Dealing with apparent contradictions in Church teaching
(08-21-2012, 10:25 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: That was my mistake. I thought we were discussing Magisterial contradictions (primarily those in absolute principle),

That's alright. Though the thread is specifically about magisterial contradictions, I believe JayneK and I were discussing the actions of the pope at Assisi.

Quote: 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).

Our Lord’s distinction pertains to the Old Law, which offices were not maintained by faith. The officers of the New Law, however, are maintained by faith. 
Quote: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.

Thank you.
Quote: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.

Yes, I am aware that it says that. But Mortalium Animos did not condemn “mixed conferences” of themselves; it condemned meetings of this type—i.e. meetings between not just non-Catholics, but non-Christians who do not labor in ignorance and who have no positive intention of abandoning their false religions.
Mortalium Animos Wrote:2. A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matters which concern the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord. For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.

To my knkowldge, that is not what the Holy Office approved, yet that is what we saw at Assisi.

I am not sure if you've read Cum compertum (do you speak or read German?), but if you have, you know that the document speaks of meetings between Catholics and heretics and schismatics. That is why the term "non-Catholics" is used and not "non-Christians." Even Vatican II documents use the term "non-Catholics" to refer to non-Catholic Christians.
Quote:In section V it refers to all such meetings, and says prayer in common (such as the Lord's prayer) is permissible.

I disagree. Concerning the meetings described above (between Christians and Catholics), which doesn’t pertain to a meetings of the world’s religions, it says that prayers approved by the Church may be said.

Quote: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

I didn’t say “all its contents”; I said matters pertaining to faith and morals, which concerns forbidding what is contrary to faith and morals (“abandoning the divinely revealed religion” is certainly condemning something contrary to faith and morals). I think Pius XII makes this very clear in the paragraph I cited. 

Quote: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. 

I think you are confusing the two assents. See above. Pius XII isn’t very ambiguous. I am not sure that introducing other means by which the Church teaches overturns what Pius XII taught. 
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(08-21-2012, 09:00 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: You dismissed the whole Patristic era as irrelevant. It's like with like.


a) No I didn't
b) you didn't read what was written and just wrote a reply to complain about something I did elsewhere



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.

??? What's this supposed to prove? This 'Unknown God' was God or at least St Paul used it for such purpose, he certainly didn't go and say 'Mars is actually one attribute of God...' or 'The worship of Mars is great and...' You are therefore not comparing like with like and thus your comparison fails.

Quote:

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.


This is a classic case of going off on a tangent:

a) I don't really see how most of what you have written is relevant
b) none of what you have written proves that the 'gods' of the gentiles are not devils

Quote:
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. 


It should be centred around the divine word, but it is actually not, in sofar as we refer to the perversions of man and the results of original sin, your argument ignores the consequences of both which profoundly disturbed and disturb the natural order of things and shift them 'away' from God (in the broad sense of the word) and twist them towards man and the devils own perverse purposes.

It would appear to be what people on here are suggesting as that is what the popes did.





Quote: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.


Almost all of this refers to the philosophers, not the 'gods' themselves, the little that does can be explaind as I said earlier. As a whole the religions are not praised nor falsely related to Christianity and again now that Christ's mission in the flesh in this world has (until the day of judgment) finished, there is no need for religions to 'prepare the way' as some have argued. Moreover it does not follow that because some western philosophies had seeds of the logos in them, other eastern philosophies must, in fact the opposite would seem to be the case. Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero,  all lend themselves to Christinaity, hinduism and Islam very much do not.

Quote:

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.

And yet this is exactly what is denied by the modern popes, the perversity of man, the corruption of these religions etc... False religions may have some good in them but it does not come from them and they are certainly not to be praised, esteemed, respected, prayed with or whatever other nonsense people make up.
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(08-21-2012, 09:24 PM)Scriptorium Wrote:
(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

Theology of the body? I think not somehow, from what I hear most of that was unorthodox and if John Paul II came up with it, there will be unorthodoxy in it somewhere.
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(08-21-2012, 10:25 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: 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.

Thanks for the link. I don't think I've seen that post before. I agree with your conclusion:
Quote:This is why I think it would fall under the scandal from appearances, the gravity of which depends on a variety of factors (see CCC 2284-2287 for a good explanation of this as the well as the section from the Summa linked to above). I don't think it should be defended as anything less than that, but I also don't think it's anything more than that (ie a formal act of apostasy or heresy on the part of the Pope, etc.).
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(08-22-2012, 08:23 AM)TrentCath Wrote: . . . if John Paul II came up with it, there will be unorthodoxy in it somewhere.

This sounds like you approach the writings of this pope with a presumption of unorthodoxy.  This attitude probably leads you to look for things to confirm your bias rather than to look for ways to understand his positions as orthodox.  Do you have some basis in Church teaching for doing this?  I would have thought that we ought to do the opposite.
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(08-22-2012, 08:55 AM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-22-2012, 08:23 AM)TrentCath Wrote: . . . if John Paul II came up with it, there will be unorthodoxy in it somewhere.

This sounds like you approach the writings of this pope with a presumption of unorthodoxy.  This attitude probably leads you to look for things to confirm your bias rather than to look for ways to understand his positions as orthodox.  Do you have some basis in Church teaching for doing this?  I would have thought that we ought to do the opposite.

Yes, moral theology based on his actions and teachings I have formed the more certain opinion that most of what he teaches is unorthodox.

And Jayne lets not revert to the silliness of the other thread, I am not bias I am simply logical or at least more logical than those who perform sophistry to make the modern popes look orthodox.
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(08-22-2012, 09:07 AM)TrentCath Wrote:
(08-22-2012, 08:55 AM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-22-2012, 08:23 AM)TrentCath Wrote: . . . if John Paul II came up with it, there will be unorthodoxy in it somewhere.

This sounds like you approach the writings of this pope with a presumption of unorthodoxy.  This attitude probably leads you to look for things to confirm your bias rather than to look for ways to understand his positions as orthodox.  Do you have some basis in Church teaching for doing this?  I would have thought that we ought to do the opposite.

Yes, moral theology based on his actions and teachings I have formed the more certain opinion that most of what he teaches is unorthodox.

And Jayne lets not revert to the silliness of the other thread, I am not bias I am simply logical or at least more logical than those who perform sophistry to make the modern popes look orthodox.

I'm sorry if my words were offensive.  I did not mean "bias" as an insult.  I was thinking of confirmation bias which applies to virtually everyone. From Wikipedia:
Quote:Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses.[Note 1][1] People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. For example, in reading about gun control, people usually prefer sources that affirm their existing attitudes. They also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
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(08-22-2012, 08:23 AM)TrentCath Wrote: Theology of the body? I think not somehow, from what I hear most of that was unorthodox and if John Paul II came up with it, there will be unorthodoxy in it somewhere.

That's why I read it. I figure if I am to not like this guy, or a particular work of his, I should probably read his works first. Trads are just as prone to rumor-mongering, half-truths, hearsay, and the like. Although, whenever I heard someone complaining about it, it wasn't that "most of that was unorthodox". I mostly heard trads complaining about some of the commentators and devotees who have sprung up, or they had a knee-jerk reaction to it because it is about "sex" (showing that they didn't read it). Sounds like you are closed off to the chance of having your preconceived notions shattered. JPII's works are often quite dense, so be forewarned. Not my favorite style, but many times worth the effort. You can also read Love and Responsibility and The Acting Person which are good primers to his thoughts expanded in TOTB. Also you can read The Question of Faith according to St. John of the Cross, which he wrote under Garrigou-Lagrange. I'm sure that's orthodox.

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(08-22-2012, 09:59 AM)Scriptorium Wrote:
(08-22-2012, 08:23 AM)TrentCath Wrote: Theology of the body? I think not somehow, from what I hear most of that was unorthodox and if John Paul II came up with it, there will be unorthodoxy in it somewhere.

That's why I read it. I figure if I am to not like this guy, or a particular work of his, I should probably read his works first. Trads are just as prone to rumor-mongering, half-truths, hearsay, and the like.

This sounds something like this: "People on trad boards are often wont to make hasty generalizations by thinking that just beceause trads do it they are therefore particularly prone to it."

Do you see the irony of that statement as it attempts to describe you?

Now, obviously that statement is false, but my point is simply that all of humanity--not just traditional Catholics--are prone to the faults you mentioned above. If you are not prone to them, then consider yourself blessed, but I don't think it's accurate to stereotype traditional Catholics as being particularly prone to these issues. People in general like rumors, not just trads, or at least not any more than any group composed of people.
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(08-22-2012, 10:29 AM)INPEFESS Wrote:
(08-22-2012, 09:59 AM)Scriptorium Wrote:
(08-22-2012, 08:23 AM)TrentCath Wrote: Theology of the body? I think not somehow, from what I hear most of that was unorthodox and if John Paul II came up with it, there will be unorthodoxy in it somewhere.

That's why I read it. I figure if I am to not like this guy, or a particular work of his, I should probably read his works first. Trads are just as prone to rumor-mongering, half-truths, hearsay, and the like.

This sounds something like this: "People on trad boards are often wont to make hasty generalizations by thinking that just beceause trads do it they are therefore particularly prone to it."

Do you see the irony of that statement as it attempts to describe you?

Now, obviously that statement is false, but my point is simply that all of humanity--not just traditional Catholics--are prone to the faults you mentioned above. If you are not prone to them, then consider yourself blessed, but I don't think it's accurate to stereotype traditional Catholics as being particularly prone to these issues. People in general like rumors, not just trads, or at least not any more than any group composed of people.

Yes, I said we are just as prone. I did not say more prone, or less prone than humanity. Since this is a self-criticism of the movement I believe I am part of, it is admitting that we should not overlook our own blindspots. That is why in my own life I have purposely engaged many of these problematic texts, people, doctrines, etc., and went beyond the talking-points and soundbites. It has lessened my credence of the popular traditional Catholic polemic. I just simply wasn't convinced in some instances when I put the claims to the test. I now think that many of the criticisms, while still being valid in part, should be examined from a point of skepticism. I think that traditional Catholics in general are way too accepting of what comes from the main sources of polemic, and we should put these things to the test as we would the works of the current Popes. We can't walk around with the idea that we're right, our interpretation is right, and anything our friends say and write is right. I was often struck when I talked to people about VII, the New Mass, the theology and teachings of the Popes, and such like, and they really were never acquainted with the stuff first hand, but just filtered through the polemic. Read the VII texts first hand. Read a commentary on them. Read the CCC. Read the Pope's works. Read the encyclicals, etc. Read their defenses. Also read the past works first hand too. SaintSebastian, for instance, gave the quote from Leo XIII about engaging with non-Catholics. That was enlightening. This builds up a complete picture, and helps us divorce the emotion of not wanting to disagree with the leading-lights of the traditionalist movement. Of course, we should have those works in the mix too, but only reading traditionalist articles and books creates a type of myopia and disconnect, which doesn't even give us the proper tools to judge because we're limited to our small crop of supporting texts. Widen it out. Look at the whole scope of tradition. It's like the few Catholics I've met that thought eastern rites were not Catholic because they weren't the traditional Roman Mass. Obviously a little dispassionate study would resolve this. So we need to realize we are just as prone to these tendencies as NO Catholics, liberal abortion supporters, and the whole nine yards. Perhaps this can be added to the ways to "deal with contradiction".
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