Quentin for Pope!

In our discussion of bad apples and bad barrels our contributor, Ignatius, wrote of the need to accept the weakness in the human aspects of the Church. It reminded me of an old fantasy of mine.

I recall imagining that a particularly damaging virus swept the world. It only affected men and by some chance, I was the only man who happened to have the antibodies. Over a few months every human male died, and I was left as the only man alive. As I recall, there was a gratifying element of rather a large number of women being interested in my services. And it was quite clear that, as a latter day Adam, I was morally obliged to start the process of repopulating the world. Nowadays, I fear, I would fail at the first hurdle – if hurdle is the right word in this case.

But Ignatius spurs me further. What if I were the only Catholic left in the world? I must assume that a bishop, with his last few breaths laid his trembling hand on me, and ordained me. Now I represent the whole Catholic Church, preserved against the Gates of Hell – from pope down to layman. What effect would that have?

I assume that I would receive great graces to fulfil the duties and powers which Jesus, following his resurrection gave to the Apostles. I would have supreme authority, including infallibility under the defined conditions. And my duty would be to evangelise on a big scale.

But, as Nektarios reminds me (Nektarios is only a dim memory in this fantasy) I cannot escape my fallen nature. I am still susceptible to all the vices, and the temptations would be great. I will no doubt give way to many of these. I will make many mistakes and, in all likelihood, many bad decisions. Fortunately John Nolan appears to me in dreams, always courteously telling me where I am going wrong. And I would have to explain to our St Joseph that NFP might not be relevant when we have to reproduce so many Catholic children. Yet my power and authority would still be there for I represent Christ in this world. I am his Church.

But isn’t this just how the Church we know always has been and continues to be? It is made up of people not too different from me. Some bits good, some bits bad, some bits wise, some bits foolish. Yet withal its spine is the divine mission to bring people to Christ, to offer them the sacraments and to teach them the truth. Ragged and pockmarked, it nevertheless remains the only channel which can bring us all to God.

So we are fortunate to have a Pope who does not present us with the old option: are you in a state of grace or are you in mortal sin? We are not in a state at all, we are on a journey. While we have a compass we forget to use it, and so often we find ourselves going down the wrong road. But the journey is not by road it is by our relationships – family, spouse, friends – right down the moth eaten girl selling the Big Issue on the street corner. And not forgetting the relationship we have with ourselves. We have a lifetime to learn how to love. Maybe we should look at that compass more often.

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Church and Society, Moral judgment, Quentin queries. Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Quentin for Pope!

  1. John L says:

    Sorry, Quentin, but I couldn’t call you Your Holiness, because if you were the only man on the planet, I wouldn’t be here to do it. Much worse, from your point of view, is that if your Church consisted of women only, then God help you (literally), “What does a mere man know about anything important?” And, by default, a clergyman at that!
    O.k. I will re-read your piece and take it more seriously.

  2. John Candido says:

    What a strange piece of writing! For a moment I thought that you had lost your ‘marbles’ Quentin. I think that part of the genius of this piece is that through the use of one’s imagination we might find a salvation of sorts, a loosening of rigorous strictures or the minimisation of a ‘black letter’ legal approach to our humanness. This is what Francis is about to a large degree. And why would that be? I think that a real pastor wouldn’t know how else to proceed when discussing something as important as love and the family.

  3. Iona says:

    An extraordinary fantasy! Doesn’t resemble any of mine in the slightest, and I have plenty of them.

  4. Galerimo says:

    Thank you Quentin and an extraordinary fantasy it is. Sounds more like my nightmare.
    If it were me I would immediately take the HolySpirit’s Roar to ordain the most obvious woman pope.
    I would proudly announce that I was the last of so many who thought how they were the only one in the world anyway and then lament how I had apparently been the only one shut out from the Church “triumphant” and begin to ponder things in a whole new light.

  5. Nektarios says:

    What a weird fantasy to have, imagined or otherwise. If one thinks the past and present Popes had problems, were so tried, that is a shadow of what this fantasy would lay bear down on you.
    But as someone once said concerning childbirth, ‘bearing up is better than bearing down!’

    In this fantasy, all these women and you are the only man – I can see you trembling with anxiety, not for the services you have to provide to keep humanity going, but the odd one that would come and afterwards, exhausted to hear that dreaded word – again!

    Your fantasy, is nothing in comparison to a certain fantasy that is the bedrock of the RCC administration’s view of itself – but you don’t want to hear about that now, it would spoil your present imagined fantasy.

    But, for poor Nektarios, taken by that virus, my soul carried off by the holy angels, to meet with
    the Lord is my souls desire. There to remain in His presence, having joys, delights and pleasures
    and receiving what cannot be received in this mortal body until it is raised immortal.
    Now that sounds like a fantasy, but for every true believer in Christ, it is no fantasy but will be shown to be a fact. For now we have a foretaste of things to come.

  6. St.Joseph says:

    Prayers seems to be working. thank you all so much.
    After every day last week in hospital, and yesterday a scan, I was told that the Catheter in my neck to my chest has a twist in it, no serious damage from the chemo in my neck. Start again next week please God.
    Quentin.
    You being the only man and a Catholic, you would only have to be married to one woman.
    (I have a problem with Adam and Eve having 2 sons unless I misunderstood Genesis)

    NFP would be very relevant’ as one would know exactly when conception took place and it would not be a Russian roulette situation.
    The sex of the child is determined my the father at the time of conception when either an
    X chromosome or a Y chromosome sperm fertilises the ovum to produce a girl or a boy respectively According to the work of Dr Shettles,an American gynaecologist ,the timing of intercourse in relation to the quality of cervical mucus is a crucial factor in sex determination,
    Around the time of ovulation the alkaline peak mucus provides the optimum for sperm survival of both types of sperm. The Y sperm are lighter than the X sperm, and able to move more rapidly towards the ovum, so the chances of a boy are increased by a single act of intercourse on peak day or the day following peak ,as close as possible to the predicted ovulation.

    Your post very interesting story, however I cant see it happening but it did make me smile!

    • Quentin says:

      St Joseph, that’s wonderful news about the catheter. Prayers have been answered and we must keep praying.

      I don’t think that having only one wife would be a problem. In the Old Law the ancients were able to use polygamy even though the permission was abrogated later. Someone would have to decide whether it would be proper to bring the permission back. Who would decide? The Pope at that time of course. Bring on the dancing girls!

      Thanks for the tip on conceiving boys. Should the situation arise I will be sure to remember it. Given that there will be about 3.7 billion females and only little me, I will need every tip I can get.

    • Nektarios says:

      St Joseph
      I join with Quentin, wonderful news. Of course, we must and will keep praying for you.
      God bless, -N.

  7. St.Joseph says:

    P.S.
    I don’t believe that canonisation makes a saint, it is because we are a saint we are canonised

    • Nektarios says:

      St Joseph

      That is what I meant when a posted to Quentin. ‘ I have an assurance that the Lord of glory has pipped you to the post already.’

      Will we ever see, sister, St Joseph canonised? His Holiness Pope Quentin, only having women left in his fantasy, you are in with a shout!

  8. Brendan says:

    I fear this would cause much chaos and ‘ gnashing of teeth ‘ ; but Pope Brendan 1 would enact a complete separation of Church and State worldwide and proclaim a Pan – Christian Patriarchal Council ( date to be arranged ). All this in line with the school of Pope Francis 1 my predecessor – whose case for beatification is well underway.
    My wife and I are going on holiday to Hayling Island – see you in a weeks time. You’re in my prayers St. Joseph.

    • Nektarios says:

      Brendan
      Many think along the same lines, myself included. The problem for the Churches , which are called State churches, is essentially very different one from another and different in function. Yes, I would be for a separation of Church and State.

      I was enjoying seeing a sane, sensible rational arguments being accepted on all sides
      the I woke up only to realise it was just a fantasy dream.

      Enjoy your holiday break.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Brendan. Thank you and enjoy your holiday.

      Nektarios
      I am not too much educated, leaving school at 14, and don’t really know much or anything with regards to Church and State. I always thought they were separate, obviously not.
      How does it work.?

      • Nektarios says:

        St. Joseph

        This is a very big subject to tackle on the blog, so I have sent you a sermon by Dr. Martyn Loydd-Jones. It will enlighten you somewhat on the subject of Church and State clearly.

  9. St.Joseph says:

    Nektarios.
    Thank you.

  10. John Nolan says:

    In 1839 the young Gladstone published ‘The State in its Relations with the Church’. Most people know of it only through Macaulay’s brilliant demolition job which appeared in the Edinburgh Review in the same year. When I read it as an A-level student I was bowled over by Macaulay’s seemingly irrefutable logic and coruscating wit. Surely the final word?

    Well, no, actually. At age eighteen I was woefully ignorant of Catholic tradition and now I realize that Gladstone, the High Anglican, was not simply upholding the Established Church but had touched on a wider and more profound matter. Macaulay, the Whig materialist, was incapable of grasping this.

    Two years ago I attended a lecture by Dr Thomas Pink of King’s College, London on Church and State as understood in the Catholic tradition. It raised some interesting points, and although one is entitled to disagree with some of his propositions, it is clear that those who blithely talk about ‘complete separation of Church and State’ are not only being simplistic, but arguably erroneous.

    We are now in a situation where government and Church are so divorced from one another that a notionally Tory Prime Minister (David Cameron) who is actually the epitome of a Whig, can not only accept a morality which runs counter to 3000 years of Judaeo-Christian thought but is prepared to use the criminal law to enforce it on the nation. The 20th century also threw up examples of states which defined themselves in purely secular terms and embarked on genocidal policies.

    Nektarios recommends to St Joseph that she read the sermons of Martyn LLoyd-Jones. The latter was a Nonconformist who certainly understood the Catholic tradition but rejected it. He is part of an Evangelical tradition which has little in common with Whig rationalism but was writing at a time (the 1950s) when governments of either stripe operated within a Judaeo-Christian moral framework. Neither he, nor Macaulay, could have predicted the present situation.

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan

      The whole history of Church and State has been extrapolated from the OT. It does not exist in the NT.
      It would seem that your understanding of Martyn Lloyd-Jones is somewhat limited.
      He actually demonstrated from Scripture and history, the events that carried on the Church and State even throughout the Reformation period, the Puritan period to the weak position it is in today with its causes and what can be done about it.

      I suggest for you, St. Joseph and anybody else, to listen to Martyn Lloyd-Jones for yourselves. It is not biased, prejudiced, but historically factual, accurate and gives the NT biblical view of Church and State. Therefore I am sending you a link with what to do to save you time.

      Google in, mljtrust.org

      Click to Listen to the sermons.
      Scroll down to Keyword or phrase. Click on that, and type in Church and State.

      Scroll down to the first sermon as it will be the most informative for the purpose.
      Click the little arrow on your left, sit back and listen. Happy Orthodox Easter. Christ is Risen!

  11. ignatius says:

    John Nolan,

    “The 20th century also threw up examples of states which defined themselves in purely secular terms and embarked on genocidal policies…”

    Yes. I fist became seriously interested in ‘Church and State’ relations during my five year sojourn in China from 1990-95 where it was very clear that the effect of secularisation was to the detriment of both religious and secular spheres.

    • Nektarios says:

      Ignatius

      Quite so. Despite that however, the church is moving forward and growing in numbers.
      I get regular reports on Christianity and what is happening on the ground with the Church in China.

  12. Nektarios says:

    I would add to keep on topic of inventive and imaginary fantasy, that is what lies behind the whole edifice of the union of Church and State.

  13. John Nolan says:

    Nektarios,

    We’re not talking about a union of Church and State, nor the idea of a confessional state or a theocracy, nor even the symbiotic relationship of the Tsars (and Putin) with the Orthodox Church. We’re talking about Church-State relations in the context of Catholic tradition, which I would not expect an evangelical Protestant like Lloyd-Jones to have much truck with. As you rightly point out, it is a big subject, and it is sufficiently nuanced to rule out blanket generalizations.

    Catholics need to be aware of their own Church’s tradition before submitting themselves to the non-magisterial views of a Dissenting minister, biblical scholarship, historical erudition and communication skills notwithstanding.

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan
      Clearly you have not listened to the sermon I sighted.
      No one is asking you or other Catholics or anyone else to ‘submit themselves to another.
      All one needs to do is look at the facts.
      The afore mentioned sermon is sufficiently nuanced and is fair from blanket generalisations. What are yours based on?

      I lay before as does Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones just the facts of and about Church and State.
      Catholic and Protestant and Episcopalian Cof E., C of S. and others.
      The facts about Church and the State or the Roman Catholic history of itself as a Church and State rolled into one.
      The facts he shows essentially are historical. So, John, banging your denominational drum
      in no way adds anything to the issues of Church and State.
      I also find it saddening that someone of the stature, gifts and capacities of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, had, and being dead yet speaketh, is held up as a biased bigot, something he never was.
      You show … well it is clear what you show – ignorance about the issue and the man.

      • ignatius says:

        Thats great Nektarios,

        I see there are even more people who misunderstand you.

        “What, then, are we looking at? We are looking at a system; and I would not hesitate to assert that this system, Known as Roman Catholicism, is the devil’s greatest masterpiece! It is such a departure from the Christian faith and the New Testament teaching, that I would not hesitate with the Reformers of the sixteenth century to describe it as “apostasy”.”
        Martin Lloyd Jones
        Roman Catholicism

        Of course he must be right musn’t he Nektarios, Clearly such a balanced and unbiased view deserves pride of place in our thinking.

  14. John Nolan says:

    Nektarios
    My opinions are based on a life-long study of history and an intelligent layman’s understanding of Catholic teaching and tradition. You, by contrast, give ample evidence that you know little of the former and hold the latter, inasmuch as you understand it, in contempt.

  15. Nektarios says:

    Ignatius & John Nolan

    I really can’t see what you both are taking exception to, if all we are dealing with re-Church and State are the facts.
    If you had listened to the sermon as I suggested, it could not have escaped your notice that the Reformers adopted Church and State, so later the Puritans and many of the Churches today are called State Churches too. The only problem is it is absent from the NT entirely.
    Where the State or powers are mentioned we are told to obey them for they are all about Law and Order.

    Because from an Apostolic teaching and spiritual point of view I may disagree with some of you as treating anyone with contempt – that is anti-Christian.

    Regarding Ignatius point, How disappointing, you have no argument just unsubstantiated, misquoted, snide remarks.

    The fact of the matter is, as history shows we have all to a lesser or greater degree got things wrong. Where we can let us follow the Apostles method, if we can call it that, of following the Apostles and Our Lord’d teaching.

    Hurling abuse at anyone is not a sign of being correct in ones thinking. For example, You have yet to lay out the Roman Catholic position on Church/State argument.Simply taking it for granted can mean one has not thought it through with the Scriptures, for there lies the authority behind the practice.

  16. ignatius says:

    Hi Nektarios,

    So Lloyd Jones didn’t say those words then? That’s strange, I thought I read them in his address on Roman Catholicism, that’s why I quoted them; that’s why they are here, again:

    “..“What, then, are we looking at? We are looking at a system; and I would not hesitate to assert that this system, Known as Roman Catholicism, is the devil’s greatest masterpiece! It is such a departure from the Christian faith and the New Testament teaching, that I would not hesitate with the Reformers of the sixteenth century to describe it as “apostasy”.”
    Martin Lloyd Jones
    Roman Catholicism

  17. Nektarios says:

    Ignatius

    On the Issue of Church and State which we are looking at, it was not Roman Catholicism that initially made the departure from the New Testament teaching but Constantine.
    When the Roman Empire fell, the Roman Catholic Church continued the Church/ State and as such was a departure from NT teaching. In that he is accurate.

  18. ignatius says:

    Sorry I thought we were looking at ‘misquotes’ and I was checking with you about it just to make sure that I had in fact quoted MLJ correctly from his address on Roman Catholicism. It was a correct quote wasn’t it?

    • ignatius says:

      Just following up on this you see Nektarios:
      “Regarding Ignatius point, How disappointing, you have no argument just unsubstantiated, misquoted, snide remarks.”

    • Nektarios says:

      Ignatius

      I have not had time to look those particular sermons up by MLJ on Roman Catholicism yet.

    • Nektarios says:

      Ignatius

      Did you listen to the whole sermon or just read the outline at the bottom? I suspect the latter. There MLJ is talking about ONE FAITH.
      He is not saying everything the RCC has to say is heretical, but on this issue of ONE FAITH he says it is. Why?
      I suggest you listen to the sermon.
      For anyone else who wants to understand what is at stake here about ONE FAITH:
      Scroll up to you come to my access to the website, mljtrust.org. Click on the Key word
      and type in Roman Catholicism.
      Go to the sermon on One Faith. Click on it and listen and gain from it.

      It is no good Ignatius, saying what you quoted was correct, when totally out of context, so it is effectively incorrect.

      • ignatius says:

        Nektarios,

        So it wasn’t a misquote, Nektarios, as you earlier suggested it to be?

      • Nektarios says:

        Ignatius

        The outline you read, was not done by Dr. MLJ but those who put the website together.
        Oh dear!Sorry to deflate you.

  19. John Candido says:

    William Ewart Gladstone was born on the 29th December 1809 and passed away on the 19th May 1898. He is considered to be one of the greatest Prime Ministers of Great Britain in history. He served as Prime Minister on four separate occasions which no one has equalled since. He was also Chancellor of the Exchequer for four times as well. He was Britain’s oldest ever Prime Minister who retired from office at the age of 84.

    He went to Eton & then to Oxford University where he read Classics and Mathematics and graduated with a first class double degree in 1831. It was a rather strange combination of subjects owing to the fact that he had no great interest in mathematics. However he always had the intention of achieving a first class double degree.

    He first entered Parliament in 1832 at the sprightly age of 23 and was a parliamentarian for 63 years which makes him the longest continuously serving politician in British history. These political milestones are unlikely to ever be surpassed. Gladstone was a religious man who was a High Anglican and was noted for his oratory. He was a 19th century liberal who was far more conservative when he first entered Parliament than when he left it in 1894, at the end of his fourth prime ministerial period. He was a Tory between 1828 and 1834, then he became a Conservative between 1834 and 1846, then he was a Peelite between 1846 and 1859 and finally he became a Liberal between 1859 and until he passed away in 1898.

    Abraham Lincoln was known as a ‘rail splitter’ while Gladstone was a physically active person who took up felling mostly oak trees in 1858 and continued to chop them down enthusiastically until he was 81 years of age in 1891. He was equally active intellectually with having had the distinction of reading around 20,000 books during his lifetime. He went on to build a personal library of over 32,000 books.

    He was an economic conservative who disliked public sector spending. Although he was popularly known as ‘The People’s William’ or the ‘G.O.M.’ the ‘Grand Old Man’ of politics, his political rival Benjamin Disraeli considered G.O.M. to mean ‘God’s Only Mistake’. He also had poor relations with Queen Victoria who disliked his affected formality towards her.

    His father Sir John Gladstone was a slave owning merchant. Gladstone’s son William opposed the abolition of slavery as a parliamentarian. Two years after entering Parliament in 1832, slavery was abolished in 1834. He assisted his father’s bid for compensation for his ‘loss of property’ by being forced to free all of his 2,508 slaves who he used as farm labourers. Gladstone’s father owned nine plantations in total in the Caribbean.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Ewart_Gladstone

  20. ignatius says:

    Hi Nektarios,

    I didn’t take it from your website Nektarios but from a transcript of the address on Roman Catholicism given in 1961 by MLJ. This is the quote again Nektarios:
    “..“What, then, are we looking at? We are looking at a system; and I would not hesitate to assert that this system, Known as Roman Catholicism, is the devil’s greatest masterpiece! It is such a departure from the Christian faith and the New Testament teaching, that I would not hesitate with the Reformers of the sixteenth century to describe it as “apostasy”.”
    Martin Lloyd Jones
    Roman Catholicism
    You can accesss it here: http://www.sounddoctrine.net/LIBRARY/Romanism/Romanism_MJones.htm

    Is it, as you say, a misquote or not ? If it isn’t I would like you to say so.

  21. Nektarios says:

    Ignatius

    Must confess not to have seen this before or knew of this website.
    You have NOT MISQUOTED and it appears he did state these things, as you say.

    However, Ignatius, be fore you smile too much and gloat, consider well all the different aspects
    he mentioned. Is he right? Is he wrong? If wrong, where was he wrong?

    I can also see that this was an early sermon by MLJ, and is very direct. What was happening at the time may have called for a forthright statement about Roman Catholicism.
    I also see similar views held in the Orthodox Church. In my view, perhaps there is need for Revival
    and another Reformation for the Protestant churches for the most part are getting it wrong too.

    So, Ignatius, If you have the time, please address the questions I pose above.

    • ignatius says:

      Nektarios,

      I’m not gloating but I do think it is is time you stopped this kind of stuff:

      ““Regarding Ignatius point, How disappointing, you have no argument just unsubstantiated, misquoted, snide remarks.”

      You have a very bad habit, amply demonstrated here,of making arrogant statements about individuals with whom you disagree. Mostly these assumptions not only lack substance but are simply untrue.

      • Nektarios says:

        Ignatius

        I have already admitted you did not misquote what Martyn Lloyd-Jones had said in words,
        but like I said you leave out the context. In the link you presented me with a sermon I did not know about with a website I did not know about either.

        You say, Mostly these assumptions not only lack substance but are simply untrue. So please back up what you say. Leaving it as your assertion and perhaps that of the RCC
        is not enough, back it up with where He is wrong and where he is being ‘untrue’ concerning the RCC?

  22. John Nolan says:

    Nektarios

    The Catholic Church at least since the time of Pope Gelasius I in the fifth century has acknowledged that there is a separation of powers between Church and State, and St Thomas Aquinas defines this clearly. However, she has consistently condemned the total separation of Church and State. For a clear re-statement of this tradition, I suggest you read Leo XIII’s ‘Immortale Dei’ and ‘Libertas’. The body politic, as a product of human nature, belongs to an ultimately God-given order, and secular rulers have a duty towards maintaining true religion. In a State with a predominantly Catholic population, it is entirely consistent with tradition that the Catholic Church be given a privileged position.

    The Second Vatican Council’s decree on religious liberty, ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ (1965) was controversial at the time and remains so; yet it states at the outset that ‘it leaves untouched (integram relinquit) the traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies towards the true religion and the one Church of Christ.’

    A greater or lesser degree of separation may indeed be inevitable and indeed prudent, but this does not negate the principle. And what is under discussion in this thread is not a degree of separation, but total separation, which the Magisterium has condemned in no uncertain terms.

    Non-Catholics (especially Nonconformist Welsh tub-thumpers) don’t accept the validity of Catholic tradition, and there is no reason why they should; but it is surely impertinent for a non-Catholic like yourself to tell Catholics to be in effect Protestants and abandon Tradition – which is part of Revelation – if it doesn’t conform to a literal reading of Scripture. When the NT was written the concept of Christendom did not exist and early Christians were at loggerheads with the State (pagan Rome). There are even some Catholics who regard (ahistorically and illogically, it has to be said) the adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empire as being a ‘bad thing’.

    By the way, there is a difference between assertions and facts.

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan

      You are absolutely right, there is a wide difference between assertions and facts.
      But again, facts can be distorted and often are, then we are in the realm of bias and prejudice, devious deceit and the wiles of the devil.

      While some Protestants would desire that Catholics all become Protestants, that is not my view. My view is all the Christian churches are in need of revival and reformation.

      The Word of God handed down to us in the OT and the NT is historical,yes, in that it was written down over a certain period of time. But,it is also the eternal Word of God to man.
      Therefore from the time Christ came into the world, we have entered the last days. What Christ and the Apostles taught in both doctrine and teaching is the only authority we have written down.
      The Holy Spirit is the real author of the Holy Scriptures and inspired the Apostles and holy men in the OT to write it down.
      All Scripture is given by inspiration, is profitable to man …….

  23. Nektarios says:

    We must add, that there is only ONE FAITH. There are many denominations, each with their own emphasis. But the Apostle Paul throughout the NT is a labour to point out to us all then and down through the centuries that there is only ONE FAITH. He labours to point out this is the real UNITY of the whole Church. He is at labours to point out that it is not something we can add too. The reason for that is the source of Faith is God. Faith is the gift of God. To add to or detract from the ONE FAITH once delivered is a very serious matter.

    This has produced divisions in the Church. But it has a even worse charge when one adds to or detracts from the ONE FAITH one thinks something we do can merit Salvation.

    Clearly the Apostles taught this is impossible. Yes, Christians can be good, upright, moral, go to Church, be obedient. or even baptism can save us they cannot. They may all be true of a good Christian but we do not merit Salvation or become truly a Christian my these means, only through the ONE FAITH which is the gift of God, not of man or of works lest any man should boast.

    We work out our ONE FAITH with fear and trembling, why? Because it it God who has given this gift of the ONE FAITH and is working IN US to both will and to do of His good pleasure.

    • John Nolan says:

      Nektarios, Catholics do not accept, and never have accepted, that the Catholic Church is merely just one Christian denomination among many, and while it is conceded that Christians not in communion with the Roman pontiff may be right about some things and wrong about others, the true Church of Christ subsists only in the Catholic church.

      That really is the bottom line. We are not working towards a definition of either either Faith or Truth. By all means found your own Protestant sect (I am told that there are in excess of three thousand in the USA alone).

      • Nektarios says:

        John Nolan
        Please answer me, how is it then that The Roman Catholic Church is so different from what we have laid out before us in the NT as to it life, its doctrines and practice?

        How is it then if your assertion is true, why it is more than half the Christian in the world understanding something of your stance, do not adhere to, or attach themselves to the RCC?

        Listen John, and listen carefully, No denomination is the head, no denomination is the power of God, no denomination can give Salvation or faith to another. No denomination gives eternal life.
        The question you have to answer is if that is the case, then what does?
        For me, I trust in the Lord who died and gave Himself for me. My rejoicing and joy is in Him. My understanding humanly speaking is limited, but in the Spirit things are understood. My peace is in Him and Him alone.

      • Nektarios says:

        John Nolan
        You have no biblical, Apostolic basis for such an assertion as you state in your first paragraph. Where you get it from, is not from God, nor the Son of God, or the Holy Spirit, but solely men of this world.
        Such assertion is not Christianity at all.

  24. Alan says:

    John Nolan – “In a State with a predominantly Catholic population, it is entirely consistent with tradition that the Catholic Church be given a privileged position.”

    Besides tradition is there a case made for why, beyond the voting power of its numbers of course, a religion should enjoy such privilege?

    I’m not sure what is involved in a total separation of Church and State as opposed to any partial separation. Can you outline the difference and what you feel the risks would be?

    • John Nolan says:

      Alan, that’s a very pertinent question. I am not suggesting that a modern state would want to establish Catholicism as an ‘official’ state Church, or that the Church would wish to encourage such a development. The Church (and particularly 19th century popes who had to confront the issue) saw the risk of total separation as inhering in states legislating contrary to God’s law and purpose, and using their coercive power to override conscience and to deny the Church her legitimate rights.

      20th century totalitarian regimes showed that this concern was not misplaced, and liberal democracies in the 21st century would wish to confine religion to the totally private sphere and impose a secular morality based on relativism and perceived majority opinion (which they have unprecedented resources to manipulate). What appeared merely twenty years ago to be common sense is now a secular heresy and the state takes over the roles of both inquisitor and executioner.

      Intolerance is exercised in the name of toleration (the great paradox of the modern era) and the Church’s immutable Tradition is counter-cultural to an extent undreamed of by any in the 19th century or earlier. Ironically, it also runs counter to the cultural assumptions of a majority of Mass-going Catholics, as surveys in the USA have made clear. Whatever explanations may be given for this, it is by any account a disturbing and seemingly intractable problem.

    • Alan says:

      John,

      It doesn’t seem like a paradox to me. I don’t think it is a case of simply being intolerant of something in the name of tolerance of something else. I think it is rather a judgement of what a society finds acceptable and what it doesn’t. No matter how tolerant a society is it cannot tolerate everything. Some views or interests conflict with each other. Both cannot be accommodated in practice. I would think that interest groups should argue their corner, without privilege.

  25. John Nolan says:

    Nektarios

    ‘Please answer me, how is it then that the Roman Catholic Church is so different from what we have laid before us in the NT as to its life, its doctrine and practice?’

    I can’t give an explanatory answer to a question which contains a patently false assertion. It’s analogous to ‘have you stopped beating your wife yet?’

    ‘For your God or dream or devil/You must answer – not to me.’ Chesterton wrote this in another context, but it applies to you with your inchoate mysticism and anti-Catholic prejudice. Ignatius is more tolerant than I am but even he is exasperated by your tendentious vapourings.

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan

      John, clearly you are avoiding the question I posed.
      I cannot be anti Catholic as we share the same tradition.
      This level of accusations you are showing about at me, John, is uncharitable at the very least.
      There is much about the additions of Roman Catholicism I can take exception to, but that is a far cry from a anti-Catholic prejudice.
      Also you seem to think that what I have, which is an educated understanding of the subject, you cheekily try a put down as tendentious vapouring.

      Well, in a last attempt for you, John, to be at least honest with yourself, perhaps you would be kind enough to answer this question. Where, in what, or whom does your assurance of Salvation lie?

  26. ignatius says:

    Nektarios,
    ” to be at least honest with yourself, ”

    You really should try thinking before you hit the keys, these levels of displayed rudeness and pomposity simply further and further undermine your credibility as witness to whatever it is you claim to believe in..

    • Nektarios says:

      Ignatius
      My comments were addressed to John N. There was nothing rude or pompous about what I posted there. It was bringing it to the point that needed to be answered.

  27. John Nolan says:

    Nektarios, no-one is assured of salvation – ‘many are called, but few are chosen’. I’ll stick with the Church which was founded before a single word of the NT was written, and which has handed on the deposit of Faith through all the vicissitudes of historical circumstance, and despite bad bishops and indeed bad popes. I lived through what was arguably the worst pontificate of modern times and the present occupant of Peter’s chair hardly inspires confidence; but I’m not going to cut and run, or resort to trawling through the NT in the vain hope of working out my own salvation plan.

    Does this answer your question? As for the first question I am not avoiding it. I made it clear that it does not admit of an answer since it is bases on an assertion which is palpably false.

    I appreciate that English is not your first language, so I might be misunderstanding your position, so it is all the more important that you think of the import of your remarks before committing them to (albeit electronic) print. When you do so, you can be insightful.

    • Nektarios says:

      John Nolan

      You say, ‘no-one is assured of salvation – ‘many are called, but few are chosen’.

      You know the phrase, one exception proves the rule’.
      For a child of God, he/she was saved, is presently saved, and in the end will be saved. I know many who are just that.
      Do I need to give you all the passages to back that up?

      On working out your own Salvation, for it is God that works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.

      This comes back to ONE FAITH issue. If you start with yourself, you’ve lost before your start. It is all about what the Father has done, executed by the Son of God, and applied to us by the Holy Spirit.
      For those who will be saved – who are they? Those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
      The institutional Church does not save anyone, for Salvation is a gift of God through faith.

      It is impossible to be saved and not know God. But wait – there is a world of a difference
      between a person who can talk or does talk about God, and one who knows Him.

      It would take too long here to tell you of all the powers of a person who is saved, born again call it what you may.

      I would have you to be totally assured of your Salvation.

      English is my first language and a Scot to boot.

      • John Nolan says:

        Nektarios,The phrase you are looking for is ‘the exception that proves the rule’ – ‘prove’ is here used in the now largely archaic sense of ‘test’ or ‘challenge’. If used in the modern sense of ‘demonstrate to be true’ the saying makes no sense at all.

        I’ve met so-called ‘born again’ Christians; they tend to be smug and self-righteous, totally lacking in humility and convinced that they are the elect. Objective consciousness is replaced by a subjective emotionalism that I and many others find repellent. One can understand why their ideas appeal to the emotionally insecure.

      • Nektarios says:

        John Nolan

        I am an old chap now and I guess a bit archaic.
        I can sympathise with your last paragraph, I have met plenty like that too. But, don’t cast out the baby with the bathwater, there is the real thing, the holy, born again Christian. Yes, he/she possesses emotion which is God given. Emotionalism is something completely different and is man and pleasure centred.

        Humility is a virtue, and as one Bishop once put it, ‘ it is a bit like underwear, we should wear it, but not have it on show.
        It is thee virtue or virtues, because we don’t go anywhere in the Christian life or spiritually
        without it.

        There are many in all the Churches insecure in the faith or in themselves. The reason for the insecurity is the natural man does not know himself. He is blind to himself, to his sin,
        blind to God. This is why God has given the Church Preachers and Evangelists, Teachers
        Pastors and administrators and so on.
        Please pick up on this point in the discussion we have had. What the main point was and is, Salvation is a work of God from start to finish. Working out ones salvation with fear and trembling, is because it is God who is working in us.

        Lastly, If God is the Author and Finisher of the Faith I have, I have nothing to boast of
        but can glory in Christ my risen Lord.
        So many Christians, even those in ministry sadly, do not know the Scriptures, do not know the Lord they profess.
        The Church has gone through many ups and downs, ebbs and flows as to living up to what we have be called to in Christ over the centuries and it is in a very dire position now in these days, in my view.
        Therefore, I pray the Lord send the Holy Ghost in reviving power so not only are we who believer strengthened and empowered in the Spiritual life, but it is at times like that as it has been down through the centuries, people have been shocked and amazed as it is not something man does but something God is doing and until He comes again will continue to do till the last person who is His will enter the Kingdom of God.
        It is all about what God is doing with His people.

  28. G.D. says:

    John Nolan,
    “I lived through what was arguably the worst pontificate of modern times and the present occupant of Peter’s chair hardly inspires confidence; but I’m not going to cut and run ….”

    And that’s being in communion with the Pope?

    There are almost as many differing, sound, defensible interpretations of doctrine & tradition amongst the elected leaders of the Roman Church as there are denominations in the USA!

    Seems to me, them that are dependant (fanatical?)
    on their own particular intellectual views,
    to sustain Faith in Christ,
    are the ones that miss the real message
    Jesus revealed to us.
    And the church he left us all.

  29. John Nolan says:

    G.D.

    I can’t make sense of your comments. Truth cannot contradict Truth and even Vatican II did not suggest that there existed a myriad of interpretations of tradition or doctrine. Where did you get this idiosyncratic idea from? I’d love to know.

    • G.D. says:

      Where else then from all the idiosynchratic ideologies
      that are expressed by the clever and learned within the Church?

      Many, within the church, that claim
      to know The Truth hold differing
      inturpetations of said Truth.
      Simple really.

      Truth can’t contradict Truth most assuredly.
      The contradictions are in the
      intellectual expressions of Truth,
      which, of course, are not The Truth.

      The only conclusion for me – no one ever has Truth
      sewn up in a neat perfect package – which is fine.

      I can’t help assuming if more of us aknowledged
      we don’t know the Truth – only glimpse it – we’d all
      have a better understanding of Truth. And God.
      And each other.

      We’ll just have to wait till ‘the end’ to see
      what God does with all the certainities of people.
      If God even notices them (the certainites not the people) that is.

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