"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Monday, February 12, 2007

Parasitic Catholicism

Fr. Al Kimel of Pontifications has posted an especially trenchant piece of that title. It's a response to the defensive reaction of Anglican priest "Fr WB" of Whitehall to a passage from 19th-century Orthodox theologian Alexei Khomiakov's critique of Anglicanism and private judgment. Khomiakov's critique was essentially the same as Newman's, and elicits from Fr WB the same sort of reaction that many of Newman's Anglican contemporaries had to the great convert's critique. Read Fr. Kimel's article. It sums up a great deal very economically.

I myself have written in the same vein for Pontifications, regarding both Anglicanism in particular and Protestantism in general. Since my primary interest is in nominal Catholics who think like Protestants, I invite Catholics and Protestants to check out those writings if you haven't already. Indeed, it is sometimes thought that the sort of argument given by Newman, Khomiakov, Kimel, and myself is distinctively Catholic. Fr WB seems to think that, if we're right, then Anglicans who really want to be Catholic—as distinct from privately imagining themselves to be Catholic—should immediately "pope." But I don't think that follows; they could "dox" and achieve essentially the same result, as evidenced by Khomiakov himself. Of course, as a Catholic I think they could achieve it more thoroughly by poping than by doxing; but the essential move away from Protestantism to the true Faith will have been made all the same.

The move is simple. It is one from having religious opinions that, for the most part or even entirely, happen to be true, to one in which one has supernatural faith by virtue of submission to an ecclesial body deriving its teaching authority from Christ himself. The former is parasitic on the Faith and the Church; the latter is the virtue by which one adheres to the Faith taught infallibly by the true churches.
blog comments powered by Disqus