The PATHEOS portal advertises itself as “hosting the conversation of faith,” however— it does more than this, it seeks to reframe and/or to delineate religious truth. While several good Catholic blogs are hosted; it seeks neutrality with other religious or non-religious systems that is not possible without compromise and contradiction. For instance, while admitting that Catholicism “traces its history to Jesus of Nazareth,” which it defines as merely an “itinerant preacher,” the quick facts given stipulate the following:
The Roman Catholic Church formed between the 3rd to the 5th centuries C.E.
The bishops formed a “universal” church.
The exact date of the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church is indeterminable.
While the nomenclature of “Roman Catholic” and “Pope” develops over time, the Church is directly instituted by Jesus Christ, God-made-man. The apostles were bishop-priests. There was no generic first and second century Christianity. Those who accepted Christ in faith and baptism were Catholic Christians. All the apostles and disciples were Catholic. The Virgin Mary was a Catholic. Jesus calls Simon ROCK or Peter and says that he will build his Church on this ROCK. He gives Peter the keys to the kingdom and universal jurisdiction as his visible shepherd. While there is certainly development, all the important elements go back to Christ and the apostles. Anti-Catholic critics have long contended for the late institution of the Church. Revisionist Catholics, even in academia, spout similar nonsense. These are not credible historians, no matter what alphabet soup follows their names. It seems to me that while individual voices at PATHEOS are orthodox, the site is tainted by a religious relativism that spills over into the section about Catholicism. Might this represent the wrong type of ecumenism about which Pope Benedict XVI has warned us? I think so. There is no sense of the supernatural nature of Mother Church. Dissenting voices are given as much legitimacy as those which speak the truth. There is no imprimatur or protection to insure against misleading statements. Attempting to appease many authorities, there is a definite religious indifferentism and denominationalism. Both are contrary to Catholic teaching and are affronts to the truth.
Mark Shea has a good article on his blog (hosted at PATHEOS) entitled, “Why it’s Our Ruling Class vs. the Rest of Us.” It alerts us to media consolidation and control of information, even religious information. I did not even know that PATHEOS existed until after I looked at the post and had my eye drawn away to the ads and links. I found it very unsettling and confusing. I hope over time the problems can be fixed, but I fear a continuing tension and struggle over what is or is not genuine Catholicism.