Catholic, but not Roman

I don’t really know where to put this thread, so I’ll place it here.

I wanted here to offer a “third way”, or more open way to be Christian, rather than Roman Catholic or Protestant.

Articles are statements I believe to be true. Postulates are statements I speculate are true. Contraries are statements I believe are false.

Article 1: Faith in the Holy Trinity I believe that God exists, is triune (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and that the Trinity should not be defined beyond the reach of Scripture and Tradition. Therefore I accept all that the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, and Apostles Creed states about the Trinity. I believe the same about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Though I also believe in such aspects of the trinity as consubstantiation, hypostatic union, generation and procession, I consider these are apophatic definitions, describing what God isn’t instead of what God is, and I consider them too high for my poor intellect, and so will cease spending time trying to figure out what these words mean exactly. It is enough that I accept them as articles of faith. So Follows:

Article 2: The Word made Flesh, Christ Jesus, is both fully God and fully man

Article 3: Christ went down to Hell A note on this, I believe that when Christ broke the gates of hell, he broke them forever, and all souls are free to enter into Heaven when they so choose. Hell is eternal only for those who make it so by willing it eternally. The moment one comes to know and love God, one enters into heaven. As such, I believe it a possibility and a just hope that all, even the fallen angels, will enter into the eternal reward.

Contrary 1: Unwilling Eternal Torment After looking upon the face of my son, and knowing that God loves him more than I do, I cannot reasonably believe that such a loving God would ever cast him or any of us unwillingly into the torment even of separation from him forever.

Postulate 1: Purgatory I choose to use this term for that moment for those who are not yet pure after death, in which they are made pure. Its existence, unwritten in the Scriptures and, as evidenced by the Greek Church, unestablished in the Apostolic Tradition, is a matter of speculation, and not of necessary Christian faith.

Article 4: Resurrection I believe Christ rose from the dead.

Postulate 2: Bodily Resurrection I hold that the resurrection was physical and historical. I do not think belief in a physical resurrection is necessary for a person to be considered a Christian.

Postulate 3: Filioque Though no one can be certain whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, or from the Father and the Son, or from the Father alone, I choose to accept the formation present in the Nicene and Athanasian creeds, in all of western Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic.

Article 5: The Holy Spirit I do, however, firmly believe in the Advocate spirit, imminent and at work in our faith and life.

Article 6: The Holy Bible I believe that the Old and New Testament contain all that is necessary for salvation, if understood properly in the community of the Church and in the light of Apostolic Tradition, mentioned by St. Paul the Apostle and reflected best in the worship of the Church throughout the ages.

Postulate 4: The Apocrypha Since the Greek, Roman and Protestant Christians have different lists of what suffices as Scripture, it is only reasonable to accept as canonical what is common to all of them, and regard as speculative what differs. I accept the Canon provided by the Council of Trent, but where this differs from the Protestant and Greek Canons, I admit I could easily be in error.

Contrary 2: The Form of Scripture I believe that the Bible is infallible in terms of faith and morals, but contains errors in matters of science and discipline (i.e. Tower of Babel, Genesis Creation, Women, Slaves). It was written to show God’s hand in history, to prophesy the Messiah, to document his life death and resurrection. I think anything involving fallible humans is prone to error. As such, I accept the possibility that the Canon of the Bible is incomplete, and think that any council declaring a Canon is potentially in error.

Article 7: Original Sin I believe that original sin is an absolute teaching of Scripture. If there were no original sin, then Christ’s death would not have been for the whole world, but only for those who have actually sinned. I think “original sin” should be called so only due to custom, but that it is not any actual sort of sin, or any real substance, but a label describing the privation of a certain part of God’s grace necessary for a perfect relationship with him.

Article 8: Free Will I believe that God has granted us free will. I believe that, because of original sin and actual sins we commit, we damage that free will. So we must rely on God’s grace alone for our salvation, and for every good thing we do.

Postulate 5: Effective Free Will I believe that God grants a greater effective free will to those who believe in Him. However, there is grace in all people, given that the relationship between them and God is only damaged and not destroyed by original sin. It is possible that this grace is sufficient to grant all people, even those who are not Christian, full effective free will.

Article 9: Justification We are saved by grace alone, justified alone by faith that works in love.

Article 10: Good Works Good works are totally ineffective in themselves to save us or offer us any sort of eternal reward. Joined with God’s grace, good works have great reward, both here and in the hereafter.

Article 11: Christ is Without Sin I believe that Christ alone of all men is sinless.

Postulate 6: Mary made Sinless Though not an essential dogma, I believe that Mary was made sinless at some unknown point between her conception and birth. Sinlessness is a fitting gift for a perfect son to give his mother. This also would ensure Mary full free will at the time of her assent to the Angelic Annunciation, making her good deed unquestionably connected to the bad deed of Eve.

Postulate 7: Mary ever Virgin I believe, along with all the Church Fathers, that Mary was ever virgin. However, as some now think this may have been a sexist convention, I cannot deny the possibility. I think that this a non-essential belief, something I’m unsure of. Mary was certainly a virgin before the birth of Jesus.

Article 12: Predestination and Election Since Scripture teaches this, and since it is clearly a matter of faith and morals, God must predestine, and there must be an elect.

Postulate 8: Predestination of All I believe, though this is speculative and controversial, that God may have predestined everyone, even the fallen angels, to heaven.

Contrary 3: Double Predestination God would never predestine someone to hell. This would be in direct contradiction to his nature.

Article 13: Salvation in the Name of Christ Everyone who is saved is saved in Christ’s name. However, those who do not know this name can still be saved in this name by following these hidden things in nature or, possibly, Postulate 9: By Salvation by Christ after Death.

Article 14: Of the Church The Church is a congregation of all faithful people. As such, it is necessarily fallible. To claim infallibility, even if sourced in the Holy Spirit, seems now arrogant to me. To require assent to something that could be wrong is clearly in error, so the Roman Catholic Church is clearly in error about a teaching it holds to be infallible. So the Roman Catholic Church is not infallible.

Article 15: Authority of the Church I still believe that the Church has great authority, to marry, to baptize, to bless communion.

Contrary 4: Absolute Authority of the Church To reiterate, I do not believe that the Church has the authority to go against the truth of Scripture, or any other true belief. I do not think any institution involving humans has the charism of infallibility.

Article 16: Ministry No one should begin to minister as a pastor or priest without being vetted, questioned, approved, and blessed by a congregation of orthodox believers (those who profess the Nicene Creed, if not in word, then in their hearts).

Postulate 10: Hierarchy It is best, I think, to have a hierarchy, Bishop, Priest, Deacon, with great authority given to the Bishop for all the sacraments, and granted in part to Priests and Deacons. The blessing and devotion of orthodox Christians is necessary for the validity of this hierarchy, of course. I speculate that this government is preferred, because the Early Church and most historical Churches, including Rome and Greece, hold to it.

Article 17: Worship The best sort of worship needs to be beautiful, reverent, honoring to God, must keep the Eucharist as source and summit, every Sunday, and should be in the common language of the land. One of these should not be sacrificed for the sake of the other.

Article 18: Three Sacraments Those instituted by Christ, Baptism, Matrimony and the Eucharist, are necessary for the Christian faith.

Postulate 11: Seven Sacraments I postulate, with the full custom of the historical Church, five more sacraments: Extreme Unction, mentioned in the Bible but not by Christ, Penance, Holy Orders, and Confirmation, not directly mentioned in the Bible but long-standing customs in the Church.

Article 19: Baptism Baptism is necessary for salvation, only in the sense that every faithful Christian either has been or would desire to be Baptized, as proclaimed by Christ Jesus. Baptism can be performed without sin by any Christian.

Postulate 12: Baptism of Infants Though there can be honest disagreement on this issue, without forfeiting orthodox belief, I think that, as in the history of the Church, it is good to baptize babies.

Article 20: The Lord’s Supper Christ is really present in the bread and wine of communion. Communion is necessary for salvation in the sense that every Christian should first hold the faith and then, in that faith, desire communion at the Lord’s table. Communion can be offered by any valid minister.

Postulate 13: Real Presence I no longer hold a strong opinion on what the Eucharist is, except to say that it is real.

Contrary 5: Worship of the Host Communion is meant to be consumed, not kept and worshipped. Bowing and/or genuflecting to the altar or to stores of the Eucharist is sufficient veneration of the Sacrament. Any sort of veneration, dulia or hyperdulia, is appropriate for communion. Latria, true worship of God, directed toward bread and wine, seems more a superstition than a necessary element of the Christian faith. It is not evil; it is simply misguided.

Article 21: The Heathen People who reject any part of the Nicene Creed and the meaning set forth here should not be allowed to receive communion, and should be evangelized, because they are not Christian. Conversely, all who accept the Nicene Creed, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, should be welcome to receive communion, if it is not against their conscience.

Postulate 14: Traditions of the Church I believe it is good to venerate and pray to the saints, and to Mary above all the saints. I believe it is good to pray to the dead. I think images, icons, statues, and relics are goods that focus our attention on Christ and Heaven. I accept the conscience of any who disagree on this point.

Article 22: Extra-Biblical Writings Many Christian works, especially the Councils, and writings of the Early Church Fathers and the Popes and Patriarchs are worth reading, though none has the infallible nature of the Holy Bible.

It seems to me you that your a offering an incomplete truth just like all of your protesting predecessors. On what basis do you claim to infallibly declare what is to believed?

I don’t think these articles are infallible. The articles themselves say so.

Naturally, not all Christians will think this truth is complete.

Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Light.

Who are you compared to that?

A humble sinner trying to follow Christ’s words and live life according to His will.

Why then are you proposing that we not follow the Church Christ instituted?

I’m proposing you should. Christ’s Church instituted is the Catholic Church, including historically the Anglican, Greek, and Roman Churches.

I’m a bit confused here. The Anglican Church separated from the Catholic Church with the whole King Henry divorce fiasco, did it not?

What is this Roman Church that you speak of? The true Church is the Catholic Church which is represented in 20+ rites, one of which is the Roman Rite. These do not include the Anglican and Greek.

By “Roman Church” I mean specifically the group of churches that expresses the Roman Rite, and is under the supreme authority of the Bishop of Rome. Generally I mean the group of churches of any rite that is under the supreme authority of the Bishop of Rome.

Uhh . . . no.
**Christ instituted one single Church - the Catholic Church. **
**He told his Apostles that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matt. 16:15-19) and set up Peter as its first earthly head (Matt. 16:15-19, Luke 22:32, John 21:15-19). **

He set it up as the final authority on earth (Matt. 18:15-18).

He told his Apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide it to ALL truth (John 16:12-15).

He fervently prayed for the unity of that ONE Church in John 17, that they remain ONE (v. 20-23).

He gave that Church the power to forgive sins or hold them bound (Matt, 16:19, 18:18, John 20:21-23).

He identified his very self with his Church - his Body (Acts 9:4-5).

The Holy Spirit tells us that this ONE Church is the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).

That’s the ONLY Church established by Christ - there IS no other.

**The Anglican Church (Church of England) was born of divorce, adultery and rebellion. That’s not a knock against Anglicans - it is a simple fact of history.

What is the Roman Church?
What is the Greek Church?

They continue to this day to call themselves Catholic, and confess as much both in the Creed and in the worship from the Book of Common Prayer.

Even such communities as refuse the title “Catholic” but confess and genuinely believe the statements in the Nicene Creed, are part of the Catholic Church.

Oh, you mean lowercase c catholic.

**If you are not baptized into the Catholic Church, subject to the Vicar of Christ (the Pope) - you are NOT a Catholic. **
You can try to hijack the name but it doesn’t make you a Catholic.

I completely agree.

He set it up as the final authority on earth (Matt. 18:15-18).

I agree that it is an authority on earth, specifically in matters of faith and morals. I just don’t think that it can, as far as the human element is concerned, be infallible.

He told his Apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide it to ALL truth (John 16:12-15).

But not that we would be certain of all truth this side of heaven.

He fervently prayed for the unity of that ONE Church in John 17, that they remain ONE (v. 20-23).

And I pray the same. I hope that the churches I listed realize that they are united by common essential belief, can look past the differences in opinion, and can become united in their governance.

He gave that Church the power to forgive sins or hold them bound (Matt, 16:19, 18:18, John 20:21-23).

Indeed, and I think that applies to every Christian.

That’s the ONLY Church established by Christ - there IS no other.


What is the Roman Church?

That part of the Catholic Church that is under the supreme authority of the Bishop of Rome.

What is the Greek Church?

That part of the Catholic Church that believes that there are seven ecumenical Councils, and that they are protected from error by the Holy Spirit.

I prefer the uppercase C, Catholic. So do many Anglicans and Orthodox.

And there is no such thing as a “lower case c” catholic.

**If you are not baptized into the Catholic Church, subject to the Vicar of Christ (the Pope) - but you are a Christian (Baptized in the Trinitarian formula) - you are a separated brother in Christ. That is to say - you are separated from the Church, the mystical Body of Christ.

The anglo-Catholics more or less believe the same teachings as the Roman Catholics but they believe they are a separate branch of catholicism. However the Holy See has judged that their Holy Orders are completely null and void. John Henry Newman was an expert at advancing this theory until the Anglicans set up a church in league with the Lutherans in Judea. As a result of this and other failings in his own arguments which he just could not work through, he converted and became a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic church.

The invalidity of the Holy Orders of the Anglican Church is further evidenced by the appointment of female priests and bishops. Also priests of high Anglican churches that convert under the terms of ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS must be reordained by the Roman Catholic church. Today most Anglicans no longer even bother to argue for apostolic successions. I have nothing but love and admiration for anglo-catholics and their brave defence of tradition. I welcome them to the Catholic faith and urge them to make haste to organise a unification with the Roman Catholic church under the terms of ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS. Personally I come from the Anglican tradition and love it but for the sake of my eternal soul I could not wait and hope for the church of my heritage to reunite with the Roman church, so I had to personally convert as a matter of urgency.

Besides the anglo-Catholics should not be afraid of their Roman heritage. I know the book of Common Prayer quite well and it truly is more Roman than what we call Roman Catholic in our local parishes. The Roman heritage is something which binds us in the West, not something which should divide us into different branches.

Call yourselves what you want, but I think all three Churches-the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Churches-would deny that they are all really the same Church and in communion with each other. They’re not.

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