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Josh,

Sorry it’s taken so long for me to address your comments. I’ve been out of town.

First of all, taking Dave’s incendiary nature into account, it seems only fair include the fact that, when pressed on these statements, Dave admitted that he did, nonetheless, give homage to JPII as the successor of Peter and a man whose writings were instrumental in bringing Dave into the Catholic Church. So let’s take the comments quoted above in context.

And perhaps that’s exactly where you hang your hat. Dave and I disagree about the Jews, the meaning of JPII’s ecumenical gestures, the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass, the salvation of non-catholics, and probably quite a number of other things (Dave, if you’re reading, I’m guessing about a few of those so don’t rake me over the coals if I misfired on one or two). But we are, nonetheless, Catholics, united by our unity under the Roman Pontiff.

We can disagree about any number of things but at the end of the day, we share parentage. We share the Church, our spiritual mother, and we share the Pope, our spiritual father. We share the same set of beliefs on issues where the Church has told us we must and we are free to disagree with charity on the issues she has not.

Which brings us to Remy. No, I don’t think “denominating” is sinful if it’s not schism. Which is precisely the difference between Catholic “denominating” and protestant “denominating”, or, to put a finer point on it, the protestant reformation in and of itself.

The former is when two bodies within the Church wish to pursue a different aspect of our faith, like say the the Eastern and Western rites of the Catholic Church, they are free to do so provided what they are doing is in line with and under the guidance of the symbol of our unity, the Roman Pontiff.

We have different liturgies, different spiritualities, different modes of art, different rites of the sacraments, but we believe the same body of dogma and we believe in the same source of dogma.

Not so with protestants. First, let’s look at the reformation. In the reformation, a group of people in the Catholic Church decided they no longer believed some of the things the Catholic Church taught, that aforementioned body of doctrine. Because they persisted in that rebellion of faith, they formed a different body that was not the Catholic Church. That is schism, when you form a body outside of the original body.

Or take modern protestant denominationalism. What you usually do not have is a group of people under authority deciding that, while remaining under that common ecclesial authority, they wish to pursue a different spiritual emphasis. What you do usually have is a group of people saying something to the effect of “You people have this all wrong so we’re taking our ball and starting a new game”. That, again, is schism, or would be if they were leaving the Church.

Either way it’s a splintering of the body of Christ, not a pursuit of a new emphasis within the body of Christ.

That is the role the Papacy serves and it’s a role that cannot be reproduced in another Christian body. It’s very claims rule such a thing out. Yet it is the only thing that could unite people so wildly divergent in character and ideology as Dave Hodges and JPII. And it is the only thing that can keep denominations from being sects and schisms.

The rest of Remy’s point on intercommunion will require another post.

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