May 22, 2006

The name "Christian" includes Catholics

How many quadrillions of times have you heard people, including even good Catholics, say "Christians" when they mean "Protestants?"

We Catholics are Christians, are we not? So the term "Christians" cannot mean solely "Protestants." It is as simple as that.

This is not trivial. Why not? Mainly because quite a few Protestants love to claim we Catholics are not Christian. We have all had Protestants challenge us by saying, "I know you are Catholic -- but are you Christian?" And remember the TV preacher who insisted that he had no way of knowing whether Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a Christian?

It is even a life and death matter. Did you see the Catholicnews, Zenit and other recent news reports about Michael McIlveen, 15, of Ballymena, County Antrim, whom Loyalist/Protestant bigots recently beat fatally with baseball bats simply because he was a random Catholic? A friend of mine reports that before the funeral, a Protestant announced that young Michael could not go to Heaven unless he "repented" and "was saved," because as a Roman Catholic he was not a Christian. Fortunately, Michael's young Protestant friends attended his funeral.

All this is why we should definitely remember in our conversations that the name "Christians" includes us Catholics (and the Orthodox and others, too, of course) as well as Protestants.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Angry Orthodox said...

Amen brother! Heck, I don't get how one who rejects the sacraments, Tradition and magestrium (which the RC, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches all have) can be a "christian."

I work in a hospital and a really annoying patient said he's not a catholic, but a "real christian, a sabbatarian." I thought about asking him if he'd ever read Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Polycarp or Athanasius, but he hasn't. But it was obvious he hadn't if he was that ignorant.

10:36 PM  
Blogger Kenneth Fisher, Founder & CRCOA said...

The American Bishops will be meeting this June 15-17 at the Los
Angeles Milenium Biltmore, and the "Concerned Roman Catholics of
America" is making plans to greet them!

To plan such an activity takes strategy and planning, so we will be
meeting next Sunday, May 28 at 5:00 PM to do just that.

We will be meeting at the "Anaheim Inka Restaurant" at 400 S.
Euclid Ave., Anaheim, CA T&B pg. 738 F6.

All who are interested in helping to make this event successful
are invited to attend.

At this meeting, we will be discussing:

1. When and where we demonstrate
2. Preparation of signs and flyers.
3. Assignement of tasks
4. Anticipation of Press coverage and of Press Releases.
5. Police notification
6. Other??

The Inka Anaheim Restaurant is a Catholic owned and operated
Restaurant that has been most generous in accomodating free of
charge our needs for a meeting place, so we urge those who plan to
attend this
meeting to either come early or stay after to enjoy outstanding
Peruvian Cuisine Hospitality.

God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founder & Chairman
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

7:01 PM

10:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew J. McKinley said...

I have a student who is Evangelical who asked if Protestants like Lutherans and Presbyterians were Christians.

Ignorance abounds!

10:04 AM  
Blogger Kenneth Fisher, Founder & CRCOA said...

When someone says that to me, I reply "Catholics at one time were the only Christians, and we were certainly the first Christians, there were no Protestant Christians until the 1500's!

What really bothers me more is the reluctance of Catholic priests to say Catholic. I often hear them say "we as Christians" but hardly ever do I hear them say "Catholic"!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Angry Orthodox,

Great point about the sacraments, Tradition and the Magisterium. The Catholic Church has the full Bible, too; Protestants do not.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Ken,

Thank you for the info about our Bishops' June meeting in L.A. All good shepherds should be happy to hear the concerns of the faithful.

Cardinal Mahony should be extra happy to hear from the faithful, given his enthusiasm for greater lay roles in the Church.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Kenneth Fisher, Founder & CRCOA said...

Quintero,

Re: Cardinal Baloney being happy to hear from the laity, RIGHT!

Kenneth Fisher

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Occasional Reader said...

To refer to anyone other than a Catholic as "Christian" is a kindness. To reject even one teaching of Christ, let alone most of the most fundamental seems to me would make one more of an anti-Christian than Christian. Frightening to think they are all anti-Christs though which of those so filled with self-pride would admit it? If they did they would receive the Grace of humility and convert as many do.

Last time I looked it is only the Catholic Church..THE Church that rejects nothing of what has been taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Find me another who does. Find me another who holds fast to His teaching on divorce, murder, homosexuality and of course the Truth in The Eucharist.

It would be kinder and more truthful to use what has always been the proper term..."non-Catholics" when referring to ANYONE other than Catholics. Muslims and Buddhists included. And to those who were given The Faith but reject and deny along with the best of the non-Catholics, I would suggest the term UN-Catholic when referring to them.

My two cents.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Simon-Peter said...

Concur.

They are not Christians. If, and only if, they are invincibly ignorant might they be so described and if, and only if, they use the graces God sends them to live up to what they know, but for which we are not to hold out a good hope and enquiring too deeply is not lawful.

Who says that? THAT is EENS in a nutshell folks. That is dogma.

To call them Christians is uncharitable to Jesus, to us, and to them. He who rejects the Church rejects the Founder and the one who sent the Founder. Period.

Charity subsists in truth. To call them Christians obscures the real eternal life and death differences, their need for conversion, it confirms them in their errors, it attacks the dogmas of the Church indirectly, it undermines confidence in the Church and it's sacramental system and destroys evangelization.

It is pure sentimentalism, it is the devil appearing as an angel of light. Stop misleading them and us with this nonsense.
----------------------------------
Watson: I am convinced Barnes was lying Holmes.
Homles: No, not lying Watson...half-truths, far more deadly and difficult to counter.
Watson: you astound me Holmes.
Holmes: my dear Watson!

6:46 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Occasional Reader and Simon-Peter,

Our guide in this should be the Catechism, Sections 813-822. Here are 817-819:

817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:


Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272

819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

5:50 PM  
Blogger Simon-Peter said...

Q.

This type of thing is exactly why the Church in its human elements is spinning on its head.

What, given the plain language of EENS does it mean? It is riddled with vagueness and ambiguity. It can mean whatever you want it to mean if you take it out of context, and the context is, de minimis, 2000 years.

Are you not in the least bit suspicious at the fact that the CCC has hardly any references to anyone or anything prior to Vatican II? What did the Holy Father talk about recently, the "hermenuetics of discontinuity"!

The CCC, that sure norm, is anything but, which is exactly why Benedict XVI wrote his compendium.

If you compare the compendium with the CCC you will notice some VERY interesting differences, such as references to the CCC continually missing and replaced either by direct references to pre-concilar teaching documents and / or the fathers and doctors of the Church.

Why? At a minimum because no-one can make head nor tail of what the CCC really means all over the place.

The truth is, that Benedict XVI KNOWS the CCC is NOT a sure norm throughout, because it obscures as much as it reveals. Again, if the CCC was a sure norm, then the compendium when covering any given topic covered in the CCC would still refer back to the CCC whatever the change in language, style etc of the compendium.

It doesn't.

Time and again the CCC is bluntly ignored and the might-have-been references are replaced by ones we can all understand without PhDs in phenomenology. I would just add, that it is the failure of our leaders to adhere to thomism that is causing much of this...as Benedict XVI (no thomist himself) is slowly admitting...but you have to read everything he is saying and not the versions put out by Zenit at al.

The CCC is not a sure norm, of course, the most obvious example is the death penalty: not only does it change its position over a very short peiod of time (sure norm?) but it wholly fails to cover the entire issue, that is, ALL the reasons why the death penalty might be used, focusing on only one and stating that its use is (now) unjustified, well, almost.

The CCC viz the death penalty, builds a straw man only to demolish it. It disguises prudential opinions as doctrine and dogma and does no favor to pro-lifers by instituting (in the mind of the lay Catholic) an unwise moral equivalency between murderers who are guilty of actual mortal sin, and the unborn, who are not.

In anycase, there is nothing in this part of the CCC that actually, flatly, contradicts EENS. However, it does not tell the whole story...

The opinion, and it IS merely an opinion, that our "separated brethren" should be called Christians is a prudential judgment. I respectfully disagree precisely because of the reasons, and they are not MY reasons, I initially listed.

"To call them Christians obscures the real eternal life and death differences, their need for conversion, it confirms them in their errors, it attacks the dogmas of the Church indirectly, it undermines confidence in the Church and it's sacramental system and destroys evangelization."

In this disagreement I find refuge in ALL the preconciliar Popes. This is a matter of prudential judgment. I respectfully disgree with the late Holy Father, just as I disagree about "eucharistic minsters", altar girls, permitting the indult in the US for communion standing and in the hand, kissing the Koran etc.

To RELY on a protestant being invincibly ignorant to be saved, and FULLY cooperating with the graces he DOES receive, is to tempt God.

It is hard enough for Catholics to persevere to the end.

Now, this is what Catholics are doing with the CCC, because they cannot understand it in light of all that has gone before:

They read it and say, "see, they don't need to convert!" "shhh, don't tell them about the Church so they can be preserved in their ignorance." "Look, they have their own church, look, the CCC says so...hang on, what about what we say in the Creed...?"

They forget, that that is not the only condition, the protestant must also persevere in the state God helps him with to the end, a FAR HARDER matter given the lack of a sacramental system. That is why I said, it is NOT impossible, but we are NOT to hold out a good hope.

Now, from memory, it goes like this: Not only must a person be invincibly ignorant (think how hard that is!), he must also worship God according to the law written on the heart of everyman (oh dear, that's not as simple as most think), AND be free of mortal sin at the moment of death, AND we are NOT to hold out a good hope for this AND it is unlawful to enquire further: why? Because only God knows the whole story...and it is EXACTLY this reason, that God alone only knows the heart of every man that we should try to convert them, yet what is happening, exactly the opposite!

Now, as to this last conditional element (mortal sin, the one no-one ever wants to talk about) it sort of presupposes the second, right? Right. Yet it requires more than that, as any Catholic will testify to.

Is it possible for a non-Catholic not to DIE in a state of mortal sin? Sure, any baptized Protestant who received a valid baptism who dies before (his) age of reason. What about Protestant adults? Oh dear...now it becomes VERY much a doubt, even if they are ignorant, which is why we are taught to hold a hope, but not a GOOD one.

This is WHY in the compendium, the part of the EENS dogma that refers to invincible ignorance (re)appears! Thus, the CCC does touch on this when it says "one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities."

True, of course. And it is also beside the point!

The issue it NOT where you were born, it never HAS been! A straw-man is built only to demolish it!

The issue is and always has been this: if a man through no fault of his own, is ignorant of the claims of the Catholic Church, it is POSSIBLE, but not a good chance, that he can be saved.

If you read Section 818 in light of what I just wrote, it's meaning changes entirely, because it CAN only be refering to those who ARE actually invincibly ignorant. The folly of assuming ANY protestant IS invincibly ignorant is breathtaking.

Anyone, who, through his own fault is ignorant, or, knowing and rejects the church does not fall into 818 because they HAVE rejected Peter, thus Jesus, thus the Father regardless of what THEY say. "Many will say Lord, Lord" does NOT refer only to Catholics you know! Hello Jack Chick! James Dobson. Jack van Impe. Billy Graham and so on.

Thus, we might say that yes, we cannot charge with the mortal sin of schism those who are ignorant of the Church's claim. However, whether a person is born in 16th century Germnany or 21st century America, as soon as he becomes aware of the Church's claim, or, practices studied indifference, or deliberate indifference, then, due to the fact he is no longer invincibly ignorant, he ratifies "the sin of the separation" which he did not originate and becomes guilty of it himself. Is it possible even for such a person to be saved who has rejected the Church up to the moment of death?

If you believe it is, and your belief is rooted in the teaching of the Church on acts of perfect contrition as the moment of death, then, well...is this charity by us to permit this crap shoot because NO ONE is guaranteed final perseverance, NO ONE!

Look. I'm a convert. The only Catholic in my entire family. I am NOT beatng up on protestants. I do think it is unwise to call them Christians.

The liberals hate EENS and preach universal salvation. In the other corner we have the feeneyite types and their errors. In the middle there is mostly a bunch of confusion about this matter. It isn't difficult if you want to be safe and not tempt God.

We must help them to convert, and this is what we should call them, "protestants."

Finally, just read 819 with the same distinction in mind. To whom, exactly, does it refer? Given that the CCC (at least the original version) defines faith as the "assent of the intellect moved by the will" what faith is it, that a protestant who is NOT invincibly ignorant has?

Oops, finally, finally: 819, also contains a subtle refuation of those who think protestants are just fine where they are...bizarre idea. It states: "Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church."

First, I think it means "Holy Spirit". Christ does not HAVE a spirit does He? He IS Spirit, and second, it is the HOLY SPIRIT, the 3rd Person whose task it is to guide the Church, in this task He is primus inter pares. Unless it means Christ's "soul" as in True God & True Man, hypostatic union, but it can't mean that either. So, even here, what DOES it mean?

Anyway, I digress and I don't want to appear picky, sorry. 819 imlpies, that the "power" "of salvation" of which these "ecclesial communiites" are the "means" varies in direct proportion to their internal and external adherence or similarities to catholic dogma and praxis, and there is precedence here in the concept of the righteous non-jew or alien in Mosaic times.

It means the further away any non-Catholic is in his / their belief and praxis from the "fulness of grace and truth" the less likely is salvation.

However, there is NO distinction made here between those who are and who are not invincibly ignorant and it matters, it is the difference between heaven and hell (cf Council of Florence, Council of Trent, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius XII) regardless of what the CCC does NOT say.

My problem is that recounting EENS and its implications in an incomplete manner and at the same time calling these people Christians is doing nothing but lullng them and us into a sense of false security.

Well, God bless.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Simon-Peter said...

Q. Must apologize.

1. Length of reply.
2. I overstated the case that the compendium "revises" or ignores the CCC...I overstated it.
3. I totally forgot, that the CCC, at least in its intial publication itself recounted, though not fully, EENS.

On the last point I cannot believe I forgot this because it was during RCIA inquiry as I was waiting to enter the Church that this came to the fore. Those running the enquiry were flat out preachng universal salvation to some (other) protestants who were thinking of converting. I got mad at this, and me and a retired Marine Colonel picked up our copies of the CCC and found and read out the relevant section(s). They hate that! LOL. Anyway, I gave that copy away, and the new one I have is all boxed up ready for moving house so I can't lay my hands on it, but I am sure its in there!

Q. If I am wrong, or, out of balance, I am sorry. I am just trying to harmonize in my own very limited way all the Church teaches in line with what Our current Holy Father has called for guarding against this idea of "rupture" he has talked about.

I like you website, I've been reading it for months from here on the east coast and you guys over there who put up with Messrs Mahoney and Brown are awesome Catholics.

cheers.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Jyoz said...

I too am anoyed by this, I also being a Roman Catholic, in fact Catholic's are the largest Christian denomination making up over half of the world's Chrisitans. Catholics, Orthodox, Baptists, Methodists, Lutheran, Angleicans, and so on, we are all Christians! I just don't understand why people insult Catholics, yet they don't know what we are.

9:20 PM  

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