Monday, 12 October 2009

Who Am I?

David Schutz (or Schuetz; sorry, no umlaut available, David), an erstwhile Lutheran pastor who "swam the Tiber" in 2001, has been kind enough to draw attention to my blog 'Lutheran Catholicity' (which at the moment is nothing more than a proposal, really) on his esteemed blog 'Sentire Cum Ecclesia' (click on post title to view), which has a much wider readership than I could ever aspire to.

David is wondering who I am and has put the challenge to his readers to identify the blogger who goes by the nom de plume 'Acroamaticus' (which is Latin for "one devoted to higher things", according to the old Oxford Latin-English Dictionary). This has resulted in more hits on my profile in three days than I would normally get in three months! However, to date, no-one has identified your author, which just goes to show that I am even more obscure than I thought.

Now, one characteristic I have observed in Germans, even in German-Australians (and I hope David is not offended if I refer to him as such) is a fondness, even a compulsion, for categorising people. David has pegged me as a "Luthero-Catholic", which I must say is not a category with which I would willingly associate myself, as to me it seems rather too close to "crypto-Catholic" for comfort. Perhaps David has misread my intentions with the blog 'Lutheran Catholicity'? The intention is not to show how close to Rome the Lutheran faith is, but to show its continuity with the church catholic down through the ages. Indeed, there may even be a polemical edge to it vis a vis Rome, especially the path Rome has taken since 1563. As to how catholicity is defined, that is a famously difficult question, as recent posts here have indicated. I am working towards a definition adequate for my purposes anyway.

As far as churchmanship goes, like C.S. Lewis in regard to his Anglicanism, mutatis mutandis, I am uncomfortable being categorised into one style of Lutheran churchmanship or another, whether high or low, evangelical or catholic (or Evangelical Catholic!), contemporary or traditional. I seek to be centred by Holy Scripture, the Creeds and the Confessions and to judge all things from that position, rejoicing in the truth wherever it may be found and whatever form it takes. If that makes me a "Luthero-Catholic" in the eyes of some, so be it, to my mind it simply makes me a genuine catholic.

Oh, yes, who am I? I am but a flower quickly fading, a wave tossed on the ocean, paper in the wind, a poor, miserable sinner ever reliant on God's unmerited grace in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin, death and the devil.

With that in mind, I offer the following for your entertainment and edification:


hn160 said...

I think of myself as a confessional Lutheran, I love the Divine Service every Sunday. The problem with many Lutherans they want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Lutherans have as much right to use the name Catholic as the Roman Catholics do, maybe more so, because Luther cleaned up the Church.

Acroamaticus said...

Well said, Henry.

Schütz said...

Schutz or Shuetz? I prefer the first spelling for obvious reasons (the "c" is as important as the umlaut!) :-)

As for formulating a definition of "Catholic", good luck to you. I tried it for years, and better people than I have struggled to define it without including in it somewhere "in communion with the Bishop of Rome". All I can say is that both I and these "better people" have failed miserably - and one can include St Vincent of Lerins in that list.

I tried to find a way of being Catholic without being what you call "Roman" Catholic. In the end, I had to conclude that "catholic" becomes a "wax nose" (as Blessed Martin would have put it) without being anchored to the See and Successor of St Peter. (By the way, for the record, I am canonically a Melbourne Catholic, not a Roman Catholic - or, as I like to put it, a Lutheran in communion with the Pope.)

Still, good luck to you. That's why I am so keen to see your posts on "Lutheran Catholicity".

Acroamaticus said...

Oops, sorry about that, David, the "c" (small "c" of course)has been restored to its rightful place.

Yes, a definition of "catholic" is mind-numbingly difficult to pin down, but I only said I was working on one adequate to my purposes. In the end it might be best to adapt what an English judge said about another subject -"I can't define it, but I know what it is when I see it."

Interesting what you say about looking for a way to be Catholic without being Roman and failing; that's not been an issue for me, I've always felt catholic (note small c) and have always been sure that post-Trentine Catholicism was not. Could be my Anglican roots?

Well, I'm actually very glad to hear that you still call yourself Lutheran, David, even if I don't see how a Lutheran can be in communion with the Papacy as presently constituted without ripping quite a few pages out of the Book of Concerd. But let's not let that come between us.

Pax et gaudium!

Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

I can't say that I particularly care for people trying to "out" pseudonymous bloggers (for obvious reasons.) But didn't you once have your name in your profile, Pastor? I remember it quite clearly.

Acroamaticus said...

Yes, I did, MCB.
I confess I reverted to my nom de plume because I missed the element of mystery it lent to my otherwise humble persona.

Acroamaticus said...

Yes, I did, MCB.
I confess I reverted to my nom de plume because I missed the element of mystery it lent to my otherwise humble persona.

Kepha said...

Just wanted to say that I just came across this blog about a week ago and I really like it.

I, too, swam the Tiber, but in the opposite direction -- Deo gratias!

Acroamaticus said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, Kepha. It is encouraging to know there are new readers out there who enjoy the blog, and from Texas too!.
From your on-line profile I think we would have much in common, e.g.: the movies Jesus of Nazareth and The Passion, classical guitar, Gregorian chant, historical theology, and 'Knowing God' is one of my favourite books too, in fact I've got a review pending for the "Books That Shaped My Life" post series.
In regard to your "swimming the Tiber", I have long suspected that the numbers swimming "away from Rome" are greater than those going in the Romewards direction - they just don't get the publicity. My wife took that journey too.
Anyway, thanks for your comment and do come back and share your thoughts. Blessings!

Schütz said...

Well, now you really intrigue me. Your next post speaks about "spare time outside of regular office hours", which sounds very odd for one in pastoral ministry...

As for Tiber swimmers, we tend to think we get the best out of the deal, whatever the numbers are. Those really committed to the Catholic faith, who have thought it through deeply and made the necessary sacrifices to enter the Church, tend to make very good Catholics. Those who go the other way often were not so committed to their Catholic heritage (casting no nasturtiums at any one, of course).

If I may use the river language, it seems as if those swimming Rome-ward have to swim "up-stream" against the current, whereas those going in the opposite direction just have to jump in and go with the flow.

Acroamaticus said...

Office hours? Let me explain. I stick to the old rule: mornings in the study, afternoons in the parish, evenings with the family, six days a week, though exigencies are likely to disrupt that schedule, as you well know. Monday's are my day of rest.
Which leaves early morning or late night for blogging, unless I manage to slip something in quickly during my lunch hour. That way I keep a clear conscience.

Kepha said...


Yes, there are those who leave Rome who don't live in the spot light. A good friend of mine graduated from Thomas Aquinas in California and the Dominican School of Philosophy, after which he left Rome for the Reformed tradition. As for myself, while I don't have his academic credentials, I was certainly no nominal Roman Catholic. Anything but. In fact, I converted to Rome from non-denominational Protestantism. It took me nearly three years of research, prayer, and dialogue before deciding to leave Rome aftering having been in communion with her for 9 yrs.


Acroamaticus said...

Every person is of value, Frank, and each has their own story to tell even if they don't make the ecclesiastical headlines. Yours sounds interesting. Did you also go Reformed like your friend? Calvinism attracts intellectuals, so his move doesn't surprise me.