Garry Wills – Interview with Stephen Colbert [Video]

[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0670024872″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/316TXPnx23L._SL160_.jpg” width=”106″ alt=”Garry Wills”]Garry Wills –who is a Roman Catholic — has a new book that raises a host of pointed theological questions about Catholic hierarchy…

Priests: A Failed Tradition

Garry Wills

Hardback: Viking, 2013.
Buy now:  [ [easyazon-link asin=”0670024872″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ] [ [easyazon-link asin=”B008EKMAKG” locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

Stephen Colbert digs right in and explores these questions in his classic style…

What do you think???

*** [easyazon-link asin=”0670024872″ locale=”us”]Other Books by Garry Wills[/easyazon-link]

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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  1. I don’t fundamentally disagree with Wills, but then I am Protestant. And I have to say I find many of the arguments of my Catholic friends persuasive when they say people like Wills have ceased to be catholic when they stop believing in the teachings of the church.

    At some point each of our Christian bodies adopt extra-biblical traditions. And while many of these traditions are helpful, and some are distracting from the broader church, I wonder how you simply reject them and still claim to be a part of that body.

    I grew up baptist and even worked for a local baptist association. But theologically I now reject the autonomy of the local church as being an important theological tenet and while I have become more sacramental over time I no longer think that adults need to be re-baptized if they were baptized as infants in non-baptist traditions.

    So as such, I no longer call myself a baptist. I still love baptists, still support my father and brother that are both baptist pastors. But I think I am just being intellectually honest by not calling myself a baptist.

    Wills isn’t a catholic in a similar way I am not a baptist. I know there is a difference because of the different conception of the meaning of the church but in many ways I think that just strengthens my point.

    • I think there’s great value in questioning a tradition, even while you remain part of it. It would be interesting to know what practices Wills enacts and what ones he eschews (esp. Eucharist). To me the tradition is more defined by the praxis, and not the beliefs.

  2. If he has accurately represented himself in this interview Gary Wills is expressing views of a Protestant and not a Roman Catholic, and possibly expressing views of the Radical Reformation. Also, he uses an interesting slight of hand, Augustine of course didn’t believe in “Transubstantiation” per se but he did believe the Eucharist was the Body of Christ, and Colbert gets it right, Augustine says we are what we eat. For Augustine it’s a both and, as I read him. Not either we are the body of Christ or the elements of the Eucharist are the Body of Christ both depend on each other.
    But I have to remember this is a comedy show, and possibly need to take this with a grain of salt, and see what Wills actually says in the book.
    I do find it interesting though because he as a Catholic seems to be questioning and moving in an analogous but opposite direction of myself; he questions basic understandings of Roman Catholic faith based on his reading of the early church and I’m question basic understandings of Protestantism based on my reading of the early church.

  3. I have to admit, this interview made me a little mad, and I’m not even Catholic! I’m sure it’s not as bad of a book as this interview might make me think; I’m sure there are problematic aspects of the priest hierarchy of the Catholic church, and I know I could never be Catholic because of the gender divide. Calling the Eucharist a “fake”?! sigh. I also love the story of Melchizedek, and to say he’s just the priest of a Caananite god… bugs me. Haha, but I’ll add it to my books to read… some day.

    • Yes, the Eucharist bit did made me roll my eyes a bit. I’m agnostic on the the question of transubstantiation, but to use that as a part of an argument against the priesthood, seems a bit flimsy. Maybe he makes the case better in the book?