“Conscience,” “calling,” and the new pastoral counseling

More from Terry Mattingly’s column about the new Protestant-like role of “conscience” in liberal Catholicism:   He quotes Blase Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, on how he counsels the divorced and remarried, gays, and others in what the Church officially considers to be a sinful lifestyle. [Read more...]

Three branches of Catholicism?

There are three branches of Judaism:  Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox.  A similar breakdown is evident in other religious traditions:  a liberal version, a conservative version, and an arch-conservative version.*

Thus, among Lutherans, we have the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (liberal), the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (conservative), and the Wisconsin Evangelical Synod (arch-conservative).**  Presbyterians have the Presbyterian Church United States of America (liberal), the Presbyterian Church in America (conservative), and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (arch-conservative).  Baptists have the American Baptists (liberal), Southern Baptists (conservative), and Fundamental Baptists (arch-conservatives).  Campbellites have the Disciples of Christ (liberal), First Christian (conservative), Church of Christ (arch-conservative).  We could go on.

Roman Catholics, on the other hand, have always claimed to be unified.  But liberal Catholic theologian Daniel Maguire says that Catholicism too is dividing into three similar streams.  This has arguably already happened, even though all three are contained in one institution, as many converts have discovered when they become Catholics because of medieval theologians and 19th century acts of devotion, only to find themselves in a parish with feminist nuns and priests who sound just like mainline liberal Protestants.

Terry Mattingly discusses the phenomenon–including the growing authority of “conscience” in Catholic circles–in a column excerpted and linked after the jump.

*This taxonomy did not originate with me.  Scholars tend to use the terms “liberal,” “conservative,” and “fundamentalist,” but that last term is too loaded except for groups, such as some Baptists, that embrace the term. One would expect a “moderate” category, but that faction seems to be distributed among the others.

**I suspect some of us in the LCMS would maintain that they are as conservative as it is possible to be in adherence to Scripture and to its exposition in the Book of Concord.  They would say that the difference with WELS and ELS is over theology, such as the doctrines of the ministry and church fellowship, and that in regards to these issues and others, such as liturgical practice, the LCMS is more conservative than the other confessional bodies.

[Read more...]

The Reformation of the church

Tomorrow is Reformation Day, the anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses against the sale of indulgences.  I keep reading online about how tragic the Reformation was, how unneeded it is now, and how it’s wrong to celebrate the breaking up of the church.

But does anyone think that the medieval church did not need to be reformed?  Can anyone say that the sale of indulgences was a good thing?  Can anyone defend the corruption of the Renaissance popes–their selling of church offices, their bribes, their mistresses, their illegitimate children whom they made cardinals, their inquisitions, their wars?  The great medieval authors–Dante, Chaucer, Langland, and many others–all criticized these abuses in the church.

Even the Roman Catholic Church came to admit these evils.  Luther’s Reformation provoked the Counter-Reformation, which finally the moral and financial corruption.  It also set in stone some theological issues that were not all that clear when Luther first proposed his reforms.  [Read more...]

Exorcising a whole country

Roman Catholic archbishops and exorcists met together to conduct an “Exorcismo Magno,” with the purpose of casting the demons out of the entire country of Mexico.  Read this on whether to exorcise the United States. [Read more...]

How Obama will get in the Pope’s face

To greet Pope Francis at the White House next week, President Obama has invited a pro-abortion nun, transgender activists, gay Catholic activists, and a gay Episcopal bishop. [Read more...]

The Pope makes annullments easier

Roman Catholics don’t allow for divorce, the dissolution of a marriage.  They do, however, allow for annullments, which deny after the fact that a valid marriage ever took place (despite how long the couple has lived together, if they had children, etc.).  After an annullment, the marriage is considered never to have existed.

The process to get one has been arduous, time-consuming, and expensive, given the tortuous logic that has to be engaged in, with couples having to provide evidence, for example, that they too young to know what they were getting into and so didn’t really have informed consent to the marriage, and similar rationalizations.

But now Pope Francis has issued the biggest changes to annulment proceedings in hundreds of years, making the whole process much easier.  This will surely mean that more Catholics will end their marriages.  But at least they won’t get a divorce! [Read more...]