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October 20, 2004

Strict orthodoxy
Posted by Teresa at 05:33 PM * 81 comments

I should hope that no readers of Making Light would cast their vote for President of the United States solely on the basis of one or the other candidates’ adherence to orthodox Catholic teachings.

However, if that’s a concern, they’ll be pleased to know that according to the Catholic News Service, a Vatican official representing the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has stated that Kerry is not a heretic. Good to get that cleared up.

I have this from NewDonkey, which then goes on to discuss Bush’s adherence to the teachings of the Holy-Roman-Catholic-and-Apostolic-et cetera:
Although he does not appear to belong to any specific religious congregation, Mr. Bush has publicly identified himself as a “born-again Christian” of the Methodist denomination. He is thus presumptively an adherent of the Protestant Heresy, condemned most notably and definitively by the sixteenth-century Council of Trent. If so, Bush has implicitly embraced an array of subordinate heresies
Catholic heresies have their own wonderfully precise classification system. NewDonkey identifies Bush as qualifying as a heretic on grounds of Bibliolatry, Symbolism, Sacrilege, Schism, Pelagianism, Abandonment of the Apostolic Succession of Bishops, Dishonoring the Mother of God, and Denial of the teaching authority of the Church, with possible additional charges of Donatism, Hussism, and Jansenism.
Finally, the President’s persistant “unilateralist” demand that the United States must enjoy a privileged and unique status with respect to the use of force specifically and international law generally raises some concern that he is guilty of the Americanist Heresy (the belief that this country’s special conditions require deviations from universal laws of faith and morals), condemned by Pope Leo XIII in 1899.
So there.
Comments on Strict orthodoxy:
#1 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 06:11 PM:

Time for a game of Credo.

#2 ::: Jason Kuznicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 06:34 PM:

I hate to be a wet blanket, but Jansenism and Pelagianism are mutually exclusive. I'm writing my dissertation in part on the former.

#3 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 06:49 PM:

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem coeli et terrae, visibilium omnium, et invisibilium. Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem descendit de coelis. Et incarnatus est de spiritu sancto ex Maria Virgine: et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis, sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in coelum: sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, judicare vivos et mortuos: cujus regni non erit finis. Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum. + Et vitam venturi saeculi.

Amen.

=============

That being said, I am a baptized and confirmed Catholic, I attend Mass weekly, and take communion. I went through the parochial and diocesian school system, kindergarten through high school graduation.

I intend to vote for John Kerry.

I hold that the bishops who are saying that Catholics who vote for Kerry emperil their souls are in error, that they are wilfully placing their own salvations at risk, and will be called answer for their heedless works in this matter before the sternest Judge.

#4 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 06:58 PM:

Haven't we already dealt with the Trent Affair? I mean, didn't the Special Relationship with Tony Blair get its relative specialness therefrom, sorta kinda? (The US State Dept. website says it brought us lots closer. I swear I am not making this up.)

Wait. Wrong Nielsen Hayden blog. Apologies. Though one must admire Leo XIII's foresight.

#5 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 07:22 PM:

Go, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith!

At least in this case.

On a side note: Obviously my word doesn’t have the same weight as that of someone representing the organization f.k.a. the Holy Office, but, speaking as a lapsed Methodist who went to the same Oxford college as John Wesley, I’d like to register an objection to NewDonkey’s characterization of Bush as a Methodist. If he is, he’s even more lapsed than I am.

#6 ::: Nancy C. Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 07:22 PM:

I feel compelled to point out that I am 99% sure that James D. Macdonald just typed in the Credo in Latin from memory. A feat which should not go unrecognized, if I am correct.

#7 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 07:25 PM:

Jansenism and Pelagianism may be mutually exlusive, but it seems that'd be Bush's error rather than the Catholic Church's. Note that both of those were listed in the specific individual heresies, not as part of the Protestant bundle. I can easily believe Bush claims to believe mutually exclusive things! In fact, I've seen it myself.

#8 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 07:30 PM:

The United Methodists (or a splinter group, maybe) are not happy with GWB. At last look there were 482 signatories to this thing.

#9 ::: Andrew Gray ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 07:45 PM:

The Americanist Heresy? I'm sure getting your own heresy is somewhat of a backhanded honour. But, oh, so apt.

(It is educational to read the heresies list and find the various things I'm probably guilty of, though...)

#10 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 07:50 PM:

I must chime in with Jim here. I am a self-inflicted Catholic (adult convert from Anglicanism) currently in a three year formation program that (God willing) will result in my certification as a Master Catechist while my wife is working on a masters degree in pastoral theology. My BA was in philosophy, hers was in New Testament, so "swimming the Tiber" was accompanied by both serious emotional and intellectual work. Orthodoxy is a very serious issue as we paid a price to get where we are.

We are both voting for Kerry, and it was not a close call.

While I am in the process of making a more detailed statement about this for some of my Catholic friends on email and on my blog, the reasons are not too complicated. The explanations can be, but we'll skipt them here. Basically, I agree with the Church's teachings on life issues without reservation, holding human life sacred from conception to natural death. While both parties have good spots and bad spots in their platforms, that is not the main issue -- what is at issue is policy, and that is defined as what a government actually does, not what it says it does or intends to do. While the GOP likes to throw the occasional bit of meat to pro-life groups, they show no real hunger to really change anything there, just to grandstand. On issues like abortion, the differences between the two parties are moot.

When you move to the rest of government policy, especially the issue of war and peace, I find that in good conscience I cannot vote for Bush this year, as a Catholic.

#11 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 07:55 PM:

Oh, and Jim --

Πιστεύω είς ενα Θεόν, Πατέρα, παντοκράτορα, ποιητήν ουρανού καί γής, ορατών τε πάντων καί αοράτων.

Καί είς ενα Κύριον, Ίησούν Χριστόν, τόν Υιόν του Θεού τόν μονογενή, τόν εκ του Πατρός γεννηθέντα πρό πάντων τών αιώνων. Φώς εκ φωτός, Θεόν αληθινόν εκ Θεού αληθινού γεννηθέντα, ού ποιηθέντα, ομοούσιον τώ Πατρί, δι ού τά πάντα εγένετο. Τόν δι ημάς τούς ανθρώπους καί διά τήν ημετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα εκ τών ουρανών καί σαρκωθέντα εκ Πνεύματος Αγίου καί Μαρίας τής Παρθένου καί ενανθρωπήσαντα. Σταυρωθέντα τε υπέρ ημών επί Ποντίου Πιλάτου καί παθόντα καί ταφέντα.

Καί αναστάντα τή τρίτη ημέρα κατά τάς Γραφάς.

Καί ανελθόντα είς τούς ουρανούς καί καθεζόμενον εκ δεξιών τού Πατρός.

Καί πάλιν ερχόμενον μετά δόξης κρίναι ζώντας καί νεκρούς, ού τής βασιλείας ουκ εσται τέλος.

Καί είς τό Πνεύμα τό Αγιον, τό Κύριον, τό ζωοποιόν, τό εκ τού Πατρός εκπορευόμενον, τό σύν Πατρί καί Υιώ συμπροσκυνούμενον καί συνδοξαζόμενον, τό λαλήσαν διά τών Προφητών.

Είς μίαν, αγίαν, καθολικήν καί αποστολικήν Έκκλησίαν. Ομολογώ εν βάπτισμα είς άφεσιν αμαρτιών. Προσδοκώ ανάστασιν νεκρών. Καί ζωήν τού μέλλοντος αιώνος.

Άμήν.

And no, that was not from memory, so yours is still more impressive. (While Marilee can read Koine, I can't. I can pick it out a few letters at at time and sound some words out.)

#12 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 08:23 PM:

Jason, here's what NewDonkey said:

Moreover, as Msgr. Ronald Knox argued in his influential 1950 book, Enthusiasm, Wesleyans reflect a persistant heretical tendency towards elevation of subjective experience in the pursuit of religious truth that links them to such widely varying heresies at Donatism, Hussism and Jansenism.
One could parse Bush's statements and behaviors into a somewhat different assortment of heresies, though there'd undoubtedly be common elements in both lists.

Mike -- Trent Affair? Special relationship? State Department website? Say what?

Andrew, the Americanist Heresy is part of the official classification system. For instance, all Mormons are Americanist heretics.

Claude, I love "self-inflicted Catholic." What does a Master Catechist do?

I don't speak Greek and I don't know its alphabet, so I didn't expect to be able to puzzle out any part of your second post; but Έκκλησίαν jumped out at me, and καθολικήν καί αποστολικήν Έκκλησίαν followed, so then I knew what it was.

#13 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 08:23 PM:

In the interests of strict honesty, I have to admit that I checked the spelling with an on-line source before posting.


========

For me war and peace, torture, the death penalty, and the principle that the workman deserves his hire have taken precedence.

Not to mention overall honesty and competence.

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 08:28 PM:

Jim, I figured you could recite it but not spell it from memory.

#15 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 08:33 PM:

J & T,

I love you guys.


-l.

#16 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 08:37 PM:

And then there's really strict orthodoxy (the floggings will continue until you cite the Credo anachronistically in Aramaic)....

#17 ::: Janice Gelb ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 08:55 PM:

A Catholic co-worker and I were talking about this article just yesterday. She said that she was amazed that her somewhat conservative bishop gave a sermon on Sunday in which he said that although the fact that Kerry was against abortion was indeed troubling, he felt that the candidates should be evaluated on a wider pro-life basis. For example, how many lives have been lost in Iraq, how many homeless or below poverty standard people have more difficult lives, and so on.

#18 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 08:59 PM:

Here I had been under the impression that the Pelagian heresy was the belief that, if you prayed and your prayer was not granted, it was because of some fault in you (or something close to that - I'm not too familiar with the technicalities of Catholic theology, so I may have misstated this). If that isn't the Pelagian heresy, which heresy is it?

#19 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 09:11 PM:

DARNIT! I did a paper, basically for myself, discussing the various Christian heresies as I encountered them, and kept adding to it as I found new ones. I'll have to look on my CD backups, because it's never made it to my iBook.

#20 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 09:12 PM:

DARNIT! I did a paper, basically for myself, discussing the various Christian heresies as I encountered them, and kept adding to it as I found new ones. I'll have to look on my CD backups, because it's never made it to my iBook.

#21 ::: Metal Fatigue ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 09:23 PM:

I really hope some conservative blogger is using the title The Americanist Heresy, because it would be a shame to waste it, and I don't think I could use it given my religious and political orientation.

#22 ::: james ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 09:36 PM:

The Credo spelling was fine, but there was what I think of as nonstandard punctuation (at least, it doesn't quite agree with the clause breaks reflected by the settings in the Graduale Romanum.

Claude, isn't the normative Greek form of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed Pisteuomen (&c) rather than Pisteuo, etc., reflecting its source in the Council? (Sorry, no support for Unicode input here.)

Pelagianism (named after the monk Pelagius, an opponent of Augustine) is the belief that it is possible to attain to an entirely virtuous life by the unaided human will.

I can recommend Enthusiasm; it's Knox's most scholarly book and a very good read.

#23 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 10:00 PM:
Pelagianism (named after the monk Pelagius, an opponent of Augustine) is the belief that it is possible to attain to an entirely virtuous life by the unaided human will.

Sorry, I phrased my question poorly. What I meant was, given that this is what the Pelagian heresy is, what's the name of the heresy I described?

#24 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 10:33 PM:

...if you prayed and your prayer was not granted, it was because of some fault in you (or something close to that...

Are you thinking of Donatism? (Donatism claims that the validity of the sacraments depends on the virtue of the priest who performs them.)

#25 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 11:31 PM:

You too, Laura.

At one point I tried to compile a phylogenetic chart of recognized heresies. The single biggest group involved disputes about the nature of and relationships between the component members of the Trinity. Next biggest group consisted of disputes about the relationship(s) between God, man, and church. Third were the procedural questions about how religion works, and what are the best ways to pursue it. After that, things got miscellaneous.

I gave it up because I couldn't figure out how to chart it. There were too many movements that adopted several heretical beliefs at once.

There were some odd affinities. For instance, it seemed to me that there's a tendency for groups that decide they're in a permanent state of divine illumination, guided constantly by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, to go on to believe that they no longer have to observe any external religious practices, and from there go on to the belief that they can perform very naughty acts without actually sinning. Not that I'm naming any names, of course.

#26 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 11:51 PM:

I agree with Teresa. You eventually get to the point of trying to figure out how many pinheads are dancing on an angel....

All pretty silly from my pagan faith. But very, very interesting in terms of being a writer and seeing how people interact.....

(I started out in youth as a Southern Baptist, and had a conversion event in late high school. But I later had fundamental questions about what was being told to me as "you have no right to question, you have to BELIEVE." My problem was that the Bible says the Jews are God's chosen people. But at least Baptist doctrine says they have to be born again in Jesus. This was a puzzle (to me at least, especially for a sect that proclaims that the Bible is the literal truth.

I resigned, then explored other reiigions. I'm a solo-practicing wiccan now and much happier for it. Blessed be. And we don't judge people much for anything except violating other people's right to live in peace as they have chosen.

#27 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 12:18 AM:
Are you thinking of Donatism? (Donatism claims that the validity of the sacraments depends on the virtue of the priest who performs them.)

I don't think so, but then this is not exactly my area of expertise. The context in which I originally read about this heresy was that of faith healers - they have a distressing tendency, when someone they instructed to pray for healing dies, to blame them by saying that their faith was not strong enough, or similar things. This was identified as the X Heresy, where I thought X was Pelagian, but clearly not. Of course whoever I was reading could have gotten it wrong.

#28 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 04:03 AM:

I _think_ you could be both a Pelagianist & a Jansenist at once. You'd just have to apply the heresies to different people.

For instance, you could be Pelagianist in regards to yourself (you can attain a truly virtuous life through unaided will) while applying Jansenism to other people (they couldn't possibly be virtuous without outside help).

Not only do you get two heresies for the price of one, but you get extra points for at least one deadly sin. :)

#29 ::: Nick Brooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 05:09 AM:

Anyone for "Credo"? I have a few copies left of the new and improved Second Edition, created by the game's author Chris Gidlow. While the game's production values are nothing to write home about (sheets of card printed at Kinko's: even cheaper-looking than the Chaosium version!), if anyone *really* wants to get their hands on a copy, drop me a line at the email address above.

Apology to the admirable polyglots in this thread: I'm afraid the variant Creeds this game produces only come in English.

The best source for early church heresies I know is the "Panarion" by St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis: highly recommended. Large chunks are available online (via Google: not many false hits!), and there was a good edition of select passages -- all the juicy heretical beliefs and scriptures, none of the boring orthodox refutations -- some years back (edited and translated by P R Amidon, published by OUP: ISBN 0195062914).

#30 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 05:28 AM:

From (sorry, it's late, and you'll have to cut and paste):

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/cw/17612.htm

The Trent Affair was the diplomatic crisis that potentially brought Great Britain and the United States closest to war during the first year of the American Civil War. Although war seemed possible, both sides managed to avoid an armed conflict, and in the process gained greater confidence in one another.

Yeah, right.

#31 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 08:23 AM:

Paula, literalism could trip up anyone. I'm permanently amazed that there are people who spend their lives applying the same set of interpretive conventions to (f.i.) Genesis, Ecclesiastes, Samuel, Kings, Ezekiel, Jonah, Mark, John, Acts, and the Revelation of St. John. It's the Aspberger's reading of the Bible.

Mike, that's loony. The Trent Affair did nothing of the sort. All that the best efforts of both sides managed was to not go to war. Is there some kind of agenda being pushed on that page, or is someone just being stupid?

#32 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 08:49 AM:

The Americanist Heresy?

We Believe in One Nation,
The Greatest in Heaven or Earth,
Up-holder of all things Civilized,
the best there is, seen or unseen.

We believe in One Constitution,
the Definition of our Nation,
Inerrantly devised by the Founding Fathers,
rules from Rule, rights from Right, true laws from True Law.
Inspired, not invented, of one Being with the Nation,
Through It civilization was made.

For us and for our emancipation
it came down from Heaven,
a Platonic Ideal of society,
it was ratified by constitutional convention
and became law.

By our will it was amended to include rights
like free speech and the right to bear arms,
and guarantees against self-incrimination.
In the Civil War it was refined further,
above States, not of them,
applied to all regardless of skin color.

It will preserve us always from the sea of enemies,
foreign and domestic, which stands against us.

We believe in the separation of powers, the Supreme court,
the representative legislature and the executive arm,
which proceed from the Holy Constitution.

Together with the Constitution they guarantee divided
government, and this is a feature, not a bug.

We believe in an immutable electoral system, unrepresentative
and slow, which shall elect the two houses of the legislature.
A different strange system shall elect the President, and through
him alone Supreme Court judges shall be appointed.

We believe that without these arcane rules no nation can be civilized,
and to those foreigners who diss our Holy Government we say:

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Amen.

#33 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 09:06 AM:

A Methodist. I knew it.

"Shortly after you (whichever you are) were born, your father the King abandoned the creed of his ancestors, and became a Wesleyan Methodist - of the most bigoted and persecuting type. The Grand Inquisitor, determined that the innovation should not be perpetuated in Barataria, had you (whichever you are) stolen away to Venice. Six months ago, the Methodist monarch and all his Wesleyan court were killed in an insurrection, and we have come to hail you (whichever you are) as King of Barataria."

Which, by an easy process of association, brings me to

In enterprise of Vietnam
When there was any fighting
He flew (or not) in Alabam' -
He found it less exciting.
But sending other men to war
His place was at the fore-o
That easy-going, steady-handed, well-connected chickenhawk
The Duke of Plaza-Toro.

I'd go on, but I have proofs to read, and it's just too depressing anyway, even with the Atlantic in the way.

#34 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 09:44 AM:

I have taken the Credo game out of the cupboard and put it in the pile of things going to Arizona. (This is a bigger pile than it would be if I were flying, not because of lack of weight limits on trains, but because being on a train for a week in itself requires some impedimenta. However, I am not going to play Credo with chance-met American strangers on the train.)

#35 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 10:00 AM:

Does the Americanist Heresy win any awards as the silliest heresy? Is there a more general Nationalist Heresy? It seems to me that a lot of people push the idea that loyalty to one's country (usually interpreted as obediance to one's government) is the most important thing.

#36 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 12:00 PM:

The heart of the Americanist heresy isn't the belief that loyalty to one's country trumps all; it's the belief that America is uniquely blessed and favored of God, and has some kind of divine destiny not given to other nations. This goes back to the earliest Puritan settlers identifying themselves with the Children of Israel, and America with the Promised Land.

This is why you get certain lowbrow American religionists interpreting reverses abroad and at home as evidence that we've been sinful.

#37 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 12:03 PM:

Jo, I'd be interested ...

#38 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 12:53 PM:

The Americanist heresy also made me think of Bismarck's line - "God protects fools, little children, and the United States of America." (I think I have that right.)

#39 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 01:03 PM:

For instance, it seemed to me that there’s a tendency for groups that decide they’re in a permanent state of divine illumination, guided constantly by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, to go on to believe that they no longer have to observe any external religious practices, and from there go on to the belief that they can perform very naughty acts without actually sinning. Not that I’m naming any names.

Antinomianism! I know that one.

And while I’m not naming any names either, if you haven’t read Jeffrey Sharlet’s Harper’s article, “Jesus Plus Nothing,” you should.

#40 ::: Stuart ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 01:35 PM:

To understand the beliefs of George Bush I recommend that you read Harold Bloom's The American Religion. In it he argues that America has created for itself a particular strain of Gnosticism.

George's claim of trusting his instinct or guts is an appeal to Gnosis. He is not any kind of Methodist that John Wesley would recognize but I have met many Methodists and Baptists who share his beliefs.

#41 ::: Hal ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 02:44 PM:

Since there seem to be many people here who know more about religion than I, I would like to ask a question:

A friend asserted that George W. Bush "isn't a real Christian" because (among other things) he doesn't perform any good works. I said that I thought the doctrine of good works (if I am phrasing it correctly) was true for Catholics but many Protestant denominations don't recognize it or emphasize it. He replied that it is universal to the Christian faith.

Does anyone know which is correct?

I should probably mention that I am not implying anything about the president, nor am I trolling. We're just a couple of knuckleheads looking for answers (Googling has been inconclusive so far, but I may not be asking the right question).

#42 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 02:45 PM:

The term "self-inflicted" Catholic occurred to me because I have always had problems with the term "convert", and the hyper-catholic image that converts usually have. Marilee and I didn't convert from one religion to another; we were Christians before and after the move and made the change because we discovered that we had been Catholics for years without realizing it. It also captures the feeling of bemusement one has some days reading the news -- "Remind me of why we did this, I forget . . ."

Teresa, master catechist roles and requirements vary by diocese. A basic, or parish, catechist is certified by either the diocese or a parish director of religious education (the dreaded DRE) after maybe 8-12 hours of classes. These mainly cover process and legal issues, basically how to be a religion teacher without getting the parish into too much trouble. A basic catechist will lead fairly basic classes working with prepared materials, under supervision (one hopes). It's a bit better than the usual volunteer who got dragooned into teaching by the DRE.

A master catechist is generally someone with experience in teaching, who goes through anywere from 50 of classroom time to a masters degree. In my case it is several hundred hours in scripture, theology, liturgics, psychology, and ministry along with a mid-sized stack of books and a couple of retreats, followed by some supervised practice and review. Some dioceses have one or more steps between basic and master. With all this, a certificate from the bishop, and a couple of dollars cash money you can buy a big latte at Starbucks.

Master catechists generally run programs, train other catechists, work as (often unpaid) parish DRE's, and act as local consultants on religious education issues. I'm doing it in support of the work my wife and I do in detention facilities.

And I refer all questions about Greek to whoever out there really understands it.

#43 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 02:55 PM:

Time for a game of Credo.

Drat. You beat me to it.

I am pleased as punch that there is a specific Americanist heresy.

#44 ::: Neil Rest ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 03:00 PM:

Bibliolatry, Symbolism, Sacrilege, Schism, Pelagianism, Abandonment of the Apostolic Succession of Bishops, Dishonoring the Mother of God, and Denial of the teaching authority of the Church, with possible additional charges of Donatism, Hussism, and Jansenism

WOW!! And here I thought they were just antinomians!

#45 ::: Nick Brooke ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 03:56 PM:

Hal asks about whether you can achieve salvation by faith or by good works. An Anglican vicar I know answered this question, "Yes." Which I thought rather neat.

Try googling on these four words: salvation faith "good works". I guarantee you'll find plenty of directly relevant discussion, which suggests the issue isn't as cut'n'dried as your friend thought. The always-amusing Jack Chick (www.chick.org) seems to have it in for good works... which is probably why he never perpetrates any.

(If you missed last year's Cthulhu Chick Tract, catch it here now).

#46 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 04:07 PM:

From a friend of the family's blog. It's the post marked "Who knew there were so many Modern Major General parodies?":

Scene: a horde of heretics have descended on a cloud of converts, and
are halted only by the approach of...well, you'll just have to imagine the
musical background yourself.

Heretics:
For he is a Presbyterian!


Converts:
He is! Hurrah for the Presbyterian!

Presbyterian:
And it is, it is a glorious thing to be a Presbyterian!

Converts:
It is! Hurrah for the Presbyterian! Hurrah for the Presbyterian!

Presbyterian:
I am the very model of a modern Presbyterian,
I've information venerable, ancient, and sectarian,
I know that some have tried to make me turn Episcopalian,
But I find their theology is altogether alien...

I'm very well acquainted too with matters theological,
I even try to tease out passages deemed paradoxical,
I may not cross the Baptists on some matters theoretical,
But I need not share their fear of all substances intoxical!

Converts and Heretics:
But I need not share their fear of all substances intoxical,
But I need not share their fear of all substances intoxical,
But I need not share their fear of all substances intoxi-toxical!

And it continues. :o)

#47 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 04:38 PM:

Antinomianism is the heresy that states that since good works do not aid a soul's salvation, evil works do not hinder it.

But be that as it may.

Whether John Kerry is a good Catholic or not, I'm not prepared to answer. I don't claim to be a particularly good Catholic myself. But I will say that while Kerry may be a bad Catholic, a Protestant cannot be a good one. See, for example, this (Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 2004), which clearly identifies Protestantism as a heresy.


Bush & Cheney: Bad Catholics for Bad Times

#48 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 07:10 PM:

Not my time period, but if it's pisteuomen then it's the plural form (we believe). The reasons for the plural isn't my field.

Teresa, I can't believe you haven't learned Greek. It's the only language with a middle voice. Very cool.

#49 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 07:21 PM:

Elizabeth, my education was a little patchy. Long story. I'll go to my grave not understanding the aorist.

#50 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 07:47 PM:

Dan Lewis: I'll have to send that to my sister who is now a Presbyterian.

We were brought up Methodist.

I attended a Christian (Church of Christ) Church while in college. One of the reasons I left was because I was discovering that I thought of myself as a Catholic, specifically a post-Vatican II one. I made my first (official, at least) communion in 1976. I don't consider myself a "self-inflicted" Catholic. And the conversion was gradual, over several years. As was my "falling away", for that matter.

Still, I have always had the sense of the Catholic Church as the "home" in Robert Frost's poem, where "when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

Another reason I left the Christian Church, though, was because I kept getting into arguments with the minister over things like ordination of women and what sounds suspiciously like TNH's definition of the Americanist heresy.

There's an article in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about whether Catholics' decisions on how to vote should "be reduced to the single issue of abortion".

I have some other citations from Catholic publications like America and National Catholic Reporter on this, but don't have time to look them up now (it's closing time at the library).

Suffice it to note that no less an authority than Cardinal Ratzinger has apparently said that:

a Catholic who deliberately voted for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's pro-abortion (or pro-euthanasia) stand would be guilty of "formal cooperation in evil" and should exclude himself from receiving Communion.

Second, when a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered "remote material cooperation," which is "permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

#51 ::: james ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 08:47 PM:

Yes, pisteuomen is the plural -- and it's plural because it reflects the Fathers of the Council, and every one else, sying it after, speaking together corporately as the Church. By contrast, the Apostles' Creed is a baptismal creed and is said by the individual in its original context.

The middle voice is usually the same in form as the passive voice; the Latin deponent verbs have largely the same function (they frequently correspond directly to verbs usually used in the middle form in the Greek), and may be derived from middle rather than passive voice.

The aorist is straightforward enough -- as long as you remember that it has two different significations (tense and aspect) originally derived from one root but having diverged considerably even by classical times. Although aspect is probably, I understand, older than tense, it's dropped out of many IE languages, so that most of us run into it (if at all) only in Greek and Hebrew (since the semitic languages have aspect but not much in the way of tense).

James (MacDonald): a Protestant cannot be a good Catholic if he is informed, but may be counted as one (in the end), more or less, if he has invincible ignorance. I think that this is a real possibility in Bush's case.

#52 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 10:11 PM:

Antinomianism weirds me out. Origenism, on the other hand...

#53 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 11:49 PM:

Niall--HOOT!

The Ratz allows single-issue voting? (Pause to check the contents of my head.) M'gawd, I actually agree with the man on something.

#54 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 11:50 PM:

um, correction...

The Ratz allows voting on the basis of a candidates overall platform? (Pause to check the contents of my head.) M'gawd, I actually agree with the man on something.

#55 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 11:55 PM:

Mind you, according to father-of-the-church Tertullian, who was more hardline than that wimpy unable-to-be-father-of-the-church Origen, both candidates are heretical simply because both are cleanshaven. If God wanted you smooth, Tertullian said, he would have arranged it so, and razors were plainly attempts to thwart his will.
And I'm sure Pat Robertson would second Tertullian's claim that the greatest pleasure of the blessed in heaven is the sight of the writhing of the damned down below.

#56 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 12:43 AM:

Teresa, I can't believe you haven't learned Greek

You bring back a fond memory of my first-year Classics teacher, whose lectures on The Iliad and The Odyssey included explanations of subtext lost in the translation to English. During one lecture, when struggling to explain the flirtatious and sexually-charged subtext in the conversation between Circe and Odysseus, he finally threw his hands up and cried "Oh, DO learn Greek! Before it's too late!"

I went off and learned Akkadian (badly) and Ancient Hebrew (moderately well), so I'm no good. But still.

#57 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 02:54 AM:

I've been studying Latin in recent years, and I will get around to studying Greek before I die.

#58 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:51 AM:

David writes:
I will get around to studying Greek before I die

Necesse est ad urbem redire.

#59 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 06:52 AM:

This thread is starting to remind me of a "Whose Line is it Anyway?" episode I saw a few days ago. Stephen Fry was on, and the show started with the "questions only" game, set in ancient Rome. He almost bowled Josie Lawrence out immediately by asking her a question in Latin.

Trooper that she is, she recovered nicely.

#60 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 02:38 PM:

Hey, I'm not even Catholic (or Christian), and I bet I could recite the whole Credo in Latin. Maybe spell it right, too. Only trouble is, I have to sing it...and the tenor part of a Mozart mass sounds funny by itself.

I can do big chunks of the Requiem the same way. They're a little more current because I've been setting them (on and off). In particular, since 9/11 the phrase 'solvet saeclum in favilla' has been playing in my head over and over. Not all the time, just episodically, like a migraine.

I have a gorgeous little (simple, singable) setting of the Ave Maria in my head, just waiting for me to get to my Finale screen and put it on paper -- or into electrons, I guess. But the Ave has very few words and was real easy to memorize.

The fact that even the man whom gay activists call "Cardinal Rat" says Kerry isn't a heretic is pretty telling.

james, the aorist exists in Old Church Slavic, and aspect exists in modern Russian -- and in some dialects of English. Not the standard ones, which are poorer for it IMO. For example, if someone says "She in the hospital," that refers to her present condition, whereas if s/he says "She be in the hospital," that refers a condition repeated so often as to be habitual.

Similarly, a coworker of mine once referred to a street in the financial district (NYC) "where they be putting up ropes to keep people from blowing into the water" -- and yes, the wind really does get that strong down there in the winter. She was very clearly referring to a repeated action, not something that had occurred on a single occasion.

I'm in the (very slow) process of learning Ancient Egyptian. Plays to my weaknesses -- mostly vocabulary -- and neutralizes my strengths (pronunciation, since there is none). Smart, huh?

Claude, if you become a Director of Religious Education, and you have a doctorate, does that make you Dr. DRE? Will you start a feud with Master Catechists on the opposite coast?

#61 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 05:28 PM:

Since we've already wandered away from the original topic here, I will take advantage of the opportunity to mention something I found out over at Wikipedia, when I went to check on a dead king. Today is the anniversary of the day the Millerites found out William Miller was wrong about the time of the Last Judgement. Wikipedia has a good piece on the Millerites and what they call the Great Disappointment, for those interested in such things.

#62 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 06:13 PM:

Sedani ditsadlosv nigesvna yigi kohi iga, eliquu itsulaha yisdai. (Cherokee)

If you haven't been confronted by Satan today, it's possible you two are walking in the same direction.

#63 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 09:02 AM:

in case anyone missed this, Pete the Dark Reverend (he's an atheist, but the mail-order Divinity degree was too much to pass up) has discovered a site with proof that UFO abductions are actually caused by the Nephilim returning to breed up new armies of immortal mutant warriors by impregnating human women.

Best comment is Ted's:
Pete you're just mad because the fallen angel mutant warrior guys are getting more action than you.

At least they haven't started saying that THK actually turns into a giant leopard at night and roams the streets of the city looking for lost children to carry off...

#64 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 01:10 PM:

Claude, if you become a Director of Religious Education, and you have a doctorate, does that make you Dr. DRE? Will you start a feud with Master Catechists on the opposite coast?

It would certainly be a very traditional thing to do. (I'm amused, sometimes, by how much the history of the early church seems like a series of long-running fanfeuds conducted in very slow-moving letterzines.)

#65 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 04:57 PM:

Claude, if you become a Director of Religious Education, and you have a doctorate, does that make you Dr. DRE? Will you start a feud with Master Catechists on the opposite coast?

Xopher, I managed to not dump my coffee on my laptop, but it was close. Perfect.

#66 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 07:40 PM:

Russian still has aspect, and very little tense structure.

Which is one of the hardships for English speakers, acquiring it late in life.

TK

#67 ::: Jason Kuznicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 08:07 PM:

Brad de Long wrote, "Antinomianism weirds me out. Origenism, on the other hand..."

You mean Origen, who removed his own testicles rather than face the temptation of lust? Yikes.

#68 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 12:05 AM:

Origen did say later that he thought that had been a mistake.

#69 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 12:40 AM:

There's very little of Origen's original writing around. Most of what we have is his friends quoting the good bits in their letters, and his enemies quoting other good bits in their letters.

#70 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 01:50 AM:


Debra Doyle wrote,

Claude, if you become a Director of Religious Education, and you have a doctorate, does that make you Dr. DRE? Will you start a feud with Master Catechists on the opposite coast?

It would certainly be a very traditional thing to do. (I'm amused, sometimes, by how much the history of the early church seems like a series of long-running fanfeuds conducted in very slow-moving letterzines.)

Vaster than empires and more slow?

---------------------------

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 02:38 PM:
Hey, I'm not even Catholic (or Christian), and I bet I could recite the whole Credo in Latin. Maybe spell it right, too. Only trouble is, I have to sing it...and the tenor part of a Mozart mass sounds funny by itself

And now I'm being earwormed by Scheidt's Missa in A Flat which I sang one of the eight parts of, in a chorus under MIT's "Little Dome" in the Building 7 Lobby. The resonance was incredible.... Deum vestrum.... Et dum assumptus fuero a vobis mitam vobis spiritum veritatis...

There are MUCH worse things to be earwormed by!

#71 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 10:18 AM:

JDM: There's very little of Origen's original writing around. Most of what we have is his friends quoting the good bits in their letters, and his enemies quoting other good bits in their letters.

In other words, Origen's good bits themselves are missing, but other people talked about them all the time?

I guess that fits.

#72 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 11:02 AM:

Claude, I chortle in fiendish glee.

Paula, I agree on earworms. But I don't recognize that text. What section is it from? (I thought I knew the whole Mass, at least at recognition level.)

#73 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 11:06 AM:

I was transcribing from memory only there. I think the thing starts out, "Ascendo ad patrem...."

I am not really otherwise exactly familiar with Latin masses, other than having sung that piece Long Ago.

#74 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 11:29 AM:

There's very little of Origen's original writing around. Most of what we have is his friends quoting the good bits in their letters, and his enemies quoting other good bits in their letters.

Sort of like having nothing left of one's apazines except other people's letters of comment.

#75 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 11:43 AM:

This may be old news to everyone here, but having only recently discovered that the jokes about the lunar landings being faked on a soundstage aren't jokes to Fox News [sic] viewers, and struggled to assmilate this interesting insight into my fellow Americans' minds, after which all the good stuff about Dinosaurs & Cavemen is kind of icing on the cake, I've just found that the anti-Copernican Catholics are alive and well.

#76 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 06:30 PM:

Teresa, I can't believe you haven't learned Greek. It's the only language with a middle voice.

Oh, it is not. Plenty of other languages with a middle voice. Icelandic, for one. And, um, (looks at the examples in Payne's Describing Morphosyntax) various Mayan and Cariban langages, among others.

(Admittedly, there's a certain degree of disagreement among linguists as to what qualifies as middle.)

#77 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 11:38 PM:

Plenty of other languages with a middle voice. Icelandic, for one. And, um, (looks at the examples in Payne's Describing Morphosyntax) various Mayan and Cariban langages, among others.

(Admittedly, there's a certain degree of disagreement among linguists as to what qualifies as middle.)

Heck, in my classes we were always told that English had a middle voice, as seen in sentences like "This car drives easily". A quick literature search seems to support that usage, so I'm not just misremembering the reading.

Now, I don't know anything substantive about Greek or Icelandic or Sanskrit, so "middle voice" may mean something different for those languages than it does for English. But unless you're using a technical definition which excludes the English middle (I want to make a bad logical fallacy pun here, but I'm too tired), middle constructions don't seem to be all that rare.

#78 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 02:45 PM:

To all on here:

Has anyone (Catholics only) ever attended a TLM (Traditional Latin Mass)??

Let's skip the comparative religion; this is a really good post/chat place/whatever it's called (It's making me laugh; and it's a rare thing that can do that)...and maybe all we Catholics should branch out and make our own post here?? Email me if any ideas; subject line: CATHOLIC discussions

#79 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 02:56 PM:

NICENE CREDO, typed from MEMORY:

Credo in Unum Deum, Patrem Omnipotentem, Factorem Caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium: et invisibilium. Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum: Filium Dei Unigenitum: et ex Patre natum, ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo: lumen de lumine: Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum, non factum: consubstantialem Patri, per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines: et propter nostrem salutem: descendit de caeli.
ET INCARNATUS EST DE SPIRITU SANCTO: EX MARIA VIRGINE, ET HOMO FACTUS EST.
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis: sub Pontio Pilato: passus et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in caelum: sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria: judicare vivos et mortuos: cujus regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum: Dominum, et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patri et Filio, simul adoratur: et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per Prophetas.
Et in unum, sanctam, catholicam, et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum: et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.

Now, while I did type this from memory & I'm only 17, I've been attending Sung Latin Masses weekly for 5 1/2 years; so...hearing the tune really helps; plus I have my own missal; plus, I kind of "sang" it in my head.

#80 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 10:46 AM:

Has anyone (Catholics only) ever attended a TLM (Traditional Latin Mass)??

Sure did. When I was growing up that's all there was.

#81 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 11:04 AM:

Emily #79: Anthropologists believe that's what (or part of what) singing was invented for. Your memory matches mine (I sang Mozart masses in HS and still remember the tenor parts from all of them). You misspelled 'expecto' and some of your punctuation strikes me as odd, but other than that...there you have it.

Now, can you remember the entire Requiem mass text? I only get lost in the Introit, because there are bits of text the tenors don't sing (in the Mozart)!

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