Sunday, August 23, 2020

Roman Catholicism is the source of damage in our culture today

I have spent a lot of time watching our culture. Sometimes it seems as if Roman Catholics, such as Robert George of Princeton (in our day) or Michael Novak (from days gone by) have been our allies in “culture wars”. 

While some of their thinking may be sound, their underlying view of reality is damaged by their Roman Catholicism. Their Roman Catholicism is the very problem, not part of the solution. 

Go to the First Things website and the header on their pop-up request for donations says:

“Culture is the root of politics, and religion is the root of culture.” – Richard John Neuhaus

Our culture has been tearing itself apart, led philosophically by a form of Kantianism that enables human beings to “construct” their own realities, and at a more visceral level by the concept of Marxism as it manifests itself in what is essentially “a new religion”: “Wokism”. 

 “Wokism” (or simply “leftism”) brings with it a raft of new “moralities”, including “Cultural Marxism”, “Critical Theory”, “Critical Race Theory”, “anti-racism”, “Intersectionality”, the search for “equality”, whatever you want to call them. 

They are all names for “things you gotta do if you want to be saved” in the eyes of this world. It is a religion as much as any other set of beliefs is a religion.

If it’s true that “religion is the root of culture” (and I believe it is), then we need to take the idea that Roman Catholicism is the source of the damages a step further. 

John Calvin said in Institutes 4.1.1 the papacy was the institution through which “satan has polluted every good thing that God has appointed for our salvation.” 

Looking around at our world today, no truer statement has ever been uttered. Neuhaus was, and First Things is, a channel of satan into our culture, because it supports the papacy, and by extension, Roman Catholicism

We must never forget this, and Christianity must from this moment forward work to eliminate the concept of papacy as “a good thing”. 

Roman Catholicism likes to use Genesis 3:15 as some sort of proof or prophecy for its Marian dogmas:

The Lord God said to the serpent ... He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

But rather, what an apt metaphor it is for the way that “the papacy” has hobbled Christianity since its “development” in the fourth and fifth centuries. 

It is said that slaves were “hobbled” by cutting the Achilles tendon, and preventing them from running away. 

It is the concept of “the papacy” that has hobbled Christianity, and its ability to affect “culture” in a Godly way, since the days before it "historically developed" (Klaus Schatz, "Papal Primacy", p. 36). 

Think about it. Your comments? 


  1. This seems a little extreme. Only 25% of the US population identifies as Catholic, and most only nominally so. The US bishops have been relatively consistent on abortion and homosexuality. Of course they are big on "anti racism" and flooding the west with immigrants, who are natural constituents of the Democratic party.

    1. Steve, I'm kind of looking at this globally, and far back in history. When you consider the development of Europe, and the role that the papacy played there, both religious and as a part of the secular history -- as well as how the Enlightenment philosophies basically reacted *against* Christianity (or what large portions of them thought was Christianity -- "Roman Catholicism" -- it definitely is "polluting" everything that we're seeing in the world today.

    2. What if all of Europe had converted to protestantism. How different would things be? All of Scandanavia converted (or was converted) and they went liberal sooner than Catholic countries. I'm no defender of the papacy, I just think it's complicated.

    3. I don't know the answer to your question, and I agree, it is complicated. But in up coming blog posts I hope to defend and expand on my statement "their underlying view of reality is damaged by their Roman Catholicism. Their Roman Catholicism is the very problem, not part of the solution."

    4. John,
      I am looking forward to it! Thanks for clarifying, as I too, was a little confused even though I am a staunch Protestant.

    5. Interesting thesis John. Of note, a Pew study claims 13% of the US population are former Roman Catholics:

      That means close to 40% of the population is or was directly influenced by RC culture.

      Additionally, Roman Catholics have held appointed and elected office in the US at increasing rates over the past 30 years. Consider the Supreme Court. Consider Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, etc... How many of those names were presidential candidates at one time? One could almost believe a conspiracy theory about the Jesuits of old, and their pursuit to sway politics and governments to be more amenable and submissive to the papacy.

      But it is far more likely so many RCs are getting into office because they have the best education. Many Catholic High Schools have test scores which far exceed public schools, and that sets a course toward academic and later life achievements. Still, the culture is baked in, and doesn’t come out easy. Say, “May the force be with you,” to any former RC, and they will be immediately tempted to respond with, “and also with you.”

      I’ll be interested to see how you build on this thesis John. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I can relate, John.
    Growing up Catholic I had to accept dogma that went against my sensory experience... the actual body and blood of Christ at the eucharist, for instance.

    Accepting this without question relieves the cognitive dissonance perhaps, but leads to other profound and deleterious effects. Like the idea that 'religion' isn't *supposed* to be rational; that 'religion' means going against my senses which scream to me: "this is just bread and wine." It renders a mystical understanding of the communion service as normative, and well, easier to swallow.

    But if I couldn't trust my senses as Rome commands, wouldn't that undermine the miracles of Christ? Did Christ ever ask us to swallow something that contradicted our senses? No, rather the miracles were performed so that we could bear witness to them by our senses. The physical was used to *prove* the spiritual, like the forgiveness of sins. Christ took on flesh! The Gnostics had it backwards, preferring the spiritual over the physical.

    The hocus pocus of the RC communion service leads a person closer to mysticism and a lifelong disrespect for rationality. It can inoculate a person against the real thing.

    1. RJ, I think Christianity is totally rational, although that's not the only measure of it. Roman Catholicism's ontological understanding of itself is off-base, and that is not fixable even though some Roman Catholics may have a good worldly sense on top of that.

    2. I wonder how one can consistently defend transubstantiation and argue against transgenderism.

  3. I agree. The second worst religion in the world is papism. Only the pagan arab moon cult is worse.

    The unholy trinity today is leftists, Muslims and papists.

    But the papacy is rotting from the inside out. Francis is a Manchurian candidate. God often gets his enemies to destroy themselves.

  4. Oh, stop. You're sounding more and more like the Westboro kooks who think they're the only 20 people who are pure enough to be saved.

    By the way, First Things is not a Catholic-only publication. Al Mohler's "Why I am a Baptist" just got posted to it.

    1. Yes and Carl Truman posts on First Things too.

    2. Like Mohler and Trueman, Hans Boersma also writes on First Things. I believe all are Reformed.

    3. Oh, stop. You're sounding more and more like the Westboro kooks who think they're the only 20 people who are pure enough to be saved.

      James, I assure you I am not. This is not about salvation, first of all. It is about underlying philosophies of life.

      And even though Mohler got to publish “Why I am a Baptist”, (same with Trueman and Boersma), if you think that shows that “First Things is not a Catholic-only publication”, keep in mind that the Roman Catholic Church broadly thinks that Christianity itself is a “Catholic-only” religion. Simply, guys like you and Mohler and Trueman and Boersma are, in the words of Neuhaus, really Roman Catholics, without knowing it – you are only “in imperfect communion” with the Roman Catholic Church.

      Jerry Walls noted a facet of his association with First Things:

      ///In retrospect, I suspect that the unofficial agenda of the Dulles Colloquium—and I say this with all due affection—was to be a Catholic Conversion Club, particularly with the aim of converting Protestant intellectuals to Rome. … In any case, when I joined the colloquium, a number of the members of the group were evangelicals, Anglicans, Lutherans, and so on who later converted to Rome. Indeed, the same might be said for the highly regarded magazine First Things, which Neuhaus founded. Rusty Reno, a convert from the Episcopal Church and the current editor of First Things, commented playfully on the matter as follows in an issue of the magazine featuring two articles by Protestants.

      [Reno said]: On the topic of Catholic triumphalism: Not a few Protestant friends complain that First Things is a Catholic party with a few Protestants and Jews invited. That always makes me wince, because it’s not altogether false. After all, the magazine was begun by a man who had just published a book titled The Catholic Moment. But I hope the two forceful essays about Protestantism in this issue convince readers that it’s not altogether true. . . . There’s no requirement that one kowtow to Catholicism.

      Reno’s somewhat whimsical comment accurately conveys my experience as a participant in the Dulles Colloquium for several years. Certainly there was no requirement to “kowtow to Catholicism,” but the claim of Rome to be the one true church was promoted, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes in humorous flourishes, but always with urbane sophistication. But then, what else should one expect in a group named after, and attended by, a distinguished Roman Catholic cardinal and led by a famous Lutheran convert to Rome?

    4. I would say First Things is a politically conservative and religiously ecumenical publication. Neuhaus worked with Colson on ECT. There are also Jewish writers.

      I do not think it is fair to say gentlemen like Mohler and Trueman are "really Roman Catholics, without knowing it." You quoted Jerry Walls who is an Arminian and anti-Calvinist, but it would not be fair to say you are "really Arminian, without knowing it" because you are cobelligerents against Rome with Jerry Walls.

    5. Gerald: I do not think it is fair to say gentlemen like Mohler and Trueman are "really Roman Catholics, without knowing it."

      And yet this is the actual Roman Catholic doctrine. Does this fill your heart with peace and joy?

    6. But why should Al Mohler (Reformed Southern Baptist) and Carl Trueman (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) accede to Roman Catholic doctrine any more than you should accede to Arminian doctrine? Catholic doctrine may say Mohler and Trueman are "really Catholic," just as Arminian doctrine may (let us imagine) say you are "really Arminian," but that does not mean Mohler and Trueman should accede to what Catholic doctrine says about them any more than you should accede to what Arminian doctrine says about you.

    7. I’m not saying anyone has to accede to it. I reject it totally. And yet, when writers (whom I mentioned) like Robert George and Michael Novak (and any others who are devout practicing Roman Catholics), the ontological thinking behind that doctrine informs their thinking. Note what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that they are not saying good things. I am saying that the Roman Catholicism which informs their thinking (and “religion” affects culture) has its rotten elements embedded. This is why something like “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” cannot be embraced out of “ecumenism”.

      If we, as Christians, want to affect our culture — to be salt and light — we have to be aware of what we are really doing.

    8. My heart is filled with peace and joy from trusting in my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ alone. I do not care for Rome. But I do not care for you calling Reformed men like Mohler and Trueman "really Roman Catholics, without knowing it" simply for writing articles for First Things either.

    9. Yes I agree with you. James Inell Packer also participated in ECT. I believe he was wrong about this. But I would not call Packer "really Roman Catholics, without knowing it" because he participated in ECT.

    10. I didn’t call them that. I said that Roman Catholicism views them that way. And that is the reality of interacting with Roman Catholicism at any level.

    11. But it is clear you agree. You agree with the Roman Catholic assessment that anyone who "interacts" with Rome on First Things and ECT is "really Roman Catholic, without knowing it."

      Yet I have already pointed out that Mohler and Trueman do not need to accede to what Catholic doctrine says. Mohler and Trueman can have their own reasons for "interacting" with Catholics that are not the same reasons as what Rome believes about them. Mohler and Truman's cause is not the same as Rome's cause, no matter what Rome may think.

      Calvin is Protestant and Francis is Catholic. Calvin writes a book with Francis against abortion. Francis believes Calvin is really Roman Catholic without knowing it because he wrote a book with Francis. But this does not mean Calvin is actually Roman Catholic. Calvin may have different reasons for working on the anti-abortion book with Francis that have nothing to do with being Catholic. Calvin does not need to accede to Francis's views about him.

      I believe you are committing guilt-by-association.

    12. In conclusion, I would not call Mohler and Trueman "really Roman Catholics, without knowing it" simply because they write for First Things. I do not see how this follows. I do not think this is fair to these gentlemen. Rome can think they are Catholic, but that does not mean it is true. what Rome thinks about them is irrelevant to their own beliefs and goals. I have no more to say. Have a good day.

    13. Gerald, I appreciate your persistence but I think you are not understanding what I'm saying.

      But it is clear you agree. You agree with the Roman Catholic assessment that anyone who "interacts" with Rome on First Things and ECT is "really Roman Catholic, without knowing it."

      No, I am taking the Roman Catholic doctrine on its own terms, and I am attributing the "agreement" to the First Things editors, who publish the works of Protestant writers with the Roman Catholic doctrine in mind.

      In case you haven't seen it, here is how that is laid out offically:

      836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to salvation."

      837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in body' not 'in heart.'"

      838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter." Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."

      So you, too, as a Baptized Christian, are in this "certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church".

      That is not an accusation on my part. That is how you are viewed.

      If you were to write an article for First Things, the editors, insofar as they are true to Roman Catholic teaching, would view you this way.

      You said, Mohler and Truman's cause is not the same as Rome's cause, no matter what Rome may think.

      And I agree with this, however, this is not how the editors of First Things (nor the Roman Catholic hierarchy) view it. They are the ones being dishonest perhaps, in letting Trueman and Mohler publish, while those enlightened Roman Catholics are not taking seriously what Mohler and Trueman say about "why I am a Baptist" or "why I am Reformed". They are winking and nodding, and saying, "yeah, sure, but you'll come around".

      You said, I believe you are committing guilt-by-association.

      If there is guilt by association, it is guilt by Roman Catholicism (which is what the title of this blog post says). If Mohler and Trueman point out that they know what Roman Catholicism really teaches, and point out the discrepancy, then that's good on them. But if they don't alert their readers to what the Roman Catholic point of view is, then they are only serving as useful idiots.

    14. Gerald,
      I fear you are missing John’s point, so I will chime in, even though John summed it up better than I could... I’ll add some thoughts. It is admirable for you to disagree with his premise, but I fear you may be unintentionally misrepresenting his position.

      John does not see Mohler or Trueman as “really Roman Catholic.” Period.

      He is making the point that Roman Catholics see these men as “really Roman Catholic,” NOT due to their theology or doctrine, but due to their (Mohler and Trueman’s) ignorance.

      Rome believes all “true Christians” are Roman Catholic, despite their theology. Rome believes these men to be forgiven by God of their ignorance. Even some non-Christians can be Roman Catholic according to Rome and Vatican II. The only people who are completely “out” are converts from Catholicism.

      This conversation between you and John highlights the difference in culture. You are perceiving things from a non-Roman point of view. Therefore, your perspective’s foundation is theology/doctrine. You likely determine someone is “x” kind of Christian by their doctrine. Therefore, when you read, “Mohler and Trueman are really Catholic,” you believe that assertion to be based on an assessment of their doctrine. It’s not.

      Rome’s foundation is not doctrine, it’s authority. The question is, and always has been, “do you oppose the papacy?”

      I think John’s point is, when Mohler and Trueman dip their toes into the ecumenical Tiber waters, Rome views that as an embrace which legitimatizes their authority. Acceding to doctrine is not in view; again, that’s a Protestant way of thinking.

      I assume you and I would disagree with Rome on this matter... we would say, it’s no different than Mohler writing for an Arminian publication.... but that speaks directly to the point. That’s how Protestants think, not how Roman Catholics think.

      The point is Roman Catholics see Mohler and Trueman as complicit with Rome and her authority, and therefore as ignorant brothers who will one day see the light in this world or the next.

      Have you ever seen a debate between a Protestant and a Roman Catholic where both sides claim victory? Why does that happen? Because they have very different objectives and definitions of winning. The Protestant wants to defend his doctrine as Biblical, but the Roman Catholic could care less if they are Biblical... they simply want to establish Roman authority. When they have that, all else must fall in line.

      Mohler and Trueman have NO intention of legitimizing the papacy, I’m sure... and there is utility for them and us to have reformed voices heard in a Roman Catholic forum, but... as John said, they must realize the danger and be prepared to publicly refute statements that legitimize the papacy as a universal bishopric based on their participation in Roman Catholic dialogue.

      What John is saying, is many Protestants think Rome views them as equal brothers, but in truth, she sees them as people to be pitied and converted. What is interesting is, this little debate is serving to highlight the cultural differences in thinking between Protestants and Roman Catholics, which serves John’s initial post well.

    15. I'm not catholic at all, I'm Evangelical, I'm no friend to papists, but I see Geralds points and kinda James points a little, too, and I agree John is overstating his arguments like Daniel said.

      BUT I agree with John's intention since catholicism IS WRONG and dangerous to peoples souls and salvation. John should put his points against catholics better and more coherently but I agree with where hes trying to go against catholics. But I agree with Daniel, Gerald and James points, too -- I do not think they are arguing for catholics but they are arguing about John overstating his points, but I get where John is going and I agree catholics is dangerous.

    16. NG, I don't think Gerald is arguing FOR catholics. Hes only arguing about calling evangelicals secret catholics because they're writing for a catholic magazine. I wouldn't write for a catholic magazine and John is right about first things being mostly catholic, but writing for a catholic magazine doesn't make someone catholic. Heck the Mohler guy wrote Why I'm A Baptist but it was published in a catholic magazine! Worse Case Scenario it makes them COMPROMISED with catholicism and that's wrong if it is true but it doesn't make them catholic.

    17. DQ, nobody said "secret Catholics". The phrase in the officil language (and this applies not only to writers for First Things, but to all of us, and WE need to be aware of it) is that if you are a baptized Christian, those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."

      That is their official posture. I don't necessarily think that, as NG said, that Protestants are "people to be pitied and converted" -- but something close to that, and it may even be that among some of the Roman apologists.

    18. John, I'm saying secret catholics because you said or quoted people are really catholic without knowing it. I'm not disagreeing with you, however. But you and NG are too hung up on WHAT CATHOLICS THINK about us! But we Evangelicals shouldn't care what catholics think about us. Catholics can think whatever they want about us. Catholics can think writing for their magazine means someone is accepting catholic "authority" like NG said. But who cares what catholics think? It doesn't make it true.

      I googled and I found BOTH Mohler and Trueman writing VERY CLEARLY that they are NOT catholic, catholicism is wrong, and lots of other things against catholics. For First Things, Mohler wrote "Why I Am a Baptist" and also for First Things, Trueman "Why I Am A Protestant!" They wrote these pieces and these pieces were published in a catholic magazine! A catholic magazine allowed them to argue against Catholicism! And they wrote more pieces against catholicism at other places. Catholics can think Mohler and Trueman are in communion with the catholic church but who cares what catholics think because it's not true.

    19. DQ,

      You said...

      ///Heck the Mohler guy wrote Why I'm A Baptist but it was published in a catholic magazine! Worse Case Scenario it makes them COMPROMISED with catholicism and that's wrong if it is true but it doesn't make them catholic.///

      I am not calling them (Mohler and Trueman), Roman Catholic, nor is any Protestant. You don’t have to convince me. Your argument in this case should be directed at the Roman Catholic Church. We were making the case that Rome believes them to be Roman Catholic. You and I agree on Mohler and Trueman, they are not Roman Catholic.

      I was attempting to show the difference in Protestant and Roman thought to further the dialogue on whether or not “Roman Catholicism is the source of damage in our society today.”

      You said,

      ///But you and NG are too hung up on WHAT CATHOLICS THINK about us!///

      John’s original premise was focused on Roman Catholic thought, which John posited is the source of damage in our culture, (ie creating leftist policy). I was using the discussion between John and Gerald to highlight the difference in Roman and Protestant thought. It is necessary to focus on “what Catholics think,” if we are to have a dialogue about the original premise. What they think “about us,” was relevant, simply because it was the topic of dispute when I chimed in to note how John was being misrepresented. Your comment assumes too much.

      Of note, I don’t think John has proven his case... but I didn’t take his post as an attempt to prove his case, but rather to introduce a topic he is researching. I find it to be an interesting assertion, and look forward to seeing what he comes up with.

    20. NG, you're missing my point. I'm agreeing with you for arguments sake that catholics think Mohler and Trueman and anyone baptized is in communion with them. But I'm saying why should we care what catholics think about us. We shouldnt.

      Im glad youre agreeing John hasn't proven his case. Lots of people here are saying the same thing that John has overstated or overestimated his argument -- Steve Jackson, Daniel, James, Gerald, Jason Engwer, too, its not just me. I dont see anyone misrepresenting John. Maybe they can put things better but its not because theyre misrepresenting him. And everyone agrees already that catholics have their serious problems and theres some connection with catholics and leftism, but Johns trying to prove too much. Thats why I was trying to say I agree with Johns intentions against catholics but his argument needs to be better. If this is just Johns introduction or first step toward that thats OK. First steps can be rough. Im sure John will make a better argument next time.

  5. John, your thesis might be overstated, as in RCism might be a source and not the source or damage in our culture.

    However, I do think there's some truth in what you're saying. I remember a Colombian pastor making this very point when I visited a church in my hometown of Barranquilla. As you know, Colombia and most of South America is predominantly Roman Catholic. He was noting some of the differences between countries founded through RC colonialism and those founded (or heavily influenced) by Protestants. The historical differences have been stark.

    I also don't think it's unfair to point out that countries with a large RC population are prone to the lure of Marxism and the social gospel. I think the connection is more than a simple correlation and can be traced to Roman doctrine. That would take some argumentation that I'm sure Catholics would dispute, but I think it could be backed up.

    Interested to see where you go with this.

    1. Daniel, thanks for your comments here. You're probably right, it is just "a" source, however, if it is "a" source, it is likely THE primary source against which all the major intellectual movements pushed. It was the only game in town for hundreds of years, and it did more than anything to shape the political and intellectual climate of western Europe. Some good movements came out of it (not least the Reformation), but all the bad ones did as well, pushing against an overbearing system that claimed to be of Christ but that really mocked him and his work in bitter ways.

  6. (I'm responding here to what John has written in this thread and another one.)

    The most foundational problem is a wrong view of God, and that's the most foundational problem in every generation (Proverbs 9:10, Matthew 22:37-39, etc.). The false views vary across time and location. In modern America, a few of the most prominent errors are that God isn't of much interest, that he won't hold us accountable much, and that he's religiously pluralistic. Roman Catholicism isn't solely or primarily to blame for those false views of God.

    The leftism you refer to, John, is a significant problem, but it's far from the most significant problem in the United States or worldwide. And the degree to which it's accepted and implemented varies a lot among the individuals you're including within leftism.

    If you have to go "far back in history" to find much of a connection between Catholicism and the leftism you have in mind, and you don't know the answer to questions like what Steve Jackson asked you about Europe and Scandinavia in particular, it seems highly unlikely that you can justify placing as much blame on Catholicism as you've suggested. You refer to Enlightenment philosophies reacting to Catholicism, but it's not as though they reacted only to what's unique to Catholicism (e.g., the papacy). And why stop at Catholicism? Why not ask what was behind Catholicism in the relevant contexts and trace the source of blame further back? Stopping at Catholicism is suspicious. And whatever role Catholicism had hundreds of years ago, many other influences have become involved as well, including people and movements influenced by non-Catholic sources, combinations of Catholic ideas with non-Catholic ones, etc. People have had hundreds of years to observe and interact with Protestantism, and that hasn't prevented the leftism you're objecting to. The form of it that you're most focused on is occurring in a nation that's more Protestant than Catholic.

    I agree with you that Catholicism deserves some blame (as well as credit for the good it's done in these contexts, such as what Steve Jackson mentioned in his first response to you). But you seem to be overestimating the problem and Catholicism's responsibility for it.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Yes! Amen. I agree Jason. That's what I'm trying to say, too, to John, but I'm not as good with words. Thanks for this is level headed.

  7. I am grateful for the ongoing discussions and even the pushback. I know that I made some bold claims. And I know that I haven’t developed my arguments fully. I left things hanging intentionally. I asked for comments.

    If you think that where I was heading involved simply a criticism of "First Things", you missed the mark. If you think that I think that Roman Catholicism *as a religion* is what is *the* source of damage, you missed the mark.

    If have an agenda, it is to help all of us understand that what we’re seeing in the political arena has much broader roots.

    Where I'm headed with this is not the *religion* per se, but the use of the religion as a tool of manipulation.

    And I will hope to show that Roman Catholicism (and maybe some of its predecessors in the rhetoric of the Roman empire) learned how to use language and rhetoric to unwittingly control how discussions play out.

    That is where I'm hoping to go with this. "Leftists", "wokists", are putting an academic sheen on some very bad concepts. And they are doing it via the manipulation of language, and even the manipulation of concepts.

    1. Now I’m wondering if you are looking into 17th century casuistry.

    2. NG, that will certainly be a part of it, but I want to look at earlier things than this.

  8. John--

    I guess you're going to enlighten us, but I'm wondering why you came down so hard on First Things, as opposed to other groups. I believe there is a qualitative difference between the ecumenism of men like Avery Dulles, Richard John Neuhaus, Peter Kreeft, and Robert George on the one hand, and groups like Catholic Answers and Called to Communion (David Anders or Bryan Cross, take your pick) on the other.

    The latter are Machiavellian, duplicitous, manipulative, disingenuous. That I'll grant you. But the former appear to possess some authenticity. They appear to have allowed themselves, at least to some extent, to be iron sharpening iron across a fairly intractable divide. C2C and CA wish to eat Protestants tooth and jowl. So that in that way we might become one with them. FT's efforts come far closer to reaching out a hand in friendship to discover what if anything we hold in common.

    Sure, they believe that Catholicism is THE truth, but they entered into the discussions in good faith. We Evangelicals likewise believe that our side embraces THE truth. Firm convictions and a grasp of the absolute nature of truth, however, do not automatically make one power hungry and manipulative. We believe what we believe and allow those beliefs to stand or fall on their own merits, buttressed by sound arguments. I think some Catholics do that, as well. You're painting with too broad of brush strokes for my taste.

    1. Eric, I'm greatly oversimplifying, and yes, I'm happy to go into much more detail, but what's the difference between getting stabbed in the back by someone you know you can't trust, and getting stabbed in the back by someone who definitely gives you the appearance that they can be trusted?

    2. John, would you personally be against speaking to a group of people at a catholic company, maybe a charity or other company, if you're invited and you're able to say anything you want including explaining why you're against catholicism and why you're for protestantism, evangelical and reformed beliefs, telling catholics the true gospel and anything else you want to talk about with them?

    3. Why would I be against that?

    4. John, thats good! If you're not against it then you shouldnt be against Evangelicals like Trueman and Mohler writing for First Things about "Why I Am A Protestant" and "Why I Am A Baptist!" They were invited to a catholic company -- First Things, to talk about whatever they want. Thats what they did! No backstabbing by FT either, FT publishes Trueman and Mohler's points against catholicism, too.

  9. John--

    There's little difference, but with a big "if."

    If that's what's actually happening.

    And I don't think it is. Catholic theology is not completely consistent and certainly not monolithic outside of official channels. The ECT Catholics include a law professor (George), a philosopher (Kreeft), a journalist (Neuhaus), and the son of a famous career diplomat (Dulles). I think they were a bit idiosyncratic, a bit independent minded. A couple of them genuinely sound Protestant-esque on occasion. Edward T. Oakes, one of the RC participants said as much in a letter to the editor of FT. He stated that he felt more camaraderie with his Protestant colleagues concerning justification by faith.