September 25, 2011

AS WITH THE NOTION OF BEING SAVED BY WORKS...:

"I think I understand how the typical Protestant feels... (Peter Kreeft, from the chapter, "The Sacraments", in Fundamentals of the Faith.)

To Protestants, sacraments must be one of two things: either mere symbols, reminders, like words; or else real magic. And the Catholic definition of a sacrament -- a visible sign instituted by Christ to give grace, a sign that really effects what it symbolizes -- sounds like magic. Catholic doctrine teaches that the sacraments work ex opere operato, i.e., objectively, though not impersonally and automatically like machines. They are gifts that come from without but must be freely received.

Protestants are usually much more comfortable with a merely symbolic view of sacraments, for their faith is primarily verbal, not sacramental. After all, it is the Bible that looms so large in the center of their horizon. They believe in creation and Incarnation and Resurrection only because they are in the Bible. The material events are surrounded by the holy words. The Catholic sensibility is the inside-out version of this: the words are surrounded by the holy facts. To the Catholic sensibility it is not primarily words but matter that is holy because God created it, incarnated himself in it, raised it from death, and took it to heaven with him in his ascension.


...the big problem is that they depend on the idea that we can order God about.


Posted by at September 25, 2011 11:08 AM
  

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