Thursday, September 13, 2007

Poisoning the Well is Not an Argument - 3

Carrie has another blog post up that returns to what I'm beginning to think is her favorite way to deal with the Catholic Church: present context-free quotations from Catholic sources that are intended to scandalize Protestant readers. Again, I can only presume that this is her motive, since (once again) she hasn't said what her point is. She says that she wants to "educate", but when she does this sort of thing, it is clear that education is not on the agenda at all.

The post consists of a quotation from Redemptoris Missio. It is intended to give the uninformed reader the idea that Catholics are universalists. We have been down this road before. Anti-Catholics cannot say both that the Church teaches only Catholics will be saved and that the Church teaches everyone will be saved. It is irrational (and both notions are false).

Absolutely devastating, however, is the fact that the quotation on Carrie's blog - clearly intended to suggest that the Catholic Church (or at least John Paul II) is universalistic - must be read in the context of Redemptoris Missio itself. And when it is, the reader will see that Carrie obviously didn't read the document if she thinks that her quotation is representative of the encyclical. It creates such a distorted picture of the encyclical as to be almost a lie. Why? Because Redemptoris Missio was specifically intended to encourage missionary activity to non-Christian lands: to people who have never heard of Jesus Christ. The Pope goes on at great length about the absolute necessity of evangelism, because "No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit," and because "the Church is the ordinary means of salvation and that she alone possesses the fullness of the means of salvation."

In short: Carrie's post completely misrepresents John Paul II and the teaching of the Catholic Church. He was no universalist. The Church is not universalist. And no one is going to be saved "except through Christ" - just as JPII said in Redemptoris Missio.

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