We’ve learned the wrong lesson from Donatism!

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I remember when I reverted into Catholicism in 2013, I was keen to point out so many of the moral problems that were going on in the Church, whether on a parish level or something higher than that. And the Apologists of the world at the time would respond to me saying something to this effect: “Oh, pffft. That’s Donatism, bro! Your grinding your gears by returning us to the 3rd and 4th centuries when the Catholic Church has already solved that problem! Its no worries, man!”

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The Catholic Church as New Jerusalem: Wicked Rulers Then, Unworthy Vicars Now

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Medieval depiction of the Celestial Jerusalem , Apocalypse

Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Gary A. Anderson, has written a wonderful and timely article over at Church Life Journal entitled “The Roman Church as Casta Meretrix“. Taking from Hans Urs Von Balthasar’s essay “Casta Meretrix”, which means Chaste Whore, Dr. Anderson points out that the infestation of sin and wickedness in the Church far precedes not only Martin Luther during the 15th-century, but also the early Patristic era of the Church so far back as the Holy Scriptures in its Old Testament history. One need only to study the characters of those who are included in the physical Patriarchate of the Lord Jesus Christ, such as the the Kings of Israel beginning with David unto the Babylonian Captivity. Dr. Anderson carefully shows that God’s plan for redemptive history often involves using the instrumentality of wicked men, a clear sign that God is not acting to save the world according to her merits. In fact, it is rather the divine oaths given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David that sustains Israel as the bearer of divine revelation and the true oracles of God Most High.  One citation used in the article comes from New Testament scholar Dr. Raymond Brown, who makes the following observation when studying the wicked Kings which lie in the geneology of the Lord Jesus:
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St. Bede the Venerable Historian (672-735): Universal Papal Primacy of the Roman See

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St. Bede the Venerable (672-735), who is declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo III (1899), and venerated in a Feast for the Catholic Church on May 25 and for the Eastern Orthodox on May 27, speaks to the universal primacy of the Pope of Rome. Notice in the first citation, Bede recognizes the invisible principle of unity, the Holy Spirit, but then admits its co-operation with the visible principle of unity, i.e. the Pope. In the second citation, Bede records the decease of Pope St. Gregory the Great, and notes that he held “pontifcial power” over all the churches of the world, not least England or the West.

Following the example of the blessed ever-Virgin Mary, who was married and at the same time unstained, the Church conceives us as a Virgin by the working of the Holy Spirit; she gives birth to us as a Virgin without birth pangs; and as a woman married to one person but impregnated by another, throughout her individual parts that make her one and catholic, she remain visibly united to the legitimate [Roman] Pontiff set over her, but she increases in number by the invisible power of the Holy Spirit” (In Lucam; PL 92, 330B)

At this time, that is, in the year of our Lord the blessed Pope Gregory, after having most gloriously governed the Roman Apostolic see thirteen years, six months, and ten days, died, and was translated to an eternal abode in the kingdom of Heaven. Of whom, seeing that by his zeal he converted our nation, the English, from the power of Satan to the faith of Christ, it behooves us to discourse more at large in our Ecclesiastical History, for we may rightly, nay, we must, call him our apostle; because, as soon as he began to wield the pontifical power over all the world, and was placed over the Churches long before converted [which were] to the true faith, he made our nation, till then enslaved to idols, the Church of Christ, so that concerning him we may use those words of the Apostle; “if he be not an apostle to others, yet doubtless he is to us; for the seal of his apostleship are we in the Lord.” (Ecclesiastical History, Book II, Ch. 1)

As for “over all the world” – We know it doesn’t mean “over all the Western world” because of the same wording of “all the world” in other places which include Egypt and Greece (Book 1, Ch. XXV)

Dissecting the “New Paradigm” of Pope Francis

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Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal Schonborn as they leave the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 5, 2015 (CNS/Paul Haring)

 

Dr. Eduardo Echeverria, Professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, in his recent article entitled “History, unchanging Truth, and Vatican II” at the Catholic World Report, takes on a difficult task  in attempting to relate together the absolute truth of Christian revelation and its transmission through the medium of changeable and historically-conditioned human expressions (i.e. doctrinal formulations within a certain social and historical context). Dr. Ed puts his finger on the right target by situating the veracity of the 2nd Vatican Council, at least partly, on whether we can maintain the enduring validity of the doctrinal content of the Church’s past doctrinal formulations while at the same time acknowledging the changeability in their contextualized framing.

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The Unwanted Case For Universalism: How Amoris Laetitia can be used to presuppose universal Eucharistic worthiness

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A particular friend in one of my threads, as he is wont to do, upbraided me for my critical commentaries on the “developments” which have taken place in moral and dogmatic theology in the last many decades (though, if you inquire enough, I go further back than that, even pre-Tridentine). He insisted that no violation of dogmatic theology has been committed since the 2nd-Vatican Council, and, more pointedly, the current Pope has only remained faithful to the depositum fidei as handed from the Apostles and onward in their successors. I actually happen to agree with him (at least, in sum, if not in particulars), but that doesn’t mitigate me from anything I’ve said or written prior to. Below is my response to him, particularly with regard to how explicit change in dogma has not been the weapon of today’s attack on Christian revelation. Catholics need to recognize that they are spinning their wheels, grinding their gears, and labor needlessly in a continuous hamster wheel if they think that explicit and objective violation of dogmatic teaching is what threatens the Church today. We need an accurate assessment of the actual problem on the same intellectual terms of those who foster this “paradigm shift”, with its illegal appeal to Newman’s essay on the Development of Doctrine (see my article here on Cardinal Cupich’s appeal to Newman in a lecture to bolster his theory of “paradigm shift”)  Otherwise, we are going to only affirm the proponents-of-change since we prove incompetent on understanding their positions, and we will be left to launching bombs at a straw-city. Below is my whack at what may describe the precise sphere of degradation in orthodoxy which not only has pervaded the scene of the Church for many years now, but will continue to garner strength and development in the coming years, which is also my response to said friend.

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Where Did All The Nice Come From?

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St. Nicholas of Myra slapping Arius – (legend) of the Council of Nicaea 325

As I am working through the many preserved writings of the ancient and early Church on various theological and disciplinary disputes, such as the back-and-forth on the Nestorian controversy, the Monophysite controversy, or even the early dispute over which date to celebrate Pascha, I could not help but to be struck, from watching this brief interview of Bishop Robert Barron, by the stark difference in language from these ancient Saints and Doctors and the modern intellectuals of the Church when it comes to diversity in the Church. The men of old had strong, vivid, and what seems overly-presumptuous language which calls others out to stand condemned. Today, we are more worried about not stepping on anyone’s toes.

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The Correspondence between St. John Chrysostom and St. Innocent I – Does It Show A Denial of Roman Primacy (A Response to Geoffrey D Dunn)

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Geoffrey D Dunn, professor of History at the University of Pretoria specializing in Patristics and Ancient Languages/Cultures, wrote a small essay on the subject of the correspondence between St. John Chrysostom and Pope St. Innocent I (see below link). The background is John’s deposition by the Synod of Oaks which was chiefly influenced by a certain Theophilus of Alexandria. Besides noting how John wrote letters of appeal to Aquileia, Milan, as well as Rome, insinuating that John had no concept of Roman primacy, he concludes his essay with the following:

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