Sunday, October 11, 2009

Puritans are No Fun: "Haykin reviews Beckwith Popery Nonsense."

This was posted some time ago on the Puritan Board by someone who calls himself "SolaGratia," who sports an avatar with a photo of himself with a girl sitting on his lap.


Chuck said...

Dr. Beckwith,

The gentleman gives his name at the bottom of the page, as Gil Garcia, and his church affiliation. It is an active congregation with a current website.

Your wording suggests an anonymous "someone" and the avatar reference has lewd connotations not worthy or your reputation.

On the other hand, I am sure you know exactly who Michael Haykin is. Given your current trajectory and your previous very high profile in "evangelicalism", as well as the intended purpose of your blog, wouldn't it be more in with your scholarly aspirations and influence to use the blog to actually engage with what Dr. Haykin has said?

If you want to carry the flag for Rome, why do you you resent the odd salvo (and Haykin's review is hardly that in any case!).

Moreover, shouldn't Rome be financing your teaching rather than a Baptist University?

Chuck said...

Dr. Beckwith,

It also occurs to me that your characterization of Mr. Garcia, who made no personal comments about either you or your book, when posting an article that has already been online for some time, implies that you don't have much respect for him.

If that is the case, I wonder whether he isn't beneath your notice? And since he provided no content himself to which you can reply, isn't your annoyance more in response to Haykin's review? In which case, why don't you review it?

Chuck said...

Dr. Beckwith,

I must apologize, I am in error. The title, "Popery Nonsense". Hardly neutral.

But show the poor man the error of his ways. Surely he will no longer trouble you!

Francis J. Beckwith said...

Dear Chuck:

If you think that characterizing a person's carefully crafted irenic biographical account of his own spiritual journey as "Beckwith's popery nonsense" is "not a personal comment," then I shudder as to what you consider a "personal comment."

As for Professor Haykin's review, I brought my readers' attention to it in a prior post some time ago:

I was, of course, not referring to Professor Haykin's fair-minded review. Rather, I was referring to Mr. Garcia's bulletin board subject heading.

Perhaps I was being a bit too subtle. But my blog entry was intended to be humorous, playing on the stereotype of the stodgy unfunny, prudish, self-disciplined Puritan and contrasting that with Mr. Garcia, who, with girl on lap, could not summon the internal discipline to restrain from titling Professor Haykin's charitable review with a personal insult.

Relax. Pour yourself a glass of wine, read some Chesteron, and have a good laugh. Puritans do laugh, don't they? :-)


Chuck said...

Thanks Dr. Beckwith,

Perhaps "girl" is his wife? There is nothing about the pic. that warrants you AGAIN returning to it as something unwholesome. You don't jump to conclusions do you?

I agree, as already noted, that "popery nonsense" is not neutral. I confess to not having seen your response to Haykin, but do protest that you ought really to have at least linked to it.

As to humour -- perhaps you need to relax with Mr. Garcia! It is you after all who is carrying the flag for Rome! Can not a son of the Mighty indulge his feeble opponents just a little? It seems you are making this more about you than about Rome. After all, you're put off that poor Mr. Garcia, (who is lewd, ignorant and now without self discipline) cannot understand from your book how terribly sincere you are and how important is your pilgrimmage to humanity.

Dr. Beckwith, it is you who are promoting yourself and the cultural phenomenon of your pilgrimmage. Leave to others the task of declaring your martyrdom.

Chuck said...

Dr. Beckwith,

Hey, I am not a Puritan. I am not a paedobaptist.

There are things I can laugh about. Honouring a man who allows himself to be called Holy Father, a title belonging to Almighty God alone; Vicar Of Christ, who is the Holy Spirit; Head of the Church; who is the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that is not funny.

Your adopted church believes (council of trent) that outsiders are going to hell. Funny you didn't mention that to T. George. How can I laugh and drink wine when Anathema looms?

Francis J. Beckwith said...

I'm not a Puritan either. See, we're much more alike than you think. :-)

Lee H said...

(Lord, help us love one another and be one in spirit if not in theology.)
Anyway, for what it's worth, Chuck, I do not see anywhere that the Council of Trent ever condemned anyone to hell. My understanding is that anathemas were simply a major excommunication performed with a special papal ceremony, and, like all excommunications, their intent was medicinal, not punitive.
(Excommunication means excluded from the Christian community and from taking part in Communion)
The goal was to protect the Christian community from the spread of evil doctrines or behaviors and to prompt the individual to recognize the nature of his actions. While being deprived of the fellowship of the Church is not pleasant, this does not change the fact that the fundamental orientation of excommunications and anathemas is medicinal, not punitive.

(from Catholic Answers website)

Francis J. Beckwith said...

Thanks Lee. One of the most frustrating aspects of having returned to the Church is receiving comments by people like Chuck who think they know what they really don't know. But, alas, I was much like that when I was a Protestant, and carry over to Catholicism much of that ignorance. I have a lot to learn. So much of what I thought I knew I really don't know.

Chuck said...

Dr. Beckwith,

It should frustrate you that you don't seem to understand that you carry a big flag on a tall pole, for the True Shepherd, the one and only head of the one and only True Church, and that some other response that resentment at the ignorant pinheads who trouble your existence with half-witted questions, is merited by your scholarly status.

I put my question to you then, for the third time, since surely you must understand what I clearly don't: Why do you let a Baptist University pay your salary when you worship the Bishop of Rome?

Chuck said...

Hi Lee:

The Council of Trent did publish a number of articles with anathema's attached to violations.

Here's Catholic Enc. describes anathema's:

anathema, or the penalty incurred by

crimes of the gravest order,

and solemnly promulgated by the Pope.

In passing this sentence, the pontiff is vested in amice, stole, and a violet cope, wearing his mitre, and assisted by twelve priests clad in their surplices and holding lighted candles. He takes his seat in front of the altar or in some other suitable place, amid pronounces the formula of anathema which ends with these words: "Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N-- himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him

condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church;

we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment." Whereupon all the assistants respond: "Fiat, fiat, fiat."

Submit mind, spirit, body and soul to Mother Church... or go to hell.

Chuck said...

Lee: More on Trent:


So great has been the calamitousness of these times, and such the inveterate malice of the heretics, that there has been nothing ever so clear in our statement of faith, nothing so surely settled, which they, at the instigation of the enemy of the human race, have not defiled by some sort of error. For which cause

the holy Synod hath made it Its especial care to condemn and anathematize the principal errors of the heretics of our time,

and to deliver and teach the true and Catholic doctrine; even as It has condemned, and anathematized, and decreed.

---The canons and decrees of the sacred
and oecumenical Council of Trent,
Ed. and trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), 232-89.

Chuck said...

Trent on the Mass:

The canons and decrees of the sacred
and oecumenical Council of Trent,
Ed. and trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), 232-89.

Preliminary Remark on the following Canons.

And because that many errors are at this time disseminated and many things are taught and maintained by divers persons, in opposition to this ancient faith, which is based on the sacred Gospel, the traditions of the Apostles, and the doctrine of the holy Fathers; the sacred and holy Synod, after many and grave deliberations maturely had touching these matters, has resolved, with the unanimous consent of all the Fathers, to condemn, and to eliminate from holy Church, by means of the canons subjoined, whatsoever is opposed to this most pure faith and sacred doctrine.


CANON I.--If any one saith, that in the mass a true and proper sacriflce is not offered to God; or, that to be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat; let him be anathema.

Chuck said...

Dr. Beckwith,

I would have further instruction from you on these matters:

"Why were the Reformers Burned" (The question put by J.C. Ryle in his book "Five English Reformers" (Banner of Truth), referencing the reign of Bloody Mary.

Where those five men in error to oppose the Church and incur these punishments?

What is the spiritual condition of your evangelical friends and colleagues, indeed any outside the tender bosom and warm heart of Mother Church with respect to Canon 1 on the "Sacrifice of the Mass"?

Francis J. Beckwith said...

Dear Chuck:

The questions you raise have been answered in a variety of places by those far more skilled on these matter than I am.

The Council of Trent, like most of Catholic theological literature, must be read with the understanding that certain terms are terms of art. For example, "sacrifice of the Mass" is part of the nomenclature of Catholic life since the Didache (of the late 1st century):

EWTN includes a nice set of questions and answers about the Sacrifice of the Mass, which you can find here:

Hope that helps

Lee H said...

Hi Chuck, In all sincerity, it's going to be quite difficult (but not impossible) for you to comprehend the Divine Authority with which the one holy Catholic Church leads its family. I'm sure it's very foreign to you.

But why didn't you complete the beautiful, stirring quote from Cath. Encycl. on anathema--

The promulgation of the anathema with such solemnity is well calculated to strike terror to the criminal and bring him to a state of repentance, especially if the Church adds to it the ceremony of the Maranatha... although he is delivered to Satan and his angels, the Church, in virtue of the Power of the Keys, can receive him once more into the communion of the faithful... The Church, animated by the spirit of God, does not wish the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live.

It's so reminiscent of I Cor. 5:5--"deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

I've been tempted not to read your acidic posts, but you have a right to your opinion, and, happily, I've found that drinking a cup of ginger tea really helps.

Contarini said...


What you omit to mention is that Vatican II clearly taught that people not in full communion with Rome, even those who are materially in violation of the Tridentine decrees and other Catholic teachings, can still be saved. Indeed, this wasn't new--the doctrine of "invincible ignorance" had been officially taught in the 19th century--but Vatican II pushed the door open much wider.

Now you can make a case that Trent and Vatican II are in conflict (or more precisely, Florence and Vatican II) and that this presents a huge problem for Rome's claims of infallibility. But when you simply ignore Vatican II simply because you find Trent more convenient for your polemical agenda, you reveal that you aren't really interested in a serious discussion at all but simply in making cheap (and bogus) shots.

Chuck said...

Hi Contarini,


Contarini, every discussion must have some starting point. In this case, it was Trent, the mass and related anathema. If Vatican ll has relevant material, please give me a citation or two and direct me to the most profitable parts.

Every thought, essay, speech, etc must be delimited in some way Contarini. What cannot fit today's time or space can come later. It's really quite unfair to make a charge of deliberate and therefore dishonest ("cheap", "bogus", ulterior motives etc) simply because I don't mention one, or every single other item you think relevant.

Contarini, you say I'm uninterested in a real discussion on that basis. Instead, provide the relevant material, as I ask above, to actually create a discussion.

AGENDA: Contarini, what do you mean by this? If you mean biased, are we not all? Do we not all have favourite arguments and privileged points of view? You can't publish a scholarly paper without declaring your bias. Do you have no bias at all? If not, then the table is the same height on each side.

Simply, an agenda is an orderly list for attaining an objective. As I said, I started me agenda wih Trent. If you're going to make a case for something, you need a plan. Do you have no agenda?

POLEMICAL: Simply means the proclivity to, or the practice of engaging in controversy, argument or refutation. Is your response polemical, Contarini? Then we are the same.

BOGUS AND CHEAP: What's you're real name anyway?

Chuck said...


As you can see in my response to Contarini, there is no need to cut and past exhaustively here. Just trying to respond by indicating I consulted, and read, a Catholic source on which to base my enquiry. Especially since quite obviously you are very familiar with the material.

ACIDIC: It seems you're well acquainted with the passive-aggressive discourse of victimology.

Explain to me the basis of the Divine Authority which in my "invincible ignorance" (Contarini) I reject. And can you answer the three questions I asked of Dr. Beckwith, regarding the burning of the Reformers under Queen Mary? If this doctrine of invincible ignorance had been promulgated by then, would they have been saved from that particular sentence?

Since it wasn't, why didn't any previous Pope with his mighty, complete and incontrovertible authority, see fit to do so?

Chuck said...

Dr. Beckwith:

Regarding other and more qualified sources: actually I am asking for your opinion. Yes, I want you to verbally commit to a definitive position, in textual, permanent form. I suppose this could be seen as nagging, but you are a Christian philosopher of world wide standing who thinks your own particular pilgrimage to Rome is worthy of a book, a proselytizing platform on the internet, and a high profile public presence including your recent public forum with Timothy George.

Is it too much to ask that you answer questions such as these directly? Indeed you ought perhaps to relish the chance to answer your critics at every opportunity. Do you not consider yourself called "for such a time as this"?

Of course you do!

Why do earn your living from a Baptist University when your allegiance is to the Bishop of Rome?