Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tune in to “Called to Communion” for more obfuscation

In 1953, the Lutheran theologian Oscar Cullmann produced a work, “Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr,” which traced virtually every single piece of theological (Biblical) and historical and literary and archaeological evidence about the life and death of Peter. It is this work, in my opinion, that really forced Rome to re-think what the papacy was all about.

Consider what Vatican I pronounced about the power and function of the papacy:
Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world….

So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.
This was no soft-and-squishy doctrine. Adrian Fortescue, writing in his 1920 work, “The Early Papacy: to the Synod of Chalcedon in 451,” made this bold statement: “We have all the evidence we can require that the Catholic Church in the first four and a half centuries did believe what we believe [now] about the papacy” (pg 30). Clement, in his letter [1 Clement], commands the Corinthians to return to the obedience of their lawful hierarchy. He does not advise; he commands. He commands with an authority, one would almost say with an arbitrary tone, that has not been exceeded by any modern Pope.

Fortescue, who was among other things a writer for the “Catholic Encyclopedia,” was a mainstream writer during that era. And Pius XII demonstrated that statement in spades, by making an infallible pronouncement that all Roman Catholics were to believe, and he let the consequences be known that “It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Such was the certainty of the papacy in itself, during what Patrick Buchanan referred to as the real Catholic Moment in America.

Yet just 10-15 years later, after all of that certainty, Vatican II was not only tinkering with the infallible papal formula, but making major changes to it. The “command economy” of Rome became one “communion,” the church, “governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, (13*) .... [(13*) Dieitur. Saneta (catholica apostolica) Romana Ecelesia .: in Prof. fidei Trid., 1. c. et Concl. Vat. I, Sess. III, Const. dogm. de fide cath.: Denz. 1782 (3001).]” That citation, 13*, which is given in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, by the way, comes from Vatican I. (It’s fascinating to see how Vatican II cite’s Vatican I, and all the things that they leave out).

Vatican II goes on to describe this “communion” of popes to bishops: Just as in the Gospel, the Lord so disposing, St. Peter and the other apostles constitute one apostolic college, so in a similar way the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are joined together…: Let’s go back a bit further and see the picture that Vatican I uses to describe this “communion,” the state of this relationship:
But now, with the bishops of the whole world sitting and judging with Us [i.e., “Me”], gathered together in this Ecumenical Council by Our [i.e., “My”] authority in the Holy Spirit, We [i.e., “I”], having relied on the Word of God, written and transmitted as We [i.e., “I”] have received it, sacredly guarded and accurately explained by the Catholic Church, from this chair of PETER [CAPS in Denzinger], in the sight of all, have determined to profess and declare the salutary doctrine of Christ, after contrary errors have been proscribed and condemned by the power transmitted to Us [i.e., “to Me”] by God.

The holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church believes and confesses .... (from Denzinger, the selection cited by Vatican II.)
Some day, when I have time, Lord willing, I’ll try to reproduce some of the things that Pius IX actually said about any of the bishops who dared to challenge his program.

Nevertheless, it is said that Vatican II completed the teaching of Vatican I on the subject of the relationship of bishops to popes. There is now an ongoing effort to try to understand the proper role between bishops and popes, because there are some very different looking images put forward.

Karl Barth jokingly referred to Cullmann as “an advisor to three popes.” And there can be no question that Cullmann’s work on Peter was one of a number of scholarly works that, shall we say, provided the impetus to re-explore and even to “reformulate positively” the actual role of Peter vis a vis the other apostles (and hence, the role of “the successor of Peter” vis a vis the successors of the other apostles).

It would seem as if a Protestant work that had the impact that Cullmann’s work had, coulda, woulda, and shoulda been responded to. And yet, here is Cullmann’s own account of the Roman Catholic response to that work:
In … most of the Catholic reviews of my book on St. Peter, one argument especially is brought forward: scripture, a collection of books, is not sufficient to actualize for us the divine revelation granted to the apostles.
This, as we have seen, is “The Roman Answer,” no matter what the question is in these discussions. “Scripture, a collection of books, is not sufficient to actualize for us the divine revelation granted to the apostles.”

This is precisely the objection that Michael Liccione makes in his response to Keith Mathison’s piece. Entitled Mathison's Reply to Cross and Judisch: A Largely Philosophical Critique, Liccione, in a way similar to the way described by Cullmann, largely ignores Mathison’s work – deliberately choosing to avoid the historical challenges to the Roman position, instead focusing on the “interpretive paradigm”.

And of course, “the interpretive paradigm” comes down to this:
For example, the Protestant has no way, other than fallible arguments, to secure his account of what belongs in the canon, which account, in the case of the OT, runs counter to what the older traditions of Catholicism and Orthodoxy eventually concluded. Therefore, he has no way, other than the use of fallible arguments, to show how the canon should be identified. And if he doesn’t have more than that, then he has no way of making certain that the way he identifies the norma Normans for the other secondary authorities is correct.
In other words, “Protestants can’t infallibly “secure” the New Testament canon, therefore, the “interpretive paradigm” put forth by Rome is the correct one.” Liccione throws out thousands of words for the purpose of re-hashing the canon issue.

In my initial response to the Called to Communion discussions about Mathison’s article, I spoke of the need to “take Rome’s claims off the table”. If the Roman Catholic claim to authority does not stand on its own, then no amount of other objections will make it right. I mentioned that these apologetic arguments, from the Roman Catholic side, always seem to boil down to this: “Protestantism has problems; therefore, the Roman Catholic Church is what it says it is.”

Liccione’s article is merely a distraction. Liccione is avoiding the bulk of Mathison’s article – the historical challenges to Rome’s claims – because he cannot make a cogent response to them. And yet, the historical work that’s being done has persuaded official Rome to adjust its theology of the papacy, and of the Roman church itself. It is a slow, laborious process, and some are only being dragged kicking and screaming.

Mathison dealt squarely and thoroughly with “The Church that Christ Founded.” He showed it really to be as much of a fairy tale as “The Great and Powerful Oz,” with fire and smoke billowing. But that Oz, that Roman Catholic Church, is just a hollow image.

The real “Church that Christ founded” us dispersed among Christ’s true believers who “gather in my name,” who understand what Christ has truly done for them (Gal 1:6-9) and who are united by the Holy Spirit. It is a Spirit who “blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

On the other hand,


Kim said...

Great post, John. I think the Oz analogy is a good one. For the last 3+ years I was romanced by many of the online RC apologists I encountered into assuming that there was a Great and Powerful Oz in charge of it all and that all I needed to do was to arrive in his realm and all my troubles would be solved. But just as Dorothy and the others with her discovered, it was all a mirage and that I already had all I needed to find contentment right in my own backyard.

I had allowed others to deceive me into thinking I was somehow lacking the "fullness of the faith". Did the early church martyrs have the "fullness of the faith"? Why, yes, they did! They had Christ in all His fullness, and that's all they had in their dungeons and prison cells. Did Paul have the "fullness of the faith" in prison? Did John, when he was on the Isle of Patmos in exile? Did all the other believers who had only Christ and maybe His Word and that's it? No doubt. That was enough. And it's enough for me.

You said:

The real “Church that Christ founded” us dispersed among Christ’s true believers who “gather in my name,” who understand what Christ has truly done for them (Gal 1:6-9) and who are united by the Holy Spirit. It is a Spirit who “blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

How much clearer can it be that it is God who decides who comes into His Kingdom and not the Church? I was born again in my living room after hearing the Gospel on tv. My husband was born again while reading God's Word, seeking to argue better with me. God works in mysterious ways. ;) We heard the Word and we believed. No Church sacraments did that for us.

I'm glad you quoted Jesus' words in John 3. Here is a little more context:

"You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

Praise God for that and praise God for those who are out there preaching the simple Gospel of Christ and not the complicated so-called gospel of the Church!

Sorry, I'm a bit passionate about this. Forgive any rabbit trailing.

Thanks again, John.

John Bugay said...

Kim, I'm grateful for your comments here, and I'm glad that this is important to you.

Although, I want to mention that "the church" -- the one true church, the visible church as Calvin described it, is important. There are fine distinctions that the Reformers made -- the confessions are important, and Mathison's work "The Shape of Sola Scriptura" is designed to make these distinctions. That's what got all of this started in the first place -- the notion that "solO Scriptura" (a Mathisonian invention?) is distinct from the doctrine of Sola Scriptura as it was articulated in various forms.

What I'm trying to say is, while I understand those who wanted to throw out everything Roman and start again, there are some very good things in Church history that Rome appropriated for itself and "Romanized", if I can use that term; we should seek to understand the contributions made by the early Christians and even the medieval Christians -- "Romanization" was a convoluted thing.

The way Calvin put it was, "We are to call back godly readers from those corruptions by which Satan, in the papacy, has polluted everything God had appointed for our salvation" (Institutes 4.1.1).

That's one of the reasons why Institutes became such a long work; Calvin genuinely tried to make those distinctions, up and down the line. And to my knowledge, the Reformed confessions carried through, expanded on those things.

We need to be involved with making fine distinctions, and not with throwing the whole thing out.

Stephanie said...

John - why don't you go to Called to Communion interact with ML directly?

I am sure all would benefit from the exchange.

John Bugay said...

Hi Stephanie, I really don't have time to devote to a full-blown exchange. I've been there in the past (to CTC and to other Roman Catholic sites) and I tend to get asked a lot of questions, from a lot of different quarters.

When I don't respond (because I don't have the time to devote to the full-blown responses that many of these questions deserve), it doesn't really seem to help anybody.

Kim said...

You're right, John. I do tend to be too black and white. I guess I get bogged down when I get into the gray areas of church history, although I do try to swim around in them as much as I am able.

I think I am still in the place of trying not to hold onto anything that might be an error. In trying to do so, I tend to push everything else away for my mind's sake. I feel like I have to relearn everything I knew because it has been mixed with error and it tires me to do otherwise, kwim?

Thanks for helping me along in this, John. God bless you for your patience.

Stephanie said...

John - It just seems that the conversation is happening over there moreso than here or anywhere else. I am sure that ML would response to the challenge that he has not interacted with what you feel is important if he knew about it.

John Bugay said...

Kim, here's a little graphic that shows how different groups of Reformers dealt with different things:

Believe me when I tell you, I understand why the Anabaptists wanted to throw everything out. But Luther and Calvin each took those actions quite seriously.

Recently I've interacted with some Anglicans who did more than take the "pope" out of the drawer and trash him -- the 39 articles are for the most part an extraordinarily good summary of the Reformation faith, as I understand them.

It's easy to see how some other things went in other different directions (though we may wish they hadn't gone that way).

As a Reformed believer, I'm quite confident that God is in control of all these things, even if we don't see the whole big picture from where we sit.

The one thing that I always keep in the front of my mind is that God is worthy of our trust.

Ken said...

This is excellent, as usual.

Help me get it clearly on the difference between Vatican I and Vatican II on the Papal office -

Are you saying that Vatican I said, "The Pope alone" (is infallible and has jurisdictional authority over all in all areas)

In Vatican 2, they softened it to "The Pope in communion with all the bishops" ??

John Bugay said...

Hi Stephanie -- I understand that the conversation is happening over there. I genuinely don't have time to even read the comments, much less interact with them.

If you've seen something that you think you'd like to ask me, some area where I might contribute, ask me here, or point me to a particular comment, and I'll be happy to address it.

The way my day goes, I have several hours early in the morning to write (i.e., 4am-6am, and outside of that (except for weekends, usually), I don't have time to devote in a way that will do justice to a conversation.

John Bugay said...

Hi Ken -- that's sort of the right way to look at it. Vatican I was driven by a megalomaniac of a pope (Pius IX -- the one reported to have exclaimed "I AM Tradition," -- though RCs will mention that he did that in what was not clearly an official capacity).

The Vatican II folks were more motivated by some of the "softer, gentler" theologians -- Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Karl Rahner, Yves Congar -- the "softer, more liberal" types. Piux XII really shot them down in his 1950 encyclical "Humani Generis." But John XXIII was an old guy who they elected just to be a "caretaker" pope. He had worked all of his life as sort of a career diplomat for the Vatican. (He was Cardinal of Venice for a short time). He surprised everybody.

That's why this "Ratzinger as Panentheist" notion is such a challenge to them -- that he's denied the physical resurrection (stating it in terms of "the whole man", while embracing a true pantheist like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who was rejected pretty much whole-hog.)

C.S. Lewis noted that he could not become Roman Catholic, not because of what they taught at the time, but because of the way the system is set up -- there's no telling what an RC might become committed to in the future.

(Of course, I think that both old and new versions, as well as future versions are to be rejected.)

Constantine said...

Hi John,

I wish I would have seen your post before I wrote something at CTC.

One of the things I observed in his response is that Scripture is the "norma normans" at the beginning of his essay but by the end he needs something else to "authoritatively" interpret Scripture.

It surely is a case of follow the bouncing standard.


Ken said...

Thanks John,
That is what I thought.

Doesn't that mean that they actually changed the 1870 definition, which means they violated the whole dogma itself?

John Bugay said...

Ken, I think there is a fundamental contradiction. The Orthodox do not at all accept anything like what Vatican I says; the closest they come to accepting a "primacy" of the bishop of Rome is something like "primacy inter pares" or "first among equals." All bishops are essentially equal.

Vatican II worked around that by formulating "Peter and the college of apostles" -- the contradiction is that Peter had nothing at all like the "primacy of jurisdiction" over the other apostles. His name is mentioned first in Acts 4, for example, when "Peter and John" are thrown into jail. But the two are presented by Luke as essentially "equals". It's not like Peter is saying "Come on, John, come with me..." The two are moved of their own volition, moved by their own (equivalent) courage.

Cullmann is painstaking when it comes to describe Peter turning over the leadership not only of the Jerusalem church to James, but as Jerusalem is the "headquarters" of the church, James is the head of the whole church. Peter does not "set aside primacy temporarily" as the Roman Catholics are wont to explain; Cullmann painstakingly reviews extrabiblical literature as well as the Biblical texts to conclude that Peter set aside any and all authority when he left to be a missionary to the Jews.

(In some second-century literature, called "Pseudo-Clementine," Cullmann actually traces a supposed succession from James back to Peter and then to Clement.)

So the Vatican II picture of Peter and the college, succeeding down through time in an endless procession, is far from a description of the early church.

John Bugay said...

Constantine, I've been wanting to ask you, what is the occasion of your avatar photograph?

This is from DTK's "Holy Scripture" (Pg 130), describing the theopneustos nature of Scripture. The only thing that is theopneustos is Scripture:

Augustine himself, speaking of the voice of God in Scripture, wrote, 'God alone swears securely, because He alone is infallible.' (NPNF1, Vol VIII, St. Augustine on the Psalms, Psalm 89, Sec 4.) Augustines words, when examined in context, refer to Scripture alone. Practically speaking, this is to say that the holy Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments constitute that unique body of revealed, divine truth that together form the "norm that norms (but is itself) not normed" (norma normans non normata) by any other standard.

I've gone back and looked at Oberman's "Harvest of Medieval Theology." Oberman goes into a bit more detail about the "development" of "Tradition II" (it has its beginnings with Basil's letter on the Holy Spirit") -- prior to that, the early church was pretty much of the "Tradition 1" stripe. More on that later, Lord willing.

It was a very nice point you made about the WCF, for example, beginning with the Scriptures, and the CCC beginning with man.

Stephanie said...

John -

One item from Liccione which does deal with what you have responded is also being discussed in the combox.

Specifically: Another of Mathison’s arguments is that there’s no evidence of mono-episcopacy in Rome until the late second century, and that some Catholic scholars agree with that judgment, which indeed they do. That requires arguing, as he does, that St. Irenaeus and one of his sources, Hegisippus, misstated the evidence from the post-apostolic Church of Rome, even though Irenaeus himself had been to Rome and known St. Polycarp of Smyrna personally, who in turn had been to Rome and had himself known the Apostle John personally. Such an argument would have us believe that, roughly 1,900 years after the fact, we can understand the meaning and reliability of the late first-century sources better than people who had lived less than two generations after the fact and had known eyewitnesses to it. That dubious sort of move is rather common among liberal scripture and patristic scholars; it’s just special pleading when made by a conservative theologian who would often find liberal scholarship dubious on just such grounds. The argument in question, which is fairly common, also trades on an ambiguity in the use of the word ‘presbyteros’ in the early Church. And it has been vigorously contested on that and other grounds by Catholic scholars whom Mathison simply ignores. The selective use of secondary scholarly sources is not a reputable form of argument. So Mathison’s present argument doesn’t merit more attention here either.

I tend to agree that we as Christians do not base everything we believe on the scholarly opinion of a given moment. It would not take long to find historians (even Christian ones) tell us that the New Testament is unreliable for various historical reasons yet we withhold the right to reject those conclusions.

I wonder the implications of this when trying to examine the first several centuries of the church and making judgements about how it was?

John Bugay said...

Stephanie -- I've been shoveling snow and helping kids get safely home in the storm. I'll try to post an answer in the morning.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I dislike the Catholic blogs for the fact that they are moderated blogs. Comments don't show up until they're "approved."

I don't really care for this kind of "censorship."

I much prefer this blog for interaction. Not moderated. Instant posting. Much better.

John Bugay said...

Stephanie, I've responded here to the paragraph you posted from Michael Liccione.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Stephanie said:

I tend to agree that we as Christians do not base everything we believe on the scholarly opinion of a given moment.

We need to distinguish between obligations for Christians generally and obligations for subsets of Christianity--in this case Reformed Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. What is obligated generally for Christians here is not really a coherent concept given the competing authoritative paradigms of the Roman Catholic and the Reformed Protestant with respect to scholarship. Reformed Christians can disagree with a scholarly opinion, even a "Christian" scholarly consensus (whatever that might look like), given the principle of sola Scriptura; a scholarly position or set of positions, even if Reformed in perspective, is not necessarily correct, even if it often might be.

But if Catholic scholars approved by the Magisterium come to certain conclusions about church history, their professional research carries an enormous amount of weight in terms of representing the Catholic interpretation of history; their conclusions deserve some kind of adherence, at least if we are to take all these claims of the necessity of submitting to "authority" seriously. This is especially the case when they disagree with whatever some unknown and unqualified collection of lay Catholics have to say on the matter; it almost goes without saying that Catholics with no institutional standing have no institutional authority. Under the Catholic scheme, scholarly works, often written by members of the Magisterium itself, such as those put forth by Brown, Meier, L.T. Johnson, Fitzmyer, etc., with both the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, trump any of the unofficial and unprofessional arguments of the members at Called to Communion.

Also consider:

The Late Development of the Bishop of Rome

It would not take long to find historians (even Christian ones) tell us that the New Testament is unreliable for various historical reasons yet we withhold the right to reject those conclusions. I wonder the implications of this when trying to examine the first several centuries of the church and making judgements about how it was?

The implications depend on whom is "making judgments." As a Protestant, if a Christian wants to deny inerrancy, I have the right to disagree with his conclusion(s), especially since a commitment to inerrancy is grounded in the reality that history and faith are ultimately inseparable.

However, on Catholic epistemological standards, whatever an unapproved lay Catholic apologist has to say about church history is just his private opinion. He has as much official authority as any other lay Catholic in the world, and the only reason he has a voice is due to the accidents of history--he is one of the few people in the world fortunate enough to have both the time and resources to publish his thoughts on the Internet. So what do the official scholars of Rome have to say on this point? They are the ones who carry authority on the question of the form of the early church.

And if the scholars of Rome disagree, so much the worse for the lay Catholic, who must now exercise his private judgment and pick and choose among his authorities as to the proper and right interpretation of the true Catholic faith. It's almost as if there exists no principled difference between private interpretation and submission to Rome.

Modern Catholic scholarship really does lean "liberal." That there exists a latent strain of conservative Protestantism in one crop of lay Catholic converts tells us nothing of significance other than that their private opinions differ with the current theological outlook of Rome. It seems many of these converts were born a century too late, theological conservatives trapped in a liberal institution. And being outliers, there is little to benefit from a prolonged engagement with them.

Viisaus said...

I liked how Mathison in his piece pointed this one detail out:

"As far as the specific canons of these councils are concerned, Rome has been as selective in her observance and acceptance of them as others have. Numerous priests and bishops in the Church of Rome throughout history have not been deposed for crimes as they should have been according to the ninth canon of Nicaea.[FN9] The priests and bishops of Rome for centuries violated the spirit if not the letter of canons 15 and 16 of Nicaea. Canon 3 of the Council of Constantinople, which referred to Constantinople as the new Rome, occasioned many arguments. The Eastern Orthodox often accuse Rome of violating canon 7 of the Council of Ephesus by introducing the filioque into the creed. Canon 2 of the Council of Chalcedon invalidates the ordination of those who obtained their office by simony, which would render null and void the offices of numerous medieval Roman bishops, including Popes, who both bought and sold offices. Rodrigo Borgia, perhaps the most infamous and ungodly Bishop of Rome, flagrantly bought the Papacy to become Pope Alexander VI. If canon 2 of Chalcedon is granted, then his ordination was invalid."

This is indeed something that (imho) Protestants should RUTHLESSLY bring forth every time that RCs or EOs would bring forth their accusation that Protestants are being hypocritically selective when they adhere to the Christology of early councils like Nicaea or Chalcedon, but ignore all the un-Protestant canons that those councils decreed.

But here we should answer with firm "To Quoque" (which is not always necessarily a fallacy): you yourself have hypocritically neglected the ancient canons about SIMONY for many, many centuries.

Simony has been within RC/EO church hierarchies like sodomy in the Muslim world: officially frowned upon, but terribly common in real life and winked at - just see Dante's "Inferno".

By their own rules, simony ALONE is enough to sink all the pretensions to literal "apostolic succession" that RC/EO hierarchy might claim!

Viisaus said...

I cite a Scottish Presbyterian John Brown, who wrote a blistering book against the "apostolical succession" pretensions of Oxford Movement Anglicans:

pp. 290-291

"Nor is my position less clearly and conclusively established by the numerous instances of the most disgraceful simony which prevailed both in the Western and Eastern Churches. "It has been generally allowed," says Dr. Forbes, "that the lawful succession of true pastors is interrupted and broken by simony, and that every ecclesiastical person who is simoniacally promoted is irregular, and of right alien from the priesthood, suspended and deprived of his office, and lies under an anathema."

"If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon," says the 30th Apostolic Canon, "obtains a dignity by money, let him be deposed; and let him who ordained him be cut off from the communion of the Church, as Simon Magus was by St. Peter." "He who is ordained according to this evil custom," says the Second Council of Nice, (canon 5,) "is alien from God, and excluded wholly from the priesthood." "Neither they who buy, nor they who sell holy orders," says Gregory, "can be priests, because anathema is denounced both against him that gives, and him that receives them."

The same, also, was the doctrine of the Sixth Council of Constantinople, which decrees, (canons 22 f 23,) that "if a bishop or any other of the clergy be ordained for money, both he that ordained him, and he that is ordained, shall be deposed; for. grace," say they, "cannot be sold, nor do we bestow the sanctification of the Spirit for paoney."

And if the orders of him who is ordained to be a bishop for money, by the canons both of the Eastern and Western Churches, be void, it follows on the same principle, that if he should contrive to retain his bishopric, all the orders which he confers afterwards on others, whether bishops, presbyters, or deacons, must also be void, and the apostolical succession must be broken."

Rhology said...

Stephanie said...
John - why don't you go to Called to Communion interact with ML directly?

FWIW, Dr Liccione told me in an email a few months ago this, and I quote:

My policy is not to debate people who call Catholics "Romanists." Like most Catholic theologians, I do non-Catholic Christians the courtesy of calling them whatever they call themselves. When that courtesy is not reciprocated, I know that debate would be useless.

John Bugay said...

Well, I'm one of the "good" anti-Catholics, who doesn't use the word "Romanist". :-)

Viisaus said...

Here it is, the 2nd canon of Chalcedon that so many RC popes and cardinals and EO bishops and patriarchs have in the course of church history broken without ever having to answer for it (in this life):

"If any Bishop should ordain for money, and put to sale a grace which cannot be sold, and for money ordain a bishop, or chorepiscopus, or presbyters, or deacons, or any other of those who are counted among the clergy; or if through lust of gain he should nominate for money a steward, or advocate, or prosmonarius, or any one whatever who is on the roll of the Church, let him who is convicted of this forfeit his own rank; and let him who is ordained be nothing profited by the purchased ordination or promotion; but let him be removed from the dignity or charge he has obtained for money. And if any one should be found negotiating such shameful and unlawful transactions, let him also, if he is a clergyman, be deposed from his rank, and if he is a layman or monk, let him be anathematized."

This subject seems to offer us some truly brazen examples of hardened Pharisaical hypocrisy:

"To uproot the evil of simony so prevalent during the Middle Ages, the Church decreed the severest penalties against its perpetrators. Pope Julius II declared simoniacal papal elections invalid, an enactment which has since been rescinded, however, by Pope Pius X (Constitution "Vacante Sede", 25 Dec., 1904, tit. II, cap. Vi, in "Canoniste Contemp.", XXXII, 1909, 291)."

"Della Rovere then succeeded by dexterous diplomacy in tricking the weakened Cesare Borgia into supporting him. He was elected as Pope Julius II to the papal dignity by the near-unanimous vote of the cardinals (indeed, the only three votes he did not receive were those of Georges D'Amboise, supposedly his main opponent and the favourite of the French monarchy, and the votes of Cardinals Carafa and Casanova) almost certainly by means of bribery."

John Bugay said...

Viisaus, this is an interesting point you raise, although, if RCs are willing to slough off Paul's guidelines of what an overseer should be, they'd certainly dismiss a conciliar canon.

I can hear them saying, "Yeah, but he was never convicted of gaining the papacy by bribery.

Of course, there's a built-in failsafe in that one -- "no pope may be judged by anyone..."

Viisaus said...

"if RCs are willing to slough off Paul's guidelines of what an overseer should be, they'd certainly dismiss a conciliar canon."

The Bible is a top priority for me as well, but it's always a sort of challenging bonus to indict tradition-peddlers by their own rules. :)

"I can hear them saying, "Yeah, but he was never convicted of gaining the papacy by bribery."

John Brown was able to cite many RC authorities who seem to have considered many Roman worthies as "convicted" on this for all practical purposes:

pp. 291, 292

"Baronius says of Vigilius, when he was Anti-Pope, that "he was not only a second Lucifer, striving to ascend into heaven, and exalt his throne above the stars, but, by the weight of his enormous sacrileges and heinous crimes, brought down to hell, a schismatic, a simoniac, a murderer, not the successor of Simon Peter, but of Simon Magus, not the vicar of Christ, but an Anti-Christ, an idol set up in the temple of God, a wolf, a thief, and a robber; though, when he was elevated to the Popedom, upon the death of Silverius, he makes him a good Catholic.

And so generally did it prevail throughout the whole Romish Church, that when Leo IX. proposed in a council, which was held at Rome in 1049, that all simoniacal ordinations should be declared null, the majority of the bishops opposed him; for they said, that if such a decree should pass, "scarce any would be found in some dioceses capable of performing the sacerdotal or episcopal functions."

John Bugay said...

scarce any would be found in some dioceses capable of performing the sacerdotal or episcopal functions."

Wow, they were right!

And yet, somehow, the unbroken succession survives!

Randy said...

John - why don't you go to Called to Communion interact with ML directly?

I am sure all would benefit from the exchange.

There was one question on Called to Communion you never did answer.


Next, am I safe to assume that you agree that there is not any historical or archeology evidence that proves that there was no monarchial bishop in Rome until the 2nd Century that is better evidence that Irenaeus’ list?

John Bugay said...

There was one question on Called to Communion you never did answer.


Next, am I safe to assume that you agree that there is not any historical or archeology evidence that proves that there was no monarchial bishop in Rome until the 2nd Century that is better evidence that Irenaeus’ list?

I think that the weight of the evidence shows that Irenaeus was writing in an apologetic, not a historical context. And I'm certain he saw his "list" not as a guarantee of orthodoxy, but as an evidence of it.

I am also quite confident to say that when Hermas writes about the church of the city of Rome in 140 ad, and when Irenaeus writes about it some 40-50 years later, that Hermas's first-hand account, describing the corrupt moral character of the plurality of presbyters who "presided" over that network of churches, has to take precedent.

That's not to say Irenaeus was a total dimwit. But fiction abounded in those days, and when you weigh the different accounts (Hermas vs Irenaeus, for example), and you need to provide an explanation for the differing accounts by two largely honest Christian men, what are you going to say?

Let me ask you, are you truly impressed with Sean Patrick's line of questioning from that thread? Is he a brilliant and honest and articulate spokesperson for Roman Catholicism?