Subject: Re: use of the term "papist"
Of course "papist" has historically been a derogatory term. My use of it in my blog title is an attempt to reclaim it, saying in effect "sure we follow the pope, and that isn't a bad thing." It's a challenge for folks to re-examine their preconceptions about Catholics.
Now, using "papist" in an ecclesiological sense is interesting. But claiming that "papist" is uniquely-descriptive of Catholics is misleading. What is distinctive about us is that we follow all the teachings of Christ, which includes petrine primacy and infallibility. So, in a sense, being a papist represents living the fullness of the Christian life.
Grace & Peace.
With no small amount of tremulous timority (and some temerity as well), I make the modest proposal that when Catholics read one of Mr. Fan's articles or comments using the term "papist", we Catholics assume that he is praising Catholics who are "living the fullness of the Christian life" as suggested by Mr. Peters' usage of the term. First, it allows us to be more charitable towards Mr. Fan and makes his articles a bit more palatable and truthful when it comes to his discussion about Catholic doctrines.
Second, Mr. Peters' definition is far more attractive than the one Mr. Fan originally advanced before he pointed me to Mr. Peters' blog as an example of Catholics using the term "papist". Since Mr. Fan referenced it, he apparently endorses the way Mr. Peters' is using the term. Surely, Mr. Fan checked it out and knew how the term was being used by Mr. Peters before referencing in his critique of my argument against his usage of the term. Mr. Peters' definition also has the luxury of making sense, at least in the sense of ecclesiology which Mr. Fan believes legitimizes his usage of "papist".
As a bonus, by assuming that Mr. Fan is using Mr. Peters' definition, one has to guess whether Mr. Fan is really not an anti-Catholic after all. Since Mr. Fan believes that God is truly sovereign and can elect to save whom He will, Mr. Fan can not complain if God elects to save Catholics through the Catholic Church, can he? There is some precedent for this notion here. Both John Calvin and the Real Turretin used the term "papist" throughout their writings, but both did think that it was possible that Catholics could be saved within the confines of the institutional Catholic Church. See, Calvin's Commentaries, 1539 Latin, Baker Book House English reprint  1993, Vol. 9, p. 285; Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 1696 Latin, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing English translation, 1997, Vol. 3, p. 121. Maybe TF is following these men's lead and agrees with them.
Of course in assuming that Mr. Fan is endorsing Mr. Peters definition of "papist" by citing to it, rather than its historical pejorative sense, one must wonder then why Turretinfan hasn't swum the Tiber long ago (given how many times he uses "papist" as a term of endearment), like so many of his former fellow Presbyterians, including folks like: Orestes Brownson, Jimmy Akin, Dr. Scott & Kimberly Hahn, Robert Sungenis, Bishop Henry Graham, and Cardinal Avery Dulles. However, being somewhat of a realist, I am still holding out the possibility that Jack Chick pays Turretinfan a nickel every time he uses the word "papist" in a sentence.
Mr. Fan, thank you for helping us find a new definition for "papist". Do you have any suggestions for websites that have the word "romanist" in their title so we can get a better definition for that pejorative too?
P.S. Seriously, Mr. Peters' blog is an excellent read and I highly recommend folks stopping by and checking it out!