Monday, June 29, 2009

Quotable Catholics #3: Mark Shea vs Liberal Catholicism

Question:
When a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court of the U.S. are Catholic and we still can't overturn Roe vs. Wade, we have a problem. When our leading Catholic University gives awards to pro-abortion politicians, we have a problem. When a pro-abortion President appoints Catholics to important positions within his cabinet and the pro-abortion stampede continues, we have a problem. When two leading Catholic intellectuals feel the need to have a debate over whether or not it is ok to support a pro-abortion President, we have a problem.

Mark Shea's (abridged) answer:
The first practical conclusion I draw from this is that we must fight sin and evil in the Church, but not waste time trying to figure out who is and is not "really" a Catholic or "really" a Christian. (I'm not saying you are doing this, only noting that it is an extremely common temptation and one to which the blogosphere is all too commonly prey.)

Question:
I have read through the Catechism (and Dr. Kreeft's wonderful simplification) and I don't see the problem. The Catechism is a lengthy read, but it's not hard to understand. The Church is very clear about what is right versus wrong and does a very good job of explaining why. And the thing that surprised me the most is that there are not a lot of basic rules to worry about (maybe rules isn't the right word. You're the wordsmith, not me). Actually, the Catechism reminds me a lot of the Rules of Golf. The rules themselves are very simply. It's the interpretations that get you in trouble.

Mark Shea's (abridged) answer:
One thing to bear in mind (which many of us converts overlook) is that many cradle Catholics do not encounter or experience their faith primarily as a body of doctrines to assent to, but as a family. That makes a big difference in perception. A convert knows he is going to be asked to say, "I believe all that the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." A cradle Catholic never really quite has such a moment. So for a convert, it's a big deal to be able to say that honestly. While for many a cradle Catholic it's much more like the kid who grows up in the house and, when he hits adolescences says, "I love my Mom and Dad, but they think some crazy stuff and I don't buy it."

source: The good news about the Catholic Church is... it's like a big family. The bad news about the Catholic Church is... it's like a big family.

28 comments:

Kepha said...

Without temporal power backing her now we see how substantial Rome's authority is. Her catechism has no more authority than the WCF.

EA said...

Speaking as a cradle Catholic, not only are you never prevailed upon to read, or know the Catechism, you're never encouraged to read or know Scripture. Worse, you're never encouraged to know Jesus. And this is from growing up in Rhode Island; the only Catholic majority state in the US.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Speaking as a cradle Catholic, not only are you never prevailed upon to read, or know the Catechism, you're never encouraged to read or know Scripture. Worse, you're never encouraged to know Jesus.

Sorry, but that is a gross overstatement. In my parish we are encouraged constantly to read and know the Bible, as well as to know (and love) Christ. And we're hardly unique.

Peace,

RdP

Alex said...

I also doubt that the parish I attended as a child was unique. We were taught straight from the Catechism and Scripture. I was just never exposed to the arguments from a Baptist perspective until I met my wife who is a PK. Thank God I knew what I did of my faith when her family attempted to characterize it (and the multiple books her dad gave us about the Catholic faith; James White, William Webster, etc.) that I knew what was an authentic representation, and what wasn't. At least that has been my experience.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Her catechism has no more authority than the WCF.

There is at least one difference: you, Kepha, are Catholic, and consequently you are obliged to submit to the authority of the CCC.

Peace,

RdP

EA said...

"Sorry, but that is a gross overstatement."

Sorry, it's not a gross overstatement in MY experience. I have attended a multitude of parishes in South Eastern Mass. & RI and NOT ONE ever taught "...straight from the Catechism and Scripture."

Furthermore, this should hardly come as a surprise to Catholics who frequent blogs. The practically universal lament of Catholics on-line is the sorry state of modern catechesis. Check out the the forums at Catholic Answers if you don't believe me.

bkaycee said...

As a cradle Catholic in MA where I attended Catholic school for 12 years, I never once opened a bible or ever recall a priest or nun encouraging bible reading.

I do recall my parents making reference to my aunt, who they thought went crazy because she read the bible and could not reconcile it to the RCC.

I also recall trying to witness to my parents about salvation by faith, while reading from the "family bible" which had a thick layer of dust and a big honking picture of Mary on it.

Also remember getting a scapula, from my mother which provided me a free pass to heaven or time off from purgatory (cant recall), depending on what day of the week I died.

Monstrance adoraton, lighting candles to saints, praying as punishment for confession, Rosary recitation, Rosary beads, first communion, confirmation, stations of the Cross, nuns wielding rulers, asking the priest for a blessing, Saint Blaze throat blessing day, playing in a portugese parade led by a large status of Mary, is what I recall. Bible reading, never.

Alex said...

bekayce, I suggest that you read the article concerning the scapular in the catholic encyclopedia found here:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13508b.htm

bkaycee said...

Thanks Alex!

I was indeed given the Carmelite scapula.

"Such is the meaning and importance of the first privilege of the Carmelite Scapular, which is wont to be expressed in the words: "whoever wears the scapular until death, will be preserved from hell".

Guess, I better scrounge around and find it! :)

Matthew Bellisario said...

bkaycee wrote, "I was indeed given the Carmelite scapula.

"Such is the meaning and importance of the first privilege of the Carmelite Scapular, which is wont to be expressed in the words: "whoever wears the scapular until death, will be preserved from hell".

Guess, I better scrounge around and find it! :)"

My Response:
This is typical misrepresentation of the Catholic faith. If one thinks they can just put on a scapular and be saved, they are mistaken. The sacramentals are not separated from living a holy life united to a living faith in Christ.

Also, just because your family never practiced the Catholic faith correctly or devoutly may be the better word, does not make the Catholic faith a false religion. It simply means the people you were associated with were not devout, or not properly catechized, and did not follow the Church's prescribed teachings, such as reading Sacred Scripture, etc.

Finally you wrote in your other post that you practiced monstrance adoration? Are you not aware that Catholics do not worship monstrances? This is just typical of someone who has not given a real, and authentic look at the Catholic faith. Otherwise you would not write thinks like this.

Turretinfan said...

Roman Catholic A says: "whoever wears the scapular until death, will be preserved from hell"
Roman Catholic B says: "This is typical misrepresentation of the Catholic faith."
Roman Catholic A is basing his statement on this: "Take, beloved son, this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant."

Those are, allegedly of course, the words of Mary.

So, should we believe Bellisario or the alleged Marian apparition regarding what constitutes the "Catholic faith"?

Matthew Bellisario said...

Once again Turretin. Context, context, context. Have you not learned your lesson from your blunders using your cut and paste tactics on Catholicism? Your latest blunder on the Guadalupe image should give you cause to retire from your attacks on the Catholic faith. Read about the scapular and learn about it in the context of the Catholic faith. Then you might understand what is going on with it.

bkaycee said...

MB's Response:
This is typical misrepresentation of the Catholic faith. If one thinks they can just put on a scapular and be saved, they are mistaken. The sacramentals are not separated from living a holy life united to a living faith in Christ.

I did not say, that Catholic salvation was by scapula. I just quoted what was on the Newadvent link. A more detailed definition is provided previously, in the same paragraph, provided below.

"Nevertheless, even should we admit that the small scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel originated even as late as the beginning of the sixteenth century, yet the above promise, which is designated the first privilege of the Carmelite Scapular, remains unimpaired. For this privilege declares nothing else than that all those who out of true veneration and love for the Blessed Virgin constantly wear the scapular in a spirit of fidelity and confiding faith, after they have been placed by the Church itself with this habit or badge under the special protection of the Mother of God, shall enjoy this special protection in the matter and crisis which most concerns them for time and eternity. Whoever, therefore, even though he be now a sinner, wears the badge of the Mother of God throughout life as her faithful servant, not presumptuously relying on the scapular as on a miraculous amulet, but trustfully confiding in the power and goodness of Mary, may securely hope that Mary will through her powerful and motherly intercession procure for him all the necessary graces for true conversion and for perseverance in good. Such is the meaning and importance of the first privilege of the Carmelite Scapular, which is wont to be expressed in the words: "whoever wears the scapular until death, will be preserved from hell".


MB said: "Also, just because your family never practiced the Catholic faith correctly or devoutly may be the better word, does not make the Catholic faith a false religion."

I never said that. I only related my experience. What makes the RCC a false religion is that it has denied, even anathematized biblical Salvation by Grace thru Faith alone.

MB said: "Finally you wrote in your other post that you practiced monstrance adoration?"

Sorry, my reference was shorthand; I assumed you understood that I meant worship of the transubstantiated host, inside the monstrance.

Turretinfan said...

Bellisario:

Thanks for reminding me that I do occasionally make mistakes. It's good to be aware of one's fallibility so as to keep one humble.

However, on this subject (which has nothing to do with whether what I see in your idols is what you see in your idols) here's my suggestion:

Just admit that you are not as legitimate a representative of Romanism as the Marian apparition is/was.

-TurretinFan

bkaycee said...

MB Wrote: This is just typical of someone who has not given a real, and authentic look at the Catholic faith. Otherwise you would not write thinks like this.

Sorry, I most certainly have given the RCC a "real and authentic look" and understand more about Catholicism than the vast majority of its members.

I have found it to be clearly another gospel, and another Jesus.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Turretin, admit that you are taking the quote out of context presenting as if anyone who wears it will automaticly be saved as if it were a talisman of some sort. That is not what the text you quoted refers to. Just like usual you just love tking quotes out of their context. That means the enire context that the text is taken from, including understanding the practice of the Catholic faith in its entirety. You obviusly do not have the tools to understand te Catholic faith properly as you have demonstrated on numerous occasions.

EBW said...

bkaycee,
It seems like you did have good exposure to RC based on your list. How did you "find" the RCC gospel and Jesus to be "clearly" another gospel? If you were confirmed, then you must remember this sacrament imposes the duty to spread and defend what you received. So which came first? Your will to reject RC before "finding" the truth or taking a "real look" then rejecting.
If memory serves you well, were you ever taught the Bible was not the Word of God (or something to that effect)?
Pope Saint Pius X Catechism:
28Q Is the reading of the bible necessary to all Christians ?
A The reading of the bible is not necessary to all Christians since they are instructed by the Church; however its reading is very useful and recommended to all.

Turretinfan said...

"Turretin, admit that you are taking the quote out of context presenting as if anyone who wears it will automaticly be saved as if it were a talisman of some sort."

Bellisario:

Admit that I gave the entire quotation without leaving out any context. Admit that the apparition said nothing else. Admit that plenty of legitimate, mainstream Roman Catholic sources summarize the full quotation (the quotation I provided) by the summary: "whoever wears the scapular until death, will be preserved from hell."

"You obviusly [sic] do not have the tools to understand te [sic] Catholic faith properly as you have demonstrated on numerous occasions."

Since you claim that entire quotations are examples of something being "taken out of context" and since you do the same thing to highly standard summaries of the same quotation, I think you may find the shoe is on the other foot.

-TurretinFan

EA said...

""You obviusly [sic] do not have the tools to understand te [sic] Catholic faith properly as you have demonstrated on numerous occasions."
"


Invincible ignorance?

Matthew Bellisario said...

Turretin, the shoe is not on the other foot. The apparition falls in line with ordinary Catholic teaching. You do not know what you are talking about, as usual.

Turretinfan said...

One Mouth - Two Sides:

Side one: "This is typical misrepresentation of the Catholic faith."

Rejoinder: The apparition said it.

Side two: "The apparition falls in line with ordinary Catholic teaching."

Can we get an admission from side two that side one was wrong? I'm not holding my breath. Nor am I confident that any retraction, public or private, will be forthcoming regarding the false accusation of decontextualization.

EA said...

"Nor am I confident that any retraction, public or private, will be forthcoming regarding the false accusation of decontextualization."

Invincible Ignorance?

bkaycee said...

EBW said:
"bkaycee, It seems like you did have good exposure to RC based on your list. How did you "find" the RCC gospel and Jesus to be "clearly" another gospel?"

I guess it depends on what you think the RCC Gospel is.

1. The Just be a good person version espoused by the vast majority of lay Catholics.
2. conservative version / cooporating with grace to achieve justification via sacraments/good works/grace recieved thru Mary/Saints. Add non required belief in universalism/non catholics can make if they "do their best with what they know", invincible ignorance, etc..
3.Traditionalists/ultraconservatives version. See #2, remove universalism, add total submission to the pope, no salvation to those outside the visible church of Rome. Belief in all dogma taught by the church of Rome.

I was in between versions 1 and 2 before I read Romans, Ephesians, Galations, etc and the Gospel of Salvation by Grace thru Faith alone.

Clearly, this is not what Rome teaches but another gospel. The Jesus of the bible Loves sinners and dies for them, saving them completely. The RC Jesus, makes salvation possible via "grace" the baptized(baptismal regeneration) Catholic can "cooporate" to attain his own justification. This Jesus needs to be softend up by Mary to be more merciful to the sinner for the final judgement.

EBW said: So which came first? Your will to reject RC before "finding" the truth or taking a "real look" then rejecting.

Actually, I was reading the catechism in preparation for marriage shortly before I was presented with the Biblical Gospel. So I would say I took a real look then rejected it after finding the real Gospel.

EBW said: If memory serves you well, were you ever taught the Bible was not the Word of God (or something to that effect)?

No, I was taught the Bible was the Word of God along with tradition and the magesterium. 3 legged stool

Pope Saint Pius X Catechism:
28Q Is the reading of the bible necessary to all Christians ?
A The reading of the bible is not necessary to all Christians since they are instructed by the Church; however its reading is very useful and recommended to all.


Hardly an enthusiastic endorsement.

I prefer these sentiments.
Josh 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Pslam 119:9-11 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.11Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

Jeremiah 15:16
Your words were found and I ate them,And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; Interesting metaphor :)

John 17:17"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth."

2 Peter 1:19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

2 Peter 3:2 that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2 Tim 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

EBW said...

bkaycee,
Thanks for your response, very detailed !
Comments:
Your three-fold description of the RC gospel "possibilities" are not far off.
1) lay catholics rightly hold to this (Rom 2:6,7)..perseverance in doing GOOD..eternal life
2&3) take these together, seperating them is a matter of degree
If you had reached #3 then my point about the Scrmnt of Confirmation would be more persuasive.
What's hard to understand is how could you be between 1&2, but end up w/ salvation by grace thru FAITH ALONE ? You knowingly rejected the following:

1)God rewards those who do good.
2)Sacraments were instituted by Christ as extensions of his love and incarnation.
3)cooperation w/ grace (as if faith were no co-operation)
4)Mary/Saints intercede for the reception of grace
5)Universal atonement ? all children of Adam ?
6)If ignorance is actually invincible, then any "knowledge" is light and God is just

The Pius X quote was to show that your experience of no bible reading doesn't imply a rejection of biblical truth among catholics.
However, your selections did give me encouragment.

bkaycee said...

EBW said: "What's hard to understand is how could you be between 1&2, but end up w/ salvation by grace thru FAITH ALONE ?"

While preparing for marriage and reading the catechism, a baptist co-worker providentialy shared the Gospel with me found in Romans, Ephesians, Galations, etc... God openend my eyes and I believed.

Faith in RCC seems to be more of a acknowledgement of dogma. Biblical Faith for salvation is recognizing your sin against a Holy God, repenting, realizing you are helpless to save yourself (the reason for the Cross), the only thing i contribute to salvation is sin. Begging God to be merciful and save me for Jesus sake. Total reliance and trust in the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus who paid for my sin in total.

1)God rewards those who do good.

Sure with crowns, not salvation.

Rom 4:4 4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

Eph 2:by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Galatians 2:16
nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

2 Tim 1:9who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

John 6:28Therefore they said to Him, "What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?"29Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."

3)cooperation w/ grace (as if faith were no co-operation)

Faith is a gift.

Jesus declares "no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father." (John 6:65) In the same passage Jesus declares: " all that the Father gives to Me will come to Me." (John 6:37) In both verses the phrase "come to Me" simply means "believe in Me" and so taken together Jesus is stating that no one can believe in Him unless God grants it, and all to whom God grants it will believe".

5)Universal atonement? all children of Adam?

I have heard many a Catholic say, "try your best"; "as long as their good people, non Christians can be saved."

6)If ignorance is actually invincible, then any "knowledge" is light and God is just

This is a concept not found in scripture.

EddieL said...

My blog on "Scripture versus Catechism of the Catholic Church" may shed some light on the relationship between the Church and the Bible.

Matt said...

bkaycee,

You may be interested to read some scholarship on Catholic soteriology. After coming to grips with how much St. Paul's epistles Augustine was employed in post-Tridentine (as well as pre-Tridentine of course!) soteriological reflecition, many of your comments here will seem very, well, incomplete. I'd love to discuss these matters at greater length, if you are intersted.

Matt said...

Books like those by Joseph Wawrykow, Denis Janz, etc.