Saturday, April 11, 2009


"Islam" is an interesting term, it means in arabic, submission. Submission to God. I read a play once called "A Man For All Seasons" by Robert Bolt which had a similar theme. It was about St. Thomas More, a man who acted to the direction of his conscience and convictions, a man who had criticized and questioned the Latin Church in a great deal of ways, but in the end, gave his life in submission to it's supreme authority to every other church. Ironically the church that killed him (Anglican) even canonize him as a hero today.

I have a great many problems with Catholicism still in my mind (Infant Baptism still gives me a jolt of horror from my Anabaptist upbringing, the Sacrifice of the Mass is still foreign, and the dogma of Purgatory is a labarynthine minefield), but today - the day of my confirmation - is about (in my opinion) submission to the Church.

"I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God" are the only thing I really say in the ceremony. (they've removed the abjuration of former heresy). And I find myself comforted by a beautiful phrase from Sacred Scripture "I do believe, Lord help me in my unbelief". That to me is what faith is, an affirmation of all that God says is true, whether we understand it, or not. It is the desire of the heart, and the decision of the will.

Why on earth am I entering the Church of Rome? Well as horrifying as it is, I truly believe "Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by God through Jesus Christ, would refuse to enter her or to remain in her could not be saved" - Lumen Gentium. Those are terribly strong words, echoing from the patristic (and even Reformation - see Luther on this issue) teaching "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" - outside the church there is no salvation. Now there are hermeneutical gymnastics I could pull, invincible ignorance, etc, and what does "knowing" mean here, etc, but at the end of the day, for me, Andrew Cottrill, I feel obliged to submit to it.

But above Vatican II and plays by British Humanists I hold another source, the Word of God itself:

" Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah." - Matthew 16:13-20

This I hold even as a Catholic, seems like a bad move on Christs part, but God doesnt listen to me so whatever.

Before you even start typing about petros and petra, read Scott Hahns definative defense of the Catholic position here first, it answers every objection and he even cites Evangelical scholars who are now agreeing with us (only on this one interpretation, and they dont take it to the extent we do) , here it is

And I close with the words of J.N.D. Kelly, a Reformed Anglican Church Historian who writes:

"The Papacy is the oldest of all Western institutions with an unbroken existence of almost 2000 years." - J.N.D. Kelly, Oxford Dictionary of the Popes

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