Monday, March 21, 2011

Protestant Catholics

Many Catholics are really Protestants, but rather than actually becoming a member of a Protestant community, they try to remake Catholicism into one; with some success over the years, especially since Vatican II.

This article in The Catholic Thing, examines the latest attempt.

An excerpt.

“In anticipation of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Germany later this year, more than 200 German “theologians” have issued “The Church in 2011: A Necessary Departure.” In this laborious piece of prose, they explain how the Church has to change. The usual thing . . . ordination of women and so on! The imperative is theirs, based on the imagined “magisterium” of the university. This institutional conceit has been an issue since the sixties, although there have been attempts to try to link it back to the service of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages, when that institution was a center of research on questions that were posed by various bishops.

“Something that the “Catholic theologians” – in inverted commas because it’s difficult to say how such freelancers are related to the historic Catholic Church – do not seem much to consider is that they are in a country with a Protestant majority. Perhaps such a national setup puts pressures on Catholic thinking when people do not take the necessary care to identify where they get their premises.

“The classic case of course was Karl Rahner, S.J.’s insistence on the ordination of women based on the cultural argument that, if patriarchalism is dead in the culture, then women should be ordained in the Church. This might be plausible if the original choice of apostles was purely cultural. But if we take a step back to THE priest in whose priesthood priests participate, then we come to Christ himself and the non-accidental act of God in incarnating himself as a man, Jesus of Nazareth. Male priests express the male priesthood of Christ. Culture is more of a surface expression, while gender is ontological, i.e., it has to do with our very being. And in this case it is tied to the decision of God to incarnate as a male.

“The word Protestant implies defining oneself in reaction against something. It imposes an a priori framework on the formation of concepts. The adversarial stance removes something substantial, namely: “All in the Church must preserve unity in essentials.” (Vatican II) This is not simply an authoritarian statement. Rather, it is authoritative because the truth is unitary and it exists in the “Catholic Church [which] has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all means of grace.” (Vatican II) Of course, the German way is to approach this adversarial structure intellectually and to frame the challenge in an intellectual way.”