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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Too Principled for this Church

Hat tip to Joel Garver for letting me on to this site (The New Pantagruel--an excellent site by the way) and this article in particular. I do not wish to steal from my good friend's site of info but thought I would tip some of my readers to it in case they do not regularly visit Joel's site. If you do not regulalry visit Sacra Doctrina, I highly recommend that you add it to your blog lists. Anyway, here is the portion of the article from the Japery. Do read all of it and comment.
And thus we arrive at the heart of the matter: Why are Protestants, even liberal ones, acceptable to Wheaton and its donors in a way Catholics are not? When he was an Episcopalian, was anyone at Wheaton concerned that Hochschild and other Episcopalians there were of the Gene Robinson variety? If Wheaton Episcopalians are not judged exclusively by their church, why should a Catholic be? It is because Hochschild’s Catholicism is a clear vote against his former Protestant church and all Protestantism, since he didn’t see fit to join another Protestant Church, not even the locally popular Anglican Mission-in-America church which attracts Wheatonians by the thousands each Sunday. This, more than anything else, triggers the broad Protestant intuition that admitting of a close or essential doctrinal agreement with Catholic tradition and orthodoxy means one is no longer a Protestant. When Protestant and Papist alike have both become true catholic Christians, then the problem shifts to one of ecclesiology. For the Protestant, there is nothing left to explain one’s separate identity or to justify schism short of pretending church membership is a kind of style choice, one of many (equally valid?) doors in the hall of mere Christianity. Conservative minds tend to balk at this liberal, relativizing gesture and thus are vulnerable to giving support to “principled” acts on behalf of a “Protestant character” which, if it exists at all, exists as a liberalizing impulse toxic to the truth of right order found in true catholic Christianity. As one former Wheaton professor has said, “The increasing arrogance of the liberal power block [at Wheaton] was alienating both alumni and supporters, so some act was needed that gave the appearance of traditional values. What better way to bump off a conservative and claim tradition?”

As an addendum, it must be said that while I impugn the very nature of the “Protestant character” here, I am not unaware that many of my separated brethren in the magisterial reformed traditions continue to exist in tidepools and rowboats where they valiantly adhere to the catholic Christianity of their forbears. The problem is simply this: that tidepools do not resist the tide and rowboats cannot cross oceans.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
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