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There's currently an interesting exchange going on between Mr. Shea and a reformed tradition apologist.  I link to the posts in question below:

http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/12/...hodox.html
http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/12/...years.html

Can anyone here please clarify the matter at hand in a charitable, knowledgeable manner with sources documented?

Thanks!
I have an opinion, if that means anything, and it doesn't.

It is one thing to present the teachings of the Church and defend her teachings.  It is another to engage in open debate with Protestants.  If you read the CE entries on the topic, and they escape me now maybe I can dig them up later, it explains why the Church restricted this type of debate even restricting the clergy.

Laity can never preach per se.  However, we are all called to Evangelize and encourage people to come into the faith.  Some are better than others at different methods.  I'm a lousy apologist and hate it.  I'd rather discuss theology within the Faith.  I try to do my preaching and evangelization  following the quote attributed to St. Francis: "Preach the Gospel, use words when necessary."

That said, the members of the current hierarchy have done an abysmal job evangelizing.  At times like that, it is not surprising if God pulls from the masses a few "useless tools" to accomplish his will.  But, you know, there are a lot of problems with lay apologetics in general.

The bottom line for me is this:  the salvation of souls is the highest law of the Church.  If speaking the truth about the Church will save a soul, then do it.  But don't do it if you are unprepared and want to "wing it".

I wish I remembered the CE entries - if someone else does, please post links.
QuisUtDeus Wrote:Laity can never preach per se.

Precision, my good man. The laity cannot preach in the liturgy. Any believer can preach with a soapbox on a street corner, should he please. Now that might be imprudent, and it might not be, but that's another issue. The point is, it's incorrect to say the laity cannot preach whatsoever.

Quote:"Preach the Gospel, use words when necessary."

Hands down, the above quote is the biggest cop-out Catholics use avoid evangelizing people for Jesus Christ.

Quote:But, you know, there are a lot of problems with lay apologetics in general.

We do?
Quote: Pope Alexander IV (1254-1261) in “Sextus Decretalium”, Lib. V, c. ii:

We furthermore forbid any lay person to engage in dispute, either private or public, concerning the Catholic Faith. Whosoever shall act contrary to this decree, let him be bound in the fetters of excommunication.

Does this carry any weight today? What about Catholic Internet forums? We're doomed!  :o
In the Spirit of St. Thomas, we shall start with the objections.

First, it seems that the decree is indeed still in force, for over at Catholic Answers (highly ironic in this context) there is an encyclopedia article which states:

http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=...iscussions

In particular, "By a decree of Alexander IV (1254-1261) inserted in "Sextus Decretalium", Lib. V, c. ii, and still in force, all laymen are forbidden, under threat of excommunication, to dispute publicly or privately with heretics on the Catholic Faith. The text reads: "Inhibemus quoque, ne cuiquam laicae personae liceat publice vel privatim de fide catholica disputare. Qui vero contra fecerit, excommunicationis laqueo innodetur." (We furthermore forbid any lay person to engage in dispute, either private or public, concerning the Catholic Faith. Whosoever shall act contrary to this decree, let him be bound in the fetters of excommunication.)"

Wherefore, we say that the decree is still in force, whence we are indeed all screwed.
George,

If one reads the rest of the Catholic Encyclopedia article, it looks like the Church is forbidding laymen from participating in formal theological debates with heretics where the public is observing.  I don't think it's talking about non-formal discussions, like what goes on in this group.
(12-25-2009, 01:09 PM)SaintGeorge Wrote: [ -> ]In the Spirit of St. Thomas, we shall start with the objections.

First, it seems that the decree is indeed still in force, for over at Catholic Answers (highly ironic in this context) there is an encyclopedia article which states:

http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=...iscussions

In particular, "By a decree of Alexander IV (1254-1261) inserted in "Sextus Decretalium", Lib. V, c. ii, and still in force, all laymen are forbidden, under threat of excommunication, to dispute publicly or privately with heretics on the Catholic Faith. The text reads: "Inhibemus quoque, ne cuiquam laicae personae liceat publice vel privatim de fide catholica disputare. Qui vero contra fecerit, excommunicationis laqueo innodetur." (We furthermore forbid any lay person to engage in dispute, either private or public, concerning the Catholic Faith. Whosoever shall act contrary to this decree, let him be bound in the fetters of excommunication.)"

Wherefore, we say that the decree is still in force, whence we are indeed all screwed.

"all laymen are forbidden, under threat of excommunication, to dispute publicly or privately with heretics on the Catholic Faith"

That's why I don't debate Protestants and stick with inter-Nicean feuding.  However, a strict reading of this shows that it is about "dispute" and not "Evangelization".  There is a difference, and the history of this decretal explains why it exists.  There were a lot of dumb-asses trying to defend the Faith getting their petards handed to them on silver platters by well-studied Protestants.  It hasn't changed much today.
(12-25-2009, 10:12 AM)Credo Wrote: [ -> ]
QuisUtDeus Wrote:Laity can never preach per se.

Precision, my good man. The laity cannot preach in the liturgy. Any believer can preach with a soapbox on a street corner, should he please. Now that might be imprudent, and it might not be, but that's another issue. The point is, it's incorrect to say the laity cannot preach whatsoever.

That's not quite true.  Preaching has to do with speaking with authority as a representative of the Church.  The pulpit is the most obvious place, but it occurs outside of the pulpit as well.

Quote:
Quote:"Preach the Gospel, use words when necessary."

Hands down, the above quote is the biggest cop-out Catholics use avoid evangelizing people for Jesus Christ.

That's nonsense.  First, if you want to act like a Protestant and beat people over the head with the Bible, go for  it.  If you read Church history and see how people were evangelized, it was first by setting an example.  Second, not everyone has that charism.  Some people are good theologians but lousy apologists.  To demand that everyone go out and evangelize is just, well, stupid. 

Quote:
Quote:But, you know, there are a lot of problems with lay apologetics in general.

We do?
[/quote]

I would hope so.  Or do you consider sedevacantist apologetics a good thing?
(12-25-2009, 02:37 PM)ServantofMary Wrote: [ -> ]George,

If one reads the rest of the Catholic Encyclopedia article, it looks like the Church is forbidding laymen from participating in formal theological debates with heretics where the public is observing.  I don't think it's talking about non-formal discussions, like what goes on in this group.

It mentions private ones as well.  But, you have the gist of the reasons behind it.  And most people here are fellow Catholics, and the forum rules forbid debate with heretics.  Heretics can ask questions here, but we do not debate the faith with them here.
Have we any further clarification QuisUtDeus?
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