Skip to comments.Thank God For the Magisterium
Posted on 06/10/2007 3:02:20 PM PDT by NYer
Many modern people have the notion that the principal mission of the Catholic Church is to impose belief on unbelievers. The reality is that most of its time is spent trying to restrain belief in everything from spoon-bending to the aliens who allegedly speak to us through a cat in Poughkeepsie.
The riptides and cross-currents of religious enthusiasm in American culture are kaleidoscopic and dizzying. Cradle Catholics can be forgiven for just ignoring the whole thing and many of them do. But its still worth taking into account because some religious trends can have decided real-world effects.
Some of the effects of unrestrained belief can be amusing.
For instance, after five centuries of being told by Protestant polemicists that we Romanists do not trust the saving grace of Jesus Christ and ignorantly seek salvation by the works of the law, it is a weird thing for a Catholic to see the spectacle of kooky apocalyptic Protestants eagerly excited about the birth of red heifers because this will (they hope) be the prelude to rebuilding the Temple of Solomon and the re-institution of the Mosaic sacrificial system. Just how that Temple will be rebuilt when the Dome of the Rock is situated on the site of the Temple is not quite as clearly worked out.
Which brings me to something just as kooky, but less amusing.
Recently, James Dobson, a leading Evangelical and a usually sensible man, hosted on his show one Joel Rosenberg, author of something called Epicenter: Why Current Rumblings in the Middle East Will Change Your Future. Rosenberg claims to know what the Bible says about what is happening in the Mideast and is not shy about making predictions regarding the fate of the Middle East regarding issues such as Irans nuclear threats against Israel, the arms race and ultimately ... Armageddon. Heres a snippet:
Dobson: Well, Joel, lets explain to everybody how Ezekiel 38 turns out, because Israel is about to be attacked, and a huge number of troops from Russia and Iran are coming toward Israel to destroy it, and what happens?
Rosenberg: Well, God is going to move. You wont find in the Scriptures that the United States is coming to rescue Israel or the European Union, but God says he is going to supernaturally intervene were talking about fire from heaven, a massive earthquake, diseases spreading through the enemy forces. It is going to be such a clear judgment against the enemies of Israel that Ezekiel 39 says that it will take seven months to bury all the bodies of the slain enemies of Israel.
Such standard-issue Evangelical prophetic cocksureness is an excellent example of why a magisterium is so useful and necessary.
Not only does the magisterium help us know what is essential to the faith, it also helps us remain free of what is unessential. For the various species of Protestantism, in addition to denying real biblical truths such as the Real Presence or infant baptism, also have a tendency to invent biblical truths that do not exist and impose them by means of a sort of cultural pressure via charismatic preachers with pet theories who, in their own sphere, are granted an infallibility the Pope could never dream of.
Now, a Catholic is quite free to have a kooky private reading of Ezekiel 38-39 as a prophecy of the coming resurgent Soviet Union and its alliance with Muslims, communist Chinese or whoever, all in a vast Cecil B. DeMille battle against Israel. The Church has all sorts of room for eccentrics, and everybody needs a hobby.
But a Catholic is not free to go around telling everybody that this is the clear teaching of the Bible and demand it be believed. For the fact is, this kooky theory is emphatically not the clear teaching of the Bible, nor does it have any sanction whatsoever from the Church, the tradition, the Fathers, the councils or the popes. It is a pure novelty we can and should ignore.
What we should not ignore is Rosenbergs claim that, Given the events going on in our world today, people at the Pentagon, people at the CIA, people at the White House are asking to sit down and talk about these issues, to understand the Biblical perspective, because it is uncanny what is happening out there and it deserves some study.
I suspect that Rosenberg is exaggerating his clout with the big cheeses in DC. I doubt that the Pentagons intel meetings are dominated by exegeses of Ezekiel 38.
But I do think it matters if a significant portion of the American polity drinks in such bizarre theories as if they were Gods revealed Truth.
Ideas have consequences, especially crazy ones. Most crazy ideas do no harm.
Crazy ideas about the Middle East, backed by the force of arms, stand a better than average chance of killing millions.
Mark Shea is
senior content editor
Awesome post. Captures the absurdity of protestantism. Every protestant has his or her own private magisterium, which of course means there are many “truths”. But in Jesus Christ there is but one Truth.
What is the exergesis of Ezekiel 38 by the Magisterium ?
I suppose some form of a MAGICSTERICAL to deal with demonized aliens speaking through a cat in Poughkeepsie has SOME merit.
How worth the risk, it is, of all the other idiocies magicstericals tend to get into is another issue entirely.
I still think St Paul’s exhortation to get some humble old codger in the congregation—full of the wisdom and anointing of Holy Spirit to decide troublesome things is a safer route. Of course, these days, there seems to be a dearth, drought of humble old codgers.
But magistericals in any group tend to be known more for the opposite of humility. Pride is never a great route to wisdom and safe theology.
Proverbs 13:10 — By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.
How to . . . maintain the humble and wise in their humility and wisdom
appointed to lofty positions of religious intellectual pontification with long lists of accouterments?
Seems like most of them . . . seeing as how they work so overtly for God and all
end up with God complexes themselves.
That is a good one. Thanks for posting it. You have a knack for finding great articles.
It didn’t take long.
Great article??? Because some Catholic claims Protestants have to know as little about the bible as the majority of Catholics do???
Like the book of Revelation, Catholics have to throw most of Ezekiel away because they don't have a clue what it's talking about...
in addition to denying real biblical truths such as the Real Presence or infant baptism
There is no infant bapatism in the NT...To call infant baptism biblical is to tell a lie...Anyone that can read can see there is no infant baptism in the bible...But then, you'd have to read the bible to find out...
I don't understand why they want to constantly spew on us unless they are trying to strengthen our faith through the Catholic Church. Whenever they make a new and/or more hysterical claim it sends me back to the Bible and the Cathechism. the internet and the very informed writings of the many intellectual Catholics on FR. I get my faith reaffirmed everyday by the writings and postings of Catholics.
Thanks for the posting.
end up with God complexes themselves.
Come on, dude. You're a better guy that that.
Evidence? Serious evidence, not an anecdote here or there? And are you going to control for claims of Holy Spirit inspiration, the kind that enables people to break promises and commitments they made without regard to the effects on the lives of people who were relying on them and made sacrifices for them,and are seriously harmed by the new liberation the Holy Spirit allegedly bestowed on, say one member of the marriage who has found a new cutie, and the Holy Spirit seems to agree?
Control also for the various apocalypso groups who repeatedly say, whoops, that train was late, lemme take a look at the old timetable here ... oh that's wasn't the end of the world, didn't read the fine print, that was when Jesus enters into judgement. End of the world is NEXT week.
That old god-complex ridden Paul VI: did you hear how he prostrated himself in front of an orthodox bishop and kissed his feet? Sounds proud, doesn't it? You think Ratzinger that was made friends by uncompromisingly saying what he thought the truth and the teaching of the Church is? Sure, he got a white dress out of the deal, but he's widely despised not only in the Main Stream Media -- are you SURE you want to be on their side against us? -- but by liberal RCs. I knew a priest who snapped off a pretty good Nazi salute when he mentioned Ratzinger.
OR my bishop who jokes about his weight problem -- yep, arrogant SOB he is. Or my pastor and the other Dominicans here who when you try to compliment them on a sermon always say,"Praise God." God complexes, every one of them.
I keep forgetting how the addiction to making unsubstantiated mockery of the Catholic Church is hard to shake.
Now that there is a magisterial statement. We all know that work has been done on Peter's use of "and your children" (and the use of τεκνον generally in the NT) as reported in Acts, and ditto on "and his whole household". So an unmagisterial look at the Scriptures would have to say that the evidence tilts this way or that rather than "There is NO" or "There certainly is" unambiguous evidence one way or the other in the NT about infant baptism.
So is this a God complex here ? Just asking for the diagnostic criteria....
It's coz dey just wuv us to death. Dey onwy doin it coz dey wuvs us. An dey wuv Jesus too.
I thought you knew I wasn’t talking about IC oversight groups only. Actually, wasn’t thinking much about them at all as I wrote. Was thinking of the Proty groups I’ve known.
Actually, some of the RC groups within the larger group may well have worked through more of the God complex aspects than some Proty groups.
Yeah, I’ve been impressed by a lot of the humility of some of the recent Pontiffs. Though they still seem to come down quite solidly on the side of presuming some . . . to Proty sensibilities . . . arrogant theological stands on some issues.
But, sure, there’s plenty of pride in one’s own presumed spiritual stature COMPARED TO OTHERS to go around. More than plenty.
Actually, wasn’t mocking the RC’s at all, per se.
Was talking about the human frailty of being placed in a lofty RELIGIOUS GROUP
OVERSEEING LESSER SOULS
and the resulting pride and how damaging that is.
I was talking about a HUMAN problem, not an RC problem per se. And, as I wrote above, I actually wasn’t thinking about RC groups at all as I wrote . . . except maybe slightly initially. I had in mind examples exclusively from my Proty experiences.
I think any time that anyone
presumes, assumes, infers, extrapolates
and then assumes the loftiness to make THAT inference
DOCTRINE, DOGMA to be kowtowed to by one and all
we have entered at least the realms of the God complex.
When, in Scripture, there’s room for reasonable people to differ, I suspect God is not near so adamant about which side of the issues we are on AS MUCH AS HE IS about our attitudes toward those on the OTHER side.
I think that’s especially true the more layers removed we get from the basic doctrines of Salvation by faith; Christ’s substitutionary death; His Resurrection, Ascension etc.
I haven’t read every post. But I’m not aware of anyone spewing on RC’s on the thread yet.
Chips on shoulders and thin skins . . . are . . . problematic on all our parts.
Cuz I made myself a new rule, I can't talk to those anti kind of people anymore but whatizname wants to know who spewed and it would be himself.
It is an attempt to degrade and if it was meant as a joke it is not funny unless you're maybe 11 yrs old and it isn't even original.
At bottom, the question is: who do you believe?
For me, the answer is God.
I have cast all of my burdens on the Lord, thrown all caution to His wind. I believe Him and trust Him. My fate is in His hands alone. Therefore, I personally eschew all the doctrines and traditions of men across the board.
At the Great White Throne judgement I pray no one will suffer blame on my account - including apostles, religious leaders, evangelists, teachers, translators and councils.
Much agree with every line.
Are Calvinists born ignorant, or do they have to WORK AT IT???
It is an attempt to degrade and if it was meant as a joke it is not funny unless you're maybe 11 yrs old and it isn't even original.
NOT AT ALL.
Actually, I find this: It is an attempt to degrade to be mind-reading and very poor and thoroughly inaccurate mind-reading, at that.
My original and abiding motive in ORIGINATING--to my awareness I was the first to come up with the term--the word--my motive was and is to highlight--put a spotlight on--EMPHASIZE--the very
HUMAN TENDENCY--VIRTUALLY--HUMAN NATURE--in ANY collection of humans gathered together in a group; given a lofty intellectual, RELIGIOUS title and mandate
. . . the natural human tendency, compulsion, habit for such individuals in such groups IN ALL DENOMINATIONS to become MAGICAL AND HYSTERICAL in their thinking and their pronouncements--also with great pride; great chips on their shoulders and great tendencies to be punitive, hostile and condescending to all who disagree with their learned and sanctimonious pronouncements.
85-95% of my observations of such have been with Proty MAGICSTERICALS. My observations of RC MAGICSTERICALS have been from a distance and a lot fewer. But I find all of the examples I've observed to be essentially similar if not the same on key aspects as noted above. I haven't found a single such group in any denomination to be worth putting much stock in and mostly, wholesale more fitting to put a lot of wariness up about. I have seen far more of them be at least 51% destructive if not overwhelmingly destructive. That is not limited to Proty such groups--though they have been my primary observational examples that I've derived my conclusions from.
and if it was meant as a joke it is not funny unless you're maybe 11 yrs old
Well, you just happen to be factually absolutely wrong on that score. A number of the more mature, good humored, brighter and balanced, charitable folks hereon FREEPMAILED me that it was one of the more amusing things they've ever seen me write. But I do understand that folks with chips on their shoulders and thin skins would be somewhat likely to not find it funny.
and it isn't even original.
News to me. I came up with it out of the blue, having never seen it before, as I was writing a post on FR. Evidently GMTA. LOL.
Now, as to spewing . . . I am well capable of SPEWING as are a number of RC folks.
But I don't think folks really want to see me write such stuff and I am not interested in writing such stuff. But I CAN show you spewing--and it's several orders of magnitude worse than MAGISTERICAL. Perhaps the suggestion to "grow up, get a thicker skin and trash the chip on one's shoulder" would be good advice hereon.
I do NOT consider FR nor America a place where folks have a RIGHT to be UNoffended. I believe we are responsible before God about the offenses we needlessly take up; take to heart and respond to out of a bad faith sort of heart attitude.
Even pointed, satirical, mocking hyperbole has a place--it is in many places in Scripture. But I've not written in such a style hereon for quite some time. I'm well capable of returning by popular RC acclaim, if so desired, however.
I tend to have a bias for a robust sort of aggressive free for all exchange of ideas and even of emotions. I've muted that wholesale--largely because of Mad Dawg being my friend and wanting me to. But I still have strong preferences in those directions.
You know, Quix, I was starting to read and enjoy your posts since you became more congenial.
But with this last post you seem to be back-sliding.
Thanks for your kind words.
But I don’t see me backsliding at all.
I see me saying . . . to folks who SEEM
obsessively . . . affixed to thin skins, jumping to conclusions and chips on their shoulders to . . . grow up a bit.
And, I’m noting that IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE
FOR ME TO RETURN to such a style. But that I don’t think that’s what the whiners would really like.
I see the above post as incredibly gentle and kind. I could have used a verbal 2 X 4 and it was far from that.
I don’t think RC’s or Calvinists or Pentecostals or any other Believer or value orientation do themselves any favors or their orientations any favors when they come across as petty, whining, thin-skinned, brittle with huge chips on their shoulders etc. It may be human . . . but it’s not blessed nor attractive. And usually, nowadays hereon, it’s not warranted.
Disagreeing and saying things with some reasonable forcefulness is not the same as RC bashing or any similar thing. The lack of ability or lack of willingness to make those distinctions is not attractive nor fruitful for collaborative discussion.
It seems to be an RC doctrine of faith or dogma or ritual or some such . . . that whenever a Proty disagrees with any seriousness or forcefulness AT ALL—that the RC respondent MUST, ABSOLUTELY MUST wail, throw dust in the air and fling ashes and blame far and wide about how horrible, unfair, abusive etc. the comment was. When, mostly, it was merely a forceful disagreement and different description or construction on reality.
RC’S ARE MORE FORCEFUL, brittle, demanding, startlingly ALL OR NOTHING descriptive about those who don’t buy into their construction on reality still . . . somewhat routinely. The double standard gets very old and wearying.
In short—quit whining about nothing before someone’s patience runs out and they return to giving something worth whining about.
Quite a number of Proties are NOT going to roll over and play dead just because RC's make some pronouncement about their construction on reality.
We feel just as duty bound before God to speak up for the construction on spiritual and Christian reality which we feel is MORE kosher, fitting, accurate, Scriptural, Christ-like etc.
We will not always wrap every word and phrase in 12 layers of foam and rabbit fur--bending over backwards to try and insure that every nuance has little likelihood in offending thin-skinned RC's with big chips on their shoulders.
NOT going to happen.
Deal with it.
We don't get hyper and foam at the mouth every time some RC poster rants, rails and accuses or throws some baiting thing in our faces any more. We may respond pointedly--even forcefully--but I haven't seen such with rancor in a long time. Maybe I've just missed it. But I think even Dr. E and I have been startlingly and sometimes sadly and overly quite mellow.
Mellow is OK when it's motivated by Love and consideration, kindness, compassion.
But AVOID mistaking it for kowtowing to a view of spiritual and Scriptural reality which we often still find startlingly horrid in this or that way or list of ways. Our mellowness does not imply growing agreement. It implies growing kindness and Christian preferring one another AS UNTO CHRIST because it pleases HIM.
It still appears that several RC's--perhaps a dozen or more even--feel duty bound to wail, whine, puff up their lips and generally throw dust in the air because we don't either agree with them or defer to them in exceedingly submissive, deferent tones. Tough tacos. Not going to happen any more than the reverse is going to happen. Get real.
My use of MAGICSTERICAL is now well known to apply across the board to ANY group of spiritual oversight leaders. ANY--IN ANY GROUP. Taking exclusive offense at the implications of the term for the RC examples of the magicsterical is . . . childish, petty, . . . missing the point wholesale . . . or worse, claiming that RC folks
GUESS WHAT--RC FOLKS ARE !NOT! IMMUNE TO BEING HUMAN!
Thanks for your opinion and perspective.
I’m sure in many respects and contexts and contingencies that your consistency is quite commendable and advantageous.
It’s quite nice, actually, that you are sooo good at being YOU!
Whenever you post “MAGICSTERICALS,” you discard most of your reading audience. All that remains after such absurdity is “the choir.”
You are plenty bright to
that the title of this thread
was a screaming red flag baiting title.
The discussion could have been held in an RC caucus.
One has to assume it wasn’t for a reason—a baiting reason.
And, some responses have been slightly to moderately forceful.
And the whining wailing began on cue.
Don’t pretend to you or your family or personal friends that you are convincing anyone here.
You’re ridiculous posts are somewhat less absurd than the admonitions of smock-clad homeless persons toting signs that warn “The End is Nigh.”
Could you expand your list of verboten attacks to attack on groups? People can criticize beliefs all they want, but when they start saying “Catholic are this way,” and “Evangelicals always do such and such,” that’s crossing a line.
I’ll consider it. It has taken a year to get most of the RF posters to stop making it personal. And there are still slip-ups even with the oldtimers. But it would be another step up in improving the dialogue.
But I don’t find that mind-reading very accurate.
I don’t hate much of anything . . . except maybe Shrillery’s traitorousness and seemingly demonized value system.
I have a LOT of fondness for many RC’s—most I’ve met by far.
I’m not particularly fond of -isms of any flavor. I’m not even fond of Pentecostalism.
Pretending that I’m singling out RC’s for unique and special hatred or even rejection or even unusually awful distaste for their theological distinctives
is just NOT true.
It’s not my heart.
It’s not my spirit.
It’s not my mind.
It’s not my attitude.
I think virtually any . . . bureaucratic, even slightly older, large RELIGIOUS organization tends to have AT LEAST as many destructive hazards to it as benefits.
I feel that way about ALL denominations. Pretending I’m singling out RC’s unfairly on such matters is SIMPLY NOT TRUE. And, it leaves many looking like cry babies. I think you are, as a group, much better than that. I hate to see that kind of pettiness tarnish your image. It’s not necessary.
The religion forum . . . by nature and necessity is not the romper room. The issues, dynamics, emotions etc. are significant on all sides. We are NOT AT ALL inclined to avoid the word “no” to avoid wounding little Johnny’s self esteem, ego, personhood. We try, increasingly, I think, to be loving and kind. But not mealy mouthed wimpy dialogers with nothing very assertive or forceful to say about issues and values central to our core beings and reasons for existing.
Perhaps instead of groups . . .
ALWAYS, NEVER . . .
“ALL OR NOTHING” language would be the criteria of prohibition.
Perhaps unless solid research had proved otherwise?
Thanks tons for your faithful work trying to keep us yeahoos within some reasonable bounds.
Prayers for you and yours.
I’m just thinking attacks on a group are often a catalyst for personal attacks.
I guess if you want to just end all debate on the religion forum, that would work.
Why do you participate in these forums if you can't stand hearing people level criticism at your theology?
Just stay on the caucus threads and you should be insulated from any criticism.
I think it would be very difficult to operationally define
attack on a group.
Folks with thin skins and chips on their shoulders IN ALL DENOMINATIONAL GROUPS will be inclined to construe all manner of forceful statements as attacks on “the most holy and sanctified group”—THEIRS—of course.
ALL OR NOTHING language like “ALWAYS” “NEVER” ETC. would be a LOT easier to monitor, I’d think.
I suppose one could use those words in conjunction with groups as the criteria.
But isn’t that . . . I don’t know . . . taking the monkey bars out of the playground so Johnny won’t scuff his knees or get a bruised something or other?
Personal attacks . . . We are all big enough to know what a specifically personal, personhood attack is. And, avoiding “You” “Your” etc. words is a huge safety, help.
The request somewhat seems to be saying . . . in effect . . .
we hereon are not big enough to hear something startlingly negative about our sacred group without going ballistic, foaming at the mouth and flailing about with knives and arrows.
Hello? Are we THAT pathetic, immature, insecure, brittle, thin skinned???
God help us when the END TIMES REALLY get going in full force. Kid gloves and 4” foam carpet pads and white gloves everywhere will NOT be the order of the day.
I have not attacked RC-ism tonight. I’ve attacked a human tendency—especially a human group tendency of a particular kind of organized group IN ALL DENOMINATIONS. Yet the reaction on the part of a very few has been AS THOUGH I’d attacked the Virgin Mary in the flesh in her eyeballs with a red hot poker!
Why such a disconnect from the reality? That’s NOT REALLY my doing.
On a personal level, I’m saddened by the whole episode. But I can’t take responsibility for the utter nonsense. At some point, I have to leave others their SHARE of responsibility.
Could I have been more loving? I don’t know. Usually there’s always some way to have been a BIT more loving. But I doubt that I could have said anything close to what was true and important for me to say—without triggering at least a similar response from some folks. That may be sad. But I don’t know HOW MUCH of that is my responsibility.
I’m not exactly a new and novel entity hereon. Folks are welcome to take everything I say with a grain of salt. My motives and even my heart are pretty easily discernable by most folks with a microscopic shred of discernment and perceptiveness.
In some ways, I’m . . . me . . . enough . . . a unique, bird of rare plumage, . . . or as my relatives might say—strange—enough . . . that it’s somewhat easy for a variety of folks to be annoyed to irritated just because I’m breathing and with 1,000 feet of them. Sorry about that.
And, I’ve tried to wash behind my ears better and use mints . . . but at some point, nothing will ever be enough for some people. And I cannot remake myself every 30 seconds into someone else’s image of how I OUGHT to be times even a dozen such individuals’ expectations. Tried that long ago. Talk about CRAZY!
Rolling with the punches without taking personal offense is a sign of emotional, psychological AND spiritual maturity. Is it too much to ask that we behave above a 2-4 year old level on such issues?
Just pondering and thinking out loud . . .
Thanks to you both for your thoughtful inputs.
Did you even read what I said? I said beliefs. That is the same as theology. Do you think you have a need to attack groups, instead of their beliefs?
Good points . . .
Though . . . psychologically . . . maybe emotionally . . .
sometimes . . . when we are feeling brittle or gritchy . . . we sort of tend, as humans . . . to go
HUNTING FOR OFFENSE
and, then, of course, to 100% blame the other person.
I don’t think moderators can prevent that. Maybe they can prevent certain over the line expressions of that phenomenon.
But you make an excellent point.
BTW, reality check here.
P-Marlowe, we’ve said some strong things at one another the last 6 months, IIRC.
But I still care for you deeply and respect you and your beliefs greatly. Haven’t you been aware of that, regardless?
And, I have at least the fantasy that you respect at least SOMETHING about me. Isn’t that true?
I don’t think it’s all that hard, really.
Groups have beliefs. If we criticize the beliefs, we are criticizing the group and vice versa.
Feel free to criticize my beliefs and my groups. It doesn't bother me at all. It is through the discussion of these issues that we can come to the truth. Unless, of course, someone else has already done the thinking for you.
Unless, of course, someone else has already done the thinking for you.
= = =
LAUGHING AND GRINNING . . .
There you go again . . . attacking that sacred group!
But, truly, Marlowe, that sort of DEFERRING to loftier RELIGIOUS folk—with titles and positions and formal roles . . .that kind of thinking goes on in all denominational—even all congregations older than 1.5-3 years, imho.