Roman but not Catholic– Part Eight

Roman but not Catholic– Part Eight January 13, 2018


One of the things about this book is that it sticks to analyzing the official documents, the catechisms, the creeds, the council decisions, the papal pronouncements of the Catholic Church. This I think was a very wise decision, but only late in the book is there an attempt to really come to grips with the differences between de facto how the church actually is in its faith and praxis, and de jure, what it’s official positions are on issues ranging from the Lord’s Supper to abortion. Collins and Walls are right that when there is too great a disparity between the two, trouble is brewing, if not a split of some kind. The impressions of Collins and Walls are mainly in reaction to the American Catholic Church (and to a lesser degree the European Catholic Church) but in fact the vast majority of Catholics don’t live in those regions— they are in Central and South America and Africa and Asia, and those parts of the Catholic Church tend to be far more conservative both officially and in practice. The critique of the pluralism of the Catholic Church mainly works with the western part of that church in Europe and America. Having spent a good deal of time in various other places preaching and teaching, I can tell you, the church is far less pluralistic in these other settings. And interestingly, even in a place like Australia, the Catholic Church is on the whole quite conservative.

Honestly, I have no substantive critiques of this fine book other than the few things I mentioned. I learned quite a lot about the official positions maintained in official Catholic documents through reading this book, and it only reinforced my views that even with all its faults, the Protestant tradition appears to be far more Biblical on various issues than the Catholic or Orthodox traditions, including the views on ministry and sacraments, not to mention what we should believe about justification, the new birth, sanctification and holiness of heart and life.

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