Saturday, January 31, 2009

Medieval Catholicism

Thanks to my recent trip to DC to attend the March for Life, I've gotten a crash course in Catholicism -- and I can't say it's all been very positive. Now I'll admit, I haven't had a ton of experience with Catholic services before. I know they're extremely liturgical, and place a lot of significance in symbols and tokens. A friend of mine knowingly informed me that during the march, I would encounter a lot of medieval Catholicism. He pegged it.

I was somewhat surprised to see at least two different portable shrines being carried in a style like the Ark of the Covenant.


As one of their denizens followed along with a megaphone, I picked up a few words to some of the endless (and dare I say somewhat mindless?) liturgies that he repeated ad nauseam during the march. He ended his "hail Mary" the exact same way each time..."blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." Except, he prolonged the last part of the word each time, pronouncing it "Jeezuuuus". Then from out of the crowd, dozens of marchers mumbled what was apparently the response. (Do you think it could be some sort of code...?) It seems that most of the March is, in fact, comprised of Catholics.

I found this interesting, considering that according to a study by the Barna Research group, half of Catholics are registered Democrat, and voted for Barack Obama in numbers greater than for McCain.

After the March, I had a free day to tour on Friday. (I recommend the Smithsonian Museum of American History, they've revamped their displays.) Saturday, I attended the Students for Life conference at the Catholic University in DC. Here's where it really gets Catholic...they have their own Notre Dame there. Several among my group broke away during the day to go see it and later on I supposed that, already exposed as the non-Catholic maverick that I was (and dang proud of it) I may as well go see it as well.

"Do we have time?" a bus mate asked, wanting to go see it as well. "We'll make time," I retorted. (Why are people always asking questions that no one can actually answer but them?)

So, a short walk from the Pryzbyla Center, we find the Basilica. (Cue Alan Menken's reverent but foreboding theme to "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" here.) Its proper title is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (de Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm).

And yes, it is impressive. It is certainly an august monument, but I can't help wonder, to what? Christian churches may not be altogether different. They invest truckloads of cash (usually borrowed, or as they like to call it, "building in faith") in state-of-the-art sound systems, carpets, pews and stained glass windows. I don't know where the balance is, but it would seem apparent that the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (de Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm) crosses the line.

There were splendid and massive frescoes, paintings, displays, statutes and bas-relief carvings. There was a massive pipe organ towards the back. There were numerous vestibules off of the main chamber to give homage to the various and sundry saints and "Our Ladies" of the Catholic history. I nearly broke out into peals of laughter (I managed to channel it into muted chortling) because of the number of different saints and titles that were displayed, reminding me of the silly role-playing games with dozens of characters and +1 abilities.


There were automated cash machines accompanying stands of lit candles.


$4 bucks a pop, bucko. (And none of those automated lighters! You're on your honor!) I'm still not sure how it worked, and I wasn't about to stuff $4 into the machine to find out.

This poor fellow seemed to have been poorly-placed, as there were far fewer candles burning:

(Perhaps if the attending priests took a lesson in merchandising?)

It once again served to remind me that a lot of Catholicism is sadly mechanistic. (I heard one fellow explain that he went to Mass earlier that day, so he wouldn't "have" to go on Sunday...as if the time to worship God was just an obligation to be fulfilled.)

When we first entered, my compatriots (whom I'd instructed to alert me in case I started violating any unwritten rules of etiquette) dipped into the bowls of water near the doors and made the sign of the cross. ("Nyeehh...what's up, doc?") Later when on the bus, one of them flashed a small travel shampoo type bottle: "Holy water, anyone?" Now what do you say to that? "Uh, no thanks, I'm good!" What the heck is holy water, anyway? Water blessed by a priest? Why not just bless the whole globe and be done with it? Or are there spatial limits on a priest's +2 blessing-casting abilities? Can he bless a whole pallet of bottled water? That would make shipping a bit easier...








I couldn't help but be amused by this massive painting of Jesus on one of the ceilings. Apparently the Savior has taken to wearing orange Buddhist robes, signaling "touchdown" and learned to shoot flames out of his halo! (A nifty talent if I do say so myself.)








You may accuse me of being irreverent. Far from it. I am deeply devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ, my savior. But when one sees silly drawings of him, I find no evidence that laughing at them displeases him, especially when I know the true savior. ("And you, sir, are no savior...")

I also couldn't help but think that this massive edifice was a waste. How many starving families could have been fed with the money used to build that place? I mentioned a balance earlier, and it's true that there is one. Sure, you can't refuse to build a house of worship simply because people elsewhere are less fortunate. Christ told us we would always have the poor with us. But again, it occurs to me that wherever the balance is, it doesn't take a fine line to see that this building crossed it.

Having taken my till of photos, and still biting back some laughter, I plunged out the double doors, inadvertently causing a loud bang which was not without some contempt. How fitting.


Catholicism has a lot in common with Christianity, and I don't mean to imply that if one shares the Catholic faith, then one does not have the gospel. Nevertheless, from the Catholics I have talked to, there are serious and sometimes irreconcilable differences.

I looked for, and found, A Biblical Refutation of Roman Catholicism, which touches on many more of the finer criticisms of the denomination than my time or skill allow, but a few thoughts did occur to me here.

First, it bothered me that some of the Catholic prayers and pleas I heard requested for the intercession of sainted figures in the church, such as the "blessed Mother Mary" or Our Lady of Guadalupe or others. This is in direct ignorance, if not violation, of 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Furthermore, the practice of calling a Catholic priest "father" is in violation of Matthew 23:9, "And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven."

I also notice, both through anecdotal and statistical evidence, that Catholics seem far looser with their morals. While there, I observed actions such as swearing and drinking, things not befitting the kingdom of God. According to Barna Research:
Among the 16 moral behaviors examined, Catholics were notably more likely to not say mean things about people behind their back, and were more likely to engage in recycling. However, they were also twice as likely to view pornographic content on the Internet and were more likely to use profanity, to gamble, and to buy lottery tickets.

But after all, why not? If you can just go to confessional the next day, what harm is there in sinning? (Even if Paul makes it clear in Romans that we must never continue to sin in order that God's grace may increase on us.)

There are also conflicting views on authority, tradition, Papal infallibility (Pope Benedict once allowed that persons not believing in Christ may be destined for heaven, which one Catholic explained away as saying he was speaking outside of the church itself, and his word wasn't infallible then) and other matters which, as I said, pose irreconcilable differences. It was a nice group of people to travel with, and the experience in DC was great fun, but I do worry about those who think they are saved but aren't.

4 Comments:

At February 1, 2009 at 5:15:00 AM PST, Blogger Timothy said...

Greetings! Saw your post in Google Blogsearch and came to read.

>"He ended his "hail Mary" the exact same way each time..."blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."

That would be Luke 1:42. Catholics are fond of memorizing and reciting scripture.

>"It seems that most of the March is, in fact, comprised of Catholics."

Why is that? Don't non-Catholic Christians value the sanctity of human life and that only God alone has dominion over man?

>"half of Catholics are registered Democrat, and voted for Barack Obama in numbers greater than for McCain."

Yes, its sad that many Catholics are largely "cultural" Catholics and likely need help informing their consciences. Much catechesis is needed.

>"This poor fellow seemed to have been poorly-placed, as there were far fewer candles burning"

That would be a good thing. Each candle is a reminder that a fellow Christian has need for prayer on their or another's behalf. I usually pray for God's mercy, forgiveness, grace for those the candles represent. The $4.00 is to cover the cost of the candle (about $2.00 in stores) and the cost of candles lit by those of limited means. Its not a profit line as your "merchandising" comment suggests.

>"made the sign of the cross. ("Nyeehh...what's up, doc?")"

What you likely missed was the application of water to the head is a reminder of our baptism and baptismal vows, while the quiet recitation of a portion of Matthew 28:19 reminds us of our Great Commission to go forth and make disciples of the world.

>"What the heck is holy water, anyway? Water blessed by a priest?"

Its an Old Testament "thing" that Christianity inherited from Judaism. Check out Numbers 5:17, where a ritual is being described and the text says, "[A]nd the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water."

This shows that holy water not only has a basis in the Bible, but that it has been around since the days of Moses. Holy water was used for numerous Old Testament ceremonies that involved ceremonial sprinklings and washings. Today we are not bound to perform those ceremonies, but the fact holy water was used at all proves that it is not a superstitious or invalid practice.

>"Apparently the Savior has taken to wearing orange Buddhist robes, signaling "touchdown" and learned to shoot flames out of his halo!"

You perhaps have revealed too much regardingyour inability to interpret art and the symbology found in art. Not "shooting flames", its a depiction of Christ's holiness (light) as opposed to our sin (darkness). AS to the saffron robes and arm position, it seems the artist may have been speaking to those visitors dabbling in Buhdism in search for the truth that Christ is the way, the truth, and the light. The image and its message may not have been intended for you.

>"I also couldn't help but think that this massive edifice was a waste. How many starving families could have been fed with the money used to build that place?"

I gather that your home congregation has likewise sold its property and fed the the poor starving families. You likewise have sold everything you have and are following Jesus with just the clothes that you wear? Always interesting how we feel free to criticise others when we are unwilling to do the same.

>"it doesn't take a fine line to see that this building crossed it."

What's the difference in building one large church that houses the same amount of people as dozens of smaller structures. Its seems the over abundance of non-Catholic churches and their aggregate property value equals or exceeds that of the one Catholic basillica. If that's the case, should they all not be sold and the money used to feed the starving. After all the building are sold, how then will we feed the poor? I understand your sentiment, but you need a better arguement.

>"I looked for, and found, A Biblical Refutation of Roman Catholicism, which touches on many more of the finer criticisms of the denomination than my time or skill allow,"

If you desire some anti-Catholic drivel to reinforce personal prejudices and misunderstandings that document is sufficient. Or, one could actually take the time time to study what Catholics actually believe and the underlying scripture and theology for those beliefs and practices.

>"This is in direct ignorance, if not violation, of 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

Um, no, asking others to pray for us is not a violation of 1 Timothy 2:5. If it is, then you have a contradiction in the Bible as Paul asks us to pray ("mediate" in your interpretation above) for others. You likely also pray (mediate) for others in similar violation of 1 Timothy 2:5. If so, you need to immediatly stop praying for others as they can go directly to God and Jesus is the only authorized mediator, not you.

>"Furthermore, the practice of calling a Catholic priest "father" is in violation of Matthew 23:9, "And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven."

ROTFL. You are clearly unaware of the early Reformation practice of calling non-Catholic ministers "father" in "violation" of Matthew 23:9. Its not until the Irish migration to America in the mid-1800's (some 300 years) that the practice stopped and the Matthew 23:9 brow beating of Catholics began. You're practicing a deep seated hatred for Irish Catholics and are oblivious.

Further, I'd bet that you address others as "Mr, Mrs, and Miss" in violation of Matthew 23:10. You are aware that those are forms of "master". aren't you. Then there's the problem of calling your physician "doctor" in violation of Matthew 23:8. Doctor is Latin for "teacher". Does not Matthew 23:8 forbid the award and acceptance of the Doctor of Divinity degree popular among non-Catholic Christians?

>"Among the 16 moral behaviors examined, Catholics were notably more likely ... to view pornographic content on the Internet and were more likely to use profanity, to gamble, and to buy lottery tickets."

Good to hear. We're clearly targeting the right mix of people. Jesus makes clear he didn't come to heal the well. God created a church for sinners, filled it with sinners, and put sinners in charge. How cool is that?

As you're one of the well and have no need of healing, feel free to hang out with only those who are also well. As for me. I'll hang out with my fellow sinners and allow Christ to continue to heal us.

>"There are also conflicting views on authority, tradition, Papal infallibility..."

Perhaps one day you actually learn why Catholics and Orthodox views differ from yours.

>"Pope Benedict once allowed that persons not believing in Christ may be destined for heaven, which one Catholic explained away as saying he was speaking outside of the church itself, and his word wasn't infallible then"

First, you seem to not understand the concept of infallibility, the charisma of papal infallibility, nor what the Pope and the Chrcuh said. This was not an infallible papal statement, but an infallible church statement. If you bother to read the applicable Church document, you'll find any and all "saved" non-Christians are saved by God's grace alone and Christ is indeed their savior and mediator.

>"...pose irreconcilable differences."

You're not willing to re-examine your personal interpretation and determine if you are actually in the Truth? Then, I suppose there are irreconcilable differences.

>"those who think they are saved but aren't."

This may describe a guy named Dave that I met in the blogosphere. Someone should show some mercy and tell him.

God bless... +Timothy

 
At February 2, 2009 at 10:53:00 AM PST, Blogger E. Stephen Burnett said...

Ah yes. I figured you would be having the zealous Catholic apologists come after you over this one, Dave. ;-)

I note, Timothy, that you've bypassed Dave's tongue-in-cheek comparisons of Catholicism's "veneration of the saints" to role-playing game players with various fantastic abilities. Surely you can laugh along with this even a little, seeing how this can look to non-Catholics while also knowing that in Catholicism (as in Protestantism) even good things like respecting other saints can be overdone, even to superstitious extremes as you yourself pointed out?

As you have attempted with Dave, I now do with you, in offering a point-by-point rebuttal. As you have also claimed, I hope to adhere to Scripture, not just church traditions. However, I hope to avoid overcorrecting and dismissing all traditions entirely.



First, regarding the veneration of Mary, you somewhat subtly-sarcastically responded,

That would be Luke 1:42. Catholics are fond of memorizing and reciting scripture.

Hmm, the implication here is that Dave, or other non-Catholic Christ-followers, is not. Also, I didn’t read Dave objecting to a quote from the famous Magnificat. It was the “Hail Mary” part that he, other non-Catholic Christ-followers, and myself, see as at best questionable, at worst, anti-Biblical.

The arguments for and against the veneration of Mary are well-known and documented. If you were truly interested in the Protestant side, I have no doubt you would have already seen those. Suffice it to say, yes, informed Protestant take the “one mediator” stuff to mean that only Jesus can intercede on our behalf before the Father, not Mary, and not other saints (more on this later, regarding your bait-and-switch about 1 Timothy 2:5).

Praying to Mary, or in the name of Mary or another saint, is thus rendered illogical at best, and “over-veneration” at worst. These people are heroes of the faith, yet not omniscient like God. How can we know they will hear us anyway?

(In all fairness, Christians who declare that they “bind Satan” or some such nonsense seem to ignore the fact that the Devil is not omniscient, either. How would they know the devil even heard?)



>"It seems that most of the March is, in fact, comprised of Catholics."

Why is that? Don't non-Catholic Christians value the sanctity of human life and that only God alone has dominion over man?


Yes, the Catholic Church’s position on the evil of abortion is well-known, and commendable. I didn’t see any criticism of this fact. It was just a statement of fact, that most of the March seems to be comprised of Catholics. In your apparently hasty defense, did you miss the part in which Dave described his own involvement with the pro-life march?



Yes, its sad that many Catholics are largely "cultural" Catholics and likely need help informing their consciences. Much catechesis is needed.

Fully agreed, and I will remark that it was not only “cultural Catholics,” but also “cultural Protestants” (Christians In Name Only, CINOs), or naïve Christians, or ill-informed Christians, who voted for a leader who is so clearly opposed to Judeo-Christian social and government morality.



Its not a profit line as your "merchandising" comment suggests.

You may also note Dave’s criticism of giant Protestant churches for the same extravagance, or merchandising tricks. Such overdone things have unfortunately been part of Christ’s Church, or any organized expression of faith, long before Christ walked this Earth and threw the cheating moneychangers out of the Temple.



[H]oly water not only has a basis in the Bible, but that it has been around since the days of Moses. [. . .] Today we are not bound to perform those ceremonies, but the fact holy water was used at all proves that it is not a superstitious or invalid practice.

Any Biblical basis for the tradition aside, you seem to have skipped past the fact Dave described that many professing Catholics absolutely view “holy water” and its application in a very silly and superstitious manner. Would you maintain that these folks on the bus had any thought in mind about ceremonial sprinkling or its fulfillment in Christ’s sacrifice?

Another reference to the need to rebut this rampant, superstitious, flippant, “cultural Catholicism” would have been helpful to see here. You seem to treat these folks as the proverbial crazy uncle we’d rather keep in the attic, rather than admit he’s there and needs, in the very least, a good talking-to.



You perhaps have revealed too much regardingyour inability to interpret art and the symbology found in art. [. . .] The image and its message may not have been intended for you.

I think you’ve revealed a lack of a sense of humor, Timothy. To be sure, I don’t wish to convey flippance either, but though the image was kind of cool, it does indeed look strange to those outside a certain cultural tradition. I can’t help but notice that Jesus has “lady lips” and very Anglo blond locks. Indeed, “the image and its message” isn’t intended for me either. I wouldn’t expect it to be, any more than I would expect you to appreciate fully certain “Protestant” ways of conveying Christ or Biblical truth in art.



Always interesting how we feel free to criticise others when we are unwilling to do the same.

Perhaps I can skip past the issue of “how much is too much” regarding expenditures on church buildings or lavish art vs. helping the poor and such (Mary pouring perfume on Jesus’ feet comes to mind here). I can feel free to skip past that issue, because you have, too. Again, the defense seems hasty, and not particularly well thought-out, here. Instead of addressing the issue itself, you’ve opted for a fairly common logical fallacy.

Tu quoque [. . .] is a Latin term used to mean a type of logical fallacy. The argument states that a certain position is false or wrong and/or should be disregarded because its proponent fails to act consistently in accordance with that position; it attempts to show that a criticism or objection applies equally to the person making it. It is considered an ad hominem argument, since it focuses on the party itself, rather than its positions.



You make yet another ad hominem argument when you reject the online piece Dave found as “anti-Catholic drivel.” A followup instance of clear “elephant hurling” occurs when you assume that either this other author, or Dave, hasn’t cared at all to look into legitimate Catholicism. Perhaps I ought to attempt employing the old tu quoque trick myself and accuse you of not studying non-Catholic Christians’ evaluation of Catholic doctrine, its inconsistencies and problems, before you go off and accuse “Protestants” of doing the same thing?



Perhaps your worst argument, which I referred to earlier, is your bait-and-switch in which Dave’s objection to praying to a saint for intercession before God somehow magically becomes his supposed objection to asking a saint to pray at all for us:

[A]sking others to pray for us is not a violation of 1 Timothy 2:5.

You’ve set up a very large straw man here. Dave said nothing against “asking others to pray for us.” What I read was this (what did you read?):

[I]t bothered me that some of the Catholic prayers and pleas I heard requested for the intercession of sainted figures in the church, such as the "blessed Mother Mary" or Our Lady of Guadalupe or others. This is in direct ignorance, if not violation, of 1 Timothy 2:5 [. . .]

Doubtless you know that even if it is Biblically permissible to talk with saints in Heaven, they are not granted some special ability to make God hear us? Only Christ has that ability, because of His death and role as “one mediator” for us. Doubtless you also know that regardless of whatever the Catholic Church teaches about Mary, many Catholics pray to her, or other “Our Lady”s, and not to Christ Himself as Scripture teachers. Such superstition has nothing to do with merely asking a saint (living or dead) to pray for you. It’s making him or her (especially Mary) into an extra-special hero, perhaps with fantastic abilities, who can personally bless you.

Yet again, an acknowledgment that this is a problem, and another reference to the need to avoid this rampant, superstitious, flippant, “cultural Catholicism,” would have been helpful to see here. Instead, you seem to be looking the other way. I hope not to do that myself if a Catholic were to ask me about serious superstitions or over-veneration of traditions in Protestantism.



You are clearly unaware of the early Reformation practice of calling non-Catholic ministers "father" in "violation" of Matthew 23:9. [. . .]

Matthew 23:9 isn’t just about avoiding certain words. Informed Post-Reformation Christians aren’t nearly so neurotic. Instead, Christ in His discourse was addressing the attitude of over-reliance on spiritual leaders. Go back and check the context, eh wot? By “call no man your father” on Earth, He wasn’t being so silly as to say we can’t use the word, or use the word “mister” or whatever. He was obviously saying in effect, “don’t treat a human authority like God the Father.”

In response, you’ve bait-and-switched again, bypassing the very real fact that far too often, Catholic leaders are venerated and treated as mediators far beyond the Biblical bounds. Again they assume a “mediator” or priestly role between another believer and God, which has already been fulfilled by Christ (as you yourself said you understand).

Yes, Protestants often over-venerate leaders, too. I commend you for not attempting that argument. But either way, the extremes are un-Biblical. Christ is our sole mediator. Spiritual authorities, whether we call them “pastors,” “priests,” “fathers” or “overseers” or whatever, are not go-betweens, equivalent to Christ to carry our sins before God or intercede in any way. They are our servants, shepherds and overseers, whom God has appointed. They are thus more accountable to Him, not less. And they certainly should not be treated as substitute mediators, the way Christ obviously opposed in Matthew 23.



We're clearly targeting the right mix of people. Jesus makes clear he didn't come to heal the well. God created a church for sinners, filled it with sinners, and put sinners in charge. How cool is that?

Yet again, you’ve mismatched your response to what was actually said. The point in referencing polls about Catholics’ common sins was not to toss out the clichéd “the church is full of hypocrites” charge. Rather, it was to show the prevalence of willful continuing sins among the majority “cultural Catholics” that you yourself said you opposed.

Absolutely many Protestant churches are full of hypocrites, too. And plenty of bad “Protestant” ideas provide people with the necessary basis to dismiss God’s call to holiness. But Dave pointed out the very real problems with the Catholic “confessional” notions that would give no incentive for these CINOs to see their sin and truly repent and begin to change from the inside-out. You skipped past them in favor of insinuating he was just picking at poor beleaguered sinners for no reason. Why?



First, you seem to not understand the concept of infallibility, the charisma of papal infallibility, nor what the Pope and the Chrcuh said.

This assumes many foundational issues that are too complex to get into here. Suffice it to say, if you are aware at all of the debate (as you seem to be in a lot of ways), then you should know the reasons why non-Catholic Christ-followers reject the “authority of Peter the first pope” view and whether “ex cathedra” papal statements apply and all that sort of thing.



This may describe a guy named Dave that I met in the blogosphere. Someone should show some mercy and tell him.

This may have been well-meant, but it was silly and uncalled-for to question his salvation in a rather juvenile, right-back-atcha-pal manner. I have read here a critique of cultural Catholics, CINOs, those who are deceived into thinking their sins are “covered” by confessions or priestly intervention or a saint’s +2 blessing-casting powers or holy water. Nowhere in here did Dave accuse all Catholics, including you, of being unsaved, or insinuated that all Protestants were or some such nonsense as that. CINOs are all over the place. Christ, of course, called them “goats,” and told us they would continue with the true Christ-followers until the judgment (Matthew 25:33).

I would hope you would be the first, along with us, to point out that neither those traditions or the ridiculous word-faith lies within the “Protestant” camps will truly save. I would not defend those wrong or extreme traditions on our side. As I’ve said before, you could do a lot better to admit that these problems exist, then either say how they’re inconsistent with Catholic doctrine or what the Catholic Church is doing to fix them.

 
At February 4, 2009 at 1:05:00 PM PST, Blogger Matthew said...

Mr. Stephen Burnett, I think a few of your accusations of Timothy were somewhat harsh.

>"First, regarding the veneration of Mary, you somewhat subtly-sarcastically responded,

That would be Luke 1:42. Catholics are fond of memorizing and reciting scripture.

>Hmm, the implication here is that Dave, or other non-Catholic Christ-followers, is not. Also, I didn’t read Dave objecting to a quote from the famous Magnificat. It was the “Hail Mary” part that he, other non-Catholic Christ-followers, and myself, see as at best questionable, at worst, anti-Biblical."

I believe you tried to read more into this phrase than was intended. Actually, I believe he was simply making the point clear the Catholics do indeed read the Bible, as it is a common accusation that they do not. Also, the origin of the phrase "Hail Mary" would be Luke 1:28, from the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary:
And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
I don't quite understand how a phrase from the New Testament, taken from a messenger of God, can be called "anti-Biblical".

>"You are clearly unaware of the early Reformation practice of calling non-Catholic ministers "father" in "violation" of Matthew 23:9. [. . .]

>Matthew 23:9 isn’t just about avoiding certain words. Informed Post-Reformation Christians aren’t nearly so neurotic. Instead, Christ in His discourse was addressing the attitude of over-reliance on spiritual leaders. Go back and check the context, eh wot? By “call no man your father” on Earth, He wasn’t being so silly as to say we can’t use the word, or use the word “mister” or whatever. He was obviously saying in effect, “don’t treat a human authority like God the Father.”

>In response, you’ve bait-and-switched again, bypassing the very real fact that far too often, Catholic leaders are venerated and treated as mediators far beyond the Biblical bounds. Again they assume a “mediator” or priestly role between another believer and God, which has already been fulfilled by Christ (as you yourself said you understand)."

Considering that David's original quote stated:

"Furthermore, the practice of calling a Catholic priest "father" is in violation of Matthew 23:9, "And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.""

David's comment did apply to interpreting Matthew as "avoid certain words", and did not address "over-reliance on spiritual leaders". Timothy limited himself to refuting that approach alone, and did not tackle discussion of the priesthood or dependence on spiritual leaders.

>"It was a nice group of people to travel with, and the experience in DC was great fun, but I do worry about those who think they are saved but aren't."
This may describe a guy named Dave that I met in the blogosphere. Someone should show some mercy and tell him.
>"This may have been well-meant, but it was silly and uncalled-for to question his salvation in a rather juvenile, right-back-atcha-pal manner."

Considering David's remark implied quite clearly that the Catholics he traveled with were not "saved", but considered themselves so, I believe turnabout is fair play. Saying in effect "how dare you question his salvation" simply comes across as self-righteous. However, I certainly agree with you that Catholics who believe confession is an excuse to continue living in sin are as much in error as Protestants who believe they can continue sinning once "saved" by baptism.


Those arguments pointed out, I found this an excellent discussion, and both of you made very good points.

I do have one remark for David, as well:
>"Catholicism has a lot in common with Christianity, and I don't mean to imply that if one shares the Catholic faith, then one does not have the gospel. Nevertheless, from the Catholics I have talked to, there are serious and sometimes irreconcilable differences."

Considering the word "Christian" is literally "a follower of Christ", Catholicism is indeed a denomination of Christianity. Be careful not to confuse "Christianity" to be only your particular brand of it, as the Gospel can be interpreted in many ways. Any one who professes to believe in Christ as God could be considered a Christian.

Matthew

 
At February 11, 2009 at 12:28:00 PM PST, Blogger 21st_Century_Man said...

A person who thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old and that most of modern science is wrong is calling the Catholic Church medieval?


BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

 

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