Roland S. Martin, do your homework

I was blissfully unaware of this man’s existence until this morning, when I read on a couple of different blogs about his venemous and ludicrous attack on Benedict XVI, prompted by the statement on the Church released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last week.

For an excellent summary, see the Newsbusters piece. For the piece I’m talking about now, go here.

My point here is that anyone who has studied the Catechism, as Martin claims he did, or who has paid any attention to the CDF document, as Martin may be presumed to have done, since he’s belittling it, would not have made the obvious blunders that Roland Martin makes in his CNN piece.

First, he says that non-Catholics ought not get excited about the statement. “Just chalk it up to an old man trying to get a little attention.” Please . . . let’s instead chalk your piece up to your longing for attention—which would be just as stupid, but far less reductive than to say it of Benedict.

His doctrinal error comes in the second paragraph:

For him to even suggest that only the Catholic Church can provide true salvation to believers in Christ shows that he is wholly ignorant of the Scriptures that I have known all my life.

First: Let’s not exaggerate, shall we? Anyone who casually dismisses Benedict as “wholly ignorant of the Scriptures” has either got a screw loose or hates the pope. Or both. Benedict has demostrated his profound knowledge of the Scriptures for longer than you’ve been alive, Roland Martin.

Also, the Church doesn’t say that salvation is obtainable only through itself. (Let alone “true” salvation—is this better than “regular” salvation?) Read the Catechism:

“Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

Note also that the Church teaches that salvation comes from God alone, but that the Church is our mother insofar as we learn the faith from her. (Par. 169)

And what about non-Catholic Christian churches? The document Martin is holding forth on says that they “are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation”—and that “the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation”.

That seems to me a far cry from Benedict suggesting “that only the Catholic Church can provide true salvation”.

Martin’s ignorance of this document on which he’s setting himself out as a public expert is further revealed by his statement:

This is nothing but a naked attempt by Pope Benedict XVI to “own” Jesus by virtue of the Catholic Church considering the apostle Peter as its leader.

Perhaps he missed the part I just quoted. The statement in English is, after all, 1,248 words long. Which brings up a final point: Martin twice referrs to it as a 16-page document. I’m willing to let this slide, although properly speaking, the statement itself is about 5 pages (8 pages, notes included), followed by 8 pages of Commentary.

Martin is, as Jimmy Akin says, an anti-Catholic bigot, and it says something about CNN that they publish his trash. (All it’s saying, really, is that CNN is unremarkable in its hypocrisy: tolerance and understanding are moral imperatives for every topic in the known universe, except for Catholicism. For this, they favor intolerance and nonunderstanding.)

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3 Responses to “Roland S. Martin, do your homework”

  1. Sparx Says:

    “Martin is, as Jimmy Akin says, an anti-Catholic bigot,”…. and you are a pro-catholic bigot, not sure how that makes you the winner here.

  2. Curly Says:

    I’d like to think I gave a little evidence for my claim. Where’s yours? I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but right now you’re only a name-caller. Not sure how that makes me the loser here . . .

  3. john Says:

    Hey, not too sure how it fits in here, but Martin is none too friendly to gays, and if CNN uses Martin to get at Catholics in the name of “diversity,” that extends to gays too.

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