Friday, July 13, 2007

Man At Work

Pope Benedict XVI has approved a document released from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, setting off a bit of whining, crying and overall belly aching, from Lutherans and other protestant denominations that have sprung out of the 16th century reformation.
Pope: Other Christian Denominations Not True Churches

First, I want to put this thing into context.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is charged with the duty to "spread sound doctrine and defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines."

It's an internal congregation, speaking to Catholics, and primarily Catholic theologians, concerning doctrines of Catholicism.

As such, it speaks in the language of Catholicism.
Our definition of 'church' is not the same, doctrinally speaking, as it's usage by reformers.

This is a common occurrence, as I can personally attest to, when attempting to maintain a theological dialogue with those of a different mindset. Many commonly used words,('faith' being another) are not used in the same context, the same meaning, or with the same intent.
Reformist theologians should know this. That is, if they are being honest.

In a statement headlined "Lost Chance," Lutheran Bishop Wolfgang Huber argued that "it would also be completely sufficient if it were to be said that the reforming churches are 'not churches in the sense required here' or that they are 'churches of another type' -- but none of these bridges is used in the 'answers."'

Of course not, Wolfgang. He wasn't speaking to you. Some things are just understood by learned men when speaking to each other, in situations where 'bridges' and qualifiers serve only as redundancies, and you aren't among them in this go round.

What I find the most puzzling coming from Wolfgang is his clear discomfort in discovering that a religious office he is theologically opposed to is theologically opposed to his opposition. How dare them!

Personally, I think the Lutheran Bishop would've looked a lot more confident in his Lutheranism if his response to the mitred Roman was a dismissive 'So,what?'
Dare I say: he lacks faith?

Pope Benedict XVI is, after all, the Pope.
And he has a job to do.
And besides, don't you think that if he really thought the rest of you guys were just as good, he would've become one of you by now?
It would certainly be easier.


Allan said...

Personally, I think the Lutheran Bishop would've looked a lot more confident in his Lutheranism if his response to the mitred Roman was a dismissive 'So,what?'

As a Lutheran layman, that was pretty much my reaction, so I'm not sure what Mr. Huber's problem is.

Or, to paraphrase one internet wag I read somewhere: The head of a religious organization has declared that his religious organization is the best one? What a shock!

Ben Worley said...

Speaking as a Lutheran seminarian... Who's this pope guy?

RW said...

The thing of it is, though, it doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

Hammer: he's the guy in a cape and mask who drives around in the batmobile; wait, I mean he's the guy in the cape and big hat who drives around in the popemobile.

Gino: just tell me one thing, does anywhere in the Catholic doctrine, or all these councils they've had, mention that salvation can only be found through the church? Paul is quite clear, and I believe the gospels are quite clear---salvation is only found through Jesus Christ. I'm thinking there might be alot of catholics who make it to heaven who are going to be surprised at the people who are there.

Again, I need to reiterate to you that I don't for one minute doubt an individual catholic's love and belief in God; but, as a former catholic who has read and studied the Bible for myself, I still feel a vast majority of their doctrine and man-made traditions are unnecessary in the true worship of God.


Gino said...

allan: i actually like the MO synod approach to many things, now if only they werent so anal when dealing with Popery.

Ben: i'll have to tell you about him some time. ;)

RW: it does to wolfgang.

KD: if the gospels were quite clear, why so many bible-based denominations?
one thing i learned: folks with only bibles know everything, and agree on nothing. i was one of them,once.

a former catholic, yes you may be, but were you a theologically versed one before you left?
i think not.
as for Paul, he never once said anything about bibles being sufficient, but he did admonish to hold fast to traditions and oral teachings on par with the written.

i'll give you the last word here, and the rest we can handle privately.

Andy said...

As the resident Episcopalian consultant to this blog, allow me to take the middle path: yes, my main reaction was, "DUH." If you're a Catholic, then you believe the Pope is "the guy" and all the other churches have stepped off the path. It shouldn't be offensive to other people for a religious group simply to re-affirm their beliefs.

ON THE OTHER HAND...I think it was dumb of him to say "wounded." It should be obvious enough to the Pope that there is plenty of sectarian violence in the world, and we don't really need to go around upsetting people who are in fundamental agreement with our beliefs (we differ, obviously, on issues of doctrine and practice, but those are wholly subordinate to the shared conviction that Christ is the Redeemer) by using needlessly inflammatory rhetoric.

Gino said...

Andy:considering this document was to a theologically catholic audience, i dont see how any of these catholics were needlessly inflamed by calling the other churches wounded.

The Law Fairy said...

Oh how silly.

Our rector mentioned this in his sermon this morning. As an aside, he refers to the Pope as the "Bishop in Rome," which just cracks me up. I can imagine that this HUMAN-ELECTED (oh, sorry, clearly God is physically controlling the votes, my bad) Voice of God would not take too kindly to being diminished to a mere "Bishop" by my devilishly clever (no pun intended!) rector.

Anyway, the rector was talking about not looking down on others, and he mentioned how he had read about the U2charist and was scoffing at it -- and then comes this report from the Pope, with the Pope basically scoffing at him. His point was that this would teach him (the rector) to be snooty.

But I have to admit, he does have a point about that U2charist thing. It just looks silly. But then again, I guess each person's gotta worship however they can connect with God. So, if Bono helps them do that, I guess, good for them.

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

If people don't like the current Catholic doctrine, they don't have to attend Catholic church. How hard is that?

Gino said...

lawfairy: U2charist seems less about perfecting personal holiness and spiritual growth as the road to heaven, and more about fostering a social agenda that feels good and makes good copy.

vas: how fair is that?

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Gino: This is not about fair, this is about choice. OOPS! I'm sorry, I forgot. People only have a choice when it comes to surgical infanticide. ;)

Anonymous said...

I really found my fellow Catholic's views the most amusing. Some are insulted and thinking of leaving the Catholic Church. Afterall, if the Pope is going to insist on teaching Catholic doctrine how are we ever going to have Ecumanism?

Hope you're well, Gino.

Gino said...

hi ya trisha!

it looks like Papa may be closing the rift with the pxer's soon.

i was wondering what you were thinking about that.

kr said...

The Latin mass: "Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II." (And then there were a whole bunch of us who said, "Eh." And a bunch of non-Catholics of various stripes who love the Latin Mass who rejoiced. This "reportage" is such social pap : P. )

Myself, I think all the heads of curches missed a great opportunity to write a press release that said "The prelate read the new Catholic document. The prelate responded, 'Duh. The Pope is Catholic.'" Even more fun, add: "'And bears piss in the woods.'" ;).

PJPII, as I recall, also thought that some "reforms of Vatican II" went too far and were not "of Vatican II." Hence his so-called (by non-conservatives) 'backwards-looking' treatises on sexual equality and the sanctity of life, among others?

It is so weird that they present it as "the pope said" ... yes, he had to approve it, but that presentation negates the communal aspects of the development of the magesterium and promotes an incorrectly despotic picture of the Papacy. The Congregations and Councils and Conferences all share in the authority of The Chruch; the grace we understand to be given to the Pope as the successor of Peter is--as I understand it--essentially the grace of saying "no" when it needs to be said, more than declaring or developing theological logic independent of the rest of the Church. Even PJPII, with all his treatises, ran them by other folks for feedback, from what I understand.

Anonymous said...

That would be great! It's not easy being isolated like this. I'd love nothing better than to walk into any Catholic Church and not have to wonder what kind of Mass is going to be said that day. ;)

This won't go well with the extremists in the SSPX that believe the 'Chastizement' (sp?) isn't finished! They're still waiting on the '3 Days of Darkness' or something like that, before we can get back to being a normal Church again.