Did the Church ever respond to charles Hodge's letter to the pope in 1869?

So apparently the Presbyterians were invited to attend the first Vatican Council, and a minister named Charles Hodge wrote a letter to the pope expressing why he would not attend. I found this letter online here: banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2010/charles-hodges-letter-to-pope-pius-ix/

This discussion I’m having with someone about anathemas and what they mean is the first time I’ve ever actually heard of this letter. They didn’t reference it as an “argue against this” point, but rather out of genuine curiosity as to whether or not the Church ever sent a reply to it.

I’m wondering if someone is familiar with the situation and could point me in the direction of the Church’s response, if any…

Amazing that such an intelligently written letter can be filled with so much misinformation and error.

Interesting letter.

It might have been best left un-answered. It is full of self-justification. A reply would only raise the temperature. The original invitation would have been an effort to reduce the temperature.

He declares his acceptance not only of the Creed, but to the early Councils of the Church, and Augustine. Then he immediately collapses into sola scriptura.

Sometimes prayer is the only answer.

Interesting but I never heard of it before. God Bless, Memaw

This letter does not require a response; Mr. Hodge was merely explaining why he would not attend.

I am not aware of whether a response was ever sent, but certainly the reasons to not attend can be responded to by Catholics.

The man is long deceased and all his misconceptions have been answered ad nauseum here and elsewhere. CAF has articles on all the objections he raised. Why should we rehash it all again? I, for one, have better things to do with my time. :slight_smile:

I would be absolutely astonished to learn that this letter received any official reply. It might have been merely acknowledged (“we got your note - sorry you can’t come”), but I cannot imagine that any Vatican office responded to the content.

FWIW, although none of Hodge’s objections were addressed, the World Presbyterian Alliance (including the United Presbyterian Church in the United States) sent a delegation to Vatican-2.

I don’t think he’s looking for me to address the content, I think he’s asking out of genuine curiosity just whether or not there was ever a response…

That seems like it might be the most useful reply I can give to him, since it appears no response was ever sent (although all the sources stating that that I could find were from decidedly protestant texts written in the late 1800s or early 1900s)

I was responding to Wesrock’s post. :slight_smile: I rather doubt there was a response, but if there were it wouldn’t have been sent by the pope himself, but rather whoever under him who had been assigned the task of sending out invitations to the various Protestant communities. That person, whoever he was, probably took it as a refusal and left it at that. After all, the Church’s teachings were open and clear for Rev. Hodge to research. Why should the Vatican bother answering objections long debated and long exhausted?

That seems like it might be the most useful reply I can give to him, since it appears no response was ever sent (although all the sources stating that that I could find were from decidedly protestant texts written in the late 1800s or early 1900s)

I rather think that the letter was published on the website to reinforce their own beliefs more than for any other reason. As if to say, “See a pastor who was bold enough to reject the blandishments of the Vatican.” When I was a Pentecostal we often prayed for “holy boldness” to answer the “lost” who held to the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

I find it ironic that Hodges claims the early councils and then rejects tradition, since the councils were prime of examples of the very tradition he rejected. :shrug: He also claims he’s all for Christian unity but then in the same sentence refuses to go to a meeting of fellow Christians merely because they are Catholics not Protestants. His thinking appears to have been fuzzy, his logic flawed, and his long list of objections unnecessary–as if the Vatican had no knowledge of them. It sounded like a show letter to me, rather than a cogent argument against meeting with those he acknowledged as fellow Christians.

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