Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Three significant aspects of Protestantism are the focus on the scriptures as the authority for belief and practice; the private interpretation of scripture, and the focus on Jesus. Holding to these allows for the ‘open table’ policy by which anyone who is dedicated to scripture and Jesus is welcome at the Communion Table. In that the Church is (for Protestants) not a divinely established institution but a fellowship of believers (‘the invisible church’), the Church plays little or no part in their theology. When it comes to belief and practice, each Protestant may simply ask himself, “What would Jesus do/say?” which unfortunately but inevitably means following a Jesus designed to their own taste.
Without a doubt, one can go to any Protestant community and find the folk there to be sincere folk dedicated to scripture and to Jesus Christ. Such formal Protestants are what I will call Honest Protestants: they know they reject belief in the Church as the ultimate authority on earth in doctrine or morality.
There are also what I call ‘Dishonest protestants’: persons who identify themselves as catholic yet reject the Church’s authority and teaching on doctrine, moral issues and liturgical discipline.
Such persons promote the Culture of Death by happily supporting artificial contraception, abortion, civil ‘marriage’ after divorce, homosexual activity, euthanasia, et al. Indeed, they seek ways to accommodate such ‘lifestyles ‘choices’ into Catholic living so that they may welcome those who practice such lifestyles to Holy Communion, thereby treating the Altar of God as akin to the Protestant Table, and the Most Blessed Sacrament as akin to the (symbolic) Protestant Holy Communion. They also see the desire women feel for the ordained ministry as 'a call of the Holy Spirit', as though he has changed his mind after 2000 years and was seeking to establish a new kind of Catholic Church not identifiable with its history and Tradition. I call such persons ‘Dishonest protestants’ simply because they are protestant in belief and practice yet they remain in the Catholic Church. They do not have the integrity that Formal Protestants demonstrate. They are, in fact, quislings, whether they know it or not, functionaries of the enemy by the very fact that they deny the Truth of Catholic teaching and moral practice, and disorder her worship. only the Father of Lies (John 8v44) could seek to destroy Truth; and liturgical chaos cannot be of God who is not a God of disorder (1 Cor.14v33).
Liturgically, such catholics refuse to follow Vatican II on the decreed retention of Latin and Gregorian chant. Nor will they follow the norms of the Reformed (1970) Roman Missal, which puts the decrees of Vatican II into practice. They refuse for example, to uphold the altar-facing celebration from the offertory onwards, and reception of Holy Communion on the tongue as the norm (reception on the hand is only by indult [indulgent permission from Rome]). They also refuse to follow such norms as the restriction of Extraordinary Ministers to exceptional circumstances (Sunday Mass is not an exceptional circumstance); the reservation of purifications to the clergy; the prohibition of eulogies at Funerals; the prohibition of laity giving talks/appeals from the lectern. They thus protest by word and by deed against Catholic Truth and liturgical norms, and can legitimately be called ‘Dishonest protestants’.
What we have in the Catholic Church today is a great mass of such ‘Dishonest protestants’. For them the Revealed Faith is easily put aside to follow the changes in secular society. They give their obedience not to the Sacred Tradition but to the prevailing sociological, psychological and political ideologies of the day. It is these folk who happily support the culture of death and joyfully ignore liturgical directives. As such, they show that they have implicitly abandoned the Catholic Faith and thus the Catholic Church (to reject Sacred Tradition they must also reject the Church, since the Church holds Tradition to be a vehicle of Divine Revelation -in which many of today’s ‘lifestyle choices’ are rebuked as intrinsically wrong).
There are many such ‘Dishonest protestants’ in the Catholic Church today. They may well be found at all levels of the Church: in Rome and in episcopal residences, in presbyteries and in pews. We can detect them whenever they say such things as ‘Tradition must be reinterpreted in light of changing times’; ‘the scriptures must be reinterpreted in light of advanced knowledge’, or ‘the Pope can change anything he wants because he is the Pope’. Another give-away are the mantras of ‘God loves you as you are’, which permits or even encourages the absence of penance and reform; and ‘What would Jesus do/say?’, by which they speak from emotion (which they label ‘the heart’) and not from reason (conscience). They thereby formulate a new faith for themselves and the world under a mistaken understanding of the authority of a Pope.
Unfortunately for them, no Pope is God; a Pope can only exercise legitimate authority over the Church when he acts in accord with Tradition. Those catholics who expect Pope Francis to side with them (or to ‘get alongside’) by abandoning long-held moral teaching in discipline (practice) if not actually in doctrine, are asking him to formally abandon the Faith delivered once for all to the saints. Yet Francis has professed himself a loyal son of the Church, so I wait for the day when he shows ‘Dishonest protestants’ (dissenting catholics) that they are wrong about him and about the Faith, which he can do by upholding Traditional doctrine and vetoing any pastoral procedures or disciplines at odds with that Doctrine. His opportunity to do this comes with the 2015 Synod. Pray for him, that as a loyal son of the Church he may remain unwaveringly united in mind and heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who alone is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
A Glossary of Terms
Honest Protestant: one who identifies as a Protestant and thus rejects the Catholic Church in her teaching and discipline; a person who demonstrates integrity.
Dishonest Protestant: one who identifies as a Catholic yet rejects the Catholic Church in her teaching and discipline; a person who lacks integrity and demonstrates duplicity.