You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

More on Catholics in Crisis

I have read both the St Matthias Briefing's "Catholics in Crisis" article and the book A Long Way From Rome that it reviews. The book is disappointing from an evangelical perspective. A collection of ageing baby-boomers who want to liberalise Catholicism, and occasionally try to appropriate analogies from Protestantism to do so (the usual suspects: "a new Reformation", Luther nailing his theses to the church door, etc). The Catholic liberals make the same mistakes as the traditionalists: they assume that Protestantism is more liberal than Catholicism. This is true in precisely two (2) areas: if you are a clergyman who wants to marry, and if you are a married couple who want to use contraception. (And even in these areas, Catholicism allows ex-Protestant ministers to stay married even after being re-ordained as Catholic priests, and markets timed-abstinence methods of birth control as being more reliable than pills and condoms). In just about every other theological area, the adherents of sola Scriptura either agree with the Pope (eg, on homosexuality) or are stricter (eg, on whether God permits Christians to pray to saints or to pray alongside Muslims).

The Briefing review I found a bit fluffy, and light on analysis of the book. The most interesting part was the note at the end -- that the author "became a Christian at the age of 19 and was a member of the Roman Catholic Church for 29 years". Unless Jensenism now encompasses some Mormon-type belief in the pre-existence of spirit babies up to a decade prior to conception, I take this as evidence against the often-raised charge that the Sydney Anglicans around the Carlingford Vatican regard [all] Catholics as "non-Christians".

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