PART 4 - Response to Engwer on the Papacy
I ask for pardon in my delay in responding to this. Shortly after I engaged Mr. Engwer on this matter I had a pre-existing commitment to a debate on Free Will, which has recently been concluded. I now embark upon the promised response to Jason Engwer’s reply to my series of articles which were in response to his series of articles on the Papacy (whew!). Since I’ve already posted three parts on this subject, this is Part 4.
In a thread at Beggars All, I made reference to a three-part series I wrote about Augustine. That series partly addresses the issue of whether Augustine believed in the papacy, but it also addresses other subjects. Scott Windsor said he would reply to that series, but he responded to the wrong one. Instead of responding to my series on Augustine, he replied to a different series, one that's about the papacy. (Both series can be found here.) Not only is Scott misfiring, but he isn't even aiming at the right target. I've decided to respond anyway.
Engwer’s insults aside, the subject matter of the initial article on BeggarsAll was actually in response to an article on the CathApol Blog written by cathmom5 on St. Augustine’s view on sola scriptura, which St. Augustine rejected. She pondered why so many non-Catholics have “hijacked” St. Augustine as if he believed as they do - which overall, he did not. St. Augustine was a faithful Roman Catholic bishop who celebrated the Catholic Mass, upheld the Sacraments of the Catholic Church and was later named a Saint and Doctor of the Catholic Faith. While he did not always agree with the Bishop of Rome, he yielded to his authority (see an example of this in the “roma locuta est, causa finita est” saga between James White and myself).
In my series that Scott replied to, I said that different Catholics hold different views of the early history of the papacy. Near the beginning of his response to me, Scott replied:
You make vague claims about some Catholics see it this way while some others see it another way, but you don’t cite any specific groups of Catholics nor do you cite any sources.
Yet, when I cited Catholic scholars arguing for a view of the papacy different than Scott's, he made dismissive comments such as the following:
Fr. Schatz holds a view different and contrary to Vatican I, as Mr. Engwer already cited. I’m not impressed that one can find a Catholic priest who holds a liberal view on the papacy. Interestingly, in scanning for references on Fr. Schatz the only sites I found citing him were anti-Catholic sites. That should be a clue right there. But it is a common tactic for the anti-Catholic to dig up some obscure priest who goes against the grain, and then cite him as a “scholar.”...
Eno is not denying the Catholic concept of a papacy here! I realize that many Protestant apologists wish to latch on to every professing Catholic who SEEMS to support their non-contextual arguments, but to what end? I am not fully versed in Eno’s works, but I do know that some do not consider him to be “conservative enough.”...
Mr. La Due, with all due respect, is offering his opinions on the matter. I would disagree with him (and others I’m sure Mr. Engwer would like to trot out) in the statement that the “power of the keys” is “the power to bind and loose.”...
Again, this “Catholic” scholar, Robert Eno seems to be quite revisionist in his thoughts, IF this is a contextually accurate quote from The Rise of the Papacy....
It is not surprising that Kelly holds a “significantly different view” than Armstrong’s, Dave is not a revisionist liberal. I am not saying Joseph Kelly is a revisionist liberal (I am not familiar enough with his works to make such a judgment), however a quick search on Google shows that he’s quoted numerous times by non-Catholics with an anti-Catholic agenda. Now it could be that Kelly has been taken out of context and has not gone contrary to Catholicism, but without further research on Kelly himself, I cannot say for now. Suffice it to say, when a source is frequently cited by anti-Catholics, it is suspect.
Scott says that he's "not impressed that one can find a Catholic priest who holds a liberal view on the papacy", but earlier he acted as though he needed me to document that such views exist among Catholics. Why would he ask for documentation if he already knew of such Catholic sources and I went on to document examples later in my series?
It must be noted, I responded to the “series” in order, and throughout “Part 1” the ONLY reference to another “Catholic” was to Fr. Schatz. Where I made the statement of unsubstantiated assertions regarding Engwer’s pseudo-science approach of “some Catholics” vs. “some other Catholics” was well into Mr. Engwer’s opening statements and he made no supporting statements, added no names nor any links to ANY Catholics. LATER in Part 1 he does mention Fr. Schatz and then in “Part 2” others were mentioned. As one reads through my response my comments are contextually applicable.
The next criticism is that Engwer singles out liberal and perhaps even dissenting views, as if dissenters represent Catholicism and/or Catholic teaching - and just because they’ve written some books or teach somewhere they are now “Catholic scholars.” This may work if Mr. Engwer is preaching to his own choir, but the objective reader will note the criticisms made of his choice of “scholars” - and should dismiss them, just as I have.
Scott largely ignores what was said by the scholars I cited.
Yes, for these “scholars” are not ones whom represent Catholicism in a scholarly manner. They appear to be representing a liberal, revisionist agenda and thus they do not get the dignity of being even called “scholars” by me, and their propaganda is rightfully “ignored.”
In addition to making dismissive comments like the ones quoted above, he often mishandles his responses to their claims when he attempts a response. For example, I had cited Robert Eno's comment that "a plain recognition of Roman primacy or of a connection between Peter and the contemporary bishop of Rome seems remote from Origen’s thoughts" (The Rise Of The Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], p. 43). Scott then quoted four passages from Origen and commented:
So, to say that a connection between the contemporary Bishop of Rome and Peter is “remote from Origen’s thoughts” seems to be quite an irresponsible statement.
But not a single one of Scott's Origen quotes even mentions the bishop of Rome. Robert Eno wasn't being irresponsible. Scott is being irresponsible.
Well, it seems we need to look at the context of what I said AND the quotes from Origen again:
JE: Regarding Origen, the Catholic scholar Robert Eno explains that "a plain recognition of Roman primacy or of a connection between Peter and the contemporary bishop of Rome seems remote from Origen’s thoughts" (The Rise of the Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], p. 43).
sw: Again, this “Catholic” scholar, Robert Eno seems to be quite revisionist in his thoughts, IF this is a contextually accurate quote from The Rise of the Papacy. Let’s look at a few quotes from Origen, shall we?
"See what the Lord said to Peter, that great foundation of the Church, and most solid Rock, upon which Christ founded the Church ..." (Origen, In Exodus. Hom. v. . 4 tom. ii).
"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? 'Oh you of little faith,' he says, 'why do you doubt?'" [Matt. 14:31] (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).
"Upon him (Peter), as on the earth, the Church was founded." (Origen, Ep. ad. Rom. lib. v.c. 10, tom iv.)
"Peter, upon whom is built Christ's Church, against which the gates of hell will not prevail." (Origen, T. iv. In Joan. Tom. v.)The objective reader here can see the connection between contemporary claims regarding the papacy and Origen’s words! “Peter, that great foundation of the Church and most solid Rock, upon which Christ founded the Church...” is this not precisely a “contemporary connection” used commonly by Catholic apologists to this day to show Matthew 16:18-19 as evidence of the papal position of Peter? “Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church...” and “Upon him (Peter), as on the earth, the Church was founded...” and “Peter, upon whom is built Christ’s Church...” (citations above) all these point to the exact same contemporary arguments of modern Catholic apologists!
And let’s look at the quotes from St. Cyprian (a contemporary to Origen) again:
"[After quoting Matthew 16:18f; John 21:15ff]...On him [Peter] He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigned a like power to all the Apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (Cyprian, The Unity of the Catholic Church 4, c. AD 251)
“Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: “I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:18-19) Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers. Since this, then, is founded on the divine law, I marvel that some, with daring temerity, have chosen to write to me as if they wrote in the name of the Church; when the Church is established in the bishop and the clergy, and all who stand fast in the faith.” (Cyprian, Letter 33 (27), 1 To the Lapsed, c. AD 250)
They are now offering peace who have not peace themselves. They are promising to bring back and recall the lapsed into the Church, who themselves have departed from the Church. There is one God, and Christ is one, and there is one Church, and one chair founded upon the rock (Peter) by the word of the Lord. Another altar cannot be constituted nor a new priesthood be made, except the one altar and the one priesthood. Whosoever gathers elsewhere, scatters. (Letter 39.5 AD 251)
"With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal Church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source; nor did they take thought that these are Romans, whose faith was praised by the preaching Apostle, and among whom it is not possible for perfidy to have entrance." (Cyprian, Letter 59 (55), 14 to Cornelius of Rome, c. AD 252)
"There speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are secretly in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is One and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another." (Cyprian, Letter 66 (69), 8 to Florentius Pupianus, c. AD 254)I stand by what I said! Eno was not being responsible in his statements regarding the early view of the papacy. I know that I myself have echoed the each same arguments as St. Cyprian and Origen above have made - as has virtually every modern Catholic apologist. We’ve not been re-inventing the wheel here - these arguments have been part of Catholic apologetics since the dawning of the Church!
He makes the following dismissive comment about the scholars I cited:
I’m really not going to spend anymore time on these commentaries. They do not speak for the Catholic Church.
Does Scott Windsor "speak for the Catholic Church"? The Catholic clergymen and scholars I cited have held higher ranks within Catholicism than Scott ever has. And how does the fact that those scholars "do not speak for the Catholic Church" answer the historical claims they made? Does a scholar have to "speak for the Catholic Church" in order to make a correct claim or use a valid argument?
Does Scott Windsor “speak for the Catholic Church?” Well, when I speak in unison with the Fathers of the Catholic Church, yes - I do! If I speak out of harmony with the Church then I don’t! I have demonstrated that my view are in line with the Fathers AND modern (conservative) theologians. I make no bones about disagreeing with revisionists and moderninsts who dissent from the traditions which we have been taught, nor do I deny that such dissenters are out there. Face it, Mr, Engwer, you’ve trusted faulty logic and faulty research. It is my duty to expose these faults to the objective reader so that the truth can be known.
As for these “clergyman and scholar” having held “higher ranks with Catholicism than (I) ever (have),” an appeal to authority is one of the “Common Fallacies” in debate, and Mr. Engwer should be above such invalid statements. Truth is truth, regardless of the “rank” of who states it.
Scott repeatedly assumes his own interpretation of the Bible and the church fathers without arguing for it. He often does so even on disputed points and when the text neither states nor implies his conclusions. After ignoring the scholars I cited regarding Cyprian and the papacy, and after ignoring my arguments about Cyprian, he quoted some passages and asserted:
So, when we look at what St. Cyprian himself actually says, and avoid the anti-Catholic (and some modernist/liberal/revisionist Catholic) commentaries - it becomes quite clear what his position on the papacy is, and it is wholly in line with modern thinking on the papacy.
Scott doesn't give us any argument that would lead us to his conclusion about Cyprian. He ignores the counterarguments, quotes Cyprian, and assumes his own interpretation.
At this point I must simply point to the citations I made from St. Cyprian (above), especially the highlighted portions, and appeal to the reader’s objectivity. Clearly Mr. Engwer is not viewing these quotes with objectivity. Mr. Engwer complains that I ignored his arguments about (St.) Cyprian, which is not true! After reading Engwer’s arguments I went “straight to the horses mouth” and saw what St. Cyprian himself had to say on the topic! I used the words of St. Cyprian himself to answer to the folly of what Engwer quoted. Has Mr. Engwer engaged any of the citations I have provided? Has he demonstrated a different interpretation of these words without imputing or importing a revisionist bent upon them? No.
In my series on the papacy, I had cited Matthew 23:13 as an example of a passage that refers to people who have the power to open and shut or bind and loose. Scott replied:
This verse is speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees! It has nothing to do with St. Peter or the Apostles.
But a passage doesn't have to be about Peter or the apostles in order to be about the power to open and shut or bind and loose. That's why Catholics often cite Isaiah 22:22 as a passage that's relevant to our interpretation of Matthew 16, even though Isaiah 22 isn't about Peter or the apostles. If we want to know what it means for an individual to have the power to bind and loose, we don't limit ourselves to passages about the apostles.Let us look at Matthew 23:13 then and see if it has ANYTHING to do with what we’re talking about:
But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:13 NASB).The objective reader here can see that Jesus is scolding the scribes and Pharisees, but not over binding and loosing - rather the CONTEXT will reveal it is over the way they have been teaching the people of Israel - telling them how the people fail - and compares how they (the scribes and Pharisees) “clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but the inside is full of robbery and self-indulgence” (ibid. v. 25). Does Jesus leave them with just a scolding and no solution? No! In verse 26 He tells them: “first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also” (ibid. v. 26). This passage is about Jesus reprimanding them for the manner in which they abused THEIR authority.
I will break here, please continue to Part 5