Dealing with apparent contradictions in Church teaching
#51
(08-17-2012, 09:37 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote:
(08-17-2012, 08:30 PM)TrentCath Wrote:
(08-17-2012, 07:05 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote: It is common even among scholars to note that the Holy Father became more conservative after 1968. I don't really think that's subject to much doubt.

On the various quotations about the Pope not having changed, I think there is a difference between someone seeing an essential line of continuity running throughout his work and the idea that he has not changed at all in 50 years.

Lastly, I don't see how the Holy Father can be called a liberal. It would be helpful in these discussions to think about the definitions of terms before using them.

The pope may not be a 'liberal' in the subjective sense of the word according to todays standards, but objectively his theology and philosophy is liberal and is liberal by the standards of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

Okay, but how would you define "liberal theology"? For as much as the term is used around here, I don't really see much thought given to what it actually means. For example, I've seen trads call Bishop Fellay a liberal. Do you think that's accurate?

Typically a minimisation of papal power, compromising with the state, reconciling with the modern world etc...
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#52
I suspect those who call Bp Fellay a liberal are using the term subjectively but even there I disagree.
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#53
(08-16-2012, 11:21 PM)TrentCath Wrote: You assert that anyone who does not have a fairly strong background in theology and/or history should presume church teaching is not in error and that their lack of knowledge is the reason for their perception of a contradiction, this statement is problematic for several reasons:

[...]
ii) this claim leads to outcomes that are repugnant to reason. For example if the pope got up tommorow and said 'Jesus Christ is no longer God' your rules would require that person unless they had a strong background in theology or history to simply presume that actually the pope was somehow right. This is self evidently repugnant to reason as the person in question knows that the pope cannot possibly be right.  

If I heard that the pope had said "Jesus Christ is no longer God"  my first reaction would be to assume the report was a lie.  But even if the report was reliable, I would probably doubt that I was understanding him correctly.  I would recognize that the statement "Jesus Christ is no longer God" could not possibly be right, but concluding that the pope was in error would be a further step. 

(08-16-2012, 11:21 PM)TrentCath Wrote: I admit this is reductio ad absurdam but it is fair, why? There are certain elements of our faith which we are all bound to know and there are certain statements which are so brash even the smallest child who has been properly catechised could know they are contrary to the faith. But if we allow this, we admit that your rule is not absolute and that in fact in some cases it is wrong and leads to outcomes that are repugnant to reason. It then simply becomes a matter of degree and not of kind when it comes to establishing which errors are so brash that they in fact constitute an error that anyone can make a judgment on and in fact various errors will become obvious to those with varying levels of education, even if they don''t have a 'strong theological and historical background'.

There are elements of the faith which we are are bound to know.  It is relatively simple and straight-forward to know these.  Any statement which genuinely contradicts these is an error.  Knowing what is a contradiction is not always simple and straight-forward.  There are people who believe that permitting the eating of meat on Fridays was a theological error.  They think this because they do not know enough to evaluate the decision correctly.  Some people do not even know enough to recognize that they don't know enough.  The practical way to deal with this is for all of us to be reluctant to claim a Church teaching is in error. Very few of us have duties which make it necessary to identify erroneous teachings.  Most of us can say "that does not sound right to me, but maybe I'm not understanding it properly."

(08-16-2012, 11:21 PM)TrentCath Wrote:  For an example of this see Pope John Paul II saying 'May St John the Baptist protect Islam', even a child on the street who has been catechised knows this statement is scandalous.

While I don't think it was a good idea to say that, for all I know, what he actually meant by it was doctrinally sound.  I see no reason for me to making a judgment of him.  I know that Islam is a false religion and that is what should be taught.

(08-16-2012, 11:21 PM)TrentCath Wrote: Slightly more education would be required to know that the statement that 'all the baptised are by virtue of their baptism in some form of communion with The Catholic Church and have access to the community of salvation', a simple perusal of theological manuals or papal encyclicals will show that this in fact not the case. A degree more education is required to see that the statement 'the old covenant which was never revoked' is false, for example if someone had read what pope benedict XIV or the council of florence stated on the matter.

I do not think either of those examples shows unquestionably erroneous statements.  Both deal with extremely complex areas of theology.  One would need the equivalent of doctoral level studies to have an informed opinion of them.  Just coming up with some quotes that seem to disagree with them is not enough.  That is the main point of the OP.  Your basic methodology is flawed.

(08-16-2012, 11:21 PM)TrentCath Wrote: As to your post as a whole:
a) you give several general and vague explanations for contradictions but do not actually apply them to the cases at hand

I did not intend to address the specific cases you gathered. I think your approach is problematic.  Establishing whether a statement is in error or not, in most cases, requires in-depth study.    Collecting many quotes leads to a superficial understanding of the issues. 

(08-16-2012, 11:21 PM)TrentCath Wrote: b)it is contrary to the teaching of theologians which teach that it is in fact possible to hold in error non infallible teachings merely by consulting with experts. Now it is clear that consulting a theological manual, if it speaks clearly on the matter could well count as this.

A pre-Vatican II manual may very well give us a good idea of traditional teaching on a given issue.  It does not tell us anything about how well we are understanding recent teachings.  For example, another poster here and I have disagreed on whether recent ecclesiology adopts Branch Theory.  He is convinced it does and I am convinced it does not.  While it is fairly simple to establish that Branch Theory is wrong,  manuals can not tell us which is making the correct interpretation.

(08-16-2012, 11:21 PM)TrentCath Wrote: c) it is contrary to the teaching of theologians which teach, inter alia,  that if a pope or bishop were to deny or attack certain parts of the faith which all are bound to know, we can and must resist them, This means:
i) that there are some parts of the faith which are all bound to know
ii) that there are some parts of the faith which all can potentially and reasonably perceive contradictions of

I have not denied it is theoretically possible, but it seems to me that the actual issues that we are dealing with are not in this category.

(08-16-2012, 11:21 PM)TrentCath Wrote: d) It is unconvincing as rather than address the seriously problematic statements made by popes you have made vague general statements, backed by no sources or citations, that is you are speaking on your own authority with no support from the authority of others.

I probably could find authorities to back this up, but I do not have enough time to answer all your posts even without looking up authorities.  I do not think I have made any claims that would not be known by those familiar with the subject.
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#54
(08-18-2012, 12:32 PM)JayneK Wrote: If I heard that the pope had said "Jesus Christ is no longer God"  my first reaction would be to assume the report was a lie.  But even if the report was reliable, I would probably doubt that I was understanding him correctly.  I would recognize that the statement "Jesus Christ is no longer God" could not possibly be right, but concluding that the pope was in error would be a further step. 


I actually said 'Jesus Christ is not God' but regardless if the statement is not true, the pope is in error by proclaiming it is true, there is no point in being sophistic about this.


Quote:There are elements of the faith which we are are bound to know.  It is relatively simple and straight-forward to know these.  Any statement which genuinely contradicts these is an error.  Knowing what is a contradiction is not always simple and straight-forward.  There are people who believe that permitting the eating of meat on Fridays was a theological error.  They think this because they do not know enough to evaluate the decision correctly.  Some people do not even know enough to recognize that they don't know enough.  The practical way to deal with this is for all of us to be reluctant to claim a Church teaching is in error. Very few of us have duties which make it necessary to identify erroneous teachings.  Most of us can say "that does not sound right to me, but maybe I'm not understanding it properly."


You therefore admit the principle and admitting the principle you admit your statement, as it was written, was and is wrong. It is wrong for people without a certain education etc... to always presume that they must simply lack the proper education to understand errors.


Quote:While I don't think it was a good idea to say that, for all I know, what he actually meant by it was doctrinally sound.  I see no reason for me to making a judgment of him.  I know that Islam is a false religion and that is what should be taught.


This is a sophism. There is no possible doctrinally sound explanation of that phrase, a saint cannot protect or bless a false religion, full stop. That being the case one is required to resist the false teaching and even if one does not believe it is false the scandal caused by such a statement, the scandal of a pope making statements which are offensive to pious ears, capable of being interpreted badly etc...

However no sound argument can be produced for the pope expressing a doctrinally sound teaching here. Just as it is cannot be produced for him praising a jewish synagogue for lasting so long and spreading judaism.


Quote:I do not think either of those examples shows unquestionably erroneous statements.  Both deal with extremely complex areas of theology.  One would need the equivalent of doctoral level studies to have an informed opinion of them.  Just coming up with some quotes that seem to disagree with them is not enough.  That is the main point of the OP.  Your basic methodology is flawed.


a) they do in fact show unquestionably erroneous statements, even an 8 year old who is properly catechised knows that heretics as a body are not in communion with the church and individual heretics bar invincible ignorance are damned
b)On the contrary your methodology is inherently subjective and contrary to Catholic teaching. You cannot come up with an objective standard by which to judge who has the right level of education, nor can you source statements that support your methodology nor have you shown why the many theologians and saints who believe otherwise are wrong.

Quote:I did not intend to address the specific cases you gathered. I think your approach is problematic.  Establishing whether a statement is in error or not, in most cases, requires in-depth study.    Collecting many quotes leads to a superficial understanding of the issues. 


This is a sophism and a cop out. Either the pope was right in asking a saint to bless/protect Islam or he was not, either all heretics are somehow in communion with the church or they are not. Now pre conciliar teaching says they are not, post conciliar teaching vis a vis pope john paul 2 says they are, that is undeniable.


Quote:A pre-Vatican II manual may very well give us a good idea of traditional teaching on a given issue.  It does not tell us anything about how well we are understanding recent teachings.  For example, another poster here and I have disagreed on whether recent ecclesiology adopts Branch Theory.  He is convinced it does and I am convinced it does not.  While it is fairly simple to establish that Branch Theory is wrong,  manuals can not tell us which is making the correct interpretation.


This is another sophism. If current teaching says 'X' where X was condemned by previous popes and we find this in the theological manuals, we can quite clearly see there is a contradiction. I should make myself clear, the mere fact that many cannot see this does not disprove this, no more than the mere fact there are many heretics and schismatics disproves the clarity and inherent attractiveness of The Church's Teachings and claims.

For example the popes endorsed the UN declaration of human rights, this includes several satetements which ensure the same rights, in the same way and are word for word almost the same as documents which several popes categorically condemned, though many on here feel otherwise, I have not seen any argument that says this isn't a contradiction which doesn't degenerate into absurdity. Pope John Paul II claiming there might be no one in hell is another theological error which is extremely easy to prove as numerous saints have summarised the teaching of the fathers and theologians for us. The same goes for several other teachings of the modern popes, the churchs relations with the jews and the teaching on the old covenant is a striking example, to go from staying away from them to avoid perversion as well as categorically stating the old covenant was over to saying we should collaberate with them, we are two parts of the bible and the old covenant was never revoked, is another clear contradiction.

Quote:I have not denied it is theoretically possible, but it seems to me that the actual issues that we are dealing with are not in this category.


In your OP you implied that the rule was carte blanche, if you deny that it is, the entire issue then shifts from debating whether it is possible to do this (which renders your OP a little pointles IMHO) to a matter of which teachings fit into this category.

Quote:I probably could find authorities to back this up, but I do not have enough time to answer all your posts even without looking up authorities.  I do not think I have made any claims that would not be known by those familiar with the subject.

That it in itself another claim which would require sourcing. Frankly I may not have taken a theological degree but I am pretty familiar with these sorts of claims and no I have never come across sources, prior to the council, which say what you suggest, I am open to anyone correcting me on this.
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#55
(08-18-2012, 12:00 AM)DrBombay Wrote:
(08-17-2012, 11:21 PM)Walty Wrote:
(08-17-2012, 11:19 PM)DrBombay Wrote:
(08-17-2012, 08:47 AM)Habitual_Ritual Wrote:
(08-17-2012, 01:45 AM)DrBombay Wrote: The problem is with people who claim contradiction but then refuse to take that to its logical conclusion which is that the Church has defected. 

I note that you regularly confuse churchmen with "The Church " .

Ah yes, the old "separate the Church from the people running the Church."  Classic sedeish dodge. It's really unbecoming for you to adopt such schizoid tactics, Hab Rit.  Epic fail I'm afraid.  

It was really unbecoming of St. Paul to adopt such schizoid tactics too. 

You are not a saint and neither is your friend.

(In the sense neither of you have been canonized.  I'm not commenting on your personal sanctity.)

Hah.  What?  So a truth spoken by a saint should only be followed and restated by another saint?  I'm honestly lost here.
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#56
:LOL:

Wow Jayne. 

What jpii meant by "may St john the baptist protect Islam," a noncatholic religion, was doctrinally sound. 

There's nothing to say but "wow."
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#57
(08-18-2012, 03:11 PM)CollegeCatholic Wrote: :LOL:

Wow Jayne. 

What jpii meant by "may St john the baptist protect Islam," a noncatholic religion, was doctrinally sound. 

There's nothing to say but "wow."

There is a very odd phenomenon with those who stick up for Rome wherein the layman loses all ability to perceive truth.  It's almost Protestant in its assertion that the average man has no real power to reason.  Logic is not equalitarian, something God-given to every man.  It's only given to the hierarchy of His Church.

We're all automatons, blindly accepting whatever Rome has to say today.
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#58
(08-18-2012, 03:11 PM)CollegeCatholic Wrote: :LOL:

Wow Jayne. 

What jpii meant by "may St john the baptist protect Islam," a noncatholic religion, was doctrinally sound. 

There's nothing to say but "wow."

I have to say even I was shocked by that statement.
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#59
(08-18-2012, 03:11 PM)CollegeCatholic Wrote: :LOL:

Wow Jayne. 

What jpii meant by "may St john the baptist protect Islam," a noncatholic religion, was doctrinally sound. 

There's nothing to say but "wow."

I did not say it was an acceptable statement.  I don't think it was.  I said that, for all I knew, what he meant by it was doctrinally sound.  He could have just been expressing himself badly.  It happens.
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#60
(08-18-2012, 06:08 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(08-18-2012, 03:11 PM)CollegeCatholic Wrote: :LOL:

Wow Jayne. 

What jpii meant by "may St john the baptist protect Islam," a noncatholic religion, was doctrinally sound. 

There's nothing to say but "wow."

I did not say it was an acceptable statement.  I don't think it was.  I said that, for all I knew, what he meant by it was doctrinally sound.  He could have just been expressing himself badly.  It happens.

Yes. Sure. It happens............seems like it happens most exclusively to the conciliar popes. . . . . . . . . . Darned old misinterpreted doctrinally sound mistakes can really getcha in the butt!

Ya think they'll ever have a slip up like that and actually do something Catholic by mistake too?
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