There’s a good discussion at Amy Welborn’s blog:
Amid all the specifics of the “Catholic vote” issue this past election season and the various statements of bishops and other clergy, the more general issue undergirding the whole discussion is quite simply, that of authority….
Being new to the Catholic Church, I’ve been surprised at the extent and prevalence of ‘private judgment’ or, at least, a judgment that does not look for counsel beyond one’s own time and space and am reminded of Newman’s “to be versed in history is to cease to be Protestant.”
As a Lutheran blog notes:
Athanasius is one of the greatest Church theologians. He challenged the emperor and the many followers of Arius. He held to the decision of Nicaea and defended the Nicene Creed. This was no simple task, because the Byzantine emperors were fickle: one would support the Creed, and then his successor would support Arius, and back and forth for a number of years (this is why he was banished and reappointed numerous times from his patriarch). Although the Creed upheld Christian orthodoxy in 325, many Christians, bishops, pastors, theologians, and churches sided with Arius. The confessional and orthodox pastors, bishops, and churches were in the minority.
In spite of this challenge, Athansius and others moved forward to teach and confess the Nicene Creed as the true exposition of the holy Scriptures. After numerous hardships, Athansius and his colleagues won the day as the Holy Spirit worked through men and women like him to confess the faith even when they were in the minority and ridiculed.
We take for granted today the orthodoxy we have with the Nicene Creed. Athanasius must be given much credit for spearheading the truths we now accept without much thought. Thank God, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, for giving Athanasius to the Church as a defender of the faith, a pastor who preached the Word and administered the Sacraments, and lead the patriarch (diocese) of Alexandria for many years.