Long Response Part 9: On Church Unity and Dogmatic Statements

You are spot on except that I do not wrestle with the interplay of unity vis-a-vis disunity that is obviously expected and anticipated in the passages you cite especially the Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-26.

That’s already been dealt with and dismissed. [I’ll address this later. If I remember.]

The Catholic Church, as an institution, does not exhibit doctrinal disunity

1) Uh oh.

2) Uh oh again.

Part of the problem with this article is that Rhology fails to realize a couple of things. First, that those who are not in communion with Rome are not in communion with Rome. Some of these other churches maintain valid Sacraments, while many, like Protestants, do not and never did. They can all claim whatever they wish but the fact remains the same – they left the One True Church.

The other item Rhology failed to consider is that the Roman Catholic Church is actually one rite (Latin) within the Universal Church of Christ. There are are several different liturgical rites within the Catholic Church (Byzantine, Maronite, etc.) but they all remain in communion with the See of Peter and each other, thus united with the One Mystical Body of Christ.

3) See above for the slipup with respect to Matthias.

My personal slips have nothing to do with unity. My error is my error and not that of the Church.

4) Is lozeerose really unaware of the rampant liberalism at work within official RC circles?  And by official, I mean “not mostly-anonymous RC laymen bloggers, but actual priests and Vatican staff and theologians”.

I am very aware of these “Catholic-in-name-only” types. That is a serious problem within the Church and even within Protestant circles. Brings to mind the “Parable of Weeds Among the Wheat.” This does not do anything to show that the Church herself is not unified. She is Christ’s body (as well) and cannot be divided. Besides, “if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mark 3:25). The Catholic Church has stood for over 2,000 years. What about yours?

5) And there is a multitude of issues on which RCs do not agree.

  • Darwinian evolution vs. not-Darwinian evolution

Evolution is a matter of science, not a matter of faith and morals. However, the Church has clearly taught that any theory of creation that removes God from the picture and denies the parentage of Adam and Eve is wrong. See the CCC starting at 282.

  • Papal infallibility

Church has proclaimed and those who disagree are in schism and/or totally out of communion with Rome. A Catholic must believe this truth.

  • Whether the Virgin Mary died and then was assumed or whether she was assumed before death

No definition is necessary, as of yet. A Catholic can believe either and remain in communion with Rome. What they cannot deny is that Mary was bodily assumed into Heaven.

  • Whether the Pope is subject to Ecumenical Councils

Not sure what Rhology means by this but,  “the right to summon an ecumenical council belongs properly to the pope alone” (NewAdvent.org).

  • What mode of predestination is right – ie Molinism vs Augustinian

This may be important to you but so far, from what I have read the Church has not felt the need to define any mode of predestination other than to say that everyone is predestined for Heaven – we choose our way to Hell. The CCC does state, “To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace” (CCC 600).

  • Extra ecclesiam nulla salus

The Church reiterated this in Vatican II – there is no salvation outside/without the Church. See the document Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church. This should help clear up the matter – or muddy it up more for you. Depends on your willingness; I will pray for you though (and ask Our Blessed Lord’s Mother to pray for you too).

  • Mass in Latin or in vernacular

This is a disciplinary/liturgical issue not a dogmatic issue. Some prefer one way over the other. But you cannot denounce Rome because you dislike the vernacular or you risk becoming a schismatic like many sedevaticantists are. Also, you must adhere to the GIRM or risk grave sin for committing a liturgical abuse (if you are a priest of course, check out Father Z for excellent commentary on this type of issue and more).

  • Whether Trent closed the canon or not

There is no disagreement amongst faithful Catholics there. The Council of Trent infallibly defined the Canon of Scripture, reaffirming the previous three Councils that addressed the issue around the AD 400s. See how this infallibility thing works? One Trent stated this “infallibly” then it is case closed – not open for appeal.

etc.

IOW, that claim is empty.

Catholic Church, the Body of Christ, has stood for over 2,000 years without compromising her doctrines.

As I said above, bring up historical teachings that disagree with their modern dogma, and alluvasudden they’re written out, assigned to “just a private theologian” status.

Our historical teachings do not disagree with dogma. Dogma is set, other teachings, like certain disciplines, are open for revision, refinement ad adjustment. This is all within the authority to “bind and loose” (Matthew 16:18, 18:18).

Did Judas’ betrayal disprove the divinity of Jesus? No.

That’s a funny thing to say.

So, does Lutherans’ getting the doctrine of the Eucharist wrong disprove the true biblical doctrine of the Eucharist? I guess, if lozeerose were to be consistent, he’d say no.

Affirmative. The Biblical Truth about the Eucharist is that Jesus is present under the accidents of bread and wine – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Check out your local Catholic parish’s Adoration schedule and make a Holy Hour before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament – He will change your life if you let Him.

Do some Baptists’ getting all hot and bothered about teetotalling disprove the true biblical doctrine of the permissibility of imbibing adult beverages (but not getting drunk)? Apparently not.

Affirmative again except being allowed to drink wine is not a doctrine. It is a personal choice. To say that one s prohibited from drinking wine is erroneous theology though.

This concession destroys any argument lozeerose was trying to make about the preferability of RC unity over Protestant chaos.

How’s that? You said it yourself, Protestants are the example of chaos and of course, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1Cor 14:33).

Rhology: What’s more, you’re instating an over-realised eschatology. There’s a reason why this is not Heaven.

lozeerose: You are aware that eschatology is the study of “last things” right?

Yep, I sure am. The point is that expecting perfect unity on this Earth, before the Eschaton, is chasing the end of the rainbow. “Perfect unity” is the crock o’ gold. And since it’s a fantasy, most of lozeerose’s argument is consigned to the fantastic as well.

Perfect unity for humans is a fantasy but not for God. He provides us every Grace and opportunity to be near perfectly united with Him and His Church while alive. Once the end of our physical life is over we can enjoy full and perfect Him for all eternity.

How else do you interpret Scripture if not through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit

His exegesis of 2 Peter 1:20 is surprisingly, but typically, bad. Interpretation of a prophecy received by an individual church member, is not in view here; rather the emphasis is on the means of God’s inspiring the text. Peter says that the prophetic word is yet more certain than his own eyewitness experiences, and goes on to tell us that “no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”.

Exactly. And properly (fully) understanding such divinely inspired requires one to be equally, divinely “illuminated” right? But the Church has one added advantage. Because she (and the pope in particular) was given the “keys to the kingdom” (Matthew 16:18, cf Isaiah 22:22), she was provided the extraordinary Grace of protection from error, otherwise known as infallibility. If she were allowed to lead us into error how could she accurately proclaim the Gospel? Like it or not, God has a habit of using sinful , fallible people to teach and proclaim inerrant and infallible truths.

So every church is its own truth, yet they differ in doctrine?

I have no idea how this question follows from my treatment of 1 Tim 3:15.

I did not realize that Rhology actually “treated” the question, more like avoided it.

Paul is speaking in a more general nature. He does not say, “the Church at Ephesus…” He says in “the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth.” This speaks to the local church but more importantly to the universal church (now known as Catholic Church) because to say otherwise would imply that Ephesus is truth and all others are not.

Sounds like God is a bi
t confused.

So apparently, if God’s revelation were really clear, there would never be any differences in doctrine. If differences DO occur, it’s God’s fault. [Nope. It’s yours (and mine, etc).]

1) How does lozeerose get there?

2) Since RCC doesn’t have unity, this cuts his own throat.

Rhology is unable to demonstrate that the Mystical Body of Christ is itself dis-unified. We as individual members may “cut ourselves off” but the Body remains united.

So did lozeerose solve the problem of his own creation, namely “why so many interpretations if there’s one God”?

Sure did, the Holy Catholic Church is the One True Church of Christ.

Or did he assume that divine revelation and text are actually comprehensible to human beings, thus undercutting one of his main points?

“So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.” (2Peter (RSV) 3:15-16)

Come to think of it, did he write a blogpost, expecting it to be comprehensible to human beings? After all, if there is only one lozeerose, then can there be various, differing (sometimes drastically) interpretations of his blogpost? If I were to remind him that his blogpost actually consisted of various methods for eating a grilled dogpoop sandwich, is that a valid interpretation? Who are you, mere unauthoritative, fallible, private individual, to tell me it does not in fact deal with the topic of dogpoop? He’s not one of those Sola Scripturists, is he?

Can anyone say “sour grapes?”

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