Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Ecclesiology From Your Favourite Ignorant Papist

I openly admit I am no expert on ecclesiology, but as a layman, I read Pelikan, Cardinal Newman, and J.N.D. Kelly as well as Traditional Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox Christians. From such reading I've seen that the Church must be a visible hierarchical Episcopate with valid apostolic succession. No doctrine, no issue, can violate this. It seems that it is an inviolable tradition of the Church and only leaves the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church as the two possible options for those who would adhere to traditional ecclesiology (I exclude the European Lutheran Churches and the Anglican Communion from the list, who ordain women and thus destroy their succession).

I've chosen the Roman Catholic Church for many reasons, and the local Eastern Orthodox Churches have saved me the trouble of investigation by declining membership to those not fluent in a Slavic language (I don't remember that in the bible or the fathers).

If of course you accept Scripture Alone as authoritative, this is a different matter. But for anyone who accepts the binding authority of apostolic tradition on the conscience of a Christian, the idea that the Church can exist visibly outside the historic episcopate in a normative sense is wrong.

As a member of the Roman Church, I enjoyed this:

"not only did the church decide which books belonged in the catholic canon of Scripture; it was also the attestation of "the holy see of Rome" that provided credentials for the church fathers..." - Jaroslav Pelikan "The Christian Tradition" Vol. 3, pg. 48

"So fundamental was the unity of the catholic church to Christian faith and life that apart from its fellowship all faith was vain and all good works devoid of reward; only within "the unity of the catholic church and the concord of the Christian religion" could either faith or works have any value. Those who set themselves against this unity not only in questions of dogma but also in matters of church discipline and practice, were without excuse, even if they claimed to adhere to the authority of the Old and New Testament and to that of the trinitarian dogma of the church" - Jaroslav Pelikan "The Christian Tradition" Vol.3 Pg. 45 "The City of God"

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