Skip to comments.Reformation Day – and What Led Me To Back to Catholicism
Posted on 10/28/2011 6:59:29 AM PDT by markomalley
October 31 is only three days away. For Protestants, it is Reformation Day, the date in 1517 on which Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to that famous door in Wittenberg, Germany. Since I returned to the Catholic Church in April 2007, each year the commemoration has become a time of reflection about my own journey and the puzzles that led me back to the Church of my youth.
One of those puzzles was the relationship between the Church, Tradition, and the canon of Scripture. As a Protestant, I claimed to reject the normative role that Tradition plays in the development of Christian doctrine. But at times I seemed to rely on it. For example, on the content of the biblical canon whether the Old Testament includes the deuterocanonical books (or Apocrypha), as the Catholic Church holds and Protestantism rejects. I would appeal to the exclusion of these books as canonical by the Jewish Council of Jamnia (A.D. 90-100) as well as doubts about those books raised by St. Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate, and a few other Church Fathers.
My reasoning, however, was extra-biblical. For it appealed to an authoritative leadership that has the power to recognize and certify books as canonical that were subsequently recognized as such by certain Fathers embedded in a tradition that, as a Protestant, I thought more authoritative than the tradition that certified what has come to be known as the Catholic canon. This latter tradition, rejected by Protestants, includes St. Augustine as well as the Council of Hippo (A.D. 393), the Third Council of Carthage (A.D. 397), the Fourth Council of Carthage (A.D. 419), and the Council of Florence (A.D. 1441).
But if, according to my Protestant self, a Jewish council and a few Church Fathers are the grounds on which I am justified in saying what is the proper scope of the Old Testament canon, then what of New Testament canonicity? So, ironically, given my Protestant understanding of ecclesiology, then the sort of authority and tradition that apparently provided me warrant to exclude the deuterocanonical books from Scripture binding magisterial authority with historical continuity is missing from the Church during the development of New Testament canonicity.
The Catholic Church, on the other hand, maintains that this magisterial authority was in fact present in the early Church and thus gave its leadership the power to recognize and fix the New Testament canon. So, ironically, the Protestant case for a deuterocanonical-absent Old Testament canon depends on Catholic intuitions about a tradition of magisterial authority.
This led to two other tensions. First, in defense of the Protestant Old Testament canon, I argued, as noted above, that although some of the Churchs leading theologians and several regional councils accepted what is known today as the Catholic canon, others disagreed and embraced what is known today as the Protestant canon. It soon became clear to me that this did not help my case, since by employing this argumentative strategy, I conceded the central point of Catholicism: the Church is logically prior to the Scriptures. That is, if the Church, until the Council of Florences ecumenical declaration in 1441, can live with a certain degree of ambiguity about the content of the Old Testament canon, that means that sola scriptura was never a fundamental principle of authentic Christianity.
After all, if Scripture alone applies to the Bible as a whole, then we cannot know to which particular collection of books this principle applies until the Bibles content is settled. Thus, to concede an officially unsettled canon for Christianitys first fifteen centuries seems to make the Catholic argument that sola scriptura was a sixteenth-century invention and, therefore, not an essential Christian doctrine.
Second, because the list of canonical books is itself not found in Scripture as one can find the Ten Commandments or the names of Christs apostles any such list, whether Protestant or Catholic, would be an item of extra-biblical theological knowledge. Take, for example, a portion of the revised and expanded Evangelical Theological Society statement of faith suggested (and eventually rejected by the membership) by two ETS members following my return to the Catholic Church. It states that, this written word of God consists of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments and is the supreme authority in all matters of belief and behavior.
But the belief that the Bible consists only of sixty-six books is not a claim of Scripture, since one cannot find the list in it, but a claim about Scripture as a whole. That is, the whole has a property i.e., consisting of sixty-six books, that is not found in any of the parts. In other words, if the sixty-six books are the supreme authority on matters of belief, and the number of books is a belief, and one cannot find that belief in any of the books, then the belief that Scripture consists of sixty-six particular books is an extra-biblical belief, an item of theological knowledge that is prima facie non-biblical.
For the Catholic, this is not a problem, since the Bible is the book of the Church, and thus there is an organic unity between the fixing of the canon and the development of doctrine and Christian practice.
Although I am forever indebted to my Evangelical brethren for instilling and nurturing in me a deep love of Scripture, it was that love that eventually led me to the Church that had the authority to distinguish Scripture from other things.
It is your fallible opinion based on your fallible authority on what this means and whether you are or are not.
I would hope you do those things on the list that metmom posted. If they upset you or convict you, as they do me at times, then perhaps something else in us needs looking at.
In your case, that higher authority is your self. Why would someone in the Church look outside Christ's Church to a fallible authority?
In addition to anger, I believe we see very deep issues of authority and rebellion.
Leading to the ultimate rebellion against all authority and retreating to the false security of complete self authority.
The concept of being qualified in subject matter seems to be under attack now.
Every individual an authority on every subject.
We've been so "grouped" as people and taught group-think that it is hard to see or be seen as one out of the group they're assigned to. Or, in many cases, gladly and willingly join in order to escape their very individualism. That's a shame. There is still a lot of individualism, but groups feel they MUST put those individuals into a group in order to make themselves feel more secure. There is safety in numbers, you know, we are told that all the time.
Our Grandparents. That was the last age of true individualism for society. IMHO
I think the site you copied this snippet from is most likely a dumpster. There is no way I am going to believe that any of you actually visited Catholicfaithdefenders.com, have read the PRAESTANTIA SCRIPTURAE or have any idea of the context in which it was issued.
Are people really so naive as to not realize that anything that can be found on the internet can be fact checked on the internet. Perhaps they expect that everyone will be as intellectually lazy as they are.
That passage is NOT contained within the book quoted. I actually posted the entire chapter of that book in post #3397 and it simply is not there. The falsified version that you reposted does appear, however on many anti-Catholic websites and in posts on Free Republic by anti-Catholics apparently not interested in the truth.
Actually, this is not what shows superficial or dishonest research, and as i am the one that originally posted this then let me respond to you both. If you carefully read the attribution, you will see that two chapters are given, Chapter XIX, XXIII, and the only error is that chapter should be plural, nonetheless their first one is cp. XIX , and you apparently only searched XXIII which is a little below it. For you are right that (much of) anything that can be found on the Internet, and the book is easily found online, ( http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18438/18438-h/18438-h.htm) and if you search (Ctrl+F) for "further use for his reason" you should quickly find it (under WHENCE OUR BELIEF: REASON).
And in context Stapleton teaches that once one decides to trust Rome, there is no more need to seek for revealed truth, as Rome has become his source and supreme authority, which was the issue.
As for the Liguori quote, Google only provides it in the preview: http://www.google.com/search?num=50&hl=en&biw=1024&bih=458&tbm=bks&q=%22without+asking+reasons%22++Liguori&btnG=Search&oq=%22without+asking+reasons%22++Liguori&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=4243l10144l0l11206l3l3l0l0l0l0l758l985l0.2.6-1l3l0
As for the Syllabus of Errors someone mentioned in reference to your charges, i do not recall posting that, but that collection has its Catholic defenders, and while not of dogmati cauthority (little is) , i think it cites many previous documents that had been written during the reign of Pius. In its nature, it is true, the Syllabus is negative and condemnatory; but it received its complement in the decisions of the Vatican Council and in the Encyclicals of Leo XIII. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14368b.htm
I will try to get back to about the premise behind this sometime later if needed, though i have previously dealt with such here. But again, i was not saying there is no room for some disagreement among Catholics in much of what is teaches, and i since stated there was, nor was i contending that Roman Catholics do not make a freewill, if fallible, choice to give implicit assent of faith to teachings of Rome's assuredly infallible magisterium, once they ascertain they are, and understand the infallible authority, but my issue is the warrant for this faith, versus holding Scripture to be the supreme infallible authority, as progressively established by Divine power, and obtaining the assurance it provides by its means, and the results of both.
May all be born again and "Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." (Psalms 106:1)
The ONLY authority is God’s Holy Spirit Word for God’s children.
Anyone following anyone/anything else is satan’s children.
ROFL!!!!! I posted the link on my original post. Catholicfaithdefenders.com and thats exactly where I got the quote from. But you still accused me of getting it from a “dumpster site”!!
He had many great sayings that were not only humorous, but revealed a deep understanding of life. The most memorable were:
Stupid is supposed to hurt.
Without an education you are not much more than obsolete farm equipment.
Work smart because you will never work harder than a mule, or cheaper.
The first 20 years of your life are where you are supposed to fill your head with the things you will spend the rest of your life selling. Pay attention and make sure you have plenty of inventory.
If you don't want people talking about it, don't do it.
Beware of people telling you what you want to hear. When someone has his tongue in your ear you need to know where both of his hands are.
Just because no one ever finds out about it doesn't mean it isn't a sin.
Some believe they are choosing not to follow the authority of other fallible men by deciding that they alone will decide what Holy Scripture is and what it means.
Most who make this choice are at least consistent in its application. A few are not:
"A Protestant believes in no infallible authority; he is an authority unto himself, which authority he does not claim to be infallible, if he is sober and sane."
On the contrary,.....
Matthew 11:28-30 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
I don't read anywhere that CHRIST told us to kiss our brains goodbye at the door of the church.
Ah, more strawmen. This one with “STRAW MAN” in big letters across its chest.
Some folks just should not do apologetics.
Happy Thanksgiving, all! See you after the holiday.
May we all join each other in prayers of thanks for all of God’s gifts to us.
In fact it would be contrary to that. searched the scriptures daily to see if these things are true and we are to be wary of wolves in sheeps clothing and false prophets. Unlike what the Catholic hierarchy teaches we are to double check what they say is doctrine.
Thats a lie. The infallible authority would be scripture itself.
I think I would have loved to spend some time with your Grandfather. ;) Thanks for sharing some his sayings. There was a great amount of common sense then. Something that is SORELY missing today.
No one who seeks with intelligence, single-mindedness and a pure heart, will fail to find these attributes and marks of the true Church of Christ. Whether, after finding them, one will make an act of faith, is another question. But that he can give his assent with the full approval of his reason is absolutely certain. Once he does so, he has no further use for his reason. He enters the Church, an edifice illumined by the superior light of revelation and faith. He can leave reason, like a lantern, at the door. (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18438/18438-h/18438-h.htm#19)
I appears that some here would rather spend their energies jumping to conclusions, rushing to judgment and getting their knickers in a knot over their OWN sloppy research. Thanks again. Now if they will only address the point of the posts!
Thanks! Yet another gem you have taught me about Free Republic. Good thing to know.
Actually it is a brazen attempt to draw a conclusion from the parsing of an entire chapter using a context and intent not present in the original material. I expected far better from you.
:And in context Stapleton teaches that once one decides to trust Rome, there is no more need to seek for revealed truth, as Rome has become his source and supreme authority, which was the issue."
Even that is not a complete portrayal of what Fr. Stapleton wrote or intended. You originally omitted the title of the chapter drawing the reader to a conclusion that the Church demands obedience without reason when the entire Chapter provides a reasoned argument to trust the Church in matters of faith. That is a twist that even the New York Times would applaud.
I seriously doubt that you read the entire book or even the entire Chapters you cited. These snippets are available, completely out of context and without a sympathetic representation of original intent on any number of anti-Catholic websites. That is sloppy if not dishonest scholarship.
Similar is your treatment of the THE TRUE SPOUSE OF JESUS CHRIST; OR, THE NUN SANCTIFIED BY THE VIRTUES OF HER STATE.(Note; you truncated the title too) You mislead the reader into believing that this is a teaching to all Catholics when in fact it is a treatise for Nuns and other religious. The quote you cited is not in the work, which is only 177 pages (not the 358+ in your citation) and the call to obedience is to emulate Mary's obedience to the Holy Spirit. The book, along with many of his other writings can be found at http://www.goodcatholicbooks.org/pdf/liguori-true-spouse-of-jesus-christ.pdf.
I asked a number of questions earlier on this thread that have not even been acknowledged. Perhaps you would like to respond:
-Do you believe or expect anyone else to believe that God needs to lie to reach Catholics or that He would approve of these deceptions?
-Who is the Father of Lies and who do you think these falsehoods actually serve?
-Why is it that there needs to be and are so very many false assertions made about Catholicism?
-Why is it necessary to go to the extremes of having to hide these lies within falsified documents and attributions?
-Why is the intensity of this hatred so great that there had to be a list of banned websites and sources within the Religion Forum when there is to corresponding listing of Catholic sponsored anti-Protestant sites and material?
-Why are there so very many anti-Catholic pejorative terms and monikers when there are almost none by Catholics against other faiths?
-Why is it that you and so many others are so very eager to accept and repeat these falsified factoids about the Church without verification?
-Have you ever considered why Catholics continue to come to this cesspool of lies and go to the trouble sifting through the garbage to sort fact from fiction over and over again?