Saturday, December 29, 2007

Martin Luther: Protestants' "Manner of Life" No Better Than That of the "Papists"

By Dave Armstrong (12-29-07)

Our manner of life is as evil as is that of the papists. Wickliffe and Huss assailed the immoral conduct of papists; but I chiefly oppose and resist their doctrine; I affirm roundly and plainly, that they preach not the truth. To this am I called; I take the goose by the neck, and set the knife to its throat. When I can show that the papists doctrine is false, which I have shown, then I can easily prove that their manner of life is evil. For when the word remains pure, the manner of life, though something therein be amiss, will be pure also. The pope has taken away the pure word and doctrine, and brought in another word and doctrine, which he has hanged upon the church. I shook all popedom with this one point, that I teach uprightly, and mix up nothing else. We must press the doctrine onwards, for that breaks the neck of the pope.

(Table-Talk, London: 1872, translated by William Hazlitt, CCCCXII; dated Autumn 1533; quoted also by biographers Mead and Oberman; see also a Google Reader version of the same quote. German source: WATr 1, 294.19-23, no. 624)

[William Hazlitt (1778-1830) was a Protestant, who would have no reason to exaggerate Luther's statements in a negative direction. Edwin Doak Mead (1849-1937) also translates: "Our manner of life is as evil as that of the papists". He was a staunch Protestant, and wrote, e.g., in 1888: "I do not love the Roman Catholic Church. There is much in it that I bitterly dislike and that I dread. . . . I have spoken more sharply of its bigotries and superstitions, past and present, than I have ever spoken of almost anything else."]

Version 2:

Luther's Opposition to the Popish Doctrine.

"The manner of life," said Luther, " is as evil among us as among the Papists; wherefore we strive not with them by reason of the manner of life, but for and about the doctrine. Wickliffe and Huss opposed and assaulted the manner of life and conversation in Popedom. But I (chiefly) do oppose and resist their doctrine : I affirm, soundly and plainly, that they teach not aright;—thereunto am I called. I take the goose by the neck," said Luther, " and set the knife to the throat. When I can maintain that the Pope's doctrine is false (which I have proved and maintained), then will I easily prove that their manner of life is evil. The Pope hath taken away the pure word and doctrine, and hath brought another word and doctrine, and hanged the same upon the church. I startled whole Popedom only with this one point, in that I teach uprightly, and meddle with nothing else. We must press upon the doctrine, for that breaketh the neck of the Pope.

(Table-Talk, London, 1832, pp. 66-67)

http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


Version 3:

No. 624: The Central Issue is Doctrine, Not Life, Fall 1533

"Doctrine and life must be distinguished. Life is bad among us, as it is among the papists, but we don't fight about life and condemn the papists on that account. Wycliffe and Huss didn't know this and attacked [the papacy] for its life. I don't scold myself into becoming good, but I fight over the Word and whether our adversaries teach it in its purity. That doctrine should be attacked -- this has never before happened. This is my calling. Others have censured only life, but to treat doctrine is to strike at the most sensitive point, for surely the government and the ministry of the papists are bad. Once we've asserted this, it's easy to say and declare that the life is also bad.

"When the Word remains pure, then the life (even if there is something lacking in it) can be molded properly. Everything depends on the Word, and the pope has abolished the Word and created another one. With this I have won, and I have won nothing else than that I teach aright. Although we are better morally, this isn't anything to fight about. It's the teaching that breaks the pope's neck. . . ."

(Table-Talk, in Luther's Works, Vol. 54, p. 110)

[Note the toned-down references to immorality in Protestantism. Leading (Protestant) Luther biographer Heiko Oberman, however, translates as follows: "Life is as evil among us as among the papists, thus we do not argue about life but about doctrine. Whereas Wyclif and Hus attacked the immoral lifestyle of the papacy, I challenge primarily its doctrine." Translation bias is seemingly alive and well, and not, alas, only among "papists"]

Friday, December 28, 2007

Has Limbo Been Relegated to Limbo? It Never WAS Definitive Teaching


By Dave Armstrong (12-28-07)

Many Catholics seem to be under the impression that the notion of limbo was some sort of formulated doctrine in the Catholic Church. Many children in Catholic schools were taught that all unbaptized children would not enter heaven. The fact of the matter is that it has always been left open as an option to be believed, but not required. Nor is the "hope of salvation" in such cases a "new thing." Limbo has historically been, however, a widespread Catholic explanation concerning the fate of unbaptized dead; especially children.

Recently, there was a big tadoo about Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican theologians discussing the issue of limbo and, in effect, demoting its prominence in the overall structure of Catholic theology and dogma. Secular news reports have implied that this development in theology is somehow a radically "new" occurrence (using charged, inaccurate terms like "abolish" and "abandon" and "end"), as if the thought behind the present prevailing point of view has not also been mulled over for centuries.

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., wrote:
Some theologians of renown have thought that God might supply the wont of Baptism by some other means. St. Bernard, for example, suggested that infants who died without Baptism could reach heaven because of the faith of their parents. The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not deny the possibility or the existence of limbo. It merely says we may trust that, in God’s mercy, innocent children, whether born or unborn, do reach heaven. To be noted, however, is that we may trust, but without being certain of their entering the beatific vision.
See the following news reports and articles:

The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized (International Theological Commision: 19 January 2007)

Closing the doors of limbo: Theologians say it was hypothesis (Catholic News Service)

Pope Benedict XVI's New Statement on Limbo (+ lively discussion thread) (RomanCatholicBlog.com)

Fr. Paul McPartlan's explanations on ABC National Radio

Critiquing limbo: Vatican responds to changes in theological thought (Catholic News Service)

Vatican commission: Limbo reflects 'restrictive view of salvation' (Catholic News Service)

Theologians: Unbaptized babies in heaven makes more sense than limbo (Catholic News Service)

Teaching on Limbo "neither essential nor necessary" (Catholic World News)

Out on a limbo (Karl Keating)

Abortion and Limbo (James Likoudis)

Notion of Limbo Isn't Closed, Expert Says (Zenit: Sister Sara Butler)

Whatever Happened to Limbo? (Fr. William Saunders)

What does the Church teach about limbo? (CUF)

Children who die without baptism: a nagging question (Zenit)

Is Limbo in Limbo? (Dominic Farrel)

What the Church has said about children who die without baptism
(Fr. Peter Gumpel)

Unbaptized Infants (St. Thomas Aquinas' position)
This current "trend" or prevailing opinion is not anything new. The present consensus may be relatively new, but the reasoning behind it is not at all. For example, from Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma:
Other emergency means of baptism for children dying without sacramental baptism, such as prayer and the desire of the parents or the Church (vicarious baptism of desire - Cajetan), or the attainment of the use of reason in the moment of death, so that the dying child can decide for or against God (baptism of desire - H. Klee), or suffering and death of the child as quasi-Sacrament (baptism of suffering - H. Schell), are indeed possible, but their actuality cannot be proved from Revelation. Cf. D 712."

(p. 114)
Ott noted on p. 357:
Baptism of desire works ex opere operantis, It bestows Sanctifying Grace, which remits original sin, all actual sins, and the eternal punishments for sins.
Ott states that the baptism by blood (even for young children; cf. The Feast of the Innocents) "confers the grace of justification". He classifies these "substitutes for sacramental baptism" as sententia fidei proxima, or a "teaching proximate to Faith"; as he explains: "a doctrine, which is regarded by theologians generally as a truth of Revelation, but which has not yet been finally promulgated as such by the Church." (p. 9) So it would appear that these teachings are as authoritative in a "non-defined" sense, as limbo ever was.

The Council of Trent referred to the baptism of desire, in the canons concerning "On the Sacraments in General", right before the canons on baptism, from Session VII; Canon IV:
If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema.
http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


In Summa Theologica: Third Part, Question 68, Article 2, St. Thomas Aquinas (citing St. Augustine) espouses the baptism of desire:
Whether a man can be saved without Baptism? Objection 1. It seems that no man can be saved without Baptism. For our Lord said (John 3:5): "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." But those alone are saved who enter God's kingdom. Therefore none can be saved without Baptism, by which a man is born again of water and the Holy Ghost.

Objection 2. Further, in the book De Eccl. Dogm. xli, it is written: "We believe that no catechumen, though he die in his good works, will have eternal life, except he suffer martyrdom, which contains all the sacramental virtue of Baptism." But if it were possible for anyone to be saved without Baptism, this would be the case specially with catechumens who are credited with good works, for they seem to have the "faith that worketh by charity" (Gal. 5:6). Therefore it seems that none can be saved without Baptism.

Objection 3. Further, as stated above (1; 65, 4), the sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation. Now that is necessary "without which something cannot be" (Metaph. v). Therefore it seems that none can obtain salvation without Baptism.

On the contrary, Augustine says (Super Levit. lxxxiv) that "some have received the invisible sanctification without visible sacraments, and to their profit; but though it is possible to have the visible sanctification, consisting in a visible sacrament, without the invisible sanctification, it will be to no profit." Since, therefore, the sacrament of Baptism pertains to the visible sanctification, it seems that a man can obtain salvation without the sacrament of Baptism, by means of the invisible sanctification.

I answer that, The sacrament or Baptism may be wanting to someone in two ways. First, both in reality and in desire; as is the case with those who neither are baptized, nor wished to be baptized: which clearly indicates contempt of the sacrament, in regard to those who have the use of the free-will. Consequently those to whom Baptism is wanting thus, cannot obtain salvation: since neither sacramentally nor mentally are they incorporated in Christ, through Whom alone can salvation be obtained.

Secondly, the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire: for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forestalled by death before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of "faith that worketh by charity," whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments, sanctifies man inwardly. Hence Ambrose says of Valentinian, who died while yet a catechumen: "I lost him whom I was to regenerate: but he did not lose the grace he prayed for."

Reply to Objection 1. As it is written (1 Kgs. 16:7), "man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart." Now a man who desires to be "born again of water and the Holy Ghost" by Baptism, is regenerated in heart though not in body. thus the Apostle says (Rm. 2:29) that "the circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men but of God."

Reply to Objection 2. No man obtains eternal life unless he be free from all guilt and debt of punishment. Now this plenary absolution is given when a man receives Baptism, or suffers martyrdom: for which reason is it stated that martyrdom "contains all the sacramental virtue of Baptism," i.e. as to the full deliverance from guilt and punishment. Suppose, therefore, a catechumen to have the desire for Baptism (else he could not be said to die in his good works, which cannot be without "faith that worketh by charity"), such a one, were he to die, would not forthwith come to eternal life, but would suffer punishment for his past sins, "but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire" as is stated 1 Cor. 3:15.

Reply to Objection 3. The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation in so far as man cannot be saved without, at least, Baptism of desire; "which, with God, counts for the deed" (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 57).
From this it follows that an infant can be saved by baptism of desire, vicariously, just as it is saved by baptism by water vicariously, since the infant is not exercising its own desire in either case. St. Thomas Aquinas also espouses baptism of blood in the Summa, 3a, 66, 12.

A symposium was held and summarized in a book called Abortion and Martyrdom (edited by Aidan Nichols):
The lowest common denominator position is represented in the following resolution of the symposium: "Given the morally unanimous opinion of the Fathers of the Church, of St Thomas Aquinas, of the teaching of the ordinary Magisterium and of the witness of the Sacred Liturgy that infants can be martyrs, and that the Baptism of blood avails for justification, the Church can declare in individual cases, based on reliable testimony, that infants, even unborn, who are killed on account of an explicit hatred of the Christian faith or of the other virtues of the Christian life, are in fact holy martyrs and may be invoked and venerated as such by all the faithful."
Therefore, the "hope of salvation" in such cases, is not at all "an innovation", as some claim. It goes back to the Fathers, through Aquinas and Trent. It's nothing new. That's why Pope Benedict XVI noted in The Ratzinger Report: "the very theologians who proposed 'limbo' also said that parents could spare the child limbo by desiring its baptism and through prayer" (p. 148).

Just as in the issue of salvation outside the Church, there are concurrent traditions that run side-by-side in the history of theology, emphasizing different aspects of the topic. In the same way, the baptism of desire / baptism by blood strain of thought has been present from early on, alongside the limbo interpretation of non-baptism situations. In any event it is not an "innovation" to think this, which is precisely how Pope Benedict XVI was able to speak more authoritatively against limbo as any sort of required (or even recommended belief), because he could draw on this other tradition.

As an example of the "older" way of thinking, observe, for example, the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Limbo. It states:
The New Testament contains no definite statement of a positive kind regarding the lot of those who die in original sin without being burdened with grievous personal guilt. But, by insisting on the absolute necessity of being "born again of water and the Holy Ghost" (John 3:5) for entry into the kingdom of Heaven (see BAPTISM, subtitle Necessity of Baptism), Christ clearly enough implies that men are born into this world in a state of sin, and St. Paul's teaching to the same effect is quite explicit (Romans 5:12 sqq.). On the other hand, it is clear from Scripture and Catholic tradition that the means of regeneration provided for this life do not remain available after death, so that those dying unregenerate are eternally excluded from the supernatural happiness of the beatific vision (John 9:4, Luke 12:40, 16:19 sqq., 2 Corinthians 5:10; see also APOCATASTASIS). The question therefore arises as to what, in the absence of a clear positive revelation on the subject, we ought in conformity with Catholic principles to believe regarding the eternal lot of such persons. Now it may confidently be said that, as the result of centuries of speculation on the subject, we ought to believe that these souls enjoy and will eternally enjoy a state of perfect natural happiness; and this is what Catholics usually mean when they speak of the limbus infantium, the "children's limbo."
Notice, however, some of the distinctions made here. First it says there is no definitive, "positive" NT evidence, This is crucial, and is probably the main reason why it has never been defined once and for all, because the subject is necessarily speculative, beyond public revelation.

What is stated to be clear is not limbo itself, but the related notion that no regeneration occurs after death. But that is exactly what is taken into consideration in the concepts of baptism of desire and of blood. In those cases, regeneration or justification occur before death, thus allowing the soul to avoid the conjectural limbo. Therefore, this is not "definitive" language at all; nor does it resolve the question of limbo.

When the article gets back on the question of limbo, directly, note that it is way more tentative:
. . . it may confidently be said that, as the result of centuries of speculation on the subject, we ought to believe . . .
This is not the language of definitiveness. It was always a theological speculation, and that is why and how it can be "demoted" now. I'm glad to see it. I never resonated very much with the doctrine of limbo, myself. I thought that God's mercy would trump it in the end. It is always good to discover that the Mind of the Church coincides with one's own theological / spiritual "instinct". I would submit to the Church's understanding in any case (I want to make that clear). But there are times when one mulls over opinions on his own and then discovers that the Mind of the Church came to the same conclusion. This is a blessing and a confirmation of being led by the Spirit into all truth.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

St. Athanasius Was a CATHOLIC, Not a Proto-Protestant (+ Counter-Reply to James White on Tradition, etc.)

By Dave Armstrong (12-26-07)


St. Athanasius (c. 296-373) is almost certainly the second favorite Church father of more polemically-minded Protestants (who want to counter or oppose Catholicism at every turn), after St. Augustine.

They wax eloquently about the famous saying Athanasius contra mundum (". . . against the world"), referring to the Arian crisis in the Church, and equate this with a Luther-like scenario: speaking truth to corrupt power, and so forth (as if the two stances were theologically or ecclesiologically equivalent).

They pretend that he taught sola Scriptura, or at any rate, something more closely akin to it than the Catholic "three-legged stool" rule of faith (Bible-Tradition-Church). But Athanasius was a good Catholic. I shall now list eleven different areas where St. Athanasius thought very much like a Catholic and very unlike how (most) Protestants approach things. The excerpts are from my book, The Church Fathers Were Catholic: Patristic Evidences for Catholicism (excepting the Deuterocanonical and Baptism sections):

Apostolic Succession

. . . inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power. (Festal Letter 2:6)

. . . but concerning matters of faith, they [The Fathers at Nicea] did not write: 'It was decided,' but 'Thus the Catholic Church believes.' And thereupon they confessed how they believed. This they did in order to show that their judgement was not of more recent origin, but was in fact Apostolic times; and that what they wrote was no discovery of their own, but is simply that which was taught by the apostles. (On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia 5; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

For, as we have found after long deliberation, it appeared desirable to adhere to and maintain to the end, that faith which, enduring from antiquity, we have received as preached by the prophets, the Gospels, and the Apostles through our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . (On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia 10; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

[H]old fast, every one, the faith we have received from the Fathers, which they who assembled at Nicaea recorded in writing, and endure not those who endeavour to innovate thereon. And however they may write phrases out of the Scripture, endure not their writings; however they may speak the language of the orthodox, yet attend not to what they say; for they speak not with an upright mind, but putting on such language like sheeps' clothing, in their hearts they think with Arius, after the manner of the devil, who is the author of all heresies. For he too made use of the words of Scripture, but was put to silence by our Saviour. . . . the character of apostolical men is sincere and incapable of fraud. (Circular to Bishops of Egypt and Libya 8; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

Baptismal Regeneration
Athanasius . . . maintains [Ad Serap. 1, 4] that the Spirit is granted to those who believe and are reborn in the bath of regeneration . . .

Through baptism, according to Athanasius, man is united with the Godhead; [C. Ar. 2, 41] it is the sacrament of regeneration by which the divine image is renewed. [De incarn. 14] The participant becomes an heir of eternal life, [Ad Serap. 1, 22] and the Father's adoptive son. [C. Ar. 1, 34]

(Kelly, 430-431)
Catholic Church and Councils: Infallible Authority of

See, we are proving that this view has been transmitted from father to father; but ye, O modern Jews and disciples of Caiaphas, how many fathers can ye assign to your phrases? Not one of the understanding and wise; for all abhor you, but the devil alone; none but he is your father in this apostasy, who both in the beginning sowed you with the seed of this irreligion, and now persuades you to slander the Ecumenical Council, for committing to writing, not your doctrines, but that which from the beginning those who were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word have handed down to us. For the faith which the Council has confessed in writing, that is the faith of the Catholic Church; to assert this, the blessed Fathers so expressed themselves while condemning the Arian heresy; and this is a chief reason why these apply themselves to calumniate the Council. For it is not the terms which trouble them, but that those terms prove them to be heretics, and presumptuous beyond other heresies. (Defense of the Nicene Definition, 27; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

. . . sectaries, who have fallen away from the teaching of the Church, and made shipwreck concerning their Faith . . . (Against the Heathen, 6; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

Had Christ's enemies thus dwelt on these thoughts, and recognised the ecclesiastical scope as an anchor for the faith, they would not have made shipwreck of the faith, . . . (Against the Arians III, 58; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

What defect of teaching was there for religious truth in the Catholic Church, . . . (On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia 3; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

But the word of the Lord which came through the ecumenical Synod at Nicea, abides forever. (Synodal Letter to the Bishops of Africa 2; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

I thought that all vain talk of all heretics, many as they may be, had been stopped by the Synod which was held at Nicæa. For the Faith there confessed by the Fathers according to the divine Scriptures is enough by itself at once to overthrow all impiety, and to establish the religious belief in Christ. . . . How then, after all this, are some attempting to raise doubts or questions? (Letter LIX to Epictetus, 1; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

For the statements are not fit for Christians to make or to hear, on the contrary they are in every way alien from the Apostolic teaching. . . . It is enough merely to answer such things as follows: we are content with the fact that this is not the teaching of the Catholic Church, nor did the fathers hold this. But lest the ‘inventors of evil things' make entire silence on our part a pretext for shamelessness, it will be well to mention a few points from Holy Scripture, in case they may even thus be put to shame, and cease from these foul devices. (Letter LIX to Epictetus, 3; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

Either then deny the Synod of Nicæa, and as heretics bring in your doctrine from the side; or, if you wish to be children of the fathers, do not hold the contrary of what they wrote. (Letter LIX to Epictetus, 4; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

Deuterocanon (So-Called "Apocrypha")

St. Athanasius did seem to lower the status of the deuterocanonical books somewhat, but not to a sub-biblical level, as noted by my good friend Gary Michuta, in his excellent book, Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger (Port Huron, Michigan: Grotto Press, 2007, 110-112; bracketed footnote numbering my own):
Athanasius quotes both Baruch and Susanna right along passages from Isaiah, Psalms, Romans, and Hebrews; he makes no distinction or qualification between them [1]. Wisdom also is used as an authentic portion of sacred Scripture . . .:
But of these and such like inventions of idolatrous madness, Scripture taught us beforehand long ago, when it said, 'The devising of idols, as the beginning of fornication, and the invention of them, the corruption of life . . .' [Ws 14:12] [2]
And later in the same work:
For since they were endeavouring to invest with what Scripture calls the incommunicable name . . . [3]
This reference to the "incommunicable name" comes from Wisdom 14:21 . . .

Athanasius quotes another passage from Wisdom as constituting the teachings of Christ, the Word of God. He undoubtedly uses it to confirm doctrine. [4] In another argument against Arians, he calls both the Protocanonical Proverbs and the Deuterocanonical Wisdom "holy Scripture" . . . [5] . . .

Athanasius also quotes the book of Sirach without distinction or qualification, in the midst of several other scriptural quotations. [6] . . . Athanasius calls the Book of Judith Scripture. [7] Tobit is cited right along with several Protocanonical quotations [8] , and even introduced with the solemn formula "it is written." [9]

[1] Four Discourses Against the Arians, Discourse 1.12.
[2] Against the Heathen, 11.1. Emphasis added.
[3] Against the Heathen, 1, 17.3.
[4] On the Incarnate Word, 4.6; 5.2.
[5] Defense Against Arius, 1, 3.
[6] Life of Anthony, 28 and Apology Against the Arians, 66.
[7] Four Discourses Against the Arians, Discourse 2.35 . . .
[8] Defense of Constantius, 17. Tobit is cited after Matthew and Isaiah.
[9] Defense Against Arius, Part 1, 11.
The great Protestant Bible scholar F.F. Bruce confirms Michuta's analysis:
As Athanasius includes Baruch and the 'Letter of Jeremiah' in one book with Jeremiah and Lamentations [in his list of the OT canon], so he probably includes the Greek additions to Daniel in the canonical book of that name, and the additions to Esther in the book of that name which he recommends for reading in church [but doesn't list as a canonical book] . . .

In practice Athanasius appears to have paid little attention to the formal distinction between those books which he listed in the canon and those which were suitable for instruction of new Christians. He was familiar with the text of all, and quoted from them freely, often with the same introductory formula -- 'as it is written', 'as the scripture says', etc.

(The Canon of Scripture, Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1988, 79-80; my bracketed comments, based on the larger context of Bruce's analysis)
http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


Eucharist (Real Presence)

So long as the prayers and invocations have not yet been made, it is mere bread and a mere cup. But when the great and wondrous prayers have been recited, then the bread becomes the body and the cup the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . When the great prayers and holy supplications are sent up, the Word descends on the bread and the cup, and it becomes His body. (Sermon to the Newly-Baptized; Kelly, 442; Migne, 26, 1325)

Faith and Works Rather Than Faith Alone

For it is not productive of virtue, nor is it any token of goodness. For none of us is judged for what he knows not, and no one is called blessed because he hath learning and knowledge. But each one will be called to judgment in these points--whether he have kept the faith and truly observed the commandments. (Life of Antony; NPNF 2, Vol. IV, 205)

He is to come, no more to suffer, but thenceforth to render to all the fruit of his own cross, that is, the resurrection and incorruption; and no longer to be judged, but to judge all, by what each has done in the body, whether good or evil; where there is laid up for the good the kingdom of heaven, but for them that have done evil everlasting fire and outer darkness. For thus the Lord himself also says: "Henceforth ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven in the glory of the Father. Matt. 25:31 . . . For according to the blessed Paul: "We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may receive according as he hath done in the body whether it be good or bad." (Incarnation of the Word, 56, 4; NPNF 2, Vol. IV, 66).

Mary: Mother of God

And the Angel on his appearance, himself confesses that he has been sent by his Lord; as Gabriel confessed in the case of Zacharias, and also in the case of Mary, bearer of God. (Orations III, 14; NPNF 2, Vol. IV, 401)

It was for our sake that Christ became man, taking flesh from the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. (Against the Arians, III, 29; Gambero, 102)

Mary: Perpetual Virginity

For, if she had had other children, the Savior would not have ignored them and entrusted his Mother to someone else; nor would she have become someone else’s mother . . . he gave her as a mother to his disciple, even though she was not really John’s mother, because of his great purity of undertanding and because of her untouched virginity. . . . Mary, who gave birth to God, remained a virgin to the end . . . (De virginitate; Gambero, 104)

. . . Mary Ever-Virgin . . . (Against the Arians, Discourse II, 70; NPNF 2; Vol. IV, 386-387)

Mary: Sinlessness

. . . pure and unstained Virgin . . . (On the Incarnation of the Word, 8; Gambero, 102)

O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides. (Homily of the Papyrus of Turin, 71, 216; Gambero, 106)

The Papacy and Primacy of Rome

When I left Alexandria, I did not go to your brother’s headquarters, or to any other persons, but only to Rome; and having laid my case before the Church (for this was my only concern), I spent my time in public worship. (Defence before Constantius 4, NPNF 2, Vol. IV, 239)

[Background: Athanasius had appealed to Pope Julius I, over against the heretical ruling against him from eastern bishops, and Julius I reversed the sentence of an eastern council. He fled to Rome in 339 and "established close contacts with the Western Church, which continued throughout his life to support him" -- Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, "Athanasius, St.", p. 101) ]

Tradition (Authentic Divine and Apostolic, as Opposed to "Traditions of Men")

But, beyond these sayings, let us look at the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached and the Fathers kept. (To Serapion 1:28; after citing biblical passages concerning the deity of the Holy Spirit)

For, what our Fathers have delivered, this is truly doctrine; and this is truly the token of doctors, to confess the same thing with each other, and to vary neither from themselves nor from their fathers; whereas they who have not this character are to be called not true doctors but evil. (Defense of the Nicene Definition 4; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

The blessed Apostle approves of the Corinthians because, he says, 'ye remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I delivered them to you' (1 Cor. xi. 2); but they, as entertaining such views of their predecessors, will have the daring to say just the reverse to their flocks: 'We praise you not for remembering your fathers, but rather we make much of you, when you hold not their traditions.' (On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia 14; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

. . . remaining on the foundation of the Apostles, and holding fast the traditions of the Fathers, . . . (On the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia 54; NPNF 2, Vol. IV)

SOURCES

Gambero, Luigi, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, Thomas Buffer, translator, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, revised edition of 1999.
Kelly, J.N.D., Early Christian Doctrines, San Francisco: Harper & Row, fifth revised edition, 1978.
Schaff, Philip & Henry Wace, editors, Early Church Fathers: Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers Series 2 (“NPNF 2”), 14 volumes, originally published in Edinburgh, 1900, available online.

ADDENDUM

Counter-Reply to James White's Critique of My Take on St. Athanasius' Rule of Faith

Resident Baptist Ken Temple wrote in the combox: "James White demonstrated and proved your citation of Festal 2:6 is wrong in the way you interpret Athanasius. Reading the whole context, from 2:4 to 2:7 teaches us a lot, that Athanasius does not promote extra-Biblical traditions here."

Robert also stated: "I just read the Athanasius quote IN CONTEXT and I see exactly what you mean, Ken...it is not only NOT supporting the authority of "traditions" it's supporting the authority of scripture over any traditions!"

Bishop White has written a piece entitled Tradition Glasses, Again! I've dealt with Athanasius;' views in this regard more than once. It gets rather tiresome trying to persuade a certain type of Protestant to grasp elementary distinctions in logic and theological analysis, but we'll give it yet another shot. Here are my past papers:

Did St. Athanasius Believe in Sola Scriptura? (Dave Armstrong vs. Ken Temple)

The Sufficiency of Scripture and the Church Fathers (Particularly, St. Athanasius and the Trinity) (Dave Armstrong vs. E.L. Hamilton and "Cranmer")
If the Church Fathers Can Be Remarkably Transformed Into "Sola Scriptura Protestants" by "Bible Prooftexts", Why Not Me, Too?!!
The Right Reverend Bishop White comments:
I couldn't help but notice Dave Armstrong, who has decided recently to try his hand at church history, taking a shot at the Athanasius Problem. You see, the great bishop of Alexandria is a constant problem for Roman Catholics who wish to portray the early church as if it thought, spoke, and believed, as modern Rome. . . . In any case, Mr. Armstrong recently published yet another book, this time addressing the subject of church history. I had obtained the e-text version of the work, looked through it, and realized that with my current studies and challenges, going back over all the egregious abuses of the early writers represented by Armstrong was surely not worth my while. Someone else with much more time and interest would find an inexhaustible source of classic Roman Catholic anachronism in this work.
White took time out of his busy schedule to bless us with his cogent (and as always, of course, completely unassailable) commentary on one passage of mine:
. . . inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power. (Festal Letter 2:6)
He then provides a larger context for the citation, preceded by his own editorial remark: "I popped open my edition of Athanasius and read the context, and could not help but chuckle. . . . remember, let Athanasius define terms rather than Dave Armstrong, or the conflicts of our century:"
4. Now those who do not observe the feast, continue such as these even to the present day, feigning indeed and devising names of feasts, but rather introducing days of mourning than of gladness; `For there is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord.' And as Wisdom saith, `Gladness and joy are taken from their mouth.' Such are the feasts of the wicked. But the wise servants of the Lord, who have truly put on the man which is created in God, have received gospel words, and reckon as a general commandment that given to Timothy, which saith, `Be thou an example to the believers in word, in conversation, in love, in faith, in purity.' So well do they keep the Feast, that even the unbelievers, seeing their order, may say, `God is with them of a truth.' For as he who receives an apostle receives Him who sent him, so he who is a follower of the saints, makes the Lord in every respect his end and aim, even as Paul, being a follower of Him, goes on to say, `As I also of Christ.' For there were first our Saviour's own words, who from the height of His divinity, when conversing with His disciples, said, `Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls.' Then too when He poured water into a basin, and girded Himself with a towel, and washed His disciples' feet, He said to them, `Know what I have done. Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am. If therefore I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet: for I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, ye also should do.'

5. Oh! my brethren, how shall we admire the loving-kindness of the Saviour? With what power, and with what a trumpet should a man cry out, exalting these His benefits! That not only should we bear His image, but should receive from Him an example and pattern of heavenly conversation; that as He hath begun, we should go on, that suffering, we should not threaten, being reviled, we should not revile again, but should bless them that curse, and in everything commit ourselves to God who judgeth righteously. For those who are thus disposed, and fashion themselves according to the Gospel, will be partakers of Christ, and imitators of apostolic conversation, on account of which they shall be deemed worthy of that praise from him, with which he praised the Corinthians, when he said, `I praise you that in everything ye are mindful of me.' Afterwards, because there were men who used his words, but chose to hear them as suited their lusts, and dare to pervert them, as the followers of Hymenaeus and Alexander, and before them the Sadducees, who as he said, `having made shipwreck of faith,' scoffed at the mystery of the resurrection, he immediately proceeded to say, `And as I have delivered to you traditions, hold them fast.' That means, indeed, that we should think not otherwise than as the teacher has delivered.

6. For not only in outward form did those wicked men dissemble, putting on as the Lord says sheep's clothing, and appearing like unto whited sepulchres; but they took those divine words in their mouth, while they inwardly cherished evil intentions. And the first to put on this appearance was the serpent, the inventor of wickedness from the beginning--the devil,--who, in disguise, conversed with Eve, and forthwith deceived her. But after him and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power. Therefore Paul justly praises the Corinthians, because their opinions were in accordance with his traditions. And the Lord most righteously reproved the Jews, saying, `Wherefore do ye also transgress the commandments of God on account of your traditions.' For they changed the commandments they received from God after their own understanding, preferring to observe the traditions of men. And about these, a little after, the blessed Paul again gave directions to the Galatians who were in danger thereof, writing to them, `If any man preach to you aught else than that ye have received, let him be accursed.'

7. For there is no fellowship whatever between the words of the saints and the fancies of human invention; for the saints are the ministers of the truth, preaching the kingdom of heaven, but those who are borne in the opposite direction have nothing better than to eat, and think their end is that they shall cease to be, and they say, `Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.' Therefore blessed Luke reproves the inventions of men, and hands down the narrations of the saints, saying in the beginning of the Gospel, `Since many have presumed to write narrations of those events of which we are assured, as those who from the beginning were witnesses and ministers of the Word have delivered to us; it hath seemed good to me also, who have adhered to them all from the first, to write correctly in order to thee, O excellent Theophilus, that thou mayest know the truth concerning the things in which thou hast been instructed.' For as each of the saints has received, that they impart without alteration, for the confirmation of the doctrine of the mysteries. Of these the (divine) word would have us disciples, and these should of right be our teachers, and to them only is it necessary to give heed, for of them only is `the word faithful and worthy of all acceptation;' these not being disciples because they heard from others, but being eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word, that which they had heard from Him have they handed down.
Between sections 5 and 6 he interjected:
Now before moving on, have you caught his drift? Athanasius is saying the exact opposite of what Armstrong thinks he is saying. He even uses the classically abused text, 2 Thess. 2:15, and says nothing of any teachings that are not biblical in nature. "Apostolic conversation," "apostolic tradition," etc., for Athanasius, is nothing more than the words of the Apostles themselves! Roman Catholic controversialists, so accustomed to redefining terms based upon modern usage, read back into Athanasius the very distinctions that he is denying. But we continue on. I will bold the sole portion quoted by Armstrong:
And he concluded:
See what a difference a context makes? Athanasius is making the exact opposite point, concluding, as he so often did, with the teaching that what has been "handed down" is exactly the Scriptures. So when you read Roman Catholics throwing out contextless tidbits like this, do some reading. Remember that they are dogmatically committed to historical anachronism: Rome tells them what they must find in the early writings of the church, and, lo and behold, that's exactly what they find! Amazing!
I shall now respond at some length to these absurd and groundless accusations. Remember, as I proceed, that White equates anything by way of "tradition" and anything "apostolic" referred to by Athanasius, as strictly the biblical text and teaching. Therefore, all one must do to refute such an assertion is show that Athanasius refers to things as part of the received tradition, that are not in the Bible. That's rather easy to do, and I have already done it, so I merely have to repeat myself, with a few extra tidbits from the present larger text under consideration. I'll comment on various portions of the text above, highlighted in blue, for easy reference:

'And as I have delivered to you traditions, hold them fast.' [2 Thess 2:15] That means, indeed, that we should think not otherwise than as the teacher has delivered.

All the text prior to these words pose no problem whatsoever for Catholics, who accept material sufficiency of Scripture. As I have argued many times before, this very passage ends thusly: "hold to the traditions, which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (RSV). White, therefore, must contend that every tradition Paul passed on that was by "word of mouth" (or for that matter, in writing) was also preserved in written Holy Scripture. A very neat and tidy little theory, isn't it? But of course there is no way to prove this; certainly not from Scripture itself. White doesn't even try (he knows better than that). He simply assumes that this is the case. But that is no argument, of course. Just because White claims something with no biblical proof is no reason for anyone else to accept it. Likewise, in section 1 of the same letter, even outside of White's huge context that he provided, Athanasius writes:

those commands which he sent to individuals, he at the same time enjoined upon every man in every place, for he was `a teacher of all nations in faith and truth'.

As in the first instance, there is no reason whatsoever to assume, from this text, that all of Paul's "commands" were inscripturated. There is no more reason to believe that than there is to believe that everything that Jesus told His disciples was recorded in the Bible. It clearly was not, because the Bible itself informs us so (e.g., Mk 4:33; 6:34; Lk 24:15-16,25-27; Jn 20:30; 21:25; Acts 1:2-3), and it is common sense anyway. Jesus' teachings and commands, and Paul's, were binding, since they came from God and an apostle. They didn't have to be put in Scripture before they had authority, and they clearly included more than what we have in Scripture. As I've observed many times: in one night of intense conversation, Jesus or Paul could have easily said far more words than are contained in the entire New Testament. So White offers a bald speculation (i.e., a mere tradition of men, passed down). I'm giving solid reasons and Bible verses. Readers may choose which is the more plausible and biblical of the two options.
inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power. [the citation I used in my book]

Here is apostolic succession. Note how Athanasius casually assumes that one criterion for truth is being "handed down" -- and not just by apostles, but by "saints" (a larger category). Protestants generally reject apostolic succession, but it is taught here, and by virtually all Church fathers. Athanasius is precisely blasting the Protestant attitude: folks who cite the Scriptures, but yet do not receive traditions and opinions "handed down" and who confuse these true apostolic traditions with "traditions of men." This is exactly how Protestants like Bishop White regard true Catholic, apostolic traditions (i.e., those that are contrary to Protestantism). The passage, then, is a rather striking indication that Athanasius was a good Catholic, and no Protestant. He doesn't think like one at all. White rejects apostolic succession; Athanasius fully embraces it.



Therefore Paul justly praises the Corinthians, because their opinions were in accordance with his traditions.

More apostolic tradition (in complete harmony with the notion of apostolic succession that he had expressed earlier: "opinions as the saints have handed down").
For they changed the commandments they received from God after their own understanding, preferring to observe the traditions of men. . . . `If any man preach to you aught else than that ye have received, let him be accursed.'


Paul's characteristic contrast of false traditions of men with true apostolic tradition, reiterated by Athanasius.

For there is no fellowship whatever between the words of the saints and the fancies of human invention; for the saints are the ministers of the truth

Ditto.

Therefore blessed Luke reproves the inventions of men, and hands down the narrations of the saints

Ditto.

as those who from the beginning were witnesses and ministers of the Word have delivered to us

Apostolic tradition ("witnesses") and succession ("delivered to us") seen right in the text of Scripture.
For as each of the saints has received, that they impart without alteration, for the confirmation of the doctrine of the mysteries. For as each of the saints has received, that they impart without alteration, for the confirmation of the doctrine of the mysteries.


Another concise, explicit description of apostolic tradition and succession.

All this, yet White thinks that he sees sola Scriptura and a denial of apostolic tradition and succession in these passages. It's astonishing. White talks about "tradition glasses." He not only doesn't have glasses; he has no eyes at all. He's flat-out blind, to miss all this in the passage. I'm absolutely delighted that he wanted to bring up all this larger context, because it makes my argument ten times stronger. Thanks, good bishop! Catholics can be blessed by viewing this overwhelming affirmation in Athanasius, of our rule of faith. And of course there is tons more, in my paper (from my new book on the Fathers):

See, we are proving that this view has been transmitted from father to father; but ye, O modern Jews and disciples of Caiaphas, how many fathers can ye assign to your phrases?

It is enough merely to answer such things as follows: we are content with the fact that this is not the teaching of the Catholic Church, nor did the fathers hold this.
Either then deny the Synod of Nicæa, and as heretics bring in your doctrine from the side; or, if you wish to be children of the fathers, do not hold the contrary of what they wrote.


But, beyond these sayings, let us look at the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached and the Fathers kept.

For, what our Fathers have delivered, this is truly doctrine; and this is truly the token of doctors, to confess the same thing with each other, and to vary neither from themselves nor from their fathers; whereas they who have not this character are to be called not true doctors but evil.

The blessed Apostle approves of the Corinthians because, he says, 'ye remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I delivered them to you' (1 Cor. xi. 2); but they, as entertaining such views of their predecessors, will have the daring to say just the reverse to their flocks: 'We praise you not for remembering your fathers, but rather we make much of you, when you hold not their traditions.'

. . . remaining on the foundation of the Apostles, and holding fast the traditions of the Fathers, . . .
Athanasius accepts books of the Bible (Wisdom, Sirach, Judith, Tobit) that White rejects as "extrabiblical" and no Scripture at all. Therefore, Athanasius is calling inspired what White thinks is an evil tradition of men. Hard to get more poles apart than that!

In my book, I cite a very powerful concurring opinion of Protestant historian Philip Schaff, concerning the Church fathers' unanimous belief in apostolic succession and the notions of Tradition and an authoritative Church (my emphases):


Nor is any distinction made here between a visible and an invisible church. All catholic antiquity thought of none but the actual, historical church . . .

The fathers of our period all saw in the church, though with different degrees of clearness, a divine, supernatural order of things, in a certain sense the continuation of the life of Christ on earth, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the sole repository of the powers of divine life, the possessor and interpreter of the Holy Scriptures, the mother of all the faithful . . .

Equally inseparable from her is the predicate of apostolicity, that is, the historical continuity or unbroken succession, which reaches back through the bishops to the apostles, from the apostles to Christ, and from Christ to God. In the view of the fathers, every theoretical departure from this empirical, tangible, catholic church is heresy, that is, arbitrary, subjective, ever changing human opinion; every practical departure, all disobedience to her rulers is schism, or dismemberment of the body of Christ; either is rebellion against divine authority, and a heinous, if not the most heinous, sin. No heresy can reach the conception of the church, or rightly claim any one of her predicates; it forms at best a sect or party, and consequently falls within the province and the fate of human and perishing things, while the church is divine and indestructible.

This is without doubt the view of the ante-Nicene fathers, even of the speculative and spiritualistic Alexandrians . . .

Even Clement of Alexandria, and Origen, with all their spiritualistic and idealizing turn of mind, are no exception here.

(History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, Chapter IV, section 53, "The Catholic Unity," pp. 169-170, 172)

This is emphatically not what Protestants believe, because they deny both apostolic succession and any possibility of an infallible Church. For them only Scripture is an infallible authority. Therefore, the views of the fathers and of Athanasius in particular, couldn't be any further than they are from James White's view. Yet he claims Athanasius as one of his own. It's one of the most striking instances of sheer anachronistic imposition of later Protestant novelties onto the Church fathers that I've ever seen. White is seemingly impervious to reason and fact alike. He even has to war against Protestant historians like Schaff, from 100 years ago, as well as the vast majority of Church historians of all stripes today.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Church Fathers: Introductory Resources

By Dave Armstrong (12-20-07; updated on 8-2-15)



Internet Papers

Joseph A. Gallegos: A Primer on the Church Fathers [read first]

Joseph A. Gallegos: Church Fathers FAQ

Wikipedia: Church Fathers

Catholic Encyclopedia: Fathers of the Church

Marcellino D’Ambrosio: Early Church Fathers Overview: Snapshot of the Fathers of the Church


Web Pages

Dave Armstrong: Fathers of the Church

Catholic Answers: Fathers Know Best series

Joseph A. Gallegos: Cor Unum: The Teachings of the Church Fathers

New Advent: The Fathers of the Church

Philip Schaff et al: 38-volume set of the Church fathers, online


http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


Books

Jimmy Akin, The Fathers Know Best (Catholic Answers Press, 2010)

Mike Aquilina, The Fathers of the Church (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, revised edition, 2006)

Mike Aquilina, Roots of the Faith: From the Church Fathers to You (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2010)
Mike Aquilina, Faith of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will (Emmaus Road Publishing, 2012)
Dave Armstrong, The Church Fathers Were Catholic: Patristic Evidences for Catholicism (2013)

Dave Armstrong, The Quotable Eastern Church Fathers: Distinctively Catholic Elements in Their Theology (2013)

Dave Armstrong, The Quotable Augustine: Distinctively Catholic Elements in His Theology (2012)

Rod Bennett, Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002). [Clement, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus]

Rod Bennett, The Apostasy That Wasn't: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church (Catholic Answers Press, 2015)

Resources For Refuting the (Minority) Protestant "Rapture" End-Times Scenario


See the following articles (Carl Olson be da man!):


Five Myths About the Rapture
(Carl E. Olson)

Lahaying the Rapture on Thick (Carl E. Olson)

Recycled Rapture
(Carl E. Olson)


No Rapture for Rome: The Anti-Catholics behind the Best-selling Left Behind Books (Carl E. Olson)

The Rapture (Catholic Answers)
Daniel, Revelation, and the Rapture Myth (Deacon Paul Carlson)

Questioning the "Left Behind" Rapture
(David M. Bristow)

Endtimes, Millennium, Rapture (Colin B. Donovan, STL)



And the book:


Rapture: The End-Times Error That Leaves the Bible Behind (David B. Currie, 2004)



http://biblicalcatholicism.com/

Martin Luther: The Civil Government Ought to Put Frigid Wives and Adulterers to Death

By Dave Armstrong (12-20-07)


Just when you think you've discovered all the weirdest things about Luther that could possibly be found, ol' Martin springs another goofy, wacko idea on ya!:
. . . God commanded in the law [Deut. 22:22-24] that adulterers be stoned . . . The temporal sword and government should therefore still put adulterers to death . . . Where the government is negligent and lax, however, and fails to inflict the death penalty, the adulterer may betake himself to a far country and there remarry if he is unable to remain continent. But it would be better to put him to death, lest a bad example be set . . .

The blame rests with the government. Why do they not put adulterers to death? Then I would not need to give such advice. Between two evils one is always the lesser, in this case allowing the adulterer to remarry in a distant land in order to avoid fornication . . .

Where the government fails to inflict the death penalty and the one spouse wishes to retain the other, the guilty one should still in Christian fashion be publicly rebuked and caused to make amends according to the gospel . . .

Here you should be guided by the words of St. Paul, I Corinthians 7 [:4–5], “The husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does; likewise the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does. Do not deprive each other, except by agreement,” etc. Notice that St. Paul forbids either party to deprive the other, for by the marriage vow each submits his body to the other in conjugal duty. When one resists the other and refuses the conjugal duty she is robbing the other of the body she had bestowed upon him. This is really contrary to marriage, and dissolves the marriage. For this reason the civil government must compel the wife, or put her to death. If the government fails to act, the husband must reason that his wife has been stolen away and slain by robbers; he must seek another. We would certainly have to accept it if someone’s life were taken from him. Why then should we not also accept it if a wife steals herself away from her husband, or is stolen away by others?

(The Estate of Marriage, 1522, translated by Walther I. Brandt, from Luther's Works, Vol. 45, pp. 32-34)
http://biblicalcatholicism.com/


This is marvelous reform of the morals concerning sexuality that the Catholic Church had cultivated for 1500 years, isn't it? The state puts adulterers to death. Frigid women should also be done away with by the state. If the state doesn't execute adulterers, they ought to run away to another country and get remarried (!!!). Isn't life in a Protestant world wonderful? It's just like trying to exercise discipline with denominationalism: the person being reprimanded for some sin simply departs for another sect, which puts a big Band-Aid on the situation, counsels the person to do better next time, and sanctions another "marriage" of an adulterer (even lets them be pastors and deacons!). I witnessed this myself when I was a Protestant (one man in particular who was an elder at our non-denom church).

It's like the ethical tomfoolery we examined in my last paper, on "Reformer" Zwingli's sexcapades: where we saw Zwingli argue, in effect: "the vow of celibacy in the priesthood is too tough to uphold; everybody's violating it, so I may as well do it, too, and if I am called on it, I'll appeal to the fact that it's impossible to be celibate and everyone is out there having fun, so why shouldn't I do so too! And besides, the evil, wicked woman seduced me!, and I didn't seduce any virgins, nuns, or married women! So give me a pass, huh? The problem isn't my virility, it is the Catholic rule of celibacy."

Spit on and despise marriage and clerical vows alike . . . This is the sublime uplifting of sexual morality and treatment of women, as a result of the Protestant "Reformation" (so-called).

Luther doesn't say whether an impotent man should likewise be put away by the wife or put to death by authorities (the "ED police"?). I suspect he would not take such a position. No, only women who aren't fulfilling their sexual duties (men always do, no doubt) are subjected to such drastic measures, and the adulterous man can flee to another country, where Luther in his wisdom recommends another "marriage" as the "lesser" of "two evils." We can see how the "Reformation" truly liberated women from chauvinistic medieval serfdom, can't we?

Huldreich Zwingli: Protestant "Reformer", Open Fornicator, and Vow-Breaker


By Dave Armstrong (12-20-07)


Zwingli was, along with Martin Luther and John Calvin, one of the most influential Protestant Founders, or "Reformers". Documentary evidence follows:
Huldrych Zwingli, who had slept with a woman in a former parish, petitioned his ordinary, Bishop Hugo von Hohenlandenberg of Constance, for permission to marry, which was denied. [13] Zwingli was also secretly married to a widow, Anna Reinhart -- as many people knew. [14]

[13] Zwingli explains his brief affair with the daughter of a barber in Einsiedeln in a letter to Heinrich Utinger in Zurich dated December 5, 1518. See Huldreich Zwinglis Samtliche Werke, vol. 7, ed. E. Egli, G. Finsler, and W. Kohler, Corpus Reformation 94, (Leipzig: M. Heinsius Nachfolger, 1911), pp. 110-13 . . .

[14] G.R. Potter, Zwingli (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), pp. 78-81. Frau Reinhart had been Zwingli's concubine before their marriage. Their secret marriage was publicly announced before the birth of their first child.

(David C. Steinmetz, in John H. Van Engen, editor, Educating People of Faith, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003, p. 259 [in the chapter: "Luther and Formation in Faith"] [2nd URL] )
* * * * *
Zwingli lived in the relation of concubinage as a priest.

(James Hastings & John A. Selbie, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Part 6, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911, "Concubinage (Christian)", p. 818)
* * * * *
Ulrich Zwingli, who began his career as a Catholic priest in Zurich, admitted siring at least one child with his concubine, Anna Reinhard. Such conduct should not be considered gross, he explained, since he had abided by his principle not to seduce a virgin or a nun.

(William E. Phipps, Clerical Celibacy: The Heritage, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006, p. 155 [2nd URL] )
* * * * *
Zwingli was a sensual man. Unlike Luther, he had several sexual misadventures . . . He had indeed had sexual relations with the daughter of a powerful man . . .

(Richard Marius: Luther: A Biography, Lippincott, 1974, p. 212 [2nd URL] )
* * * * *

http://biblicalcatholicism.com/

"It is a dangerous thing," says Zwingli, "for a young priest to have access, through the sanctity of his office, to young women, be they married or virgins . . . " Zwingli himself, as he writes to his friend Utinger, with the greatest candour, had formed a resolution to live in this regard, as well as in every other, a holy life before God; but alas . . . he fell too before the inroad of fleshly lusts, as he himself, with deep pain and remorse, confessed, for he would not appear better than he really was.

(R. Christoffel, Zwingli; or The Rise of the Reformation in Switzerland, translated by John Cochran, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1858, p. 13)
* * * * *
Like the clergy about him, he believed himself absolved from the obligation of chastity because bound by the vow of celibacy. Lapses from sexual purity were too common to be considered objections in a priest, but the charge against him was then made that he had seduced a girl of good family . . . He was written to on the subject and his reply is extant. He denied the charge of seduction, but frankly admitted the charge of habitual incontinence, and he does it in a jesting tone which shows that he had no conception that his offense was any other than a trifling one . . . it was, therefore, as a confessedly libidinous man that he came to Zurich . . .

(Samuel Macauley Jackson, editor, New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1912, Vol. XII, "Zwingli", p. 539)
* * * * *
Detractors raised the issue of Zwingli's womanizing. Zwingli responded to the rumor that he had seduced the daughter of an influential citizen by admitting his struggle with sexual temptations but denying both the woman's "purity" and her father's influence. "Some three years ago I firmly vowed not to touch any woman, . . . I succeeded poorly in this, however. In Glarus I kept my resolution about six months, in Einsiedeln about a year . . . That girl was a 'virgin' during the day and a 'woman' at night. She was such a 'day' virgin, however, that everyone in Einsiedeln knew exactly her role . . . She had had affairs with many men, finally with me. Or let me say it better: she seduced me with more than flattering words" (Hillerbrand, 1964: 115-16).

(Carter Lindberg, The European Reformation, Blackwell Publishing, 1996, p. 172 [2nd URL] )
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Even Zwingli's celebrated sexual lapses as a young priest . . . did not overly trouble his conscience. To be sure, he regretted his failure to fulfill his vow of celibacy, but he did not seem to doubt his salvation because of these lapses. His famous defence was that, although guilty of sexual immorality, he had never defiled a 'virgin, nun or married woman'.

(Peter McEnhill & George Newlands, Fifty Key Christian Thinkers, Routledge, 2002, 270-271 [2nd URL] )
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He did not let his sacerdotal vows exclude him from the pleasures of the flesh; he had some affairs with generous women.
(Will Durant, The Reformation, [volume 6 of 10-volume The Story of Civilization, 1967], New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957, p. 405)
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Protestant Denial
Again 1522 was the year when houses of ill-fame were cleaned out of Zurich at Zwingli's inspiration. How could that have been done if he were living in such concubinage. . . . Clerical marriages might have been possible in the former days of Catholicism, but not with the awakened conscience of the Protestant Reformation.

(Calvinist James I. Good, The Reformed Reformation, Philadelphia: The Heidelberg Press, 1916, 89)
Zwingli argues, in effect: "the vow of celibacy in the priesthood is too tough to uphold; everybody's violating it, so I may as well do it, too, and if I am called on it, I'll appeal to the fact that it's impossible to be celibate and everyone is out there having fun, so why shouldn't I do so too (young stud and gift to women that I am)! And besides, that evil, wicked woman and 'day virgin' in Einsiedeln seduced me!, and hey, I didn't seduce any virgins, nuns, or married women! So give me a pass, huh [wink, wink]? The problem isn't my virility, it is the confounded papist and Romish rule of celibacy, and it also depends on what is is."