The Counsel of Trent

writing is thinking

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On being elected Catholic

Yes you heard that right. Last night I was elected a Roman Catholic. Ironically (and deliciously) being elected in the Catholic Church has nothing to do with democracy (as it literally does in protestant churches. I remember being elected a Baptist: I gave my profession of faith and then the Preacher turned to the audience (that's what protestants call parishioners) and ask them to applaud if they accepted (if there is not overwhelming applause, then it goes to a secret vote, kind of like in congress (how embarrassing if the don't applaud, but more on that later)). Anyway, being "elected" means being "chosen" (from Greek eclego (sorry if you don't have a Greek font). Like in the Calvinist ***shudders*** doctrine of election - only one vote matters: God's. Well, when you go through the Rite of Election, there's only one vote that matters: the Bishop's. Now I can just hear the apoplectic shock some Protestants will go into on the parallelism between God and the Bishop, but that's just the point. That's why Bishops (and by extention Priests) are called "Vicar" in England, they are the Vicar of Christ (or the one who stands in his place, compare the doctrine of the "vicarious atonement" Jesus dieing in our place). [If the apoplexy has now shifted to the "one mediator" thing, , so this doesn't turn into a debate.] The Apostles carried the torch for Christ. Now it would be absurd (in my humble opinion) for the process to just stop there (this is what Protestants call dispensationalism, the magic cut-off line between the "Apostolic Age" and whatever today is. This is the doctrine of Apostolic Succession. It's no good appealing to the Bible for two reasons: 1. There was no authoritative canon (official list of books) for hundreds of years after the death's of the Apostles. 2. When there was such a list it came from the Bishops! Well, the long and short of it is that now I'm officially within that ancient fold of followers of Christ who trace their lineage in an unbroken chain through the Apostles to Christ Himself. It was a long time in coming (14 years from when I began study) but it feels good to be at Home in Rome.


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