November 05, 2007
This Web site is non-sectarian, and I’m glad. However, as some of the discussion threads have exploded into a veritable 30 Years War, I have asked the editors for this opportunity to pose a few questions from my own point of view, as a faithful if thoroughly imperfect Roman Catholic who welcomes the development of doctrine which occurred at Vatican II (as interpreted according to Benedict XVI’s “hermeneneutic of continuity,” and explained by Fr. Brian Harrison) embracing the rights of non-Catholics NEVER to be persecuted by the state, so long as their beliefs pose no threat to “public order.” (Dispensationalist warmongers, this means YOU.)
To the cage-rattling anti-papists (and there are only a few) who keep taking over discussion threads, the better to bash the Vatican, I ask:
If Christ’s promise to remain with His Church until the end of time did NOT mean that an institution would continuously remain in existence (if not at Rome, at least pace the Orthodox in the person of local bishops) which would serve to shepherd His flock, then by what authority do you speak about any religious matter? The Bible?
Here are a few facts about that sacred text which are admitted by historians of every faith—even the nonbelieving scholars with whom I studied at Yale—which I gathered to illustrate the entry on Guinness Stout for The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Wine, Whiskey and Song (don’t ask!):
“¢ The New Testament itself was created by the Church, not the other way around. (As St. Augustine recognized—but then maybe he, too is in Hell, along with all the other papists.)
“¢ There were dozens of books floating around, claiming to be “gospels,” full of every kind of crackpot anecdote about Christ”including a few which portrayed him as a wicked prankster who performed malicious miracles. Each time another of these 3rd century fantasy novels pops up, like the “gospel” of Judas, it makes the cover of Time.
“¢ It took over 300 years of debate among the Fathers of the Church to decide which books were authentically inspired.
“¢ The bishops who discerned which books were really the Word of God were in union with the Pope.
“¢ These bishops baptized infants, venerated relics, prayed for the dead, gave absolution for sins, filled their churches with religious art, used incense at Mass and believed in the Eucharistic presence of Christ. Their churches venerated Mary as a Virgin, and most of their liturgies referred to her as “immaculate,” referred to her assumption into Heaven, and implored her intercession. These beliefs are older and more apostolic then the canon of the New Testament itself.
“¢ These bishops based their decisions on which books were inspired largely on which ones had been used at the eucharistic liturgy in major cathedrals around the world”and on which ones accorded with the oral Tradition of interpreting Christian doctrine handed down from the apostles.
“¢ In other words, the infallible word of God was compiled, edited, and fixed in its current form by a bunch of heathen, papist idolaters.
“¢ And you still believe in this book?
I await the answer of the embittered anti-Catholics who are content to cite condemnations of Pelagianism issued by Church councils—whose authority they themselves reject in principle. It took Church councils to assert the reading of scripture which affirmed the Divinity of Christ, for that matter. Reject councils, and that too is up for grabs. Which is why, despite the manifest Liberal corruptions which have afflicted the members of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, their authorities remain true to tradition—and why every Protestant denomination will someday end up like the “Uniting Methodists.” Just as Southern Baptists now accept divorce, Ian Paisley’s descendants will someday solemnize homosexual “marriages.” It is only a matter of time.