Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fundie Hicks II: The Sequel (playing at a theater near you)

Jonathan Prejean continues his retreat into obscurantism. He now says that his fellow Catholics should ignore anyone who subscribes to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. In other words, no conservative Evangelical, whether a Baptist or Lutheran or Presbyterian or Anglican or—God forbid!—a fundamentalist is a worthy dialogue partner.

Prejean has become a one-man cult-leader, withdrawing into his compound and warning his little flock to separate themselves from apostate Christendom.

BTW, it’s fine with me if Prejean wants to go on record opposing the inerrancy of Scripture. This is just one more Catholic witness to the fact that his own communion has gone the way of the dying, hemorrhaging liberal mainline denominations.

At the Mad-Hatter’s tea-party of Prejean’s Looking-Glass world, to affirm the plenary inspiration of scripture is to “insult the dignity” of Scripture. Uh-huh.

He goes on to say that “well-educated nuts are still nuts.” Well now, who am I to take issue with Prejean’s candid self-assessment?

He then says that Protestants ought to conform their belief to “The Interpretation of the Bible Within the Church.”

Yet, in an exchange with me just a little while ago, Prejean also said: “I'm supposedly required by a PBC document to accept the GHM. Apart from the non-binding status of the PBC (a matter on which several Catholics have corrected Hays)…”

Now, however, this “nonbinding” PBC document has suddenly become a litmus test for interfaith dialogue—unless, that is, you happen to quote it against Prejean, at which point it reverts to its nonbinding status.

In Prejean’s theological Wonderland, truth has a conveniently metamorphic quality, changing at will to suit the need of the moment.

He then bandies the word “blasphemy” with great license. Needless to say, “blasphemy” is a Scriptural category, so one can never blaspheme God by refusing to venture beyond the confines of God’s self-revelation.

But let us play along with Prejean’s fiction for a moment. What would it take for a Roman Catholic to give his mental assent to the creed of Chalcedon? To begin with, the vast majority of Roman Catholics recite the creed in some translation or another. But, of course, “person” doesn’t have the same meaning as “prosopon.” The same could be said for the other key terms.

So a Catholic would need to be conversant with the Patristic usage of such key Greek terms like henosis, anthropotes, theotes, idiotes, psyches, logikos, homoousios, prosopon, physis, & hypostasis.

Is there a uniform meaning for these terms? Is there a received meaning for these terms? You’d really have to examine the individual usage of the various Greek Fathers, one-by-one. You’d also have to choose whose usage is normative—since different Greek Fathers use the same words differently.

Now, there is, I daresay, only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of Roman Catholics who know what they’re affirming. Indeed, Prejean is so finicky that scholars of the caliber of Pelican and Lossky and Meyerdorff don’t quite come up to snuff.

For that matter, it’s not as though Jonathan were a patrologist by training. So he’s getting his own opinions spoon-fed to him by second-hand sources.

But, be that as it may, by his very own yardstick the vast majority of Roman Catholics are blasphemers—sadly captive to “anthropomorphic” notions of the Godhead.

One can only hope and pray to the Blessed Mother, ever virgin, that Pope Prejean will issue his own catechism of the Catholic church and thereby redirect his straying coreligionists to the straight-and-narrow. O Lord, how long?

1 comment:

  1. On many issues such as inerrancy, evolution, pluralism & ecumenicalism, salvation of non-Christians and potential universalism (von Balthsar's view), the contemporary RC position is closer to liberal protestantism than evangelicalism.

    As an example, Ratzinger says in his memoirs that the book he's proudest of is Eschatology. Of the protestants he interacts with Cullmann and Dodd are the most conservative it gets.

    The ECT crowd often says "we are closer to Evangelicals than to liberals," but that hasn't filtered up to Rome yet.