Skip to comments.A Church of One
Posted on 02/09/2013 2:28:44 PM PST by NYer
Have you ever come across one of those Protestant sectarians who, finding heretics on all sides, has reduced authentic Christianity to just himself? Everyone else has it wrongcertainly the historic churches but just as certainly the denominations he used to be part of. One by one he became disenchanted with them, serially leaving one church for an even smaller church, until at length it was just himself and another fellow, whom he discovered to be as foul a heretic as he had ever met.
That left our sectarian alone but confident that he had settled in the true religionconfident, but not at peace, because now he saw that the whole world was wrong. He was frustrated that no one saw the truth as he saw it. No one saw the truth at all. "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). He didnt find himself in Thomas Hobbes' "war of all against all" but in a war of "one against all," and he was the one.
It made for a lonely life: the crushing burden, knowing that he alone was the carrier of full truth; the sorrow, seeing that no one would follow his lead; the compromises, having to compartmentalize his faith to get by even minimally in society; the sidelong glances that came from one-time friends, the cruel jests from neighborhood children, the incapacity of his own children to see him as he saw himself.
Such is the ultimate Protestant sectarian, the man who has ridden his logic to its limitwhere he may be startled to bump into a Catholic analogue, such as Gerry Matatics.
A convert to the Catholic faith from a strict form of Presbyterianism, Matatics went through several subsequent "conversions": from conservative Catholic to Traditionalist, then to sedevacantist, and now, apparently, to a church of one.
He has a website that, on its main page, has four articles. One has been there, unchanged, since 2009 and two more since 2006. Only one slot has changed with any regularity. It is the slot in which he hawks upcoming audio recordings. His latest offering, posted on January 31, is a series of 25 talks under the rubric "Riding the Train of Truth All the Way to the End of the Line." He says that the series "enables you to make the case that the authentic alternative to Vatican II Catholicism is NOT the unauthorized, illicit, anarchic, and sacrilegious scene at the chapels served by the illicitly ordained (i.e., in the post-Vatican II era) 'traditionalist' priests and bishops, whether of the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI, or independent variety."
(In case these acronyms are unfamiliar to you: SSPX is the Society of St. Pius X, the Lefebvrist group; SSPV is the Society of St. Pius V, a sedevacantist offshoot of the SSPX; CMRI is the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, a sedevacantist group started by illicitly-ordained bishop Robert McKenna.)
Matatics used to attend SSPX chapels, but he became disaffected when he concluded that the SSPX wasn't forthright in condemning the vernacular Mass as invalid. He traced the invalidity to the now-supplanted translation of pro multis as "for many." That, he thought, made the Mass invalid and those who approved of it, or even tolerated it, heretics. He became a full-blown sedevacantist but soon discovered that each sedevacantist group was wrong too:
"The lack of the necessary mission and jurisdiction (and in some cases, even the lack of validity) characteristic of these pseudo-traditionalist sects (all of which ironically trample upon tradition in the very name of tradition!)and the dire spiritual consequences of this lackare fully explained [in his new talks] from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, from magisterial teaching, and from canon law."
Like the Protestant sectarian who became his own church, Matatics did his homework. He investigated the ever-smaller groups he joined or was tempted to join, until he found that none of them would suffice. He holds no grudge against people who still belong to them:
"I don't question either the intelligence, the sincerity, or the spirituality of those who attend such chapels; I attended them myself, for years, before I researched this matter more carefully. I am quite sure that, for the most part, those who attend such chapels do so precisely because they want to be 'law-abiding, faithful Catholics during the current crisis.' Nevertheless, I believe that, objectively speaking, they ought not to be attending them, and that once they are shown the relevant information, those who are of good willnot without an anguished struggle, I'm surewill realize they can no longer do so."
They ought not to attend these chapels, just as he does not attend them. They should follow his example and his line of reasoning: There no longer is any chapel worthy to attend. There no longer is a valid episcopacy. There no longer are valid priests. This means there no longer is a Mass. All one can do is to honor one's Sunday obligation as he does, by staying home and reciting the rosary and other prayers with one's family. What else is possible in a world where everyone else is wrong? What else is possible when no one else sees the light?
(The image is from the newspaper in Matatics's hometown of Scranton, PA, and shows him receiving a free cholesterol check at an outdoor health fair in 2011.)
Misguided and sad, ping!
“sides, has reduced authentic Christianity to just himself? “
Or even worse, reducing the Body of Christ to just one church/denomination...
I think Mad Mo’ was one of those.
The story is told of a Navy ship that came upon a solitary castaway on a deserted island—he had been there twenty years or more. The rescuers were amazed at how the castaway had single-handedly transformed the island, including building several impressive structures. “What is that over there?” asked a rescuer. “Why, that’s the church I built for myself,” said the castaway. “And what is that other building over there?” “Why, that’s my other church,” said the castaway. “I got mad at what was going on at the first church and had to leave.”
My foray into “evangelical” “denominations” has humorously proven the old adage that it takes two baptists to start a church and three to break it apart. If the reform movement was driven over a “literal” translation of the Bible, how come there are so many flavors?
more protestant bashing.
ROFL! Thank you; that made my day.
Some of them were certainly serious men ~ and a lot of them were simply churches with one member, and him not all that reliable.
That aspect of Christianity disappeared after the islamic conquest of North Africa.
That's most of a thousand years before Protestantism came along.
Here's where I remind everyone that all the early Protestants had been either Orthodox or Roman Catholic Christians. This stuff didn't just appear out of the mists. Neither did those early hermits.
We should remember, there are the patron saints of animal topics, the patron saints of actors, of airline stewardress, of ammunition workers, of bell makers, of box makers, of boot blacks (not prayed too to much these days I suspect). There are the patron saints of bladder diseases, of blisters, of bowel disorders, of dandruff, of fainting. There are the patron saints of catepillars (not the tractors), dog bites, insect bites, patron saints of bees and, of course, bee keepers (one must have equal time).
It is understandable why our Catholic friends would laugh at a "church of one". They simply must love a party. After all, one can tell who prays to the saint of dandruff by whether they have telltale white flakes on their coats.
To be fair, do not some Roman Catholics do the same?
They are of this rite, or that rite, or, most commonly, are Cafeteria Catholics or CINOs. They become of Father this-and-so or This Holy Order of Nuns. Many official nuns and priests and monks actively oppose official church doctrines - and they aren’t excuseable as “just members.”
I don’t think the charge of sectarianism lies at the feet of Protestants alone. The Roman Catholics are NOT all marching to the same beat.
You might say, well, then they are not true Roman Catholics. I can see that. But then I’d say, all those “Protestants” who deny basic gospel truths are not true Protestants, either. That knife cuts both ways.
The RC polemic really is an attempt to negate the validity of any Scriptural challenge to her, as she is akin but more extreme than what it condemns, being the outworking of a premise that it alone is assuredly infallible, that according to her interpretation only her interpretation is correct in any conflict, but which is not the basis for the establishment of truth and the church, whih actually began in dissent from those who likewise presumed of themselves morr than what it written.
Meanwhile, most of what constitutes Rome have their own version of Catholicism, and whom Rome counts, treats and buries as members.
Great point. Thanks.
The article displays a gross a misunderstanding of what the body of Christ is as any I have read.
Neither the author nor the virtual sectarian he portrays, understand the Scriptural definition of the body of Christ.
The guy is just one of thousands, he just shows up a little more.
And therein lies the problem for the RC.
There were two views throughout history. The Eastern Orthodox from the beginning looked upon the scriptures (while divine and inspired), to be a living document to be carefully and methodolically changed and altered by the bishops as living circumstances changed. Thus, some of Paul's teachings were not edged in stone but were flexible as the church grew. Teaching could be modified with the approval of bishops but this isn't to be done lightly. While I don't share this view, there is some rational behind it.
This was not true for the western church. The early church fathers (Augustine, Jerome, etc) recognized the infallibility and inerrancy of the scriptures, and purposely set it apart from Church writings and doctrine. They held a high view of scripture unlike church doctrine that could become corrupted. Scripture could not be wrong. Church views could be. Thus, Church doctrine could and should be changed to conform with scripture when discovered to be wrong.
This worked for quite a while until the Roman Catholic Church started getting challenges to it's doctrine and authority. But at no time was this greater than in the Middle Ages when it tried to set up a king and kingdom on earth, and wanting to tax countries to pay tribute to it and the building of the Vatican. The rebellion of Luther and others was really just a final flash point that had been brewing for over four centuries.
The Council of Trent decided to take the Eastern Orthodox approach in saying that the Church was the authority-not the scriptures. Of course this creates problems for the RCC in that this was never historic position of the western church nor does it make sense with the writings and positions of the early fathers. The RCC no longer truly believes like the fathers in the setting apart of the scriptures. And you'll see this on this board today. While Catholics will tout the scriptures, they'll rely upon the Church positions (usually going no farther back than Anselm). When asked if they believe scripture to be more divinely inspired than church writings, one can hear the sound of crickets in the background.
Unlike the Orthodox who always believed they could change and make modifications to writings and teachings to keep up with the times, Catholics tout that they go back to the very early writings-something that they really ignored. Today it is no wonder that Catholics believe like the Orthodox (we won't even discuss Pelagius' views).
And that is why Roman Catholics don't like to be challenged scripturally. They really no longer recognized the infallibility and inerrancy of the scriptures. It is whatever Rome tells them to believe.
Maybe; but it is DEFINITELY the RCC favorite strawman to build upon!
Or historically; either!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.