The Church Visible
#11
(04-02-2020, 04:36 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote:  The best modern exponent of my views on ecclesiology are those of Dr. Matthew Raphael Johnson or Old Believers so take what I say with a grain of salt, as an eccentric.  Over the years I've come to believe this VERY strongly and intuitively.  

As a Catholic, I have to take it with a lot of salt since you're talking about a schismatic sect within a schismatic church as the basis for your ecclesiology.

As for the "Church is in the heart" view; it sounds fundamentally Protestant and non-Catholic to say such. Christ clearly established the Church to be a visible body, not just a sentiment. As the Jewish Church was a visible body in His time, so the Catholic Church is the visible body that succeeded the Old Covenant.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (St. Matt. 7:15)

"There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole series of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, taint the real and simple Faith taught by Our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition." - Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum
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#12
Not to get overly Thomistic and frustrate Augustinian, but better than saying that the Church is visible, is I think to say that the Church is a Society, and a Perfect Society.

This provides us a very good definition of what qualities we should see, and ties this to causality.

A society is a permanent or quasi-permanent union of individuals, under an authority, who work together using common means to reach a common end. A society is perfect when it has all the means necessary to reach the common good, so there are two perfect societies, one Natural and one Supernatural : The State and the Church.

Let's leave the State aside.

A definition is good if it gives the genus and specific difference, or if it gives the four causes of a thing. Here we have the four causes in the definition of a society. The material cause is the individuals, the formal cause is the union, this union is brought about by the authority who is the efficient cause, and the means and common end are the final cause.

A society is always visible, because it is made up of individuals, but there is always an authority external to these individuals who binds them together. So the visibility of the Church is a consequence of its material cause and efficient cause.

This explains why a "headless" church and a lack of jurisdiction are not possible, because then the efficient cause is missing, and there is no society. In the Church, we can lack a head for a short while without the union falling apart, thus the interregnum between Popes, but it could not go on indefinitely or for a very long time, else the union would be lost due to no authority. We might still see a group of individuals, and materially we see the same thing, but formally it is different, because without the authority for a long time, there is no longer any union.

We can see that when a society falls apart, the natural instinct of man when he comes together again is to designate in some way an authority. A leader naturally rises up.

Since we know that the Church cannot fail, and we know it is a society, we also know that there will always be an authority, and jurisdiction.

If the Church were not visible then it could not be a society, which means, there would be no authority, but Christ gave His authority to the Church, and so it would mean that the Church has failed. Also, in consequence, if the Church were not visible and did not have an authority, then there would never be any way to assuredly know one was a member of that Church.
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#13
(04-02-2020, 07:38 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: Not to get overly Thomistic and frustrate Augustinian, but better than saying that the Church is visible, is I think to say that the Church is a Society, and a Perfect Society.

I done see what you did there.

[Image: 300px-Buddy_christ.jpg]
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (St. Matt. 7:15)

"There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole series of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, taint the real and simple Faith taught by Our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition." - Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum
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#14
(04-02-2020, 07:38 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: Not to get overly Thomistic and frustrate Augustinian, but better than saying that the Church is visible, is I think to say that the Church is a Society, and a Perfect Society.

This provides us a very good definition of what qualities we should see, and ties this to causality.

A society is a permanent or quasi-permanent union of individuals, under an authority, who work together using common means to reach a common end. A society is perfect when it has all the means necessary to reach the common good, so there are two perfect societies, one Natural and one Supernatural : The State and the Church.

Let's leave the State aside.

A definition is good if it gives the genus and specific difference, or if it gives the four causes of a thing. Here we have the four causes in the definition of a society. The material cause is the individuals, the formal cause is the union, this union is brought about by the authority who is the efficient cause, and the means and common end are the final cause.

A society is always visible, because it is made up of individuals, but there is always an authority external to these individuals who binds them together. So the visibility of the Church is a consequence of its material cause and efficient cause.

This explains why a "headless" church and a lack of jurisdiction are not possible, because then the efficient cause is missing, and there is no society. In the Church, we can lack a head for a short while without the union falling apart, thus the interregnum between Popes, but it could not go on indefinitely or for a very long time, else the union would be lost due to no authority. We might still see a group of individuals, and materially we see the same thing, but formally it is different, because without the authority for a long time, there is no longer any union.

We can see that when a society falls apart, the natural instinct of man when he comes together again is to designate in some way an authority. A leader naturally rises up.

Since we know that the Church cannot fail, and we know it is a society, we also know that there will always be an authority, and jurisdiction.

If the Church were not visible then it could not be a society, which means, there would be no authority, but Christ gave His authority to the Church, and so it would mean that the Church has failed. Also, in consequence, if the Church were not visible and did not have an authority, then there would never be any way to assuredly know one was a member of that Church.

Yes, I think what formerbuddhist was talking about was not really what the church was, what are its constitutive elements, but rather, various instantiations of the church.
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#15
Ok - here is my question with all this.

To be a member of the Church you must actually be committed to following Christ, or you are not part of the body.

The idea that clergy somehow have this mystical higher being than laity, and can do things we can't - I'll go along with for now.

But if that's true - take many of the clergy, I'll use McCarrick as he's an easy one. I don't think he's actually part of the Church, as he's not following Christ. How can someone be a leader of something they are not even a member?
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#16
(04-03-2020, 08:48 AM)Markie Boy Wrote: Ok - here is my question with all this.

To be a member of the Church you must actually be committed to following Christ, or you are not part of the body.

The idea that clergy somehow have this mystical higher being than laity, and can do things we can't - I'll go along with for now.

But if that's true - take many of the clergy, I'll use McCarrick as he's an easy one.  I don't think he's actually part of the Church, as he's not following Christ.  How can someone be a leader of something they are not even a member?

Are you a Donatist?
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#17
(04-03-2020, 08:48 AM)Markie Boy Wrote: To be a member of the Church you must actually be committed to following Christ, or you are not part of the body.

No. To be a member of the Church you need three things simultaneously: (1) to be validly Sacramentally Baptized, (2) to profess implicitly or explicitly the dogmas of the Faith, (3) to implicitly or explicitly subject yourself to the authority of the Church.

I say implicitly or explicitly, because if you don't know about a particular dogma, or you refuse subjection to the authority in a matter which does not oblige strict obedience, you don't lose membership. In these latter matters, one only loses membership by some formal act by which they sever themselves.

Being committed to following Christ, which could translate as a good moral and spiritual life sets whether you are a good or bad member. A living or dead part of the Mystical Body of Christ. If not, whenever we committed a mortal sin, we would lose membership in the Church.

That is essentially the Modernist/Protestant concept of the Church, where the bond between is not this triple unity above, but is the virtue of Charity or Faith—that only those who have "Faith" (often put as accepting Jesus as "personal savior") or "Charity" (often put as "sincere" in their belief in their own religion) are part of the "people of God" (which is a substitute term to broaden the idea of the Church).

This view did get some traction around the Second Vatican Council even by otherwise good theologians. Cardinal Journet, for instance did excellent work in theology, but even he, going too far with the analogy of non-members being part of the "soul of the Church" if not part of the body led him to, begrudgingly, agree with Rahner's Anonymous Christianity, even though he though it distasteful and quasi-heretical.

(04-03-2020, 08:48 AM)Markie Boy Wrote: The idea that clergy somehow have this mystical higher being than laity, and can do things we can't - I'll go along with for now.

It is an ontological change, because it places a man into the hypostatic union. A priest derives his perfection and power from the very union of God and Man in Jesus Christ, in whose priesthood he has a share.

That sounds grand, and it is, but it is akin to the ontological change at Baptism.

These Sacraments give an indelible mark and gives one a power that others (the unbaptized or laity) do not have, and it should confer a degree of perfection that was not there before.

Just as Baptism does not guarantee one does not fall back into sin and lose that perfection, neither does Orders. Both give helps and powers towards a greater perfection, but are no guarantee that that person act more perfectly.

Just as a Baptized soul can fall away from the perfection it should have, so one in Orders can also fall away, and usually the higher a soul has reached, the fall is that much the worse. Hence why when you find bad priests, they are not usually just slightly bad (although that's possible), but wholly corrupt.

(04-03-2020, 08:48 AM)Markie Boy Wrote: But if that's true - take many of the clergy, I'll use McCarrick as he's an easy one.  I don't think he's actually part of the Church, as he's not following Christ.  How can someone be a leader of something they are not even a member?

As picis points out, that's basically Donatism, one of the early heresies.

It came about for an understandable reason. Bishops and priests who had betrayed the Faith during the persecutions, were allowed to do penance and return to the Church after their apostasy. It was not light penance, mind you. Often it was very public and very hard.

The Donatists objected to this, and did not see how they could any longer be worthy ministers. Thus their Sacraments must not give grace, because they could no longer adequately represent Christ. Effectively, the theory is that the goodness of the minister determines his fitness as minister, the validity of his Sacraments and his membership in the Church.

McCarrick is a monster, and perhaps has never really had the Faith. Internally, he may have long ago rejected Christ, and perhaps still does. We cannot know those internal dispositions. When I was living in D.C. I met him many times and he was always a sleezeball and politician. He was very clearly a bad bishop and priest.

The question, however, is was he Baptized, did he submit to the authority of the Church and profess the Faith. The latter we might question, but since the Church never judged him as a heretic or schismatic, then we have to say he was a member of the Church. He was a wicked and evil and dead member, but a member.

The parable of the cockle and wheat comes to mind, and all the Fathers apply it to this situation. Both bad and good Catholic are members of the same field, and were God or the workers to try to rip up the evil, it could damage the good. So God leaves the bad, giving the proper care to each of the good to resist the bad and practice virtue, but unlike cockle, the bad can become good through the work of the good.
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#18
Quote:MM
The question, however, is was he Baptized, did he submit to the authority of the Church and profess the Faith. The latter we might question, but since the Church never judged him as a heretic or schismatic, then we have to say he was a member of the Church. He was a wicked and evil and dead member, but a member.

Yes, and for this reason, whenever I was greeted publicly by a Bishop/Archbishop or Cardinal I would always kneel, kiss their ring and ask for their blessing without questioning their "political leanings".

It is the unbroken lineage back to Jesus my Lord I was showing reverence to, not the personal holiness of the individual.
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