One Apologist's Perspective


#1

"It just gets frustrating.

"Protestants are very happy to purvey their own personal opinions as deserving respect while dismissing with epithets the preservation of Christian Tradition. They act as if their opinions are presupposition free and come from a “neutral” reading of the Bible. Furthermore, they act as if their views have some historical basis instead of being cobbled together from modernist views in every age. But when we assert our position strongly and with conviction they have the nerve to quote VCII and the “separated brethren” nonsense as if we Catholics need to pretend that we are not the One True Church with an infallible teaching authority from God that COMMANDS their obedience and submission.

"The Protestant systems are predicated on private judgement, yet they never extend to us Catholics the courtesy to allow us our own private judgement. They play semantic games about “infallibility” and “private opinions” which are hypocritical. Since their views are based on nothing more than private opinions how dare they attack us on those same grounds? They undermine their own credibility. In their systems, we have just as much right to our opinions as they have to theirs. The most that any Protestant can say is that in his/her opinion they can not agree with us. They are in no position to say who is right or wrong.

"The “separated brethren” cracks are also wearing very thin with me. When the argument on the issues is going badly, they then tell us that we have no right to disagree with them because they are sepbreth. They pretend that this means we have no right to argue against their positions. I understand that we want to be charitable to each other, but telling the truth is the ultimate charitable act. We are not here at a Catholic apologetic website trying to be “ecumenical”. We are here hashing out our differences.

"We are not Protestants. We are not members of “just another denomination.” We Catholics are THE Church. There is no other. We have valid bishops, sound doctrine, the complete Bible, preservation of Tradition, and Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit. No Protestant “religion” can claim that.

"The real emphasis on “separated brethren” should be on the separated part. They separated themselves from us. Now they have to live with the consequences. But they don’t want to. They want to make us feel guilty for remaining faithful to the Ancient Catholic Faith. I will have none of that.

"The only thing the Protestants have that is of any value is the Bible which we gave them and apart from Catholic Authority, that Bible is just another religious book. They need to recognize their debt to us and the fact that Protestantism CONTRADICTS not only the Ancient Catholic Faith but Scripture as well. Protestantism was a religious innovation based on Nominalist philosophy and not a return to Biblical faith.

“That is the truth and it is not negotiable.”

Dr. Art Sippo

Quoted by permission.


#2

It’s interesting you bring this up. Someone else used the “it’s against Vatican II” argument with me the other day. Here is proof that it is not.

Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism:
vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_unitatis-redintegratio_en.html

It is, of course, essential that the doctrine should be clearly presented in its entirety. Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded.

Vatican II, Dignitatus Humanae
vatican.va/archive/hist_c…umanae_en.html

The disciple is bound by a grave obligation toward Christ, his Master, ever more fully to understand the truth received from Him, faithfully to proclaim it, and vigorously to defend it, never-be it understood-having recourse to means that are incompatible with the spirit of the Gospel.

Vatican II, Lumen Gentium:
vatican.va/archive/hist_c…entium_en.html
11. It is through the sacraments and the exercise of the virtues that the sacred nature and organic structure of the priestly community is brought into operation. Incorporated in the Church through baptism, the faithful are destined by the baptismal character for the worship of the Christian religion; reborn as sons of God they must confess before men the faith which they have received from God through the Church (4*). They are more perfectly bound to the Church by the sacrament of Confirmation, and the Holy Spirit endows them with special strength so that they are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith, both by word and by deed, as true witnesses of Christ (5*).

Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes,
vatican.va/archive/hist_c…t-spes_en.html
This love and good will, to be sure, must in no way render us indifferent to truth and goodness. Indeed love itself impels the disciples of Christ to speak the saving truth to all men. But it is necessary to distinguish between error, which always merits repudiation, and the person in error, who never loses the dignity of being a person even when he is flawed by false or inadequate religious notions.(10) God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts, for that reason He forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone.(11)

continued…


#3

Vatican II decree on the Apostolate of the Laity
ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/v2laity.htm

“However, an apostolate of this kind does not consist only in the witness of one’s way of life; a true apostle looks for opportunities to announce Christ by words addressed either to non-believers with a view to leading them to faith, or to the faithful with a view to instructing, strengthening, and encouraging them to a more fervent life. “For the charity of Christ impels us” (2 Cor. 5:14). The words of the Apostle should echo in all hearts, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).(1) Since, in our own times, new problems are arising and very serious errors are circulating which tend to undermine the foundations of religion, the moral order, and human society itself, this sacred synod earnestly exhorts laymen-each according to his own gifts of intelligence and learning-to be more diligent in doing what they can to explain, defend, and properly apply Christian principles to the problems of our era in accordance with the mind of the Church.”

Vatican II decree on Social Communication (of course, the internet didn’t exist then):
ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/v2commun.htm

  1. It is quite unbecoming for the Church’s children idly to permit the message of salvation to be thwarted or impeded by the technical delays or expenses, however vast, which are encountered by the very nature of these media. Therefore, this sacred Synod advises them of the obligation they have to maintain and assist Catholic newspapers, periodicals and film projects, radio and television programs and stations, whose principal objective is to spread and defend the truth and foster Christian influence in human society. At the same time, the Synod earnestly invites those organizations and individuals who possess financial and technical ability to support these media freely and generously with their resources and their skills, inasmuch as they contribute to genuine culture and the apostolate.

#4

Some more post-Concilliar statements:

Pope Paul VI, encyclical on evangelization:
vatican.va/holy_father/pa…tiandi_en.html

[LEFT]Such an exhortation seems to us to be of capital importance, for the presentation of the Gospel message is not an optional contribution for the Church. It is the duty incumbent on her by the command of the Lord Jesus, so that people can believe and be saved. This message is indeed necessary. It is unique. It cannot be replaced. It does not permit either indifference, syncretism or accommodation. It is a question of people’s salvation. It is the beauty of the Revelation that it represents. It brings with it a wisdom that is not of this world. It is able to stir up by itself faith - faith that rests on the power of God.[11] It is truth. It merits having the apostle consecrate to it all his time and all his energies, and to sacrifice for it, if necessary, his own life.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]Pope John Paul II, encyclical on the Apostolate of the Laity
vatican.va/holy_father/jo…-laici_en.html[/LEFT]

-* The responsibility of professing the Catholic faith, *embracing and proclaiming the truth about Christ, the Church and humanity, in obedience to the Church’s Magisterium, as the Church interprets it. For this reason every association of the lay faithful must be a *forum where the faith is proclaimed as well as taught in its total content.
-
The witness to a strong and authentic communion *in filial relationship to the Pope, in total adherence to the belief that he is the perpetual and visible center of unity of the universal Church(112), and with the local Bishop, “the visible principle and foundation of unity”(113) in the particular Church, and in “mutual esteem for all forms of the Church’s apostolate”(114).

Pope John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint:
vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25051995_ut-unum-sint_en.html
"The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? The Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae attributes to human dignity the quest for truth, “especially in what concerns God and his Church”,33 and adherence to truth’s demands. A “being together” which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart."


#5

That being said, here is some good advice from Pope St. Pius X:

[LEFT]13. But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. “For the Lord is not in the earthquake” (III Kings xix., II) - it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: “Accuse, beseech, rebuke,” but he took care to add: “with all patience” (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. “Come to me,” we find Him saying, “come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you” (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: “I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax” (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, “patient and kind” (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. “We are reviled,” thus did St. Paul protest, “and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat” (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.). They perhaps seem to be worse than they really are. Their associations with others, prejudice, the counsel, advice and example of others, and finally an ill advised shame have dragged them to the side of the impious; but their wills are not so depraved as they themselves would seek to make people believe. Who will prevent us from hoping that the flame of Christian charity may dispel the darkness from their minds and bring to them light and the peace of God? It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]vatican.va/holy_father/pi…upremi_en.html[/LEFT]


#6

Much of what you said rings truth with many of us Catholic Apologists.


#7

That depends on the view under discussion - it’s far too sweeping a statement to be accurate or fair

But when we assert our position strongly and with conviction they have the nerve to quote VCII and the “separated brethren” nonsense as if we Catholics need to pretend that we are not the One True Church with an infallible teaching authority from God that COMMANDS their obedience and submission.

Faith cannot be enforced by commands - it is the gift of God. If Dr. Sippo does not know that, he should **not **be an apologist.

We need to show respect to those we hope to persuade, not bull-doze them or insult their dearest convictions; we don’t like that from them, so why should they like it any better from us ? ##


"The “separated brethren” cracks are also wearing very thin with me. When the argument on the issues is going badly, they then tell us that we have no right to disagree with them because they are sepbreth. They pretend that this means we have no right to argue against their positions. I understand that we want to be charitable to each other, but telling the truth is the ultimate charitable act. We are not here at a Catholic apologetic website trying to be “ecumenical”. We are here hashing out our differences.

"We are not Protestants. We are not members of “just another denomination.” We Catholics are THE Church. There is no other. We have valid bishops, sound doctrine, the complete Bible, preservation of Tradition, and Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit. No Protestant “religion” can claim that.

Those things would all be a total waste of time if they were not enlivened by the Holy Spirit. To have the material bits & pieces which are the outward manifestations of the Christian life, & not the Life Who alone makes them & us alive, is futile. The Bible is full of examples of exactly this misguided reliance on material forms without inward faith.

"The real emphasis on “separated brethren” should be on the separated part. They separated themselves from us.

That is the reverse of the teaching of Vatican II - they are the inheritors of separation, not guilty of it.

Now they have to live with the consequences. But they don’t want to. They want to make us feel guilty for remaining faithful to the Ancient Catholic Faith. I will have none of that.

"The only thing the Protestants have that is of any value is the Bible which we gave them and apart from Catholic Authority, that Bible is just another religious book.

That is a very dangerous half-truth - for without the Holy Spirit, all the “Catholic authority” in the world would be nothing. The Primary Author of all the parts of the Bible is God - the books are Scripture because they are inspired by God: the Church recognised their inspiration, but it can take no credit for it. The Glory is God’s, alone: not the Church’s

They need to recognize their debt to us and the fact that Protestantism CONTRADICTS not only the Ancient Catholic Faith but Scripture as well. Protestantism was a religious innovation based on Nominalist philosophy and not a return to Biblical faith.

“That is the truth and it is not negotiable.”

That as a whole is a distortion, part-true, & debateable

Dr. Art Sippo

Quoted by permission.

IOW, they are human, & can be

[LIST]
*]extremely irritating
*]certain they are right
*]deaf to other views
*]& so on…[/LIST]Just as Catholics can be :smiley: Dr. Sippo is showing the very attitude he objects to.


#8

Thank you, Gottle, for an extremely level-headed response to the OP…even when it probably is not very popular at all to do so.

A great exhibition of spiritual maturity, IMV.


#9

I like how St. Pius X said it above–he put it so beautifully! :slight_smile:


#10

Debateable. Thats a good joke!


#11

Are you saying that Protestantism does not contradict the Ancient Catholic Faith and Scriptures?


#12

Hey Gottle, your profile says “Doubtful Catholic”, what is it that you are doubtful about?


#13

I don’t think much of Dr. Sippo’s piece. He just sounds old and fed up. When I hear the guys on Catholic radio–Marcus Grodi/Scott Hahn/Patrick Madrid/Tim Staples/Ray Guarendi/Steve Ray/Rosalyn Moss/on and on–and all these but Madrid are converts or reverts, protestants who are now Catholic (except Rosalyn a former Jew)–they all have a tone of respect, even love, for their Protestant(jewish) roots. They credit those roots for their knowledge and love of scripture and their love of God. They mostly feel that it has been a journey, and they have arrived “home” without it having been a disconnect. They are now reaching out to the brothers they left behind, in the words and concepts most calculated to be accessible to those brothers, in order to help them home too.

We can attribute irritating Protestant postures to ill-will or we can assume good-will combined with misinformation, inherited prejudice, bad examples from particular Catholics, and/or lack of exposure to things truly Catholic. It’s always a mistake to presume to know the sins of another’s soul.

If one gets weary of the same-old/same-old circle of arguments, then one can switch from apologetics to devotion or study of theology, etc.


#14

Dr. Sippo makes a great point, a point that I, too find myself thinking (as a convert to the Faith): Protestants think we are just another denomination, one with a bit more ‘rules’. To them, there can’t be a physical church, nor an authority to teach and help attain salvation. My father tried to get me to skip Mass to go hear him preach (which I loath to do…he borders on heresy–not apostasy–half the time), thinking it would be no big deal if I just went to a different church on a Sunday.

I was debating the Petrine supremacy and the institution of the papacy with my pseudo-Calvinist cousin…I had to break down the tradition he used to construct an understanding of the passages first, and then use numerous other instances in which Peter is singled out to lead the Church. It was his tradition that stood in the way of the age-old interpretation of Sacred Writ.

Dr. Sippo is, in my mind, right on the money.


#15

Various things - which is one reason I come here a lot :slight_smile:


#16

You don’t want to pick one thing out? :slight_smile: come on!


#17

I’ve always kind of liked Dr. Sippo’s approach and style.


#18

One does not have to consider himself an apologist for this to ring true. As a devout Catholic I evangelize by living my faith and only use words when nessesary. On a few ocassions folks have asked what fuels my sense of peace in life? Bingo, thats my opening. I have only been backed in a corner with one n-C family member, in what I would call a vicious encounter.

Thanks for the your post, it really mapped out my one situation, that turned me into a junior apologist.

The one thing that really strikes me about these situations is that it’s really the protestants that seems to attack the Catholic Church the most, even more so then secular folks, hindu and muslim folks that I know. But thats my exp.


#19

Us NCC can be such an annoying pain in the BLEEP UHH!!:stuck_out_tongue: :wink: :smiley:

With Dr. Sippo’s attitude–I dont see him convincing any protestant to swim the Tiber. :shrug:


#20

In my exp I would’nt say all n-C’s but, I would agree about the pain in bleep. :smiley:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.