Dealing with apparent contradictions in Church teaching
(08-22-2012, 08:53 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: I'm not at all sure what you mean by this.

I think its pretty clear.

Quote:The point here is that St. Paul talks about pagan religion as pointing toward God. He does not think that it is totally false or manmade, as the secularists would have it. Instead, he tells us that man's natural religious impulse finds its fulfillment in the worship of the true God. The fact that he cites the pagan poet Aratus is also relevant.

a) not quite, he points to an unknown God and claims that it is actually God or uses it as a stating point for saying that the true God etc... he by no means suggests that any of their pagan religions pointed towards God or are good, you are not comparing like with like, as has been pointed out to you numerous times
b) you are confusing false and manmade, a religion can be false and made up or inspired by the devil without being made up by man and vice versa, moreover secularists believe the religions are false because man made them up, on the other hand we believe that false religions are false because the devil inspired them

a) all right
b) I think the Patristic evidence makes it fairly obvious that spiritual beings were not understood in the way that you and other modern people understand them. You might read St. Paul if you wish to learn more about this. Consider that for him even the Old Law was given to Moses by an angel:
Galatians 3:19 Wrote:Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

He then notes:
Galatians 4:3 Wrote:Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

All I am saying is that it is important to understand the verse you cited in its fuller historical context.

Again, I don't see the relevance, none of that disproves what was previously said or even casts doubt on it.

Not quite. Original sin tarnishes creation, but it does not completely destroy its natural desire for God, in whom we live, move, and have our being. And, of course, the whole point of the Atonement was to break the devil's grip on the world, so I do not think that original sin gives us license to create some sort of autonomous realm of the secular. Creation has been corrupted, surely, but its telos remains intact.

Again you are going off on a tangent about secularism etc... things which have nothing to do with the discussion. Now it is quite clear that Satan has a strong grip on this world and that our fight is very much against satan, principalities, powers etc... The world is still marred by original sin and unless you are saying its returned to its original state of innocence, it has not been re-centered around God completely insofar as the consequences of original sin remain and man has further perverted it and himself.

Yes, no one is saying that the pagan gods are actual gods or anything like that. In any case, I know you don't put much stock in attempting to understand what is being said,

??? Not sure where you got this from

but we should acknowledge the fact that pagan philosophy, poetry, and, for St. Thomas, even pagan oracles can be divinely inspired. Pagan doctrine as a whole is not true, but it can contain many true and divinely revealed elements. I think the general sentiment of Patristic and medieval writing on this subject was summed up by Joseph de Maistre when he said that paganism "sparkles with truths, but all distorted and out of place. . . ."

But they are still as a whole:

a) false
b) from the devil

and they most certainly are not:

a) from God
b) worthy of praise

Again there is a difference from classical paganism, where some of the pagans were indirectly paving the way for God, with righteous pagans such as Cicero, Seneca etc.. and present modern day false religions, for example buddhism which falsely includes demon worship or Islam which was almost certainly inspired by Satan and is a perversion of judaism and Christianity.

And if we can say that Homer, Pythagoras, Aeschylus, Plato, Virgil, Hermes Trismegistus, and the Sibyls could have spoken under divine inspiration, I do not see why we should immediately rule out the possibility that the same thing occurred in, say, Hinduism. Classical pagan literature and philosophy obviously hold a special place in Christianity, but this does not mean that other traditions do not also contain some amount of truth. 

But do the fathers actually speak of other pagansim or just classical paganism? Certainly the idea of righteous pagans cannot be applied without distorting it completely to modern day false religions which most certainly do not prepare the way for Christ.

Quote:Yes, I do not believe that the popes accept the doctrine of total depravity. As I said, though, no one is saying that the post-VII treatment of religions has been perfect. The point is only that believing that Christ is the Divine Word requires us to recognize elements of truth that exist outside of the Church. However, the fact that Christianity is worship of the Divine Word means that these elements of the truth can find their true home only within the Church. None of this allows us to see Christianity as just one religion amongst others against the meaningless backdrop of a nihilistic secularity. Rather, it requires us to say that Christianity just is religion.

Although the popes have in fact said as much?

Quote: The tithe was to be collected and paid for six years to be reckoned from 1 January last, in fixed installments, as we should find best, and to be directed to helping the holy Land and opposing the infidels and the enemies of the catholic faith.{4} 
Council of Vienne 1311-1312 A.D.

Quote: IN ORDER to free the world, prostrate in darkness and bound by numerous pagan errors, from the power of the devil who held it a wretched prisoner after the fall of our first parent, the heavenly shepherd, Christ our Lord, by his ineffable mercy, condescended to take flesh and, as a living victim, offer himself to God for us on the wood of the cross, nailing the guarantee of our redemption to the wood of the cross as a proof of his love for us. Then before returning to heaven he left on earth the Catholic Church his bride, as a new city, a holy Jerusalem, coming down from heaven without wrinkle or spot, one and holy, protected by his mighty weapons against the gates of hell. Its government he entrusted to the prince of the apostles, Peter, and his successors; they are to preserve whole and entire the teaching drawn from his lips, lest the sheep redeemed by his precious blood feed on poisonous ideas and fall back into age-old errors. This power sacred Scripture teaches us he entrusted especially to blessed Peter. For to which of the apostles but Peter did he say: "Feed my sheep." And again: "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when once you have turned, strengthen your brothers." Therefore, we who occupy Peter's throne and possess power equal to his, not by our own merits but because of almighty God's inscrutable wisdom, steadfastly desire that the Christian people embrace that faith proclaimed by Christ our Lord through his apostles in a continuous and uninterrupted tradition; the faith which he promised will endure to the end of the world.

Apostolic Constitution of Pope Innocent XI issued November 20, 1687.

Quote: 9. So We can safely follow St. John Chrysostom in saying that Our city with its spacious buildings and its wonderful adornments may justly attract and please its beholders. However Our prayers and exhortation to the faithful do not rest on this foundation. The chief glory of Rome is that the head of the Catholic religion and the center of its unity established residence here. Because idolatry prevailed in the city for so long, it is wonderful to see how completely it has been destroyed. Scholars are acquainted with the opinion of Petrus Angelus Bargaeus in his well-known letter, de privatorum publicorumque aedificiorum Urbis Romae eversoribus, in which he tries to prove that the magnificent theatres, temples, and baths as well as the many images of idols were not destroyed by the Goths, Vandals, and other savage nations. He contends that they were demolished by the Roman Pontiffs, especially St. Gregory the Great, and others so as to remove completely from their presence all remembrance of idolatrous worship and the provocation of superstition. But whether or not this is true, he certainly succeeded in completing a laborious treatise on the profane and superstitious remains of the pagans interred in the churches. He has also named and counted the churches which were built upon the foundations of profane pagan temples; these can still be seen in Rome. So We recommend sacred pilgrimages in order that the faithful may visit these holy places with the same spirit of piety which strongly inspired St. John Chrysostom even though he never was able to visit Rome. 

Apostolica Constitutio

Encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV of June 26, 1749, in Preparation for the Holy Year

Quote: We are thankful for the success of apostolic missions in America, the Indies, and other faithless lands. The indefatigable zeal of many apostolic men has led them abroad into those places. Relying not on wealth nor on any army, they are protected by the shield of faith alone. They fearlessly fight the Lord's battles against heresy and unbelief by private and public speech and writings. They are inspired with a burning love and undeterred by rough roads and heavy toil. They search out those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death to summon them to the light and life of the Catholic Religion. So, fearless in the face of every danger, they bravely enter the woods and caves of savages, gradually pacify them by Christian kindness, and prepare them for true faith and real virtue. At length they snatch them from the devil's rule, by the bath of regeneration and promote them to the freedom of God's adopted sons. 
Pope Gregory XVI, Probe Nostis

Quote: But as the law of the Gospel universally and earnestly enjoined a sincere charity towards all, and considering that Our Lord Jesus Christ had declared that He considered as done or refused to Himself everything kind and merciful done or refused to the small and needy, it naturally follows, not only that Christians should regard as their brothers their slaves and, above all, their Christian slaves, but that they should be more inclined to set free those who merited it; which it was the custom to do chiefly upon the occasion of the Easter Feast as Gregory of Nyssa tells us. There were not lacking Christians, who, moved by an ardent charity 'cast themselves into bondage in order to redeem others,' many instances of which our predecessor, Clement I, of very holy memory, declares to have come to his knowledge. In the process of time, the fog of pagan superstition being more completely dissipated and the manners of barbarous people having been softened, thanks to Faith operating by Charity, it at last comes about that, since several centuries, there are no more slaves in the greater number of Christian nations. But - We say with profound sorrow - there were to be found afterwards among the Faithful men who, shamefully blinded by the desire of sordid gain, in lonely and distant countries, did not hesitate to reduce to slavery Indians, negroes and other wretched peoples, or else, by instituting or developing the trade in those who had been made slaves by others, to favour their unworthy practice. Certainly many Roman Pontiffs of glorious memory, Our Predecessors, did not fail, according to the duties of their charge, to blame severely this way of acting as dangerous for the spiritual welfare of those engaged in the traffic and a shame to the Christian name; they foresaw that as a result of this, the infidel peoples would be more and more strengthened in their hatred of the true Religion. 

(Apostolic Letter condemning the slave trade, written by Pope Gregory XVI and read during the 4th Provincial Council of Baltimore, December 3, 1839.)

Quote: The Orient, courageously and successfully explored by the Portuguese, is coveted by many today for its lucrative trade. We, however, have a more noble purpose in mind. We reflect upon those immense regions of the Indies where for many centuries men of the Gospel have expended their labor. Our thoughts turn first of all to the blessed Apostle Thomas who is rightly called the founder of preaching the Gospel to the Hindus. Then, there is Francis Xavier, who long afterwards dedicated himself zealously to the same praiseworthy calling. Through his extraordinary perseverance, he converted hundreds of thousands of Hindus from the myths and vile superstitions of the Brahmans to the true religion. In the footsteps of this holy man followed numerous priests, secular and religious, who with the authority and permission of the Holy See strove untiringly to preserve and promote the Christian mysteries and institutions introduced by Thomas and renewed by Xavier. To this day, they are continuing these noble efforts; nevertheless, in the vast reaches of the earth, many are still deprived of the truth, miserably imprisoned in the darkness of superstition! How very great a field, especially in the north, lies yet uncultivated to receive the seed of the Gospel! 


Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on June 24, 1893.

Quote: First, let us recall what the great St. Ambrose did and said when that illustrious Bishop of Milan succeeded in ransoming the wretched captives who had been taken after the defeat of the Emperor Valentine near Adrianopolis. He sacrificed the sacred vessels in order to protect the destitute ones from physical suffering and to relieve them of their pressing spiritual dangers which were even a greater hazard. "For who," said Ambrose,

is so callous, unfeeling, herd-hearted and cruel that he does not want men saved from death and women from barbarous attacks worse than death?

For who is not willing to rescue girls and boys or little children from the service of pagan idols, into which they have been forced under pain of death? We have not undertaken this work without reason; and we have done it openly to proclaim that it is far better to preserve souls for the Lord than to preserve gold.

Equally noble were the vigorous ardent labors of bishops and priests who sought to bring to newcomers the blessings of the true Faith and to introduce them into the social customs of these new countries. They also facilitated the assimilation of the uncultured invaders whom they introduced both to the Christian religion and to a new culture.

We indeed are happy to recall those religious orders founded specifically to ransom prisoners. Their members, burning with Christian love, endured great hardships on behalf of their enchained brothers for the purpose of liberating, or at least, of consoling many of them.

With the discovery of the New World, Christ's priests were the tireless companions of the men who founded colonies in those far distant lands. It was these priests who made sure that these colonists would not desert Christian ways nor become proud because of the riches acquired in the new lands. These priests also wished to move forward suitably and readily as missionaries to teach the Gospel to the natives, who previously were entirely ignorant of the Divine Light. And they zealously proclaimed that the natives were to be treated as brothers by the colonists. 

Apostolic Constitution of Pius XII, dated August 1, 1952.

Quote: When by the grace and favor of God this very important task was done, Boniface did not allow himself his well-earned rest. In spite of the fact that he was already burdened by so many cares, and was feeling now his advanced age and realizing that his health was almost broken by so many labors, he prepared himself eagerly for a new and no less difficult enterprise. He turned his attention again to Friesland, that Friesland which had been the first goal of his apostolic travels, where he had later on labored so much. Especially in the northern regions this land was still enveloped in the darkness of pagan error. Zeal that was still youthful led him there to bring forth new sons to Jesus Christ and to bring Christian civilization to new peoples. For he earnestly desired "that in leaving this world he might receive his reward there where he had first begun his preaching and entered upon his meritorious career."[18] Feeling that his mortal life was drawing to a close, he confided his presentiment to his dear disciple, Bishop Lullus, and asserted that he did not want to await death in idleness. "I yearn to finish the road before me; I cannot call myself back from the path I have chosen. Now the day and hour of my death is at hand. For now I leave the prison of the body and go to my eternal reward. My dear son, . . . insist in turning the people from the paths of error, finish the construction of the basilica already begun at Fulda and there bring my body which has aged with the passage of many years.[19]

24. When he and his little band had taken departure from the others, "[b]he traveled through all Friesland, ceaselessly preaching the word of God, banishing pagan rites and extirpating immoral heathen customs. With tremendous energy he built churches and overthrew the idols of the temples[/b]. He baptized thousands of men, women and children."[20] After he had arrived in the northern regions of Friesland and was about to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to a large number of newly baptized converts, a furious mob of pagans suddenly attacked and threatened to kill them with deadly spears and swords. Then the holy prelate serenely advanced and "forbade his followers to resist, saying, 'Cease fighting, my children, for we are truly taught by Scripture not to return evil for evil, but rather good. The day we have long desired is now at hand; the hour of our death has come of its own accord. Take strength in the Lord, . . . be courageous and do not be afraid of those who kill the body, for they cannot slay an immortal soul. Rejoice in the Lord, fix the anchor of hope in God, Who will immediately give you an eternal reward and a place in the heavenly court with the angelic choirs'."[21] All were encouraged by these words to embrace martyrdom. They prayed and turned their eyes and hearts to heaven where they hoped to receive soon an eternal reward, and then fell beneath the onslaught of their enemies, who stained with blood the bodies of those who fell in the happy combat of the saints."[22] At the moment of this martyrdom, Boniface, who was to be beheaded by the sword, "placed the sacred book of the Gospels upon his head as the sword threatened, that he might receive the deadly stroke under it and claim its protection in death, whose reading he loved in life."[23]


Quote: The infusion of this divine charity also has its origin in the Heart of the Savior, "in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."[85] For this charity is the gift of Jesus Christ and of His Spirit; for He is indeed the spirit of the Father and the Son from whom the origin of the Church and its marvelous extension is revealed to all the pagan races which had been defiled by idolatry, family hatred, corrupt morals, and violence


We can see then quite clearly that:

a) the popes did not have one word of praise for these false religions
b) that those who followed them were in darkness and error
c) that they were totally ignorant of the divine light
d) that they were enemies of the catholic faith
e) that hinduism was vile and full of superstitions
f) even classical paganism is condemned
g) that pagan natons were full of immoral customs and idolotary

What you and people like you don't get is that 'partial truth' 'partial good' is still error, is still darkness, drinking poison mixed with water only prolongs ones inevitable and miserable death.

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Re: Dealing with apparent contradictions in Church teaching - by TrentCath - 08-23-2012, 05:52 AM

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