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So, my brother is Reformed Baptist, and basically I have been researching into our Catholic faith (I also was reformed once!) and making important little discoveries and nuances. I was doing this in order to see how much a Reformed Calvinist has to disown "Calvinism" in order to be Catholic. Compatability testing, etc., lol. Trying to build a bridge across the great divide between Reformed and Catholic Theology.

Interestingly enough, in the Westminster Confession of Faith, although there is much to reject, there is much that is really just incomplete, OR legitimate alternative Catholic theology. If you go through Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic dogma, you will see he often offers competing views in areas of nuance in relation to dogma. An example is the Sacraments.

Now, as a Catholic you HAVE to believe in regard to the Sacraments that:

1. They contain the grace they signify, De Fide.
2. That they work Ex Opere Operato. De Fide.

BUT there is room for legitimate diversity after that. Do the sacraments work that way BECAUSE...God endows them with power (Aquinas)? They contain his promise and he honors the performance of them (Scotus)? Or perhaps they create in the individual a disposition that merits a claim on the grace of God (Billot)?

All three of these opinions are legitimate Catholic opinions that can be held. Aquinas's is more widely held, but I prefer Scotus's answer myself.

Now while perusing this Westminster Confession of Faith, I came across the Section on the sacraments in general. It is certainly interesting, insofar as it seems to be Catholic theology! lol. At least implicitly.

Quote:I. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace,[1] immediately instituted by God,[2] to represent Christ and His benefits; and to confirm our interest in Him:[3] as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church and the rest of the world;[4] and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word.[5]

II. There is, in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.[6]

III. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither does the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that does administer it:[7] but upon the work of the Spirit,[8] and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.[9]

IV. There are only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.[10]

V. The sacraments of the Old Testament in regard to the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the new.[11]

Obviously we would discard point IV.

Point I is not a wrong explanation insofar as it goes (Remember Sacramentum means Oath, and an Oath is basically synonymous with a Covenant), I would say it perhaps doesn't go far enough
Point II is also true as far as it goes.
Point III is interesting because while it is a denial of Aquinas, it is not a denial of Scotus. The very fact that they disclaim Donatism shows they concur with Ex Opere Operato, understand the Sacrament to Convey what it signifies through the power of the Holy Spirit, and that this is only efficacious for those who receive worthily.
Point V I THINK is saying that insofar as Circumcision signified the promise of Regeneration, and insofar as Baptism is an efficacious sign of Regeneration, they were substantially the same. I have no formed opinion on that statement, because some authors claim circumcision took away original sin. If it did, it is in some sense identical to baptism.

I am curious as to whether or not the Catholicity of this Passage seems striking or not? And if you need a Reference to the Various proposed ways the sacraments could operate, It's Ludwig Van Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, page 331. I subscribe to the Moral Mode of operation. The Sacraments work because Christ promised they would work and he bestows the grace when he sees them validly accomplished. This has special reference to the fact that a priest works in Persona Christi Capitas and reinforces that the Sacraments are the works of Christ in the Holy Spirit. I think the Reformed view is pretty close to this.

As someone who has been attending a Reformed church for the last four years (and is now very seriously considering returning to the Catholic Church), I have struggled to understand the Reformed view on baptism. My pastor says that it is not merely symbolic, but the Heidelberg Catechism, one of the four confessional standards of the church I attend, states the following:

Christ instituted this outward washing and with it gave the promise that, as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul's impurity, in other words, all my sins. (Question 69)


I would like to read Ott's book, but have as yet been unable to find a copy. TAN and Angelus Press are out of stock, and Amazon is selling it for almost $400.
(02-08-2017, 04:42 AM)MichaelNZ Wrote: [ -> ]I would like to read Ott's book, but have as yet been unable to find a copy. TAN and Angelus Press are out of stock, and Amazon is selling it for almost $400.

Here it is free, in pdf:

http://www.essan.org/SignumMagnum/e%20Bo...0Dogma.pdf
(02-08-2017, 03:04 AM)Gregory I Wrote: [ -> ]This has special reference to the fact that a priest works in Persona Christi Capitas and reinforces that the Sacraments are the works of Christ in the Holy Spirit. I think the Reformed view is pretty close to this.

Of course, the Reformed in common with all protestants have no priests to work in Persona Christ Capitas.