I see that dear old Dave retreated in record time, covering his tracks in a flurry of choice adjectives:
That's fine. One less thing for me to waste my time on.
And why does he think I'd want to "dialogue" with him? Armstrong is not, and never was, an official spokesman for the Church of Rome.
Dave runs a roadside flea-market for old sofas with rusty springs poking through the upholstery and B&W TVs with vacuum tubes and rabbit ears. His arguments go back to Bellarmine, dumbed down by Frank Sheed and repackaged by Dave Armstrong.
Oh, I forgot to mention his miracle water hot tubs. I take it that Peter Popoff is his business partner.
But even though Armstrong was unable to offer a substantive reply, some of his commenters did make the effort.
“Scripture is very clear successors are not self appointed (unlike protestantism) and that this anointing carries the authority and power of the Apostles themselves, see Acts 8 with Peter and John for example.”
Nick | 07.10.07 - 6:06 pm | #
i) So Nick thinks that Acts 8 was an ordination ceremony? That’s a very creative interpretation. Unfortunately for him, it’s a bit too much of a good thing. For in that event, the Pope has a surfeit of rivals who may legitimately lay claim to apostolic succession.
Remember, as Nick himself points out, that the Samaritans were ordained (his interpretation) by St. Peter (as well as St. John). So the Samaritans were successors to St. Peter. Therefore, Samaria, rather than Rome, has a far more direct claim to be the See of St. Peter.
ii) And that’s not all. Acts 8 is simply an extension of Acts 2. So, consistent with Nick’s interpretation, we must also treat Pentecost as a mass ordination ceremony. Hence, Jerusalem, rather than Rome, has a far more direct claim to be the See of St. Peter.
iii) Notice, moreover, the universality of the promise (2:17-18,38-39). So, if we, according to Nick’s reasoning, equate the gift of the Spirit with the charism of Holy Orders, then Nick has just supplied us with a prooftext for the Protestant doctrine of the universal priesthood of all believers. We are all successors to St. Peter! We are all incumbents of the papal office! So who needs the Pope when, according to Nick’s irresistible logic, every Christian is his own Pope?
Just think of the possibilities! I, too, can wear an ermine-lined bathrobe and don a pair of papal slippers—made of silk, satin, gold thread, and ornamental rubies!
[[ Ken, listen to what Karl Keating says regarding parallels with pagan traditions: “Once, in a debate with a prominent anti-Catholic controversialist, I asked, ‘Are you married? Yes, I know you are. And when you were married, was your bride wearing a white gown, and did she carry a bouquet of flowers? You say she did. And did the two of you exchange vows and then rings? You're nodding your head. Well, it seems that in your marriage ceremony you engaged in four pagan acts, since the white gown, the bouquet, the vows, and the ring are all taken from pre-Christian pagan rites. Are we to conclude that your brand of Christianity is pagan at its roots?’ My opponent smiled and promptly changed the subject.” ]]
Ben M | 07.12.07 - 3:43 am | #
Wow! What a knockdown argument!
It does, however, suffer from a wee bit of an equivocation—you know, one of those fatal equivocations that invalidate a poorly formulated argument from analogy.
Pagan customs which carry over to something like a western wedding ceremony are entirely expendable. The absence of a white gown, bouquet, and wedding rings would not invalidate the marriage. One could just as well get married in a traditional Jewish ceremony.
By contrast, the very point at issue is what constitutes a valid ordination ceremony, without which you cannot have apostolic succession, valid sacraments, or the one true church. Here, the parallels between Catholic priestcraft and pagan witchcraft, Catholic sacramentology and sympathetic magic, are not incidental and expendable, but essential and constitutive.
“Also, the bible itself has many ‘striking’ parallels to pagan religions! The most familiar of these would of course be the ‘flood traditions’ and the numerous ‘creation myths’.”
i) Yet another fatal equivocation. As far as flood traditions are concerned, this is a case of multiple-attestation. The same event is recorded in Scripture and extrascriptural documents. The fact that the same event has more than one historical witness is hardly analogous to the intellectual dependence of Catholic sacerdotalism and sacramentology on pagan exemplars.
And there is no creation myth which clearly parallels Gen 1-2. That claim is loosely made from time to time, but it disintegrates under closer inspection.
We can run through other “parallel,” if need be.
ii) Where, moreover, does Ben think he’s going with this argument? Is he admitting that Catholic theology is, indeed, indebted to pagan theology—but attempting to blunt the force of this admission by claiming that a Protestant is in the same boat?
That’s a suicidal tactic, for—if valid—it would only succeed in disproving your opponent’s position by disproving your own.