Protestants seem to think that Catholics have added on to what the early Church believed; Catholics retort that Protestants have taken away from what the early Church believed. I am sort of starting to think, just from my own religious anthropological investigations, that perhaps no one believes what the early Church believed, and that is perhaps not such a bad thing. The Shepherd of Hermas? Millenarianism? People speaking in tongues and St. Peter making people drop dead just for “lying on their tax returns”? Seven years canonical penance for adultery? And that is just from the paltry documental evidence we know about. Who knows what those first assemblies of believers were really like? Newman quipped that to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant. I reply that to be deeper in history is to cease to be anything. And pace Newman, to have changed often does not mean that one is perfect. It merely means that one is mortal.
Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.Fyodor Dostoevsky (via poornate)