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.