Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Being Catholic does not mean being "Anti-Protestant"

There are many Protestants who are "Anti-Catholic". Indeed, for them, this is what it means to be Protestant. The assumption is sometimes made, therefore that we Catholics--especially we CONVERT Catholics--are "Anti-Protestant". Nothing could be further from the Truth.

I have a deep and abiding pride in my Lutheran heritage and a great love for the Lutheran Church. While there are many aspects of Lutheran teaching with which I would disagree as a Catholic, to call me "Anti-Lutheran" would be wildly wide of the mark. I retain a great deal of the Lutheran spirituality with which I grew up. In fact, I occasionally (when I am feeling just that little more provocative than usual) describe myself as "A Lutheran in Communion with the Bishop of Rome".

This is the case with many converts. A group of ex-Baptists expressed this same sentiment only just the other day on EWTN's Journey Home program.

We love the Catholic Church. We believe that the Spirit of God has led us to that communion in which the one true Church of Christ "subsists" fully. Nevertheless we cannot but be aware that there were some riches in our previous communities that are in slight evidence (although never completely absent) in the Catholic Church. Often these range around some of my "Seven Sorrows" I mentioned in the blog below, eg. lack of passion for evangelisation, lack of knowledge of the Scriptures, lack of good hymnody in worship.

Nor do we downplay the real weaknesses of our former communities--the chief of which is the lack of ecclesial authenticity and the fullness of the Catholic doctrine.

Nevertheless--no matter how stridently and ardently we may sing the praises of the Catholic Church (and sometimes even drone its lament), we can never be fairly described as "anti-Protestant". In fact, we love Protestant Christians so much we want to be in full communion with them! With YOU, dear separated-brethren/sistern-Reader!

8 Comments:

At Tuesday, April 10, 2007 11:58:00 pm , Anonymous Joshua Martin said...

Louis Bouyer, himself a convert from Lutheranism, said as much, in his masterful "The Spirit and Forms of Protestantisn" - to be a true Protestant, one simply must become a Catholic! I'm sure you've read this work, David, perhaps you could comment on it a little?

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 12:06:00 am , Blogger 318@NICE said...

Yes,
As I now tell many people, "It was the Lutheran Church that taught me the Catholic Faith."

Dave

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 5:14:00 am , Anonymous Lucian said...

With YOU, dear separated-brethren/sistern-Reader!

... us Greek schismatics, YOU mean, oogh!, why You little!... ;)

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 9:06:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well, gee, Happy Easter Bruder Schuetz, from out here in the ecclesial unions!

FWIW, I never took you to be anti-Protestant at all! Then again, I don't consider myself a Protestant (but you knew that!), but a former Catholic who was shown what it is to be catholic.

When I was a kid (pre Brave New Church) a priest I often was an altar boy for gave me a Bible -- yes, that actually was done in the pre-conciliar dark ages! Being the late 50s, it was a hybrid "Confraternity Edition", being what of the St Joseph (I think it is) Bible was done to date and the rest the Challoner Bible. Included was a pamphlet by a former Protestant minister entitled "The Bible Made Me Catholic", which in those days made sense but reading it again in the 80s it was like reading something dropped by a space ship from another planet since hardly anything identified as Catholic existed any more!

(Did I detect an SSPXer in the Comments? My kind of guy.)

Well, with all the Greek and Latin going around, now about a little Spanish -- felices Pascuas!

 
At Wednesday, April 11, 2007 2:26:00 pm , Anonymous Marco Vervoorst said...

Interesting thoughts! I think I get what you are getting at but I feel that language is getting in the way.

So let me ask a simple question: what, in your view, is a Lutheran? I feel you are working with a definition of Lutheran which is a little outside of the norm. Most (dare I say, all) Lutherans would consider your statement, A Lutheran in Communion with the Bishop of Rome, to be an oxymoron.

Interesting discussion.

 
At Thursday, April 12, 2007 10:28:00 am , Blogger Schütz said...

Of course, when I was a Lutheran it was very hard to define what "Lutheran" meant--Lutherans themselves argue about this endlessly. Nevertheless, I do believe that there is a certain "Lutheran" spirituality toward which Brother Martin himself pointed, and which is laid out in (for eg.) "The German Theology", his "Theology of the Cross", a corrected reading of his "simul justus et peccator" language, and his rather sacramental theology of the Word of God, not to mention his deep love for the Sacrament of the Eucharist. I even rather prefer his approach to Marian devotion compared to some of the excesses of Italiate devotion! So it is spirituality rather than doctrine to which I am referring; his mystical rather than . The Lutheran Church never really intended to be "Lutheran", as the writings of Luther do not really determine Lutheran doctrine. Formal Lutheran theology never really got the hang of some of Luther's spirituality--you can see this, for instance, in the way in which they made his doctrine that "Christ is my righteousness" into a forensic doctrine of justification rather than the more mystical, personal understanding one gets from reading Luther himself.

Of course, it goes without saying that to be "a Lutheran in communion with Rome" requires that one abjure all the heretical elements of Lutheran theology and spirituality. But Luther himself was not all wrong, and in certain respects he had spiritual insights of great value.

 
At Thursday, April 12, 2007 3:06:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

It would be my opinion that Lutheranism anywhere has yet to fully recover from two things, one being the effect of the forced Unionism your ancestors so wonderfully opposed, and the other of Pietism including the latter day Pietism of trying to ape televagelist worship -- two factors which many in the pews don't even know about though their lives are hugely impacted by them.

Luther himself was uncomfortable with the designation "Lutheran", writing things like Did I die for anyone, is anyone baptised in my name, etc. I use the term as a matter of nomenclature rather than anything else. If anyone wants to know what a Lutheran is or believes, he can read the Bible, and then read the Book of Concord and see if he finds it a true and accurate statement of the truth of the Bible. No finger pointing at RCs here -- this would also apply to a good many "Lutherans" including some of those in leadership positions of church bodies with "Lutheran" in their names.

 
At Wednesday, February 04, 2009 4:18:00 pm , Blogger dbonneville said...

Just found this post...

Most Protestants are simply astonished, nonplussed if you will, on learning that the Catholic Church does not think they are not saved. This lie is so pervasive in most Protestant realms, it seems hopeless. But Catholics need to be on mission to inform them that they are brothers and sisters in baptism. This fact thaws the hearts of many. It's like the mean schoolgirl who whispers to one girl "she hates you" so that other girl is defensive before there is a chance for friendship to form.

I just posted this on my Catholic news website, where I have been posting conversion stories and anecdotes.

 

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