[quote=Contarini]Ecumenical Protestants don’t care, because we think we are part of the same Church you are. We are all descended from the Catholic Church of the 2nd century.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to claim membership in something you have left, or inheritance of something you have repudiated. And where is the unity of faith? What you testify to is merely acquiescence in schism and acceptance of heterodoxy.
[quote=Contarini]It all depends what you mean. Asking when “the Catholic Church” started is a silly question. However, Protestants believe that over time some erroneous beliefs and practices were adopted by the Church, and that the Reformation was an effort to correct these things. Which beliefs and practices these are, just how erroneous they are, when they developed, and how successful the Reformation was in dealing with them–all of these are subjects on which Protestants differ among themselves.
If some “erroneous beliefs and practices” were adopted, then Christ was plainly unable to fulfill His promise that the “gates of hell” would not prevail over His Church. To say that these “erroneous beliefs and practices” were adopted “over time” is merely to admit that one doesn’t know when they were adopted, and a witness who doesn’t know when is no witness at all. Furthermore, witnesses who tell different stories are not reliable, they don’t know what they are talking about. So much for the discordant “witness” of Protestantism. Blind guides!
[quote=Contarini]This is the basic sickness of Western Christendom–the idea that you have to have a theory of it or it doesn’t count. Theories of doctrinal development can always be pulled to pieces. What matters is that we all agree that doctrinal development happens. The Church does not live on theories. Are you suggesting that Catholicism was not the true Church until Newman wrote Essay on Development?
And if you seriously think that thoughtful Protestants don’t believe in doctrinal development, you have been talking to the wrong Protestants. .
Well, if Protestants or EO’s have a theory on doctrinal development, they keep it well hidden, and I can’t imagine what it could be. Why do they then constantly charge us with “Catholic inventions” when it is manifest that our fully-developed doctrines have antecedents in the actual beliefs and practices of what Protestants and Eastern Orthodox would call “the Undivided Church”? It is not so much our having a theory of development that matters: what is shocking is that Protestants and Eastern Orthodox give no indication that THEY have one! Furthermore, while developed Catholic doctrines are still true to type, the Protestant or EO outright denial of them is not, but rather manifestly conflicts with their own actual beliefs.
[quote=Contarini]This is patronizing nonsense. Plenty of Protestants and Orthodox grapple with all these things.
Are you suggesting that Jaroslav Pelikan didn’t grapple seriously with the issues before he chose to become Orthodox (when he could quite easily have become Catholic instead)?
I am unable to get into the minds of separated Christians, so I can’t know how invincibly ignorant or how truly free the minds and wills of any one in particular are. I can only surmise by words and actions, so my statement is a general statement of how most Protestants act. A scholar like Pelikan truly perplexes, though I note that his vote is at least a vote against your Protestantism, though not one in favor of Catholicism (except with regard to Catholic doctrines that are held also by Eastern Orthodoxy). I have noted often, however, that Eastern Orthodoxy is a good deal easier for a Protestant to go to than Catholicism is, because one doesn’t have to surrender as much of one’s Protestantism, and most of all, they’re still anti-Roman, which is the good part!
But it still remains manifest that most Protestants and Eastern Orthodox do not show that they are in the least acquainted with the Catholic doctrines (and their basis in history, Scripture, and Tradition) that they disparage. And I can’t resist comparing these non-Catholics’ pitiful struggles with Mario Cuomo’s famous struggles with his conscience: as some wag put it, when Mario struggles with his conscience *he *always wins!
I hope all this is helpful to you.