Sunday, April 19, 2015

The yearn for clarity

A Catholic convert troubled (like a lot of us) by recent events, calls our attention to two articles, the ironically-titled "That's Why I Could Never Be a Catholic" (Aleteia, April 15, 2015) by the Catholic author David Mills, who "tries to cut through the seemingly endless defense of the papacy," and the Calvinist author D. H. Hart's article, "Why Reform Won't Ever Happen" (Old Life, April 16, 2015), who, like "a lot of former Protestants who have doctrine on their minds, he distinguishes between the popes’ offhand comments (and perhaps even weightier statements) and the catechism, which may help with the spiritual gas that attends the bloating that follows episcopal overreach." [An article worth reading]

And our reader writes:
I have to agree with Hart against Mills here. And this is why these speculative Popes hurt the cause of the Church. Sure C.S. Lewis talked about the salvation of pagans. But her never, ever sounded remotely like a Universalist, even with his admiration for George MacDonald. Strangely though, these newer Popes sometimes sound like Universalists even as they don't officially affirm it and pay lip service to Tradition. The variance is painfully obvious unless you don't want to see it.

Also, we respect our priests, but we don't explain or spin their advice if they are encouraging our brother to remarry after divorce. Or if they are making a mess of religion and politics. Or confusing everyone on just what our family stands for. Or do we?


Son of Ya'Kov said...

Hart's underlying Protestant warrant undermines this whole criticism.

His complaint and criticisms of Catholics who defend the Pope can be summed up in one word "Perspicuity".

The big Protestant lie is that God's Word is so plain it needs no interpreter to formulate basic doctrine and learn about salvation. Thus it needs no Church yet thousand of Protestant denominations prove that a lie.

If God's word isn't always plain all the time then it is beyond comical to expect the mere flesh and blood Pope is so or must be so when he speaks off the cuff.

The defenses offered on behalf of the Pope's are not refuted by Hart but answered by light ridicule.

I don't buy it.

JM said...

You have no idea what you speak of, given Hart's ardent defense of creeds. Catholics routinely betray ignorance of "Protestantism" by painting it all the same color. It just isn't so.

JM said...

Furthermore, the Pope is supposed to explain God's word. People actually talk where a book can't. What is 'ridiculous' is a rejoinder that conflates the two or falls back on the Pope as an off-the-cuff commentator. If Popes are really just another group of talking heads we really are in trouble, since Protestants are in fact far better speakers!

Pertinacious Papist said...


Why do you think I posted this piece? Because I accept the Protestant conceit of the "perspicuity" of Scripture and wished to recommend it to Catholics? Of course not. Can't a Protestant sometimes, despite his errors, point out a problem in ourselves that he sees more clearly than we do?

If that's impossible, then why discuss at all? If it is possible, then what might the problem be that he sees more clearly than we?