Christ is in our midst!!
It is triumphalism on OUR part when we look down on Protestants and judge them by how they differ from us. To use the term "enlightened" shows a triumphalistic attitude. They, from their point of view, see us as far off the original faith.
Yes, their approach to the Theotokos is flawed and makes a big gap in other theology. But they are where they are. Our calling is to faithfully and humbly explain the Truth that as been passed down to us from the Apostles, gently pointing out that "sola Scriptura" is NOT the faith that came out of the Apostolic era. I have read and heard--and was horrified--to hear that Jesus "passed through Mary without taking anything from her, like water passes through a pipe." The explanation went on that Jesus was an original creation having nothing to do with Mary or anyone else--almost an outside creation idea. That's how far some would go to be against the Latin Catholic Church, which is the starting point of rejection for many Protestant bodies.
But nothing here gives us the right to call them "unenlightened."
Problems that exist and need to be overcome in the Catholic Church also describe them when it is necessary (but they must be resolved in the Church - as Joseph Ratzinger recently said, the solution of founding other churches has been tried in the past, is not a real solution - it did not work, no Christian can say today that everything is wonderful in its denomination) and so I also try to observe and describe things that I see in other denominations. I do not see triumphalism in this (but yes, "enlightened" it may be an inappropriate term depending on the occasion).
But anyway, okay, I'll reflect your guidance, you have more experience than me; I am only a young man with love inflamed by the Church and I also need advice.
It is not being judgmental or triumphalist to use the word "enlightened." What does enlightened mean? It is a way of saying that someone has come into a place of deeper knowledge, or has "seen the light," as one might say. The fact is (and perhaps this is part of the attitude problem I have been accused of having) that Protestant pastors, and especially those in Fundamentalist assemblies, deliberately keep their congregation from knowing about the early history of the Church. To do so would cause massive problems, thus, they are kept in the dark - i.e., without light, or unenlightened.
Can you believe that I was 50 years old, had been in Protestantism for 25 years, and very dedicated at that, and when I encountered knowledgeable Catholics on the Internet, it was the first time I had even heard of men like St. Ignatius, Polycarp, St. Irenaeus, etc? I remember one former Methodist pastor who, on a Catholic convert board, told us that in 4 years of seminary study leading to his ordination, he heard exactly NO - that's ZERO, ZIP, NADA, ZILCH - quotes from the Early Fathers of the Church. That, my friends, is not education. That is brainwashing, pure and simple.
The simple fact is that there are people who are 'unenlightened" because they have not been taught. It is not a pejorative, it is simply a statement of fact. They don't know because they have not been taught. Deliberately. Yet many of them have a deep love for Christ within the paradigm they have been given. And when they convert - they make super Orthodox and Catholics!
Exactly. Thank you for your testimony. I have already noted this, Christians of some Protestant denominations are shocked when they discover that ancient Christians with proven orthodoxy were quite Catholic. I think there can only be dialogue with anyone who wants to dialogue.
Christ is in our midst!!
What if we turn the tables? What chance would a Protestant have of engaging us in dialogue about this issue if he insisted that we were caught in the Devil's idolatry on this issue?
IMHO, none. So my point is that we need to avoid language that is inflammatory or derogatory if we wish to speak to our brethren who do not have the faith gift that we have. We still must recognize that the others have a deep love for Christ and are not afraid of publicly speaking of it--something that we in the Apostolic Churches seem not to do; it's not part of how we are taught to operate.
Oh, I've been called an idolator many times in dialogues, my remark has gone from there. If there was triumphalism, I believe it was not on my part (I was also trampled by sedevacantist Catholics, traditionalist "Thomists", only because I love Pope Francis and Ratzinger - someone who dialoged with Lutherans in particular, by the way).
"If the Church cannot cheat, then neither can man" (said the monsignor Luigi Giussani) - experience doesn’t deceive us.