Dealing with apparent contradictions in Church teaching
(08-21-2012, 09:53 AM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 06:43 AM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-20-2012, 03:15 PM)JayneK Wrote: I agree with you that the action of organizing the Assisi gatherings was a mistake,  but I, at least, have no problem excusing the intention.

Of course. I am not interested in his intentions. But his intentions don't have to be evil for grave public scandal to occur.

Some people imagine intentions that lead to them concluding that the Assisi gatherings show the popes espouse indifferentism and relativism.  Both Benedict and John Paul have made statements that indicate this is not the case. 

That the objective act espouses indifferentism and relativism--regardless of whether they say they intend to or not--is not disputed. The Church has already stated that these acts do this, despite the fact that those who promote them claim that they (the acts) don't.

We only reserve judgment of intention as it concerns his personal culpability, which is something we can't determine.
Quote:There is a big difference between thinking a pope has made an error of judgment that led to scandal and thinking a pope has heretical beliefs.  These positions have different implications and raise different questions.  So it is important to make this distinction.

I am not saying that the pope is a heretic, but, actually, the Church condemns as objectively heretical certain acts themselves, and she applies the label of heretic to those persons who perpetrate those acts. This is part of the divine law, but in the code of canon law it is known as "public," notorious," or "manifest" heresy. This incurs what the Church calls latae sententiae excommunication, meaning that it happens automatically before any ruling from the Church. The type you are referring to, which concerns the intentions and dispositions of the person, is called ferendae sententiae excommunication. They are different penalties that require different standards of proof. The former requires two things: (1) the act was committed and (2) it was manifested publicly (the code of canon law [188.4 and 192] applies this to all prelates themselves). The latter requires an ecclesiastical court to judge the disposition of the one perpetrating the action. Questions of the objectively heretical act do not pertain to personal intentions, per se; they pertain to the act itself, which ipso facto separates a Catholic from the body of believers without need of a further declaration. This isn’t just my own speculations; this is the teaching of the Church, for it is absolutely necessary in order to maintain the unity of faith, which is a divine attribute of the Church. The moment we concede that a manifest heretic remains in the Church is the moment the visible unity of the Church—one of its identifying attributes—is publicly destroyed.

(It is largely because of these sorts of public acts of apostasy that one of my friends, a life-long Protestant, has never become Catholic [he’s in his ‘70s now]. It speaks to a lack of unity of faith, which gives him little reason to convert, since such a lack of visible unity renders the Catholic Church nothing more than just another highly organized denomination. I can’t tell him the Church is “one” in faith because he argues that there are plenty of “Catholics” who manifest denial of the Church’s teachings and are still Catholic. Objectively speaking, he is wrong, since the Church teaches that those persons are NOT Catholics, but because this sort of public activity is considered Catholic—led by the pope himself—and yet these people (including the prelates who participate in this activity) are considered Catholic, he argues that the Church is divided into groups of people who believe different doctrines. This is why these public acts of apostasy must stop.) 
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Pope John Paul II, 27 October 1986 Wrote:I would like now to express my feelings ... I profess here anew my conviction ...  It is, in fact, my faith conviction ... For the first time in history, we have come together from every where, Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities, and World Religions, in this sacred place dedicated to Saint Francis, to witness before the world, each according to his own conviction ...  I humbly repeat here my own conviction

Maybe it's just me, but I have to wonder why His Holiness didn't spreak more objectively of the truth of the Catholic Faith, instead choosing to speak of his subjective convictions.  Only once does he say that in Jesus Christ, true peace is to be found.  And nowhere is "salvation" spoken of, although we do read once that Jesus is the Savior of all men (but how are we saved?  Pope John Paul did not say).

Did Assisi convey the message that "all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy" (Mortalium Animos, 2)?  Yes, yes it did.

"It is under this profile that the initiative John Paul II promoted 20 years ago has acquired the features of an accurate prophecy.  His invitation to the world's religious leaders to bear a unanimous witness to peace serves to explain with no possibility of confusion that religion must be a herald of peace. ...  Among the features of the 1986 Meeting, it should be stressed that this value of prayer in building peace was testified to by the representatives of different religious traditions, and this did not happen at a distance but in the context of a meeting.  Consequently, the people of diverse religions who were praying could show through the language of witness that prayer does not divide but unites and is a decisive element for an effective pedagogy of peace, hinged on friendship, reciprocal acceptance and dialogue between people of different cultures and religions."

Of course, while Pope Benedict XVI states that Assisi "did not lend itself to syncretist interpretations founded on a relativistic concept" and that such prayer meetings "must not convey an impression of surrendering to that relativism which denies the meaning of truth itself and the possibility of attaining it," the image of all of the world's religions being "more or less good and praiseworthy" stands before us, since they too can and should contribute to peace among mankind (according to Pope Benedict).  His Holiness sees great value in the different religions coming together to pray for peace on earth.  This certainly implies that they are good and useful, even if he simultaneously denies that they possess the fullness of truth (which only the Catholic Church possesses: CCC, 819).

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedi...si_en.html
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(08-21-2012, 10:09 AM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 09:49 AM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 09:06 AM)TrentCath Wrote: Just because he says it, don't make it so, especially not in the light of his decades of praising false religions.

It would be like stomping on a crucifix while saying to upset Catholics, "But this doesn't mean that I don't love God!"

It is more like someone has taken down a Crucifix because it needs repairs and people who do not understand what he is doing are exclaiming, "Look, he is rejecting Christ."

No, Mortalium Animos already condemned this very sort of meeting itself, including the specious pretexts under which they are convened. An assembly of religions meeting together to counter the "progress of irreligion" (it doesn't have to be a specific liturgical ceremony) is condemned in this encyclical, which acts as an expression of the ordinary and universal magisterium.
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(08-21-2012, 11:17 AM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 10:09 AM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 09:49 AM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 09:06 AM)TrentCath Wrote: Just because he says it, don't make it so, especially not in the light of his decades of praising false religions.

It would be like stomping on a crucifix while saying to upset Catholics, "But this doesn't mean that I don't love God!"

It is more like someone has taken down a Crucifix because it needs repairs and people who do not understand what he is doing are exclaiming, "Look, he is rejecting Christ."

No, Mortalium Animos already condemned this very sort of meeting itself, including the specious pretexts under which they are convened. An assembly of religions meeting together to counter the "progress of irreligion" (it doesn't have to be a specific liturgical ceremony) is condemned in this encyclical, which acts as an expression of the ordinary and universal magisterium.

What makes you think this is meant as a timeless teaching rather than a contingent one?
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(08-21-2012, 10:09 AM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 09:49 AM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 09:06 AM)TrentCath Wrote: Just because he says it, don't make it so, especially not in the light of his decades of praising false religions.

It would be like stomping on a crucifix while saying to upset Catholics, "But this doesn't mean that I don't love God!"

It is more like someone has taken down a Crucifix because it needs repairs and people who do not understand what he is doing are exclaiming, "Look, he is rejecting Christ."

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.
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(08-21-2012, 12:03 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 11:17 AM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 10:09 AM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 09:49 AM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 09:06 AM)TrentCath Wrote: Just because he says it, don't make it so, especially not in the light of his decades of praising false religions.

It would be like stomping on a crucifix while saying to upset Catholics, "But this doesn't mean that I don't love God!"

It is more like someone has taken down a Crucifix because it needs repairs and people who do not understand what he is doing are exclaiming, "Look, he is rejecting Christ."

No, Mortalium Animos already condemned this very sort of meeting itself, including the specious pretexts under which they are convened. An assembly of religions meeting together to counter the "progress of irreligion" (it doesn't have to be a specific liturgical ceremony) is condemned in this encyclical, which acts as an expression of the ordinary and universal magisterium.

What makes you think this is meant as a timeless teaching rather than a contingent one?

The fact it was confirmed by several popes and the universal practice of the Church since the beginning, which consists in converting heretics etc, limiting contact with them and punishing with them, not praying with them and having tea and biscuits.
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(08-20-2012, 10:33 PM)Doce Me Wrote: Are you making a point that since God allows it, how can we condemn the Pope for allowing it?

God by His eternal will permits (wills to not prevent) all evil that happens. That permission is only from God.  We must prevent evil if we can, unless there is some greater evil that would occur (e.g. failure to meet some greater responsibility).  It's hard to think of a much greater evil than pagans praying to demon gods, or greater responsibility for a Pope than to condemn such a thing.

No, I am not making that argument. I was just pointing out a truth that might check us in our pride. "How can the Pope allows this?!" How can God? As for the event itself, I am working off of the idea of "dealing with contradictions" like I've said before. God can works this all out with a neat bow, and JPII has passed on to his reward.

On another note, I don't understand people's compulsion to work this all out anyways. Another way to deal with contradictions: Ignore them as controversies, realize that it is out of our scope of responsibility to resolve, and have a little faith! There was no mandate from Assisi for us to pray together with non-Catholics. There's no command under pain of sin to do any of these things. There was no mandate to change our Faith one iota. If it has been difficult to maintain the Faith while these types of things have occurred, then credit that to God's love, who will have us purified in this life so that we can be with Him in the next.

Positively viewed, the event was a great and courageous act of reaching out to the other religions, attempting to foster peace and concord amongst them so that there can be a modicum of peace to come to Christ through dialog (instead of religious war -- blessed are the peacemakers!), and showing the pattern of Christ of willing to reach out to all men, often to the consternation of His "chosen ones".

or

Negatively viewed, the event was an evil scandal, which gave the impression that all religions are equal. It degraded the Catholic Faith, and ultimately harmed the cause of drawing people to the Church.

Now whether seen positively nor negatively, we should embrace this event like the Cross, giving it sweet kiss of reverence. For Christ bloodily and unbloodily surely submits Himself to the sacrifice of the Cross, and the evils which His own perpetuated against Him. He had approved John Paul II as the supreme pastor of the Church. His successor, Benedict XVI, also the supreme pastor of the Church sealed with authority by Jesus, has approved of His pontificate, and declared Him a blessed one. So kiss the Cross, pray for your faith to be strengthened, and submit to Jesus that your knowledge is not sufficient to work out the contradiction, and ask His mercy either through the Church declaring further clarification of this, and other events and statements, or that he lift the veil off your heart to see the true wisdom and courage of these and other papal acts in recent times.


By the way, I can think of much greater evils than (to rephrase) pagans fasting and praying for peace. I can also think of much greater evils than a Pope condoning this by inviting them and asking them to participate.
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(08-21-2012, 12:03 PM)JayneK Wrote: What makes you think this is meant as a timeless teaching rather than a contingent one?

If you read the encyclical, you'll see how this cannot be, since what it condemns is contrary to the divine law. In fact, Pius teaches that anyone who would participate in these assemblies is "abandoning the divinely revealed religion." This is why they are sometimes referred to as "acts of apostasy."

Encyclicals are actions of the universal and ordinary magisterium, which, guided and protected by the Holy Ghost, renders their teachings on faith and morals an object of the Church's infallibility. The truth they propound cannot change or be contradicted by subsequent teachings. If something is in principle contrary to the divine law, then it is always so. Ecclesiastical laws may change; the divine law does not anymore than God Himself can change.

Of encyclicals, Pius XII teaches:
Humani Generis Wrote:20. Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you, heareth me";[3] and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians. (emphasis added)
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(08-21-2012, 01:31 PM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-21-2012, 12:03 PM)JayneK Wrote: What makes you think this is meant as a timeless teaching rather than a contingent one?

If you read the encyclical, you'll see how this cannot be, since what it condemns is contrary to the divine law. In fact, Pius teaches that anyone who would participate in these assemblies is "abandoning the divinely revealed religion." This is why they are sometimes referred to as "acts of apostasy."

Encyclicals are actions of the universal and ordinary magisterium, which, guided and protected by the Holy Ghost, renders their teachings on faith and morals an object of the Church's infallibility. The truth they propound cannot change or be contradicted by subsequent teachings. If something is in principle contrary to the divine law, then it is always so. Ecclesiastical laws may change; the divine law does not anymore than God Himself can change.

Of encyclicals, Pius XII teaches:
Humani Generis Wrote:20. Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you, heareth me";[3] and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians. (emphasis added)

Ah well here I'm afraid here INPEFESS will have to agree, I do not think that encyclicals are necessarily infallible.
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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.  When the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium has taught something infallibly is a little more nebulous. Usually it covers something everyone agrees on anyway, but otherwise its authority on certain points was traditionally discerned by theologians. 

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).  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. 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

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

Maybe of course the contradictions just started earlier than we thought. Here's an article that shows supposed contradictions in the 1917 Code of Canon Law with prior teaching:
http://www.johnthebaptist.us/jbw_english...7_Code.pdf
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