Sunday 1 April 2012

Pray for erring sheep - and shepherds, like Fr Jay Scott Newman

As we have seen, Fr Jay Scott Newman has one rule for himself and quite another for others (see earlier posts about him).

He has a blog which he calls Ecclesia Semper Reformanda

Where does this Latin tag come from?

It is a Protestant tag.

It is un-Catholic.

Ecclesia semper reformanda est (Latin for "the church is always being reformed", sometimes shortened to semper reformanda, "always being reformed") is one of the basic tenets of the Protestant Reformation, particularly in the ideas of German theologian Martin Luther.

The phrase itself comes from the Nadere Reformatie movement in the seventeenth century Dutch Reformed Church and widely but informally used in Reformed and Presbyterian churches today (for example, the French Reformed Church use "Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda" as motto).

It refers to the conviction of certain Reformed Protestant theologians that the church must continually change itself in order to maintain its purity of doctrine and practice.

The term first appeared in print in Jodocus van Lodenstein, Beschouwinge van Zion (Contemplation of Zion), Amsterdam, 1674, a Dutch Protestant work.

The phrase is also put into the mouth of the fictional Pope Gelasius III in Mary Doria Russell's 1998 novel The Children of God.

The term was also used by ecclesiastical reformers of the Roman Catholic Church who were caught up in a false interpretation of Vatican II. And we know where that has led!

To counter the diabolic itch for novelty that this phrase represents, Pope Benedict XVI has re-introduced the concept of “the hermeneutic of continuity”.

Thus, we see that Fr Jay Scott Newman is at odds with the spiritual head of the Church he claims to belong to.

It is fitting, perhaps, that we should pray this Holy Week for sheep - and shepherds - who are straying from the true path.

Let us pray for them.

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