Saturday, February 21, 2009

Your Daily Erasmus

"We are dealing with this: would a stable mind depart from the opinion handed down by so many famous men famous for holiness and miracles, depart from the decision of the church, and commit our souls to the faith of someone like you who has sprung up just now with a few followers, although the leading men of your flock do not agree either with you or among themselves -- indeed though you do not even agree with yourself, since in this same Assertion you say one thing in the beginning and something else later on, recanting what you said is not credible that God for so many centuries should have overlooked such a harmful error in his church without revealing to some of his saints the point which you contend is the keystone of the teachings in the gospel ...How, then, are you sure that Wyclif was a holy man and the Arians were heretics? Is Wyclif holy precisely because he was condemned by the church which you call papistical? By the same token you will say that Arius was holy because he was condemned by the same church. At this point if you appeal to Scripture, did the Arians have any lack of Scripture? No, they did not, you will say, but they interpreted it wrongly. But how can we be sure of that except that the church rejected their interpretation and approved that of the other side? The same could be said of Pelagius . . . I think it is safer to follow public authority rather than the opinion of someone or other who scorns everyone and boasts of his own conscience and spirit." - Erasmus of Rotterdam responding to Martin Luther.

I think my favourite Roman Catholics are those like Erasmus and St. Thomas More who constantly attack the Church and try to reform it, but from the inside. The true reformers rather than rebels who wish to change it not out of spite, but out of love for what it could be. That's why I call myself a Roman Catholic and in the next breath decry the vanity of the Vatican, or the unnecessary Platonism of asceticism, etc.

I call the Counter-Reformers and Church Fathers the 'polemicals' of the faith, and I apologize for putting this up, I just thought it was funny how none of our arguments (Protestant or Catholic) has advanced beyond Luther and Erasmus. I'm hoping to read some Karl Rahner, Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, and Hans Urs Von Balthusar, who are much more modern and ecumenical. But I can't find any of their books anywhere, so I'm just going to read Donald Miller and feel less angry. I only posted the Erasmus cuz I found it on Dave Armstrong's blog.


  1. The "vanity" of the Vatican and the "unnecessary Platonism" of asceticism are hardly true, much less are they problems. The real problems are the heterodox who are permeated into every facet of the Church...they are like a cancer that has to be removed, but by painful and dangerous surgery.

    Also, it is funny that you see both vanity and unnecessary asceticism in the Church at the same time...are they not opposites? It shows the diverse callings that all simultaneously exist within the Church: some are called to be simple, poor monks; some are called to be business men or factory workers or the like; some are called to be artists and to create magnificent works of beauty that testify to the world the glory of God and the glory of the faith which he established. There is no contradiction here: just (true) diversity. There is no reason why they cannot or should not exist.

    Do we want a world without beauty? Please...shoot me in the head first. Do we want to be bereft of the prayers and mortifications of poor monks? You won't need to shoot me because we would all come to ruin without their prayers.