Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ay Caramba

Protestants are falling all over each other in their haste to condemn Michael Horton as a heretic…because he wrote an approving blurb for a book by a Catholic about the theology of Benedict XVI. Horton didn’t approve Catholicism, mind you; he simply approved the book as a useful guide to the Pope’s theology. I suppose he left out the “pope is antichrist” shibboleths, and this is all the evidence needed to condemn him in the eyes of some. One wonders if these folks think Boettner’s rag is the only guide to Catholicism that they’ll ever need.

Meanwhile, a salient point seems to be escaping their view: they do not know why Horton wrote the blurb. This ought to be an essential precondition of judging another’s actions, unless they think that Israel’s “assume the worst” policy is the touchstone of Christian charity. But it’s hard to reconcile that with “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,”—unless maybe you’d like having your name dragged through the Internet mud on the basis of almost zero facts. Horton didn’t even build a potentially suspicious altar. All he did, basically, was to say this: “If you want to know about Pope Benedict’s theology, this is a good book to read.”

And for that, some folks think he should be charged with heresy. But he didn’t say that he agreed with the Pope’s theology, and if agreeing with Catholics on any point is sufficient to warrant the star chamber, then I can think of some others that the critics might want to “investigate,” too. Oh, and about that Holy Trinity thing that you Protestants accept: we Catholics believe that too (in fact, we believed it first). Does that make you ritually unclean?

I think some people need to put down the keyboard, step away from the Internet, and get a breath of fresh air. And maybe have a beer.

Spock’s rejoinder once again proves apposite:

You must learn to govern your passions; they will be your undoing.

Important Points: the author of the first link above, who also wrote this, does not indulge in the witch hunt; rather, some of the comboxers do.

Likewise, beyond saying that he is “disappointed,” TF has not overtly expressed an opinion about Horton’s blurb, other than to ask his “open question.” My only observation would be that rather than suspect him of (the horror!) Catholic sympathies (as TF's question obviously does), he might have asked why Horton wrote the blurb instead of going the “prove you’re innocent” route.

[Update, 11/17/2009:] Horton throws water on the speculation and the critics. I suspect that even this will be insufficient for ESPers amongst the anti-Catholics, who are just so darn good at reading a man’s heart from a single paragraph abstracted from an entire career’s worth of work. But they can never be satisfied anyway. I would be delighted if Horton does convert someday, but that blurb certainly constitutes no evidence warranting hope for that.


Lockheed said...

and we can agree upon that... oh no, ill be cast out now too.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Hello Lockheed,

You must be careful when you agree with me, or you'll be under suspicion of "getting too friendly with the wrong sort of people." Guilty by association and all that. I suppose that next he'll be advocating separate water fountains for Catholics and insist that we ride in the back of the bus.

I appreciate that you have had the integrity to stand up for Dr. Horton's good name. Charity is something we ought to extend to everyone, whether we agree with each other or not, and assuming the worst about the other is the exact opposite of the Golden Rule.