mpls/stpaul: AOTM Club 1/12 Ferrara on Vatican II and the Spirit of Woodstock
First, let me be clear this is my personal opinion and I'm not condemning anyone of sin or any such thing.  That said...

A layman speaking about theology from a podium gives a false sense of theological authority.  I don't like it when Hahn does it, and I don't like it when Ferrara does it.

It might be slightly different if it were an actual debate between two parties (though I would still have issues with it), but this is, in a sense, pontificating a non-authoritative theological opinion.  The only theological opinion that should be spoken authoritatively from a podium (i.e., virtual pulpit)  is the Church's and by those who have authority to do so - bishops and pastors they delegate that authority to.  In a classroom setting, it should be by those who have a license or permission from the proper people.

What happens as a result of this is a few things:

1) People develop a "cult of personality" even if they don't intend to, and their words somehow become authoritative and, often as a result, erroneous ideas go unchallenged.  This should be self-explanatory.

2) Errors are propagated because people rely on the "expertise" of the speaker.  I have a great example of this.  Dr. Scott Hahn, who is in fact a theologian and has permission to teach theology, propagated a rather large error that has been used to promote Sciptural study among Catholics.  You can google and see lots of people using this misattributed quote, especially the Prima Scriptura crowd (another one of Dr. Hahn's personal opinons gone doctrine by his followers).

In a well-popularized lecture (I think the audio is available), Dr. Hahn said this:

Quote:"The problem begins and the problem ends with me and with you. I mentioned earlier this afternoon (Program 2) one of the most astonishing statements that comes to us from a Doctor of the Church, St. Theresa of Avila, declared a Doctor this century, one of the two women Doctors, along with St. Catherine of Siena. Here's what she says. St. Theresa of Avila was taught by God that, "All troubles of the Church, all the evils in the world, flow from this source: that men do not by clear and sound knowledge and serious consideration penetrate into the truths of Sacred Scripture." Period. That's strong. All the troubles in the Church and all evil in the world could be alleviated by our learning, and loving and living God's Word in Sacred Scripture. Do we trust God? Do we trust the Church? Do we hear what the Doctors of the Church have declared? This has been the consistent testimony of the Saints and Doctors and all the way back to the Fathers of the Church in the first few centuries. We cannot afford this neglect anymore. "

-Lecture by Dr. Scott Hahn "The Bible and the Church: Both or Neither"

That in fact is a huge error.  She never said that.  I researched this somewhat, and she never said that at all.  The sole source of people attributing this to St.Theresa is this lecture by Dr. Hahn.  But where did that quote come from?  Did he make it up out of whole cloth?

No, it was most likely an honest mistake on his part.  I am guessing he either misremembered it or misspoke. Here is the source of the quote:

Quote:"Sacred Scripture is the art of arts, the science of sciences: it is the Pandora of Wisdom. In our own time, S. Theresa, a woman endowed with the spirit of prophecy, and renowned throughout all Spain for the glory of her miracles, and the sanctity of her life, was taught by God that all the troubles of the Church, all the evils in the world, flow from this source, that men do not, by clear and sound knowledge, and serious consideration, penetrate into the verities of Sacred Scripture. See Franciscus Ribera, her Life"

-The Great Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide

This was a conclusion that someone drew based on her life - that she was taught this by God.  But Dr. Hahn has her saying this as a fact.  So now we have a quote misattributed to a Doctor of the Church being used to promote a theological posit (and one that is erroneous, IMO) and practice of "Prima Scriptura".

Now, if this wasn't Dr. Hahn whom many Catholics read as if it were the Gospel, someone may have said, "Well, interesting - the Church always taught us to read and know Scripture, but I don't remember the same emphasis he places on it - let's look into this" which is exactly what I did because I don't drink that kool-aid.   We can talk about what that "kool-aid" is and why I won't drink it another time.  The point is that his cult of personality, from his speaking and books, has removed a "safety check" to what he publicly says.  People eat him up which is great if he 1) doesn't make mistakes, and, 2) doesn't promote his opinions and speculative theology in a way that can be interpreted as "officially" Catholic.

So, here is Mr. Ferrara doing the same thing in my mind.  Though I would agree more with Ferrara than Hahn, it's still a bad idea.  It's one thing to argue theology with your buddies over a beer; it's one thing to argue on a forum where your mistakes can be caught and you are required to defend things you say.  But it's quite another to take the dais and say the same types of things.  At the very least, I see it as irresponsible.

Edit to add:  If someone can find evidence she said that and it wasn't a gloss from Lapide, let me know and I will retract what I said.  I searched high and low, and Hahn's quote matches Lapide almost word for word, yet nowhere in the published items of St. Theresa can I find her saying anything remotely equivalent.

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Re: mpls/stpaul: AOTM Club 1/12 Ferrara on Vatican II and the Spirit of Woodstock - by Historian - 01-11-2010, 02:21 PM

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