Category Archives: Catholic

Faith: personal but not individual

Faith is a personal act – the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone.

You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. the believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbour impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 166.

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Filed under Catholic, Theology

The convert and Private Judgement

I have been puzzeled by this question for sometime:

  1. Can the convert to Catholicism ever escape the accusation of hyper-Protestantism?
  2. Is not the conversion process an elevation of Private Judgement in relation to the Church?

If someone has an answer (simple so I may comprehend) I would be most interested.

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Filed under Catholic, Personal, Philosophical Theology

The “I” and “we” discussion

Here is something I found in the Code of Canon Law in relation to the I/We discussion:

212 §3 [The Christian faithful] have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.

I will the practical workings-out of the above for someone else to explain!

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The Real Presence, the Bible, and Justification

James Hasting made a comment on the post Why are you not Catholic? that pricked my interest. He summarized his reason for, in his case, leaving the Catholic Church thus:

I left the Roman Catholic denomination because I did not believe in the definition of Communion.

I will not argue about how that decision was reached and the role of some negative experience in the process. My issue is one that is a common issue of dispute between Evangelicals and Catholics. I assume (and I am happy to be corrected) that the definition of Communion means the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic species. In short, as I understand the argument, the Real Presence is considered to be unbiblical by Evangelicals and Bible Believing Christians.

So I have a question: what part of This is my body is unbiblical? Let’s side step the question of the Ascension of Our Lord, the communication of attributes, and the exact nature of Our Lord’s presence. Taking Jesus at his word seems to be the best plan of action: the plain and simple words of Our Lord are that the bread is his Body. How can one consider themselves a Bible believing Christian and not believe in the Real Presence?

So I have a challenge to anyone who wishes to answer: how is the Real Presence unbiblical? Or, allow me to change the topic and ask: how is justification by faith ALONE biblical?

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Adjectival Theology

I have read a lot of theology lately and I have noticed something: why do we use adjectives and adjectival phrases when talking about the Faith? Do we need adjectives when we speak about the Faith? As a part-time philosopher, I wonder: do these accidents create a new ontological reality? Or to put it more in a scholastic framework: can language express truth?

Let me explain. An adjective is

… a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjective’s subject), giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to.

So an adjective modifies the noun. It changes it in some way. It opens up the noun and gives new meaning to the noun. Is this the same as accidents in Aristotle’s Metaphysics? Does the way we speak about something change the object?

So why do we use:

  • Evangelical Catholic
  • Traditional Catholic
  • Neo-conservative Catholic
  • Charismatic Catholic
  • Vatican II Catholic
  • Anglican Catholic

I have heard all of the above being used recently. Are not all the adjectives inherent in the noun? (With the exception of Anglican maybe?) So why use them? What I find even harder to understand is why do we use adjectival phrases such as these:

  • The Faith as we understand it.
  • The Faith in its Anglican expression.
  • The Faith once delivered to the saints.

Do not these modify the noun Faith to make it a new reality? The definite article makes the adjectival phrase even harder to understand. Is it just a way to escape an accusation of arrogance?

So my basic question remains: Why do we feel the need to use adjectives and adjectival phrases in theological discourse?

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