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Whatever is Truly Christian PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 02 June 2008 12:26
As those of you who have read ID for a while know, we periodically get mystery visits from commenters who drop in to accuse me of importing categories, ideas, or practices from my Protestant past and in so doing, distorting the faith. Some of these commenters have made it clear that they don’t consider Protestants to be real Christians and that we have nothing at all to learn from them.

There was a similar conversation over at Dr. Philip Blosser’s blog last fall in which a commenter was asserting that Peter Kreeft, Cardinal Avery Dulles, and Louis Boyer were all converts whose ecclesiology showed the contaminating influence of their Protestant pasts.

At which point Dr. Blosser, a champion of the Traditional Mass, asked a most pertinent question:

Let’s get to the point: Here’s a Catholic teaching and tradition. I would like you to comment on it. It says:

“… Catholics must gladly acknowledge and esteem the truly Christian endowments from our common heritage which are to be found among our separated brethren. It is right and salutary to recognize the riches of Christ and virtuous works in the lives of others who are bearing witness to Christ, sometimes even to the shedding of their blood. For God is always wonderful in His works and worthy of all praise.”

But wait. That’s not all:

“Nor should we forget that anything wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren can be a help to our own edification. Whatever is truly Christian is never contrary to what genuinely belongs to the faith; indeed, it can always bring a deeper realization of the mystery of Christ and the Church.”
Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio) (1964), I, 4.

Dr. Blosser's question:

What do you think Mother Church is teaching us here? Which “truly Christian endowments” and “riches of Christ and virtuous works” among our separated brethren do you think could be described as “genuinely [belonging] to the faith,” “wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren” and, moreover, could be considered as “a help to our own edification” as Catholics, bringing us to “a deeper realization of the mystery of Christ and the Church?”

Dr. Blosser notes: “first, that the Decree is not even discussing Catholic converts here, but non-Catholic Christians; and, second, that the Decree is not stating merely that certain endowments and works of non-Catholic Christians are compatible with Catholic teaching or belong to “our common heritage, but that they may serve to edify Catholics.

As Dr. Blosser added: “Your comments, please.”

And I will add: lets keep to the topic. What about your experience of non-Catholic Christians has inspired you, challenged you, edified you, or has brought you to a deeper realization of the mystery of Christ and the Church?

If you believe, contrary to the Church's teaching that the term “non-Catholic Christian” is an oxymoron, and that they have nothing that we could benefit from, this is not the conversation for you. The usual rules around here apply.

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