Some Interesting Reading For MB’s Who Like Swimming In The Tiber…

As of late, there has been some rustlin’ on the interweb about Mennonite Brethren who are experimenting with Catholic spirituality.  People who speak out against rejecting the reformation are being seen as knee-jerking spastics who think the sky is falling, at least theologically speaking.  In the MB conference there are a lot of people who are quick to say “we’re all worshipping the same God”, or “we don’t have to swallow the baby with the bath water” and think that those like myself ought to chill out and loosen up.

What’s worse is that I haven’t yet engaged with an MB who thinks that I reject Catholic mysticism or Catholicism as a false religion because I’ve studied it and read a little more than wikipedia.  I get links to web pages with phrases like “I bet you’ll be suprised what Catholics actually believe” thrown on the end.

So, let’s take a gander at what Catholics actually should believe:

A Primer on Vatican II by Danny Olinger (not official Catholic teaching)

The Full Text of Vatican II – (1962-1965) This is the current official and dogmatic position of the Catholic Church.  If a priest or Catholic disagrees with anything in here that hasn’t been explicitly overturned by any official papal bull, they’re simply wrong.  If you disagree with the pope or the eccumenical counsels you disagree with God.  If you look for the word “anathema” in here, you won’t find it.  Feel free to search for it.

The Official Catechism of the Catholic Church – Again, this is the current official and dogmatic position of the Catholic Church and an official interpretation of Vatican II.  If a priest or Catholic disagrees with anything in here that hasn’t been explicitly overturned by any official papal bull, again they’re simply wrong.  Again, if you disagree with the pope or the eccumenical counsels you disagree with God.  Againt, if you look for the word “anathema” in here, you won’t find it.  Feel free to search for it.

The Full Text of Vatican I – (1869-1870) Again, this is the official and dogmatic position of the Catholic Church, unless explicitly turned over by Vatican II or Papal bull.  If a priest or Catholic disagrees with anything in here that hasn’t been explicitly overturned by Vatican II or Papal bull, again they’re simply wrong. Once again, if you disagree with the pope or the eccumenical counsels you disagree with God.

Now, if you look for the word “anathema” here, it’s all over the place.  I’d suggest simply digging through the text of all 4 session and search for “anathema” in the text (in Firefox, you just hit Ctrl+F and type in the word you want to look for).  Of all the anathemas you find, make a list of all that apply to you and see if the Catholic Church officially condemns you to hell for what you believe, and for what.

Also, Sesson 2, point 14 says:

  • all other things which have been transmitted, defined and declared by the sacred canons and the ecumenical councils, especially the sacred Trent, I accept unhesitatingly and profess; in the same way
  • whatever is to the contrary, and whatever heresies have been condemned, rejected and anathematised by the church, I too condemn, reject and anathematise.

The Full Text of the Council of Trent – (1545-1563) This is still official and still binding, unless explicitly turned over by Vatican I or II or any Papal bull.  If a priest or Catholic disagrees with anything in here that hasn’t been explicitly overturned by Vatican I or II or any Papal bull, again they’re simply wrong.  Again, if you disagree with the pope or the eccumenical counsels you disagree with God.  Again, if you look for the word “anathema” here, it’s all over the place.  I’d suggest simply digging through the text of all 25 session and search “anathema” on each page like you did on the text of Vatican 1.  Of all the anathemas you find, make a list of all that apply to you and see if the Catholic Church officially condemns you to hell for what you believe, and for what.

Are we justified by faith alone? by Michael Horton.  Some reading to get you thinking about the long list you just made. (not official Catholic teaching)

Is the Catholic Church as open, inviting, and tolerant as you thought it was?  Are we serving the same God if the Catholic Church officially condemns you to hell for believing the gospel of justification by faith?

Now, there’s always those who reads a book by a Catholic author and says “Catholics don’t actually teach that!  I read (insert author) and he says that (insert idea coming from Trent or Vatican I/II) isn’t actually what Catholics believe!” or “I actually talked to a priest in my town who doesn’t believe (insert idea coming from Trent or Vatican I/II) and actually thinks (insert Protestant sounding doctrine)”.

Well honey, it means absolutely squat.

Catholicism is a concrete hierarchy that is ruled from the top down.  The Bishop of Rome is God’s spokesman on earth, and he is the only one who speaks on God’s behalf.  His word is the bottom line, and if anyone, priest or pediatrician, disagrees with Rome, he’s wrong.  What Catholic lay-people or common priests say means absolutely squat.

If a friend gave you a podcast of Catholic Answers to listen to or a copy of “This Rock” to read and someone like Karl Keating, Mark Shea, Tim Staples or Jimmy Akin says something that explains “what Rome means” in a council or papal bull that differs from any official interpretation from Rome, they’re simply wrong.  Nobody explains Rome but Rome, and “apologist” isn’t an official office of the Roman Catholic Church.  What Catholic apologists say means absolutely squat.

If you read books by accademic Catholics like Joseph Fitzmeyer or Raymond Brown or Mitch Pacwa, and they differ with Rome in a point of doctrine or interpretation of Trent/Vatican I/II, they’re simply wrong.  What Catholic scholars say means absolutely squat.

So, if the Council of Trent or Vatican I pronounces you anathema, you’re condemned to hell.  Regardless of what any well-intentioned Catholic says or writes to try to explain to you about those anathemas and how they don’t really apply to you, unless it’s the pope or someone speaking on his behalf, they’re simply wrong.

Let’s be clear: The Catholic Church hates your guts for being a Mennonoite and unapologetically condemns you to hell.

Most Catholics don’t, but what most Catholics (i.e. 99.99999%) say means absolutely squat.

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Archbishop of Hepburn” Unger

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