Monday, February 11, 2013

Mutual understanding

Scott Alt, replying to a commenter to the effect that I am willfully blind to think that the Scripture teaches both of the following facts:
1) Believers who have reached the end of their earthly lives are alive to God, and
2) God forbids us from talking to dead people,

says the following:
Scott_Alt33p· 20 hours agoI think that's right, though the concept of an obstinate refusal to see suggests the kind of freedom of the will that a Calvinist would deny. Interesting to speculate how Rhology would get himself out of that conundrum.

Thus he shows that he doesn't even have the first idea what Calvinism says about the human will. Or, say, Romans 8:

3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
It's just funny. Chalk this up to another "Protestant-to-atheist-to-Protestant-to-Catholic con­vert" who never got close to understanding Reformed theology. The problem here is that Alt thinks he does understand it. And the funny thing is that I get accused of misunderstanding Roman Catholic theology all the time but rarely does anyone attempt to demonstrate where I've mistaken its meaning. That's just projection.

41 comments:

Justin said...

I must be willfully blind too, because I think that Scripture clearly and unequivocally affirms both of those two points, too.

I can also attest to the, uh... willful blindness of Catholics and many protestants towards what "Calvinists" actually believe and affirm.

Funny, that.

Rhology said...

Very funny indeed.

James Swan said...

rambling thoughts....

I'm of the opinion that people, Reformed or not, can "see" and understand stuff (for lack of a better word).

For instance, I think an atheist could properly exegete scripture. Will the atheist believe it savingly? Absolutely not.

I once explained the gospel to someone who gripped what I was saying, but thought it was nuts.

I recall John Gerstner pointing out one time that one of the best scholars on Jonathan Edwards wasn't even a Christian.

I think it's certainly possible for Rho to understand Mr. Alt's interpretation of Roman Catholicism. I also think that Mr. Alt could understand what the Reformed mean by the enslaved will, though from such a brief comment, I'm not sure if he does (hard to say from one or two sentences).

The real key to constructive dialog is being able to explain your opponent's position from his/her perspective, and then disagree with it. Nelson, over on Scott's blog simply states,

"There is an old saying: 'There are non so blind as those who will NOT see.' Me thinks Rhology’s blindness is complete when he denigrates the Mother of God as only a "dead" woman. The Lord have mercy upon him..."

It doesn't appear to me that Nelson has earned the right to make such a comment. He did not demonstrate he understood Rho's points from Rho's position.

James Swan said...

7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

I think it was Sproul who pointed out that non-Christians do "good" things all the time- they feed the poor, let you in in traffic, they feed their dogs regularly... but... only those things are truly good if they're done to the glory of God. In that sense, no unregenerate person does anything good in its ultimate sense.

Who will do something to the glory of God? Only those people who have been born again.. those who don't set their minds on the things of the flesh, because they have been set free by God's Spirit.

Reformed theology holds that only those who are born again by God's Spirit actually have the ability to make God pleasing choices and non-God pleasing choices. In other words, it is a Christian who truly has the freedom of the will.

The type of freedom "Calvinists deny" is that sort of freedom that can make God pleasing choices while in the flesh.

David Waltz said...

==I must be willfully blind too, because I think that Scripture clearly and unequivocally affirms both of those two points, too.==

Indeed, for it seems you have ignored the fact that our Lord spoke with "dead" people (i.e. those who have passed from their earthly sojourn to the heavenly realm—Matt. 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30).

==I can also attest to the, uh... willful blindness of Catholics and many protestants towards what "Calvinists" actually believe and affirm.==

Given the diverse opinions among "Calvinists" on a number of theological doctrines/issues, if the individual "Calvinist" in any given dialogue does not clarify his or her position/s, it is inevitable that there will be misunderstanding.

Rhology said...

Since Jesus happens to be God Himself, those people are alive TO HIM, aren't they?

But they're dead TO US.
This doesn't help the pro-necromancy case.

Given the diverse opinions among "Calvinists" on a number of theological doctrines/issues

That's cute, but unhelpful. Integral to the very definition of Calvinism is its particular doctrine of the will of man.

James Swan said...

Given the diverse opinions among "Calvinists" on a number of theological doctrines/issues

This appears to be a type of deconstructing the word "Calvinism." The question for Mr. Waltz is whether he thinks the word means anything at all, if in fact such diversity means only specific Calvinists exist rather than the ostensive category of "Calvinism."

James Swan said...

By the way, my previous comment indicates that yes, I can speak in philosophical gobbledygook.

David Waltz said...

==Since Jesus happens to be God Himself, those people are alive TO HIM, aren't they?

But they're dead TO US.
This doesn't help the pro-necromancy case.==

The above assessment is valid only if one is a monophysite.

==That's cute, but unhelpful. Integral to the very definition of Calvinism is its particular doctrine of the will of man.==

Given the fact that self proclaimed "Calvinists" in discussions on this very blog have disagreed amongst themselves over certain aspects of the "doctrine of the will of man", I must in good conscience conclude that your remarks either sophistic or have been formed via a restricted interaction with fellow "Calvinists".

David Waltz said...

==The question for Mr. Waltz is whether he thinks the word means anything at all, if in fact such diversity means only specific Calvinists exist rather than the ostensive category of "Calvinism."==

I maintain that there exists "specific" categories of "Calvinism" in addition to "specific Calvinists".

David Waltz said...

typo alert: add 'are' after "either" in my 2:24 PM, February 12, 2013 post.

James Swan said...

I maintain that there exists "specific" categories of "Calvinism" in addition to "specific Calvinists".

So, what exactly are the attributes that form the essence to maintain similarities of the categories so that you can arrive at "categories of Calvinism"?

Turretinfan said...

The difference between the Author of Life commanding the dead to rise and mere men trying to communicate with the dead seems pretty obvious.

James Swan said...

Given the fact that self proclaimed "Calvinists" in discussions on this very blog have disagreed amongst themselves over certain aspects of the "doctrine of the will of man",

I have no idea what this refers to.

Justin said...

David,

1.) Are you seriously comparing the transfiguration of the Lord to a person praying to Mary?

2.)I find that as soon as the word "Calvin" (or any other of numerous trigger words) comes up, what I say is generally ignored in favor of assumptions and strawmen. These are generally based up distortions of "the five points," which are by no means the sum total of Calvinism. As soon as many people find out -gasp- I'm a Calvinist, the rest of my time is generally taken up explaining what I believe on any number of subjects, regardless of what was the actual subject to begin with.

This quoted statement illustrates exactly what I mean: "suggests the kind of freedom of the will that a Calvinist would deny."

The above statement is sort of a red herring, wouldn't you think?

Rhology said...

The above assessment is valid only if one is a monophysite.

That might be valid if
1) I were talking about Jesus. But I'm not.
2) my case were philosophical instead of biblical. But it's not.


I must in good conscience conclude that your remarks either sophistic or have been formed via a restricted interaction with fellow "Calvinists".

OK, thanks. Please let me know which Calvinists think that people don't freely choose to sin.

David Waltz said...

==So, what exactly are the attributes that form the essence to maintain similarities of the categories so that you can arrive at "categories of Calvinism"?==

I will provide a few (but certainly not all) examples -

Differences concerning theology proper:

a. Some Calvinists affirm the eternal generation of 'the only begotten God/Son', while some deny it

b. Some Calvinists affirm that the begetting of 'the only begotten God/Son' is hypostatical only, while some believe it is both hypostatical and substantial

Differences concerning soteriology:

a. Supralapsarianism

b. Infralapsarianism

c. Amyraldianism

d. Two positions on the extent of the atonement

d. At least two positions on the nature of deification

Differences concerning the sacraments:

a. Paedobaptism

b. Believers' baptism

c. Federal Visionism

Differences concerning ecclesiology:

a. Presbyterian

b. Congregational

c. Episcopal

David Waltz said...

==The difference between the Author of Life commanding the dead to rise and mere men trying to communicate with the dead seems pretty obvious.==

You have made two weak assumptions: first, that the appearance of Elijah and Moses involved physical bodies; and second, that praying to the saints is equivalent to necromancy.

David Waltz said...

==I have no idea what this refers to.==

Quite interesting, if not revealing...

David Waltz said...

Hi Justin,

You wrote:

==1.) Are you seriously comparing the transfiguration of the Lord to a person praying to Mary?==

Not directly; although for me, questions concerning interaction with saints who have finished their earthly sojourn are raised.

==2.)I find that as soon as the word "Calvin" (or any other of numerous trigger words) comes up, what I say is generally ignored in favor of assumptions and strawmen. These are generally based up distortions of "the five points," which are by no means the sum total of Calvinism. As soon as many people find out -gasp- I'm a Calvinist, the rest of my time is generally taken up explaining what I believe on any number of subjects, regardless of what was the actual subject to begin with.==

Understood and appreciated.

==This quoted statement illustrates exactly what I mean: "suggests the kind of freedom of the will that a Calvinist would deny."

The above statement is sort of a red herring, wouldn't you think?==

Yes.



Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

==The above assessment is valid only if one is a monophysite.

That might be valid if
1) I were talking about Jesus. But I'm not.==

I am now confused and shall ask for further clarification, for my response was directed at the following you wrote:


>>Since Jesus happens to be God Himself, those people are alive TO HIM, aren't they?

But they're dead TO US.>>

You clearly mentioned Jesus but are now saying you were not "talking about Jesus"; I honestly do not have a clue as to what you are attempting to convey.


==2) my case were philosophical instead of biblical. But it's not.==

The issue of monophysitism is of a Biblical/theological nature, not a philosophical one.


==OK, thanks. Please let me know which Calvinists think that people don't freely choose to sin.==

Too my knowledge, the teaching that all fallen mankind 'freely' sins is common to all claim to be Calvinists. I think the issue that creates misunderstanding/s is over what the term 'freely' means.

David Waltz said...

==The above assessment is valid only if one is a monophysite.

That might be valid if
1) I were talking about Jesus. But I'm not.==

I am now confused and shall ask for further clarification, for my response was directed at the following you wrote:


>>Since Jesus happens to be God Himself, those people are alive TO HIM, aren't they?

But they're dead TO US.>>

You clearly mentioned Jesus but are now saying you were not "talking about Jesus"; I honestly do not have a clue as to what you are attempting to convey.


==2) my case were philosophical instead of biblical. But it's not.==

The issue of monophysitism is of a Biblical/theological nature, not a philosophical one.


==OK, thanks. Please let me know which Calvinists think that people don't freely choose to sin.==

Too my knowledge, the teaching that all fallen mankind 'freely' sins is common to all claim to be Calvinists. I think the issue that creates misunderstanding/s is over what the term 'freely' means.

David Waltz said...

Mr. Swan,

Sorry about the double posting; please feel free to delete one of them.

Turretinfan said...

The assumptions behind treating the mount of transfiguration as normative are more easily questioned.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Hoffer said...

TF, you really do like to sensationalize things. Labeling prayer as necromancy is rather sweeping. Let's look at what you are claiming.

Pick up any dictionary and you will find that necromancy is the use of magic or conjuration to summon the dead to appear on earth to communicate with them to obtain knowledge of the future or to control events on earth. When one prays, there is no magic involved nor is there any sort of a summoning of Mary or saint to appear before the person praying. We do not demand or compel Mary or a saint to appear while praying.

Thus as far as the Transfiguration goes, Jesus did not transgress the Law against necromancy because He did not use magic or occult powers to summon Moses and Elijah to appear before Him.

Catholics do not cast any spells or conjure when they pray. I do not summon Mary or a saint to appear before me. We do not call on magic or the occult. We pray in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thus, there is no necromancy involved in prayer to Mary or a saint. Further, the efficacy of prayer is based on God's grace, not magic or the occult. Equating God's grace with magic is unseemly.

Let us look at this logically to show that prayer to saints is not necromancy. Tf claims:

1.Prayer to saints involves communication with dead people.

2.Necromancy involves communication with dead people.

3.Therefore, prayer to saints = necromancy.

The fallacy becomes apparent when you consider a parallel example:

1. When a man and woman get married, they consummate their marriage by having sex.

2. Prostitution also involves having sex.

3.Therefore, the consummation of a marriage = prostitution.

Premise #1 is true. Premise #2 is also true. Yet the conclusion does not follow, because it fallaciously assumes that all sexual encounters are identical to one another, with no difference being made between licit sex and illicit sex.

So it is with TF's claim that prayer to saints = necromancy. Scripture in three places defines what communication is illicit-communication not directed to God either directly or indirectly that uses magic or the occult as its medium. In contrast, all prayer, including intercessory prayer, is directed to God based on grace given to us from God for it is grace that impels us to pray.

But TF's conclusion does not follow, because it assumes that all instances of “communication with dead people" are identical with each other, and makes no distinction between the use of the occult to effectuate that communication and God-directed communication.

When Catholics and Orthodox ask saints to pray for us, we do not bypass God, nor do we associate with the occult. Our prayer is God-directed because we ask the saints to intercede with God and pray to God for us. (BTW, please note that other minds far smarter than me have used this logic exercise before and deserve credit for it-not me.)

In fact, as made clear at Lk 9:28-29, Our Lord's transfiguration and conversation with Elijah and Moses come as a result of prayer and thus shows us how to communicate with the dead-through prayer as opposed to occult means. To say otherwise means that Jesus transgressed the Law of Mose and was neither the Messiah or the Son of God.

Now one can certainly argue whether the form of a prayer to Mary or a saint is appropriate based on what I have presented here, but one should not deny that prayer to Mary and the saints is blanket prohibited.

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin said...

Paul-

I appreciate that you re-worded your first comment, with its accusation of "latent monophysitism." That really is a stretch. I did not say anything at all about the nature of Christ- I was merely mentioning that the Transfiguration was not an "everyday" event- "normative," as has been mentioned earlier in the thread. Are you saying that it is?

Torturing monophysitism out of what I said really is a stretch. Care to substantiate that caution? I am no monophysite.

I appreciate that you re-worded the original comment. Thank you.


Thanks.

Justin said...

Monophysite.

That really bothers me that you briought that out. How do you get that from what I said?

I said:
"Are you seriously comparing the transfiguration of the Lord to a person praying to Mary? "

Please, let me know how I am approaching monophysitism, based on what I have said.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Justin, I do not accuse you monophysitism, only that one could draw such an inference of such by your defense of Our Lord talking with the dead at the Transfiguration. By claiming that the Transfiguration can not be used as an example of communication with the dead because it was not "normative", suggests that somehow Jesus' human nature was somehow suppressed or limited on that occasion which is the only way that one could rationally justify that it was "ok" to carve out an exception for Jesus to talk with the dead Moses and Elijah. If you took my comment as something more than pointing out of a flaw in your defense, please accept my apologies. I will redact the comment and re-post it sans the offending word.

Grace and blessings !

Paul Hoffer said...

Since a brother in Christ justly became upset with my choice of words, I thought I would re-phrase my comment so as to not give offense. I

Hi Justin,

==1.) Are you seriously comparing the transfiguration of the Lord to a person praying to Mary?==

Me: Since Jesus was both fully human as well as fully divine, I would state that the comparison with the human person who prays to Mary is a valid one. Granted the Transfiguration is not a normative event, nevertheless Jesus was still fully human throughout the event and as fully human he conversed with dead people, Moses and Elijah.

Moreover, the Transfiguration itself provides the model for Christians to follow as Jesus prayed before he was transfigured and conversed with Elijah and Mose. Communication with saints that is directed to or connected with prayer is licit and communications that come about through the use of magic or the occult is not.

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer:

Notwithstanding your diligent critique of an argument I didn't make, the difference between the Author of Life commanding the dead to rise and mere men trying to communicate with the dead seems pretty obvious.

-TurretinFan

Rhology said...

By claiming that the Transfiguration can not be used as an example of communication with the dead because it was not "normative", suggests that somehow Jesus' human nature was somehow suppressed or limited on that occasion which is the only way that one could rationally justify that it was "ok" to carve out an exception for Jesus to talk with the dead Moses and Elijah.

It has nothing to do with the human nature and everything to do with whether that person is dead to you.

To Jesus, since He is the God-man, Moses and Elijah are alive.

But you and I are not the God-man.

You want monophysitism? I give you the doctrine of the Real Presence.

Jugulum said...

The implicit logic of Paul's last comment seems to be that since Jesus was fully man, anything that Jesus did in His life on earth is also appropriate for any human being to do. Jesus had no prerogatives that humans in general don't share.

Is that right, Paul?

If so, how do you avoid the conclusion that we can claim to be God?

If not, what is the limitation? On what basis do you say that speaking to the dead isn't one of those divine prerogatives?

Turretinfan said...

"In fact, as made clear at Lk 9:28-29, Our Lord's transfiguration and conversation with Elijah and Moses come as a result of prayer and thus shows us how to communicate with the dead-through prayer as opposed to occult means. To say otherwise means that Jesus transgressed the Law of [Moses] and was neither the Messiah or the Son of God."

Reading St. Thomas' Golden Chain at Luke 9:28-29, I don't see any of the fathers or pseudo-fathers he quotes arriving at this supposed teaching.

He quotes John Damascene (the litholater) as saying: "Servants, however, pray in one way; our Lord prayed in another. For the prayer of the servant is offered up by the lifting up of the mind to God, but the holy mind of Christ, (who was hypostatically united to God,) prayed, that He might lead us by the hand to the ascent, whereby we mount up in prayer to God, and teach us that He is not opposed to God, but reverences the Father as His beginning; nay, even tempting tyrant, who sought from Him whether He were God, (which the power of His miracles declared,) He concealed as it were under the bait a hook; that he who had deceived man with the hope of divinity might fitly himself be caught with the clothing of humanity."

But none of them mention this supposed justification for communicating with the dead by means of prayer. In fact, they only mention prayer to God.

I wonder when this novel interpretation of the transfiguration first came into existence. The 20th century, the 21st century?

-TurretinFan

James Swan said...

I said to David Waltz: "So, what exactly are the attributes that form the essence to maintain similarities of the categories so that you can arrive at "categories of Calvinism"?"

David Waltz said (in part),
"I will provide a few (but certainly not all) examples -
Differences concerning theology proper:


Perhaps my question wasn't clear. I wasn't asking for differences, I was asking upon what basis do you determine "what" a "Calvinist" is?. That is, you appear to be saying that there are not enough similarities to properly refer to anyone as a categorical "Calvinist" while at the same time referring to a category known as "Calvinism."

Perhaps your answer is just that people refer to themselves as "Calvinists" and this is the basis by which you refer to the category of "Calvinism."

If that's the case, I think we both know that people can call themselves members of all sorts of things and actually equivocate language in such a way as to deny that which they actually claim to belong to when scrutinized.

I'm a Calvinist because I'm Reformed- that is, I'm confessional. Those people that I usually refer to as "Calvinists" are those people who are confessionally Reformed, and take those confessions seriously. If in taking those confessions seriously certain people arrive at differing positions that don't deny those confessions, this only demonstrates that the Reformed are people who diligently study God's revealed infinite truth, and do so from a finite perspective. No big deal.

James Swan said...

David Waltz said: "Given the fact that self proclaimed "Calvinists" in discussions on this very blog have disagreed amongst themselves over certain aspects of the "doctrine of the will of man"

I replied:"I have no idea what this refers to."

David Waltz said: "Quite interesting, if not revealing..."

I do not live on this blog 24/7, nor do I have time for cryptic games.

Paul Hoffer said...

ON 2/13 AT 9:21 AM, Turretinfan said...

Notwithstanding your diligent critique of an argument I didn't make...

Me: TF, you did not make any argument at all, just an editorial comment as-it-were. What I was addressing was the underlying sentiment upon which the statement “the difference between the Author of Life commanding the dead to rise and mere men trying to communicate with the dead seems pretty obvious” rested, which is that you perceive that the action of praying to saints in heaven is tantamount to engaging in the occult practices forbidden by a number of passages in the O.T. despite the fact that nowhere in the O.T. or the N.T. is such an action prohibited.

Out of charity, I originally did not address the further fact that your statement gives an erroneous impression as your statement fails to recognize that there are a number of examples where “mere men” did cause the dead to rise by engaging in intercessory prayer for the dead: Elijah~the widow’s son; Elisha-the son of the Shunammite woman, Peter-Tabitha; and Paul-the young man because it was not germane to the point I was making. But since you republished your comment again, I thought you might wish to nuance or rationalize your statement without further comment from me.

I will just say that if intercessory prayers of mere men can be efficacious to raise the dead, then it is entirely reasonable that prayers of mere men requesting intercessory prayer from the saints would be also efficacious as well particularly since our friend Rhology already has conceded that the saints in heaven are already doing just that for us. For Catholics and Orthodox, holy men and women do not stop being a part of the communion of saints merely because they are now in heaven.

As far as attacking my usage of Lk 9:28-29 to support my argument, I have not studied whether any of the fathers quoted that passage in support of the practice of praying to saints; that said, I am also not aware of any early church fathers using that passage to come out against it either. That none of the fathers used that passage may very well be due to the fact noone except pagans attacked the practice and it was well-settled that the practice was approved of particularly when all of the earliest liturgies contained intercessory prayers to the saints as well as prayers for the souls of the departed.

While I am not aware of any early church father using that passage to defend prayer to saints, I am aware that since the Reformation, when the practice of praying to saints was first seriously challenged, Catholic and Orthodox theologians and apologists have referenced this passage to refute the Protestant contention that prayer to saints is forbidden by Scripture. I guess what you need to do now is show me where any of the early church fathers forbade the practice of praying to saints by quoting Dt. 18:9-12 or similar passages to show that the practice was not either part of the sensuum fidelium or a part of the official teachings of the Church prior to 1517 or cite to something that definitively shows that all prayer constitutes worship.

tbc

Paul Hoffer said...

Please note again that as a Catholic, I agree wholeheartedly with the proposition that it sinful to worship Mary or any saint. Where we disagree is upon the issue of whether praying to Mary or the saints to intercede for us with God constitutes an act of worship. If you believe that you can not pray to Mary or a saint because you feel that all prayer constitutes an act of worship, then do not pray to Mary or a saint. However, do not call me a blasphemer or an idolater when I pray to Mary or a saint because I know that when I pray to them, I am not worshiping them since I do understand the difference between asking a fellow Christian to pray for me and what an act of adoration reserved for God alone looks like and when I engage in prayer to Mary or a saint I am not disposed to nor do I intend to engage in worship of a creature.

As for the Church, it teaches and encourages the faithful to pray to Mary and the saints because it believes that such will enliven and enrich their spiritual life and help them grow closer in relationship to Our Lord. However, if praying to Mary and the saints does not do that, then don’t do it.

TBC.

Paul Hoffer said...

Rhology said:

“It has nothing to do with the human nature and everything to do with whether that person is dead to you.”

Me: A saint may not be physically present to me by virtue of dying, but the Church has always taught that they are not dead in Christ. Saints are not kicked out of the communion of saints or cut off from the mystical Body of Christ due to their death. We still have recourse to their prayers for us just like we did when they were alive on earth.


Rhology writes: “You want monophysitism? I give you the doctrine of the Real Presence.”

Me: I understand that you have asserted this claim before but I was not aware of the paucity of facts offered in support of your argument until now. It appears to rely on nothing more than your recognition that a Mr. Perry Robinson as an authority on the Real Presence-rather than on anything actually written by a Monophysite. I thank you for the link.

If your article relies on more than that, might we know what Monophysite writings you consulted in forming your opinion that the doctrine of transubstantiation is Monophysitical? As I understand Monophysitism as portrayed in their own writings, they actually denied the Catholic view of the Real Presence which is that after consecration both of Christ’s natures are present in the Eucharist. They avoided the issue you referred to in your article by claiming that only Jesus’ divine nature is present in the Eucharist. While certain difficulties on how our Lord could be present simultaneously both in heaven and on earth in multiple hosts in multiple places at the same time could be avoided if Catholics were to adhere to a Monophysitistic view of the sacrament that Christ is only present in His divinity or a capharnaitical view that we carve Jesus up and eat Him in little teeny tiny pieces as many of your compatriots seek to portray the Catholic position, we do not ascribe to either. Rather, because it is an article of faith that Our Lord sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven according to the natural mode of existence, and yet at the same time is sacramentally present in multiple places to us in His own substance in a way we can not comprehend, the fact of Eucharistic multilocation proves that it is possible.

tbc

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Jugulum, my friend. The assertion I am making here is nowhere as wide-encompassing as you claim. Our Lord commanded us to pray as He did. Catholics are merely following that command. As for limitations on such prayer, I outlined them in a previous thread that our prayer is not inappropriate so long as we do not stray into areas banned by Scripture and is even efficacious when such prayer leads us deeper into the Paschal Mysteries.

You asked, “On what basis do you say that speaking to the dead isn't one of those divine prerogatives?”

Me: I based my answer on the Scriptures which proscribe occult practices that attempt to
communicate with the dead either to control them or to gain knowledge of future events. Intercessory prayer to the holy ones in heaven is not one of the proscribed practices. I base my answer on the Scriptures that state that Our God is the God of the living and not the dead and that the saints are more alive now in heaven than when they were on earth. I base my answer on the Scriptures which teach that the saints in heaven are in fact praying for us. I base my answer on the teachings of the Church which holds among other things that being a part of the communion of saints allows us to pray for others and ask others to pray for us. And I base my answer on the fact that such prayers have been answered in my life (but that it is a personal witness, not an apologetic answer).

Thank you all for a chance to interact with your comments!