Saturday, November 02, 2019

A summary of the faith

"God so loved the world..."

A thumbnail of the full Christian faith, the Catholic faith: God, Christ, Trinity, hypostatic union (Christ, true God and true man), Mother of God, communion of saints, intermediate state for some of the dead, infallible church, bishops, Mass, and the right, not a requirement, to use images in worship (all can, some should, none must).

The flashpoint of all orthodoxy vs. all sin is where God and his creation in the flesh meet: the fallen angels vs. humanity, who Jesus is, the Eucharist, and sex. Iconoclasm falls under this. (It's related to who Jesus is. You don't have to use images but can't condemn them.)

With only the Vincentian canon or the first seven church councils you pretty much get Catholicism. How about that?

Liberals admit that early on you end up with it, but say it was a human process, not an infallible church.

Every ancient church, even the heretics, thought only they were the true Catholics.

Today, according to Catholicism, you have what I call the great Catholic family of valid orders, of real bishops and real Masses, our corrected branch theory. Valid orders: basic credal orthodoxy (the Nestorians pass!), unbroken apostolic succession, and unbroken true teaching about the Eucharist (sorry, Anglicans; Reformed doesn't pass - we take your framers at their word).

That leaves you with these contenders: Rome, the biggest communion, Catholic splinters such as the Old Catholics and their American offshoot, the Polish National Catholics, and all the separated Eastern churches (not "the Eastern Church": there's more than one and they long didn't recognize each other): the Orthodox (the second biggest communion), the Monophysites/Miaphysites, and the Assyrians/Nestorians.

Let's clarify the thumbnail by adding some negatives: no adulterous second marriages (without annulments) and no contraception. Related to sex, part of the flashpoint of all rebellion against God.

Who's been faithful to this?

Who's not limited to one rite or set of cultures?

Who has fulfilled Jesus' Great Commission to teach all nations?

"On this rock I will build my church." Not the man (he can be a private heretic or unbeliever); the Pope's office as part of the episcopate and part of the church's infallibility, explaining our teachings.


  1. Yes bergolio is doing a superb job in transmitting the Faith once delivered.

    1. We don't have to pretend he is. His office, not the man, is part of the church's teaching authority.

  2. “no adulterous second marriages (without annulments)”
    An annulment (declaration of nullity) is not infallible. It is a legal verdict that only carries moral (not absolute) certitude. I don’t like the use of the term “annulment” – it sounds like the Church can dissolve a real marriage (it can’t.).

  3. I agree with the aforementioned response re:annulments. I don't trust them. A legal process not a theological one. After-the-fact testimonies that I doubt would stand up to the rules of evidence in a secular court. At best only a small set of circumstances would lend themselves to a correctly delivered decree of ecclesiastical nullity. I am referring to cases of the exterior forum i.e., John marries Mary but later on finds out that John and Mary are biological siblings or half-siblings. Or perhaps John marries Mary but Mary is really Jane [multiple personality disorder(s)]. The Orthodox may be wrong in their pastoral treatment of failed marriages but I hesitate to criticize them if only because Catholics are in no position re: the Church's pastoral treatment of failed marriages to boast.

    1. The Orthodox are wrong in principle (they haven't elevated it to defined doctrine so arguably they're off the hook but need to clean up their act) and Catholicism is not.

      "Sometimes adultery is okay for pastoral reasons," as Orthodoxy's great minds teach, is crappy theology.

      Sure, people, mostly Americans, are bilking the annulment process, but the church's teaching on annulments is sound.


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