Past Elder admits: "No Alternative to the Church"

You know that one of the philosophical projects we have had going on this blog for some time is to sort out the mystery of Past Elder’s (aka The Artful Dodger’s) ecclesiology. Well, deep down in the combox to the blog on conscience below, PE offers another clue to unravelling the riddle. I asked him, if he objects (which apparently he doesn’t, he was just pointing it out) to the authority of the Catholic Church as being a determinant (perhaps even THE determinant) in the matter of Conscience, what is his alternative? We received this reply:

I do not demand you change, nor do I characterise your ways as wicked, nor, although I think it would the best for you, do I seek to convert you to Lutheranism (that being the requested “alternative”).

…A Catholic can have nothing to do with this preposterous and monstrous sham [“the post-conciliar entity travelling under the name “Catholic Church””], precisely for the sake of Catholicism and the Catholic Church. That’s it.

As to what to do then, the “alternative”, I don’t know and I am not trying to encourage you to follow the path I did at all.

For me, the utter violent and vicious apostacy of the Catholic Church to the Catholic Church itself was so intense as to render Christian belief impossible in any form for about twenty years.

I am not saying you must do so too. The message is what I saw, not what I myself did about it. You may find another answer. Many have.

If you want to find what I believe by the grace of God was shown to me as the answer, fine but I am not here to promote that, nor to challenge the Catholicism you seek, but to say for its own and very sake, what has been presented to you under the same name is nothing of the sort.

In fact, I do not believe there is another authority [for conscience other than the authority of the Church]. The solas I now believe are not understood apart from the church.

My difference with the post-conciliar Roman church and, now, with the actual Catholic Church are not about the authority of the church at all, but about how does that authority, and that church, actually work out.

I am not here to promote my answer for that.

In other words, PE has not given up his belief in “the church” (small “c”). He believes that there is no longer any such thing as the “Catholic Church”, and he rejects the institution that contintues to go by that name today.

He comments on this blog to convince us of this opinion. He wishes to open our eyes and to lead us out of the “tent of wickedness”. But to what? To leave us starving in the wilderness?

He says that he does not comment on this blog “to challenge the Catholicism you seek, but to say for its own and very sake, what has been presented to you under the same name is nothing of the sort.” But, my dear PE, do you seriously expect us to accept your challenge, to admit that you are right, to leave “this preposterous and monstrous sham” when you give us no clue as to what the alternative may be?

From your own experience, the only alternative was “to render Christian belief impossible in any form”. You don’t expect us to embrace an act that would have the same effect upon us, do you?

But the fact is you now DO have Christian faith. Tell us how this is possible! Tell us – nay, enlighten us – we beg you, and lead us through the wilderness to the same verdant pastures that you yourself now enjoy. You still believe “the church” is an authority – thus you must have some experience of it, you must have some knowledge of it.

Or is there indeed “no alternative” but the Church to which I now belong – the Catholic Church?

For, even if the Catholic Church (ie. the institution that goes by that name today)is a “preposterous and monstrous sham”, yet, if beside her there is no “reality” to which I may turn as an alternative, then I have no choice but to abide by that choice I made eight years ago: to embrace her and all in communion with her and all her teachings as those of our Lord Jesus Christ himself.

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “Past Elder admits: "No Alternative to the Church"

  1. William Weedon

    Perhaps I am misreading Terry, but what I understood him to be saying was that *within the framework* in which he had been reared, as a pre-Vatican 2 Roman Catholic, there was no alternative. He has found an alternative not from within that framework, but one that the framework kept him from even being able to see at one time. That’s his point about the Solas. If I have missed the mark, I’m sure he’ll correct me.

  2. Past Elder

    The misreading is not on your part, Pastor. There is so much misreading and distortion as to defy addressing in a combox, but let’s have a go, in reverse order.

    You (David) are quite right that, if one considers the RCC to have turned into a sham of itself at Vatican II, yet also considers it “the Church” apart from which there is no viable alternative, then one must remain in it, or join it, as the case may be.

    In fact that is precisely how many Catholics do that: trust that since this is the voice of Christ himself, it must either be OK because the Church says it’s OK, or will eventually be OK because of the promise of Christ to the Church.

    If you came to the conclusion that the former could be true, because the Church cannot turn on itself, then the latter cannot be true either, because the promise of Christ upholds both. And would I then expect you to go starving in the wilderness?

    Yes, if you want to be true to yourself, if you have the courage of your convictions, if you have a shred of self-honesty left. And what will you find, or as you put it, what will be your alternative? Then you will find it is not a wilderness at all; that is what people called it who refused to see anything else existed.

    And what will that alternative be, then, in concrete terms? That is not my point at all — if you are on a journey, and find your guide a traitor, what do you do, stop there and moan that you have no guide and wither until the provisions you brought with you run out and wait for another guide to turn up, or do you take action to seek a way out or find a refuge? I was not one to stand around moaning like a lost child; it’s time to act. That is step one. Either take it, or starve in the what you think is the wilderness

    What happens at step two will not be the same for everyone. Again (and again and again) this was not at all my point. Since you insist, here are some of the “alternatives” you may find. One is perhaps you may feel truly human for the first time, free of all this religious fantasy stuff. That was not my experience, but others report it. You may find that if the NT invalidates itself that does not invalidate the OT and go with that, acknowledging the God of Israel as the true God and following it as one outside the Covenant people. That is my experience, and I report it. You may find that the catholic faith is simply victim to what Orthodoxy has always found lacking in Rome, and become Orthodox. That is not my experience, but others report it. You may find some other Christian church puts faith in a different light altogether and you now actually have a relationship with Christ rather than rules and institutions. That is not my experience but others report it. You may find some other religion has a stronger claim to being true, or at least truer. That too is not my experience, but others report it, typically re Asian religions. In none of these cases does anyone have a felt experience of starving in the wilderness, if you’re worried about that. And, if you do not find your way to any of these “alternatives” or others I have not mentioned, but insist that starving in the wilderness is your only alternative, then quit whining, man up and get on with it. But in any case, I am not attempting to tell you what it will be. That will be your journey, not mine, and your decision to take it and not whine like a lost child, or not.

    You continue to seek alternatives, or an alternative, that will match a description set up to serve the Catholic Church as that to which there is no alternative other than the “wilderness”. Of course that will fail. It assumes what it proves, it proves what it has assumed. You want an “alternative” to the Catholic Church as long as it’s just like the Catholic Church because there is no alternative.

    Can you get that? If you want me to present “alternatives” then there’s some of them and being a Righteous of the Nations was mine, but I am not here to tell you what the alternative is.

    You have just got to break out of this Newmanian paradigm that the only “alternatives” are agnosticism or the Catholic Church. That’s all the poor fool could see, recused and reclused from life as he miserably was. But start there, then, since that’s where you are. The Catholic Church teaches no such thing — let that be clue one for you. Start with contra gentiles maybe or at least something that speaks of the Catholic understanding of reason and faith. Perhaps then the abandoment of Catholic thinking for phenomenology may begin to be somewhat apparent, or at least you may catch up with Descartes, after which the Gospel according to Scheler may become apparent. Whatever, but do something, because you remain captive to non Catholic thinking in a paradigm that is itself non Catholic.

    That is what I mean — give up the post-conciliar “Church” precisely for the sake of the Catholicism you seek, not because of some alternative I propose. If you believe the post-conciliar church is wrong, it is not because I said it is, or some alternative says it is, but because your Catholic faith says it is since it does not teach it.

    I’m not here to tell you that the Book of Concord will show you that what it sets out is no new church or doctrine at all but precisely the church that has been there all along, with ever so many fallings away in its history, the Babylonian captivity it endures under Rome and no less the distortions it endures under those who would claim the Reformation. That is what I report, but I am not your guide and it means nothing unless it becomes your experience, the result of your action not mine.

  3. Past Elder

    Correction, para 4, first sentence, first clause: could not be true, not could be true. Staff is off for the holiday. Sorry.

  4. Schütz

    OK, I get it. So the “alternatives” are not alternatives on the same “model” as the Catholic Church, but alternatives that offer other paths to salvation apart from the Catholic Church or perhaps even apart from Christ.

    But you see, unless the Creed into which I was baptised and which I still confess today is wrong, none of those alternatives have validity.

    My path in life was different to yours, PE. I spent the first half of my life trying to work out what the “Catholic Church” of the Creed was and seeking it – because (as I learnt it from Lutheranism, not from Catholicism) there was something essential for the sake of my salvation about belonging to that Church.

    I tried many different ideas and understandings of what the “Catholic Church” was. In the end, I threw my lot into the pool with the only entity that, as far as I could make it out, has any rational or realistic claim to be “the Catholic Church”.

    You point out to me that this body is a “perposterous and monstrous sham”. But a sham of what? If it is a “sham”, where is the entity of which it is a “sham”?

    You say: “That is what I mean — give up the post-conciliar “Church” precisely for the sake of the Catholicism you seek, not because of some alternative I propose.

    But what sort of madness is this talk? IF “the Catholicism I seek” is not the Catholicism to which I currently belong, there would only be a point in giving up my present Catholicism FOR “the Catholicism I seek” IF “the Catholicism I seek” actually exists.

    But does it? According to you, PE, it does not. Which is why I say that my only alternative is to remain with the “sham” since the “sham” is much more real than your imagined “real” Catholicism.

    Yet you say: “If you believe the post-conciliar church is wrong, it is not because I said it is, or some alternative says it is, but because your Catholic faith says it is since it does not teach it.”

    But I DON’T believe it is wrong. It is you who, all along, have been trying to convince me of this fact, and I am sorry, PE, you have failed miserably in this objective.

    I’m not here to tell you that the Book of Concord will show you that what it sets out is no new church or doctrine at all but precisely the church that has been there all along…”

    So…you think that the Book of Concord shows you what the Church really is and always has been (“no new church…but precisely the church that has been ther all along…”).

    This is the church I want you to tell me about, PE. This is the “alternative” upon which I have been asking you to expound. I WANT, I ASK for, I BEG you, to tell me about THIS church which YOU have found as YOUR alternative to the “perposterous and monstrous sham” who calls herself “the Catholic Church.”

    I don’t want to hear what “others report”, I want to hear YOUR experience. Because, however much you dodge the fact, you HAVE found an alternative way of living your Christian faith outside the Roman Church.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE explain – without any more of this artful dodging.

  5. Past Elder

    David, if there no point in going on about what I did not come here to say, there is even less point in going on about it to you. I am no expert on the LCA, however, what you need to discover what I did is certainly available to you within the LCA. If you’re going to confess something, do so on the basis of its confessional documents, not what I say.

    Past Elder did not die for anyone, nor is anyone saved in his name, nor did he have the slightest thing to do with the creed (any of the three) or any other non Scriptural writings in the Book of Concord. If you want what I found, go where I found it, not to me.

    Maybe this difficulty of yours is indicative of the whole situation. From the first, the catechesis I was given never, ever, said believe this because we are the ones whom you can believe. You seek a “who” to believe. I am not, and will not act as if I were, the “you”.

    I understand what you say, that starting from where you started, a great deal of Christianity (which, btw, is not at issue between you and me either) was not an issue, but rather what is that one, holy, catholic and apostolic church we say we believe in in the creed, and you believe you have found it in the post-conciliar Roman Catholic Church.

    OK. Let’s say, somewhere down the line, you come to see that RCC teaching and praxis is quite at odds with the RCC prior to the RCC you know, the Vatican II RCC. What then? I can’t tell you. I can guess, and my guess is you would be much like a number of Catholics who understand that but remain, thinking that whatever the bumps and lumps it is still the Church of Christ and eventually it will be OK because of Christ whose church it is.

    You’ll say things like the cafeteria is closed, the silly season is over, the “liberals” or whatever are all ageing Boomers, that’s not what the Church REALLY teaches, things like that. Actually, I tried that one myself.

    It seems to work well for a lot of people. You don’t want to hear about that? It didn’t work well for me, and eventually led to a situation where trying to convince myself that such was true became too painful to endure amid dishes from a cafeteria that is supposedly closed, a silly season that is supposedly over, oh wait, it will be soon, this isn’t what the church REALLY teaches except that it does here but not there but — STOP THE MADNESS!!

    Whether you find it by the path I did is irrelevant. You make the issue my path; I am not saying there is but my path to it. One way or another, you come to see that it is what the RCC REALLY teaches that is the problem, not all these Brians and Father Dressers et hoc genus omne, not for the reasons they say, but because of what Catholicism before the Council said and did. You will find events such as the Latin novus ordo to be more a rejection of the Catholic Faith than anything Brian, CA, Father Dresser etc come up with.

    Where then is this Catholicism if not where you think you have found it? Does it exist, and if so where is it found. Well, I can’t help you, I can only tell you the post-conciliar version is not what you seek if you seek Catholicism. You will have to find your next step, unless you return, or possibly, turn, to the Lutheran faith, on your own without me. I don’t think it exists as such and, as such, shows itself to have been false too. I am not asking you to draw that conclusion. The SSPX, for one example, has found a way which it holds to be within the Roman Church, though I find it untenable. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t think so, but maybe I am about whether it still exists. In that case, I can’t be your guide either, precisely because I am wrong. It is you who will say to me where it is, not the other way around.

    As to what I have found, again, I am not telling that is what you must find. What do you want me to say? Join the LCMS? You want a “true church” which corresponds to the RCCs description of itself. You will not find it anywhere else. Maybe the true church is not as the RCC describes it. LCMS is not the true church, it is not the church in which the fulness of the true church subsists, it is the worst Lutheran synod in the world, except for all the others. That’s a problem only when you insist “church” be what the RCC says it is, which of course only the RCC satisfies. I have not found an alternative to the Roman Church which nonetheless is the Roman Church or the same thing by another name.

    Artful dodging hell. Man up. Find what YOU find. All I’m saying here is, what the post-conciliar RCC offers is not Catholicism, not even close except in some superficials, and one must either close oneself to all the manifold evidence that this is so and maintain that it isn’t, or leave out of fidelity to Catholicism, leave, as it were, for the same reason you joined. What’s next will be your journey, not mine.

  6. Schütz

    I am not seeking to “believe” you, PE. I certainly don’t want you to “be my guide”. But I am trying to UNDERSTAND you!

    “Where then is this Catholicism if not where you think you have found it? Does it exist, and if so where is it found. Well, I can’t help you, I can only tell you the post-conciliar version is not what you seek if you seek Catholicism. You will have to find your next step, unless you return, or possibly, turn, to the Lutheran faith, on your own without me.”

    The reason I want to understand what you say is not because I want to return to Lutheranism, but because I am wondering how to make sense of your claim that the RCC today is a “sham” of the RCC yesterday, a claim which you are quite happy to make repeatedly make on this blog.

    And if you assert it, it seems at least odd to say “I declare that such and such is false but I don’t have any conviction about what’s true”.

    The problem is, this assertion doesn’t seem to reflect any coherant ecclesiology.

    “That’s a problem only when you insist “church” be what the RCC says it is, which of course only the RCC satisfies. I have not found an alternative to the Roman Church which nonetheless is the Roman Church or the same thing by another name.”

    But I didn’t learn what the Church was from Catholicism. I learnt it from Lutheranism. And then discovered that Lutheranism wasn’t it. I sought it and found it, to my surprise, in the Catholic Church. TODAY’s Catholic Church. I wasn’t seeking a “pre-conciliar” Catholic Church, just THE Catholic Church.

    But you must at least have found SOME KIND of “Church”? Because surely you believe that you still belong to the Church of Christ. SO – WHAT IS THE CHURCH OF CHRIST in your ecclesiology?

    If you are going to continue to play the “Artful Dodger” on this quesiton on this blog, why not do it on your own, and give us the link? We really would be very, very interested to read what you have to say.

  7. Past Elder

    You know where my blog is, and you know where “my” ecclesiology is found too. This is a bloody game. You want the name of a church from me, so it can be compared with the church you name? A game. The problem isn’t that I won’t name a church, as in a denom, but that you think some denom is going to be your “church”.

    Let’s try it a different way. It’s like looking for a virtual business and insisting on a street address. Or like looking for s bricks and mortar business by a url.

    Then insisting on a street address from me for a virtual business, or a url for a bricks and mortar business, only to tell me there’s nothing there. Of course not.

    So you leant what the church is from Lutheranism and found same in the Catholic Church as it is found to-day. That says it all, far better than I.

  8. Louise

    You will find events such as the Latin novus ordo to be more a rejection of the Catholic Faith than anything Brian, CA, Father Dresser etc come up with.

    I doubt that. Can you give us one instance?

    The misreading is not on your part, Pastor. There is so much misreading and distortion as to defy addressing in a combox, but let’s have a go, in reverse order.

    Maybe the fault is at your end, rather than David’s.

  9. Schütz

    You know where my blog is, and you know where “my” ecclesiology is found too. This is a bloody game. You want the name of a church from me, so it can be compared with the church you name? A game. The problem isn’t that I won’t name a church, as in a denom, but that you think some denom is going to be your “church”.

    No, I am not asking you to name a denomination. For that matter, I do not regard the Catholic Church (either as in the Creed or as in the institution that currently goes by that name) as a “denomination”.

    I am talking about the Church which is spoken of in the Creed. It exists – perhaps invisibly rather than visibly – perhaps in many parts rather than one – but it exists.

    What I want to find out from you, so that I can understand your charge that the Catholic Church of today is a “perposterous and monstrous sham”, is exactly how you understand that article of faith: “I believe in the holy Catholic Church”.

    I don’t want a denomination to be named. That would indeed be playing around with virtual street addresses (I like that analogy).

    I want to know what your ecclesiology is. IOW, tell me about the true Church from your point of view.

    In return for welcoming all your other comments on this blog, is that too much to ask?

  10. Past Elder

    Aha — maybe. In saying the Catholic Church is a preposterous and monstrous sham, I am not saying that with respect to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in the creed. Maybe that’s the confusion here. So I’ll say it again: the Catholic Church is not a preposterous and monstrous sham of the church of the Creed. In fact, the church of the creed exists within and can be found in the Catholic Church. That is what I say that now as a Lutheran, but did not say before.

    What the post-conciliar Catholic Church is a preposterous and monstrous sham of, is the Catholic Church. This has no reference directly to the Creed. It is a Catholic thing, on Catholic grounds, not creedal. I don’t go into it much on my blog, except to lament the incursions we have allowed from the novus ordo, as foreign to Western liturgy as anything Saddleback, Willow Creek or the CCM movement has to offer. Worse, in fact. I do provide links for those who may be thinking of Tiber swimming, or already have, on these matters, on my sidebar. And I come here in fact not in an antagonistic effort at all, and strength of my language at times derives from no sense of antagonism at all toward the faithful in the post-conciliar Catholic Church but urgency at the violence of those who destroyed what you seek and what they present as the same thing in their preposterous and monstrous sham.

    Maybe that’s where the confusion is here. Is one outside the church of the Creed if one belongs to the Roman Church? Not because of that per se, no. Is the church of the Creed found within the Roman Church? You may have to dig for it a little more but, yes.

    Perhaps it was a typo, or a Freudian slip, or not, but I notice you present the article from the Creed as “I believe in one, holy Catholic Church”. What I believe in, and what the Creed states, is one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

  11. Past Elder

    PS, or as in the Apostles’ Creed the holy catholic church, not the holy Catholic Church. They’re adjectives, none of them proper.

  12. Louise

    Protestants get all the benefits out of the reality of the Church (eg the creeds) and yet will not commit to that same Church. All pretty convenient, really: get the creeds, but ignore all the tricky stuff about contraception etc if you like.

  13. matthias

    Louise not at alla really fair comment:
    First of all regarding the creeds ,there has been a substantial body of those developed from the reading of Scripture not from the RCC cstatements. To name a few
    -Westminster Confession of faith
    -Synod of Dort
    -Augsburg Confession
    -Belgic Confessions.
    Heidelberg Confession
    Re Contraveption it is up to the individiual protestant Yes. But look at the support Dennis Hart received from the Lutherans on abortion and other denominations. i know that the salvation army had the same views on abortion and contraception as the catholic church.so your blanket statement is not quite correct,and I would expected you to have familiarised yourself with the creeds of the reformation before making that remark

  14. matthias

    Just like I should have checked my spelling.

  15. Past Elder

    Hey David, some further thoughts now that the sham thing is properly identified as a Catholic rather than a creedal thing.

    I was thinking about your statement that you learnt what the church is in Lutheranism, then discovered to your surprise that it’s not there but in the Catholic Church. Which would mean the Catholic Church of your experience, the post-conciliar one.

    I learnt what the church is from Catholicism, then discovered to my horror that it’s not there after the Council and, as Pastor pointed out, since in that understanding of church there is no other, even as a theoretical possibility, it’s nowhere and never was if this could happen.

    IOW you joined because in the post conciliar Church you found the church you learnt in Lutheranism; I left the post conciliar Church because the church I learnt in Catholicism I could not find there.

    Made me think of your countryman, Morris L West. What an absolute sensation Shoes of the Fisherman was (I was 13, the Council just underway), and then the movie. And again when an Eastern European persecuted by the Soviets named Kiril/Karol became pope! But whereas Kiril became Pope Kiril I and set about halting famine in China and thus a world war even at the cost of financially bankrupting the Catholic Church, Karol became John Paul II, and set about firmly establishing the religion created by the two popes of the Council even at the cost of spiritually bankrupting the Catholic Church. And on his death, this direction was permanentised, with one of the chief henchmen, Frings’ peritus, normalising the whole thing by reverting to a standard papal naming over the new religion.

    As I said in an earlier post, I do not know the LCA well enough to say I know what you were taught, but I thank God I learnt from Lutheranism what the church is, to borrow your phrase, and, watching the proceedings was filled with gratitude that I now knew this had no immediate relevance to it.

    No-one questions that the Catholic Church since the Council is quite a different thing than it was before. I wonder if the differences between us are not so much a matter of the different nature of our paths, but differences as to the nature of the changes, in themselves and as part of an idea of what church is, yours derived from Lutheranism and mine (at the time I rejected it) derived from Catholicism.

    All of which is to unpack a little what I posted earlier — So you leant what the church is from Lutheranism and found same in the Catholic Church as it is found to-day. That says it all, far better than I.

  16. Anonymous

    Louise wrote:
    All pretty convenient, really: get the creeds, but ignore all the tricky stuff about contraception etc if you like.

    Those last three words rankle — they suggest that those who disagree with or question the RCC magisterium are guided by nothing other than personal whim. I hope and pray that all Christians make a sincere attempt to discern and follow God’s will. Of course, we all have an immense capacity for self-deception; absent some clear external witness, there is always the temptation to rationalize whatever sin one finds appealing. On the other hand, the fact that a teaching is hard to follow is no guarantee of its truth, either. Your argument is logically the same as if a traditionalist were to accuse you of accepting Vatican II because it relieved you of “tricky stuff” like year-round Friday abstinence. The issue is not whether year-round Friday abstinence is “tricky”, but whether it is something God always requires.

    To give a very personal illustration: my wife and I have conceived seven children. Three died in the womb. After one miscarriage, my wife had life-threatening bleeding. Praise God, we also have four healthy children, but two of these pregnancies were marked by high stress and significant medical intervention. I grant that it is possible that the RCC is right about contraception, and all of what I have told you above is simply a rationalization of contraception on my part. But perhaps it shows you why I am unlikely to be convinced by those who start with the premise that those who use contraception do so without any serious reason and without regard for God’s will.

  17. Christine

    All of which is to unpack a little what I posted earlier — So you leant what the church is from Lutheranism and found same in the Catholic Church as it is found to-day.

    Utterly absurd. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have bothered making the move.

    I’ll say that for my Catholic and Lutheran parents, even with the overlap that exteriorly exists between Catholicism and Lutheranism neither of them ever pretended that they were in toto the same. Not pre or post Vatican II. My dad was raised in the preconciliar church and remained faithful to his Catholic roots. For all the times he attended Lutheran services with my mom he never took the position that the Lutheran services were the same as the Catholic Mass (yes, he did attend the Novus Ordo before he died, with friends who were Catholic).

  18. Christine

    Matthias,

    Your description of the Creeds developed at the Reformation is well noted but also please note that they differ with not only the Catholic church but in several instances within the Reformation bodies themselves.

    The United Church of Christ, a body made up of New England congregational, German reformed and evangelical Christianity subscribes to the Heidelberg Confession and develops doctrine on the Bible alone, yet is currently one of the most theologically liberal Christian bodies.

  19. Past Elder

    Die Christine sagt — huh?

    “But I didn’t learn what the Church was from Catholicism. I learnt it from Lutheranism. And then discovered that Lutheranism wasn’t it. I sought it and found it, to my surprise, in the Catholic Church. TODAY’s Catholic Church.”

    Those are David’s words, not mine. My words, So you leant what the church is from Lutheranism and found same in the Catholic Church as it is found to-day, are a summary of his position, not mine.

    I learnt what the church is from Catholicism and found nothing like same in the Catholic Church as it is found to-day.

    Happily, the Catholic Church in any age is not the catholic church of Christ’s institution or the creed.

  20. matthias

    That is true Christine,which shows the diversity within Protestantism,which is a strong point but also a weak point.As Corrie Ten Boom said about her experiences in Ravensbruck Concentration camp that the Christians there may have had doctrinal differences but they all had the same faith in Christ’s Atoning Death and Resurrection and the assurance that their sins were forgiven.
    But the Uniting Church of Australia-made up of methodists,congregationalists and some presbyterians,had the Nicene creed and the Apostles creed yet it too comes down as denomination on the side of liberalism in almost every instance.

  21. Louise

    Those last three words rankle — they suggest that those who disagree with or question the RCC magisterium are guided by nothing other than personal whim.

    Sorry it rankles, but it is pretty much what Protestantism is.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think Protestants are insincere in their faith; I do think they are sincere in wanting to do God’s will, but it does always come down to their own understanding of the Word of God.

    Having said that, most of them may be much better Christians than I am, I’m not judging them personally. I’m not the judge.

  22. Schütz

    I hope you’re reading this, PE, because I think for the very first time you and I have reached a workable understanding.

    Thanks for your post in that you make it clear that when you say “the Catholic Church is a preposterous and monstrous sham” you are not saying that it is a “preposterous and monstrous sham of the church of the Creed”. That helps me a lot.

    And I also appreciate you pointing out the parallelism between my experience and yours when you said:

    “you joined because in the post conciliar Church you found the church you learnt in Lutheranism; I left the post conciliar Church because the church I learnt in Catholicism I could not find there.”

    That seems as good a summary of our situation and differing points of view as one could possibly get.

  23. Past Elder

    Yes, I am reading this.

    I thought maybe we had hit paydirt here. This is what I had meant by saying my rejection of the Catholic Church was on Catholic grounds, not Lutheran.

    Of course now, but only now, not then, I reject it on Lutheran grounds too. That’s the two hat thing. In fact, it is as a Lutheran that I have been able to say the Catholic Church is not a montrous and preposterous sham of the church of the Creed, but rather that the church of the creed can be found in it (though you might have to dig a bit more for it) indeed. It’s not the church of the Creed that can’t be found there, it’s the Church of the Catholic Church — which, when I was Catholic and thought the catholic church of the creed and the Catholic Church were the same thing, meant the whole Christian thing was just what the rabbis say, a Gentile misunderstanding of Jewish messianism.

    So I’m glad we got somewhere.

    Shall we go for a next step, and hope it doesn’t take months of posting to get there? Can you see how it could be, that a person who says he found a church he learnt about in Lutheranism in the post-conciliar Catholic Church might seem to confirm that the Catholic Church is no longer the Catholic Church to a person who does not find the church he learnt about in Catholicism in the post-conciliar Catholic Church?