Blog Template Theology of the Body: So I sound a little bit like Scott Hahn

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

So I sound a little bit like Scott Hahn

It happens all the time: "support catholic practices from Scripture!!!!" I always smile a little bit at this demand. Proof-texting is an important thing to do, of course; but the demand presumes that holier persons than you and I had not been grappling with the commands of Scripture under the guidance of our own Holy Spirit for centuries, such that we Christians can safely rely on their conclusions and get on with the business of waging our own battles in our war-torn world. The demand presumes that Scripture is not itself a prized tradition among other traditions of Christ's Church. It's as if St. Luke and St. Paul, and other writers of the canonical Scriptures were not themselves infallibly recording the things "handed down to them" in and by the catholic tradition (see Luke 1:1-4, I Corinthians 15, etc.).

Here is a recent proof text defense of some basic catholic practices. I'm proud to say that this was all off the top of my head...

Transubstantiation: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him." John 6: 54-55.

Peter as first pope in a papal lineage: "Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:17-19

Also: "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31-33

Also: (With Jesus having established that He is the Shepherd of His flock, He hands His office of shepherding to Peter) The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." John 21:17 etc.

The pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra: Given Peter's primacy and the idea of a continuing apostolic 'seat' as described in Acts 1:20, the doctrine of the binding nature of Peter's teachings and the binding nature of his successor's teachings is derived from Jesus' presuming that the 'seat' of Moses in the Old Covenant is infallible: "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you..." Matthew 23:1-3.

The holy Sacrifice of the Mass: "And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." Luke 22:18-20 (Christ's references to His body being given for the sake of sinners is corroborated by Paul's description of Christ our 'propitiation' in Romans 3; the same language is echoed in I Johan 2 and 4. Likewise, Christ explicitly describes His blood as a covenantal offering or sacrifice. Thus, given that the Last Supper typifies Christ's Sacrifice, the Church understands that its own Eucharist re-presents the once for all sacrifice that purchased our salvation.)

The Assumption and Immaculate Conception of Mary: "And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." Luke 1:28.

Both of these doctrines proceed from the doctrine of Mary's preservation from original sin. The doctrine of Mary's sinlessness is derived from the Old Testament understanding of the utter sanctity of God's dwelling place, and from the angellic greeting which proclaims Mary as uniquely 'favored' and uniquely 'with' God, as in a manner only possible for those unsullied by original sin.

Mary's Perpetual virginity:
"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus." Matthew 1:24-25

The Greek form of 'knew her not' here- eginwsken- is imperfect, meaning that the verb denotes continuing action without termination; in other words, the sense of the language is of Joseph 'never knowing' his wife. Also, the doctrine also proceeds from the Old Testament understanding of God's vessels being totally consecrated to Him alone. In other words, it follows from God's utter holiness that it would not be right to put that which He uniquely inhabited to mundane human uses.

Veneration of the relics/remains of deceased heroes of the faith, and invoking the saints as our companions in prayer:

A) The saints are our witnesses who have preceded us into the heavenly presence of God: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..." Hebrews 12:1

B) Those who have entered already into the joy of the Lord's presence have been entrusted with the continuing work of God's Kingdom through their heavenly prayers and praises: "His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:21.

C) The saints and martyrs are concerned with the affairs of the Church in the world: "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:9-11)

D) The same grace that was given to our forbears for particular situations can be invoked for our own times of need: "And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him." II Kings 2:15.

7 sacraments: Every one of the seven sacraments is presented in Scripture as an action that Jesus either a) directly commanded or b) participated in, or, the apostles directly commanded it. (I've presupposed Baptism and Eucharist here)

A) Marriage: Jesus honoring the wedding at Cana with His first miracle, the nature of which foreshadows His own nuptials... John 2.

B) Confession: "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16.

Also, "And when Jesus had said this to the apostles, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." John 20:22-24

C) Unction: "And the apostles went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them." Mark 6:12-14. Also, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." James 5:14.

D) Confirmation: See every passage having to do with believers' receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit for ministry- Ezekiel 26:25-27, Joel 3:1-2, Luke 12:12, John 3:5-8 and 7:37-39 and 16:7-15, Acts 1:8, John 20:22, Acts 2, etc.

E) Ordination: "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by...the laying on of the hands of the bishops." 1 Timothy 4:13-15 .