Apologetics · CEC · Philosophy

Comment I posted…

Comment I posted on CECHealing (http://cechealing.wordpress.com)

I know, three posts in a row (if our good friend publishes them all!), yet, I wanted to address the term “illegal immigrants.” Likewise to anon, I do “like” the term, I do not feel that it applies, but that it is just another malicious term applied to the CEC, as well as others.
Though I do not fully agree with Protestantism, I do see truths in what Luther and others had to say. And yes, I have attacked (and will continue to do so!) predestination, etc, I do believe Luther, and yes (as hard as it it for me to say this) Zwingli and Calvin, as well as many others… i.e. Wesley, etc, had many truths to share with the Christian faith. Also, I do not believe Rome has all… or any for that matter, of the answers, nor do I see the East as “un-corrupt.” How can I say this? One word, History 🙂
The “historical church” was ran by man.. yep, thats right, man! The early apologists even turned to philosophy… not Scripture (the O.T.) to defend our wonderful faith. Hence, Platonism and Stoicism are at the center of our beliefs, and once the Crusades came to bear, Aristotle came as well (just read Aquinas). Also, the practice of Indulgences, the belief in Purgatory, the “worship” of Mary… etc etc etc… cannot be found in one Scripture, and yet, to Rome, it is Dogma. Also, Jesus never said Peter would be perfect in Dogma (no even a word for Jesus), and yet, the infallibility of the Pope, when speaking Ex Cathedra, well… is dogma! Historically the Church has been run by men, therefore, inevitably it has been flawed. These flaws are evident on all sides, so, therefore, maybe we are all illegal immigrants in the Kingdom of God!
Maybe we can at least agree that all men (and women) who believe are saved… even John Hagee… well maybe 🙂 Anways, if thats the case, then the CEC, and others, are not “illegal” but legal immigrants into the paths of the “historic” Church…. unless of course Rome is the only way… as well as the East. If this is the case, then Luther was 100 percent wrong, indulgences… and fear of sin, etc etc was right, therefore I must be behind in my mortgage for my mansion in heaven since I have failed to pay even one indulgence. Was Luther a sinner? Yes. but so was Charles V, +Albrecht and His Holiness Leo X… was his theology wrong? Maybe, but so was theirs, and yet, this is the historic Church.
Of course, the problem may stem from the fact that for the first 500 years or so the Church focused on Christology rather then the acts of Christ, or maybe Christianity was too dumbed down in the West during the dark ages, or maybe… yes maybe, philosophy had played too much of an important role in the Church that it caused such illegals to be present. Maybe the true problem is that, since we cannot Scripturally counteract things such as evolution and such, the only recourse is to attack religious memberships of the past. Maybe I am wrong, but I doubt it. Maybe we need to focus more on the lost then the saved. So… “millions” have been hurt, okay, however, billions are lost, and yet we continue to bisker amongest ourselves about the “proper” “church” and yet, we are no closer then we were 2000 years ago. No, I am not ordained, no, I am not even a college graduate, and yet, so simple it seems to me the remedy… comply to the Great Commission and be done with trivial rivalries, be like the Baptist, if you don’t like it, or agree, start another freaking church… Oh, wait, thats been done already… forget healing and grace, forget the rest of the people left behind, worry about yourself 🙂 the American way… hell, Populist Christianity! (see my blog)

Jared

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43 thoughts on “Comment I posted…

  1. “the “worship” of Mary… etc etc etc… cannot be found in one Scripture, “

    Neither can sola scriptura.

    As admirable as your efforts are at being “conciliatory” and “plain sensical” where do you know where “common sense” ends and Jarrod’s sensibilities formed from a lifeltime of influences begins?

    Does the christological matter? Is there a right way to believe? Do the “Acts” trump concern for the belief so that what we beleif (which will influence how we act) doesn’t so much matter as how we act?

  2. SS, you just don’t understand: it is self-evident. It is, in epistemological terms, contingent and not necessary.

    But there is still a problem: how do I get these Scriptures? Maybe I should search myself for the Spirit to show me what is and what is not inspired? Maybe I should just throw all the books I have up in the air and the ones that land inside the circle are inspired? Or, maybe – just maybe – I can take the books that Holy Mother Church has told me are inspired but that would require for me to acknowledge that the Church has authority in these matters.

    Nothing is so ill thought out as is Sola Scriptura!

  3. Hi jzholloway,

    This is an interesting post.

    You said:

    “The early apologists even turned to philosophy… not Scripture (the O.T.) to defend our wonderful faith. Hence, Platonism and Stoicism are at the center of our beliefs, and once the Crusades came to bear, Aristotle came as well (just read Aquinas).”

    But I think your reasoning here is faulty. Consider how you made the transition from, “the early apologists used philosophy to defend the faith… therefore philosophy is at the center of our beliefs.” I simply cannot see how this is a valid inference. Even saying “used” denotes that for Christians philosophy had the function of defending the faith. It was instrumentally helpful for defending the faith, but hardly the center of it.

    This view can be seen in Origen’s epistle to Gregory Thaumaturgus (1). He says that, “my desire for you has been that you should direct the whole force of your intelligence to Christianity as your end.” Christianity is the very center and reason for all of this. For this reason he says, “And I would wish that you should take with you on the one hand those parts of the philosophy of the Greeks which are fit, as it were, to serve as general or preparatory studies for Christianity, and on the other hand so much of Geometry and Astronomy as may be helpful for the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.” The learning of the Greeks has the advantage of aiding our study of Scripture and knowledge of the faith. The exact extent to which Origen subordinates philosophy to Christianity can be seen in this analogy. “The children of the philosophers speak of geometry and music and grammar and rhetoric and astronomy as being ancillary to philosophy,” he says, “and in the same way we might speak of philosophy itself as being ancillary to Christianity.”

    So you can see that philosophy is see as “ancillary” as secondary to Christianity. It serves as a preparation for man to understand the gospel, and as a tool with which to more carefully examine the doctrine presented in Scripture, but never serves as more than that.

    The example which Origen draws from Scripture– and which becomes wildly popular among the Fathers, including Sts. Ambrose and Augustine– is the despoiling of the Egyptians by the Jews as they left Egypt. As they left Egypt, they were allowed to take the gold and precious garments of the Egyptians. Origen says that, “The Egyptians had not made a proper use of them; but the Hebrews used them, for the wisdom of God was with them, for religious purposes.” Only the Christians can properly despoil the Greeks of their wisdom and turn it to the right religious purposes of Christianity.

    Ambrose and Augustine would add, I believe, also that the Jews could only take the gold and silver on this condition: that they melt down and destroy the Egyptian idols. The same is true with Christianity and philosophy. It may only receive the pagan philosophy if it melts down its false idols, which are clearly seen in the light of the gospel.

    This view of philosophy is the one which must be correctly ascribed to the Church. For this reason, it is in error to criticize the Church on the grounds that philosophy became the center of the faith.

    Thomas does not disagree with this in any substantial way. In the beginning of the Summa Theologica he discusses what sacred doctrine is (2). At the first question he rejects the sufficiency of philosophy, arguing instead for the necessity of revelation. He says, “It was necessary for man’s salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God besides philosophical science built up by human reason” (Article 1). He also says that sacred doctrine is superior to the others saying, “ther sciences are called the handmaidens of this one” (Article 5). He thus puts philosophy in the position of handmaiden to theology.

    Thus it ever is in the Church. Philosophy is the handmaiden of theology, and not the center of the faith. While the Church from time to time has favored certain philosophical approaches, it always does so with the realization that it has the freedom to despoil Egypt of its gold and the command to melt down its idols. For this reason, the the Church is not tied to any specific philosophy but uses them as befits her. Pope John Paul II affirmed this in his encyclical, “Fides et Ratio,” saying (3) that the Church: “in no way intends to suggest that there is an official philosophy of the Church, since the faith as such is not a philosophy” (76).

    I would love to discuss the rest of your post with you.

    -Rob

    1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf09.xv.ii.html

    2. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1001.htm

    3. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html

  4. This all really seems to be your judgement of things. (The CAPS that folllow are for emphasis, not because I am shouting. I don’t know how to italicize)

    YOU have decided that the early church was run by man (whereas Christ tells us that he will send us the Holy Spirit to guide us).

    YOU have decided that elements of Platonism, stoicism and aristotelianism are incompatible with Christianity. (Should we forsake all science as well? Your mistake is in setting up these systems of thought as competing with our “system of thought”. But the Way is not a system of thought, not a philosphy. It is something else entirely.)

    -for the first 500 years or so the Church focused on Christology rather then the acts of Christ-

    YOU have decided that Christ’s acts were more important than who He was and is.

    -we are no closer then we were 2000 years ago.-

    One sixth of the world’s population is Catholic. I think we are doing great. But then, why this idea that we have to “do better?” There is no scriptural promise that says the whole world will be converted. Only that we are to spread the gospel.

  5. It seems that my original post didn’t go through. Here it is:

    Hi jzholloway,

    This is an interesting post.

    You said:

    “The early apologists even turned to philosophy… not Scripture (the O.T.) to defend our wonderful faith. Hence, Platonism and Stoicism are at the center of our beliefs, and once the Crusades came to bear, Aristotle came as well (just read Aquinas).”

    But I think your reasoning here is faulty. Consider how you made the transition from, “the early apologists used philosophy to defend the faith… therefore philosophy is at the center of our beliefs.” I simply cannot see how this is a valid inference. Even saying “used” denotes that for Christians philosophy had the function of defending the faith. It was instrumentally helpful for defending the faith, but hardly the center of it.

    This view can be seen in Origen’s epistle to Gregory Thaumaturgus (1). He says that, “my desire for you has been that you should direct the whole force of your intelligence to Christianity as your end.” Christianity is the very center and reason for all of this. For this reason he says, “And I would wish that you should take with you on the one hand those parts of the philosophy of the Greeks which are fit, as it were, to serve as general or preparatory studies for Christianity, and on the other hand so much of Geometry and Astronomy as may be helpful for the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.” The learning of the Greeks has the advantage of aiding our study of Scripture and knowledge of the faith. The exact extent to which Origen subordinates philosophy to Christianity can be seen in this analogy. “The children of the philosophers speak of geometry and music and grammar and rhetoric and astronomy as being ancillary to philosophy,” he says, “and in the same way we might speak of philosophy itself as being ancillary to Christianity.”

    So you can see that philosophy is see as “ancillary” as secondary to Christianity. It serves as a preparation for man to understand the gospel, and as a tool with which to more carefully examine the doctrine presented in Scripture, but never serves as more than that.

    The example which Origen draws from Scripture– and which becomes wildly popular among the Fathers, including Sts. Ambrose and Augustine– is the despoiling of the Egyptians by the Jews as they left Egypt. As they left Egypt, they were allowed to take the gold and precious garments of the Egyptians. Origen says that, “The Egyptians had not made a proper use of them; but the Hebrews used them, for the wisdom of God was with them, for religious purposes.” Only the Christians can properly despoil the Greeks of their wisdom and turn it to the right religious purposes of Christianity.

    Ambrose and Augustine would add, I believe, also that the Jews could only take the gold and silver on this condition: that they melt down and destroy the Egyptian idols. The same is true with Christianity and philosophy. It may only receive the pagan philosophy if it melts down its false idols, which are clearly seen in the light of the gospel.

    This view of philosophy is the one which must be correctly ascribed to the Church. For this reason, it is in error to criticize the Church on the grounds that philosophy became the center of the faith.

    Thomas does not disagree with this in any substantial way. In the beginning of the Summa Theologica he discusses what sacred doctrine is (2). At the first question he rejects the sufficiency of philosophy, arguing instead for the necessity of revelation. He says, “It was necessary for man’s salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God besides philosophical science built up by human reason” (Article 1). He also says that sacred doctrine is superior to the others saying, “ther sciences are called the handmaidens of this one” (Article 5). He thus puts philosophy in the position of handmaiden to theology.

    Thus it ever is in the Church. Philosophy is the handmaiden of theology, and not the center of the faith. While the Church from time to time has favored certain philosophical approaches, it always does so with the realization that it has the freedom to despoil Egypt of its gold and the command to melt down its idols. For this reason, the the Church is not tied to any specific philosophy but uses them as befits her. Pope John Paul II affirmed this in his encyclical, “Fides et Ratio,” saying (3) that the Church: “in no way intends to suggest that there is an official philosophy of the Church, since the faith as such is not a philosophy” (76).

    I would love to discuss the rest of your post with you.

    -Rob

    1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf09.xv.ii.html

    2. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1001.htm

    3. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html

  6. Actually… to all three, this comment needs to be read in the context of the article and comments that it is related to. Believe me, I find myself more Catholic then anything, and yet, it is the judgments that come from Catholics towards other Christians that bother me. Also, I believe that Platonism and Stoicism are no incompatible, wonderful components to Christianity.
    When I say ran by man… it was… men actually. I do believe the Holy Spirit GUIDED, but none of these men were perfect, just as today we are all sinners (Paul to the Romans) and have all fallen short of the glory of God.
    Concerning Christ’s acts… Christ never focused on Himself, but others… Christ focused on ministry… likewise, His apostles focused on ministry and service, i.e. to the poor, widows, etc. I am not saying that Christology was not, and is not important, and I do acknowledge there were many sects claiming other things about Christ, and yet, all of the councils in this era dealt with ONLY the nature of Christ and the like… not service, etc.
    Also, I have decided nothing. I have only opinions, just like you, and everyone else. I am not saying I am right, nor am I saying that you are wrong, I have only my own thoughts. As a final though… Catholics are 1/6 of the worlds population, and yet, Muslims out number are Christians (Catholics and Protestants and Orthodox together) and they are 700 years younger (okay, 650 years younger) And, though we would argue this conversion may have been done by force, but so were many Christian conversions after the Fall of Rome.

    And its Jared… not Jarrod, thanks 🙂

  7. Hi jzholloway,

    This is an interesting post.

    You said:

    “The early apologists even turned to philosophy… not Scripture (the O.T.) to defend our wonderful faith. Hence, Platonism and Stoicism are at the center of our beliefs, and once the Crusades came to bear, Aristotle came as well (just read Aquinas).”

    But I think your reasoning here is faulty. Consider how you made the transition from, “the early apologists used philosophy to defend the faith… therefore philosophy is at the center of our beliefs.” I simply cannot see how this is a valid inference. Even saying “used” denotes that for Christians philosophy had the function of defending the faith. It was instrumentally helpful for defending the faith, but hardly the center of it.

    This view can be seen in Origen’s epistle to Gregory Thaumaturgus (1). He says that, “my desire for you has been that you should direct the whole force of your intelligence to Christianity as your end.” Christianity is the very center and reason for all of this. For this reason he says, “And I would wish that you should take with you on the one hand those parts of the philosophy of the Greeks which are fit, as it were, to serve as general or preparatory studies for Christianity, and on the other hand so much of Geometry and Astronomy as may be helpful for the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.” The learning of the Greeks has the advantage of aiding our study of Scripture and knowledge of the faith. The exact extent to which Origen subordinates philosophy to Christianity can be seen in this analogy. “The children of the philosophers speak of geometry and music and grammar and rhetoric and astronomy as being ancillary to philosophy,” he says, “and in the same way we might speak of philosophy itself as being ancillary to Christianity.”

    So you can see that philosophy is see as “ancillary” as secondary to Christianity. It serves as a preparation for man to understand the gospel, and as a tool with which to more carefully examine the doctrine presented in Scripture, but never serves as more than that.

    The example which Origen draws from Scripture– and which becomes wildly popular among the Fathers, including Sts. Ambrose and Augustine– is the despoiling of the Egyptians by the Jews as they left Egypt. As they left Egypt, they were allowed to take the gold and precious garments of the Egyptians. Origen says that, “The Egyptians had not made a proper use of them; but the Hebrews used them, for the wisdom of God was with them, for religious purposes.” Only the Christians can properly despoil the Greeks of their wisdom and turn it to the right religious purposes of Christianity.

  8. Ambrose and Augustine would add, I believe, also that the Jews could only take the gold and silver on this condition: that they melt down and destroy the Egyptian idols. The same is true with Christianity and philosophy. It may only receive the pagan philosophy if it melts down its false idols, which are clearly seen in the light of the gospel.

    This view of philosophy is the one which must be correctly ascribed to the Church. For this reason, it is in error to criticize the Church on the grounds that philosophy became the center of the faith.

    Thomas does not disagree with this in any substantial way. In the beginning of the Summa Theologica he discusses what sacred doctrine is (2). At the first question he rejects the sufficiency of philosophy, arguing instead for the necessity of revelation. He says, “It was necessary for man’s salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God besides philosophical science built up by human reason” (Article 1). He also says that sacred doctrine is superior to the others saying, “ther sciences are called the handmaidens of this one” (Article 5). He thus puts philosophy in the position of handmaiden to theology.

    Thus it ever is in the Church. Philosophy is the handmaiden of theology, and not the center of the faith. While the Church from time to time has favored certain philosophical approaches, it always does so with the realization that it has the freedom to despoil Egypt of its gold and the command to melt down its idols. For this reason, the the Church is not tied to any specific philosophy but uses them as befits her. Pope John Paul II affirmed this in his encyclical, “Fides et Ratio,” saying (3) that the Church: “in no way intends to suggest that there is an official philosophy of the Church, since the faith as such is not a philosophy” (76).

    I would love to discuss the rest of your post with you.

    -Rob

    1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf09.xv.ii.html

    2. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1001.htm

    3. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html

  9. Ambrose and Augustine would add, I believe, also that the Jews could only take the gold and silver on this condition: that they melt down and destroy the Egyptian idols. The same is true with Christianity and philosophy. It may only receive the pagan philosophy if it melts down its false idols, which are clearly seen in the light of the gospel.

    This view of philosophy is the one which must be correctly ascribed to the Church. For this reason, it is in error to criticize the Church on the grounds that philosophy became the center of the faith.

    Thomas does not disagree with this in any substantial way. In the beginning of the Summa Theologica he discusses what sacred doctrine is (2). At the first question he rejects the sufficiency of philosophy, arguing instead for the necessity of revelation. He says, “It was necessary for man’s salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God besides philosophical science built up by human reason” (Article 1). He also says that sacred doctrine is superior to the others saying, “ther sciences are called the handmaidens of this one” (Article 5). He thus puts philosophy in the position of handmaiden to theology.

  10. Thus it ever is in the Church. Philosophy is the handmaiden of theology, and not the center of the faith. While the Church from time to time has favored certain philosophical approaches, it always does so with the realization that it has the freedom to despoil Egypt of its gold and the command to melt down its idols. For this reason, the the Church is not tied to any specific philosophy but uses them as befits her. Pope John Paul II affirmed this in his encyclical, “Fides et Ratio,” saying (3) that the Church: “in no way intends to suggest that there is an official philosophy of the Church, since the faith as such is not a philosophy” (76). The Gospel is the center of our faith, not philosophy.

    I would love to discuss the rest of your post with you.

    -Rob

    1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf09.xv.ii.html

    2. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1001.htm

    3. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html

  11. Ah, darn thing’s been eating my posts. Here’s the conclusion.

    Thus it ever is in the Church. Philosophy is the handmaiden of theology, and not the center of the faith. While the Church from time to time has favored certain philosophical approaches, it always does so with the realization that it has the freedom to despoil Egypt of its gold and the command to melt down its idols. For this reason, the the Church is not tied to any specific philosophy but uses them as befits her. Pope John Paul II affirmed this in his encyclical, “Fides et Ratio,” saying (3) that the Church: “in no way intends to suggest that there is an official philosophy of the Church, since the faith as such is not a philosophy” (76).

    I would love to discuss the rest of your post with you.

    -Rob

    1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf09.xv.ii.html

    2. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1001.htm

    3. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html

  12. Thus it ever is in the Church. Philosophy is the handmaiden of theology, and not the center of the faith. While the Church from time to time has favored certain philosophical approaches, it always does so with the realization that it has the freedom to despoil Egypt of its gold and the command to melt down its idols. For this reason, the the Church is not tied to any specific philosophy but uses them as befits her. Pope John Paul II affirmed this in his encyclical, “Fides et Ratio,” saying (3) that the Church: “in no way intends to suggest that there is an official philosophy of the Church, since the faith as such is not a philosophy” (76).

    I would love to discuss the rest of your post with you.

    -Rob

    1. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf09.xv.ii.html

    2. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1001.htm

  13. Thus it ever is in the Church. Philosophy is the handmaiden of theology, and not the center of the faith. While the Church from time to time has favored certain philosophical approaches, it always does so with the realization that it has the freedom to despoil Egypt of its gold and the command to melt down its idols. For this reason, the the Church is not tied to any specific philosophy but uses them as befits her. Pope John Paul II affirmed this in his encyclical, “Fides et Ratio,” saying (3) that the Church: “in no way intends to suggest that there is an official philosophy of the Church, since the faith as such is not a philosophy” (76).

    I would love to discuss the rest of your post with you.

    -Rob

  14. It doesn’t seem to want to let me post any links. My apologies! If you need any of the links I was going to provide… I’ll find some way of getting them to you.

  15. Jared,

    It’s just the links to my sources for this article– my quotes from Origen, Thomas and JPII. If you want to read them in context, tell me.

    I’m interested in your response.

  16. ” it is the judgments that come from Catholics towards other Christians that bother me.”

    I am trying to understand what those bothersome judgments are in your book. From there I guess we can discuss why they bother you.

  17. Robert… I will get to you later, sorry for the delay in my reply, but my day has been quite busy.

    SS… I really do not like that term (German heritage and all!) so simplesinner 🙂 will have to do.

    Judgments…

    Rome is the one true Church, Salvation can only be found through the Roman Catholic Church, Protestants have tenants of faith, but are in great need of more.

    Now, I will agree, Protestants in their majority lack many purposeful activities contained in the Roman Catholic Church, however, I would also contend that their salvation is secure. Let me again note, I am more Roman then anything in my thinking, and again, as said before, the comment posted needs to be taken into context of the post and comments it was related to, and sadly, my Roman brethren have sorely missed the context and its relation to the topic. Albeit the case however, I recognize I should have clarified my statements, and that is a mistake upon my responsibility and judgment.

    My case rests in this, we are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God… St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans… and therefore we all ere in judgment, whether or not we are led by the Holy Spirit or not. Moses himself was led by the Holy Spirit of God, and he himself erred through sin and was not able to enter into the Promised Land. It would be irresponsible to say that the leadership of the Roman Church, or any other Church for that matter, has not erred and made mistakes. Also, it would be irresponsible to say that all matters of Faith and Dogma issued by the Papacy are perfect and without question, since many things have been changed over time (i.e. Church Councils, the Gregorian Revolution, etc.) I have no idea why it is so hard for Christians… of all colors… to acknowledge that they may be wrong in some aspects of faith, not saying that their salvation and true belief is in danger, but that it is possible for the ideas of man, and not God, to exist within the confines of Church Doctrine. To me, to believe otherwise is foolish.
    Now, saying that, as a historical injucture, to prove myself, the split between East and West… Rome and Constantinople was a total political debacle by both sides to rest power of the Church. The one See of the West versus the other Sees of the East, resulting in the split of the Church. Both held the same dogmas, unless you count the Coptics who came about after the Council of Chalcedon, and both had the same primary liturgies, etc… and yet, because of power… yes, the pursuit of power, they split. Christ said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Gospel of St. Matthew, and yet, after Luther, millions of Protestants (as well as Catholics) are killed because of “heresy.” Now, to me, heresy does not warrant killing or death, but, to remain in power, one must destroy their enemies, therefore, historically, I would contend that Rome, and Her vassals, killed their enemies (Protestants… and vice versa) to retain, or gain power… is that Biblical? OR Christian? Likewise, the only reason the Cruades were attempted was so that the Papacy could regain control over Europe as well as attempt a “passive” “takeover,” or rather, unification with the East… didn’t work.
    What bothers me… to be frank, is the arrogant assumption that only Rome matters. Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and yes, even Jerusalem mean nothing… Luther, means nothing (even though he wished to retain most of the Roman rites and principles.) In essence, since I am not confirmed in the Roman Rite, I mean nothing, I can not recieve communion by a Roman priest, even though I believe in the Real Presence, I believe in the seven Sacraments, I believe in Christ’s Virgin Birth, Death and Resurrection, I believe in the Trinity, I believe in the Grace that God confers upon mankind, through His Will and Sacraments, etc etc etc… and yet, to Rome, I am still not good enough. I can defend the Holy Father, I can defend the Church with my life, and yet, since I am not strictly Roman Catholic, I am less then Christian. No wonder Protestants hate Rome so much, and though I do not hate Rome… I love Her, and I have been guided by Her for quite sometime, I do not believe She is the one and only, likewise, I do not believe in many Protestant concepts such as predestination, or the “rapture,” – see previous Populist Christianity posts.
    Anyways, I guess my “judgments” stem from a historical record of were the Church of Rome has decreed things, and over the course of time, remitted their decrees… and yet, in dogma, it is infallible, and yet, dogma has been changed… so, I guess… who was right, and who was wrong? I bet Galileo would love to know 🙂

  18. Now to Robert… This will be quicker then I thought! First, I agree completely with you! My point, again needing to be with the context 🙂 was simply that the early apologist, including the ones you mentioned, as well as St. Justin Martyr, etc… used Hellenistic Philosophy to defend the Christian faith… my usage of it being at the center of the defense was simply used because of the fact that they defended Christianity against the Roman Culture which knew philosophy, and did not know the Hebrew Scriptures.

  19. Of course, the problem may stem from the fact that for the first 500 years or so the Church focused on Christology rather then the acts of Christ, or maybe Christianity was too dumbed down in the West during the dark ages, or maybe… yes maybe, philosophy had played too much of an important role in the Church that it caused such illegals to be present.

    Philosophy is employed in Catholic thought because reason and revealed faith are not imposed. It is a strength of Catholicism that we do not need a biblical proftext for every discussion. This would make conversation with non-believers almost impossible–as is the case for evangelicals.

    Still, the point is that reason and faith are not opposed. If God has created all things and he has created human intelligence then human intelligence should be able to discern basic principles which are in harmony with revealed truth. That is, if revealed truth is opposed to the truth as discerned by human reason, then we are no longer believing in the God who created the universe.

    You may be interested in a post I am presently working on regarding Natural Law and homosexuality.

  20. Dear Jared,

    First, I’d like to state that the numbers do not mean much. There are many reason for the overall numbers of Christians vs Muslims vs others, but that does not matter. Coming from the Middle East myself, I can attest that although we were far outnumbered, and persecution and massacres worked to decrease the numbers we even had, Christ was and always will be the Way, the Truth, the Life.

    Since Christ is the Savior, and salvation is through Him, it was important to know Him. The early Church’s concern about christology was always an issue of soteriology. Read Nestorius’s apology, and you will see that he is completely enthralled in the christological debates because of the importance of the human nature of Christ in the salvation scheme. Remember, in the end, Christianity is salvation. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” The debates were inspired in that the Orthodox definition that emerged through those Ecumenical Councils was dogmatic.

    Let me take a break here, and explain to some who may question how someone of the Church of the East (CotE for short) tradition can say such a statement. When you look at the saints and doctors of our Church, and the confession of Christ that they put forward {even in the 6th century} you will see them completely in tune with those of the Western confession. The CotE was never nestorian, the heresy ascribed to St. Nestorius, as he is venerated in the old CotE tradition. We understood Nestorius to be teaching something other than what he was accused off.

    The problem seems to be an issue of how the various traditions made their expression of faith, which was influenced by the different meanings certain words took on over time. Now in the Catholic Church, you have churches that were once accused of monophysitism {eg. the Coptic} and nestorianism {the Chaldean}. These have reconciled with Orthodoxy, coming into communion with Rome, understanding that their sacred traditions and holy fathers were not upholding the heterodox beliefs they were accused of.

    I believe that God works all things to the good for those who love Him. This means that even the great schisms that happened in the early times, and the great schism of East and West {from the Western viewpoint… for use Easterners it was a schism between Westerners between the West and the not so far West}, and even the Protestant schism had positive things.

    For a simple example, our Church remaining isolated outside of the Roman Empire meant that we were able to keep some things relatively uninfluenced by developments in the West, and thus we were able to provide an ancient Semitic based faith back to the West. The Anaphora of Mar Addai and Mar Mari is one such deposit that enriches the Christian tradition.

    The Protestant schism had its benefits too. One example, within the Catholic Church is that many of the abuses that had bothered people were cleaned up. What the Protestants did wrong though was to break away from the Church rather than help renew through within the structure of the Church. That is a difference between Luther and St. Francis for example.

    Now, in terms of Rome. Every Christian Apostolic tradition clearly identifies the preeminence of Rome above the other Patriarchal Sees. For me, and the rest of our diocese that just recently entered communion with Rome, once the charges of heresy were no longer applied to either side, meaning that even our Orthodoxy was recognized, there was no option, according to the teachings of MY church fathers and the tradition of MY church, other than full communion with Rome, with the Bishop of Rome having a special place among all other bishops.

    To understand this, we need to stop thinking about things in human terms. Hierarchy in the Church is not just some thing that men wanted. It is not a matter of position and prestige that people wanted bishops. That should not be the reason why people become bishops, or priests, or deacons. Those positions are servant positions. What binds Christians to each other is Divine Love. The Church is the body of Christ, and we all are members of His body, and we all are partakers of His Holy Spirit. In order for you to consider yourself a Christian you must be in communion with someone. A bishop cannot be an Orthodox bishop by standing contra mundum; usually it is the heretic that stands contra mundum.

    Now part of being a body means that there is a need for a head. Yes I know God is the head of all, but we are men and need a human head. That is why there are bishops. That is why bishops have metropolitans {archbishops}. That is why there are patriarchs. And that is why one patriarch needs to be above his brothers. And in the Apostolic tradition that position is the bishop of Rome.

    Notice that I have stayed away from mentioning what privilege the Pope has above other patriarchs, as there is argument over that for example by most of our brothers in the Eastern Orthodox. But even those in the Eastern Orthodox communion would admit that the position of preeminence is given to the Pope, and it is only a matter of what that entails that is disputed. For us in the Oriental and the Church of the East traditions, with our strongly hierarchical Church structures, it means quite a lot.

    These are just some thoughts to think about Jared. The Romans do not make the “arrogant assumption” that only they matter. They do have a unique position, in that that great city was blessed, because in it are laid the bones of two martyrs, St. Peter, the head of the Apostles, and St. Paul, the teacher of the nations.

    Also, I see a Rome that cares for all the other Christians in the world, and has even often assisted and advocated for them. Is this a perfect world? Were there no aggressions against other Christians in the past? No… We are in this fallen world. But right now, I see a Rome that is no longer aggressor but has taken on the role of protector, calling all brothers back into communion.

    By the way… I don’t think that I can think of a single instance where dogma has changed. Is there one specifically that you were thinking of?

    Peace,
    Anthony

  21. Dear Jared,

    Thanks for your response. If we have no real difference there, then we ought to rejoice before God, as I am sure the very angels do when divided brothers may rejoice in unity. But we still have much to go before we are in complete agreement. I would like to examine a few other things you said.

    You said: “Also, the practice of Indulgences, the belief in Purgatory, the “worship” of Mary… etc etc etc… cannot be found in one Scripture, and yet, to Rome, it is Dogma.”

    Now, I would like to point out a few things. The first is that you are implicitly assuming the doctrine of “sola scriptura” or the bible alone. You say, “X is a doctrine,” and “X is not found in Scripture,” therefore, “X is wrong.” The hidden premise here is, “Any doctrine, X, which is not found in Scripture is wrong.” But this is certainly in dispute.

    This itself is a doctrine, which clearly informs other doctrines. At this very juncture you think in a very different way than Catholics do. If you would like to support the doctrine of sola scriptura, I’d be happy to discuss it with you. However, I will tell you that you will not find support for it in Scripture. It is a false presupposition to begin with.

    Next, as to Marian doctrine and indulgences. Like I have said, sola scriptura is an erroneous doctrine. If this is the case, then even if these doctrines are not found in Scripture, you haven’t mounted a sufficient refutation of them. I would, however, note that these doctrines are anticipated in Scripture in various ways. If one believes in addition that 1. Sacred Tradition is also revealed by God, 2. That the Church has the responsibility of guarding the sacred deposit of faith, and 3. doctrine goes through a process of development, then one can easily conclude that these doctrines are completely legitimate developments of Christianity. The question you must ask is why you reject our Catholic developments arbitrarily, while taking the developments which you like more yourself (e.g., developed doctrine on the Trinity and the Incarnation, etc.). I think that a close look at the question of doctrine and its development will ultimately lead one to accept Catholic doctrine “whole and entire.”

    “Also, Jesus never said Peter would be perfect in Dogma (no even a word for Jesus), and yet, the infallibility of the Pope, when speaking Ex Cathedra, well… is dogma!”

    Again, this presupposes sola scriptura, and even assumes that doctrinal development is invalid. I would point to two things which function as seeds for the fully developed doctrine on the papacy. The first is the obvious Petrine primacy in the Scriptures, as characterized by Matthew 16:16-18. The second is the infallibility of the Church as manifested by the reality of it being guided by the Holy Spirit and Paul’s statement that she is the “pillar and ground of the truth” and Jesus’ statement that “the gates of hell will not prevail against” it. I think both of these come together to help us understand papal infallibility. Infallibility is not something which the pope has, which he bequeaths to the Church, rather, infallibility is something which the Church has which is expressed in the Pope, and also by the college of bishops in communion with the Pope. It is only natural that as the Church came to a deeper understanding of the Petrine primacy that she would come to understand his role of leading the infallible Church even better.

    But if you disagree that the Church is infallible then you are barking up the wrong tree to start with– the prior and more important question is whether the Church is infallible. You probably disagree with this, but when it comes to the great tradition, there is no question that the Church is indeed infallible.

    You said:

    “Historically the Church has been run by men, therefore, inevitably it has been flawed. These flaws are evident on all sides, so, therefore, maybe we are all illegal immigrants in the Kingdom of God!”

    The problem here is a simple equivocation. What do you mean by flawed? Let us distinguish two types of flaws. The first type is moral flaw– sin. The second type is a flaw with regard to truth– error. It is the case that men are flawed, and thus that their administration of the Church is flawed. But when we say this we focus on men’s moral flaws– on sin. And so the Church is filled with sinners, and we agree with this. But when you say that the Church is flawed doctrinally, this is far from clear. Indeed, any Catholic would dispute just this, for we assert that the Church is free from error in certain, specific circumstances, namely whenever infallibility (of the papal, conciliar or ordinary kind) is true. Now, it’s not enough to say that “men are sinners” therefore the Church is in error. That doesn’t follow whatsoever. The equivocation is going from, men are flawed (morally) to men are flawed (with regards to truth). And so to start with you’d need to assume that these men are in error– but again, we wouldn’t accept such a presupposition.

    The only challenge against the Church’s infallibility would be to say that something it has infallibly declared is in error. Everything else– speaking about moral failings, or even error in members of the Church when they aren’t promulgating something which is infallible– is all irrelevant. And you’ve given no reason so far for us to change our minds about that. Since you see now that the scope of infallibility isn’t quite such a foolhardy claim, I hope you’ll reconsider and start accepting it.

    “If this is the case, then Luther was 100 percent wrong, indulgences… and fear of sin, etc etc was right, therefore I must be behind in my mortgage for my mansion in heaven since I have failed to pay even one indulgence. Was Luther a sinner? Yes”

    Again, I think you have some misconceptions here. Indulgences do not forgive “sin” in the proper sense. The sacrament of Penance is needed to forgive post-baptismal sin. Indulgences help to cover the temporal penalty due to sin. To get an indulgence you must already be in a state of grace, that is, you must already be a Christian who is going to go to heaven were he to die at that point, in order to get the indulgence. Indulgences do not forgive the eternal penalty due to sin, so indulgences cannot in any way shape or form “get you into heaven.” There is nothing particularly troublesome about the theology of indulgences, and if you take some time to come to understand them I hope you’ll see that too. Please ask us if you’d like to understand more.

    At the end you gave a call for denominationalism– I want to caution you against this. If truth matters, and since Jesus is the Truth, I think it does– then God is not indifferent about whether or not we profess true doctrine. In John 6, when Jesus tells his disciples they must eat His flesh and drink His blood, most of his disciples abandon him because they would not accept the truth of what He was saying. Truth matters very much, and not just any denomination will cut it.

    I hope you think these things over, and I’d love to dialogue more with you. God bless.

    -Rob

  22. Rob, first let me say good post. Thanks for that. Just a couple of questions to allow ME to better understand your thoughts.

    1. What is meant by, “Truth matters very much, and not just any denomination will cut it.) I know that truth matters but are we bashing different denominations now? I am by no means saying you are, I just wanted claification.

    2. O.K. I will bite. Please explain how, “Indulgences help to cover the temporal penalty due to sin.” Before I make any comment on this I will as you said above, “ask to understand more.”

    Mike+

    Jared, be nice.

    Big Bro.

  23. “I know that truth matters but are we bashing different denominations now? I am by no means saying you are, I just wanted claification.”

    It would be a stretch (though I cannot speak for Rob) to say that this statement necessarily leads to “bashing”.

    We need to be careful to not reduce the voices of matters of disagreement on various and sundry issues to be “bashing” or “bashers”.

  24. Christ’s Death and Resurrection covered the penalty for sin. Thats what the Scripture says… of course, it also says Faith without works is dead… but indulgences are not “works,” they were a historical means for the historical Church to receive funds – especially since the tithe was not being preached nor practiced by many. Saint Paul – who called himself the chief of all sinners… had no more grace conferred to him then any other Christian, nor does his merits out weigh any other Christians merits… we are all sinners, this, we are all subject to the flesh – that is until we receive Baptism, and therefore able to receive the Eucharist and the other Sacraments in which the Grace of God is rendered to us. The Old Man passes away, and we are now a New Creation. If Purgatory is relevant, and if I, or anyone else needs this “treasure of merits” which came about for by the Saints, then that, in my mind, lessens the works and Sacrifice of Christ… just as does the Reformed doctrine on Predestination – if God has already chosen who is saved and who is damned, then Christ did not need to Sacrifice Himself, nor did the Father need to allow it to happen. Anyways… my priest and big brother told me to play nice 🙂

  25. Mike,

    Thanks for your post.

    I’m certainly not bashing any denominations. I’ve personally seen some of the good that other denominations do, and the devotion to Jesus which they encourage. There is so much good in other denominations. Our love of Jesus is a substantial area of agreement. What I am pointing out is merely that where we disagree doctrinally it is not necessarily a case of indifference or Christian freedom. For instance, take the Eucharist. Catholics profess that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus. Other denominations lean to very symbolic views– for instance, Baptists. This is not a matter of opinion. While I am sure that Baptists are very sincere about their beliefs, it simply is the case that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus, and no amount of good feelings can cover the plain truth of the matter. When it comes to a question of truth and error, I cannot be indifferent, and I don’t think Jesus would encourage that either. Does that help?

    You said: “2. O.K. I will bite. Please explain how, “Indulgences help to cover the temporal penalty due to sin.” Before I make any comment on this I will as you said above, “ask to understand more.”

    I like to think of indulgences in terms of the life of charity and of Christian perfection. Catholic theology already begins with the recognition that God calls us to the highest degree of holiness. “Be ye therefore holy as your Father in heaven in holy.” It’s a tall order, but we’re confident that the God who commanded us to do this will also give us sufficient grace to do it, for He is loving and merciful.

    When we ask what happens to people who have not reached the height of Christian perfection, we realize first of all that this is insufficient to enter into heaven. As the Apocalypse says of the New Jerusalem, “nothing unclean will enter it” (Rev 21:27). The Catholic understanding of Purgatory is that the defects which we have in this life are cleansed in Purgatory so that we may have admission to heaven.

    As you probably know, Catholics categorize sin as both mortal and venial– sin which cuts us off from communion with God, and sin which weakens our communion with God (without severing us from the life of charity). In baptism we are completely forgiven of all our sin. However, whenever we sin we reinforce in ourselves an “unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory” (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1472). Basically, it is a failing with regards to the first commandment– we have not loved God completely, totally and above all things. Rather, we have been defective in loving “creatures” (created things) before God. All sin involves this, and all sinners need to be purified even of slight imperfections of this order before they can be admitted into heaven. Speaking of Purgatory the Catechism says, “This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin” (CCC 1472).

    Some examples of sinners, who were forgiven for their sin, but who nevertheless still had to undergo a purifying punishment before God are Moses and David. For Moses, his failings caused the punishment by God that he would not be allowed to enter the promised land with the people. God says, “Because you were not faithful to me in showing forth my sanctity before the Israelites, you shall not lead this community into the land I will give them” (Num 20:12). For David, his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of Uzziah cause a most difficult punishment. Nathan says to David, “The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the LORD by this deed, the child born to you must surely die” (2 Sam 12: 13-14).

    So, although sin is forgiven, God still allows us to undergo punishments and suffering so that we may be purified from our unhealthy attachment to creatures.

    It is temporal as opposed to eternal. The punishment of hell is a matter of justice which will go on eternally. Purgatory is primarily remedial.

    Now, man can heal this unhealthy attachment to creatures in several ways. Undergoing punishment or suffering with charity is one way. But it is, as saints like St. Therese recognize, the least of the ways. This is because suffering in itself does not have value, only suffering undergone with charity. When man repents of his sins and receives the sacrament of Penance, to the degree that he does so with charity, he will no longer need to lessen this temporal punishment. Likewise, whenever man does any good work, to the degree that he does it with charity, it cleanses him of the temporal punishment for sin by helping to correctly subordinate his love of creatures to the love of God. What indulgences do is try to encourage the life of charity in the repentant Christian. They are ordered essentially towards the life of charity. The current Enchridion Indulgentiarum, in the English translation prepared by the US bishops in the, “Manual of Indulgences” says that, “all these grants [about indulgences] complement one another and, while drawing the faithful by the gift of an indulgence to perform works of devotion, charity, and penance, lead them through charity to a more intimate union with Christ the Head and with the Church his Body” (pg. 39).

    The very point of the indulgence is to spur the Christian to live more deeply the life of charity . The Church tries to use its God-given power to bind and loose and to forgive sin, in order not to “tie heavy burdens, difficult to carry” for the Christian. The Church encourages repentance, charity and devotion by liberally using its power to bestow and lavish God’s grace upon Christians. And so, by indulgences, the Church seeks to spur on its members to the life of Christian perfection which Jesus calls all of us to.

    That was very diffuse… but I suppose I did hit the question once or twice.

    “Christ’s Death and Resurrection covered the penalty for sin.”

    Indeed. Christ came primarily to save us from eternal damnation, but by our baptism all of our sin and all penalty for sin is cleansed from us. The question relates to post-baptismal sin. The ordinary way of forgiveness of sins after baptism is through the sacrament of Penance. This sacrament is primarily for the absolution of mortal sins, although of course it also absolves venial sins. It also wipes away the temporal penalty due to sin to the degree that the sinner repents with charity. But, to the degree that contrition is imperfect sinners still need to be rightly ordered. It is manifest that even when we receive forgiveness for our sins, we still are disordered: we still have a propensity to sin, or an attachment to sin. The order of charity is aimed towards healing the human person and making him whole. If the disordered nature of our soul is not corrected in this life, we certainly need to have it corrected before we can enter heaven. Catholics, of course, teach that this is done after death in Purgatory. Indulgences are merely an extension of this– a special way that man can repair the disorderedness of his soul in this life. Works of charity, of course, do this as well. Indulgences are merely the Church’s pledge to “match” the work which the sinner performs with an equal grant from the treasury of merit.

    “but indulgences are not “works,” they were a historical means for the historical Church to receive funds – especially since the tithe was not being preached nor practiced by many”

    Indulgences were applied to the work of almsgiving. However, this hardly means that they were just an historical means to receive funds. They clearly come out of the developing understanding of the doctrine of purgatory. If you have good historical sources which can corroborate your assertion, please give them to me. Otherwise, this just sounds like typical Protestant polemic against Catholicism.

    “Saint Paul – who called himself the chief of all sinners… had no more grace conferred to him then any other Christian, nor does his merits out weigh any other Christians merits… we are all sinners, this, we are all subject to the flesh”

    God offers every person infinite grace, but not every sinner receives infinite grace. We only receive grace to the degree that we cooperate with God. It sounds presumptuous to claim that all of us cooperate with grace as well as the greatest saints of the Christian religion, like Saint Paul. As to the question of merits, James testifies that the prayers of a righteous man are very effective. I have no doubt that the prayers of St. Paul are far more powerful in aid of my intercession than simply any other person.

    “If Purgatory is relevant, and if I, or anyone else needs this “treasure of merits” which came about for by the Saints, then that, in my mind, lessens the works and Sacrifice of Christ…”

    The treasury of merits, you should know, is primarily composed of the infinite merit which Jesus Christ won by His passion, death and resurrection. It hardly lessens the work of Christ– it is composed entirely of the work of Christ, and of the merit which the saints won only with the aid of the grace of Christ. It can only affirm the potency and necessity of Christ’s grace, for the saints cannot merit except by cooperating with the grace which Jesus Christ won for them by His sacrifice.

    -Rob

  26. On another note… the Bible… never says we should offer Penance… but offer Confession of our sins, and as long as we do (as well as forgive others – Matt. 28) we are forgiven. The Consequences of our sins are felt IN the world in which we live… not the after life, not some mythical place called purgatory, and no indulgence is needed to free me of time there… or give me grace. Grace is given freely by God, and my faith is shown through my workd… i.e. Worship, prayer, charity, TITHING, ministering to the poor, the widow, etc. Now… as a person who actually does love Roman theology and practice.. which I do… I do love the idea of penance, but, penance is not required. Granted, worldly judgments may be passed… sentences may be pronounced… one might actually have to take responsibility for his or her actions, but spiritually, God forgives and remembers ones sins no more… puts them as far from the east is from the west (pretty damn far)… so therefore.. postmortem punishment, for sin that God has forgiven and forgotten, makes no sense… however… in away, I guess one could see this life as a sorda purgatory. I will give credit though, the act of Penance demonstrated in the movie “The Mission,” is one of the most powerful theatrical scenes I have ever seen. God Bless! 🙂

  27. Apropos: “Oh, and btw.. its Father Mike… he is a priest, and my big brother (I don’t want to start **** like for the reason this post even started.. again see the this post on http://cechealing.wordpress.com – the “Thanks, Phil” or whatever article)… and yes **** = shit”

    To be fair, your brother did not self-identify as a clergyman in a fashion Robert – a cradle Catholic – would have recognized as easily… the “+” behind one’s name is not as commonly found in Catholic circles… An easy mistake to make, I am sure no slight was intended.

  28. Jzholloway,

    “On another note… the Bible… never says we should offer Penance… but offer Confession of our sins, and as long as we do (as well as forgive others – Matt. 2 8) we are forgiven. The Consequences of our sins are felt IN the world in which we live… not the after life, not some mythical place called purgatory, and no indulgence is needed to free me of time there… or give me grace.”

    I do agree about forgiveness, but it’s besides the point. If you note, the current practice of the Catholic Church is to assign penance *after* sacramental absolution, because one is first forgiven of their sins (mortal and venial) and *then* is asked to make penance (which helps in a small way to make up and re-order the world and one’s soul). As you note, the sin is forgiven but its consequences still exist. You’ve ceded to me that point at least. The consequences exist in the natural order, where our sins have disordered the world, and in ourselves, where our sins have disordered our souls. The point of penance has always been to re-order these two things. We have been forgiven, but we have not been completely sanctified, and so we need to be sanctified still.

    Now, if you agree that sin has consequences, especially in the soul, which have to be re-ordered, then you’ve already agreed to a basic point which constitutes the doctrine on purgatory. Because, as I’ve explained, if the soul must be completely and rightly ordered before it is admitted to heaven, then a person who dies before being completely purified must have that done to him in an intermediate state.

    So, while no indulgence is needed, it sure does help.

    “Grace is given freely by God, and my faith is shown through my workd… i.e. Worship, prayer, charity, TITHING, ministering to the poor, the widow, etc. Now… as a person who actually does love Roman theology and practice.. which I do… I do love the idea of penance, but, penance is not required.”

    It’s only not required in the narrowest and strictest sense. Remember that Jesus calls us all to the life of Christian perfection. Be perfect, therefore, as your Father in heaven in perfect! Penance is necessary to walk this life of perfection.

    I ask you to consider what exactly the effect of doing works of charity is in the soul of the Christian believer.

    “Granted, worldly judgments may be passed… sentences may be pronounced… one might actually have to take responsibility for his or her actions, but spiritually, God forgives and remembers ones sins no more… puts them as far from the east is from the west (pretty damn far)… so therefore.. postmortem punishment, for sin that God has forgiven and forgotten, makes no sense…”

    God forgives the sin, but as I noted, the consequences remain. These consequences need to be dealt with before a person goes to heaven. It does make sense, without having to contradict God’s forgiveness.

    “however… in away, I guess one could see this life as a sorda purgatory. I will give credit though, the act of Penance demonstrated in the movie “The Mission,” is one of the most powerful theatrical scenes I have ever seen. God Bless!”

    I agree with you that this life can be our purgatory for us. That’s the entire point of penance and indulgences– by works of charity we cleanse and re-order our souls properly so that we can live the life of Christian perfection here on earth. I ask you to consider how if penance is possible, what it does and why. I think you’ll find out that you’re closer to the Catholic theology than you think. God bless you too!

    Fr. Mike,

    Mea culpa! I inadvertently omitted your title. I meant no disrespect by it.

    -Rob

  29. To all, no disrespect taken… I’m enjoying all the conversation. While we may not all agree with everyone we are still the body and make up the bride.

    Rob, you said “God offers every person infinite grace, but not every sinner receives infinite grace. We only receive grace to the degree that we cooperate with God.”

    This has got to be one of the greatest statements I’ve heard in a long time. Imagine that, cooperate with God. That reminds me of a statement that a person said to me several years ago. “God loves us , but to feel god’s love we have to allow him to love us.” Great insight Rob. Oh well, can’t hang around too long today.

    Fr. Mike.

  30. If God offers us infinite grace… and all we have to do is accept it, then indulgences mean nothing, as long as we accept God’s infinite grace. God desires for us to lay everything down and seek His face… therefore, not indulgences does He want… but our lives…

  31. Jzholloway,

    You said: “If God offers us infinite grace… and all we have to do is accept it, then indulgences mean nothing, as long as we accept God’s infinite grace. God desires for us to lay everything down and seek His face… therefore, not indulgences does He want… but our lives…”

    If we perfectly received God’s grace, there would be no need to persevere in straining towards the life of Christian perfection. If that were the case, no indulgence would be needed for ourselves. But for those of us who are still imperfect, who sin and incur the temporal penalty due to sin, indulgences are a merciful help. I completely agree with you: God wants us, completely. But I disagree that this conflicts with the doctrine on indulgences. In fact, indulgences are conducive to that very end.

  32. Hey Robert and hang, sorry I haven’t gotten back to ya’ll! I’ve been doing my astronomy thing… too bad you all do not post comments on my pictures, there not as controversial! Hopefully I will comment back soon, still trying some things with my camera and telescope!

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