Elsewhere: Mark Shea on Sola Scriptura


A few weeks ago I wrote on the Protestant notion of Sola Scriptura (by scripture alone). Recently, Mark Shea wrote a piece for Catholic Exchange on the same subject.

One basic rule of thumb to understand in Catholic / Protestant conversations is that it is not the case that Catholics rely on Sacred Tradition and Protestants don’t. Rather, Catholics (and, by this, I mean “educated Catholics speaking out of the Magisterial teaching of the Church”) rely on Sacred Tradition and know they do, while Protestants rely on (parts) of Sacred Tradition and (usually) don’t know they do.

So, for instance, despite Paul’s prescriptions (directed only at clergy of his day) that a man must be the husband of but one wife, nowhere in the text of Scripture is it made clear that Christian marriage must be monogamous for all (a fact that did not escape Luther or John Milton). Nowhere does Scripture spell out or that the Holy Spirit is a person, much less the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, consubstantial with the Father and the Son. Similarly, you will look in vain for instructions in Scripture on how to contract a valid marriage (unless you buy this list of “Top 10 Ways to Find a Wife, According to the Bible”):

10. Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours. – (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)

9. Find a prostitute and marry her. – (Hosea 1:1-3)

8. Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. – Moses (Exodus 2:16-21)

7. Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. – Boaz (Ruth 4:5-10)

6. Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. – Benjaminites (Judges 21:19-25)

5. Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. – Adam (Genesis 2:19-24)

4. Kill any husband and take his wife. – David (2 Samuel 11)

3. Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law’s enemies and get his daughter for a wife – David (I Samuel 18:27)

2. Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you’ll definitely find someone. – Cain (Genesis 4:16-17)

1. Don’t be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. – Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-3)

…which doesn’t really help much. The fact is, the Bible says “Marriage is good” but gives us not one word of instruction on how to do it. That’s because Scripture is not and never was intended to be the Big Book of Everything. And yet, of course, Protestants all over the world get married, believe in God the Holy Spirit, and have but one spouse because, as James Dobson says, God’s plan is one man and one woman. How do they do this when Scripture is so unclear?

Read the whole article: The Semi-Permeable Membranes of the Various Protestantisms

Elsewhere: ‘Peace and Justice’ brigade


(I am starting something new with this post, occasional re-posts of notable content I have run across elsewhere. More on this is at the bottom of this one.)

One of the blogs I follow closely is by Father Dwight Longenecker. He is a convert (previously an Anglican priest) with great insights and humor.

Recently he wrote briefly about Catholics who focus on Peace and Justice to the exclusion of everything else. Great points, charitably made.

Anyhow, sister and I were chatting yesterday about how the ‘Peace and Justice’ brigade have taken over the Catholic Church. I’m not one to attack those who work for peace and justice, and I think very often we conservatives do not do enough to foster peace and justice and work with the poor. I’m not opposed to peace and justice, but I am am opposed to those who reduce the entire Catholic Church to ‘working for peace and justice’.

The main problem with this approach is that it turns our religion into a religion of good works. The cross of Christ is forgotten (except as an image of injustice) the idea of redemption from sins is done away with as an ancient irrelevance, and any concept of the supernatural is dismissed as ‘medieval’. So they cling to peace and justice and making the world a better place as the driving idea of Catholicism.

The subsequent problem (which any monkey could figure out) is that you don’t need religion to try to make the world a better place. In fact, a religion can sometimes impede the progress. What you really need is a practical and enforceable ideology–like Marxism. Consequently, the peace and justice campaigners–if they stay in the church at all–stay with it because they see the church as the best multinational organization through which they can foment the revolution. Yucch.

More at Father Longenecker’s blog – Standing on my Head.

This is a new type of post (for me) that I call “Elsewhere.” These will be occasional pieces on Fridays which showcase information and opinions I have recently read…   elsewhere.

My intent is to share material that I have run across that especially interests me as a new convert. My hope is that you will find it interesting too and that you will be introduced to some wonderful Catholic blogs and writers that you may not currently follow.

Convert Journal has just pasted its 5 month anniversary. Not much older than I am Catholic. After the initial weeks, I have held to self-imposed publishing deadlines of every Tuesday and Friday. My favorite posts are brief essays on topics I feel compelled to share. I try to reserve Tuesday exclusively for those. Fridays might have an essay, a 7 Quick Takes Friday, this new Elsewhere type post or possibly other types of content I have yet to think of!

You are a group of loyal readers (subscribers – around 60 +/-) plus anywhere from 20 to 100 drop-ins per day who stumble upon the blog. Your e-mail messages and occasional posted comments are very encouraging. It has been especially exciting for me to “meet” so many folks considering, or in the process of converting to, Catholicism. Please always feel free to write or comment with your opinions or questions.