Friday, December 2, 2011

Protestant and the Pope's sheep

Today, a Protestant objected to the idea that the Pope can have spiritual sheep, saying that Christ is the shepherd. 

However, the fact is many Protestants, if not most, call their clergy "shepherd," since the word "pastor" is a synonym for shepherd.

pastor (n.)

mid-13c., "shepherd," also "spiritual guide, shepherd of souls" (late 14c.), from O.Fr. pastur "herdsman, shepherd" (12c.), from L. pastorem (nom. pastor) "shepherd," from pastus, pp. of pascere "to lead to pasture, graze," from PIE base *pa- "to tend, keep, pasture, feed, guard" (see food). The spiritual sense was in Church Latin (cf. Gregory's "Cura Pastoralis"). The verb in the Christian sense is from 1872.

People in the Church are called Shepherds (pastors):

And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors [poimenas] and doctors,--Ephesians 4:11

The Lord commands St Peter to be a Shepherd here:

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”  He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep.--John 21:15-17

Obviously, Jesus is using a  metaphor of a shepherd here, telling St Peter to feed His lamb, tend His sheep, and to feed His sheep.  So, it is clear St Peter is being called to be a shepherd.  It seems to be even more so by the Greek word used by Jesus verse 16 (the second of the three blessings) the word for "tend" is the word poimaine Ποίμαινε, which has the same root as the word for shepherd in Ephesians 4:11, Jesus was literally saying "shepherd my flock."

St Peter commands his fellow clerics to be shepherds too.

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind-1 Peter 5:2 KJV

The word the KJV translates as feed here is again the Greek for for shepherding, poimanate ποιμάνατε.  Meaning, St Peter is commanding them to shepherd.

Two verses later St Peter then calls Christ the Chief Shepherd, now wouldn't this imply that there would be lesser shepherds?

Conclusion: There is no reason to object to the Pope using a title of shepherd, since St Paul used the term for men in the Church (Ephesians 4:11 ie pastors), the Lord Jesus applied it to St Peter John 21:16, and St Peter applied it to clerics (1 Peter 5:2)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Catechism and Muslims salvation

I have heard many anti-Catholics say that the Catechism says "Muslims are saved!" Then they "prove" it with this CCC quote

841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

I always wonder how this says Muslims are saved! All it does say is that the "plan of salvation" includes the Muslims. That just means God wants to save Muslims too, in fact God wants EVERYONE to be saved. The only people that should object to this are Calvinists because of their limited atonement doctrine.  This does NOT mean Muslims are saved or will be saved, it just means God WANTS everyone to be saved, the issue of Muslims actually being saved is not the issue of this paragraph at all.

The Catechism shortly after this paragraph states God wills all men be saved:
Missionary motivation. It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on."343 Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth";344 that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary. --Catechism of the Catholic Church 851
Notice the term "plan of salvation" is used here for EVERYONE too? Does this mean everyone is saved? Certainly not, otherwise evangelism is pointless. The only ones I can imagine that would object to the term "plan of salvation" would be Calvinists who believe God only wants a few people saved.