Is England’s former PM on the road to ruin?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Never let it be forgotten that the Roman Church is headquartered in a tiny state, called the Vatican.

Its Pope is a head of state, who aspires to influence world affairs and he has interfered in the domestic affairs of many countries. In my own land, the Roman Catholic Church flies the Vatican flag, alongside our own national flag, outside its places of worship, on special occasions, starkly illustrating divided loyalties.

The Roman Church makes the outrageous claim that it is the one true Church. Christian people in other denominations must never cease to refute that claim.

I travelled to Rome and received the blessing of John Paul II. I can accept that there is much that is good and true in the Roman Church, in spite of its errors. I have no problem in attending Mass and worshipping with fellow Christians of that tradition. At the same time, as a conscientious Protestant, I cannot and will not stand idly by and allow the errors of Rome to go unchallenged.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

32 Comments
Posted December 28, 2007 at 8:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. RalphM wrote:

Not sure why this was worth posting…

December 28, 10:28 am | [comment link]
2. APB wrote:

Interesting, but the writer is viewing things through his secular politics, clearly stated in the letter.  If you find that either inappropriate, or wrongly understood, then the relatively small part actually concerning faith, and Faith, must be appropriately discounted.

December 28, 10:28 am | [comment link]
3. Words Matter wrote:

You left out the good parts:

The Roman Catholic Church is a medieval-minded denomination headed by a religious dictator. Much of its teaching on morality is antediluvian. No one with a truly free, open and inquiring mind could consciously choose to join it. There are many decent, Christian people in the Roman Catholic Church, but it is a deeply flawed institution.

It sort of reminds me of the time a sweet little Methodist lady, a long-time family friend, responded to my conversion to the Catholic Faith with the (serious) observation that “Catholics are people,too”.

But why would he accept the blessing of a religious dictator?

Gotta love it!

December 28, 10:34 am | [comment link]
4. Chris Molter wrote:

Ian Paisley-esque anti-Catholicism is SO 1988.

December 28, 10:51 am | [comment link]
5. Will B wrote:

What a wonderful expression of Christian love and care in this holy season in which we celebrate our Lord’s birth!  The only reply I’d give to Mr Frazier would be “and also with you”.

December 28, 11:11 am | [comment link]
6. dcajr wrote:

Yet it rears its ugly head and is given credence here.

Grossly disappointing.

December 28, 11:17 am | [comment link]
7. carl wrote:

No one with a truly free, open and inquiring mind could consciously choose to join it.

Unfortunately the author chose not to explain what “a truly free, open and inquiring mind” looks like.  He chose not to establish a standard by which “a truly free, open and inquiring mind” may be recognized.  He simply assumes the concept is obvious to his reader. 

And to those readers who share his worldview, the concept will be obvious.  The author is using a code phrase which means “Those who reject epistemic certainty regarding the nature and purpose of God.”  By this definition, those who possess a truly free, open and inquiring mind know with certainty that man cannot know anything with certainty about God.  Man is therefore free to inquire about such things without restraint.  But man is not free to assert that God is knowable; that He reveals Himself clearly to man.  It is plainly obvious where the “openness” of such an “open” mind stops. 

The “open mind” is a myth.  It is an intellectual sleight-of-hand designed to hide presuppositions from examination.  Those who claim the title simply flatter themselves without cause.  They have their own presuppositions, and they will brook no “open-minded” contradiction of those presuppositions at all.

carl

December 28, 11:18 am | [comment link]
8. Cole wrote:

I could speculate that Tony Blair might not see an Anglican Church that truly knows where it stands in historical Christianity.  The Roman Catholic’s recent and present popes don’t appear to have lost their compass.  Even if this is not his main incentive for conversion, I’m sure it helps make the decision easier.  Fortunately, there are people in the New World who also have not lost their compass.  They are gathering under a Common Cause.

As for the contents of this piece, “Nonsense”

December 28, 11:21 am | [comment link]
9. Bob from Boone wrote:

I agree with RalphM. This is more “stuck in the sixttenth century.”

December 28, 11:49 am | [comment link]
10. paulo uk wrote:

THESE IS THE OPINION OF THE MAJORITY OF THE PROTESTANTS IN NORTHERN IRELAND.

December 28, 11:59 am | [comment link]
11. ASimpleSinner wrote:

I think KH gets a pass for posting it in so far as it is a good litte reminder how far off our radars some of these still very strong and present sentiments are.

December 28, 12:08 pm | [comment link]
12. Paula Loughlin wrote:

I have no problems belonging to a church that makes outrageous claims.  After all Jesus of Nazareth made a some rather outrageous claims Himself.

December 28, 12:26 pm | [comment link]
13. Nikolaus wrote:

Spot on, Carl!

December 28, 12:40 pm | [comment link]
14. Charley wrote:

Mary as Mediatrix seems mild in comparison to Ace and Gary getting married in an Anglican cathedral church where Gary is bishop, no?

December 28, 2:24 pm | [comment link]
15. Ad Orientem wrote:

This is an unfortunate example of some of the extreme religious bigotry which has characterized the Protestant occupation of N. Ireland.  As an Orthodox Christian and former Roman, I have serious albeit respectful differences with the Latin Church.  However, this kind of screed serves no useful purpose.  It does not enlighten.  It refutes nothing.  It inspires no one (other than perhaps the Orange militias and bomb throwers).  And it is utterly void of agape. 

Christ is born!  Glorify Him!

December 28, 2:37 pm | [comment link]
16. carl wrote:

Mary as Mediatrix seems mild in comparison to Ace and Gary getting married in an Anglican cathedral church where Gary is bishop, no?

No.  Mary as Mediatrix attacks the unique place of Christ as Messiah and Mediator of the New Covenant.  It therefore directly attacks the Gospel, and ascribes to Mary that which belongs only to God - a name which can intercede on behalf of men. A creature can never stand in that place.  Only the Lord Jesus can be the perfect High Priest.  Homosexual marriage is mild by comparison. 

carl

December 28, 2:53 pm | [comment link]
17. libraryjim wrote:

Carl,
both are contrary to the Gospel and therefore neither is ‘milder than the other’ in any way, shape or form. 

The proper way to look at Mary’s role in heaven:

Mary does serve as an intecessor, as do all the Saints and saints who have gone to be in God’s presence, which does not in any way take away from Christ as the one mediator.  This is how the teaching is officially held, in the context of the Communion of Saints. 

However, the way many Catholics practice it is that Mary is Jesus’ mother, therefore He will listen to her so we should go to her to get her son’s attention. And that is just plain wrong teaching.

There is an old joke where a little old lady is praying the rosary in church.  The janitor, who knows the woman, is cleaning in the choir loft and decides to play a prank:

“psst, Sophie, this is Jesus.”
nothing. So he tries a little louder:
“Sophie, this is Jesus, I want to talk to you.”
Still nothing. so he says louder yet:
“Hey, Sophie, this is Jesus ...”
At which point Sophie looks up to heaven and says:
“Whatsamatter? Can’t you see I’m talking to your mother? Don’t interrupt!”

Common practice, not official teaching. But part of the problem is that the leadership of the Catholic Church has not been very forthcoming in correcting this practice, and so may be considered to be teaching it by their inaction?

Peace
Jim E. <><

December 28, 3:03 pm | [comment link]
18. Mick wrote:

#15 This is an unfortunate example of some of the extreme religious bigotry which has characterized the Protestant occupation of N. Ireland…It inspires no one (other than perhaps the Orange militias and bomb throwers)...

Then you’ll be suitably confused to hear that the author is an Anglican priest who is forthright in his sympathy and support for (the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic) Sinn Fein and Irish Republicanism, the ideal of a united Ireland, and the fight against the ‘Protestant occupation’ in the North, and is highly critical of the Orange Order.

December 28, 3:07 pm | [comment link]
19. Ad Orientem wrote:

Then you’ll be suitably confused to hear…

You are correct.  I am.
Christ is born!  Glorify Him!

December 28, 3:19 pm | [comment link]
20. Chris Molter wrote:

[BLOCKQUOTE]Only the Lord Jesus can be the perfect High Priest

If you can show me where Mary as Mediatrix becomes Mary as High Priest in Catholic teaching I’ll leave Catholicism and come back to Anglicanism.

December 28, 3:52 pm | [comment link]
21. libraryjim wrote:

Chris,
If more people would check out the official teaching of the Catholic Church (for example, in the Catecheism of the Catholic Churchon these matters, I think we’d find that the arguments would fall silent rather quickly.

Obviously, some of us will still have some real disagreements on some issues and teachings, but at least they are against the actual teachings and not what others say the teachings are supposed to be!

Peace
Jim Elliott <><

December 28, 4:31 pm | [comment link]
22. Charley wrote:

Amen #20…. the Lord Jesus gets really nauseated by those little old Irish and Italian ladies who pray the Rosary every Tuesday morning at Our Lady of Sorrows EveryParish in EveryDiocese.  Ace and Gary’s wedding on the other hand couldn’t delight Him more.

December 28, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
23. libraryjim wrote:

Charley,

FWIW, I pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, not regularly, but I really like the meditative quality of the prayer, plus it’s not so heavliy “Marian” in scope.  Also, a local Episcopal (now Anglican) priest wrote a little booklet called “The Rosary for Episcopalians” for the Forward Society (?), in which the “Jesus Prayer” (Lord Jesus Christ, Thou son of God, be merciful to me, a sinner) replaces the Hail Mary prayers.

For those who don’t know, those who pray the rosary mediatate on Scripture passages through the entire prayer time. 

There used to be three sets of ‘mysteries’, recently a fourth was added, focusing on the life of Jesus from annunciation to the ascension and sending of the Spirit (each set prayed on a different day). 

Of these, the only ones that would be of concern to Protestants would be the last of the ‘Glorious mysteries’—the crowing of Mary as ‘Queen of Heaven’. 

But the Rosary, like the Liturgy of the hours is a good meditative prayer. but like anything else, it can be abused, and I’ve met Catholics in the “Legion of Mary” who seem to be so Mary focused that there is little room for Jesus!

Peace
Jim E. <><

December 28, 4:51 pm | [comment link]
24. libraryjim wrote:

I forgot to give the link to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  There are several good sites, this as good as any.

here is a unique one you can do at the computer, checking off boxes instead of using prayer beads!

Of course, EWTN seems to be the biggest proponent of the Chaplet, airing a televised (and chanted!) version at 3PM EST on their station.

December 28, 5:13 pm | [comment link]
25. physician without health wrote:

I am evangelical in belief and take issue with a number of points in RC theology.  Having said that, I also take issue with the general tone of this piece.  Others in this thread have covered the topic well, but I will simply add that to say that Tony Blair is “no great catch” is hurtful and downright counter to the Gospel.  We are all equally sinners, scum of the earth no matter what denomination.  I rejoice to see anyone come to faith and join the church.

December 28, 5:43 pm | [comment link]
26. bluenarrative wrote:

I lived in Ireland for a few years when I was younger. They’re all mad there… smile

December 28, 6:51 pm | [comment link]
27. Charley wrote:

If ever there was a “sin” that God would forgive it would have to be an overenthusiastic emphasis of Mary.  Please.  Let’s get a little perspective, people.  We talking about a church (TEC/Anglican Comm.) that gives its imprimatur to sodomists.

December 28, 7:30 pm | [comment link]
28. Charley wrote:

And makes them bishops.

December 28, 7:30 pm | [comment link]
29. Words Matter wrote:

the Lord Jesus gets really nauseated by those little old Irish and Italian ladies…

While I can’t claim intimate knowledge of the Lord’s digestive system, I do have a working knowledge of the Rosary, Catholic prayer, some of those little old ladies, and a few old men, as well. libraryjim, Catholics sometimes tell that old joke about the janitor (or ones similar to it), but somehow don’t find that it discounts our entire religion.

The real issue is expressed here:

...ascribes to Mary that which belongs only to God - a name which can intercede on behalf of men.

I do find myself in agreement with carl that Mary as Mediatrix (not Catholic dogma, btw) is a more serious matter than same-sex marriage. The former is essentially theological, dealing with the Incarnation, the latter, a perverse understanding of anthropology. While all heresy leads to the same place, theology trumps anthropology.

That said, I think the quote above points to a true difference between the Catholic and protestant understandings of just what the Church of Jesus Christ is and does. Before that, I have to say surely carl doesn’t mean that human beings don’t participate fully in the intercessory ministry of Christ. Surely carl has read II Corinthians 5.18:

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation…
                         
It is in us, His Church, and through us that Christ makes himself manifest in the world. Our intercessions - led my those of His mother, blessed among women - are one with his. They don’t replace Him, they are united with Him.  Mary doesn’t replace Jesus, she is united to Him, just as we are all meant to be. She is our model of a disciple of Jesus. I think that is a fair presentation of why Catholics pray the Hail Mary and otherwise ask the prayers of our elder brothers and sisters in Christ. I recognize that protestants don’t see it that way.

Well, enough of that. I actually agreed with two of carl’s comments, that being the matter of “open minds”. Of course, no mind is “free”, but functions within boundaries of birth and unbringing. Even the self-congratulatory boast of being “open minded” is, too often, just another dead end excuse to avoid thought. As carl said well:

It is an intellectual sleight-of-hand designed to hide presuppositions from examination.

And, btw, I think lots of protestants would have a problem with two Glorious Mysteries: the Assumption as well as the Coronation.  But we should all appreciate the Luminous Mysteries

December 28, 8:01 pm | [comment link]
30. bluenarrative wrote:

I frequently find myself on both SF and T19 identifying myself as an evangelical, or as a partisan of the low-church wing of the Anglican fold, or, sometimes, as somebody who identifies strongly with reformed (Calvinist) theology. Almost invariably I do this within the context of making a comment that draws forth the wrath and indignation of other low-church evangelicals on these two sites. My private mailbox suddenly fills up with irate missives from others who somehow see my Protestant credentials as being, in one way or another, decidedly “suspect.” It doesn’t really matter what the subject at hand is, or what my particular take on things might be—there just seem to be a lot of cranky and prickly Protestants around here who can be very harsh with others who do not see things quite as they do. It’s okay—I’ve come to expect it and it no longer bothers me it happens.

So, with all of this in mind, I’ll throw in my two cents here, for whatever it is worth. I have NEVER understood the antipathy of some Protestants to prayers directed to Mary. I rather like asking Mary to pray for me. It seems perfectly natural to me, as a Christian, to revere the mother of my Lord—and to ask her to help me to shape my prayers. It seems perfectly natural and proper for me to accord her a HUGE amount of respect and devotion.

December 28, 8:52 pm | [comment link]
31. Charley wrote:

Protestant credentials….. boy, that set my mind spinning….....

December 29, 9:12 am | [comment link]
32. Albany* wrote:

#7 Carl you nail it. Thank you.

December 29, 10:48 am | [comment link]
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