torsdag 23 april 2015

The Mexican in Edinburgh and Church History

Suppose you heard a story like this :

When I arrived in Edinburgh, on Thursday, I met a man I had corresponded with who seemed sane (as usually in the letters we had exchanged) except he had a funny accent, notably how he pronounced the letter R. He invited me home over the weekend, very friendly he was. On Friday he started behaving like an alcoholic, since he offered me a glass which was apparently grappa which had been spoiled by adding a piece of burned wood. Nearly no taste of grapes left in it! No sober man would drink such a mistreated grappa! On Saturday, he went one worse, he offered me some funny stuff (I ate it so as not to anger him anyway), he called it haggis and had the audacity to admit it was sheep entrails. I mean, has he never heard of hygiene? But worst of all, Sunday morning I really fled, he was all dressed up as a transvestite, wearing skirts and all, even asked me how I liked his … what was the word? … kilt. I mean, this means he must have been going mad over the weekend, doesn’t it? Before I left Edinburgh, I saw other transvestites in “kilt” too, it seems they are all going mad. Totalmeeente loooocos!

You would for one thing note that he misunderstood more or less everything he objected to. Whisky is not a grappa, but a grain liquor. It has a taste of burned peat smoke right from before it becomes beer, since that is how they roast malt. What the Mexican visitor took for remaining very weak taste of grapes was really an added such, since whisky is 5 to 10, sometimes more years in caskets that had served exactly once to transport Sherry. Sheep entrails are obviously properly washed before going into haggis and using them is not ignorance of what real meat is like, it is reluctance to let even byproducts of sheep slaughter go to waste. You see, the Scots perhaps have a few less perros to spend their butcher’s entrails on. And wearing kilt goes back to wearing a kind of toga with a belt, and then keeping the lower part. Even the Mexican might know that togas were worn by people before they had trousers. So, wearing a “kilt” has nothing to do with being transvestite.

But another trait of his story is that he hasn’t grasped that the Scotsman was doing these things all of his at least adult life. Since he could wear anything beyond toddler dresses, he has been wearing kilt as a sign of national pride any time he has been dressing up. Since he was weaned, he has been eating haggis occasionally. Since he was adult enough to drink any strong drink, whisky has been part of that. I just tried to explain some of this to the Mexican.

Ah no! That can’t be true! Cascaras! I have never heard him speak of whisky all the time we corresponded, I have never seen him allude to wearing kilt, and he never even said a word about haggis!

See what is wrong? He got into his head that the three things are somehow objectionable, he can’t admit they might not seem so at all to the Scotsman, and he demands that if the Scotsman had been doing these things before, he really MUST have had the honesty to previous to meeting admit such shameful things.

Except, to the Scotsman these things were never shameful at all in the first place. And the reason he never mentioned them in the mail was that he was writing about something else, like the rising of Jacobites in 1713 and again in 1745, since the Mexican had heard of Rob Roy and Waverley (but not read them himself, or he would have known about the togas that preceded kilt and about whisky, perhaps haggis too, though I do not recall that.) That is what Protestantism is like when it argues about Catholic unbiblical heresies.

Carl Wieland (who seems to feel however retired he may be from directing CMI, writing is not something you retire from), gave a very good picture about the progressive revelation over OT to NT:

It is true that there is a progress of doctrine in the Bible. A better description might be a progressive revelation. The great preacher J. Sidlow Baxter explained it like a window blind being gradually raised. The light of the sun outside (analogous here to God’s truth, the glory of the Gospel) is unchanging—but through this stepwise revealing, ever more of this pre-existent light becomes apparent.

So, the Protestant may suspect, if we “keep adding new doctrines” (as he thinks we did over two millennia) do we feel the window blind needs more raising? No. In the timeline which follows, and which BLURTS OUT IN CAPITAL LETTERS that 1870 was when Papal infallibility was defined as dogma, the fact is not addressed that it was on that same occasion also defined that Popes cannot add to revelation, they can only, basically, guard what is revealed from new misunderstandings.

This is the most basic misunderstanding behind the timeline given. Like the Mexican thought the Scotsman took to spoiled grappa on Friday only, to eating entrails on Saturday only, to being a transvestite on Sunday only, every time starting a new madness which he had hitherto been preserved from, so also the Protestant very usually picks a year in which a doctrine is documented, thinks it is first documented in that year because the historian just hasn’t found or hasn’t understood the documents previous to that year, and concludes that such and such a year is when Catholicism started going mad in such and such a way. Also, he is very like the Mexican even “documenting” that the Scotsman had never eaten haggis, drunk whisky or been clothed in kilt previous to his visit by pointing to all of his correspondence and saying “not a word of haggis here, not a word of whisky here, not a word of kilts here!” – since when he goes to earlier writings and doesn’t find the doctrines or practices he objects to, he is overlooking the fact that such and such a writing which he uses as example in his negative inductive reasoning about “Mariolatry previous to 432” or similar, simply had other things to speak about than the exact words in which the Blessed Virgin was already being called blessed by “every generation” (Luke 1:48) previous to 432 as well as after 432 (and that also by the side which lost the council of 432, the Nestorians).

But now, let’s take a look at the timeline, not as given, but with my comments. Each item is cited as given before I comment it. This is not a timeline of a shutter or window blind is gradually raised, it is a timeline of how a painting is gradually restored where colour pieces flake, so that the picture remains as it was originally painted.

A Supposed Time Table for « introduction of Roman Catholic heresies »

I have seen others, but I’ll comment on this one, since it’s circulating on FB. And if I see some other one, with slight variations, I might not bother to go through a whole other list again, I might just attach a comment about the variation onto it.

310 AD
Prayer for the dead introduced
Already answered here:

1) Salute ... the Household of Onesiphorus, 2) Answering an Attack Against Prayers for the Dead

In other words, the answer is, as you could perhaps guess from my analogue with the Scotsman misunderstood by a Mexican, prayers for the dead were going on, both in St Paul’s time and even in the times of Maccabees, centuries before Christ. Praying for the dead was therefore part of what Carl Wieland called the gradual raising of the window blind, and was clearly there before the window was totally open. And even before the Maccabees, it was being recommended, in a form which has to do with Indulgences, by the older to the younger or the two Tobias.

I am not sure if the year 310 is a year which actually documents this practice, or if rather the historian was (and correctly so) sure it was going on before Constantine legalises the Christian Church, but he wanted to have an intro year as late as possible before the year 313, in which Catholic practices were revealed on a large scale to the world and clearly included praying for the dead.

375 AD
The worship of saints
I don't know where to start here. See later on canonisation.
394 AD
The Mass adopted

That happened on the Last Supper, every Apostle adopted it wholeheartedly except Judas the traitor. That Mass is a sacrifice is stated Hebrews 13:10, that it is not another sacrifice than that of Calvary is very clearly stated earlier in Hebrews, which leaves us with Holy Mass, instituted at Last Supper, being same sacrifice as that of Calvary. Which is what we believe and what Trent defined. Same sacrifice, only under two different forms.

Contrast the animal sacrifices during Older Law : these were not same sacrifice, but a sacrifice symbolically prophetic of it. Its God was the same, but its victim was not the same, lambs and doves being only symbols and shadows of what was to come. Therefore, its priesthood also is not the same. Therefore, as said in Hebrews, the priest of the New Testament is ONE, which means – if you look at scenes like Last Supper or meetings after Resurrection, the first 12 priests (or after Resurrection only 11 left) were told to do what Christ had done and sent by Christ, as Christ by the Father and therefore the same priest as Christ.

400-410 AD
NT Canon finalised in Western Church.
Not on the list of Roman Catholic heresies, but should be included in timeline. Here is Catholic Encyclopedia on it:

So at the close of the first decade of the fifth century the entire Western Church was in possession of the full Canon of the New Testament. In the East, where, with the exception of the Edessene Syrian Church, approximate completeness had long obtained without the aid of formal enactments, opinions were still somewhat divided on the Apocalypse. But for the Catholic Church as a whole the content of the New Testament was definitely fixed, and the discussion closed.

If this is correct, how can you mistrust decisions (or supposed such) from back in 310, when you trust one from 410? Was the Catholic Church already apostate or apostasising, therefore unreliable, in 310, but no longer so in 410, and once again apostate and apostasising in 432? Obviously impossible.

432 AD
Worship of Mary developed
432 was the Third Ecumenical Council called “of Ephesus” or, by some “First of Ephesus” (while others would not consider “Second of Ephesus” as other than a “Robber Council” – it does not count as an Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church).

One might from above words get the idea some crooked paganising bishops decided that a little more Mary worship might get a few more enthusiastic pagans less enthusiastic for goddess worship and more for (adulterated) Christianity.


Antioch and Constantinople had both been “worshipping Mary”, but in Antioch the words used, in themselves not objectionable, we will see how they became so, “Mother of Christ”, while in Constantinople the words used were the title, not objectionable either, and in some ways clearer, “Mother of God”.

A new bishop of Constantinople, a new Patriarch, was called Nestorius and came from Antioch. What do you think happens when he hears people in Constantinople the word Theotokos (in English that would be the words “Mother of God”)?

Nestorius feels queezy about it. I suppose one first step was his asking people from his new see “wait, you don’t believe she is Mother of God the Father, do you?” and they answer “worry less, we are referring to Christ being God, Your Worship can hardly be an Arian, can you?”

I suppose one second step is Nestorius mustering a few other reasons as to why it could make him feel queezy.

About the third step of the story, there is no doubt. Patriach Nestorius says from the pulpit : “you can call the Blessed Virgin Mother of Christ, but you cannot call her Mother of God”. Promptly one layman – a simple faithful who was just one in the pew (if pews is the right expression, in Constantinople they stand during Holy Mass), never ordained or anything, shouts to his face: “you are a heretic!”

The rest is history. He says the layman must do penance for having in ignorance braved his bishop, explains his (as I presume perhaps newer) reasons for feeling queezy about “Mother of God”, others say the layman is right. And there comes a dispute so great, it needs a council to settle it. It decides that one is mother or father of a person, and as the person of Christ is one, and as it is God as well as Man, Mary is “Mother of God” (according to His Flesh), and not just “Mother of Christ” or as Nestorius seemed to have meant it Mother of the Human Nature in Christ.

Since then the Greek version of Hail Mary does contain the word Theotoke, the Nestorian version doesn’t. Is there one? I thought I had seen one in the Wikipedia about a year ago, but now it isn’t there. It is however certain, whether with or without Hail Mary, that Nestorians do honour the Blessed Virgin.

593 AD
Doctrine of Purgatory
This would be during the Papacy of Pope Gregory the Great. He was Pope 590 to 604. And it is true that he wrote a piece (often referred to as Dialogues, he seems to have used that form) which contain stories of ghosts coming from Purgatory – and describing it – and asking to get prayers.

Now, a Protestant acting with Catholicism as the Mexican of my fable with the Scotsman, might get the idea that the Church in Rome had prayed for dead all the years 310 to 593, without ever asking itself why or exactly how it could help, and suddenly an apparition with a ghost (which they might perhaps consider a demonic one), gives the Romans an explanation.

“Oh, Purgatory? Is that why we pray for the dead? I had been wondering!”

I think attributing Purgatory to 593 AD was a bit better, as an explanation, back when one might “credibly” pretend that prayers for the dead started in 593 too.

Since certain of the Orthodox do not believe in Purgatory, one might add, other explanations might have been “on the market”, and have been excluded in Rome due to the apparition. These other explanations do not contradict the proof texts in Maccabees and in Tobit (which the Orthodox also accept), but they do contradict the traditional RC explanation of certain NT passages, though there some would claim they speak of Hell rather than Purgatory. That is however less likely, since one of them speaks about “building on Christ” – not just of those who build with precious stones, but also of those who build with stubble.

600 AD
Worship in Latin mandated (since repealed)
I think they got the year seriously too late.

The Mass Liturgy got its latest additions to Canon Prayer under Pope Saint Gregory the Great (600 is also before he dies and after his election), but it had been in Latin as opposed to Greek a few centuries earlier.

You see, the decision to celebrate in Latin was taken because Greek ceased to be understood in Rome. This means that it was, if not a decision in favour of a true “everyday” vernacular, at least a decision like if a Catholic Bishop in England were to get permission today to exchange the Latin for the English of the King James Bible. It was, either way, a decision away from a language which was unknown to the people, not a decision to it.

What Pope Gregory decided was however – and this may be what they think of – that Anglo-Saxons should celebrate Mass in Latin and not in Anglo-Saxon.

He was certainly appealing to fact that three languages only were used on the Cross Title : “in Hebrew, Greek and Latin”. Hebrew had been the sacred language of the Old Covenant, so Greek and Latin were jointly so of the New Covenant.

This decision was not only not infallible, but it was not even claimed as infallible or at least not for long outside the context. Mass was already being celebrated in Syriac in Antioch, in Coptic in Alexandria, and some century later a Pope who succeeded Pope St Gregory the Great would very clearly bless the proposal of Sts Cyril and Method to celebrate Liturgy and translate Holy Bible to Church Slavonic – a language which as a literary language they constructed for the purpose, based on the oral usage of a then Slavonic population near Thessaloniki.

But Pope St Gregory did not see it that way. At least not when mission to Anglo-Saxons came up. Why?

For one thing, he could claim the precedent of St Patrick. He never ordained a priest or consecrated a bishop without first making sure he knew the Latin alphabet and knew Latin.

For another thing, as Father Gregory Hesse said, when saying why he disagreed with he repeal – as this Church historian claimed – some languages are such that one cannot really express everything correctly in them. How would you say “the twelve” and “the eleven” in Australian Aboriginee languages that lack numerals above three or four? Perhaps this example is a misunderstanding, perhaps they do have ways to express very succinctly how one group of disciples were fewer than another group (12 is fewer than 72) and how that group was for a time one man short (11 is one short of 12), and perhaps they can even do so without cumbrous circumlocutions. Perhaps these expressions may even have, by now, been borrowed from English. But the fact that a language can be described as lacking words for numerals above 4 (and I have read such descriptions) is a warning signal not to use that language as the standard, self sufficient, language of teaching or worship for the group speaking it. What exactly Anglo-Saxon lacked I don’t know, but it might have been unity. It may even have been lack of written literature (and St Gregory had no Cyril and Method ready to confidently supplement that lack, or none that he trusted sufficiently). Perhaps Anglo-Saxon was too close to Gothic, and he hated the idea of Liturgy in Gothic due to its being an Arian usage. This Roman Nationalism – though Irish Gaelic is not closely related to Gothic – may have been behind the decisions of Saint Patrick too.

This did not stop missionaries from developing a written Anglo-Saxon for use in teaching and preaching and to teach prayers to the laymen. In later generations, King Alfred and his Welsh friend bishop Asser could use a West-Saxon already looking back to some usage in literary context. At least tentative such.

606 AD
Claims to Papal supremacy
I was puzzled by the date. There had been a conflict about the title Ecumenic Patriarch in which Pope St Gregory was involved, but he died in 604 and his words have been construed as a denial of any bishop being over any other bishop. In 604 to 606, the Pope (I looked it up) was Sabinian – who had other fish to fry. And Boniface III was indeed made Pope next year, though hardly the first one.

607 AD
Boniface made first Pope
Which is why he is called “Boniface the Third”?

More seriously, I have some trouble seeing how St Gregory was not yet a Pope while Boniface III was one, unless it be the personal taste of John Calvin who paradoxically admired, even after founding a branch of Protestantism and denying Purgatory, Pope St Gregory, like Luther, even after attacking Monastic vows, admired St Bernhard. Or as Henry Schartau in Gothenburg (actually in Lund, but he had admirers in Gotheburg) admired St Francis of Sales – the patron saint of this blog.

So, if St Gregory can’t yet be The Beast, but Papacy has to be The Beast, well, what is left to Protestants except to claim his successor (they missed Pope Sabinian) was the first Pope?

That is grasping at straws or sifting midge and swallowing elephants.

650 AD
Feast in honor of Virgin Mary
Which one of them? There are more than one.

786 AD
Worshipping images of relics
You mean 787, right? That was Second Council of Nicaea, the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

And you mean “images AND relics”. The one relic you can adore an image OF is the True Cross. Protestants do it to this day. In Christ’s case there are no bones to serve as relic, since He ascended, but there is the True Cross, and very probably the Shroud and the Sudarium, kept separately in Turin and Oviedo. Also, the Crown of Thorns, kept here in Paris.

Now, the timeline makes it out as if images AND relics hadn’t been worshipped in any way shape or form before 787.

But fact is, if that had been the case, why would Byzantine Emperors (with whom these Protestants agree) have persecuted faithful for “worshipping images and relics” from 726 to 787?

When we say perhaps Methodism was founded as a separate denomination in 1784 (when John Wesley “ordained” ministers without “authorization”) or 1791 (when he died and split was finalised), we do not expect to see Anglicans had persecuted Methodists since 1725! It makes more sense to say Methodism was founded as a practice among Anglicans (involving Wesley Brothers) in 1738 before it was facing persecution in 1739 (on account of open air preachers who, “unlike John Wesley”, were not ordained).

[In case you were puzzled by the citation marks, no, we Catholics do NOT recognise Anglican Holy Orders, we do not recognise them as having apostolic succession or as having had it since basically the Reformation. Which means we consider an Anglican minister at this time or later claiming to be ordained to be a fraud.]

So, you are saying the worship of images and of relics was introduced in 786 (or 787, perhaps you meant?) after being persecuted but not yet invented since 726? Shall we settle for the Back to the Future scenario or will you buy my parallel with the Mexican who misunderstood the Scotsman? What you are saying involves a time paradox!

I would seriously ask you to consider the scenario I gave with my fable about the Mexican guest. St Helen had honoured the relics of the Passion of Christ as soon as she could by excavations on Calvary. And she was mother of Constantine I, she was hardly doing this in 786! St Genevieve of Paris (and of Nanterre, where I am right now, when writing these words) found the area where she lived somewhat ignorant of why relics should be honoured, so she made a propaganda campaign for them. It involved miracles happening due to contact with relics. But this was actually pretty old news, though it was still news to people hearing her (and this means Catholicism was more into lay preachers in 512 than Anglicanism was 1250 years later : women are not ordained). The first degree relics of Elisaeus had raised a dead man during the Old Testament (IV Kings 13:21), while the second degree relics of Saint Paul had both cured and exorcised (Acts 19:12).

The reason we do not have the original manuscripts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is not that one didn’t care for these as relics, it is rather that under the Iconoclasm of Byzantine Emperors they were either destroyed or hidden. These Emperors pretended the books were being worshipped instead of God. First there was the period 726 to 787, involving Emperor Leo III Isauros (The Horrible), and his son Constantine V, then came Leo IV, whose widow Irene as regent for Constantine VI, convoked the Council one year after being widowed.

Ah, that is perhaps where 786 comes from. Death of the Persecutor Leo IV. Whose widow is not persecuting any more.

850 AD
Use of “Holy Water”
I do not know what this refers to, seriously. Not what occasion in 850, that is. I know what Holy Water is, and it is older.

995 AD
Canonization of dead saints
Have you heard of the Roman Martyrology?

In it, date after date, all year round, martyrdom dates were added all through the 280 years (or as soon in them as there were martyrs in Rome) between 33 and 313. Later, some non-martyred saints were also added. Eventually these became the staple. If not in numbers (one martyrdom is about 20.000 at one occasion), at least in dates, in feasts. But this means canonisations, as inscriptions in Roman (and similar) Martyrologies, had been going on for centuries. Well before 995, whatever event in Church history this new “introductory date” may refer to.

Like the Sunday when the Mexican visitor ran out from the house of his host was not the first time that Scotsman wore a kilt.

998 AD
Fasting of Fridays and during Lent
Protestants might like to believe this, but if anything changed that year, it was rather making Wednesdays outside Lent or Ember Days fast free, as one had before fasted on Wednesdays as well. This goes back to Didaché of the Twelve Apostles, a First Century resumé of their teaching, though not part of NT canon. OK, Lent was added after Didaché, in the time of Constantine.

What did happen with some regularity afterwards was hungry Catholics trying to get to eat a little more (not like a normal day but a little more) a little earlier than the stipulations, some bishop granting it, some other bishop saying he had no right to grant it, and some Roman decision making once again an updated version of the exact number of days and exact hours before first meal and exact dishes one could and could not eat.

One of these updates happened in 998, probably, but once again, the Scotsman had eaten haggis plenty of times before the one in which the Mexican guest caught him doing so. Though, if he was a Catholic Scotsman, not during Lent. Or, not during Fridays in Lent. Or, not during Fridays and Wednesdays and Saturdays after first Sunday in Lent. BUT on Sundays even in Lent. See what I mean?

Christ said the friends of the bridegroom shall fast when the bridegroom is taken away from them. Orthodox explain fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays precisely on account of this : Wednesday Holy Week Judas took away Christ from the Church by taking the 30 coins of silver. Friday, soldiers took Him away to Calvary. Hence, the most standard days of fasting are Wednesdays and Fridays.

He also said one’s justice had to be greater than that of Pharisees, now we know (and it’s read by Orthodox during Lent) that a Pharisee enumerated among his good deeds – which he should do, he should just not have bragged about them on the occasion – of fasting twice a week. So, fasting less often than Pharisees, does it make sense if we are to be more just than they?

1003 AD
Feast of the dead introduced
Comment, citing mostly from Catholic Encyclopedia
The commemoration of all the faithful departed is celebrated by the Church on 2 November, or, if this be a Sunday or a solemnity, on 3 November. The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy and all the Masses are to be of Requiem, except one of the current feast, where this is of obligation.”

This is the current discipline, now for History – and Geography:

“In the early days of Christianity the names of the departed brethren were entered in the diptychs. Later, in the sixth century, it was customary in Benedictine monasteries to hold a commemoration of the deceased members at Whitsuntide. In Spain there was such a day on Saturday before Sexagesima or before Pentecost, at the time of St. Isidore (d. 636). In Germany there existed (according to the testimony of Widukind, Abbot of Corvey, c. 980) a time-honoured ceremony of praying to the dead on 1 October. This was accepted and sanctified by the Church. St. Odilo of Cluny (d. 1048) ordered the commemoration of all the faithful departed to be held annually in the monasteries of his congregation. Thence it spread among the other congregations of the Benedictines and among the Carthusians.

“Of the dioceses, Liège was the first to adopt it under Bishop Notger (d. 1008). It is then found in the martyrology of St. Protadius of Besançon (1053-66). Bishop Otricus (1120-25) introduced it into Milan for the 15 October. In Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, priests on this day say three Masses. A similar concession for the entire world was asked of Pope Leo XIII. He would not grant the favour but ordered a special Requiem on Sunday, 30 September, 1888.

“In the Greek Rite this commemoration is held on the eve of Sexagesima Sunday, or on the eve of Pentecost. The Armenians celebrate the passover of the dead on the day after Easter. “

In other words, feast existed earlier. Catholic Encyclopedia online has a typo “praying to the dead” it shall of course read, as link proves, “praying for the dead”.

So, shall we say that Monday November 3 was not the first time this Catholic Scotsman took a black kilt rather than a tartan when going to Church, even though the Mexican gues may have thought so?

But the date changed to the present one in Latin Rite pretty near the date given by the Protestant Church Historian. Bravo!

1074 AD
Celibacy of the priesthood
If you were wondering if these Prots did EVERYTHING according to the fable of the Mexican and the Scotsman, no, not quite.

Before Gregorian Reform (they might be off by some years or be referring to its introduction in England), it happened that married men were ordained. It still happens among Greeks and Ukrainians. It happened on Iceland up to Reformation. If Pope Michael is the true Pope, the rule of ordaining ONLY celibates has by now been revoked.

Ordaining, alongside married men, celibates, is as old as the New Testament.

1076 AD
Dogma of Papal infallibility
Dogma or doctrine?

A Catholic truth may go through several stages of diverse doctrinal dignity.

Some are of course dogma as soon as revealed or with only decades between revelation and writing down – namely the truths that are directly and unambiguously stated in Holy Bible. If you say Jesus was born in Nazareth, you are a heretic, unless you are only ignorant of Scripture. If you say Nimrod had to invent an Esperanto before the Tower to get all men together, you are also a heretic, since the Bible states up to the Tower of Babel all men (at least after the Flood, but very probably, even on linguistic grounds, before the Flood as well) spoke one language. And that separate languages were miraculously produced to stop the Tower from being built.

1090 AD
Prayer beads
Commenting not myself, but quoting Catholic Encyclopedia
Rationalistic criticism generally ascribes an Oriental origin to prayer beads; but man's natural tendency to iteration, especially of prayers, and the spirit and training of the early Christians may still safely be assumed to have spontaneously suggested fingers, pebbles, knotted cords, and strings of beads or berries as a means of counting, when it was desired to say a specific number of prayers. The earliest historical indications of the use of beads at prayer by Christians show, in this as in other things, a natural growth and development. Beads strung together or ranged on chains are an obvious improvement over the well-known primitive method instanced, for example, in the life of the Egyptian Abbot Paul (d. A.D. 341), who used to take three hundred pebbles into his lap as counters and to drop one as he finished each of the corresponding number of prayers it was his wont to say daily. In the eighth century the penitentials, or rule books pertaining to penitents, prescribed various penances of twenty, fifty, or more, paters. The strings of beads, with the aid of which such penances were accurately said, gradually came to be known as paternosters. Archaeological records mention fragments of prayer beads found in the tomb of the holy abbess Gertrude of Nivelles (d. 659); also similar devices discovered in the tombs of St. Norbert and of St. Rosalia, both of the twelfth century.

1140 AD
Doctrine of “Seven Sacraments”
1140, I expected to find one of the Lateran Councils defending them against Albigensian and Waldensian teachings, BUT I look up the year and find the publishing of Decretum Gratiani. Since it is Canon Law, it contains laws about all Seven Sacraments.

Just to be doubly sure, I will look up the Lateran Councils counted as Ecumenical too. I = 1123, II = 1139 (not 40), III = 1179, IV = 1215, V = well, that is later, 1512 – 1517.

All this is well a century after the schism of 1054.

The Orthox neither accept Decretum Gratiani (instead they have a canon law system called Pedalion or the Rudder), nor the Lateran Councils. Yet they also acknowledge same Seven Sacraments, with little variation in criteria and meaning. So, what would the Mexican have said if after leaving the Scotsman in Edinburgh on Sunday morning he had gone to Glasgow and seen the Scotsman’s brother (with whom his correspondence was briefer but not quite non-extant) also wear kilt? He had not seen the brother since Thursday, so the brother could not have gone mad same Sunday morning and they had no phone. In fact they had not been on speaking terms since Wednesday, when they met and quarrelled in Inverness, so a phone would not have been of any use. So, not likely the Edinburgh Scotsman really went mad on Sunday morning when his Glasgow brother wore it Sunday afternoon too and had not spoken to his Edinburgh brother since Wednesday.

Also, all of them are in the Gospels, or Acts or Epistles.

Yup, when it comes to Seven Sacraments, we proof-text them as clearly as if we had neither tradition nor magisterium. But we use these too, in case proof texting isn't enough to everyone.

1184 AD
The Inquisition
Ad abolendam, 4 November 1184. This one is correct insofar as Inquisition took a new turn with the threat from Albigensians/Cathars, Waldensians and a few more. They were renewing practical errors of the Iconoclast Emperors (it seems one of the Emperors of first Iconoclastic era, Constantine V Copronymus, was being honoured, along with Cain, Judas and a few more as a saint by the Cathars/Albigensians), and Albigensians/Cathars were also attacking Creation of Material World as an act of God. The first mention of reaction in this bull is the very traditional excommunication or anathema of the heretics.

The new thing is a great appeal to the collaboration of Secular arm in applying penalties for heresy. Since for Clerics this means deprivation of clerical dignity and also loss of the incomes associated with them and even for laymen my hasty perusal of the Latin text does not see any mention of death penalty, I suppose it was not around yet. When it came around, it applied to clerics too, as Giordano Bruno and Girolamo Savonarola were to find out.

Ad abolendam is a bit like the fairly new deal to extradict systematically child molesting and other pedophile priest offenders to the secular justice. When previously – just as combatting heresy previous to ad abolendam – priests guilty of not just sodomy or sexual immorality in general (including with adult women) but also of just touching a butt too obviously not by pure mishap were punished by the purely clerical discipline of defrocking.

But just as the modern deal does not specify from the side of the Church how many years a sexually offending priest must do in gaol, so also this deal did not specify what exact punishment state should give lay offenders, and the specification for clerical offenders was incompatible with death penalty being the prime goal for impenitent heretics. So, probably the Pope was not asking that about lay heretics either, but left the exact punishment open for the state to decide.

1190 AD
Sale of Indulgences
1195 an Indulgence was granted to Crusaders.

The first time indulgence was granted for monetary gifts to a project of the Church was the rebuilding of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This was shortly before Luther. Under Julius II.

The real facts serve to illustrate how little “sale of indulgences” has to do with Indulgences as they really were.

By the way, indulgences for monetary gifts were not just not continued after St Peter’s in Rome was rebuilt, they were even by the Council of Trent outlawed for the future, precisely because they could, as Luther had shown, be taken for “selling and buying” of an indulgence, hence of a Holy Thing, hence it would be simony.

Whoever made the timeline forgot to say “repealed” about the ”sale” part. But since there was nothing like “sale” until much later, the title is as erroneous as to think whisky is mistreated grappa or brandy.

1215 AD
Transsubstantiation and Confession instructed
IV Lateran Council certainly made INSTRUCTIONS on these topics. This nowhere near means it invented them.

It also made instructions about death penalty being applicable to heretics who refused to return to Catholic faith – obviously not meaning Copts or Nestorians, but the new group of heretics mentioned in Ad abolendam some decades earlier.

1220 AD
Adoration of the Wafer (Host) (worshipping of a piece of bread one has become convinced is the body of the Lord Jesus)
We DO believe the Word of the Word of God, yes. Nil hoc veritatis verbo verius. Nothing is more true than the Word of Truth. Thanks for reminding us.

As to those refusing to believe it, I am reminded of the guys taking leave of Christ in John chapter 6 (was it verse 66 too?) just after Christ had said so once before saying it finally at the Last Supper.

Your use of the word “wafer” for unleavened bread reminds me of the conflict of 1054 – do you consider Christ used ordinary leavened bread? I prefer to think he celebrated 14th of Nisan 24 hours earlier than the Jews who obeyed Caiaphas, probably in that case because sighting the new moon of first Nisan a day earlier too.

1229 AD
Bible forbidden to laymen
I cannot find a reference. A layman who knew Latin could certainly be allowed to read the Bible, in parts or in total. Biblical History was made available in certain vernaculars like the Rijmbijbel in Flemish based in Historia Scholastica. If you think ALL laymen should have been allowed to read the Bible in its entirety, consider readers such as authors of Sceptics Annotated and the fact that back then they would have been bad Catholics or even just nominal ones, not daring to declare their impiety (more probably Averroist than Atheist, back then).

1316 AD
The Ave Maria was introduced
Why then is there a Greek Orthodox corresponding prayer, the Theotoke Parthene?

Recall that brother in Glasgow, who was not on speaking terms with the one in Edinburgh since Wednesday and his also wearing kilt?

1414 AD
Cup forbidden to people at Communion
Not quite correct. Local forbiddings were common earlier, local allowings common later. Or if not common, occurring.

What happened was the condemnation of a proposal by Wycliff and Hus that such forbidding is unallowable. St Thomas had earlier argued that they were allowable, that only the priest who celebrated Mass was strictly obliged to communicate under both species.

Nice not to mention Hus and Jerome of Prague were burned. The occasion was the Council of Constance. But of course, it would have perhaps been “off topic”.

The more permanent decisions were among others, and also in this respect, the condemnation of several theses of Wycliff:

In the eighth session it was question of Wyclif, whose writings had already been condemned at the Council of Rome (1412-13) under John XXIII. In this session forty-five propositions of Wyclif, already condemned by the universities of Paris and Prague, were censured as heretical, and in a later session another long list of 260 errors. All his writings were ordered to be burned and his body was condemned to be dug up and cast out of consecrated ground (this was not done until 1428 under Bishop Robert Fleming of Lincoln). In 1418 Martin V, by the aforesaid Bull "Inter Cunctas", approved the action of the council (Mansi, op. cit., XXVII, 1210 sq.; see WYCLIFFITES).

If you really hanker back to the wicked anti-Mass book The Wicket, you can probably reconstruct its content by looking at condemnations at the Council of Constance – if you believe Catholicism accurately represents the heresies it condemns. But in that case you should also accept our description, and not Foxe’s of what Albigensian doctrines were.

But cup was not forbidden to all laymen, and tyrannicide was not forbidden to all vassals and subjects. Despite rumours to the contrary.

1439 AD
Purgatory officially decreed
If hereby you mean “decreed as dogma”, yes.

As said, a truth can go through several stages of recognition. In Florence Council, the truth of Purgatory was so studied that council dared proclaim it as Dogma. This was opposed by Mark of Ephesus, who, however, neither opposed indulgences (non-monetary indulgence works being in use among Greeks since apostles and one of them since Tobit) nor prayers for the dead. He also very clearly affirmed prayers for the dead. But he seems to have believed all are between death and final judgement after resurrection in a kind of soul sleep.

This position had even earlier been declared heretical in the West, mainly for the honour of Saints whose souls are already now wide awake in Heaven. John XXII had to retract having agreed with Greeks on soul sleep – which makes it ironic that Schismatic Greeks invoke him as example for Popes having been heretic, while on exact same issue considering Mark of Ephesus one of the three superpatristic saints called “defenders of Orthodoxy”.

1439 AD
Seven Sacraments affirmed
Over again, yes.

1545 AD
Tradition granted equal authority with the Bible
So you consider Sunday worship (one of the “traditiones non scriptae”) has less authority than Sabbath worship which in OT is textually biblical?

You consider Sign of the Cross (another one of them) has less authority than the Bible?

The really extra-biblical-textual (but not extra-biblical-doctrinal) traditions are pretty few. They are also pretty practical and down to earth.

You consider perhaps that an authoritative list on what books belong to New Testament is less authoritative than the books of the NT?

But in that case, how do we get to know where the authoritative divinely inspired texts are?

By a merely fallible, a merely human, tradition? I think not!

By a proof text for all books? There is not even one direct such.

No, by Apostolic tradition, which locally wavered but always somewhere included each canonic book of NT, always somewhere excluded the books that not belong to NT (like Didaché, which rather accurately resumes the teaching of the Twelve but is probably not by them, or like Pastor Hermas). And same thing goes for meaning of the received texts.

Some prophetic texts may indeed still contain enigmas which are only now (if I am correct) starting to get unraveled, like personal identity of latter day actors. But most texts having applications in the lives of Christians of all times, what is their use if one verse can mean one thing in one century and the opposite in the next?

And there are such things as words being or even becoming ambiguous.

Saint Paul considers his members obey “the law of sin”, but Catholic Theology has since those words narrowed the meaning of sin to acts or states that merit your damnation. Reformers then pick on that passage with a new meaning and conclude there is no such thing as real sanctification and justification and conclude the justification of a sinner must be juridical, God deciding to look through his fingers with regards to the justice of Christ which merely covers but doesn’t change the corruption. False. Saint Paul simply used the word “sin” in a broader sense as sth which is against the original state of Creation which God saw as “very good”. And therefore “tradition of exegesis” always maintained that involuntary events of concupiscence in our bodies are not damning sins, and the same goes for involuntary events of anger in our thoughts.

Reformers stating these things are damning sins (applying scholastic terminology to Bible texts using an older and less used one) are both hideously misrepresenting the Justice of God and the Justification through Christ.

1546 AD
Apocrypha received into Canon
As said, though local traditions differed for a time on which books belong to NT, the question was decided in the 400 – 410 decade for West, later for East, by tradition, by deliberate harmonising of local traditions.

One did not in 410 decide out of nowhere to include Apocalypse too, and would not have done it, if there had not been weighty local traditions in favour of it.

So also, ecclesiastical tradition had been in favour of Septuagint Books all belonging to canon. This gives a definitely more than 66 book Bible, and Trent confirms the minimum for the Latin West. Trent does not actively condemn, as far as I can see, non-Latin traditions that include additional books like IV Maccabees or chapters like Psalm 151.

1854 AD
Doctrine of Immaculate Conception
No, doctrine was already there, this is the year it becomes elevated to DOGMA. Please recall the difference between dogma and doctrine.

There had been local parts of Scotland where wearing kilt was simply not done – Lowlands (including of course Edinburgh) up to Robert Burns and those guys. Similarily there had been a local tradition against the full extent of Immaculate Conception (but not against all of it), which was taken up by reformers, spread to Russian Orthodox, excepting Old Believers, and by 1854 had become so typical of non-Catholics that those remaining in the Church of God could among other arguments consider the topic settled by defection of those still holding opposite view.

1864 AD
“Syllabus of Errors” – temporal power of the Pope proclaimed
That is like saying “Genesis” – Jews were promised Holy Land. That is a way of making Genesis hateful to a Palestinian, isn't it?

How about saying Genesis and Syllabus of Errors by Pius IX (there are a few others by other Popes and Bishops, notably Pope St Pius X and Bishop Tempier) have important things to say about God and Creation and Man and Sin of Adam and Human Society after the Fall, and Redemption? Both do that too.

I do not know which "temporal power" you mean : the right of Papacy to keep the Papal States which was being attacked by vile Modernist Italian nationalists, who destroyed decent life for part of the young population after doing so, or whether you mean the right of Church and hence Pope to an indirect power over states insofar as having a direct power over religion in a Catholic society. The former is a gift of Constantine, or at the very latest of Charlemagne. But the latter is a mission given by Christ in Matthew 28:18-20. It is included in "making NATIONS" (not just individuals from nations) "disciples" and in "teaching them to KEEP" all Christ commanded.

1870 AD
Plus a few other things, including a reaffirmation of Scripture and Tradition being infallible and inerrant, because coming from God's Revelation.

Yes, Church is infallible (which is Scriptural), Pope is head of Church on Earth (which is Scriptural), hence Pope is head of an infallible community and must as such be infallible not always and every time but whenever acting very solemnly as head of all the Church.

1950 AD
“Assumption of the Virgin Mary” (teaching the Virgin Mary ascended bodily into heaven without dying)
It is disputed whether her never dying first is part of definition or not. It was not totally clear.

One passage of the Bull seems hard to excuse from error. Then again, it's ambiguous and not part of central definition and even so there are "independent Catholic" groups of which some were separate from already Pius XII.

Update after midnight: after dying and getting buried She was resurrected and lifted up body and soul to Heaven. This is an Apostolic Tradition. Probably happened after Acts was written.

1965 AD
Mary pronounced “Mother” of the Church

If she is Mother of the Head, she is Mother of Its Body, I’d presume.

1966 AD
Pope John Paul II dismissed the “widespread idea that one can obtain forgiveness directly from God”

Clearly a forgery or grave misunderstanding : the man considered back then by most as Pope (I’m one of those disputing him the title) was “Paul VI”. Also, whether before or after Vatican II, Catholics have said one can in exceptional circumstances obtain forgiveness without going to a priest one of these exceptional circumstances might for instance being that without ones own fault, so far, one has never been aware one should normally go to a priest for grave sins committed after baptism.

So, that is why I cannot really not just believe, but even take totally seriously the Protestant version of Church History - or this kind of Protestant version. It is anyway a secondary help to keeping up the Reformation, and not the original cause for it.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
& Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St George, Soldier and Martyr

måndag 20 april 2015

Great Link : 6 Early Christian Controversies That Protestantism Can't Explain

Shameless Popery : 6 Early Christian Controversies That Protestantism Can't Explain

One of the greatest things is, it points the finger to "Protestantism" and not to "Fundamentalism".

In my experience of Modernist Lutherans, they tend to get parts of Church History about as wrong, though not as broadly so, as these Baptists. And probably these errors on Church History are shared by Modernist Baptists, like Old Earth Believers and such./HGL

PS: Also a great link:

Shameless Popery : The "Middle Church" Argument

Note that he has here either identified Catholicism and Fundamentalism and also identified Protestantism and Modernism, which is profoundely correct, but in some areas superficially paradoxical, or said that Modernist/Fundie-Trad divide is a totally other question with these words:

Now I think an honest reading of the Church Fathers themselves will support the Catholic position on any of the major issues dividing Catholics and non-Catholics.