Paul T. McCain, executive editor at the Missouri Synod's Concordia Publishing House, out of concern for the Church, one supposes, has issued a warning against Romanist dangers. This warning jumps out at me for any number of reasons, some less important than others. So why not start with one or two of the less important observations to be made.
Jimmy Fallon, as I write this, is interviewing Tommy Lee, and Tommy Lee starts a story by saying that fireworks are illegal in L.A. And as he is saying this, he puts "illegal" in finger quotes. This is a perfect example of an all too common overuse, indeed, abuse, of the quote. McCain, in like manner, is in need of an editor, for at one point in his piece he claims that praising the Tridentine Mass, and frequently quoting the Pope and RC saints are "warning signs" (in quotes) of someone going Rome. This calls into question, logically, whether he thinks that these things are truly warning signs or not. Maybe it is a statement of sarcasm. Maybe he just means that he is not referring to literal physical signs on a street. Yet "warning signs" is used elsewhere in the same blog post without the quotes. Anyway, I found this amusing. I always enjoy a good misuse of quotes. Kind of reminds me of a classic Chris Farley moment from SNL:
That's right, Bennet Brauer here with another commentary. Didn't think the suits would have me back perhaps. Thought they'd have my dairy-air replaced by one of tem store mannequin well maybe I'm not "the norm". I'm not "camera friendly", I don't "wear clothes that fit me", I'm not a "heartbreaker", I haven't had "sex with a woman", I don't know "how that works", I don't "fall in line", I'm not "hygienic", I don't "wipe properly", I lack "style", I don't have "self-esteem", I have no "charisma", I don't "own a toothbrush", I don't "let my scabs heal", I can't "reach all the parts of my body", when I sleep I sweat profusely. But I guess the powers that be will keep signing my pay check until Jack and Jane K. Viewer start to go for the remote so they can get back to commentators who don't "frighten children", who don't "eat their own dandruff", who don't "pop their whiteheads with a compass they used in high school". Thank you, Kevin.
I must observe also, in passing, McCain's use of the term "layperson." Among Confessional Lutherans, the word "layperson" is generally only forgivable when David Scaer uses it. "Layperson" is an offense against the language, and as a brother, I must stand up against such an abuse. Perhaps, though, the Missouri Synod ought to get with the times, and rename its Lutheran Laymen's League the Lutheran Layperson's League.
To be clear, my comments above are essentially humorous, and not all that earnest. But to comment a bit now on the substance of McCain's claims. One of his warning signs that someone is going to Rome is that he quotes Catholic saints. When one man astutely commented that "a Lutheran who is deathly allergic to the writings of anyone the Catholics call a saint...is likely headed toward American Evangelicalism," McCain answered with these words, "I suppose it depends on which Catholic "saint" is quoted. Quoting, for instance, "The Little Flower," spouting fluffy speculative nonsense, is not a good example of quoting a person whom the Catholic Church has declared to be a saint." Unless you know of a lot of other Lutherans who are quoting the Little Flower these days online, McCain is now clearly and maliciously claiming that I am about to go Rome. He even calls me a Judas, saying "what you must do, do quickly."
Now I do not mind if someone prefers not to spend time reading Therese. And it is true, to be sure, that we Lutherans do not agree with every aspect of the theological thinking with which Therese was surrounded her whole short life. What I mind, what is truly outrageous, is McCain's innuendo and lies about me and others. Of course, more important than the fact that I mind it is that it is against the mind of Christ.