I'm in the process of transferring a lot of my notes, so bear with me:
It's been quite some time since I've written anything to the Protestants. But they have entered into my mind once again, with their assertions that the Catholic religion is superfluous to Christianity. I am convinced that the majority of those who hold this opinion have never given any real thought to the matter. So, being willing and quite able to supply, I figured that I would do through exercise of reason what they have lost the ability to do by the atrophy thereof, namely, reason. Let it be noted that this is a general reply to certain assertions made by Protestants. I'll just begin...
The Protestants claim that Catholicism is superfluous to Christianity; they do this through a number of stock charges, all of which are fallacious, the majority of which are strawmen. But that is neither here nor there. I do not feel compelled to defend the Church; I've see enough feeble assaults against it by Protestants to convince me that it is in fact unassailable. I am much more interested in what the Protestants who make this argument think they know.
If the Catholic religion is a superfluity, if it is a body of man-made traditions, doctrines, and dogmas unnecessary to salvation and a proper Christian faith and they claim to have discovered this, then, it follows that they must know what is essential to the Christian faith. In fact, I don't think that there is any danger in me saying that Protestants must imagine that they are bare essential Christians.
If I was to ask them what things are essential to the Christian faith, what can we imagine them to say? I suppose that they would say several things are necessary: faith in salvation through Jesus Christ, the bible, the Holy Spirit. Further, if I were to then ask them which person has a purifying effect upon the people of God, I would get several different answers: the pastors, the community of believers, and the Holy Spirit.
So, here I have the Protestant faith in general which states that a biblical faith in Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation. Further, that the whole community of believers has a refining effect upon the Christian and that the Holy Spirit is his guide in all of this. Now, we have six things to examine, here, six essentials beyond which the Christian, according to the Protestant, has need of nothing.
So, let us discuss pastors in general. How are they chosen? Are they selected from seminaries or do they begin as house church leaders, or something like that; or do all of those things occur? Certainly, all of those things occur; no one would say that all Protestant pastors have seminary and likewise no one would say that none of them do. In any case, who does the selecting? The individual churches, of course, choose their pastors. In some cases, the former pastor will choose a new pastor and so on. But in the end, if the church is discontented with the pastor, whether he has seminary or not they will eject him from their employ. And if the people do not have the power to eject him they will leave and go to another Church.
So, I must ask the question again, who does the choosing? It is the people who choose. Further, having seminary might be a means of more directly gaining employment as a pastor, but it is not usually a factor in whether or not a pastor keeps his position. Ergo, if a man without seminary finds himself employed as the pastor of a protestant community, his having seminary on his resume is not going to be a factor of whether or not he remains the pastor. Therefore, there is no real advantage to seminary beyond gaining employment. What matters is the people's opinion of the man.
This I find extremely strange. When a man goes to receive his doctorate in the medical arts, he does not go before a board of nurses, but instead he goes before a board of medical doctors. Or if a person went to receive a license of any kind, don't we all know that they must receive the license from someone else so licensed? Whoever obtains a drivers license must obtain the license from someone who can drive, and whoever obtains a license for gun ownership must obtain it from someone apt in teaching the laws concerning ownership. Therefore, the person without seminary who claims themselves a pastor is like a person who claims to license themselves.
Also, if the community decides that he is to be a pastor, I find this even more strange. The ignorant are commissioning a teacher as though they are qualified to do so! A person is a teacher because they are apt in knowledge, the pupil is the pupil because he is ignorant of what the teacher teaches. If the pupil is ignorant of what he will be taught, then it follows necessarily that he is ignorant of what he needs to be taught, who knows it, and who is able to teach it. Imagine, that we took a rhetorician, whose task it is to convince through routine the ignorant of whatever he pleases, and placed him in with eight doctors. Let us further say that we placed them before a crowd of average people. Whom do you suppose the ignorant mass of people will say is the best of the doctors? It is certain they will say the man who speaks the best is the best doctor. They have no objective way of gauging the excellence of the doctors, because they are ignorant of the art. It is for the very reason of their ignorance that they need a doctor!
So, having selected the rhetorician to be their doctor, do you suppose they will enjoy many benefits because of this? Do you suppose that they will enjoy great health by him? No, they certainly will not. And so we know that not only are the people ill equipped to select good teachers for themselves because of their ignorance, but that they have even less business choosing a teacher from amongst their ignorant fellows. The person without seminary has no business in either case, whether he chooses himself or is chosen by his fellows, to be a pastor.
Now, concerning the man who has been to seminary, let us examine. If we went to a doctor and became dissatisfied with him and demanded his license to be revoked, how would we go about this? We would take him to court and lawyers would go find his peers, true doctors, and his practice would be examined. If his peers found that he was guilty of malpractice then he would surely be punished to the fullest extent possible. We would not simply strip him of his license and rights because a rabble of discontented folk, ignorant in medicine, brought an accusation against him. Never!
Likewise, if we find that a doctor is guilty of malpractice, but the patients love him and make many excuses for him will this in anyway prevent the law from delivering what it must, namely, justice? Will pathetic pleas and stories of how great and faithful a family doctor he was save him from the fact of his malpractice of medicine? No, never! He will be striped of his license and prevented from practicing medicine wherever the law can prohibit it and fines and possibly imprisonment will follow.
In this way, the doctor is aloof from the ignorance of his patients. When he is a good doctor and they are bad patients he is safe and secure in his position and they still have recourse to him because he provides to them what they cannot provide to themselves. When he is a bad doctor, the ignorant nostalgia and favoritism of his patients will not save him and he will no longer be allowed to misapply the art of medical science. The doctor is established by his peers and knowledge which no man takes away.
It should be the same with pastors. However, as our inquiry has revealed, this is not the case. Ordained ministers find themselves a congregation of one if they do not do as the ignorant require. The ordained minister is not protected from the ignorance of his people at all. He must be careful not to hurt them, even if he must; he must be careful to entertain them and conform to their expectations. If he doesn't they will abandon him or eject him from employment. If at any time they become discontented with the ordained minister, they will prefer the unordained man who knows how to tickle their ears, to him.
And how can we be sure of this? Which would children prefer, the teacher who teaches or the teacher who gives them games? The one who gives them games. And which do the children prefer to listen to, a block of instruction, or a story? A story. And which one will the people rather encounter, a police officer who is lax or one who delivers justice? The officer who is lax. And I could continue on this way, ad infinitum.
We can, therefore, confidently know which man the congregation will prefer. So, what Protestants posses is democracy, which is the worst form of government. Democracy descends into despotism, because mob always gives birth to a tyrant. Democracy always murders itself and chooses the wrong instead of the good. It is short sighted, selfish, ignorant, anarchic. In this "democratic Christianity" that Protestants possess who is in charge? Obviously, the same people who are in charge in all democracies, man in general. I can devise of no other form of government which is more dissimilar to monarchy than democracy. Where is the singular rule of Apostolic authority? Where is Christ the king? How ironic that they accuse the Catholic Church of being an organization of men, when they have democracy. Their communities simply could not be more man-made. You begin to see why I said I don't think that Protestants have given any real thought to their position on the Catholic religion.
But we should hold right here, because here we find that the Protestants have been consistent in one thing: they asserted that the whole community of faith has a refining effect on the Christian. This keeps with their democratic attitude. And I'm certain that when I said," Where is Christ the king?" some of you were saying," He is in all of us!" So, Protestants claim then, that they whole community of faith has a refining effect on the Christian. Then, you have only to shut off from the outside world and make your communities exclusive and you will be excellent. But what does history tell us about such experiments? I think that the Puritans are sufficient evidence that this is not true, witch trials and all.
Protestants claim that because they have the holy Spirit, the bible, and have Jesus in their hearts, that they all have a refining effect upon one another. But what about health, because the business of the church primarily is the health of the soul, or as the Protestants like to say, the spirit? So, what about other kinds of health? What of mental health? Do all people have a refining effect on the health of the mind, or do only some people have a positive effect on the mind? And bodily health, too; do all people have a positive effect on the health of the body, or only a few people? Obviously, only a few people do good to these and the rest do damage or nothing.
And what about people who live in houses, do they all know how to build houses because they possess them? Or people who drive cars, do they know how to make them, because they own them? Or people with tumors, do they know how to treat them because they possess them? No, only a few know how. But here, then, the Protestant stands confuted with his mouth open, because it is obvious even to children that there is no way that everyone has a refining effect, but rather that only a few have this effect. So, the democratic nature of Protestant Christianity is necessarily counter-intuitive to the end of religion, just as it would be counter-intuitive to bodily health if suddenly everyone claimed to be a surgeon.
If they understand this, why are they doing this?
"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~