Protestant Unwillingness by S. M. Hutchens


Protestant Unwillingness

by S. M. Hutchens

A number of Catholics who are speaking against the developments in Germany toward admitting non-Catholics to Communion as "Protestantization" need to brush up on Protestantism a bit. Generalizations about what Protestants believe or do are such parlous things that "Protestant" in the Catholic dialect is often not much more than an empty epithet. The Protestant use of "Catholic," on the other hand, is a bit more likely to refer to the actual doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church because these things, until the coup ratified in the election of Pope Francis, have been closely defined for the whole Church, as Cardinal Chaput observes in "A Polite Form of Hiding the Truth."

"Liberalization" is a better term than "Protestantization" for what is happening here, since in fact the only thing necessary to make a Western Christian a Protestant—because of the monolithic unity the Catholic Church perceives in itself—is unwillingness to confess the truth of any part of that Whole. This unwillingness accurately identifies every Protestant, from the strictest fundamentalist to the most debauched Unitarian, so it is limited in its application and should be very judiciously used. I don't see the Catholic Church getting closer to the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans under "good Pope Francis"—it looks more like Episcopalianism, and lots of Catholics obviously like it that way.

I would ask orthodox Catholics under the Bergoglian regime not to insult their Protestant sympathizers by confusing "liberal" with "Protestant," unless, that is, they really do not wish to make the distinction, it being, like "mere Christianity," a merely Protestant folly.

S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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