Monday, October 30, 2017

More 'food for thought'...


In my last post the author of "The Persecution of Orthodoxy" (10-5-17), used the degradation of Plato's Academy as an introduction to what he believes is a current crisis within the Catholic Church: an internal assault on Catholic orthodoxy.

The following selection is from yet another article that focuses in on the perceived ongoing assault on Catholic orthodoxy (though posted today, it is dated 11-1-17). This contribution utilizes a quotation from St. Vincent of Lerins as a platform for his reflections. Note the following:

A crisis of doctrine, such as the one through which the Catholic Church is now passing, has several sad effects. Most obviously, the truth is obscured, with unthinkable consequences for the salvation of souls. Heretical movements often unleash immoderate rage against orthodox believers (look at the ongoing clampdown on theological debate, and the well-grounded fears of the clergy). But the most obvious result is the very evident grief among faithful Catholics. I keep hearing or reading things like, “It’s so tempting to just give up,” or “I don’t know how to explain this to my kids.” It may be only a small minority who are aware of the crisis, so far, but that minority is growing. The other day I bumped into an acquaintance who I can’t remember previously saying a thing about Vatican politics. Almost the first words out of his mouth were: “It’s terrible, isn’t it?”

St. Vincent of Lerins referred to this as a “great trial” for Catholics: to keep one’s faith when it is coming under attack—hardest of all, when it is being attacked by distinguished teachers. How agonizing, for instance, for Origen’s followers, when he began to teach error. No one was more learned, more virtuous, more courageous, more inspirational, than Origen—and then he started to teach heresy! “Truly,” St. Vincent writes,

thus of a sudden to seduce the Church which was devoted to him, and hung upon him through admiration of his genius, his learning, his eloquence, his manner of life and influence, while she had no fear, no suspicion for herself—thus, I say, to seduce the Church, slowly and little by little, from the old religion to a new profaneness, was not only a trial, but a great trial.


The article concludes with:

I do not know what the correct response is. But in this time of anxiety, the words of St. Vincent of Lerins may offer some comfort. If a heresy spreads and acquires strength, St. Vincent says, it is “because the Lord your God does make trial of you, whether you love Him or not.” St. Paul said that “there must needs be heresies, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you.” So each doctrinal crisis, St. Vincent tells us, is a chance to renew our love for Our Lord: “If the authors of heresies are not immediately rooted up by God … [it is] that it may be apparent of each individual, how tenacious and faithful and steadfast he is in his love of the Catholic faith.”

[Full article online HERE.]

When I finally finish a post I have been researching over the last few weeks, I plan to delve—in much greater depth—into the issues being raised by the two contributions referenced in my last couple of posts.


Grace and peace,

David

3 comments:

Jensen Carlyle said...

Some quick thoughts before I go to work, I might edit them when I get back, but in any event hopefully you see what I'm saying.

Edward Feser and Edward Peters each have good posts or articles (on their own sites and elsewhere) on the death penalty and on communion for divorced Catholics whose marriage is not yet annulled and who are not living as brother and sister.

Also this reminded me, and so I checked it out, of what Matt Slick says on heresy:

Any doctrine that deviates from the historical, orthodox, and biblical position of the Christian Church, throughout Church history, as judged from a Protestant perspective.

I think that the protestant use of history and tradition is a bit problematic for their own perspective, and a bit ad hoc to qualify 'heresy is disagreement with the historic position of Christianity AS UNDERSTOOD FROM A PROTESTANT VIEW' why care about history anyway if sola scriptura? I think some protestants want it both ways, and use tradition as a taxi-cab, using it to make a point, but getting off where it clashes with their views.

I guess they use it to support what they think the Bible by itself means, but then it becomes redundant, in fact epiphenomenal to the argument they give. The Bible doesn't say X because the Church has said that for centuries, right? If the Bible says X, you can deduce that apart from what others have said over the centuries.

But many protestants use tradition to show what the Bible says, which seems to imply that tradition is a reliable guide in theology - so why not ride it all the way and become Orthodox or Catholic? It seems only a milquetoast appeal to traditional, as trivially true but ultimately irrelevant, is all the protestant qua protestant can hope fore.

Also I think that just as not all Christians are protestant, not all protestants are Christian. Would you consider Witnesses or Mormons as protestants? It's my understanding that each group distances itself from that label, but as I see it, it arguable applies in each case.

Also somewhat puzzling, but perhaps relevant to the Catholic dilemma, is what Matt Slick goes on to say:

There are heresies that are damnable (denying the Deity of Christ, denying Christ's physical resurrection, denying justification by grace through faith, etc.). There are heresies that are not damnable (advocating women pastors; practicing polygamy, divorce for convenience sake, etc.) There are also teachings within Christianity that are debatable whereas differences of opinion are not heresy (eating or not eating meat, worship on Saturday or Sunday, etc.) See Rom. 14:1-12.

Of course knowledge and freedom are needed for a person to be culpable for an action, including advocating for X. However, it seems that advocating from polygamy (not unlike what certain liberals are doing in the CC) is, at least, potentially damnable. If you cause someone else to sin, and get damned, it doesn't look to good for you, if you don't yourself repent!

David Waltz said...

Hi Jensen,

Thanks much for taking the time to share some of your thoughts; I particularly found the following to be spot-on:

==I think that the protestant use of history and tradition is a bit problematic for their own perspective, and a bit ad hoc to qualify 'heresy is disagreement with the historic position of Christianity AS UNDERSTOOD FROM A PROTESTANT VIEW' why care about history anyway if sola scriptura? I think some protestants want it both ways, and use tradition as a taxi-cab, using it to make a point, but getting off where it clashes with their views.

I guess they use it to support what they think the Bible by itself means, but then it becomes redundant, in fact epiphenomenal to the argument they give. The Bible doesn't say X because the Church has said that for centuries, right? If the Bible says X, you can deduce that apart from what others have said over the centuries.

But many protestants use tradition to show what the Bible says, which seems to imply that tradition is a reliable guide in theology - so why not ride it all the way and become Orthodox or Catholic? It seems only a milquetoast appeal to traditional, as trivially true but ultimately irrelevant, is all the protestant qua protestant can hope fore.==

From the very beginning of this blog—at the bottom of the right sidebar—I have provided a selection from A.N.S. Lane's informative essay, "Scripture, Tradition and Church: An Historical Survey". Much of what you wrote above is historically confirmed by Lane. If you have not read his entire essay, I highly suggest that you do so. A PDF copy can be accessed online via THIS LINK.


Grace and peace,

David

Jensen Carlyle said...

http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2017/10/correctio_ad_infinitum.html
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2016/12/how-pope-benedict-xvi-dealt-with.html
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/01/more-on-amoris.html
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-curious-case-of-pope-francis-and.html

When it comes to the Death Penalty, Feser has written a book and several posts on the topic, both on his blog and elsewhere (for example, he as an article at Public Discourse soon, maybe even today, but if not in the next week or so). He's also collected several links to relevant articles by others.

And somewhat relevant:
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2016/01/canine-theology.html