[*] The ones we dare not mention

Sometimes you keep people linked on your blog because you know you'll have an hour you want to kill, and reading their blog will help you kill it, and all the joy you take in reading and writing. Kevin Johnson has posted nine theses over at communio sanctorum, and at the risk of boring the few readers we have left here after two weeks of discussing the nit-picky differences about Baptism we can observe, I'm going to address his 9 points in order. To see what I'm responding to, you'll have to read his post for yourself. Sorry.

(1) It is always interesting for the fellows at communio to say, "you should define your terms". I would be interested to see any of them define the terms they are using rather than simply accuse others of not knowing what is being spoken of. Particularly, I'd love to see Johnson define Calvinism in any way without saying, "well, read these books." Here's my formal challenge: I am 100% confident that I can define any doctrine or theological/philosophical system that I employ in 150 words or less. I challenge Kevin Johnson or any of his compatriots to do the same the next time they want to "define terms".

(2) There may be some people who are unaware of Calvin's excellent training in patristic sources, or who might deny it, but I am not familiar with any of these people. And for the record, having an extensive knowledge of patristic sources does not make one a Catholic -- the former has not relationship to the latter. You can determine this by defining the word "Catholic" in 150 words or less.

(3) The irony in Johnson's point #3 is that it would benefit him (and his companions at cs.com) to read (or, to be generous, re-read) Calvin before they attack those with whom they take the most offense.

(4) Yves Congar may have actually said, "It turns out the reformation was right about everything, including the Pope," but even if he did (and he did not) it would not be the basis for rethinking the reformation -- because Congar did not have the authority to make dogmatic statements for Rome. Even in light of Vatican II, which may have used much of Congar's thinking to shape its final affirmations, none of the anathemas of Trent have been lifted and none of the subsequent doctrines which offend as deeply have been recalled. The basis for the reformation remains in place; the disconnect between Roman teaching and both history and the Bible is still a wide gap.

(5) Likewise to Catherine Pickstock -- who, apparently, missed out on a lot of Calvin's blatant rejections of Roman superstitions.

(6) Again, defining "Catholicism" in less than 150 words would be a great help to making sense out of this paragraph.

(7) What is demonstrated in this statement is a palpable misunderstanding of the doctrine of the papacy on the Catholic side, or the doctrine of sola Scriptura on the Protestants side, or both. The "thousands of popes" argument is so empty of substance that I am confident you couldn't defend it in an exchange that lasted longer than 2500 words.

(8) There is no doubt -- and I want to be clear that I mean no doubt in any way -- that the "Reformed" camp is hardly without its problematic advocates. Let me go so far as to say that I might be one of them because I am certain I have not read every book ever written about the reformation. In that, there is no question that those who abide in the Reformed faith are members of the universal church: the question is if that church can also include those who worship bread as God, who demand that the assumption of Mary is of the same categorical necessity as the resurrection of Christ, or confess to believing that the doctrinal assertions of men are of the same quality as the doctrinal assertions of the Bible.

(9) Definitions, again, are important parts of saying things as broadly ecumenical as Johnson says in his point #9.

A nice way to end the day. Thank you for your interest.