of the "word of faith" churches in which the worship of mammon is inherent (even though its proponents don't recognize it as such and vehemently deny it), so the gospel of Roman Catholicism, with its undue emphasis on Mary, is also inherently idolatrous."

Dear Ree:

Thanks for your kind response. Of course I do not believe the Church's teaching is inherently idolatrous, but then as you already know, I believe that we are commanded to ascribe only *appropriate* honor. Still, your comparison with the excesses of the prosperity teachings as propagated by many "pop" theologians is also a warning well taken. Yet, even with what appears to me such egregious examples of service to mammon, I must refrain from impugning the individuals practicing it in ignorance; this, for much the same reason that you note is part of the scenario: that they themselves do not realize the un-Christian nature of the practice; but also, because I simply cannot know what is happening in their hearts.

Yes, service to mammon is fundamentally contrary to the Gospel; however, judging who does and who does not practice it, when this can be determined only by searching the heart of the believer is (in my view) a mistake. I believe this is the sole right of Jesus.

I most solemnly testify that I worship God and God alone, that I honor God's creations only according to the limited reflection of God's infinite goodness that by His grace, they might possess. I humbly submit, with the knowledge that I shall be judged for these words by the Living God, that Jesus is my only Lord and Savior and do so commit my life unto the best extent my corrupt imitation of Him and God's grace allow.

If this testimony means nothing to anyone but God, so be it. If it means nothing to God, then pity me. For if indeed I am in error (and I understand that I am not) may God grant me whatever mercy His providence grants me.

In joyful hope I remain your brother in Christ,
--Theo

Carrie said...

I most solemnly testify that I worship God and God alone,

In what way? I am curious HOW you worship God since we seem to disagree on what is or isn't "worship"

Theo said...

Carrie in part said...
"I am curious HOW you worship God..."

Though Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, I give all glory, honor, praise and fealty to God the Almighty Father, for ever and ever.

In awe and wonder of the might and majesty of God, I remain your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

GeneMBridges said...

No, if true, would be via Christ alone. You do so on the merits of Christ, the saints, and your own congruent merit. What you give in your worship with one hand, you remove from the other by denying grace alone and Christ alone.

Rhology said...

Carrie asked how the Roman Catholic worships God.

Here's a good side-note to that:

O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of all the goods which God grants to us miserable sinners, and for this reason he has made thee so powerful, so rich, and so bountiful, that thou mayest help us in our misery. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners who have recourse to thee. Come then, to my help, dearest Mother, for I recommend myself to thee. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants; take me under thy protection, and it is enough for me. For, if thou protect me, dear Mother, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou are more powerful than all hell together; nor even from Jesus, my Judge himself, because by one prayer from thee he will be appeased. But one thing I fear, that in the hour of temptation I may neglect to call on thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me, then, the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to have recourse to thee, O Mother of Perpetual Help. (emph mine)

Dunno about y'all, but I pray that sort of stuff to God.

L P Cruz said...

rhology,

That is not "worshipping God", it is "praying to Mary" the two are not the same, I imagine our RC friends will say.

But what if we fall in disfavor with Momma Mary, is that not possible? So can we call on her mom to intercede?

Sounds to me this can go on to infinite regress, does it not?

Lito

Carrie said...

Yeah, I think Theo knew where I was going with that question which is why he gave such an obtuse answer.

I am sure I can find the words “honor”, “glory”, and “praise” associated with Mary also.

A Catholic may SAY they do not worship Mary, but their actions say differently.

"Those, alas! furnish us by their conduct with a peremptory proof of it, who seduced by the wiles of the demon or deceived by false doctrines think they can do without the help of the Virgin. Hapless are they who neglect Mary under pretext of the honor to be paid to Jesus Christ! As if the Child could be found elsewhere than with the Mother!" Pope Pius X http://www.ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P10IMCON.HTM

Tiber Jumper said...

Would anyone on this thread consider going on line to read the Catholic Catechism for the official magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church regarding Marian devotion and theology?

All of us can state our presuppositions regarding what Catholics teach about Mary, but they have been kind enough to post the official teaching online. Why not consider spending some time looking at it, if there remains an interest in what Catholics believe regarding Mary?

pilgrim said...

tiber jumper-
I own a copy of the Catholic Catechism.
I've read the sections on Mary.
I attended Roman Catholic schools from grade 1 to graduation.
I was an altar boy--the training for which included some theological training.

I know what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about Mary--and as I have stated in various places when this issue crops up when I am asked if RC's worship Mary I answer that they say they do not and I present a summary of what they teach. I also point out the implications and reality of their practices in light of scripture.

In other words, according to official Roman Catholic teaching they don't worship Mary, but they make the disctinctions of latria and dulia (along with hyper dulia for Mary.) But in practice they do worship Mary--even if they say they aren't.

Now I understand that you will disagree with that last part--that in practice RC's worship Mary, but I do know my stuff when it comes to official Roman Catholic teachings- (although I'm not equally knowledgable in all areas.) I have had RC's admit that.

The problem is many RC apologists--epsecially the self styled ones, have as their main weapon against Protestants a mixture of double standards and the statement--"You don't understand Roman Catholicism."

Carrie said...

Why not consider spending some time looking at it, if there remains an interest in what Catholics believe regarding Mary?

I have read the catechism's sections on Mary and find them equally disturbing.

Pilgrim makes some excellent points. I would just add that this "check the catechism" is a standard play that seems legitimate on the surface but the fact remains that quotes from other Catholic sources (like I gave above) come with an imprimatur or come directly from a Pope.

That means that what is stated in the source (with imprimatur) does not conflict with the official teachings of the church. That is still a problem!

Rhology said...

And the prayer I cited above has been prayed and has been approved by RC apologists such as Gerry Matatics and Tim Staples.

Anonymous said...

tiber jumper - the actual doctrine of Rome is of little consequence. The issue is the failure of professing Christians in avoiding idolatry. Rhology posted a prayer which says some seriously bad things. Maybe (certainly) many Catholics go beyond the bounds of what their Church tells them to do, but how often do you hear a sermon in a Catholic Church instructing the faithful to avoid idolatrous devotion? Not often.

Theo said...

Anaon wrote:
"tiber jumper - the actual doctrine of Rome is of little consequence. The issue is the failure of professing Christians in avoiding idolatry. Rhology posted a prayer which says some seriously bad things. Maybe (certainly) many Catholics go beyond the bounds of what their Church tells them to do, but how often do you hear a sermon in a Catholic Church instructing the faithful to avoid idolatrous devotion? Not often."

Dear Christian friend,
I understand and appreciate your points--and indeed I can learn from them.

I would not say that the actual doctrine of the Church is of no consequence; rather, that it is of little good if it is not properly taught, properly understood and properly practiced.

I don't know the source of Marion prayers such as the one that Rhology posted. I agree that it is disturbing, to say the least.

If I may borrow from the imagery of Pilgrim's Progress, that particular prayer seems to project an image of Jesus as the Gate to the narrow way, but Mary as a usurper, forcing Jesus to "look the other way."

Even if we consider that her obedience by grace helped facilitate God's work of redemption, it is never she to whom the sinner must plead for salvation, nor is it by her mercy that salvation is given. In short, salvation is not Mary's to give.

I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit disabuse any and all of us who so misconstrue doctrines of *appropriate* veneration in any degree.

Regarding your question about what is preached, I can speak only from experience. I am happy to report that this sort of ultra-devotion is not taught in any Catholic parish to which I've ever been a member. My own pastor has affirmed from the pulpit that worship is for God alone.

I personally have not encountered such inordinate devotion; however, that by no means translates into "it does not exist."

A church of any age before the second coming of Christ that cannot repent is not The Church. For this maxim to be true, one must allow that The Church will always require improvement, need adjustment, in fact, require reform. May those of us who defend her always remember this.

As always, I remain your humble servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

Carrie said...

In short, salvation is not Mary's to give.

The imprimatur on "The Glories of Mary" would disagree:

"Thus also does Jesus address his Mother, says Richard of St. Laurence: "No one comes to me unless my Mother first of all draws him by her prayers"

"Cassian speaks in still stronger terms. He says absolutely, "that the salvation of all depends on their being favored and protected by Mary"

"He who is protected by Mary will be saved; he who is not will be lost. St. Bernardine of Sienna thus addresses this Blessed Virgin: "O Lady, since thou art the dispenser of all graces, and since the grace of salvation can only come through thy hands, our salvation depends on thee"


Sorry Theo, but unless you have an imprimatur on yourself, I have to believe what I read above over your own words.

Excerpts above taken from
THE GLORIES OF MARY
by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Nihil obstat: Rev. Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D.
Censor Librorum
Imprimatur: + His Eminence
Patritius Cardinalis Hayes
Archiepiscopus Neo-Eboracensis
Neo-Eboraci
Die 16 Aprilis, 1931

http://www.marys-touch.com/Glories/contents.htm

Theo said...

Dear Carrie:

Your observation warrants both a brief and a more lengthy response.

The brief response:
The "The Glories of Mary" is a 200 year-old, counter-reformation devotional and historical commentary. It is not Church teaching. For Church teaching, please refer to the Catechism.

The more lengthy response:

I humbly suggest that you might be laboring under a popular misconception regarding the implications of an imprimatur appearing on any given document.

It is not a statement of ex cathedra. It *does not* assure that the attached document's contents are without doctrinal flaw. An imprimatur can appear on an historical or devotional document as verification that its translation is accurate and that it accurately represents the original author's views. This does not mean it endorses all of the author's views.

For example, one might find an imprimatur on a translation of Origin's commentaries, even though it might include writings in which he denied the divinity of Christ. While we consider Origin's heresy, we can still learn from his piety and sound teaching in other areas. However, this comes with an important caveat: that true doctrine must be taught and practiced. Thus, anyone reading Origin should be made fully aware of what is and is not sound theology.

Most documents that carry an imprimatur are flawed. This is especially true among any such document that fails to clearly distinguish Mary's role in the history of salvation as accomplished solely by her obedience, and *that* obedience enabled by grace.

What then do I understand the Church teaches and believes salvation to be?

As Tiber Jumper suggested, if I want to know what the Church actually teaches, I should go to the official Catechism (Teaching) of the Church.


"SALVATION: The forgiveness of sins and restoration of friendship with God, which can be done by God alone. (Source: The Catholic Catechism -- 169)"

"SAVIOR: Jesus (which means "God saves" in Hebrew). The Son of God became man to achieve our salvation; he is the unique savior of humanity (ibid. 430)"

“MEDIATOR/MEDIATRIX: One who links or reconciles separate or opposing parties. Thus Jesus Christ is the "one mediator between God and the human race" (1 Tm 2:5). Through his sacrificial offering he has become high priest and unique mediator who has gained for us access to God's saving grace for humanity. Moreover, Mary too is sometimes called Mediatrix in virtue of her cooperation in the saving mission of Christ, who alone is the unique mediator between God and humanity (ibid. 618, 1544; cf. 970). “

“MERIT: The reward which God promises and gives to those who love him and by his grace perform good works. One cannot "merit" justification or eternal life, which are the free gift of God; the source of any merit we have before God is due to the grace of Christ in us (ibid: 2006).”

No doubt any reasonable person of Reformed theology will find ample basis for disagreement with many teachings of the Catechism. The small paragraphs on mediation and merit have fuel enough for years of intense discussion.

Speaking only for myself as a layman, I find discussion about what the Church actually teaches and practices (acknowledging that these are necessarily the same in all cases) to be helpful.

As always, should this have muddled more than helped, I beg your forbearance with my many limitations.

Humbly, I remain your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

Anonymous said...

I wrote in part:
"Speaking only for myself as a layman, I find discussion about what the Church actually teaches and practices (acknowledging that these are necessarily the same in all cases) to be helpful."

I mistyped. What I intended to write is, "...Church actually teaches and practices (acknowledging that these are *NOT* necessarily the same in all cases)..."

Sorry 'bout that, all.
--Theo

J.W. said...

You have heard ten thousand stories of us, of which if you believe only one in a thousand, you must think very poorly of us.

As I am assured that there is an infinite and independent Being, and that it is impossible there should be more than one; so I believe that this one God is the Father of all things, especially of angels and men; that He is in a peculiar manner the Father of those whom He regenerates by His Spirit, whom He adopts in His Son as co-heirs with Him, and crowns with an eternal inheritance; but in a still higher sense the Father of His only Son, whom He had begotten from eternity.

I believe this Father of all not only to be able to do whatever pleases Him, but also to have an eternal right of making what and when and how He pleases, and of possess­ing and disposing of all that He has made; and that He of His own goodness created heaven and earth and all that is therein.

I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Savior of the world, the Messiah so long foretold; that, being anointed with the Holy Spirit, He was a Prophet, revealing to us the whole will of God; that He was a Priest who gave Himself a sacrifice for sin, and still makes intercession for transgressors; that He is a King, who has all power in heaven and in earth, and will reign till He has subdued all things to Himself.

I believe He is the propel natural Son of God, God of God, very God of very God; and that He is the Lord of all, having absolute supreme universal dominion over all things; but more peculiarly our Lord, of we who believe in Him, by conquest, purchase, and voluntary obligation.

I believe that He was made man, joining the human nature with the divine in one person; being conceived by the singular operation of the Holy Spirit, and born of the blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as before she brought Him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.

I believe He suffered inexpressible pains both of body and soul, and at last death, even the death of the cross, at the time that Pontius Pilate governed Judaea under the Roman Emperor; that His body was then laid in the grave, and His soul went to the place of separate spirits; that the third day He rose again from the dead; that He ascended into heaven; where He remains in the midst of the throne of God, in the highest power and glory, as Mediator till the end of the world, as God to all eternity; that in the end He will come down from heaven to judge every man according to his works, both those who shall be then alive and all who have died before that day.

I believe the infinite and eternal Spirit of God, equal with the Father and the Son, to be not only perfectly holy in Himself, but the immediate cause of all holiness in us; enlightening our understandings, rectifying our wills and affections, renewing our natures, uniting our persons to Christ, assuring us of the adoption of sons, leading us in our actions, purifying and sanctifying our souls and bodies, to a full and eternal enjoyment of God.

I believe that Christ by His Apostles gathered unto Himself a Church, to which He has continually added such as shall be saved; that this catholic (universal) Church, extending to all nations and all ages, is holy in all its members, who have fellowship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that they have fellowship with the holy angels, who constantly minister to these heirs of salvation; and with all the living members of Christ on earth, as well as all who are departed in His faith and fear.

I believe God forgives all the sins of them that truly repent and unfeignedly believe His holy gospel; and that at the last day all shall rise again, every one with his own body.

I believe that, as the unjust shall after their resurrection be tormented in hell forever, so too the just shall enjoy inconceivable happiness in the presence of God to all eternity.

Are we thus far agreed? Let us thank God for this, and receive it as a fresh token of His love. But if God loves us, we ought also to love one another. We ought, without this endless jangling about opinions, to provoke one another to love and to good works.

Let the points wherein we differ stand aside: here are enough wherein we agree enough to be the ground of every Christian temper and of every Christian action.

Then, if we cannot as yet think alike in all things, at least we may love alike. Herein we cannot possibly do amiss. For of one point none can doubt a moment, -- ‘God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.’

In the name, then, and in the strength of God, let's resolve first, not to hurt one another; to do nothing unkind or unfriendly to each other, nothing which we would not have done to ourselves. Rather let us endeavor after every instance, of a kind, friendly, and Christian behavior towards each other.

Let's resolve secondly, God being our helper, to speak nothing harsh or unkind of each other. The sure way to avoid this is to say all the good we can both of and to one another; in all our conversation, either with or concerning each other, to use only the language of love to speak with all softness and tenderness, with the most endearing expression which is consistent with truth and sincerity.

Let's thirdly, resolve to harbor no unkind thought, no unfriendly temper toward each other. Let's lay the axe to the root of the tree; let's examine all that rises in our hearts and suffer no disposition there which is contrary to tender affection. Then shall we easily refrain from unkind actions and word: when the very root of bitterness is cut up.

Let's, fourthly, endeavor to help each other in what­ever we are agreed leads to the kingdom. So far as we can, let's always rejoice to strengthen each other’s hands in God.

Above all, let's each take heed to himself (since each must give an account of himself to God) that he fall not short of the religion of love, that he be not condemned in what he himself approves. Let you and I (whatever others do) press on to the prize of our high calling; that, being justified by faith, we may have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; that we may rejoice in God through Jesus Christ by whom we have received the atonement; that the love of God may be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.

Let's count all things loss but for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord; being ready for Him to suffer the loss of all things, and counting them but dung that we may win Christ.

I am,
Your affectionate servant for Christ’s sake,

J.W.

Carrie said...

Theo,

Most documents that carry an imprimatur are flawed.

Then why bother? If an imprimatur cannot be trusted then there appears to be a lack of theological integrity with the RCC in even using it.

The "The Glories of Mary" is a 200 year-old, counter-reformation devotional and historical commentary. It is not Church teaching.

But yet, Alphonsus Liguori is a canonized saint and a doctor of the church. So is St. Bonaventure who was quoted many times in the Glories of Mary. Why would your church endow such honors to people who were so wrong in their doctrines?

How about statements from Popes, can they be trusted?:

"Thus is confirmed that law of merciful meditation of which We have spoken, and which St. Bernardine of Siena thus expresses: "Every grace granted to man has three degrees in order; for by God it is communicated to Christ, from Christ it passes to the Virgin, and from the Virgin it descends to us."" Pope Leo XIII IUCUNDA SEMPER EXPECTATIONE

"The foundation of all Our confidence, as you know well, Venerable Brethren, is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For, God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary." Pope Pius IX UBI PRIMUM

if I want to know what the Church actually teaches, I should go to the official Catechism (Teaching) of the Church.

So, the catechism encompasses all of the teachings of the church? Because I did a quick search and cannot find “latria” or “dulia”.

I did find this on Mary:

CCC 969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."

That makes sense in light of the quotes above by two of your Popes. But I am sure we will now have to debate the meaning of "every".

Like the imprimatur, I realize this is an exercise in futility on my part. I am sure you will find excuses for all the above also.

Theo said...

Dear Carrie,

Thank you for taking the time to address this conversation. As much as I appreciate your sincere attempt to advance your view, I regret to report that it is not quite communicating what I suspect it intends. The more you insist that you understand Catholic teaching and its implications, the more I see that you do not.

The doctrine of Papal infallibility does not hold what you apparently imagine (as a practical example: Pope Innocent III, who said of himself that no human could judge him was indeed *judged and corrected* by a humble friar who admonished the Pope's worldly ways, citing the Pope's poor imitation of Christ.). Neither canonized sainthood nor doctorate of the Church status translates into "infallible." Even the very declaration of sainthood or doctorate can be subsequently declared a mistake and revoked. This is not an "excuse." It is mere fact.

The testimony of my own heart, the testimony of Holy Tradition, the testimony of the Church in the Catechism, and especially the clear testimony of Holy Scripture all tell me I do not worship Mary or anyone or anything other than God Almighty. I choose these testimonies over yours.

I humbly suggest that you might communicate better by learning the difference between dialog and debate.

In dialog, each party actually listens to other parties and tries to understand their view. This does not by any means lead the parties to agreement, but it does at least lead to mutual understanding.

In debate, each party attempts to "win points" by focusing upon any linguistic ambiguity one can find in the words of others, and construes them to mean not what the other party is communicating, but what the debater *wants* listeners to believe the party is communicating.

Given the above, dialog can by an ideal means of genuine communication; whereas, debate can be an ideal means of obfuscation.

I am blessed to report that I've been enlightened by the genuine communication I've encountered among so many who have contributed to this discussion. Alas, I'm also disappointed to report I've been enlightened (but not as intended) by the few who merely "debate."

Though I state clearly and unambiguously that I worship no thing or being but God alone, you judge otherwise, based neither upon my testimony nor based upon your witness of my behavior and practice. Regarding the thoughts of 'JW," above, I agree 100%: "Above all, let's each take heed to himself (since each must give an account of himself to God) that he fall not short of the religion of love, that he be not condemned in what he himself approves."

As a fellow Christian and humble servant of Christ, I pray the Holy Spirit bless you with every grace and gift to continue molding you into a more perfect image of Christ, our example, even as I pray the same for myself. To God be all glory and honor and power, forever and ever.

Without guile or rancor, I remain,
Your servant and brother in Christ,
--Theo

Theo said...

Dear Carrie:
Above, I wrote in part, "I humbly suggest that you might communicate better by learning the difference between dialog and debate. In dialog, each party ..."

As I reread the above, I realize that in spite of my saying "I humbly suggest," that this statement of mine was harsh, condescending, unjust and by no means humble. I apologize.

What I ought to have written was merely, "Please consider that in dialog, each party..." Obviously *I* am not nearly the practitioner of the Gospel that I ought to be. I beg your forgiveness, Carrie.

Truly humbled indeed, I remain,
Your servant and brother in Christ,
Theo