Friday, April 8, 2011

Knox - Belonging and Salvation

If you believe in the holy Catholic Church, then it follows that you believe in all the rest of the Credo; it would be silly to believe in the Church and not believe in what the Church tells you. So we'll get right down to it ... we'll stick to the idea of the Church in general, and remind ourselves what the Church means, and how jolly it is to have a Church to belong to ...

Part of the fun of being a Christian is belonging to a Church. It gives you a sort of cozy feeling ... For Christian people, and for us Catholics especially, this feeling of comradeship forms part of the stuff of our religion. It gives us a curious lightening of the heart, difficult rather to explain, when we find out suddenly that the policeman who stands on duty at the street corner or the girl who does our hair ... is a Catholic too ... there is a bond, after all, between you and them ... But, of course, it isn't just an association ... The Church is a supernatural association, which is meant to get us to Heaven. It isn't merely something which unites us together, you and me, it is the thing which unites us to Jesus Christ. And that, I think you can say, is the main difference between Protestant and the Catholic idea of salvation.

The Protestant hopes to be saved by faith in Jesus Christ; the Catholic hopes to be saved by living and dying as a member of the Church which Jesus Christ founded. You can put it quite simply in this way. If you think of the human race as sailors, travelling over a sea, which is this sinful world, and trying to reach a harbour, which is Heaven - the Protestant thinks of getting to heaven as something like being washed up to shore as a shipwrecked man, clinging to an empty barrel. But the Catholic thinks of salvation as sailing into port on a ship, and that ship is the Church of Jesus Christ.
- Ronald A. Knox

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Power Corrupts. Again

If you hadn't noticed the low level of public discourse coming from Republican New Hampshire lawmakers, the Catholic League, fortunately, has.

What is more disturbing is that what goes around comes around.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sicut Cervus - The Spirit's Work

Monsignor Charles Pope has good reflections on aging here. I would encourage you to read the following from my favorite spiritual guide these days, Monsignor Ronald Knox on the Holy Spirit, then watch the clip with the heavenly music of Palestrina that follows. God bless.

ALL THROUGH THOSE centuries before our Lord came, whenever a human heart aspired to God, it was the same old story; it was the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity carrying out in this visible, created world the same work which he carries out in the uncreated, invisible world of eternity. He was making, in us, that response of love towards the eternal Father which it is his nature to make. In spite of the Fall, there's a kind of instinct which makes man look up to God, try to get back to God, and that instinct is the silent working of the Holy Spirit, in the very heart even of unredeemed mankind.
- Ronald A. Knox

Disbelief Beyond Magisterium

IT WOULD NOT BE TRUE, I think, to say that dogma is less preached today than it was a hundred years ago. The rise of Wesleyanism and the Evangelical Movement had, indeed, put and end by then to the long indifference of the latitudinarian age. But Wesleyanism and Evangelicism were interested in a handful of dogmas which concerned their own particular scheme of salvation. On the other hand, men did believe in the Bible, not as "given of God to convey to us in many parts and in divers manners the revelation of himself", but as inspired in an intelligible sense. And with the rise of the Oxford Movement this belief in Scripture was fortified by a confident appeal, unsound in its method but sincere in its purpose, to the deposit of Christian tradition. But during the last fifty years and more, the fundamental dogmas of the Christian religion have been subjected, more and more, to criticism, or interpretation, and to restatement. Would a(n Anglican) diocesan Bishop have dared in the middle of the nineteenth century, to express in a newspaper article his disbelief in eternal punishment? Would the rector of a much-frequented London church have preached, and afterwards published, a sermon in which he recommended the remarriage of divorced persons? Would the whole Bench of Bishops have been prepared to alter, in the Baptismal Service, the statement that every child is conceived and born in sin? Appraise the tendency as you will; welcome or regret its influence; but only disingenuity can deny that the tendency is there, and is apparently constant. You do not believe what your grandfathers believed, and have no reason to hope that your grandsons will believe what you do.

- Ronald A. Knox