More Reasons There Is No Unity With Rome

vatican.II-pic-571x320I’ve recently had conversations with several individuals who still do not believe that the differences between Rome and Protestantism are all that important. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around how someone can believe that the veneration of saints, prayer for the dead, papal infallibility, indulgences, merit, purgation, the Mass, the insufficiency of scripture (and the right of only the magisterium to interpret), prayers (that is, worship) to Mary as Mediatrix, Adovocate, and Queen of Heaven can still be considered Christianity (or at least “the same” as Protestantism), but that will not be my point here.

Instead, I want to take a different approach; here is my thesis for the remainder of this blog post–and what will subsequently be proven:

I have noticed that those “Protestants” I speak to about this issue are quite a bit more fond of Rome than they purport not to be.  That is, they seem to spend more time defending Rome’s practices for the sake of a pretended unity than actually acknowledging any differences.  In each and every case that I’ve seen–and any supporting articles they have me read–the capitulation is on the side of the “Protestants”, rather than the Romanists.

Let me give credit where credit is due: at least the Romanists have the conviction to stand by their original beliefs–sort of (not all, but most), where the “Protestants” do not.

But let’s be honest, Rome claims infallibility, therefore she will not redact her statements (including her copious anathemas of Protestant belief; that’s not to say she won’t contradict often, but that’s another post).  Which brings me to my point; Trent has not been amended or done away with (in fact, for those claiming that Vatican II did a lot to bring unity to Protestants, keep in mind that many RCs do not accept Vatican II, some go so far as the reject any Pope since; and the CCC continues to quote Trent extensively as infallible–therefore I will accept Trent’s anathemas as still binding upon the RCC).

So here is your conundrum ecumenical “Protestant”: You want unity with Rome’s gospel, and you want to find that common ground, but the deal is, if you believe in justification by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, you are anathematized by Rome.

I know how these people think though–it’s rather like nailing air to a wall–they will say, “well Trent didn’t really mean that….they meant this….” and then anachronistically import ecumenism into Trent.  But we all know what Trent was attacking, it was the very doctrines which you, as a Protestant, profess to believe and to cherish.  The doctrines that many saints before you would rather die for than compromise with Rome.  The doctrines found through Sola Scriptura, a thing made possible by those who stood up against the very things that you want to pretend are no big deal.

But let’s look at the Council of Trent again; see how many of your Protestant beliefs you are willing to surrender for the sake of “unity.”

Session Six:

Canon IX: If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

Believe in faith alone for justification?  You are anathema according to Rome.  Believe that nothing else is necessary but faith?  Again, you are anathema.

Canon XI: If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

Believe that justification is purchased solely by the work of Christ?  That nothing else is required (not charity)?  That salvation is “only the favor of God”?  You are anathema.

Canon XII: If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.

Believe justification is confidence in God’s work and mercy?  Anathema…

Canon XXXII: If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema.

Don’t believe that grace and favor are earned, and that eternal life is achieved by your merits, let you be anathema.

Session Thirteen:

Canon II: If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema.

Deny transubstantiation?  Anathema.

The point is made, and it is this:

If you want to talk about unity between Protestants and Romanists, then perhaps you ought to speak to them.  Have them explain the countless–and ludicrous–anathemas (this list does not even consider the Papal encyclicals, the other sessions of Trent, Vatican I, Vatican II, etc.).  These people who talk of unity want to make Protestants look as though we do not “truly understand the other side”, when a thorough look at the councils and Papal innovations reveals that they did not truly understand the arguments of the Reformation; and they continue to not understand them.  Which brings me to these “Protestants” who continue to defend them as though they are brothers in Christ; they reveal that they do not truly understand what originally divided us, and show that they have more concern for the feelings of others than the Gospel of Christ.

Rome has anathematized the Gospel, but it won’t anathematize their pedophiles, liberals, and abortion advocates.  Truly a tragedy.  The worse tragedy is those Protestants who defend it as though the only reason they are a Protestant is because the grass is just a tad bit greener on this side of the Tiber.




~ by TSL on June 19, 2013.

3 Responses to “More Reasons There Is No Unity With Rome”

  1. Jon,

    I fear your understanding of Catholicism is highly limited. Roman Catholicism has developed considerably since the Reformation, and, indeed, so has Protestantism. Not all RC doctrine is, in fact, infallible, and the infallibility of doctrine is even open to reflection and further development. Further, you may be surprised to learn that the RC and a major Lutheran synod have famously agreed on the faith/works issue and provided a joint document together on this topic, in which they reconcile these differences and suggest it was all just a big misunderstanding from the get-go (you can find the document here:

    All that to say, I think your attitude toward the RC is unnecessarily limited, and you would do well to read more closely a document like Vatican II. You will likely not come out a Catholic, but you’ll probably understand that your conservative sensibilities are actually far closer to the RC than you initially thought.

    • Dean,

      Read the document before, and looked at Vatican II. All it does is make me more concerned about those Protestants so willing to capitulate. Because I, for one, do not hold to a different doctrine [edit] of jusification than Luther or Calvin..but those Lutherans proved that they do (or they simply don’t think it’s too important any more).

      So thank you for your concern, but those documents have done nothing to take away Trent, or any prior Popes, so it does nothing to comfort me.

      Infallible until we say they aren’t. Interesting practice.

      • Well, what I’m suggesting is not so much that you’ve misunderstood Protestants, but that you misunderstand Catholics. Catholics, for example, simply don’t believe in works-based salvation. No Catholic would ever agree to that, and I think you have to give them the opportunity to define themselves.

        Further, I think your understanding of “infallibility” is under-researched, and you seem to be reading your assumptions about what you think that should mean into what it actually means.

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