Monday, October 28, 2013

Five doctrinal issues that divide Catholics and Protestants

In my second installment for the week of Reformation Day are links to five articles I published over at The Catholic Thing. Each deals with a doctrinal

[caption id="attachment_3046" align="alignleft" width="300"] Yours truly in St. Peter's Square holding a copy of his book, Return to Rome: Confessions of An Evangelical Catholic[/caption]

issue over which Catholics and Protestants disagree:

Over the next couple of days leading up to October 31 (Reformation Day), I will also post links to articles about how we can learn from each other, including something about the perils of intra-Christian apologetics.





Chris said...

FWIW, one of the central consequences of the 1999 JDDJ was that we (Catholics) no longer view the Lutheran understanding of justification as church-dividing. Hence, there are at least *some* Protestants with whom we have no significant disagreement on justification.

Basil Damukaitis said...

I find it fascinating that Catholics and Jews have far more in common than Protestants and Catholics. Both have a very strong sense of sacrifice, and are culturally very close.

rsf3612 said...

Couldn't disagree more. Protestants are our brothers in Christ. Jews are not.

Basil Damukaitis said...

My dear friend, I'm sorry I don't think that quite does it. Most Protestants have such a profound misunderstanding or disagreement about the nature of Christ himself, and/or what Christ came to establish and/or what Christ intended to say or do, it doesn't make us close at all and I really wonder, if they are even Christians. Yes, some of these things unite us, Jesus saves, but how?? It is hard to even call many "Christians" brothers in Christ because they see him and the nature of the Church so vastly different there is in fact very little that unites us. When you look at the nature of traditional forms Judaism, we operate from the same set of values, a common sense of "berakah" or what "memory" means something denied entirely by most Protestants (and thus a partial denial of the nature of the missiology Christ established). Also, there is even a common sense of sacrifice that binds Jews and Catholics (traditional Christians). Jews put Catholics to shame in the fasting and abstinence laws. Protestants don't have this at all. Funny that many Protestants are now fasting etc, but they really don't have a theology to back it up, after all Jesus paid for our sins so there's no need type attitude. Even Jews and Catholics have a common understanding of marriage and family and the value of chastity. So while I understand what you are saying and I wish it were true, when you dig deeper, "brothers in Christ" really doesn't mean much when you have profound divergences on the nature, mission, and praxis of Our Blessed Lord.

Second Breakfast said...

Comments like these are what turn many seeking Protestants off to Catholicism. First, it seems that you deeply misunderstand what it is that Protestants do believe about the mission and praxis of Christ. Second, you disregard that there are a large number of protestants, particularly Lutherans and orthodox Anglicans, that do agree in many more areas.

That aside, you disagree with the teaching of the Church when you say that those baptized in the name of the Trinity are further away from you than those who reject the Divinity of Christ. It's just weird.

Basil Damukaitis said...

Whether one is turned off or not is not my business, this is a theological discussion (at least I presumed) and so how people "feel" is not my primary concern here, this is not a pastoral situation.

I agree it is weird that Catholics and Jews would seem closer together than our brother and sister Protestants who have been sacramentally conformed to Christ in baptism, but in many ways it's true as I pointed out. Catholics and Jews have a particular closeness because we share a common understanding of memory. You must understand the centrality of this to Catholic Theology, particularly liturgical theology. This understanding is most central to the Mass. To not just remember, but commemorate, as it is actually happening again (and is, in the case of the Eucharistic liturgy). This is an idea rejected by the Protestant reformers, outright, no questions asked (save Henry VIII who's primary sin simply seems to be buggery).

Now, that plays in to the centrality of the mission of Christ, not entirely, but enough to make a difference. I am very well versed in what the different Protestant ecclesial communions believe. I would ask however, is there such a thing as an "orthodox Anglican?" Most Episcopalians I know, that includes several priests and some bishops believe themselves to be Protestants and when pressed, I can't even get the same answer on a simple theological question. They don't even agree on the 39 Articles. I would add that the only substantial theological discussion I've had with a Protestant is the Missouri Synod. We did it at their seminary in St. Louis over scotch and cigars (the only proper way to have a theological discussion in my opinion!). We disagreed vehemently, but there was no waffling about what they, as Lutherans, believed! It was refreshing, it was also refreshing to meet a Christian with convictions other than the "God is love" claptrap, which really means, "God loves you so do whatever the hell you want, God won't stop loving you!"

I would also add that we understand our theology of Mary, the Mother of God via the Jewish tradition, which if this is true in the Protestant world, I don't see any evidence of it. In the Old Testament, the mother of the king was revered and honored, practically worshipped, so by Divine Design, this is how God chose to reveal himself and establish the way of life we know as "The Church".

Thanks for your response, I look forward to hearing from you!