Monday, January 07, 2008

Karl Keating's Blueprint For Anarchy


I was digging through my library and a tiny Catholic Answers booklet stuck to a book fell on to the floor. I don't recall this booklet, I'm sure I must've picked it up somewhere, meant to get to it, and simply forgot about it. The booklet is called, "No Apology from the new apologists" by Karl Keating. I had a strong hunch the content of this booklet was on-line, and sure enough, I found it with ease.

It is an interesting read, particularly for those of you who find the current trend in Catholic apologetics fascinating. After seeing some recent comments from Rhology and others in a comment box, I recommend this booklet as insightful to the group-think of the current Catholic e-pologists. In fact, for those of you who are Protestant and spend time researching Roman Catholic issues [hint: Rhology, Carrie], this is a MUST read.

On the subject of Catholic unity (both the topic of a recent blog entry here, and over at aomin), Keating laments the disconnect between some Catholic scholarship and the "new apologists." Also implied in this is the disagreements between those within Catholic scholarship [Maybe I'll post these comments later].

Keating then states something very revealing:

"The process that brings Catholics out of the Church and into other religions almost always includes appeals to the intellect. Calls these appeals what you will—proselytism, proof texting, or just plain arguing—the appeals work, and they work because they are couched in terms of the duty of Catholics to apply reason to their faith. These Catholics, many of them habitual Mass-goers, have received little intellectual sustenance from their parishes. They are effectively uncatechized. In not a few cases they have been decatechized: Private doubts have been thrust upon them, and they quietly wonder why they should remain in a church whose leaders issue contradictory messages from the pulpit and in the confessional. "

Now, my booklet of the same content contains a footnote at this point from Keating, which isn't in the on-line version:

"Many Catholics are confused because some priests tell them contracepting is immoral, while others tell them the practice is morally neutral; some priests speak as though Mary had only one child, while others imply that she was the mother of the 'brethren of the Lord', some priests correctly explain the meaning of the Real Presence, while others refer to the Eucharist as only a symbol. Priests are authority figures, and lay people expect them to know and teach the faith accurately- not a safe assumption nowadays" [Footnote 5, page 6].

I had to read this twice, because I thought I was mis-reading it! Keating is really stating exactly what we've been saying all along about the Bible. A source itself can be sufficient, but it is not the fault of the source if it is misinterpreted. That is, Rome can claim to be the non-blueprint for anarchy, yet anarchy still exists within her walls (recall Dr. White's computer printer instruction book analogy). Similarly, Protestants can come to differing views on the Scripture, yet this doesn't make the Bible an insufficient sole rule of faith. Therefore, the argument against sola scriptura put forth by Roman Catholics that it is the blueprint for anarchy equally applies to the Roman Catholic. This means, if they use it, they are using an argument that equally refutes their own position.

2 comments:

Kepha said...

It's funny, Tq, I was re-reading Pius XII's Apostolic Constitution, Munificentissimus Deus (Defining the Dogma of the Assumption), and halfway through I began to wonder if Catholics believe in the perspicuity of papal documents!

Interestingly, what brought about this thought was/is the debate within Catholicism (not an active debate, to my knowledge) concerning whether or not Mary actually died. I remeber clearly the day in my systematic theology II course when we were discussing this issue. The class appeared to be divided on this. The crowning point of the class discussion was when a young lady began to share her view that Mary would gladly embrace death for her children; this immediately converted at least one of the staunch opponents (who, btw, didn't believe that Mary died because she was too great a creature). Anyway, it seems that Pius XII indicates that Mary did in fact die!

Carrie said...

Great post in light of recent discussions.

I get frustrated when the intellecual-type Catholics wag their fingers at us for "misrepresenting Catholicism" when we target the argument of the Catholic apologists. I can understand their frustration to a point, but the fact is, most Catholics I have met online follow and perpetuate the Catholic apologist-type arguments.

Now, who does officially represent Catholicism? Are Keating, Madrid and others within the umbrella of Catholicism or not? What about the priest that Keating refers to?Until they are excommunicated or silenced by their brethern, their arguments must be dealt with.

By the way, I was going to do a post on this topic but just haven't had time. I am glad you addressed it.

(I apologize for ending two sentences with a preposition. It is a fault that haunts me and I have given up the battle.)