Sunday, March 09, 2008

Pope cracks down on feminist theology

One of the things Cranmer likes about His (present) Holiness is that one is never left in any doubt about what he believes. He has spoken out clearly on such matters as Protestantism, global warming, homosexuality, gay marriage, Islam, and Cranmer is left in no doubt that he belongs to a deficient ‘ecclesial community’. But now Pope Benedict XVI has spoken to the advocates of feminism by ruling that God must always be recognised as ‘Our Father’.

Well, Cranmer agrees with this, and while he has never heard any Roman Catholic refer to God as ‘Our Mother’, it is evident that the feminist nuns and deviant priests who have populated the Roman Catholic seminaries over recent decades have been infected with some extreme Protestant tendencies, favouring liturgies with gender-neutral phrases.

Pope Benedict XVI has long opposed feminism. In his book, The Ratzinger Report, he wrote: ‘I am, in fact, convinced that what feminism promotes in its radical form is no longer the Christianity that we know; it is another religion.’ This has led some of the liberal persuasion to state quite clearly that Benedict ‘is not our Pope’.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and readers of The Tablet may sympathise.

But His Holiness has clarified that anyone baptised with the terms ‘Creator’, ‘Redeemer’, and ‘Sanctifier’ will need to be re-baptised using the traditional ‘Father, Son and Holy Ghost’, even though the Father is manifestly creator, the Son is redeemer, and the Holy Ghost the sanctifier. While Cranmer has little time for the new formula, he is intrigued by this papal directive which is not so much an attack on feminist symbolism but upon Protestant baptism.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that when absolutely necessary even a non-Christian can validly baptise. It is very unlikely that a non-Christian could have a correct understanding and belief regarding the effects of the sacrament of baptism, and yet the Church still maintains that non-Christians can validly baptise. If a non-Christian who lacks proper faith in the Church's doctrine of baptism can baptise in an emergency, how could (say) a Baptist believer in the Trinity not be able to validly baptise? Unless and until the Church rules that Baptist Trinitarian baptisms are invalid, there is no reason to conclude that Baptist baptisms are invalid.

Canon 869 provides that conditional baptism should be administered to a non-Catholic Christian only if doubt remains ‘after serious investigation’. Privately coming to the conclusion that one's baptism could not be valid is manifestly not a ‘serious investigation’, which must involve the Church and her ordained ministers who have been given the grace to conduct such investigations and make a determination of validity.

For a valid baptism, it is necessary to have valid matter, valid form, and proper intent. One does not need a proper understanding of Roman Catholic sacramental theology. One simply requires the intention to baptise, after which ‘ecclesia supplet’. Otherwise the Church would have been in grievous error for the past 2,000.

It is the plainest teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that if someone is validly baptised, even illicitly, then baptism must not be repeated. To insist on baptising the validly baptised does indeed constitute Anabaptism, which is deemed a heresy. And if it were beneficial to re-baptise someone who does not need to be baptised, then the Roman Catholic Church would not have a law forbidding re-baptism. If someone is already baptised, then a re-baptism is not a baptism at all: there is no sacrament being celebrated, and so no actual graces to be received from the celebration of a valid and licit sacrament. Those graces would be received through the celebration of Confirmation.


Anonymous Bob said...

I am not sure what you mean when you say that this is an "attack...upon Protesatant Baptism"

The Church believes that anyone baptised "in the name of the Father, and [etc]" is validly baptised. Any other formula renders the baptism invalid.

This is not just a Vatican decision, it is also a rule agreed upon by all the major Christian churches. One of the reasons for the crack-down indeed is that all these churches have agreed to use the same formula so that they can be sure of each other's baptisms.

9 March 2008 at 09:34  
Anonymous Julian said...

I was baptised by immersion - a Baptist - as a teenager, but when I converted my priest insisted upon conditional baptism. Even though I was "baptised" in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, it was only a "witness" - I can't be assured that the "intent to do as the church does" was present in the presiding "minister" because he didn't believe in the baptismal remission of sin or that baptism is necessary to salvation.

All Protestants should therefore be baptized upon conversion because it is a first baptism - the other was not a baptism. This is the belief of all the Catholic priests I have met.

9 March 2008 at 09:52  
Anonymous Bob said...

I'm sorry Julian: this might well be the belief of any Catholic priests you have met, but it is not the belief of the Catholic Church. The 1995 document on ecumenism is quite clear.

Section 95a "Baptism by immersion, or by pouring, together with the Trinitarian formula is, of itself, valid. Therefore, if the rituals, liturgical books or established customs of a Church or ecclesial Community prescribe either of these ways of baptism, the sacrament is to be considered valid unless there are serious reasons for doubting that the minister has observed the regulations of hisher own Community or Church."

95 b "The minister's insufficient faith concerning baptism never of itself makes baptism invalid."

9 March 2008 at 11:01  
Blogger Cranmer said...

I am not sure what you mean when you say that this is an "attack...upon Protesatant Baptism"

Mr Bob,

It would appear that the principal contention is that some 'liberal' seminaries have been developing/adopting liturgies with which the Magisterium has concerns. Such evolution of liturgy has been in the 'spirit' of Protestantism, and it is that to which His Grace refers. While The Telegraph link portrays a papal concern with feminism, it must be observed that there is nothing particularly gender-neutral about 'creator, redeemer and sanctifier', if only because, to the Christian, the words are synonymous with 'Father, Son and Holy Ghost'.

Mr Julian,

While Mr Bob is undoubtedly correct to quote the letter of the law, you are right to point out that that much of the practice is at variance with it, indeed, in opposition to it.

9 March 2008 at 11:12  
Blogger mongoose said...

Silly club rules, Your Grace. This is what got you into trouble in the first place.

9 March 2008 at 13:10  
Anonymous Bob said...

Your Grace,
Mr Bob is actually Father Bob (although obviously not my real name, I am a real Catholic priest in Scotland). What Mr Julian says may well be true, but i can assure you that I know of no priests in Scotland who would conditionally baptise on a general basis.

9 March 2008 at 15:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very happy to hear that His Holiness has done this now. The Hope that all these Nuns in the Saginaw Diocese will leave those Administrators positions to return to the classrooms of the Nation. Most of all get all those Nuns out the Chancery offices too.

9 March 2008 at 15:18  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Fr Bob,

You have been a communicant upon His Grace's august blog for such a long time (and a most welcome one at that), and yet you have never sought to correct him on your form of address.

He is more than content to refer to you henceforth as Father Bob, and is enlightened to know that you belong to the O'Brien flock and not that of Murphy-O'Connor.

9 March 2008 at 15:28  
Anonymous paul maurice martin said...

I agree, we need much more of that old time religion:

“And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father--the one in heaven.” Mat 23:9.

I wonder why the Pope doesn't make an issue out of that one; but it's probably next on his agenda, right after he finishes up with feminism. I know the whole point is to get back to what the Bible actually says...

9 March 2008 at 15:33  
Anonymous Fr Bob said...

Your Grace is too kind!

In practical steps like this we can work to the unity for which Your Grace and Your Soverign Lady Queen Mary the First prayed so frevently, with burning desire, one might say...

9 March 2008 at 16:02  
Blogger Bob said...

Just to inform you +Cranmer that there are two Bob's posting on your august blog, who coincidentally are both Catholic and both priests, although I am in Ireland and therefore of the Brady flock, as you might put it.

In relation to the terms Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, as far as I'm aware, part of Pope Benedict's concern is that using such terms actually confuse the Persons of the Trinity and make their relationships to each other indistinct. Pope Benedict is simply trying to steer the Church clear of Modalism.

9 March 2008 at 16:15  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Welcome Father Bobs all.

While there exists an abundance of Bobs, His Grace laments the intermittence of Miss Jelly Bean, the leaving of Mr Colin, and the total absence of Mr Voyager.

Perhaps this is a good time to remember the departed.

9 March 2008 at 16:47  
Blogger Bob said...

Perhaps an ecumenical service of remembrance could be arranged...

9 March 2008 at 17:05  
Blogger the doctor said...

Your Grace , am I correct in thinking that , if the Pope is right , then John's baptism of Jesus at the river Jordan would be invalid ? What would the consequences of this be since Trinitarian concepts were not developed at that time .

9 March 2008 at 17:34  
Blogger Fr. Gregory Jensen said...

Your Grace,

The terms "Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier," are not the revealed Names of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity. They refer not to Persons of the Holy Trinity, but to the shared actions of all Three.

For example, St Irenaeus writes that the Father creates the Heavens and the Earth with the Son and the Holy Spirit as His left and right hands.

Likewise, redemption and sanctification are not accomplished by only one Person of the Trinity, but by the cooperative action of all.

The Doctor,

With respect--you seem to confuse the sacrament of baptism, which is for salvation, with the baptism of John in the Jordan which is for repentance. So the recent statement by the Church of Rome has no bearing on the ministry of St John the Baptist.

Finally, the concern, or so it seems to me as a sympathetic outsider (I am an Orthodox priest) is not, at least directly, liberal Protestant theology. It is rather, two fold.

The theological, dare I say dogmatic, concern here is not with matter Protestant theology per se, but with orthodox Trinitarian theology.

Pastorally the concern with negligent Catholic priests who have decided to pander to the spirits of this age rather then communicate the "faith delivered once and for all to the saints."

+Fr Gregory

9 March 2008 at 17:55  
Anonymous The recusant said...

What a red letter day for we Papists, Twobob for the price of one and each Roman Priests, would your Grace also welcome the news that the Vatican has unveiled the 2008 edition of the Church's statistical yearbook, showing a 1.4% rise in the world's Catholic population. That up from 1.115 billion to 1.131 billion between 2005 and 2006, though sadly not in the west.

It would be nice to hear Mr Voyager once again.

Now how to tell the difference, would that be Celtic Fr Bob or Gaelic Fr Bob or Hibernian Fr Bob, perhaps Brady Fr Bob and O'Brien Fr Bob is best. Thai has cheered me up no end.

9 March 2008 at 18:01  
Anonymous OLSP said...

To avoid Bob based confusion, and being the later Bob, I had better change my nom-de-net from Bob (Scottish) to OLSP - perhaps saving confusion.

9 March 2008 at 19:16  
Blogger Ttony said...

It's great, this. A couple more Bobs and we'll find that Cranmer, Ian Dale, and the odd Presbyterian, are the only visitors to this blog who aren't Catholics!

9 March 2008 at 19:26  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Ttony,

His Grace is Catholic and always has been, and what is more, he believes fervently in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, considering himself a full member thereof, as is the Church of England.

9 March 2008 at 19:39  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
a little known fact to the outsider is that the C of E in its creed is recited as the catholic church . most people do not realise that catholic means in one church of god and christ (please forgive any exact misunderstanding)

The baptism is not the same as taking a shower , it is to see the christ/god and enter into his authority . when john baptised the christ (and all the others that followed him) he was not doing it according to roman catholic or cannon directive. water especially in the setting of the desert is both precious and vital to life. This invitaion to be submerged in somthing life giving and also to dispense with the ways of life that lead to death is the personal commitment and a personal direction of love to the father . the holy spirit was given at pentecost. I have seen all to many learned religous scholars argue stubbornly about wether one form of baptism is more relevent than the other .
at the risk of causing a church discussion , i note that there are no references to the christ conducting baptisms ??

If only john the baptist had left writings the understanding could be known .

as for feminism being a religion , i am reminded of how when one analyizes a bad marriage , it appears that the divorce lawyers can increase there bill , when a woman is portrayed as being repressed by her husband or when a husband has failed to provide for her needs. it would appear that feminism is a much appreciated boost to the lawyers religion of fees , rather than the education of the ignorant male.

9 March 2008 at 21:23  
Anonymous Marcus said...

Your Grace, I think Fr Gregory Jenson puts it well - the issue here isn't really Protestant vs. Roman Catholic, it's actually about heresy.

By invoking the Trinity as "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier" one slips into a number of dangerous heresies which all mainstream churches would abhor.

It is dodgy either by applying to only one person of the Trinity attributes and actions which the others share in (creation being the obvious one: see John 1:3) or you slip into Modalism, where the different names of the trinity merely reflect the different actions of the One God.

Either way, hopefully this ruling by the Pope will put an end to such dodgy baptisms in the English church as well...

10 March 2008 at 13:41  
Anonymous tiberswimmer said...

It's quite simple,really. The question is not whether your Grace believes himself to be a full member of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church but rather whether the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church herself believes your Grace (and the Church of England) so to be. On this point Pope Benedict could hardly be any clearer.

12 March 2008 at 11:23  

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