Tuesday, June 5

Real Scotsmen wear dresses

Last week, our regional council had their formal decision-making meeting in regards to the question of calling a diocesan bishop.  I MAY post the process and results in another post, but the entire process has had the undercurrent of the discussion of the definition of Catholicity.

It seems that most folks feel that Catholicity is determined by external factors.  Whether it's smells & bells, old men in funny clothes, mea culpas or mumbling the same prayers in a foreign tongue that were done a thousand years ago in another country.

Others seem to think that it includes or is defined by obesiance to a primate or prelate and the hierarchical organization they represent.  Talk all you wish about 'authentic Catholic' or 'purity of Church', the mantra of 'pray, pay, obey' seems to be a hum in the background.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, that seems like a pretty poor definition of a faith system and is very much not where I am at.  For me (and I could very well be wrong) the definition of a faith system of any kind, let alone a set of faith systems (catholic vs. protestant, for instance), begins with belief. It is my contention that those who were raised in a catholic faith system are largely ignorant of the differences and distinctives of catholicity.

Catholicity embraces the doctrine of Free Will, and thus rejects Predestination (Persistance of Saints), Irresistible Grace, Limited Atonement and Total Depravity.

Catholicity embraces synergistic salvation, wherein God offers Grace and man freely accepts it, thus rejecting Unconditional Election and other monogistic soteriologies.

Catholicity embraces the validity of the Sacred Deposit, formed of both Tradition and Scripture, as the source of Inspiration and Revelation, thus rejecting sola scriptura.

Catholicity embraces the twin pillars of Justification which are Faith and Works, thus rejecting sola fide.

Catholicity embraces a Sacramental life.

I am sure that I am probably missing some and I know that doctoral theses could and have been written about each and every one I have mentioned.

One final thing to mention is that MANY of the 'distinctives' mentioned by various catholic Churches are not hallmarks of Catholicity, but core tenets of Christianity.  Belief in a Triune deity does not make you catholic, nor does affirming the Nicene Creed or a myriad of other things which make you Christian but not catholic. 

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