How can anyone consider Roman Catholicism, post-Vatican II?

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by Spherelink, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    I heard that Greg Griffith of StandFirm has recently converted to the church of Rome. This honestly left me scratching my head. After stating that the Anglican doctrine is "as nearly perfect as I believe man has ever succeeded in achieving," he cites Episcopal faults for his switch.

    As a longtime member of the Episcopal church it's highly puzzling that he's never sought alternate Anglican oversight and threw baby out with the bathwater, but, that's a side point. What's puzzling is that the same exact kind of gnashing over heresies and liberalism is found over in the trad Romanist circles, expressing anguish and despair over Rome, on sites like Cathinfo.com, with threads like this:

    Another thread says this:

    Now help me out here...
    How how can the same church be the source of depression for some, and a cause for hope in others? How can serious Catholics say that without pre-V2 nuns they just "wouldn't be Catholic today", while people who've never had V2 nuns, sign up into the church of Rome?

    To make matters more interesting, Griffith admitted having serious doubts about several Roman doctrines, a fact which which has not prevented him from joining. Perhaps he just doesn't understand what Rome is, and that by its own standard it has apostasized same as the mainline Prots?

    A Rome which looks at a man who rejects some of its doctrines, or views Anglicanism as "the closest system to perfection ever designed by man," and then admits that man, is a very different Rome from anything we have known before.

    So maybe Griffith just doesn't understand what Rome is? These are the only kinds of people who'd consider switching to Rome today.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I agree. I reject the errors of the medieval RCC but at least there was an internal consistency to it. Since V2, its an illogical mess...(ahem, TEC?). Hutton Gibson does a good job of pointing out a lot of the flaws in the novus Catholicism: http://huttongibson.com/books.php
     
  3. Perceval

    Perceval New Member

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    From what I've seen online, the Roman church is very good at giving people ways to connect to the tradition; one site ("Discerning Hearts") has an entire array of widely different podcasts with a Catholic perspective, for instance. There are also many talented authors like G.K. Chesterton who are rooted church, and wanting to connect to their tradition after encountering their work is one possible motive. There's also the fact that there are many more Catholics than any other Christian. Some people also like the authoritarian nature of Catholic doctrine, being told This is Right, This is Wrong. It's a relief to some to not have to constantly work through things, because life is busy.
     
  4. Elizabethan Churchman

    Elizabethan Churchman Active Member

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    The arguments for Roman Catholicism are also inconsistent with being upset with the hierarchy. Many of these traditional Catholics will argue until their blue in the face about how necessary an infallible Pope is for unity, but then turn around and complain about how many unorthodox Roman Catholic Bishops are running around spouting off their heresies, sometimes including the Pope himself. Much of the time, I find myself in agreement with their theological critiques of the Church hierarchy. However, as a Roman Catholic, having such a corrupt hierarchy seems utterly incompatible with their idea of the Church. As a firm Protestant, I can hold a high view of the Church, even ecclesiastical authority and tradition, at the same time as proclaiming how utterly off the rails almost every single bishop in The Episcopal Church and the Church of England are without batting an eyelash.
     
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  5. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Yup. This bothers me. If traditionalists are in crying despair over Rome, how can an Anglican think that going there is a good idea? Is it really just a case of relative comparison? Griffith even says so:

    Can someone tell me how this makes sense?? :hmm:
     
  6. Elizabethan Churchman

    Elizabethan Churchman Active Member

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    Even granting that Rome is relatively better off doctrinally in some ways compared to the Anglican Communion, which is debatable even from the point of a hardline conservative such as myself, the problem is that systemic error in the hierarchy goes against the very foundation of Roman doctrine and apologetics. They will tell us that we cannot use the Scripture as the sole infallible authority because of the multiple possible interpretations and the need for an interpreter to bring unity and discipline, yet the Roman Communion has clearly departed from many of her traditions in recent decades and is wrought by internal dissension. Even if the Anglican Communion had outright heretics occupying 90% of all episcopal sees and making up much of the clergy beyond that, there would not be an inherent contradiction in Anglican Theology. Would it be unacceptable and annoying? Yes. But it would not be a walking contradiction.
     
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  7. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Those were my thoughts exactly. Griffith seemed to say that if a Pope and an Archbishop of Canterbury equally compromised Christian doctrine, then they were off and bad in equal ways. It seems to me that if the Papacy were compromised the whole roman world collapsed practically speaking.

    On the other hand it appeared (I don't know the man) as if Giffith needed emotional comfort than hard truth. He even went into Rome holding grave doubts about its doctrines. When he found a priest who "married him and his wife twenty years earlier" then all doctrine went out the window. I asked for this in passing; why he hadn't considered alternative Anglican oversight if it was the most perfect system he said it was.
     
  8. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

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    The Second Vatican Council was a pastoral one, as Pope St. John XXIII noted at its opening, not one called in response to any heresy or doctrinal dilemma. And so, it is unique in that it defines no new doctrine or expansion on any doctrine. Go ahead and read the documents -- you'll see.

    Second, the feelings of some radical traditionalists (as well as those on the other side of things) have no bearing on the actual meaning or intent of the Council.
     
  9. Elizabethan Churchman

    Elizabethan Churchman Active Member

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    Even this is problematic. OK, so Vatican II doesn't define dogma. What does? I thought the entire point of Roman Catholicism was that the Church, through the Papacy and Councils, is infallible? Apparently, that's only under certain very specific conditions that seem to constantly change. Otherwise, we're free to throw the whole thing out and do the dreaded thinking for ourselves. As far as Vatican II not being in response to heresy, if ever there was a time in the history of the Christian Church for a council to address heresy, it is right now to address the liberal heresies that run rampant in every Western communion there is, and they even infect Eastern Orthodoxy to some degree from what I understand.

    I'm supposed to believe that if I swim the Tiber over to Rome that I won't have to deal with heresy. The Popes and the Church Councils will take care of that for me. However, this promise is illusory at best. From a practical standpoint, Traditional Roman Catholics are in the same boat us Protestants are in when it comes to the rampant spread of liberalism, and there is no reprieve in sight. You have to be just as wary of a liberal parish as I do. So, what's the big advantage? I see few if any, in addition to all that I give up by leaving Protestantism.
     
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  10. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    It seems to me that all western churches have altered their doctrine under the title of being "pastoral." I don't think you'll be persuading me with this one.

    The church of Rome during the last fifty years little resembles itself from 100 years ago. Take for instance the guy in the OP, who swam the Tiber. He believes Anglicanism is a perfect system. He finds much in Rome that he openly disagrees with. Yet Rome not only took him in but in his detailed account he didn't mention penance or a single disciplinary action. They took him just as he was, with grave doubts about Roman doctrines, and with higher admiration for another system of theology than Rome's. Are you telling me this is the church of the Nineteenth Century Popes?

    Also are you telling me that a church can continuously for 50 years teach what by its own standard is a false doctrine and heresy, as rome has done, and still claim that it changed nothing?
     
  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    So I took your advice and went to the Vatican ii documents to see how distinct Vatican II was from all other councils prior. The first paragraph of the first document posted on the Vatican's website (Dei Verbum) states as follows: " Therefore, following in the footsteps of the Council of Trent and of the First Vatican Council, this present council wishes to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on, so that by hearing the message of salvation the whole world may believe, by believing it may hope, and by hoping it may love."

    Clearly the author of this document equates Vatican ii as a doctrinal council on the same level with, and following in the line of Trent.

    Nope. That just doesn't jive.
     
  12. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

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    - @Elizabethan Churchman

    What heresy (according to Catholicism) is prominent and hasn't been yet addressed by the Church? All of the modern ones have been addressed: women's ordination, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, contraception, in Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae, same-sex marriage, in multiple CDF documents, etc. Modernism, in general, was too addressed by several popes, most notably Pope St. Pius X.

    - @Spherelink

    Elaborate on one "altered" (in the sense of a substantial change, rather than rephrasing or representing) doctrine.

    - @Lowly Layman

    "Set forth" can mean multiple things. I love Dei Verbum, and I have noticed nothing in it that contradicts historical doctrine. Read John XXIII's opening remarks, notice addendums to documents, etc. Pay close attention.
     
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I guess it depends on what your definition of "is" is...weasels of the world unite.

    Do tell Matthew, are his opening remarks authoritative? are the addendums? it seems rather dishonest to unwrite by remarks and footnotes what the body of the text clearly means to write. how am I to know what is authoritative or not? I thought clarity was the goal of a council, not obfuscation.

    I think I'll stick with the Anglican understanding of a council's authority: " XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture."
     
  14. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    These examples are legion.

    Like when they believed that usury was a mortal sin and outsourced commerce to non-Christians, and now (Vatican Bank) practice usury themselves.
    Like when they believed that Protestants are necessarily damned, and now that they aren't necessarily. Your own words:

    "Technically speaking, it is even possible for a Protestant to be in full communion (and all Protestants are in at least partial communion, on account of their baptism)"

    That is sheer heresy for a 16th century Pope. You guys have been changing doctrine for hundreds of years.


    Feisty
     
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  15. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

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    - @Spherelink

    Citation? Usury is the charging of unreasonable interest on loans, "unreasonable" meaning beyond what is needed to keep a business afloat and pay employees. I very much doubt that you can prove usury there.

    I know what you're referring to (I have a specific St. Teresa of Avila quote in mind), but you need to keep it in context. At the time of the Renaissance (when almost all, if not all, of that was said), society had many vestiges of Catholicism, and so to be Protestant in those days was usually to actively choose it over the Church. Of course, true ignorance can save Protestants, but in those days, that wasn't entirely feasible for a solid plurality (perhaps even a majority). Doctrine was fresh in society's mind.
     
  16. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

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    - @Lowly Layman

    I'd agree that some parts of the documents are vague. I don't defend that. But vagueness does not constitute apostasy or heresy.
     
  17. Elizabethan Churchman

    Elizabethan Churchman Active Member

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    That's not usury according to traditional Roman Catholic dogma (something I agree with on this issue, actually). Usury in Roman Catholic dogma is basically an interest loan without collateral. With collateral, the lender can only take the collateral and can't do anything more, so things like a mortgage is acceptable under traditional Catholic dogma. However, Credit Cards are a form of usury, even if the rate was very reasonable. Whether the Vatican Bank practices this, I do not know personally. Whether they do or do not, they clearly have not been at the forefront of combating the cheap credit available with no collateral in the modern world.
     
  18. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Why was most banking and commerce outsourced to the Muslims and Jews in the Middle Ages?


    Usury is charging of interest on loans.
    http://www.amazon.com/Usury-Christendom-The-Mortal-that/dp/0970378491
     
  19. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

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    - @Spherelink

    Because of the definition that I provided. Saints made clear that *unreasonable interest* was incompatible with Christianity. And this, of course, is why the stereotype about "rich Jews" exists.

    "They were allowed to demand a percentage on loans sufficient to defray the expenses of management, but no more than this." - Ludwig von Pastor, History of the Popes, Vol. 5, p. 112
     
  20. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    A catholic article:
    Catholics and “Usury”: A Tragic History

    "lending at interest... It was condemned from the earliest years of the faith, but this condemnation ended in the 16th century, liberalized in law by the 18th century, and is today not even an issue."
     

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