Monday, 2 November 2009

Plenary indulgence, anyone?



With the various celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification happening around the world in the past week I thought it relevant to remind ourselves that the Roman church's teaching on purgatory and indulgences which led Martin Luther to his courageous actions on 31st October, 1517 remains substantially intact almost 500 years later.

The basis of the teaching is that 1) the death of Christ obtained the remission of the eternal punishment, not the temporal punishment of sins, and 2) the Roman church has "a treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints" (notice it is always "and" with the Roman church, "Christ and Mary/the saints", "the Bible and Tradition", "God's grace and man's free will") which she has authority to open from time to time and grant to the faithful upon the fulfilment of certain conditions (I suppose we can give thanks at least that indulgences are not sold anymore). The teaching can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1471-1479 (this catechism can be viewed on-line here http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm.

The most recent indulgence is applicable today, All Soul's Day, so do hurry to fulfill the prescribed conditions to obtain the remission of sin's temporal punishment, but note that the indulgence can only be applied to the "poor souls" in purgatory (unlike the indulgence attached to World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008, which some of our Lutheran youth in Catholic schools attended, or that attached to viewing the relics of St Therese of Lisieux which are currently touring England, which many Anglicans are taking advantage of, which could/can both be applied to oneself).

Just how all this continues after the Lutheran World Federation and and the Vatican supposedly reached a basic agreement on justification (i.e. the forgiveness of sins) in 1999 I will leave for you to ponder.

Here is the text granting the indulgence, which came in my "in-box" today from a Roman Catholic news source I subscribe to:

"On All Souls’ Day (2 November) a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit any parish church or public oratory and there recite one Our Father and the Creed.

On all the days from 1 November to 8 November inclusive, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit a cemetery and pray even if only mentally for the departed.

Conditions for both indulgences are:

1. Only one plenary indulgence can be granted per day.
2. It is necessary to be in the state of grace, at least by completion of the work.
3. Freedom from attachment to sin, even venial sin, is necessary; otherwise the indulgence is only partial. (By this is meant attachment to a particular sin, not sin in general.)
4. Holy Communion must be received each time the indulgence is sought.
5. Prayers must he recited for the intentions of the Holy Father on each day the indulgence is sought. (No particular prayers are prescribed.) One Our Father and one Hail Mary suffice, or other suitable prayers.
6. A sacramental confession must be made within a week of completion of the prescribed work. (One confession made during the week, made with the intention of gaining all the indulgences, suffices.)"


Now, I ask you, does not this teaching and practice detract from the completeness ("It is finished" "Today you will be with me in Paradise") and thus the glory of Christ's sacrifice for us?

27 comments:

L P said...

Well, I said one time that those who signed the JDDJ should have checked if the Roman Church will from then on stop the issuing of indulgences so, what did they signed?

I look at it this way, JDDJ is a document that says that the Lutherans believe X and the RCs believe Y and both of them signed and acknowledged what each other believed in a document.

LPC

Mark Henderson said...

Lito,

Yes, but the problem arose when they said x + y = z, where z = agreement!

Actually, I think the events of the last two weeks = the end of ecumenism, and I have been working on a post on that topic which should appear soon.

Christopher said...

Nice post; but indulgences ARE still sold today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/nyregion/10indulgence.html

Mark Henderson said...

Christopher,

I thought the practice had been banned c. 1567. I read the article, but saw no reference to selling indulgences, unless you refer to gaining an indulgence for a charitable donation?

Christopher said...

Yes, Mark, I fail to see the nuanced difference between 'charitable donation' and 'sale.' One would assume that the charitable donation would aid a Catholic organization or parish; it seems safe to assume that an outright sale would also benefit said organization or parish. Nor does the banning of the sale of plenary indulgences in 1567 mitigate against future lifting of the ban; people are willing to pay lots of money for the illusion of temporal security...how much more would they pay for eternal security?

L P said...

Would be nice if they offer a sale or some discounts.

LPC

Mark Henderson said...

Agreed, that is a temptation many would face.

I've often wondered about the motivation when one hears from time to time of celebrities who have not been noted for their piety donating large sums to the Vatican as they near the end of their lives - no need to mention any names - but if they have truly repented - and let us hope they did - what spiritual counsel were they getting? Atone for your sins by this means? Since one can, in RC teaching, increase one's justification through works done in co-operation with grace, such counsel would not be entirely outside the realm of possibility. That would be a "different Gospel". However, this is speculation.

As far as indulgences are concerned, it is better to deal with the present stated position than what might be.

matthias said...

You bet your copy of the Book of Concord Pastor, Christ said IT IS FINISHED .The Sinless one became Sin for us-. The issue of indulgences is a humanistic element that the RCC has failed to deal with,and is very much an example of 'works' based salvation,that one also sees in some other protestant denominations eg AnaBaptists and amongst the JWs' as well-why do they go around witnessing for instance?? yes to propoagte but also so they can be recognised amongst the 144,000 who enter Glory
When i was lad growing up in the Churches of Christ-where the 5 solas of the reformation are taken seriously-at Communion i can recall Luther's THE JUST SHALL OIVE BY FAITH episode being cited.
To end .a painting by jAN VAN EYCK with a Lamb standing and alive on an altar,note standing not lying dead,with people all around bowing down .The title of the painting THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD.

David Schutz said...

Well, my friend, I think you have completely failed to grapple with the basic issues involved here. If I get you rightly, you object to the practice of indulgences because:

1) this teaching and practice detracts from the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice
2) and thus it also detracts from the glory due to Christ

For some reason (perhaps we are stupid and our theologians are not worth diddly-squat), the Catholic Church is able to affirm that our salvation is entirely the work of God in Jesus Christ, and that it is all by grace, and still hold the doctrines of purgatory and promote the use of indulgences (which are NOT and CANNOT BE sold or given in return for a donation, contrary to the NYT article - which is not to be relied upon).

You seem to think that the doctrine and practice of indulgences implies salvation by works.

Just to put all my cards on the table, I sought a plenary indulgence for my recently departed god-father on All Souls Day and another today for a recently departed and dear friend. I did so out of love for them, and as an act of faith in God’s mercy in Christ.

I wonder if you in fact know what Purgatory is, and why it is necessary, and why you toowill rejoice in the future to undergo this experience?

Do you understand the difference between temporal and eternal punishment? God himself imposes eternal punishment in his justice. It is this which is forgiven and removed through the death of Christ. Temporal punishment for sin is not an arbitrary imposition on God’s part. It is a natural (or, rather, un-natural) consequence of sin. It is the after effect of our sin in time. If I do something to hurt you, and later repent and receive absolution, I believe that God has forgiven me entirely. But does that mean that the hurt is removed? That you stop hurting, or that our relationship is healed? No. That takes work. The work of healing these temporal effects of sin is indeed entirely aided by God’s grace, but it doesn’t happen by itself. We have to do something to make up for it.

The case that the nuns used to teach children was “If you throw ball and it breaks a window in your house, your mummy will forgive you, but the window still needs to be repaired.”

Or, are you suggesting that Jesus’s death magically removes all effects of sin in this life? Come on. You know that is not the case.

When Catholics are absolved (ie. totally and completely forgiven) they receive the grace of God which for the sake of Christ removes entirely all God’s just punishment for sin.

But two things still need to happen:

1) I need to make recompense for the negative effect of my sin (eg. if I have stolen, I have to return the stolen goods);

2) I have to seek God’s grace and make an effort to lessen my attachment to that particular sin (ie. pray and work to resist temptation to steal again).

The sacrament of absolution gives grace to accomplish both these things, but doesn’t in itself achieve them. For this reason, a suitable penance is given along with absolution. The penance does not earn forgiveness, but follows upon it as the action of the forgiven sinner responding to grace.

David Schutz said...

Now, regarding Purgatory.

At the time of my death, unless I have reached perfection, I die as a sinner. A forgiven sinner, absolutely, but still one who has some attachment to sin and whose sin has caused more suffering in the world than I have compensated for. Yet when I am raised on the last day, or, even before that, when my soul comes face to face with God in heaven, behold! I am a pure and perfect saint! What has happened?

I have been purged! What has purged me? Nothing other than the fire of the love of the Lord Jesus himself, whose presence I enter when God calls me to himself at death. (cf. Ratzinger, Eschatology, on 1 Cor 3:15 for more on this – if you haven’t read this passage, don’t criticise our doctrine of purgatory). In this purifying fire of the love of Jesus, all my attachment to sin and all the temporal consequences of my sin are purged away. This will be, I expect, a painful process – perhaps a little like being scrubbed clean with a wire brush. It will be painful, not because Godis punishing me for my sin (which is all forgiven), but because I am rather attached to my sin, and it will hurt when it is definitively torn away from me.

So I pass through this purgation in complete trust in the Lord Jesus. How long does it take? I don’t know. It may be only an instant (“Today you will be with me in paradise”). The one thing I will know when I am in that state: by the Grace of Jesus Christ my soul is destined for heaven to await the resurrection on the last day. All who enter the state of purgatory are completely forgiven all their sin for the sake of the suffering and death of Jesus. There is not the slightest question about that.

David Schutz said...

So what is all this about indulgences? Well, you have nailed it when you say that with Catholics it is always “both/and”. We are proud of this, and I happily acknowledge it. Do you for one moment think that God is so envious of his creatures that he could not bear for one moment to share an ounce of his glory with them? How is it possible for his saints NOT to share his glory, if they live and move and have their being in him?

When God shares his glory with his saints, his glory is not diminished, but increased.

When we speak of merit, we speak of God giving his grace to us so that it can bear fruit in us, fruit that is meritorious, and which he rewards. But he is rewarding his own gifts! How is it possible that a good deed done by the grace of God not have merit? And if God choses to recognise the merit as belonging to his saints, does that detract from his grace? You have to deal with those passages of the bible that precisely talk about reward and merit, my friend. You, not we, have to work out how that fits with your doctrine of God’s grace. We already have.

In any case, because at death one’s destiny is entirely fixed, those holy forgiven souls after death cannot any longer merit anything towards the removal of the temporal consequences of sin or their attachment to sin. They are reliant on the grace of Jesus Christ himself, and (Yes! Both/AND) on the prayers and love of the living saints with whom they are still in communion.

An indulgence is nothing other than the application of the words of Jesus to St Peter: Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. At least we take this passage seriously. The "treasury of merits" is simply a flowery traditional way of speaking of the communion of saints, that we aid one another and share one anothers burdens in the communion of the Holy Spirit. What problem could there be with that? How does that detract from Christ's glory?

I have gone on for pages already, and I could go on for pages still. The fact is, my friend, you have not even begun to wrestle with the true and full teaching of purgatory or indulgences. You do not even begin to comprehend what great mercy and grace God shows through these gifts which remove from us the temporal consequences of our sin and purify us so that we enter his presence not as "forgiven but still sinners", but truly sinless and without any attachment to sin. Nor, quite obviously, can you see how none of this would be possible without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There are some things, my friend, which you still have to learn.

When you have learnt them, then sneer at our doctrine and tell us how it does not conform to the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice or that it detracts from his glory. But not before.

For further reading, two works by Joseph Ratzinger:

Eschatology

and

Spe Salvi.

Mark Henderson said...

Matthias,

I hope things never get so desperate that I have to wager my Book of Concord!

Yes, you're right, there is a humanistic element to all this. The desire of the old Adam to contribute to our salvation, exploited by a theological system that out of hubris thinks it can dispense piecemeal what God grants freely and completely out of his grace. What a tragedy!

Mark Henderson said...

David,

Have a Vincents and a cup of tea and a good lie down, mate. Seriously! The tone of your rhetoric leads me to conclude I've hit a weak spot.

I wasn't sneering at your doctrine - what I wrote is written with tears at seeing what the Papacy has done with the Gospel.

But this is the business end of the week for me, so an extended reply may be a little while coming.

However, I can say that I have read the two works you reference, in fact I took Ratzinger's Eschatology off the shelf again to read before posting this. I must say I was dismayed that such a serious matter is defended by him with so little evidence. Teling that his first section is entitled 'The Problem of the Historical Evidence', and the best he can come up with is 2 Maccabees and an apocryphal 1st C. writing. No wonder Ratzinger is reported to have once said, "If purgatory did not exist, we would have to invent it"!

David Schutz said...

Okay, its morning now and I have calmed down a bit. But I had a whole weekend of hearing Lutherans say that Catholics have not allowed the consequences of the Joint Declaration to affect their other doctrines. And, truth to tell, you have not hit upon a "weak point" but a "sore point".

It is a sore point because:

1) If it is a fact that (not being stupid or anything) Catholic theology does not see any contradiction between the doctrines of Purgatory and Indulgences and the doctrine of justification by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and

2) if it is a fact that Lutherans do,

Then either:

1) We Catholics do not understand the doctrine of justification differently, or

2) you Lutherans do not understand the doctrines of Purgatory and Indulgences.

I reckon (just guessing here) that the case is in fact the second, rather than the first. I have tried to outline the doctrines in such a way to demonstrate that they do not contradict the doctrine of justificaiton by grace through faith.

You reckon (and you take this for granted - you don't really demonstrate it) that it is the first case. For this, you really have to show us, not just tell us, how the doctrines of purgatory and indulgences contradict the doctrine of justificaiton by grace through faith in Christ.

As for the origin of the doctrines and practices associated with Purgatory and Indulgences, methinks that might be your real problem with it.

I am glad, btw, that you say you have read the documents that I recommend. Have you actually read the whole works, and not just the parts on Purgatory? Because they need to be taken in the context of the whole Catholic faith.

Let me just say that what Ratzinger meant was that in fact these doctrines (and here I freely admit it) HAVE been "invented", in the literal sense of that word, ie. they have been "discovered", "found", and "uncovered" in the Apostolic deposit of faith.

What Ratzinger does in Eschatology is demonstrate how the Church, given all the biblical data and the ancient Jewish eschatological beliefs, worked out the only possible scheme that would do justice to the whole shebang. What he meant was that the concluding dogmas were the logical and rational outcome of centuries of reflection and questioning of the Revelation God has given us.

Lutheran eschatology is deficient in exactly this point.

Mark Henderson said...

Thanks David.

I'm glad you took the "Vincent's and lie down" comment in the spirit it was intended ;0)

Yes, I have read the whole encyclical you refer to, and in many parts it is very good and moving, as Papal documents can be, but we seem to come up against this, well, I call it synergism, the idea that God's will and man's will work together for our salvation, which is complicated by the fact that Catholicism collapses sanctification into justification. That is why I talk about the "Roman and..." Without getting past that point, we're not going to agree on much, I fear.

In regard to the Ratzinger comment on purgatory, in the context in which I read it he actually said that the church would have to invent purgatory because the human desire to pray for the dead was universal and therefore had to be given an outlet in some way (I'm not quoting verbatim, as I no longer have the book, but I remember the comment distinctly). This reveals again the differences in theological anthropology and hamartology which prevent us from agreeing on justification and purgatory (scripture and tradition).

Btw, the Eschatology book I find very illuminating in parts, especially on body-soul dualism, and there is much I would agree with in it.

I wonder whether you are not being too harsh in your judgment on Lutheran eschatology? What do you mean by that?

Schütz said...

synergism, the idea that God's will and man's will work together for our salvation, which is complicated by the fact that Catholicism collapses sanctification into justification.

You are quite right that this is the hub of the matter. I guess you could say that from the Catholic point of view, we can affirm that something is entirely the work of God, entirely the grace of God, entirely to God's glory, and yet not exclude human participation in that work, grace and glory. This would be an excellent place to start any dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans, because until that is sorted out, nothing else will make much sense.

In regard to the Ratzinger comment on purgatory, in the context in which I read it he actually said that the church would have to invent purgatory because the human desire to pray for the dead was universal and therefore had to be given an outlet in some way

You are thinking of page 146 following in The Ratzinger Report. What he writes there needs to be understood against the background of all else that he has written on the topic (especially about the fundamental anthropological nature of the human being as defined in being "for others"). The way you put it is very unRatzinger. What he was affirming is the fact that, since the very beginning, Christians have always prayed for the dead, and the doctrine of Purgatory makes sense of this practice against the biblical and traditional data. For instance, while the East also prays for the dead, they do not have the doctrine of Purgatory as we do - but that has to do with the old controversy surrounding Origin and the heretical idea of redemption after death. As for prayer for the dead, they differ from us not one bit. Ratzinger is quite right in this same passage when he explains the Protestant objection to the doctrine as "biblicism".

Btw, the Eschatology book I find very illuminating in parts, especially on body-soul dualism, and there is much I would agree with in it.

I agree entirely. It helped me back from the brink of heresy! But what is important to note is his methodology in dealing with this question. The body-soul issue was not decided overnight. It cannot be determined from looking at scripture alone. Rather, the traditional Christian understanding developed over time, and in fact emerged at about the same time the doctrine of Purgatory did.

I wonder whether you are not being too harsh in your judgment on Lutheran eschatology? What do you mean by that?

I mean exactly where I left off above. Without a clear doctrine of what is generally called "the intermediate state", Lutherans will find it difficult to maintain the traditional Christian doctrine of death as the separation of the soul from the body. This has a snowball effect and leads to all sorts of wrong-headed ideas, such as Luther's doctrine of soul-sleep, or Bultman's existential eschatology, or Barth's "resurrection in death".

As complicated as it may appear, Catholic eschatology fits the evidence of the Christian tradition on all levels, especially on the level of anthropology, Christology and ecclesiology.

Mark Henderson said...

We agree on the cruciality of synergism then.
(This was something that came up at the time of the local L-RC Agreement on Justification about the same time as JDDJ - a couple of us seminarians said, 'But how can you agree on justification without first discussing anthropolgy.' We weren't given an answer, but I suspect if we were it would have been 'If we discuss anthropology first, we'll never get an agreement on justification'!)

As to the intermediate state, I don't think one can equate Luther's soul-sleep view with Barth or Bultmann, imv they are coming from completely different places. Luther's view is an attempt to be reverently agnostic where scripture does not speak.

When I look at the way Ratzinger constructs the doctrine of purgatory in Eschatology, I don't wonder that he refers to Luther's view as Biblicism! But in the end name-calling is not very helpful, is it?

Sorry, David, I'd love to go into greater detail in these interactions but I need a quiet and unhurried spirit to do so and I don't have that at the moment. Too much going on.

Your comments are appreciated, though, and I think we have made some progress, even if only in understanding why we don't agree. Please don't take my responses personally, I'm actually not a combative person, quite irenic really, but when I have a conviction about something I'm like a dog with a bone.

Mark Henderson said...

Forgot to add: in one of the prayers in the canon in the Novus Ordo isn't there a reference to the "souls that sleep in Christ"? What does that mean, I wonder?

Btw, I don't think Luther's soul-sleep, or at least that which is attributed to him, withheld the idea of the dead in Christ enjoying the presence of God, and he would not be a million miles from Ratzinger on the body-soul issue.

In any case, I prefer Luther's 'theological' approach to the 'topographical' approach to the 'Zwischenzustand' question.

matthias said...

Just saw this sermonette by Luther over at Pator WW's blog and thought it very apt here:
"
For this business of faith in the forgiveness of sins is just as if someone were aiming a loaded gun in your face and was ready to pull the trigger, and yet you are to believe and say, Not to worry"

Schütz said...

You misquote the passage. The prayer is from Eucharistic Prayer I, which is exactly the same in the Novus Ordo (the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) as it is in the 1962 Missal (the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite). The prayer is:

Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N. qui nos praecesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis. Ipsis, domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur.

In the current English translation of the Mass, that reads:

Remember, Lord, those who have died and have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, especialy those for whom we now pray, N. et N. May these, and all who sleep in Christ, find in your presence light, happiness, and peace.

In the new English translation, it reads (rather more accurately):

Remember also, Lord, your servants N. and N., who have gone before us with the sign of faith
and rest in the sleep of peace. Grant them, O Lord, we pray,
and all who sleep in Christ,
a place of refreshment, light and peace.


None of these texts use the word "soul". The reference to sleep is taken from 1 Thess 4:13 and 1 Cor 15:20 and possibly John 11:11 and Mark 5:39 (and parallels). Compare also the Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday which reads "A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began..." (cf. Catechism p. 635).

None of these texts - either scriptural or liturgical - support Luther's doctrine of "soul sleep", which the Church has never taught as such. They simply are a Christian way of speaking of those who have died. It refers to the whole man, body and soul.

In the 1979 CDF statement "Letter on certain questions concerning Eschatology" (worth reading: see http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4382), it is stated that:

"3. The Church affirms that a spiritual element survives and subsists after death, an element endowed with consciousness and will, so that the "human self" subsists. To designate this element, the Church uses the word "soul," the accepted term in the usage of Scripture and Tradition. Although not unaware that this term has various meanings in the Bible, the Church thinks that there is no valid reason for rejecting it; moreover, she considers that the use of some word as a vehicle is absolutely indispensable in order to support the faith of Christians."

Thus, the Church rejects Luther's doctrine because it denies that the soul that rests in death is "endowed with consciousness and will".

I have also re-read your original posting, and noted that it was your specific question that led me to rant on and on above. That question was:

"Now, I ask you, does not this teaching and practice detract from the completeness ("It is finished" "Today you will be with me in Paradise") and thus the glory of Christ's sacrifice for us?"

My answer to that should have been a short "NO", and I should have left it at that.

The question for you, Mark, is:

Why does the Catholic Church affirm the truths embodied in the doctrines and practices associated with Purgatory and Indulgences and at the same time affirm "the completeness...and thus the glory of Christ's sacrifice for us"?

For indeed we do, and we see no contradiction. If I might throw the questoin back at you:

How exactly do you believe that these doctrines detract from the completeness of Christ's work and his glory?

Mark Henderson said...

David,

This deserves a longer response, and if I have time I may work on one. But the simplest answer is that Christ's death atoned for sin and its punishment, eternal and temporal. Galatians 3:13 is a verse that comes to mind. We are redeemd from the curse of the law. Through faith in Christ we are heirs of the Spirit and have the status of being sons in our Father's family. The prodigal father (i.e. prodigal in his love and grace) in our Lord's parable did not require his wayward son to atone for his sins and suffer the puishment they deserved, he welcomed him back into the family.

Must go, meeting to attend.

matthias said...

when i was a mere youth of 18 i recall my minster telling a story about the time of the Scottish Covenanters who were resisting the imposition of the Cof E upon Scottish protestantism ,and a great many were worshipping in secret.
a Convenanters daughter was on her way to Communion being held in a barn, and the dragoons stopped her on the road and asked where she was going .
She replied "My Elder Brother has died and i am meeting with my Brethren to hear His Will and Testament" They let her go

Mark Henderson said...

Matthias,

Thanks for reminding me of that story. I must remember to file it away for future reference.

christl242 said...

Sigh.

While I still have great respect for David, his lengthy posts simply prove what I came to believe while I was Catholic -- the Catholic Church can just about theologize anything to death. The Catholic teaching on indulgences and purgatory is so antithetical to the Gospel there is just no way to reconcile it.

Fortunately, the Missouri Synod to which I returned did not sign onto the JDDJ. Nor did I ever, ever in my childhood as a Lutheran hear about anything to do with "soul sleep" in the context David describes it.

There are several former Roman Catholics at my Lutheran parish. One lady, who became Lutheran after her marriage, told me that her Catholic mother maintained that Catholicism doesn't give much comfort.

Sad.

Christine

L P said...

Here here Christine.
Notice the rationalism at play in the doctrine of purgatory.

We are idol makers, that is why we need the Scripture to guide us yet, the RC spoils our humanity by giving us what we naturally like.

LPC

Mark Henderson said...

Christine,

Thanks for those honest reflections. I share your sadness, particularly as David had many gifts that God put to use in the LCA. In the end, though, David has followed his conscience, and I do commend him for that, even though I cannot approve the course he has taken.

Re 'theologising to death', I read a comment yesterday by Edward Reiss on the 'Beggars All' blog that Lito alerted us to that made me laugh out loud:

"'The distinction might pertain more to how the term “place” is nuanced.'

Ah yes, there is always a nuance somewhere. Heaven forbid the Infallible Majesterium speak plainly. No, we always need a new "nuance" to decode the infallible teachings of the Infallible Majesterium..."

Just a note - the LCA has not officially adopted JDDJ, I think it has been received, but not adopted, which means its status is somewhat ambiguous, and in any case it is going to become increasingly academic. If David is reading this he will no doubt clarify that for us.

christl242 said...

the RC spoils our humanity by giving us what we naturally like. Yes, a good dose of "natural religion." Good points, Lito.

Mark,

Your observations about nuances are well taken.

I'm glad to hear that the LCA has not officially adopted the JDDJ.

Christine