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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: The authority of the Catholic Church
Triple Tiara

Ship's Papabile
# 9556

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Or he may believe that the Pope was not addressing all Christians (perhaps because he has it on Triple Tiara's say-so that this doctrine was not put forward with the Protestants in mind but was intended to comfort and reassure a particular sort of pious Catholic).

Just for clarification, that's not quite what I have said, and it is a conflation of something I said and IngoB said.

When I say that the Papal infallible decrees Ineffabilis Deus and Munificentissimus Deus were not aimed at Protestants, it is a response to the suggestion that they were written primarily to upset the Protestants. I do not mean the Catholic Church believes it's quite okay for non-Catholics to believe the BVM was a sinful woman whose body rotted away when she died. That would be a contradiction. You cannot have something that is true for Catholics but not for others.

[ 11. August 2012, 05:33: Message edited by: Triple Tiara ]

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

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Russ
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It doesn't seem to me a huge step from "any upset to Protestants was not the aim" to "any effect on Protestants was not part of the aim" to "the Pope's intention was addressed to Catholics".

It may be a step further than you're willing to take; that's fine - I'm not trying to misrepresent your view. I can see that the Pope may have intended Protestants to accept the doctrine without their reaction being a major part of his aim.

What I'm asking is whether an intention that did not include Protestants could conceivably be a reason for the document (or any part of it) to fail the test of being ex cathedra.

And beyond that I'm asking whether Eliab (or anyone else) having a reason to think (whether correctly or otherwise in your view) that a particular papal statement does not meet the stated criteria for being ex cathedra is therefore justified in treating it as having only second-level authority rather than first-level authority within the Catholic system of thought.

I think your final point is echoing my suggestion that some things are a matter of fact rather than a matter of faith; I agree that true facts are true for everybody.

If I've misunderstood any of this, please do explain how.

Best wishes,

Russ

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

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Dear IngoB - have I got this right? You're saying that the Vatican holds no official list of which papal statements are "ex cathedra" (and thus declared infallible by Vatican 1), but that individuals are left to apply for themselves the definition.

The problem is that you come to this with an attitude that is essentially non-Catholic. So I can't just say yes or no to this. Firstly, that there is no "official list" doesn't at all mean that these teachings are somehow up for grabs. Rather it simply means that this is not the level at which doctrinal rubber hits the road of lay Catholics. In reality, only very few Catholics study the "primary sources" of doctrine. Rather, most Catholics get their doctrines from their parents and priests. (Where the doctrines of the parents and their parents etc. got influenced by the priests along the way.) That, and secondary and tertiary literature produced for their religious education, like the Catechism. Most Catholics simply do not operate at the level of fine doctrinal distinction we are talking about here, but at a basically binary one: "what does the Church teach" vs. what not. And that is a good thing.

For secondly, the attitude that one tries to determine with precision what is "de fide" (like an "ex cathedra") and what not, so that one can maximizes one's distance to official teaching while formally remaining in good faith - that attitude is strictly anti-Catholic! A Catholic should be Catholic because he believes that the Catholic Church teaches the truth. And that's the end of it, really. Now clearly, there could be extraordinary circumstances that might make a Catholic doubt what the Catholic Church teaches. And there might be an extraordinary process in which this doubt is not removed by talking to the priest and studying secondary and tertiary literature. And this doubt may be pressing in such an extraordinary manner as to not being able to stay unresolved. And then in these extraordinary circumstances, a Catholic may end up studying primary sources, and their primary use among the hierarchy, to determine whether their doubt has them at odds with for example an ex cathedra. And in the most extraordinary development of them all, they may find it necessary to come to a conclusion on this themselves, rather than relying on official or theological authorities.

And in this totally remote scenario, we may have the situation that a Catholic may need to decide "individually" whether something is or is not an "ex cathedra" in order to guide their faith. However, to make this some kind of touchstone of Catholic faith, to consider this as some kind of reasonable approach towards Catholic faith, is just utter bollocks. This will not do, at all. The guardrails of a road are there to prevent horrible accidents, they are not there so that you can smack you car constantly against them in order to drive by hearing. When Catholics say that a "de fide" teaching must be believed, the point is not that you shouldn't give a damn about anything else. The point is not that you are in good shape as long as you hold on to these teachings. The point is that if you don't believe even in this, then it is really "game over".

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
- that the statement concerns an issue of faith or morals

Sure, but that is not to be considered as an occasion for sophistry about what is to be considered as "faith" or "morals". The point is simply that if the pope is talking about the weather or the latest football results, then we do not even have to start considering his statements as an ex cathedra.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
- that the doctrine is not novel (but rather represents a view or position long held by many in the Church)

This is not correct. In a principle sense, one can of course claim that no doctrine the Catholic Church has ever proposed to her faithful is "novel", because they all are mere developments of the "deposit of faith". But that doesn't mean that doctrinal development doesn't happen, and we may well want to use the word "novel" for when it does. In a practical sense, the last two "ex cathedra" were particularly (and likely intentionally) non-novel in content. However, this need not be the case. For example, the ex cathedras against the Jansenites were novel in the sense of making a clear decision against theological opinions that were being defended as very traditional.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
- that the Pope intends the doctrine to be believed by all Christians (rather than addressing some particular group).

That is true. But the normative group of Christians in this context are of course Catholic Christians. Protestants, for example, are heretics and schismatics. It is entirely irrelevant for the declaration of Catholic dogma what any group of heretics and schismatics believes about anything. There is no necessity at all to consider them, and there is no a priori expectation that these groups would pay attention to the proposed Catholic dogma either. Of course, "political / tactical" concerns may well play a practical role in what is said when and how. But that is a different matter. The primary thing the Catholic Church expects of Protestants is to become Catholics. Declarations of Catholic dogma define in part what that entails, they are not to be considered in separation.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
So that, if (just for the sake of having a clear example) Eliab wishes to become a Catholic but doesn't agree with everything in "Munificentissimus Deus", then he should not do so if he believes that "Munificentissimus Deus" is both ex cathedra and wrong, because such a position has been defined by the Catholic Church to be incompatible with Catholicism.

Correct, but again: the idea that becoming Catholic merely means to get within the boundaries of Catholic "de fide"s is plain bullshit. That's like saying you will marry someone because you do not find them totally repugnant.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
He may believe that MD is not ex cathedra.

No reasonable doubt is possible that MD is an ex cathedra.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Or am I barking up completely the wrong tree?

Yep.

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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

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Martin60
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Most authoritative indeed ...

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Love wins

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Cara
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:

A Catholic should be Catholic because he believes that the Catholic Church teaches the truth. And that's the end of it, really.

This is the nub, and brings us back to Eliab's question about the authority of the Catholic Church.

The question is, where does that belief come from? How to get to the point where you believe the Catholic Church teaches the truth (and therefore others, eg Protestants, are, as Ingo says, heretics and schismatics)?

How to get to the point where you absolutely believe in the authority of the Catholic Church to teach the truth?

From this thread it seems to me there is no clear step-by-step way to get there, even when many of the steps on the way are spelled out, as by Nenuphar; for the last step, a leap of faith is required.

Triple Tiara (hope I'm remembering right that it was TT who said this) expressed a lack of conviction in the validity of the foundations of any of the other Christian churches. This is why TT could not imagine being anything other than a practising Catholic or a lapsed one, could not imagine finding a more valid or authoritative home in any other branch of christianity.

This is sort of the corollary of that belief in the Catholic Church as the one that teaches the truth--it's partly (wholly??) by virtue of being the church with the only authentic foundation.

As I said before, perhaps in the end it's a question of temperament as to whether one can make the last leap, from just thinking the Catholic Church might be the most valid/historic/authentic/closest to Jesus, to absolutely believing and trusting that it is.

The absolutism of the Catholic approach is far too black-and-white--indeed, dogmatic!--for me. (Ditto that of the Orthodox). Both have such a deep appeal, such a heritage of spirituality and Christian writing and experience and richness and beauty....but I -such is my temperament--can't cope with that absolute certainty that says--and both Orthodox and Catholic Churches say it, so one of them must be wrong!--"We are the only true Christian Church. Only we have the whole truth. Only we are truly orthodox. Only we are the true church of Christ. All others--Christians, good people, well-beloved by God as they may be--are in schism and heresy."

I trust I can benefit from the beauty and heritage of Christianity in the Anglican Communion as well. I feel every Christian church has a bit of the truth, no-one has a monopoly on it; and every church
gets some things wrong as well...so much is still mysterious...we are all struggling on blindly....seeing in a glass darkly.


quote:

Now clearly, there could be extraordinary circumstances that might make a Catholic doubt what the Catholic Church teaches.

Sorry, Ingo, but are these circumstances so very "extraordinary" ? Don't we know that a whole lot of Catholics doubt the church's teaching on contraception, just for a start and to pick the most obvious?

But I agree with your main point, that the ordinary lay Catholic does not usually get to the level of studying all the primary sources about a ruling, trying to understand if it is ex cathedra or binding or whatever, and that as you say, it would be a rather remote scenario:

quote:
And in this totally remote scenario, we may have the situation that a Catholic may need to decide "individually" whether something is or is not an "ex cathedra" in order to guide their faith.
And it's remote because most Catholics do, still, believe in the truth of the church's teachings, so they just relax into the knowledge of being in the right place, under the right instruction, and get on with trying to live there. (Or do they? Do other Catholics here agree with this? )

I wonder if this sense of coming to a safe haven--a place which one knows is right and true, so one's own ideas, if different, will have to be adjusted--is more common among converts to Catholicism than among cradle Catholics?

Might the latter (unless they leave) be, perhaps, more likely to feel, it's my family, and a bit mad, and I don't always agree with it, but it's my family so I'm loyal and I stay here anyway, because where else would I go?


Cara

[Edited to fix quotes and coding. Cara -- please check out the Styx thread that allows you to practice coding...it will make my life and those of the other Hosts a lot easier if you use the standard coding - JH]

[ 12. August 2012, 01:38: Message edited by: John Holding ]

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Pondering.

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Martin60
Shipmate
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Nice Cara, nice. Real. Such Romans seem more likely to accept love from schismatic heretics than most converts. I freely acknowledge Rome as my slightly estranged grandmother and I love her. Which is progress from when I regarded her as an apostatic Devil worshipping genocidal whore. She can´t tell me what distinctives to believe of course, but her sins are mine. I cannot distance myself from her Platonic atrocities, regardless that she won´t accept my solidarity yet. She will of course.

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Love wins

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Sir Pellinore
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I think it should be fully understood by the inveterate posters to this thread that the Roman Catholic Church is not as mindless nor as monochrome as many seem to think. This has been clearly evidenced by the many Catholic posters, including Desert Daughter and Fuzzipeg, who are just as much part of the organisation as others who may be taking a stance which seems slightly more to the right of them.

One of the problems most native English speakers, whether born Catholic, converts or other have in understanding Catholicism is that the centre and sensibility of the RCC is in a Latin country. There things are not seen in such an adversarial either/or way they are in England, Australia or similar. The Vatican often makes statements, often on non-doctrinal matters, which are heard, but possibly not followed. In Italian it's called making "la bella figura" and honour is satisfied.

Much of the earnest discourse here, on the subject of "Why I couldn't possibly be a Catholic" would be met with puzzlement in Italy. People belong but do not completely conform to the ideal.

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Well...

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IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
The question is, where does that belief come from? How to get to the point where you believe the Catholic Church teaches the truth (and therefore others, eg Protestants, are, as Ingo says, heretics and schismatics)?

My money is on Blaise Pascal in this regard. Hardly an intellectual slouch himself, Pascal realised that the role of the intellect in all this is quite limited. (Just to be clear, I do not at all mean here to push any form of anti-intellectual "emotionalism", which confuses spirituality with over-excited sentimentality. At best I find that sort of stuff tolerable, if carefully managed by calm heads... at worst, it is the mother of all heresy.) Basically, your intellect can come to the right conclusions at some point in time, but to hold on to this, at that point in time you must decide to push the "machine" of your existence (as Pascal calls it) into a new direction. Basically, you must engage in habit formation, and this will primarily be through and with the body.

Or simply put, theologise once, in order to kneel frequently. Do not kneel once, in order to theologise frequently. Seriously, read Blaise Pascal on this, he hits the nail on the head.

quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
How to get to the point where you absolutely believe in the authority of the Catholic Church to teach the truth?

Certainly not by trying to carefully weight all these truths, which is precisely why all the "interested but not really interested" people, like Eliab, endlessly go on about that. That's basically an evasive intellectual manoeuvre. There is no end run around all that existing Catholic doctrine, and we can spend an eternity debating all the pros and cons of all these teachings. But different people hunger for different things, and if they see what they hunger for in the Catholic Church at some point in time, then all that other stuff doesn't matter much and will sort itself out later.

quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
I trust I can benefit from the beauty and heritage of Christianity in the Anglican Communion as well. I feel every Christian church has a bit of the truth, no-one has a monopoly on it; and every church gets some things wrong as well...so much is still mysterious...we are all struggling on blindly....seeing in a glass darkly.

You keep telling yourself that. It is of course nothing but your own "black and white" dogma. And I'm sure you very much engage in habit formation concerning it.

quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
Sorry, Ingo, but are these circumstances so very "extraordinary" ? Don't we know that a whole lot of Catholics doubt the church's teaching on contraception, just for a start and to pick the most obvious?

Teachings on morals are generally more contentious than teachings on faith, and teachings on sex are always the most contentious among the teachings on morals. Frankly, the very focus on genitalia is wrong. Once Christianity was worried about Arius, now it worries about condoms... I was thinking about proper theological stuff, like the Assumption of Mary, not about the modern preoccupation with where and how precisely one may stick one's genitalia.

quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
I wonder if this sense of coming to a safe haven--a place which one knows is right and true, so one's own ideas, if different, will have to be adjusted--is more common among converts to Catholicism than among cradle Catholics?

Your description there has basically nothing to do with my own experience as convert to Catholicism. It's difficult to capture this properly in words, but "safe haven" is just about the last thing that would come to my mind.

quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
Might the latter (unless they leave) be, perhaps, more likely to feel, it's my family, and a bit mad, and I don't always agree with it, but it's my family so I'm loyal and I stay here anyway, because where else would I go?

I'm not a cradle Catholic, so I can't really comment. But I doubt that most cradle Catholics think all that much about their Catholicism, they just live it.

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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

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Cara
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Many apologies for the coding nuisance, John. I'll go and practise.
In the meantime, here's a post with no direct quotes!!

Sir P, thank you for the salutary reminder about the very different attitude in, eg, Italy--very helpful to this discussion, I think.

I lived there for several years myself-- found out all about "la bella figura"!!-- and indeed was very struck by the difference from the Catholicism I grew up with in England.

And in France recently I had an interesting conversation with a bookshop proprietor about David Lodge, especially about "How Far Can You Go?". The man said he simply couldn't understand why English Catholics would worry so much about the rules of the Church re contraception! Why worry about a little thing like that...it's just the sort of thing authorities say, one just ignores it and gets on with life, was his attitude. To me, mind-boggling.

Yet despite knowing about these very different sorts of Catholicism, when I think about the Catholic Church I still think of it as the Church I grew up in.....Hmmm.....something to ponder.

Ingo, thanks for the mention of Blaise Pascal. I know the more famous bits from him--how God says to the seeker (paraphrase), you would not seek me if you had not already found me; (hope memory is right and that is indeed from him?!) and the fascinating hints of a mystical experience..... "fire"....--but must admit if I ever read him thoroughly, I have forgotten what I learned. Will have another look.

In saying that different people hunger for different things you have put so succinctly what I meant when I said it may be a question of temperament. We've arrived at the same place--agreeing that inquirers like Eliab cannot find the answer in a purely intellectual way.

Re your own conversion--interesting--not a "safe haven" sort of thing at all....this phrase reflects an impression I'd got from some 19th century converts in Tractarian days, actually. Of course there must be many different types of conversion.

Cara

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Pondering.

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Ender's Shadow
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Thanks IngoB for a fascinating insight into how a Catholic should respond to Catholic teaching. The problem for me is twofold:

1) As my unhelpful rant further up this thread was an attempt to demonstrate, the record of the Catholic church in getting things right is so poor as to render its claims to authority incredible

2) The fact that Southern Europeans effectively ignore what the authority says means that Rome is part of the problem in building societies where its totally acceptable to live hypocritically. This actually is at the heart of the present Euro crisis; much of the problem is that those Southern European states signed up to the rules of behaviour for Euro members knowing that they didn't have the slightest intention of keeping them.

OTOH I have to agree with your interpretation of Pascal; the attitude of worship first and theology a very late second is healthy. And for the new convert to the faith, the psychological reality is that they will absorb the worldview of the church into which they are converted; therefore when push comes to shove, all Christians actually endorse the authority of their church more than most Evangelicals would find comfortable.

I find this comment less easy to cope with:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
Teachings on morals are generally more contentious than teachings on faith, and teachings on sex are always the most contentious among the teachings on morals. Frankly, the very focus on genitalia is wrong. Once Christianity was worried about Arius, now it worries about condoms... I was thinking about proper theological stuff, like the Assumption of Mary, not about the modern preoccupation with where and how precisely one may stick one's genitalia.

The idea that Arius is 'proper theological stuff' whilst the modern concern 'with where and how precisely one may stick one's genitalia' is somehow less significant is totally flawed. The NT IMNSHO makes it very clear that both right teaching and right behaviour are important indicators about a person's 'state of grace'. Not in the sense of it being necessary to get it all right on both fronts, but

1) Where a person is proclaiming some untruths, they've clearly not known God for themselves (I John)

2) Where a person persists in wrong behaviour, they've never been really converted (1 Cor 6)

In the days of Arius, the theological dispute was the thing that was important - so it was necessary for the church to get it right. These days, in our hopelessly oversexualised society, the issue of sexual behaviour is the one that is causing people to fall into temptation wholesale, and so reject God in their lives. Therefore the church needs to be unflinching in proclaiming what it believes - though it MUST do so in ways that make an impact, not just give offence as the idiotic Scottish bishop did recently. By contrast with that, the issues of Christology are obtuse these days, as, to be honest, are the various 'modern' Marian dogmas. Unhelpful IMHO, but not really significant. By contrast sex is what matters in our present culture, so it's there that the combat is. As this phrase puts it:
quote:
If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.*
Sex is where the fight is in our society, as it was in Paul's Corinth. We need to fighting that battle, not stick to 'real' theology.

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* A quote commonly ascribed to Martin Luther, but recent research suggests isn't actually his, though reflecting his attitudes.

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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.

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Sir Pellinore
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I think Cara that those of us who grew up Catholic in the English speaking world - heavily influenced by a rather strong Irish influence - need to learn to let go.

It's a terribly non Anglo-Saxon thing to do, but, more and more, day by day, I beginning to believe it is absolutely essential. There is no return to the early 1960s possible. Thank heavens. [Big Grin]

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Well...

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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Sir Pellinore, YOU make me hopeful. And I should also TRULY empathise with Romans, as flying back from Spain this afternoon I was reading Brian McLaren's "A New Kind of Christianity" and for the first time in a long time my head is spinning ...

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
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# 16130

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
...I was reading Brian McLaren's "A New Kind of Christianity" and for the first time in a long time my head is spinning ...

Fantastic book! [Big Grin]

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

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Ronald Binge
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# 9002

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
I'm not a cradle Catholic, so I can't really comment. But I doubt that most cradle Catholics think all that much about their Catholicism, they just live it. [/QB]

I'm a cradle Catholic and I've spent the last twenty five years tearing my hair out about it. Too glib by far. What I said earlier about working out my relationship with the Catholic Church.

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Older, bearded (but no wiser)

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Sir Pellinore
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quote:
Originally posted by Ronald Binge:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
I'm not a cradle Catholic, so I can't really comment. But I doubt that most cradle Catholics think all that much about their Catholicism, they just live it.

I'm a cradle Catholic and I've spent the last twenty five years tearing my hair out about it. Too glib by far. What I said earlier about working out my relationship with the Catholic Church. [/QB]
It sounds very much like you still have issues you are sorting out. The bit about Medjugorje - to my mind a dubious place and dubious miracle (officially not recognised by the Church) - was horrific. Whoever was in charge of your former place of worship and allowed people to carry on like that needed a stern talking to.

There is a lot of patho-Christianity and patho-Catholicism around: nasty, demeaning, codependent stuff. The purpose of Christianity - any decent Christianity - is to raise you up to your full humanity in God. This means you are an independent, fully functional adult.

This is not a therapy thread but I realise there are many still walking wounded, like you, out there who have been affected by various forms of patho-Christianity (Catholic and other) and I regret these things happen.

I know and avoid like the plague any variety of patho-Christian I see. Sadly there are Anglicans, Orthodox, Uniting Church and other deformers of what should be a religion of love and light as well. Others from non-Catholic backgrounds seem to have experienced something similar.

There is what I call "religio-emotional abuse and exploitation" around. Whilst sympathising fully with you I have to say I don't think it's just a Catholic problem. It's like paedophilia: it's everywhere. It is also something all Churches need to be eternally vigilant about as well.

I wish you the very best, but, as I said, I don't think it's a Catholic specific problem. It does, however, relate to how authority, any authority, may be misinterpreted, usurped and misused.

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Well...

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Ronald Binge
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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore:
quote:
Originally posted by Ronald Binge:
quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
I'm not a cradle Catholic, so I can't really comment. But I doubt that most cradle Catholics think all that much about their Catholicism, they just live it.

I'm a cradle Catholic and I've spent the last twenty five years tearing my hair out about it. Too glib by far. What I said earlier about working out my relationship with the Catholic Church.

It sounds very much like you still have issues you are sorting out. The bit about Medjugorje - to my mind a dubious place and dubious miracle (officially not recognised by the Church) - was horrific. Whoever was in charge of your former place of worship and allowed people to carry on like that needed a stern talking to.

There is a lot of patho-Christianity and patho-Catholicism around: nasty, demeaning, codependent stuff. The purpose of Christianity - any decent Christianity - is to raise you up to your full humanity in God. This means you are an independent, fully functional adult.

This is not a therapy thread but I realise there are many still walking wounded, like you, out there who have been affected by various forms of patho-Christianity (Catholic and other) and I regret these things happen.

I know and avoid like the plague any variety of patho-Christian I see. Sadly there are Anglicans, Orthodox, Uniting Church and other deformers of what should be a religion of love and light as well. Others from non-Catholic backgrounds seem to have experienced something similar.

There is what I call "religio-emotional abuse and exploitation" around. Whilst sympathising fully with you I have to say I don't think it's just a Catholic problem. It's like paedophilia: it's everywhere. It is also something all Churches need to be eternally vigilant about as well.

I wish you the very best, but, as I said, I don't think it's a Catholic specific problem. It does, however, relate to how authority, any authority, may be misinterpreted, usurped and misused. [/QB]

There are some pretty horrible legacies of folk Catholicism here, in the last few days a notorious lay conservative called Mena Cribben died, who was well known in the 1980s as a protester against the liberalisation of Irish contraception laws. This would have been a harmless enough legacy, except that she secured an injunction in 2001 against social services in Roscommon, preventing for four years intervention in an incest case. The family was sacrosanct and the state was not to interfere in family rights. Unfortunately there were enough people in Official Ireland who were willing to indulge this sort of bollocks.

The emotional and cultural problems with Irish Catholicism are incredibly deep and will take a long time to heal into anything healthy. I have to close my ears to a lot of nonsense even in the group that I belong to.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
...How to get to the point where you believe the Catholic Church teaches the truth?

...Basically, your intellect can come to the right conclusions at some point in time, but to hold on to this, at that point in time you must decide to push the "machine" of your existence (as Pascal calls it) into a new direction. Basically, you must engage in habit formation, and this will primarily be through and with the body.
ISTM that once you've decided to do that you've already decided that the RCC is the place for you, otherwise why begin the habit formation process in the first place? And surely that is the decision that Eliab and others are struggling to make?

So, so how does one get to the point where they decide to push the "machine" of their existence in a new direction? Surely one wouldn't decide to do that unless they already thought the new direction (i.e. the RCC) was the one for them? And surely that decision will only come about when one is convinced that the RCC teaches the truth?

This all seems very circular to me.

[ 13. August 2012, 09:37: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The problem is that you come to this with an attitude that is essentially non-Catholic. [...] A Catholic should be Catholic because he believes that the Catholic Church teaches the truth.

That was a useful post.

The question about what are the requirements of formal infallibilty are interesting, but that post puts the doctrine in perspective - it is the Church that is claimed to be authoritative, not a limited set of tightly defined dogma. The Catholic challenge to me is not to sign up to belief in all the ex cathedras, but to join that institutional Church, because it claims a unique authority.

In that context disagreement with clear, but not quite infallible, teaching matters - the content of that teaching may not be de fide, and in practice dissent from it might be tolerated, but it is important because acceptance of authority is what is being asked for, and disagreement with clear teaching inevitably means that I would have a problem accepting that authority.

quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore:
One of the problems most native English speakers, whether born Catholic, converts or other have in understanding Catholicism is that the centre and sensibility of the RCC is in a Latin country. There things are not seen in such an adversarial either/or way they are in England, Australia or similar. The Vatican often makes statements, often on non-doctrinal matters, which are heard, but possibly not followed. In Italian it's called making "la bella figura" and honour is satisfied.

Much of the earnest discourse here, on the subject of "Why I couldn't possibly be a Catholic" would be met with puzzlement in Italy. People belong but do not completely conform to the ideal.

I almost replied that I couldn't be that sort of Catholic. I'm not sure that's quite true - had I been brought up Catholic I don't think any of my current disagreements would provoke me to leave. But I certainly don't feel any temptation to be that sort of Catholic.

The attraction of Catholicism (for me, and from where I stand now) is almost entirely the claim actually to be right in what it teaches. That's the whole point. If that claim is true, then I want to be persuaded, and then I want to try to obey. If the claim is untrue, I'm not interested. I already have a fallible church that I'm content to be a member of (and they let me preach, which the Catholics wouldn't). But if I could see that the Catholic Church spoke with Jesus' authority, and what it said was true, I'd join as soon as I possibly could. No doubt I'd then fail to do what it taught, but I can see no point in joining it intending to ignore what it taught.

quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
How to get to the point where you absolutely believe in the authority of the Catholic Church to teach the truth?

Certainly not by trying to carefully weight all these truths, which is precisely why all the "interested but not really interested" people, like Eliab, endlessly go on about that. That's basically an evasive intellectual manoeuvre. There is no end run around all that existing Catholic doctrine, and we can spend an eternity debating all the pros and cons of all these teachings.
Actually, my intention on this thread wasn't to carefully weigh all the teachings, but try to get to the heart of the question of authority. And I think that that attempt has been at least partly successful, because we are talking about that. Obviously particular doctrines will be used as examples, but discussing them isn't the main point.

Basically, you (personally you, as well as Catholics in general) are never going to persuade me on the merits of things like contraception. I know the arguments, I understand them, I could (if so inclined) deploy them myself in debate and argue the Catholic case, I just cannot see any way to believe them. But I don't claim to be the ultimate moral arbiter, and it is very likely (almost certain) that there are moral truths which I just don't see. This might be one of them.

Therefore the intention was not to present the Catholic Church with a rhetorical shopping list of problematic dogmas and say "convince me of these and I'll believe". I'm as sure as I can be that this would never happen: either I'm right, and confident enough to keep being right, or I am invincibly wrong, so long as we are arguing details. The intention was to set out my difficulties and say that I'm not going to be persuaded by an argument on the issues, but if I am persuaded of the Catholic Church's basis of authority, then that just might do it.

I'm not persuaded by the Catholic claim, but I am genuinely challenged by it, and this thread was intended to address that central issue not evade it with the details of particular teachings.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
ISTM that once you've decided to do that you've already decided that the RCC is the place for you, otherwise why begin the habit formation process in the first place? And surely that is the decision that Eliab and others are struggling to make?

So, so how does one get to the point where they decide to push the "machine" of their existence in a new direction? Surely one wouldn't decide to do that unless they already thought the new direction (i.e. the RCC) was the one for them? And surely that decision will only come about when one is convinced that the RCC teaches the truth?

Exactly.

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"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

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Cara
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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore:
I think Cara that those of us who grew up Catholic in the English speaking world - heavily influenced by a rather strong Irish influence - need to learn to let go.

It's a terribly non Anglo-Saxon thing to do, but, more and more, day by day, I beginning to believe it is absolutely essential. There is no return to the early 1960s possible. Thank heavens. [Big Grin]

So right, Sir P.

I was for a very long time like Ronald Binge, tearing my hair out about it all. Then I did start to learn to let go...though obviously threads like this remind me of that tearing-hair-out place!

Also, because I'm now living in a continental Catholic country, surrounded by churches where I know I wouldn't be welcome to receive Communion, but the Anglican church is a bit far away, all this is coming to the fore...

But yes, learning to let go, I think I've come some way in doing that..

Cara

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Pondering.

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IngoB

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# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
ISTM that once you've decided to do that you've already decided that the RCC is the place for you, otherwise why begin the habit formation process in the first place? And surely that is the decision that Eliab and others are struggling to make?

Obviously. However, my point was that their usual approach to making this decision is a fail-safe one to never get to any actual point of decision. It's just fence-sitting, if it is not simply an academic exercise altogether. You can easily spend an eternity trying to put a tick-mark behind every Catholic doctrine. Look over at Dead Horses, it's easy enough to spend an eternity on a single doctrine. You just cannot try to create a Protestant version of the RCC, by which you first individually agree with all available Catholic doctrine and then join because the Church fits you to a tee. The reason why there are umpteen square Protestant denominations is that opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. There is only one holy, catholic and apostolic Church though, and to some extent she is going to be in your face. One way or the other, there is going to be something that you hate, disbelief and/or rage against in the Church. By virtue of that thing with the assholes, it's going to be different things for different people, but it is inescapable. The question is however what you do with that.

quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
And surely that decision will only come about when one is convinced that the RCC teaches the truth?

About everything? Naw, cannot be done. Doesn't happen. Perhaps the praiseworthy effort of the RCC to make all her teachings coherent and accessible backfires there a bit by creating a false expectation. Religions isn't like solving a crossword puzzle. What attracts or repels the spirit is not a database or spreadsheet of doctrine. Yes, some doctrines may play a crucial role in the (de-)conversion of some people. But none are important for all, and few are important for many.

quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
The intention was to set out my difficulties and say that I'm not going to be persuaded by an argument on the issues, but if I am persuaded of the Catholic Church's basis of authority, then that just might do it.

Really? Well, OK then. Why are you not fantastically clued in on Church history then? Why have you not spent countless hours contemplating different ecclesiologies? If that is what could kick you into the Catholic orbit, then you should already be running white-hot with the fascination of it all. Instead you appear to be relying on someone like me for filling in the blanks. You know, I don't really give a damn about Church history. I only know about it a bit because of SoF: in order to not lose arguments here, I had to acquire some background knowledge. But mostly it bores me to tears. I don't really care about ecclesiology either. As far as the Catholic hierarchy is concerned my attitude to it is about like the attitude I have to my car. I can sort of see why it is being built the way it is built, and it seems to get me to places. I change the oil because that is what you are supposed to do, and if something breaks I bring it to the car mechanic. Other than that, leave me the hell alone with the detail. Again, I know more about the Church's organisation than I ever wanted to know simply because I don't like to lose arguments on SoF.

As far as religion is concerned, I'm a mystic and I'm a philosopher. I'm not at all saying that I'm great at either of these. But that's what drives me, that's what excites me, that's what I want. I may not have walked quite a thousand miles for that, but I sure did a couple of hundred in my life already... And that's how I ended up in the Roman Catholic Church. The details are not important, or perhaps they are, but I'm not an internet exhibitionist. Suffice to say that I embrace the RCC entire not because she excites me entire (oh dear Lord...). Rather, I am of excellent Prussian stock, and we do things proper, or die trying. But Catholic bean counting is not how I got into the Church, and I see no reason to propose this to others as the way forward.

The problem is that I have no idea what excites and drives you, what you really want of religion. Frankly, I also don't particularly care, which is one of my many failings a Christian. However, whatever it may be, it is your path to the Catholic Church. For the real deal with this "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" stuff, with the universal Church of eternal truth, is not at all that she somehow will somehow illuminate life, universe and all the rest for you, and that you can check to what extent the Church is the Church by measuring her output in lumen. The real deal is that wherever you turn, whatever you seek, in the depths and the heights, in the small and the large - God is always there, and the handmaiden of God is just waiting to be at your service (well, to add you to the service personnel). You can run, but you cannot hide.

You want to find the Church Catholic? Get hot about something in religion. God doesn't like the lukewarm. When you get really hot about something, a choice will inevitably appear. A real choice, one that you really care about. And if you are lucky (lucky in my opinion that is), then the RCC will feature in that real choice - eventually. That's all. Godspeed.

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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

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South Coast Kevin
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
The reason why there are umpteen square Protestant denominations is that opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. There is only one holy, catholic and apostolic Church though...

This Protestant would agree that there's only one Church, although I mean something rather different than what Catholics generally mean. For me, the church / Church means all Christians, all Jesus-followers worldwide. The church / Church is not an institution. So, for me, unity doesn't mean all belonging to one corporate organisation; it means something like having the same purpose.

This is the thing that makes it unlikely I'll ever join the Catholic Church; I reject the very idea of there being one institution that has special status as the final arbiter / supreme court or whatever of Christian teaching and orthodoxy. It's not that I need to be convinced of the Catholic Church's position as God's favoured institution.

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

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Zach82
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The scandal will come all the same. Protestants are bound to approach the Scriptures with all the holy dread that Ingo and TT approach the teachings of the Magisterium. God's favored book versus God's favored institution- and like I said up thread, there is a certain point where faith in the one demands faith in the other.

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

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Marvin the Martian

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# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
One way or the other, there is going to be something that you hate, disbelief and/or rage against in the Church. By virtue of that thing with the assholes, it's going to be different things for different people, but it is inescapable. The question is however what you do with that.

When that happens I simply ignore the church's teaching and continue with my own understanding. I was not aware that such an option would remain available to me were I to join the RCC.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

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# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
Protestants are bound to approach the Scriptures with all the holy dread that Ingo and TT approach the teachings of the Magisterium.

I must have missed that memo.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Zach82
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"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent." 1 Cor 18-19

I don't see that there is much room for individuals to pass judgment on the decrees of God in Scriptures. God's judgement is against human moral intuition- "no flesh should glory in his presence."

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

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Martin60
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There's enough room for a mute E and not it seems.

[ 13. August 2012, 17:31: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
You want to find the Church Catholic? Get hot about something in religion. God doesn't like the lukewarm. When you get really hot about something, a choice will inevitably appear. A real choice, one that you really care about. And if you are lucky (lucky in my opinion that is), then the RCC will feature in that real choice - eventually. That's all.

That's how I ended up an Episcopalian!
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IngoB

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# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
When that happens I simply ignore the church's teaching and continue with my own understanding. I was not aware that such an option would remain available to me were I to join the RCC.

It is precisely as available to you as it is now. What changes (hopefully...) on the side of the Church is that people will not lie to you that such choices do not particularly matter, if you ask them about it, and will not politely look the other way if you are very loud and proud about your choices, but confront you and if you are particularly insistent, remove you. So what changes from the side of the Church is that it is decidedly not your party.

What changes from your side, or hopefully has changed before you join, is the order of trust in judgement: in the first instance, you trust the Church above yourself. The Church, not you, deserves the benefit of doubt. You, not the Church, are a bit shifty. It is not impossible to convince yourself that you got it right and the Church got it wrong, but that requires quite some doing. And even if you arrive at this conclusion, there should still be a basic loyalty which should be capable of dragging you along where the disagreement is not fundamental. And if you do disagree beyond trust and loyalty, then you should fully expect the above: if you strictly insist on your way, no fair complaining if the Church points to the highway.

So much for the ideal, the reality is that most disagreeing Catholics simply muddle and mutter along, and nothing much happens about all that. But if the shit ever hits the fan, then these are the trajectories...

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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

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IngoB

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# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
That's how I ended up an Episcopalian!

There is no real choice without the possibility of getting it wrong. [Razz]

(You walked right into that one...)

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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

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Niteowl

Hopeless Insomniac
# 15841

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
That's how I ended up an Episcopalian!

There is no real choice without the possibility of getting it wrong. [Razz]

(You walked right into that one...)

The Catholic church has itself gotten it wrong in it's history, as has been demonstrated. Individuals who end up Catholic also end up with the "possibility of getting it wrong". Personally, anyone who believes the Nicene Creed and follows Christ qualifies as a "true Christian" and we all may be surprised at who else qualifies. As you might have guessed, I don't believe the RCC alone is the one true church and all others are heretics or schismatics.

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"love all, trust few, do wrong to no one"
Wm. Shakespeare

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Forthview
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# 12376

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I had a Catholic childhood in a very Protestant country (with a large Catholic population in my part of the country,heavily influenced by Irish Catholicism)
My grandparents lived in Austria where there was another kind of Catholicism,both flamboyant baroque form of Catholicism as well as a strong admixture of vernacular language celebrations long before the second Vatican council.20 km away was Italy with another kind of Catholicism and 20 km away was the then Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) where I was familiar with Catholicism in a Communist country.
These all contributed to my understanding of the 'catholicity' of the Catholic church,as I grew to adulthood.
I've never in my life neither with Catholics nor with other Christians had a discussion about the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.It's just part of church teaching.
Of the billion or so Catholics few have much interest in the nitty gritty of church doctrine but all of the different forms of Catholicism are indeed authentic Catholicism although some people can only see their own form.
I was once in a Catholic church in Scotland with Austrian friends.It was a church which had been mainly furnished by the Fraser of Lovat family and in good taste.'But are you sure this is a Catholioc church ? asked one of my friends.'Yes' said I. 'Aber wo sind die Heiligenfiguren ? (Where are all the statues of saints and angels ?) An Austrian Catholic church would be full of gilded statues of saints and angels and it was impossible to imagine a church without these.
I'm not too sure why Cara should say that she would not be welcome to receive Communion in one of the many Catholic churches surrounding her.
If she does not consider herself to be a Catholic why would she want to receive Communion in such a church ?

In every community of all sorts of religions and outlooks there are always people who are 'paepstlicher als der Papst' (more papal than the pope) One has to see past them to the essential unity of the human family under God.

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
That's how I ended up an Episcopalian!

There is no real choice without the possibility of getting it wrong. [Razz]

(You walked right into that one...)

[Big Grin]

But this does remind me forcibly of the teaching of the Baptist church I grew up in, where everyone was encouraged to read the Bible for him/herself, but woe betide you if you came up with the wrong interpretation of it.

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Russ
Old salt
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Dear IngoB,

Thank you for taking the trouble to reply at such length.

I appreciate that questions about where the boundaries are and how the rules of the club work and what the minimum is that will satisfy those rules may reflect the English culture from which I'm coming.

I appreciate also that the vast majority of Catholics can and do live good Christian lives without ever bothering over such doctrinal niceties as whether the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as the Father.

Nevertheless, any church that claims to be universal has to make some sort of sense outside its culture of origin. So I'll persist for a bit longer.

Top of my list of questions from what you said is:

How do you know that statements against the Jansenists were ex cathedra - what criteria are you using to make that judgment if not the Vatican 1 document which I thought you were putting forward as definitive ?

Best wishes,

Russ

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

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Ronald Binge
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quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
I'm not too sure why Cara should say that she would not be welcome to receive Communion in one of the many Catholic churches surrounding her.
If she does not consider herself to be a Catholic why would she want to receive Communion in such a church ?


Perhaps it is because many of us receive communion to receive Him, rather than as a public statement that one is a Catholic?

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Older, bearded (but no wiser)

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IngoB

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# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
How do you know that statements against the Jansenists were ex cathedra - what criteria are you using to make that judgment if not the Vatican 1 document which I thought you were putting forward as definitive ?

Huh? I literally have no idea why you are addressing this question to me. As far as I am concerned, I have tenaciously defended that the criteria set out in the Vatican I document apply to documents that came before it, including the ones against the Jansenists, and that one can reasonably speak of those documents "formally invoking" what Vatican I "formally declared" later on. I think you can ask Triple Tiara why he (perhaps) thinks that the documents against the Jansenists were ex cathedra. And he might respond with some stuff about "principles". For me it is however a simple and straightforward application of the very Vatican I document which will determine whether these earlier documents were ex cathedra (or more precisely, whether a Catholic has to believe that they were).

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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

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Martin60
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If, in the resurrection, Jesus completely vindicates the RCC, can I say sorry and become RC ?

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
IngoB

Sentire cum Ecclesia
# 8700

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
If, in the resurrection, Jesus completely vindicates the RCC, can I say sorry and become RC ?

The Churches Expectant and Triumphant do not require the services of Roman shock troops, they will merely retire them with due honour.

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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

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I must confess, whilst on a secular Buddhist Vipassana retreat on the NSW North Coast a few years ago, I was told there was a support group in the region for "Recovering Catholics".

There are many, like Cara and Ronald Binge, who may have been hurt by the misuse of supposed authority by members of the RCC, sometimes non clerics.

The problem of genuine, as against bogus, teaching authority and the appellation of "Catholic" to it is something I think needs to be continually addressed.

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Well...

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

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quote:
Originally posted by Ronald Binge:
quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
I'm not too sure why Cara should say that she would not be welcome to receive Communion in one of the many Catholic churches surrounding her.
If she does not consider herself to be a Catholic why would she want to receive Communion in such a church ?


Perhaps it is because many of us receive communion to receive Him, rather than as a public statement that one is a Catholic?
Yes, exactly...as Forthview says, I don't consider myself a Catholic any more, but am still trying (feebly) to be a Christian.

In the temporary situation I am in, it would be easier to go to Catholic Mass--and it's not that I have a huge animosity against the church. It would be meaningful Christian worship for me--but if I go to Mass I want be able to go to Communion....and I know I wouldn't be welcome (at least according to the "rules") because I'm not a Catholic.

Some people say, what does it matter? no-one need know, they're not going to ask....I'm not comfortable with going to receive when I know the "rules" say I can't, even though they aren't "my" rules; and I don't like feeling unwelcome, even though I do understand the Church's reasons.

Well, it's complex.....a tangent really, probably not helpful to Eliab and other seekers.

But I do just feel exasperated sometimes about the absurdity of all these separations between Christians--so that even in ecumenical Taizé, although Brother Roger wanted intercommunion, the Catholic authorities could not countenance it, and so, I gather, there are separate eucharists for Catholics and non-Catholics.

Sometimes it all just seems so silly. However, these denominational differences matter much less now than they did in the past, so perhaps we are slowly creeping towards a more ecumenical Christianity.

cara

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Pondering.

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Forthview
Shipmate
# 12376

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Indeed - receiving Communion is receiving Jesus Christ into our midst.It is certainly not first and foremost a declaration that one is a Catholic as opposed to any other form of Christian.
Both Ronald B and Cara will know that it would be rare for a prospective communicant to be asked before receiving whether they are indeed Catholics or whether they are in what the Church considers to be' in a state of grace.'

Apart from certain American churches if one is a public figure disputing publicly the teaching of the church there is no barrier to anyone approaching the altar.

The barrier would be on the communicant's side.If one feels that the Church is a sham why would one want to approach the altar ?

From another perspective one could say that Communion is indeed a wish to come closer to Jesus Christ.From the Catholic point of view we come closer to Jesus Christ also through the Church which is His body.In receiving Communion we express not only our wish to come closer to Jesus Christ but also to feel ourselves closer to that mystical body of Christ which is the Church.

If we do not feel that the Catholic church does bring us closer to Christ then what is the point of participating in its religious rites ?If we do feel that perhaps the Church helps us to come closer to Jesus then perhaps we can feel that the catholic church is not all bad and that we can feel ourselves in some ways as members of the Church.

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Cara
Shipmate
# 16966

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quote:
Originally posted by Forthview:
Indeed - receiving Communion is receiving Jesus Christ into our midst.It is certainly not first and foremost a declaration that one is a Catholic as opposed to any other form of Christian.
Both Ronald B and Cara will know that it would be rare for a prospective communicant to be asked before receiving whether they are indeed Catholics or whether they are in what the Church considers to be' in a state of grace.'

Apart from certain American churches if one is a public figure disputing publicly the teaching of the church there is no barrier to anyone approaching the altar.

The barrier would be on the communicant's side.If one feels that the Church is a sham why would one want to approach the altar ?

From another perspective one could say that Communion is indeed a wish to come closer to Jesus Christ.From the Catholic point of view we come closer to Jesus Christ also through the Church which is His body.In receiving Communion we express not only our wish to come closer to Jesus Christ but also to feel ourselves closer to that mystical body of Christ which is the Church.

If we do not feel that the Catholic church does bring us closer to Christ then what is the point of participating in its religious rites ?If we do feel that perhaps the Church helps us to come closer to Jesus then perhaps we can feel that the catholic church is not all bad and that we can feel ourselves in some ways as members of the Church.

Forthview, you're right--no-one is going to ask. But there is still a barrier, not just on my side. The barrier is on the Church's side--it doesn't welcome me at the altar as a non-Catholic. I know this is the fact, I know the barrier is there, even if no-one mentions it.
So I know I am not welcome.

I certainly don't feel the Catholic Church is "a sham" at all. It's not a question of absolutes to me! That's what I've been trying to say--for me, all Christian churches are--flawed!--parts of the Body of Christ.

But to me, none of them is the exclusive, only, authoritative Real Deal. Neither the Catholic Church nor the Orthodox is the only one with The Truth, though both claim they are. And I can't subscribe to all the Catholic doctrines....but of course I do not think the Catholic Church is "a sham", and I'm sorry if I ever gave that impression for one minute.

As a Christian church, of course the Catholic church would help bring me closer to Jesus, as any Christian church would, and better than many.

As you say, in receiving Communion, we want to be closer to Christ and also to that "mystical body of Christ which is the Church." Yes, indeed. And for me that "mystical body" is Christianity as a whole, the Christians of past and present and future; not just Catholics.

All the great Christians known and unknown--all the saints of the Catholic Church, the Orthodox church, the Anglican church, all the writers and poets and spiritual geniuses past and present....

Only Jesus knows who is in his "mystical Body." I can't believe--to take just one name off the top of my head--George Herbert is not part of it, for example! Perhaps Jesus has even welcomed into it people who do not call themselves Christians at all, because born into some other faith, but who follow his Way to all intents and purposes??

It has taken me a long, hard time to detach enough from the Catholic Church to stop worrying about whether it is the TRue Church, and if it isn't, which one is..... None of them is, as far as I can see.

Now I see Christianity as more and more a whole, and worry less and less about doctrinal differences--all are following Christ, after all. Of course some groups do seem to me to be more in error, others closer to the real "note" --but surely what unites us is far more important than what separates us?

Only an ex-cradle-Catholic will understand what an enormous mental journey this apparently simple step represents!!

And now, alas, as we've seen from The Silent Acolyte's thread, some are teaching that Catholics are not real Christians and will go to Hell....when will it ever end??

cara

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Pondering.

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South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

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quote:
Originally posted by Cara:
I certainly don't feel the Catholic Church is "a sham" at all. It's not a question of absolutes to me! That's what I've been trying to say--for me, all Christian churches are--flawed!--parts of the Body of Christ.

But to me, none of them is the exclusive, only, authoritative Real Deal. Neither the Catholic Church nor the Orthodox is the only one with The Truth, though both claim they are. And I can't subscribe to all the Catholic doctrines....but of course I do not think the Catholic Church is "a sham", and I'm sorry if I ever gave that impression for one minute.

As a Christian church, of course the Catholic church would help bring me closer to Jesus, as any Christian church would, and better than many.

As you say, in receiving Communion, we want to be closer to Christ and also to that "mystical body of Christ which is the Church." Yes, indeed. And for me that "mystical body" is Christianity as a whole, the Christians of past and present and future; not just Catholics.

My thoughts exactly, Cara. One key point of disagreement in this thread seems to be about what constitutes the body of Christ. For some, it's an institution (or many institutions), while for others - including me - it's people. And those people could belong to any church or none; it's not membership of an institution that confirms someone as part of the body of Christ.

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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
George Spigot

Outcast
# 253

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quote:
Originally posted by Sir Pellinore:
One of the problems most native English speakers, whether born Catholic, converts or other have in understanding Catholicism is that the centre and sensibility of the RCC is in a Latin country. There things are not seen in such an adversarial either/or way they are in England, Australia or similar. The Vatican often makes statements, often on non-doctrinal matters, which are heard, but possibly not followed. In Italian it's called making "la bella figura" and honour is satisfied.


That's fascinating!

I can't help thinking that if I were a member of a group that told me I had to live my life a certain way and after many years met a majority from that group who said, "that? oh we don't worry about that", I'd be

  • A) confused
  • B) thoroughly pissed off
  • C) Demand a yes or no ruling


[ 14. August 2012, 09:55: Message edited by: George Spigot ]

Posts: 1625 | From: Derbyshire - England | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
I don't see that there is much room for individuals to pass judgment on the decrees of God in Scriptures. God's judgement is against human moral intuition- "no flesh should glory in his presence."

Fallible humans wrote the Bible, just as fallible humans lead the church. Both claim (or have it claimed on their behalf) to have direct divine inspiration and the guarantee of infallibility. Frankly, I don't see how anyone can dismiss that claim for one without also dismissing it for the other.

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Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by IngoB:
What changes from your side, or hopefully has changed before you join, is the order of trust in judgement: in the first instance, you trust the Church above yourself. The Church, not you, deserves the benefit of doubt. You, not the Church, are a bit shifty.

Ha. Never going to happen. All heirarchies are fallible, corrupt and self-serving, including those that run churches. They seek their own good, not mine. I see no reason to give any of them the benefit of the doubt.

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Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Forthview
Shipmate
# 12376

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Cara, I agree with almost everything you say.I certainly don't believe that the Catholic Church is the only 'real deal'.
Jesus died for ALL of us and His love encompasses all of the human race and even beyond.
Whatever the way that the Catholic Church may have seen itself in the past it teaches now that All of humanity are members of that mystical body of Christ,even those who are not aware of it.There is much that is good in other Christian groupings not linked formally to the See of Rome and I spend much of my Christian life seeking out the similarities and not the differences between different forms of Christianity and different religions who all in essence worship the same God.It is only our very human frailties which keep us apart.
The only place where the Catholic church might claim exclusivity is in saying who is and who is not linked formally with the Apostolic and Roman See.The Catholic church cannot judge the validity of the ministry of those who are not formally linked to it.It cannot make any judgement on their theological opinions but recognises that there is much good in other Christians - other Christians who cannot in any way be blamed for the divisions caused by the imperfections of Christians over the centuries.
Although some of these Christians may in a technical sense be'heretics' following quite different doctrines from those of the Catholic Church or technically 'schismatics' refusing to remain in communion with the Apostolic See,they are nevertheless the beloved children of God just as much as Catholics are.
You know why the Church does not give Communion to those over whom it has no control,as it takes its role as guardian of the mysteries so seriously.
If you share the faith in the eucharist which Catholics are supposed to have (and you know what that is).If you feel a genuine need to communicate.If there are no ministers of your own church around then normally the Church would admit you to Communion,even although you do not consider yourself to be a Catholic (even although you are !)

Posts: 3444 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged
Zach82
Shipmate
# 3208

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Fallible humans wrote the Bible, just as fallible humans lead the church. Both claim (or have it claimed on their behalf) to have direct divine inspiration and the guarantee of infallibility. Frankly, I don't see how anyone can dismiss that claim for one without also dismissing it for the other.

Indeed, I have argued as much on this very thread. The Bible is the experience of the Apostles made authoritative and normative in the life of all Christians in all times.

If you can't have faith in that, then how does one come to know Jesus? No, I can't quite accept that we all have knowledge of the Nicene creed in our hearts. If one cannot have confidence in the community telling one about Jesus, one cannot have confidence in Jesus, because we don't have other sources of knowledge about him. Faith in Jesus is faith in the Church's Jesus.

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

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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A fraction of the Bible is the narrative of the apostles. The reportage of Jesus actions and words is sufficient. Everything else is sufficiently valid, authoritative rhetorical, highly contextual commentary. Like what we're making of it all two thousand years later.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
If one cannot have confidence in the community telling one about Jesus, one cannot have confidence in Jesus, because we don't have other sources of knowledge about him.

If that was true then we'd all be screwed, because how can we have confidence that anything our corrupt and self-serving church heirarchies say is anything other than corrupt and self-serving?

Fortunately, there's the little matter of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, who guides us all to Truth. Note: guides us all, not just the blokes in fancy hats and scarves (or similar "I'm the boss" garb, depending on denomination) who lord it over the rest of us by pretending they're the only ones who have a valid relationship with Him.

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Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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This is ALL good chums!

And IngoB, THANK YOU! Seriously. I look forward to All Souls Day if I can't be in All Saints Day.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged



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