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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Doctrine and Dogma - Conversations with Christians

DOCTRINE. Any truth taught by the Church as necessary for acceptance by the faithful. The truth may be either formally revealed (as the Real Presence), or a theological conclusion (as the canonization of a saint), or part of the natural law (as the sinfulness of contraception). In any case, what makes it doctrine is that the Church authority teaches that it is to be believed. This teaching may be done either solemnly in ex cathedra pronouncements or ordinarily in the perennial exercise of the Church's magisterium or teaching authority. Dogmas are those doctrines which the Church proposes for belief as formally revealed by God. (Etym. Latindoctrina, teaching.)

I am having a great conversation with a fellow Christian, someone who refers to themselves as a Reformed Baptist.  Having no idea what the dogma of a Reformed Baptist is, I went to a former Reformed Baptist (Patty at Abbas Little Girl blog) for some information.  I am also waiting for my friend to give me some information from his perspective, as Patty is what she jokingly refers to a a Recovering Calvinist.

There are some problems with terms - my friend does not understand the how The Church can have different Rites within it but that all are united through the acceptance of Dogma and Doctrinal teachings.  He rejects the idea that there are 33k or more protestant denominations and feels that because there are liturgical differences between, say, those Catholics in South Boston and those in Southern Mexico that no all Catholic believe the same thing.

So we are teaching him, a bit at a time, the difference between RITES and beliefs, and witnessing to the uncomfortable truth that a bad Catholic is someone who is not in complete communion with the beliefs of The Church.  We are learning the difference between someone in Schism (say, Mel Gibson, who rejects Vatican II teachings or the primacy of the Bishop of Rome or thinks the true Pope is some guy in Seattle with the right looking outfit) and someone who is a Heretic (a Christian who rejects Christian teachings, either in whole or in part - like an Albigensian or a Gnostic or a Mormon).

He is, I believe, a little surprised that the fat little blonde from Modesto has been well taught.  But I have wonderful teachers:  Akin, Staples, Corapi (before he went nuts) as well as the CCC, the incredible professors and theologians at Franciscan University, Father Joseph Illo and Barbara Morgan....the list goes on and on and on.

That does not count the saints and writers and teachers I have been exposed to (thank you, Monsignor and Dr Willey) that has logically and with great patience built a case for Christianity that predates canonized Scripture.

What I have learned is this:  if one relies solely on Holy Scripture one has a solid foundation but no walls and no insulation and roof to their house.  The preparation for that foundation came as Holy Scripture was being written - and those people, the martyrs and priests and theologians who took the time to write things down so I can read their experiences 2000 years later are the REAL heroes of The Faith.  They believed without a Bible.

I want to be like them.  And I cannot find that in a Baptist Church - I can only find it in the Church CHRIST founded.

And that is where I am.....thank you, Jesus!

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