Friday, August 05, 2011

When a Convert Leaves Romanism: Kimel vs. Kimel

Al Kimel, Former diocese of SC Episcopal priest who moved to Rome, to join Orthodox Church "Fr. Kimel is to be ordained into the Orthodox Church on Pentecost Sunday (i.e. today) by Bishop Jerome of the Russian Church Abroad, for the Western Rite."

Compare to:

When a Catholic leaves the Catholic Church by Alvin Kimel

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

I thought of this verse when I read Rod Dreher’s apologia for his conversion to Orthodoxy. I had heard about Dreher’s reception into the Orthodox Church shortly after it occurred, but I refrained from publicly commenting on it, hoping that he would himself refrain from publicly commenting on it. But he has announced his decision and declared his reasons for leaving the Catholic Church, and now Catholic blogdom is astir.

I wrote two articles back in May when Mr. Dreher announced that he was exploring Orthodoxy: “Ten Thousand Scandals Do Not Make One Doubt” and “Dare We Entrust Our Children to the Catholic Church?” In light of Dreher’s departure from the Catholic Church, I only have only one question: Was he in fact a Catholic? I do not have access to Dreher’s heart and soul, and I certainly do not condemn him for his decision. I regret that he has left the Catholic Church, and I grieve the sins of the Church that led him to renounce the divine authority of the Vicar of Christ. I pray that I may never be so tested.

My interest at this point is purely theoretical. How are we to understand a person who enters into the communion of the Catholic Church and then departs from that communion? John Henry Newman raises precisely this question in his Grammar of Assent:

A man is converted to the Catholic Church from his admiration of its religious system, and his disgust with Protestantism. That admiration remains; but, after a time, he leaves his new faith, perhaps returns to his old. The reason, if we may conjecture, may sometimes be this: he has never believed in the Church’s infallibility; in her doctrinal truth he has believed, but in her infallibility, no. He was asked, before he was received, whether he held all that the Church taught, he replied he did; but he understood the question to mean, whether he held those particular doctrines “which at that time the Church in matter of fact formally taught,” whereas it really meant “whatever the Church then or at any future time should teach.” Thus, he never had the indispensable and elementary faith of a Catholic , and was simply no subject for reception into the fold of the Church. This being the case, when the Immaculate Conception is defined, he feels that it is something more than he bargained for when he became a Catholic, and accordingly he gives up his religious profession. The world will say that he has lost his certitude of the divinity of the Catholic Faith, but he never had it.

To become Catholic, to be Catholic, is to surrender one’s private judgment to the magisterial teaching of the Church. It is to believe that what the Church teaches and will teach as belonging to the deposit of revelation is from God. One may investigate the rational grounds for de fide dogmas; but one may not doubt them nor inquire whether or not they may be true. As Newman remarks, a Catholic “cannot be both inside and outside of the Church at once.”

I wonder how many priests and RCIA instructors understand what Catholic assent is. I wonder how many converts to Catholicism have been instructed in the irrevocable, definitive, full assent to magisterial teaching that is being asked of them when they enter into the communion of the Catholic Church.

It took me a little while to find the old article from Kimel. I first got a 404 error here. But it's hard to disappear on the Internet. I found it here. Unless, I'm mistaken, the above is from Kimel. A number of pro-Romanist articles from Kimel have vanished, but are still available if one digs a bit:

Why Not Eastern Orthodoxy? by Fr. Al Kimel

My Road to Rome by Fr. Al Kimel

Ten thousand scandals do not make one doubt by Alvin Kimel

And I almost forgot, Kimel visited here a few years ago.


Carrie said...

Is he the one who used to comment here years ago?

Ken said...

Yeah, after he converted to Rome, he thought it was ok if the church of Rome and the Pope just declared "Ephesians" as scripture, and written by Paul, even if it wasn't written by Paul, according to liberals; and just declared Pastoral Epistles and 2 Peter also as "canon".

Scroll down in the combox, and see more comments on Al Kimel and his musings.

I am glad you wrote about this, as I had meant to make a full article on this; and you have reminded me to do that later.

Al Kimel (The Pontificator) was an Anglican who later converted to the Roman Catholic Church. He seems to basically agree with liberal scholarship that Ephesians was not written by Paul, that 2nd Peter was not written by Peter and that Paul didn’t write the Pastorals. (and that we can't be sure that Matthew wrote Matthew or John wrote John or Revelation)

He wrote at the end of his 3rd article (below in a separate post) on the canon, that Psedonymity is not a problem for God (Ehrman’s “Forgery”), and that if God employed those means, “who are we to complain?”

“If the historical evidence leads us to conclude that God employed the convention of pseudonymity in his sacred writings, who are we to complain? who are we to judge? I stand by the Word of God as confessed by his one holy catholic and apostolic Church.” Al Kimel. (he seems to agree that the church just “declared” it canon. )

Thanks to the “Way Back Machine” of web archive, I was able to retrieve Al Kimel’s (The Pontificator) articles on the canon (that he took down later, for some reason; I don’t know why , but only some of his articles are still on the net).

I hope to post a future article on that with all the links and fuller documentation.

James Swan said...

I have some limited Wifi abilities up here in Maine... Yes, Kimel stopped over here a few times.

It appears he left Romanism a little while back. If this was his blog site, it appears to be gone now:

Pete said...

James wrote, “I have some limited Wifi abilities up here in Maine”

Still vacationing in Maine?! Enjoy! Why are the pictures dated from four years ago??? Just the wrong date stored in the camera?

Ken wrote, “I hope to post a future article on that with all the links and fuller documentation.”

If you’d like some thoughts from the Fathers on this, let me know. I’ve been trying to keep track of their thoughts on forgeries. Are you guys aware of any surveys of the Fathers on this topic? They must be out there!

In Christ,
Pete Holter

James Swan said...

Cheap digital camera... I can't figure out how to reset the date, though I have not tried all that much to figure it out.

Pete said...

So it’s not a ruse after all. I was starting to think you might be in Rome, ransacking the Vatican archives. :)

In Christ,

Anonymous said...

A great example of why converts to Rome need to stop using their conversion stories as criteria of objective truth.

kaycee said...

"When a convert leaves Romanism",

"an angel gets his wings!"

"That's right Zuzu!"

Tim Enloe said...

Overheard snippet of conversation between Kimel and some Protestant friends:

Kimel: "No, really, guys, I'm really, really serious - this time what I've found really is Christ's One True Church. I was just joshin' the first couple of times."