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More reasons to reject the Reformation: Patristic Scriptural Exegesis December 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Bible, catachesis, Christendom, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Saints, Tradition, Virtue.
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I am totally out of time, but reader skeinster sent me this great link earlier in the week and I have been meaning to get to it.  Do read the below, but also go to Shameless Popery and read the rest, especially the grounds of argument used by the early Church Fathers to form the Canon of Scripture:

Catholic beliefs are often rejected by “Bible-only” Protestants on the grounds that they are “extra-Scriptural Traditions.” This accusation typically misses the mark: on teachings like the priesthood, or the Eucharist, or regenerative baptism, it’s not that the Church is deriving these views from a source other than Scripture. It’s that she sees support for each of these doctrines within Scripture itself.

Protestants might disagree with those Biblical interpretations, but that’s still what we’re dealing with: Biblical interpretations, not doctrines derived from other sources. So even if you were committed to sola Scriptura, you could still arrive at virtually everything that the Church teaches, so long as you read the Bible through the eyes of the early Church.

This reframes the debate in an important way: it’s no longer primarily a question of whether we base doctrines off of Scripture and Tradition or Scripture alone. Rather, the question is primarily about whether we will base doctrines off of your interpretation of Scripture or the interpretation of Scripture held by the early Christians (and indeed, by the Church, and by an unbroken chain of two thousand years’ worth of Christians).

This also exposes a divide within modern Protestantism between two different kinds of “sola Scriptura,” one that many Catholics (and not a few Protestants) are ignorant of. This distinction is sometimes termed “Tradition 0” v. “Tradition 1.” Whereas “Tradition 0” gives no weight to Tradition, “Tradition 1” will side with the traditional interpretation of Scripture much of the time. The Calvinist scholar Alistar McGrath describes “Tradition 0” as a danger result of the Radical Reformation:

During the sixteenth century, the option of totally rejecting tradition was vigorously defended by representatives of the radical Reformation. For radicals such as Thomas Müntzer and Caspar Schwenkfeld, every individual had the right to interpret Scripture as he pleased, subject to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For Sebastian Franck, the Bible “is a book sealed with seven seals which none can open unless he has the key of David, which is the illumination of the Spirit.” The way was thus opened for individualism, with the private judgment of the individual raised above the corporate judgment of the church. Thus the radicals rejected the practice of infant baptism (to which the magisterial Reformation remained committed) as non-scriptural. (There is no explicit reference to the practice in the New Testament.) Similarly, doctrines such as the Trinity and the divinity of Christ were rejected as resting upon inadequate scriptural foundations. What we might therefore term “Tradition 0” rejects tradition, and in effect places the private judgment of the individual or congregation in the present above the corporate traditional judgment of the Christian church concerning the interpretation of Scripture.

So Tradition has no real regard for the early Christians, and its adherents are comfortable trusting in their own modern, individual interpretations, and rejecting all of Christian history, if need be. That this approach is a disaster should be self-evident, given that it almost immediately resulted in prominent Protestants denying the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ. Instead, McGrath argues for “Tradition 1,” the position that he ascribes to Luther, Calvin, and most of the better-known Reformers:

As has been noted, the magisterial Reformation was theologically conservative. It retained most traditional doctrines of the church – such as the divinity of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity – on account of the reformers’ conviction that these traditional interpretations of Scripture were correct. Equally, many traditional practices (such as infant baptism) were retained, on account of the reformers’ belief that they were consistent with Scripture. The magisterial Reformation was painfully aware of the threat of individualism, and attempted to avoid this threat by placing emphasis upon the church’s traditional interpretation of Scripture, where this traditional interpretation was regarded as correct. Doctrinal criticism was directed against those areas in which Catholic theology or practice appeared to have gone far beyond, or to have contradicted, Scripture. As most of these developments took place in the Middle Ages, it is not surprising that the reformers spoke of the period 1200-1500 as an “era of decay” or a “period of corruption” which they had a mission to reform. Equally, it is unsurprising that we find the reformers appealing to the early church fathers as generally reliable interpreters of Scripture.

According to McGrath – and the Reformers – Tradition 1 Protestantism is all about restoring the Church to the faith of the Church Fathers (on at least most issues: they leave the door open to ignore the Church Fathers as suits them, as the bolded parts of McGrath’s description suggest).

It’s to these Protestants that St. Edmund Campion addresses the sixth of his Ten Reasons. Whereas Campion’s fifth reason (which we examined Friday) shows the impossibility of Tradition 0 Protestantism, his sixth reason shows that Tradition 1 Protestantism leads to one of two conclusions: the Catholic Church, or special pleading (that ends up being indistinguishable from the disastrous Tradition 0).

———End Quote———–

Now go to Shameless Popery and read St. Edmund Campion’s rebuttal of these protestant errors.  Just a taste:

There are two reasons that a Tradition 1 Protestant could justify ignoring and contradicting the consensus of the Church Fathers. The first of these is that the Fathers’ beliefs are derived from extra-Scriptural Tradition. Campion begins his argument by establishing that the Church Fathers are deeply devoted to Sacred Scripture, and that, while they’re not “Bible only” Christians, their beliefs are based overwhelming off of Scripture:

If ever any men took to heart and made their special care, as men of our religion have made it and should make it their special care, to observe the rule, Search the Scriptures (John 5:39), the holy Fathers easily come out first and take the palm for the matter of this observance. By their labour and at their expense Bibles have been transcribed and carried among so many nations and tongues: by the perils they have run and the tortures they have endured the Sacred Volumes have been snatched from the flames and devastation spread by enemies: by their labours and vigils they have been explained in every detail. Night and day they drank in Holy Writ, from all pulpits they gave forth Holy Writ, with Holy Writ they enriched immense volumes, with most faithful commentaries they unfolded the sense of Holy Writ, with Holy Writ they seasoned alike their abstinence and their meals, finally, occupied about Holy Writ they arrived at decrepit old age. 

Some quick points to refute protestant errors regarding Scripture December 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Bible, Christendom, disaster, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, sadness, scandals, Society.
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Father Pastor at Mater Dei gave a really good sermon last night on a topic he excels at: apologetics.  He says he used to teach apologetics and it shows.  In a brief sermon, there were several great points made regarding protestant errors in understanding and using Sacred Scripture.  I will list them and expand a bit on each below:

1. A common protestant claim one hears, typically in the South where Catholics are not numerous and where protestant errors have gone unchallenged for centuries, is that Catholics “added” books to the Bible.  That’s a neat rhetorical trick. Actually, the Canon of Scripture accepted by ALL non-protestant Churches (including the Orthodox, Copts, Nestorians, etc) was settled by Pope St. Damasus in ~AD 326 and remained universally unquestioned until 1520, when Martin Luther realized that certain Old Testament books contained truths that obliterated protestant errors and thus had to be excluded.  Casting about for a reason to do so (he also wanted to exclude some New Testament books, like Saint James, but no even remotely valid reason could be found), he settled on using the JEWISH canon of Old Testament Scripture that was developed at a meeting in Egypt after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70. Thus, protestants deleted books from the Bible that had been accepted by all of Christendom for over 1000 years, and under very flimsy pretexts.

2. However, the Jews based their selections on the prime criteria of whether or not they could find a copy in Hebrew for each of the various OT books.  Thus, several were excluded, and the Book of Daniel was butchered with a significant part removed from the Jewish “canon,” because a Hebrew copy could not be found.  Protestants accepted this Jewish canon through and through, including the truncated Book of Daniel – which just happened to include portions which showed the deplorable state into which the Jewish religion and state would sink prior to the arrival of the Messiah.

3.  Interestingly, a copy of Daniel was found in the caves of Qumran after WWII that WAS in Hebrew and was complete.  It matches the Catholic version, derived from the Septuagint.

4.  Revealing of intent:  neither the protestants nor the Jews have updated their copies of Daniel since this finding.  They continue to use the truncated version, by and large.

5. Even more interestingly, all of the direct quotes made by Our Savior Jesus Christ of Scripture are based on the Septuagint version.

6. So we have a situation where protestants chose to quote the Jewish version of the Old Testament, compiled in the period after the destruction of their temple and the Levitic priesthood, when basically an entirely new religion had to be cobbled together.  Catholics (and the other ancient Churches) use the same version of the Old Testament quoted by Our Savior.  The canon of Scripture was compiled by great Saints, whose sanctity proved their inspiration and made their compilation infallible.  The protestant reformers were not saints by any stretch and were men fighting an ideological battle as much oriented towards worldly power and influence as it was towards concern for souls.

7. So which would you choose, a version compiled by Saints, universally accepted for 1200 years and in accord with the Words of Christ, or the version which aligns with rebellious Jews who had rejected the Messiah, seen the destruction of their own religion, and were casting about for ways to reformulate that religion and maintain their positions of influence?

I will state again that it was no coincidence that the books of Scripture Luther most wanted to exclude – Maccabees, James – make plain both the importance of works as efficacious of Grace and the idea of prayers for the dead and the sufferings of Purgatory, both of which were the prime theological concepts Luther was working to undermine and obliterate.  The fact that the Jews at Jamnia had done basically the same thing provided a good pretext to make use of their own deformations of the OT canon.

Volpi’s excuse for FI persecution?: they were trying to “overthrow” Pope Francis December 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, huh?, martyrdom, persecution, religious, scandals, secularism, SOD.
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Zuh?!?  There is a long post at Eponymous Flower from a German source (and I have to say, as much as I appreciate Tancred for posting these German items, the translation in this case is almost impenetrable) regarding the ongoing sufferings of the Franciscans of the Immaculate.  The report indicates that the FI matter has become something of a tug of war between elements of the Italian Episcopal Conference, with those favorably disposed towards the FIs asking increasingly penetrating questions of the apostolic administration put in place by Pope Francis in summer 2013.  Tied in with this matter is that the Italian Conference seems to be rebelling more and more from Francis’ heavy hand – his preferred candidate for the position of Vice President of the Conference, Archbishop Forte, the same prelate that Francis, or someone very close to him, had write the very troubling midterm “Relatio” of the Synod, was just roundly trounced in the voting for that position.  Forte lost 70-30, which is somewhere beyond blowout and well into embarrassment territory.

This struggle has apparently spilled over into the media, and includes the use of proxies.  The German report mentions that there has been an ongoing war of words between an Italian website pretty closely associated with some of the “rebellious” bishops, and another blog which is seen as a mouthpiece for Msgr. Volpi, current overseer of the FIs.  The war of words was also played out in some Italian newspapers with columnists generally seeming to side with the “rebellion,” and against the current administration of the FIs, which appears unjust and even cruel to almost all observers.  More and more searching questions were being asked by various sites, demanding to know why the FIs were receiving such severe treatment, why Volpi found it necessary to approach – some have even implied threats – various bishops at recent Conference meetings, warning them not to incardinate former FI priests, and why the responses they receive make less and less sense.  This process culminated with the following exchange, as reported by the German site Katholisches:

This exacerbates the issues that have already found no satisfactory answer: “Why this harshness up to this day, that  neither the reasons for the provisional administration were explained about this blooming Order in the Summer of 2013, nor a time frame for the provisional government?” [meaning, when would the draconian administration end?]

The official internet site which is controlled by the Commissioner of the Order  offers no help to find answers to the open questions. Helpful on the other hand, is a blog that says of himself, is close to Commissioner Volpi.  The blog describes itself “in accordance with the provisional administration of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate” and published an arid  invective against the article by Matteo Matzuzzi.

In another entry from November 17, however, the anonymous blogger explained why Commissioner Volpi is so “concerned” that no Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate be incardinated in dioceses: “The very purpose of seeking incardination seems clear: it is about the creation of a platform, perhaps off shore, like the Archdiocese of Lipa in the Philippines and a Catholic minority diocese as in England, for the consecrated priests  and former seminarians of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate to newly gather in the hope of a revolution against the current management of the universal Church.

I sure wish the translation were better.  The blog being qouted in the last paragraph is seen as being basically an anonymous mouthpiece for Msgr. Volpi and the rump leadership of the FIs currently in place.  If so, this comment is both bizarre and potentially quite revealing.  There is a great deal of inside baseball in the article which the translation makes it difficult to wrap one’s head around, so take this for what you will, but if there is some thinking that the FIs somehow represented an existential threat to this pontificate on the part of the current oversight team, one must wonder how or why they would think that?  It speaks to a certain ideological rigidity and utter unwillingness to countenance any threat to that ideology -even from a formerly vibrant but still quite small, in the grand scheme of things, religious order – and the use of any means to stamp it out.

But given the translation difficulties with the article and the convoluted path it traces, I tend not to take this too seriously, although it is another datapoint to file away.  More may be revealed that either makes the above clear as just some foolishness from an anonymous blogger (and we all know how foolish they can be), or that shows this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Time will tell.  For now, for those with an appetite for such inside baseball, it’s just one of those little instances of often covert Church politics coming to the surface.