Francis J. Beckwith said...
“Is it just me, but why is that there has never been a great Calvinist saint on par with Augustine, Aquinas, or John Paul II? When I think of Reformed theology, holiness and love do not jump out at me.”
i) That’s a very revealing comment coming from somebody who likes to accuse his opponents of “bigotry.” I’d be hard pressed to find a more bigoted statement than his.
ii) I also don’t know how the conversation suddenly jumped from the proper way to designate members of the church of Rome to the piety of Calvinists.
iii) How we answer his question depends, in part, on whether we judge saintliness by Catholic standards or Biblical standards. For example, is devotion to the Black Madonna of Częstochowa a mark of sanctity or idolatry?
Likewise, this is how John-Paul II responded to Cardinal Law’s complicity in the priestly abuse scandal: “Archpriest of the Patriarchal (now Papal) Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. Member of: Congregations: for the Oriental Churches; for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; for Bishops; for the Evangelization of Peoples; for the Clergy; for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; for Catholic Education; Pontifical Council for the Family.”
Is that a mark of the late pope’s saintliness or his moral blindness?
I also don’t know why Beckwith thinks Augustine can be so holy and loving, but a Calvinist cannot. What’s the differential factor, exactly? It can’t very well be belief in predestination.
Is it that, after his conversion, Augustine sent his longtime mistress packing, a woman who bore him a son? Why not do the honorable thing and take her to be his wife?
On the other hand, George Whitfield (to take one example) does strike me as an example of saintly Christian character.
iv) As a rule, holy folks aren’t famous folks. They generally lead quiet, unobtrusive lives. Godly mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, brothers, sisters, and friends who live and die in self-effacing obscurity. Some of them are backwater missionaries or small town pastors. The whole notion of “great saints” whom we can tabulate bespeaks a cult of celebrity which is incongruous with true sanctity.
“No offense, but you have no idea of the joy and peace I have found on the Barque of Peter. For once, I know what why it is important to be holy.”
For someone who’s full of peace and joy, Beckwith seems pretty irritable.
As far as the “Barque of Peter” is concerned, Catholicism is like a superyacht with a glorious upper deck while the lower decks are taking on water. A fantastic view–until it sinks below the waterline.
“It's not just because I'm ‘grateful to God,’ which sounds like something I need to conjure up.”
Christians need to “conjure up” a spirit of thanksgiving? Gratitude to God is just a conjuring trick?
“Rather, it's about kneeling prostrate at the altar at which the Eucharist rests and allowing the grace of God to transform me from the inside out. It is indeed quite a gift, these sacraments.”
When I read this sentence, I can’t suppress the mental picture of devotees who prostrate themselves before images of Buddha, Kali, Lakshmi, Ganesha, &c. Christ and Krishna become interchangeable.