"You say one must philosophize. Then you must philosophize. You say one should not philosophize. Then (to prove your contention) you must philosophize. In [either] case you must philosophize."The same could be said if we replaced the word 'philosophize' with the word 'papalize'. Either we follow a magisterial authority, or we make ourselves into one. Some Protestants openly embrace the autonomy of individualism. See, for example, my discussion with "j" starting at post #61 in the combox of this article. But other Protestants recognize that individualism is a problem, and claim to reject it. In my discussion with Alastair in the combox of this article, I argue that 'papalizing' is the only alternative to individualism. Either we embrace individualism like "j", or we set up our own universal magisterium, or we submit to a magisterium with sacramental authority over the whole Church, i.e. the successor of Peter. In that way I argue there that the anti-sectarianism of catholicism (with a small 'c') is actually still individualism, only covered in the language of tradition and respect for the Church. What allows catholicism to be individualistic is its conception of the visible Church as merely the aggregate of all believers and their children. It is easy to talk about submitting one's interpretation of Scripture to the authority of "the Church" when one's conception of "the Church" (at least in its essence) is the aggregate of all believers and their children. Such an aggregate is a mere abstraction. Submitting to an abstraction means no submission at all, hence individualism.
"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)
Sunday, June 24, 2007
You say one must not papalize
Aristotle once wrote,