Monday, August 10, 2009

Sungenis: Catholic Scholars are Worse Than Protestant Liberals


Here's another snippet for my ongoing "Blueprint for anarchy" series. Mr. Sungenis was asked about lectures from nowyouknowmedia, "advertised in places like America magazine, National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal, First Things, Catholic Digest, Crisis." Robert Sungenis replies:

...if they advertise in America, NCR, Commonweal, First Things, etc., then it’s the same old liberal, progressive approach to theology that has basically sucked the faith out of the Catholic Church today. It is the same liberal, modernistic theology (if you can call it theology) that is taught at Catholic University of America or Notre Dame University. Although I’m sure there are some good aspects to these lectures, knowing what I know of the lecturers, their alma maters (Georgetown University, The Jesuit School of Theology, Union Theological Seminary, Catholic Theological Union, Boston College, Franciscan School of Theology, St. Patrick’s Seminary) and their allegiance to the liberal institutions for which they write and work (The Catholic Biblical Association, Catholic Theological Society, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, The Collegeville Bible Commentary) I could not recommend any of them to you. To a man (and woman) these teachers believe the Bible is riddled with historical and “religious” errors. Many of them wrote sections of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary edited by Fr. Raymond Brown and Fr. Joseph Fitzmyer, two of the most liberal Catholics in academia. For them, the Bible is mainly the work of man, and only a few parts were actually inspired by the Holy Spirit. They do not believe most of the historical narratives in Scripture ever took place (e.g., Adam and Eve, Noah) and they believe much of the Gospels were made up by either the evangelists or the generations that came after them. They question the resurrection of Christ, the immaculate conception of Mary, the infallibility of the pope, the existence of the devil or hell, and many other cardinal doctrines of the historic Catholic faith. In brief, these lectures are indicative of the sad state of affairs in Catholic academia and scholarship today. Today’s Catholic scholars took over where the Protestant liberals left off at the turn of the 20th century, and they are much worse than the Protestant liberals ever were. They simply do not have the traditional faith of our Fathers and medievals any longer.

7 comments:

BJ Buracker said...

James,

Posts like this seem to have highlighted the flaw in the Catholic apologetic (Sola Scriptura => division, anarchy, 25,000 denominations).

Nevertheless, the state of Protestantism (and Christianity as a whole) is, I would argue, in a bad place with its divisions, schisms, new denominations, etc.

If I may, what is your take on this situation? In other words, what do you think is the cause, and what is your assessment, of the situation? Do you hope and pray for a single and visible Christian entity? If so, how do you see that coming about?

Thank you very much,

BJ

Matthew Bellisario said...

This post shows how confused James is in understanding individuals within in a Church, and the Church itself. The confusion brought by people trying to interpret Scripture alone by their own reasoning is not equivalent to people disobeying the clear teaching of the Catholic Church. Sorry, I don't buy it.

These posts are the same old red herrings that you have been putting up for years. You keep dabbling in Catholicism, yet you continue to show your readers you are not really equipped to deal the teachings of Catholicism.

Edward Reiss said...

"The confusion brought by people trying to interpret Scripture alone by their own reasoning is not equivalent to people disobeying the clear teaching of the Catholic Church. Sorry, I don't buy it."

No one is trying to sell it to you, because no one is claiming that we interpret Scripture alone by our own reasoning, at least no one here. This is a typical RC trope brought out, and it is so lame I wonder why you and others try to use it.

First, by your own standards--unity, unity, unity--the RCC fails the test. Nancy Pelosi receives communion and had an audience with the pope, yet she advocates the murder of the unborn depending on the will of more powerful persons. That is just one example.

Second, Protestants in confessional churches do not interpret Scripture "alone by their own reasoning". It is done by the community and often formalized in confessions of one sort of another--heck, even independend EV churches have some kind of statement of faith. So, if you want to accuse Mr. Swan or anyone else of not understanding RCism, I suggest you try and gain a sympathetic understanding of Protestants instead of repeating the same old tired arguments, which are ineffective in any case.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Edward wrote,"Second, Protestants in confessional churches do not interpret Scripture "alone by their own reasoning". It is done by the community and often formalized in confessions of one sort of another--heck, even independend EV churches have some kind of statement of faith."

Me,
Yeah it is a community alright. You just look for one that matches your interpretation. Not much difference in my opinion. You have a smorgasbord of "confessions" to choose from don't you?

ThePalmHQ said...

Matthew Bellasario is correct. There is a difference in principle between the situation of Catholic "dissenters" and the divisions of Protestantism. Everybody, even the "dissenters", know perfectly well what the Catholic Church teaches on doctrinal issues such as baptism and the Eucharist, or moral issues such as contraception and abortion. Nancy Pelosi knows perfectly well what the Catholic Church teaches--she chooses to disbelieve it and I agree that it is a scandal that she is allowed to remain visibly within the bosom of the Church. But there is a difference in kind when compared with Protestantism. What does Protestantism "teach" (as if that were possible) on baptism? What on the Eucharist? What on contraception? What on abortion? Here you will find true confusion, not one clear teaching and the dissent of the rebellious. I would respectfully submit that there is a difference in kind here.

James Swan said...

David,

As I see it, Rome claims to be a sufficient authority. The misuse of a sufficient source does not negate the clarity of that sufficient source. That also applies to Protestants who view the Bible as a sufficient source.

ThePalmHQ said...

James,

Leaving aside the issue of whether it makes sense to speak of the Bible as an authority, versus as authoritative, at least one fundamental difference remains. As I pointed out, friend and foe alike actually agree on what the Catholic Church teaches on myriad issues. You and I agree that the Catholic Church teaches baptismal regeneration. You reject the doctrine and I hold it. But our agreement on what the Church teaches--even with you strongly disposed to reject the teaching itself--indicates that as an authority, the Catholic Church has taught with clarity. This holds true with the so-called "dissenters" to which you point in your blog entry. They do not dispute that the Catholic teaches those doctrines and moral precepts which they reject. They dispute whether she should so teach.

I propose that this differs in principle to the situation we face if one insists that the Bible is a "sufficient authority". Because then we are faced with exactly the opposite situation. Here there are precious few "friend and foe both agree on [fill in the blank]" examples to be had. Here it comes down precisely to the question, what exactly does the Bible teach on X?

Now you could simply assume that all your opponents lack sufficient good will, enlightenment, innate intelligence, learning, etc. to grasp accurately what your "sufficient authority" teaches. But the Catholic does not need any such appeal because, again, friend and foe alike agree that the Church teaches what she teaches. And so these two systems do differ, in principle as well as in practice.

God bless,

David