Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Update on the New York Catechism as Cited by Boettner
A few months back I posted a blog entry on Lorraine Boettner's use of the New York Catechism in his book on Roman Catholicism. This book came under scrutiny in an entire section of Karl Keating's book Catholicism and Fundamentalism. On page 127 of Roman Catholicism Boettner states,
The New York Catechism says:
"The Pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on earth.... By divine right, the Pope has supreme and full power in faith and morals over each and every pastor and his flock. He is the true Vicar of Christ, the Head of the entire Church, the father and teacher of all Christians. He is the infallible ruler, the founder of dogmas, the author of and the judge of councils, the universal ruler of truth, the arbiter of the world, the supreme judge of heaven and earth, the judge of all, being judged by no one, God Himself on earth."
This quote has been scrutinized, and some have even wondered if Boettner made it up. A Catholic Answers participant though claims to have the New York Catechism:
I didn't realize people were looking for this. I have it. It's called "Catholic Catechism" published in New York by Pietro Cardinal Gasparri. There is a good deal of liberty taken in the so-called quotations, but it is a compilation of statements and phrases scattered from pages 97 onward, including the footnotes.
Several statements come from page 98:
"head of the church"
"Christ on earth"
"power by divine right"
"full power in faith and morals"
"over each and every pastor in his flock" etc...etc...
I'll type some of this out for all of you:
(129) Why is the Roman Pontiff called the visible head of the Church and the Vicar of Christ on earth?
The Roman Pontiff is called the visible head of the Church and the Vicar of Christ on earth because, since a visible society needs a visible head, Jesus Christ made Peter, and each successor of his, to the end of the world, the visible head and the vicegerent of His own power.
(130) What power, then, has the Roman Pontiff over the Church?
By divine right the Roman Pontiff has over the Church a primacy not only of honour but of jurisdiction, and this both in things concerning faith and morals and in discipline and government.
(131) What kind of power has the Roman Pontiff?
The Roman Pontiff has supreme, full, ordinary, and immediate power both over each and every Church, and over each and every Pastor and his flock.
(132) Who are the lawful successors of the Apostles?
The lawful successors of the Apostles are, by divine institution, the Bishops; they are set over particular churches by the Roman Pontiff, and govern them by their own proper power under his authority.
(133) What, then, is the Church founded by Jesus Christ?
The Church founded by Jesus Christ is the visible society of people who are baptized, and who joined together by professing the same faith and by a mutual fellowship strive to attain the same spiritual end under the guiding authority of the Roman Pontiff and of the Bishops in communion with him.
The phrase "Teacher of all Christians", as well as the essence of "infallible ruler", "author and judge of councils" is on page 103. The "founder of dogma" comes from page 107.
(145) Whose peculiar function is it to pronounce a solemn judgment of this kind?
To pronounce a solemn judgment of this kind is the peculiar function of the Roman Pontiff, and of the Bishops together with the Roman Pontiff, especially when assembled in an OEcumenical Council.
(146) What is an OEcumenical Council?
An OEcumenical or General Council is an assembly of the Bishops of the entire Catholic Church called together by the Roman Pontiff; over such an assembly he himself presides either personally or by his legates, and it belongs to him authoritatively to confirm the Deacons of such a Council
(147) When does the Roman Pontiff exercise his prerogative of personal infallibility?
The Roman Pontiff exercises his prerogative of personal infallibility when he speaks ex cathedra -- that is, when, in the exercise of his office as Shepherd and Teacher of all Christians, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.
(154) What does the power of jurisdiction in the Church mean?
The power of jurisdiction in the church means that the Roman Pontiff in respect of the whole Church, and the Bishops in respect of their dioceses, have the power of governing -- that is, they have legislative, judicial, administrative and punitive power, whereby to secure the Church's attainment of the objects for which she was founded.
Boettner doesn't get everything wrong in his book, but he presents enough problems that I would not recommend it. In this case, if this is the source, it appears he put forth a quote compiled from numerous pages. While the sentiment of the quote compiled by Boettner isn't wrong (that is, according to Romanism), he makes checking his sources troublesome.