Even Aquinas did math

posted at 12:01 pm on February 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Often, when religion and politics come up in conversation, people want to ask how a Catholic can be conservative — or how a Catholic can be liberal.  We have plenty of both in our community, to the everlasting frustration of just about everyone.  Normally this doesn’t come up too often, but with the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI, the fight over the HHS mandate, and the standoff over entitlement reform, the last year or so has brought the question more into the center of the public square.

That’s why I was surprised to see Ross Douthat postulate that “the Catholic moment” had passed in American politics. Ross is not wrong in the context he used, although I think he’s off about the cause:

Perhaps not coincidentally, the mid-2000s were the last time the Catholic vision of the good society — more egalitarian than American conservatism and more moralistic than American liberalism — enjoyed real influence in U.S. politics. At the time of John Paul’s death, the Republican Party’s agenda was still stamped by George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism,” which offered a right-of-center approach to Catholic ideas about social justice. The Democratic Party, meanwhile, was looking for ways to woo the “values voters” (many of them Catholic) who had just helped Bush win re-election, and prominent Democrats were calling for a friendlier attitude toward religion and a bigger tent on social issues.

That was a long eight years ago. Since then, the sex abuse scandals that shadowed John Paul’s last years have become the defining story of his successor’s papacy, and the unexpected abdication of Benedict XVI has only confirmed the narrative of a church in disarray. His predecessor was buried amid reverent coverage from secular outlets, but the current pope can expect a send-off marked by sourness and shrugs.

The collapse in the church’s reputation has coincided with a substantial loss of Catholic influence in American political debates. Whereas eight years ago, a Catholic view of economics and culture represented a center that both parties hoped to claim, today’s Republicans are more likely to channel Ayn Rand than Thomas Aquinas, and a strident social liberalism holds the whip hand in the Democratic Party.

The abuse scandals were a much bigger and more acute story during John Paul II’s papacy, so I don’t think that’s the real driving issue.  Matt Lewis got closer to the truth in his response the next day:

So why did this happen?

As I have noted, even as conservatives were winning elections, they were losing the culture. Is it any surprise that conservatism itself would eventually evolve to mirror a society that is rapidly becoming more secular and less traditional? The Overton Window is moving — and it’s dragging conservatives along behind.

This is, no doubt, the most significant factor.

I think that’s part of it, but why is that happening?  Why over the last eight years, as Douthat astutely observed?  The collapse of the economy in 2008 and the poor response to it has driven two impulses in American politics at the extremes: on one hand, a total mistrust of the government, and on the other, a total mistrust of private-sector institutions.  The scandals in the Catholic Church also undermined the trust in that institution, but that damage was done before 2005.

In this environment, Aquinas has a tough time making his case for building just societies.  Compounding that lack of trust is the fact that no one in the government seems to want to tell the truth about what the costs and limits of those efforts truly are.  In my column for The Week, I argue that the problem isn’t really Aquinas v Rand, but the same problem Diogenes had in finding an honest man:

Society does not necessarily mean government, although it doesn’t exclude it either. It certainly didn’t mean “government” in Aquinas’ time. The Christian church pioneered hospitals, outreach to the poor, and education for the masses long before governments decided to enter into those industries, even after they became industries. Ironically, these days government has mostly gotten in the way of Catholic attempts to provide a just society through individual and group action, by threatening their existence with mandates that force the Church and its organizations to choose between faithful adherence to their doctrine and outreach to the poor and homeless.

However, a couple of key elements are also necessary in this paradigm: responsibility and sustainability. The problem facing the American welfare system and the European nanny states is that they are designed with neither in mind. Their fiscal structure pays more in benefits than it receives, a very basic form of irresponsibility and unsustainability. That forces these systems to borrow massively against future production, which in essence means that these social systems pay benefits with someone else’s money — the children or grandchildren to come. One could consider that theft, or at the least taxation without representation.

It’s not difficult to argue that neither of the two philosophers would endorse such a system. After all, even St. Thomas Aquinas did math.

Oddly it was Howard Dean who spoke the actual truth, in an interview with Scott Rasmussen earlier this week:

“This is the fundamental problem in American politics,” Dean said. “Somebody has to tell the middle class that either your taxes are going up or your programs are going to get cut, or else we’re going to go into financial oblivion.”

So who in today’s political class wants to tell the middle class this very obvious truth? “No one,” Dean replies, and he’s right. This takes the reform argument entirely out of the equation, which brings us back to Douthat and Lewis on the “Catholic center” and just society. We have no voices in the current political arena, Catholic or otherwise, explaining that we can have programs that take care of the truly needy, which would require many more to sacrifice a little more — either in eschewing ever-expanding benefits, or in taxes — while ensuring sustainability and stability without taking money from our grandchildren to pay for our policies.

Essentially, we want to eat our cake and have it too, and we don’t like hearing about the impossibility and irresponsibility of this position.  If we have a political class with a Diogenes problem, though, whose fault is thatMatt responded to me earlier this morning:

How does Morrissey’s argument jibe with my cultural criticism?

Spending our children and grandchildren’s inheritance is a moral issue. Knowingly failing to tackle our nation’s most dire challenges — the debt, entitlement and tax reform, etc. — is a moral crisis. Allowing the social safety net to become unsustainable is a moral failing. …

But blaming the politicians is facile. You can’t blame people you only tell you what you really want to hear (that you can have your cake — and eat it, too.)

Political courage is admirable, but we generally don’t reward the truth-tellers. We generally don’t reward those who tell us “the emperor has no clothes on.”

Indeed.  The fundamental problem isn’t actually that our politicians aren’t telling us the truth.  It’s that we’re not telling ourselves the truth and acknowledging that those things which cannot be sustained won’t be.


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The Catholic church brought us the Dark Ages. They committed genocide to such an extent it would make Hitler blush. They attacked Christians as well as all others. You either believed their Pope was divine or you died. Add up the Latin numbers on the Popes crown 666. The Holy Roman Empire ruled for 1260 years just exactly like the bible said 42 months = 1260 days or years as common in the bible.

Paul said All men sin and fall short of the Glory of GOD. Yet the Pope is somehow an exception not according to Christ or Paul.

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 3:35 PM

What a bunch of contrived anti-catholic blather…

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 3:51 PM

“The liturgical use of ashes originates in Old Testament times. workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 3:35 PM “

Which has nothing to do with the subject of the post I responded to . The issue was celebrating holidays not referenced in scripture. The Catholics do it just as the Jews do.

tommyboy on February 20, 2013 at 3:54 PM

I see no requisite for celibacy in the “Protestant” New Testament.

Is it mentioned in one of those four omitted, “inconvenient” books the Vatican recognizes?

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Goes back to Apostolic times…

http://www.biblio.com/stefan-heid/celibacy-in-the-early-church~41457448~title

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Which has nothing to do with the subject of the post I responded to . The issue was celebrating holidays not referenced in scripture. The Catholics do it just as the Jews do.

tommyboy on February 20, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Judaism practiced today is not quite the same Judaism as practiced in biblical times because currently the Temple is a mound of ruin occupied by the Muslims.

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 3:35 PM

.
What a bunch of contrived anti-catholic blather…

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 3:51 PM

.
I can’t prove or disprove any of what Steve’ said.

But was the “Spanish Inquisition” simply the greatest historic lie?

Or are Protestants guilty of “blowing it way out of proportion?”

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 3:47 PM

.
Goes back to Apostolic times…

http://www.biblio.com/stefan-heid/celibacy-in-the-early-church~41457448~title

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 4:03 PM

.
If it’s a valid ordinance of God, why is it not included in the New Testament?

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 3:35 PM

.
What a bunch of contrived anti-catholic blather…

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 3:51 PM

.
I can’t prove or disprove any of what Steve’ said.

But was the “Spanish Inquisition” simply the greatest historic lie?

Or are Protestants guilty of “blowing it way out of proportion?”

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 4:13 PM

When Protestants are willing to have an intellectually honest discussion as to the history of mass executions…rapes of nuns…seizure of Catholic property & wealth and Persecution of Catholic clergy and laity in formerly Catholic Nations during the reformation and subsequent centuries…

Then we can talk about the injustice of Torquemada.

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

If it’s a valid ordinance of God, why is it not included in the New Testament?

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

In Matthew 19:12, Christ clearly commends those who, “for the sake of the kingdom of God”, have held aloof from the married state, though He adds: “he who can accept it, let him accept it”. St. Paul is even more explicit:

I would that all men were even as myself; but every one hath his proper gift from God …. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows, it is good for them if they so continue, even as I.

And further on:

But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of this world how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your profit, not to cast a snare upon you, but for that which is decent and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord without impediment. (1 Corinthians 7:7-8 and 32-35)

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03481a.htm

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Thus Jews celebrate a holiday that they don’t include in their bible?

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

VG Day. What about it?

Shy Guy on February 20, 2013 at 4:53 PM

If it’s a valid ordinance of God, why is it not included in the New Testament?

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

.
In Matthew 19:12, Christ clearly commends those who, “for the sake of the kingdom of God”, have held aloof from the married state, though He adds: “he who can accept it, let him accept it”. St. Paul is even more explicit:

I would that all men were even as myself; but every one hath his proper gift from God …. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows, it is good for them if they so continue, even as I.

And further on:

But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of this world how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your profit, not to cast a snare upon you, but for that which is decent and which may give you power to attend upon the Lord without impediment. (1 Corinthians 7:7-8 and 32-35)

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03481a.htm

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 4:25 PM

.
Neither of those are “ordinances.”

They are exhortations to remain celibate, if you perceive no real desire on your part to be married.

There is nothing in the New Testament that makes reference to taking vows of, on, or about anything ….. except when getting married.

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

But was the “Spanish Inquisition” simply the greatest historic lie?

What was that, like 500 years ago?

Get real.

Tom C on February 20, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Most of this anti-catholic blather came about from one of two sources, the anti-immigrant movement of late nineteenth/early twentieth century America and the Soviet Union. The Church as “anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-Gospel came from the anti-immigrant bigots. The Church aiding the Nazis came from the Soviets and soviet symps in the 1960s.

Iblis on February 20, 2013 at 4:59 PM

When Protestants are willing to have an intellectually honest discussion as to the history of mass executions…rapes of nuns…seizure of Catholic property & wealth and Persecution of Catholic clergy and laity in formerly Catholic Nations during the reformation and subsequent centuries…

Then we can talk about the injustice of Torquemada.

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

You are saying they eventually took some of what we took from them back. Thus we will not talk about taking it first.

Hugh?? How does that follow?

Add up the numbers from the letters on the Popes crown 666 same in Latin or Roman Numerals. No funny business just add them up.

The Holy Roman Empire ruled 1260 years not my word check it out yourself.

The Church fostered genocide all over the world very well documented. Spain was especially bad because that was just two groups of Catholics fighting for control of the Church. But the Spanish lost and were mostly murdered.

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Neither of those are “ordinances.”

They are exhortations to remain celibate, if you perceive no real desire on your part to be married.

There is nothing in the New Testament that makes reference to taking vows of, on, or about anything ….. except when getting married.

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

I answered your claim that celibacy for the clergy isn’t mentioned in the bible.

I provided a link that has a concise history of the doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church as the Eastern Church(s) sees the issue differently.

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 5:11 PM

I’m not actually convinced that society is becoming more secular and would argue probably it’s just becoming more pagan (inasmuch as Gaia worship is actually a religion vs. being treated like one). But the argument that the Catholics or any Christian sect is losing influence shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all…especially if the proposed solution is for the church(es) to become more pagan to keep trying to fill pews. God was never about quantity over quality, it would be better to adhere closely to the tenets and be a minority.

John_G on February 20, 2013 at 5:20 PM

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Interesting how it leaves this verse out the very next one 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

So I am left to believe that the Church could care less if their Priest burn. It is well known that very few Priest keep their vows to virginity.

Funny to start by saying there is no support in Scripture for this but so what you should not mock us for doing it anyway.

Adam was given Eve because it is not good for man to be alone.

Paul was just justifying himself being single. Nothing wrong with that especially when it made it clear that others had better marry or burn.

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 5:22 PM

When Protestants are willing to have an intellectually honest discussion as to the history of mass executions…rapes of nuns…seizure of Catholic property & wealth and Persecution of Catholic clergy and laity in formerly Catholic Nations during the reformation and subsequent centuries…

Then we can talk about the injustice of Torquemada.

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 4:21 PM

You are saying they eventually took some of what we took from them back. Thus we will not talk about taking it first.

Hugh?? How does that follow?

Add up the numbers from the letters on the Popes crown 666 same in Latin or Roman Numerals. No funny business just add them up.

The Holy Roman Empire ruled 1260 years not my word check it out yourself.

The Church fostered genocide all over the world very well documented. Spain was especially bad because that was just two groups of Catholics fighting for control of the Church. But the Spanish lost and were mostly murdered.

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 5:08 PM

“Now granting for the sake of argument, that all that is usually said of Catholic persecutions is true, the fact remains that Protestants, as such, have no right to denounce them, as if such deeds were characteristic of Catholics only. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones . . .

It is unquestionable . . . that the champions of Protestantism – Luther, Calvin, Beza, Knox, Cranmer and Ridley — advocated the right of the civil authorities to punish the ‘crime’ of heresy . . . Rousseau says truly:

The Reformation was intolerant from its cradle, and its authors were universal persecutors . . .

Auguste Comte also writes:

The intolerance of Protestantism was certainly not less tyrannical than that with which Catholicism is so much reproached. (Philosophie Positive, IV, 51)

What makes, however, Protestant persecutions specially revolting is the fact that they were absolutely inconsistent with the primary doctrine of Protestantism — the right of private judgment in matters of religious belief! Nothing can be more illogical than at one moment to assert that one may interpret the Bible to suit himself, and at the next to torture and kill him for having done so!

Nor should we ever forget that . . . the Protestants were the aggressors, the Catholics were the defenders. The Protestants were attempting to destroy the old, established Christian Church, which had existed 1500 years, and to replace it by something new, untried and revolutionary. The Catholics were upholding a Faith, hallowed by centuries of pious associations and sublime achievements; the Protestants, on the contrary, were fighting for a creed . . . which already was beginning to disintegrate into hostile sects, each of which, if it gained the upper hand, commenced to persecute the rest! . . . All religious persecution is bad; but in this case, of the two parties guilty of it, the Catholics certainly had the more defensible motives for their conduct.

At all events, the argument that the persecutions for heresy, perpetrated by the Catholics, constitute a reason why one should not enter the Catholic Church, has not a particle more force than a similar argument would have against one’s entering the Protestant Church. In both there have been those deserving of blame in this respect, and what applies to one applies also to the other.

(Stoddard, 204-205, 209-210)…

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/protestant-inquisition-reformation.html

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Obviously I believe the Catholic Church to be the Whore of the Earth.

However this is completely wrong. If the EU is able to destroy the Catholic Church they will follow that by destroying Christianity in totality.

I leave it to GOD to judge. But I do seek out truth just the facts for me. I do not believe in restricting religion.

However Islam is not just a religion they are a Political System as well and the Political is the greater part of what Islam is. It is not compatible with any other Political System period. It should be illegal in every country.

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 5:08 PM

“It is unquestionable . . . that the champions of Protestantism – Luther, Calvin, Beza, Knox, Cranmer and Ridley — advocated the right of the civil authorities to punish the ‘crime’ of heresy . . . Rousseau says truly:

The Reformation was intolerant from its cradle, and its authors were universal persecutors . . .

Auguste Comte also writes:

The intolerance of Protestantism was certainly not less tyrannical than that with which Catholicism is so much reproached. (Philosophie Positive, IV, 51)

What makes, however, Protestant persecutions specially revolting is the fact that they were absolutely inconsistent with the primary doctrine of Protestantism — the right of private judgment in matters of religious belief! Nothing can be more illogical than at one moment to assert that one may interpret the Bible to suit himself, and at the next to torture and kill him for having done so!

Nor should we ever forget that . . . the Protestants were the aggressors, the Catholics were the defenders. The Protestants were attempting to destroy the old, established Christian Church, which had existed 1500 years, and to replace it by something new, untried and revolutionary. The Catholics were upholding a Faith, hallowed by centuries of pious associations and sublime achievements; the Protestants, on the contrary, were fighting for a creed . . . which already was beginning to disintegrate into hostile sects, each of which, if it gained the upper hand, commenced to persecute the rest! . . . All religious persecution is bad; but in this case, of the two parties guilty of it, the Catholics certainly had the more defensible motives for their conduct.

At all events, the argument that the persecutions for heresy, perpetrated by the Catholics, constitute a reason why one should not enter the Catholic Church, has not a particle more force than a similar argument would have against one’s entering the Protestant Church. In both there have been those deserving of blame in this respect, and what applies to one applies also to the other.

(Stoddard, 204-205, 209-210)..”

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/protestant-inquisition-reformation.html

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 5:33 PM

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

The Catholics are the ones in the Glass House. They can not defend themselves so they just try to shut every one out or ignore them. Just what Satan would want.

Jesus constantly based his teachings on previous scriptures. He had no problem with debate he never ever said shut up just trust me.

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 6:29 PM

The Catholics are the ones in the Glass House. They can not defend themselves so they just try to shut every one out or ignore them. Just what Satan would want.

Jesus constantly based his teachings on previous scriptures. He had no problem with debate he never ever said shut up just trust me.

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Having read your comments, you are coming across as judgemental and uncharitable. Quite frankly, you also seem uninformed since you are making very general sweeping statements. Do you think you will win more people to whatever protestant sect you call home by attacking Catholics?

DCGamer on February 20, 2013 at 8:03 PM

The Catholic church brought us the Dark Ages. They committed genocide to such an extent it would make Hitler blush. They attacked Christians as well as all others. You either believed their Pope was divine or you died. Add up the Latin numbers on the Popes crown 666. The Holy Roman Empire ruled for 1260 years just exactly like the bible said 42 months = 1260 days or years as common in the bible.
Paul said All men sin and fall short of the Glory of GOD. Yet the Pope is somehow an exception not according to Christ or Paul.

Steveangell on February 20, 2013 at 3:35 PM

What do you know, even Steveangell does math.

Seriously, are you insane?

You posted this at 3:35.

335 = 333 + 2
Thus “plus” looks like the cross Jesus was crucified on.
Since we’re talking about evil and stuff, tip the cross over a bit.

333 x 2 = 666

Get away Satan, who the Hell do you think you’re fooling?

RINO in Name Only on February 20, 2013 at 8:06 PM

“This is the fundamental problem in American politics,” Dean said. “Somebody has to tell the middle class that either your taxes are going up or your programs are going to get cut, or else we’re going to go into financial oblivion.”

Howard must have been drunk or over medicated. Party members are not supposed to speak such truths.

farsighted on February 20, 2013 at 9:38 PM

What makes, however, Protestant persecutions specially revolting is the fact that they were absolutely inconsistent with the primary doctrine of Protestantism — the right of private judgment in matters of religious belief! Nothing can be more illogical than at one moment to assert that one may interpret the Bible to suit himself, and at the next to torture and kill him for having done so.

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Very good points. I wish you were around the other day to foil me instead of the folks I got.

Anyway, I have a geographical answer answer to your remarks about Protestantism and religious persecution.

The American Thirteen Colonies.

And I proudly offer this from my favorite state:

http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/

And I offer this from the UVA teacher to those on this thread who recently observed that Muslims would make great fertilizer:

Over the years, students who take my course in New Religious Movements enter with the same perspective of the broader culture – extreme skepticism, if not outright disdain, toward groups that popular culture knows as “cults.” Early in the term I tell them that how we respond to new religions is the real test of our commitment to religious freedom. Commitment to religious freedom, I argue, is in our self-interest, even if we have not religious beliefs ourselves. Religious freedom requires we “tolerate” groups we consider to be deviant and even troublesome.

This might include Muslims or even Mormons and the Branch Dividians (Waco, for those who don’t know).

IlikedAUH2O on February 20, 2013 at 9:58 PM

IlikedAUH2O on February 20, 2013 at 9:58 PM

My paternal immigrant ancestors are from two main lines.

Presbyterian Ulster Scots who settled in the Virginia Frontier and the son fought in the revolutionary war.

Later Irish Roman Catholics on my paternal grandmother’s side fleeing one of the famines shortly after the slow reform of the Penal laws in Ireland settled in St. Louis.

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 10:29 PM

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

.
I answered your claim that celibacy for the clergy isn’t mentioned in the bible.

I provided a link that has a concise history of the doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church as the Eastern Church(s) sees the issue differently.

workingclass artist on February 20, 2013 at 5:11 PM

.
The link that you provided, took me to a site selling the book you were pointing me to.
I simply wasn’t prepared to buy the book, read it, THEN come back and respond to you.

I believe I can “cut to the chase” here, by stating that any ordinances and traditions that are being practiced by Christians (including, but in no way limited to Roman Catholic Church), but are not laid out in the New Testament (include the Apocryphal books, if that helps), constitute the “doctrines and commandments of men, that make the Word of God of no effect.”
[Mark 7:1-13]

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Give the Left ever-increasing control over education at all levels, with full public funding support, for 40 or 50 years, and the institutions and faculties grow fat and lazy and their product substandard.

Public education and subsidized higher education in this country is where the morals, traditions, philosophies, and competence of our Republic have been under constant, withering assault. Until government is out of those areas, nothing will change. Nothing CAN change.

Adjoran on February 21, 2013 at 5:52 AM

Wow. The above comments section with all the whining about who did what to who in the past 2K years of history, and ordinances, vows, Catholic versus Protestant blah blah blah — relate that to the OP article. You want a reason for “decline of influence”? It is right in front of you.

SunSword on February 21, 2013 at 7:27 AM

The above comments section with all the whining about who did what to who in the past 2K years of history, and ordinances, vows, Catholic versus Protestant blah blah blah — relate that to the OP article. You want a reason for “decline of influence”? It is right in front of you.
SunSword on February 21, 2013 at 7:27 AM

I seriously doubt that. These arguments have been going on for centuries and currently the debate is less frequent, public and less intense than it has been for 500 years.

tommyboy on February 21, 2013 at 8:04 AM

The core problem with people is that they are self-centered. Even parents of children and grandchildren who want better things for them have a motivation of “pride in providing better for them.” There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for your children, however to the extension of that in neglecting those in need around you.. that makes it pretty selfish. Provide for your family, help those in need, and don’t forget that you answer to a higher calling in your actions. Do you understand?

TXConserv on February 21, 2013 at 8:35 AM

By the way, quit talking about the blame on others in the past and start making your actions and words profitable in building others up in the present so that the future will be a place worth living.

TXConserv on February 21, 2013 at 8:38 AM

I remember, as a twenty something, reading a Jack Chick tract called “Why no revival?”. Among other things, it noted the “Catholic moment” in American politics with great fear, portraying priests burning good Protestants at the stake.

I wonder what Jack Chick would have said if the “Catholic moment” had NOT meant widespread persecution (no one’s tried to burn ME at the stake) but greater faithfulness to the original Bible’s teachings than most Protestant churches can muster? Coupled with much, much better social outreach with things like hospitals instead of megachurches with food courts?

I think the Catholic church has been a force for good in American politics — but it wouldn’t be if it first hadn’t had its role greatly humbled. The Catholic church of the 1600s was a grotesquely corrupt organization. Say what you will about Benedict and John Paul II, they’re a serious cut above the antipopes of the renaissance. And I think a big part of that is the constant dwindling of the RCC’s temporal power.

I think the Catholic Church has served the US far better than it has Mexico or France, and I think that’s because it’s never had the power here that it did there. Maybe that’s what “separation of church and state” is all about? Maybe by taking the church out of the sphere of worldly politics it better equips it to do its proper job?

pendell2 on February 21, 2013 at 9:43 AM

The Catholic church of the 1600s was a grotesquely corrupt organization. pendell2 on February 21, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Modern post-WWII historical research does not support your claim Mr. Pendell2. In England in particular, modern historians have been largely unable find evidence that supports the English Reformation’s charges that the Roman Catholic Church in England was corrupt. Elsewhere in Europe modern historians have found that ecclesiastical corruption as charged against the Roman Catholic Church was all either introduced or aggravated by the Black Death (the Bubonic Plague) and that the Roman Catholic Church was self-reforming and significantly reducing those earlier instances of corruption by the time the Reformation started.

I think the Catholic Church has served the US far better than it has Mexico or France, and I think that’s because it’s never had the power here that it did there. Maybe that’s what “separation of church and state” is all about? Maybe by taking the church out of the sphere of worldly politics it better equips it to do its proper job?

pendell2 on February 21, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Be mindful that the “worldly” power of the Papacy long resisted and rolled back genocidal Islamic jihad against Western and Central Europe, built Western Civilization out of the ruins of the Barbarian Invasions, and financed the primary scientific research that the Scientific Revolution and the Modern World is built upon.

The relationship between America and the Catholic Church has been mutually beneficial. It was native born American Roman Catholics who contributed the beneficial experiences of American democracy to the Catholic Church as a whole during the Vatican II Council.

Mike OMalley on February 21, 2013 at 9:11 PM

I believe I can “cut to the chase” here, by stating that any ordinances and traditions that are being practiced by Christians (including, but in no way limited to Roman Catholic Church), but are not laid out in the New Testament (include the Apocryphal books, if that helps), constitute the “doctrines and commandments of men, that make the Word of God of no effect.”
[Mark 7:1-13]

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Celibacy entered the Church by way of the 1st century AD Jewish Essenes and the followers of the priestly Teacher of Righteousness. Modern archaeological research indicates that John the Baptist and the Early Jewish Church were likely rooted in no small part in 1st century Essene communities that practiced celebacy.

Your use of Mark 7:1-13 is tendentious at best. It is difficult to imagine how any respectable authority could get away with proposing Sola Scriptura today, if had not been first instituted by the Reformation before the advent of modern social science and modern Biblical research. Knowing what we now know about culture and the transmission of oral history in Semitic cultures during Antiquity any original proposition in favor of Sola Scriptura would likely be “dead on arrival” today. It’s just not intellectual and historically tenable.

Mike OMalley on February 21, 2013 at 9:35 PM

I believe I can “cut to the chase” here, by stating that any ordinances and traditions that are being practiced by Christians (including, but in no way limited to Roman Catholic Church), but are not laid out in the New Testament (include the Apocryphal books, if that helps), constitute the “doctrines and commandments of men, that make the Word of God of no effect.”

[Mark 7:1-13]

listens2glenn on February 20, 2013 at 10:32 PM

.
Your use of Mark 7:1-13 is tendentious at best. It is difficult to imagine how any respectable authority could get away with proposing Sola Scriptura today, if had not been first instituted by the Reformation before the advent of modern social science and modern Biblical research. Knowing what we now know about culture and the transmission of oral history in Semitic cultures during Antiquity any original proposition in favor of Sola Scriptura would likely be “dead on arrival” today. It’s just not intellectual and historically tenable.

Mike OMalley on February 21, 2013 at 9:35 PM

.
Saying “Your (my) use of Mark 7:1-13 is tendentious at best”, is a charge (accusation) of ‘taking it out of context’, or ‘twisting it to fit an agenda.’
You’re going to have to explain ‘in what way or how’ my use of Mark 7:1-13 is doing that.

I believe that [II Peter 1:(the entire chapter)] is a good (but not the only) argument for “Sola Scriptura”. I’m pretty sure that’s pre-Reformation.

[Galatians 1:6-9] doesn’t mention scripture specifically, but I still believe it applies.

I believe Revelation 22:18-19 applies to all scripture, and not JUST the book of Revelation.

If you or anyone else doesn’t believe the same, all I can do is shrug my shoulders and say “Okay, you’re on your own.”

listens2glenn on February 24, 2013 at 8:22 PM

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