Wednesday, June 01, 2005

With Apologies to Blake

On a recent thread at Disputations,
a commenter was going on and on about the problems that he had as a Protestant with a system (Catholicism) that would propagate a doctrine like the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.

I'm sure that William Blake is rolling over in his grave as I use this poem in defense of Catholicism, but it just seemed so appropriate:

Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau:
Mock on, mock on: ‘tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.

And every sand becomes a Gem,
Reflected in the beam divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking Eye,
But still in Israel’s paths they shine.

The Atoms of Democritus
And the Newton’s Particles of Light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright.

Blake is of course referring to atheists protesting any form of Christianity, and Blake is of course totally idiosyncratic in the way that he defines everything, and would probably have to be condemned as a heretic if he were not in fact nuts.

Still, I think to the extent that Protestants raise "rationalist" objections to divine truth, I think Blake's reproach applies.


Blogger Oblate-Man said...

Well, shall we enter into this? I would probably have to agree with you about using rational thinking to pin down a mystery, but I would also guess that the Protestant is objecting to the Church putting what is in his view a heavy emphasis on a doctrine that has very little Scriptural backing.

So I propose that you pull out the arguments for Perpetual Virginity, both Scriptural and traditional, and let's examine them. But remember that Protestant thinking is going to place Scripture above tradition or Church authority, so we may not settle this to both our satisfactions.

Also, I'm not clear on one matter. Is the teaching of Perpetual Virginity a hard and fast doctrine, or is it simply a strongly-held belief by conservative Catholics? I ask this, because I don't think Protestant theology would be irreparable damaged if it turns out to be true, and I wonder if the reverse is true to Catholicism.

(sigh) I haven't had a good discussion with anyone for so long...

11:58 AM  
Blogger xofezura said...

Hey Oblate-Man,

Well, there's plenty of verbiage on the subject. The Catholic position was taken by St. Jerome in 383 A.D. as you can see here, here, and here for starters.

1:05 PM  
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2:02 AM  

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