Mea Maxima Culpa

A few apologies I felt were in order:

  1. Mea Culpa: I managed to write about papal infallibility with hardly a reference to the Early Church Fathers. The ECFs are probably the strongest support for the papacy, and papal infallibility. For example, St. Irenaeus, in his book Against Heresies (Book 3, Chapter 3, section 2) written between 175-185 A.D. says:

    Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.

    You can find the text either at this Catholic site, or this Calvinist one (which acknowledges what’s written, but claims the meaning is unclear in a footnote). Sort of dropped the ball there, so sorry!

  2. Mea Culpa: My last post didn’t make it very clear that argument is not that James was writing against sola fide. My position is that both James and Paul’s concern is antinomianism. Lots of the Pauline writing on justification could be held to justify antinomianism, a concern which Paul expressed himself in Romans 3:8. It’s my view that Romans 3:8 and James chapter 2 are both written with the same opponent in mind, and that they both are attempting to defend the proper view of justification from perversion, and protect Paul’s writings from misinterpration. I think that they apply against Luther’s later claims, but I don’t think they were intended against them originally (sola fide didn’t exist as a theory prior to Luther, so far as I know). Anyways, I apologize for any confusion on this point.
  3. Mea Maxima Culpa: I worry sometimes that in my defense of Catholic (or generally Christian) positions, my tone can sometimes be un-Christian. For this, I sincerely apologize. I was trained as a debater, and sometimes it gets the best of me. I have a lot of respect for many of the views of Protestants on justification, and certainly for their good faith intentions in advancing them. Sorry!

There are probably other things I should be apologizing for as well, but that’s what I know of today.

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