Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Musings

A few random thoughts and ponderings to start the week...

I've been making a few changes to the blog... nothing major, but some of the page elements may be moving around or disappearing until I get everything cleaned up. Among other things I am creating some separate pages that are not "blog posts" per se, but rather stand-alone pages that deal with specific topics. The first one is up in rough form, and can be view by clicking the link on the left-hand side of this page titled "The Teachings of the Catholic Church." This page contains a collection of excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church explaining various teachings of the Church in a sort of summarized form. It should provide a good reference point for readers who are unfamiliar with Catholic doctrine. Other pages will serve a similar purpose: giving a quick reference on important topics. Also I've been updating my links and eliminating redundant or obsolete features. At the bottom of this main page you should find a list of recent posts from blogs that I follow. This list will update itself with the most recent post at the top of the list. So even if I have not posted anything new, there will always be new content from other blogs listed at the bottom of the page.

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I often hear Protestants criticize the Catholic Church for having such detailed explanations of particular doctrines and beliefs. They will sometimes appeal to the Orthodox Churches and point out that Eastern Christians often leave much of their doctrine cloaked in mystery. They often do not use specific terms to describe their beliefs, but rather leave it in subtle language and avoid directly addressing the whys and wherefores of a belief.  And so, they may believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, but they shy away from specific terms such as transubstantiation to describe this belief.

Protestants ask, "Why can't the Catholic Church just leave doctrinal details vague the way the East does, so that we can reach a consensus on the essentials of these doctrines without squabbling over precise terminology."

The problem with this argument is that Protestants largely have themselves to blame for the specificity of Catholic doctrinal definitions. It was mostly due to Protestant challenges to Traditional Christian teaching that the Catholic Church found it necessary to clarify doctrine and answer specific Protestant heresies. In the East, the Orthodox Churches did not have the same inter-denominational struggles as we did in the West, and so they did not have the need to define doctrine beyond the vague notion of "mystery."
 
So this argument from Protestants does not stand. Protestants cannot criticize Catholics for an ecumenical problem that they created.

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Sending up prayers for a friend who is close to conversion. - Always be prepared to share the faith!! You never know what your words may accomplish.

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