Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tracey Rowland's "Ratzinger's Faith"

Forgive me for not having blogged much in the past week or so. Blame it entirely upon Tracey Rowland's latest book "Ratzinger's Faith" which she has kindly given to me to review for the Kairos (stay tuned for the full review). I have had my nose buried in this book since it arrived, and it has given me great joy and spiritual consolation.

So I have missed all the excitement surrounding the "great debate" between the Cooees boys (and girls, sorry Sister K) and Brian Coyne of Catholica.

But I catch up with most things eventually, and so to with this "gem" that they quote from Brian's jottings:
Every public action of this man [Pope Benedict XVI] seems totally designed to appease the nutters, the insecure, and those who see "salvation" not being secured by the Cross of Jesus but by rules, bells and smells and some quaint "culture" of Catholicism that is rooted not in the time, and life of Christ, but in some kind of European feudalism or monarchism where some believed in the "Divine Right of Kings". None of that "shit" has anything whatsoever to do with our salvation, resurrection or finding the "peace of Christ" in our lives that surpasses all human understanding.
Reading such a diatribe amidst reading "Ratzinger's Faith" almost makes me physically sick. It is patently obvious that Brian knows not what he does, and perhaps he may therefore have recourse to the prayer of our Lord on the Cross for those who were crucifying him.

That he can accuse Benedict of seeing salvation as being secured by anything other than the Cross of Christ, or of trying to appease those who might think this to be the case, and that he can sum up the faith which Benedict expounds for the faithful as being only about "rules, bells and smells" indicates to me that he has not read a word of Benedict's teaching.

Let me put up just two quotations from Tracey's book, the first from Ratzinger himself (which I think I have already cited) and the second from the author herself:
If the Church were to accomodate herself to the world in any way that would entail a turning away from the Cross, this would not lead to a renewal of the Church, but only to her death. (page 39)


Raztinger wishes, however, to distinguish between the teaching authority of the Church and the practice of enlightened despotism. The Church, he says, is not in the business of leading in the same sense of the enlightened ruler who knows that he is in possession of better reason, translates it into regulations, and counts on the obedience of his subjects who have to accept his reason and its articulation as their divinely willed standard. Rather, it is a case of there being certain teachings which have been withdrawn from any possibility of majority judgement, by the bishops or by anyone else, because they are things which of themselves human reason has not discovered. They are gifts of Revelation. (page 89)

17 Comments:

At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 5:28:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well thank you, David! Just when I was thinking it was a mistake not to leave well enough alone and stay the hell away from here, you give me the best laugh I've had all week!

It was gift enough to read a little of Brian. I like the guy. Don't agree with a thing he says, but at least he, like most "spirit of Vatican II" types, says what he says without some sort of hermeneutic or development or whatever to make it something else too like the current pope and "documents of Vatican II" types he, well, typifies.

So I click over to CA to see what all the fuss is about, and what do I see on this site of all places -- a Google ad for a book from Most Holy Family monastery, who, if you think I take the Vatican II church to task for being a false religion, these guys make me look like a piker! (Sedevacantists, it looks like.)

Yeah I know there's no control over what gets advertised in Google ads, but the juxtaposition was just fabulous!

Can Brian come to dinner with Lito and me? Oh, I forgot, I wasn't invited.

 
At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 8:55:00 pm , Blogger Joshua said...

David,

When's Tracy's book due out? I recall happy days doing some research for her, and taking some of her classes...

Give her my regards when you see her - you two are still in the same building, or at least close by, no?

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 1:42:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Most Holy Family monastery, who, if you think I take the Vatican II church to task for being a false religion, these guys make me look like a piker! (Sedevacantists, it looks like.)

Yep, they're sedes. Just as much fun to read as the Novus Ordo Watch gang.

Hey, I gotta get my entertainment somewhere !!

As for Brian, well -- he's a good little Protestant.

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 2:32:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

I was a sedevacantist for about fifteen minutes. This was during a table pounding session at the chancery, well before Lutheran days and connected to one of the "conversions" in which I had a part. You'd have loved it, Christine. While I can certainly understand finding all popes from John XXIII on flaming heretics and spostates to the Catholic Faith, I can't go with sedevacantism as a considered position and only did my outburst as a reaction to all the "different is the same" doublespeak from the "documents of Vatican II" type priest I could stand at the moment.

Brian ain't Protestant at all. He's quite representative of what you would hear, if they weren't too busy earning a living and raising families to have the leisure to think it out and write it out, from most of the butts in the pew Catholics out there.

Which is ironic -- the "documents of Vatican II" types find more that is actually happening in the Catholic Church not Catholic than I do!

How about those Dutch bishops lately! Rock and roll baby. Maybe I should dust off my old Dutch Catechism.

OK enough Nietzschean fun. Being Catholic ain't about fun. The irony is, the Dutch Catechism and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are differenly but equally traitorous to the Catholic Faith so it really doesn't matter which one prevails, the Catholic Faith loses either way.

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 2:45:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

if they weren't too busy earning a living and raising families to have the leisure to think it out and write it out, from most of the butts in the pew Catholics out there

Oh, yes, I know who you mean -- those ones busy earning a living, raising a family and serving as lectors, catechists, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, our new Knights of Columbus Chapter in our parish, the faithful folks who sign up for 24 hour Perpetual Adoration, the faithful folks who bring Holy Communion to the homebound (and PUHLEEZE don't get started on that one -- the laity did it in the early church), the folks who served on the Committee that raises funds to provide textbooks, clean water, food and education to children in Haiti, the ...

oh well, you get the picture.

And yup, Brian is a Protestant. Either/or instead of both/and.

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 3:10:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I do need to add a little postscript here.

Please forgive me for finding anything that pertains to Dutch Christianity, Catholic or Protestant, as totally irrelevant. Christianity has all but collapsed in Holland as well as other parts of Europe. I spent a couple of summers over there in the late 60's and early 70's and I had a very good view of the pulse of Christianity at the time. Europe had its own cultural upheaval and now most Europeans are more interested in living the "good life".

Suffice it to say that most of my relatives, my parents included, came through the aftermath of WWII with their faith intact. The same cannot be said of the generations that followed.

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 3:24:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

That's works, Christine. You can do all that stuff and be headed to hell in a handbasket.

I tried for some time to fasten on to such pockets of "orthodoxy" as one could find in people, places and things, but it only works in the end if you shut your eyes to everything else. Kind of like thinking the Titanic isn't sinking because there's no water in your room.

Both/and has nothing whatever to do with catholicity or universality, but is a watchword for the process by which the supposed Catholic Faith and Church becomes the proverbial ink blot into which one can see whatever so that anything can be Catholic to someone somewhere and as long as you do not deny -- redefine, re-express, whatever is OK but not deny or leave -- the god of Catholicism, the Roman Catholic Church itself, you'll be fine.

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 4:35:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

That's works, Christine. You can do all that stuff and be headed to hell in a handbasket.

I really expected better than such a trite answer from you.

Of course that's a possible scenario.

So is the love of Christ expressed in serving his brothers and sisters. Christ alone is the just judge of peoples' actions and motives.

I really don't do that old "faith versus works" thing anymore. Since I've become Catholic it's assumed its proper and Biblical balance.

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 4:37:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Both/and has nothing whatever to do with catholicity or universality,

Pelikan had some very astute things to say about just that in his "Riddle of Roman Catholicism."

He pretty much got it right.

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 9:36:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well of course, Christine.

That's the point -- Christ is the judge, so works prove nothing amongst ourselves. For that matter, there's all sorts of people who render prodigious service to others out of no religious faith at all.

My point was, apart from pockets here and there such as most of this blog's readership, Catholics are Catholic because for various ethnic, cultural or social reasons that's where they go, and having gone there take what they like and ignore the rest, the rest being, if they had the time and inclination to think it out and write it out, pretty much what Brian says.

Everybody's got his own Catholicism which is just fine as long as you identify with the community, ie keep tossing something in the basket at the Offertory, the real sacrament of the Church.

You can be your own pope and have the pope too.

Yeah, Pelikan got it so right he became EO.

I wish I could have asked the fabulous Father Godfrey what he thought about that. I guess that will have to wait for the heavenly table, except I don't think we'll care there.

If you think I was proposing a faith versus works paradigm, your Catholic handlers have done a better job on you than I thought! Flee while you can, because as I said to poor old Peter, one of these days they will come to you and announce their white is an aggiornamento of YOUR black and their black a deeper development of your white.

 
At Friday, February 29, 2008 1:32:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

PE, when Pelikan wrote that book he was still Lutheran so he had no agenda one way or the other. He was one of the best-informed Lutheran authors on Catholicism I ever encountered. The fact that he ultimately chose to become Orthodox is irrelevant, his comments stand on their own merits.

I thought I stated clearly that Christ alone will judge our works. So what's the problem? I'd feel very suspicious in a Christian body that didn't practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The servant is not greater than the Master, ja?

You are back to repeating your same old spiel.

Not interested.

 
At Friday, February 29, 2008 1:34:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

There goes my name again!

Donnerwetter!

 
At Friday, February 29, 2008 3:32:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

And your same old spiel is exempt?

Christine, I am sure you are aware that there are some Lutherans so afraid of sliding into justification by works that they refuse to deal with works at all. Surely you must know that I am not one of those nor find it authentically Lutheran at all.

What's the problem? Nothing whatever about the corporal or spiritual works of mercy. The point was, and this is not unique to Catholics, the membership of churches is hardly made up of only fervent believers who show up out of zeal for belief accurately understood, but rather who tend to go with the parts they like and leave the rest, and that for Catholics that rest, should they take the time to work it though and lay it out, is what Brian writes.

Put another way, Brian writes what most Catholics would write if their station in life was to write about things.

That's no more a question about the true teachings of the Roman Church than it is about works.

Re Pelikan, I'm not impressed. There's a joke in Orthodox circles that I saw again either elsewhere on this blog or on Pastor Weedon's.

Why did Pelikan become Orthodox?
He read his own books.

 
At Friday, February 29, 2008 4:24:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

The point was, and this is not unique to Catholics, the membership of churches is hardly made up of only fervent believers who show up out of zeal for belief accurately understood, but rather who tend to go with the parts they like and leave the rest, and that for Catholics that rest, should they take the time to work it though and lay it out, is what Brian writes.

Yeah, most organizations, secular included, are made up of the "true believers" (I'm using hyperbole obviously) and the "hangers on". Come to thunk of it, that existed even before the New Testament was canonized. Wheat and tares growing until the harvest -- and I do believe the Lord explicitly commanded us not to tear up the weeds lest we remove the wheat as well and no, that doesn't mean not addressing rank heresy in our midst -- it means supporting those who are still "weaker" in faith.

But there were always the shining lights of whom the pagans said, "See how they love one another." Bringing glory to the Father by the way they lived their lives, said Jesus. And that definitely included "works" that could be seen by the non-Christian world.

I've related somewhere before in regards to the "works vs. faith" paradigm that Dr. Martin Marty used to joke about a Lutheran pastor who warned his congregation repeatedly about not trying to impress God with their good works, and looking around his sleepy listeners asked himself, "Who's working ??"

Where on earth would anyone get the idea that churches are made up of only "pure" believers? That's usually reserved for something called a "sect" and they don't really seem to hang around all that long.

As for Pelikan, his own father once told him that “he combined German Lutheran scholarship and Slavic (Jaroslav, anyone?)Orthodox piety.” There may just be a clue there as to his conversion. I’m afraid your lack of “impression” with Pelikan is far outweighed by the numerous scholars and clergy who regard him as the greatest Church historian in America.

And as for my "spiel" -- I am supporting Catholicism on a Catholic blog.

Makes sense to me !!

 
At Friday, February 29, 2008 5:42:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

God bless me, Christine, what does it take to make a simple point around here?

However, I am too a veteran of an environment in which black is white and white is black, so I'm not surprised. But I'll try again.

As to the supporting Catholicism on a Catholic blog, the only point I really ever intended to make here at Sentire cum Ecclesia is that what you and this blog support is not by any stretch of the imagination Catholicism and the Ecclesia with which it endeavours to sentire is not the Catholic Church but by its own lights the greatest, vilest and most mendacious enemy it has ever faced.

As to the whole works, wheat, tares and whatever thing, my point there is not about works, wheat, tares or whatever, but that not only are you apart from the Catholic Faith and Church, you (collective) are also apart from the vast majority of the "Catholic Faith and Church" to which you belong which is not in the least mitigated by appeal to the creaky circle of celibates who are functionally irrelevant to the Church pre or post council.

I say this not by way of condemnation, nor do I condemn you but in fact quite understand what you think you have done, but by way of warning, that what seems to be called the "conservative" Catholics, those who adhere to the actual documents of Vatican II, being unconnected to and unsupported by neither the Church that was nor the Church that is, will find themselves orphans in the Church that will be.

I predict this will happen in the first pontificate or two of someone not of the generation of JPII and BXVI who were formed before Vatican II, and when this happens, you (collective) will find yourselves in the previously unthinkable, as marginal to mainstream Catholicism as Holy Family Monastery now, a voice like them on the outside claiming to be truly Catholic while Catholic proceeds without you.

Hey, if you live long enough, you might even find yourself on "Catholic" blogs unrecognisable to you as such and being dismissed as same old, same old!

 
At Friday, February 29, 2008 8:02:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

nor do I condemn you

Um, well, shall I go and sin no more ??

What you don't understand is that you are not going to define for me what is "Catholic".

If you were to go back and count out how many times you have posted

the only point I really ever intended to make here at Sentire cum Ecclesia is that what you and this blog support is not by any stretch of the imagination Catholicism and the Ecclesia with which it endeavours to sentire is not the Catholic Church but by its own lights the greatest, vilest and most mendacious enemy it has ever faced.

I wonder what the number would be?

It ain't workin' my friend! I am happily committed to being Catholic, just Catholic, no other labels, please.

Put some of that energy into fixing what needs fixing in your own spiritual house.

 
At Friday, February 29, 2008 8:24:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Gott hilf mir, another one -- "by its own lights" is now me defining Catholicism. Go look at the lights!

Then again, maybe don't, at least until the Roman hallucinogens wear off.

When Kristallnacht happens for YOUR "just Catholic" don't be surprised, though you will be if you go on believing your luggage and relatives will be waiting for you at the end of the train ride.

 

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