Sunday, January 20, 2008

A plea for intelligent respect

I have received perhaps thirty emails in response to my appearance on “The Journey Home” on EWTN (1/14/08). Many were simply affirming; many others asked personal, heartfelt questions of a non-critical nature. Finally, the most recent was from someone who felt compelled to attack Catholic teaching by launching an atrocity of supposed Reformed theology against a caricature of Catholicism with quotes from the Council of Trent that were totally misunderstood.

Without going into theological details at this point, a deeper issue distresses me — the tendency of people who think they are representing Christian truth against other Christians by flying off into tirades with no effort to represent accurately the position they are attacking. Are these people (who usually claim “biblical authority”) not familiar with how the Scripture describes Satan’s tactics — sowing dissension in the Body? Is there no recognition that those who accuse and slander and sow dissension are acting according to the “flesh”?

Jesus said that the world would know we are Christians by the way we love one another. Protestants attacking Catholics (or vice versa) only furthers the cause of Hell. I am not saying there are no genuine issues; I am not pleading for a “common denominator” Christianity that minimizes the truths of “the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones.” But there is a way to discuss issues with integrity and respect, and there is enough of what orthodox believers have in common to provide a basis for intelligent dialog.

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