Saturday, August 16, 2003

Of Mark Shea and Cheese-Eating Integrist Monkeys

Mark Shea's having fun with RadTrads again, in the form of a Liar for Jesus and some revisionist theology by the kooks at NovusOrdoWatch. With regard to the kooks, why are they underlining the wrong passage of Cantate Domino?

They put it like this: "[A]ll those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life . . .

Actually, of course, it's better emphasized this way: "All those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews, heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life . . . ."

The question isn't whether Jews are indistinguishable from Catholics. The question is whether a Jew, merely by being a Jew, is entirely "outside the Catholic Church."

It's also useful to note that many translations of Cantate Domino, including the one used on this SSPX website don't say "outside" but "those not living within the Catholic Church."

Again, the question isn't whether Jews go to Mass. The question is whether Jews, merely by being Jews, cannot be sufficiently "living within the Catholic Church," as to have any hope of salvation.

The reason Kooky RadTrads don't twig to this issue is that, deep down, they're Calvinists. They assume that all men are so completely familiar with Catholic teaching, so perfectly confronted with immediate motives of credibility, that their continued Judaism can only betoken a wilful denial of the truth and, therefore, "living within the Catholic Church" can only mean undergoing baptism, professing the Nicene Creed, and attending Mass. "Ditto," say RadTrads, "for Lutherans and the Dali Lama."

In other words, it's just another piece of the Protestant intellectual foundation of the "Traditionalist" movement. Kooky Traditionalism like that at NovusOrdoWatch wouldn't have an intellectual leg to stand on if it weren't for Protestant theology. That's not because KookyTrads are confessional Protestants, of course. It's because there are things in the human mind which naturally impede our quest for and response to the Gospel, and when people can't (or don't want to, or don't see the urgent need to) conquer those things, they end up concocting theology which we call "protestant" only because confessional Protestantism's been our most familiar and frequent occasion for confronting it.

Hence the KookyTrad assumption that the Gospel truth is entirely perspicacious and that all men who are saved, are saved because they've received irresistable grace to become Catholics. Unregenerate men, like Jews, Lutherans and the Dali Lama, are certainly damned because they've been predestined to reject the perspicacious Gospel of Catholicism; we know they've been so predestined, because if they weren't predestined to damnation they'd be Catholics right now.

Two things to note: (A) Any hard-core, five-point Calvinist will tell you the same thing about Catholics, and (B) there's no other theology that can really justify KookyTrad claims to have discovered a Novus Ordo Dolchstoss on the issue of extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Like their hyper-Calvinist brothers, the RadTrads' concept of grace is limited to "that which produces forensic justification." Those who are Catholic have received the favorable verdict, and those who aren't Catholic haven't. It's that simple.

Now God is perfectly simple, but that actually means simplicity is a symptom of heterodoxy because, well, men aren't God. It's not God who has problems understanding us, it's we who have problems understanding Him. Simple, "no-brainer" theology is suspect first and most of all because it ignores this fact and its corollary -- that an authentic and fruitful human response to the Gospel is going to require an eensy, teensy bit of mental suffering. That's why we have Cheese-Eating Integrist Monkeys, who've turned to France's most potent export -- Calvinism, religious or secular -- for an anodyne to soothe away the painful problems of thinking seriously about grace, salvation, and extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

Calvin, Jansenius, Petain, Lefebvre, Chirac -- only John 1:46 causes us to suspend judgment on that silly country.

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