Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Catholicism - Faith and Reason
Just as Benedict XVI releases his new Encyclical CARITAS IN VERITATE (and which Elizabeth Scalia, 'The Anchoress', juxtaposes neatly with Pixar's great little Partly Cloudy), I think it is important for Catholics to remind themselves of something.
Protestants do not connect all the dots that we do as Catholic Christians. We see the Holy Father bring forth an invaluable letter of instruction for the faithful in the world. We also see the inevitable plethora of commenting about it by this and that authority in the Catholic press constellation. Protestant Christians furrow their brows and wonder, "Why do they (Catholics) give so much importance to what that old guy in fancy white robes writes?" They may even add, "It just isn't faithful to Jesus our Lord to make old Pope Benedict so important."
Catholicism for Protestants is a massive hookwinking, bait-and-switch scheme. Remove the pure, New Testament faith that each and every generation has access to, and replace it with this vast conspiracy of hierarchy, power, and mumbo-jumbo.
And, the truth be told, often Catholics have been too gullible and, sorry to say, ignorant of Catholic truth. All it takes, for example, is one beautiful, young, sincere Evangelical coed who asks, "Where is the Pope mentioned in the Baa-bull?" and young Joe Catholic may even discard the patrimony of the Church for good (or in this case, bad).
Catholicism is a vital (that is, living) mixture of faith and reason - and I mean reason. It consists of a near-never ending string of therefores: a is true, and b is true; therefore c must also be true. And if c is true and d is true, it follows, therefore, that e is also true ...
So, it is with admiration that I lift up Lydia McGrew's excellent post at What's Wrong with the World regarding evidence for the historicity of the New Testament. I have heard a similar (and better) examination for the historicity of the New Testament documents given by the president of Christendom College, Timothy T. O'Donnell, STD, KGCHS. But this is one of those starting points that shows first things about which Protestants and Catholics must agree.
And, by the way, the beginning of the papacy is found in St. Matthew's Gospel, chapter 16, when Our Lord appoints St Peter the first Pope. Benedict XVI is our 266th.
UPDATE: Father Robert Barron's first impressions on Caritas in Veritate here.