Friday, June 26, 2009

Open Minded

I've been enjoying alot of discussions with an Evangelical Seminarian friend on my vacation in Kansas. I always told him that my spiritual journey to Catholicism was always totally reluctant and that if I could find a theological defense of Protestantism I'd become Anglican. He said that he can find Church Fathers who taught Sola Fide - which I have yet to see even James White and others do, so I kind of doubt that will happen.

I think it's not mis-loyalty to my Church (Catholic) to be open-minded, after all, that's how I ended up there. One of my friends (Evangelical) is becoming Mormon and we met with some of their missionaries yesterday and my Evangelical Seminarian friend and I both ripped apart their arguments. First I used their "priesthood authority" argument to prove the validity of Apostolic Succession, etc. But they ended up saying that they didn't believe the history that Clement followed Peter, etc. My friend then went from the Sola Scriptura attack of their addition to the revelation of the Old and New Testament. At the end of the day I felt like He and I were certainly of the same (or at least extremely similar faith) compared to these Mormons.

Anyway, as I dialogue with him and been around all my Reformed and Evangelical friends I've been trying to find some kind of loophole that would let me out of Catholicism, but so far all I've come up with are the skeletons of arguments.

My first was an East Orthodox/Trad. Anglican one about the nature of Scripture and Tradition and the example of the Avignon papacy which I've just read about and how the general masses of Priests, Theologians, and Bishops all voted to depose the popes and elect a new one. In which case, this illuminates a more 'collegial union' argument about Church authority (if not a Presbyterian one). Another was the fact that according to the Historian I was reading (Will Durrant) that the theology of the day during the Avignon papacy was that a pope could only be deposed by a general council or if the pope taught "manifest heresy". That belief would show at least a very minimal development of Papal Infallibility doctrine. At most, it would show that the doctrine is completely foreign to the catholic faith, and that only conciliar infallibility would stand (leaving me free to join the Anglican Church).

Donation/Anabaptist attack on the practices of the Church which were corrupt and that the true church is where the spirit of Christ is at work, etc. But that would be the theological and epistemological equivalent to shooting myself in the foot as the church has been and always will be sinful.

Of course if I ever seriously entertained the first argument in favour of Anglicanism I could just use the same argument to deconstruct the Communion of Canterbury which HAS taught "manifest heresy" (ordination of priestesses, etc).

So it looks like I'll be Catholic forever, and that's fine I guess. But being with Evangelicals is always painful because they (like Protestant Converts to Catholicism) are the only ones I know and read who talk about God as if they know and love him personally. I'm glad that their presence and discussion has helped rekindle my personal love for Jesus. If I lose that, then all the theology in the world is helpless to save me.

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