Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fr L on the divinely instituted infallible church
Protestants say that churches are man-made institutions. We have to agree with them. Their churches are man-made. The Catholic Church, however, claims something far more stupendous and wonderful – that she is not a man-made institution. The Catholic Church is not only established on the Rock of Peter by Jesus Christ himself, but it has divine origins in that the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to recognize the Christ. He was also inspired to pick up this role and be the key preacher at Pentecost and the first Prime Minister of the Kingdom of God.

Unfortunately too many Catholics forget the divine origin of the Catholic Church and fall into Protestant speak. So they say of the church’s dogma or moral teachings, “Yeah, well, those are just man-made rules.” Are they? The church does distinguish between matters of church discipline which are man-made rules. These can be dispensed by the proper authority. However, the dogmas of the church and the moral teaching of the church are not man-made, and Catholics don’t really have the liberty to pick and choose which they like.
Something the legions of Bad Catholics understand (right along with the faithful) – they may hate the church but there’s only one church and they don’t waste their time trying to change the church – and the handful of protestantised churchy liberals don’t or lie about.

The Tractarians were all about making the same claim (my guess is they would have thought changing defined doctrine and immemorial practice by synod vote was impossible), based on their claim to apostolic succession (bishops), so understandably their descendants ended up copying the Roman Catholic Church with some seeking unique terms for union with it, which you see now with the ordinariates. Sacramentally not corporate union – impossible without valid orders to be received in – but practically as ‘national parishes with clout’ as I was saying before Anglicanorum cœtibus. Like how the Society of the Atonement friars and sisters and Caldey Abbey came in 100 years ago: individual conversions but kept together in their groups (anglicanorum cœtibus means ‘groups of Anglicans’).

I’d like the ordinariates to be 19th-century Roman Catholicism done in style with the option of doing it in English. What most ‘advanced’ (super-high-church) Anglo-Catholics used to do.

  • Creed. There is a God, Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God, guiding the church.
  • Scripture is part of tradition.
  • Mass (Liturgy).
  • Office (horologion).
  • Pope. And his scope. Long live Benedict.
  • Catechism. (For the Orthodox substitute local custom – hooray for ethnic-granny culture – for a central high command, the Pope-scope difference. The way mediæval Western Catholicism ran too.)

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