12.6.09

More on Corpus Christi

Sam Norton has thrown more light on Corpus Christi over at Elizaphanian.

It has got me thinking again about the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. I have just filled out my application form for theological college for training, should I be recommended, which felt a bit weird because I had figured I would only apply if I knew I had got through. This, however doesn't seem to be the way it works. (In fact, I wonder if I have been in a bit of denial about the whole thing. I kept meeting people at college who were visitors and I would ask them whether they were hoping to come here as an ordinand to which they would reply yes, I would then congratulate them and ask them about their Bap but they would tell me they hadn't been yet, they will go in July. It took me ages to wake up to the fact that I am in the same position. )

Anyway, so they ask in one section if I have any problem with the 39 articles and at first I filled it out essay style (typical!) discussing how I accept their theological truths but also see them as a product of their time; a statement of what the faith is 'not', as well as a statement as to what it is and also a reaction against a type of Catholicism which might not be practised today. On the last score, at this point, I have to say, I'm not sure.

I have attended Polish Catholic Church a couple of times a year with my husband's family and yes, it is a bit different. No Eucharist for me - ouch! No wine for them - em! So I am thinking again what are the real differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. Transubstantiation - I understand it - but I have also heard my Catholic mother-in-law talk about how she understands it is not actually turned into Christ's body. Are there some subtleties between 'real presence' and the symbol which I am not quite grasping?

I wonder what explanations my husband is formulating for his family, I also wonder whether his mum (whom I dearly love and do not want to wound) will be upset by her son's decision.

A challenge for you:
Summarise the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism in as few words as you can.

4 comments:

PamBG said...

In as FEW words as I can?

Being provocative: 'Misunderstanding and prejudice on both sides'

More substantively, I actually think that the main difference is the understanding of ecclesiology and the nature of earthly church authority.

For me personally, stuff like 'transubstantiation' and set liturgy is incidental.

Peter Carrell said...

Protestantism includes Catholics at Communion but Catholicism excludes Protestants from the Mass: the difference lies between the in and the ex, with one thinking the difference is no reason to exclude and the other thinking it is.

Jane said...

Rachel thanks for this post.
For me the difference btwn Catholicism and Protestantism is about authority. I would however also say that the difference btwn Protestantism and Anglicanism was authority. What the difference btwn Catholocism and Anglicanism is would be more complex to explain for me - high Lutheranism would be similar I think.
In classic Catholocism authority resides with the magisterium - as represented by the person of the bishop or Pope. In classic (Reformed) Protestantism authority is shared between the synods of the church and the people. Of course in reality churches tend actually to be a blend - and one of the strange phenomena you see today is that there has been a Protestantisation of individual conscience amongst Roman Catholics - on ethical issues say - and these diverge from the view of the magisterium.
Not sure this helps an evangelical Anglican in the UK but you never know ...

David Ould said...

as Jane said, the key issue is Authority. All the underlying theological differences (and they are many and profound - dare i say it the Gospel is at stake - come from divergent view on Authority in the church.

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