Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sunday Thought: The One and the Rightness

An email from a reader:

Hello there. I'm a reader of Zippy Catholic's blog and I've been slowly trying to incorporate some of the other blogs on Zippy's list. I just read your letter to a priest in which you challenged his homily when he said Jesus could choose evil. I thought it was very interesting and very thorough. What surprised me the most is that a member of the laity would even bother (or even know) something like that. I can't believe after all your writing (not just the letter to the priest but other ones to Catholic newspapers) that you would get no response. You seem like a traditionalist, but at the same time one of the reasons you gave for being Catholic is the "oneness" of the faith. If things continued to deteriorate in the church would you ever consider joining the Society of St. Pius X? The more I learn about the faith the more empty the mass, and its various "innovations" seems to me. I was in shock when I saw liturgical dancers too, but I said nothing. At the same time, I do believe that the sacrifice of the mass is still authentic, that the church is still the Church. But I can't help but resent the almost inevitable direction it's going in. Which makes the Society of St. Pius X an attractive option. But its lack of unity with the One Church really bothers me. If you had to choose between the oneness of the church and the "rightness" (for lack of a better word) which would you choose?

My response:

would you ever consider joining the Society of St. Pius X?

No.

If you had to choose between the oneness of the church and the "rightness" (for lack of a better word) which would you choose?

The Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. These are its infallible marks. There is no "rightness" to be found in detaching any one from the other three.

I suppose a response ought to be as nearly expansive as the question calling it forth, but I'm generally opposed to didacticism. When it's covenient. And what makes it convenient at the moment is that I'm looking forward to making some pizza tonight.

Besides, after years of witnessing debates, including a recent one between Catholics and Orthodox, I've come to the conclusion that there are separated brethren among us because of one thing: that insufferably arrogant and prideful arrogation of power in a single office known as the Supreme Pontiff. Theological objections will be explicated, and historical allusions brought to bear, most complicated, diverse and wondrous to behold in their subtlety and number, but all merely excuses to escape the humiliation of bending a knee to the voice of Christ on earth. Which attitude is itself the manifestation of Pride.

There, that wasn't too didactic.

9 comments:

zippy said...

<perk>Pizza?</perk>

Now why don't you tell us what you really think, Bill? :-)

Anonymous said...

Seeing as though I was the one who wrote that email I figure I should atleast try to squeeze a little more out of it. I should mention that I agree with the response given but I just want to see how you would respond to this: In your response you said the Church is "one, holy, catholic and apostolic. These are its infallible marks." Given this, could not an Orthodox or Protestant Christian simply state that one of the other marks is not met in the Church (ex: holy)? Just a thought. Peace

William Luse said...

It's damn good pizza too, Zippy. You can't buy it in no store. Be glad to make some for you next time you're in Florida.

Anony: Yes, they could, and I would ask in turn by whose authority they make this claim, since they admit no judge who can rule in their favor.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. Just because they reject the Catholic church does not mean that they find the Nicene Council to be illegitimate (well not necessarily illegitimate). Could they not assume that the Catholic church was schismatic? (hopefully I spelled that right). But I sorta see where you're going: You can't reject the authority that made something that you acknowledge as authoritative.

William Luse said...

Could they not assume that the Catholic church was schismatic?

Yes they could. And again I would ask the same question.

You can't reject the authority that made something that you acknowledge as authoritative.

Then you do understand.

Anonymous said...

well from what I understand the Church is bound by the TRUTH...it therefore can't create it, only recognize it. Couldn't a Protestant or Orthodox Christian suggest that they reject the Church because it rejects the truth? Therefore the church is only authoritative insofar as it holds steadfast to the truth. My personal answer would be the "gates of hell" response but I'm interested to hear yours (well read yours haha). Peace

William Luse said...

it therefore can't create it

I don't know how you got this from anything I said.

Couldn't a Protestant or Orthodox Christian suggest that they reject the Church because it rejects the truth?

One more time. Yes, they could. And I will again ask the same question.

Anonymous said...

sorry i should've clarified. I did not get that from anything you said. But it still stands I think. The Church cannot create the truth, it can only recognize the truth and remain steadfast to it, in spite of all the pressures to change. If this weren't true then it would mean that "consensus is the basis for truth" rather than truth being the basis for consensus. Building upon this, that the truth exists independent of the Church (the Church being the protector of truth perhaps)then a Protestant or Orthodox contention of the Catholic Church may have more traction because they could say that the Catholic church isn't adheearing to the truth...of course I don't think that argument holds weight but I'm just trying to clarify my previous comments.

William Luse said...

Building upon this, that the truth exists independent of the Church...

It doesn't. The Church is Christ's body, to whom that truth was entrusted; a body must have a head; the head must have a voice, a single voice, which speaks as Christ's own. Among Protestants and Orthodox, that authority is difficult to locate, such that "consensus as the basis for truth" does indeed play its part. When parties are in contention on a point of doctrine, a vote might tell us something, but it will never settle the matter.