In a comment left on James Swan’s blog (and then removed, I might add), Frank Beckwith noted:
I use the term “Reformation” and “Reformers” even though I do not believe that there was any real Reformation for which the Reformers are morally responsible. Nevertheless, I use the terms out of respect for my Protestant brothers and sisters.
As if the Council of Trent (we won’t revisit Dr. Beckwith’s comments on Trent in his interview with Greg Koukl) would have done what it did without the Reformation as its background! I’m sure there were plenty of folks in Rome who wanted to keep the money spigot on “full blast” with the sale of indulgences, but that troubling German monk really messed that up. I wonder if the “reformation” of indulgences would have happened without the Reformers?
But again, we cannot be overly surprised at such a comment. Dr. Beckwith has returned to Rome, and we would not expect him to see the Reformation as a time when the light of the Gospel broke through the encrustations of Roman tradition. But as we have pointed out many times, it does not seem that Dr. Beckwith ever viewed Rome’s gospel as non-saving and actually false. He continued:
What would be really something, by the way, would be finding Madrid, Hahn, Ray, et al using “Roman Catholic” in every single instance the word “Catholic” appears in their writings and blog post as well as employing “Papist” and “Romanist.” Just like hip-hoppers who call each other “n**ger” once and a while, we Catholics can refer to each other as “Roman Catholic” every so often. We do it out of love for the Bishop of Rome; you do it out of condescension and derision.
You ain’t me homie, you can’t use “Romie.” 🙂
Well, there you go. The real problem is not that Rome herself does not use terms like “Roman church” all the time, as she self-evidently does. It is that Dr. Beckwith can read the hearts of others and decide that when they speak of the Roman Church they do so out of “condescension and derision.” It matters not if we explain that we believe it is necessary to be specific, as long as we do not grant to Rome her own claims to represent Christ, we are precluded from using the language she herself uses. I’m glad we have gotten that straight.