Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A kinder, gentler anathema?

I had claimed, and still do, that Rome’s anathemas needlessly divide the body of Christ; far more than sola scriptura does. For example, Rome (not scripture) anathematizes those who think indulgences are worthless. So Rome causes divisions that scripture alone does not.
This is not just in theory but in practice. Joseelcarpintero commented in a way that lumped me in with the unsaved false teachers in 1 John 2:19. And that’s not the only time people have tried to scare me into the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, Rome is not the only group to anathematize me. With everyone thinking they alone have found the one true way, the only thing I know to do is turn to Christ and put my trust in Him.

Now consider the reverse. I don’t consider joseelcarpintero a false teacher. I don’t know him but I hope that he is trusting in Christ for his salvation. So which is causing division, sola scriptura or Rome’s anathemas?

My friend tried to soften the blow of anathema by saying:

“Anathema is actually a very formal, fancy and public way of showing that X person incurred latae sententiae or automatic excommunication. The Anathema itself was done away with in 1983. Excommunication, however, remains. Keep in mind that excommunication does not damn one to hell - it is simply a formal state of being way out of communion with Rome and is very severe because if one is totally out of communion with Rome, one is out of communion with Christ.”

And also:

“this is not a judgment against the person's heart and mind. It is a judgment against the person's actions in relation to what the Church, under the guidance/protection of the Holy Spirit (God), has stated.”

But to cause division, one does not need to be God and condemn his opponents to hell. Rather, by not treating ones opponents as Christian, they cause division. So Rome’s anathemas do cause division. Think about it – Rome calls councils ecumenical, even if they don’t include Protestants and Eastern Orthodox. That’s division. Rome considers itself the one true church to the exclusion of all others. That’s division. Catholics threaten Protestants with hell. That’s division.

It should be clarified that Trent’s anathemas do not simply mean you can no longer attend mass but you can go across the street to an EoC or Protestant church and we will still consider you Christian. An anathema is a curse. Consider Paul’s use of anathema in Galatians 1:9:

If any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

Consider the formula of Rome’s old anathema ceremony:

"Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N-- himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate” (link)

That’s division.

Now perhaps modern Catholics have a new and softer understanding of anathema or have even layed down a power inherent to the apostolic office. That’s good but not relevant because it’s anachronistic to apply a novel understanding of anathema to either Paul or Trent.


Ode said...

I demand much more respect to One Holy Catholic Church and the Pope, please. Didnt you hear that just the other day that wonderful, generous man finally officially absolved the Jewish people of collective responsibility for the killing of Christ? It didnt even take a whole 2k years, and viola!We, dirty and filthy jews, are Not Guilty anymore ! lol :)

on a serious note, i got the newsfeed that you posting again- glad to see it, Dan.

Godismyjudge said...

That's funny Odeliya. Thanks for welcoming me back to the internet. We just moved and I have been doing a lot of projects around the house to get things set up. But I do want to get back into the swing of things.

Hope you have been well.

God be with you,

Jnorm said...


I wouldn't take Rome's anathemas too seriously. She does allow for exceptions to the rule. There are a number of Eastern rite catholics (those who are in communion with Rome) who disagree with a number of Roman Catholic doctrine and so those anathemas aren't always universally applied.

Godismyjudge said...


How does that work? If the anathamas are infallable, how could they not apply? I could see Rome ignoring it's own rules but that's external not personal. Truth is truth. It would seem either a person falls under the anathama or they do not and it should not matter if Rome still allows that person to take communion or not.

God be with you,

Jnorm said...

Dan said:
"How does that work"

Listen to this:

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/podup/illuminedheart/eastern_catholics_are_they_orthodox/">Eastern Catholics - Are They “Orthodox”?

I heard the same elsewhere by another Eastern Catholic. However, not all Eastern catholics are the same. Some do adopt Roman Catholic dogma and doctrine.

Dan said:
If the anathamas are infallable, how could they not apply?"

From what I'm seeing it might have something to do with different rites. All those in the Latin rite must adhere to Latin creeds and councils.

Dan said:
"Truth is truth. It would seem either a person falls under the anathama or they do not and it should not matter if Rome still allows that person to take communion or not."

Rome will allow me to partake of communion, but we(Orthodox) refuse the offer. For we don't allow them to partake of our communion.

You take their anathemas too seriously. You shouldn't let it bother you.......especially if you are an Arminian. You, unlike the Calvinists/Reformed and Lutherans are able to by pass some of the anathemas as found in the council of Trent.

Also, not every Eastern Catholic by pass all the anathemas of Trent. And yet they are in full communion with Rome. And so there are exceptions to the rule.

Godismyjudge said...


In that sense; I don't take them seriously. Part of trusing in Christ is well, believing He will save me.

But anathema's are a big deal. Take Paul's in Galations 1:8. I just couldn't see exceptions. I sometimes get the impression that Rome isn't comfy with their own anathema's because they want to be more eccumenical, so they try to down play them. It's a bit inconsistent.

God be with you,