Teachings Contrary to Tradition? Religious Liberty
#71
Toleration of error is a necessary evil that the Church has always acknowledged. God permits evil that He might bring about a greater good from it. In this sense, His Church tolerates error--not because we have a fundamental right to error, but because the acceptance of the Truth requires that it be free from external coercion. This freedom only works in one direction: It is simply a freedom from external coercion and the necessary toleration of the abuse of the free will that inevitably follows therefrom. This freedom is not two-fold in the sense that it implies a reciprocal right to embrace or profess error.

Making the (public) profession of error a right that finds its origin in the very dignity of the human person flies in the face of what we know about Whom we are created to know, love, and serve and betrays a fundmental knowledge of ourselves as given to us by Divine Revelation. We are all made in the image and likeness of God--the Truth--so it is unimaginable that one could say the very dignity of the human person lends itself to a fundamental human right to profess error.

The free act of loving God necessitates the freedom to do so, insomuch as one must be free from the inhibitory effects of external coercion. But to turn around and thereby conclude that this means the person has a right to error misses the very definition of a right. Such a person's permission to error exists only insomuch as their right to embrace Truth has a right to be a freely cooperative act and, thus, free from external coercion. In this sense, then, the free rejection of that cooperation--that is, embracing error--isn't a right at all; it is merely a toleration on behalf of God's permissive will for the sake of bringing about a superior good.

I have perused many of the justifications, and that is all that I think they are: justifications. You can justify anything if you try hard enough.
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#72
(02-03-2012, 10:14 PM)TrentCath Wrote: This is all very well and good but its very much a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Dignatis Humanae is an unorthodox document, it departs wildly from the previous teaching of the Church, this was accepted by council fathers, theologians and popes, in fact by almost everyone whether they liked it or not. Then of course when people realised there was a problem with saying Vatican II contradicted all previous teaching, a few years or rather decades into the pontificate of Pope John Paul II people tried to deny this but they couldn't take back what had been said and what was obvious to all.

The problem I have with the professors document is that it spends far too much time establishing the teaching of the Church and far too little time looking at DH itself or how the council fathers proposed and interpreted it. Ultimately we are being asked to say that he knows more than those who voted on the document, those who implemented it and those who interpreted it, this is extremely unlikely. In the face of the fact of the teaching of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, as well as the Vatican proposed and supported disintegration of Catholic states, the new concordat negotiated with Italy and other such scandals, it is pretty clear how those in power interpreted the document, further even those who opposed it such as Archbishop Lefebvre and his supporters were pretty clear with what it meant.


I addressed some of the things you brought up in the links I wrote--especially note the quotes and link to the relatio for DH, the official interpretive text of the document given to the voting Fathers. I think that is the first step at what you should be looking at for interpretation. I think Pink's argument in regards to DH was that the Church has chosen not to delegate its coercive power, and that is within her rights.

I think Pink's work is important because we do need to establish what the doctrine actually is. I don't think one can get it just from looking at the 19th century. Looking at the 19th century in a vacuum can give one a wrong understanding of the Catholic doctrine on this subject. The condemnations during that time period address specific works and specific errors being advanced--if you don't understand the actual meaning of those errors, you're not going to understand the meaning of the condemnations. An understanding of the previously established Catholic doctrine on the matter is key to both. If you look at the links to what I wrote, you'll see where Cardinal Newman goes into depth about this. His letter to the Duke of Norfolk, especially the chapters on conscience, Quanta Cura ("the Encyclical"), and the Syllabus are especially helpful in this regard. He shows what is actually being condemned. I also linked to Archbishop Von Kettler's work (he was a contemporary of the condemnations like Newman, and like Newman was honored by the Pope) on the same topic which is also very helpful in this regard.

Also, most of the actions you bring up were more a result of the section in Gaudium et Spes where it says the Church would give up certain privileges if it meant gaining greater credibility. St. Pius X (I forget in which encyclical), said this wouldn't work, but I don't think it can be claimed as intrinsically evil since there can be good times to do this--for example, the Greek Orthodox Church's being wedded in a very intimate way to the very pro-abortion Greek State is very scandalous. In hindsight St. Pius X seems to have been proven right. That being said, given the current state of most of these states, it is probably best for the Church to not be so close to them until they reform...

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#73
(02-06-2012, 07:47 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote:
(02-03-2012, 10:14 PM)TrentCath Wrote: This is all very well and good but its very much a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Dignatis Humanae is an unorthodox document, it departs wildly from the previous teaching of the Church, this was accepted by council fathers, theologians and popes, in fact by almost everyone whether they liked it or not. Then of course when people realised there was a problem with saying Vatican II contradicted all previous teaching, a few years or rather decades into the pontificate of Pope John Paul II people tried to deny this but they couldn't take back what had been said and what was obvious to all.

The problem I have with the professors document is that it spends far too much time establishing the teaching of the Church and far too little time looking at DH itself or how the council fathers proposed and interpreted it. Ultimately we are being asked to say that he knows more than those who voted on the document, those who implemented it and those who interpreted it, this is extremely unlikely. In the face of the fact of the teaching of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, as well as the Vatican proposed and supported disintegration of Catholic states, the new concordat negotiated with Italy and other such scandals, it is pretty clear how those in power interpreted the document, further even those who opposed it such as Archbishop Lefebvre and his supporters were pretty clear with what it meant.


I addressed some of the things you brought up in the links I wrote--especially note the quotes and link to the relatio for DH, the official interpretive text of the document given to the voting Fathers. I think that is the first step at what you should be looking at for interpretation. I think Pink's argument in regards to DH was that the Church has chosen not to delegate its coercive power, and that is within her rights.

I think Pink's work is important because we do need to establish what the doctrine actually is. I don't think one can get it just from looking at the 19th century. Looking at the 19th century in a vacuum can give one a wrong understanding of the Catholic doctrine on this subject. The condemnations during that time period address specific works and specific errors being advanced--if you don't understand the actual meaning of those errors, you're not going to understand the meaning of the condemnations. An understanding of the previously established Catholic doctrine on the matter is key to both. If you look at the links to what I wrote, you'll see where Cardinal Newman goes into depth about this. His letter to the Duke of Norfolk, especially the chapters on conscience, Quanta Cura ("the Encyclical"), and the Syllabus are especially helpful in this regard. He shows what is actually being condemned. I also linked to Archbishop Von Kettler's work (he was a contemporary of the condemnations like Newman, and like Newman was honored by the Pope) on the same topic which is also very helpful in this regard.

Also, most of the actions you bring up were more a result of the section in Gaudium et Spes where it says the Church would give up certain privileges if it meant gaining greater credibility. St. Pius X (I forget in which encyclical), said this wouldn't work, but I don't think it can be claimed as intrinsically evil since there can be good times to do this--for example, the Greek Orthodox Church's being wedded in a very intimate way to the very pro-abortion Greek State is very scandalous. In hindsight St. Pius X seems to have been proven right. That being said, given the current state of most of these states, it is probably best for the Church to not be so close to them until they reform...

Let me make myself clearer, I think the good professor is reading what he believes the Catholic doctrine is into the text, you are right that we should not at the text in a vacum but the fact remains that this presupposes that the council fathers cared about what previous Catholic teaching on the subject was. Now this would normally be a reasonable presupposition however we have testimonies from several council fathers, biographies of what took place during the council and the actions of the Holy Father and the Council itself all show a blatant disregard for previous teaching on the subject.  As such the professors work by attempting to interpret council teaching in the light of previous teaching and theology is open to significant criticism.

As for the relatio again that in itself is subject to interpretation, we cannot seriously maintain that the relatio or the professor know more about the intentions and interpretation of the Council than the Council fathers and Popes themselves. It is those self same people whose interpretations are problematic, interpretations that occur in official church documents, encyclicals, communications from the various diacestries etc... In the light of this I do not find the professors argument at all convincing.

As for looking at the 19th century in a vacum, this again is true, but the issue is much larger than the 'syllabus of errors' which indeed is merely a list of condemnations, however numerous encyclicals with positive teaching were issued and these encyclicals simply cannot be reconciled with the documents of Vatican 2, I am thinking especially of the Enyclicals [iUbi Arcano Dei, ]Quas Primas[/i] of Pope Pius XI, Summi Pontificatus by Pope Pius XII, Immortale Dei and Libertas by Pope Leo XIII and Mirari Vos by Pope Gregory XVI to name but a few.  These encyclicals from the 19th to the 20the centuries and are clear and constant in their teaching.
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#74
Quote:The Caveat of just public order is meaningless without a defintion in the text itself

No -- that's like saying the term "transubstantiation" can't be used in any context where it is not defined along with the full trappings of substance theory.

Quote:Why should false religions be given an opportunity to show the worth or truth of their religion?

The text doesn't support your underlying assumption. The only place where it acknowledges a place for false religions to acknowledge their "special value" is purely the false religion's teachings on the order of the secular state. Notice the full phrase of what you are quoting: "[R]eligious communities should not be prohibited from freely undertaking to show the special value of their doctrine in what concerns the organization of society and the inspiration of the whole of human activity". In other words, the only place where the Church is recognizing ANY value in the false religions is in the human sphere regarding the organization of government, where any human opinion is open to examination of value.

Quote:the traditional order of things is therefore inverted, what was the exception becomes the rule and vice versa.

Unless it was the rule all along and during the 19th century the exceptions were so widespread it might be thought to be the rule.

Quote: 'political prudence', what about the Church? Does she not have a say? This again inverts the traditional order of things, instead of the Church allowing the state to not prohibit error, the state can decide for itself whether to do so or not.

Don't you remember that religious freedom leaves intact traditional obligations of the individual towards the Church? That's where the Church's influence has always been and will continue to be. The Church's influence stems from the baptismal obligations of the ruler.

Quote:The problem I have with the professors document is that it spends far too much time establishing the teaching of the Church and far too little time looking at DH itself or how the council fathers proposed and interpreted it.

I won't speak for the Professor, but I would assume that is because how the council fathers interpreted it is somewhat irrelevant in so far as (and only in so far as) it denies any activity on the part of the Holy Ghost in preserving the Church in her ordinary teaching capacity, even while permitting the failure of human will in how it was regrettably implemented. 
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#75
Excerpts from sections 2 and 4 of Quanta Cura, Encyclical of Pope Pius IX promulgated on December 8, 1864
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9quanta.htm

Quote:For you well know, venerable brethren, that at this time men are found not a few who, applying to civil society the impious and absurd principle of "naturalism," as they call it, dare to teach that "the best constitution of public society and (also) civil progress altogether require that human society be conducted and governed without regard being had to religion any more than if it did not exist; or, at least, without any distinction being made between the true religion and false ones." And, against the doctrine of Scripture, of the Church, and of the Holy Fathers, they do not hesitate to assert that "that is the best condition of civil society, in which no duty is recognized, as attached to the civil power, of restraining by enacted penalties, offenders against the Catholic religion, except so far as public peace may require." From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an "insanity,"2 viz., that "liberty of conscience and worship is each man's personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way." But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching "liberty of perdition;"3 and that "if human arguments are always allowed free room for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling."4

4. And, since where religion has been removed from civil society, and the doctrine and authority of divine revelation repudiated, the genuine notion itself of justice and human right is darkened and lost, and the place of true justice and legitimate right is supplied by material force, thence it appears why it is that some, utterly neglecting and disregarding the surest principles of sound reason, dare to proclaim that "the people's will, manifested by what is called public opinion or in some other way, constitutes a supreme law, free from all divine and human control; and that in the political order accomplished facts, from the very circumstance that they are accomplished, have the force of right." But who, does not see and clearly perceive that human society, when set loose from the bonds of religion and true justice, can have, in truth, no other end than the purpose of obtaining and amassing wealth, and that (society under such circumstances) follows no other law in its actions, except the unchastened desire of ministering to its own pleasure and interests?

I can't help but read this and think of America.  Religious liberty is a concept so ingrained in our culture that we take it for granted.  But it's clear in our time that this ideal inevitably devolves into secularism and materialism.

It is a very attractive modern concept that there should be a competing marketplace of ideas, and that through open debate and reason, people will come to discover and accept the truth. Further, that the truth should be able to stand on its own, and that the case for it is necessarily less strong and credible if it is something that needs to be propped up by an institution or enforced by a government.

But, our fallen human nature makes us enemies of the truth by default if we are not oriented toward God and His Church.  I was discussing this with my husband who considers himself a libertarian.  His critique of his own views is that he is happy to give his neighbor the freedom to go hang himself, but that such an approach lacks concern for his neighbor's soul.  I added that I think that unlimited "freedoms" will over time, necessarily encroach on the ability of Catholics to do what they need to do to practice their faith and follow their conscience (as we are seeing now in recent legislation). 

I don't know what the solution to that is, especially in a democracy where Catholics are not the majority (and where the majority of Catholics are not even living by the Church's teachings.)  But a government in which Catholicism is recognized as the official religion would at least have the ability to protect its Catholic citizens from having the practice of their faith impeded and their consciences violated, and could protect society at large from the errors of its non-Catholic citizens which would violate natural law.  But we can never trust that a secular government would do the same.

Back to Dignitatis Humanae...where do we find the meaning of the phrase "just public order"?  It's pretty obvious that if the extremes of religious liberty discussed in these papal encyclicals is what is meant by "religious liberty" in VII, then the latter cannot be correct.  But if we assume for a moment that we can interpret it to mean something more related to "religious tolerance", then this concept of "just public order" is the limiting factor that prevents the extreme scenarios of religious liberty run amok.  "Just public order" is not defined in the text, and neither is "religious liberty" for that matter, which makes this whole thing difficult to reconcile and interpret.
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#76
(02-03-2012, 07:10 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(02-03-2012, 06:36 PM)iona_scribe Wrote: JayneK, in order to argue that it is a legitimate development of doctrine, we'd have to be able to see that it was a clearer expression of what the Church has always taught.  If you can build a case using scripture, church Fathers, early Church Councils, etc, and also demonstrate that some of the encyclicals quoted were appropriate for their specific circumstances during the 1800's, that would be an interesting exercise.

I am not competent to build such a case, but it does seem to be the claim that DH makes for itself:
Quote:This demand for freedom in human society chiefly regards the quest for the values proper to the human spirit. It regards, in the first place, the free exercise of religion in society. This Vatican Council takes careful note of these desires in the minds of men. It proposes to declare them to be greatly in accord with truth and justice. To this end, it searches into the sacred tradition and doctrine of the Church-the treasury out of which the Church continually brings forth new things that are in harmony with the things that are old.

I'm not either, so I'm glad SaintSebastian found something for us :)  I wont rule out the possibility of legitimate doctrinal development till I've examined the case for it.

As wonderful as it would be to have "religious liberty" defined and used consistently across every magisterial document, I think it is somewhat problematic to approach every ecumenical council, papal encyclical, theological statement from a saint, etc. as if every word were inspired in the same way that sacred scripture is.  The Catholic faith stands on the pillars of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium, and so the interpretation of each must rely upon the other two.  If all parts of the Second Vatican Council were indeed a legitimate exercise of the charism of the Magisterium, then I think it is possible that the very ambiguity on language which some Church officials intended to use to weaken Church teaching, could have been permitted by the Holy Spirit precisely because it could still be turned the other way to conform to Tradition and Scripture rather than just being outright heretical.  The fact that it caused a lot of trouble is...troubling...but the fact that it is still being debated gives me hope that the Holy Spirit is still looking out for us.
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#77
(02-04-2012, 04:27 AM)INPEFESS Wrote: Toleration of error is a necessary evil that the Church has always acknowledged. God permits evil that He might bring about a greater good from it. In this sense, His Church tolerates error--not because we have a fundamental right to error, but because the acceptance of the Truth requires that it be free from external coercion. This freedom only works in one direction: It is simply a freedom from external coercion and the necessary toleration of the abuse of the free will that inevitably follows therefrom. This freedom is not two-fold in the sense that it implies a reciprocal right to embrace or profess error.

Making the (public) profession of error a right that finds its origin in the very dignity of the human person flies in the face of what we know about Whom we are created to know, love, and serve and betrays a fundmental knowledge of ourselves as given to us by Divine Revelation. We are all made in the image and likeness of God--the Truth--so it is unimaginable that one could say the very dignity of the human person lends itself to a fundamental human right to profess error.

The free act of loving God necessitates the freedom to do so, insomuch as one must be free from the inhibitory effects of external coercion. But to turn around and thereby conclude that this means the person has a right to error misses the very definition of a right. Such a person's permission to error exists only insomuch as their right to embrace Truth has a right to be a freely cooperative act and, thus, free from external coercion. In this sense, then, the free rejection of that cooperation--that is, embracing error--isn't a right at all; it is merely a toleration on behalf of God's permissive will for the sake of bringing about a superior good.

I have perused many of the justifications, and that is all that I think they are: justifications. You can justify anything if you try hard enough.

Thank you for explaining this so well!
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#78
By the way, I just saw another thread discussing the concept of the development of doctrine and what is meant by it:
http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...637.0.html
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#79
(02-06-2012, 04:42 PM)Ray M Facere Wrote: No -- that's like saying the term "transubstantiation" can't be used in any context where it is not defined along with the full trappings of substance theory.


That analogy falls flat I'm afraid because the former is a well settled and clearly defined matter whereas 'just public order' varies not only from theologian to theologian but state to state and can be incredibly circumstantial.

(02-06-2012, 04:42 PM)Ray M Facere Wrote: The text doesn't support your underlying assumption. The only place where it acknowledges a place for false religions to acknowledge their "special value" is purely the false religion's teachings on the order of the secular state. Notice the full phrase of what you are quoting: "[R]eligious communities should not be prohibited from freely undertaking to show the special value of their doctrine in what concerns the organization of society and the inspiration of the whole of human activity". In other words, the only place where the Church is recognizing ANY value in the false religions is in the human sphere regarding the organization of government, where any human opinion is open to examination of value.

I'm sorry and this changes things how exactly?  ??? Heretical or false religions have no special value with or relating to anything, full stop.






(02-06-2012, 04:42 PM)Ray M Facere Wrote: Unless it was the rule all along and during the 19th century the exceptions were so widespread it might be thought to be the rule.

No, 19th and 20th century, and all those popes failed to mention in their teaching that it was actually an exception to the rule  :O I think not, sorry its a plain and simple contradiction, all this mental gymnastics is merely a desperate attempt to show that a non-infallible document drawn up and approved and applied by liberals is not actually wrong.

(02-06-2012, 04:42 PM)Ray M Facere Wrote: Don't you remember that religious freedom leaves intact traditional obligations of the individual towards the Church? That's where the Church's influence has always been and will continue to be. The Church's influence stems from the baptismal obligations of the ruler.

Not really seeing how this is helping things  ???


Quote:I won't speak for the Professor, but I would assume that is because how the council fathers interpreted it is somewhat irrelevant in so far as (and only in so far as) it denies any activity on the part of the Holy Ghost in preserving the Church in her ordinary teaching capacity, even while permitting the failure of human will in how it was regrettably implemented. 


Lets be clear Vatican is NOT infallible except where it repeats previously taught infallible teaching, it is not an exercise of the ordinary and universal magisterium, therefore your comments about the holy spirit preserving the Church in her ordinary teaching capacity are simply wrong.

Further you are entirely missing the point, essentially the thesis states that the professor knows better than all those who voted on, approved and implemented the Council documents, even how the church itself interpreted them and the last 2 popes, that is simply absurd.
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#80
(02-06-2012, 06:15 PM)iona_scribe Wrote:
(02-03-2012, 07:10 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(02-03-2012, 06:36 PM)iona_scribe Wrote: JayneK, in order to argue that it is a legitimate development of doctrine, we'd have to be able to see that it was a clearer expression of what the Church has always taught.  If you can build a case using scripture, church Fathers, early Church Councils, etc, and also demonstrate that some of the encyclicals quoted were appropriate for their specific circumstances during the 1800's, that would be an interesting exercise.

I am not competent to build such a case, but it does seem to be the claim that DH makes for itself:
Quote:This demand for freedom in human society chiefly regards the quest for the values proper to the human spirit. It regards, in the first place, the free exercise of religion in society. This Vatican Council takes careful note of these desires in the minds of men. It proposes to declare them to be greatly in accord with truth and justice. To this end, it searches into the sacred tradition and doctrine of the Church-the treasury out of which the Church continually brings forth new things that are in harmony with the things that are old.

I'm not either, so I'm glad SaintSebastian found something for us :)  I wont rule out the possibility of legitimate doctrinal development till I've examined the case for it.

As wonderful as it would be to have "religious liberty" defined and used consistently across every magisterial document, I think it is somewhat problematic to approach every ecumenical council, papal encyclical, theological statement from a saint, etc. as if every word were inspired in the same way that sacred scripture is.  The Catholic faith stands on the pillars of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium, and so the interpretation of each must rely upon the other two.  If all parts of the Second Vatican Council were indeed a legitimate exercise of the charism of the Magisterium, then I think it is possible that the very ambiguity on language which some Church officials intended to use to weaken Church teaching, could have been permitted by the Holy Spirit precisely because it could still be turned the other way to conform to Tradition and Scripture rather than just being outright heretical.  The fact that it caused a lot of trouble is...troubling...but the fact that it is still being debated gives me hope that the Holy Spirit is still looking out for us.

Again, Vatican II is not infallible, these ideas which crop up from time to time of Vatican II being 'inspired' and thus that is why the documents are ambgous is simply nonsensical. The documents are ambigous because they were created and approved by liberals and modernists, whose forte is to use ambiguity to hide heresy. That is a far more reasonable explanation than some Quasi-inspiration of a non infallible self admitted 'pastoral' council (whatever that is supposed to mean).
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