I was listening to a Sufjan Stevens song today and he mentioned the Substitutionary Atonement, the great dogma of Western Christianity. But I realized today that the doctrine of Penal Substitution - the central key to my lifelong faith - is not compatible with Catholicism... I think this is pretty stupid, as John Calvin pretty much just does a better job than Anselm at explaining the Atonement. I always saw Penal Substitution merely as a further improvement or development of Aquinas, which was a development of Anselm which was a development of Augustine and Athanasius.
I read Isaiah 53 today and Romans 5. There can be nothing clearer than the fact that Christ died in our place, was punished for our sins. St. Anselm just based his theory on some Regal understanding of God's kingship and the need for honour. But this is obviously outdated. Ugh and I found this page that made me feel sick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Reparation_to_Jesus_Christ ... "Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ" - I've not heard such a blasphemous title in my life. How on earth could any human pay Christ for anything. Penance is a legal fiction.
Yep... well maybe I should just stop reading my bible, as even when doctrines are clearly outlined I'm not allowed to believe them unless someone said something about it in the 3rd or 4th century affirming them.. . stupid church fathers.... gah. I hate my religion. (but of course sola scriptura makes no sense, and protestant ecclesiology is untraditional and bankrupt, and the Orthodox are racist shut ins). I'm also obligated to believe that Christ established the Church, but on days like today I really wish he established a better Church, because his is annoying me.
On a better note I talked with the Monsignor today and he said that Baptist baptisms are valid. So that's cool, because I wouldn't have wanted to affront God's honour by using the wrong water or words or intent.
So in the end the substitutionary atonement makes sense to me and was a pillar in my faith but at the same time I understand Catholic attacks on it:
1. Giving pardon does not square with taking satisfaction;
2. There is nothing that conforms with justice about punishing the innocent and letting the guilty go free;
3. The temporary death of one is not a substitute for the eternal death of many;
4. Perfect substitutionary satisfaction would confer on its beneficiaries an unlimited permission to sin.
So I guess number 3 kinda proves it, but at the same time as i will say that I will stick with what the Church teaches and try to figure out Anselm's formulation, I just feel rather attached to Penal Substitution. It makes so much sense, and it makes me happier, just like sola fide and Lutheran anti-nomianism...
I prophesy that one day I will become an Anglican and indulge myself in all these wonderful biblical heresies and finally be at peace.
this is just me venting, don't bother taking anything too seriously written above.