The Protestant Version of the Fathers…according to Dr Jeckell and Professor Hyde.

It is well known that St Cyprian had a few run-ins with the Bishop of Rome in his day. Yet it is even more remarkable that this saintly martyr should never-the-less have asserted that

he who abandons the Chair of Peter, upon which the Church is founded, lives in the illusion that he still belongs to the Church (“The Unity of the Catholic Church,” 4)

and that

there is no salvation outside the Church (Epistle 4,4 and 73,21)

and that

he who doesn’t have the Church as his mother can’t have God as his Father (“The Unity of the Catholic Church,” 4).

Pope Benedict points to all this in his recent audience on the topic of St Cyprian. Now you would think that such clear statements would be enough to convince even the most hardened Protestant, no? Well, now we enter the curious little world of the “Protestant Edition” of the Church Fathers.

Years ago I bought an excellent resource called the Logos Bible. This is a software bible with all the original languages and latin and Greek septuagint and lots of neat things. But it also came with an electronic edition of the church fathers in English–albeit entitled “Protestant Edition”. What on earth can that mean? I wondered. According to a web search, it means:

Simply put, the difference is that the Protestant edition contains additional front matter written at a later date. There is no difference in the actual ECF text.

Is that so? Well, you can see for yourself by comparing the text that Pope Benedict is quoting to the text as it appears in the “protestant edition” of St Cyprians “On the Unity of the Church” at

Here you find the following text of paragraph 4 with the following footnotes (in italics):

4. If any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter [On the falsifying of the text by Romish editors, see Elucidation II.] saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. xvi. 18, 19.) And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, “Feed my sheep.” (John xxi. 15). [Here is interpolated: “Upon him, being one, He builds His Church, and commits His sheep to be fed.”]And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;” (John xx. 21.) yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity.[Here is interpolated: “And the primacy is given to Peter, that there might be shown one Church of Christ and one See; and they are all shepherds, and the Rock is one, which is fed by all the apostles with unanimous consent.” This passage, as well as the one a few lines before, is beyond all question spurious.]Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, “My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her.” (Cant. vi. 9.) Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church [Here is interpolated: “Who deserts the chair of Peter, upon whom the Church is founded.” This passage also is undoubtedly spurious.] trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, “There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God?” (Eph. iv. 4.)

Ah yes. “Beyond all question”. “Spurious”. “Interpolated”. Of course. Because if it wasn’t, that would be rather awkward, wouldn’t it?

For those of you who can bother, here is the Protestant Edition’s “Elucidation II” on the falsification of the text:

Cyprian is often innocently quoted by Romanist controvertists against the very principles of Cyprian himself, of his life and his writings. This is due to the fact that they have in their hands vitiated and interpolated copies. Thus, take a famous passage as follows:—

Loquitur Dominus ad Petrum, Ego tibi dico Tu es Petrus, etc.(a)
Super unum(b) ædificat ecclesiam.
Hoc erant utique et cæteri apostoli quot fuit Petrus, qui consortio præediti et honois et potestatis, sed exordium ab unitate proficisitur,(c) ut(d) Christi ecclesia(e) una monstretur.(f)
Qui Ecclesiæ resistitur et resistit,(g) in ecclesia se esse confidit?

(a) Et iterum eidem, post ressurectionem suam dicit, Pasce oves meas.
(b) Super ilium unum … et illi pascendas mandat oves suas.
(c) Et primatus Petro datur.
(d) Una.
(e) Et cathedra.
(f) Et pastores sunt omnes et grex unus ostenditur, qui ab apostolis omnibus, unanimi consensione pascatur, etc.
(g) Qui cathedram Petri, super quem fundata est ecclesia deserit, etc.

This is but a specimen of the way in which Cyprian has been “doctored,” in order to bring him into a shape capable of being misinterpreted. But you will say where is the proof of such interpolations? The greatly celebrated Benedictine edition reads as the interpolated column does, and who would not credit Baluzius? Now note, Baluzius rejected these interpolations and others; but, dying (a.d. 1718) with his work unfinished, the completion of the task was assigned to a nameless monk, who confesses that he corrupted the work of Baluzius, or rather glories in the exploit. “Nay, further,” he says, “it was necessary to alter not a few things in the notes of Baluzius; and more would have been altered if it could have been done conveniently.” Yet the edition came forth, and passes as the genuine work of the erudite Baluzius himself.
An edition of this treatise, with valuable annotations, appeared (a.d. 1852) from the press of Burlington, N.J., under the very creditable editorship of Professor Hyde, who was soon after called to depart this life. It exhibits the interpolations, and gives a useful catalogue of codices and of editions. Though its typographical execution is imperfect, I know not where so much condensed information on the subject is to be had at so little cost. I am grateful for the real advantage I derived from it on its first appearance.

Well, thank God for Professor Hyde of New Jersey to point out the obvious “interpolations”. I wonder if he had an assistant called “Dr Jeckell”? To me this all sounds a little like the claim by my Muslim brothers and sisters that the Gospel has been corrupted or falsified because it says that Prophet Jesus died on a cross, and of course we all know that can’t have possibly happened. In just the same way, we can’t have St Cyprian spouting forth papist nonsense–so of course some mad monk must have falsified the text…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to The Protestant Version of the Fathers…according to Dr Jeckell and Professor Hyde.

  1. the impartial Orthodox :-) says:

    What’s wrong with’ya, dude? Don’t ya like the way desperate little Protestants are sweatin’ their ass of, and writing whole novels to refute miserly little lines of texts, or dirty little sentences, from the Fathers? ;D — tell me when I become to mean. :)

    But, in this case, however, I think they’re kinda right in their assertions. To my knowledge, the above-mentioned ‘spurious’-labeled extracts aren’t to be found in all ancient and/or well-preseved manuscripts. (I could be wrong, though … )


  2. Past Elder says:

    How absolutely, utterly tiresome. I’m 57 to-day. Not once, ever, in the nearly forty years since the Revolution and I left for “Catholic” university has anyone in person or in print suggested that I need to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church for any particular reason of urgency or need at all. You may chalk all this up to “indivudual opinion”, but that has been the consistent voice of the post conciliar church to me for nearly forty years now — so much so, that in the early days of being Lutheran, when I wondered if this were a mistake I thought why should I go back, since back there they all say it doesn’t really matter anymore anyway. Except, apparently, to those who have converted the other way who perhaps have to shore up their own decisions.

    One of these days, brother, it’s going to hit you what it is you’ve really thrown in with, and it ain’t what St Cyprian was talking about.

  3. Schütz says:


    I can see why an Orthodox Christian might not be too comfortable with these passages either. But I would be interested to learn more about the textual history of these passages. I am open to the fact that they may be interpolations, but I am dubious about the theories of any Dr Hyde from New Jersey from the 19th Century (which can “be had at so little cost”!), and wonder why the Holy Father would quote from a passage of St Cyprian about which there were serious scholarly question marks.

    And Past-Elder, presuming these are not interpolations (which was your “get out of jail free card”), and if what I’ve “thrown in with” “ain’t what St Cyprian was talking about”: what WAS he talking about?

  4. Fraser Pearce says:

    Hello Past Elder,

    I’m a Lutheran Pastor in Australia, currently serving on the national Lutheran/ Roman Catholic dialogue.

    The Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium states: ‘Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by God through Jesus Christ, would refuse to enter her or remain in her could not be saved.’ (LG 14) This sort of teaching was recently restated in Dominus Iesus.

    I’m wondering what you make of this. I readily understand that many, if not most, RC clergy and laity pay little attention to the actual teaching of Vatican II (would that more Lutherans paid attention to the Bible and the Confessions). But what do you think of this Magisterial teaching?

    Yours in Christ,

    Fraser Pearce

  5. Athanasius says:

    I’ll give this to our Protestant brethren; unlike the ideologues of the 20th century, they only airbrushed texts out of existence, not people. This makes their sin look fairly forgivable, doesn’t it?

  6. Schütz says:

    Here we go: an answer from none other than the Catholic Encyclopedia (

    Cyprian wrote to [Pope] Cornelius … He sent also copies of his two treatises, “De Unitate” and “De Lapsis” … It is in this copy of the “De Unitate” that Cyprian appears most probably to have added in the margin an alternative version of the fourth chapter. The original passage, as found in most manuscripts and as printed in Hartel’s edition, runs thus:

    If any will consider this, there is no need of a long treatise and of arguments. ‘The Lord saith to Peter: ‘I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; to thee I will give the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and what thou shalt have bound on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what thou shalt have loosed shall be loosed in heaven.’ Upon one He builds His Church, and though to all His Apostles after His resurrection He gives an equal power and says: ‘As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you: Receive the Holy Ghost, whosesoever sins you shall have remitted they shall be remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins you shall have retained they shall be retained’, yet that He might make unity manifest, He disposed the origin of that unity beginning from one. The other Apostles were indeed what Peter was, endowed with a like fellowship both of honour and of power, but the commencement proceeds from one, that the Church may be shown to be one. This one Church the Holy Ghost in the person of the Lord designates in the Canticle of Canticles, and says, One is My Dove, My perfect one, one is she to her mother, one to her that bare her. He that holds not this unity of the Church, does he believe that he holds the Faith? He who strives against and resists the Church, is he confident that he is in the Church?

    The substituted passage is as follows:

    . . . bound in heaven. Upon one He builds His Church, and to the same He says after His resurrection, ‘feed My sheep’. And though to all His Apostles He gave an equal power yet did He set up one chair, and disposed the origin and manner of unity by his authority. The other Apostles were indeed what Peter was, but the primacy is given to Peter, and the Church and the chair is shown to be one. And all are pastors, but the flock is shown to be one, which is fed by all the Apostles with one mind and heart. He that holds not this unity of the Church, does he think that he holds the faith? He who deserts the chair of Peter, upon whom the Church is founded, is he confident that he is in the Church?

    These alternative versions are given one after the other in the chief family of manuscripts which contains them, while in some other families the two have been partially or wholly combined into one. The combined version is the one which has been printed in mian editions, and has played a large part in controversy with Protestants. It is of course spurious in this conflated form, but the alternative form given above is not only found in eighth- and ninth-century manuscripts, but it is quoted by Bede, by Gregory the Great (in a letter written for his predecessor Pelagius II), and by St. Gelasius; indeed, it was almost certainly known to St. Jerome and St. Optatus in the fourth century. The evidence of the manuscripts would indicate an equally early date. Every expression and thought in the passage can be paralleled from St. Cyprian’s habitual language, and it seems to be now generally admitted that this alternative passage is an alteration made by the author himself when forwarding his work to the Roman confessors. The “one chair” is always in Cyprian the episcopal chair, and Cyprian has been careful to emphasize this point, and to add a reference to the other great Petrine text, the Charge in John, xxi. The assertion of the equality of the Apostles as Apostles remains, and the omissions are only for the sake of brevity. The old contention that it is a Roman forgery is at all events quite out of the question.

  7. Past Elder says:

    Dear Pastor Pearce:

    What do I think of it? I have no problem with it at all!

    First: underlying it is the classic understanding of sin. For a person to be guilty of a sin, three conditions must exist: the act must objectively be sinful; the person must clearly know it is sinful; the person must free of interior or exterior constraint choose it anyway. Bishop Sheen (if he can be mentioned without a snicker) used to say that rarely does a person choose evil as evil, they choose an evil because they mistake it for a good. He also used to say that if he loved Christ and had the misinformation or misunderstanding about the Catholic Church that many people do, he would be its greatest enemy. LG14 clearly states all three conditions. Simply being non-Catholic is necessary but not sufficient (as we used to say) for loss of salvation in this situation. Most who either do not join or do not remain in the Catholic Church do not do so knowing the Church is necessary but refusing it anyway since if (from a Catholic, or at least at one time a Catholic, viewpoint) they did see the Catholic Church as necessary they would join — they do not see the Church for what it is, therefore reject it, they choose an evil thinking it is a good, therefore the second condition is not present and there is no guilt of this sin. Furthermore, salvation is possible for them in other church bodies, as enough of the full faith of Christ which subsists in the Catholic Church exists in churchly unions outside the formal boundaries of the Church for them to be saved, assuming of course they do not recognise that fulness in the Catholic Church, and they are in fact united, though imperfectly, with the Catholic Church by those parts of its faith which they do not deny, therefore are not extra ecclesia.

    Second: as a Lutheran I am not in the least put off by this position. We in fact say much the same thing, but in different language. If a person were to know the Confessions are a true statement of the Christian faith and refuse to profess them anyway, he would be lost, and if he does not know them to be such and follows Christianity as taught in his church it is still possible that he may have true Christian faith and be saved, and be part of the full church.

    So I think we’re each saying much the same thing. We have the straight stuff, you don’t, but there is enough of the straight stuff in what you have for salvation to happen anyway. And I think we can profitably base our relations on what we see as valid in each other rather than on what we don’t. We can also understand each other in good will, recognising that to the extent that we would see the other as in error, it is not from sin, the second and third condition being absent, but from misunderstanding and/or misinformation.

    Now, I personally have an axe to grind which is distinct from this issue. I left the RC church after Vatican II because much in the Documents themselves and the revised worship, especially the novus ordo missae, seemed to me as in fact a repudiation of traditional Catholic teaching, indeed abandoning the Chair of Peter and living in the illusion that this is still the Church. In short, I rejected the post conciliar Church as a Catholic, and on those grounds would still say that the Roman Catholic Church has no greater or more effective enemy on earth to-day than the post-conciliar “Roman Catholic” church. I became a Lutheran over 20 years later, and if to-morrow (God forbid) I should lose my Spirit given ability to believe the true and accurate presentation of the Christian Faith in the BOC and believe that I must be in the Roman church, what passes itself off as the Roman church these days is the absolute last place I would go.

    Or in short, I’m an ex-Catholic because I was a Catholic; I am a Lutheran by the grace of God.

  8. Fraser Pearce says:

    Dear Past Elder,

    In your first post you said: “Not once, ever, in the nearly forty years since the Revolution and I left for “Catholic” university has anyone in person or in print suggested that I need to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church for any particular reason of urgency or need at all.”

    From your reply to my question I understand that you mean you have not heard in person or seen in print any urgent or necessary reasons for those who do not believe the claims of the Catholic Church about her nature to join her. Am I on the right track in this understanding?

    As it happens, I listen attentively to the claims of the Catholic Church, and consider seriously the question of her authority and authenticity.

    God’s peace to you,

    Fraser Pearce

  9. Christine says:

    What a mystery it all is — ten years ago I left my Lutheran upbringing in order to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

    A few months ago, for a while I returned to those Lutheran roots –as they say, sometimes one’s faith must be tried and tested in order to grow stronger.

    It is with peace in my heart that I have returned to the Catholic Church, finding again there that fullness in faith that attracted me to begin with.

    And I continue to hold my Lutheran brothers and sisters in the highest esteem.

  10. Schütz says:

    Dear Christine,

    It is true, as the Holy Father says with St Cyprian and as many of our brothers and sisters in the Lutheran Church will attest, that “he (or she) who abandons the Chair of Peter, upon which the Church is founded, lives in the illusion that he (or she) still belongs to the Church.” But when that illusion is shattered, one has no choice–no hope!–but to seek to reunite oneself with that chair.

  11. Past Elder says:

    Dear Pastor Pearce —

    In my experience as a Catholic living post Vatican II, if one wants to call communion with the church hanging on to certain publications, certain telecasts, EWTN, and an occasional special service, maybe have leisure or be paid to do things like poke around in St Cyprian’s writings, yes one can find authentic Vatican II Catholicism.

    If you live like the vast majority or the world’s Catholics, that will not happen. In my experience, and though our host shrugs this off to “individual opinion”, every single time I sought a representative of the Catholic Church in that capacity, priest, teacher, etc, I was given the impression that while we may believe the Catholic Church is the best one for us, the others are just fine too and there is no particular need, other than if one personally feels so inclined, to join the Catholic Church. Spirit of Vatican II and all.

    I should conclude my answer there. I won’t. What you have in reality is a preposterous mess. There is a post conciliar church as it exists in official documents and exceptional places; there is a post conciliar church in which nearly every Catholic lives, moves, and has his being, so to speak, completely different than the official reality, and neither one of them is anything but a grotesque and monstrous parody of the real Catholic Church created by the apostates at Vatican II. For that church as church, there can be no respect, no dialogue, no nothing except concern for those unfortunately under its lying sway.

    I can understand Lutheran converts to Catholicism. What I lament it that it is nothing remotely like Catholicism that they have found in the New Church, which is the real church’s most vicious enemy while portraying itself as the same thing!

  12. Christine says:

    every single time I sought a representative of the Catholic Church in that capacity, priest, teacher, etc, I was given the impression that while we may believe the Catholic Church is the best one for us, the others are just fine too and there is no particular need, other than if one personally feels so inclined, to join the Catholic Church. Spirit of Vatican II and all.

    I don’t doubt for a minute that that is what Past Elder experienced. It certainly was not my experience coming into the Church ten years ago.

    Far from being given a blase attitude that it really doesn’t matter anymore what Church one belongs to (and that is certainly not the position of the current Pope) I was warmly welcomed by a thriving, committed Catholic Community that gently guided me into seeing that yes, all of us, baptized into Christ Jesus are indeed brothers and sisters but the full riches of faith are still present in the Catholic Church.

    The Easter Vigil I experienced was absolutely beautiful.

    I have no desire to return to the Tridentine era. Both my husband and my father grew up in the pre-Conciliar Church and their views would be very different from Past Elder’s.

    I do watch EWTN from time to time but it is definitely not my only paradigm of what it is to be Catholic in 2007.

    It is a sad but true reality that Protestantism in Europe and the U.S. is in even a more fragile state. When the ELCA was formed in the U.S. it was on an allegedly confessional and biblical foundation.

    We have only just begun to see how that foundation proved insufficient.

  13. Lucian says:

    There’s nothing wrong with the words, just that they might be interpolations. Eh, just check out the original manuscripts, why don’t You? ;p

  14. Past Elder says:

    A couple of points of clarification. This is of course a “Catholic” blog, but as we have a bunch of present and/or past or passing Lutherans here, IMHO the ELCA is a heterodox body with no relevance to the Lutheran faith at all, and its actions such as the Joint Declaration completely without meaning. So to me, since they aren’t Lutheran in anything but name, what they do or say is no argument for or against Lutheranism.

    Likewise the post conciliar so-called Catholic Church. It is abundantly clear that the “Catholic Church” to which Lutherans convert these days is the church created in the 1960s by the last council. That church cannot by the wildest stretch of the imagination be the Catholic Church, since it has changed even its most solemn worship to suppress or deny central elements of the Catholic Faith. As a Lutheran, I could not care less what the “Catholic Church” says or does, but as a former Catholic these conversions underscore what I always thought, that the present “Catholic Church” is only possible upon rejection of the Catholic Church.

    At this point in my life, to join this hideous impostor would involve abjuration of not one but two confessions for me: as a Lutheran, and as a Catholic.

  15. Schütz says:

    Dear Lucian,

    See my longish comment above about the original manuscripts according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. It seems that the “original” (or most authentic) manuscripts we have have of the passage are in two different forms, and that there is evidence for both forms to have originated with Cyprian himself. However the CE says that in many editions of Cyprian the two forms have been “harmonised” into a new version that certainly did not exist originally, and it seems that the Protestant charge of “interpolations” have arisen when they compared this harmonised version with ONE of the original versions. BUT the conclusion is that there are two early forms that are both authentically Cyprian, and that he certainly wrote the bit about “”he who abandons the Chair of Peter, upon which the Church is founded, lives in the illusion that he still belongs to the Church.”

    Dear Past Elder,

    You are more than welcome to work out your problems with both Lutheranism and Catholicism on my blog. If nothing else, it is entertaining for my readers.

    However, I urge you to consider two things:

    1) You (in common with liberal catholic dissedents and far-right sedevacantist catholics) are using an hermeneutic of discontinuity to interpret Vatican II. The Reformers used a similar hermeneutic 500 years ago to argue for the apostacy of the Church. On the contrary, we use a hermeneutic of continuity which sees the entire of history of the Catholic Church as one of authentic continuity and authority from Christ to the present day Church.

    2) You condemn the Catholic Church because in her there are many sinners who are not good Catholics. We plead GUILTY as charged. However, to point out our sin is not the same thing as to prove that the Catholic Church is not who she claims to be, for she has never claimed that all her members are sinless, only that in her the one true Church of Christ subsists in all its fullness under the governance of the bishops in communion with the Chair of Peter. It is this which you must disprove, if you wish to dismiss the Catholic Church and her claims.

  16. Past Elder says:

    Bless us and save us, Mrs O’Davis!

    Hermeneutic of continuity and discontinuity? What is that!!! (For those not accustomed to philosophising with a hammer — this is a rhetorical question, I know what the terms mean.)

    I would suggest an a priori that since there is a continuity and here is the Roman church, it must be it, therefore if it says white where it formerly said black, it must be a deepening of understanding, an aggiornamento, or the like. Short form: since there must be a continuity, this must be the continuity. I do not challenge the continuity, I challenge where you locate it.

    Re point the second, no I am not finding the Roman church at fault because there are sinners in it. There were many sinners and bad Catholics in the Roman church before the council too. LCMS, my synod, is full of them — it’s the worst synod in the world, except for all the others. And I would not exempt myself from their number. For that matter, I do not dispute that the catholic church (sic) is the church in all her fulness, but rather in where you locate it.

    The many ways in which the conciliar church is based upon rejection of central tenets of the Catholic Faith is admirably laid out on the SSPX site, Again, I agree with them in all they say re what is authentically Catholic, since it is precisely and exactly what I was taught by the Roman Catholic Church, and what is false in Vatican II; I disagree in what to do about it, and what the present state of things implies for the validity of what went before, else I would join them (or more precisely, their Third Order, since I am not a priest).

    Although Monty Python psychoanalyse would no doubt attempt to prove otherwise, I am not aware of any problems re Catholicism or Lutheranism which I am attempting to work out. Catholicism, past or present, is a false religion; there is much that travels under the name Lutheran that is not Lutheran at all, which may be truer yet after Houston, who knows. I simply don’t go there. The only reason I go here, as opposed to say going on Dave Armstrong’s site (which I did once, leaving as dinner began to rise), is to carry the message that I understand what it is you and other Tiber swimmers believe is there and what you have found as the full entity to which what is true in your Lutheran faith leads, and that, if what you believe must exist is true, which is a separate issue, it most certainly is not found in the post conciliar church, and that on Catholic grounds alone.

    Holy Moly, I used to be an academic. Extra credit, class, for naming the hammer reference! (Hey you said I was entertaining to your readers — non recuso laborem!)

  17. Past Elder says:

    Oh yeah, one more thing. Any of you clowns read Frank Sheed? Anyone read Frank Sheed, or is that now automatic assignment to aggiornamento re-education camp?

    He was a lay popular apologist, and if memory serves, an Aussie. I read his “Theology and Sanity” and “Is It the Same Church?” years ago.

  18. William Weedon says:

    Past elder’s points are really very much at the heart of the Reformation crisis: what does one DO when one finds the Chair of Peter no longer holding to the faith of Peter? Read Ambrose on Repentance and compare this to the teaching of Trent. Yikes! The Reformation resulted from the sad realization that *at that time* the chair of Peter had departed from Peter’s own doctrine and teaching.

  19. Anonymous says:

    there is much that travels under the name Lutheran that is not Lutheran at all, which may be truer yet after Houston, who knows.

    My point exactly. As I see what happened at the last LCMS convention and what may come down the road at the next one, there are no guarantees that the LCMS will remain a “catholic” body.

    This Missouri Synod is not the one I grew up in. Things are beginning to change considerably. The local LCMS mission church down the road from my house might as well be a congregation of Southern Baptists.

    Seeing the presidential nomination count for Gerald Kieschnick as opposed to Revs. Schulz and Preus speaks volumes.

    As far as the Chair of Peter is concerned, no one would dispute the problems at the time of the Reformation. I am very grateful that our current Pope is a holy and gifted servant of God.

  20. Christine says:

    Apologies, the above post was mine, forgot to add name.

  21. William Weedon says:


    Amen about the current occupant of St. Peter’s chair in Rome. He is a blessing to the whole Church. May God grant him many years! How could Lutherans not rejoice in a Bishop of Rome who once spoke about recognizing the catholicity of the Augsburg Confession and commented that Vatican II listened too much to Rahner and not enough to Luther!

  22. Christine says:

    Indeed, Pastor Weedon. I too believe that Benedict will continue to be a gift to Christians worldwide and as all Christians continue to fight against the heterodoxy within their own bodies they will continue to find their common catholic roots.

    May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us all.

  23. Past Elder says:

    Oh wow, it WAS Christine! And here I was about to say that the RC church is not the church I grew up in, and that the RC parish down the street I am supposed to belong to might as well be a congregation of ELCA or ECUSA. That sort of thing is everywhere you go. You can’t leave anywhere because of it, because where you run to will have its version of the same.

    As to Benedict, I’m sure I would like him and we would have a great time over brats. However, he is not a fighter of heterodoxy within his own denomination but a vigourous proponent of it, it being quite clear that Vatican II Catholicism is what he stands for which is not the Catholic Faith of anything pre 1960s, and the office he occupies bears the marks not of the chair of Peter but Antichrist.

  24. Christine says:

    Dear Past Elder,

    As I posted on the above site regarding Michael Root:

    far as the ECLA service you saw, it ain’t the same animal, my brother. Even my ELCA sister doesn’t catch the nuances well enough to recognize that it is not the Mass in the Roman tradition. The ECLA hoped that by adopting as much of the Catholic liturgy as they felt comfortable with it would hasten the prospect of intercommunion. Not going to happen.

    And if Benedict XVI is a paradigm of Vatican II Catholicism I am that much more delighted to be numbered in his company!

  25. Christine says:

    By the way, mein Bruder, I will certainly agree with you that Vatican II Catholicism doesn’t retain many of the outward trappings of the Tridentine era (although at Christmas and Easter my parish priests pull out all the stops — I simply revel in the incense !!)

    But as for it not being the Catholic Church ??


    Unlike the ELCA and ECUSA we don’t have womynpriests/pastors and the money I put into the collection plate doesn’t go to fund elective abortions for women clergy.

  26. Fraser Pearce says:

    Dear Past Elder,

    This hammer business: Nietzsche.

    The notion of continuity is curious. Have you read a good definition of what makes for true continuity in the church?

    In my experience the definitions that emphasize continuity of doctrine can tend to become Gnostic; and the ones that emphasize continuity of outward fellowship can tend become un-Evangelical.

    Fraser Pearce

  27. Schütz says:

    26 posts already… Should one continue this conversation? Yeah, why not?

    Faith is very important to me as a Catholic. I have faith in the promises of Christ. Christ made a whole bunch of promises including:

    “The Spirit will lead you into all truth”

    “You are Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it”.

    “Behold I am with you always until the end of the Age”.

    I have faith in Christ and his promises, and therefore in the Church. I believe that the Church which is governed by the Successor of St Peter and the bishops in communion with him is the one Catholic Church of Christ.

    And I believe it to be continuous with the very Church established by Christ on the foundation of his apostles for both reasons Pastor Pearce points out:

    1) It is continuous in doctrine
    2) It is continuous in outward fellowship.

    The second is historically demonstrable. You would have a tough time disproving it. Even the 2nd Vatican Council was run by guys who were the direct successors of the 1st Vatican Council and Trent etc. etc. and Constantinople and Nicea and Jerusalem.

    The first–continuity in doctrine–appears to only in part to depend upon historical knowledge (there is a general ignorance about what was taught eg. by the Early Church Fathers and eg. by the pre-Vatican II popes) but mostly upon the hermeutic each one brings to the study of the doctrines of the Church.

    As I said in my post on the Lutheran at the CTSA meeting, if you find the teachings of the Catholic Church to be contradictory, you are not reading them correctly. Professor Koons, who recently converted to the Catholic faith, has stressed the importance of Newman’s theory of the development of doctrine for understanding the teaching of the Church.

    Part of that theory (which is widely accepted) is the presupposition of continuity within the Tradition. I have yet to find an instance of any teaching that was held and taught by the Church at some earlier time which is not faithfully reflected and included in the faith of the Church at this present time–or, for that matter, a teaching that is held and proclaimed today that is without precedent within the Tradition of the Church.

    In fact, Past Elder, Pastor Weedon, et al.: Here is a challenge for you: See if you can give me an official documented teaching of the Church today–for our purposes, let’s say a quotation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church–that contradicts an official documented teaching of the Church in the past. I bet you can’t do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *