Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Hello, friends, from the Pittsburgh airport. I am en route to what I hope will be my last meeting with my diocesan authorities before my priesting. I shall return late Friday night, and probably will not have much internet access till then.

In the meantime, ponder these things in your heart, namely my chief (possiblyh only) objections to Papism: (1) the doctrine of the pope (specifically, infalibility, and certain titles like 'head of the Church on earth') (I'm very happy to call him the Christ Vicar, the Patriarch of the West, Primus inter pares, etc. etc.), (2) the notion that the late Marian doctrines are, in fact, dogmas, elements of the Catholic Faith, apart from which there is no salvation. Now I believe the Marian doctrines (I think), i.e. her Immaculate Conception and Assumption -- I just don't think that its necessary that everyone believe them. But then again, not even the Roman Church says that its necessary that one believe that its necessary that one believe Mary was Immaculately Conceived and assumed bodily, etc. (Do you follow me?) What do you all think?


Thorpus said...

Ditto on the Marian dogmas: I have no problem with them as doctrines but they can't fly as dogma.

As for the papal doctrines, I have no problem with the idea of infallibility, and if the Marian dogmas had not been the subject of an ex cathedra promulgation my life would be a lot simpler. As it is, if I want to accept infallibility, I have to 'hold the two ideas in tension' or some such rot. As far as universal jurisdiction, Petrine primacy, and all that goes, I'm down wit' it.

I have a good friend who shies away from Rome just because he doesn't think his theological conscience should be under the constraints of the magisterium. This is common among protestants, i think, but You, WB, and I are right not to be of their number.

Alan said...

With the papacy, I think have a lower doctrine of the pope then you & Thorpus. I'm with some of the Eastern Orthodox. Down with papal primacy and all that. How can a human really claim to replace the authority of the Holy Spirit?

WB, I'm confused about what you said about Marian doctrines. To me it sounds like we have two inconsistent premises.
(a) For salvation, it is necessary that Marian doctrine is true.
(b) It is not necessary that one believes in Marian doctrine.

The only way I can make them consistent is to infer that the redeemed are anonymously venerating Mary (sorta like Rahner's anonymous Xian move). Anyone care to help me out?

Philip said...


We miss you in CT! I will miss your moral guidance, esp. as I walk by with my baby and you are enjoying a cocktail.


Anonymous said...

I can't put it together with the existence of numerous ancient traditions of Mary's burial place, such as Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, etc. Those traditions pre-date immaculate conception and assumption doctrines I think. If so, then early believers, on the scene so to speak, didn't believe it and they should know better shouldn't they?