An award winning and Cambridge-reared scholar in Patristics and Early Christianity, Dr. Allen Brent M.A., D.D., who is former Professor in Early Christian History and Iconography at the University of London, King’s College, and who is currently Professor at the Patristics Institute of the Lateran University (Augustinianum) , has made his way into the Catholic Church. He was simultaneously ordained to the Catholic priesthood at Norwhich Cathedral as part of the Anglican Ordinariate. Continue reading →
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.
Many contemporary readers on things Catholic, Anglican, and even Eastern Orthodox are at least familiar with the name John Henry Cardinal Newman, the 19th century Anglican who converted to Catholicism, if not with his whole story. Well, another Anglican who came after Blessed Newman’s time is Frederick Joseph Kinsman, a Bishop of the American Episcopal Church and Oxford trained Professor of Ecclesiastical History who converted to Catholicism in 1919 after resigning from his Bishopric in Delaware. While Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua is his very scholarly review of his defenses for his journey to Catholicism, Kinsman’s Salve Mater is less scholarly and much more practical. Like Newman, He taught and lectured in many places, though his specialty was History and not Theology. What I find more practical about Kinsman is that, unlike Newman, he engaged with the Greek and Russian Orthodox Apologetic, which makes for something a tad more relevant to our contemporary times wherein we are beginning to see many traditional Catholics make an exodus to Eastern Orthodoxy in light of the current situation. Now, I don’t happen to agree with every point Kinsman brings up contra-Orthodoxy, but overall he summarizes the primary reason I chose to remain Catholic and not go Orthodox, namely, that the Papal office is as essential to the Church as the Bishop’s office, and thus we cannot have the Church at x-point in history with the Papacy and then y-point in history without the Papacy. Many Orthodox today are willing to concede a great amount of recognition of Rome’s authoritative primacy in the 1st millennium, though relegate its institution to more ecclesiastical institution, and thus leaving it to an institution even less divine than the office of Deacon. In other words, the Church can do with it or without it. Others, of course, not as plentiful, have stated that the current Patriarch of Constantinople assumes the same position of the Pope in the 1st millennium, and so attempt to say that the Orthodox have never really dumped the universal Primate from its constitutions, for reasons, at times, which run along the lines of synodality being non-existent without primacy. As faithful to history as this all may or may not be, the fact that there is a variety of divergent voices in Orthodoxy on the matter is already an indication which makes Kinsman’s apologetic contra-Orthodoxy just as relevant as it was to him in the early 1900’s. Ultimately, if the Papal office, being the office of St. Peter, is a creation of Jesus Christ, then the earthly Church has no rights to remove it from the visible constitution of the Church without axing off something essential to itself. Below, I have taken the time to type out large sections from Kinsman’s Salve Mater which deals with his reasons for going to Rome and not Constantinople. For those who wish to read more, I recommend getting the whole book, which can be read online for free here , or the physical book can be purchased at relatively low costs via AbeBooks. Continue reading →