The Holiness of Saints

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by BibleHoarder, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    I've read that the post-Vatican II church has canonized more saints in the last 50 years than they did prior to the 70s. And based on lower standards. The idea that someone like Pius X (who tells us we shouldn't be nice) and someone as ecumenical and soft as John Paul II can both be 'saints', is sort of contradictory. When a modern Christian who lived and accepted the teachings of the supposedly 'pastoral' council of Vatican II as dogma, including the parts which are argued by traditionalists not to be dogmatic at all, their affirmation of its teachings get imputed to them as part of their righteousness after undergoing canonization. Saying it doesn't matter that John Paul II visited and praised witchdoctors in Africa for their devotion and monotheism, and kisses a Koran, because he was just acting out of respect.... By arguing that he was just following his conscience and well meaning, they accept that the repudiation of the dogma against religious liberty in V2 is in fact valid teaching, and that many of the controversial aspects of Vatican II are more than just 'pastoral'. Thing is, what this gives us is that they don't, as saints, need to have a solid stance in their evangelical mission. People can get away with everything saying they're just following their conscience and were well meaning, and then people don't have to have a clear position about the gospel anymore. They might even say that JP2 may have repented of these errors towards the end of his life, but yet, if the majority of someone's public witness and legacy of writing, etc. is filled mostly with heresy and spiritually weak doctrine, then why cite them as an example of holiness? You can't learn from someone who hasn't left behind something to say on these matters.
     
  2. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    Correction: My post should read "I have no reason NOT to believe." The classical Anglican position is that Rome and the Eastern churches remain parts of the true Catholic Church albeit in error so naturally there would be exceptionally sanctified people who do great works. I think some recognition is good (ex. Sts. Edith Stein or Maximalian Kolbe) especially since, unlike Rome, we are not making a case that we know for sure they are in heaven but too much it is simply wanting to recognize Rome as some sort of center. We need to popularize our own saints' days and the pre-schism saints.
     
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  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    My feeling is that Saints are not - or certainly were not always - perfect, and we have many examples of the struggle of many of them to be better than they once were. Augustine of Hippo by contemporary standards would probably not pass muster, and despite all that is wonderful about Confessions it is apparent that Augustine was late to moral perfection. Ignatius of Loyola certainly also had failed in the complete observation of the ten commandments.

    Some years back our Synod debated declaring our founding Bishop as a 'local saint and hero' and whilst the motion was passed there considerable amount of contemporaneous material presented that suggested that perhaps he had a few flaws. A local newspaper from his time regularly referred to him by the epithet the episcopal tyrant.

    We have a habit of assessing holiness as a state of moral perfection, where the truth is holiness to not so much about who we are, but whose we are.

    Contemporary Saints can always be a little problematic, as in a way we know too much about people with the ever intrusive everything. Nonetheless given the rise in the world's population, and the rise in the number of Christians it may well be that there may be a rise in the number of people whose example might be lifted high. People championing the way for God is not simply ancient history but also present reality. More people died for the faith of Christ in the 20th Century than in any century previously.

    Some of my local saints and heroes will never make it to the calendar, however I do not need a Pope or a Council to tell me of the witness to faith they presented, or that they have been true to their baptismal calling to shine as a light in the world to the Glory of God the Father.

    For me personally the Martyrs of Papua New Guinea tell a powerful story of faith and commitment. I also find myself deeply moved by the faith of the Coptic Martyrs on the Beach in Libya just a few years back, and the words of Matthew - Their God is My God.
     
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  4. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I agree Joe, that we can find holy men and women in other Christian churches/traditions, but I would hope that we would not add them to any Anglican calendar of saints. It makes us look silly, in my humble opinion, since we have no formal mechanism to canonize our own, and it also is not necessary. The historic BCP has provision to remember the Apostles, some early saints, King Charles the Martyr, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the major feasts of the Lord. Those should suffice. Commemorating Kolbe, Mother Teresa, Seraphim of Serov, etc., makes little sense.
     
  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia has provided a means whereby people may be recognised as 'local saints and heroes' which essentially requires a resolution of a Diocesan Synod. I hope that we could findspace to recognise those from faith traditions beyond our own, and I suspect a failure on our part to do so seems a bit exclusivist. A couple of years back Mary MacKillop was canonised by the latin church, and she has long been recognised a great and robust lady of great faith and charity. Given how significant that is seen in the Australian context I think it would be the failure to recognise her which would make us look silly, and a bit less than generous.

    Hebrews 12:1-2
    since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.​

    How does the witness of Janai Luwum, Vivian Redlich, and others be remembered if we do not remember them.

     
  6. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Hello Botolph,

    Wasn't Mary MacKillop a Roman Catholic nun? The way you wrote made me think at first that the RCC had canonized an Anglican and that we should therefore reciprocate.

    You wrote "I hope that we could find space to recognize those from faith traditions beyond our own, and I suspect a failure on our part to do so seems a bit exclusivist."

    I understand your position, but it would be no more "exclusivist" than what the RC's or Orthodox do historically. Each Church recognizes it own saints, and this has been the case since the various churches (OO, EO, RC) separated from each other.

    If I were a Roman Catholic I would find it rather odd if the Church of England were to place John Paul II on their calendar. It's not that these things are "wrong" per say; they just seem nonsensical to me. I am an Anglican. I recognize that many Christians from other churches have lived Godly lives, but I don't see a reason to formally commemorate them during an Anglican service.

    Also, it reminds me of how some in the Anglo-Catholic party have gone too far in mimicking Rome, such as adopting her feasts, e.g. Christ the King, created by Rome in 1925, dressing like pre-Vatican II clergy, jettisoning the BCP for a missal, and so forth. Bad enough to move from Anglicanism to being Old Catholics without adding all of their post-Reformation saints to our calendar as well. Just my thoughts on the matter, and not trying to cause offense to anyone.

    As a side-note, I recently visited an "Anglican" Facebook page maintained by a member of one of the America Anglo-Catholic groups, and he had posted a picture and quote from Ignatius of Loyola! Ignatius was a leader in the counter-reformation, and the Jesuits played a major role in infiltrating RC priests into England in an attempt to overthrow the government and restore Roman Catholicism. I do believe that Ignatius was a devout Christian, but really?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
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  7. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Mary MacKillop was a Roman Catholic. I meant no confusion.

    Francis 1 said, as I recall, in relation to the Coptic Martyrs that there were Saints of the Church, they died in the faith of Jesus, which I saw as an important opening of a less endearing exclusivist expression that many of us have come to expect from the latin church. We can be true to our tradition without being mean spirited, and indeed my feeling is that the Elizabethan Settlement calls us to be more open and generous.

    “We have no doctrine of our own. We only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church, enshrined in the Catholic Creeds, and those creeds we hold without addition or diminution.” - Geoffrey Fisher (1887-1972), Archbishop of Canterbury
     
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  8. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Did Mother Teresa really teach universalism? I know the quote where she talks about making people better muslims/buddhists is often taken out of context. From the 1989 Time magazine interview:

    Some complaints have arisen from this because she is saying she loves 'all religions' which would include witchcraft-based ones (which John Paul II praised when he visited voodoo priests in Benin.) Did she mean "followers of all faiths", or did she really mean the religions themselves? You can say Jesus is better than what other faiths offer and still accept that other faiths might lead to God. Vatican II documents seem to imply the church teaches that.
     
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  9. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    Are you familiar with Clark Pinnock? He was a leading voice for the 'inclusivist' argument through the latter half of the 20th century. That's not to say I agree with him, but he painstakingly made the case and should be read if one wishes to understand that line of thought.
     
  10. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    I don't know who he is. What exactly did he say?
     
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Whether a 'Saint' is saintly will pretty much depend on the time they lived in and the degree to which they championed the teachings of Jesus Christ against their contemporaries. In an age when violence was common place and the people were controlled by threats of immolation, beheading, hanging-drawing-quartering etc, one did not need to be a perfect person to qualify as a saint. One just needed to be as incorruptible as Jesus was, by the times he lived in.

    Saints are all very very different from each other, quite unique personalities. The wicked are boringly and monotonously sinners, strikingly similar to one another.
    .
     
  12. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Wicked among "saints" or just wicked people period?
     
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Wicked people are all boringly wicked. Wickedness is boringly, unremittingly, just 'wicked'.

    Righteousness on the other hand can take many forms and righteous people are righteous in many different ways, some refreshingly eccentric.

    Read about the lives of the saints and we see how different they all are from one another. Read a book about sinners and they are all very much alike and the more sinful they get the more boringly like Satan they become.
    .
     
  14. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    His basic premise was that God's mercy is such that he could extend it to those who do not confess a Christian faith. Such a person is still being saved "in Christ" but without being conscious of the fact in this life. His major work in the subject was entitled A Wideness in God's Mercy. He also wrote a number of essays promoting the inclusivist position.
     

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