Monday, July 26, 2004

Peter Kreeft as the "Non-Triumphalistic" Great Catholic Hope???

[My reply to a post and subsequent comments over at the Reformed Catholicism blog, from the pen of the inimitable Polemicist]

Lest Peter Kreeft be canonized as The One Catholic Who Finally Gets it and Who Got Over Stupid Catholic Apologetic Triumphalism and Hubris, let's not forget that in the same book, Fundamentals of the Faith (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988), that The Polemicist is almost ecstatically excited about, Kreeft (one of my very favorite apologists and an extremely gifted man) also wrote: 

Saint Paul was utterly scandalized at the beginnings of denominationalism in Corinth . . .
Even the dogmas not explicitly found in Scripture, like papal infallibility and Mary's Assumption, are not new but old. The Church merely defined the doctrines that had been believed and lived from the beginning.Papal infallibility certainly seems to be a specifically Catholic dogma that Protestants cannot accept. But they often misunderstand it . . .
Scripture thinks of the Church along organic lines, and no organic body is a democracy.
(p. 270)
Of course, if I had stated the same, or the notorious Cardinal Newman, then The Polemicist would have thrown a fit and launched into one of his volcanic tirades about how ignorant and stupid and empty-headed it was. But now Peter Kreeft is the Great Catholic Hope?! LOL I hate to burst people's bubbles (life is hard enough as it is), but how about the following statement, as well?:

I knew, from logic and common sense, that a cause can never be less than its effect. You can't give what you don't have. If the Church has no divine inspiration and no infallibility, no divine authority, then neither can the New Testament. Protestantism logically entails Modernism. I had to either be a Catholic or a Modernist . . .
I seemed to sense my heroes Augustine and Aquinas and thousands of other saints and sages calling out to me from the great ark, "Come aboard! We are really here. We still live. Join us. Here is the Body of Christ." . . .
I was also dissatisfied with Luther's teaching that justification was a legal fiction on God's part rather than a real event in us . . . I thought it had to be as Catholicism says, that God actually imparts Christ to us, in baptism and through faith . . . Here I found the fundamentalists, especially the Baptists, more philosophically sound than the Calvinists and Lutherans.
(Kreeft's conversion story, "Hauled Aboard the Ark," from Spiritual Journeys, edited by Robert Baram, Boston: Daughters of St. Paul / St. Paul Books & Media, 1988, citations from 175, 177)
The Polemicist writes:
No matter where I go, for instance, there is a Catholic apologist or ten hawking perfectionistic wares about "unbroken truth" and "coming home" and so forth.
What a shame Kreeft must be listed among these apologetic dolts, since he wrote that "The Church merely defined the doctrines that had been believed and lived from the beginning" and speaks in triumphalistic, crass terms about being "hauled aboard the ark." The Polemicist opines: "It is up to Roman Catholics to meet us half way," but Peter Kreeft says (in the very same year he wrote the chapter so beloved by The Polemicist): "Protestantism logically entails Modernism. I had to either be a Catholic or a Modernist."
How the mighty have fallen! What a shame that Kreeft has rapidly descended into "one-sided and falsely dichotomized 'all or nothing' polemicizing." Doesn't he know that he ain't sposed to speak like that?! At least not in mixed company, and not when a certain someone has pinned so many of his hopes and dreams on him to be different from the rest of us boorish, ne'er-do-well obnoxious, arrogant Catholic "apologists" . . .

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