homepage
  roll on christmas  
click here to find out more about ship of fools click here to sign up for the ship of fools newsletter click here to support ship of fools
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
discussion boards live chat cafe avatars frequently-asked questions the ten commandments gallery private boards register for the boards
 
Ship of Fools


Post new thread  Post a reply
My profile login | | Directory | Search | FAQs | Board home
   - Printer-friendly view Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
» Ship of Fools   » Ship's Locker   » Limbo   » Purgatory: The authority of the Catholic Church (Page 4)

 - Email this page to a friend or enemy.  
Pages in this thread: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 
 
Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: The authority of the Catholic Church
Holy Smoke
Shipmate
# 14866

 - Posted      Profile for Holy Smoke     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
This is clearly put, Ingo, and surely a help to Eliab and any other searchers thinking about this issue...

I think the degree to which one is obliged to follow official Roman Catholic doctrine depends to a large extent on the circumstances under which one is converting. Thus, if one is a long-standing member of another denomination, and one is converting essentially for theological reasons, then might be expected to show a higher degree of conformance and submission than if one were converting because one is married to a Roman Catholic, in which latter case a willingness to engage and go along with and show respect to Roman practice and doctrine would, I would suggest, be sufficient.

To take another example, if one were to be a long-term resident of an exclusively or near-exclusively Roman Catholic country, then one might indeed (depending on the local bishops' policy) feel obliged to 'convert', in order to partake of the eucharist, but then if the 'convert' returned to Britain, then he might revert to attending an Anglican church without too much damage to the prospects for his immortal soul.

It all depends on circumstance, and I think the basic Christian principles involved override any narrow doctrinal issues such as have been brought up on this thread.

(The other thing to bear in mind, of course, is that, like most religious organizations, the RCC has a conservative wing and a liberal wing, and if one is joining it, one is joining the RCC as a whole, and the fact that the conservative wing is currently in 'power' doesn't mean that their conservative interpretations are valid for all Roman Catholics for all time. The RCC is just as much the church of Hans Kung as it is the church of Joseph Ratzinger.)

Posts: 335 | From: UK | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

 - Posted      Profile for RuthW     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Holy Smoke:
The RCC is just as much the church of Hans Kung as it is the church of Joseph Ratzinger.

I'll be very interested to hear what Catholics think of this statement, since it seems to me like it just couldn't be true, seeing as the pope may speak ex cathedra while Hans Kung is no longer allowed to teach Catholic theology.

I would also be interested in responses to the Diocese of Arlington requiring catechists to sign a Profession of Faith. The Washington Post article has in its sidebar the bishop's letter and the document to be signed as well as one lay catechist's letter asking the bishop to reconsider. There is also a link in the article to a profession of faith from a diocese in Oregon which requires lay catechists to take the same oath required of converts (see p. 156 of that document if you click on the link).

Posts: 24453 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

 - Posted      Profile for IngoB   Email IngoB   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I disagree with Holy Smoke. One must not turn pastoral accommodation for an individual case of hardship into laissez faire for all. If the principle is to be "one rule for all or nothing", then that necessarily makes a Catholic rule tight and unyielding, not vague and soft. The point of pastoral accommodation is to allow more people to become better Catholics, not to dissolve Catholicism into the arbitrariness of individual opinion. Furthermore, Holy Smoke's suggestion that one can simply flip-flop between the RCC and other denominations, without significant danger to one's immortal soul, is in my eyes nothing short of criminal. I sincerely hope nobody listens to that advice, not least because Holy Smoke probably doesn't need too many millstones tied around his neck.

quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
I'll be very interested to hear what Catholics think of this statement, since it seems to me like it just couldn't be true, seeing as the pope may speak ex cathedra while Hans Kung is no longer allowed to teach Catholic theology.

It is correct that the pendulum has been swinging to the conservative side in the RCC. It is incorrect to say that Hans Küng represents a liberal side to which the pendulum may swing. His opinions on a good many issues are simply heretic, and we can be confident that they will never become official in the RCC. Whether the RCC is "as much" the Church of Küng as of the pope depends on what one means by that. Since Küng is not excommunicated (I believe), in a sense that is true. In another sense it is also true that the Church is always most of the pope, till Christ returns. But I think the best sense is to say that Küng is not willing to belong as much to the Church as the pope does, at least so for the present pope. Nobody owns the Church but Christ alone.

quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
I would also be interested in responses to the Diocese of Arlington requiring catechists to sign a Profession of Faith. The Washington Post article has in its sidebar the bishop's letter and the document to be signed as well as one lay catechist's letter asking the bishop to reconsider.

The Arlington oath contains the Niceno–Constantinopolitan creed, two standard requirement of complete assent to de fide doctrines, and a standard requirement of "religious submission" to the other doctrines of the Church. (The last item does not necessarily imply complete assent, hence it is listed separately. It means that due to faith one always should start with the assumption that doctrines the Church proposes are true, and that one should wish sincerely to find them true. One may end thinking that they are not true, but coming to this conclusion should be hard, and remaining in it painful.) All of these are requirements of faith to all Catholics, and I seen no problem whatsoever in holding those who catechise future Catholics to these requirements by oath.

quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
There is also a link in the article to a profession of faith from a diocese in Oregon which requires lay catechists to take the same oath required of converts (see p. 156 of that document if you click on the link).

It seems rather reasonable that at least the same standard of faith should be asked of those who teach the faith as of those who learn it from them. Nevertheless, there is lack of precise language in this profession of faith concerning the required assent, unlike in the Arlington case. Furthermore, it is a bit annoying to see a kind of shopping list of faith items, presumably those the bishop judges to be most contentious. If the catechists are not aware that these are items of the faith they are supposed to uphold and teach, then why have they been selected as catechists? This makes the oath seem like a stop-gap measure for deeper problems. Finally, four faith items on sex-related issues before we get to the real presence of Christ. Really? Perhaps the good bishop could at least pretend that the real presence of Christ is more important than a condom to Catholicism, and re-order his shopping list...

--------------------
They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sir Pellinore
Quester Emeritus
# 12163

 - Posted      Profile for Sir Pellinore   Email Sir Pellinore   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
It still amazes me that some people see artificial contraception as a major issue to joining or not joining the Catholic Church.

I guess this is an age of single "issues" being raised and debated. Sometimes to the exclusion of much more relevant stuff.

It is extremely sad, that, certainly in the Anglophone world, it seems to have been accepted that traditional Christianity has regarded sex as "sinful". This would seem, to me, a horrible distortion. Perhaps it was the monastic emphasis in Western Christianity in medieval times which did it. Perhaps St Paul and St Augustine have been overemphasised at the expense of other Church Fathers.

The Catholic emphasis that sex exists basically to have children seems to me to need balancing by the Orthodox belief that marriage is primarily a matter of ascesis: learning to live together through unselfishness. The Orthodox have as many reservations about artificial contraception but treat it primarily as a matter between individuals and their confessor.

Contraception is merely one part of Catholic teaching on sexuality and bioethics. Most of these teachings seem unacceptable to many outside the Church.

I suspect, having explained its position clearly and displaying considerable tolerance for individuals, the Church can't do much more.

Whether individuals outside it are happy or not would not be its primary consideration. Its primary consideration is really with bringing the Kingdom of God to people by really transforming their lives.

--------------------
Well...

Posts: 5108 | From: The Deep North, Oz | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

 - Posted      Profile for Cara     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
It still amazes me that some people see artificial contraception as a major issue to joining or not joining the Catholic Church.

I guess this is an age of single "issues" being raised and debated. Sometimes to the exclusion of much more relevant stuff.

It is extremely sad, that, certainly in the Anglophone world, it seems to have been accepted that traditional Christianity has regarded sex as "sinful". This would seem, to me, a horrible distortion. Perhaps it was the monastic emphasis in Western Christianity in medieval times which did it. Perhaps St Paul and St Augustine have been overemphasised at the expense of other Church Fathers.

The Catholic emphasis that sex exists basically to have children seems to me to need balancing by the Orthodox belief that marriage is primarily a matter of ascesis: learning to live together through unselfishness. The Orthodox have as many reservations about artificial contraception but treat it primarily as a matter between individuals and their confessor.

Contraception is merely one part of Catholic teaching on sexuality and bioethics. Most of these teachings seem unacceptable to many outside the Church.


Yes, it's a shame about this distorted idea that traditional Christianity regards sex as sinful. Actually I respect the Catholic viewpoint (as I understand it), which is, on the contrary, that married sex is a beautiful thing, a gift of God, and therefore a thing that should not be tampered with. It should be enjoyed naturally and openly without interference with the body's functioning, and if children result, then that is God's will. And if you really want to avoid having another child at some point, stick to NFP, including the two weeks of abstinence....

A beautiful approach in an ideal world, very difficult in practice, and I feel the enforced abstinence and the fears and stresses around risk of pregancy etc render the dynamics of the marriage very unnatural and can damage the relationship...but of course it does work for some couples, perhaps many more than I realise.

I don't understand why you're surprised it is a major issue for people thinking about joining or not joining the Catholic Church, Sir P , because trying to be a good Catholic in this regard affects a marriage on its most intimate level....

But of course there are other important issues, including theological and doctrinal ones, as well. The Pope, Mary and the saints, transubstantiation, closed communion etc etc.....

Re wider sexuality and bioethical positions of the Catholic church, I respect the consistency of the view that the taking of a life in capital punishment is wrong, just as it is in abortion. A consistency I felt was often lacking in conservative "pro-life" Christian groups in the USA.

Eliab, I hope this contraception discussion hasn't been too much of a tangent vis-a-vis your question about the authority of the Catholic Church. Of course you yourself mentioned contraception as one of the difficulties in Catholicism for you, and as I've said, I can relate to that. Other people don't see it as a problem to practise contraception and be Catholic.

Your comments about John Henry Newman's conversion were interesting and made me want to read the Apologia again--pity I don't have my copy here but I think it's available online. On reflection I think you may be right that his problem wasn't about the authority of the Catholic church, but about whether the Anglican church was legitimate or not, a part of the true church that came down from the Apostles. (I think this was Hopkins's issue as well). Seem to recall JHN's suddenly realising, on reading about groups within fourth century Christianity, that Anglicanism was like a breakaway heresy, and Catholicism was like the core, true church of that time.... I am very interested in the Catholic revival around and after the time of the Oxford movement, and in what drove people to convert, despite the social and often familial suffering that could ensue.

Interesting to compare the appeal of the Catholic church then and now.....are the things that drew people Rome-ward the same now as they were then?

Cara

--------------------
Pondering.

Posts: 898 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

 - Posted      Profile for Marvin the Martian     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The Arlington oath contains the Niceno–Constantinopolitan creed, two standard requirement of complete assent to de fide doctrines, and a standard requirement of "religious submission" to the other doctrines of the Church. (The last item does not necessarily imply complete assent, hence it is listed separately. It means that due to faith one always should start with the assumption that doctrines the Church proposes are true, and that one should wish sincerely to find them true. One may end thinking that they are not true, but coming to this conclusion should be hard, and remaining in it painful.) All of these are requirements of faith to all Catholics

How does this - which reads to me like a demand for absolute submission to all doctrines of the church - square with what you said earlier:

quote:
I know no Roman Catholic who "trusts absolutely" every word spoken by the RC hierarchy and is in "absolute submission" to anything but (hopefully) the bare essentials of faith.
?

--------------------
Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Justinian
Shipmate
# 5357

 - Posted      Profile for Justinian   Email Justinian   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
It still amazes me that some people see artificial contraception as a major issue to joining or not joining the Catholic Church.

I see it as a massive question on whether I can take the morality of the Catholic Church seriously.

If contraception is wrong then so is my entire system of moral reasoning; literally every moral line of logic I have ends up with contraception being a particularly good form of public health and a good thing in almost every possible way.

Which means if I am right then the Roman Catholic Church is preaching that we should clearly and obviously turn our backs on doing good and destroy good works just because it says so.

If the Roman Catholic Church is right then I have neither moral intuition nor moral reasoning. Good and evil are simple arbitrary categories decided by Authority and then given post-facto justifications.

Because to me, and to so many others (including most Catholics I know although not all) the Roman Catholic Church is clearly wrong on contraception and often compounds this with mendacity on the the subject (trying to confuse contraception with abortion) it's extremely important. Either I can accept the Roman Catholic Church's case about contraception, in which case I need to reject my entire moral reasoning, or I can reject that case in which case we have a supposedly moral institution that has absolutely no problems preaching that the destruction of good and the encouragement of harm is a fundamentally good act.

And I can't see an organisation that will preach that in the face of so much evidence and logic to be a good or even adequate one. If it is on my side from time to time (or I'm on its - either way I have no problem with most of the Social Justice agenda) it's still an organisation that has no problems throwing its entire weight behind an attempt to make the world a worse place.

--------------------
My real name consists of just four letters, but in billions of combinations.

Eudaimonaic Laughter - my blog.

Posts: 3926 | From: The Sea Coast of Bohemia | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

 - Posted      Profile for IngoB   Email IngoB   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
How does this - which reads to me like a demand for absolute submission to all doctrines of the church - square with what you said earlier:
quote:
I know no Roman Catholic who "trusts absolutely" every word spoken by the RC hierarchy and is in "absolute submission" to anything but (hopefully) the bare essentials of faith.
?
Straightforwardly. Firstly, the hierarchy says truckloads of things, much of which is not in the realm of "doctrinal definition or exposition" at all. One does not have to trust and submit to all that, certainly not absolutely. This is particularly true where the proper sphere of the laity is concerned, i.e., how to live a Catholic life in the political, social and economical sense. To take a recent contentious example, the US bishops certainly deserve an attentive and respectful hearing from Catholics when they talk about the question whether contraception should be included in health care policies by law. But I do not see their opinion concerning this as binding on Catholics. It is one thing to say that the moral life of a Catholic does not allow the use of contraception, it is quite another to say that therefore a Catholic must resist such a law. A distinction that by the way is confirmed practically by the many countries, including for example Germany, where such health care policies have been around for many decades and are not at all on the agenda of the local Catholic bishops. Something that is essential to the Catholic faith cannot vary in such a manner across countries.

Secondly, even where the hierarchy is engaged in defining or expounding doctrine, there is a clear binary distinction concerning the level at which a faithful Catholic must receive such teachings. This is obvious in the Arlington document and was explicitly repeated in what I said. So I'm rather confused why you are confused. There are those items of faith which are sine qua non, these must be believed. Full stop. Otherwise you are a heretic, like for example Küng. You will not necessarily get excommunicated, perhaps because the Church is merciful, perhaps because she is slothful. But your opinion is then strictly not Catholic. However, the number of such items of faith is rather limited. Some people would say that there are about a dozen, some people would say that there are a few hundred, but at any rate those that people tend to care about certainly won't number more than a dozen.

All the rest of the faith, as it is being proposed to the faithful, requires their sincere favour rather than their absolute trust and submission. Basically, if you wave aside anything that the Church proposes at the doctrinal level with a mere "oh well, I don't believe in that", then that is not Catholic. And it will never become Catholic, even if you claim that you have thought long and hard before arriving at this stance. Rather, you must always feel a tension when going against the Church's teaching, a pull back to what she says. Thinking long and hard about an issue may allow you to suffer that tension and resist that pull, for the time being, but it cannot ever allow you to shake it off. (Unless of course the Church comes to agree with you. That happens occasionally...)

So in summary: submit to the essentials of faith, grant favour to all teachings the Church officially proposes and respectfully listen to what your (local) hierarchy says about their application in the world. That's Catholic. It's not the same as simply obeying every word that drips from every bishop's mouth. Bishops can talk a lot of bull, and do a lot of nonsense, like all human beings. Bishops also can say or do evil, and by virtue of the position of power do a lot of damage to individuals and the Church. The Holy Spirit is only guaranteed to aid them when they are about to create another Catholic sine qua non. And that really is only a tiny fraction of what is going on in the Church.

--------------------
They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Eliab
Shipmate
# 9153

 - Posted      Profile for Eliab   Email Eliab   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Since you are I believe a lawyer, I would like to mention that in my opinion your profession is sufficient proof for the impossibility of Protestantism. A text, no matter how carefully worded, never suffices as decisive authority given the potential ingenuity of human interpretation, and the countless motivations to push all possible envelopes in all possible directions. And scripture is not carefully worded at all. Without law makers, and without judges / juries, the legal system would collapse into indecision and/or arbitrariness by unending disagreement. That is precisely what one sees in Protestantism, it is strictly unavoidable, and I cannot possibly believe that it is God's will. So one argument I have for the Catholic hierarchy - as far as you are concerned - is simply an appeal to your professional experience.

That's really an argument against the "You have the Pope, we've got the Bible" strand of Protestantism. Which, I concede, is not a negligible tradition, but it isn't exactly where I am. I think I probably agree that if you absolutely have to have an infallible final authority, it helps to have one which can at least attempt to answer direct questions, correct misunderstandings as they arise, and offer explanations.

I see the analogy to law, and I accept it as a good illustration, but reject it as an argument. The observation that texts, including legal texts, admit of multiple interpretations is uncontroversial, but it is not the case that before there has been a definite ruling, all interpretations are equally good.

In a real life example, in one of my rare forays into planning law, I was briefed to advance the (ridiculous) contention that a five-foot fence constructed on top of and around the roof of a single-storey extension, well within a statutory exception for structures "less than 2 metres above ground level". Of course I did argue that, vigorously, suggesting that ‘ground level' could, and in this case did, mean the level at which the particular structure was grounded, that is, on the roof. I supported that argument with principles and authorities, argued dictionary definitions and legislative intent, and made (I think) a very good case. But I still lost, because some contentions are beyond even my legal ingenuity to establish, and the proposition that ‘ground level' starts twelve feet up in the air proved to be one of them. And any competent lawyer could have told you that, even before the tribunal gave its ruling.

It is only in practical terms that you need a tribunal to say that specious crap like mine is wrong - because the whole point of having laws at all is so that we can require unwilling people to abide by it. My client didn't want to do what the planning statutes required, so he asked me to argue the (almost) unarguable to get him out of it. Religion isn't supposed to work like that. If I genuinely think that the Bible is God's final word, and am firmly resolved to obey its commands, I may need help in discerning the meaning, but I don't need a coercive judicial authority to shoot down whatever nonsense I invent to weasel out of obedience - as soon as I try that, I'm already being disobedient. I don't need a definitive opinion before I can start trying to obey rather than take advantage.

I can't deny, of course, that people have founded all sorts of self-serving nonsense on the text of scripture, but my point is that this is their fault. The human capacity for self-deception is vast, but it is also a defect for which we are morally responsible. God's plan (if it is his plan) to give us access to infallible guidance is not frustrated because we choose to screw it up by treating his word as we would an inconvenient statute.


Legal final authority, of course, is different from infallibility: It is not a meaningless statement that the Supreme Court got the law wrong. A Court requires only "functional infallibility", the same sort of "umpire's infallibility" that's needed against McEnroes of this world. That is a because, as a matter of public policy, it is better to have a system that finally decides disputes, even at the cost of getting some of them wrong, than not to have a system at all. It is not necessary to accept, or even pretend to accept, that a Court always gets it right.

Sometimes we need functional authority in religion. If we need a ruling on what's needed to make a priest, it is arguably better to have rules that everyone understands and accepts, than it is to keep on and on arguing without a decision in the hope of getting the very best rules that there could possibly be. There are some questions were having a decision made at all is worth taking the risk of making it wrongly.

That doesn't apply to matters of truth. Functional authority, umpire's authority doesn't tell do anything to tell me what is true. The umpire's call doesn't change by a millimetre where the ball actually fell - it only says I should play on as if the ball were in or out. A Judge's decision won't raise or lower the actual height of my client's fence by a millimetre - it only says that it is to be treated as if this particular planning law applies or not. The RCC's authority I understand is claimed as a matter of truth. God is not alleged to have said: "play on as if what this man says is true, and I'll forgive you if he gets this wrong, because someone has to make the call and he is to be obeyed". He is alleged to have said "What this man says, in these circumstances, is about as true as if I myself had said it. You can be confident that he isn't wrong, and he is to be believed and obeyed". I don't think (correct me if I'm wrong) that accepting only the RCC hierarchy's functional authority would make me a faithful Catholic. I would have be believe that they are (usually, and within certain limits, always) objectively right on matters of faith and morals.

To summarise all that: I agree that a legal text would be impotent without a binding final authority on what it means. I don't agree that a sacred text requires this. The law doesn't require anyone to agree with it, or to submit in their hearts to what the law-makers intention was, or to try to interpret its meaning without self-interest. Religion asks all of that. There is an obligation on Courts to decide the cases before them. It is sometimes OK for the faithful mind to say "I don't know" and leave questions unresolved.

quote:
It's a lot like marrying someone. While there certainly is plenty to think about, and prudence should play a role, this cannot be reasoned out completely. Marrying someone should appear as a great good, but our mind cannot give us ultimate assurances that it will be. At some point it must be a motion of our will that commits us to actually marry this person now. That decision should not be against the best of our reason, but will step beyond it.
Yes, and again I can see that as a good illustration, but not as a demonstration.

When I got married, I was promising a commitment which I knew went beyond anything that could be reasonably defended as prudent. I had, intellectually and emotionally, reached the conclusion that this was the woman I had rightly chosen as the one who could make me happy, and with whom I could build a life together, but I was promising to stay with her even if that turned out to be wrong, and we hurt each other badly, and got to the point where we had nothing but that mutual promise to give as a reason to keep going.

If you had asked me on my wedding day if I expected that to happen, I'd have said no. If you had asked me if it could happen, I'd have told you that it was a risk which I was willing to take. I would not have said that my intended was infallible. I would not have said that I trusted her always to be right. I didn't think that I was marrying a goddess. I was marrying a human being, one that I thought (and still think) was a fine example of a human being, but distinguished primarily from all other women by the fact that she was the one I loved and had chosen. No one has the right to say that I made the wrong choice.

The RCC is not, by its own claims, one potential marriage partner amongst many - it claims to be different in quality to all other churches, to be objectively and exclusively the only true spouse on the dating site. That claim needs more that "I have chosen you..." as a reason. Not least because, in the case Christians of other denominations, the RCC requires of us not only a marriage, but also a divorce.

quote:
That is simply a misrepresentation. I know no Roman Catholic who "trusts absolutely" every word spoken by the RC hierarchy and is in "absolute submission" to anything but (hopefully) the bare essentials of faith.
Then I'm not sure I understand. I know that the Pope's personal views aren't supposed to carry the same weight as ex cathedra declarations, but when he actually defines something as Catholic turth, isn't that supposed to be both final and true? That's what I mean by absolute submission - not treating every casual utterance as a oracle, but being fully prepared to surrender entirely one's own beliefs and convictions to the Church's authority, if the Church chooses to exercise that authority.

quote:
But I think you are simply on the wrong track if you believe that you can be 'tradition-based' about Jesus and 'skill-oriented' about church. There is no tradition to be had about Jesus other than through the church, i.e., other people that are following Jesus (and this is not as such a statement against Protestant mistakes about the authority of scripture, scripture also comes to Protestants through the agency of the Protestant church). If you go 'skill-oriented' on church, you will end up 'skill-oriented' about Christ.
I can see your point here. But the alternative, fully trusting the Church to be right even when it seems utterly wrong to me, is only sensible, only possible, once I'm persuaded that what the Church says must be true. "Tradition based" church is the way to follow Jesus only if church tradition is an infallible to what Jesus wants. If it is merely a good guide, the skill-oriented approach is actually more likely to get things right, not because it is free of mistakes, but because it doesn't start from a false premise and doesn't have an untrue bias already built in, AND, because it can still get guidance from tradition, and therefore none of the good things preserved by tradition are inaccessible to it. Of course if tradition is infallible, then tradition-based Christianity is better (nothing is missed), but if it is not infallible then it is worse. Potentially, catastrophically worse (serious mistakes are unchallengeable).

Is the argument that an infallible tradition would have been best, therefore we trust God to have done what is best, and therefore that the RCC is infallible?

--------------------
"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

Posts: 4619 | From: Hampton, Middlesex, UK | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

 - Posted      Profile for Marvin the Martian     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
So I'm rather confused why you are confused.

I imagine it's due to the fundamental differences in how we even approach the question, never mind the answer.

quote:
All the rest of the faith, as it is being proposed to the faithful, requires their sincere favour rather than their absolute trust and submission. Basically, if you wave aside anything that the Church proposes at the doctrinal level with a mere "oh well, I don't believe in that", then that is not Catholic. And it will never become Catholic, even if you claim that you have thought long and hard before arriving at this stance. Rather, you must always feel a tension when going against the Church's teaching, a pull back to what she says. Thinking long and hard about an issue may allow you to suffer that tension and resist that pull, for the time being, but it cannot ever allow you to shake it off. (Unless of course the Church comes to agree with you. That happens occasionally...)
You seem to me to be saying that, excepting the sine qua nons, it's OK to disagree with the church so long as you feel bad about doing so. But to me, if dissent on an issue is permitted then it should be welcomed and the issue should be left open to interpretation.

The halfway-house approach you describe seems to me to be a way of compelling obedience while maintaining a means of claiming to leave it to individual conscience.

quote:
So in summary: submit to the essentials of faith, grant favour to all teachings the Church officially proposes and respectfully listen to what your (local) hierarchy says about their application in the world. That's Catholic. It's not the same as simply obeying every word that drips from every bishop's mouth. Bishops can talk a lot of bull, and do a lot of nonsense, like all human beings.
Yes, bishops can talk a lot of bull. In my current church I'm free to say so in whatever terms I like, even while they're still in the pulpit saying it. In the RCC, apparently, I have to grant favour to them and listen respectfully even though it's all bull.

--------------------
Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Eliab
Shipmate
# 9153

 - Posted      Profile for Eliab   Email Eliab   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
It seems like you were issuing a challenge to someone to take all your objections to the RCC seriously; for him or her to refute them point by point and thus, possibly, just possibly, convert you to the aforesaid Church's position. Your being both the prosecuting counsel and sole judge without jury.

I think the simple Zen style question would be "Why?" or "Whatever for?"

The dice does seem loaded. Your reasons for playing the game seem as much psychological, and, dare I say it, possibly subconscious as religious.

I'm not sure I can add very much to speculation about motives, except to re-state that what I am taking seriously and wish to test are the Catholic claims, not the specifics of my objections. My objections obviously have importance to me, and only I can ultimately decide whether they do in fact present me with sufficient reason not to accept the Catholic claims, but what I want to examine is the case on the other side. My personal difficulties are the tools I use to poke at that, becuase they are the tools I know. But the purpose of poking at a wall with a screwdriver is to test the soundness of the wall, not the strength of the screwdriver. If I discover only that one of my tools is faulty, I'll have learned something of some minor value, but not what I was setting out to find.

quote:
One of the matters you bring up constantly is contraception, which, as others have attempted to point out, here and elsewhere, is not a key doctrinal issue.
But concerning ‘key doctrine', I'm already convinced. I could certainly be a Catholic on the basis of 'key doctrine'. And I could equally well be a Baptist. Key doctrine gives me no reason at all even to consider converting. It is Catholic-specific doctrine and practice that matters when making Catholic-specific claims.

And what I care about in particular are truth claims. If the Catholic Church is right about contraception, I don't care whether it is key doctrine or not. I want to know about it, and I want, consistently with my other moral duties, to obey it. If the Catholic Church is wrong about contraception, I want to know why that shouldn't lead me to doubt all the other equally well-established Catholic-specific teachings which it proposes with similar authority. Contraception (as I've said explicitly) is not a deal-breaker for me, and wasn't even before seeing IngoB's eminently practical, realistic and faithful suggestions on how it might be approached as a pastoral concern. But following it would be a sufficient burden that I would need to know that the teaching is actually true. I would willingly try to follow the teaching if I thought it true, but not if I thought (as I do) that it is false.

I can see some sort of distinction between accepting and believing here, and I agree with that to an extent. I don't have to be personally persuaded of the rightness of every specific command in order to accept the commander's general authority. But that only fully works as a matter of discipline, not of truth. In order to be persuaded on matters of truth, one's confidence in the commander's authority needs to be very high indeed. I'm not presently under Catholic discipline, and the only thing that could induce me to place myself under it is a conviction that the Catholic Church is really, objectively, factually right about all of the important stuff that I would have to adhere to. I don't need to be persuaded sufficiently about contraception to get there. I do need to be persuaded that there are compelling reasons to trust that the Catholic Church is a sufficiently solid guide to moral truth that it is reasonable for me to take on trust, against all of my moral intuition, that Catholic teaching on the ethics of contraception is at least very likely to be true.

But this isn't a contraception thread. There's a reason why the thread is titled "the authority of the Catholic Church" - that's what I want to know about.

--------------------
"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

Posts: 4619 | From: Hampton, Middlesex, UK | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

 - Posted      Profile for IngoB   Email IngoB   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
You seem to me to be saying that, excepting the sine qua nons, it's OK to disagree with the church so long as you feel bad about doing so. But to me, if dissent on an issue is permitted then it should be welcomed and the issue should be left open to interpretation.

This is not an insult against your capacity to make up your own mind. This is what you are supposed to have made your mind up for. Just like when you have decided to marry a woman, she then deserves your absolute commitment concerning the essentials, e.g., fidelity. And she deserves your favour, even where it is not about essentials. If she tells you that she really wants this or that, then you listen to her, sincerely, and if you can give her what she wants, then you do. That's not saying that she can't be a right bitch sometimes. That's not saying that she is never wrong. That's not saying that you can never resist her demands. But it is saying that you have dedicated yourself to her, and that those promises you have made have practical consequences.

There is no acceptable place for "dissent" here. Not in the sense that it cannot happen or is never justified. But in the sense that it always is something painful, to be overcome sooner rather than later. Just like a severe quarrel in a marriage is not something one wants to perpetuate beyond what is truly necessary.

The Church is not a series of proposals, like a party platform. The Church is the body of Christ. She is how we genuinely can be with Christ, by partaking in her life.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The halfway-house approach you describe seems to me to be a way of compelling obedience while maintaining a means of claiming to leave it to individual conscience.

This is not about tricking you into obedience. If the Church could be what she should be, and if you could be what you should be, then the issue of obedience would not even arise. You would simply be one with the Church in doing what should be done. Unfortunately, it is not like that. And so one has to talk about disagreement and how it should be handled. But not from a "neutral" point of view, but from wishing that it could be as it should be.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Yes, bishops can talk a lot of bull. In my current church I'm free to say so in whatever terms I like, even while they're still in the pulpit saying it. In the RCC, apparently, I have to grant favour to them and listen respectfully even though it's all bull.

That's correct. A bishop isn't just some party hack trying to get your vote. He is a living symbol of that which you love, Christ's church. If he is not particularly attractive and compelling in his own right, spiritually speaking of course, then that's regrettable. But he simply is more than himself. I don't know if the UK monarchy has any particular place in your heart, but if so, then that is vaguely similar. Of course, QEII is a lovely lady in her own right, by most accounts. But that's not why you stand up for her and bow to her and sing that God may save her.

--------------------
They’ll have me whipp’d for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipp’d for lying; and sometimes I am whipp’d for holding my peace. - The Fool in King Lear

Posts: 12010 | From: Gone fishing | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The Church is not a series of proposals, like a party platform. The Church is the body of Christ. She is how we genuinely can be with Christ, by partaking in her life.

The problem with this, though, is that a non-Catholic won't view solely the Catholic Church (I assume that's what you mean by 'The Church' in your comment I've quoted) as being the Body of Christ. If I changed churches I wouldn't consider there to have been a change in my status as a member of the Body of Christ.

Hope I've understood you correctly, IngoB, but this cuts to the heart of the issue, I think. The Catholic Church makes some kind of claim to be unique in its status with God, a claim that (ISTM) most other churches / denominations don't make.

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Sir Pellinore
Quester Emeritus
# 12163

 - Posted      Profile for Sir Pellinore   Email Sir Pellinore   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Cara and Eliab, I apologise but I've had a bad cold for about three weeks and I am just beginning to get over it, so my powers of reasoning and explaining things are pretty limited.

My own return to the RCC having been fairly recent and after a long period, during which I married and had a family, all now adult, renders me unsuitable to say very much on the practical challenge contraception places to living a Catholic life.

It is a real problem and one both of you have raised openly and honestly.

It would seem to me to be difficult to embrace a religion, whose perceived ethos you could not fully support, especially if you have a partner who could not join fully into the spirit of things.

I'm certainly not trying to pull off a conversion or reversion because I think real convincement comes from within the person themselves. There seems also the matter of appropriate timing. I think people need to be fully convinced and arrive at the right time to do things.

To me discrete "problems" or "sins" are not really what approaching the Christian life are about. There used to be a sort of "Queen's Regulations" approach to Catholicism in this country in the 1960s which saw priests as the equivalent of Brigade of Guards RSMs enforcing strict adherence to same under threat of stern punishment. Fortunately, the Second Vatican Council tossed this approach out and took a more "What is this really about?" approach.

My feeling is that what it is really about is a process of complete transformation of self. This occurs at a very deep level and is often more easily seen in literature, in the work of those like Graham Greene or Dante, who saw behind the surface and mere repetition of simple actions or statements.

I doubt this approach has much to give you and feel a little sad but that is all I personally seem able to offer.

Justinian, from what you said previously, here and on other threads, you appear to view the whole RCC approach to sexuality as hopelessly flawed and the cause of many evils occurring both in the Church and the world. I don't feel called on to "defend" the organisation because I think your views are set in concrete. Nothing I could do would change them.

--------------------
Well...

Posts: 5108 | From: The Deep North, Oz | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
Fuzzipeg
Shipmate
# 10107

 - Posted      Profile for Fuzzipeg   Author's homepage   Email Fuzzipeg   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Yes, Sir Pellinore (Ret'd), I am in full agreement with you. It's that process of hoped for transformation and the sacramental aspect of it that keeps us within the RCC. It is always the spiritual aspect of the RCC that I find most attractive boiled down to simple things such as prayer as a natural, unselfconscious activity.

Fortunately the top down approach, the excessive legalism and the fulminations of bishops as well as the scandals have little effect on the person in the pew though they can frustrate the parish priest. We might pray for the Pope at every Mass but most of us have no knowledge of him at all! And as for Papal Infallibility, nobody even thinks about it.

Catholic devotion is centred on Christ, not the Pope or the Church.

--------------------
http://foodybooze.blogspot.co.za

Posts: 929 | From: Johannesburg, South Africa | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Trisagion
Shipmate
# 5235

 - Posted      Profile for Trisagion   Email Trisagion   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
Hope I've understood you correctly, IngoB, but this cuts to the heart of the issue, I think. The Catholic Church makes some kind of claim to be unique in its status with God, a claim that (ISTM) most other churches / denominations don't make.

Although addressed to IngoB, I'd respond by saying that you have understood correctly.

--------------------
ceterum autem censeo tabula delenda esse

Posts: 3923 | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

 - Posted      Profile for Martin60   Email Martin60   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
All I now, presently know is, that if an RC church were the only show in town, I would HAVE to attend, submit in all my invincible ignorance, confess that fully and accept the consequences.

After all, that's what I do in the charismatic, Evangelical Anglican church I attend, even though there was an Orthodox one 100 yards away.

I'm not at home even with my mother, let alone my grandmother.

To be honest, I have shared recently with my wife, who feels even less at home with Mother, that we would be MORE welcomed by our Grandmother I reckon. Invincibles and all ...

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir Pellinore
Quester Emeritus
# 12163

 - Posted      Profile for Sir Pellinore   Email Sir Pellinore   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Fuzzipeg, I think the number of occasions a Pope, any Pope, has pronounced infallibly are limited and are restricted as to when he is speaking as head of the whole Church on matters of faith and morals and binding all the faithful (over a billion of them).

Most of the time the Pope is the very busy head of an administrative setup. Many of the communiques coming out of the Vatican and definitely not infallible are from members of the Curia.

It would be a very hard and lonely job. Some Popes have been murdered in office. There was an attempt on the life of John Paul II. Much of the opposition to the papacy has been of a political nature viz. Communism.

I think the horrors of the abuse scandals (abuse in general, not just child sex abuse) and the rather stilted and bureaucratic response has shown the Church much that needs rectifying. Renewal and internal reform need to be continuous.

You are quite right, the Catholic Church needs to change lives in Christ. I don't think the present incumbent of the papacy would gainsay you there.

The RCC did accept and take on board the apparitions of Fatima and the secrets and act on them. To me this would show that the RCC is still open to the miraculous intervention of the Almighty and accepts that it need not necessarily come through the hierarchy. I am unsure of any other Church where this would happen in the same way.

The Catholic Church is an amazing collection of saints and sinners and those in between. Most are just trying to find the life and soul saving truth in it. Genuine religion and genuine spirituality require enormous effort, dedication and grace both to find and to retain. They have to be refound by every individual and every generation. Ecclesia semper reformanda.

--------------------
Well...

Posts: 5108 | From: The Deep North, Oz | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

 - Posted      Profile for Russ   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Still a little puzzled about the nature of the authority that Eliab expects to find in the Catholic church.

I don't remember where I read it, but I recall something about there being 4 kinds of power & authority:

- the authority of force (You say what I want you to say because I'm holding a gun to your head. Or because I will hand you over to the torturers if you don't)

- the authority of official position (You act as if the boss or the referee is right in what he says because that's one of the rules of the social organisation that you want to be part of. The alternative is not being part of that organisation - not having the job, not playing in the match)

- the authority of expertise (You believe the senior IT guy at work when he tells you what's wrong with your computer, even though that may conflict with your intuition, because you know that he's seen it all before and understands these things better than you do. You don't believe the junior IT guy in the same way, because he's obviously just running through checklists he's been given of the things that most commonly go wrong.)

- the authority of charisma (You believed the salesman when he told you that the car was very reliable, because his manner, tone of voice and body language were consistent with an honest and knowledgable person).

Is there another kind of authority, speaking in general ?

Which kind are we talking about when discussing the Catholic Church ? Or is that a special-pleading kind which is not like anything else in human experience ?

Best wishes,

Russ

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sir Pellinore
Quester Emeritus
# 12163

 - Posted      Profile for Sir Pellinore   Email Sir Pellinore   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Perhaps, Russ, the "authority" involved is speaking with real authority, not like the Scribes and Pharisees?

How would you expect a Church, any Church, to "display" this "authority"?

When would "enough" be seen as "enough"?

Or would the process of questioning go on and on and on like Vogon poetry? [Devil]

--------------------
Well...

Posts: 5108 | From: The Deep North, Oz | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
Eliab
Shipmate
# 9153

 - Posted      Profile for Eliab   Email Eliab   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore (ret'd):
Perhaps, Russ, the "authority" involved is speaking with real authority, not like the Scribes and Pharisees?

That's it.

Unpacking that a bit - the moral right to be obeyed in what it commands and believed in what it teaches.

As a Christian, I am committed* to being a disciple of Jesus. I want to know whether that commitment, properly understood, obliges me to accept the claims of the Catholic Church, and whether it is right that the Catholic Church speaks with Jesus' authority in a way that no other Christian organisation does.

(*This is a statement of allegience, rather than fervour. There are times when I am very unethusiastic about being a disciple of Jesus, with occasional doubts, and frequent disobedience. None of this changes the fact that I promised to trust in him, which includes both obedience and belief).

quote:
How would you expect a Church, any Church, to "display" this "authority"?
By being like Christ, I suppose.

And Catholics are, sometimes, very like Christ, and, sometimes, very like Scribes and Pharisees. That could be said of any church, of course.

I don't really know what it would mean for the Catholic Church as a whole to be more Christ-like than any other. It isn't a claim based on any qualities of the hierarchy or the personal sanctity of the Pope. It seems to be, in essence, a claim to identify promises and commands which Protestants read as being addressed to all Jesus' disciples as applying in a special sense to one specific institution. I can't see that the truth of that is being ‘displayed' at all - and I genuinely don't know whether the Catholic claim implies that it ought to be visibly displayed.

quote:
When would "enough" be seen as "enough"?
I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here? If the implication is that if I'm not prepared to settle the matter finally, there's somehow less reason to consider it fully, then I disagree.

A conviction that X is true will be (and ought to be) re-examined whenever a new case can be made that X is not true. One's reasons for believing X obviously determine what would be a challenge to X.

If you persuaded me that faith in Jesus was inseparable from obedience to the Pope, then my belief in Catholicism would be settled until I saw good reason to think that Jesus and the Pope were at odds, or to doubt my faith in Jesus altogether. If you only managed to persuade me that the Catholic Church looked at the moment like the most faithful and holy of all the demoninations, my belief in Catholicism might be challenged by every screw-up by a Catholic, and every act of holiness by a Protestant.

Since what I am looking for here are truth claims, ‘enough is enough' for as long as I can be persuaded that Catholic teaching is the best guide to truth. The serious argument in favour of that is IngoB's (which I hope to summarise without unfairness), being that Jesus would have left behind some guarantee of authentic teaching**, since our human capacity for self-deception and misinterpretation pretty much ensures we would screw up anything which was not divinely instituted, and that the best candidate for an institution having that guaranteed authenticity is the Catholic Church.

The argument, not being based on a defence specific controversial Catholic teachings, but on general principles, is insulated to a degree from challenge on the basis of disputed teachings. As long as it is possible to believe that Catholic doctrine X might have been revealed by God, hiowever unlikely that might seem, someone accepting IngoB's argument would naturally conclude that X was revealed by God. It would be a robust position, in that sense - but it would still be falsifiable if the Catholic Church ever taught something at the highest level of authority which proved to be wrong.

(**and it's this part of the argument that I'd challenge: on the grounds that:
1) I can see no compelling case that God would have wanted to give us an infallible teaching authority rather than leave us to work some stuff out for ourselves. I don't see that God's purpose is served (and, indeed, it seems to me that it is frustrated) by excluding from one communion Christians who disagree about a lot of the stuff the Catholic Church teaches;
2) When it comes to the key doctrines which I agree needed to be preserved for a functional Christianity, it seems to me that Protestantism has preserved them;
3) The Catholic Church seems to have taught some things which were plainly wrong, some of which (such as religious intolerance) it seems to accept were wrong.)

--------------------
"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

Posts: 4619 | From: Hampton, Middlesex, UK | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

 - Posted      Profile for Russ   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
My reading of the Gospels is that the scribes taught with reference to the sayings of the great rabbis , like lawyers citing precedent, whereas Jesus spoke from first-hand knowledge of God. He referred to Scripture as if He had written it, rather than as one passing on what he had learnt.

His plan for passing on His Way to subsequent generations of followers seems to be the Holy Spirit rather than any text or organisational structure.
Best wishes,

Russ

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Forthview
Shipmate
# 12376

 - Posted      Profile for Forthview   Email Forthview   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
A German dramatist of the Age of Enlightenment tells the story of a wise Jew who has a young Christian ward in his house who is asked by a Moslem sultan why he does not convert her to Judaism or why if he thinks Christianity is better does he not convert to Christianity himself.

The wise Jew replies that we normally receive our religious knowledge from loving parents and that if we respect our parents we will respect what their religion was.He,the wise Jew, is content to leave everything else to God who will reveal himself fully in due course.

Some Catholics will still talk about the 'one true Church' but most of us,following the teaching of the Catechism,will accept that 'the sole Church of Christ is that which our Saviour,after his Resurrection,entrusted to Peter's care,commissioning him and other apostles to extend and rule it.....This Church,constituted as a society in the present world subsists in the Catholic Church.
In fact,the Catechism goes on,in this one Church from its very beginnings there arose rifts...and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic church - for which often men of both sides were to blame. However one cannot charge with sin those who are born into these communities and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers .... they have a right to be called Christians and with good reason they are accepted as brothers in the Lord ... Furthermore many elements of truth and sanctification are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic church and Christ's Spiriot uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation.

If Eliab cannot or will not accept the claims of the Catholic Church he should not worry that he will be judged as unfaithful on the Great Day of Judgement or at least that is the teaching of the Catholic Church.He should remain true to what his conscience tells him.

Most ,but not all Catholics,receive their religious understanding and beliefs from those around them.Most of us are aware,only too aware of our own imperfections.It is the task of the leaders of the Church to put before us an ideal.Why put so much weight on the possible impefections of the sexual side of our beings when much more important are other imperfections in our dealings with others and the many questions of the unjust divisions of the goods of this world,our pride and arrogance at some times,our coldness and indifference to others ?

It is within the Church as a community,as the children of God, that we are helped on our way through the journey of life.For the overwhelming majority of Christians throughout the world that journey is made within the framework of the Catholic Church,but for those outside there is no reason to feel marginalised,they are just as much loved by God,whether they are other Christians or other religions or are indeed unable to believe in a Divine Being.

Certainly the Catholic Church keeps her Sacraments for those who are indeed in full communion,but to me that is only natural.Other Christians have different understandings of sacraments and some Christians claim to have no need of sacraments.

In case of real need the Catholioc church does make her sacraments available to others outside the visible communion who share approximately the same faith.To join in with the Catholic church,as is the story of the young man in Paris,just because one would otherwise feel an outsider,while in one way seems absurd,is in another way a recognition of what the Church is - the family of the Children of God - when mentioning that he is gay there should be no barrier simply because of this.When we enter the Church just as when we enter marriage or a new chapter of our earthly pilgrimage we do not know what all lies before us.We know that we may slip back into our imperfections,but with God's help we can lift ourselves up,dust ourselves down and continue on our way.

From the days of the Apostles'creed Christians have said I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH.
If we can say that every Sunday then it is know different to say I believe all that the Catholic church teaches.

Posts: 3444 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

 - Posted      Profile for Russ   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Eliab,

It sounds from your last post as if the question you"re asking is not so much an "is" question about the authority the Catholic church has or claims to have, but is more an "ought" question about how much authority you should give it over your life.

Sam Harris notwithstanding, philosophy seems to say that these are non-equivalent questions.

A man under authority has in effect no moral principles.

Best wishes,

Russ

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

 - Posted      Profile for Russ   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


A man under authority has in effect no moral principles.


Sorry, what I meant to say is that a soldier who is truly under orders will shoot any innocent bystander that his commander tells him to. This doesn't seem to be a morally admirable stance.

Not saying that soldiering is a dishonourable profession; rather that when you give someone else authority over certain aspects of your life it should be within limits. And those limits are to do with what you see as moral.

It's much the same argument as I was having with Triple Tiara on another thread. The reason that Cardinal Brady is seen as lacking in moral judgment is that covering up child abuse should have been outside the limits of the obedience he owed his bishop, and it wasn't.

If you see what I'm getting at.

Best wishes,

Russ

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

 - Posted      Profile for Triple Tiara   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Thread bleed, but nevertheless: Russ, of course I disagreed with your description of the case of Cardinal Brady on the thread you mention, and I will restate that disagreement here. Brady was not required by some higher authority to "cover up" anything. The specifics have been gone over very finely in that thread. I would agree with you that if he was given a specific instruction to prevent justice from being done then he would be under a moral obligation to disobey such an instruction. But this thread is about a wholly different kind of authority - the authority the Church has in terms of establishing doctrine.

On the actual subject of this thread, I am very late to the party! I cannot see if it has been mentioned already, but a very good starting point, easily accessible in its language and concepts, is the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. It sets out the Catholic stall on this matter in a kind of building-blocks way. I would suggest, Eliab, that you read up to paragraph 26 (you could read the rest as well, of course, but that would be for pure enjoyment rather than relating to this topic heheh).

As to the three objections with which you concluded your last post:
1. Your presumption here seems to be that the various forms of Christianity all emerged at the same time and therefore have an equal claim to validity. Thus the Catholic Church is being mean to the others by saying they are not equal. By your reading the Catholic Church is trying to impose beliefs that are its alone, unfairly, on those churches. I suppose looking from outside you are bound to see the Catholic Church's positions from the perspective of how they impinge upon you. But that's not how the Catholic Church works - it isn't like Anglicanism trying to seek a consensus which will allow all parties to live happily together, even if there are contradictory views. The Catholic way is coherence rather than consensus, and I'm pretty sure (no, I am absolutely certain) that it doesn't develop new teachings just to confound and upset the protestants!

From a Catholic perspective, the Churches of the Reformation have broken unity, not only in terms of ecclesial communion but also in terms of doctrine. While hoping and praying and seeking an end to that breach, the Catholic Church has to continue to proclaim that Truth which she believes to be Divinely revealed. From antiquity the pole of unity has been the Bishop of Rome, so he's a pretty fundamental part of it. This proclamation of the Truth, defined negatively, is framed in the concept of "infallibility". However, all discussion in the Catholic Church about this negative framing begins with the positive, drawing on John 16:13 "the Lord Jesus wishes to lead his Church into all truth". Defined negatively, he wishes to preserve her from error, defined positively, he wishes to lead her into Truth.

2. The Catholic Church would agree with you, but it would probably say your definition of what the key doctrines are is incomplete. Ecclesiology is, for us, a key issue. I am not saved alone.

3. There have been a lot of policy shifts down the centuries on a variety of subjects, that's true enough. But on settled dogma, no.

--------------------
I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

Posts: 5905 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

 - Posted      Profile for Russ   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
I would agree with you that if he was given a specific instruction to prevent justice from being done then he would be under a moral obligation to disobey such an instruction.

Thanks for that, TripleT.

quote:
Brady was not required by some higher authority to "cover up" anything.
You may well be right; I'll leave it there so as not to hijack this thread.

quote:
this thread is about a wholly different kind of authority - the authority the Church has in terms of establishing doctrine.
How is it different ? One of the questions I asked earlier was whether there is a different kind of authority from the four kinds that I described (and do understand at some level).

quote:
Your presumption here seems to be that the various forms of Christianity all emerged at the same time and therefore have an equal claim to validity.
I'd argue that validity does not depend on date of emergence. Validity is about being true to the message.

quote:
I'm pretty sure (no, I am absolutely certain) that it doesn't develop new teachings just to confound and upset the protestants!
The Catholic Church sometimes gives the impression that it takes no account of protestantism at all, and is just waiting for it to wither away.

But I don't think that impression is accurate. Seems to me that at Vatican II the Catholic Church took a sizable step closer to the protestants, without ever admitting that perhaps it might have been wrong earlier.

quote:
From a Catholic perspective, the Churches of the Reformation have broken unity, not only in terms of ecclesial communion but also in terms of doctrine.
If we can agree that unity has been broken (and suspend for a while the discussion as to the distribution of blame for that event) that would be a good start.

quote:
While hoping and praying and seeking an end to that breach, the Catholic Church has to continue to proclaim that Truth which she believes to be Divinely revealed.
Perhaps we could agree that there is a tension there, that is a form of the universal tension between getting on with others and being true to one's own principles.

quote:
From antiquity the pole of unity has been the Bishop of Rome
From here that seems a pretty slanted view of history. The split between the Orthodox and the Western Church was more about the authority of the Pope than about any doctrine about Christ. The role of the Pope is probably the biggest single obstacle to reunion with the protestants. In terms of whatever label you wish to give to that wider body whose unity has been broken, it would be truer to say that the Pope is a symbol of division.

quote:
Drawing on John 16:13 "the Lord Jesus wishes to lead his Church into all truth". Defined negatively, he wishes to preserve her from error, defined positively, he wishes to lead her into Truth.
That's where we all wish to be.

quote:
Ecclesiology is, for us, a key issue. I am not saved alone.
Yes, we're not saved alone and being part of the body of believers is an important part of being Christian. That does not itself justify putting a proposition about how that body should organise itself up there as the Eleventh Commandment.

Don't get me wrong; saying that the Catholic tradition sees some such propositions as more fundamental than the protestants do is a helpful part of seeing the other person's point of view.

I'd be interested to know how much is how fundamental in your view.

Seems to me that the Catholic Church has for centuries faithfully preserved the notion of Christian leadership, that the Pope is the servant of the servants of God. And throughout history, to a greater or lesser extent, failed to live up to that ideal.

The difficulty some of us have, in knowing how to respond to a Vatican document or Catholic person's viewpoint, is "how much of this is coming from that deposit of faith and how much from the power complex - the culture of failing to live up to the ideal" ?

If you see what I'm getting at.

Gotta go.

best wishes,

Russ

--------------------
Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 3169 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

 - Posted      Profile for Triple Tiara   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Thanks for that response Russ.

A few things.
quote:
How is it different ? One of the questions I asked earlier was whether there is a different kind of authority from the four kinds that I described (and do understand at some level).
I suppose I would draw this out by reference to the limits of authority rather than the source of that authority. Cardinal Newman's famous discussion with the Duke of Norfolk concerning conscience addressed the question directly: there are some areas in which the Pope is not competent by reason of his office to command. Likewise a bishop. For example, I might submit entirely to a bishop's instruction as to where I shall be working, or what liturgy I must use, but I would not obey a bishop's instruction as to whom I should vote for. (I live in a properly democratic country, of course)

quote:
I'd argue that validity does not depend on date of emergence. Validity is about being true to the message.
Yes, okay. The suggestion was, however, that the Catholic Church excluded from communion those Christians who had in fact changed the "message". I was trying to say that it was not as if the various denominations all originated at the same time and just had different perspectives on the same message. Rather, the Catholic Church's perspective is that the one faith was in fact altered at a much later date. And message and ecclesial communion always go together. At the moment there is a tension between the Catholic Church and the Society of St Pius X. The Pope wants them back in communion - they think they are being true to the "message" (to use your word), which the Catholic Church has transgressed and thus cannot concede anything. They therefore prefer to remain on the ecclesial outside. To Catholics that is a scandal.
quote:
The Catholic Church sometimes gives the impression that it takes no account of protestantism at all, and is just waiting for it to wither away.

But I don't think that impression is accurate. Seems to me that at Vatican II the Catholic Church took a sizable step closer to the protestants, without ever admitting that perhaps it might have been wrong earlier.

One of the fundamental and oft ignored ecclesial teachings of Vatican II is that the Church is the sacrament of unity - not just for Christians but for the whole world. Maintaining unity and communion, and seeking to restore it where it is broken, is therefore always a primary concern for the Catholic Church. "Father, may they be one .... so that the world may believe". But that is never at the cost of doctrinal laissez-faire. Doctrinal unity counts for much.

quote:

From here that seems a pretty slanted view of history. The split between the Orthodox and the Western Church was more about the authority of the Pope than about any doctrine about Christ. The role of the Pope is probably the biggest single obstacle to reunion with the protestants. In terms of whatever label you wish to give to that wider body whose unity has been broken, it would be truer to say that the Pope is a symbol of division.

Actually, I would say the view you express is a slanted view of history. It is a common-place of a certain type of polemics that the Pope expanded his authority and eventually the Orthodox said "no more!" The truth is the Pope was constantly trying to limit the ever-expanding authority being claimed by the Bishop of Constantinople. Read, for example, Pope Gregory the Great's dispute with John the Faster, Bishop of Constantinople. Certain Orthodox and Protestant polemicists use Pope Gregory's words as if the Pope himself was denying Papal Authority. Pope Gregory famously said: "I confidently say that whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called Universal Bishop, is in his elation the precursor of the Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others" (Epistles 7:33) Well, that sounds like a condemnation of papal authority. In fact that way of using the Pope's words only works if one relies on a particular translation. "Universal Bishop" is a translation of the Greek "Ecumenical Patriarch". The Bishop of Constantinople had assumed this title and had assumed authority to depose bishops. The ensuing centuries of dispute were not about an expanding Roman authority but an expanding Constantinopolitan authority, which Rome was intent on limiting in order to preserve the rights of all the bishops which Constantinople was presuming to govern. It has to be said this tension over the rights of Constantinople continues in the Orthodox world! The Bishop of Rome's authority was always accepted - and proclaimed - as a guarantor against such ambition by other Bishops.

quote:
That does not itself justify putting a proposition about how that body should organise itself up there as the Eleventh Commandment.
Well, not an eleventh commandment, no [Smile]

However, it's not just about how the body organises itself. It's part of the DNA of the body. The how can, and does, change. The Successor of Peter is Bishop of Rome and thus the how has been thoroughly Italianate for a long time, including the outfits! This is often a cause of frustration to others within the Catholic Church. There is constant pressure for the Roman Curia to be reformed more thoroughly than the ways in which successive Popes have done. I happen to like the Italian way so I am not one of those who have such a desire [Cool]

quote:
Seems to me that the Catholic Church has for centuries faithfully preserved the notion of Christian leadership, that the Pope is the servant of the servants of God. And throughout history, to a greater or lesser extent, failed to live up to that ideal.
Yup. Starting with Peter and the Apostles that has been true. I uphold a vision and view of priesthood - and constantly fail to live up to that myself.

quote:
The difficulty some of us have, in knowing how to respond to a Vatican document or Catholic person's viewpoint, is "how much of this is coming from that deposit of faith and how much from the power complex - the culture of failing to live up to the ideal" ?

If you see what I'm getting at.

I do. And I agree. Often realpolitik is in operation. However, I don't start from a presumption of bad faith. And where there is bad faith, that can, should be and usually is challenged, even and perhaps especially from within the Catholic Church itself. But if your metanarrative is always "power politics" I think you will always miss what is also true within documents/rulings from the hierarchy.

--------------------
I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

Posts: 5905 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Eliab
Shipmate
# 9153

 - Posted      Profile for Eliab   Email Eliab   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
On the actual subject of this thread, I am very late to the party! I cannot see if it has been mentioned already, but a very good starting point, easily accessible in its language and concepts, is the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. It sets out the Catholic stall on this matter in a kind of building-blocks way. I would suggest, Eliab, that you read up to paragraph 26

OK, I've read it. And yes, it's a clear statement of what the Church's position is, but it's very weak as to why I, as an outsider, ought to believe that (possibly because it wasn't written for that purpose).

My (very brief) commentary would be:

LG: This is what the Church is for and what it's meant to be ...
E: <nods in agreement>
LG: And by 'Church' we mean 'us'...
E: Hang on a minute!
LG: ...at least in the full sense of 'Church'.
E: Did I accidentally scroll past the bit where you argued for that? Let me read back...no, it's not there. Why do you say that?
LG: Moving on. We do accept that other denominations are Christian and sort-of Church too...
E: Nice of you.
LG: And other religions also have their share of truth.
E: I agree.
LG: But we're the real deal.
E: Why? Why? WHY???
LG: And so when we do this God stops us from getting it wrong.
E: OK, but that all depends on WHY you get to be so special, doesn't it?
LG: Moving on. Now we'll talk about priests and deacons...

quote:
As to the three objections with which you concluded your last post:
1. Your presumption here seems to be that the various forms of Christianity all emerged at the same time and therefore have an equal claim to validity. Thus the Catholic Church is being mean to the others by saying they are not equal.

No, not really. "Christianity" emerged at one time. We all trace our heritage back that far, and every different tradition has done some stuff since then. Equal validity isn't part of my argument - I'm quite prepared to admit the possibility of me being wrong and even more willing to notice when someone else is wrong - but I do think that the validity of truth claims ought to be assessed on the merits.

Example: Eucharistic theology. Transubstantiation isn't in the Bible. Memorialism isn't either. Both of these theologies have been worked out, at least in their current detailed versions, after the apostolic age. If I have to pick one, I'll take transubstantiation, because it seems to me that it is the better and more natural development of ideas which certainly are present in the earliest records we have (the NT) that the apostles thought that 'the breaking of bread' was of enormous spiritual significance, not just a regular reminder. I have a reason to prefer it, because it seems truer to the understanding of the eucharist implied in the earliest records of the one who instituted it.

But that point does not depend on me knowing which institutions came up with which idea. It so happens that the Catholic Church's official line looks better to me than the one taken by some Protestants, but I can conceive of an alternative history in which the Catholic Church went for memorialism, and the transubstantiationists split off in disgust, and if that had happened, the argument that transubstantiation was truer to apostolic tradition would have been exactly as good. The Protestants, after all, were right about indulgences - no one can seriously suggest that the apostolic church knew anything of that innovation.

That is to say, there is no necessary connection between the emergence of an institution and claims to have valid authority. I accept that you have a very strong claim to institutional continuity from the apostles, and I'll even concede that this gives you first dibs on the name "Catholic", but I don't see at all how it automatically makes the distinctives of Catholic theology any truer.

quote:
I'm pretty sure (no, I am absolutely certain) that it doesn't develop new teachings just to confound and upset the protestants!
OK, I accept that. But still, if you teach that you are the one true Church, and that to join you I would have to say that I accept what you teach, then those teachings which I cannot accept are going to be a cause of division, whether you meant them to be or not.

And I don't think all teachings are equal. Would Jesus want his followers to be disunited because they couldn't agree that the Holy Spirit is God? I think it's strongly arguable that that is important enough to make into a doctrine and say the Church believes this, and not compromise on the point by admitting that the contrary view is acceptable Christian teaching. Would Jesus want his followers to be disunited because they couldn't agree what happened to his mother's body at the end of her life? Because they couldn't agree about contraception? I'm pretty sure that his command to be united trumps that sort of disagreement. And it's that sort of thing - not the stuff about the incarnation or the Trinity - that keeps people like me from being united with you.

That's the sort of thing where I'm looking for a reason why you are right. For me, it's a point against that the practical effect of Catholic teaching is as if you had insisted on them as conditions of unity. For me, it seems obvious, unarguably obvious, that this isn't the sort of thing that we were ever meant to fall out over. We ought to be able to disagree about 'meat offered to idols' questions and still remain in one church. The fact that the Catholic Church has called it wrong on the practical importance of these secondary questions diminishes my confidence that she is to be trusted absolutely when deciding the answers to them.

quote:
From a Catholic perspective, the Churches of the Reformation have broken unity, not only in terms of ecclesial communion but also in terms of doctrine. While hoping and praying and seeking an end to that breach, the Catholic Church has to continue to proclaim that Truth which she believes to be Divinely revealed. From antiquity the pole of unity has been the Bishop of Rome, so he's a pretty fundamental part of it.
Yes, but we are where we are. Neither you nor I nor the Pope nor anyone now living is responsible for the Reformation. It happened, and we are stuck with the consequences. It seems to me to be completely unrealistic for the Catholic Church, 1,000 and 500 years after the big schisms, to "continue to proclaim" what she thinks true as if her authority to do so were not in issue amongst Christians. It is no longer reasonable to expect that Christians automatically accept the Pope as an authority - that doctrine needs to be argued for in a way that outsiders can engage with, if that truth is ever to be made accessible to us.

quote:
2. The Catholic Church would agree with you, but it would probably say your definition of what the key doctrines are is incomplete. Ecclesiology is, for us, a key issue. I am not saved alone.
OK, and I could almost agree except that Catholic ecclesiology seems to me to get bound up with everything else. In theory, yes I can see you have fundamentals of faith, defined infallibly, and (as IngoB says) likely I agree with or don't care about most of them. But those aren't the points we're divided over. It's things like contraception, and divorce, and women priests, and confession, and the like that divide us: things important enough that it is unrealistic to demand 'religious submission' from people who think that the teaching is completely misguided, but not important enough that we should continue to be in schism because we disagree.

quote:
3. There have been a lot of policy shifts down the centuries on a variety of subjects, that's true enough. But on settled dogma, no.
But it's the teaching on that 'variety of subjects' that is keeping me out, and it is that teaching that makes it hard to accept the ecclesiology which you say is a key doctrine. If it is the case that Catholic teaching on contraception, say, might just conceivably be wrong, and change in the future, then why insist on it as if it were certain? Why not allow the disagreement on matters which are not infallibly settled?

It seems to me that, for example, the Catholic Church used to think that it was OK to have people imprisoned, tortured and killed for secretly observing Jewish customs. It set up an organisation in Spain with essentially that as its main purpose. And we all now agree that it was wrong*. It wasn't a matter of settled dogma, of course. It was never taught as infallible. It didn't change what the Church taught about the truth of the gospel. But it was wrong, and wrong about something very important. I think you could fairly say that this example isn't evidence one way or another against the truth of those doctrines taught as infallible for all time - those have a divine guarantee of freedom from error, and mistakes made on matters outside that guarantee don't detract from it. It is, though, relevant when I am asking whether I should accept the Church's authority as a whole, non-infallible teaching included. Because it seems to me that the unless you invoke the divine guarantee of infallibility, the fact that something is taught by the Catholic Church is no indication of its truth, because everyone agrees that the Catholic Church has been seriously wrong before.


(*Yes, I know that Protestants at the time were capable of being just as nasty. This isn't an argument that the Catholics were any worse than anyone else, just an argument that they, like everyone else, were capable of being badly wrong).

--------------------
"Perhaps there is poetic beauty in the abstract ideas of justice or fairness, but I doubt if many lawyers are moved by it"

Richard Dawkins

Posts: 4619 | From: Hampton, Middlesex, UK | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

 - Posted      Profile for Marvin the Martian     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...the Pope is the servant of the servants of God.

What a load of bollocks.

Seriously, what a massive steaming pile of horseshit-encrusted bollocks.

In what way can the Pope - the man who is in charge of the whole worldwide Catholic church, who sits right at the very top of its leadership structure, who lives in a freakin' palace in the middle of his own country - be said to be a servant?

It's just barmy. You can't be the one giving out the commands to everyone else and be a servant of everyone else. The two roles are fundamentally irreconcilable.

It's not just the Pope who's guilty of such an absurd claim, of course - all religious leaders claim to be the servants of their people while actually being their overlords - but he's the one being discussed here.

--------------------
Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Zach82
Shipmate
# 3208

 - Posted      Profile for Zach82     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Example: Eucharistic theology. Transubstantiation isn't in the Bible....
Said Luther to Zwingli, "Hoc est corpus meum, hoc est corpus meum, hoc est..."

quote:
But it's the teaching on that 'variety of subjects' that is keeping me out, and it is that teaching that makes it hard to accept the ecclesiology which you say is a key doctrine.
You need to give some thought to where your get your objections to Roman Catholic moral teaching. If you believe the Bishop of Rome in the Magisterium teaches authoritatively on morals, then you ought to be a Roman Catholic. If you believe the Bible speaks authoritatively on morals, then you are a Protestant. If you don't believe the Bible speaks authoritatively on morals, well...

That is the real difference, so far as I see it at any rate. To a certain extent, contraception and marriage and all that ARE distractions from the real issue, or more precisely the differences are the result of the real issue of the sources moral authority.

[ 31. July 2012, 14:24: Message edited by: Zach82 ]

Posts: 9148 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

 - Posted      Profile for Cara     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote: (Tripe Tiara)
3. There have been a lot of policy shifts down the centuries on a variety of subjects, that's true enough. But on settled dogma, no.

Eliab said:
But it's the teaching on that 'variety of subjects' that is keeping me out, and it is that teaching that makes it hard to accept the ecclesiology which you say is a key doctrine. If it is the case that Catholic teaching on contraception, say, might just conceivably be wrong, and change in the future, then why insist on it as if it were certain? Why not allow the disagreement on matters which are not infallibly settled? END QUOTE

Exactly, Eliab. "...why insist on it as if it were certain? Why not allow disagreement on matters which are not infallibly settled?" For me, that is the crux.

Of course some issues are seen by the church as less important than other issues, but still, there are "the rules" about them. There is that insistence.

And so one has to say either,
a) I will become a Catholic, but--according to my conscience-- not necessarily follow all the rules and teachings, even though I know this makes me an unfaithful Catholic in the Church's view".

Or, b) I will choose a church where disagreement is allowed on these less crucial matters, so I can still be considered faithful.

I prefer b).

It would be interesting to hear from two kinds of Catholics.
First, from those who have chosen a): why have they chosen to be Catholic, even if it means they are knowingly and voluntarily "breaking the rules" or being "unfaithful" or "disobedient" when it comes to matters like contraception?

And secondly, from those who have chosen the Catholic church and who follow to the best of their ability all the rules. (I think from what you have said, Ingo, that you are one of these?)
Unless I missed it, I don't think anyone has said clearly and concisely WHY, intellectually, he/she accepts the authority of the Catholic Church and is sure it is the One True Church.

Let's face it, it's harder to be a faithful Catholic in today's world than to be many other types of Christian. So, those who follow that route must be pretty sure it is "worth it," sure that it is the real true route. How do they know?

In the end, I think it comes down to faith. As I think I said earlier, the movement from not-sure to certainty in a conversion is often untraceable and unintellectual. People think and think and mull--and then, somehow, they just know.

And so, unless that faith comes to you, Eliab, I personally don't feel you can reach it intellectually.

Cara

--------------------
Pondering.

Posts: 898 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

 - Posted      Profile for Cara     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
You need to give some thought to where your get your objections to Roman Catholic moral teaching. If you believe the Bishop of Rome in the Magisterium teaches authoritatively on morals, then you ought to be a Roman Catholic. If you believe the Bible speaks authoritatively on morals, then you are a Protestant. If you don't believe the Bible speaks authoritatively on morals, well...

That is the real difference, so far as I see it at any rate. To a certain extent, contraception and marriage and all that ARE distractions from the real issue, or more precisely the differences are the result of the real issue of the sources moral authority.

Or there is a middle way. You can believe the source of moral authority is a combination of the Bible, plus Christian tradition from the beginning, plus reason--all infused with the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, through whom our understanding can develop and change.

(Sorry for the double post but I wanted to respond separately to the different points.)

Cara

[ 02. August 2012, 12:27: Message edited by: tclune ]

--------------------
Pondering.

Posts: 898 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Zach82
Shipmate
# 3208

 - Posted      Profile for Zach82     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
The Roman Catholic Church incorporates all those elements, Cara. Magisterial authority is founded on Scripture, which at a certain point is impossible to really distinguish from tradition. A Catholic applies these universally relevant ethical norms to concrete ethical decisions using reason.

With Roman Catholic moral teaching, conscience is not a vague intuition about right and wrong, and I very much agree with it on this point. Conscience is the ability to use reason to apply universal ethical norms to concrete situations in one's life.

Furthermore, your "third way" is just the Protestant way I was talking about. A Protestant needs reason and tradition to both interpret the Bible and to apply that to his everyday life. If you want ethical norms apart from the Bible, then Roman Catholic moral teaching is more your friend than you think, since it believes the moral norms discerned through reason alone are compatible with the moral teachings of the Bible.

--------------------
Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

Posts: 9148 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

 - Posted      Profile for Triple Tiara   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...the Pope is the servant of the servants of God.

What a load of bollocks.

Seriously, what a massive steaming pile of horseshit-encrusted bollocks.

In what way can the Pope - the man who is in charge of the whole worldwide Catholic church, who sits right at the very top of its leadership structure, who lives in a freakin' palace in the middle of his own country - be said to be a servant?

It's just barmy. You can't be the one giving out the commands to everyone else and be a servant of everyone else. The two roles are fundamentally irreconcilable.

It's not just the Pope who's guilty of such an absurd claim, of course - all religious leaders claim to be the servants of their people while actually being their overlords - but he's the one being discussed here.

Clearly you have a very quaint idea of what service means. Presumably you imagine someone doffing the cap and saying "Ooh arr, yes m'Lord". Does the Queen serve the country? Does the local policeman serve the community, or is he just the long arm of the law? Personally, I think the Pope served the Catholic community of this country very well indeed when he came to visit - and not once did he dish out any commands.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
OK, I've read it. And yes, it's a clear statement of what the Church's position is, but it's very weak as to why I, as an outsider, ought to believe that (possibly because it wasn't written for that purpose).

My (very brief) commentary would be:

LG: This is what the Church is for and what it's meant to be ...
E: <nods in agreement>
LG: And by 'Church' we mean 'us'...
E: Hang on a minute!
LG: ...at least in the full sense of 'Church'.
E: Did I accidentally scroll past the bit where you argued for that? Let me read back...no, it's not there. Why do you say that?
LG: Moving on. We do accept that other denominations are Christian and sort-of Church too...
E: Nice of you.
LG: And other religions also have their share of truth.
E: I agree.
LG: But we're the real deal.
E: Why? Why? WHY???
LG: And so when we do this God stops us from getting it wrong.
E: OK, but that all depends on WHY you get to be so special, doesn't it?
LG: Moving on. Now we'll talk about priests and deacons...

I was trying to have a bash at this when talking about all churches having equally valid claims to authority - I should not have spoken of validity because of the triggers that has, especially for Anglicans, and I should have realised this.

Again, I think you are perhaps reading LG from the perspective of "this is one Church among many, all claiming authority". The Catholic perspective is that there is only ONE Church, but it is divided. It's not engaged in a contest as to which is the best Church. So the opening paragraphs of LG are speaking of that one Church. That is not the same as the arguments about which is the "one true Church" that get bandied about. It is NOT Catholic belief that it is the ONLY Church. However, it does lay claim to being the Church which is historically, theologically and ecclesiologically contiguous with the Church established by the Lord and built upon the Apostles. The ecumenical impetus of all Catholic engagement is a return to unity as one Body of Christ. Naturally in that she has certain propositions which she believes are necessary to establish that unity. In the meantime, she does not say "you are not Christians at all, all the rest of you. You are not even in the Church". Rather she proposes her belief that all other Christian bodies derive their authenticity from the fullness of unity and faith of the One Church of Jesus Christ - as you say " "Christianity" emerged at one time. We all trace our heritage back that far, and every different tradition has done some stuff since then". That stuff done since then is the problem, and the Catholic Church's position is some of that stuff has gone too far from the common root. Of course, I understand that the same applies in reverse as well!

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:


And I don't think all teachings are equal.

Indeed not - there is a hierarchy of truths. I guess it depends on the way in which you rank that hierarchy.

Cara challenges Catholics to say how they manage to submit to things they don't themselves believe. Heck, I personally sometimes find belief in God impossible. I struggle intellectually with some teachings - sometimes doubting more than at other times. I personally think there is a lot of theological work and reflection still needed on human sexuality, starting with the foundations of the teaching rather than the conclusions. I find the utterances of some prelates on the issue of homosexuality excruciating, and certainly think we are more in the business right now of "correcting error" rather than proposing helpful, healthy and positive guidance to homosexuals. I think that is shameful myself. So how do I reconcile all this with commitment to the Catholic Church? John 6:67-68 "So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" ". The things I find difficult are as nothing compared with the things I believe to be true. I find unconvincing the foundations of any of the other churches. I would probably simply be a lapsed Catholic before I could ever be an Anglican or Orthodox Christian because of that.

--------------------
I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

Posts: 5905 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

 - Posted      Profile for Marvin the Martian     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
Clearly you have a very quaint idea of what service means.

The word used was "servant", not "service". A CEO could be said to provide a service to the company s/he runs by managing the managers of the employees, but nobody would call a CEO the "servant of the servants of the employees". In no other relationship on earth would the person wielding the power claim to be a servant of the person who does not.

If religious heirarchies (and this really is about all of them, not just the Pope) were truly "the servants of the servants of the people" then we would be telling them what to believe and how to behave, and commissioning them purely to run our services. As this is clearly not the case (excepting congregationalist denominations, of course), the claim is false.

--------------------
Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Zach82
Shipmate
# 3208

 - Posted      Profile for Zach82     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Indeed, Marvin. The bishops of the Church are only teaching authoritatively when they teach according to Holy Scriptures, which is the Church imposing the the bishops standards of doctrine and behavior.

--------------------
Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

Posts: 9148 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
Indeed, Marvin. The bishops of the Church are only teaching authoritatively when they teach according to Holy Scriptures, which is the Church imposing the the bishops standards of doctrine and behavior.

But no bishops, nor anyone for that matter, teaches 'according to Holy Scriptures'. We all teach according to our interpretation of Holy Scriptures. It seems the Catholic Church doesn't accept this caveat, though...

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Zach82
Shipmate
# 3208

 - Posted      Profile for Zach82     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
But no bishops, nor anyone for that matter, teaches 'according to Holy Scriptures'. We all teach according to our interpretation of Holy Scriptures. It seems the Catholic Church doesn't accept this caveat, though...
The Bible is not up for individual interpretation. Even in the Protestant tradition the interpretation of the Bible happens in the community of the Church. In the Catholic tradition the bishops have a particular place in the work of interpretation, though the traditions and Scriptures reflect the experience of the entire community. Even in the Protestant tradition, varying interpretations are not necessarily equally valid. The interpretation of a person properly educated in sound exegetical techniques is more valid than that of one not so educated, for example.

What seems to be the objection here is that the interpretation of the Church, from the day of Jesus Christ, has no binding authority on a Christian that has a vague intuition (or a secular one) that the Christian Community errs in its teaching. That I, personally, do not believe.

--------------------
Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

Posts: 9148 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

 - Posted      Profile for Cara     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
The Roman Catholic Church incorporates all those elements, Cara. Magisterial authority is founded on Scripture, which at a certain point is impossible to really distinguish from tradition. A Catholic applies these universally relevant ethical norms to concrete ethical decisions using reason.

With Roman Catholic moral teaching, conscience is not a vague intuition about right and wrong, and I very much agree with it on this point. Conscience is the ability to use reason to apply universal ethical norms to concrete situations in one's life.

Furthermore, your "third way" is just the Protestant way I was talking about. A Protestant needs reason and tradition to both interpret the Bible and to apply that to his everyday life. If you want ethical norms apart from the Bible, then Roman Catholic moral teaching is more your friend than you think, since it believes the moral norms discerned through reason alone are compatible with the moral teachings of the Bible.

Fair enough, Zach. But you said to Eliab, "if you believe the Bishop of Rome in the Magisterium teaches authoritatively on morals, then you ought to be a Roman Catholic." So you emphasised the authority of the Pope himself, and the Bishops (who together with the Pope, as I understand it, form the Magisterium) as a source of moral authority. This is the bit that is a stumbling-block for many--Papal authority is founded on Scripture IF you interpret Jesus's words to Peter a certain way; episcopal authority is definitely scriptural, but are the Catholic bishops the only bishops with true moral authority in the whole of Christendom? I guess that brings us to the question of apostolic succession....

Ok, so the "third way " IS what you meant by the Protestant way, because the Protestant does bring tradition and reason to bear on the Bible. But the "tradition" a Protestant brings is Christian tradition--the tradition of the church at large (though there are separate mini-traditions and emphases not shared by everyone, of course). So really, we all use a combination of Scripture, tradition, and reason.

BUT the Catholic Church gives a much larger role than other Christians do to the authority of the Catholic Church herself.

Here's a quote from Fr William G Most, from a passage on the Magisterium, taken from the Basic Catholic Cathechism (I admit it, this comes up near the top when you Google "Magisterium" !!):

QUOTE: Vatican II taught (Dei Verbum # 10): "The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition], has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."
END QUOTE.

The Magisterium, as I understand it, means the Pope and the Catholic Bishops. Only them, not the whole Christian CHurch.

Earlier in the paragraph, we find this:

QUOTE: Christ promised to protect the teaching of the Church : "He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects your rejects me, he who rejects me, rejects Him who sent me" (Luke 10. 16). Now of course the promise of Christ cannot fail: hence when the Church presents some doctrine as definitive or final, it comes under this protection, it cannot be in error; in other words, it is infallible.
END QUOTE.

This again, or so it it seems to me when it's read in context, only applies to the Catholic church, not the Christian Church at large.

So, as someone said much further up, it is all a bit circular.
Jesus said he would be with His church; the Catholic Church believes it is the true church of Jesus; therefore, Jesus is always with it, and it cannot be in error on definitive doctrine (or on pronouncements about morality, Father Most says further down).

I respect the certainty of the faith that Catholics have in the Catholic Church--I was brought up in it, after all--but for myself I cannot feel this certainty that only the Catholic Church is the real deal.

And, Eliab, I think that particular certainty can only come with the eyes of faith. Catholic converts in the past have called it a place of rest, firm ground, release from doubts and worry--because they can relax in the knowledge that they have come home to God's true church, and She possesses the Truth.

Is it partly a question of temperament?

Cara

--------------------
Pondering.

Posts: 898 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Zach82
Shipmate
# 3208

 - Posted      Profile for Zach82     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
BUT the Catholic Church gives a much larger role than other Christians do to the authority of the Catholic Church herself.
Does it? The Bible is the experience of the Church, and its moral authority is the experience of the Church speaking universal ethical norms.

You may doubt the unique identity of the Roman Catholic Church and the place of the Bishop of Rome in Church teaching- I sure do- but Roman Catholic moral teaching may be your friend more than you think. It teaches (after St Thomas Aquinas) that the moral norms of human reason are compatible with the moral norms found in the Bible, so non-Catholics and even non-Christians can indeed be righteous. Though it believes itself uniquely qualified to teach morality, it still believes ethical dialogue with others can be worthwhile.

Yet the Protestant tradition (after St Augustine) has generally believed that real righteousness comes from faith in Jesus Christ alone. As Karl Barth wrote, "faith cannot argue with unbelief- it can only preach to it." There is far less room for secular ethical dialogue with that line than the Roman Catholic Church believes possible.

I make no secret that I believe the latter quite strongly.

However, it is unfair to think Catholicism offers certainty and easy answers. Either way, one is stuck trying to apply these norms to one's own life, which is all frightening and fraught with the possibility of error. A bishop is no less free in such a situation than a Catholic layman or Presbyterian.

[ 02. August 2012, 16:22: Message edited by: Zach82 ]

--------------------
Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

Posts: 9148 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Ender's Shadow
Shipmate
# 2272

 - Posted      Profile for Ender's Shadow   Email Ender's Shadow   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
The ecumenical impetus of all Catholic engagement is a return to unity as one Body of Christ. Naturally in that she has certain propositions which she believes are necessary to establish that unity. In the meantime, she does not say "you are not Christians at all, all the rest of you. You are not even in the Church".

Hmm - as referred to above, the infallible claim that those who reject the Marian doctrine have made a shipwreck of their faith is rather close to that statement. Given the way that Paul regards such people as almost beyond hope, the attitude of Rome to those of us who reject this doctrine is... confused; in reality you don't really believe that we've made a shipwreck of our faith. I would remind you of the scandal of Taize, where Catholic religious were permitted to be under the authority of a Reformed pastor.

And once it is clear that you have abandoned your commitment to the infallible teaching of the church in this respect, the rest of the claims to authority collapse in a heap...

But for me it comes down to the simple observation that God has been at work outside the Catholic church as much as within it over the past 300 years: Wesley and Booth being the least controversial examples. Given that, it is crackers to argue that God's opinion is that Protestantism is beyond the pale, so who are you to presume to say otherwise?

--------------------
Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Please don't refer to me as 'Ender' - the whole point of Ender's Shadow is that he isn't Ender.

Posts: 5018 | From: Manchester, England | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

 - Posted      Profile for Cara     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:

Cara challenges Catholics to say how they manage to submit to things they don't themselves believe. Heck, I personally sometimes find belief in God impossible. I struggle intellectually with some teachings - sometimes doubting more than at other times. I personally think there is a lot of theological work and reflection still needed on human sexuality, starting with the foundations of the teaching rather than the conclusions. I find the utterances of some prelates on the issue of homosexuality excruciating, and certainly think we are more in the business right now of "correcting error" rather than proposing helpful, healthy and positive guidance to homosexuals. I think that is shameful myself. So how do I reconcile all this with commitment to the Catholic Church? John 6:67-68 "So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" ". The things I find difficult are as nothing compared with the things I believe to be true. I find unconvincing the foundations of any of the other churches. I would probably simply be a lapsed Catholic before I could ever be an Anglican or Orthodox Christian because of that. [/QB]

Thank you, TT, for this response to the challenge!

Your first "answer," that Jesus has the words of eternal life and so there is nowhere to go but him, would of course "work" for any Christian, Catholic or not. It's the answer to why one is a Christian, not why one is a Catholic.

It's the second bit that's the crux.
"I find unconvincing the foundations of any of the other churches."
That's why, despite your quarrels and struggles with the Church, you could never be an Anglican or Orthodox Christian.

This is a very helpful answer, clear and concise, about what the problem is with the other churches, from the Catholic point of view.

Somehow, this discussion reminds me of when a nun asked C.S. Lewis why he wasn't a Catholic. Good question, thought I, as a cradle Catholic first reading this; why wasn't he? He answered something like, "Why should I be?"

Extraordinary! He turned it all upside down!! Only those also brought up Catholic will feel why this answer was so completely bouleversant for me--I had never seen it that way around!! I was always taught--or I just imbibed, absorbed--that it was non-Catholics who had to justify and defend their strange choice not to join the One True Church...

Cara

--------------------
Pondering.

Posts: 898 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
Even in the Protestant tradition the interpretation of the Bible happens in the community of the Church.

Oh yes, but few Protestant churches would hold their interpretation to be authoritative in the way the Catholic Church holds its interpretation. That's the point, isn't it?
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
What seems to be the objection here is that the interpretation of the Church, from the day of Jesus Christ, has no binding authority on a Christian that has a vague intuition (or a secular one) that the Christian Community errs in its teaching. That I, personally, do not believe.

Again, the point is that (IMO) there is no
interpretation of the Church; there are many interpretations. And it's always been this way, hasn't it? The only way you can possibly say 'this is the interpretation of the Church' is to define the Church as your particular institution, be that the Catholic Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, New Frontiers, Westboro Baptist Church or whatever*.

And that's what at issue here - why should I, Eliab or anyone else who's not a Catholic accept the Catholic Church's apparent claim to be the guardian of God's pure, unadulterated truth? After all, the Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide organisation makes precisely the same claim, doesn't it?


*No parallels intended here, just saying the institution could be worldwide, an individual local congregation or anything in between.

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Zach82
Shipmate
# 3208

 - Posted      Profile for Zach82     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Using the Bible as the basis of universal ethical norms is already enshrining the traditions of a particular institution as applicable to all people, whether they believe or not. The Bible simply is the tradition of the Christian Church. Protestants have a slightly different understanding of how moral teaching is received, but are saying basically the same thing as the Catholics to non-Christians. "We have the truth you ought to life by."

I would think that most Roman Catholic theologians would agree that the most any individual could do is prayerfully examine the Holy Scriptures and decide for himself whether the claims the Roman Catholic Church makes for itself are true or not.

[ 02. August 2012, 17:37: Message edited by: Zach82 ]

--------------------
Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

Posts: 9148 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
Using the Bible as the basis of universal ethical norms is already enshrining the traditions of a particular institution as applicable to all people, whether they believe or not. The Bible simply is the tradition of the Christian Church. Protestants have a slightly different understanding of how moral teaching is received, but are saying basically the same thing as the Catholics to non-Christians. "We have the truth you ought to life by."

I think this ignores the fact that most Protestant churches will be tolerant of a lot more disagreement that the Catholic Church. Do you think that's fair comment?

It seems to me that most Protestant churches will have a statement of faith that all members will be expected to (literally or metaphorically) sign up to. But beyond this statement, plenty of disagreement is accepted - because most Protestant churches don't consider their theological pronouncements to be beyond dispute.

But if I want to be a Catholic, don't I have to give my assent to anything on which the Catholic Church has made a clear pronouncement? And doesn't this mean the Catholic Church is claiming to have an infallible hotline to God - until it changes its mind on any given issue, of course...

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

 - Posted      Profile for Triple Tiara   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ender's Shadow:


But for me it comes down to the simple observation that God has been at work outside the Catholic church as much as within it over the past 300 years: Wesley and Booth being the least controversial examples. Given that, it is crackers to argue that God's opinion is that Protestantism is beyond the pale, so who are you to presume to say otherwise?

God has been at work in Hinduism, atheism, Islam, Juadaism, Zoroastrianism ...... you name it he has been present. He isn't just at work where Jesus is invoked and absent everywhere else. I'm not at all sure where you got your idea of what I presume. Especially since I never presume to speculate on "God's opinion".

quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:


It seems to me that most Protestant churches will have a statement of faith that all members will be expected to (literally or metaphorically) sign up to. But beyond this statement, plenty of disagreement is accepted - because most Protestant churches don't consider their theological pronouncements to be beyond dispute.

But if I want to be a Catholic, don't I have to give my assent to anything on which the Catholic Church has made a clear pronouncement? And doesn't this mean the Catholic Church is claiming to have an infallible hotline to God - until it changes its mind on any given issue, of course...

See what you did there? You said disagreement happens within Protestantism outside of their statements of faith: "But beyond this statement, plenty of disagreement is accepted" but then you object when the same thing is also true within the Catholic Church. There is plenty of discussion and disagreement on a whole range of subjects. What the Catholic Church does sometimes do is make it clear, when someone presents their opinions, that what they say is not consonant with the Catholic Faith, if that is the case. There's no claim of a hotline to God - that's just your parody.

quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
Thank you, TT, for this response to the challenge!

Your first "answer," that Jesus has the words of eternal life and so there is nowhere to go but him, would of course "work" for any Christian, Catholic or not. It's the answer to why one is a Christian, not why one is a Catholic.

Yes, I realise that - I was using the reply of Peter by extension. Why don't I leave the Catholic Church when I find a teaching hard? Well, where would I go? I believe the Church has the means of salvation and the words of eternal life.

--------------------
I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

Posts: 5905 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

 - Posted      Profile for South Coast Kevin   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
See what you did there? You said disagreement happens within Protestantism outside of their statements of faith: "But beyond this statement, plenty of disagreement is accepted" but then you object when the same thing is also true within the Catholic Church. There is plenty of discussion and disagreement on a whole range of subjects. What the Catholic Church does sometimes do is make it clear, when someone presents their opinions, that what they say is not consonant with the Catholic Faith, if that is the case. There's no claim of a hotline to God - that's just your parody.

Guilty as charged about statements of faith, but I think for most Protestant churches the statement of faith will be far, far smaller than the equivalent for the Catholic Church.

Furthermore, most (or at least many) Protestant churches will happily release someone who decides they can't assent to that particular church's statement of faith, without considering the person to be schismatic or in heresy. How does the Catholic Church view someone who decides they can no longer assent to its statement of faith, and goes off to join another church?

To repeat, most Protestant churches don't consider themselves to have a monopoly on the truth about Jesus in the way (ISTM) the Catholic Church does.

EDIT - as illustrated by your reply to Cara: 'I believe the [Catholic] Church has the means of salvation and the words of eternal life.' Do other churches not have the means of salvation and the words of eternal life?

[ 02. August 2012, 18:10: Message edited by: South Coast Kevin ]

--------------------
My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

 - Posted      Profile for Triple Tiara   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
You are dealing with two different things: what would be termed "dissent" and engaging in a formal schismatic act by leaving the Church. The two need not be linked.

Hans Kung, the darling of liberals, is the celebrated example of the first: he is a priest in good standing, with full faculties to celebrate the sacraments. Many of his theological views, however, are not consonant with the Catholic Faith and have been censured. So he does not have the faculties to teach as a "Catholic theologian". He has chosen to set his own ideas above those of the Church - that's his business. But he cannot then expect to be regarded as teaching on behalf of the Church - he teaches on behalf of himself. He is not, however, excommunicate.

Some people leave for reasons far beyond doctrinal disagreement. I know a number of priests who became Anglicans because they wanted to marry, for example.

--------------------
I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

Posts: 5905 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

 - Posted      Profile for Triple Tiara   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
To repeat, most Protestant churches don't consider themselves to have a monopoly on the truth about Jesus in the way (ISTM) the Catholic Church does.

EDIT - as illustrated by your reply to Cara: 'I believe the [Catholic] Church has the means of salvation and the words of eternal life.' Do other churches not have the means of salvation and the words of eternal life?

I'm not sure having a "monopoly on the truth about Jesus" is something the Catholic Church would say about itself. Again, that is your parody.

Regarding your edit: I believe access to salvation and the words of eternal life are available to everyone. I suspect I would be open to the possibility of eternal salvation for far more people than most protestant Christians would be. You are putting weight on the wrong part of my statement about not leaving the Catholic Church: where else would I go when I believe the Catholic Church actually has all that is necessary? And yes, I do believe there are deficiencies in other churches - but that's not a complete denial of any good in them.

--------------------
I'm a Roman. You may call me Caligula.

Posts: 5905 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged



Pages in this thread: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 
 
Post new thread  Post a reply Close thread   Feature thread   Move thread   Delete thread Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
 - Printer-friendly view
Go to:

Contact us | Ship of Fools | Privacy statement

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0

 
follow ship of fools on twitter
buy your ship of fools postcards
sip of fools mugs from your favourite nautical website
 
 
  ship of fools