Monday, May 21, 2012

A Pilgrimage to St. Paul

Stone from St. Paul's tomb.
So I read on these here interwebs that the Cathedral of St. Paul was going to have a relic from the tomb of their patron saint on display Sunday. Needless to say I was somewhat intrigued. It's not everyday when you can see a piece of the tomb of the guy who penned nearly half of the New Testament.

I had planned to load Tommy up and take him with me to attend the 10 a.m. Mass and then to have a chance to venerate the relic. My little slugger had a rough night Saturday, though and I didn't want to deal with a crabby kid in a new church plus trying to find my way up there and everything else. So I flew solo.

First the Cathedral, wow, just wow. The most impressive building, not just church, I have ever seen, let alone been inside. Several small chapels off the main body of the building, including one with a massive replica of Michaelangelo's Pieta.

I was glad I got to the church early so I could take a few minutes to look around. Seeing the Pieta really put me in the right frame of mind for Ascension Sunday. Seeing the Pieta at life size really helped to bring home what happened on that hill outside Jerusalem so many years ago.

The Mass was very solemn, almost a High Mass, lots of Latin, incense, sung responses. Very nice. I was able to pay attention and tear myself away from trying to find a new statue or painting to admire so that was good.

I definitely want to go back to the Cathedral when I have some time and take some photos and really look around.

I've never been in any of the great cathedrals in Europe but the one in St. Paul is absolutely amazing. I think it could stand on its own merits against many of those in Europe.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Theology in Winnie The Pooh?

So Matty really loves to watch Pooh's Grand Adventure to wind down for bed. I noticed the other night that Rabbit sings a song that really sums up the Sola Scriptura position. His song stresses the importance of following exactly the map that Owl drew for the friends in their search for Christopher Robin who has gone to Skull (or School if any of the animals could actually read).

Now Traci was less than pleased that I made this connection but it seemed like the argument I have heard so many times in debates with Sola Scripturists.

Here is a sample of the lyrics from Rabbit's ode to the map.

Never trust your ears
Your nose, your eyes
Putting faith in them
Is most unwise
Here's a phrase you all
Must memorize
In the printed word
Is where truth lies

Never trust that thing
Between your ears
Brains will get you nowhere fast
My dears
Haven't had a need
For mine in years
On the page is where
The truth appears

Most proponents of SS declare the printed word of the Bible as the only acceptable rule of faith. However Catholics say that the printed word is merely one leg of the stool on which rests the rules of faith. Catholics see the many references to a continuing authority (Matthew 23:1-4 and so many others), and to the difficulty of the Scriptures Acts 8:26-40, 2 Peter 3:16) as proof of the Magisterium. We also see the continuing beauty of 2,000 years of Tradition.

Sola Scripturists insist in spite of mountains of Biblical evidence and history that Christ intended to teach their pet theory. Citing verses like Matt. 4:4 or 2 Tim 3:14-17 they find their theory defensible.  

In reality it breaks down with a mere objective look at it. Because after all if the Scriptures are so perspicuous why can't people within the Scriptures understand them clearly. After all isn't the Ethiopian eunuch merely Luther's plowboy in the first century. 

Now I don't intend to say that the Scriptures are completely out of the realm of understanding without the wisdom of Holy Mother Church and her office of interpreting and protecting them. It can however be difficult to discern their true meaning without the benefit of that wisdom.

Almost immediately after the proposal of the idea of Sola Scriptura faithful Catholics began to attack and attempt to defeat the heresy. However it lives on today and its fruits are evident in the ever growing number of Protestant denominations. After all if the perspicuous Scriptures lead your church into an error well, just move on, find another church that accurately understands the Scriptures (at least as you understand them). Instead of showing the errors of the papacy, all the doctrine has done is create as many papacies as there are heads to paraphrase Luther himself.