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.