Monday, September 29, 2008

Heretical Doctrines Do Not Develop

There is something to be said of the uniqueness of the Catholic Church in light of doctrinal development and the fact that it couldn't really be any other way.

The necessity of Doctrinal Development (hereafter known as DD) is made evident in the fact that errors cannot be built upon just as one cannot build a second story when the first already lay on a faulty foundation. When the heretics appear to progress in their doctrine, (and they often call themselves "progressive"), they are not in fact developing their doctrine; they are trading old errors for new ones. No heretical or erroneous doctrine can be seen to have developed in an organically successive manner. True DD is manifest when tradition is maintained, not abandoned and since those in error do not retain even their doctrines of yesterday (much less their starting point), they cannot be true developments.

Why then, since DD has occurred for 2,000 years (actually much longer), is the Catholic Church (if we say she alone is privy to it) not demonstrably superior to the alternatives? Or put another way, since Catholic "truth" has developed over thousands of years, how is it that an undeveloped error may seem even remotely reasonable while laid at its side? I answer in two ways:

1. The errors only have the flavor of novelty & smell as if they originate with man. In fact, they have been around from the beginning (Cain's argument is identical with a modern liberal's) and all errors originate with the father of lies in one way or another and are therefore (usually) quite clever. In summary, the errors (at least the most deceptive), while having such appearance, are at their root neither new nor find their origin in worldliness but in other-worldliness... "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood". It was not a man made lie that deceived Eve and the lie has long lost the right to be called novel.

2. There is only one truth while there are an infinite number of errors; ergo "we believe in one holy Catholic & apostolic Church". No outside group has maintained a particular error while developing it along its organic path. As soon as their error is exposed and defeated, they adopt another. Therefore, "as a dog returns to his vomit" the enemies will repeat errors which the truth has long since put asunder. So it seems the truth (the Church) is under attack from all angles all the time. This is true... all the more reason to recognize that she is the true Church. The errors have only their animosity towards truth as their common ground.

Error cannot be developed for long; only what is fully true may progress indefinitely. The truth will never run into a brick wall nor argue itself into a circle. The truth sails straight forward on an endless sea while error sails in circles close to the shore or makes a sharp left or right and immediately runs aground.

Error by its nature cannot develop (at least not indefinitely). All who have fallen victim to errors stop the development of their beliefs before they accomplish the irreparable damage they aim for. Calvin has to stop short of calling us robots, Luther has to stop short of calling post-baptismal sin meaningless, and modern liberals need to stop short of saying murder of any kind is a matter of free choice.

Reformers in general try to stop short of solo scriptura but if you challenge them on Tradition they will revert to that error. This also illustrates my point about the arbitrary switching between errors. If I told a Reformed Protestant "you don't believe in Church authority, you believe in Scripture alone" he'd say "I believe in sola Scriptura not solo Scriptura" but if I had said to the same Protestant "you deny the clear Tradition of the sacrificial nature of Christian worship" he'd say "we don't find that in the New Testament". Do you see how he trades one error for another depending on which suits his immediate need the best? Bryan Cross does.

But the point is that Catholics didn't need to stop short of calling Mary the "mother of God" nor did we need to stop short of saying she was immaculately conceived or that contraception is intrinsically evil. Right or wrong, there is a uniqueness about the Catholic insistence on development. If wrong, how is it that this doctrinal system has continuosly developed for so long without destroying itself?

Yes, there is something to be said of the uniqueness of the Catholic Church in this regard and in a host of others.

Friday, September 26, 2008

On Miracles

Bryan Cross recently asked whether stigmatas were from God or not. In an effort to avoid the meat behind Mr. Cross' question, some Protestants claimed (without sources) that per Google, Protestants also receive stigmatas. Others pointed out (again without sources) that some Catholics in Louisiana get chicken pee miracles and other voodoo related stuff. Mmm Hmm...

Still others insisted that Mr. Cross was barking up the wrong tree altogether since the Eastern Orthodox also have incorruptibles. Ok. Here's the issue - (and I had been thinking about posting something along these lines for some time now but Mr. Cross beat me to the punch) - Catholics have different sort of miracles than Protestants and probably even different from EOs - so what does that mean?

I am assuming a traditional belief in the miraculous for this discussion; i.e. they do happen - they are not all fabrications of the wishful pious. But how are the Catholic miracles fundamentally different? That they involve Mary? The Body of Christ?

It would be hard for us to envision a Protestant having a miraculous experience with the virgin Mary or with the accidents of the Eucharistic species appearing as flesh since they don't believe in those. If they had those experiences, they wouldn't likely remain Protestant for long! It would be like an atheist experience any miracle at all.

But the uniqueness of Catholic miracles is their objectivity and lingering presence. Eastern Orthodox may have this as well, and they do; but Eastern Orthodox are properly "Church" according to Rome and they are Christian in a much fuller sense than Protestants are so we would expect them to experience the "right" kind of miracles as well. Yet Catholic miracles still exceed those of the Eastern Orthodox and by no small margin. Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe etc... these are all Catholic and any one of them by itself is probably greater in terms of objectivity, visibility and lingering presence than all non-Catholic miracles combined.

There are at least two popes who are incorruptible that I know of and held on public display in Italy to this day as saints are often found this way. When they dug up St. Bernadette's body in 1933(?) it was found perfectly intact and remains in the abbey where she died until this day.

We needn't go on, the point is sufficiently made. These miracles must be pious forgeries, the work of a demon or the work of God. I see no other alternative.

So while this was not always the case, indeed in my early days as a Catholic I myself was skeptical of uniquely Catholic miracles, I have grown quick to dismiss theories which relegate the miraculous to the disposition of the witness.

Since the Catholic Church is the most visible and the most objective and the most populous; it is only fitting that her miracles should also be the most visible, objective and popular. Since Protestant miracles are largely invisible and non-falsifiable, it could be said that one's miraculous experience tends to mirror his or her own ecclesiology. (If that is true then why don't the Reformed have visible, authoritative miracles since that's what they claim to believe regarding the Church?)

Yet this is not a concession that the miraculous may indeed be relegated to the disposition of the witness unless we are to assume that there is no way to distinguish objectively between miracles or types of miracles. I.E., it may be that the true miracles which are experienced in this world are objectively representative of the true ecclesiology rather than me receiving miracles custom tailored to my own ecclesiology.

If miracles objectively happen then they must be objective themselves. If they are objective, then we do not experience miracles based on our ecclesiology (I'm speaking as the human race). We experience them as they really are. Then I would sooner believe that those whose ecclesiology is false do not experience miracles at all than that various ecclesiological beliefs experience custom miracles lest their ecclesiology be injured challenged or refuted.

Now I am not saying that God does not interact with non-Catholics nor that He does not perform supernatural acts in their lives. I would insist that all the sorts of (valid) miracles which the non-Catholic will experience, the Catholic may also experience. I do not know of any exclusively Protestant miracles except ones which I don't really believe are miracles. The Protestant may say the same thing of us Catholics regarding Guadalupe etc.. and he would be quite within reason ... so long as Guadalupe turns out to be false. But as for the incorruptible popes on display... well for that to be false it needs to be a forgery. These are the sort of objective miracles which I think mean something significant.

St. Bernadette

My family watched the 1988 movie about St. Bernadette and the miracle at Lourdes last night. What a nice movie! It wasn't quite up to par with contemporary theatrical sensibilities but in a lot of ways it exceeded anything you could hope to see on the big screen these days.

First, I found it absolutely refreshing to see the Catholic Church not portrayed as the enemy in a movie for a change. Even the scenes where Bernadette was being questioned by the hierarchical authorities, not only were they reasonable and respectful but so was she!

Which brings me to my next point that it was sobering to see a heroine portrayed without bitchiness, independence and pride as her heroic moral qualities. She was portrayed as being humble and having the heart of a servant! Wow! It is the kind of beauty that makes the world gnash their teeth.

According the note at the end of the film, it is played daily at the shrine at Lourdes. I would recommend this as a nice family film.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Philosophy Professor & Baptist Seminarian Cross the Tiber

I wanted to draw attention to a couple of blogs by some interesting converts to the faith. One, Neil Judisch a professor of philosophy at University of Oklahoma and his blog of towers and tongues.

The other, Josh McManaway traded his studies at a Southern Baptist seminary here in North Carolina for Steubenville under Scott Hahn. His blog is called A New Testament Student.

Both of them have converted to Catholicism within the last year. Welcome home fellas.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Art, Reason and Beauty

I reply that art should be called nothing else than right reason about things to be made. Their good does not consist in any disposition of the human will but rather that the work that comes to be is good in itself. The artist is not praised as an artist because of the will with which he works but because of the quality of what he makes. - St. Thomas Aquinas
Now Aquinas is speaking of art in a broader sense than "fine art" but the principle clearly applies. It is the precise opposite of what modernists think of art. They think art is beautiful because it expresses the artist. This is as absurd as saying that art (in the more general sense) derives its worth merely from the fact that it was made by men (as if it could be useless in and of itself but of worth since it is a token of self expression). This subjectification of quality within art is most painful in the fine arts of the modernists (who contradict Aquinas here) which is why their art looks like this:But there was a time when art looked like this:

When I pulled this image up on my computer screen, my son who was sitting on the floor coloring immediately jumped to his feet and ran to the computer. "What is that picture of?!" he asked in wonder. I didn't answer. He said, "I think that's a picture of heaven" and I just smiled. Poor uneducated child. He hasn't been to modern art school yet... so who can blame him for not knowing that self expression, not beauty, is what matters in art.

This reminds me of the time my younger brother was in my living room and I played a Slovakian version of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent (listen here) and he came in as if memorized, and said in that inquisitive tone that can't be mistaken: "what is that?". It's the question that we always ask when confronted with beauty - what is that beauty? where does it come from?

There is a certain objectivity in art. Otherwise, what good is it?

I wonder why such aversion to beauty in art by the liberals. After all, these modern artists are pretty much all liberals aren't they? It's largely liberals who sip cocktails at these gallery crawls isn't it? It's the liberal who sees something objectively beautiful like "The Roses of Heliogabalus" above and sees only stereotype and confinement rather than raw beauty. The liberal sees freedom from social stereotypes of beauty in the first picture. Isn't this a picture of sin? The liberal sees freedom in the ugliness of sin and only restriction and confinement in religion. Isn't this a picture of damaged reason?

In light of my essay entitled "Liturgy & the Song of the Cosmos", I was delighted to read this phrase from Pope Benedict's book "In the Beginning":
Our confrere added that Christian preaching today sounded to him like the recording of a symphony that was missing the initial bars of music, so that the whole symphony was incomplete and its development incomprehensible. With this he touched a weak point of our present-day spiritual situation.
I emphasized the line above to call attention to the concept of art being comprehensible. We do not think of music in this way. For music to make sense, it needs the potential to not make sense. So in that regard, we don't think of music as "making sense" or "not making sense", we think of it as something which need not (and cannot) be bothered by objectivity of any sort. But music, as any other art, needs certain features to compose a comprehensible form.

Beauty intends to communicate and art which lacks beauty fails to communicate. Communication needs to be comprehensible or else it is not communication. Therefore, art needs to be comprehensible or it is not art. Ugliness is both comprehensible and communicative but it is not good. But modern art isn't merely ugly (I mean some of it is) in a way that communicates ugliness (say as a medieval portrait of demonic battle); it is ugly in the sense of lacking communication; it is ugly in the sense of failing at the very thing it is expected to do.

I also want to call attention to the last line in which the bishop declares that the problem is a spiritual one. The context above is modern preaching which lacks a call to repentance. We can clearly see the parallel here. The liberals want art without beauty and forgiveness without repentance.

Liberalism is a spiritual disease that eats away at reason in various ways. This would be evident enough if they only failed to recognize beauty, but what is far worse is that they fail to recognize the superiority of beauty to ugliness.

Too Good Not to Repost

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who Founded the Catholic Church?

While trying to explain to my eight year old son why we had to go to mass every week (even if he went with maw & paw to the Presbyterian service) I asked, "Who do you think started the Catholic Church?" he answered after some contemplation "John Paul?".... Pause....

I replied, "Don't let any Protestants hear you say that".

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Adult Fetus Speaks Out

Missing a Book

I tried to buy Quasten's 4 volume "Patrology" individually instead of as a new set to save money only to find that I mistakenly purchased volume 3 of something else instead of Patrology. Now I can't actually find volume 3 as a stand alone. Anyone know where I can find it?

PS - Is anyone interested in a discounted copy of "Pathology Volume 3"? (Joke)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Augustine on Sacrifice & Praying to the Saints

I quoted Augustine briefly on the subject of the sacrifice of the mass in this post earlier. In book 22 of "The City of God", he reaffirms this belief (which he takes for granted, he does not argue for it).
he asked our presbyters, during my absence, that one of them would go with him and banish the spirits by his prayers. One went, offered there the sacrifice of the body of Christ, praying with all his might that that vexation might cease.
After providing numerous examples of the Christians praying at the relics of St. Stephen and being miraculously healed, he demonstrates against the charges of the pagans (which now the Protestants make against us) that the Christians did not worship the martyrs nor was it the martyrs' (saints') power who effected these miracles. Instead:
But our martyrs are not our gods; for we know that the martyrs and we have both but one God, and that the same. Nor yet are the miracles which they maintain to have been done by means of their temples at all comparable to those which are done by the tombs of our martyrs. If they seem similar, their gods have been defeated by our martyrs as Pharaoh's magi were by Moses. In reality, the demons wrought these marvels with the same impure pride with which they aspired to be the gods of the nations; but the martyrs do these wonders, or rather God does them while they pray and assist, in order that an impulse may be given to the faith by which we believe that they are not our gods, but have, together with ourselves, one God.
And more potently:
but to our martyrs we build, not temples as if they were gods, but monuments as to dead men whose spirits live with God. Neither do we erect altars at these monuments that we may sacrifice to the martyrs, but to the one God of the martyrs and of ourselves; and in this sacrifice they are named in their own place and rank as men of God who conquered the world by confessing Him, but they are not invoked by the sacrificing priest. For it is to God, not to them, he sacrifices, though he sacrifices at their monument; for he is God's priest, not theirs. The sacrifice itself, too, is the body of Christ, which is not offered to them, because they themselves are this body.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Understanding the Eucharist by Understanding the Kingdom

In the kingdom of Heaven, our King is gracious enough to remain with us “until the end of the earth” in Bodily form in the Eucharist (and in the Eucharist alone). Yet we maintain that it is not in the act of receiving that He becomes present as the Reformed teach (and much less is His presence only a memory like the memorialists believe); He is present in the Eucharistic species itself. We know the kingdom is identifiable then because the King is present and wherever the King is, there is the kingdom. Or, to quote a famous bishop of Antioch, “wherever Christ is, there is the Catholic Church”. And it goes without saying that if the kingdom of Israel, (a type of the kingdom of Heaven), was visible and identifiable and their king was locatable and present to them, much more then should ours be.

He is, in fact, present to us and we know exactly where to find Him. I suggest then, that understanding the Church as the kingdom of Heaven is a particularly helpful and appropriate framework for which to strengthen our Eucharistic devotion.

Our devotion to the Eucharist is that devotion rightly paid to a king and if we reject or dismiss the Eucharistic Presence, we say either that the King is not here, not wholly here, something exists along with the King (so that we may not be forced to bow before what seems a mere loaf of bread) or we simply say that we're not sure. What doctrine could ever be more obviously true or more obviously false?

As it is with all heresies, skepticism when it comes to the Eucharist leads soon to dogmatism on the very opposite of the Catholic teaching. The Westminster Confession of Faith calls Eucharistic devotion “abominably injurious” and “contrary to the nature of the sacrament” which amounts either to them not recognizing the King's presence or the Catholics blasphemously pointing to it in bread. And if the latter I ask once again, what kind of king sets up a kingdom in which most of his citizens can't tell him apart from a loaf of bread?

If Eucharistic devotion is not perfectly right, then it is perfectly wrong. And if it is wrong at all, it is a heresy. But how could it be a heresy when it developed fully before there was anyone who could call it a heresy?

Or perhaps one could point to Arianism and argue that there was a time when the Church could not rise up and call it a heresy since Christianity was (potentially) Arian by majority. This argument fails because although there might have been Arians in churches all over the empire, there was no universal Arian Church. Cardinal Newman argues that they demonstrated this themselves by still referring to Catholics as.... Catholics.

But if this argument does not convince us then we must remind ourselves of what we're talking about to begin with: the kingdom of Heaven (that is, the Church). I say this to emphasize that the Church was founded by Christ as a kingdom is founded by a king. No king ever founded a democracy and as such, the Church is not one. For to argue on the grounds only of majority is not the same as arguing on the grounds of unanimity. When the Church is unanimous, we may, nay we must, receive her voice as infallible. Such is the case with the Eucharist even prior to Trent and even prior to the heresies of the 16th century which sought to undermine Catholic teaching.

If the true king comes to restore a dynasty and at the same time start a new one, the new must be greater than the old. Visibility is greater than invisibility and we know this because God said “let there be light” which shows that light is greater than not light. If the kingdom of Heaven is the goal and fulfillment of the kingdom of Israel, we can compare it to our resurrected bodies being the goal and fulfillment of our present bodies. We know from the gospels that the resurrected body has all the features of our current bodies – visible, tangible, able to interact in space and time without being a part of this world.

From this, let even the fool understand, the kingdom of Heaven has all the features of the kingdom of Israel (God forbid we should say anything less) – present in space and time, visible, tangible, locatable, authoritative. And of course, the Body of the risen Christ is still present with us in a way not inferior to His original Incarnate presence. Nothing less would be suitable of the bodily resurrection, nothing less would suffice to understand the kingdom of Heaven and nothing less is adequate for us to recognize Christ in the Eucharist.

Brothers, Christianity is primarily the heralding of a conquering King. We do not herald a King who turned a visible kingdom into an invisible democracy. We dare not speak of a King who came to change a physical body into a spiritual essence. And finally, we do not say that Christ took ordinary bread, and let it remain so only urging us to remember what it symbolized or even granting that we would receive Him by eating that ordinary bread. That is, the Kingdom of Heaven is not received by ordinary earthly means – it is supernatural. Resurrection of the body is not attained by ordinary means – it is supernatural. Far less then, do we receive Christ by ordinary means of consuming bread and wine. Something supernatural happens (and not just along side the bread & wine). For the body does not resurrect along side death but supernatural power counters the ordinary result of death. And the Messiah did not usher in the kingdom of heaven alongside the ordinary course of Israel's natural progression as a nation, but countered the natural result of Israel's self destructive behavior. Therefore we say again, nothing ordinary is happening in the consecration; indeed, nothing ordinary would be worthy of the Catholic faith.

The Kingdom of Heaven is greater than the Kingdom of Israel, the risen body is greater than the earthly body and the precious Body & Blood are greater than the bread & wine and none of these pairs exist simultaneously or are effected by any natural course of events.

Glory be to Jesus Christ the risen King.

The Kingdom of Heaven & the Kingdom of Hades

If, as Chesterton says, fairy tales are stories of what sane men would do in an insane world, then reality must be the story of what insane men would do in a sane world. It can be said that we have all been rendered partially insane by original sin. Sin is contrary to reason and only an insane man would act contrary to reason; contrary to his best interest; contrary to his very nature. To speak more certainly on the matter, we know that sin doesn’t hurt God, it hurts the sinner (though we rarely think of it this way).

And being moved, by baptism, from the rule of the prince of this world and into a new kingdom; the kingdom of Heaven, we cooperate with God’s grace through the sacraments to slowly chip away at this insanity which causes our own self mutilation.

The kingdom of this Earth; that is, the kingdom of Hades is made present to us by sin. Each time we sin, we commune with Hades; that is, death. God is life, and to the degree we turn from Him (by sinning), we turn towards death. On the other hand, Heaven is made present to us in the divine sacrifice of the mass. The Church is quite serious when she calls it Heaven on earth.

To be continued.

Spiritual Warfare

I would highly recommend the following post entitled "Hell and Sarah Palin" where Dr. Liccione speaks with rare clarity and straightforwardness about the realities of the spiritual warfare in which we are presently engaged.

Bishop Morlino on Biden

Bishop Morlino responds to Biden's incompetent logic. Score: Catholic bishops 2 heretics 0.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Patristic Carnival XV

The latest Patristic Carnival is up and running.

Apostolic Succession & Authority

From my comments on De Regnis Duobus:

The doctrine of apostolic succession is one primarily of authority and divine privilege which is what we must not lose sight of (while it seems obvious, I think it often gets lost in the mix when we start talking about the doctrine).

So I would start by noting that apostolic succession (if true) must be unbroken. That is- someone would always have claim to the apostolic authority. If there were any point in history at which apostolic authority was lost (be it after the apostles died or after the 4th century or after the great schism), then it could not be regained. One can not conjure up the authority of a king whose lineage has been cut off by asserting that "I follow the teachings of the king". Whether you really do follow his teachings or not, you are not his heir and therefore do not have real claim to his authority. In the case of Christianity, if Christ's delegated authority was ever lost, only Christ could reinstate it. Therefore we maintain that this authority must have existed at all points of Christian history since we are not willing to admit that it has ever been lost.

Furthermore, the question of authority is most helpful when it pertains to the present. It's usually more practical to ask who has authority than to ask who had authority. So in the time of Martin Luther, if he asked "does the so-called Catholic Church have authority?" and came up with "no", then he is left with a problem. If not them, then who? If no one, he is gravely mistaken to think that he could re-establish the apostolic authority by recovering their doctrine (per example above).

I say then, that apostolic authority exists within the Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox Church) or it does not exist at all.

And if the Reformed answer is that we hold the apostolic authority to be one of "the true gospel" without qualification and not some sort of sacramental lineage of the priesthood then we answer in the following ways:

1. This is not the argument of Clement or Augustine here nor the argument of the other fathers elsewhere - even if we take the example of Tertullian (in his days as a Catholic) who argued that we should not debate heretics on Scripture since they had not apostolic succession and therefore were ipso facto in the wrong. If he meant "they had the false interpretation of scripture" and therefore we should not argue with them out of the scripture, how is this even intelligible? But it is clear what the early fathers meant by apostolic succession.

2. What authority has any man whose authority depends on his proper understanding of a doctrine? If my boss has authority over me so long as he holds true to the original ideas of the founders of my company, then how does he have authority when he has obviously diverted the course? In fact, he has real authority over me whether I agree with his ideas or not. In the same way, if a body has authority then individuals or even large groups or even majorities may not usurp their authority or else that body does not have real authority.

I would also comment on St. Clement's line:
the orderly procedure depends on God's will.
If it is God's will that effects Apostolic Succession (and therefore authority) and that succession had been lost for a time between the 5th and 16th centuries, then how/why would it have been His will that such a thing should be lost?

If this is the promised kingdom, how and why did God allow it to be even less effective than the kingdom of Israel which it was supposed to supersede? For if the Catholic/Orthodox Church is not heir to this succession & authority and she is wrong on so many of her doctrines (most pertinently the Eucharistic worship) then it is not only the case that the vast majority of Christianity has been gravely deceived throughout all of Christian history, it is also true that the vast majority is deceived right now. How could this be part of God's will? We're not talking about imperfection which we will all allow per fallen nature, we're talking about a defective kingdom.

The Protestant answer amounts to remnant ecclesiology; that is, that God will always reserve his 7,000 who will not bow their knee to Baal. (True "Church" exists in the remnant of believers who are true to the real gospel).

But we must not confuse our question with mere statistics and ratios. We're not asking about who within Christianity is saved, we're asking whether or not the hugely dominating face of Christianity has been so thoroughly corrupted as to lose her very claim to the authority which she was supposed to have been given by Christ.

Moreover, who cares that Christ gave the keys to Peter if any good bible exegete could recover them for his own? That is, He gave Peter the keys not the secret code. Keys are unique in their nature, a secret code may be discovered by anyone who is clever enough.

And who cares that Christ gave His apostles the authority to "bind and loose" if that authority could be lost and recovered by someone else to whom it was not given? What good is authority without divine protection? What good is ship that might sink? It is like a kingdom whose royal line may be cut off or a Church which might become corrupt and lead the faithful on the broad road instead of the narrow.

And we say that the Church is the bride of Christ not from the 16th century but from the first. Christ is the good Shepherd and He cannot lead astray and He cannot allow His bride to do so either... for His bride is His very Body on earth. And Christ's kingdom is present in a tangible way in the Church. If we cannot trust the Church in the 16th century, we cannot trust her in the 4th. If we cannot trust her now, we cannot trust her at all.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Newman on Catholicity

The Church is everywhere, but it is one ; sects are everywhere, but they are many, independent and discordant. Catholicity is the attribute of the Church, independent of sectaries.
Since my Church isn't catholic, the objector reasons with himself, catholicity, as applied to "Church" must mean something else. Or perhaps my Church really is catholic and "Church" itself means something else. At any rate, I must avoid the temptation to entertain the possibility of the so-called "Catholic Church" as being Church (since it is quite obviously catholic). Yes, it must be the great catholic apostasy. Or if I admit that it is truly "Church" (moreover, part of the Church) then I must understand "catholic" to mean something closer to "lowest common denominator" than to "Catholic".
The Church is a kingdom; a heresy is a family rather than a kingdom; and as a family continually divides and sends out branches, founding new houses, and propagating itself in colonies, each of them as independent as its original head, so was it with heresy.
He goes on to show numerous examples not refraining to point out that each sect called the Catholics by a different name. Yet in order to call "Catholics" anything, they were forced in the first place to pay them that utmost honor of being called "Catholic". For to say "Catholics are carnal" (as the Montanists did), one must start by referring to them as "Catholics". But if none of this rings true of modern sects outside the Catholic Church, Newman continues:
In one point alone the heresies seem universally to have agreed, — in hatred to the Church. This might at that time be considered one of her surest and most obvious Notes. She was that body of which all sects, however divided among themselves, spoke ill ; according to the prophecy, " If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of His household." They disliked and they feared her ; they did their utmost to overcome their mutual differences, in order to unite against her.
In yet one more irony, those sects are "catholic" only in their hatred for "Catholicism". Even if they use the lowest common denominator argument, ("catholic" = the bare essentials of Christianity), whatever could be so fundamentally true of the various non-Catholic sects as to merit being called catholic must also be true of the Catholic Church (faith in Christ, resurrection, forgiveness of sins etc...) Therefore we can omit this argument since it applies also to that Church which it seeks to deny is catholic. For again, if one demonstrates that the Catholic Church really is catholic, the objector must demonstrate that she is not "Church". And if one demonstrates that she is "Church" or even part of "Church", the objector must demonstrate that she's not catholic.

As for us, we hold it self evident that novel sects having no succession from the apostles, teaching doctrines which are not held universally now nor from the beginning and going so far as to name themselves after men, places and systems of ecclesial government rather than prophetic attributes are neither "Church" nor "catholic".

Catholic Carnival

Catholic Carnival 188 is up and running.