Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More on Continuity and Discontinuity in the Church

It occured to me this morning (at 5:30am while lying in my youngest daughter's bottom bunk after she had pushed me out of the matrimonial queen-size...), that Past Elder, who is "not a traditionalist or a member of the SSPX", and those who are, have no case when they complain that the post-Vatican II Church is very different from the pre-Vatican II Church. Of course, it is very different. Ecumenical Councils--once they have been properly assimilated by the Church--tend to have this effect.

Compare, for instance, the ante-Nicene and post-Nicene Church. This division still marks our categorization of the Church Fathers, and is further enhanced by the stark differences of context between a persecuted sect and a state religion. It is not too much to say that the Christian religion as a whole was irrevocably transformed by this transition.

Or take pre-Tridentine and post-Tridentine Churches. The decrees of Trent, which addressed many of the abuses and laxities criticised by the Reformers, also introduced many "novelties"--a universal liturgy for one. It took decades--perhaps almost a century--to be properly received in the face of great opposition in some quarters, but the result afterwards was a very different kind of Church, so much so that someone (I think it was Pelikan in his earlier period) opined that Trent in fact created a separate "denomination" called "the Roman Catholic Church".

So sure, the post-Vatican II Church is very different from what it was before the council. But throughout all the changes of their two thousand year history, Catholic Christians have remained faithful to their Church in the belief that Christ remains faithful to his promise, and that just as Christ is "the same yesterday, today and always" so also the Church, ever old and ever new, is built upon the unchanging foundation of the Word of God. And the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

And all the people said: "Amen".

21 Comments:

At Tuesday, June 19, 2007 1:47:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Oh for God's sake.

Nobody is complaining that the church is different as if everything were exactly the same from the Last Supper and the Council of Jerusalem until John the Lunatic called the last council.

Of course the church is different, and has been "different" many times over two millennia.

The question is not at all that the church is different or that there have not been several differents over time. This is the favourite dodge of post conciliar "Catholics" whose a priori that must be maintained is that fundamentally the church is the same -- this is just one more different in a long history of differents within the same essential entity.

Which allows the real issue to go unaddressed -- not that things are different, not that things don't change, but what is the difference and the change, THIS TIME.

I still see no point in contibuting an amateurish rehash of what is different in post conciliar "Catholicism" from not only the post Trent church but from any age when far better sources than I have laid this out and they are available on the Internet.

I agree completely with, for example, the statements of Catholic faith and practice on the SSPX site because it is exactly what was taught to me not by SSPX but the Roman Catholic Church. I do not agree with them on what one should do about it. What has happened this time for me invalidates both what came out of and what went before the last Council, which is most certainly not the position of the SSPX. You may not like it when I call the Catholic Church the Whore of Babylon -- which I believe it is -- but I cannot express to you what it was like for me to see it turn into that then realise that could only happen because it already was.

We spoke of mothers some posts ago. Like finding out your mother has become a whore, then finding out she always was, then finding out she isn't even your mother.

But thanks be to God there is a holy mother church, ever old and ever new, built on the unchanging foundation of the Word of God, against which the gates of hell will not prevail. That's why there was and is what is called the Lutheran Reformation, which isn't over yet either. VDMA brother.

And to that, this person says Amen.

 
At Tuesday, June 19, 2007 3:46:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

And if I were to come to the same conclusion as you, Past Elder, pray tell where would I find this Church of which you speak in order to join her?

 
At Tuesday, June 19, 2007 5:17:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well brother, I have a feeling you are waiting for my answer in order to pick it to pieces in reasoned debate, sort of in the manner of the throwing down of the gauntlet.

So I'm going to offer the following, without endorsement as to which is right, ie "what you should do".

And too let me say none of the following are the Church, as in a visible, read hierarchical, entity outside of which all else is an approximation.

1. Go back to the church you left. I'm sure it's bloody awful as an ecclesiatical body. They all are, even the pre conciliar Roman church, and most certainly LCMS.

2. There is an SSPX seminary in Goulburn, http://www.holycrossseminary.com/, (02) 4829 5177, ask them where to go.

3. Orthodoxy. Gotta be some EO in Melbourne.

4. Stay where you are. The church can be found and salvation can be had even in the Roman Catholic Church since the Council.

 
At Tuesday, June 19, 2007 5:22:00 pm , Blogger LYL said...

at 5:30am while lying in my youngest daughter's bottom bunk after she had pushed me out of the matrimonial queen-size...

Ah yes, know the situation well. Married folk (with kids) really need a King Size bed.

I'm inclined to think that all those who say the Catholic Church is so radically different as to cease to be the True Church are too subjective in their claims. If the Catholic Church isn't the Church that Christ founded then I'm a complete loss to know which it is.

Anyone who calls my mother a "whore," incidentally, is not someone I particularly care to "dialogue" with. I'd challenge Past Elder to a duel (swords of course) myself, but I have no wish to endanger the life of baby #5.

Perhaps after the 6 week check.

 
At Tuesday, June 19, 2007 5:22:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Or in other words, brother, you're already in her so far as I can tell, and that has nothing to do with what denomination has you on its rolls.

 
At Tuesday, June 19, 2007 5:35:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Lyn, I didn't call your mother a whore. I called the "Catholic Church" a whore. If you have mistaken that entity for your mother or for Holy Mother Church, I'm sorry for that.

I remember the first landing on the moon. I also remember the Roman Catholic Church.

 
At Tuesday, June 19, 2007 11:18:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Well, when Past Elder calls the Roman Catholic Church a whore then there's no acquiescing to the dichotomy that he's addressing "those in charge", not the members, especially those of us who convert.

It degrades me as a Catholic, thank you very much.

Past Elder has it all figured out. But having grown up Lutheran and seeing what has happened in the ELCA I would like to point out to him that my sister's ELCA congregation was once firmly affiliated with the LCMS. My sister is a wonderful person, a true example of Christian charity but she really doesn't understand yet what is happening in her church body.

Her congregation, "Grace Lutheran", a name much beloved of Lutherans, is slowly but surely absorbing the ethos of ELCA headquarters in Chicago.

Past Elder can rail all he wants against the ECLA and dismiss her as non-Lutheran but many of her congregations onced belonged to the LCMS.

Time will tell whether the LCMS will be able to remain a confessional Lutheran body.

You may have been Lutheran since 1996, Past Elder, but I grew up in that ethos and I know what it is.

We shall see.

 
At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 12:41:00 am , Blogger Dixie said...

You know what they say...nothing worse than an ex-smoker. From what I read from Past Elder, I guess the same might be said for an ex-Roman Catholic.

It seems that Past Elder carries much hurt regarding the RCC. I understand that. After 8 years of parochial school with heavy handed nuns and having had my own disappointments as I studied history...I carry some scars as well. However--one thing I learned in my conversion to Orthodoxy is to appreciate where we have been. To understand that God uses all these things to draw us to Him. Glory to God in ALL things, no?

Past Elder, if you are happy as a Lutheran and were brought to the Lutheran church because you felt you were betrayed by VII...then what's the problem? If VII was so bad but brought you to what you believe to be Truth are you not appreciative of that? I don't always sense that so much in what is written. I sense a "if VII never happened I would still be Roman Catholic". But how can that be? The Lutherans had issues with the RCC long before VII.

I hope I am not intruding in this conversation inappropriately. I used to be very angry about what I considered a betrayal by Lutheranism as well but my priest pointed out how it is better to appreciate what we have been through because it brought us to where we are. Our life in Christ is a journey. Maybe it will help to look at things this way?

 
At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 12:57:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Dixie,

Great comments, especially the ex-smoker analogy (I am one so I can relate!!) Folks on all sides tend to have a missionary zeal when they have found *the truth*.

I have nothing but the deepest respect for my Lutheran family members. My husband also has issues with his RC past, although I suspect much of it is tied to family dysfunction in his upbringing having nothing to do with Catholicism.

I have found a spiritual home where I am happy, as it seems you have also, Dixie. I will gladly and cheerfully share with anyone who wants to know why I have done so but in the end, if they feel the Lord is leading them in a different direction I ask only that He bless their endeavors.

 
At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 12:59:00 am , Blogger Paul T. McCain said...

Dave, have you done a post on your thoughts/reactions to the soon to be issued papal pronouncement on the Tridentine Mass?

Seem to me that the Old Order Mass will be a step backwards for Rome and will make it even easier for Roman parishes to fall back into precisely the very thing that Lutherans in the 16th century found *so* objectionable: the Mass as practiced by Rome.

Your thoughts? I will look forward to your thoughts on this. Thanks. Blessings, Paul.

 
At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 1:00:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

By the way Dixie, your avatar -- "Our Lady of the Sign" -- is beautiful!

 
At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:02:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Hey Christine, Lyn, and anyone else --

Absolutely I am not speaking of her members. Among her members are many Christians every bit as saved as I am and within the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church same as I am. I'm just sorry for all the junk along with the straight stuff, making what should be the most obvious thing about the church the most obscure, to borrow a phrase.

This isn't just a Catholic, a Lutheran or even a Christian issue. All religions and denominations within them have liberal revisionist forces fashioning apostate versions of their historic faiths, and forces within them attempting to remain true to their historic faith. I am sympathetic to the latter, even when I disagree with the historic faith involved. For example, there is a small "Anglican" church trying to adhere to the Episcopal faith against the ECUSA, another church for which I have no respect and see no reason to have any, as like the RC church, the ELCA, and many others it is a bogus impostor offering a worldly modernist (to use the RC term for it) version of the faith it claims to present.

Or rather, these apostate churches all offer the same faith, with veneers drawn from their respective histories, and no doubt through "interfaith dialogue" they will one day find unity in one, unholy, uncatholic and unapostolic church, though it will claim to be the Christian Church and deride and persecute the real Chrisian Church in true anti Christ fashion.

We shall indeed see. But just as the kingdom Jesus proclaimed is not like earthly kingdoms the church he founded is not like earthly religions identifiable in earthly terms.

 
At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:32:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Among her members are many Christians every bit as saved as I am

And what, pray tell, is saving them ?? Their own personal opinions?

If it is the Word preached and the Holy Supper given, then the Kingdom is indeed present in the "earthly" sense, as it is the outpost in this world of the world to come.

It is the priests at my parish who teach, absolve, baptize, consecrate and make us a Eucharistic community in Christ Jesus in union with our bishop. The "members" are inevitably joined to the "shepherds". To say that I am a member in spite of them is something that I absolutely could not with integrity live with.

Your eschatalogical speculations will be proven correct or not in time.

 
At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 6:36:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

As to what is saving them, you can read about it in the NT. To the extent that is present in a church body, that is what is saving them, not that church's peculiar claims.

As to what's the problem, Dixie. Nothing. Other than when it is absolutely unavoidable, like when someone marries, dies or is baptised that is RC that I know, I have nothing to do with the RC church, and happily so. The only reason I show up on this blog is I encountered its host on a Lutheran blog. I'm used to the stinking pack of lies the "RC church" uses to pass itself off as the RC church -- I watched them form, was taught by some of their framers -- so, unlike our (Lutheran) converts to Orthodoxy, who got what they thought they got, the urgency you sense is more of a "bridge out ahead", our converts to RC aren't getting RC at all. Just happens that I stumbled onto one on a Lutheran blog.

This is such a simple message. It ain't about me. Either the RC church became something else at Vatican II or it didn't. As the used to say in the Old West, you can **** on me but don't tell me it's raining. You can convert to or stay in what you take to be the RC church, but don't tell me it's the RC church, so to speak, because I saw it being built and the architect is not Jesus Christ.

 
At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 6:38:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Hey Dave, wanna go listen to some Hendrix?

 
At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 6:59:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Other than when it is absolutely unavoidable, like when someone marries, dies or is baptised that is RC that I know, I have nothing to do with the RC church, and happily so.

And here's another problem, Past Elder. You keep restating this over and over -- and forgive me for being uncharitable but I am inclined to ask: so what? That really does give the impression that it is about you.

If you really are happy as a Lutheran now, it should show much more.

I don't accept your definitions of how I should view the Catholic Church or my place in it. But we could go round and round about this until Gabriel blows his trumpet.

It doesn't change a thing.

 
At Friday, June 22, 2007 11:48:00 am , Blogger LYL said...

Past Elder, this post is a bit old now (in blogging terms, so I don't know if you'll read this or not).

You said,
I remember the first landing on the moon. I also remember the Roman Catholic Church.

I was going to write a snarky rejoinder to this, when it occurred to me that it would be profoundly hypocritical, since I often carry on about respect for our elders and tradition etc. So, while I don't particularly appreciate the inference that my views can be dismissed because I'm a young whippersnapper, who didn't even witness man landing on the moon, I will instead appeal to a higher authority than either of us; namely, my grandmother.

Now, unless you were born prior to March 1909, I think we can safely say that she is the eldest of the three of us (though deceased these 10 years, God rest her soul). Like you, she saw man landing on the moon and she knew the Church "way back when." Yet she didn't leave it when things changed.

Of course, you are almost bound to say, "who the heck is your grandmother, that I should care what she thinks?" And you would be quite right to ask the question. So forgive me, Past Elder, but since I don't know you and although I have no reason to think ill of you, yet still I will prefer to accept the opinions, experience and example of people who are an "authority" for me, because I have discovered them over many years to be "truth-telling beings" as GK Chesterton would say.

Lyn, I didn't call your mother a whore. I called the "Catholic Church" a whore. If you have mistaken that entity for your mother or for Holy Mother Church, I'm sorry for that.

It doesn't really matter, but just so you know, "lyl" are my initials and Louise is my name. Use either as you wish.

And I beg to differ, but you most certainly did call my mother a whore, since the Catholic Church and Holy Mother Church are one and the same person. And may I suggest that even though it is undoubtedly your sincere opinion that she is a whore, such language is not likely to promote good "dialogue."

In general, with a few exceptions, I cannot be bothered with ecumenism these days. I've had enough of Protestants grudgingly accepting my claim to be a Christian and I will go so far as to say that in my experience, Catholics are typically far more civil in their discourse with Protestants than are Protestants with Catholics.

Apologies for the long and possibly tedious comment.

 
At Friday, June 22, 2007 3:33:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

"Lyn" was a typo. I meant lyl. I don't have a thing about screen names, or insist on real names. For the record, mine is Terry.

My dad was born in September 1909. He didn't leave either. Though he often made comments going home from post conciliar "Mass" that you sure feel like you ought to stop somewhere and go to Mass. Or, being a convert from Methodism in 1941, that the church he converted to has turned into one more Protestant denomination like he grew up in, just with a pope. But he wouldn't think of leaving. For myself, I could see no reason at all to hang around telling myself something that isn't there anymore still is.

I think everyone should drop all this "dialogue" and "ecumenism". Mostly it gives people something to do who can't learn a useful trade, like air conditioning repair. Most Protestants I have spoken to find it insulting to learn that what they have is actually bits and pieces of the Catholic faith outside the Catholic Church to which they are imperfectly joined, according to Catholic lights.

Although it scandalised me at the time, now I wish more would be like the chaplain to the Catholic Student Center where I went to graduate school. He explained to me that one of the most freeing moments for him came when he realised Vatican II meant he didn't have to convert the Lutherans. Now this was years before I had any idea I'd be a Lutheran -- but just weeks before another freeing moment for him, when he married his "pastoral assistant" -- female. Well, like the joke that went round said at the Benedictine university I attended, let 'em get married, then they'll find out what poverty, chastity and obedience are really all about.

For the record, we don't see ourselves as Protestants, and the basis of essential Protestantism, the Reformed tradition, is as vocally rejected in Lutheran documents as Romanism.

I don't dismiss your views at all as those of a young whippersnapper. I just don't agree with them, but they can be heard from people of all ages. The comment was a rhetorical device based on a line in your profile. As to your grandmother, why shouldn't you cite her views if they have influenced you?

 
At Friday, June 22, 2007 11:02:00 pm , Blogger LYL said...

Protestants I have spoken to find it insulting to learn that what they have is actually bits and pieces of the Catholic faith outside the Catholic Church to which they are imperfectly joined, according to Catholic lights.

Sure, and I'd expect that. I would undoubtedly find it insulting too. But at least the Catholic Church still considers Protestants to be Christians, which is hardly reciprocated (except perhaps by the very liberal churches which are so useless to everyone that they might as well not exist).

The comment was a rhetorical device based on a line in your profile.

Yes, I guessed that, and I certainly don't expect you to suddenly turn around and agree with me on the basis of a couple of remarks in a combox! What I was trying to get at, in part of my comment is simply that I'm very happy to discuss any kinds of issues with people of differing views, provided that both parties are prepared to hear each other and think about what the other is saying. Too often I have encountered people's questions about my faith, not because thay wanted the answer, but because they wished to make me doubt.

I think everyone should drop all this "dialogue" and "ecumenism". Mostly it gives people something to do who can't learn a useful trade, like air conditioning repair.

hehehe. I thought this was pretty amusing. Hope David's not offended though. And I don't suppose everyone has the gift of air conditioning repair.

Well, like the joke that went round said at the Benedictine university I attended, let 'em get married, then they'll find out what poverty, chastity and obedience are really all about.

That made me laugh too.

 
At Friday, June 22, 2007 11:38:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

For the record, we don't see ourselves as Protestants

Heh, don't tell that to some of those old vanguard midwestern Lutherans. And my Lutheran grandmother (my German, living in Germany Lutheran grandmother) would have been scandalized at the very idea that she was "catholic" in any form.

Past Elder quotes a great deal about the Benedictines at St. John's University and I can understand his distress at what he encountered there. They, along with some of the Jesuits became hotbeds of liberalism in the 70's and 80's. Those Benedictines are so different than the Benedictines from St. Andrew's Abbey that staff my parish church it's like night and day.

One gaggle of Benedictines does not the whole Catholic Church make.

I'm sorry that ignorant chaplain told you it didn't matter anymore whether you were Lutheran, Catholic, whatever. I've had Lutherans tell me that as long as one is sincere, it doesn't really matter, either. Just goes to show anyone in any ecclesiastical body can spout anything -- doesn't make it authentic.

That's why I'm so grateful for the current Catechism of the Catholic Church. One can go straight to the source and find out what the Magisterium really teaches.

If I thought for one minute that it *didn't matter* I would never have made the year long journey into the Catholic Church.

And I continue to agree with Louise about your nomenclature of the Church being a whore. It's unworthy of someone with as fine an intellect as you have and makes you sound like a rabid fundamentalist.

 
At Saturday, June 23, 2007 3:17:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Christine and LYL -- I've incorporated a response to this in a post under "A Fine Ecclesiastical Body ... " above since this thread is getting kind of long and old.

 

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