Saturday, October 31, 2009

Beckwith vs. Windsor

"One of my pet peeves is the intentional overuse of 'Rome,' 'Roman,' 'Romanist,' etc. by Protestant critics of Catholic theology."- Francis Beckwith

"...there truly is nothing wrong with the use of 'Roman' or 'Rome' when dealing with us."- Scott Windsor

Mr. Windsor says as well: "The way I look at it is, if these non-Catholic apologists are trying to be insulting with the use of "Roman," then they are only exposing their ignorance and bigotry."

FWIW, I specifically use the word "Roman" not to be insulting, but because I believe in the Catholic Church, but not the Roman Catholic Church.

97 comments:

CathApol said...

There is no real "vs." between myself and Dr. Beckwith. He opposed the "overuse" of "Roman" and I support his opposition of that. My statement remains that many non-Catholic apologists are truly bigots at heart and they use "Roman" as a derogatory insult. Their bigotry becomes even more clear when they use "Romish" or "Romanist."

I appreciate that you do not use the term as an insult. I appreciate that you imagine your belief in a "Catholic" but not "Roman Catholic Church," however outside the communion of Rome, it is not "catholic" or "Catholic."

In JMJ,
Scott<<<
http://cathapol.blogspot.com

BillyHW said...

Just say the word "Catholic" without any modifiers to anyone in the entire world and they know exactly what you mean.

BJ Buracker said...

James,

I completely appreciate your reservations (and many other Protestants)in not using the word Catholic to describe those in communion with the Pope. However, the fact that many do find terms such as Roman Catholic, Papist or Romanist, to be offensive seems to me to be significant. Shouldn't we factor that into whether or not our terminology is offensive to others, especially when we are asked to stop? This seems to play out from the fact that love is not rude.

Also, as BillyHW pointed out, the term "Catholic", like it or not, means the church united with the Pope in our society. It may be a misnomer, but it is what it is. In this respect, "Roman Catholic" is better than papist or romanist, but my point is that "Catholic" is no longer taken to mean what you assert. If you were to refer to the catholic church and mean universal, I would bet that few would understand. I think I'd agree with you that the terminology should be better, but it is what it is.

I'll be interested in your thoughts on the matter. I know you and folks like TF feel strongly about it, and I have no doubts that you've thought through these issues.

Blessings,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

James Swan said...

This post puts things in perspective.


I appreciate that you do not use the term as an insult. I appreciate that you imagine your belief in a "Catholic" but not "Roman Catholic Church," however outside the communion of Rome, it is not "catholic" or "Catholic."

...which is exactly why I will use the word "Romanism" at times in describing such sentiment as that put forth by Mr. Windsor. Any person that believes the universal church can only be declared such by being in communion with Rome's alleged infallible magisterium puts forth a grave distortion.

I expect there will be some who find this insulting, so be it. To me, the insult is the other way around.

James Swan said...

However, the fact that many do find terms such as Roman Catholic, Papist or Romanist, to be offensive seems to me to be significant. Shouldn't we factor that into whether or not our terminology is offensive to others, especially when we are asked to stop? This seems to play out from the fact that love is not rude.

Again, I would refer you to Dr. White's recent post.

The offensive to me is the other way around: a locality centered in Italy claims to be the Holy Spirit led infallible magisterium governing the entire church throughout the world.

If you know of another way to describe the Roman Catholic Church that would better describe their serious error, I'm listening.

BJ Buracker said...

James,

Thanks a lot for the links. I'll make sure to read through those in the next couple of days. I'll try to think through alternatives, but I guess I feel that we should refer to people the way they desire. A happy medium would be nice in this instance, though.

Peace,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

James Swan said...

Again, if there's a way to find a term that doesn't allow those I strongly disagree with to hijack the word "Catholic", I'd love to know it.

The Catholic church is far too important to me to allow anyone to misuse her name.

BillyHW said...

You know you're in tough, James, when your battle is with the dictionary.

Carrie said...

but I guess I feel that we should refer to people the way they desire.

BJ,

I am curious as to whether you would call Mormons "Christians" as many of them would like to be called?

I think Dr. White's posts will highlight the silliness of these complaints (since the RCC calls themselves Roman). I also know growing up that much of my family and friends identified themselves as "Roman Catholic" so this sudden disdain for the term by a select few online seems like just an opportunity to try and play the victim role.

Turretinfan said...

Billy ... because, of course, dictionaries are written on gold plates that fall down from heaven ...

Matthew Bellisario said...

The two terms have been used interchangeably in recent times. The Catholic Church started to be called the Roman Catholic Church because that is the largest and most identifiable Rite in the Catholic Church. As you should know, the Pope does not have to be of the Roman Rite to be Pope. He however assumes the role of the bishop of Rome once he is Pope. In short, the media has used Roman Catholic to describe the one Catholic Church, which none of you Protestants here are formally a part of.

I for one could care less what you term you use. I am a Ukrainian Catholic, not a Roman Catholic. But if you insist on calling me a Roman Catholic out of your willingness to follow the modern media and culture, then so be it. The Catholic Church is more than the Roman Rite.

The notion that the Pope is like a dictator, is one of your flaws in understanding the papacy. Just because other patriarchs of other Rites are in union and agree with doctrine and dogmas which the Pope also adheres to does not make them all, "Roman." If you don't understand that then you are beyond help at this point.

Divine Revelation is not Roman, nor is it papal. The papacy serves Divine Revelation, so to call the Catholic Church specifically Roman is not really an accurate label to use. But if you want to continue on doing so, then so be it. Maybe once you understand the papacy better you will come to a different conclusion.

BJ Buracker said...

Carrie,

I am curious as to whether you would call Mormons "Christians" as many of them would like to be called?

Actually, that's a different scenario. What you're asking is whether I would use a term they like. The issue at hand is whether we should continue using a term they don't like. As far as I know, Mormons don't mind being called Mormons, so that term is sufficient for me.

I thought Dr. White's post was very interesting. I honestly had never seen reference to the "Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church" before. That does add something significant to the discussion. I'm curious how those who find "Roman Catholic" offensive - or at least too limiting - understand such statements. Thanks again for the post, James.

Peace,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

James Swan said...

Actually, that's a different scenario. What you're asking is whether I would use a term they like

How about, "the non-Christian Mormon church"?

James Swan said...

btw, according to Mr. Windsor's above comment, both he and and Dr. Beckwith are in agreement that the term "Roman" is "overused".

Interestingly, Dr. Beckwith points out:

"I'm surprised that no one went nuclear on me and pointed out that the title of my book is Return to Rome, and that this blog's name is Return to Rome."

Now, I stand truly embarrassed that I missed this obvious fact.

It provoked me consider all the conversion stories and books that similarly "overuse" the geographical designation and its derivatives. Perhaps, the overuse spills out into the yards of those who complain of overuse?

James Swan said...

"Steve Ray here. Everything is going great with the Dr. Scott Hahn Pilgrimage. Janet and I, in conjunction with our local guide Amer Shehadeh, are leading this pilgrimage. Dr. Hahn and I along with our Roman Catholic guide Amer are tag-teaming the teaching and prayers with this group. We have four great priests, three deacons and several acolytes and servers. Kimberly Hahn is cantering at the Masses."

James Swan said...

Patrick Madrid:

"Dave Armstrong has compiled a handy series of statements from the great bishop-apologist, Augustine of Hippo, detailing his teaching on the sacraments of the Catholic Church. It's a useful corrective against those, such as Calvinists, who attempt to portray St. Augustine as not having been Catholic, at least not in the "Roman Catholic" sense of the word."

Francis J. Beckwith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Turretinfan said...

As far as Beckwith's book and blog go, since he had expressed confusion as to the meaning of "Roman" as referring specifically to the Latin rite and since he is in a Latin rite church, it seemed less helpful to point out those details.

CathApol said...

James,
With all due respect, Dr. Beckwith and I have BOTH said we're not offended by the mere use of "Roman" - and that we're BOTH offended by some who OVERUSE the term.

If you do not intend to use it as an insult, and you're aware of how it is insultingly used by some - then perhaps the best thing you could do is SUPPORT what both Dr. Beckwith and I have said and join us in criticizing those who do use it as an insult. The fact that you are willing, even eager it seems, to use the term "Romanism."

The statement I made is quite true, without communion with the Bishop of Rome - you're neither "catholic" nor "Catholic." Catholic, in either sense, means "universal," and no other "church" is as universal as the Catholic Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome. You may disagree with our Church, but you cannot deny the universality of it. No other "church" comes close.

With Regard to White's "recent post" - in his usual form, he directly attacks me personally and makes an indirect and unsubstantiated comment regarding my argumentation. The fact of the matter is White stopped actively debating me when I continued to catch him in a myriad of errors, to which he continues to refuse to answer to. Any objective reader who cares to look at the exchanges between us - I encourage them to check my web site. The objective
reader will find full discussions archived there - and not merely the snippets White may want you to read. Have I been a perfect debater? No - and I do not claim to be so - however, I have exposed errors, documented them and challenged them - "to no avail."

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Carrie said...

It provoked me consider all the conversion stories and books that similarly "overuse" the geographical designation and its derivatives.

Like Hahn's "Rome Sweet Rome"?

That's why I think the current protesting about the term is just victim-playing. Do a Google search for "roman catholic diocese" (in quotes) and see what comes up. I also found churches and schools in my area who seem content to identify themselves as Roman Catholic.

Turretinfan said...

And, incidentally, Bellisario seems to have the same confused idea as Beckwith does - confusing "Latin" and "Roman" as though the two were convertable. It's the reason I avoided (or at least limited) using "Romanist" and "Roman Catholic" in my debate with him.

Alex said...

The title of Hahn's book is actually "Rome Sweet Home"...however, that is just a small point, which in itself is very insignificant when factual errors of the larger variety are ignored.

Carrie said...

As far as I know, Mormons don't mind being called Mormons, so that term is sufficient for me.

BJ,

I seem to remember a combox discussion (years ago, not here) where at least one Mormon did not want to be called Mormon but wanted to be considered a Christian. However, I can't find any supporting evidence so maybe that was just one blogger who objected or maybe my memory is faulty.

The title of Hahn's book is actually "Rome Sweet Home"

My mistake, thanks.

Carrie said...

This topic is being discussed on the Catholic Answers forum.

Andrew said...

Since Catholic is not a biblical term; why don't we let them have it? Do any of us really use them term "catholic" of ourselves anyway? I have never heard a reformed person call them selves catholic. So why do we care if the Roman Catholics use it or not?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

How about the overuse of the term "anti-Catholic," which is applied liberally to any and all who disagree with Roman Catholic theology?

Our protests about the use of this derogatory term remain unheeded by those who use it regularly. Its use has been justified as a "normative theological term." So is "Roman" and "Romanist."

In my view, "Romish" seems more derogatory, so I don't use it, although it speaks to tendencies more than actualities.

Andrew said...

Pilgrimslabour: I agree. The term "anti-catholic" has got to go. It's just not productive.

Alex said...

Whether or not you believe that Catholics should or should not be offended by a particular term is really beside the point. You cannot determine for other people what should and should not offend them. You might be able to reason with them, but once you have determined that such a term is offensive and will continue to offend the other, and you keep using it, then we can question whether or not part of your intention is to be offensive…especially if the term you are using is not a part of mainstream speech, and it was in fact derived as a derogatory term to begin with.

Carrie said...

Whether or not you believe that Catholics should or should not be offended by a particular term is really beside the point. You cannot determine for other people what should and should not offend them.

Everyone is offended differently in this case. As shown, many people call themselves "Roman Catholic" (including Vatican I from Dr. White's post) as has been shown here. The last I checked the poll at Cath Answers, the majority were not offended by the term.

So I think it is a bit silly to ask people to not use a term that is in use by the general membership of the larger group, which is found in their own official documents, and which only a minority at this point appear to be offended by.

Andrew said...

Yeah, I think Roman Catholics being offended by the term "Roman Catholic" is a little silly. Right on, Carrie.

Turretinfan said...

Alex wrote: "You cannot determine for other people what should and should not offend them."

Sure you can. There is reasonable offense and irrational offense.

-TurretinFan

CathApol said...

Hi Carrie,
I am one of those who took that poll on CA, and was "not offended." However, the poll question did not address all the possibilities. There should have been one more option IMHO, "Catholic - and offended by those who overuse the term and use it as an insult." I have created a similar poll with more options on CDF Click here for poll - if you're a member. I haven't used polls too much on CDF so not sure how much attention/votes it will get, but I can report back if anyone is interested (or you can join the forum and see for yourself).

At any rate, I have a question for Mr. Swan, would you concur that Dr. Beckwith and I are actually in agreement on this matter?

Thank you.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<
Catholic Debate Forum

Alex said...

Carrie, Andrew, and Turretinfan...

I wasn't addressing the term "Roman Catholic" in this case, but the terms:
Romish
Romanist
Papist
Popish, etc.

I should have stated that directly. My opinion concerning the use of Roman Catholic is very much in line with Scott's.

Alex wrote: "You cannot determine for other people what should and should not offend them."

Turretinfan: "Sure you can. There is reasonable offense and irrational offense."

Maybe you should go back and read my comments again, this time read the whole thing. I wrote:

"You might be able to reason with them..."

and

"...especially if the term you are using is not a part of mainstream speech, and it was in fact derived as a derogatory term to begin with."

Alex said...

Turretinfan, I curious, do you refer to blacks as coloreds or negros?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Oh dear. Now I'm going to have to include the term "Alex" among my list of derogatory statements which I use to great aplomb against my theological opponents.

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

So, do you understand the difference between reasonable and unreasonable offense or not?

Your inflammatory comments are noted, but totally irrelevant.

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

Turretinfan, I clearly indicated that I do understand the difference. If this is your attempt at meaningful interaction with my argument then it is clearly you who are demonstrating the inability to understand the difference between reasonable and unreasonable offense.

Hopefully this will make it easier:

Group A cannot arbitrarily determine what Group B should or should not find offensive.

Certainly it is possible that Group B could be unreasonably offended, at which point Group A could attempt to reason with Group B to enlighten them as to why their offense should be unwarranted.

If Group A is unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt that what Group B finds to be offensive is unwarranted, and Group A persists in using such offensive terminology, then it becomes the case that Group A is arbitrarily determining for Group B what they should or should not find offensive.

Case in point:

During the Civil Rights movement there was growing dislike among those involved with the use of the term “Negro” which had come into use due to the dislike of the term “colored.” The term “black” was now becoming predominately favored, though years and decades prior that term was also considered to be derogatory.

In a similar fashion to the arguments employed by Turretinfan, someone could come along and try to reason with blacks by telling them that it is unreasonable for them to be offended by the term Negro because this term isn’t in and of itself offensive for a variety of reasons. For example, there are plenty of blacks who have come of age prior to the 60’s who do not object to the terms Negro or Colored. There are also legitimate organizations that use those terms, such as the United Negro College Fund, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Therefore, it is unreasonable for blacks to be offended by these terms. However, the problem is that we pretty much know the history behind the origins of these terms, so despite whatever connotation some supposed well-wisher might insist upon, the actual etymology never escapes the term.

The same holds true for Romanist, Papist, etc. These terms were derogatory from the get-go.

Regarding the use of “Roman Catholic” I agree with Scott’s comment here:

“However, there truly is nothing wrong with the use of "Roman" or "Rome" when dealing with us. The way I look at it is, if these non-Catholic apologists are trying to be insulting with the use of "Roman," then they are only exposing their ignorance and bigotry.”

Furthermore, I would add that even if a term is a perfectly acceptable one, it could still be used in a derogatory manner. For example, it is one thing for me to call my wife a “woman” without anyone taking a second thought about my intention. However, I might be a closet misogynist and by calling my wife a “woman” I am thereby exposing my ignorance and irrational sexism. This can clearly be determined within the context of both how I am using the term and the character of my relationship with my wife and women in general.

Alex said...

Carrie, you are aware that the poll at Catholic Answers is far from scientific, right? I’m sure that not all respondents are Catholic, and I also believe that we can reasonably doubt the validity of the sample of respondents as comparable to Catholics at large. What we can say is that out of the respondents, a majority are not offended. Who the majority of respondents are, we simply do not know. Also, as Scott pointed out, the phrasing of the question should also be in question. Did it skew the results?

Alex said...

I should also add that I wouldn't use this question either:
"Catholic - and offended by those who overuse the term and use it as an insult."

Sorry Scott. :)

Edward Reiss said...

Im my opinion, the idea that using the term Roman Catholic shoul dbe offensive is ridiculous on two points:

1) Roman Catholics churches use the very same designation, so if particular RCs find the term offensive they should take it up with various RC churches which use the "offensive" term to reference themselves.

2) It seems more like an attempt to play the victim card than anything else. And as we know in our PC culture, to be the victim is to wield power over the "opressor".

And amusingly enough, there is no shortage of names RCs feel free to call protestants, up to and including heretic. I guess it matters more which team one is on, than the principle of avoiding "offensive" names.

If their emotional state is so fragile that a protestant using an term to reference their church WHICH THEIR OWN CHURCHES USE they may need to find some other line of work or another hobby, as the case may be.

Lord, I am so tired of faux offense over nothing at all.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Perhaps I find it offensive that Roman Catholics refer to my church as an "ecclesial community," that is, it is not a "true Church." Am I not within my rights, according to the criteria laid out by Alex, to insist that it be acknowledged that I belong to a church?

If I am offended, you must accede to my wishes, isn't that so? That is the standard being put on display here. After all, we refer to ourselves as churches, so you should as well because we say so.

Carrie said...

Carrie, you are aware that the poll at Catholic Answers is far from scientific, right?

Yes. And I assume we both agree that the opinion of Beckwith (and maybe a few other bloggers) doesn't conform a consensus either.

Of course you are ignoring the other facts presented where Catholic institutions and official documents also use the term "Roman Catholic". See what Edward said above.

Alex said...

“1) Roman Catholics churches use the very same designation, so if particular RCs find the term offensive they should take it up with various RC churches which use the "offensive" term to reference themselves.”

You should refer to my argument above. The fact that Catholics use the term, or that various Catholic Churches use the term does not eliminate the possibility that someone opposed to the Church might be using the term in a derogatory manner. As I have stated before, this can be determined by seeing the context of how the term is being used. Are you denying the possibility that someone can be using the term in a derogatory manner? Whether or not you, or anyone else here, is using “Roman Catholic” in a derogatory manner is a separate issue that I am not addressing. However, the same cannot be said for the use of Papist, Romanist, etc.


“2) It seems more like an attempt to play the victim card than anything else. And as we know in our PC culture, to be the victim is to wield power over the ‘opressor’.”

Nice to see that you are a mind reader.

Alex said...

"Perhaps I find it offensive that Roman Catholics refer to my church as an "ecclesial community," that is, it is not a "true Church." Am I not within my rights, according to the criteria laid out by Alex, to insist that it be acknowledged that I belong to a church?

"If I am offended, you must accede to my wishes, isn't that so? That is the standard being put on display here. After all, we refer to ourselves as churches, so you should as well because we say so."

Perhaps you should refer back to the origins of the term "Romanist" and then we can have an intelligent discussion.

Regarding the use of the term "Roman Catholic" read what I stated above, and again, we can then begin to have an intelligent discussion. That is my position, I will not address an argument that I am not making.

Alex said...

"Yes. And I assume we both agree that the opinion of Beckwith (and maybe a few other bloggers) doesn't conform a consensus either."

Agreed.

"Of course you are ignoring the other facts presented where Catholic institutions and official documents also use the term "Roman Catholic". See what Edward said above."

Maybe you didn't read my above posts. Do so, and then we can discuss this.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Let's be frank.

Roman Catholics think Protestants refer to them as Roman Catholics because Protestants refuse to acknowledge the RCC as the "One True Church."

They're right. We do not consider the RCC to be Christ's One True Church on earth, so the clarifier is necessary. This is surprising?

We have a vastly different understanding of what "Catholic" means. But we will not sacrifice that principle for the expediency of caressing some nebulous "hurt feelings."

Yes, I think it is worth considering whether or not the victimhood card is being played here, as Edward Reiss has said above. It could be an RCC power play to get Protestants to change their language, which is the first step to changing their doctrine and practice. We see this play out in politics today; own the language through rhetoric and demagoguery, own the day. Anyone who has read Harnack or Bultmann knows what it means to have to reorient their thinking to understand entirely new definitions of time-honoured words. The purpose of such an exercise is to make things less clear, not moreso.

On the other hand, in my opinion, the terms "Romanist," "Romish," "papist," and "popish" are (or can be) unnecessarily offensive. I don't use them. See with what bold letters I write this important distinction? "Roman" is a matter of uncompromising principle. "Romish," "popish" and such like, again in my opinion, are meant to be derogatory.

But I agree with TurretinFan in his understanding of "necessary offense." The cross, for example, is necessarily offensive to the unbeliever. My personal presentation of myself when I share the gospel should be as inoffensive as possible.

Alex said...

Then I guess Pilgrim you agree with me, unless you also disagree that someone can take an acceptable term, like Roman Catholic, black, woman, etc. and use it in an offensive manner.

Edward Reiss said...

Alex,

I read your argument, and I reject it. If RC churches refer to themselves as Roman Catholic, what is all the hubub about? It can't be substance, because as I said they use the term to refer to themselves.

Which brings me to my second point. I am not mind reading, but I see patterns. In our society today there is often a race to claim the victim card, and this is often accomplished by claiming one is "offended" by something. Unfortunately, offense is a rather subjective thing, and to take offense at a term used by one's own communion is, frankly, laughable.

Edward Reiss said...

"Then I guess Pilgrim you agree with me, unless you also disagree that someone can take an acceptable term, like Roman Catholic, black, woman, etc. and use it in an offensive manner."

Anything can be used in an offensive manner. That is beside the point. The issue fo rme is that the term Roman Catholic is acceptable among Roman Catholics. If someone is being offensive it is not because of the terms used but his or her own offensive attitude. And that is not a sufficient reason to avoid using a term--or else we would have no terms at all as someone may be "offended".

Alex said...

Edward, apparently you haven't read my argument, or you do not have even the slightest intellectual acumen to understand the simplest statement.

I am not against the use of the term Roman Catholic. With that said, I do believe that someone can use the term in a disparaging and offensive manner. In the same way someone can use the terms black and woman in disparaging ways, but the terms in themselves are mainstream and acceptable. If someone intends to use a term as a slur, then it is a slur. It’s that simple. If you intend upon using the term as a slur for theological reasons, then fine, but don’t pretend that you are not using it in that way.

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

If you understand the difference between reasonable and unreasonable offense, than you ought to appreciate the fact that your claim was wrong. I refer to your claim: "You cannot determine for other people what should and should not offend them."

Your inflammatory remarks about race seem to be desperate attempts to avoid the fact that complaints like Beckwith's are unreasonable.

-TurretinFan

Alex said...

If you understand the difference between reasonable and unreasonable offense, than you ought to appreciate the fact that your claim was wrong. I refer to your claim: "You cannot determine for other people what should and should not offend them."

Your inflammatory remarks about race seem to be desperate attempts to avoid the fact that complaints like Beckwith's are unreasonable.

-TurretinFan

Right on Turretinfan. Good job. I'll just pretend that you reasonably addressed my argument so as to avoid the endless inane back and forth.

If you decide to actually substantively address my points, then I might respond.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Alex,

Then please give me an example of how the term "Roman Catholic" is used by Protestants in a derogatory way.

Write a sentence using that phrase in a derogatory way as if you were a Protestant. What would that look like?

The problem I see here is that you decry "mind reading" while engaging in it yourself. How do you know it is being used in a derogatory way? How can you tell?

Dozie said...

"Everyone is offended differently in this case. As shown, many people call themselves "Roman Catholic" (including Vatican I from Dr. White's post) as has been shown here".

I could not let this nonsense go unanswered. Mr. White, surprisingly, is badly miseducated on questions of Catholic practice. "Roman Church" is not the same thing as, nor does it mean, "Roman Catholic Church". Just as "Bishop of Rome" and "Pope", while referring to the same person, do not mean the same thing.

The level of ignorance Mr. White shows in this matter is rather embarrassing and it is even more embarrassing that he is being parroted by cronies who know even less.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

"Roman Church" is not the same thing as, nor does it mean, "Roman Catholic Church". Just as "Bishop of Rome" and "Pope", while referring to the same person, do not mean the same thing.

I, for one, would be very happy to be educated in this regard. Please feel free to explain the differences to me.

Turretinfan said...

Dozie:

I'd prefer if you call Dr. White "Dr. White" rather than "Mr. White." After all, he has two earned doctorates (a ThD and a DMin).

But, I guess that kind of label wouldn't fit well with your attempt to accuse him of ignorance.

Even leaving aside the doctorates, he has written over 25 books, he's taught seminary and collegiate classes, he's an elder in a church, and he's done over 75 public moderated debates on a wide variety of religious topics, many with Roman Catholics.

But, you know, you think that it is better to call him "Mr. White" and accuse him of ignorance ... I wonder whether you've considered that your comments speak more about yourself than about him?

Alex said...

>Alex,

>Then please give me an example of how the term "Roman Catholic" is used by Protestants in a derogatory way.

>Write a sentence using that phrase in a derogatory way as if you were a Protestant. What would that look like?

>The problem I see here is that you decry "mind reading" while engaging in it yourself. How do you know it is being used in a derogatory way? How can you tell?

I really had no idea that the point I was making would have become this difficult to grasp or controversial. It really is a simple point, so perhaps I have not been clear enough.

Pilgrim, before I do what you ask, let’s see if we can agree on the same principle that I am evoking in a different yet rather extreme contexts.

When Louis Farrakhan says “I am black” does what he say carry the same meaning as would David Duke when he says “Louis is black”? Would someone who was properly ordered and virtuous mean the same thing as either of those two men?

Another example, when a hairy-knuckled lesbian high ranking member of NOW says “I am a woman” is her meaning the same as a misogynist wife-beater when he says “she is a woman”? Again, would someone who was properly ordered and virtuous mean the same thing as either of those two?

We know for instance that there are non-Catholics who are really anti-Catholic (or as they see it, anti-Roman Church) because they believe that Catholics follow a false Gospel and truly are not even Christian. Therefore their incessant use of the qualifier “Roman” is meant to be derogatory for theological reasons and possibly well-intended, yet ignorant nonetheless. As Dozie pointed out, when you drop the qualifier “Catholic” while just keeping “Roman Church” it becomes all the more transparent. I believe that you would have a difficult time convincing us Catholics that when someone like Turretinfan, James White, or James Swan states “Roman Catholic Church” or “Roman Church” that it carries the same meaning as it would if Pope Benedict said it. As the two James and Turretinfan have stated before, the differences are real and we of the “Roman Church” are not following the Gospel. Who knows why Turretinfan finds this such a complicated point to grasp.

There are other terms such as “Romanist," "Romish," "papist," and "popish" which are simply much more transparent in their attempt at being derogatory.

Turretinfan said...

Alex now: "There are other terms such as “Romanist," "Romish," "papist," and "popish" which are simply much more transparent in their attempt at being derogatory."

Alex then: "Nice to see that you are a mind reader."

Edward Reiss said...

"When Louis Farrakhan says “I am black” does what he say carry the same meaning as would David Duke when he says “Louis is black”? Would someone who was properly ordered and virtuous mean the same thing as either of those two men?"

Earlier in this discussion, you accused me of attempting to read minds. It seems you are doing the same thing. How do you know the particular frame of mind of anyone when he or she uses a term like "black"?

You don't.

"We know for instance that there are non-Catholics who are really anti-Catholic (or as they see it, anti-Roman Church) because they believe that Catholics follow a false Gospel and truly are not even Christian. Therefore their incessant use of the qualifier “Roman” is meant to be derogatory for theological reasons and possibly well-intended, yet ignorant nonetheless."

First, it is not ignorant because RC Churches use the term themselves. Your argument is so full of special pleading that I am amazed you would even use it. Earlier in this discussion we saw RC dogmatic documents using the terms "Roman" "Catholic" etc. Now,Protestants are supposed to avoid using the term "Roman Catholic" because someone somewhere might in certain circumstances mean it in a derogatory way which might bruise someone's feelings. If that is the standard we will have no terms left at all, because every term can be used in a way someone somewhere finds to be offensive. What you propose is a sort of PC speech code run amok: if someone may use a term in a derogatory way, a whole class of people--in this case Protestants--should avoid using the term in question simply because it may offend. Ridiculous.

Second, there are RC who are ant-protestant because e.g. Luther had heretical teachings on the Gospel, and I am sure I could come up with a list of forbidden words for them, too. But that is as ridiculous as the forbidden words "Roman Catholic".

To reiterate:

1) The term is accurate

2) The term is used by Roman Catholics themselves

3) The term is widely used in our culture to refer to the RCC

4) I cannot imagine the rumpus which would arise if everyone played this game: In the future, refer to Lutherans as the true inheritors of the Western Tradition--Lutheran is offensive when used by Roman Catholics, just like a wife beater's use of the term woman is offensive because of who he is. It really does seem like a PC play on words to control discourse.

Rhology said...

It's highly ironic that Alex(ander Greco) is bringing up questions of the word "negro" when he's running side by side with Dozie of race-baiting fame.

Carrie said...

when a hairy-knuckled lesbian high ranking member of NOW says

Wow.

Good thing Alex is hear to help us clean up our derogatory language.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Alex said...

Pilgrim, before I do what you ask, let’s see if we can agree on the same principle that I am evoking in a different yet rather extreme contexts.

If we want to know how someone is using a term, then obviously context is key. And, it would seem, you are suggesting that some knowledge and pre-assessment (prejudice) of the speaker's thoughts, intents, and/or lifestyle behaviour is necessary in making an accurate judgement. While this is true on some level for someone with whom we've had a previous interaction, it can't always be known with a high degree of certainty. This is true especially of "strangers" in the combox, in which case we know little or nothing at first meeting.

Now, if you could demonstrate a Protestant usage of the term "Roman Catholic" which can be seen as derogatory, we can discuss that. I'm not convinced that any of those Protestants you've mentioned here use the term for anything other than a clarifier as I said in my comment above which begins with the statement "Let's be frank..."

Pilgrimsarbour said...

when a hairy-knuckled lesbian high ranking member of NOW says

Wow.

Good thing Alex is hear to help us clean up our derogatory language.


Actually, that's kinda funny! Looks like I'll dump my high-minded principles if there's enough humour involved.

I'm pathetic.

Alex said...

I am extremely close to the point of losing my patience now. It is unfathomable to me that a few of you do not seem to grasp what I am saying. I know it isn’t just me who gets it, I have asked my wife read what I have written and she seems to get it without endless clarification. I would like to see if there are other Catholics who likewise misunderstand my comments.

It doesn’t take mind reading to know that one perceives the Catholic faith as being anti-Gospel/anti-Christian when that person has explicitly stated that the Catholic faith is anti-Gospel. It doesn’t take any special type of mind reading to therefore infer that when the same person says “the Roman Church” s/he thereby means that said Church is anti-Gospel. It doesn’t take any special kind of mind reading to then determine that when the anti-Catholic says “Roman Church” - when we all know that s/he believes that the same Church is anti-Gospel – thereby using the term in a negative way, with a negative connotation, that the Catholic would find it derogatory. It is simply stupid of you to insist that I believe that you are not using “Roman Church” in a derogatory way when you believe that my religion is beholden to the devil as a false Gospel.

Notice what I have not said. I did not say that the anti-Catholic is doing so out of pure maliciousness just to be offensive. I have said that they could be well-intended, but in doing so they are acting ignorantly. Of course this is based on a theological/apologetic argument. The anti-Catholic believes that I am a member of a religion following a false Gospel. We Catholics are offended against that notion ad argue against it, and therefore find it unreasonable. If you believe that we follow a false Gospel, then how can you possibly say that when referring to the “Church of Rome” contextually you are not also thereby implying that our Church is an illegitimate pseudo-Christian faith? While I’m aggravated by your incomprehension, I am also thankful that other readers can read what has happened here.

Alex said...

Turretinfan, as I have stated before, the terms you enjoy employing such as “Romanist” etc. are never used in polite company, they are so transparently derogatory that in keeping with your well-established opinion concerning Catholicism any further point you wish to express in opposition to what I have stated here insults your own intelligence and not mine. You believe that I follow a false Gospel and spend an incredible amount of time trying to reason with Catholics as to why this is the case, why do you want to engage in this type of silly rebuttals?

Edward asks, “How do you know the particular frame of mind of anyone when he or she uses a term like "black"?”

Simple, when that person is an avowed racist and they have explicitly stated as much. That is call context if you are wondering.

Edward states, “First, it is not ignorant because RC Churches use the term themselves. Your argument is so full of special pleading that I am amazed you would even use it.”

You might want to sit out and observe the conversation here because you still do not indicate that you grasp my argument. I did not say that the mere use of the term “Roman Church” is ignorant, but the theology behind the person who uses the term based upon everything that is implied in their use of the term is ignorant. However, me saying that is is in itself based upon my theology and is beholden to an apologetic argument that I have not given here. In other words, you can challenge me on why I believe that those who state that I follow a false Gospel are saying so due to ignorance (of whichever form, vincible/invincible, culpable/inculpable, crass/affected, etc.), but I do not believe that you can reasonably challenge me on my saying that when they refer to the “Roman Church” they do so disparagingly due to their espoused theological opposition to my faith. Perhaps you can, but you certainly haven’t yet.

You should also keep in mind that I haven’t yet stated that you can’t use the term “Roman Church” or that we need some special thought police to come and arrest you if you do. I’m only stating a fact that when you do use “Roman Church” you do so I a derogatory manner because of my supposed anti-Gospel faith.

Alex said...

Rhology, what is your intention in the comment below?

“It's highly ironic that Alex(ander Greco) is bringing up questions of the word "negro" when he's running side by side with Dozie of race-baiting fame.”

Your behavior here is utterly shameful, and I would hope that you take the comment down. If you choose not to, then I hope that James would see fit to take the comment down or at least your fellow brethren convince you to take it down. Your implication and insinuation does not fit, and it in fact is rather libelous of you to comment in such a way. I could care less if you insult me, but this comment has gone a little too far.

Alex said...

>>when a hairy-knuckled lesbian high ranking member of NOW says

>>Wow.

>>Good thing Alex is hear to help us clean up our derogatory language.

>Actually, that's kinda funny! Looks like I'll dump my high-minded principles if there's enough humour involved.

>I'm pathetic.

I was just setting the context of the example.

Rhology said...

Alex,

So, you prefer to dress me down rather than to repudiate Dozie?

Priorities, man.

Alex said...

”So, you prefer to dress me down rather than to repudiate Dozie?

Priorities, man.”

So, the correction of your bad act is dependent upon me repudiating a comment from a third person directed at an entirely different party? Secondly, I clearly showed my disapproval with your unsubstantiated connection of what I had written with Dozie’s comments; I can assure you that I would not have done so had I approved of them. Thirdly, you are the one who attacked me.

Rhology said...

1) My bad act? Like what?
2) May I ask where? I missed it. The point of bringing up Dozie is that you're quite selective in your "offended" categories.
3) I "attacked" you for your selectivity and inconsistency. Grow up.

Edward Reiss said...

"You might want to sit out and observe the conversation here because you still do not indicate that you grasp my argument. I did not say that the mere use of the term “Roman Church” is ignorant, but the theology behind the person who uses the term based upon everything that is implied in their use of the term is ignorant."

First, I understand your argument, I just reject it. I also like the way you are so sensitive that "Roman Catholic Church" should be out of bounds because the delicate sensibilities of RCs who argue about their faith may be bruised; but it is OK to call an opponent ignorant. Nice rhetorical trick there. Unfortunately for you, I can see through a lot of rhetoric--and your argument is almost pure hot air.

Second, given your own critique of the use of "mind reading" you cannot assume ignorance on the part of those who use the term "Roman Catholic" without mind reading yourself. It is really that simple: you want to make assumptions based on the character of another you don't even know and then try and make the use of the term illegitimate even among those who, according to your mind reading, do not share the "prejudice".

Oh, if arguendo I do not understand your argument, perhaps the fault lies with the one arguing and not the hearer? Rhetorical arguments will do that to you.

"You should also keep in mind that I haven’t yet stated that you can’t use the term “Roman Church” or that we need some special thought police to come and arrest you if you do. I’m only stating a fact that when you do use “Roman Church” you do so I a derogatory manner because of my supposed anti-Gospel faith."

More mind reading. I do not do so in a derogatory manner, it is purely descriptive. In fact, I will recant if you can prove I have bad thoughts when I use the term--the same term RC churches use for themselves. You assume for yourself privileges--"reading of minds"--which you do not want to allow your opponents. So, I will take advantage of the privilege, anyway.

You want to control the discourse, make everyone call the RCC "Catholic" because it allows you to steal a base--that you are actually the Catholic Church--and immediately put your opponent in a more difficult position of arguing against the "Catholic" church. This is just like the PC attempt to control discourse for the same reason--don't like open borders? You are a racist. That is exactly the kind of "mind reading" you are doing.

A more direct example:

You disagree with the Roman Catholic Church? You are "ant-catholic"--but fortunately for th eRC, in this case the term is purely technical and no one should take offense at it. In this case, the motives of the one using the term are understood to be purely informational.

Rather convenient, especially if one wants to control discourse.

Edward Reiss said...

"2) May I ask where? I missed it. The point of bringing up Dozie is that you're quite selective in your "offended" categories.
3) I "attacked" you for your selectivity and inconsistency. Grow up."

Exactly! The selectivity is rather telling. If one is a member of the team different rules of civility apply. And gross inconsistency is a good sign of an incoherent underlying principle. And I think we have a good example of that here.

Alex said...

”First, I understand your argument, I just reject it. I also like the way you are so sensitive that ‘Roman Catholic Church’ should be out of bounds because the delicate sensibilities of RCs who argue about their faith may be bruised; but it is OK to call an opponent ignorant. Nice rhetorical trick there. Unfortunately for you, I can see through a lot of rhetoric--and your argument is almost pure hot air.”

I wrote: “You should also keep in mind that I haven’t yet stated that you can’t use the term ‘Roman Church’ or that we need some special thought police to come and arrest you if you do. I’m only stating a fact that when you do use ‘Roman Church’ you do so I a derogatory manner because of my supposed anti-Gospel faith.”

”Second, given your own critique of the use of ‘mind reading’ you cannot assume ignorance on the part of those who use the term ‘Roman Catholic’ without mind reading yourself. It is really that simple: you want to make assumptions based on the character of another you don't even know and then try and make the use of the term illegitimate even among those who, according to your mind reading, do not share the ‘prejudice’.

I wrote: “I did not say that the mere use of the term ‘Roman Church’ is ignorant, but the theology behind the person who uses the term based upon everything that is implied in their use of the term is ignorant. However, me saying that is is in itself based upon my theology and is beholden to an apologetic argument that I have not given here. In other words, you can challenge me on why I believe that those who state that I follow a false Gospel are saying so due to ignorance (of whichever form, vincible/invincible, culpable/inculpable, crass/affected, etc.), but I do not believe that you can reasonably challenge me on my saying that when they refer to the ‘Roman Church’ they do so disparagingly due to their espoused theological opposition to my faith.”

I also wrote: “It doesn’t take mind reading to know that one perceives the Catholic faith as being anti-Gospel/anti-Christian when that person has explicitly stated that the Catholic faith is anti-Gospel.”

“Oh, if arguendo I do not understand your argument, perhaps the fault lies with the one arguing and not the hearer? Rhetorical arguments will do that to you.”

Me: Perhaps. Then again, as seen above you are clearly not even following what has been said. Below you even quoted me, which indicates that you probably read it but it didn’t sink in.

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

My comments as quoted by Edward: "You should also keep in mind that I haven’t yet stated that you can’t use the term “Roman Church” or that we need some special thought police to come and arrest you if you do. I’m only stating a fact that when you do use “Roman Church” you do so I a derogatory manner because of my supposed anti-Gospel faith."

”More mind reading. I do not do so in a derogatory manner, it is purely descriptive. In fact, I will recant if you can prove I have bad thoughts when I use the term--the same term RC churches use for themselves.”

Me: Do you hold disdain and contempt for the “Roman Church” as a false Gospel, or do you believe that we are a legitimate “denomination” of true Christianity? Exactly.

“You assume for yourself privileges—‘reading of minds’--which you do not want to allow your opponents. So, I will take advantage of the privilege, anyway.”

”You want to control the discourse, make everyone call the RCC ‘Catholic’ because it allows you to steal a base--that you are actually the Catholic Church--and immediately put your opponent in a more difficult position of arguing against the ‘Catholic’ church.”

Again, I wrote: “You should also keep in mind that I haven’t yet stated that you can’t use the term ‘Roman Church’ or that we need some special thought police to come and arrest you if you do. I’m only stating a fact that when you do use ‘Roman Church’ you do so I a derogatory manner because of my supposed anti-Gospel faith.”

“This is just like the PC attempt to control discourse for the same reason--don't like open borders? You are a racist. That is exactly the kind of mind reading you are doing.”

Me: Bad example. In the case you are describing someone can be against open boarders in their mind for any number of reasons – economically, some sort of population control, better accountability of who is exactly coming in, etc. – without being particularly against Hispanics. However, when you have someone who is openly xenophobic, stating that the Hispanic people are sub-human or not full persons with all that personhood implies, and the xenophobe is against open borders, then that clearly means something different due to the context of his disdain for Hispanics.

“A more direct example:

”You disagree with the Roman Catholic Church? You are "ant-catholic"--but fortunately for th eRC, in this case the term is purely technical and no one should take offense at it. In this case, the motives of the one using the term are understood to be purely informational.”

Me: Except for the fact that the Protestant also means when using the qualifier “Roman Church” they are also implying “false Gospel.” Again, perhaps you should sit this one out.

Alex said...

Rhology, I know exactly what you were trying to do. Do you really believe that people reading this blog are stupid enough to not see your malicious intent and insinuation by dragging out and posting my full name along with the comment that I wrote “Negro” and then comparing it to some sort of anti-Semitic rant posted by someone else way back in the beginning of February which I was supposed to have noticed and repudiated?

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

Polite conversation omits discussion regarding religion or politics. Surely you are aware of that. As such, you should also be aware that within polite discourse among the Reformed churches on matters of religion the terms "Romanist," "Romish," "Papist," "Papish," and "Popery" have been regularly used from at least the time of Luther (and perhaps earlier - I haven't bothered to check any earlier than Luther) through to the present time.

-TurretinFan

BJ Buracker said...

Alex,

I've been trying to keep up with this thread since the beginning. Let me see if I understand you, after everything that's been said.

1. Terms like Papist, Roman Church, Romist, etc. are always offensive.

2. The term "Roman Catholic" is sometimes offensive and sometimes not. It depends on context, presuppositions, etc.

Is this correct?

Thanks,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

BJ Buracker said...

TF,

Are you convinced that when Luther and Calvin use the terms you just listed that they don't have any kind of derogatory, pejorative sense?

Peace,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Turretinfan said...

BJB:

The references I've seen were essentially neutral. They were descriptive labels as opposed to opinionated labels.

The opinionated labels were not wanting in Luther and Calvin, though.

It's important to distinguish:

Neutral: "Papist"
Somewhat Opinionated: "Mary-worshipper" / "Pious"
Very Opinionated: "Dummy" / "Genius"

The neutral term is simply descriptive. If the person adheres to the papacy, it is an accurate description.

The somewhat opinionated term starts to become more objectionable, because it involves a judgment that is not shared by the object of the comment. "We don't worship Mary," they might reply. Usually, people don't get too upset about positive opinions of themselves.

A label that involves a harsh negative judgment that is not shared by the object of the label is highly likely to be offensive.

But compare. The label "Jesus-worshiper" is not a standard label for Christians. It is descriptive, though. And worshiping Jesus is something we're proud of. So, I wouldn't take irrational offense at Ebionites calling me a "Jesus-worshiper."

Likewise, I don't take irrational offense when papists call me a presbyterian - even though some of them take irrational offense at the word "papist" which is the corresponding word for their ecclesiastical system.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

BJB:

Alex can (and presumably will) clarify his own thoughts. I would just add a thought of my own.

Whenever Alex hears us say "Roman" Catholic or "Papist" or whatever, it reminds him that we view his religion as a false religion. It reminds him that we have judged his gospel and found it to be a non-saving gospel.

This anathema against his gospel bothers him (as it should), and consequently he gets peeved when he hears those trigger words.

What Alex may not realize is that within a large segment of "Protestantism" the label "Catholic" is itself a pejorative that automatically carries the same judgment of "anathema" with it.

That's a shame, because "Catholic" is a good word that shouldn't be associated automatically with the errors of Rome.

Alex's Quixotic crusade against certain words reminds one of the evolving language of political correctness in general. "Cripple" has too much stigma, so you need to say "Handicapped," no ... wait "disabled" ... no wait "challenged" until no one knows what is the correct word to use (all of those being descriptive terms).

It's a losing battle: the solution for papist stigma is to give popery a better smell. Make people associate the papacy with something good.

If it is not only good but absolutely necessary for salvation to submit to the Roman pontiff, wear your imagined righteous on your sleeve and be thankful when people point out your devotion.

-TurretinFan

Carrie said...

Whenever Alex hears us say "Roman" Catholic or "Papist" or whatever, it reminds him that we view his religion as a false religion. It reminds him that we have judged his gospel and found it to be a non-saving gospel.

This anathema against his gospel bothers him (as it should), and consequently he gets peeved when he hears those trigger words.


I think TF has hit the nail on the head with this comment.

I think a large part of this supposed offense has nothing to do with particular words. Many RCs online seem to want to accepted by Protestants as legitimate Christians, so anyone who doesn't accept them will always cause "offense".

You would think that members of the one true church would be filled with confidence and unaffected by Protestant terminology. Why care what heretics call you or say about you?

The behavior is certainly interesting and a bit concerning for Protestants who fall for it. Error and immorality often seem to creep in using a similar method (slow acceptance by playing the victim card).

BJ Buracker said...

TF,

I didn't ask about descriptive vs. opinionated terms. I asked if you thought that Calvin and others used terms like papist in a non-pejorative sense.

Simply because something is descriptive does not make it non-offensive. Technically, "Negro", to refer to a term already used in this conversation, is descriptive. It describes the color of skin. However, I would highly doubt, especially from your earlier remarks, that you would find usage of this term acceptable.

In fact, if a term is completely non-descriptive then it is useless. You don't call Catholics cow-worshipers. Although it might be intended to be offensive, it has no degree of description, and so has no real effect.

In other words, all offensive terms will have some degree of description. Otherwise, they are useless.

The fact that you don't take offensive at the word Presbyterian is irrelevant for at least 4 reasons.

1. Your denomination is, I assume, officially called Presbyterian and refers to itself as such. The Catholic Church is not officially called the Papist Church, and from my knowledge has never called itself that.

2. The government structure of your denomination is, I assume, presbyterian (i.e. elder rule). The government structure of the Catholic Church is not "Papist." It is episcopalian (i.e. bishop rule).

3. As far as I know you have never asked people to cease using the term Presbyterian, only to have it repeatedly and unapologetically thrown back at you. However, I have seen many Catholics ask Protestants, yourself included, to cease using the term Papist. Yet you fail to do so.

4. Historically, Presbyterian has not been a pejorative term. As has been pointed out here numerous times, the term Papist has historically been so.

I think those are significant differences in this area.

I agree 100% with you that the term "Catholic" is wonderful and should not be restricted to the Catholic Church alone. I agree with James on this one that a more neutral term should be sought. Until then, I argue that Catholic should be used, if for no other reason than that is its official name. In addition, solid teaching about what the word "catholic" means theologically and biblically should be commonplace within our churches. I see no reason the 2 cannot coincide.

Blessings,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Alex said...

BJ,

1. Pretty much, and it seems that this is also how Pilgrimarbour views it. I would also add that Roman Church belongs in there due to the elimination of the use of Catholic.

2. Exactly. As I had said before:
“The fact that Catholics use the term, or that various Catholic Churches use the term does not eliminate the possibility that someone opposed to the Church might be using the term in a derogatory manner. As I have stated before, this can be determined by seeing the context of how the term is being used.”

Regarding the rest of your commentary, I agree 100%, except for the use of Catholic should be restricted to those in the Church; however, this would entail apologetics and a theological discussion to prove why.

Alex said...

Turretinfan: "Polite conversation omits discussion regarding religion or politics. Surely you are aware of that. As such, you should also be aware that within polite discourse among the Reformed churches on matters of religion the terms "Romanist," "Romish," "Papist," "Papish," and "Popery" have been regularly used from at least the time of Luther (and perhaps earlier - I haven't bothered to check any earlier than Luther) through to the present time."

I know, I have been subjected to such "polite discourse" from my in-laws.

Edward Reiss said...

"Perhaps. Then again, as seen above you are clearly not even following what has been said. Below you even quoted me, which indicates that you probably read it but it didn’t sink in."

It sank in, you are just guilty of special pleading and poor reasoning.

"Bad example. In the case you are describing someone can be against open boarders in their mind for any number of reasons – economically, some sort of population control, better accountability of who is exactly coming in, etc. – without being particularly against Hispanics. However, when you have someone who is openly xenophobic, stating that the Hispanic people are sub-human or not full persons with all that personhood implies, and the xenophobe is against open borders, then that clearly means something different due to the context of his disdain for Hispanics."

No, it is still a good example, and here is why:

I don't think RCs are subhuman, or not Christian. Heck, I even believe they have the Gospel, though the hierarchy puts it under a bushel. That is the first issue. I do think they are wrong about a lot of issues, but so what? That is not a reason to try and get me to use "approved" words, when the ones I am using are already approved.

BTW, may an EO call the RCC the "Roman Catholic Church" or are they automatically derogatory, too?

The second one is as follows:

The people throwing around the "racist" label don't care about whether the one against illegal immigration is actually racist, they just want him to shut up. And I believe the same dynamic is occurring with your attempt to de-legitimize the use of the label "Roman Catholic" when used by Protestants. In fact, it seems to me that for you only approved RCs are allowed to use the term, or else they may mean it in a way which might cause emotional harm. Sorry, no sale.

And unless you are just as worked up about Catholic Apologists use of "anti-catholic", then you are guilty of incandecant special pleading.

"Except for the fact that the Protestant also means when using the qualifier “Roman Church” they are also implying “false Gospel.” Again, perhaps you should sit this one out.

As I have been saying, I understand your point, it is just a silly point. BTW, another trope used by RC apologists is to say that their opponents don't understand the incredible subtlety of their points. Usually this is because the point in question is so convoluted that asking a few questions immediately throws the point into a full tail spin because of the verbal gymnastics required to make the argument work.

All along I have been pointing out a few things:

1) The term is used by the RCC itself

2) You don't know why someone is using a term because you cannot read minds

3) You do not apply your "standard" anything close to consistently

4) This all has a PC, even authoritarian bouquet to it. You believe that only RCs can use the term RC because they mean it as the Church being the One True Church. Protestants and other should use the word Catholic instead.

Now that I think of it, that is really number four.

"Do you hold disdain and contempt for the “Roman Church” as a false Gospel, or do you believe that we are a legitimate “denomination” of true Christianity? Exactly."

Oh my, this is so lame.

So, if I do not believe, oh, let's say the ACLU is actually a civil rights organization but that it actually harms civil rights, I shouldn't use the term ACLU because I automatically use it in a "derogatory" way.
A final example: Unless I believe the claims of the Church of Sweden, I should not call it the Church of Sweden "The Church of Sweden" because I then use the term in a derogatory manner. (In fact, I think they are apostate so I automatically, according to you, always have invisible scare quotes around "church").
In all these cases, I should not use words to refer to an Organization which it itself uses to refer to itself, because I do not accept the claims and therefore have derogatory feelings against it.

Alex said...

Turretinfan and Carrie,

My consistent position has been that if you desire to call me a papist, romanist, or whatever rather than Catholic, then by all means do so, but please don't pretend that you are merely being "descriptive." As I had said before, I'm not interested in having the thought police come and arrest you.

Alex said...

Edward, you still do not get my point. Perhaps it will be easier if you read BJ's comments instead. My writing style might just be sub-par, and it is for this very reason that my argument becomes distorted when you "replay" it for me. Again, read BJ's comments and my reply to him. If I am not being clear due to my faulty writing style hopefully this will make it easier.

Edward Reiss said...

"My consistent position has been that if you desire to call me a papist, romanist, or whatever rather than Catholic, then by all means do so, but please don't pretend that you are merely being "descriptive." As I had said before, I'm not interested in having the thought police come and arrest you."

If the Roman Catholic Church uses the term "Roman Catholic Church", it is descriptive. "Papist" does have a more negative connotation as far as I am concerned, but I am at a loss as to why you would be offended. Do you decry when RC apologists call prots heretics

And no one claimed you will send the thought police--what I at least have been saying is that your attempt to control language has uncomfortable parallels with PC, which in fact it does.

"Edward, you still do not get my point. Perhaps it will be easier if you read BJ's comments instead. My writing style might just be sub-par, and it is for this very reason that my argument becomes distorted when you "replay" it for me. Again, read BJ's comments and my reply to him. If I am not being clear due to my faulty writing style hopefully this will make it easier."

I understand you, I just think your arguments are daft. I have supplied examples as to why "Roman Catholic" is a legitimate term. In fact, my last post showed how silly you are being.

Don't call us Protestants, because when you use the term it is "derogatory" because you mean we are not in the One true Church.

Silly, silly nonsense.

Edward Reiss said...

"I agree 100% with you that the term "Catholic" is wonderful and should not be restricted to the Catholic Church alone. I agree with James on this one that a more neutral term should be sought. Until then, I argue that Catholic should be used, if for no other reason than that is its official name. In addition, solid teaching about what the word "catholic" means theologically and biblically should be commonplace within our churches. I see no reason the 2 cannot coincide."

I don't mind using "Catholic" to refer to the RCC, in fact I do sometimes. It is just the insistence that somehow "Roman Catholic" is out of bounds because I do not accept the claims of the RCC.

And in any case "Roman Catholic" is a common name for the Catholic Church in the English Speaking world. This is a completely made up issue. It has the air of a fastidious intellectual obsession.

Alex said...

Edward, I give up with trying to reason with you. You can play make believe with my position all you want.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

It's important to remember when Protestants affirm in the Apostles' Creed that we believe in the "Holy Catholic Church," we are not speaking of the Roman Catholic Church.

Our congregation recites the creed regularly, as do many others; some even every week.

So there is frequent usage of the term "catholic" in Protestantism which then necessitates the clarifier "Roman" when speaking of that particular ecclesial community in another context. And it does not involve all the nefarious connotations attributed to it since it is speaking of the Church Universal as opposed to various individual congregations.

I can't really see a resolution to this issue other than to assure Alex that I, when I write "Roman Catholic," do not intend or use it in a pejorative way. How a Roman Catholic chooses to take my sincere, neutral words I have little control over, and I'm not about to accede control of my language to any other person.

Turretinfan said...

Alex now: "My consistent position has been that if you desire to call me a papist, romanist, or whatever rather than Catholic, then by all means do so, but please don't pretend that you are merely being "descriptive.""

Alex previously: "Nice to see that you are a mind reader."

Turretinfan said...

BJB:

"I didn't ask about descriptive vs. opinionated terms. I asked if you thought that Calvin and others used terms like papist in a non-pejorative sense."

I thought I answered you that they used terms like papist in an essentially neutral sense.

"Simply because something is descriptive does not make it non-offensive."

Whether something is merely descriptive, opinionated, or misdescriptive is relevant to the offensiveness analysis. You're not denying that, but you don't seem to be willing to recognize it either.

Sure, some people are offended by descriptive terms. I grant that point.

"Technically, "Negro", to refer to a term already used in this conversation, is descriptive. It describes the color of skin. However, I would highly doubt, especially from your earlier remarks, that you would find usage of this term acceptable."

I think racial stuff tends to muddy the waters of the dialog, because racial issues are so emotionally charged. I'd just rather not talk about the racial stuff at all in favor of less emotional topics.

Consider a different example: "bastard" is a technically descriptive term for a person who lacks legitimate parentage. It's frequently used misdescriptively as an insult - as such, it is obviously offensive.

It may also sometimes be used accurately of a person whose parents weren't married. Most folks who fit in that category would rather not have that aspect of their past pointed out. They may be offended if someone points this out about them. Of course, they would be offended totally without regard to whether one uses the word "bastard" or "child of unmarried parents."

They would tend to be more offended by it, if it is brought up in a seemingly irrelevant context. It's one thing if it comes up in a context about Father's day, another if it comes up in a conversation about going to eat some ice cream.

People tend to be more offended by that kind of identification than by identification by profession. "Hey, it's the programmer" tends to be relatively neutral whereas "Hey, it's the guy whose father didn't wed his mother" tends to be more upsetting for the person.

Why? The most obvious explanation is that the parentage thing is a bit shameful. Even in these days of lax morality, folks tend to realize that extramarital sex is wrong and that being the product of such an illicit union is not a good thing. They don't want their family shame pointed out.

The typical Romanist objection to descriptive labels looks rather like that. They seem to recognize that it is something "bad" to be a "papist" and so they don't like us pointing out that they are, even when the label is relevant to the conversation.

"In fact, if a term is completely non-descriptive then it is useless. You don't call Catholics cow-worshipers. Although it might be intended to be offensive, it has no degree of description, and so has no real effect.

In other words, all offensive terms will have some degree of description. Otherwise, they are useless."

See the comment above about "bastard." Obviously, in some cases, totally misdescriptive terms can be offensive.

[cont'd below]

Turretinfan said...

"The fact that you don't take offensive at the word Presbyterian is irrelevant for at least 4 reasons."

Let's see ...

"1. Your denomination is, I assume, officially called Presbyterian and refers to itself as such. The Catholic Church is not officially called the Papist Church, and from my knowledge has never called itself that."

Let's not assume that sort of thing. We admit that our ecclesiology is presbyterian, but the papists trumpet the papacy even more loudly.

"2. The government structure of your denomination is, I assume, presbyterian (i.e. elder rule). The government structure of the Catholic Church is not "Papist." It is episcopalian (i.e. bishop rule)."

Being papist is a particular example of episcopalian rule, just as being episcopalian is one branch of denominational structure (as contrasted with non-denominational structure). Saying that their form is episcopalian, not papist, is rather like saying that a dog is not a mammal, he's a vertebrate.

"3. As far as I know you have never asked people to cease using the term Presbyterian, only to have it repeatedly and unapologetically thrown back at you. However, I have seen many Catholics ask Protestants, yourself included, to cease using the term Papist. Yet you fail to do so."

I'm not sure how my rationality is an argument against me ...

"4. Historically, Presbyterian has not been a pejorative term. As has been pointed out here numerous times, the term Papist has historically been so."

I don't agree with your historical assessment.

"I think those are significant differences in this area."

ok

"I agree 100% with you that the term "Catholic" is wonderful and should not be restricted to the Catholic Church alone."

That's not quite what I said. It shouldn't be associated with the Roman church, since the Roman church is not part of the catholic church.

"I agree with James on this one that a more neutral term should be sought. Until then, I argue that Catholic should be used, if for no other reason than that is its official name. In addition, solid teaching about what the word "catholic" means theologically and biblically should be commonplace within our churches. I see no reason the 2 cannot coincide."

The Roman Catholic church refuses to acknowledge that it is a sect at all. "Catholic Church" is not supposed to be a denominational designation. It is a claim to be the one and only true church. Going with "Catholic" is not selecting something "neutral" - it is selecting something that offends one group as opposed to another group.

-TurretinFan

CathApol said...

A question for James Swan, would you concur that Dr. Beckwith and I actually have no real "vs" between us on the matter of "Roman" Catholic? If you have answered this already, I apologize for missing it, and if so could you answer again or direct me to where you did answer?

In JMJ,
Scott<<<
Several forums I host.

James Swan said...

You mention you understand Beckwith's "pet peeve", and infer agreement, so on that you agree.

Beckwith then explains why it's not correct to use "Roman Catholic."

You then say "there truly is nothing wrong with the use of 'Roman' or 'Rome' when dealing with us."

So, while Beckwith explains why it's wrong, you say it isn't truly wrong to use the term.

If you guys agree, then that's wonderful. I'm sure if both of you clarify your concerns and statements enough, then you agree.