Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Well I'll be damned!

Therefore, based on your belief that the Catholic Church is "an apostate denomination" (stated later in this same paper), I MUST be an apostate (at least in a "theological, doctrinal" outward sense), since I accept all that teaching (and I understand perfectly well what it is that I accept: not in the sense of exhaustive knowledge, of course, but in terms of the particular tenets and doctrines that Catholics are required to accept and believe in faith). There is no logical way out of this.


I appreciate Dave’s frustration. It’s hard for a small-timer to maintain his self-esteem. It’s discouraging to know that you didn't make the cut.

But I do have standards. I’m not about to debase the coinage of “apostasy” by bestowing that label on every wannabe. Sorry, Dave, but you need to take your place at the back of the line and wait your turn.

As one can see, “apostasy” is coveted title. Clearly there’s a need for one of those “reality shows” in which contestants vie with one another for the prize of being the biggest and baddest apostate of them all.

A cross between Survivor, American Idol, The Apprentice, The Ultimate Fighter, Fear Factor, and Blind Date.

But as a consolation prize, maybe we should also distinguish between A-team apostates and B-team apostates, or senior and junior apostates.

The A-team would include the likes of Simon Magus, James Barr, Bauer, Briggs, Bultmann, Chauncy, Crowley, Darwin, Driver, George Eliot, Martin Gardner, Ingersoll, Julian, George McDonald, Henri de Navarre, Nietzsche, Priestly, Spong, Sozzini, Swedenborg, Templeton, Toland, Wellhausen, &c.

The B-team might include also-rans like Barker, Babinski, Harvey Cox, Bobby Price, Loftus, and so on.

As a personal favor to Dave, I guess I could always create a C-team: a Special Olympics of Apostasy.

But short of a Black Mass or child sacrifice, he just hasn’t done anything impressive enough to make the grade. Sorry to disappoint.

You can’t expect special treatment just because of the wonderful relationship we’ve built up over the years.

Now, I’m a fair-minded man, so I’m willing to give you a second chance if you can spice up your resume with a ritual Satanic slaying or two. But I can’t give you a social promotion with so many worthier contenders to consider.

The award will mean a lot more to you when you’ve had a chance to really earn it.


  1. "A cross between Survivor, American Idol, The Apprentice, The Ultimate Fighter, Fear Factor, and Blind Date."

    You forgot "Big Brother."

  2. Steve,

    I must dissent from your placing the Rt. Hon. Rev. Spong on your A-list. Unlike the others, his status among apostates is due entirely to his membership in the Anglican/Episcopal Social Club. If he were a circuit riding Methodist he would be ignored.

  3. How dare you call me b (or c) level. I wrote a book defending The True Church and my friends gave it a lot of stars.

    Have you read it?

    Probably not, you couldn't understand it because you're not a Catholic. You're fallible. You need me to interpret it for you.

  4. Steve mentions the black Mass. Odd that Satan would so vigorously attack an act of idolatry, isn't it?

  5. Oh, and in a previous thread you claimed that Raymond Brown is a more logically consistent Catholic than Dave Armstrong. That is simply silly. If Brown were logically consistent he would have completely apostatized. Dave's only problem is his refusal to recognize that he is a more doctrinally traditional Catholic than the Pope.

  6. Steve do you include Crowley because his parents were Exclusive Brethren? I guess I'm confused as I had thought to be apostate you must have been a believer at one time.

  7. Oh, and one last thing I forgot. It is utterly simplistic to say that Vatican II codified modernism. The documents are the product of patchwork, compromise, and struggle between orthodox and modernist Council Fathers. In the concrete, this results in ambiguity. So, the documents of Vatican II can easily be read (and in many instances, the case is very strong that they should be read) in a quite conservative light. See the works of Fr. Brian Harrison, for example.

  8. "It’s hard for a small-timer to maintain his self-esteem."

    Small-timer Steve is one to know this up close and personal.

  9. Crowley was an exhibitionist, and should thus be ignored for the oik he was.

  10. Brother Jackson:

    Yes, the only reason anyone pays any attention to Spong is due to his institutional position.

    Brother Nelson:

    Yes, I fingered Crowley as an apostate due, in part, to his Christian upbringing, as well as the fact that he viewed himself as an Antichrist figure (the Beast), so that his self-identity was still framed, ironically enough, in Christian terms.


    To some extent you and I are talking past each other. The contemporary Catholic church doesn’t mandate a liberal view of Scripture. It doesn’t require a Catholic to subscribe to the historical-critical method.

    So it allows for more conservative views on this an other issue.

    At the same time, it obviously sanctions the historical-critical method.

    And while it allows people like you and Dave and Hahn to take a more traditional position on this or that, you guys are clearly to the right of the mainstream position in contemporary Catholic scholarship and/or various members of the magisterium, viz. Brown, Fitzmyer, J-P 2, Benedict 16, Kasper, &c.

    I judge a denomination by what it permits, sanctions, and teaches, and not merely by what it demands or disallows.

    For example, there are a number of denominations which have perfectly orthodox creeds (e.g. PCUSA, ECUSA, CRC, ELCA), but if their creeds are never enforced, then it’s just a dead letter.

  11. Ben,

    Let me give an example, one of the members of the PBC is (or was) Henry Wansbrough. According to this guy, there is "no" historical value to the first 11 chapter of Genesis. In fact, it's on the same level as Little Red Riding Hood.


    According to Wansbrough:

    "Of Pope Benedict, Fr Henry said: I think he is most impressive person. He was always present at our meetings over the last 8 years (I have been on the Commission for 8 years), perhaps missing occasionaly a morning or afternoon session. He normally sits and listens. He arrives and speaks in Latin. Then takes off his Cardinals gear.'"


    Are we supposed to belive that Ratzinger didn't know what Wansbrough advocated?

  12. Steve,

    No arguments here. I'm quite willing to admit to being a more doctrinally and biblically conservative Catholic than the Pope.

  13. Ben,

    But JP II and Benedict XVI interpret Vatican II in a certain way (liberally on issues of the bible and non-Christian religions, two cite the most obvious examples). Why shouldn't we assume that their interpretation is more likely to reflect Catholic teaching?