Dealing with apparent contradictions in Church teaching
(08-21-2012, 05:58 PM)TrentCath Wrote: Book by psychologist charlatan trumps instruction of the holly office explicitly reprobating this? I don't think so  :shame:

Reprobating being friendly? Finding commonalities? Which of those 12 points don't bear out in truth? And keep in mind this is how to approach people who are in good faith. Try studying the Art of War too. A lot of advice there on winning battles. Try studying soft/internal martial arts. There you learn that you can win by yielding. Have you ever heard about the oak and the bamboo tree? The oak was strong, but when the strong wind came it broke in half, because it had nowhere to go but resist. The bamboo tree was not as strong, more supple and yielding, but when the strong wind came it was able to survive, because it could bend a little. Mind you, the tree kept its integrity, but was willing to "bend" a little to the wind. Also there is the tuning of a string, which when tightened too tight snaps, and when left too loose would not play the tune. But when tuned just right plays the tune well. And as the French say, c'est le ton qui fait la chanson.



Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

Or rather, the best way to win a battle is never having to fight.

2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're wrong."

Or rather, when possible, show a person how to be right.

3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

Be humble and show the example.

4. Begin in a friendly way.

You don't want to drive people away before you open your mouth. Put your best foot forward.

5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.

Create a positive feedback situation.

(You get the idea?)


6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.
Reply
(08-21-2012, 04:58 PM)TrentCath Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 04:47 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 12:12 PM)TrentCath Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 10:09 AM)JayneK Wrote: The vast majority of of instances of "praising false religions"  were in contexts of acknowledging the good in these religions for rhetorical purposes.  For example, the infamous "praise of voodoo" speech had a format like this:
You should take pride in your ancestors who followed your ancestral religion and this is something good about it.  But even more you should look to your ancestors who accepted the message of Christ brought by the missionaries.  Because of them the Catholic faith is your heritage.  And Catholicism is right and good etc.

I cant see how you can't see the problem with that statement. There was nothing good about their religion and likewise there is nothing to be proud of.  One does not praise false religions and claim that we worship the same God, we are brothers etc... And all the other shameful things the modern popes have said.

The idea that there is some good in false religions was pretty common in the Patristic period. I do not understand your objection.

And are we in the patristic era today? No, moreover Islam is a perversion of Christinaity and Judaism either cooked up by 'the prophet' or given him by the devil and hinduism is just a lot of debaucherous paganastic nonsense, certainly in Roman times (which I suspect was when they were writing) some cults introduced some good things, the idea of righteous pagans such as seneca, Cicero etc.. but these bear little in common with Vodoo (demonic) or Islam (probably demonic) or hinduism (demonic). The evidence you cite can therefore be easily distinguished (using that word in the legal sense) and therefore does not apply to the case at hand.

Couldn't a Vatican II supporter say the same thing? "Are we in the post-Tridentine era? No." I don't see why it is okay to ignore some periods of Church history but not others. At any rate, while I'm sure we all agree that there has been an overemphasis on what Christianity shares with non-Christian religions without also making clear the ways in which Christianity differs from everything that came before, I don't see why this means that we should go to the other extreme of rejecting all religions as completely evil and false. Actually, I think that this position already accepts secularist assumptions about the world. The world is exactly as the sociologists describe it: It is devoid of meaning and people construct artificial belief systems for peace of mind, social solidarity, and so forth, with the only exception being that one of these competing religions, and keep in mind that the idea of "a religion" is of fairly recent origin, just happens to be true. This all makes Catholicism seem rather extrinsic. The world is a self-contained whole of natural and social processes that can be adequately described by science, and Christianity is just arbitrarily added on top. From here, it becomes easy to simply say that science can explain everything perfectly and we no longer need this extra layer.

In contrast, the Patristic and, with less emphasis, medieval belief that pagan philosophy, poetry, and myth contained "seeds of the Logos" or elements borrowed from Moses or whatever else is already much more Christocentric. Here, the history of religions cannot be properly explained without understanding the fact that all of history points to the Incarnation and that man has a natural yearning for the supernatural, and there can be no totally secular realm of pure human fabrication because even this is filled with anticipation of and longing for Christ. All of this allows us to better explain why Catholicism is not just some arbitrary body of doctrine amongst others, but instead to show both how it is in continuity with man's natural beliefs and practices and how it redeems and transfigures them.

By the way, I'm curious to know why you think classical paganism had some good elements while something like Hinduism is completely false and evil. I'm not saying they are on the same level, but there would seem to be some truth in certain aspects of Hindu belief.
Reply
(08-21-2012, 06:11 PM)Scriptorium Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 05:58 PM)TrentCath Wrote: Book by psychologist charlatan trumps instruction of the holly office explicitly reprobating this? I don't think so  :shame:

Reprobating being friendly? Finding commonalities? Which of those 12 points don't bear out in truth? And keep in mind this is how to approach people who are in good faith. Try studying the Art of War too. A lot of advice there on winning battles. Try studying soft/internal martial arts. There you learn that you can win by yielding. Have you ever heard about the oak and the bamboo tree? The oak was strong, but when the strong wind came it broke in half. The bamboo trees was not as strong, more supple and yielding, and when the wind came it was able to survive, because it could bend a little. Mind you, the tree kept its integrity, but was willing to "bend" a little to the wind. Also there is the tuning of a string, which when tightened too tight snaps, and when left to loose would not play the tune. But when tuned just right plays the tune well. And as the French say, c'est le ton qui fait la chanson.



Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

Or rather, the best way to win a battle is never having to fight.

2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're wrong."

Or rather, when possible, show a person how to be right.

3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

Be humble and show the example.

4. Begin in a friendly way.

You don't want to drive people before you open your mouth. Put your best fot forward.

5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.

Create a positive feedback situation.

(You get the idea?)

6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.

Quote: They shall also be on guard lest, on the false pretext that more attention should be paid to the points on which we agree than to those on which we differ, a dangerous indifferentism be encouraged, especially among persons whose training in theology is not deep and whose practice of their faith is not very strong. For care must be taken lest, in the so-called "irenic" spirit of today, through comparative study and the vain desire for a progressively closer mutual approach among the various professions of faith, Catholic doctrine-either in its; dogmas or in the truths which are connected with them-be so conformed or in a way adapted to the doctrines of dissident sects, that the purity of Catholic doctrine be impaired, or its genuine and certain meaning be obscured.
1949 instruction of the holy office and yet in all the papal statements differences are hardly mentions and possible points of agreement are exaggerated.

Here's my advice, spend more time reading papal teaching and theology rather than charlatanistic and profane literature.
Reply


Quote: Couldn't a Vatican II supporter say the same thing? "Are we in the post-Tridentine era? No." I don't see why it is okay to ignore some periods of Church history but not others.


No, because the fathers didn't go around saying how amazing such and such false religion was and praying with them all the time, so you are not comparing like with like, but comparing apples with oranges.

Quote:
At any rate, while I'm sure we all agree that there has been an overemphasis on what Christianity shares with non-Christian religions without also making clear the ways in which Christianity differs from everything that came before, I don't see why this means that we should go to the other extreme of rejecting all religions as completely evil and false.


Except thats what the popes and the bible itself does
Quote: For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens.
Psalm 95:5


Quote:
Actually, I think that this position already accepts secularist assumptions about the world. The world is exactly as the sociologists describe it: It is devoid of meaning and people construct artificial belief systems for peace of mind, social solidarity, and so forth, with the only exception being that one of these competing religions, and keep in mind that the idea of "a religion" is of fairly recent origin, just happens to be true. This all makes Catholicism seem rather extrinsic. The world is a self-contained whole of natural and social processes that can be adequately described by science, and Christianity is just arbitrarily added on top. From here, it becomes easy to simply say that science can explain everything perfectly and we no longer need this extra layer. 


Who said that ???

Rather what we are saying is that praising false religions, praying with them and not attempting to convert them isn't helping anyone


Quote:In contrast, the Patristic and, with less emphasis, medieval belief that pagan philosophy, poetry, and myth contained "seeds of the Logos" or elements borrowed from Moses or whatever else is already much more Christocentric. Here, the history of religions cannot be properly explained without understanding the fact that all of history points to the Incarnation and that man has a natural yearning for the supernatural, and there can be no totally secular realm of pure human fabrication because even this is filled with anticipation of and longing for Christ. All of this allows us to better explain why Catholicism is not just some arbitrary body of doctrine amongst others, but instead to show both how it is in continuity with man's natural beliefs and practices and how it redeems and transfigures them.


And yet the devil too desires worship and he inspires false religions or perverts followers of Catholicism who then go into apostasy, schism or heresy, to further that end.

Quote:
By the way, I'm curious to know why you think classical paganism had some good elements while something like Hinduism is completely false and evil. I'm not saying they are on the same level, but there would seem to be some truth in certain aspects of Hindu belief.

Cicero? Seneca?

Besides one of the popes already condemned it as such, frankly I'm not convinced classical paganism had some good elements but I will allow for righteous pagans, though as of yet no ones actually produced any proof of the Church Fathers praising false religions.
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(08-21-2012, 06:12 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: I don't see why this means that we should go to the other extreme of rejecting all religions as completely evil and false. Actually, I think that this position already accepts secularist assumptions about the world.

I can see where you might think that, but honestly, TrentCath and everyone here are arguing from the Church's tradition, not from anything secular.

Rather, I think that the distinction that is being glossed a little is the good in a religion vs. a more or less good religion.

Since evil is just a privation of good, it follows, almost necessarily that there is a certain amount of good in each and every religion, because all of them contain elements of the truth.  However, any religion, save the Catholic religion, is evil, precisely insofar as it is a religion, precisely because it has no right to be one.

Now, our recent popes have told us about the good in those religions, to the point that one could very easily get the impression that they are "more or less good"-- which is, of course, a condemned proposition.  The only way to prevent this, is to emphasize at the same time, and at least as much, how wrong and evil they are in certain aspects.  This our recent popes have done, if at all, only with regard to secular atheism.

Now a pope could do the one and omit the other, without becoming a heretic or even espousing heretical ideas-- I'm reminded of St. Paul's correction of St. Peter, for only eating with those who kept the Old Law, I believe.  Even so, he would be well worthy of rebuke.

Quote:By the way, I'm curious to know why you think classical paganism had some good elements while something like Hinduism is completely false and evil. I'm not saying they are on the same level, but there would seem to be some truth in certain aspects of Hindu belief.

Agreed, there are some-- but in some ways it is a religion that is so far from ours, so animalistic, or demonistic, or just plain non-human, that it is no wonder if that is our gut reaction.
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Did I just accidently stumble onto CAF or what? Assisi being defended?
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(08-21-2012, 06:26 PM)TrentCath Wrote:
Quote: Couldn't a Vatican II supporter say the same thing? "Are we in the post-Tridentine era? No." I don't see why it is okay to ignore some periods of Church history but not others.


No, because the fathers didn't go around saying how amazing such and such false religion was and praying with them all the time, so you are not comparing like with like, but comparing apples with oranges.

You dismissed the whole Patristic era as irrelevant. It's like with like.

(08-21-2012, 06:26 PM)TrentCath Wrote:
Quote:
At any rate, while I'm sure we all agree that there has been an overemphasis on what Christianity shares with non-Christian religions without also making clear the ways in which Christianity differs from everything that came before, I don't see why this means that we should go to the other extreme of rejecting all religions as completely evil and false.


Except thats what the popes and the bible itself does
Quote: For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens.
Psalm 95:5

Acts 17: 23-28 Wrote:Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

On the psalm you quote, we had an interesting discussion here a while back about its exact meaning. One thing to remember is that Jews and early Christians often thought of God as exercising his providence over the world through angelic intermediaries. It was also commonly believed that there were spiritual powers that were either evil or at least not completely obedient to God. These powers were eventually put back in line by Christ. Origen displays this belief when he says that Christ died off the ground in order to redeem the "spirits of the air." Or, when he says:

Quote:But the Creator of the universe Himself, by means of the persuasive power of His miraculous utterances, showed Jesus to be worthy of honour, not only to the men who were willing to welcome him, but also to daemons and other invisible powers; to the present day these appear either to fear the name of Jesus as superior to them, or to accept him in reverence as their lawful ruler.

Origen also goes on to state that the psalm in question is referring to gluttonous "daemons" of the earth who are inferior the angels of God, whom he elsewhere says are equivalent to what the pagans refer to as good daemons. He also says:

Quote:For if the world came into being through providence, and if God gave existence to the universe, it was necessary that the sparks of the human race should from the beginning be under some care from superior beings, so that at the beginning there was intercourse between the divine nature and men. The Ascraean poet also perceived this when he said:

For then there were common banquets and common councils between immortal gods and mortal men.

Moreover, the divine Scripture written by Moses represented the first men as hearing a divine voice and oracles, and sometimes having visions of angles of God who came to visit them. And it is probable that at the beginning of the world human nature received more help until men had progressed in intelligence and the other virtues, and in the discovery of the arts, and were able to live independently, not needing those beings who minister to God's will always to be looking after them and caring for them with some miraculous appearance.

I think this quotation from the Recognitions of Clement is also interesting:
Quote:For every nation has an angel, to whom God has committed the government of that nation; and when one of these appears, although he be thought and called God by those over whom he presides, yet, being asked, he does not give such testimony to himself.  For the Most High God, who alone holds the power of all things, has divided all the nations of the earth into seventy-two parts, and over these He hath appointed angels as princes.

This passage refers to Deuteronomy 32:8-9:
Quote:When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

It is interesting to note here that the Septuagint says that the nations were divided up according to the angles of God and the text found at Qumran similarly states that they were divided up according to the "sons of God." As a final point, one could refer to Daniel 10:13, which also seems to imply this idea of various intermediary powers:
Quote:But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

All of this is not to say that this worship of beings who are not God is good, but it does put it in context.

(08-21-2012, 06:26 PM)TrentCath Wrote:
Quote:
Actually, I think that this position already accepts secularist assumptions about the world. The world is exactly as the sociologists describe it: It is devoid of meaning and people construct artificial belief systems for peace of mind, social solidarity, and so forth, with the only exception being that one of these competing religions, and keep in mind that the idea of "a religion" is of fairly recent origin, just happens to be true. This all makes Catholicism seem rather extrinsic. The world is a self-contained whole of natural and social processes that can be adequately described by science, and Christianity is just arbitrarily added on top. From here, it becomes easy to simply say that science can explain everything perfectly and we no longer need this extra layer. 


Who said that ???

Rather what we are saying is that praising false religions, praying with them and not attempting to convert them isn't helping anyone

Well, I think the question is more about assumptions people make about the world. Is it as the sociologists describe it with an extra supernatural layer on top, or it the whole world centered around the divine Word? And I don't think anyone here is saying that praying with false religions, not attempting to convert their adherents, or praising them without qualification is good.

(08-21-2012, 06:26 PM)TrentCath Wrote: And yet the devil too desires worship and he inspires false religions or perverts followers of Catholicism who then go into apostasy, schism or heresy, to further that end.

Okay

(08-21-2012, 06:26 PM)TrentCath Wrote:
Quote:
By the way, I'm curious to know why you think classical paganism had some good elements while something like Hinduism is completely false and evil. I'm not saying they are on the same level, but there would seem to be some truth in certain aspects of Hindu belief.

Cicero? Seneca?

Besides one of the popes already condemned it as such, frankly I'm not convinced classical paganism had some good elements but I will allow for righteous pagans, though as of yet no ones actually produced any proof of the Church Fathers praising false religions.

Homer? Hermes?

I don't think anyone is saying that we should praise false religions. All that is being said is that it is not wrong or untraditional to say that these religions contain some true elements. As St. Clement puts it:
Quote:And, in fine, Pythagoras and his followers, with Plato also, and most of the other philosophers, were best acquainted with the Lawgiver, as may be concluded from their doctrine. And by a happy utterance of divination, not without divine help, concurring in certain prophetic declarations, and, seizing the truth in portions and aspects, in terms not obscure, and not going beyond the explanation of the things, they honoured it on as certaining the appearance of relation with the truth. Whence the Hellenic philosophy is like the torch of wick which men kindle, artificially stealing the light from the sun. But on the proclamation of the Word all that holy light shone forth. Then in houses by night the stolen light is useful; but by day the fire blazes, and all the night is illuminated by such a sun of intellectual light.

He also speaks quite highly of Homer:
Quote:And before him, Homer, framing the world in accordance with Moses on the Vulcan-wrought shield, says:—

"On it he fashioned earth, and sky, and sea,
And all the signs with which the heaven is crowned."

For the Zeus celebrated in poems and prose compositions leads the mind up to God.

And later refers to Homer and several other poets as prophesying and speaking under divine inspiration. St. Thomas says something similar when he claims that "it is likely that the mystery of our redemption was revealed to many Gentiles before Christ’s coming, as is clear from the Sibylline prophecies."

Of course, St. Justin Martyr links all of this to the divine Logos:
Quote:For each man spoke well in proportion to the share he had of the spermatic word, seeing what was related to it. But they who contradict themselves on the more important points appear not to have possessed the heavenly wisdom, and the knowledge which cannot be spoken against. Whatever things were rightly said among all men, are the property of us Christians. For next to God, we worship and love the Word who is from the unbegotten and ineffable God, since also He became man for our sakes, that becoming a partaker of our sufferings, He might also bring us healing. For all the writers were able to see realities darkly through the sowing of the implanted word that was in them.

Finally, he is obviously not from the Patristic age, but Bl. John Henry Newman seems to agree with much of this, saying:
Quote:It would seem, then, that there is something true and divinely revealed, in every religion all over the earth, overloaded, as it may be, and at times even stifled by the impieties which the corrupt will and understanding of man have incorporated with it.

And:
Quote:all men have had more or less the guidance of Tradition, in addition to those internal notions of right and wrong which the Spirit has put into the heart of each individual.

Explaining this, he says:
Quote:This vague and uncertain family of religious truths, originally from God, but sojourning without the sanction of miracle, or a definite home, as pilgrims up and down the world, and discernible and separable from the corrupt legends with which they are mixed, by the spiritual mind alone, may be called the Dispensation of Paganism, after the example of the learned Father already quoted. And further, Scripture gives us reason to believe that the traditions, thus originally delivered to mankind at large, have been secretly re-animated and enforced by new communications from the unseen world; though these were not of such a nature as to be produced as evidence, or used as criteria and tests, and roused the attention rather than informed the understandings of the heathen.

And again, the point is not to defend Assisi or say that the post-VII approach to other religions is perfect or satisfactory, but the extreme opposite of that position is also not really in keeping with tradition.
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(08-21-2012, 03:17 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: An encyclical itself, unless it proclaims or condemns some doctrine definitively (and then, only in those parts it does so), is not infallible and has never been considered as such, as far as I know. 

There is a false notion that the Church is only infallible when it "proclaims" or "condemns." But those actions belong to the extraordinary teaching authority. We are concerned here with the ordinary teaching authority, which simply concerns the presentation of that which has already been defined. The Church can't define dogma x and then misrepresent it in encyclical y. If that were so, then there would be no practical infallibility, since the Church's infallibility would be limited to a dusty bin of "official" documents no one would ever see or read. Catechisms, encyclicals, and even the liturgy of the Church could teach error or even heresy, since they aren't defining anything new. But as the Church has already taught, even the liturgy is protected from containing anything against the Faith, despite the fact that nothing new is being defined in the liturgy. The liturgy is simply a presentation of what has already been taught, and this re-presentation cannot contain error. Again, see what Pius XII taught on the matter. "He who hears you hears me." A person can't just toss out encyclicals because they want to defend the pope.

Quote:Anyway, Mortalium Animos condemns the pan-Christian movement which seeks to unite Christians in the lowest commen denominator. This is also explicitly ruled out by Ut Unum Sint, for example (e.g. pars. 9 and 18). 

This isn't about the back-and-forth contradictory teachings we get from post-Vatican II encyclicals; this is about John Paul's organization of Assisi.

Quote: Obviously Catholics cannot support such a "union" even as a means of fighting irreligion.

That doesn't mean such interreligious meetings are ruled out completely by divine law.

There are certain kinds that are allowed and certain kinds that aren't. Assisi fits almost exactly what was condemned in Mortalium Animos.

Quote: Nor does it rule out such meetings that have as their intended end the seeking of an authentic union.  For example, with the approval of Pius XII, the Holy Office published rules which allow such mixed meetings to discuss defending the natural law and the Christian religion in general, as well as approving of joint prayer as part of meetings where unity is sought..
http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFECUM.HTM

Perhaps I missed something, but I don't think this is at all the same. It says:
Quote:For she embraces with truly maternal affection all who return to her as the true Church of Christ; and hence, worthy of all. praise and encouragement are all those plans and projects which, with the consent of Ecclesiastical Authority, have been undertaken and are being carried forward, either for the proper Catholic instruction of future converts or for the more thorough training of persons already converted to the faith.

Now in many parts of the world, as a result of various external events and changes of views on the part of people, but especially in consequence of the common prayers of-the faithful through the grace of the Holy Spirit, there has grown constantly in the minds of many persons separated from the Catholic Church the desire for a return to unity on the part of all who believe in the Lord Christ. To the children of the Church this is surely a cause of true and holy joy in the Lord, and at the same time an invitation to help all those who sincerely seek the truth, by earnest prayer to God imploring for them the grace of light and strength.

In context of the preceding paragraph, this is about non-Catholic Christians wanting to return to the unity of the Catholic Church, not intentionally remaining outside of it yet coming together to pray for some allusive unity to counter the progress of secularism.

Quote:Pope Leo XIII expressed a similar theme approving of seeking the reunion of non-Catholics through friendly conference rather than controversy, here:
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13teste.htm

No one is arguing hostility towards non-Catholics. Again, this isn't even comparable to the sort of assembly of churches at Assisi. They weren't just Christians; they were representatives of all of the world's religions.
Quote:Maybe of course the contradictions just started earlier than we thought.

I don't mean this to be snarky, but perhaps it is just a case of you trying desperately to believe that there is no contradiction. I don't think that what those documents propose is even remotely similar to what we saw at Assisi.
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(08-21-2012, 06:16 PM)TrentCath Wrote: Here's my advice, spend more time reading papal teaching and theology rather than charlatanistic and profane literature.

Or praying ...

I am currently reading St. Benedicta's Finite and Eternal Being, and listening to an audio series on (speaking of the "devil") John Paul II's Theology of the Body. I strongly recommend the first book, and the original Theology of the Body talks by JPII are amazing in their depth. They're both quite dense from my perspective, but rereading passages could do no harm. They're well worth exploring.

http://www.amazon.com/Finite-Eternal-Bei...0935216324
http://www.amazon.com/Man-Woman-He-Creat...0819874213
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IMPEFESS,

That was my mistake. I thought we were discussing Magisterial contradictions (primarily those in absolute principle), not personal actions (Our Lord's distinction concerning the seat of Moses no doubt has come into play concerning the seat of Peter over history).  I explained my position on Assisi here a long while back:
http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...sg33308617.  As the monitum I cited earlier notes, even the best of intentions coming from proper principles may have certain dangers.

Also, as for that Holy Office text, it deals with various topics. See section IV which deals with topics in addition to those for catechetical instruction. It notes that those organized for such catechetical instruction or for prospective converts are not subject to the monitum Cum compertum, which reiterated a general forbidding from attending mixed congresses, except where proper authorization is granted.  Section IV says such authorization is not needed for the conferences for catechesis or for prospective converts, but it is still needed for the other mixed congresses, which it says are not absolutely forbidden (since even the Pope cannot authorize something contrary to divine law).  It also notes that the permission required in the aforementioned monitum is not needed for mixed congresses where the participants discuss common goals like defending fundamental principles of the natural law or the Christian religion.

In section V it refers to all such meetings, and says prayer in common (such as the Lord's prayer) is permissible.

As to all encyclicals being infallible,  I'm not claiming the Church only teaches infallibly when Councils and Popes pass a definitve judgment on something.  However, none of the old manuals or any other source I have seen say that with every act of the ordinary Magsterium, all its contents therefore become part of the ordinary and universal magisterium by that very fact and are therefore irreformable and infallible . This is why Pius IX specifically says those things taught as de fide by the ordinary and universal Magisterium are known by being held as so by theologians--it takes learned discerning.

"this [assent] must not be limited to those things which have been defined in the express decrees of the ecumenical councils or of the Roman Pontiffs of this See; but it must also be extended to those things which, throught the ordinary teaching of the whole Church throughout the world, are proposed as divinely revealed and, as a result, by universal and constant consent of Catholic theologians are held to be matters of faith." Tuas Libenter

However, to say there can never be an error in papal teaching documents, even those that do not intend to give a definitive judgment, seems a stretch.  Theologians didn't describe the conditional--and traditional--assent known as obsequium religiousum for nothing. 
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