Thursday, March 26, 2015

Super-Duper-Traditionalist Kevin M. Tierney's Crusade Against Catholic Answers and Catholic Apologetics Continues . . .

I've documented these sad trends and motifs in his writing before, in the following papers:

Now he's at it again, in his latest effort, directed primarily at Catholic Answers: the largest and most influential Catholic apologetics organization: responsible for many thousands of conversions to the Catholic faith and an immeasurable amount of good done, in educating Catholics and equipping them to be more informed and confident in their faith and able to share it with others. This would seem to be self-evident to anyone who knows anything at all about Catholic apologetics in the last 25 years: but alas, not to Kevin.

In a public Facebook post dated 3-24-15, Kevin wrote (words in blue throughout): 

Karl Keating says apologetics in 2015 needs to change and that they really aren't winning hearts or minds. He must really hate apologists.

Right. He is (very subtly and cleverly) spinning a piece by Karl entitled, The Apologetics of 1915 (3-23-15): as if in it (strong implication, and later more spelled-out), Karl has virtually conceded that Catholic Answers is an abject failure at what it does. Keating wrote:

It is the earliest book I know of that tries to re-think the art of apologetics to make it more accessible to the modern man. To Watkin, dry, abstract approaches used during the Victorian era no longer were serviceable. They not only weren’t winning hearts—they weren’t even winning minds. The world had changed too much for the old methods to persuade a wide enough swath of people.

Kevin engages in sophistry and interprets Karl's perfectly legitimate words about apologetics in general and makes out that they are primarily directed at his own organization: Catholic Answers. Karl Keating stated:

Drop out the names of the two London newspapers and put “Internet” and “blogs” in their places, and you have the same situation today. Whatever progress apologetics has made, we have a long way to go. 

The challenges facing apologetics in 1915 are remarkably like those facing it in 2015. Is the faith being attacked by the New Atheists? The Old Atheists of a century ago used nearly identical language. The New Atheists seem new only because everyone who knew the Old Atheists has died off. Does religion seem useless in a world of random terrorism and growing political hatreds? It seemed that way to many who found themselves living in trenches in 1915 and the years following.
. . . apologists must not become complacent, thinking that arguments that worked yesterday will work as well tomorrow. Even if problems recur from one generation to the next, or from one century to the next, answers to them need to be refreshed to take into account changing mindsets and preoccupations.

If we fail to do that, we fail.

Amen! Bravo!  This is no hand-wringing self-condemnation of Catholic Answers, but a healthy, critical self-examination of the field as a whole. Any apologist worth his salt could, would, and should say the same thing (I've certainly done so, myself, many times through the years, and can easily document it; and I don't condemn my own apologetics efforts!). 

This is simply the ongoing application of the Pauline approach of "I have become all things to all men" and Vatican II's encouragement of Catholics to express the faith in terms that contemporary man can understand. It's a burden and an obligation for both apologists and evangelists (indeed, anyone involved in Catholic education or outreach) that never goes away and is perpetually in need of renewal and reform.

Kevin was actually somewhat of a moderate in part o the discussion. Others chimed in, jumping on the curiously fashionable "anti-apologetics" bandwagon. Kevin (to his credit) mildly disagreed with (in this instance, more critical) Phillip Campbell:

Phillip Campbell: That wasn't Keating's tune back in the 1990's when he was the only game in town and made his reputation and fortune demolishing Protestant that many other people are doing better apologetics than him and his organization is losing relevance, he's all like, "Meh...apologetics isn't all that."
[Dave: um, "only game in town"? I seem to remember a guy named Scott Hahn, who emerged in the mid-80s, and another fellow named Peter Kreeft, and another named Thomas Howard . . . Good grief; by the "90s" there were many scores of published apologists doing their work. Campbell seems to have a very dim (or mythical) memory]
Kevin Tierney: Phillip I don't think its that. Times change. I think Karl realizes that. I think change is long overdue, but you're not gonna see me throw shade when someone realizes things gotta change
Phillip Campbell: Let's say Catholic Answers was still on the top of its game. Let's say - for the sake of argument - there were no serious competition to CA. Do you think he'd be saying the same thing?

Kevin Tierney: I don't really deal in what ifs, but let us suppose you are correct: and CA is calling for change because they have lost prestige and are trying something different. If what they try is a good thing, this is bad because????

Phillip Campbell: No. It's not bad. I'm not suggesting it's bad. I'm suggesting their motives are probably mixed.

Kevin Tierney: Barely anyone has 100% pure motives.

Phillip Campbell: Well, whatever. I stopped caring what Karl Keating thinks back in 2003ish.
I see. It's fascinating that Phillip ceased having any interest whatever in Karl Keating's thoughts around 2003, seeing that on 13 November 2007 on his website (where he likes to be anonymous; I won't blow his cover), he cited an entire e-letter that Keating wrote.
The thing to note, however, is that the bashing of apologetics has always been fashionable in "traditionalist" circles: not even necessarily only radical Catholic reactionary circles (Kevin and Phillip are both mainstream "traditionalists"). There seems to be a very odd relationship between "traditionalists" and the apologist community: almost akin to sibling rivalry or a love-hate / envious sort of thing. 

"Traditionalists" like to see themselves as the cutting-edge of orthodoxy; the "elite" in the Church, and the ones who really "get it". Yet they see apologists garnering a great deal of attention and having considerable influence in helping to change hearts and minds, and this apparently is a source of frustration to them.

Just a theory (I know a little bit about these guys, having studied and interacted with them for now 18 years), but in any event, there is something going on here that brings about the habitual (largely unwarranted) bashing of Catholic apologetics and some of its leading lights.

Let's not forget, too (lest we think Kevin has softened his tune) that just a little over a month ago he stated:

I’ve long had an incredibly negative view of the Catholic blogosphere, whether it be Fr. Z, Voris, the guys at Patheos, Catholic Answers, you name them, I’ve likely criticized them. Whatever good they do is far outweighed by the bad they do, . . . ("The Hijacking of the Catholic Mind," Catholic Lane, 2-24-15)

Obviously, then, if this is what he thinks of Catholic Answers: that they do far more bad than good, then it sure looks as if he is now trying to utilize Karl Keating's own words (distorted, caricatured) in order to prove that even he gets that Catholic Answers has been an abysmal failure. It just won't fly. It's ridiculous, and a butchery of what Karl said. I'm sure he'd be the first to admit that Catholic Answers isn't perfect and can always do better, but more bad than good / failure altogether? Nuh-uh . . .

So that was "moderate" / sort of "devil's advocate" Kevin (his own reason trying mightily to prevail over sophistry). Later in his piece we see his more usual, standard, stock rhetoric surface again:

Being told I'm ostracized as a radtrad unless I write what they want me to write about, or their lil blog gangs are gonna coordinate attacks on me.

Can you kinda see why I'm not very warm to the whole thing and have more or less had a perpetual finger to that subculture for over a decade now?

Given the hundreds of stories I heard from trads who got shafted with the radtrad stuff when it wasn't warranted, yeah, I fight for them, not some angry gray haired cranks writing for a publication with 2000 subscribers.

Kevin chiding folks for supposedly being "angry" is a bit like a zebra looking down on another animal for having stripes. I am particularly fond of "angry gray haired cranks" as a typical piece of ultra-ludicrous / derisive, humorous "Tiernian" hyper-rhetoric. It reminds me of other classic gems of his, such as this one for the ages:

I love apologetics. I just think most apologists are worthless hacks who ran out of things to say a decade ago.

Oh cmon everyone knows at least once or twice a year I call em out by name.

Hell Mark [Shea] has the rare talent of being a hack one moment and an elite apologist the next, depending on which mask he decides to wear before typing.
(1-7-15 on Facebook)

Catholic apologist Scott Eric Alt took Kevin mightily to task the next day, over these idiotic words:

[I]t strikes me as ironic that he would describe “most” Catholic apol­o­gists (what does “most” mean here? 51%? 75%? 99%?) as “worth­less hacks.” I mean, my good­ness, the tone! . . . This strikes me as the kind of com­ment that can only be made by some­one who is deeply igno­rant of Catholic apolo­get­ics. . . . You may not agree with every­thing they [apologists] say or the way they say it; you don’t have to. But hacks? Worth­less? I’m sorry, but that’s an inex­cus­ably dumb and igno­rant thing to say. Per­haps Mr. Tier­ney should show Karl Keat­ing and Jimmy Akin how it’s really done.

Kevin concludes his latest tirade / crusade with the following obligatory hypocritical words (far more applicable to himself than to those whom he habitually targets):

In 10-15 years when we stop dealing with people according to tribal loyalties and start recognizing them as sinners with a metric ton worth of complexities, we'll be better off. I'm waging war against human nature obviously, but that's our job.

If I can avoid tribal classification I avoid it.

Please do, Kevin. You can start with [those dreaded, despised, professional] apologists. Give it a shot: the old college try. We all gotta start somewhere. As the old Chinese proverb says, "every thousand-mile journey begins with the first step."

[see also the accompanying Facebook discussion]

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Friday, March 20, 2015

The Raising of Tabitha as a Compelling Indicator of Purgatory (by Tony Gerring)

By Tony Gerring [see Facebook page]

If you are a non-Catholic Christian, can you provide some insight on how you understand this story in Scripture? In Acts 9:36-42, Peter raises the disciple Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-42).

Where did Tabitha's soul go after she died?

Did Tabitha's soul leave heaven and return to earth?

What about Hebrews 9:27?: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”

How do you understand this story?

In the New Testament, there are several occurrences of the dead being raised to life after Jesus’ resurrection. In Acts 9:36-42, we read about how Peter raised Tabitha from the dead. Note that Tabitha is specifically called a disciple of Jesus who did good works and gave alms. In verse 37, the Bible tells us she died. According to Protestant understanding, after her death, Tabitha's soul must have gone directly to heaven.

Now if Tabitha had received her heavenly reward and her soul was in heaven with God, then God must have stripped Tabitha of her heavenly reward in order to send her soul back to a sinful, bodily existence on earth. But how could this be? This would violate God's own love and justice: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Hebrews 9:27.

In Catholic eschatology, there exists another option – that which is called purgatory. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. (CCC 1030). Furthermore, the “Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.” (CCC 1031)

If Tabitha was among the elect and her soul was undergoing this final purification in order “to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” her earthly resurrection would not violate God’s eternal justice, for her soul would not yet have entered into the heavenly reward promised by God.

However, if, as non-Catholic Christians assert, there is no purgatory, then immediately after her death her soul would have entered its heavenly reward. And, in order for Tabitha to be raised from the dead, God must have cast her soul out of heaven in order to return to a sinful, bodily existence on earth. The problem with this explanation is that it defies everything that Christians understand about God and his love and justice.

It is simply not possible for a soul once received into heaven to leave heaven and return to a sinful, earthly existence. This is an impossible theological difficulty for non-Catholic Christians.
However, the raising of Tabitha by Peter as recounted in the book of Acts fits perfectly within Catholic theology, maintains God's love and justice, and still manifest's God power over death on earth as a witness to eternal life in heaven. This story is also one of the strongest and clearest Biblical evidences for the reality of the final purification of the elect after death and before entering heaven.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cardinal Newman's Conversion Odyssey, in His Own Words (September 1839 to December 1845)

Newman in 1845
The following chronological documentation is drawn from entries in my two books:  

The Quotable Newman (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2012)
Section: "Conversion (His Own)" 

Cardinal Newman: Q & A on Theology, Church History, and Conversion (Lulu, 2015; currently in progress, with the sections relevant here, completed) 
Section: Ch. 6: "Conversion (to Catholicism)"

Sometimes different portions of the same letter are in the two different books, which will be noted. I note to whom letters were written, and also indicate primary sources or secondary sources where I obtained the letters.

My two books also contain Newman's thoughts on Catholic conversion in general, his hindsight reflections on his own conversion from after 1845, and his criticisms of Anglicanism; as well as related remarks on development and other aspects of Church history. But those citations will not be included in this list (minus ten noted exceptions).

Bibliography and Abbreviations

QN  The Quotable Newman (Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia Institute Press, 2012)

Q&A Cardinal Newman: Q & A on Theology, Church History, and Conversion (Lulu, 2015)

* * * * *

Apo. Apologia pro Vita Sua (1865; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908)

Ble. [Vincent Ferrer Blehl] Pilgrim Journey: John Henry Newman: 1801-1845 (New York: Paulist Press, 2001) 

Keb., Correspondence of John Henry Newman with John Keble and Others, 1839-45 (edited at the Birmingham Oratory, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1917)

LD vii The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. VII:  Editing the British Critic: January 1839 – December 1840 (edited by Gerard Tracey;  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995)

LD viii The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. VIII: Tract 90 and the Jerusalem Bishopric: January 1841 – April 1842 (edited by Gerard Tracey, Oxford University Press, USA, 2000)

LD ix The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. IX: Littlemore and the Parting of Friends: May 1842-October 1843 (edited by Francis J. McGrath, F.M.S. and Gerard Tracey;  Oxford University Press, 2006)

LD x The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. X: The Final Step: 1 November I843 – 6 October 1845 (edited by Francis J. McGrath, F.M.S.; Oxford University Press, 2006)

LD xi The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, Vol. XI: Littlemore to Rome: October 1845 to December 1846 (edited by Charles Stephen Dessain, London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1961)

Moz. ii Letters and Correspondence of John Henry Newman During His Life in the English Church, vol. 2 [starting from December 1833] (edited by Anne Mozley; 1891; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1903)

POL A Packet of Letters: A Selection from the Correspondence of John Henry Newman; edited by Joyce Sugg (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983)

SD Sermons Bearing on Subjects of the Day (1831-1843 / 1869; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1902)

 Chronological List of Letters and Other Sources

To Frederic Rogers, 22 Sep. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii + QN / Moz. ii)

To S. F. Wood, 29 Sep. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)

To J. W. Bowden, 4 Nov. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)

To Robert Williams, 10 Nov. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 29 Nov. 1839 (Q&A / LD vii)

To J. W. Bowden, 5 Jan. 1840 (QN / Keb.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 15 Jan. 1840 (Q&A / LD vii)

To J. W. Bowden, 21 Feb. 1840 (QN / Keb.)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 25 Feb. 1840 (QN / Moz. ii)

To John Keble, 26 Oct. 1840 (Q&A / LD vii) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Frederick Rogers, 25 Nov. 1840 (QN / Moz. ii)

To Frederic Rogers, 26 Dec. 1840 (Q&A / LD vii) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Richard Westmacott, 8 April 1841 (Q&A / LD viii)

To Charles W. Russell [name unlisted in my book], 26 April 1841 (QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Charles W. Russell [name unlisted in QN], 5 May 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Miss Mary Holmes, 6 Sep. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To J. R. Hope, 17 Oct. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Moz. ii)

To John Keble, 24 Oct. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Moz. ii) [1st from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Henry Wilberforce, 8 Nov. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii)

To J. R. Hope, 24 Nov. 1841 (QN / Keb.)

To Samuel Rickards, 1 Dec. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Moz. ii) [1st from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To J. R. Hope, 2 Dec. 1841 (QN / Keb.)

To S. F. Wood, 6 Dec. 1841 (QN / Keb.)

To J. R Hope, 8 Dec. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii)

To S. F. Wood, 13 Dec. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii + QN / Keb.)

To Thomas Mozley, 13 Dec. 1841 (Q&A / LD viii) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To R. W. Church, 24 Dec. 1841 (QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Rev. W. Dodsworth, 27 Dec. 1841 (QN / Keb.) 

To Robert I. Wilberforce, 26 Jan. 1842 (Q&A / LD viii)

To Robert I. Wilberforce, 1 Feb. 1842 (Q&A / LD viii)

To Edward Bellasis, 16 Feb. 1842 (QN / Keb.)

To Thomas Kirkpatrick [name unlisted in my book], 6 March 1842 (QN / Keb.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 24 Aug. 1842 (Q&A / LD ix) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Edward B. Pusey, 16 Oct. 1842 (QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Miss Mary Holmes, 8 Feb. 1843 (Q&A / LD ix + QN / Ble.)

To John Keble, 14 March 1843 (QN / Keb.)

Diary, 12 April 1843 (Ble.)

To John Keble, 4 May 1843 (Q&A / LD ix + QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To John Keble, 18 May 1843 (QN / Keb.)

To Henry Wilberforce, 9 June 1843 (Q&A / LD ix)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 28 July 1843 (Q&A / LD ix)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 28 Aug. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

To J. B. Mozley, 1 Sep. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

To John Keble, 6 Sep. 1843 (QN / Keb.)

To Jemima Mozley, 22 Sep. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

Sermon 26: “The Parting of Friends,” 25 Sep. 1843 (SD)

To [sister] Harriett Mozley, 29 Sep. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

To [sister] Harriet Mozley, 2 Oct.? 1843 (Q&A / LD ix)

To Henry Edward Manning, 14 Oct. 1843 (QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Henry Edward Manning, 25 Oct. 1843 (Q&A / LD ix + QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To J. B. Mozley, 24 Nov. 1843 (QN / Moz. ii)

To Henry Edward Manning, 24 Dec. 1843 (QN / Keb.)

To John Keble, 23 Jan. 1844 (QN / Keb.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 19 Feb. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To J. W. Bowden, 21 Feb. 1844 (QN / Moz. ii)
To Charles John Myers, 25 Feb. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 3 April 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 5 April 1844 (Q&A / LD x) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 9 April 1844 (Q&A / LD x) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]
To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 21 May 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble. & Moz. ii)

To John Keble, 8 June 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble. & POL)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 9 June 1844 (QN / Ble.)

To John Keble, 13 June 1844 (QN / Keb.)

Memorandum in case of need,” 28 July 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To E. L. Badely, 23 Aug. 1844 (QN / Keb.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 28 Aug. 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To Edward Badeley, 9 Sep. 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

Draft,” 30 Oct. 1844 (Q&A / LD x) [from ch. 5: "Anglicanism"]

To Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, 7 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 12 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To Rev. Edward Coleridge, 12 Nov. 1844 (QN / Keb.)

To Mrs. Elizabeth Bowden, 16 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x)

To Henry Edward Manning [name unlisted in QN], 16 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Apo., ch. 4)

To Edward Coleridge, 16 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Keb.)

To Robert Wilberforce, 16 Nov. 1844 (QN / Ble.)

To John Keble, 21 Nov. 1844) (Q&A / LD x + QN / Keb.)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 24 Nov. 1844 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Moz. ii)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, Dec. 1844 (QN / Moz. ii)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 22 Dec. 1844 (QN / Ble. & Moz. ii)

To Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, 8 Jan. 1845 (QN / Ble. & Apo., ch. 4)

To Edward B. Pusey, 25 Feb. 1845 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To Edward B. Pusey, 12 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Edward B. Pusey, 14 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 15 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Moz. ii)

To Henry Wilberforce, 20 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 22 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, 30 March 1845 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Ble.)

To James Bowling Mozley, 2 April 1845 (Q&A / LD x + QN / Moz. ii)

To Robert Francis Wilson, 11 April 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Henry Wilberforce, 27 April 1845 (QN / Ble.)

To J. R. Hope, 14 May 1845 (QN / Keb.)

To Mrs. William [Catherine] Froude, 10 June 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To J. R. Hope, 10 June 1845 (QN / Keb.)

To Rev. Edward Coleridge, 3 July 1845 (QN / Ble.)

To Richard Westmacott, 11 July 1845 (QN / POL)

To Charles Crawley, 14 July 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To [brother] Francis William Newman, 7 Aug. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Miss Maria Rosina Giberne, 24 Aug. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

Mrs. Elizabeth Bowden, 31 Aug. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Simeon Lloyd Pope, 18 Sep. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Edward Walford, 21 Sep. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To Robert Francis Wilson, 25 Sep. 1845 (Q&A / LD x)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 9 Oct. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

To [sister] Jemima Mozley, 14 Oct. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

To Edward Badeley, 19 Oct. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

Letter To Harmood W. Banner, 8 Nov. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

Letter to the Marquise de Salvo, 14 Dec. 1845 (QN / LD xi)

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