Lots happening – trying to keep up with the discussions

Thanks for everyone contributing to the excellent discussions over the last few days. I am astounded that one combox string went for over 170 comments. I am still working my way through all of those.

Things are very busy here as I am preparing for a Joint Muslim Catholic Pilgrimage to Istanbul and Rome after Easter, and for a week in Rome before that (Holy Week!). Hopefully I will have my new laptop with me on the trip and will be able to give regular updates on our journey (you will recall the red-wine incident… )

In the mean time, I just want to throw a few pebbles in the pond – I don’t have the time to work these into full separate theses, so they are just ideas:

1) On the invocation of the Saints:

There have been two objections from our Lutheran commentators. The first has been that there is no command or promise attached to the invocation of saints in the Scriptures. The second is how can the dead hear us?

Answer to the first objection could be that we don’t have any promise or command in scripture (as far as I know) about asking our fellow Christians to pray for us either. We have the command to pray for others – a command which I presume even the departed saints alive in Christ continue to fulfill. There are examples in the Old Testament of people asking prophets to intercede for them (eg. 1 Sam 12:19, Job 42:8, Jer 37:3). There is a striking parallel in the New Testament of Simon Magus asking Peter and John to pray for him to the Lord (Acts 8:24) – a very interesting case that could be used as the basis for the invocation of saints. Then there are several places in the letters of Paul and in Hebrews where the request is made that the readers “pray for us”.

All these examples seem to assume that the one being asked to pray – prophet, apostle, churches – have some influence with God. They are “near to God” in a way that would make their prayers beneficial. This seems to fit with James 5:16-18, where the “righteousness” of the intercessor adds power to the prayer. Again, this would seem to support invocation of saints. We invoke them to intercede for us because they are more righteous, more holy and closer to God than we are.

I can’t find anything in the Scriptures that would seem to say that we can’t invoke the saints to pray for us – unless of course it is the second objection: that they are dead and this would be communication with the dead, something explicitly rejected in the Old Testament.

But here we come to the fact that the doctrine of the Communion of Saints is based on the doctrine of the Resurrection and new life in Christ. They are not dead, but living, and therefore invoking them does not come under the OT ban.

However, can they hear us? No, not directly. They are not divine or omniscient or omnipresent. (I like the idea that theosis comes into play, but theosis is only complete with resurrection, so I can grant this in reference to Our Lady, but am not sure how it applies to all the rest of the saints beholding the beatific vision.) The Communication of Saints (if I may coin that term) depends on the same thing that the Communion of Saints does: they and we are all one in Christ and in the Spirit. Indeed that is the reason we can ask our brothers and sisters in Christ here on earth to pray for us: not because they can hear us, but because they are in Christ and the Holy Spirit with us. St Paul tells us that nothing, not even death, can separate us from Christ (Rom 8), and so this connection does not cease at death. It is an indirect communication, granted, just as our communion with one another is indirect, whether in this life or in the next. But Christ shares his glory with his people by allowing them to share with him the role of sole intercessor before the right hand of God.

2) On purgatory:

Pastor Weedon said in a combox:

“Purgatory I have no truck with; purgation is another matter. Our God IS a consuming fire. And the way St. Paul speaks in 1 Cor. 3 suggests that purgation is order for all of us. The Lutheran Symbols note – without censure – that St. Augustine apparently so understood it. So not a place, but the final purification that burns out of us all that is not love – and that we rejoice in. An ouch before the “ah” as a friend used to put it. But an ouch to which we cry: Burn, baby! Burn! Destroy in me all that is not the love of God!

Such purgation, I might note, begins long before our death. It is to start at the moment of our Baptism and will be complete when our Baptism is completed in passing through death.”

I wonder, what does he actually think it is that we Catholics believe? For in this, he says nothing other than that which the Catholic Church teaches. See a presentation I did on this matter here (powerpoint file)

3) Regarding the Word of God:

Pastor Weedon also said in another combox: “I do deny that the Scriptures are anything less than the active and living Word of God which itself decides truth.” I would like to put this alongside something Ratzinger wrote way back in 1965 (you can find it in the Ignatius Press collection of Ratzinger essays “God’s Word”):

Can the Word be handed over to the Church, without having to fear that it will lose its own life and power under the shears of the Magisterium or amid the uncontrolled growth of the sensus fidelium? That is the Protestant’s question to the Catholic.

Can the Word be set up as independant, without handing it over to the arbitrariness of the exegete, to be emptied in the disputes of historians, and thus to the complete loss of normative authority? That is the question with which the Catholic will directly respond…

I think there are two things going on here. There is the Word of God as it directly and existentially and spiritually addresses me as a creature of God, convicting me of sin, calling me to repentance, forgiving me my sin and strengthening me in faith, hope and love towards God and my neighbour. That is definitely the work of God’s living and active Word alone, which no human being can ever control nor for which any human being can ever take credit.

But then there is the other way in which the Word of God works, as teaching and as commandment, creating and ordering the Church and binds me together in community with my fellow believers. In this sense the Word requires an “administrator” as much as the sacraments do; in order for the Word to teach doctrine, there must be a teaching office (Magisterium). But the Lutheran claim is (as Ratzinger puts it in the same essay mentioned previously) that they have

“set the Word of God free from its chains in the ecclesiastical office…

This notion, that in the Catholic Church the Word of God had been fettered by being linked to the authority of office, that it had been robbed of its active, living power, is expressed time and again in the writings of the Reformers… [In the Catholic Church] office appears…as the criterion for the Word. It guarentees the Word. In Melanchthon’s thinking, it is the other way round: the Word appears as the criterion for office… The Word has become independant. It stands over and above the office, as an entity in itself. Perhaps it is even in this reversal of the relations between Word and Office that the real opposition lies between Catholic and Protestant conceptions of the Church…”

Does it help if we distinguish between the way in which the Word of God speaks to us as teaching and commandment (requiring “Office”) and the way in which it speaks to us for the sake of convinction, repentance, forgiveness and nourishment (independantly of “Office”, living and active and powerful)?

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117 Comments

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117 responses to “Lots happening – trying to keep up with the discussions

  1. Lucian

    Quit wasting Your breath on blind men; particularilly on those that scourged their own eyes out, and then go on denying that there is light in the world.

  2. Schütz

    Ah, Lucian, that is not the way of those of us committed to dialogue…

    Go and read Pope Benedict’s Letter to the Bishops once more, and find a heart for unity.

  3. Lucian

    Why? Am *I* the one who brought dis-unity in the first place? Let those that tore Christ’s raiment asunder be the ones seeking unity! (And besides, I’ve already warned You about my ecumaniacal skills [or lack thereof] before, haven't I?) >;)

  4. Vicci

    There have been two objections from our Lutheran commentators. The first has been that there is no command or promise attached to the invocation of saints in the Scriptures. The second is how can the dead hear us?

    Answer to the first objection could be that we don’t have any promise or command in scripture (as far as I know) about asking our fellow Christians to pray for us either.

    1. a third, bigger ‘objection’ is simply:
    ‘why would a child of God go through a third party?’
    Lack of conviction?
    Lack of relationship?
    ..possibly both.

    2. No command or promise?
    II Cor 1:11 for a start.
    Gal 6:2 implicity includes prayer..yes?
    Numerous examples from Paul:
    eg 1 Th 3: 11 ff

  5. Dixie

    I wish I had the time to participate here. I haven’t read the other comments so can’t know if what I have to say is redundant but to address Vicci’s “bigger objection”

    a third, bigger ‘objection’ is simply:
    ‘why would a child of God go through a third party?’
    Lack of conviction?
    Lack of relationship?
    ..possibly both.

    This argument essentially nullifies the need for those of us on earth to pray for each other. Why would I ask David to pray for a need of mine instead of going to directly to God? Lack of conviction? Lack of relationship? Of course not (although chief of sinners that I am my conviction and relationship are not as they should be).

    Vicci, even you yourself quote scriptures that tell us to pray for one another.

    So…there can be no argument about going directly to God. We do that, too…and we ask those around us to pray. For the Catholics and Orthodoxy that sphere of “those around us” is seen as something larger than earthly flesh and blood.

    So the argument really is a two point one…that the saints can’t hear us and that there is no command in Scripture.

    However, both arguments are linked to the same resolution. If one can get to the point that they believe that the saints hear our pleas then in fact we do have evidence from Scripture that says we are to ask people to pray for us and the Scriptural concern goes away.

    So it all comes down to “Do the Saints hear our pleas for their prayers?”

    Apart from theological reasonings that shows how they can (which I suspect were covered in the previous combox), I would also suggest experience can play a role. I know the saints hear our pleas from my experience of praying to the saints.

    One doesn’t have to pray to the saints to have faith in Christ, but I would suggest one’s experience of Christ is limited if their experience doesn’t include prayer to the saints.

    faityle: that brought about by fate

  6. William Weedon

    One more factor should be introduced on the invocation of the saints and it is a major one: it is where the practice has actually led in the piety of the people of God. I’ve frequently cited one Orthodox prayer that I believe no amount of explanation can adequately set aside, for it asks not for Mary to pray for me, but for the Mother of God to grant me repentance and a worthy reception of the Sacrament. Yes, Orthodox defenders say: we mean BY HER PRAYERS to ask GOD to do this for us. The prayer, however, says nothing of this. Chemnitz supplies copious examples from the prayers the Reformers were familiar with in Roman use that were equally as bad. Hence, the theory is not by itself so bad – and Lutherans freely grant that the saints alive in Christ forever do indeed intercede for the Church on pilgrimage – but the actual practice has had a very bad track record. People turning to the saints for that which they should only be asking of the Blessed Trinity. Our Lord taught a great deal about prayer in the Gospels, it was something near and dear to his heart. It is surely worth considering that He never one time mentioned that we should invoke the saints. “The Father Himself loves you,” He said and urged us to pray in His name to the Father.

    On the other points, David, more later as God gives time.

    Lucian – ironic that you chastise David for dialog with a Lutheran the same day you posted twice on my blog…

  7. Schütz

    1. But, my dear Vicci, the examples I gave from scripture should indicate that asking another to pray for one is hardly “lack of conviction” or “lack of relationship”. Was Paul lacking in conviction or relationship when he asked his addressees to “pray for him” (Col 4:3, 1 thes 5:25, 2 Thess 3:1; and Heb 13:18)? Why should St James make note that the “prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16) if not to encourage us to ask the “righteous man” to intercede for us? Only a conviction that one’s relationship with God is to the exclusion of others would deny the value and role of mutual intercession among the saints.

    2. “10 He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again, 11 as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” (2 Cor 1:10-11).

    Now that is an interesting passage. And yes, I grant that it is indeed a passage which indicates blessing to come from “the prayers of many”. Thank you for finding it and pointing it out. Interesting that in this passage, Paul sees no contradiction between “all our hope for rescue is set on God” and “the blessing granted us through the prayers of many”. If anything, I would read this verse to strengthen the case for invoking the intercession of the saints.

    Gal 6:2 (“Bear one another’s burdens”) does not specifically mention intercession – but again, if anything, this strengthens the Catholic case that the merits of the saints are shared out within the communion of saints.

    I don’t see the relevance of 1 Thess 3:11…

    suichee: sweet asian fruit.

  8. Schütz

    We’re all active tonight – two posts – from Pastor and Dixie – while I was writing mine.

    Thanks, Dixie – good points.

    Pastor Bill,

    One more factor should be introduced on the invocation of the saints and it is a major one: it is where the practice has actually led in the piety of the people of God. I’ve frequently cited one Orthodox prayer that I believe no amount of explanation can adequately set aside, for it asks not for Mary to pray for me, but for the Mother of God to grant me repentance and a worthy reception of the Sacrament. Yes, Orthodox defenders say: we mean BY HER PRAYERS to ask GOD to do this for us. The prayer, however, says nothing of this.

    Actually I heard just such a question raised by a Baptist doing RCIA on Catholic Answers tonight and Jim Aitken gave the “orthodox” answer: it is by the prayers that this is done. The Baptist cited two Catholic prayers: the Prayer to St Michael (“Defend us in the day of battle…”) and the prayer to Our Lady (“Never was it known that those…”). In both cases, Jimmy said that “these things are granted by their prayers” (although I rather think that St Michael has actual powers to protect), and said that the rest is pious speculation as to whether these things could be done by direct action – which they could be.

    Now, think of St Michael in this connection. We ask for his protection. Does he do this just by prayer? I don’t think so. He is an Archangel afterall, with particular powers to protect us from evil. This is granted by protestants and Catholics alike. Yet is to ask St Michael for protection tantamount to failing to ask God for his protection? Hardly, for to ask God to protect us is to ask him to grant us the protection of his Angels. His angels are his means for protecting us.

    I guess therefore that there is absolutely no glory lost to God if the means of God granting a host of other graces is through the intercession of his saints.

    I don’t see that as an aberation. It could only be interpreted as such if you read and understand such prayers to be (as Pastor calls it) “People turning to the saints for that which they should only be asking of the Blessed Trinity.” What we ask of the Saints we ask of God. What the Saints grant, is granted by God. We do not see God in opposition to his saints, or vice versa. Such an objection sounds silly to our ears.

    “Our Lord…never one time mentioned that we should invoke the saints.” Equally, Pastor Weedon, our Lord never taught that we should ask our fellow Christians to pray for us. Name me one text where he does. Yet St Paul asks his fellow Christians to pray for him. Please explain?

  9. Dixie

    I always thought the argument to discontinue a practice because of abuses was a weak one. The church dealt with a kind of argument like this early on…the use of icons. The iconoclast controversy was grounded in the fact that there truly was misuse of icons…that the piety of some folks with regard to icons had drifted off course. But the 7th ecumenical Council authorized their return–knowing full well that some folks had abused this in the past. If you stopped all the practices in the Church which had a potential for abuse…there wouldn’t be any practices left.

  10. Schütz

    The 1965 Ratzinger essay addresses this Lutheran tendancy to equate tradition with abuse – I will look it up again when I get into work in the morning.

  11. William Weedon

    Yes, abuse does not abolish but establishes use. The question is whether or not the substance of asking for saintly invocation is itself an abuse of prayer or whether it is a practice that is innocent itself but can be abused. I think the Roman and Orthodox practice of it tends to point to the former being the case – though I do beg pardon for speaking so bluntly on a Roman board in discussion with an Orthodox Christian! Since you’re both former Lutherans (sort of…), and I’ve come to love and treasure you both, I hope you don’t mind me being blunt.

  12. William Weedon

    Oh, and David, if our Lord’s apostle commanded us to pray for one another – that is the Lord Himself commanding us to pray for one another, no? In fact, it is striking that St. James, urging us to pray for one another, evokes Elijah as an example of one’s whose prayer had great effect, yet he says nothing about invoking HIS prayers, but rather urges us to pray AS he did.

  13. christl242

    However, can they hear us? No, not directly. They are not divine or omniscient or omnipresent.

    Well I’m glad to see at least that much acknowledgement. Many Catholics on the popular level believe otherwise. Let is be said that Lutherans are very well aware that the saints are alive in Christ, as are the baptized here on earth.

    Jaroslav Pelikan in his book “Roman Catholicism” agrees that officially invoking the saints means asking them to pray WITH us, but in popular piety it often doesn’t work out that way. I have regular conversations with a lady who has left her novus ordo parish and now attends an SSPX chapel. She is still so stuck on the “Third Secret of Fatima” it just amazes me. Yes, she prays her rosary faithfully morning and night, but I’d love to see her reading more Scripture so she can move on.

    I know what the Catholic church teaches about purgatory and it was further reflection that brought me back to my senses in the realization that if Jesus is not my sole and only righteousness before God, then the doctrine of purgatory gives me scant comfort (not to mention that no one can answer “how long” any soul is in purgatory, and since purgatory is supposedly outside of time that’s an endless loop). The fact that masses could theoretically be said ad infinitum (I am exaggerating of course) for the “poor souls” tells me that my understanding of purification as a Lutheran is very different from what I would hold as a Catholic.

    If I believe that in Holy Baptism the righteousness of Christ is now mine and will plead for me at the judgment seat, I have no need of purgatory. I will be completely holy in Him whenever He calls me home and no, that doesn’t mean I am free to live my life as I please on this earth.

    Christine

  14. Past Elder

    Rather than jump in over the top rope with a flying elbow smash — in part because a discussion is emerging between parties quite well already and I would like to watch it unfold, and in part because such an action is so foreign to the irenic nature for which I am known hic et ubique — just two questions.

    One, is it now just “the prayer” and not the Memorare, a name instantly recognised and following the Latin custom of naming texts by their first word or two?

    Two, in the Muslim/Catholic pilgrimage, who exactly is “Muslim”, there being several answers in Islam itself as to what is correctly Muslim?

  15. frdamian

    Pastor Wheedon,

    I’m intrigued by your statement that Our Lord “never one time mentioned that we should invoke the saints.” I find this an odd statement because until the resurrection, there were no saints. In part, we confront the challenge of applying the teaching of the Saviour pre-resurrection / pre-ascension / pre-pentecost to the time of the Church…

    Damian

  16. Schütz

    Touche, Fr Damian. I thought that when I read Pastor’s comment, but went on another tack.

    Christine said: “if Jesus is not my sole and only righteousness before God, then the doctrine of purgatory gives me scant comfort”.

    Amen, Sister. Couldn’t agree more. BUT Jesus is my sole righteousness before God, and thus the doctrine of purgatory gives me great comfort.

    If I believe that in Holy Baptism the righteousness of Christ is now mine and will plead for me at the judgment seat, I have no need of purgatory.

    Well, not quite so, Christine. Maybe you never quite got a handle on the difference between temporal and eternal punishment. Even as a Lutheran, I was taught to pray a prayer of confession that said we deserved punishment “in time and in eternity”. In the Catholic faith, eternal punishment is remitted by baptism and absolution, but the temporal consequences of actual sin do not disappear with the absolution (just like when I spill a carton of milk in the kitchen, Cathy may forgive me, but I still have to clean it up). Purgatory is about temporal, not eternal, consequences of sin.

    PE asked “in the Muslim/Catholic pilgrimage, who exactly is “Muslim”, there being several answers in Islam itself as to what is correctly Muslim?.

    They are an Australian Turkish association connected with the Gulen Movement in Turkey. Generally of the sufi mould. I don’t tend to judge the self-description of my dialogue partners.

  17. Dixie

    Since you’re both former Lutherans (sort of…), and I’ve come to love and treasure you both, I hope you don’t mind me being blunt.

    LOL! I don’t have a problem in the world with you disagreeing vehemently with any theological point I might hold or make–we Orthodox are big on free will–however, its a little hard not to be offended with you call me a “former Lutheran (sort of).”

    But you might be right with such a qualifier. I don’t know how much a person has to know to be considered a fully authentic Lutheran…I am sure I fell short in Lutheran knowledge–although I did give it a good try having taken coursework in doctrine and completing 2/3rds of the requirements for Lay Ministry certification–which required more hours in the subject than my undergraduate degree in chemistry! And if being a fully authentic Lutheran is less about knowing but about belonging to the right congregation then I would say of the 4 congregations in which I held membership, one might have squeaked by the purity tests for being fully Lutheran, 2 were clearly in the “sort of” category and one might even be considered not Lutheran by whoever judges these things. So I suspect on average that would have made me “sort of” Lutheran. Seriously though…no matter how one makes this measurement…from “sort of Lutheran” to “fully authentic Lutheran” I imagine I would have fallen short…nonetheless, it still hurts when you say it. 😉

  18. christl242

    Sigh. David, if I learned anything in my ten years as a Catholic I hope one thing was the difference between “temporal” and “eternal” punishment.

    That’s exactly what I deny.

    The difference between the understanding of Scriptural “repentance” and Catholic “penance” is a huge one.

    I don’t at all deny the teaching that both Lutherans and Catholics hold that nothing unclean can enter heaven. And I too pray the prayer you prayed as a Lutheran. But the difference is, after having prayed that prayer my Pastor announces that for Christ’s sake God forgives me ALL my sins and I am renewed in Holy Baptism (wherein I continue to rejoice that you and I are joined as brother and sister in Christ) to repent and live again for Christ.

    What I maintain is that either at death or at the Parousia, Jesus, who knows His own, will enact that purgation that will grant those of the true faith entrance into God’s Kingdom.

    I don’t accept the Catholic doctrines of “temporal” and “eternal” punishment anymore. The Sacrifice of Calvary cleanses it all.

    What a poor comfort for Catholics to wonder how long their loved ones must suffer in purgatory. They never really knows.

    Christine

  19. Past Elder

    “I don’t tend to judge the self-description of my dialogue partners.”

    Holy crap, who asked you to?

    I guess I still operate under the idea that the name of something meant something, and those associated with that name would be charateristic of it.

    Funny how that persists after 40 odd years of post-conciliar “Catholic”.

    Just wanted to know what you “dialogue partners” mean by Muslim, since within Islam Muslim can mean different things.

  20. Lucian

    The prayer, however, says nothing of this.

    So now You’re up to interpreting the text of our prayer-books in the same manner You interpret the text of the Bible?

  21. Past Elder

    I guess the verse must actually read “It is finished, except your part”.

    Only then does it make sense to say one believes Jesus is his sole righteousness before God and therefore rejoices in the doctrine of purgatory.

    You guys sure like mazes. What was hidden in former times is now revealed — the true maze. A-maze-ing.

  22. Vicci

    I’m confused-

    DS: “Answer to the first objection could be that we don’t have any promise or command in scripture (as far as I know) about asking our fellow Christians to pray for us either”

    DS: “1. But, my dear Vicci, the examples I gave from scripture should indicate that asking another to pray for one is hardly “lack of conviction” or “lack of relationship”. Was Paul lacking in conviction or relationship when he asked his addressees to “pray for him”

    Schutz playing tennis on BOTH sides of the net..??

    and Dixie:
    (who claims) “This argument essentially nullifies the need for those of us on earth to pray for each other.”

    No it doesn’t.
    Suggest a re-read might help?.

  23. William Weedon

    Dixie,

    You misunderstood; I didn’t mean you were “sort of” Lutheran then. I meant you are “sort of” Lutheran still! David too. You’ve both carried with you a great deal of Lutheranism that I think enables you both to hear things that your respective jurisdictions are saying in a better way than they were meant. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you at all, but when I say your’re only sort of an ex-Lutheran, it’s a compliment! 🙂

  24. William Weedon

    David,

    If Roman Catholics no longer teach that purgatory is a state and that people suffer there for an extended time, then it is teaching something different today from what it taught as recently as the publication of the Baltimore Catechism, no? The unchanging faith??? PE where are you???

  25. Schütz

    Pastor Bill said: You misunderstood; I didn’t mean you were “sort of” Lutheran then. I meant you are “sort of” Lutheran still! David too. You’ve both carried with you a great deal of Lutheranism that I think enables you both to hear things that your respective jurisdictions are saying in a better way than they were meant. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you at all, but when I say your’re only sort of an ex-Lutheran, it’s a compliment! 🙂

    That’s the way I took it, Pastor. I like to describe myself as a “Lutheran in communion with the Bishop of Rome”. Just goes to show you that it is possible to enter full communion with the Catholic Church without repudiating the good things Lutheranism has to offer the Church.

    Sionso: the way Jerusalem is now.

  26. Schütz

    Vicci, I do like dialoging with you. You have a certain “innocence” in these matters that is refreshing. I note also your great willingness to study and learn, as you did with the question regarding Jesus’ brothers.

    But you misunderstand what I have said when you say that I am trying to have a bet both ways.

    In regard to invoking the saints to pray for us, I am distinguishing between a “command” and a “promise” and an “example”.

    We do not have a dominical command to ask our fellow believers to pray for us. Strictly speaking, I find no such command in the Apostolic writings either. I find a clear “example” of asking others to pray for us, and a “description” (not quite a “promise”?) of the benefits that come from such mutual intercession, but no direct “command”. The “command” to “pray for one another” (James 5:16) is not yet the same thing as a “command” to invoke one another to pray for us.

    It is almost as if the Apostolic practice of asking others to intercede for us is a pious and devout practice based upon faith in God our Father and in his Son Jesus Christ, but not one that either they or we do because we had a specific command to do so.

    I make this point only in response to the Lutheran demand for a clear “command” and “promise” attached to the practice of invoking the intercession of the departed saints. My point is that we do not even have such a clear “command” and “promise” attached to the common practice among all Christians of asking the living (in this world) saints to pray for us. And yet we do it. [And hence the only real objection to invoking the departed saints to intercede for us is that natural human objection that they can’t hear us – an objection which we answer theologically on the basis of the ancient, universal and revered tradition of the Church.]

  27. Schütz

    Christine said:

    David, if I learned anything in my ten years as a Catholic I hope one thing was the difference between “temporal” and “eternal” punishment.

    That’s exactly what I deny.

    …What I maintain is that either at death or at the Parousia, Jesus, who knows His own, will enact that purgation that will grant those of the true faith entrance into God’s Kingdom.

    I don’t accept the Catholic doctrines of “temporal” and “eternal” punishment anymore. The Sacrifice of Calvary cleanses it all.

    But that makes me think that you really never understood the Catholic doctrine of temporal punishment at all, Christine.

    If I do something that really hurts my wife Cathy, and I repent of this and confess this and receive absolution for it, from both God and from Cathy, there nevertheless remains the damage I have done to our relationship which needs to be repaired. There are temperol consequence of my sin which do not go away with either God’s or the Cathy’s forgiveness. I have damaged our relationship, and I have to work at restoring it.

    Now, of course, not only the initial repentance but also this post-absolution “work” is only possible by the grace of Christ. He is the one who “purges” my heart and gives me the strength to do what I must to rebuild the relationship.

    When we sin, we make a mess of our relationship with God, with one another, and with the world. Acts of “penance” are therefore required by nature. I would be entirely remiss if I said to my wife, after having hurt her, well, I have been forgiven, so I don’t have to repair the damage I have done.

    As regards purgation after death, of course this is entirely the work of Jesus in me. The “suffering” that comes with this purgation is no more than the pain that I experience when God by his grace wrenches away from me my attachments to sin. I look forward to that – truly as a divine gift to be eagerly desired – but I know (from my experience of trying to detach myself from sin in this life) that it will be a painful business.

    I like to think of purgatory as God finally taking the wire scrubbing brush to me and finishing the work that was not completed in me while I was alive (presuming that this work is not completed in me during my lifetime and that I probably will not die a perfect saint!).

  28. Dixie

    Sorry for being so dense! (Although I don’t quite see things the same way as David.)

    I have no doubt that I carry with me some Lutheran remnants. I am told it takes about 10 years before someone becomes fully Orthodox so I have some time yet to finish shedding my Lutheran skin and complete the putting on of an Orthodox one. I imagine I’ll fare better in these discussions then!

  29. Schütz

    Naturally, Dixie, your situation is different from mine.

    Essentially, to become a Catholic, all I needed to do was to declare that “I believe and profess all that the Catholic Church believes teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God”, receive confirmation and first Eucharist, and (behold!) I was in communion with the Bishop of Rome. I didn’t have to make any statement about abjuring “all that the Lutheran Church believes teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God” (which would have been silly, since most of that is what I was promising in my declaration re what the Catholic Church teaches etc.), and I didn’t have to make any significant cultural shift either, since my Christianity was already “Western”.

    (See how easy it is, Pastor? 🙂 )

    I imagine it is rather different becoming Orthodox – which includes so much that is cultural as well as so much that is distinctively Eastern. Did you have to make any declaration other than the Nicene Creed at your reception into the Orthodox Church?

  30. Dixie

    Certainly different in a cultural sense as there is an Orthodox culture but not so much in a distinctively Eastern sense if you mean that in an ethnic way. The non-Orthodox make a lot of the ethnicity associated with Orthodoxy but frankly with 3rd generation families here in the US the whole ethnic thing gets pretty diluted and overpowered by the American thing…which I don’t know is such a great trade off. There are exceptions…of course.

    Oh yeah, I had to make a few declarations upon entering the Church. I had to agree with icons and that the Orthodox Church is the one true Church…there were a couple of ones in there that were decidedly not Lutheran. I’ll have to see if I can find the text because I can remember everything.

  31. Schütz

    I’d be very interested.

  32. Past Elder

    Sorry, real life getting in the way of blogging, Pastor.

    It is more Dante than the Catholic Church that teaches Purgatory as a physical place. So I’ll pass over going on about a crater caused by Satan’s fall etc. The decree of Trent on Purgatory (Session 25, 4 Dec 1563) doesn’t get into where Purgatory is at all, just that it is, and those there are helped by our prayer — and that speculation that is not edifying, ass well as practices that lead to superstition or misuse of funds are to be stopped by the diligent action of the bishops.

    In more recent times, some have taught that Purgatory is not that big a deal, something simply tied to the limited physical knowledge of the universe in former times which though of the Earth as everything, a heaven above and a hell below. This is not and has never been the position of the Church, though it is related to it. Chesterton observed that error is never so wrong as when it is nearly right.

    Even before the Council, we were taught that neither heaven and hell nor purgatory are strictly speaking physical places — space travel will not one day reach heaven and more than it will poke holes in the sky — as spiritual states outside of physicality which historically have been represented physically to allow our comprehension at all, periods of time being a way to express relative seriousness rather than exact designations of periods of time, for example. Purgatory then is a condition of existence, not a literal place of existence, and what happens there is as David describes.

    That said, is the path to Rome now clear? See how easy it is? It was all based on a big misunderstanding, and as soon as that is cleared up, welcome home to Rome where you always really wanted to be?

    Pig’s bum. None of the above is the basis of why Purgatory is pure speculative fiction nor does clearing it up make it any less opure speculative fiction — re that, doesn’t matter in the least whether it is a place or a condition of existence.

    For one thing, temporal consequences are by definition, well, temporal; if they persist beyond the temporal into eternity, they are not temporal. Thus, it is inventing some sort of temporary state in eternity where the temporal is still dealt with that makes me think someone does not understand the idea of eternal and temporal punishment — for the absurdity that it is.

    Rather, it makes me think that the full and free forgiveness of sin announced in the Gospel is believed but still chained to the very sinful limitations from which the Gospel delivers, having to find a place in eternity for the temporal to work out, a place to clean up the spilt milk still on the floor you couldn’t clean up before leaving here, unable to grasp that not being able to make everything right is exactly the condition from which the Gospel saves us!

    For another, it is truer than you think that you have made no abjuration of heresy. You misrepresent entirely what the abjuration even is, not surprising since it is no longer made. There is nothing whatever of rejecting all that the Lutheran church or any other body teaches. Rather, one professes sorrow inasmuch as one has held doctrines opposed to those of God’s church. Inasmuch. Big difference, Likewise, the lifting of excommunication includes the word perchance (forsan) thou hast incurred. The abjuration concludes with an abjuration of every error, heresy and sect opposed to the Catholic Church. It is in terms of every generally, not all of one in particular.

    There is absolutely no such thing as a Lutheran in communion with the bishop of Rome. That is a fiction only possible in the quasi Protestant “Catholicism” developed by the nouvelle theologie, condemned by the Catholic Church, and now the teaching of the Catholic Church since the debacle of Vatican II.

  33. christl242

    That’s the way I took it, Pastor. I like to describe myself as a “Lutheran in communion with the Bishop of Rome”. Just goes to show you that it is possible to enter full communion with the Catholic Church without repudiating the good things Lutheranism has to offer the Church.

    Christine

    I discovered that that is utterly impossible. A Lutheran in Communion with Rome is a total oxymoron.

    Your analogy of spilling milk and your wife’s annoyance isn’t going to fly, David. Thus saith the Lord: “My ways are not your ways.” Purgatory is typical Roman philsophical wrangling. Even the Orthodox don’t buy it. It is finished indeed.

    When the Lord told the woman caught in adultery she was forgiven, to go and sin no more there was no penance of any sort attached. None. Same for the Good Thief. TODAY you will be with Me in paradise.

    Easy to become Catholic, David? After all the hoops you and I had to jump through to get our marriages “regularized?” I don’t think so.

    I’m only sorry I didn’t leave the Catholic church earlier.

    Christine

  34. matthias

    SchutZ,

    Have a safe journey,and I hope you get to see the whirling dervishes.
    Lucian your manner is off handed and disrespectful.

  35. Vicci

    David:
    Why should St James make note that the “prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16) if not to encourage us to ask the “righteous man” to intercede for us?

    Reading the context suggests that ‘we’ are (or can be) the ‘righteous man’, and so are encouraged to pray for ourselves, and for others. (..even for healing.)
    I read that WW suggests that Elijah is the righteous man referred to. Don’t really see that, myself. Seems like he is an example used ‘after the fact’ of 5:16.

    btw:
    ~ did you use the ‘Prayer and the Oil’ in your ministry?

  36. William Weedon

    Fr. Damian,

    If we turn to those whom our Lord instructed and who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and who lived on the other side of the resurrection and knew the death of saints, we still find nothing. I can nowhere find St. John urging us to call upon his brother; nor does the writer to the Hebrews, who urges us to remember those who taught the faith and considering the outcome of their lives to imitate their faith (sounds like dead apostles?), but not a word about asking their intercessions.

    Is it found in any of the Apostolic Fathers? Does Ignatius mention it? Irenaeus? Justin? Polycarp? Not mentioning it does not, of course, provide proof positive that it was not taught and practiced, but it is odd that there is no trace of it in the writings of the fathers until the great fathers of the 4th century. I suppose the same argument could be made of Mary’s ever-virginity, but at least St. Ignatius hints at it. I can’t find a hint in those early fathers of teaching Christians on pilgrimage to seek the intercessions of Christians at rest.

  37. Lucian

    Lucian – ironic that you chastise David for dialog with a Lutheran the same day you posted twice on my blog

    And why do You think that is?

    Lucian your manner is off handed and disrespectful.

    Why?

  38. Past Elder

    What, Lucian off handed and disrespectful? Hardly. Hell, wait until Lucian and I lock horns, THEN you’ll see some off handed and disrespectful! So far, it only looks like the same treatment everyone gets here who does not go “the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church” — there being no other position possible in this mindset, any other position must proceed from a defective psychological state (bitter etc)or bad manners (disrespectful, rude etc.)

  39. Lucian

    Well, Past Elder, You never explained (or I wasn’t paying attention) how You managed to overcome the historical continuity problem which Lutheranism presents (and due to which You Yourself apostatized into Judaism for several decades).

  40. frdamian

    Pastor Wheedon,

    Thanks for the reply. It is clear that there is no encouragement to seek the prayers of the saints in glory in the New Testament. The manner in which it explodes on the stage in the fourth century, at the most suggests that it was a very common practice in the latter part of the third century.

    Ultimately, for me, my practice rests on that which David outlined in his blog-post: namely, I ask the saints in glory to pray for me in the same way that I ask the saints on earth to pray for me.

    In terms of liturgical practice, I have found those few moments when the saints are invoked, such as during the Easter Vigil and at the time of Prayers before Death, to be incredibly powerful. These are moments in the life of the Church when we are aware in a special way of the great hosts of witnesses who stand before the throne of heaven. While we begin and end invoking the mercy and mediation of Christ, we also ask the saints and angels to pray for us or the one who approaches the judgement seat.

    God Bless
    Damian

  41. William Weedon

    Father,

    Though we do not invoke them, at such times we do indeed sense their closeness to us (or ours to them) and we rejoice in their intercessions for the Church still on pilgrimage. With the dying we pray:

    Go in peace. May God the Father who created you; may God the Son who by His precious blood redeemed you; may God the Holy Spirit who sanctified you in the water of Holy Baptism, receive you into the company of saints and angels to await the resurrection and live in the light of HIs glory forevermore.

    And we sing to them:

    Lord, let at last Thine angels come,
    To Abram’s bosom bear me home
    That I may die unfearing…

  42. William Weedon

    Say, David, speaking of renunications and such required of the Orthodox converts, have you ever read these?

    http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/lutheranheritage.palatineconversions.html

  43. Schütz

    Deary me. That’s a bit of a sad episode, Pastor W. One might pass over the fact that these “converts” were doing so for the sake of worldly benefit. One might overlook the fact that the laws of the day were designed to force consciences. One might not be surprised at the horrible twisting of the teaching of the Catholic Church at points, and rather blunt contrast drawn with the evengelical doctrines.

    Oh well. The times and the customs…

    One thing interests me is the idea that these chaps were being received into something called the “communion of evangelical churches”. I wonder what that could have meant?

    hanteid: What these poor German bastards must have felt…

  44. William Weedon

    I think “communion of evangelical churches” was just a reference to Lutheran Churches – at that time you could commune from Iceland to Sweden, from Finland to Hungary, from England (the Lutheran parishes, I mean) to Holland.

    I agree that the polemical cast is unfortunate, but it interests me that such renunciations were required — there was a very clear sense of one’s confession in those days.

  45. Past Elder

    Lutheranism held no attraction for me when I left the Catholic Church. Nothing did. I believed its argument that it is the fulness of the true Church of Jesus Christ, and if it had imploded, then the whole thing, Christianity itself in any form, was false and always had been.

    That, actually, was the hardest part — not that the present “Catholic Church” is false to the Catholic Church and therefore not true, which is patently obvious, but for that to have happened the whole thing must have been false all along, and there being no other with a credible claim to being true (Orthodoxy a “close but no cigar”), it’s all false.

    Which does not invalidate the OT, onlt the New, so I went with the Old, which became then not the OT but the Hebrew Scriptures.

    “Babylonian Captivity” and the BOC changed all that.

  46. Lucian

    Yes, You’ve said that many times now, but You haven’t explained HOW the BoC “changed all that” (I haven’t read it, so…)

  47. matthias

    Sorry for the omission PE but I take exception to Lucian’s inference that Protestants are breakers of the raiment of Christ ,and by extension must be Antichrist. Sorry but I out that in the same boat as my fellow protestants who would regard you Lucain and catholics as being also of the same ilk-crap and piffle. We have world that is rushing headlong into a Christless eternity and we spend time taking potshots at each other when we should be ,as true Christians, working to overcome the World,the Flesh and the devil,by living lives dedicated to Christ.
    As Corrie ten Boom wrote of her experiences in Ravensbruck concentration camp what mattered was our faith in Christ all the rest was superfluous.
    Hope things are well in Romania Lucian. Hopefully not Arad as here in Australia

  48. Lucian

    Matthias,

    we had that experience during communism. (Ecumenism began in communist prisons). And I share Your concern (and Leonard Cohen shares it also). And I agree with Your opinion on the war against the flesh. (I also see Corrie ten Boom died the same year I was born)

    Now, the difference between us is as follows: I’m not desperate. 🙂 And I never lessen the importance of dogma. Apart from nagging cute little Protestants, I also bug sweet, innocent, unsuspecting atheists, and try to fight my own little passions — all with the same lack of effect, sadly. 😀

  49. matthias

    Very honest answer and I can appreciate that -and I am not been condescending,far from it- your concern for Christian dogma is as a result of your country emerging from an appalling dictatorship and perhaps there has been a vaccuum left which only Jesus and thus Christianity can fill satisafctorily,but there are diversions.
    i’m the same as you,I never lessen dogma,for any compromise
    in doctrine,is a compromised faith
    You are still young then for Ms Ten Boom died in the 1980’s.

  50. Past Elder

    That’s always the difficulty — wanting to share Christ, disagreement over what then is shared. Flip sides of the same coin. By some lights, if some come to Christ and believe what I do, they will know there is the Eucharist but not have it and not know that they don’t have it.

    In my case, Luther’s essay “Babylonian Captivity” was the perfect place to start. That may not be so for someone else. But the light went on for me in reading his discussion of the mass in Babylonian Captivity, and the rest followed.

    I can only describe the process in a combox.

  51. Lucian

    So it’s not that the gates of Hell prevailed over the Church, it’s just that the gates of Babylon took it captive?

  52. Anonymous

    Schutz you would not know Catholic doctrine if you fell over it. Pastor Weedon wrote”Such purgation, I might note, begins long before our death. It is to start at the moment of our Baptism and will be complete when our Baptism is completed in passing through death.” and then you comment “I wonder, what does he actually think it is that we Catholics believe? For in this, he says nothing other than that which the Catholic Church teaches” So the Chgurch teaches Purgatory is for this life only!!!! You are COMPOLELTELY wrong and typical of the so called “Catholic” church of today. “The souls of the just which, in the moment of death, are burdened with venial sins or temporal punishment due to sins, enter Purgatory” (De Fide) Like all other heretics the so called “Catholics” of today are in gross error regarding this dogma! And wht’s more they deny it in ht name of “Catholicism”….Mr Schutz you have not converted to Catholicism, sorry to say you are still a Lutheran heretic.

  53. Joshua

    I think anonymous should at least give his name, if he is so willing to blast this blog’s owner so rudely. Have you perchance read David’s longer posting on this issue, or asked him for clarification, so as to be absolutely sure he is a stinking heretic? If not, perhaps you have rashly passed judgement and condemned your brother.

    I will only say that I am sure – David will correct me if I am wrong – that he entirely accepts what is said of purgatory at Trent, and what is likewise said of it in the Catechism: in which case he’s not in fact a heretic and therefore not deserving of abuse.

    Please try to exercise charity and not rush to condemn. It will only make you sinful and twisted.

  54. matthias

    And Anonymous who wrote the passage about Schutz still being a Lutheran heretic did not have the intestinal fortitude to sign other than as anonymous.I think my comments about crap and piffle as above I retract from Lucian and apply to this chap. you are like some High Church Anglicans I know ,who worry more about the “bells and the smells” than about the fact that people are entering Eternity without knowing Christ.

    Wayne Pelling a.k.a Matthias

  55. Past Elder

    Flying Judas in the chancery.

    Mr Schuetz in no way states that Purgatory is for this life only. If that were in any doubt, read the Power Point presentation.

    Mr Schuetz’ comment in the post is related to Pastor’s distinction between purgation and Purgatory, to say that if one denies the latter by distinguishing the former from it, what is it that one thinks the RCC teaches re the latter.

    Finally, as one of the resident “Lutheran heretics” who comment here, I would not speak for the others but I think Mr Schuetz has a ways to go before he joins our number.

  56. Anonymous

    You people are funny, you condemn me for stating the dogma of the Church with which you all seem quite unacquainted as you fall head over heels to please each other with your ecumaniacal gobbledegook. Schutz is a heretic pure and simple. He sets the domga of the Church on it’s haed by agreeing with the Lutheran heretic. And why would I sign myy name here, what with you all barking mad to bite me nbecause I speak the truth of the dogma of a Council that all modern catholics effectively deny in favoutr of the flim flam V2 and the utter devastation it has unleashed in the Church. Most of you would not be old enough to know the true Catholicism we were raised with.

  57. matthias

    Anonymous
    You just do not get mate.Yes that’s right keep on worrying about secondary things and not pursue the first-to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness,to live the Gospel and to proclaim it.Instead you go on and on. You have every right to your opinion but i think you are a coward,for using your anonymity to attack Schutz. As for your version of catholicism-go stick it up your jumper ,for it is certainly different to the version I see and hear from many catholics on this web site,and what I personally have experienced.
    sorry for the vexatiousness people but I am sick and tired of people being attacked personally .
    I will now sinbin myself for a few days .

  58. Past Elder

    You know what, Anonymous, for a couple of years now I’ve been here with the message that in converting to post-conciliar Catholicism one converts to a parody of Catholicism at best.

    As to what one was raised with, I remember when the 1962 Mass was the “new” Mass, not the preposterous pile of dung that is the novus ordo, by Catholic lights.

    So I suggest again you read the Power Point presentation. You will find nothing of Lutheran “heresy” re Purgatory there. Actually, what one finds is a typical Vatican II style of maintaining something but on a different basis but calling it the same, as a deserved punishment willingly accepted gets morphed through phenomenology into an experience of purgation to be desired. Revisionism yes, but Lutheran “heresy”, hardly.

  59. Francis X O.

    matthias, it is very sad that you think that the revealed and defined dogma is a “secondary thing” I suppose that guitar masses and clown masses are primary things for most folk these days. I simply called Mr SChutz what he evidences he is i.e a heretic. Oh yes the “version” of Catholicism, there is only ONE catholic Faith and that is found in all the dogmas. Time was when people like the saintly Archbishop Mannix and the revered Norman Cardinal Gilroy would have praised me for standing up for Catholic truth as I used to do in the lay apostolate many years ago….I have been caled more than a coward down by the Yarra where we did our catholic evidence work and in the Domain in Sydney. Now I am in a strange place for I find myself in agreement with Past Elder because he has rightly stated that modern Catholicism is a “parody at best”. You are a man of PRINCIPLE and for that I salute you. And again I salute you by agreeing that the Novus Ordo is preposterous.For it comes very close to denying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Something which the Mass of all time NEVER hides! Your careful tearing apart the “moderrn catholic” apologia for the dogma is masterly. You rightly discern the morphing of dogma by the heretics who parade as Catholics today. I am only left to wonder how these flim flammers here explain Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (EENS). In ALL charity Past Elder I invite you to leave your Lutheran heresy and become a Catholic. I want to see you in heaven for that is where Catholics who tell the truth go. I once knew a rabid Presbyterian , of Ulster stock, by the prayers of his elderly Catholic aunt he abandoned the Orange Lodge and the heretical Presbyterianism and became a Catholic, he worked hard then at converting his former partners in error. I woul pray that you too could use your powers of perception for the True Faith. And by the way my name is Frank.

  60. matthias

    I have broken out of the sinbin for the minute. But I believe in revealed dogma-as long as it is either the revelations as contained in the Bible or those revelations that abide by Scripture,and conform to Scripture. Primary dogma are what the Creeds talk about.(Guitar and folk masses,do not appeal to me,neither do those Protestant services where we must sing a hymn repeeatedly.)
    Frank glad you emerged form cyberspace.

  61. Carlo

    Matthias, I have been following this thread with interest and I have to say your “primary dogma” sounds horribly reminiscent of John Howard’s “core promise”. Are you a Catholic? Surely you can’t be with such a liberal attitude to the dogmas. Where do you stand on the dogma of EENS? Are you familiar with the work of Ken Mock? What about PH Omlor? Have you read his “magisterial tome” on the Eucharist? What about FFF? Obviously you are a fan of clown masses. How did you get out of the sin bin so quickly?

  62. Past Elder

    Well then Frank — which, btw, is the name of my dad and my elder son, Frank as such though, not a nickname — I can tell you the reason I came here was not to advocate the conclusion I drew from the implosion of Catholicism, which btw was not Lutheranism, which came twenty some years later, but Judaism as a Righteous of the Nations — but because I encountered our host on a Lutheran blog and I thought what an irony to have thought he found Catholicism but only found postconciliarism, which is little more than Protestantism with a Catholic veneer.

    Unfortunately our host labours under the illusion that he is a Lutheran in communion with the bishop of Rome — something which does not exist — and consequently, while I agree what he has found is hardly Catholicism, it is hardly Lutheranism either.

  63. matthias

    Sorry Carlo I am a Baptist,but one who is heartily sick of catholics in general and the Pope being canned as the AntiChrist.So for me i have to plead ignorant to EENS.
    Liberal to the dogmas.Strewth- I accept the Bible as the inerrant Word of God,and those who wrote its books as being inspired by the Holy Spirit. My belief is outlined in the Creeds,and Christ is my Saviour.To quote a phrase” i’m not perfect,just forgiven” These are not liberal but is the Old time religion. As the one time world leader of catholic charismatic renewal( ordained by JP2 as such) said to me in a phone call,after he aksed what I believed, “come and join our prayer and praise service,because you sound like a catholic to me”.

  64. Past Elder

    FWIW — EENS is an acronym for extra ecclesia nulla salus, which is “outside the church there is no salvation” in Latin. The fun starts where it usually does — what is the “church”.

    Pre Vatican II, I was taught that the “church” is what is known among men as the Roman Catholic Church, however, this does not mean that only visible members of the Roman Catholic Church are saved. Elements of Catholicism sufficient for salvation can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church, and Protestants may be saved because they are bound, though imperfectly, to the Catholic Church by those elements of its truth which they do not deny amid the error they affirm.

  65. matthias

    Thanks PE for making that clear and well I suppose I am bound ‘imperfect proddy” that i am to the Catholic church,because I affirm the same elements of truth as the RCC.
    By the way,did anyone read the article by a Cardinal who talked about a ” green Antichrist” and his reference to a book by Validimir Soloviev “Three Conversations”.? It is excellent reading and challenges many prophecies of the premillenial dispensationalist ilk. It also answers some of the discussions here.
    I have a copy and it is sold here as ‘THE ANTICHRIST’.
    Back to the sinbin for a few days.
    Happy travels Schutz ,be sure to go to Hagia Sophia,and contemplate that in the fall of Istanbul(Constantinople) that it was a charnel house.

  66. Schütz

    I think it is time that I came in on this – although much else is pressing.

    FIRST: Frank and Carlo might have missed my earlier posting about what we expect here at SCE in regards to good manners (see http://cumecclesia.blogspot.com/2009/03/why-comments-on-this-blog-is-generally.html. If you break this rule repeatedly, there will be no port bottle for you, and no invitation back to the table! On the other hand, I am happy for all views genuinely held to be expressed in the comboxes on this blog, yours as well. And thank you, Frank, for putting your name to your comments. This shows your honesty and dignity, and readiness to enter into rational and reasoned discussion with other commentators.

    SECOND: The title of this blog is “Sentire Cum Ecclesia”. By “Ecclesia” I mean the “The sole Church of Christ which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it…. This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him” [LG 8# 2]. Other readers of this blog have other definitions, but that is mine, taken from the Second Vatican Council and quoted by the Catechism at para. 816.

    So, now, specifically:

    When Pastor Weedon wrote: “Such purgation, I might note, begins long before our death. It is to start at the moment of our Baptism and will be complete when our Baptism is completed in passing through death” and I responded “I wonder, what does he actually think it is that we Catholics believe? For in this, he says nothing other than that which the Catholic Church teaches”, I certainly was NOT suggesting that (as Frank claims) “the Church teaches Purgatory is for this life only!!!!” (Thank you, PE and Matthias for your defence in this matter).

    I agreed with Pastor Weedon that purgation (speaking of “purgation” specifically, not “purgatory” in particular) “at the moment of our Baptism and will be complete when our Baptism is completed in passing through death.” You have to understand here what Pastor Weedon means by “passing through death”. I took him to mean (as Lutherans generally do) that he was speaking in terms of Psalm 23: “Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death”. That “passing through” starts with our physical death and ends with our entry into the Beatific Vision. I therefore concurred with him that purgation continues NOT “until death” but INCLUDES this “passing through” the “Valley”. It is here that we Catholics assert a post-death “purgation” which we describe as “Purgatory” – which Pastor Weedon originally confessed himself unable to accept, but which I do not see as being anything different from the “purgation” which he describes as his own belief. So, I don’t think I was teaching against any Catholic dogma that I know of in this regard.

    Frank said that “Schutz is a heretic pure and simple. He sets the domga of the Church on it’s haed by agreeing with the Lutheran heretic.” I think it is possible to agree with a “Lutheran heretic” on many (if not most) dogmas of the faith. I think Pastor W would say he can agree with me (a “Catholic heretic”!) on most of these dogmas too. The point of good dialogue is being quite clear about what it is that we actually disagree on, and not argue about things on which we are really agreed.

    In fact, it is worth considering who the actual heretic might be in this conversation. Afterall, it was neither I nor Pastor Weedon who described the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church as “flim flam”, the Church’s liturgy as “preposterous”, and the “modern Catholicism” as “a parody at best”. If you do not accept the Second Vatican Council’s decrees, you are (even by the estimation of our esteemed Holy Father) not in communion with the Catholic Church.

    Frank, you ask “how these flim flammers here explain Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (EENS)”.

    I understand this in the way that the Second Vatican Council does. I do not deny, but I confess, that there is no salvation outside the Church. But like the ancient Fathers, I know that “the Church” (even according to the definition given above) exists in some way beyond the borders of the visible society and communion of the Catholic Church. (I suggest that you read Fr Most’s essay “Is there Salvation outside the Church?”) Thus, all those who are saved (something known only to God himself, I might add) and yet who are not visibly in communion with the Catholic Church are saved not only through Christ alone but also in and through the Catholic Church, again – in the words of the Second Vatican Council – in ways known only to God himself.

    Your assertion that the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite “comes very close to denying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” is total bunkum. I myself have learned to know the Sacrifice of the Mass through the Ordinary Form, something which would be impossible if it almost “denies” this doctrine.

    Now, I have to get back to work, so please behave yourselves, OK?

    Suppippla: The sip of port you get after supper at my table – IF you are good…

  67. frdamian

    Suppippla: The sip of port you get after supper at my table

    David,

    “-ippla” like “-ino” and “-ito” is used, as you are no doubt aware, to form a diminutive in Italian. Perhaps the reason people are misbehaving on your blog is because the sip you give them from the port bottle is so slight. I suggest you up the dosage.

    Fr Damian

  68. frdamian

    Of interest with regard to Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is the explanation of the Holy Office issued with the approval of the Holy Father in 1949:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFFEENY.HTM

    Then, as now, people interpret the axiom incorrectly. It belongs to the teaching authority of the Church to determine the meaning of this teaching, not to the private judgement of individuals.

  69. Joshua

    Frank,

    I’m glad you’re now using your name! Now, what is so disturbing to you about what David says? He accepts, does he not, what Trent said, viz., that Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there may be aided by the prayers of the faithful? (BTW, I’m assured by one Lutheran pastor that, while Lutherans don’t publicly pray for the dead, they do not consider it heretical to do so, interestingly enough.)

    And furthermore, if you haven’t realized that David is the type of convert that would have read and assented to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which I assume you too subscribe to as Catholic and unheretical, unless you wish, say, to traduce its principal author, now reigning as Benedict XVI), then you’ve missed much.

    I assert that, given this, Daivd rightly confesses Catholic doctrine on purgatory, and that his legitimate theological speculation on it is perfectly allowable within the Church – just as, say, at the mediæval Councils the Greeks were not required to confess belief in the fires of Purgatory (which are a Latin tradition).

    Try and be less intemperate.

    I’m delighted to correspond with you, BTW!

  70. Louise

    Does it help if we distinguish between the way in which the Word of God speaks to us as teaching and commandment (requiring “Office”) and the way in which it speaks to us for the sake of convinction, repentance, forgiveness and nourishment (independantly of “Office”, living and active and powerful)?

    I think I’ve always made this distinction myself.

  71. Frank

    Mr Schutz can you please give us a precise commentary on how the Novus Ordo teaches the sacrifice of the Mass? For your staring popint please consider the Offertorium of the Novus Ordo vis a vis The mass of St Pius V; and again please demonsrtate how the Eucharistic Prayers numbers 2 onwards particularly stack up against the Roman Canon (properly translated). Your only sources seem to be the Vatican II Council and the New Catechism and to my mind you accept these and implicitly deny all that has gone before. I had the very great advantage of growing up in the pre Vatican II Church and I can say that I am very disturbed by the desecration of Churches that fell under the hammer of the liturgical vandals in the 1960s and going forward. There is a very real sens ethat we Catholics have of each other and I detect a certain lack of Catholic thinking on your part and that of many contrbutors here. Past Elder is quite right when he says you found conciliarism, for that Vatican II which has been the bane of Catholic life since the early 60s has largely speaking emptied the Church and drained her spiritual reservoir…..but I believe in the Holy Ghost and the Petrine Promise and know that the day is soon coming when all the errors unleashed of late will be cast off and we will once again be Roman Catholic and proud of it.

  72. Joshua

    Frank,

    Certainly Eucharistic Prayer II is rather short and I would argue vague – but I think Prayers III and IV are self-evidently most Catholic, despite being recent compositions (both stemming from prototypes of Dom Cipriano Vaggagini, OSB, which he based on ancient models).

    How about these parts of Eucharistic Prayer IV (I quote the Latin and then Fr Zuhlsdorf’s translation, rather than the ICEL paraphrase):

    1. Consecratory Epiclesis:

    Quaesumus igitur, Domine, ut idem Spiritus Sanctus haec munera sanctificare dignetur, ut Corpus et + Sanguis fiant Domini nostri Iesu Christi ad hoc magnum mysterium celebrandum, quod ipse nobis reliquit in foedus aeternum.

    Therefore, O Lord, we beseech You, that the same Holy Spirit may deign to hallow these gifts in order that they may become the Body and + Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for the celebration of this great [sacramental] mystery which He Himself left us as an everlasting covenant.

    [Note that formula is actually stronger than the Quam oblationem of the Roman Canon, since it prays that the oblations may be made the Body and Blood of Christ without even the words “pro nobis”, which could falsely and heretically be interpreted as teaching a subjective presence only – though of course it is itself anathama to claim that the Roman Canon is unorthodox, as Trent declared.]

    [I omit the actual Verba as too well-known to bother repeating.]

    2. The Anamnesis and Oblation:

    Unde et nos, Domine, redemptionis nostrae memoriale nunc celebrantes, mortem Christi eiusque descensum ad inferos recolimus, eius resurrectionem et ascensionem ad tuam dexteram profitemur, et, exspectantes ipsius adventum in gloria, offerimus tibi eius Corpus et Sanguinem, sacrificium tibi acceptabile et toti mundo salutare.

    Therefore, O Lord, celebrating now the memorial of our redemption, we also call to mind the death of Christ and His descent into Hell, we publicly profess His resurrection and ascension to Your right hand, and, waiting for His coming in glory, we offer to You His Body and Blood, a sacrifice acceptable to You and salvific for the whole world.

    [You can’t get more forthright and Catholic than this last phrase! Talk about the Sacrifice of the Mass!]

    3. Epiclesis for the Communicants:

    Respice, Domine, in Hostiam, quam Ecclesiae tuae ipse parasti, et concede benignus omnibus qui ex hoc uno pane participabunt et calice, ut, in unum corpus a Sancto Spiritu congregati, in Christo hostia viva perficiantur, ad laudem gloriae tuae.

    Look with care, O Lord, upon this sacrificial victim which You Yourself provided for Your Church, and graciously grant to all who will take a share in this one bread and chalice, that having been gathered by the Holy Spirit into one body, they will be perfected in Christ as living sacrifices unto the praise of Your glory.

    [Some foolish folk baulk at mention of bread and chalice, forgetting that the Roman Canon too refers after the consecration to the Bread of eternal life and Chalice of perpetual salvation – just as Our Lord Himself speaks of being the Bread of Life.]

    3. The Impetration – that is, not just intercession, but the offering of the Sacrifice for determinate ends:

    Nunc ergo, Domine, omnium recordare, pro quibus tibi hanc oblationem offerimus: in primis famuli tui, Papae nostri N., Episcopi nostri N., et Episcoporum ordinis universi, sed et totius cleri, et offerentium, et circumstantium, et cuncti populi tui, et omnium, qui te quaerunt corde sincero. Memento etiam illorum, qui obierunt in pace Christi tui, et omnium defunctorum, quorum fidem tu solus cognovisti.

    Therefore, O Lord, remember all for whom we are offering to You this oblation: among the first, Your servant, our Pope N., our Bishop N., and the whole order of Bishops, and also all the clergy, those now offering, the bystanders, the entire people, and all who are seeking You with a pure heart. Be mindful also of those who have died in the peace of Your Christ, and of all the dead, whose faith You alone have known.

    [Here we have the Sacrifice of the Mass in full conformity with Trent.]

    ******

    Tell me, Frank, do you attend the Traditional Mass, or perforce (like me) go to the local Novus Ordo for lack of anything better?

  73. Schütz

    Frank asked me to show “how the Novus Ordo teaches the sacrifice of the Mass? – I bow to Joshua on this point – although I guess it depends what you mean by “teach” – are you expecting to find the whole doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass explicated in a single celebration of the rite? I don’t even know if the Extraordinary Form does that. And, it depends on what level you are prepared to look into the matter… Really, that is a very big post you are looking for.

    But you go on to ask that I do various comparisons between the EF and the OF of the Rite. There your point appears to be slightly different: not whether the OF teaches the sacrifice of the mass, but whether it does it as well as the EF. If you are arguing the latter, that is a different proposition – and I might be ready to grant it to you upon further study.

    Frank also said: Your only sources seem to be the Vatican II Council and the New Catechism and to my mind you accept these and implicitly deny all that has gone before.

    Well, that’s drawing a long bow. I would say that the new Catechism (the Catechism of the Second Vatican Council) is a major source for me – but so it should be! Afterall, the late Holy Father, John Paul II proposed it to the Bishops of the Church as “a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium” and “a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.” (Preface to the CCC). Good enough for me!

    But as to being the “only” source? Well, Scripture is a source, for a start, as are the writings of the Fathers (I am growing in familiarity with them), the decrees of the Councils, the Magisterium of the Church (past and present) etc. etc. etc. I’ll get into God’s Word any way I can. The main benefit of the Catechism is that it is such a beautiful compendium of the Church’s 2000 year old tradition (with really neat indexes).

    I can completely understand how you might be “very disturbed by the desecration of Churches that fell under the hammer of the liturgical vandals in the 1960s and going forward.” There was never any excuse for that – truly. I am with you and Joshua with regard to what those who did this will have to suffer in purgatory (or elsewhere) for these crimes.

    Frank also said “Past Elder is quite right when he says you found conciliarism, for that Vatican II which has been the bane of Catholic life since the early 60s has largely speaking emptied the Church and drained her spiritual reservoir…”

    You need to learn to distinguish between the authority of the Council and its documents, and the sins of those who did many wicked things in the name of the Council. You

    ..but I believe in the Holy Ghost and the Petrine Promise and know that the day is soon coming when all the errors unleashed of late will be cast off and we will once again be Roman Catholic and proud of it.

    Amen, brother.

  74. Schütz

    And, Louise, I noted that you picked up my final comment regarding the different ways in which the Word of God speaks to me existentially/coram Deo and to me as a member of the Community of the Church, in submission. I am really interested in what people have to say about that.

  75. Vicci

    Joshua:
    “BTW, I’m assured by one Lutheran pastor that, while Lutherans don’t publicly pray for the dead, they do not consider it heretical to do so, interestingly enough.)”

    Joshua, while your ‘contact’ may well hold that view, and even practice it himself, I have it from several Lutherans that they certainly do not agree. So, it seems just a little unrealistic to suggest a commonality of belief, on the basis of this one personal example.
    Has he run it past his Bishop?
    I’d be very surprised that a Lutheran pastor worth his salt (and sticking to his vows) would be less than open about such a matter. Golly, this idea of “they don’t do it openly, but really think it’s OK” is so far removed from the Lutheran Church stance on pretty much everything:
    “here I stand..” and all that.

    Still, several Lutheran pastors (Schutz, Cooper..et al) have crossed over, so if you asked one of them a similar qn, before they renounced their Vows..they may have said a similar thing?

    As for the idea of purgatory, after death, well I have to say it
    flies in the face of the Gospel as I have heard it. As PE said: “It is Finished” means just that.
    It challenges the whole concept of forgiveness for a start. (“I will remember…NO MORE”).
    As the CC has confession as a sacrament, yes?, how could they then undermine that with this ‘conditional forgiveness’?
    Sorry, not for me.

    I appreciate Catholics may feel bound to believe it, but I just don’t see how a christian could..if they read the scripture.

    Does your ‘contact’ visit here?
    Would he be happy to share his perspective?

    retag Fashion recycling

  76. frdamian

    Frank,

    You write: “Vatican II which has been the bane of Catholic life since the early 60s has largely speaking emptied the Church and drained her spiritual reservoir”

    I find this an odd statement, coming as it does at the end of the Pope’s visit to Africa. Whilst the western world has, during these last fifty years of material growth and massive social changes, seen a plummet in church attendance rates, the church in Africa and some parts of Asia has experienced an explosive growth which has well outweighed the church’s ‘losses’ in the West. The number of local bishops, priests and religious seen in the footage of the Pope’s visit stands in stark contrast to the church of the 1950s in Africa, depending as it did on white European missionaries.

    Strangely, I never see those who blame the problems of the Church in the West on Vatican II and the Ordinary Form of the Mass make any connection between these and the growth of Christianity in other parts of the world.

  77. Joshua

    Vicci,

    As I think I’ve already mentioned, there are plenty of Scriptural warrants for Purgatory: “he shall not get out until he have paid the last penny”; some sins being unforgiven both in this age and in the age to come – implying (as Gregory the Great noted) that some sins are forgiven in the age to come, i.e. in purgatory; all we do shall be tested by fire; etc. – please find the references. It is insulting to Catholics to say that “a Christian” (implying we’re not, when we’re the majority of all Christians?!) would believe X if he but read the Scriptures – as if the Catholic world doesn’t and hadn’t! Really! Where do you think our beliefs come from? We believe that the Revelation of God is mediated to us through Scripture and Tradition, so that the two mesh together seamlessly as they express the one truth.

    The Lutheran Pastor I quote is my friend Fraser Pearce, whom I visited a few weeks ago – many thanks to him and his wife and family! In response to a question of mine while we were walking around Bendigo, he pointed out that prayer for the dead is not condemned as heretical in the Book of Concord, and therefore, while it is not used in their public worship, it could not be condemned as contrary to confessional Lutheranism to do so in private. Note that I am not claiming he ever does so himself; he simply answered my honest question according to the confessional statements of Lutheranism.

    I think, Vicci, you were a bit rude in making the insinuation that a Pastor who said something like this is suffering “Roman fever” and is about to cast aside his vows and swim the Tiber! Post hoc non ergo propter hoc. You argue just like the Anglicans of old, who condemned everything Newman said because they reasoned rudely as follows: Aha, he was clearly a wicked liar and heretic because he went to Rome, and therefore everything he did beforehand was really all lies and not Anglican at all. Ditto for your claim that any Lutheran pastor who claimed such things must really, like Schütz et al., be a wolf in sheep’s clothing – how offensive.

    I think I detect anti-Catholic prejudice here.

    Perhaps a more pleasant tone would be a good idea?

  78. Frank

    Fr Damian the third world countries may have seen an explosive growth in your words but have we not also witnessed the birth of co called liberation theology and the spectacle of pagan rituals being introduced even within the Church itself? These events are well documented and cannot be denied. I will stand by my assertion that Vatican II no matter how well meaning has had a disastrous effect on Catholicism as we know it. And I recall the late great Justin Cardinal Simonds reminding us that the Council was a “pastoral” and NOT a dogmatic Council.

  79. Frank

    Dear Mr Schutz your latest replies show some improvement and I commend you for that. may I respectfully suggest that you get a copy of Dr Ludwig Ott’s “Fundamentals ofd Catholic Dogma”? It is a very handy reference guide to what a Catholic MUST believe. I am surprised that your Instructions did not cover such basic ground. I also heartily recommend True Devotion to Mary by ST Louis Mary de Montfort and Preparation for Deat by St Alphonsus Liguori as both books are 100% Catholic and inspirational.

  80. Frank

    To Joshua and Mr Schutz, I neglected to say thank you for your presentation of the various texts vis a vis the Mass. I note that you carefully avoid much comment on the abominable Eucharistic Prayer II and what of those Eucharitic Prayers for children, and while we’re at it, I challenge you to cold canvass any child in a catholic school and ask them What is the Mass? I’ll bet most of them will answer with that awful “M” word..very few would know it as “CHrist’s sacrifice on the Cross made present…” etc etc etc and also a”sacrifice of expiation and impetration” (De Fide).

  81. frdamian

    Frank,

    With respect, the fact that certain practices or theologies have arisen since Vat II does not necessarily mean that they are a product of Vat II. One could point to a thousand abuses and errors that arose during the first 1900 years of the church’s life and not be obliged to see them as the outgrowth of a preceding council or the, at the time, approved Rite of Mass. Correlation does not equal causation.

    Personally, I would only go as far as to say that the way Vat II was misconstrued, perhaps intentionally, by some members of the Church has had disastrous effects.

    The Church, in its members, has never been immune from prevailing cultural movements. It is no surprise that last century saw some members of the church, ill-advisedly, attempt to use ‘insights’ from Marxist philosophy (a philosophy du jour) in its reflection on the plight of the human person. It is conceivable that such movements would have arisen if Vat II had never been called.

  82. Schütz

    Frank said: Dear Mr Schutz your latest replies show some improvement and I commend you for that.

    As do your replies, and I commend you for that! 🙂

    Seriously though, if you had spent more time reading this blog, rather than (mis)judging me on the basis of one comment, you will have realised that I was not the heretic you took me for initially!

    Regarding the books you propose, I am familiar with the works of St Louis Mary de Montfort and St Alphonsus Liguori. I am not familiar with the book by Ludwig Ott, but I am somewhat puzzled why you believe this book should have been the text used for my instruction rather than the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I would have thought the latter was the most official statement of “what a Catholic MUST believe” currently available.

    As for Catholic Primary School children and the doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass, I fear you may well be right – but I don’t know if the blame for that can be laid at the door of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I blame poor catechesis, not only of the students but primarily of their teachers. (Nb. you may not have heard that the Eucharistic Prayers for Children are to be abrogated when the new missal translations are approved – and hopefully there will never be a Motu Proprio that ever allows their use again!).

    Incidentally, my Lutheran daughters attend the parochial school, and we recently had a very in depth discussion of the sacrifice of the mass. However, I do not rely on the school to teach them the faith. Any parent who does is a fool and unfaithful to the vows he made at his children’s baptism. I expect the school to support me as I catechise my children, not to do the job for me.

  83. Schütz

    Vicci, the Lutheran Church makes a distinction between public doctrine and pious opinion. Just about anything goes with regard to pious opinion. A pastor or layman is quite free to hold whatever pious opinion he likes, but his public teaching must be in accord with the teaching of the Church. And it is quite true as Joshua claims Pastor Pearce said: prayer for the dead is not condemned in the Book of Concord – even though it can hardly be described as “encouraged”.

    Vicci said: “As for the idea of purgatory, after death, well I have to say it flies in the face of the Gospel as I have heard it… It challenges the whole concept of forgiveness for a start… how could they then undermine that with this ‘conditional forgiveness’?
    Sorry, not for me.”

    Vicci, you continue to make an error of distinction between forgiveness and purgation, between eternal punishment for the guilt of sin, and temporal consequences for sinful actions.

    The forgiveness given in the sacrament of penance is absolute and complete. After absolution, no guilt remains. Forgiveness is the removal of guilt. There will be no eternal punishment for sin forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance.

    But sacramental forgiveness does not completely purge me of attachment to sin, nor does it remove the temporal consequences of my sinful actions. Can you demonstrate how it can possibly do this?

    Confession and Absolution certainly gives me God’s grace to weaken my attachment to sin, and it just as certainly adds God’s grace and power to any actions I may do to repair the damage that my sins have caused, but in itself it completely removes neither.

    If I am a kleptomaniac, does absolution remove the desire to steal from me? If I have stolen from someone, does absolution restore what was lost to the person from whom I stole? You know that neither is the case.

    As Joshua pointed out, this is all in conformity with Scripture, and a Catholic Christian certainly does find the doctrine of temporal and eternal punishments, and of purgation and purgatory in the scriptures. That is because he reads Scripture with his eyes open…

  84. William Weedon

    David,

    We frequently pray this petition in our prayer of the Church at St. Paul’s:

    Remember, Lord, our sisters and brothers who have fallen asleep in Christ. Grant them heavenly consolation and joy and fulfill for them all the promises which in Your Word You have given to those who believe in You.

    Additionally, every funeral in the LCMS includes the petition:

    Give to Your whole Church in heaven and on earth, Your light and Your peace.

    FWIW.

  85. Cardinal Pole

    (This comment is to let Past Elder, William Weedon and Christine know that I have responded to their rejoinders in this post’s combox:
    http://cumecclesia.blogspot.com/2009/03/more-on-sola-scriptura-in-lutheranism.html

    But if no-one’s interested in pursuing that discussion, could I repeat here the question that I ask there:

    “could someone please point out whereabouts in the Book of Concord (or any Lutheran treatises available on-line, for that matter) where it deals with these questions of private judgment vs. authority? I am interested in reading up on this, if only so that I am not dealing with straw men when I have these discussions with Protestants.”
    )

  86. Cardinal Pole

    Back to this discussion, though:

    I find it curious the length of time spent here discussing Purgatory, and the direction of that discussion; I might be mistaken about Lutheran doctrine, but I thought that when Catholics ask, as Mr. Schütz does,

    “how [sacramental forgiveness] can possibly do this [remove the temporal consequences of my sinful actions]?”

    Lutherans would simply answer: the punishment owing to one’s sins is no longer imputed to one, so there’s no punishment to remove. Am I wrong here?

    In any case, it’s Mr. Schütz’s third point in the original post that really matters. As I keep saying, only an authoritative “Office”, as Mr. Schütz puts it, can keep the body of the faithful united in truth.

    And so given that it’s authority vs. private judgment that is really the big question here, I really do wonder what the value of denomination-level theological dialogue is. It makes for fascinating discussion at the level of individuals (though even then it runs the risk of trying to ‘beat them at their own game’, debating them on their own terms), but at the level of denominations, what good is it? Take Purgatory as an example; even if dialogue were to produce a doctrinal statement that agreed not only in the terms but in the substance of the doctrine, what good would this be when Lutherans believe the doctrine by their lights while Catholics believe it by theirs?

  87. William Weedon

    Cardinal,

    Briefly – running out the door to do daycare chapel – the Lutheran Symbols distinguish between temporal and eternal punishments and we acknowledge that God’s remission of eternal punishments does not always eliminate temporal ones. The thief on the cross died a forgiven sinner and was welcomed to Christ kingdom; but the forgiveness didn’t get him out of his cross.

  88. Past Elder

    All the usual pseudo-proofs from the conciliar “Catholics”, particularly the argument from numbers outside Europe, which would also “prove” Islam the true religion, and the old “that’s not what the church REALLY teaches” as if that excused what a church really teaches being so rarely found and what it supposedly doesn’t teach being rather uniformly taught.

    I quite agree that the “excesses” of Vatican II are not Vatican II; what you fail to see is that both proceed from the same dissent from Catholicism routinely condemned by the Catholic Church right up until it was taken over by it. What you uphold is not Catholicism at all, but a more conservative point on the dissent spectrum from it than the excesses you condemn.

    To accept this dissent, even when cloaked in period costumes and keeping the same bank accounts and real estate, as Catholic is simply not possible.

    The stinking liars who confected this unholy charade proceed in their duplicity by calling Vatican II a “pastoral” council yet acting as if it were dogmatic.

    One may draw various conclusion from that, and clearly Frank has drawn one and I another, which is, if the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a sure norm for teaching the Catholic faith and the novus ordo missae a (previously unheard of) ordinary form of the same thing as the (also previously unheard of) extraordinary (but formerly only) form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, then I should count it an honour indeed to be not in fellowship with such a church, for the sake of Catholicism itself which it does not profess, and for this to have happened reveals that the entity known among men as the Roman Catholic Church not only is not now, but never was (the far more painful part) the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of the Creed.

    Or to put it a little more familiarly — you claim to be Catholic and to have converted to Catholicism, yet sound nothing like a Catholic or converts thereto did before Vatican II. Like saying you’ve been to Omaha, but what you say sounds like you’ve been to Minneapolis!

  89. frdamian

    Past Elder

    I’m not sure if you misread my post or have intentionally chosen to misconstrue it.

    I did not offer any “proofs,” let alone “pseudo-proofs” regarding “true religions” or other wise.

    I most specifically stated that correlation does not equal causation.

    I countered the canard that Vatican II has “emptied the Church.”

    It’s very simple: there are not fewer Catholics in churches today than in 1961.

    Further, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass was never the only form of the Mass.

  90. matthias

    PE for us Aussies it would be like saying one has been to Hobart when in fact they have gone to Darwin .
    Frank you are right about liberation theology being the curse of churches in the Developing World and The Day is Coming,perhaps sooner than we think,when all errors will be gone,all persecution of Christians,will stop,all divisions healed and Catholic,orthodox and Proddy,will be united ,when we see Jesus face to face.For that is when
    the Church will truly be one.
    I remember as a boy preachers thundering against ecumenicalism and unity with Catholics,they forgot the sleeping liberals in their own denominations,who spout theology alien to both catholics such as you frank and proddies like me. RCC has kennedy and Proddies have well- Francis Macnabb,Rowan Williams,Joel Osteen,etc.

  91. William Weedon

    Cardinal,

    The BOC doesn’t deal with the question of private or personal judgment that I am aware of. I think there are implications for the topic in the Introduction to both the Epitome and the Solid Declaration – both easily findable online.

    A thorough treatment of the topic, however, can be read in Krauth’s *Conservative Reformation* (googlebooks) and you’ll find it on pages 168-175).

    Also on the matter of temporal and eternal punishments, you might wish to check out what is confessed by our Church in the Apology to the Augsburg Confession, XII:53-69.

  92. Carlo

    Mr Schutz, why did you make a vow at your daughters’ baptism to bring them up as Catholic but yet you describe them as Lutheran? Are you in a mixed marriage?

  93. William Tighe

    David Schutz was a Lutheran minister before he became a Catholic, and his wife and daughters remain Lutheran.

  94. matthias

    Carlo,

    it helps to read about the owner of a blog site before making comments. and for the record i was a member of the Lutheran church at the time Schutz made his decision to become a Catholic and I know it caused some rancour in the pastorial ranks here in Victoria but to quote Luther ,he was “bound by his conscience”.

  95. Frank

    This is all very interesting however past Elder has exactly stated the fact and it is the unavoidable conclusion that many modern “Catholics’ are nothing of the sort. Fr Damian says there are not fewer catholics in Church today than in 1961, well I ask you why has the Church sold so many of it’s churches and assets? Why are there so few priests and religious and among them why do so few of them really know what it means to be a Catholic? You can take cold comfort in the numbers in Africa and Asia but in the western world we are failing. Past Elder has your number Fr damian, and may i ask are you a secular or religious priest? I would be interested to know as your seminary training seems to have lacked something. I feel sorry for Mr Schutz, he has not been correctly instructed. Do not be puzzled that I recommend Ott, get a copy and read for yourself or as you are a more learned man than me get Denziger. Goffine is also excellent these texts give you ALL the dogma, not just the personal opinion of men. Ott cuts to the core by showing the De Fide dogma and it is not couched in modern psychobabble as many so called “Catholic” texts are. Time was when we went out and tried to save souls by converting them to the Catholic faith, what is done now is that we sit down and discuss the matters we are in agreeance on. Well let me say this and I will put it baldly; me and the devil agree there is a God, but that doesn’t mean the devil is a Catholic!

  96. Vicci

    Hi David,
    when do start to pack?
    I’m looking fwd to the Travelogue- if it’s as good a read as the Movie Reviews.. it will be a good read.
    re: purgatory and purging and consequence of sin and forgiveness..and all that:
    sure, I agree with you (both times) when you commented about the consequence of sin remaining.
    I think a lot of Christians struggle with the concept of complete pardon, and so carry a double burden of consequence -and guilt.
    Maybe it’s because WE find it so hard to forgive others?

    My belief is simply: when we die..that’s it. It really IS finished. So, as the parable of the 5 wise virgins, the thief on the cross, and many other refs. tell us pretty clearly, there isn’t a Holding Room between this life and the Next (heaven or hell).

    You said: “That is because he reads Scripture with his eyes open…”
    -nice dig!

    But you also posted:
    “.. the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I would have thought the latter was the most official statement of “what a Catholic MUST believe” currently available.”

    This suggests that a Catholic or two might be reading scripture with a view to substantiate the things he MUST (your emphasis) believe?
    ..with Eyes Wide Shut?
    No dig intended. But you know it makes sense.

    wingdoe Santa’s locomotion?

  97. Carlo

    So, Matthias, what do you think were the vows Mr Schutz made at his daughters’ baptism, and are they compatible with the Catholic faith?

    Also, I hope you realise that as a Baptist you cannot be saved. This is not my opinion, but the defined, infallible dogma of the one holy Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church.

  98. Carlo

    PS to Frank’s post: well said Frank! We were always taught that the Devil was the first Protestant, and Our Lady was the first Catholic.

  99. frdamian

    Frank,

    I’m not sure whether PE ‘has my number’ or not.

    I would like people to make distinctions when they talk about the state of the church today. The experience of the church over the last 50 years has not been uniform. The very real crisis experienced by the Church in the West is not mirrored in Africa (where the number of Catholics has increased 500%) or parts of Asia. The crisis of the church in Australia is not precisely mirrored in the US. The situation of the church in latin America finds no direct counterpart in other regions of the world.

    You ask “why has the Church sold so many of it’s churches and assets?”

    You fail to distinguish between the situation of the Church in the Western World and in the developing world.

    Nevertheless, whilst the church in the Western World has sold a number of churches in inner cities, it has also built numerous churches in the peripheries of these cities. In Australia, there are vastly more schools today than 50 years ago.The number of catholic churches, schools, hospitals, and seminaries today, at an international level, is greater than 50 years ago.

    This is not to deny that in the Western World there has been a collapse in church attendance.That is obvious. What is not obvious is the exact cause or the way in which various factors have contributed to this collapse. To simply assert that Vat II is responsible is absurd – other churches and ecclesial communities have experienced an even worse deterioration in affiliation.

    You ask: “Why are there so few priests and religious…?”

    There are more priests and vastly more seminarians today than 50 years ago. There are slightly fewer religious.
    In Australia, there has been a decline in the number of priests by about 20% in the last 50 years.
    Of concern is not the number of priests but the ratio of priests to people.

    In Australia, in 1960 there was one priest for every 700 Catholics. At a practice rate of about 60%, this means 1 priest for every 480 church-going Catholics.Today, there is one priest for every 1500 Catholics. At a practice rate of about 15%, this means 1 priest for every 225 church-going Catholics.

    I am a diocesan priest. I completed a Masters degree post-ordination in dogmatic theology. I have a licentiate from a Pontifical Institute in Rome. I have partially completed a Doctrorate in Sacred Theology. That’s about all the personal information I’m prepared to give away. What did my seminary training seem to lack?

  100. frdamian

    And still I can’t spell “doctorate”

  101. Vicci

    Hi Carlo!

    what a couple of fabulous posts!
    you’re almost too good to be true!

    and well-educated !

    (..you’re not a ‘plant’ are you?)

  102. Past Elder

    It was not you specifically to whom I referred Herr Damian, nor does anyone intend to offer a pseudo-proof. I pointed in particular to that which you again invoke — numbers. Now we are to distinguish. The classic dodge. Catholicism is hardly the only religion to have posted large gains in Africa, Asia or Latin America, nor does the fact that it has among other religions posted gains answer the questions of losses. (The local archdiocese having just closed another inner city parish and school while its schools in the “peripheries”, read well-to-do white suburbs, do fine and the archdiocese plunks down $400K cash for a retirement home for the archbishop.)

    And we are to be impressed with a ratio of 1 to 225 over 1 to 480, when the ratio is skewed by the pratice ratio going from 60% to 15%!

    If the current administration of RCC Inc. ran Coca-Cola, they’d still be trying to sell New Coke and think it was a success!

    Oddly enough, the old Dominican Novitiate in the episcopal seat of my former diocese, which closed, there being neither Dominicans nor novices to occupy it after “renewal”, is now owned by the SSPX!

    “Only” as in form of the Mass was in the context of the “Tridentine Rite” pre- and post-Vatican II, which, speaking of Dominicans, unless you were one or in a number of other unique circumstances, was the only form of the Mass pre Vatican II. The real point being, a liturgy which exists in an ordinary and extraordinary form is, for one thing, an incredible instance of Vatican II doublespeak, as if more were needed, and for another, a slap in the face to the Mass of Pius V to consider it so related to the novus ordo, whose authors (some of whom I knew) despised it.

    And matthias — no where, at any time or in any place, would it be the teaching of the Catholic Church that a Baptist, as a Baptist, cannot be saved. Unfortunately there was as much a “spirit” of Trent loosely based on Trent as there is a “spirit” of Vatican II loosely based on Vatican II. In the former case, Trent itself is the corrective; in the latter case, the only thing worse than the “spirit” of Vatican II is Vatican II for real.

    Finally, I suggest the particulars of Mr Schuetz’ personal life ought to be matters of discussion between him and his spiritual advisor, not commenters on his blog.

  103. frdamian

    Past Elder,

    The “peripheries” in Australia do not mean well-to-do. And inner-city does not mean poor. The inner cities in Australia have become the domain of the wealthiest. The poor live on the outskirts with limited access to infrastructure.

    If I’m attempting to prove anything, it is that the present situation of the Catholic Church is not reducible to post-Vatican II = decline in adherence. That was the original assertion to which I was responding. It is simply false.

    Considering that I began by making a distinction between a decline in the Western world and a growth in Africa and parts of Asia, it seems unfair to claim that “NOW we are to distinguish. The classic dodge.”

    If we are to respond to the crisis in adherence to mainstream Christianity in the Western world, we need to understand the factors at play. Erroneous assertions about causes will lead to the wrong remedies.

    I wasn’t trying to “impress” with priest-people ratios. Thankfully, as I would have failed.

  104. Carlo

    The crisis in adherence to “mainstream Christianity” (i.e. Catholicism) is down to one simple fact: there is no Catholic Church to adhere to, for most people. A few remnants remain, scattered hither and thither across the world, while the Vatican has been occupied by Protestant modernists with an addiction to clown masses and bare-breasted native women on the altar.

    Vicci, I’m glad you enjoyed my posts, but I must say I do take offence at being called a “plant”. I have one single purpose in mind in posting on this blog: to bear witness to all the dogmas of the Holy Catholic Church, and in particular EENS as it is written.

  105. Vicci

    Carlo,
    ~no need to take offence!
    it was interogative, not ccusative.

    Bearing Witness is fine work.
    You’ll find some of like mind, if previous posts are any indication.

    But you raise a conundrum. If there’s no Catholic Church anymore,
    (in the main) how can Rome continue
    to claim that It is?

  106. Carlo

    It has been taken over by Jews and Freemasons, who are past masters at HD.

  107. Son of Trypho

    It has been taken over by Jews and Freemasons, who are past masters at HD.

    -oh dear.

  108. Carlo

    Who is Trypho?

  109. Past Elder

    God bless me sideways, is it possible to speak to a post-conciliar Catholic without wondering when visiting hours are over?

    You go on about what inner-city means and growth in Africa, bring up numbers then say no big deal — it’s like the passengers on the Titanic refusing to board lifeboats because, even with the water swirling around them, the boat cannot sink dammit!

    No, the present situation of the Catholic Church being reducible to post-Vatican II = decline in adherence is absolutely NOT the original assertion, at least not mine, and it absolutely misses my point to think it is.

    Jews and Freemasons? Holy crap, when ARE visiting hours over in the asylum called the Catholic Church?

  110. frdamian

    Past Elder,

    Please connect the dots…

    Frank said: “Vatican II which has been the bane of Catholic life since the early 60s has largely speaking emptied the Church and drained her spiritual reservoir”

    I replied: “Whilst the western world has, during these last fifty years of material growth and massive social changes, seen a plummet in church attendance rates, the church in Africa and some parts of Asia has experienced an explosive growth which has well outweighed the church’s ‘losses’ in the West.”

    Thus, the original assertion to which I replied both by naming the person who made the assertion and quoting the assertion in full.

    To which you ‘reply’:
    “All the usual pseudo-proofs from the conciliar “Catholics”, particularly the argument from numbers outside Europe, which would also “prove” Islam the true religion…”

    A statement that has nothing at all to do with my denial of Frank’s claim.

    You then claim “It was not you specifically to whom I referred Herr Damian…”
    An odd statement considering that I am the only person to have mentioned numbers outside of Europe.

    Finally, with capitals you tell use that post-Vatican II = decline in attendance is “absolutley NOT” your original assertion. We agree on that and at no stage have I said or implied otherwise, being careful to address the person to whom I was particularly responding and to quote them in full.

    Now you are exasperated… Sheesh…

  111. Schütz

    PE said: Jews and Freemasons? Holy crap, when ARE visiting hours over in the asylum called the Catholic Church?

    They are over as of now, I think, PE.

    This is really getting silly. And just after we were all patting one another on the back for how genteel and enlightened we all were on this blog.

    Carlo and Frank, I hold you responsible for deliberately lowering the tone of the discussion on this blog. You are both skating on thin ice – especially when you start questioning my faithfulness to the Catholic Church (something which none of your posts have self-evidently demonstrated).

    I posted on three matters that I desired to be discussed – and now there are just silly arguments about who can and can’t be saved and who are and are not true Catholics.

    I can only believe that when Vicci called Carlo’s comments “educated” she was being sarcastic.

    For your info, my children were baptised in the Lutheran Church when I was still Lutheran. At that time I promised to “be responsible for their upbringing in the Church”, to “remember them in [my] prayers”, to “bring them to the services in God’s house and teach them the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed and the Ten Commandments,” to “remind them of their baptism, set them a good example, and provide for their instruction in the faith”. I have kept and am keeping all these promises.

    When I became Catholic I promised to do what I could to raise any children born after my reception as Catholics (no children have been born to us since I coverted). In fact, I believe that I am raising my daughters to be Catholic – though not perhaps in a way that you would comprehend. I am certainly not doing it in a way that imposes Catholicism upon them against either their will or the will of my wife.

    I’m putting the stopper back in the port barrel on this combox and telling you all to go home and have a good night and look out for the breathaliser.

    Come back when you actually want to discuss the topics I post on.

  112. Schütz

    I must apologise to all of you who kept this discussion going beyond bed-time. I enjoyed reading the various comments, but I did say that this com box was closed, so I exercised my supreme and infallible magisterium as owner of this ‘ere blog and deleted the lot.

    But – I always have to have the last word! And it is this: Frank came onto this blog saying that in agreeing with Pastor Weedon’s statement on Purgatory, I was a heretic. He restated this in one of the deleted comments as follows: Mr Schutz I called you on your assertion that Lutherans and catholics belive the same things about Purgatory and while your pp display may say otherwise the original sentence you wrote is clearly erroneous and heretical.

    As Past Elder (a master at avoiding upsetting people while still mouthing the most illogical nonsense and amusing profanities) pointed out: I was not saying that Lutherans and Catholics taught the same thing regarding Purgatory; I was saying that what Pastor Weedon specifically said was not in contradiction to Catholic teaching. Thus does dialogue proceed: by making it clear what we agree upon and what we do not agree upon.

    Thanks also to Joshua for explaining to me who the hell this “Ott” character was. I feel quite comfortable in continuing to prefer the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    And one more comment (“no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition”): Past Elder is at least right in saying that I cannot be faulted for being less than faithful to the institution which presents itself to me as the Catholic Church. PE and others may disagree on whether that institution IS the Catholic Church and on whether what it teaches is in fact Catholic doctrine, but I have set myself only the task and duty of being faithful to that entity of which I am a communicant member and which calls itself “The Catholic Church.”

    Goodnight.

  113. Frank

    The “who the hell this Ott character is” displays excactly the attitude that causes me concern. he is fr Ludwig Ott and he has in the words of James Canon bastible DD provided a “scientific exposition of the whole field of Catholic teaching”. Which is more than the new Catechsim can claim, and by the way remember that the Catechsim is NOT an infallible document.

  114. Joshua

    Frank, I respect Ott and Bastible, but you must at least realize that both are minor authors of yesteryear; it beggars belief that you would so slight the Catechism (note correct spelling!) as to madly prefer the manual prepared by Ott to it, when the Catechism is an official document of the Magisterium.

    Beware of the silly claim that “not infallible” means “completely ignorable and rejectable” – if you seriously believe this, you are as bad as any liberal, and in serious danger of heresy yourself.

    Shame!

    Do try and realize that the shirty comments you freely make about others make your own prissy remarks about others’ diction appear risible and hypocritical.

    And, Vicci, as my brother in Christ I would be delighted to see Frank at Church – though at Caulfield, thank Christ, we don’t have to put up with that meaningless hand-shaking nonsense: instead, from the altar, making a threefold sign of the Cross with the Host over the Chalice, the priest sings “Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum” (The Peace of the Lord be ever with you), to which all we, all united in Christ and therefore blessed by this His Gospel blessing, reply “Et cum spiritu tuo” (And with thy spirit); if it be Solemn High Mass, the priest, deacon and subdeacon then exchange the peace…

    It would be foolish to think that Frank and I would not be pleased to recognize each other at Mass.

    Comments in a combox are notoriously less well-mannered than we all are in real life – at least I really, really hope so!!!

  115. Joshua

    Rereading my last comment, I notice I was a bit critical – apologies!

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