Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some Different Thoughts on Easter and Protestantism vs. Catholicism....

Just a warning this post will not likely deal with the actual events we celebrate at Easter, rather a look at the system to date the feast and why Mainline Protestantism accepts the Roman Catholic method, when they try so hard to distance themselves from anything Catholic.

In the year 725 Venerable Bede declared: "The Sunday following the full Moon which falls on or after the equinox will give the lawful Easter." While this is not perfectly accurate in terms of the description of date selection it is pretty darn close. It's also the way I always heard my Papaw say it, well without quite as much verbosity, so it's more or less how I think about the date.

Wikipedia says this about Bede's declaration: "However, this does not reflect the actual ecclesiastical rules precisely. One reason for this is that the full moon involved (called the Paschal full moon) is not an astronomical full moon, but the 14th day of a calendar lunar month. Another difference is that the astronomical vernal equinox is a natural astronomical phenomenon, which can fall on March 19, 20, or 21, while the ecclesiastical date is fixed by convention on March 21."

At any rate the date can occur in the West any Sunday between and including March 22 and April 25. Now the Eastern Orthodox Churches all use the old Julian Calendar to select their Easter date, which pushes it to April 4 to May 8. Looking at a 30 year period from 1982-2022, the date will coincide East and West 10 times. It almost appears to be a three year cycle that reoccurs; however it skips coincidental dating between 1990 and 2001. Only to be the same date two years in a row, last year and this year.

Enough about the methodology for dating the feast. The question in my mind is why do most, granted not all, though the ones who don't use Rome's date generally don't celebrate Easter at all, of the 30,000 or so Protestant denominations celebrate Easter using the date of Holy Mother Church and not find some new method or date, seeing as most view anything Catholic as evil, or wrong, or just plain bad. 

Now, mind you, perhaps Pope Benedict can use this to his advantage somehow as the "Pope of Christian Unity," and remind these separated souls that they already use our date for Easter as well as (most) of our Bible.

I have heard Fundamentalists go on long tears about the Church being the "Whore of Babylon" or worse and usually just wonder where they think the Bible they are quoting came from. That Bible didn't fall shrinkwrapped from the sky in the King James Version, I guarantee it. It was written, collected, codified and preserved by the Holy Catholic Church. Written in that last sentence might get me in trouble, but let me say: it was inspired by God, but written by men, Jewish-Catholic, men.

And unfortunately for one of the big dividing points between Protestantism and Catholicism not one of the Sacred Authors was inspired to scribble out a Table of Contents, which would have easily settled one of the core debates. If only the Church could have pointed to a chapter and verse and explained to Martin Luther, see it says right here those books belong in the Bible, what might have been.

Yes, yes I know I trivialize Luther's contentions, some of which were plenty valid, but the man dug his own grave. Even before his death he marveled, unhappily, at what he had wrought.

As you can see if you stuck with me this far, which I doubt any of you have, I find it odd that so many Protestants seem willing to shred any traces of their undeniably Catholic roots, yet maintain ties to us in regards to celebrating Easter, Christmas, etc.

No comments: