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Switch to Forum Live View McBrien column - Apostolic succession
9 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 10:27AM #1
WaveringCC
Posts: 5,164

Interesting column by McBrien on apostolic succession.

http://ncronline3.org/drupal/?q=node/1862

From the introduction -

"To say that the church is “apostolic” means that it continues to be faithful to the word, worship, witness and service of the apostles.

The church preaches the same Gospel. It celebrates the same sacraments. It is the sign and instrument of God’s saving presence in our midst. And it carries on the ministry of the apostles on behalf of the poor and those in need.

But it is one thing to affirm the connection between the present-day church and the church of the apostles. It is quite another to explain the basis of that connection. In what sense is the church of today in “apostolic succession” with the church of the first century of the Christian era?
Before all else, we must reject the simplistic, mechanistic notion of apostolic succession, what some have derisively referred to as the passing-the-baton theory.

This understanding of apostolic succession, which many Catholics continue to believe, assumes that each validly ordained Catholic bishop can trace his episcopal consecration in an unbroken line back to one of the original apostles or to the apostles collectively.
Jesuit Fr. Francis Sullivan, my former professor of ecclesiology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and currently professor at Boston College, offers two reasons for opposing such a view....."
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9 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 9:10PM #2
jane2
Posts: 14,295

WaveringCC wrote:

Interesting column by McBrien on apostolic succession.

http://ncronline3.org/drupal/?q=node/1862

From the introduction -

"To say that the church is “apostolic” means that it continues to be faithful to the word, worship, witness and service of the apostles.

The church preaches the same Gospel. It celebrates the same sacraments. It is the sign and instrument of God’s saving presence in our midst. And it carries on the ministry of the apostles on behalf of the poor and those in need.

But it is one thing to affirm the connection between the present-day church and the church of the apostles. It is quite another to explain the basis of that connection. In what sense is the church of today in “apostolic succession” with the church of the first century of the Christian era?
Before all else, we must reject the simplistic, mechanistic notion of apostolic succession, what some have derisively referred to as the passing-the-baton theory.

This understanding of apostolic succession, which many Catholics continue to believe, assumes that each validly ordained Catholic bishop can trace his episcopal consecration in an unbroken line back to one of the original apostles or to the apostles collectively.
Jesuit Fr. Francis Sullivan, my former professor of ecclesiology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and currently professor at Boston College, offers two reasons for opposing such a view....."



Wavering

Great topic.

How did so many Catholics start believing there was a continual lay-on-of-hands by bishops to create all the bishops or that every apostle was a bishop?

We don't know that Peter was a bishop or was ever in Rome.That sort of scuttles some of the papal nonsense, too. (See Hans Kung, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH).

I hope more than a few read you OP.

Often I wonder how so many Catholics are dead sure about things that never happened.

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9 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 10:32PM #3
WaveringCC
Posts: 5,164

jane2 wrote:

Wavering

Great topic.

How did so many Catholics start believing there was a continual lay-on-of-hands by bishops to create all the bishops or that every apostle was a bishop?

We don't know that Peter was a bishop or was ever in Rome.That sort of scuttles some of the papal nonsense, too. (See Hans Kung, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH).

I hope more than a few read you OP.

Often I wonder how so many Catholics are dead sure about things that never happened.




I too have found that very few Catholics know, or want to know. the true history of the church.  If one discusses any of this with many Catholics, for example, the historical reality that the church refused the sacraments to Joan of Arc, before having her burned to death for heresy, because she chose to obey what she understood to be God's will instead of Rome's will, one will encounter one of two reactions - anger, or simply, in this case, ignoring the truth. 

In other cases, the reaction is anger and defensiveness, along with the standard charges of "anti-Catholic"- the other common reaction, seen frequently on these boards, especially over on the Discussion board, is simply to ignore the reality when statistical or verifiable historical information is posted, with sources that are absolutely reputable.  Since refuting this information is not possible, it is simply ignored.  After enough time goes by, those posters than make statements that are again in error, as though they have never even seen or heard the evidence that suggests that they rethink their assumptions and conclusions.

Few Catholics who go to St. Peter's in Rome know that there is no actual historical proof that Peter was ever in Rome, much less that he died there, where the basilica was built.  It's not that scientists and historians deny that he was there, they simply state the reality - there is no proof that Peter was there and died there.  Peter certainly never thought of himself as the "first pope" because there was no such thing as a "pope" for centuries.    Most Catholics have short memories, and think that the church they know is the one that always was.

If, for example, we suggest that the bishops should be accountable to laity, that laity should have a voice, the standard reply is "this church is not a democracy".  They do not know, nor do they want to know it seems, that bishops were approved by the people for much of church history and that gradually, as the papacy increased in secular power and wealth, warring with emperors and kings for political control, that the popes began usurping the right to appoint bishops.  Because after a while, the bishops were no longer elected by priests and approved by the people for office, the kings and emperors began appointing them.  This didn't suit the popes, who then took that power for themselves.

If we really wanted to go back to the "traditional" church, the bishops would again be voted on by priests and their nominatin approved by the laity.  If we really wanted to go back to the traditional church, we would have eucharist in homes, often presided over by the woman of the house.

Etc.  But, many don't want to learn these things.   Why should it be any different when it comes to their certainities about the laying on of hands in one continuous succession for two thousand years?

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9 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2008 - 11:30PM #4
WaveringCC
Posts: 5,164
The other thing a lot of Catholics don't really want to think about is what Jesus asks us to do in the gospels - they prefer arguing over rubric or whether or not a publicity-seeking bishop had a duty to tell Nancy Pelosi off  than actually reading and heeding what Jesus himself said to us.

Very few threads either on this board or the Discuss Catholicism board that deal with the realities of social justice issues last very long. Few want to deal with the reality that millions die of starvation every decade - more people die, especially children, from hunger related causes than do embryos through abortion.  Those who are so wrapped up in NFP that there seems to be no other issue for them often seem to lack even the slightest ounce of compassion for the women and families who suffer from too many pregnancies, too many births, too many deaths,  because they don't have access to reliable birth control. They don't want to look at the reality and the results that have come from this, nor at the role the church has played -  the church has lobbied countries like the US to convince them not to fund the distribution of birth control through their medical aid programs in the third world.  How many deaths have there been because of this?  How many millions have died of AIDS?  How many children have been born with the AIDS they've contracted during birth from their AIDS infected mothers?  How many children are orphaned because their parents have died of AIDS?  The incidence of the transmission of AIDS can be sharply reduced through proper use of condoms.  But, the church has chosen instead to ignore their plight for the sake of shoring up the church's "unchanging'" position that use of condoms is a mortal sin.

I am pro-life also, but, like you, I do not believe that life issues are limited to embryos.
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9 years ago  ::  Sep 19, 2008 - 2:08AM #5
jane2
Posts: 14,295
Wavering

I can't think of anything in your last two posts with which I disagree.

The RCC is not doing a good job of educating its people. Perhaps by now they don't want to. If I were back in my old parish I think I would offer to teach classes on Church history for adults, using the book we gave to RCIA candidates. Church history was not taught in RCIA either.

When I was teaching adult bible study I also realized that some in the class could not read or be involved in discussion. It was beyond them. About four of the original members formed a split-off group to read what reinforced what they thought they knew rather than learn anything new.

I am so weary of being told that something I present is anti-Catholic
or harmful to the Church!! I grow weary too when so many think the Church today, especially today, is the Church that always was. This is not even the Church of our youth and certainly not of our college/salad days.

That old canard "the Church is not a democracy" is so foolish in the light of how the Church began. And we wouldn't want to mention the women who most likely presided over the Eucharist in their homes in the earliest days.

UGH...................
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9 years ago  ::  Sep 19, 2008 - 2:37AM #6
jane2
Posts: 14,295
Wavering, cont.

Social justice doesn't get much play on any of the boards.

As I remarked to Rjak recently the Church receives the funds it uses for social justice from the laity, with the biggest chunk of change coming from
this US Church so despised by JPII.

Paul VI made a huge mistake with HV and no one has the courage to change it, So we let people die. If I never hear another word about NFP it will be too soon.

Isn't Cardinal Arinze, the liturgy fuss-budget, from Africa? At one time I heard he was papabilie. He doesn't seem to care about the millions on his continent that die from AIDS. The Church's position on ABC simply cannot hold. How many abortions would not be more had access to relable birth control you mention?

The Catholic Discussion board has become almost insane right now.
I had to laugh an hour or so ago at the rebuff you gave to Ms. Neo-con.
Before I read your post I posted one of my own. At least on that board the comic relief still holds and there are some brilliant posters who are well informed.

I wonder if this board will last because real discussion here seems to nonplus so many. Few seem to realize that not everyone is in the initial stages of faith formation and first fervor. Or that some of have lived somewhat complicated lives for many years.
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9 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2008 - 1:25PM #7
Tamayo
Posts: 236
There is a LOT said in this thread that I agree with and can relate to...

"I too have found that very few Catholics know, or want to know. the true history of the church. If one discusses any of this with many Catholics, for example, the historical reality that the church refused the sacraments to Joan of Arc, before having her burned to death for heresy, because she chose to obey what she understood to be God's will instead of Rome's will, one will encounter one of two reactions - anger, or simply, in this case, ignoring the truth. "

Yes... I find it interesting that I know more about real church history than many of my hard-core Catholic aquaintances, and I don't even know that many details! Mostly I encounter anger by the people who are close to me (boyfriend especially, he gets very angry that I 'judge' the church in such a way) and indifference to the truth by less-close people.

"The Church is not a democracy"

Because if it were, it'd be a whole lot better! Amazing!

I think a large issue is the Church's effort to "stay the same" as in, the Church doesn't change, and people find comfort in that, like the boyfriend who has actually said that to me. I wanted to scream at him that it's impossible that any religion CANNOT change - religion is often the definition of change. The RCC wants to stifle this notion, and as a result we get papal infallibility and a male-only hierarchy. At some point, they're going to have to admit they have changed over the years, but just in ways they don't want the laity to know about. They would have been much better off if they had just made it obvious that change in a religion is inevitable and not necessarily bad. The negative connotation of change in the church will eventually be its undoing, I think.
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9 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2008 - 1:35PM #8
WaveringCC
Posts: 5,164

Tamayo wrote:

There is a LOT said in this thread that I agree with and can relate to...

"I too have found that very few Catholics know, or want to know. the true history of the church. If one discusses any of this with many Catholics, for example, the historical reality that the church refused the sacraments to Joan of Arc, before having her burned to death for heresy, because she chose to obey what she understood to be God's will instead of Rome's will, one will encounter one of two reactions - anger, or simply, in this case, ignoring the truth. "

Yes... I find it interesting that I know more about real church history than many of my hard-core Catholic aquaintances, and I don't even know that many details! Mostly I encounter anger by the people who are close to me (boyfriend especially, he gets very angry that I 'judge' the church in such a way) and indifference to the truth by less-close people.

"The Church is not a democracy"

Because if it were, it'd be a whole lot better! Amazing!

I think a large issue is the Church's effort to "stay the same" as in, the Church doesn't change, and people find comfort in that, like the boyfriend who has actually said that to me. I wanted to scream at him that it's impossible that any religion CANNOT change - religion is often the definition of change. The RCC wants to stifle this notion, and as a result we get papal infallibility and a male-only hierarchy. At some point, they're going to have to admit they have changed over the years, but just in ways they don't want the laity to know about. They would have been much better off if they had just made it obvious that change in a religion is inevitable and not necessarily bad. The negative connotation of change in the church will eventually be its undoing, I think.




That's exactly what I think. I don't understand why it is so hard to say that they are open enough and truthful enough to have changed during two thousand years -  absolutely natural and to be expected - as human understanding of science, of psychology, of institutions,etc , etc. have unfolded . Truthfully and humbly acknowledging this would help the church have greater credibility, and would  give most educated Catholics far more faith in their leadership than the head-in-the-sand insistence that the church is "infallible" and has "never"changed.  When pressed with specifics, they grudgingly admit that some teachings have "developed". 

Growth means change!   It is not something to avoid, but to accomplish when it seems to be the right thing to do after examining all of the "evidence".

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9 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2008 - 3:48PM #9
danman916
Posts: 2,627
Does this article at all address the Ecclesiastical history of Eusebius, who wrote in the 4th century relates the episcopal lineage of at least the 5 patriarchs? Eusebius's history is taken in large part from Hegesippus, who wrote in the 2nd century, but who's work is no longer extant. He affirms that Apsotolic succession is exactly that. The unbroken lineage of laying on of hands.

the other thing to consider is that The Roman Catholic Church's teachings do not exist in a vacuum. The oldest Orthodox Churches who broke communion with the Church in Rome as far back as the mid 5th century affirm a direct episcopal lineage from laying on of hands, the same as the Roman Catholic Church.

Does McBrien reconcile this?
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9 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2008 - 5:28PM #10
jane2
Posts: 14,295

danman916 wrote:

Does this article at all address the Ecclesiastical history of Eusebius, who wrote in the 4th century relates the episcopal lineage of at least the 5 patriarchs? Eusebius's history is taken in large part from Hegesippus, who wrote in the 2nd century, but who's work is no longer extant. He affirms that Apsotolic succession is exactly that. The unbroken lineage of laying on of hands.

the other thing to consider is that The Roman Catholic Church's teachings do not exist in a vacuum. The oldest Orthodox Churches who broke communion with the Church in Rome as far back as the mid 5th century affirm a direct episcopal lineage from laying on of hands, the same as the Roman Catholic Church.

Does McBrien reconcile this?



Read the article!!

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