Friday, February 22, 2008

Yes, LP Cruz, I am still a "Lutheran"

In the combox to a post below, LP Cruz writes:
You confirm my observation of people who convert from one denom to another and btw I am no exception to that.

But really, you may have left Lutheranism but Lutheranism has not left you.

This is exactly what I observe others leaving EO/RCC and becoming Lutheran. They might have left Rome but Rome has not left them.

So since I am also an ex-Penty, I am too aware too that my Pentecostlaism might have not left me yet.

It takes time.
Well, LP, you are right. I do not deny that I remain very Lutheran in my theology and spirituality. I have never denied it, but joyfully confess it! Moreover, I am not really expecting that I will become less Lutheran over time, because I am actually cultivating my appreciation for the spirituality of Martin Luther rather than trying to rid myself of it.

You see, while I am certainly not "Lutheran" in the only sense that Pastor Weedon would allow--ie. full subscription to the doctrines contained in the Book of Concord--I am "Lutheran" in the sense that I am inspired by Luther's spiritual insights and continue to use some of the paradigms which he laid laid out in my theological thinking.

However, I am also Catholic in the two-fold sense that I am in full communion with the Bishop of Rome and that I fully subscribe to all that the Catholic Church teaches.

In other words, I am living proof that it is possible to be both a faithful and loyal Catholic and still spiritually remain a Lutheran. This is much the same for those who are Catholic, but Augustinian, or Thomist, or Franciscan, or Ignatian, or Carmelite or whatever in their spirituality.

It is also proof that the Catholic Church does not propose a "one size fits all" spirituality. There are as many different ways of being Catholic as there are Catholics.

The point is not so much that I "converted" to Catholicism, as that I sought to be in full communion with the Bishop of Rome (as universal primate of the Church) and accepted the responsibilities that come with that full communion.

And what I say to you, I say to all non-Catholics who visit this blog: Be not afraid! You lose nothing when you enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, but gain everything that is good, true and beautiful. Above all you gain the fullness of the gifts of Christ which now you have only in part.

As Benedict said in his sermon when he was inaugurated as Bishop of Rome:
If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? ...Pope [John Paul II] said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything.

39 Comments:

At Friday, February 22, 2008 11:47:00 pm , Blogger Chris Burgwald said...

My doctoral dissertation was on concupiscence in Lutheran-Catholic dialogue (that is, the theological concept thereof, not its presence in the dialogue participants!), and as I was doing my research, I found myself very attracted to Luther's spirituality and wishing very much that things had worked out differently in a manner in which we'd have a Lutheran movement within the juridical Catholic Church. For me personally, the things Martin was trying to get at are very relevant.

Unfortunately, things didn't wokrout that way!

 
At Saturday, February 23, 2008 3:06:00 am , Blogger William Weedon said...

I know it's probably in your blog on your journey into Rome, but can you give a brief synopsis of what in the BOC you came to believe to be defective, unfitting of the catholic faith?

 
At Saturday, February 23, 2008 3:06:00 am , Blogger William Weedon said...

Oops, I meant that as a question for David. I assume Christopher is a cradle catholic?

 
At Saturday, February 23, 2008 3:39:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

A good idea, Pastor Bill. I will give it some consideration. First off the top of my head, however, would be the rejection of the authority of the Bishop of Rome de jure divino. Then probably the rejection of at least four of the seven sacraments as sacraments. How's that for starters?

 
At Saturday, February 23, 2008 6:23:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

How's that for starters? Bad.

Look at the language, David. It's loaded with unexamined assumptions that beg the conclusions.

To speak of rejecting the authority of the Bishop of Rome assumes the authority is there to reject. To speak of rejecting four of the seven sacraments assumes seven sacraments are there.

It is quite another thing to assert that the Bishop of Rome has no such authority, neither from Christ nor from Scripture, but rather was arrogated over time by Man, or to assert that the sacramental system of the Roman church derives neither from Christ nor Scripture but the consolidation of power in the Roman church.

What you have done is come to believe in the authority of the Bishop of Rome and in the sacramental system of the Roman church, in consequence of which your former belief now seems like a rejection. Apart from this new belief, the rejection would be of the corruptions belief in the papacy and the Roman sacraments is.

So, what is rejected is the same thing, either way, but in entirely different senses, one a rejection of something that exists, and the other a rejection of the claim that something exists that doesn't.

What we reject, then, is not four of the seven sacraments, but the human elevation of four things to a level Christ did not give it; not the authority of the Bishop of Rome, but the human elevation of this office to a level Christ did not give it. Or to paraphrase your words -- you gain the fulness of the gifts of Christ which you now surround with the accretions of Man.

Nota bene, I am here stepping out of my customary role here and speaking as a Lutheran. Now may I take a new and final step and speak as one who "rejects" the Roman Church as it has become both as a Lutheran and as a Roman Catholic: if the Roman Church could be proven to be the true church founded by Christ, it would be grounds not to enter it but to realise that he was not the Christ and we must look for another.

It's that drastic.

You may wish to compare the phenomenology of Benedict and JPII with the Gospel proclaimed by Peter in the first, if you will, urbi et orbi in Acts.

 
At Saturday, February 23, 2008 10:05:00 pm , Blogger Perpétua said...

Goodness!

 
At Saturday, February 23, 2008 11:59:00 pm , Blogger Chris Burgwald said...

PE, have you *read* the major texts of B16 or JPII? How can you get more Gospel than them, unless you reject them a priori?

 
At Sunday, February 24, 2008 12:03:00 am , Blogger Chris Burgwald said...

Pastor Weedon,

Sorry, neglected to respond... yes, I'm a cradle Catholic, although I had that all-too-common experience in which my faith wasn't my own until I stopped practicing for a bit in college.

Out of curiosity, do you know Pastor Rob Fish, or his likewise-ordained son of the same name? I went to high school with Jr. in central Minnesota.

 
At Sunday, February 24, 2008 2:51:00 am , Blogger William Weedon said...

David,

I suspected that had become the crucial point. I'll stay with St. Gregory the Great's assessment that the Bishop of Rome is not and should not be called the universal bishop.

Terry,

Whatever one believes about the papal claims, Benedict has some stunning writings that shows a real and profound grasp of the Gospel. And of course, he's probably the first and only pope to have even bothered to have read Luther. Pity he discounts so much of his later writings, and keeps (erroneously, I believe) trying to make him be a nominalist through and through.

Chris,

I have met the elder and the son has been at our house for a barbecue a couple years ago, I believe. He plays for my good friend Pastor Tim Landskroener.

 
At Sunday, February 24, 2008 4:18:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I'll stay with Leo the Great's thoughts on that score, rather than with an incidental remark of Gregory's.

William Tighe

 
At Sunday, February 24, 2008 4:47:00 am , Blogger William Weedon said...

Now, Dr. Tighe, on what basis do you speak of it as an incidental remark? He wrote to the Bishop of Alexandria an entire letter on the topic.

 
At Sunday, February 24, 2008 8:27:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

I have read several of both JPII's academic works and papal documents, and have experienced his presence personally.

The Gospel according to Max Scheler. Nothing more, nothing less, but when combined with the universalism he promoted during his reign, the marks of anti-Christ, nothing more, nothing less.

Benedict's view of Luther is not atypical of a certain background. I too saw Luther as a good man gone wrong, who did not understand that the "Catholicism" he rejected was not the real thing but a false religion taught to him by Nominalist professors, and had he had a proper training would not have sought reform apart from the Catholic Church. He was, so zu sagen, right about what was wrong and wrong about what is right -- as Herr Schuetz quotes.

Perhaps as an old man he will show the same courage he showed as a young man, deserting the spiritual Nazis as he did the political ones.

Nonetheless, it's nothing but Joel Osteen with mitres and phenomenology, completely irrelevant to Christ or his Church.

That said, I would love to spend a day with brats and Mozart with Josef Ratzinger.

 
At Sunday, February 24, 2008 9:55:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Pastor Weedon,

I didn't say "Universal Bishop", I said "Universal Primate". The Catholic Church does not teach that the Pope is a "universal bishop". That is an interpretation of Vatican I that Vatican II rejected in its understanding of collegiality.

Re the Pope reading and understanding Luther, I have something on that which I want to post.

I don't know if Luther was a nominalist "through and through", although he was, like most of his generation both Catholic and Protestant, predominantly nominalist in his philosophy. Louis Bouyer bears this point out. His successors, however, were thoroughly nominalist.

As for universalism, Terry, I was warned against that before I became a Catholic--the very day before Dominus Iesus was published. No-one reading that, nor the consequent documents from the CDF on the Church and on Evangelisation could ever accuse the Catholic Church of universalism. I know it looked like that might be the outcome for a little while there, but lets just say the door has been firmly closed on that "option", shall we?

More on the topic soon, Lads and Ladesses.

 
At Sunday, February 24, 2008 10:22:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Since this discussion has spilled over several posts, maybe I'll summarise my point in an edited quote of something I posted on another blog altogether, Lito's.

IMHO, Schuetz and the other Lutheran Tiber swimmers I have read have constructed for themselves a private fantasy in which two things characteristic of the Lutheran mind find resolution.

One is, whether one likes it or not, it was indeed the hope of the Lutheran reformers to effect reform within the existing church, and to the extent that they operated outside it, the Catholic Church, they did not see themselves as outside the catholic church nor wish to discard its customs and ceremonies insofar as they do not contradict the Gospel, and had no time for those who did.

The other is the flip side of this, that the assortment of synods and other bodies we have now does not represent the hope of the Lutheran Reformation but simply the state it is in now.

I believe any real Lutheran feels both of these, that the Catholic Church has to date shown itself resistant, to put it mildly, to reform according to the Gospel, and that our mess of synods does not reflect the catholicity for which we hope. Tiber swimmers think they have resolved this by joining the RCC, thereby being Lutheran and Catholic and fulfilling the hopes of each.

This is a most miserable illusion, and one not possible without the post conciliar RCC, which departs from and rejects Roman Catholicism to just the extent necessary to foster this illusion, for example in such spiritual pornography as the Documents of Vatican II, the novus ordo, and the Joint Declaration. The Tiber swimmers' writings themselves reveal that they would not have swum the Tiber before the council. Bouyer notwithstanding, whose own private illusions became part of the underpinnings of Vatican II, and who was a papal appointee from the beginning of the International Theological Commission in 1969, an "advisory" body to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed for 24 years by, guess who, the current occupier, under the name Benedict XVI, of the office bearing the marks of anti-Christ known as the papacy.

IOW, they see in Vatican II enough movement to indicate that the Roman church indeed either has reformed or is reforming, so they may now "come home".

The problem is, that "home" is a vicious, vile and vulgar impostor of the RCC, worse than an impostor, its murderer who now goes about in its victim's clothes to pass itself off, a thousand times more contemptible and odious than the RCC of Luther's day. In converting to it, these misguided souls have found something which not only departs from Christ and his Gospel and his Church, but departs from the Catholic departure! IOW, what they have found is not only not the catholic church, it isn't even the Catholic Church! A delusion of this magnitude in the physical world would require medication and institutionalisation!

Endnote: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the name since 1983 of what was known since 1965 as the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- "sacred" ironically being dropped from the names of curial congregations by the post conciliar new canon law -- since 1908 as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, and before that its original name from its founding in 1542, the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.

 
At Monday, February 25, 2008 2:01:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

I get sick of all this ranting about how the Catholic Church now is not the Church as it was then, and ergo it neither is nor ever was what it claimed to be.

I am not stupid, and have read and thought about these issues, and do honestly consider that the Catholic Church is the same in essentials now as formerly, despite the obvious increase in dissent and misbehaviour on the part of many of her members.

After all, in many ways I am able to have the best of both in the accidental sense (Latin Mass and good sound preaching, combined with those developments that are in continuity with the past a la the Vincentian Canon), and testify to the endurance of the essentials.

I think PE could afford a little charity and tone down his rhetoric; sure, he thinks the Church to be Ant-Christ (for which I rebuke him and exhort him in the bowels of Christ to repent, as no doubt he would wish me to do as regarding my own contrary position), but raving on and on about it isn't necessarily the most persuasive course to take. Honey is better than vinegar.

 
At Monday, February 25, 2008 10:08:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Characteristically post-conciliar.

Absolutely none of the "raving" (read, anything which is contradictory to the claims of the RCC) is about change. To exist in time is to change. The church will never be in one era or place exactly as it was in another.

The question is not change, it is change into what. That the Catholic Church has denied its essential nature and faith is sun-clear in the documents of the last council and worship and other documents subsequent to it, with no reference whatsoever to the excesses which attend all ages.

Nor is it about being stupid. There are many quite intelligent and well educated people who subscribe to the errors of Rome. It is not a function of intelligence or a lack thereof. One can be wrong not from a lack of intelligence, nor are those who lack gifts of intelligence necessarily wrong thereby.

Nor is the Catholic Church the anti-Christ. Nor is the papacy nor any particular occupier of it. The Roman church is the Whore of Babylon, and not even all of it, but more like main brothel in imperfect union with other brothelial unions, to paraphrase, and is headed by an office bearing the marks of anti-Christ. There is no way to tone it down.

Nor, really, is there any intent to persuade. Posting here has underscored my experience of the post-conciliar church since its inception, even before in the movements that led to it -- Rome's sorcery does not admit of rational discourse, and is well equipped to find white black and black white. For which reason I had resolved to quit posting here, until the call to one of our pastors and the rest of us too to join, on the basis of its supposed authority and continuity, the same old thing on and on, which, of course, being consistent with the claims of the RCC, is not "raving".

 
At Monday, February 25, 2008 10:52:00 am , Blogger L P Cruz said...

Dave,

Of course when you go to Mother Church you get "more". What you say is that these "more" things that a Lutheran gets is something liveable. I was a child of Mother Church and I know what you say. You do get "extras".

But I guess this is where we will differ. Once something is added to the Gospel it ceases to be Gospel.

Now, I am curious too on another aspect, when Pelikan went EO, he said that it was the fulfilment of his Lutheranism.

Are you saying the same thing, i.e. when a Lutheran returns to Rome, he is actually fulfilling his Lutheranism?

LPC, the infamous (:-)

 
At Monday, February 25, 2008 12:00:00 pm , Blogger William Weedon said...

Lito,

I'd be curious if you could substantiate the quote from Pelikan. From all I've been told he flat out would not even discuss his conversion with anyone, including his friends. But you may have a source at hand that I've not come across, and if so, I'd be grateful for it.

 
At Monday, February 25, 2008 12:24:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

The Wiki article on him gives the statement not as something he wrote in his writings but the recollection of family members cited in a footnote.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaroslav_Pelikan

FWIW, he was a long time friend of my alma mater, a founder of its Ecumenical Center, and close friend of the magnificent Fr Godfrey (Diekmann, OSB) whom it was my great good fortune to have known though we disagreed on everything but the day and date.

 
At Monday, February 25, 2008 12:37:00 pm , Blogger William Weedon said...

Thanks, Terry. I had not encountered that before.

 
At Monday, February 25, 2008 11:54:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

He certainly refused to talk about it to me when I rang him once to ask him!

I agree with you Joshua that PE does go on and on, but we come to expect that. We do sometimes think however that he could confine himself to the topic at hand so that the discussion was not sidetracked. I think that would be considerate to other commentators, don't you?

LP, I don't know about "extras" added to the Gospel. I would call it the fullness of the Gospel. And I don't know about fulfillment of my Lutheranism--rather it is a fulfillment of my baptism. I am where my baptism compels me to be.

And I know you are "child of the Church", but that does not mean that the spirituality in which you were raised was the most authentic form of Catholicism, nor does it discredit your experience as an authentic experience of a kind of Catholicism. But your experience in the Philipines is certainly not mine here in Australia. That isn't a value judgement, it is simply a matter of fact. The sort of Catholicism in which you were raised is not a universal spirituality. My point is that there is no 'universal' type of Catholic.

 
At Tuesday, February 26, 2008 12:17:00 am , Blogger L P Cruz said...

Pr. Will,

RE:Pelikan,

The Wikipedia entry as P.E. mention gets the gist of it but I am trying to recall either an interview or an obituary.

Dave,

Mother Church operates like a Protestant in countries where she does not fully dominate.

Now this observation is not unique to me, but was also the testimony of an ex-RC priest turned Waldensian Luigi DiSanctis, a former RC Inquisitor in the 1800s.

I blogged about him and his book Roma Papale FWIW.

LPC

 
At Tuesday, February 26, 2008 12:38:00 am , Blogger Joshua said...

I still think that PE cannot simply assert as proven that "That the Catholic Church has denied its essential nature and faith is sun-clear in the documents of the last council and worship and other documents subsequent to it, with no reference whatsoever to the excesses which attend all ages."

Since the Council itself declared its purpose was not doctrinal but pastoral, I cannot see that it or any succeeding documents of lesser power somehow brought about an essential change! On the contrary, the outward appearances of the Church have certainly shifted, IMHO not for the better, but it still is what it was.

 
At Tuesday, February 26, 2008 1:33:00 am , Anonymous M. M. Regan said...

Joshua said:

I still think that PE cannot simply assert as proven that "That the Catholic Church has denied its essential nature and faith is sun-clear in the documents of the last council and worship and other documents subsequent to it, with no reference whatsoever to the excesses which attend all ages."

Hear, hear.

Past Elder:

one opens oneself to accusations of 'raving' when one spouts vitriolic rhetoric instead of offering clear, irrefutable evidence, in this case evidence for what you appear to think is the Catholic Church's definitive rejection of its own Tradition. Could you point out, for instance, in which parts of which of Vatican II's sixteen documents the Council Fathers contradict definitively the canons of any council from Nicaea I to Vatican I? Even in the contentious "Dignitatis Humanae", right there in paragraph 4 of section 1 the Council Fathers say that "Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ." What else could that invite if not an "hermeneutic of continuity"?

Or, if it's not a failure of Papal/Conciliar Infallibility on which your argument that the RCC is the 'Whore of Babylon' rests, but rather the Church's Indefectibility, then could you please define your understanding of this doctrine?

And finally: on your blog you link to the SSPX's American website, but I ask you: how much of it have you read? I have read probably more than 90% of its material on their key doctrinal positions and do not understand how one could imagine that it would back up your
opinions in any way.

 
At Tuesday, February 26, 2008 1:52:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

We do sometimes think however that he could confine himself to the topic at hand so that the discussion was not sidetracked.

He can't do it.

Just as he can't stay away from this blog and keeps coming back to repeat the same stuff over and over and over and ....

Man, I'm glad to be Catholic.

 
At Tuesday, February 26, 2008 3:43:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Lito, I'm thinking too I read something in an interview published on the Net, but cannot recall where, nor is there enough Pepto-Bismol to endure slogging through History to search such "Catholic" sites as I have visited, so I offer the Wiki citation.

Herr Regan, if the Documents themselves are not sufficient, which they were for me, to definitively demonstrate that the RCC is now apostate from Catholicism, there are many studies available on the Net to detail this for you, and it would be silly to attempt same in a combox.

For which reason I have provided the SSPX links on my blog. I have read their entire site. Of course they would not support my position in any way. They are Catholic. They, in contrast to what passes itself off as the RCC, teach nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else than what the RCC taught me, from which standpoint the problems in the Church notwithstanding I have despaired of hope and fallen prey to heresy. Speaking of what one has come to expect, I have come long since to expect that even the most basic points will not be clear when encountering the post-conciliar fog. So: I rejected the post conciliar church as a false and apostate religion on the grounds of the Catholic Faith alone some twenty years before I saw Lutheranism as anything more than a well intended but misguided attempt to be Catholic without being Catholic, and I offer the SSPX links in no way to support conversion to Lutheranism but rather as the best source available on the Net to detail the apostacy of the Roman church from itself, particularly the Ottaviani Intervention and the analysis of the "Catechism". Neither were these documents the cause of my action, but rather the best expression of what was already clear, and I differ with the SSPX not in their analysis of Vatican II, which is why I offer it, but in what to do about it, which they would condemn.

At the time I came to my conclusion about the RCC I could also not deny that there is no other body in which the fulness of the Gospel and the Church could possibly, as they say now, subsist, therefore, the true Church having denied itself, Christianity in any form is a false religion and Jesus a false Messiah, a Gentile misunderstanding of Jewish messianism, which, not negating the promises of Hebrew Scripture, led me to twenty years of waiting for another as a Gentile hanger-on, a Righteous of the Nations, to Orthodox Judaism (which is to say, Judaism). And I continue to say, if it could be demonstrated that the post-conciliar RCC is the current stage of the true church of Christ, this would also prove not that men should enter it but that Christ is not the Christ and we must look for another.

Which, when I thought the RCC must be the same RCC, is precisely what I did. Thanks be to God, this did not last. In the BofC, and before it in some of Luther's treatises, particularly Babylonian Captivity, I came to what I now believe, and not before, seeing for the first time that Vatican II was not the problem, but a late stage in the long story of the Roman church selling itself to the spirit of the age, inevitable as the spirit of the age evolves and changes. Only at this point did I understand that not only had the RCC become false to Catholicism, clear enough from Catholic belief itself, but that Catholicism itself had falsified the catholic faith.

So now I find the RCC a false church and religion twice over, once on Catholic grounds themselves, and also on the grounds of Scripture correctly confessed in the Lutheran confessions. The only reason I came to this blog is to make a single point, which relates to the first point only -- that Lutherans who join the RCC out of a sense of becoming truly Lutheran, true to their Baptism, or whatever, have fallen victim to a mass of lying deceit promoted by an institution that believes in nothing but itself, allowing functionally anything (Herr Schuetz' words to Lito being the ultimate conundrum of Catholic is Catholic because it's Catholic) under the guise of Christ wnose Body it claims to be on no other basis than the claim itsef, which if one cannot discern from our Confessions the Roman Church itself will amply demonstrate as false to the Church of Christ even by the lights of Catholicism.

I suppose it figures: why should a person not be dismissed as droning on and on about the same old thing, in a context which asserts IT is saying the same old thing and therefore to be accepted. It will tolerate anything except repudiation of itself, which it cannot examine since its entire faith isbuilt upon it. Rome's spiritual hallucinogens are powerful indeed, and I say again and in conclusion, the delusion they offer in the spiritual realm would, if it were in the physical realm, require medication and institutionalisation. All the more ironic as most of your Church would see what is offered here as "thinking with the Church" to be quite reactionary and a betrayal of the breath of the Holy Spirit given at the council.

 
At Tuesday, February 26, 2008 5:17:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Speaking of Pelikan, here's another couple of tidbits floating around about his conversion:

Most stunning perhaps was, in 1996, the conversion of Jaroslav Pelikan, Yale University's celebrated church historian and Luther scholar. Here is a man who has co-edited 22 of the 55 volumes of Luther's Works in English, and then late in life he "moved East," as some theologians like to say.

"I was the Lutheran with the greatest knowledge of the Orthodox Church," Pelikan reportedly quipped, "and now I am the Orthodox with the greatest knowledge of Luther."

He is has also been quoted as saying, "When the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist, I became Orthodox."

Presumably, his implication was that the former two denominations were on the verge of losing their doctrinal clarity.

 
At Tuesday, February 26, 2008 5:45:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I should have identified the above quotes; they are from

Eastern rite lures Western seekers By UWE SIEMON-NETTO, UPI religion correspondent, Wednesday, 1 August 2001 11:24 (ET)

and were posted on the website of an Orthodox parish.

 
At Tuesday, February 26, 2008 5:05:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I have no idea if these are accurate since they are not quotations but reports of quotations.

If they are, though, it would seem the original impetus was what he saw in his own denomination, leaving LCMS for a loss of doctrinal clarity, which I understand as I left my denomination on the same grounds, that it had become other than what it was, which also invalidated what it was, though in his case conversion to Orthodoxy was immediate whereas for me I was non-Christian for twenty years before becoming Lutheran.

 
At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 1:46:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Since Mr. Siemon Netto is a respected journalist attached to the LCMS you could always check it out with him.

I'm not surprised your were non-Christian twenty years after becoming disillusioned with the Roman Catholic Church. In my experience Catholics raised pre-Vatican II tend to jettison the whole package more easily when they no longer accept Catholicism whereas many Protestants simply move on to another ecclesiastical body.

As for Pelikan's "immediate" conversion I suppose one could say that in one sense, but since he was a Lutheran pastor and scholar for many years I'd say his "journey" was some time in the making. But Pelikan would never have abandoned Christianty in some form for any length of time (not making a judgment on you here -- having had one Lutheran and one Catholic parent always presented other options for me).

I've seen references to Pelikan's "Methodist" allusions on other sites besides the byline from Siemon Netto.

 
At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 1:48:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Nope, that wasn't anonymous, that was me.

 
At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 3:26:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Even the Wiki citation I supplied was not a reference to a direct quote, but indirect -- recollections of family members.

No doubt it was a journey of many years, and you are right, by immediate I meant without a loss of Christian faith in any form.

I think the reason behind the loss of faith phenomenon you notice is ecclesiology -- Protestants just do not have the institutional idea of apostolic succession, so a Catholic is much more likely to think, well, if the Catholic Church is wrong, the others already being wrong, then it's all wrong, whereas a Protestant is more likely to simply change affiliations.

There are some interesting numbers just released from Pew. The rate of churn, so to speak, among denominations is quite high in America, but what I found interesting from my own background was that while the RCC is gaining numbers overall, this is due to immigration and conversion, which offset the greatest net loss in membership among churches. IOW, the gain in new members masks an unparalled loss of existing members. This will accelerate the result the march of time will have anyway, in an RCC for which the post-conciliar church is the norm, and I predict that with the first pope or two whose priestly formation was post conciliar the process will be complete and the RCC will be totally unreconisable as such to those remaining who pre-date the process.

Rather like immigration itself: the original immigrants speak the new language with an accent from before and sometimes speak it not at all (the older part of the current church), the first generation speaks the new language and culture without an accent but sometimes still speaks the old (the younger part of the current church), and the generation after has totally assimilated, with some exceptions, the new with no reference to the old except historical (the church of the future).

This blog, for example, fits within the middle stage, and represents well the current church in its middle stage.

For me, though, it reinforces, as if more were needed, that if this is the RC faith and church, and I think it well represents the RC faith and church now, it is something in no way recognisable as the RC faith and church the RCC taught me, and to find some "hermeneutic of continuity" in this new Protestant church with a pope, as my 1941 Protestant convert dad put it (though he stayed), with the RCC is only possible if one equates the institution with God, with Christ, with Scripture and mistakes faith in the institution for faith in the rest.

But it also explains the appeal of the post conciliar church to converts who offset so far the existing Catholic who leave -- now that the RCC is no longer the RCC but Protestant-light itself retaining modified trappings of the RCC, it fills the lack of institutional concreteness in ecclesiology characteristic of Protestantism and presents itself as "coming home".

Whereas to me, it is utterly foreign and nothing like "home" at all and absurd to call it such, but, I'm 57 and people like me will be gone in a few decades, right along with those on the other side of the fence who find the current RCC a betrayal of the spirit breathed at Vatican II, and the whole miserable charade will proceed to the ruin of souls.

 
At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 4:44:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the reason behind the loss of faith phenomenon you notice is ecclesiology -- Protestants just do not have the institutional idea of apostolic succession, so a Catholic is much more likely to think, well, if the Catholic Church is wrong, the others already being wrong, then it's all wrong, whereas a Protestant is more likely to simply change affiliations.

Well, I definitely agree with you that that is part of the story. In childhood I noted very early on that for my paternal Catholic grandmother there simply was no other church than the Church of Rome (and she was not shy about letting my Lutheran mother know it, although to be fair the Lutheran part of the family was just as obstinate). The Church, the institution, the Papacy, the Latin Mass – it was all one coherent unity. She is probably the number one reason it took me a long time to seek to enter the Church because I simply wanted no part of what I saw in her – her lack of charity had a big influence.

On the other hand, in the “old days” not too many Catholics were familiar with any other way of being Christian, as you point out. The Church guarded the faith life of her children very carefully (sometimes with good reason) but it led to that good old phenomenon called “cultural Catholicism” (really no different from the cultural Judaism that prevails in the U.S.). I truly have never met someone who identified as a “cultural Presbyterian” or “cultural Baptist”. When they leave, they just leave. Many former Catholics leave the “institution” but never really make a full break.

There are some interesting numbers just released from Pew. The rate of churn, so to speak, among denominations is quite high in America, but what I found interesting from my own background was that while the RCC is gaining numbers overall, this is due to immigration and conversion, . . .

True again. The year I converted 150,000 people entered the Catholic Church in the U.S. and of course Latinos are an important factor today (I’ve also noticed a lot more Asian faces in the pews lately). I believe, however, that that same report indicated that mainstream Protestantism is simply plummeting.

I predict that with the first pope or two whose priestly formation was post conciliar the process will be complete and the RCC will be totally unreconisable as such to those remaining who pre-date the process.

I rather see it as the RCC going back to the original sources in winnowing out what was genuinely part of the "[T]radition" as opposed to some [t]raditions. While you don’t recognize any continuity with the pre-Vatican II Church I see a new emphasis on Word and Sacrament that had been obscured over the centuries by the accretions of medieval Catholicism and I welcome the changes. I see the apostolic continuity in the office of bishop, priest and deacon in union with the Pope (gifts to the Church) and a renewal of Word and Sacrament.

the RCC is only possible if one equates the institution with God, with Christ, with Scripture and mistakes faith in the institution for faith in the rest.

I’ll freely grant that the Church has got to do a much better job of catechizing on this. No well-educated Catholic I know doesn’t understand that the Church is first and foremost the Mystical Body of Christ, that Jesus himself is the Head of the Body and that the institution serves the faith, not vice versa.

Protestant light? No, I don’t think so. Catholic worship still centers on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Haven’t found a Protestant body yet that does likewise, not to mention the many forms of Catholic devotion that are making a comeback in many parishes (such as Perpetual Adoration, May Crownings, Corpus Christi processions – haven’t see them in any Protestant churches I know).

Whereas to me, it is utterly foreign and nothing like "home" at all and absurd to call it such, but, I'm 57 and people like me will be gone in a few decades, right along with those on the other side of the fence who find the current RCC a betrayal of the spirit breathed at Vatican II, and the whole miserable charade will proceed to the ruin of souls.

Yes, you are correct, your generation will soon be gone. The converts (and reverts) who are finding spiritual fulfillment as Catholics won’t have to deal with that baggage. They will simply see themselves as a part of the continuing journey of the Catholic Church.

 
At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 4:46:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Wonderful -- forgot to add my name again.

 
At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 6:01:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

No worries -- I knew it was you!

Yes, Pew numbers indicate those who identify themselves as Protestant are barely 50%, whereas historically the US has been predominantly Protestant. That is a huge shift, but the greatest increase is in, not Catholics, but those who describe themselves as unaffiliated. IOW, despite the RCC's fatal delusion that it has somehow engaged the world, the world is finding it increasingly a useless anachronism -- which in its present form, it is.

Actually, I think there are some forms of "cultural" Protestantism, particularly among the Baptist derived churches and the Pentecostal, with the same phenomena of leaving the institution without totally leaving the culture. At least I know some people like that, and hear some comics who joke about it the same way cultural Catholics and Jews joke about their culture.

You speak of the "changes in the church" in a mild form of the same way they were presented to me as they happened. It is simply not possible that the Church both effected much needed reform at the same time guarding against the doctrinal errors of the Reformers and at the same time by the same measures obscured Word and Sacrament with medieaval accrestions. The very things which in one decade of my life were what secured Catholic identity became in another accretions we must shed.

My mother used to tearfully confront me that I had abandoned the faith for which my ancestors died -- she was Irish, I am not except by adoption but you get the idea -- to which my reply was the black-hearted monsters now running the Church had removed that faith more effectively than all the troops of Cromwell and put in its place something no more Catholic than Anglicanism, and to expect this will somehow right itself is no different that the Germans who found Hitler abhorrent but stayed thinking this is Germany after all so it can't get that bad or will pass. I believe that yet to-day.

This is also why, theologically, I am much more comfortable around the "spirit of Vatican II" types. They have no illusion about what they represent and do not sugar coat it. They are utterly honest that this is new and good, that what it replaced is old and bad, of course as with the "conservative" Catholics maintaining it's just getting back to what should have been all along.

In a way, this is the Catholic Church's "Reformation", in that going in there were all sorts of ideas of what should be and coming out all sorts of ideas of what should, the difference being that whether it is expressed as the true church, the community, the People of God, or whatever, the institutional idolatry of the Roman Church is the one thing that endures and the one thing holding it to-gether.

Catholic worship does not centre on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The novus ordo is a repudiation of Catholic worship, not in that it is new, as the church may have many rites, but in what it is, and a believing Catholic can participate in it knowingly only as a venial sin no less than knowing particiaption in any other non-Catholic worship. Again, the analysis demonstrating how this is so is widely available and I will not attempt it in a combox. But we could find the crux of the difference between you and me precisely there: where you see a renewal and recovery of what is authentically Catholic, I see a blatant rejection of it, preserving the form to some extent but denying its content. Although it took me some time, from there it became clear that this whole thing, pre and post council, is nothing more than the state religion of the Western Roman Empire right down to its preposterous pontifex maximus, a state religion that outlived its state, and being neither of God nor the world rejected by both even as its "continuing journey" marries the spirit of the passing ages by turns.

To which I say, or quote -- come out from her, my people!

BTW, did anyone read Dale's article I cited, or is a citation from me to be dismissed too as not to be taken seriously so the Roman idolatry remains unchallenged. He's on your side, guys!

 
At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 7:24:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

But we could find the crux of the difference between you and me precisely there: where you see a renewal and recovery of what is authentically Catholic, I see a blatant rejection of it,

And that, as you say, is the crux of the matter and I am very comfortable in leaving it there.

 
At Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:29:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

As you say.

As a personal valedictory, you may find it both amusing and hard to believe that my vitriolic rhetoric, as it has been called on this blog, is actually much tamer since I have become Lutheran and accept that the catholic faith and church can be found within the RCC despite the barriers it has erected.

I rarely discuss religion with Catholics IRL. In my family, I have just come to accept that when the Catholics talk Catholic, much like on this blog, they speak a language as foreign to me as if I were raised Baptist and not Catholic.

You should have known me pre-Lutheran days. Now there was some vitriol! In the two post-conciliar conversions in which I had a part, and if there is a purgatory after all will spend a thousand years each paying for, I directed them that way not knowing any other at the time, but when their receptions came, could not participate, on the basis of the faith taught me by supposedly the same church receiving them! I'm glad I was Lutheran by the time my dad died -- Catholic since 1941, in a "Catholic" hospital in which he served for years, and in whose chapel I had served Mass (when there still was Mass) thousands of times, and as death neared they sent not a priest but a female ELCA minister. I have long since ceased to be surprised by anything done under the label Catholic, and was more preturbed at her uselessness as a "Lutheran" and having sent for the WELS chaplain for me, having assumed they would of course send a priest for dad. I think he received Extreme Unction, or whatever newspeak it goes by now, last I knew it was Sacrament of the Sick, at the nursing home. I did not see a priest or nun the whole time I was there in fact, but then again the nuns run around in regular clothes while the female Protestant pastors wear Roman collars, so who knows. The Brave New Church. With its soma.

I don't, BTW, have a gripe with you, or for that matter with our host or the other "Catholic" commentators. What I cannot abide is the miserable farce offered as Catholicism, here including the present and immediate past pope, and I am content to leave it at that too, much as I lament those who have fallen for its lies, but our host's call to one of our pastors and to us all to follow suit and accept this unholy charade was just too much, having come from where they think they are, but aren't, more lost than Columbus thinking he hit India when he hit the Bahamas. I cannot, as it were, abide being asked to call the Bahamas India!

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 1:50:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't have a gripe with you either, Terry. You are an intelligent, thoughtful and erudite person. We just disagree on matters theological and ecclesiastical :)

As for your pre-Lutheran "vitriolic" days, what you write is really not new to me. Believe me when I tell you I've seen it all on the Catholic side of the family. Thanks to my "more Catholic than the Pope" grandmother two of her daughters left the Church and gave up on religion entirely because of her hardline traditionalism.

She would have felt as alien in the post-Tridentine Church as you do.

Very generous, though, of you to allow that the "catholic" faith can be found in the RCC today :):)

It's certainly home for me.

 
At Thursday, February 28, 2008 1:52:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Arrggh, I seem to have lost my nomenclature again !!

 

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