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 Catholic teaching on religion and the state 
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New post Catholic teaching on religion and the state
From an email a few days ago, asking for comments about John Lamont's article on Vatican II and Religious Liberty: http://independent.academia.edu/JohnLam ... _the_state

I post this because it's interesting in itself, but also because that pernicious enemy of all clarity, Rorate Caeli, has posted Professor Pink's article on the same subject. Lamont wrecks Pink's article.
_________________________________________

I’m not an expert on these questions, so don’t assume that I am competent to comment on this effort, but I’ll comment all the same since you’ve asked.

This is a brave and bold effort!

There is much to be praised in this essay, of course. I won’t perform that office for the obvious reason that it is unnecessary. I will however point out what I think is mistaken or difficult to understand. However, I cannot refrain from highlighting this absolutely wonderful passage:

John Lamont wrote:
These universal claims about the state and its duty to religion are presented as teachings of the Catholic Church to which all Catholics must assent, not as philosophical speculations on the part of the popes. That means that they are taught as being ‘rooted in the apostolic Tradition and in Sacred Scripture’, and that Catholics are to accept them as being so rooted. Catholics are not entitled to decide for themselves whether or not the teachings of the Church are rooted in apostolic tradition and/or Sacred Scripture; they are to accept that, because a doctrine is taught by the Church, it is so rooted. The idea that Christians are entitled to question Church teaching in this way is Protestantism.


OK, another point of praise I can’t resist – he recognises that Quanta Cura is infallible!

Is this an accidental double-negative? “I do not think that this new interpretation is not accurate, and will offer what I think is the correct account of the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae.”

This seems merely childish. It’s also weak:
John Lamont wrote:
Any defence of religious coercion is liable to provoke horror and aversion, because of the savage and extreme forms of coercion that have been used in the past on behalf of the Church (such as dressing Protestants up in bird costumes and then shooting them, something that happened in the French Wars of Religion). It should be remembered that a defence of the legitimacy of religious coercion does not mean that any form at all of such coercion is legitimate, or that all the forms of coercion in fact used in the past were legitimate. Once it is established that religious coercion can be legitimate, it is a further, separate question as to what forms of coercion are legitimate. There are after all forms of religious coercion that are clearly defensible onthe face of it, such as parents exerting mild pressure on their children who are over the age of reason to attend mass on Sunday, or theology faculties in Catholic universities threatening to dismiss staff who publicly reject the Catholic faith. Being in favour of the legitimacy of religious coercion need not go farther than upholding such clearly defensible forms – it does not require upholding the practice of dressing people in bird costumes and shooting them.


Over-all I am impressed by this man’s ability to think. He is clear, and he is independent. He does his own thinking. He’s also learned. He respects facts. He’s honest. Many intellectual virtues indeed!

But most of all, he’s a Catholic.

I find his conclusion as implausible as he expects it to be found. Where is the error in reasoning? Well, first he omits what are directly relevant doctrinal points in his summary of relevant Catholic teaching (introduced by this sentence: “The fundamental positive teachings that justify the negative teachings on the nonexistence of rights to religious error, and the duty of the state to suppress such error, are the following.“

But as Archbishop Lefebvre stated so clearly, even during the Council, man’s dignity does not consist in his natural endowments, but in his perfection. His liberty, insofar as it implies the possibility of sin, is contrary to his dignity. His dignity will be greatest when he reaches the state of eternal bliss, with no “liberty” and therefore no possibility of sin. This truth should have been stated in Lamont’s “A-F” somewhere – preferably as “A”. As a result of this omission, Lamont takes out of consideration the lynchpin of the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae, which is the assertion that men have a natural right to religious liberty because of their human dignity. So in this point I think there is no defending the doctrine of Dignitatis Humanae. It assigns the wrong notion to dignity, and draws a false conclusion from that false premise.

Likewise, the traditional doctrine is that rights are correlatives of duties. Hence, because a man has the duty to practice the true religion, he has certain relevant rights. Dignitatis Humanae asserts that man has the right to practice a false religion. Lamont can’t but accept that this falsehood is true, since he hasn’t explained the Church’s doctrine beforehand. The Church’s doctrine immediately reveals the falsehood of the claim in Dignitatis Humanae.

Lamont states, in more or less clear terms, the fundamental truth that individuals as well as societies have the strict duty to embrace the true religion – yet he fails to highlight that Dignitatis Humanae does not state this truth. This approach is precisely that of the heretical Synod of Pistoia, condemned by the Church. In teaching about the Holy Eucharist, Pistoia avoided the term “transubstantiation”. This was condemned. Vatican II followed this same condemned procesure repeatedly, and deserves the same condemnation for that reason.

Further, Lamont admits that the doctrine of Dignitatis Humanae is new – he limits himself to showing that it is “compatible” with the doctrine of the Church. That isn’t enough. He must show that it is somehow the further clarification of the deposit of faith. That is what the Church does – she defends and explains the deposit. She doesn’t “develop” her teaching in any sense of adding to it.

Then consider this:

John Lamont wrote:
This means that the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae on religious freedom is clearly compatible with earlier magisterial teaching. Since i) the right to practice false religion is limited by the obligation to respect public order, ii) the obligation to respect public order is the obligation to respect the essentials of the common good, and iii) religious truth is essential to the common good, it follows that the right to practice false religions is limited by the requirement to respect religious truth. Any religious practice that harms belief in the true religion this can and ought to be repressed by the state, unless such repression would damage the common good more than it would promote it. This is precisely the traditional position.


As already pointed out, there is no right to practice a false religion. So the first part of the above is false. The second point I am doubtful about. Lamont’s explanation of the principles of interpretation of doctrinal texts seems forced and in conflict with what I have seen in practice. Certainly it is common for later theologians to cite the explanations of the theologians who drafted Conciliar texts at Trent or Vatican I in order to explain their meaning, so on the face of it I think that Lamont’s rejection of the interpretative value of such material is wrong. Bishop Gasser, Relator of the faith at Vatican I, is often appealed to by Catholic theologians; if we admit Bishop de Smedt (Relator of the text of Dignitatis Humanae) the whole game is up.

Finally, Lamont asserts the following:
John Lamont wrote:
The teaching also adds something new to the traditional position, by clearly distinguishing between the object of the coercive powers of the Church in religious matters and the object of the coercive power of the state in such matters. The object of the Church’s coercive powers extends to making baptized Christians carry out the obligations incurred by baptism. The coercive powers of the state, however, do not extend thus far; they only extend to preventing behaviour that harms the spiritual well-being of society.


I think that’s erroneous and can be shown to be erroneous using the same sources he has already exploited. The state put heretics to death. The Church approved this, nay, encouraged it. If Dignitatis Humanae does teach what he says, then it is in conflict with the traditional doctrine of the Church. This is manifest, and it destroys the claim that Dignitatis Humanae is compatible with the traditional teaching of the Church.

Thank you for sending this, and I hope these comments assist. The best material on Dignitatis Humanae, apart from John S. Daly’s work, is that of Archbishop Lefebvre. See I Accuse the Council and also: http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Archb ... ter_15.htm

Yours in our Lady, Who alone has destroyed all heresies,
John.

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:17 pm
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New post Re: Catholic teaching on religion and the state
John Lane wrote:
Lamont’s explanation of the principles of interpretation of doctrinal texts seems forced and in conflict with what I have seen in practice. Certainly it is common for later theologians to cite the explanations of the theologians who drafted Conciliar texts at Trent or Vatican I in order to explain their meaning, so on the face of it I think that Lamont’s rejection of the interpretative value of such material is wrong. Bishop Gasser, Relator of the faith at Vatican I, is often appealed to by Catholic theologians; if we admit Bishop de Smedt (Relator of the text of Dignitatis Humanae) the whole game is up.


OK, I just came across this (thank you Cristian!) in an article by Monsignor Fenton:
Quote:
Most valuable in this respect is the documentation on the Vatican Council given in the Continuation of Mansi’s Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio and in seventh volume of the Collectio Lacensis. Works of this type bring out, not only the actual constitutions, the decrees and the canons issued by the council, but also the various ways in which these constitutions appeared in their preparatory stages, while the council was still working on their text. Likewise they print the schemata which were being formulated by the different committees of the council, but which were never acted upon by the assembly as a whole. All of this is most valuable for an understanding of what the council itself actually taught.

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:33 am
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New post Re: Catholic teaching on religion and the state
John Lane wrote:
John Lane wrote:
Lamont’s explanation of the principles of interpretation of doctrinal texts seems forced and in conflict with what I have seen in practice. Certainly it is common for later theologians to cite the explanations of the theologians who drafted Conciliar texts at Trent or Vatican I in order to explain their meaning, so on the face of it I think that Lamont’s rejection of the interpretative value of such material is wrong. Bishop Gasser, Relator of the faith at Vatican I, is often appealed to by Catholic theologians; if we admit Bishop de Smedt (Relator of the text of Dignitatis Humanae) the whole game is up.


OK, I just came across this (thank you Cristian!) in an article by Monsignor Fenton:
Quote:
Most valuable in this respect is the documentation on the Vatican Council given in the Continuation of Mansi’s Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio and in seventh volume of the Collectio Lacensis. Works of this type bring out, not only the actual constitutions, the decrees and the canons issued by the council, but also the various ways in which these constitutions appeared in their preparatory stages, while the council was still working on their text. Likewise they print the schemata which were being formulated by the different committees of the council, but which were never acted upon by the assembly as a whole. All of this is most valuable for an understanding of what the council itself actually taught.



You are welcome, je je :)

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:56 am
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New post Re: Catholic teaching on religion and the state
I found the following article very interesting ...

New Catholic World Magazine, 1875

Questions concerning the Syllabus.

DOCTRINAL AUTHORITY OF THE SYLLABUS.

We enter on a work whose practical usefulness no one, we suspect, will dispute, since it concerns perhaps the most memorable act of the reign of Pius IX.-the Syllabus. There has been a great deal of discussion about the Syllabus-much has been written on it in the way of both of attack and defense; -but it is remarkable that it has scarcely been studied at all. The remark was made by one of the editors of this review. Father Marquigny, in the General Congress of Catholic Committees at Paris; and, so true as it felt to be, that it provoked the approving laughter of the whole assembly.

But to pass by those who busy themselves about this document without having read it, how many are there, even among Catholics, who, after having read it, have only the most vague and confused notions about it-how many who, if they were asked, "What does the Syllabus teach you; what does it make obligatory on you?" would not know what to answer! Thus is man constituted. He skims willingly over the surface of things; but he has no fancy for stopping awhile and digging underneath. If he is pleased with looking at a great many things, he does not equally concern himself to gain knowledge; because there is no true science without labor, and labor is troublesome. Yet nothing could be more desirable for him than to come by this luminous entrance from the knowledge to the possession of truth. Christian faith, when it is living and active, necessarily experiences the desire of it ; for, according to the beautiful saying of St. Anselm, it is, by its very nature, a seeker of science - of knowing: Fides quaerens intelectum.


Entire article attached.


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Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:09 pm
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New post Re: Catholic teaching on religion and the state
John Lane wrote:
The state put heretics to death. The Church approved this, nay, encouraged it.
Always with the hope that the heretic would repent, though

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Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:27 am
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New post Re: Catholic teaching on religion and the state
Mr. Lane, could you please direct me to some of John S. Daly’s work? Google searches aren't being too successful!

8)


Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:10 pm
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New post Re: Catholic teaching on religion and the state
Browse through here for a few of John's articles: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/

Also, his article on Archbishop Lefebvre and sedevacantism is on the Web somewhere - Google will surely find that. Also, have a look at this thread, concerning Tradibooks, which has published various things of his: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/forum ... ?f=5&t=748

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Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:50 am
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New post Re: Catholic teaching on religion and the state
TraditionalistThomas wrote:
Mr. Lane, could you please direct me to some of John S. Daly’s work? Google searches aren't being too successful!

8)



Here's one:

http://truerestoration.blogspot.com/2012/05/sedevacantism-not-required-for.html


Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:27 am
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New post Re: Catholic teaching on religion and the state
Thank you both!


Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:58 am
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New post Re: Catholic teaching on religion and the state
John Lane wrote:
by Monsignor Fenton:
Quote:
Most valuable in this respect is the documentation on the Vatican Council given in the Continuation of Mansi’s Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio and in seventh volume of the Collectio Lacensis. Works of this type bring out, not only the actual constitutions, the decrees and the canons issued by the council, but also the various ways in which these constitutions appeared in their preparatory stages, while the council was still working on their text. Likewise they print the schemata which were being formulated by the different committees of the council, but which were never acted upon by the assembly as a whole. All of this is most valuable for an understanding of what the council itself actually taught.
Wow, has Mansi been updated to include Vatican II? It was be amazing to see the progression of the documents, especially how Dignitatis Humanæ came out of Cardinal Bea's preparatory document Freedom of Cult.

_________________
«The Essence & Topicality of Thomism»: http://ar.gy/5AaP
by Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.
e-Book: bit.ly/1iDkMAw

Modernism: modernism. us.to
blog: sententiaedeo.blogspot. com
Aristotelian Thomism: scholastic. us.to


Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:23 pm
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