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Practical Arians?: Why do Liberal Catholics & many Protestants dislike Christmas Scenes & The Passion of the Christ Movie?

Why Jesus Doesn't Belong in Christmas Décor | Christianity Today

 The Passion of the Christ (2004) - IMDb

The great Catholic theologian Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange showed that liberal Catholics (which is another name for Modernist Catholics) and liberal Protestants claim that Jesus' divinity isn't proven from the bible:

State Of The Question. In our days what claims first attention is the
opinion that Modernists and a number of liberal Protestants have
about Christ. What they think is known from the propositions
condemned in the decree Lamentabili.[19] Some of these read: "The
divinity of Jesus Christ is not proved from the Gospels, but it is a
dogma deduced by the Christian conscience from the notion of the
Messias" (prop. 27). "In all the Gospel texts the expression 'Son of
God' is equivalent merely to the name 'Messias'; it does not at all,
however, signify that Christ is the true and natural Son of
God" (prop. 30). "The doctrine of the sacrificial death of Christ is not
evangelical, but originated with St. Paul" (prop. 38).

A number of rationalists, such as Renan, B. Weiss, H. Wendt,
Harnack, recognize some divine sonship in Christ that is superior to
His Messiahship, but they deny that Jesus, in virtue of this sonship,
was truly God.[20]

Among conservative Protestants, however, several, such as F. Godet
in Switzerland, Stevens and Sanday in England, defended in recent
times the divinity of Christ, not only from the Fourth Gospel and the
Epistles of St. Paul, but even from the Synoptic Gospels.[21] [http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/1877-1964,_Garrigou_Lagrange._R,_The_Third_Part_Of_St_Thomas%27Theological_Summa,_EN.pdf]

Part of the reason for this among liberal Catholics like Francis is that they are very Lutheran in their ideas and Martin Luther was a Nominalist as the Called to Communion website revealed:

The nominalist roots of Luther’s theology are undeniable. Historian and theologian, Heiko Oberman says quite forthrightly, “Martin Luther was a nominalist, there is no doubt about that.”5 Even a cursory glance through Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation and his Disputation Against Scholastic Theology reveals that his primary interlocutors were precisely the nominalist magistri, William of Ockham and Gabriel Biel. One might attempt to distance Luther from Nominalism, arguing that by criticizing Ockham and Biel in his Disputation Against Scholastic Theology he was moving away from philosophy as a whole and towards Scripture alone. Yet, a closer look at the Disputation reveals Luther’s continuing debt to the movement. Luther contests certain views held by his magistri but nowhere does he challenge the fundamentally Nominalist orientation that he shared with them. In 1520, in good Nominalist fashion, Luther would write, “I demand arguments not authorities. That is why I contradict even my own school of Occamists, which I have absorbed completely.”6 We turn, therefore, to the question ‘quid est?’ What is this philosophy which prepared the fertile soil for Luther’s Reformation?

Nominalism, as it is commonly understood, is the philosophical view in which universals are regarded as having no objective weight, and no intrinsic correspondence to individual, concrete things. For instance, according to Nominalism, to say that Peter has a human nature and that John has a human nature is simply to say that both have extrinsically predicated of them a common name (nomen), which happens to be “human nature.” To predicate the same ‘human nature’ to both John and Peter is not to say that they share any metaphysical reality or nature in common. [https://www.calledtocommunion.com/2014/01/post-tenebras-lux/]

If one is a Nominalist, it appears that it might be difficult to say Jesus had both a human nature and divine nature since they don't seem to believe a human nature even exists.

One can see why Pope Pius X condemned Nominalistic Modernist Catholics according to the Soul-Candy website:

What started as an intellectual tendency much earlier in the history of Western thought became first “codified” in philosophical terms by an aberrant English Franciscan Scholastic, William of Ockham or Occam (c. 1287–1347), with his subjectivist and relativist advocacy of nominalism, which, later in time, was also fairly called (appropriately enough) Occamism. And, as Richard M. Weaver had noted long ago, ideas have consequences.  (Ed. Ask the victims of the Nazis, the Communists, the Khmer Rouge, if they do, fair reader?)

Admittedly, nominalism, which ultimately leads to nihilism, is very epistemologically seductive and even most of its adherents rarely, if ever, become conscious of its supremely thoroughgoing hold upon them.

For instance, the needed denunciation of the gigantic religious/theological heresy of Modernism, by Pope St. Pius X, would have been impossible to truly comprehend (as to the precise reason for the condemnation’s vital need) without the prior success of the development of the important intellectual error known as nominalism in cognition, for there is no greater deception than self-deception…(Ed. nor none more rampant, gentle reader.)

The Matter Itself Defined

But, what is nominalism? Simply put, it is the explicit denial of there being any universals; the doctrine that general ideas or abstract concepts, meaning as being mere necessities of thought or conveniences of language, are simply names without any true corresponding reality and that, in fact, only particular objects exist; there are, therefore, no universal essences whatsoever.

The nominalist contends, e. g., that one can see an individual man, a human being, but there can be no universal term that talks about man as an abstract category as if it possessed any reality. Thus, an individual person has a human nature qua real being; but, the universality of a human nature qua nature of humanity does not philosophically exist. There are, as other examples, individual dogs or cats; there is, however, no universal “thing” that can be specified as dog or cat. Words such as liberty, freedom, truth, beauty, justice, etc. are said to be mere abstractions qua semantic devices having no true substance whatsoever.

The inherent and integral and unavoidable contradictions and conundrums, involved in such a bold contention, get rudely pushed aside in the subjective-relativist rush toward upholding the nominalist asseveration, meaning totally regardless of the actuality of the matters discussed. Objectivity and subjectivity, among other basic noetic results, get necessarily reversed within the scope of human understanding and comprehension, not surprisingly. It is, in short, Occam’s Razor gone mad.

Thus, ultimately, it is the extremely anomalous positing that metaphysics can exist without any reference to a metaphysical order (as if a river could be composed without any water); a once truly radical or extremist point of view that, today, is held to be completely normal. It is, therefore, as to its logical consequences, a world seeking to be entirely bereft of God and, finally, of sanity itself in the cause of pursuing nominalism to its final epistemological conclusion.

One can see, as with, e. g., Communism, how an ersatz religion (or the oddity of a secularist religion) qua ideology can induce people to murder millions of their fellow human beings, though not ever thinking that such slaughter is clearly indicative of insanity. If this can be understood, however, then the true meaning, implications, and ramifications of modernity [Modernism] are then revealed. [https://soul-candy.info/2014/12/history-of-thought-nominalism/]

Getting back to Nominalistic Lutheran-like Protestants, it appears that in a sense they may dislike religious imagery such as Christmas scenes or the The Passion of the Christ Movie because they implicitly deny the Incarnation of Jesus Christ as shown by the Shameless Popery blog:

Properly understood, then, the Incarnation answers the error of iconoclasm.  The infinite and immortal God, beyond all imagination, has taken on our humanity, that we might come to Him and share in His Divinity (2 Peter 1:4).  In other words, God isn’t just telling us that Creation isn’t evil. He’s positively telling us that Creation is good.  Christ becomes the visible Image of God in a perfect way. Nehushtan is replaced by Our Crucified Lord.  St. Paul puts it simply  (Col. 1:15):  “the Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”  Imagery of the invisible God is no longer prohibited, because we can now envision God: Jesus Christ.

So in a nutshell, if religious images elevate your spirit, if they draw you towards God, they’re fine. In fact, they’re better than fine.  You should use them.  But if you can’t tell the difference between religious images and God Himself, then you shouldn’t.

III. The Dangers of Iconoclasm

The prohibition against religious art and imagery isn’t harmless.  To the left is a picture of the doorway to a  Dutch church (St. Stevens), that was vandalized by Protestants in the 16th century.  They cut the heads off of the statues of Jesus and the saints, and the angels from the doorway.

Thank God that they didn’t find the Ark of the Covenant, because I can think of no coherent reason why they’d be against statues of angels in the doorway to a church, but fine with statues of angels on the Ark of the Covenant.

Now, obviously, Protestants today aren’t roving around destroying Catholic art. But iconoclasm has ongoing negative impacts.  When The Passion of the Christ came out, it was condemned as idolatry, with commenters making sweeping claims like “all pictures, statues or portrayals of our Lord are idolatrous.”  Taken seriously, this goes a lot further than outlawing the local Nativity play (or creche).

If re-enacting the words and actions of Christ constitutes idolatry, it’s hard to see how even Protestant Lord’s Suppers wouldn’t be idolatry, since the pastor speaks the words of Christ in the first person.  For that matter, why is it okay to read the words of Christ out loud from the Gospels?  It’s about as likely that someone hears their pastor reading Scripture and mistakes him for Jesus as is it that they’ll mistake Jim Caviezel for Jesus Christ.

Can you get to Christ without visible imagery? Certainly.  The blind do it all the time.  But step back and consider the countless number of people brought to Christ by The Passion of the Christ, or by the Oberammergau Passion Play, or by the numerous Nativity scenes and even Christmas school plays.  Those souls would be lost in the dreary world of the iconoclast.  That’s far from harmless.

And take heed, Christian.  The Seventh Ecumenical Council, accepted by Catholics and Orthodox alike, and one of the seven that many Protestants give at least some weight to, actually declared “Anathema to those who do not salute the holy and venerable images.”  This is a real problem for those who pay lip service to the Seven Councils while ignoring what those Councils actually taught.

Conclusion

So, here’s what we know:

  1. The Old Testament prohibits idols, not images;
  2. God sometimes commanded religious images in worship;
  3. In using religious images, we’re not to worship them (obviously);
  4. The mere fact that religious images could be (and sometimes were) abused as idolatry didn’t stop God from ordering them;
  5. The one major religious image taboo the Jews had, about the creation of Images of God Himself, is resolved in the Incarnation, since “the Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Col. 1:15).
  6. Iconoclasm (the total rejection of images) has prevented untold scores of people from coming to Christ;
  7. The Church, in a Council accepted by Catholics, Orthodox, and many Protestants, orders the use of religious images. [https://shamelesspopery.com/does-the-bible-prohibit-religious-images/]

Finally, a hint of this is even found among conservative Protestants as a friend of the Lutheran-like C.S. Lewis, Christopher Derrick, showed when he said that Lewis said "Catholicism... press[ed] the incarnation... too far." I suspect that Lewis never became a Catholic because he was like many Protestants a practical Arian.

Robert Gotcher explains that Protestant anti-Mary doctrines incline them towards "practical Arianism":

The usual response to a Protestant objection to our veneration of Mary is to say we don’t “worship” her, but give her honor not unlike we give special people honor and we don’t pray to her, but ask her to pray for us. All well and good, but that doesn’t get to the heart of the problem. In fact, Catholics do treat Mary as a kind of divinity.

Newman helped me see why this is the case and why it is not really a problem. Specifically, the honors paid Mary are paid to a creature just as the Arians considered Christ a creature, although far above us. Mary is above us because she has experienced transforming power of the resurrection of the body known as theosis or divinization. She participates in the divine nature in a way that we only will at the second coming, but even so to a greater degree.

And as containing all created perfection, she has all those attributes, which, as was noticed above, the Arians and other heretics applied to our Lord, and which the Church denied of Him as infinitely below His Supreme Majesty….Christ is the First-born by nature; the Virgin in a less sublime order, viz. that of adoption. Again, if omnipotence is ascribed to her, it is a participated omnipotence (as she and all Saints have a participated sonship, divinity, glory, holiness, and worship). (Ch. 11, Section II.10)

Newman asserted that Arius had opened up for the Church a “place” in her thinking for an exalted creature like that which Arius ascribed to Christ. That place was filled in her speculation and piety by the Blessed Virgin Mary.

And thus the controversy opened a question which it did not settle. It discovered a new sphere, if we may so speak, in the realms of light, to which the Church had not yet assigned its inhabitant..…Thus there was "a wonder in heaven:" a throne was seen, far above all other created powers, mediatorial, intercessory; a title archetypal; {144} a crown bright as the morning star; a glory issuing from the Eternal Throne; robes pure as the heavens; and a sceptre over all; and who was the predestined heir of that Majesty? Since it was not high enough for the Highest, who was that Wisdom, and what was her name, "the Mother of fair love, and fear, and holy hope," "exalted like a palm-tree in Engaddi, and a rose-plant in Jericho," "created from the beginning before the world" in God's everlasting counsels, and "in Jerusalem her power"? The vision is found in the Apocalypse, a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. The votaries of Mary do not exceed the true faith, unless the blasphemers of her Son came up to it. The Church of Rome is not idolatrous, unless Arianism is orthodoxy. (Chapter 4)

Newman’s sense was that the common devotion to Christ, though nominally orthodox, was de facto Arian or worse:

Yet it is not wonderful, considering how Socinians, Sabellians, Nestorians, and the like, abound in these days, without their even knowing it themselves, if those who never rise higher in their notions of our Lord's Divinity, than to consider Him a man singularly inhabited by a Divine Presence, that is, a Catholic Saint,—if such men should mistake the honour paid by the Church to the human Mother for that very honour which, and which alone, is worthy of her Eternal Son. (Ch. 4, Section II.9)

[I]t must be asked, whether the character of much of the Protestant devotion towards our Lord has been that of adoration at all; and not rather such as we pay to an excellent human being, that is, no higher devotion than that which Catholics pay to St. Mary, differing from it, however, in often being familiar, rude, and earthly. Carnal minds will ever create a carnal worship for themselves; and to forbid them the service of the Saints will have no tendency to teach them the worship of God. (Ch. 11, Section II.3)

This leads them to mistake the Catholic devotion to Mary for idolatry... Protestant practical Arianism. [https://www.lightondarkwater.com/2015/08/52-authors-week-31-newman.html] 

Pray an Our Father now for reparation for the sins committed because of Francis's Amoris Laetitia.

Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church as well as the Triumph of the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Stop for a moment of silence, ask Jesus Christ what He wants you to do now and next. In this silence remember God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost - Three Divine Persons yet One God, has an ordered universe where you can know truth and falsehood as well as never forget that He wants you to have eternal happiness with Him as his son or daughter by grace. Make this a practice. By doing this you are doing more good than reading anything here or anywhere else on the Internet.

Francis Notes:

- Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales totally confirmed beyond any doubt the possibility of a heretical pope and what must be done by the Church in such a situation:

"[T]he Pope... WHEN he is EXPLICITLY a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church MUST either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See."
(The Catholic Controversy, by St. Francis de Sales, Pages 305-306)


Saint Robert Bellarmine, also, said "the Pope heretic is not deposed ipso facto, but must be declared deposed by the Church."
[https://archive.org/stream/SilveiraImplicationsOfNewMissaeAndHereticPopes/Silveira%20Implications%20of%20New%20Missae%20and%20Heretic%20Popes_djvu.txt]

- "If Francis is a Heretic, What should Canonically happen to him?": http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2020/12/if-francis-is-heretic-what-should.html

- "Could Francis be a Antipope even though the Majority of Cardinals claim he is Pope?": http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2019/03/could-francis-be-antipope-even-though.html

- If Francis betrays Benedict XVI & the"Roman Rite Communities" like he betrayed the Chinese Catholics we must respond like St. Athanasius, the Saintly English Bishop Robert Grosseteste & "Eminent Canonists and Theologians" by "Resist[ing]" him: https://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2021/12/if-francis-betrays-benedict-xvi.html 

 -  LifeSiteNews, "Confusion explodes as Pope Francis throws magisterial weight behind communion for adulterers," December 4, 2017:

The AAS guidelines explicitly allows "sexually active adulterous couples facing 'complex circumstances' to 'access the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.'"

-  On February 2018, in Rorate Caeli, Catholic theologian Dr. John Lamont:

"The AAS statement... establishes that Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia has affirmed propositions that are heretical in the strict sense."

- On December 2, 2017, Bishop Rene Gracida:

"Francis' heterodoxy is now official. He has published his letter to the Argentina bishops in Acta Apostlica Series making those letters magisterial documents."

Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church by the bishops by the grace of God.

Election Notes:  

- Intel Cryptanalyst-Mathematician on Biden Steal: "212Million Registered Voters & 66.2% Voting,140.344 M Voted...Trump got 74 M, that leaves only 66.344 M for Biden" [http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2020/12/intel-cryptanalyst-mathematician-on.html?m=1]

- Will US be Venezuela?: Ex-CIA Official told Epoch Times "Chávez started to Focus on [Smartmatic] Voting Machines to Ensure Victory as early as 2003": http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2020/12/will-us-be-venezuela-ex-cia-official.html

- Tucker Carlson's Conservatism Inc. Biden Steal Betrayal is explained by “One of the Greatest Columns ever Written" according to Rush: http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2021/01/tucker-carlsons-conservatism-inc-biden.html?m=1
 
- A Hour which will Live in Infamy: 10:01pm November 3, 2020:
http://www.thecatholicmonitor.com/2021/01/a-hour-which-will-live-in-infamy-1001pm.html?m=1
 
What is needed right now to save America from those who would destroy our God given rights is to pray at home or in church and if called to even go to outdoor prayer rallies in every town and city across the United States for God to pour out His grace on our country to save us from those who would use a Reichstag Fire-like incident to destroy our civil liberties. [Is the DC Capitol Incident Comparable to the Nazi Reichstag Fire Incident where the German People Lost their Civil Liberties?: http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2021/01/is-dc-capital-incident-comparable-to.html?m=1 and Epoch Times Show Crossroads on Capitol Incident: "Anitfa 'Agent Provocateurs'":
http://catholicmonitor.blogspot.com/2021/01/epoch-times-show-crossroads-on-capital.html?m=1

Pray an Our Father now for the grace to know God's Will and to do it.
 
Pray an Our Father now for America.
 
Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Church as well as the Triumph of the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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