Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

St. Francis de Sales and The Need for Another Rule of Faith

In St. Francis de Sales' Catholic Controversy he begins by attempting to show the need for more than just the Bible as the rule of faith. He gets right to the crux of the issue by pointing out 500 years ago what still happens in the blogosphere literally every minute of every day! Been to a Christian Chat room lately? Whew! For example, a Catholic gives a Scripture to defend the role of the papacy, but a non-Catholic refutes it by saying, "I don't judge that to be the correct interpretation, and besides all that, you Catholics worship idols."
We are now "reliving" the same arguments St. Francis was involved with. Prodigal Daughter and I often frequent the chat rooms to "slip a little tract under the door" as St. Frances did, and sometimes we are met with the same "jeers and stones" as he was. (The quote above is an actual quote from our little chat last night.) Other times we are able to give a calm and reasoned defense for the hope that is within us regarding Christ and His Church to an interested listener. Let's hear what the "Apostle to Chablais" said regarding the need for another rule of faith outside of the Scriptures.

"They answer that we must decide the interpretation of Scripture by collating passage with passage and the whole with the Symbol of faith. Amen, Amen, we say: but we do not ask: "How we ought to interpret the Scripture, but- who shall be the judge?" For after having compared passages with passages, and the whole with the Symbol of the faith, we find by this passage: Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. xvi), that S. Peter has been chief minister and supreme steward in the Church of God: you say, on your side that this passage: The kings of the nations lord it over them..but you not so (Luke xxii.), or this other (for they are all so weak that I know not what may be your main authority): No one can lay another foundation, &c. (1 Cor. iii. 11), compared with the other passages and the analogy of the faith makes you detest a chief minister. The two of us follow one same way in our enquiry concerning the truth in this question -namely, whether there is in the Church a Vicar General of Our Lord -and yet I have arrived at the affirmative and you, you have ended in the negative; who now shall judge of our difference? Here lies the essential point as between you and me.

"The Scriptures," says S. Jerome, ( Adv. Lucif. 28. ) "consist not in the reading but in the understanding:" that is, faith is not in the knowing the words but the sense. And it is here that I think I have thoroughly proved that we have need of another rule for our faith, besides the rule of Holy Scripture. 'If the world last long, said Luther once by good hap (Contr. Zwin. et. Oecol)”, “it will be again necessary, on account of the different interpretations of Scripture which now exist, that to preserve the unity of the faith we should receive the Councils and decrees and fly to them for refuge."* He acknowledges that formerly they were received, and that afterwards they will have to be."

*I credit Dr. Luther with much insight here. He predicted the problem of multiple interpretations of Scripture in his own lifetime as he feared for the
"preservation of the unity of the faith." Many of us malign his writings and intentions, but to his credit, Dr. Luther had a keen insight into the problem that St. Francis was addressing just 60 years later, and that we now continue to address 500 years later. Luther recognized the problem but sadly it was his own rejecting the "outside rule of faith" that led to it.


Blogger Matthew Kelley said...

gotta love st francis de sales.

August 12, 2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger Cradle Catholic said...

Thanks for the post TJ! Last night in the chat room was very interesting to say the least ;) God Bless, and keep slipping tracts where you can!


August 12, 2007 11:39 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Yes, I have been very impressed with his writings and success in leading others back to the Church. I guess he would be the Patron Saint of my blog.
Coincidentally, my son will be graduating from De Sales University, a Catholic college- he chose to attend before we were even Catholic more than 4 years ago! So St. Francis has been an integral part of my life, even from a financial standpoint :)

August 12, 2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Hey Sarah!
I admire your calm tone in the chat. You call them out in charity!
something I need work on!
God bless

August 12, 2007 12:11 PM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Tiber! How cool about your son. What is his primary field of study, if I may ask?

August 12, 2007 6:03 PM  
Blogger tara said...

tiber jumper:
If Luther did not have some insight--no one would follow him. The problem is the half-truths--people listen to the truth part--and know and feel the truth, but then mixed with the lie, they discount the lie--and believe the half-truths.

Before my husband became Catholic, we argued many times about the meaning of sacred scripture. One day, for hours, we argued about when Jesus says, "this is My Body." Jim had a pre-conceived idea (raised Mormon) and it was like trying to tell him a tomato was red--he couldn't see it.

Finally, at the end of the discussion, he said, "well, if Jesus thought the bread really became the body, why didn't he just say, this is My Body?

I'd been reading it over and over, but he did not hear the words--they did not fit what he believed.

Somewhat condescending I read again, from the Bible, "This is My Body." How much clearer does Jesus have to say it--how else could He say it?

My husband took the book from my hands and read it for himself, "no it doesn't say that, your just making that up," then he read the words aloud, "This is My Body." "Oh, you couldn't say it much clearer than that could you?" "No."

Of course now Jim's Catholic--Hooray! but when telling someone a very clear scripture reading, with the very clear interpretation and they say "I don't judge that to be the correct interpretation, and besides all that, you Catholics worship idols." You just want to "bonk" your head against a wall.

Their pre-conceived ideas will not allow them to hear truth, and then saying "you worship idols?" It's bizarre. And so the "reliving" of the same old arguments continues...

Keep planting the seed--sometimes they sprout.

August 12, 2007 6:41 PM  
Blogger Cradle Catholic said...

Thanks TJ for the compliment! God Bless you and PD!


August 12, 2007 8:07 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I have posted on this before in a post called Romish Receptive Aphasia= when we present a fact about the Church the person hears or sees something else. (See RRADue to pre- conceptions, as your husband proved, we can't hear what the person is saying. I had a good case of it when my wife first started to talk to me about the Church. All I could see and hear was pedophiles and men with wierd hats!
But the Holy Spirit can breakthrough thanks be to God.

August 12, 2007 8:42 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

he is a creative writing major with a minor in psych. Writes poetry and screeplays and stuff that won't pay bills!

August 12, 2007 8:44 PM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Tara, Tiber! How true about the Romish Receptive Aphasia! Great example and how true. I actually discovered this while counseling psych patients too. Everyone in this society is already thinking their response before you have even said what you are saying, and they are formulating their response in the context of what they think you are going to say. Open minded listening skills are under great pressure and becoming a lost art.

Tiber, hee hee about the bill paying. True, if his poetry is good it probably reduces his paycheck potential ;-) Inverse relationship between quality and compensation? I hope not, cynical me. Bless his heart! Creative writing is (was) and hopefully will be again such a worthy pursuit. I recently asked a college student if they even teach sentence diagramming anymore.

August 12, 2007 9:25 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

too bad blogging doesn't pay bills, eh?

; )

August 12, 2007 9:45 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...


August 13, 2007 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please visit:

Read: PILGRIMAGE FROM ROME by Bartholomew F. Brewer

August 13, 2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Yes , Bart Brewer may he rest in peace. May God have mercy on his soul for his attacks on the Church.

August 13, 2007 3:01 PM  
Blogger tara said...

tiber jumper:
Loved the RRA post, would it be alright for me to copy it to my blog? My kids, who I raised secular, read my blog--so I'm always trying to aim my posts toward's them--of course I pray, pray, pray for their conversion. But I think they would enjoy this post--Thanks

August 13, 2007 5:56 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Yes, please feel free to Tara. Anything on my blog is free to copy paste, disseminate if it could bring someone closer to God, Amen!
I will pray for them. Please pray for my two boys too!

August 13, 2007 6:59 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Oh, Just for Catholics is so full of misinformation. And if you tell that guy black is black and give him proof, he will still say it is white. Anonymous, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Read the early church fathers. Get some truth. Don't mess around with false teachers. And God bless you.

August 13, 2007 7:00 PM  
Blogger tara said...

tiber jumper:
thanks! I will pray for your two boys--and I already included them in my daily prayers after work today.

August 13, 2007 11:12 PM  

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