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 Strongest arguments against sedevacantism 
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New post Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Dear friends,

I am in a difficult situation: I am not (as yet) a sedevacantist, but I do suspect Benedict of heresy. I am desperately trying to nut this all out and not getting tremendously far.

I would be very interested to get thoughts on two questions: what people consider to be the strongest arguments against sedevacantism, and how they are refuted; and second, the strongest arguments for Ratzinger being a heretic: i.e. what precisely are his heresies?

I ask this because I recently lost an argument about the heretical nature of Gaudium et Spes 22 (my opponent argued- with perhaps some justification- that GS 22 did not claim that the Second Person of the Trinity is united hypostatically with every man, but rather asserts that Christ is the Head of all men as per Summa part 3 q 8 art 3). I had thought that I had a very strong argument for GS 22 being a very plain heresy- but apparently not. Many people argue heresy based on a quote from Ratzinger which seems to deny the Real Presence, but which on closer inspection could charitably be understood as repeating Thomistic teaching on substantial v local presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
I am rather chary of claiming heresy on the basis of a couple of sentences which, for all I know, have been ripped out of context. I wonder if anyone can point me in the direction of a scholarly appraisal of Ratzinger heresy?

Any help with these matters would be so much appreciated.

James


Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:11 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Hi James,

Welcome to the forums.

A few points.

1. The strongest argument for sedevacantism is based on the indefectibility of the Church. The Church couldn't give us a new religion.

2. The argument based on heresy in V2 won't wash, because the documents were finally approved by pretty much all the bishops after much debate, and the debate forced the heresies to be watered down and effectively disguised. It's one of those ironies of history. Partial victory only created cover for the heretics. It may not be impossible to infer heresy in those who wrote and pushed for them (I'm one who says it is possible, and I find that approach convincing), but it probably won't convince those who are looking for a clear and overwhelming case. I'm sure that it will be clear to Church historians in the future, but they will have the benefit of an intervening condemnation of Vatican II (it should be called Pistoia II) by the Church.

3. Ratzinger's books are "filled with heresies" according to Bishop Tissier. That's where I'd look if I was wanting to make a case against him personally.

4. The strongest argument against sedevacantism is that it leads to a dead end. The reason this argument carries weight is that apart from the Cassicacum Thesis (an untenable theory) there has been no complete theory of the crisis put out by a sedevacantist which explains what happened and identifies the Church at each stage of the crisis. I have such a theory, and have published all of it either in The Four Marks or here, but I have yet to put it into a complete and final published form and get it out there. If we can't answer the questions sedevacantism poses it isn't terribly surprising that others don't find the position convincing. It solves many dogmatic problems and leaves fewer mysteries, but that won't necessarily suffice to move somebody from one conviction to another.

The Church is described in the catechism and in the theology manuals in great detail, and she must necessarily exist at every moment of time until the very end of the world without losing even one of her essential features. On the hypothesis that the New Church is the Catholic Church, we lose unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, infallibility of safety, the fact that the preaching of the pope and bishops is the proximate rule of faith for the faithful, security of validity of the sacraments, a new definition of "tradition" which is diametrically opposed to the true definition since it becomes a term encompassing "change", etc. Frankly, there's nothing much left, and I could add literally dozens of other items to the list. On the hypothesis that Paul VI and successors weren't popes, we have only to explain where the hierarchy was at each point, how the Church will provide herself with a new visible head, and associated difficulties. This isn't surprising, since the power of the heretics in our era is precisely their apparent control of the offices of the Church. Deny them these and most problems disappear. Grant them those and insoluble difficulties multiply like rabbits.

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Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:59 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Quote:
On the hypothesis that the New Church is the Catholic Church, we lose unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, infallibility of safety, the fact that the preaching of the pope and bishops is the proximate rule of faith for the faithful,...


John,

Would you be able to provide one example of each of the above for me? As you know, this has me more than a little confused. And what is the "infallibility of safety"?

Thank you.


Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:59 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:

On the hypothesis that the New Church is the Catholic Church, we lose unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, infallibility of safety, the fact that the preaching of the pope and bishops is the proximate rule of faith for the faithful,...


John,

I also have a question about this point. If there existed within the Church a Modernist Bishop who was leading people into error through the use of ambiguous and seemingly heretical teachings, would the Church lose the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, the infallibility of safety, and therefore cease to be the Church? Would one seemingly heretical Bishop within the Church result in the Church ceasing to be the Church? If so, wouldn't this mean that the Church, which is indefectible, actually defected each time one of her Bishop fell into error?

And during the Arain crisis, during which a majority of the Bishops fell into error, are we forced to conclude that the Church "lost the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, and infalliblity of safety", and therefore defected for a time? Did the Church at the time cease to be the Catholic Church, and instead become a Newchurch - the Arian Church? If not, why?

Now, if you reply by saying the Church does not cease to be the Church if one of her Bishops falls into error, or even if a majority of the Bishops fall into error as happened during the Arian crisis, why should we conclude that the Church would cease to be the Church if 99% of the Bishops fell into error?


Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:39 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Lorraine wrote:
Quote:
On the hypothesis that the New Church is the Catholic Church, we lose unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, infallibility of safety, the fact that the preaching of the pope and bishops is the proximate rule of faith for the faithful,...


John,

Would you be able to provide one example of each of the above for me? As you know, this has me more than a little confused. And what is the "infallibility of safety"?

Thank you.


Dear Lorraine,

Nice to see you back. :)

Unity of profession is the mark of the Church which she must always possess to be the Church, and which is that all of her members profess the same faith outwardly. The reason she has it is that she imposes her teachings authoritatively and punishes those who refuse proper subjection, and further, those who despite her efforts depart openly from her faith automatically cease to be her members. In the case of the Novus Ordo the authoritative preaching is lacking, the punishments have been abandoned by the hierarchy, and the faithful believe anything they like.

In the case of the Arian crisis, many bishops fell into heresy and ceased being bishops of the Church, and likewise many of the faithful left the Church, but Rome did not tolerate the situation, and there were always bishops publicly proclaiming the true faith and protesting the heresy. The contrast with today is stark.

Infallibility of truth is what it sounds like. The ordinary, universal magisterium is the bishops throughout the world teaching the same thing. It is infallible. Today, in the Novus Ordo, this would entail accepting Religious Liberty, for example, since they all teach it. This thread is a good review of the situation (quotes from authorities appear down the page a bit): http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... 9&start=15

Infallibility covers a great deal more than many today suppose. The Church can't give us an evil liturgy which corrodes the faith, for example. She can't praise heresiarchs, for example. She can't permit authors to publish books full of error and peacefully accept their claims to be Catholic teachers of orthodox doctrine (thus tacitly approving their errors).

Infallibility of safety is the fact that the Church, even when not teaching us a truth with infallible certitude, is incapable of leading her children astray in any dangerous way. When she tell us that something is safe, it is. Here's Cardinal Franzelin on it: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... f=11&t=943

The proximate rule of faith is the preaching of the pope and the bishops.

Quote:
The rule of faith. It seems timely to add here a few remarks on the rule of faith. This term signifies the standard or norm according to which each individual Christian must determine what is the material object of his faith.
Protestants claim that the written Word of God, Holy Scripture, and that alone, is the one rule of faith. Catholics, on the other hand, even though they, too, admit that our faith must be regulated in the final analysis by the Word of God — including tradition as well as Scripture — hold that the proximate and immediate rule of faith — that rule to which each of the faithful and each generation of the faithful must look directly — is the preaching of the Church. And so, according to Catholics, there exists a twofold rule of faith: one remote and one proximate. The remote rule of faith is the Word of God (handed down in writing or orally), which was directly entrusted to the Church’s rulers that from it they might teach and guide the faithful. The proximate rule of faith, from which the faithful, one and all, are bound to accept their faith and in accordance with which they are to regulate it, is the preaching of the ecclesiastical magisterium.(27) The following assertions concern the proximate rule of faith.
1. The Church’s preaching was established by Christ Himself as the rule of faith. This can be proved from Matthew 28:19—20 and Mark 16:15—16; the command to teach all nations certainly implies a corresponding duty on the part of the nations to believe whatever the apostles and their successors teach, On the other hand, there is no notice anywhere of Christ’s having commanded the apostles to give the people the doctrine of salvation in writing, and never did He command the faithful as a whole to seek their faith in the Bible.(28)
2. The Church’s preaching is a rule of faith which is nicely accommodated to people’s needs. For (a) it is an easy rule, one that can be observed by all alike, even the uneducated and unlettered. What could be easier than to give ear to a magisterium that is always at hand and always preaching? (b) It is a safe rule, for the Church’s teaching office is infallible in safeguarding and presenting Christ’s doctrine. (c) It is a living rule, in accordance with which it is possible in any age to explain the meaning of doctrines and to put an end to controversies.

Footnotes:

27. The Symbols (Creeds, i.e., those formulae in which the Church’s teaching authority sums up the chief points of its preaching in view of the needs of different ages), are also called rules of faith. But they are material rules of faith, while the formal rule of faith is the preaching itself.
28. An appeal to John 5:39 is in vain: (a) from the context, the verb ereunate seems to be the indicative rather than the imperative (Kleist-Lilly: You have the Scriptures at your finger ends; Confrat. NT: You search the Scriptures); (b) even granting that it is the imperative, the text still proves nothing. From the fact that Christ refers the unbelieving Jews, the Scribes and Pharisees, to the sacred books of the Old Testament that they may learn therein of his divine mission, it does not at all follow that He intends every individual Christian to draw his faith directly from the Scriptures.

(Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ’s Church, Translated and Revised by John J. Castelot, S.S., S.T.D., S.S.L. & William R. Murphy, S.S., S.T.D., The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1957. pp 121, 122. Emphasis throughout in the original.)


Not only do the typical Novus Ordoites in the parishes cheerfully ignore whatever comes from "rome" and their bishops whenever it doesn't accord with their own preferences, but we traditional Catholics completely refuse to accept anything at all from the same sources as if they were the voice of authority. If we "accept" anything they say, it is in the manner that we "accept" a statement of truth by a Protestant - that is, we're not taught by such a source, we just acknowledge that it happens, on this occasion, to agree with the teaching of the Church.

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Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:38 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
I also have a question about this point. If there existed within the Church a Modernist Bishop who was leading people into error through the use of ambiguous and seemingly heretical teachings, would the Church lose the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, the infallibility of safety, and therefore cease to be the Church? Would one seemingly heretical Bishop within the Church result in the Church ceasing to be the Church? If so, wouldn't this mean that the Church, which is indefectible, actually defected each time one of her Bishop fell into error?


Obviously not. Recall the error of the beard, as it is sometimes called, which is an error in logic. A clean-shaven man does not have a beard. A man with a month's growth does have a beard (even if not a flowing one). Now, it is difficult to identify the exact amount of growth which constitutes a beard, and therefore there exists a class of cases in which it is difficult to say whether the growth constitutes a beard or not. But the existence of difficult cases does not prove that there is no such thing as a beard.

[Edit for clarity: The point is that the Church's visible unity may be greater or lesser. She may be more clear at one time than another. But she always has it. On the hypothesis that the New Church is the Catholic Church, there's a huge problem - the New Church doesn't have the unity that the Catholic Church must necessarily have. Don't let other occasions when the Church's unity suffered diminution but remained essentially intact to confuse the issue today.]

Quote:
And during the Arain crisis, during which a majority of the Bishops fell into error, are we forced to conclude that the Church "lost the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, and infalliblity of safety", and therefore defected for a time? Did the Church at the time cease to be the Catholic Church, and instead become a Newchurch - the Arian Church? If not, why?

Because these men left the Church, which thereby retained its perfect unity of profession of the faith.

The fundamental difference between the two crises is that in the present case "rome" is the source of the errors and imposes them, and those who have remained orthodox have done so despite "rome's" teaching.

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Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:45 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Here's an article by John Daly on the authority of Vatican II, on the hypothesis that it was a genuine general council: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... 8267#p8267

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Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:48 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
“And during the Arain crisis, during which a majority of the Bishops fell into error, are we forced to conclude that the Church "lost the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, and infalliblity of safety", and therefore defected for a time? Did the Church at the time cease to be the Catholic Church, and instead become a Newchurch - the Arian Church? If not, why?


John Lane wrote:
“Because these men left the Church, which thereby retained its perfect unity of profession of the faith.”

But when you say they “left the Church”, which itself retained a unity of profession of faith, do you mean to say the Bishop physically and openly left the Church (resigned from their office)? Or did they remain in possession of their diocese, like the Novus Ordo Bishops today, and only “leave” in so far as they fell into error? If the latter, how was the infallibility of safety not rendered null, since a majority of the Bishops in possession of the diocese – who are the proximate rule of faith - were teaching error?

It might be easy for us, viewing the situation 1600 years later, to say the heretical Bishops simply left the Church, which itself retained the untarnished unity of profession of faith and infallibility of safety, but I bet an average layperson at the time would have something else to say.

Now, if your position is that the Church at the time of the Arain crisis remained the Catholic Church, and did not become a New Church, what would you say to the faithful who lived during that chaotic time, if they were to conclude that the Church lost the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, and infallibility of safety, and therefore ceased to be the true Church? How would you respond to that argument?

Consider what Cardinal Newman wrote about the Arian crisis:

Cardinal Newman “[I]n that time of immense confusion the divine dogma of Our Lord's divinity was proclaimed, enforced, maintained, and preserved, far more by the Ecclesia docta (the faithful) than by the Ecclesia docens (the Magisterium); that the body of the Episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism.... I say that there was a temporary suspension of the functions of the Ecclesia docens. The body of bishops failed in their confession of the faith. There was weakness, fear of consequences, misguidance, delusion ... extending itself into nearly every corner of the Catholic Church". (The Arians of the Fourth Century, 1833)

Again, if the body of Bishops, who retained physical possession of their Sees, failed in their profession of faith, wouldn't it have appeared to those living at the time that the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, and infallibility of safety ceased?

John Lane wrote:
The fundamental difference between the two crises is that in the present case "rome" is the source of the errors and imposes them, and those who have remained orthodox have done so despite "rome's" teaching.


But let’s not forget that the head of the Church of Rome during the Arian crisis sided with the Arians, at least for a time. He even went so far as to place his signature on a semi-Arian document, which must have caused a lot of confusion for the faithful at the time. Now, since it was within the realm of possibility for Liberius to sign a semi-Arian document, was it also possible for him to sign two semi-heretical documents, or a dozen, or perhaps 16? If it is within the realm of possibility for a Pope to sign one seemingly heretical document, it is also possible for him to sign many more, as long as he was not engaging Papal Infallibility by attempting to define a dogma and bind the entire Church.

So again, what would you say to those living at the time of the Arian crisis, if they were to conclude that things we so bad within the walls of the Church that it ceased to be the Church, and became a New Church?


Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:13 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Dear RJS,

It's late here and I have to go to bed, but a couple of points, one of which I was going to make even before you quoted Newman, because I expected him to come up.

John Henry Newman wrote those words when he was an Anglican (he wasn't "Cardinal Newman"). They express Anglican theology. If you want to know what happened, and you want to understand it, throw Newman in the bin and get another source. Honestly, he's worse than useless on this question.

The second point is that Liberius didn't agree with the Arians. He was persecuted by them and sent into exile. Have a look at this thread please: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... ?f=2&t=756

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Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:09 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Dear RJS: I suspect that one reason you are having difficulties here is that you are confusing "The Catholic Church" with "a collection of believers". The first, more or less spiritual, the second, physical bodies. I don't quite know how to say it clearly. The True Catholic Church can never change in Her essential being, Her essential existence, Her voice, Her way of acting, while the body of "believers" can be blown to and fro, having to fight to remain where they should be.

For instance, when you ask a question such as, "And during the Arian crisis, during which a majority of the Bishops fell into error, are we forced to conclude that the Church "lost the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, and infalliblity of safety", and therefore defected for a time? Did the Church at the time cease to be the Catholic Church, and instead become a Newchurch - the Arian Church? If not, why?" you thereby exhibit a fundamental misunderstanding of what The Church IS.

Those men and women who became Arian left the Church. The Church remained as She was, except in extent. She becomes smaller or larger depending on the number of Her true members, but She always remained, and remains, the same.

As to those bishops who became Arian, yet "retained" their sees, a robber who steals someone's property truly retains that property, but illegally. He has no right to it, yet "owns" it while he has it. This sort of thing also pertains to offices in the Church. If one who holds an office in the Church, leaves Her, yet keeps what is only truly "owned" by a member of the Church, then he is a robber, keeping something which is no longer his, to which he no longer has any right.

Much the same situation exists today.

Does this help?

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Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:58 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Thanks John for your reply.

Quote:
The Church is described in the catechism and in the theology manuals in great detail, and she must necessarily exist at every moment of time until the very end of the world without losing even one of her essential features.


Doesn't this mean, for example that the hierarchy must be a constant feature of the Church? Do you know of any bishops both: a)validly ordained (on the assumption that the new rite of ordination is invalid) and b) not heretical by virtue of buying into VII and the subsequent 'magisterium'? Just looking around Australia I couldn't feel ever so confident of finding such a bishop. Do you know any?


Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:55 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Ken Gordon wrote:
“Dear RJS: I suspect that one reason you are having difficulties here is that you are confusing "The Catholic Church" with "a collection of believers". The first, more or less spiritual, the second, physical bodies.


That needs some clarification. The Church consists of all the baptized living on earth who profess the true faith, participate in the same Sacraments, and are subject to the lawful pastors and the Pope. While it is true that part of the Church is spiritual (faith, hope and charity, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost), the Church as such is both spiritual and corporeal. Since the spiritual and corporeal components are distinct parts which together make up the one Church, the “collection of believers’ are part of the Church, and not something separate or distinct from the Church.

Rather than making a distinction between a “spiritual Church”, on the one hand, and the “collection of believers”, on the other, I think we should make a distinction between the divine (infallible) and human (fallible) elements of the one Church.

Just as our Lord had a true human nature and a true divine nature, so too the Church has a human element and a Divine element. And just as our Lord’s human nature and divine nature were not confused, but remained distinct, so too there is a distinction between the human and divine elements of the one Church. The difference between the human and divine within our Lord, and the human and divine within the Church, is that our Lord’s human nature was perfect and sinless, while the human element of the Church is not.

Ken Gordon wrote:
“I don't quite know how to say it clearly. The True Catholic Church can never change in Her essential being, Her essential existence, Her voice, Her way of acting, while the body of "believers" can be blown to and fro, having to fight to remain where they should be”.


I agree that the Church, in so far as She is Divine, cannot err or change substantially in any way. I also agree that the individual members of the Church (which includes members of the hierarchy) can be blown to and fro, in so far as they make up her human element.

Since the Pope is only a man, and not God, he too can err. We have an example of this with John XXII, who taught that the souls of the faithful departed would not possess the beatific vision until after the final judgment. While this error was not contrary to a defined dogma at the time, it was an error none the less, which proves that even a Pope can err in so far he is part of the human element of the Church. Yet when the Pope engages the charism of infallibility, the Divine element of the Church protects him from erring.

But if God, in His justice, permits the human element of the Church (including members of the hierarchy) to be blown to and fro in the wind, any heretical doctrines preached by then, or by the Pope himself, do not constitute an official change in Church teaching, nor a violation of the infallibility of the Church. It merely constitutes a failure of the fallible human element of the Church, and not a failure in the Divine and infallble element.

Now, if the Pope attempted to define as true, a doctrine that was false, then we would have a failure of the Divine element of the Church, but that has not happened.

All of the confusion in the Church today has come from the human element of the Church “being blown to and fro” as you put it; but all the ambiguity and confusion combined have not constituted an official change in Church teaching.

Ken Gordon wrote:
“As to those bishops who became Arian, yet "retained" their sees, a robber who steals someone's property truly retains that property, but illegally. He has no right to it, yet "owns" it while he has it. This sort of thing also pertains to offices in the Church. If one who holds an office in the Church, leaves Her, yet keeps what is only truly "owned" by a member of the Church, then he is a robber, keeping something which is no longer his, to which he no longer has any right.”


It’s not quite that simple. A bishop does not automatically lose his jurisdiction simply because he loses the faith. As Bellarmine teaches, even a Pope who is an occult (secret) heretic retains his office. Neither does a Bishop automatically lose his jurisdiction if he publicly preaches an error (as Pope John XXII himself did). Did the Bishop mis-speak? Was he misinformed about a particular doctrine, while at the same time disposed to recant the error as soon as he is made aware of it? That is why the Church has a mechanism to deal with these issues. Now, if he became a notorious heretic and openly left the Church it would be different, but a Bishop who falls into error is not equivalent to a thief who possesses stolen property.


Last edited by RJS on Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:56 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
John Lane wrote:
“Because these men left the Church, which thereby retained its perfect unity of profession of the faith.”

But when you say they “left the Church”, which itself retained a unity of profession of faith, do you mean to say the Bishop physically and openly left the Church (resigned from their office)? Or did they remain in possession of their diocese, like the Novus Ordo Bishops today, and only “leave” in so far as they fell into error? If the latter, how was the infallibility of safety not rendered null, since a majority of the Bishops in possession of the diocese – who are the proximate rule of faith - were teaching error?

It might be easy for us, viewing the situation 1600 years later, to say the heretical Bishops simply left the Church, which itself retained the untarnished unity of profession of faith and infallibility of safety, but I bet an average layperson at the time would have something else to say.


Yes, of course the average layman had something different to say. He was deceived.

If you want to understand the crisis, this one or any other in the history of the Church, you need to come to the facts with proper theological notions already in your mind. Church history books - that is, approved ones by Catholic authors - do this for you to a great extent, but there's nothing like having the theology in your mind to begin with. And of course it is essential in relation to the present crisis, because there's no approved history of it for obvious reasons.

Please read a theology manual from cover to cover. It won't take long and you'll find it immeasurably beneficial. Wilhelm and Scannell is posted here: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/wilhe ... index.html

Van Noort on unity is here: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/van_noort_unity.html

Quote:
Now, if your position is that the Church at the time of the Arain crisis remained the Catholic Church, and did not become a New Church, what would you say to the faithful who lived during that chaotic time, if they were to conclude that the Church lost the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, and infallibility of safety, and therefore ceased to be the true Church? How would you respond to that argument?

I'd say they were mistaken, because they were not viewing the facts in the right light. St. Athanasius summed in up in his famous quote to the effect that the heretics had the buildings, but he and the orthodox faithful had the Church.

But I repeat, that heresy didn't come from Rome and Rome remained opposed to it. Our heresies are driven from Rome. That's the strength of this crisis of faith, and the mystery of it too. If Paul VI was pope, it seems that the notion that the Church defected follows necessarily. If he wasn't pope, then the Church didn't defect, because his reforms didn't come from the Church.

Quote:
Cardinal Newman “[I]n that time of immense confusion the divine dogma of Our Lord's divinity was proclaimed, enforced, maintained, and preserved, far more by the Ecclesia docta (the faithful) than by the Ecclesia docens (the Magisterium); that the body of the Episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism.... I say that there was a temporary suspension of the functions of the Ecclesia docens. The body of bishops failed in their confession of the faith. There was weakness, fear of consequences, misguidance, delusion ... extending itself into nearly every corner of the Catholic Church". (The Arians of the Fourth Century, 1833)


The Anglican Newman is clearly on show in this quote. Indeed, even after becoming a Catholic he retained his false opinion that the pope is only infallible when the faithful peacefully receive his teaching, confirming it by that reception. It wasn't until papal infallibility was actually defined in 1870, against his own will and despite quite some effort on his part behind the scenes, that he altered his mind to conform with the truth. So he was completely unsound on ecclesiology and especially on truths related to the magisterium and how it operates, and its relation to the faithful.

The bishops as a body didn't fail because their head didn't fail - the Bishop of Rome. He is the lynchpin of episcopal action and unity. This truth needs to be seared on the mind. Read the history of some general councils and see how in many cases a council would vote some doctrinal point in the majority and then the pope wouldn't confirm it and it would be abandoned. Sometimes huge chunks of a council would be discarded in this way. Constance passed masses of material that was afterwards regarded as worthless precisely because Martin V declined to confirm it. The same thing happened on several occasions in the East.

Quote:
Again, if the body of Bishops, who retained physical possession of their Sees, failed in their profession of faith, wouldn't it have appeared to those living at the time that the unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, and infallibility of safety ceased?

Not while Rome stood firm, which she always did.

Quote:
But let’s not forget that the head of the Church of Rome during the Arian crisis sided with the Arians, at least for a time. He even went so far as to place his signature on a semi-Arian document, which must have caused a lot of confusion for the faithful at the time. Now, since it was within the realm of possibility for Liberius to sign a semi-Arian document, was it also possible for him to sign two semi-heretical documents, or a dozen, or perhaps 16? If it is within the realm of possibility for a Pope to sign one seemingly heretical document, it is also possible for him to sign many more, as long as he was not engaging Papal Infallibility by attempting to define a dogma and bind the entire Church.

Just examine the facts and see what you get. On the hypothesis that Liberius signed the Creed of Sirmium, which hypothesis Bellarmine says that the Roman clergy adopted as true, he ceased being pope. The Roman clergy then elected a new pope, St. Felix II. On the hypothesis that Liberius didn't sign the false creed, which hypothesis that seems overwhelmingly demonstrated by later historical effort, the problem evaporates.

Either way, Rome couldn't defect, only individual men could - which of course many of the bishops did and possibly (but it's unlikely) Pope Liberius did. The fixed point in all Catholic views of the facts, however, is that the See of Rome remained untarnished by error. This was the view of Liberius's most devoted supporters, and it was the view of his most determined Catholic opponents (i.e. the Roman clergy when they believed he had apostatised).

All traditional Catholics already reject "rome" as our proximate rule of faith. We're no more taught by Benedict than we are by the Archlayman of Canterbury. It isn't a question of whether "rome" can be trusted - we're all agreed on that - it is a question of explaining in accurate theological terms what has actually happened.

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Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:09 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
James Francis wrote:
Doesn't this mean, for example that the hierarchy must be a constant feature of the Church?

Yes, it does.

Quote:
Do you know of any bishops both: a)validly ordained (on the assumption that the new rite of ordination is invalid) and b) not heretical by virtue of buying into VII and the subsequent 'magisterium'? Just looking around Australia I couldn't feel ever so confident of finding such a bishop. Do you know any?


No. I suggest you read these threads: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewtopic.php?p=4349 and http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... ?f=2&t=983

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Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:20 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Dear RJS,

It's late here and I have to go to bed, but a couple of points, one of which I was going to make even before you quoted Newman, because I expected him to come up.

John Henry Newman wrote those words when he was an Anglican (he wasn't "Cardinal Newman"). They express Anglican theology. If you want to know what happened, and you want to understand it, throw Newman in the bin and get another source. Honestly, he's worse than useless on this question.


Fair enough. Disregard the above quote from Newman and insert the following, which were written by the defenders of the Faith in the midst of the Arian crisis:

St. Basil: "Our afflictions are well known without my telling; the sound of them has gone forth over all Christendom. The dogmas of the
Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set at nought; the discoveries of innovators hold sway in churches. Men have learned to be speculatists instead of theologians. The wisdom of the world has the place of honor, having dispossessed the glorying of the cross. The pastors are driven away. Grievous wolves are brought in instead, and plunder the flock of Christ".

St. Basil "The danger is not confined to one Church.... This evil of heresy spreads itself. The doctrines of Godliness are overturned; the rules of the Church are in confusion; the ambition of the unprincipled seizes upon places of authority; and the chief seat is now openly proposed as a reward for impiety; so that he whose blasphemies are the more shocking, is more eligible for the oversight of the people. Priestly gravity has perished; there are none left to feed the Lord's flock with knowledge; ambitious men are ever spending, in purposes of self-indulgence and bribery, possessions which they hold in trust for the poor. The accurate observation of the canons are no more; there is no restraint upon sin. Unbelievers laugh at what they see, and the weak are unsettled; faith is doubtful, ignorance is poured over their souls, because the adulterators of the word in wickedness imitate the truth. Religious people keep silence, but every blaspheming tongue is let loose. Sacred things are profaned; those of the laity who are sound in faith avoid the places of worship, as schools of impiety... Has the Lord completely abandoned His Church?"

St. Basil: "Only one offense is now vigorously punished, an accurate observance of our fathers' traditions. For this cause the pious are driven from their countries and transported into the deserts. ... The ears of the simple are led astray, and have become accustomed to heretical profaneness. The infants of the Church are fed on the words of impiety. For what can they do? Baptisms are in Arian hands; the care of travelers, visitation of the sick, consolation of mourners; succors of the distressed.... Which all, being performed by them, become a bond to the people... so that in a little while, even though liberty be granted us, no hope will remain that they, who are encompassed by so lasting a deceit, should be brought back again to the acknowledgment of the truth. (To the Bishops of Italy and Gaul)

St. Gregory of Nazianzus: "Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for excepting a very few, who either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel [the Church] by the influence of the Spirit, all temporized, differing from each other only in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle being overcome by fear, or by interests or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance."

Setting aside the fact that those quotes sound like they were written yesterday - such as "only one offense is now vigorously punished, an accurate observance of our fathers' traditions" - what would you have said to someone living during that day if they would have concluded that the Church, which was infected with the Arian heresy, ceased to be the true Church, and instead became a New Church? After all, if all the Pastors "excepting a very few" fell into error, wouldn't it have appeared that the Church lost unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, infallibility of safety, and therefore ceased to be the Church?


Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:23 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
Ken Gordon wrote:
“Dear RJS: I suspect that one reason you are having difficulties here is that you are confusing "The Catholic Church" with "a collection of believers". The first, more or less spiritual, the second, physical bodies.


That needs some clarification. The Church consists of all the baptized living on earth who profess the true faith, participate in the same Sacraments, and are subject to the lawful pastors and the Pope. While it is true that part of the Church is spiritual (faith, hope and charity, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost), the Church as such is both spiritual and corporeal. Since the spiritual and corporeal components are distinct parts which together make up the one Church, the “collection of believers’ are part of the Church, and not something separate or distinct from the Church.

Rather than making a distinction between a “spiritual Church”, on the one hand, and the “collection of believers”, on the other, I think we should make a distinction between the divine (infallible) and human (fallible) elements of the one Church.

Just as our Lord had a true human nature and a true divine nature, so too the Church have a human element and a Divine element. And just as our Lord’s human nature and divine nature were not confused, but remained distinct, so too there is a distinction between the human and divine elements of the one Church. The difference between the human and divine within our Lord, and the human and divine within the Church, is that our Lord’s human nature was perfect and sinless, while the human element of the Church is not.


RJS, good work. Ken, he is entirely right.

Quote:
But if God, in His justice, permits the human element of the Church (including members of the hierarchy) to be blown to and fro in the wind, any heretical doctrines preached by then, or by the Pope himself, do not constitute an official change in Church teaching, nor a violation of the infallibility of the Church. It merely constitutes a failure of the fallible human element of the Church, and not a failure in the Divine and infallble element.


Yes, but in the present case the reforms came from Rome officially and infallibly, unless Paul VI was not pope.

Quote:
Now, if the Pope attempted to define as true, a doctrine that was false, then we would have a failure of the Divine element of the Church, but that has not happened.

No, it would mean that he had ceased being pope.

Quote:
It’s not quite that simple. A bishop does not automatically lose his jurisdiction simply because he loses the faith. As Bellarmine teaches, even a Pope who is an occult (secret) heretic retains his office. Neither does a Bishop automatically lose his jurisdiction if he publicly preaches an error (as Pope John XXII himself did). Did the Bishop mis-speak? Was he misinformed about a particular doctrine, while at the same time disposed to recant the error as soon as he is made aware of it? That is why the Church has a mechanism to deal with these issues. Now, if he became a notorious heretic and openly left the Church it would be different, but a Bishop who falls into error is not equivalent to a thief who possesses stolen property.

This is all correct too. But Paul VI didn't "mis-speak" and he wasn't an ignoramus. He knew Catholic doctrine intimately and he chose to reject it for what he considered better ideas.

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Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:25 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
St. Gregory of Nazianzus: "Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for excepting a very few, who either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel [the Church] by the influence of the Spirit, all temporized, differing from each other only in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle being overcome by fear, or by interests or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance."

Setting aside the fact that those quotes sound like they were written yesterday - such as "only one offense is now vigorously punished, an accurate observance of our fathers' traditions" - what would you have said to someone living during that day if they would have concluded that the Church, which was infected with the Arian heresy, ceased to be the true Church, and instead became a New Church? After all, if all the Pastors "excepting a very few" fell into error, wouldn't it have appeared that the Church lost unity of profession of faith, infallibility of truth, infallibility of safety, and therefore ceased to be the Church?

Yes, this is all perfectly Catholic and accurate.

I would say what St. Athanasius said at the time - if the Catholics were reduced to a handful, they would be the Church. The rest have departed by their own act from the Church, leaving it untainted by their error. As it says in Holy Writ, don't judge by appearances, judge justly.

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Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:32 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
But if God, in His justice, permits the human element of the Church (including members of the hierarchy) to be blown to and fro in the wind, any heretical doctrines preached by them, or by the Pope himself, do not constitute an official change in Church teaching, nor a violation of the infallibility of the Church. It merely constitutes a failure of the fallible human element of the Church, and not a failure in the Divine and infallble element.


John Lane wrote:
Yes, but in the present case the reforms came from Rome officially and infallibly, unless Paul VI was not pope.


John,

The above is what it all boils down to. This is what I was referring to by the realm of acting in the other thread. Did the "reforms" issue forther from the Church's human element (which is fallible), and/or through lies and deception (such as the Novus Ordo mass, for example, which was merely "published" along with the "wish" of Paul VI that it be accepted, and then foisted on the Western Rite through lies and deception which made it appear as the binding law of the Church), or did the reforms issue from the infallible element of the Church? Did they come from Peter, who Our Lord called the rock upon whom the Church would be built, or from Simon, who, five verses later, our Lord called Satan for savoring the things of man, rather than the things of God? This is what we will have to look into.

But now it is getting late on this side of the globe, so I will have to leave this for later. I look forward to our future discussions.


Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:51 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
The above is what it all boils down to. This is what I was referring to by the realm of acting in the other thread. Did the "reforms" issue forther from the Church's human element (which is fallible), and/or through lies and deception (such as the Novus Ordo mass, for example, which was merely "published" along with the "wish" of Paul VI that it be accepted, and then foisted on the Western Rite through lies and deception which made it appear as the binding law of the Church), or did the reforms issue from the infallible element of the Church?


Have a read of this: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... 8267#p8267

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Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:05 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
RJS wrote:
The above is what it all boils down to. This is what I was referring to by the realm of acting in the other thread. Did the "reforms" issue forther from the Church's human element (which is fallible), and/or through lies and deception (such as the Novus Ordo mass, for example, which was merely "published" along with the "wish" of Paul VI that it be accepted, and then foisted on the Western Rite through lies and deception which made it appear as the binding law of the Church), or did the reforms issue from the infallible element of the Church?


Have a read of this: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... 8267#p8267


John,

I read through the article. It has some good information, but it appears that you are missing a key distinction which undermines your premise and renders your conclusion false. I'll read the article once more this evening and then respond.


Last edited by RJS on Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:29 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John, thank you very much! :D I will read the information on the links you have kindly provided.


Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:24 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
A very good article, John, with much in it that all Catholics should read and understand. Yet, there are parts in it that are very disquieting to me. I will have to study it at some length in order to express what is so disquieting, and when I have done so, will publish those here.

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Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:45 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
In all of the years that I spent reading through the threads here when the Forum was closed, I do not know how I missed this particular one: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... p?f=2&t=29

I found it helpful, John, and am wondering if you ever posted anywhere the letter Mr. Larrabee wrote to Fr. Gruner in the late 'nineties which you thought was the best "summary of the sedevacantist position ever penned".

Now I will read Cardinal Franzelin...


Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:12 pm
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New post Re: Comments from a non-Sedevacantist
John,

I am going to briefly summarize the main point of your article ( http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... 8267#p8267 ), and then explain what I believe to be an error in your reasoning and subsequent conclusion.

In the article, you correctly demonstrated that infallibility is not only guaranteed when the extraordinary magisterium is engaged, but is also operative when the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium proposes a doctrine as being divinely revealed. You provide the following quote from the First Vatican Council:

“All those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and are proposed by the Church either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal magisterium to be believed as divinely revealed. (Dogmatic constitution Dei Filius, chapter 3, “Concerning Faith”, Denzinger 1792).

Now, since Vatican II was an act of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, your position is that its teachings should have been protected by infallibility. And since the documents do contain errors, it proves that Paul VI, who signed them, could not have been the Pope. In fact, if I understand your position correctly, this resulted in the Church, which was formerly the Catholic Church, ceasing to be the True Church and becoming a New Church. All this must have happened since infallibility, which is a characteristic of the true Church, was violated at Vatican II.

Major: Vatican II was an act of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium and therefore should have been protected by infallibility.

Minor: The Vatican II documents contain error.

Conclusion: The “Bishop in white” who signed the documents could not have been Pope, and the Catholic Church that assembled at Vatican II, departed from the Council as a New Church.

I think there is a flaw in the major premise for the following reasons.

1.) First, not all of the teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are protected by infallibility, but only those that are proposed as being divinely revealed. These teachings alone – meaning those proposed as divinely revealed - will have the guarantee of infallibility. Where does Vatican II propose an explicit error as being divinely revealed?

2.) My second point is that even some of the worst parts of Vatican II (the parts that Traditionalists often point to) are ambiguous enough to allow for an interpreted that is in accord with what the Church teaches. Let me demonstrate this by commenting on the example of an error from Vatican II that you used in your article.

John Lane wrote:
… Moreover in the celebrated case of religious liberty, concerning which Vatican II flagrantly taught in almost identical words the direct opposite of Pope Pius IX’s Quanta Cura (an act of the Extraordinary Magisterium), the council insisted that its doctrine concerned a natural human right founded on the dignity of the human person as made known by divine revelation.”


As much as I detest Dignitatis Humanae, it is not false to say that man has a natural right to religious liberty based on his dignity, as long as the statement is understood correctly: Since man has the natural dignity of a rational creature, with the capacity to know and embrace the truth; and since God has revealed certain truths to man which he is morally bound to accept, man does have a natural right, based on his dignity (rational intellect and free will), to practice the true religion. What his dignity does not endow him with is a natural right to practice a false religion.

Again, not to defend Dignitatis Humanae, but in the following quote notice what it says immediately after saying man has a right to religious liberty based on his dignity: “It [Revelation] does, however, disclose the dignity of the human person in its full dimensions. It gives evidence of the respect which Christ showed toward the freedom with which man is to fulfill his duty of belief in the word of God and it gives us lessons in the spirit which disciples of such a Master ought to adopt and continually follow.”

Man does have a natural right to religious liberty which allows him to fulfill his duty of belief in the Word of God. And if a non-Catholic government attempted to stop a Catholic from practicing his religion, that government is violating his right to religious liberty. Again, what man does not have a right to do is practice a false religion.

If Vatican II would have said “it is a divinely revealed truth that man has a natural right, based on his dignity, to practice a false religion” you would have a very strong case for your position and I would not argue with you. But I am unaware of any statement from Vatican II clearly teaching an error as being a divinely revealed truth.

To be clear, I am not attempting to defend Vatican II, but only to show that even the worst parts of those horrible documents are ambiguous enough to allow for an interpretation that is in accord with what the Church teaches. And any errors within the documents that cannot be explained away, are not being proposed as "divinely revealed" truths.

So, while I admit that the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is protected by infallibility when it clearly proposes a doctrine to be held as divinely revealed, if a particular teaching is ambiguous, and/or not being proposed as divinely revealed, how can we maintain that the teaching in question satisfies the requirements for infallibility?

To make the case that Vatican II violated the guarantee of infallibility, it requires more than simply showing that the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is infallible. You will also have to demonstrate that the ordinary and universal magisterium clearly proposed, as divinely revealed, a doctrine that was false.

Catholic Encyclopedia wrote:
“As to the organ of authority by which such doctrines or facts are determined, three possible organs exist. One of these, the magisterium ordinarium, is liable to be somewhat indefinite in its pronouncements and, as a consequence, practically ineffective as an organ. The other two, however, are adequately efficient organs, and when they definitively decide any question of faith or morals that may arise, no believer who pays due attention to Christ's promises can consistently refuse to assent with absolute and irrevocable certainty to their teaching.

But before being bound to give such an assent, the believer has a right to be certain that the teaching in question is definitive (since only definitive teaching is infallible); and the means by which the definitive intention, whether of a council or of the pope, may be recognized have been stated above. It need only be added here that not everything in a conciliar or papal pronouncement, in which some doctrine is defined, is to be treated as definitive and infallible.”


How can it be that “not everything in a conciliar… pronouncement… is to be treated as definitive and infallible” when a conciliar pronouncement is an act of the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium? Because even if a teaching is clearly proposed (unlike those of Vatican II), it does not follow that the teaching in question is being proposed as divinely revealed. And if an ambiguous teaching is being proposed as divinely revealed, we have to determine if it can be understood in a way that is true? and then we would have to ask if the ambiguity, in an of itself, was sufficient to exclude the guarantee of infallibility with respect to the particular teaching.

My final point is that the hallmark of Vatican II is its ambiguity and the subsequent confusion it unleashed. With that in mind, do we really believe the confused documents from Vatican II constitutes clear teachings which are being presented as divinely revealed truths by the Universal and Ordinary Magisterium? If not, the infallibility of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium was not engaged.

While I certainly believe Vatican II was a punishment from God, I don’t think its ambiguous and misleading documents violated the guarantee of infallibility. There’s no question that they “give an uncertain sound” (1 Cor 14:8) and have therefore caused much confusion, but I am unaware of a single explicit error that is proposed as a divinely revealed truth. And unless the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium proposed a doctrine as being divinely revealed, there is no promise of infallibility. In that case, the teachings in question would flow from the human element of the Church (which is fallible) and not from the divine element (which is infallible).


Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:19 pm
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New post Re: Comments from a non-Sedevacantist
RJS, I think your main problem is you fail to understand that the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church cannot teach ANY error whatsoever. The conciliar church teaches error on a regular basis, it's liturgy is riddled with error and this the Catholic Church can't do. One thing to note is that the error doesn't have to be heretical. If the conciliar church is the Catholic Church then it follows that the Church has failed and we both know that this cannot be.


Last edited by Recusant on Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To add the word Universal


Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:14 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Lorraine wrote:
In all of the years that I spent reading through the threads here when the Forum was closed, I do not know how I missed this particular one: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... p?f=2&t=29

I found it helpful, John, and am wondering if you ever posted anywhere the letter Mr. Larrabee wrote to Fr. Gruner in the late 'nineties which you thought was the best "summary of the sedevacantist position ever penned".

Now I will read Cardinal Franzelin...


Thanks Lorraine, I had just done a search and found that thread so I could point RJS to it. :)

I'll post Jim's letter in a separate thread if you like. I'll just edit out the recipient so that if it goes viral it's not easily associated with Fr. Gruner, just out of courtesy.

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Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:35 pm
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New post Re: Comments from a non-Sedevacantist
RJS wrote:
I am going to briefly summarize the main point of your article ( http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... 8267#p8267 ), and then explain what I believe to be an error in your reasoning and subsequent conclusion.

Just a point of fact, John Daly wrote that one. You can usually tell because he's better than I am.

Quote:
In the article, you correctly demonstrated that infallibility is not only guaranteed when the extraordinary magisterium is engaged, but is also operative when the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium proposes a doctrine as being divinely revealed. You provide the following quote from the First Vatican Council:

“All those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and are proposed by the Church either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal magisterium to be believed as divinely revealed. (Dogmatic constitution Dei Filius, chapter 3, “Concerning Faith”, Denzinger 1792).

Yes, but that's only part of the relevant doctrine. JSD was making a specific point about V2, and his point only required that doctrinal point, which relates to divine and Catholic faith. The Church is also infallible when she teaches truths which are not directly revealed, and we still have to believe them (e.g. dogmatic facts, canonisations, condemnations of errors, etc.).

To grasp this truth is not hard, just read the theologians and believe them. Here's a useful explanation and discussion: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... p?f=2&t=29

Quote:
In fact, if I understand your position correctly, this resulted in the Church, which was formerly the Catholic Church, ceasing to be the True Church and becoming a New Church. All this must have happened since infallibility, which is a characteristic of the true Church, was violated at Vatican II.

No, that's not my view at all. The Church remained the Church. What was lacking was a pope, so therefore the documents were not really documents of the magisterium. Think of it like Constance before Martin V was elected. He confirmed only some of what was agreed. The rest fell by the wayside. In the case of V2, it all falls by the wayside.

Quote:
1.) First, not all of the teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are protected by infallibility, but only those that are proposed as being divinely revealed.

That is false. The text JSD quoted only deals with what must be believed with divine and Catholic faith. It is not a definition of infallibility, but rather of divine and Catholic faith.

Quote:
2.) My second point is that even some of the worst parts of Vatican II (the parts that Traditionalists often point to) are ambiguous enough to allow for an interpreted that is in accord with what the Church teaches.

Read the condemned texts of Pistoia and then come back and tell us that as long as something is only ambiguous it is not heretical.

Quote:
but I am unaware of a single explicit error that is proposed as a divinely revealed truth.

Ask yourself this: Is the doctrine of religious liberty taught by V2 true? The answer is not "yes" is it? Arguing that a text can be understood in an orthodox way is not answering "yes" - whatever else it may be. Yet that doctrine is taught as a divinely revealed truth. Now leave aside technical language and how would you characterise that act of teaching? Was it not at best a mistake? A blunder? Yes, at best. Because to claim that something is divinely revealed truth when in fact it is (at best) ambiguous nonsense of which the most obvious interpretation is heretical, is to err, and to err very gravely. So Vatican II erred in teaching something which it claimed was divinely revealed. Ergo.

Quote:
And unless the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium proposed a doctrine as being divinely revealed, there is no promise of infallibility.

You must have written this four or five times. It's erroneous, probably heretical. I'm too short of time to check exactly what theological censure it deserves.

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Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:59 pm
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New post Re: Comments from a non-Sedevacantist
Lance,

The Ordinary Magisterium is not infallible. The Ordinary and Universal Magisterium can be infallible, if it proposes a doctrine as being divinely revealed, and to be definitively held. But short of that, not even the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is guaranteed to be infallible. The following is from Van Noort:

Quote:
Ill. The Fact of Infallibility (2)

PROPOSITION: When the teaching office of the Church hands down decisions on matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent, it is infallible.

This is a dogma of faith.

The teaching office of the Church or, as they say, “the teaching Church,” is made up of those to whom God entrusted the right and the duty to teach the Christian religion authoritatively. The words “in matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent” are included in the proposition because, according to Catholic teaching, the Church's rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fullness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition, and not the historical observations, reasons for the definition, and so forth. And if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith: a doubtful law is no law at all.


The last part is particularly relevant to this discussion due to the ambiguity inherent in the documents of Vatican II. Notice that he says "if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith", which answers a question I raised above when I asked if the ambiguous nature of the Vatican II documents, in and of itself, was sufficient to exclude the guarantee of infallibility. Based on what Van Noort wrote above, it appears that just such a case could be made.

Either way, it seems to me that a person will have a very difficult time demonstrating how Vatican II clearly intended to define an error as being devinely revealed. And if that can't be done, infallibility was no violated.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:10 am
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New post Re: Comments from a non-Sedevacantist
John Lane wrote:
Yes, but that's only part of the relevant doctrine. JSD was making a specific point about V2, and his point only required that doctrinal point, which relates to divine and Catholic faith. The Church is also infallible when she teaches truths which are not directly revealed, and we still have to believe them (e.g. dogmatic facts, canonisations, condemnations of errors, etc.).


Yes, I realize there are primary and secondary objects of infallibility, but certainly even those falling into the category of secondary objects must be clearly proposed in the form of a definition, or at least a clear proposition, in order for infallibility to be engaged with respect to that point. See the above quote from Van Noort, in which he clearly teaches that "the Church's rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fullness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion.... For the intention of binding all affects only the definition...". A vague and/or ambiguous statement will not be protected by infallibility.

John Lane wrote:
Read the condemned texts of Pistoia and then come back and tell us that as long as something is only ambiguous it is not heretical.


I've read it. That is where I got the term "mastered the art of deception" that I used to in my first post to descbribe a certain former Professor from Tubingen.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:40 am
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New post Re: Comments from a non-Sedevacantist
RJS wrote:
The Ordinary Magisterium is not infallible. The Ordinary and Universal Magisterium can be infallible,


No, the ordinary universal magisterium is infallible, period. Precision in the use of terms is paramount. You won't find a theologian making the statement you do here.

If something isn't taught unanimously, or isn't a matter pertaining to faith or morals, then the ordinary magisterium isn't being exercised universally.

Quote:
The last part is particularly relevant to this discussion due to the ambiguity inherent in the documents of Vatican II. Notice that he says "if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith", which answers a question I raised above when I asked if the ambiguous nature of the Vatican II documents, in and of itself, was sufficient to exclude the guarantee of infallibility. Based on what Van Noort wrote above, it appears that just such a case could be made.

No, you're misunderstanding him. He is speaking about ambiguity in relation to the intention to bind, not ambiguity in the text proposed for acceptance.

Quote:
Either way, it seems to me that a person will have a very difficult time demonstrating how Vatican II clearly intended to define an error as being devinely revealed. And if that can't be done, infallibility was no violated.

It is manifest that the text under discussion was intended as a binding doctrinal formulation. Dispute that and you could dispute any definition ever. The only area of realistic dispute is over the meaning of "infallibility" which you have implicitly defined as the inability to teach error clearly. But that's not what infallibility is. Infallibility is the inability to err in teaching matters pertaining to faith or morals. In this case there is clear error - something which is at best ambiguous is presented as the word of God. Pistoia presented ambiguous texts covering already clear doctrinal areas, and it was condemned as heretical. If you want to understand why this is, just keep in mind that human acts don't occur in a vacuum, they occur in concrete historical circumstances. Therefore to present an ambiguous text on something already clear from earlier doctrinal instruction is to undermine that earlier instruction. It is to obscure existing truth. That is what Vatican II did, and the proper censure for that behaviour is "heresy."

I expect you to withdraw the statements above in which you stated that "not all of the teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are protected by infallibility, but only those that are proposed as being divinely revealed."

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:51 am
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New post Re: Comments from a non-Sedevacantist
RJS,

You need to think about the following argument. It answers your difficulty, but you don't appear to grasp it.

John Lane wrote:
Ask yourself this: Is the doctrine of religious liberty taught by V2 true? The answer is not "yes" is it? Arguing that a text can be understood in an orthodox way is not answering "yes" - whatever else it may be. Yet that doctrine is taught as a divinely revealed truth. Now leave aside technical language and how would you characterise that act of teaching? Was it not at best a mistake? A blunder? Yes, at best. Because to claim that something is divinely revealed truth when in fact it is (at best) ambiguous nonsense of which the most obvious interpretation is heretical, is to err, and to err very gravely. So Vatican II erred in teaching something which it claimed was divinely revealed. Ergo.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:54 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS, you are absolutely wrong on this. The Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is always infallible. When you quoted Van Noort he was talking about the Teaching Office defining Dogmas. It is imperative that you continue reading Van Noort here: http://sedevacantist.com/van_noort_infallibility.html


Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:11 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Points for Consideration

1.) Is the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium always infallible?
2.) Is all that is contained within a council document infallible, or does infallibility only cover the doctrinal definitions contained within the document?
3.) If a Pope ratifies a council, does this act of the Pope guarantee that all that is contained within the council documents are infallible.
4.) If a Pope ratifies a council, does it only render the portion of the documents that qualify for infallibility (definitions or clearly propositions) infallible?

1: The Ordinary and Universal Magisterium:

John Lane wrote:
I expect you to withdraw the statements above in which you stated that "not all of the teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are protected by infallibility, but only those that are proposed as being divinely revealed."


If what I wrote was incorrect, I certainly retract it. I'll look into it and address it later.

Now, based on what you said (which I am going to assume is correct for now) my use of the word Ordinary and Universal Magisterium was incorrect. While that may be so, I still stand by the underlying point I was trying to make, which brings us to the second point for consideration.

2.) Is everything contained within a council infallible :

No. According to Van Noort, not everthing contained within a Council document is infallible, but only those parts of the Council in which a doctrine is being defined.

Quote:
Van Noort: "[A]ccording to Catholic teaching, the Church's rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fullness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition".


Notice that he says within the dogmatic decrees of a Council the theologians must distinguish which parts are infallible and which are not. Ergo, not everything contained within the dogmatic decree of a council is infallible.

Regarding my use of the tern Ordinary and Universal Magisterium: In my prior replies, I referred to the meeting of the Bishops at a general Council an act of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (OUM), which apparently was not the correct use of the term. If what you say is correct - namely, that the OUM is always infallible, and if what Van Noort says is correct - namely, that not all contained within the dogmatic decrees of the Councils is infallible, then we must conclude that not all that flows from a Council comes from the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.

That seems a bit odd to me, which is why I distinguished between infallible acts of the OUM and non infallible acts. But if you are correct, it means we would have to make a different distinguish - namely, between acts of the Bishops meeting at a general Council, and acts of the OUM. We will have to come back to this point later.

3.) If a Pope ratifies a council, does this guarantee that all that is contained within the Council documents is infallible?

John Lane wrote:
No, you're misunderstanding him. He [Van Noort] is speaking about ambiguity in relation to the intention to bind, not ambiguity in the text proposed for acceptance.


If I understand you correctly, I disagree. Read the quote again. He clearly says that theologians have to distinguish within "the dogmatic decrees of the councils... those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition."

If this is so, the ratification of a document by a Pope does not guarantee the infallibility of all that is contained within it, but only those points which qualify for infallibility - namely, the definitions.

4.) If a Pope ratifies a council, does it only render the portion of the documents that qualify for infallibility (definitions or clearly propositions) infallible?

At this point the answer to the above question should be clear. As we have seen, Van Noort clearly teaches that infallibility only extends to definitions within the Council document, since, as he wrote, "the intention of binding all affects only the definition". Therefore, only the definitions qualify for infallibility.

John Lane wrote:
It is manifest that the text under discussion was intended as a binding doctrinal formulation. Dispute that and you could dispute any definition ever.


When you refer to the "text under consideration" are you referring to the entire document? If so, does that mean you are failing to distinguish between "those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation", of which only the former is protected by infallibility? Is it your position that the parts of a document ratified by a council in which we find statements "used simply by way of illustration or argumentation" are also infallible, simply because they are contained within a ratified document? If so, how do you reconcile that with what Van Noort wrote above?

John Lane wrote:
The only area of realistic dispute is over the meaning of "infallibility" which you have implicitly defined as the inability to teach error clearly.


The argument is not over the meaning of infallibility, but over the scope of infallibility. My position is that not everything contained within a council document is infallible, but only that parts in which a doctrine is clearly being defined or clearly proposed as a at article of belief.

John Lane wrote:
Pistoia presented ambiguous texts covering already clear doctrinal areas, and it was condemned as heretical. If you want to understand why this is, just keep in mind that human acts don't occur in a vacuum, they occur in concrete historical circumstances. Therefore to present an ambiguous text on something already clear from earlier doctrinal instruction is to undermine that earlier instruction. It is to obscure existing truth. That is what Vatican II did, and the proper censure for that behaviour is "heresy."


I don't disagree with what you wrote above. Our only disagreement is whether or not the ambiguity within the documents of Vatican II flowed from, what should have been, an infallible act, or merely a human act of the Bishops gathered. Once again, Van Noort says that not everything contained within a dogmatic decree of a council is infallible, which is the exact same thing I am saying.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:13 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Dear RJS,

I agree that not everything in a document of a general council is infallibly taught (although it is all infallibly safe). What is infallibly taught, that is, what the magisterium teaches, is that which is imposed on the faithful definitively and which is within the scope of the magisterium. However these two criteria are really one, because the Church doesn't exercise the magisterium outside of its proper scope. If she does teach authoritatively some point which you or I did not hitherto consider to be within the scope of her doctrinal authority, then we must have been mistaken. The partisans of Port Royale discovered this to their surprise, as you might be aware.

The point, which you appear to be missing, is that in the present case a doctrinal definition was given, and it was manifestly imposed on the faithful, and it was erroneous. John Daly has quoted the relevant portion of Dignitatis Humanae so I'm unsure why you are asking about the rest of the document. And for the sake of clarity, no, I am not saying this is the only purported doctrinal definition in that document.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:37 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
1.) Is the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium always infallible?

Yes, but to understand that assertion you need to ensure clarity of the meaning of the terms involved. The magisterium is the teaching office of the Church. This office has a definite scope which is part of its definition - so that anything outside of that scope is simply not taught by the magisterium. This office is exercised in different ways by different actors with different charisms - the bishops individually, the bishops in common in unison with the pope, the pope acting alone. A lone bishop teaching his faithful is not able to exercise the magisterium infallibly. That is, he may err. All of the bishops acting in unison (including with the pope), when they clearly impose their teaching on the faithful, cannot err. The pope acting alone, when he clearly imposes his teaching on the faithful, cannot err.


Quote:
2.) Is all that is contained within a council document infallible, or does infallibility only cover the doctrinal definitions contained within the document?

Only the doctrinal definitions. However you will not find a sound theologian who will admit that general councils have erred (the Gallicans are a counter-example), and you will certainly not find one who admits dangerous error from such a source.

Quote:
3.) If a Pope ratifies a council, does this act of the Pope guarantee that all that is contained within the council documents are infallible.

The pope's ratification is an essential element of the very council itself. Without it there is no general council, just a synod (which theologians refer to as an imperfect general council).

Quote:
4.) If a Pope ratifies a council, does it only render the portion of the documents that qualify for infallibility (definitions or clearly propositions) infallible?

The ratification renders the gathering a general council, and all of the charisms of general councils then pertain, including infallibility within its proper limits.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:50 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
2.) Is all that is contained within a council document infallible, or does infallibility only cover the doctrinal definitions contained within the document?


John Lane wrote:
Only the doctrinal definitions...


OK, since only the doctrinal definitions within a particular council document are protected by infallibility, are we forced to conclude that only a portion of each counciliar document issues forth from the ordinary and universal magisterium (which, as you said, is guaranteed to be infallible) while the other portions of the same document (which are not protected by infallibility) merely issue forth from the Bishops (the human element of the Church)?

John Lane wrote:
... However you will not find a sound theologian who will admit that general councils have [past tense] erred (the Gallicans are a counter-example), and you will certainly not find one who admits dangerous error from such a source.


That was then, this is now. We are living in unprecedented times in more ways than one. Maybe no former general council erred, but that does not mean a future council could not err when infallibility was not engaged.

What must be established is this: Is it within the realm of possiblity for what is taking place today, to take place within the true Church? Or has the current situation become so bad that a dogma or promise of God has been violated. Have the situation reached the limit that God will permit, or have we exceeded the limit? The question is not whether it has happened in the past, but whether or not it is within the realm of possibility to happen within the true Church.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:17 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
OK, since only the doctrinal definitions within a particular council document are protected by infallibility, are we forced to conclude that only a portion of each counciliar document issues forth from the ordinary and universal magisterium (which, as you said, is guaranteed to be infallible) while the other portions of the same document (which are not protected by infallibility) merely issue forth from the Bishops (the human element of the Church)?

No, that's incorrect. The bishops exercise the magisterium which is to say that their acts are part of the official activity teaching of the Church. Their acts are not merely their own personal acts, but rather they are official acts of the Church.

I really don't understand why you don't point out a flaw in JSD's argument, instead of developing your own theology as you do here, using your own language and then proceeding to assert that all the theologians were wrong because they didn't know about Vatican II and couldn't take it into account. That is so inverted and perverted I don't know where to begin. You really need to read Franzelin, who was Pius IX's theologian at the Vatican Council.

The way to establish what is possible and what is not possible is to read sacred theology and to believe it.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:26 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
I really don't understand why you don't point out a flaw in JSD's argument...


The argument I presented earlier against his article stands. Where I was not precise is that when I limited infallibility to the doctrins that were "divinely revealed", I should have also included those teachings that fall into the category of secondary objects of infallibilty. In either case, they have to be defined in order qualify for infallibility. That was the point I was attempting to make, and, according to what you wrote in the prior reply, it is a point that you agree with.

RJS wrote:
OK, since only the doctrinal definitions within a particular council document are protected by infallibility, are we forced to conclude that only a portion of each counciliar document issues forth from the ordinary and universal magisterium (which, as you said, is guaranteed to be infallible) while the other portions of the same document (which are not protected by infallibility) merely issue forth from the Bishops (the human element of the Church)?


John Lane wrote:
No, that's incorrect. The bishops exercise the magisterium which is to say that their acts are part of the official activity teaching of the Church. Their acts are not merely their own personal acts, but rather they are official acts of the Church.


OK, but do you see the point I was trying to make? If all of the acts of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are protected by infallibility, yet not all that is contained within a particular conciliar document is protected by infallibility, then it must be erroneous for someone say that everything contained within a conciliar document is an act of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium and is therefore protected by infallibility. That makes no sense.

If you have a reply to the above, I would like to hear it.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:51 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
What is infallibly taught, that is, what the magisterium teaches, is that which is imposed on the faithful definitively and which is within the scope of the magisterium.


I need to correct this formulation of my own. It should say, "What is infallibly taught, that is, what the magisterium teaches infallibly, is that which is imposed on the faithful definitively and which is within the scope of the magisterium.

The point, as I have made separately, is that the teaching office of the Church is exercised in different ways by different actors, and with the assistance of different charisms.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:11 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
John Lane wrote:
I really don't understand why you don't point out a flaw in JSD's argument...


The argument I presented earlier against his article stands.

You mean when you made several errors, relied upon an Anglican to explain the Arian crisis, and introduced a side-discussion on the ordinary, universal magisterium in such a way as to ignore JS Daly's point?

No, your argument doesn't stand. It doesn't even kneel. It appears from here to be prostrate and lifeless.

But let's start again and see if you can identify a flaw in the argument put. There's no hurry.

Quote:
OK, but do you see the point I was trying to make? If all of the acts of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are protected by infallibility, yet not all that is contained within a particular conciliar document is protected by infallibility, then it must be erroneous for someone say that everything contained within a conciliar document is an act of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium and is therefore protected by infallibility. That makes no sense.

Yes, but JS Daly didn't make the claim you are disputing, and neither did I, anywhere. So it's a straw man argument. It's as far from our views as your other comment to the effect that we think that at Vatican II the true Church suddenly became the New Church.

Further, it is clear to me that you haven't mastered the relevant theology. It is clear because you don't find the concepts and relevant language suitable to your purposes. If it were in your mind and it made sense to you, you'd use it. For this reason you fall victim to these vague notions which in your mind get V2 off the hook. RJS, you won't get into clear air until you employ the energy and courage to read the theologians seriously and carefully, without preconceived ideas (especially about V2) and simply accept what they teach. Once you do that you can examine contingent facts, such as the facts of V2. But your whole procedure, as your last post made abundantly clear, is to take the possibility that V2 was a genuine council as your starting point and then read the theologians, in a piecemeal fashion, in the light of that assumption. It's circular and hopeless. Contingent facts don't make theology, they must be interpreted in its light.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:29 pm
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New post Re: Comments from a non-Sedevacantist
Dear RJS,

I'll help you out so you can re-put your argument.

RJS wrote:
I am going to briefly summarize the main point of your article ( http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/viewt ... 8267#p8267 ), and then explain what I believe to be an error in your reasoning and subsequent conclusion.
...

1.) First, not all of the teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium are protected by infallibility, but only those that are proposed as being divinely revealed. These teachings alone – meaning those proposed as divinely revealed - will have the guarantee of infallibility. Where does Vatican II propose an explicit error as being divinely revealed?


JSD gave an example and built a case upon it. It astonishes me that you think that your assertion here addresses the article.


Quote:
2.) My second point is that even some of the worst parts of Vatican II (the parts that Traditionalists often point to) are ambiguous enough to allow for an interpreted that is in accord with what the Church teaches. Let me demonstrate this by commenting on the example of an error from Vatican II that you used in your article.

And then you recognise that the example was given, yet you don't appear to realise what you have said.

You proceeded to claim that if the text under discussion can be understood in an orthodox sense, this excuses its author from error. But as I proved, this conclusion doesn't follow. Ambiguity in a matter already clearly taught is heretical, as the condemnation of Pistoia shows. Further, you acknowledge that the doctrine which you extract from the text under consideration is not divinely revealed - it is a truth of the natural order, at best (which I do not concede). Therefore Vatican II erred in presenting a doctrine as divinely revealed which was not divinely revealed.

Now, you need to re-present your argument taking into account these objections, especially the objection that you have missed JS Daly's point!

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:39 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
But let's start again and see if you can identify a flaw in the argument put. There's no hurry.


John,

I am a little busy at work right now and probably won't have time to respond again until this evening. I think our conversation has narrowed things down to the heart of the issue. While I would rather not return to the article at this point since it would probably broaden things out again, I will quote and comment on the following, which hopefully will keep the present conversation within the narrow point we have reached.

Quote:
Most traditional Catholics know that Vatican II taught heresies and other errors. They rightly refuse to accept this false teaching. But when asked how it can be right to reject the teaching of a General Council of the Catholic Church, they reply that Vatican II was a special kind of council; it was non-dogmatic and non-infallible. As such it could err, and did err, and Catholics may reject its errors without doubting the legitimacy of the authority that promulgated those errors. ... The truth is that Vatican II so plainly fulfils the conditions required for infallibility that not even Paul VI ever dared to deny this. Hence if its teaching contains egregious errors against the faith, this fact necessarily calls into question the papal status of Paul VI himself.


He states that Vatican II fulfills the conditions of infallibility, which seems to imply that everything contained within the documents should be infallibly true. Now, maybe JSD didn't mean to imply that, but if not, why does he then refer to those who "reply that Vatican II was a special kind of council; it was non-dogmatic and non-infallible. As such it could err...", as if that position is incorrect?

This brings us to the point we have reached in our discussion: Is it within the realm of possibility that Vatican II erred on a point where it was not attempting to define a doctrine? If we claim that infallibility extends to all that is contained within a conciliar document, including those portions where doctrines are not being defined, are we extending the scope of infallibility beyond what the Church teaches?

Secondly (which hopefully won't diverts us from the first point), if infallibility is not engaged, why would we say it is impossible for a Pope or a council to err? If John XXII erred on a point in which infallibility was not engaged, yet remaining Pope, why would it not be possible for Paul VI to do the same? One could argue that John XXII was not attempting to bind the Church to his error, but it could also be argued that Paul VI was not attempting to bind anyone to the errors of Vatican II, since, as Van Noort said "the intention of binding all affects only the definition", and Vatican II did not attempt to define any errors. If those who rejected the error of John XXII did so without questioning his papal status (but only an erroneous teaching, which was not being presented as an infallible truth), why does it seem unreasonable to accept the papal status of Paul VI, while rejecting the non-infallbile (and erroneous) teachings of Vatican II?

I'll reply this evening and try to cite additional sources for my position. For now, let me end with the entire section from Van Noort in which he addresses the question of infallibility of a general council.

Quote:
Ill. The Fact of Infallibility (2)

PROPOSITION: When the teaching office of the Church hands down decisions on matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent, it is infallible.

This is a dogma of faith.

The teaching office of the Church or, as they say, “the teaching Church,” is made up of those to whom God entrusted the right and the duty to teach the Christian religion authoritatively. The words “in matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent” are included in the proposition because, according to Catholic teaching, the Church's rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fullness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition, and not the historical observations, reasons for the definition, and so forth. And if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith: a doubtful law is no law at all.

Although this proposition has never been defined in the precise form in which it is here stated, it is a dogma of faith by reason of the universal teaching of the Church. Moreover, the Vatican Council did define that the Roman pontiff “enjoys that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished His Church to be equipped in defining a doctrine of faith or morals.”


Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:43 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
John Lane wrote:
But let's start again and see if you can identify a flaw in the argument put. There's no hurry.


John,

I am a little busy at work right now and probably won't have time to respond again until this evening. I think our conversation has narrowed things down to the heart of the issue. While I would rather not return to the article at this point since it would probably broaden things out again, I will quote and comment on the following, which hopefully will keep the present conversation within the narrow point we have reached.


No, please return to the article and focus on the actual syllogism there presented. I'll point it out since you haven't yet noticed it. I cannot for the life of me work out why.

Major: Definition of "divine and Catholic faith" of Vatican I.
Minor: Quoted text from Dignitatis Humanae.
Conclusion: Vatican II defined that all men have a natural right to religious liberty and this is a revealed truth.

But this is impossible, because the Church teaches otherwise. Therefore this was not a true general council. Something essential was lacking. We say, a pope.

It's clear that you have a general theory of the crisis which you find convincing and it is also clear that you are so devoted to it that you can't approach the sede vacante thesis in a useful manner. That is, by finding the common ground and arguing from it. It's also clear that your theory requires keeping your distance from details, because its essence is the distinction between the divine and human elements in the Church, viewed in such a way as to stretch the scope of the human and restrict the bounds of the divine. This, incidentally, reminds me of Brian Harrison's approach.

But this theory needs to touch reality somewhere to test its validity. There are two kinds of reality with which it collides - the first is the actual teachings of the Church as found in the theology manuals. The second is the realm of facts. JS Daly's argument, which you persist in refusing to address, proves something in both spheres. That is, he gives a specific theological truth, and he quotes the actual text of a V2 document.

Quote:
He states that Vatican II fulfills the conditions of infallibility, which seems to imply that everything contained within the documents should be infallibly true. Now, maybe JSD didn't mean to imply that, but if not, why does he then refer to those who "reply that Vatican II was a special kind of council; it was non-dogmatic and non-infallible. As such it could err...", as if that position is incorrect?

This is very frustrating. It's so beside the point as to be ridiculous. No, he isn't claiming that every word of it should have been infallibly protected by the Holy Ghost if it were a true council. He's writing just like the theologians do, assuming that the reader is aware of such obvious and fundamental distinctions. Let me put this in really simple common language for you. We don't care about the bits of V2 which are not doctrinal teachings as such, since there are huge swathes which are clearly doctrinal acts and these are unorthodox.

If you think that nothing in V2 meets the requirements of a doctrinal definition, then you will be keen to demolish the example that Daly gives, won't you? If not, why not? Surely the only reason could be that you are afraid of testing your theory against reality.

Quote:
but it could also be argued that Paul VI was not attempting to bind anyone to the errors of Vatican II

It could be argued. Anything could be asserted, of course. But arguing it would involve specific examples such as that put by Daly and demonstrating that these are defective.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:48 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
No, please return to the article and focus on the actual syllogism there presented. I'll point it out since you haven't yet noticed it. I cannot for the life of me work out why.

Major: Definition of "divine and Catholic faith" of Vatican I.
Minor: Quoted text from Dignitatis Humanae.
Conclusion: Vatican II defined that all men have a natural right to religious liberty and this is a revealed truth.

But this is impossible, because the Church teaches otherwise. Therefore this was not a true general council. Something essential was lacking. We say, a pope.


That's your argument? You'll have to do better than that.

First of all, I disagree that the citation he provided was intended to be a doctrinal definition. It was merely a statement within the body of the document. But , even if it was a doctrinal definition (which I am willing to concede for the sake of argument), the statement is not false. As I showed in a prior reply, man DOES have a right to religious liberty, as long as this is understood correctly. Man has a moral right, based on his "dignity", to practice the true religion. Every single man without exception has this right. We have an example of this "religious liberty" practiced by the early Christians, who disregarded the secular laws which forbade them from practicing the true religion.

Quote:
Leo XIII, Libertas: "Another liberty is widely advocated, namely, liberty of conscience. If by this is meant that everyone may, as he chooses, worship God or not, it is sufficiently refuted by the arguments already adduced. But it may also be taken to mean that every man in the State may follow the will of God and, from a consciousness of duty and free from every obstacle, obey His commands. This, indeed, is true liberty, a liberty worthy of the sons of God, which nobly maintains the dignity of man and is stronger than all violence or wrong - a liberty which the Church has always desired and held most dear. This is the kind of liberty the Apostles claimed for themselves with intrepid constancy, which the apologists of Christianity confirmed by their writings, and which the martyrs in vast numbers consecrated by their blood. And deservedly so; for this Christian liberty bears witness to the absolute and most just dominion of God over man, and to the chief and supreme duty of man toward God."


So, even if the statement in question was “clearly intended” to be a doctrinal definition (which I don’t think it was) it is not false.

Now, a person can make the argument that other parts of that horrible document are indeed erroneous; but, as Van Noort said in the citation I have quoted over and over again, not everything in a conciliar document is protected by infallibility, but only the doctrinal definition. Therefore, whereas DH may indeed teach errors in other places, the teaching in question is only erroneous if you interpret it as saying man has a right to practice a false religion, which is not what the "definition" says.

John Lane wrote:
If you think that nothing in V2 meets the requirements of a doctrinal definition, then you will be keen to demolish the example that Daly gives, won't you? If not, why not?


I just demolished it. If you are not persuaded by my argument, I challenge you to refute it. And remember, we are dealing only with the doctrinal definitions. Although I disagree that the point in question was intended to be a doctrinal definition, for the sake of argument I will concede the point. But keep in mind that any ambiguity present in other portions of the horrible document are not the subject of infallibility. Therefore, you have to show that the "definition" in question is false. Any other possibly heretical statements will not fall under the scope of infallibility, unless you can demonstrate that they are an attempt to define a doctrine.

John Lane wrote:
It's clear that you have a general theory of the crisis which you find convincing and it is also clear that you are so devoted to it that you can't approach the sede vacante thesis in a useful manner.


No, that is not right. I realize we are in the midst of a mystery, and I don't claim to have the answer for it. I have considered the Sedevacantist position, but so far have not been persuaded. I'm not even saying the Seds are certainly wrong. One of the reasons I am here is to test the Sed position, as well as my own. And you shouldn't mind being challenged. Having our positions challenged is not bad. If your position is correct, it should be confirmed; if it is wrong, maybe the error will be shown? Either way it is a good thing. In fact, it is better for a person to find out they have been wrong, than to find out they have been right, since if a person finds out they have been wrong they gain a truth they did not possess.

While I am not a Sedevacantis, I can say that I do expect a future Pope to condemned the last few Popes as heretics and render the Acts of the Papacies null. That is what I think will happen. And if I am alive at the time, drinks are on me.

John Lane wrote:
It's also clear that your theory requires keeping your distance from details, because its essence is the distinction between the divine and human elements in the Church, viewed in such a way as to stretch the scope of the human and restrict the bounds of the divine. This, incidentally, reminds me of Brian Harrison's approach.


I am not sure why you say I am keeping a distance from the details. It is just the opposite. I think looking into the details and distinctions is absolutely necessary in order to sort through the issue. In fact, what I found lacking in John Daly's articles is details and necessary distinctions. I have to say, I was not impressed with the article. By failing to make necessary distinctions, the article gives a false impression. Let me demonstrate that statement with some examples.

Article wrote:
Most traditional Catholics know that Vatican II taught heresies and other errors. They rightly refuse to accept this false teaching. But when asked how it can be right to reject the teaching of a General Council of the Catholic Church, they reply that Vatican II was a special kind of council; it was non-dogmatic and non-infallible. As such it could err, and did err ... This popular explanation rides rough-shod over Catholic doctrine and plain reality. The truth is that Vatican II so plainly fulfils the conditions required for infallibility that not even Paul VI ever dared to deny this.


That statement implies that Vatican II is infallible, and as such could not have taught error. That leaves a false impression since only doctrinal definitions are protected by infallibility.

I would argue that Vatican II did not attempt to define anything infallible. And as my source for that assertion I would quote Paul VI himself who said "In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility..." . I agree with that statement. Therefore, I would assert the following 1) the only teachings contained within Vatican II that are guaranteed to be infallible are those that were defined prior to the council; 2) any errors in Vatican II were not intended to be doctrinal definitions, and as such were not protected by infallibility.

Returning to the article, after showing that the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is also infallible, he claims that Vatican II is an act of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, thereby leaving the impression that all that is contained within Vatican II should have been protected by infallibility.

Article wrote:
We are thus entirely justified in our conclusion that the teachings of Vatican II on matters of faith and morals fulfil all the conditions necessary for the infallible exercise of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium if the promulgating authority was truly pope.


The problem with this statement is that it implies that all contained within Vatican II is infallible, since, according to him, Vatican II was an act of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium. But if Vatican II didn't define anything (which is the position I hold), then nothing new within the documents is a guaranteed to be infallible. Therefore, it is within the realm of possibility that Vatican II taught error, at least the parts that were clearly not intending to define doctrine.


Article wrote:
It is argued that the council was known to be “pastoral” and therefore not “dogmatic” – the two being apparently opposed to one another. As a matter of fact two of the council’s constitutions describe themselves as “dogmatic” and one (Gaudium et Spes) as “pastoral”. But more importantly, pastoral means “after the manner of a shepherd” and it is normal for shepherds to feed their sheep on wholesome pasture. There is nothing un-pastoral about teaching religious truths infallibly. A pastoral council, if it teaches on faith and morals, is also doctrinal or dogmatic in character.


Let me respond to that potentially misleading statement. While it is true "that there is nothing un-pastoral about teaching religious truths infallbily", it does not follow that pastoral teachings are protected by the charism of infallibility. He then says "if [a pastoral council] teaches on faith and morals, [it] is also doctrinal or dogmatic in character", which again implies that all statements of a doctrinal nature within Vatican II are infallible, when in fact only doctrinal definitions are the subject of infallibility.

Article wrote:
What should we think of the claim that Vatican II fails to meet the requirements for the infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium because it does not impose on the faithful the duty to believe its teaching? This argument slips up twice, for in the first place, theology knows no such requirement for infallibility, and in the second, Vatican II in any event made it quite clear that the faithful must believe its teachings.


Again, he fails to mention that only doctrinal definitions of a council are protected by infallibility. And he does this throughout the entire article thereby leaving a false impression.

Article wrote:
It is evident that these ways of communicating religious truth to the faithful seldom express any formal order to believe that truth, but the duty is implicit. On the other hand Vatican II’s “Notification” attached to Lumen Gentium expressly states that whatever “the Sacred Synod proposes as being the doctrine of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church must be received and embraced by each and every one of Christ’s faithful”. Moreover, anyone who cares to consult the 1965 volume of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis can see at a glance that Paul VI promulgated the gravely erroneous religious liberty text and many others on 8th December 1965 with all the formalities that could be required if he had been a true pope promulgating sound and obligatory truth. Here is an extract: “…we order and command that all that the Council has decided in synod be sacredly and religiously held by all of Christ’s faithful, unto the glory of God… These things we edict and prescribe, decreeing that this present letter must ever be and remain firm, valid and efficacious and obtain and retain its full and integral effects…Given at Rome, under the fisherman’s ring…” Indeed there could be no doubting the obligatory character of doctrine so put forth, if only it had been put forth by a Catholic and had not been manifestly false and heretical.


In the above quote, is he claiming that everything in Vatican II is infallible since it was formally ratified by the Pope. If so, he is misleading his readers for the reasons given numerous times throughout this discussion. Even if Paul VI ratified the Council documents with the greatest solemnity, it would not change the fact that only doctrinal definitions contained within the council are the subject of infallibility.

Here is his conclusion:

Quote:
The facts show that the conditions for infallibility were apparently fulfilled, for the bishops of 7th December 1965 under Paul VI were morally unanimous in presenting their teaching on faith and morals to the Church as definitive and to be believed as a consequence of divine revelation itself. If they were not in fact infallible, this can only be because the lynchpin of their consensus, the authority of a true bishop of Rome, was lacking.


Notice the giant leap to the erroneous conclusion. He claims that the Bishops unanimously presented their teachings on faith and morals "as definitive and to be believed". Once again, he leaves his readers with the false impression that the documents of Vatican II as such should have been infallible, and then concludes by implying that, since they do teach error, it proves that Paul VI was not the Pope. This is an erroneousl leap to a false conclusion.

One final point: If you disagree with anything I have written please cite a source to refute it. I say that because after you asserted that I didn’t know what I was talking about, I re-read Van Noort and a few other sources, and everything I read was in agreement with what I already believed to be true. The only point I need further clarification on is the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium. If you have any recommended reading on this subject, please pass it along.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:23 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
First of all, I disagree that the citation he provided was intended to be a doctrinal definition. It was merely a statement within the body of the document.


I don't think you know what a doctrinal definition looks like. It would be an interesting exercise for you to identify some doctrinal definitions of the ordinary magisterium and present them, and then illustrate how they differ from the text cited from Dignitatis Humanae. I emphasise that we are not talking about solemn definitions, but rather those doctrinal instructions which are clear and authoritative and which are found within all manner of authentic documents such as encyclicals, bulls, motu proprios, and even private letters from the pope which are afterwards published in the AAS, and in catechisms issued by local bishops.

Quote:
As I showed in a prior reply, man DOES have a right to religious liberty, as long as this is understood correctly. Man has a moral right, based on his "dignity", to practice the true religion. Every single man without exception has this right. We have an example of this "religious liberty" practiced by the early Christians, who disregarded the secular laws which forbade them from practicing the true religion.


But as I have already pointed out, it isn't enough to show that the text is patient of an orthodox interpretation (which I do not concede). What you must show is that the claim made by Dignitatis Humanae is true. It claimed that there is a fundamental right to religious liberty which requires immunity from coercion by the civil power, and that this doctrine is a revealed truth. This claim is false. Here's the text:

Quote:
This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.


Now JS Daly and I say that the objective sense of this text is that it teaches that God has revealed that man is to enjoy a civil right to religious freedom so that the civil power would be acting outside of its competence if it were to apply sanctions to anybody in relation to religious activities. Frankly, I don't know how anybody could read it differently, it is plain as a pike staff.

This implicitly condemns the whole history of the Catholic Church and her relations with the civil powers, in which she taught clearly in a thousand ways that the civil power not only had the competence to apply sanctions in relation to religious acts, but that she expected the civil power to do this. As one example, the Church always encouraged the civil power to prohibit the external religious symbols and activities of false religions. The Muslims couldn't hold a public service or put up a religious symbol in public in a Christian country. If Vatican II is right, then the Church taught heresy for millennia.

Further, that is how the bishops and Paul VI understood it, which is evidenced from their various doctrinal acts after the Council closed, and especially in the energetic actions of Paul VI to abolish in the various Vatican concordats with hitherto Christian states anything which would establish Christ as King over civil society. Likewise the Novus hierarchy universally condemns historical examples of coercion such as the torture and burning of heretics. Denying the lawfulness of these things is heretical, just as denying the lawfulness of the death penalty is heretical. Yet your not-quite-heretical authorities and their foundational text positively glory in their heterodox views on these things. JPII was so embarrassed by the orthodoxy of his predecessors that he went around apologising for them.

So your argument is that the authors and promulgators of the text didn't understand it, but you do.

Further, you argue that this is not a doctrinal definition which is imposed on the faithful, but it plainly is. "This council declares... (doctrinal statement) ... this dignity is known through the revealed word of God." If that isn't an authoritative doctrinal instruction then there is no such thing. Once again, I repeat, we are not discussing solemn definitions.

Quote:
I have to say, I was not impressed with the article. By failing to make necessary distinctions, the article gives a false impression.

Well you wouldn't be impressed with the theologians then, because they don't make every applicable distinction in every statement either, for the good reason that their work would end up so clogged with subsidiary clauses that nobody could follow the point being made. JS Daly is not only not claiming that every word of V2 should have been protected by infallibility, it is abundantly clear from his presentation that he is indeed only giving one example of a text which should have been. The whole thrust of the article is to refute the common claim by traditional Catholics that Vatican II universally did not meet the necessary conditions for infallibility. Perhaps you should re-read it.

Also, read some more theology and see how theologians classify documents as "infallible" or not. They don't say, "Apostolicae Curae was infallible in specific point X and only specific point X and not in its arguments, reasons, and obiter dicta... blah, blah, blah." There's no need. If the question is whether Apostolicae Curae is infallible or not, those distinctions are all taken for granted.

Anyway, your objections to Daly's application of the term "infallible" to Vatican II as a whole are entirely specious. You think that this shorthand is misleading, but it could only be misleading to an ignorant person, and even then not dangerously so. The truth is that your own thesis is misleading by inaccurately narrowing the scope and manner of teaching of the infallible magisterium, and that is truly dangerous.

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:16 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS, have a read of this thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=714&p=7721

And ask yourself whether you think you could identify a doctrinal definition in the following sources given by Zapalena:

Quote:
Timotheus Zapalena, S.J. (De Ecclesia Christi, pars altera, Rome, 1940, p. 67) :

"The episcopal college, the successor to the Apostolic College, is infallible in proposing revealed doctrine or things connected with revealed teachings, as we saw in the preceding thesis [on ecumenical councils]. But this College is not less present in the ordinary and scattered teaching of the bishops, than in the extraordinary and conciliar. Therefore the bishops are no less infallible when they teach in unison by their ordinary magisterium, than when they exercise the solemn or extraordinary magisterium...

"3. The agreement of the scattered episcopate, since it is by no means as solemn as that of a council, is not so easily perceived; the same is true of the intention to teach from the fullness of the magisterial power. Hence, since in accordance with the norm of Canon Law, 'No matter is to be understood as dogmatically defined unless this fact is manifestly evident', this makes it difficult to discern with certainty in regard to a particular dogma from the Ordinary Magisterium alone. Nevertheless, suitable means are not lacking by which it can be known sufficiently: for example, from catechisms published for the use of the people and approved by the bishops, from encyclicals and pastoral letters, from the decrees of particular councils; or from the fact that the doctrine, everywhere in the world, in sermons to the people, is habitually preached as Catholic, or condemned as heretical ... [sic] Finally, even disciplinary laws and liturgical usages contribute in their manner in showing this agreement."

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:26 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John,

Been very busy at work all day. I should have time to reply tomorrow evening.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:53 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Now JS Daly and I say that the objective sense of this text is that it teaches that God has revealed that man is to enjoy a civil right to religious freedom so that the civil power would be acting outside of its competence if it were to apply sanctions to anybody in relation to religious activities. Frankly, I don't know how anybody could read it differently, it is plain as a pike staff.

This implicitly condemns the whole history of the Catholic Church and her relations with the civil powers, in which she taught clearly in a thousand ways that the civil power not only had the competence to apply sanctions in relation to religious acts, but that she expected the civil power to do this. As one example, the Church always encouraged the civil power to prohibit the external religious symbols and activities of false religions. The Muslims couldn't hold a public service or put up a religious symbol in public in a Christian country. If Vatican II is right, then the Church taught heresy for millennia.


For non-Catholics, do they possess a right not to be impeded in their religious activities by a civil authority in private or are they merely tolerated by the state? It seems to me that a Catholic country has the right to rescind citizenship on account of one's religion and expel them forcing them to migrate elsewhere, unless they choose to convert, but under no compulsion.


Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:28 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Anyway, your objections to Daly's application of the term "infallible" to Vatican II as a whole are entirely specious. You think that this shorthand is misleading, but it could only be misleading to an ignorant person, and even then not dangerously so. The truth is that your own thesis is misleading by inaccurately narrowing the scope and manner of teaching of the infallible magisterium, and that is truly dangerous.


I can think of something even more dangerous, namely, extending the scope and manner of infallibility beyond the limits the Church herself has established. Realizing this danger, the Church itself does not extend infallibility beyond its proper limits.

Van Noort wrote:
“The Church surely makes no mistake when it determines the force and extent of its infallibility, for the greatest of harm would result if the Church, by stretching infallibility beyond its limits, could force everyone to give unqualified assent to a matter about which it is liable to be mistaken.


Before replying to the points you raised in your last reply, I thought it would be good to quote Van Noort on the limits of Papal Infallibility. This will supplement the prior citation I provided, in which he explains the limits of infallibility with respect to dogmatic decrees of popes and councils.

Van Noort wrote:
“Keeping in mind, then, what has already been explained in discussing the object of infallibility (see nos. 85-96), "to speak ex cathedra" signifies two things: (a) the pope is actually making use of his papal office – of supreme shepherd and teacher of all Christians; (b) the pope is using his papal authority at its maximum power. Both these facts must be made known clearly and indisputably….

What is required for an infallible declaration, therefore, is that the pope be acting precisely as pope; that is, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all Christians so that his decision looks to the universal Church and is given for the sake of the universal Church. …

With reference to point b: – A man who acts in an official capacity does not always make use of his full power, of the whole weight of the authority which he possesses by his very position. …Thus the pope, even acting as pope, can teach the universal Church without making use of his supreme authority at its maximum power. Now the Vatican Council defined merely this point: the pope is infallible if he uses his doctrinal authority at its maximum power, by handing down a binding and definitive decision: such a decision, for example, by which he quite clearly intends to bind all Catholics to an absolutely firm and irrevocable assent.

Consequently even if the pope, and acting as pope, praises some doctrine, or recommends it to Christians, or even orders that it alone should be taught in theological schools, this act should not necessarily be considered an infallible decree since he may not intend to hand down a definitive decision.

For the same reason, namely a lack of intention to hand down a final decision, not all the doctrinal decisions which the pope proposes in encyclical letters should be considered definitions. In a word, there must always be present and clearly present the intention of the pope to hand down a decision which is final and definitive.


Notice how limited Papal Infallibility is. Merely approving a document does not imply that everything contained within it is protected by infallibility. And notice that he specifically says “not all the doctrinal decisions which the pope proposes in encyclical letters should be considered definitions”.

To claim that Paul VI violated infallibility by approving the documents of Vatican II is to extend infallibility beyond what the Church itself teaches. Even if a Pope, acting as Pope, approves a document containing errors, as long as the error was not intended to be a final and definitive decision, infallibility would not be violated.

Therefore, the entire thrust of John Daly’s article, as well as his conclusion that a true Pope could not have signed the documents, since they contain errors, is false, and shows a complete misunderstanding of the Church's teaching on infallibility.

RJS wrote:
“I have to say, I was not impressed with the article. By failing to make necessary distinctions, the article gives a false impression.


John Lane wrote:
“Well you wouldn't be impressed with the theologians then, because they don't make every applicable distinction in every statement either, for the good reason that their work would end up so clogged with subsidiary clauses that nobody could follow the point being made…


I’m not saying he should have employed every possible distinction, but only the main distinction that is at the very heart of his position – namely, that only doctrinal definitions contained within a conciliar document are the subject of infallibility. Without that distinction, the article is misleading.

Ironically, John Daly’s article suffers from the exact same defect as Dignitatis Humanae. In both documents, the reader is left with a false impressed due to the fact that a necessary distinction is missing. By failing the make the necessary distinctions, both of the documents gives a strong impression of teaching error.

In the case of Dignitatis Humanae, the distinction between religious liberty for men to practice the true religion, as opposed to a false religion, is not clearly presented. This is a major defect since the “dignity of man” only provides members of the true religion with the "right" to religious liberty, which, indeed, “should be recognized by the civil authority”. By not clearly distinguishing between members of the true religion, as opposed to those of a false religion, the reader is left with the impression that members of false religions should also be free to practice their worship publicly.

John Lane wrote:
“But as I have already pointed out, it isn't enough to show that the text is patient of an orthodox interpretation (which I do not concede). What you must show is that the claim made by Dignitatis Humanae is true. It claimed that there is a fundamental right to religious liberty which requires immunity from coercion by the civil power, and that this doctrine is a revealed truth. This claim is false. Here's the text:

Quote:
This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.


Two things: First, notice what is missing from that quote: The distinction between members of the true religion and those of false religions. If it is interpreted as applying to members of false religions (which , in my opinion, is the more obvious interpretation), the statement is heretical. Second, the citation in question is not “clearly intended” to be a doctrinal definition. Paul VI himself admitted that infallibility was not engaged. And even Ratzinger admitted that Vatican II did not attempt to define any dogmas.

Ratzinger: “The truth is that this particular Council [Vatican II] defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council”.

John Lane wrote:
“I don't think you know what a doctrinal definition looks like. It would be an interesting exercise for you to identify some doctrinal definitions of the ordinary magisterium and present them, and then illustrate how they differ from the text cited from Dignitatis Humanae. I emphasise that we are not talking about solemn definitions, but rather those doctrinal instructions which are clear and authoritative and which are found within all manner of authentic documents such as encyclicals, bulls, motu proprios, and even private letters from the pope which are afterwards published in the AAS, and in catechisms issued by local bishops.


Two problems with the above statement: First, it is not the job of the ordinary magisterium to define doctrines, but to teach what the Church teaches.

Second, you equate “doctrinal instructions which are clear and authoritative” with “doctrinal definitions”. Are you implying that clear and authoritative doctrinal instructions constitute doctrinal definitions that are protected by infallibility? If so, how do you reconcile that with the following quote from Van Noort.

Van Noort wrote:
“For the same reason, namely a lack of intention to hand down a final decision, not all the doctrinal decisions which the pope proposes in encyclical letters should be considered definitions. In a word, there must always be present and clearly present the intention of the pope to hand down a decision which is final and definitive.


At this point it is becoming clear that you do not understanding of the limits of infallibility. By equating “clear and authoritative doctrinal instructions” with infallible doctrinal definitions, you have stretch the scope of infallibility beyond what the Church teaches.

John Lane wrote:
Also, read some more theology and see how theologians classify documents as "infallible" or not. They don't say, "Apostolicae Curae was infallible in specific point X and only specific point X and not in its arguments, reasons, and obiter dicta... blah, blah, blah." There's no need. If the question is whether Apostolicae Curae is infallible or not, those distinctions are all taken for granted.”


What is infallible about Apostolicae Curae is the final and definitive decision the Pope gave to the question. We know the decision is infallible because, to quote Van Noort, “there [was] clearly present the intention of the pope to hand down a decision which is final and definitive”.

Now, when you wrote “They don't say, ‘Apostolicae Curae was infallible in specific point X and only specific point X and not in its arguments, reasons, and obiter dicta... blah, blah, blah’,” was that addressed to me, or Van Noort? I ask because what you are referring to came directly from what Van Noort taught in the citation I provided previously. Here it is again:

Van Noort wrote:
“The teaching office of the Church or, as they say, “the teaching Church,” is made up of those to whom God entrusted the right and the duty to teach the Christian religion authoritatively. The words “in matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent” are included in the proposition because, according to Catholic teaching, the Church's rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fullness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition, and not the historical observations, reasons for the definition, and so forth. And if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith: a doubtful law is no law at all.”


So to answer your question, if we accept what Van Noort taught, the “arguments, reasons, and obiter dicta... blah, blah, blah” of Apostolicae Curae were not infallible, but only the definitive decision itself. Therefore, if you claim that the “arguments, reasons, and obiter dicta... blah, blah, blah’” are also infallible, you have stretched infallibility beyond the limit that the Church teaches.

I will end where I began, with the following quote from Van Noort:

Van Noort wrote:
“The Church surely makes no mistake when it determines the force and extent of its infallibility, for the greatest of harm would result if the Church, by stretching infallibility beyond its limits, could force everyone to give unqualified assent to a matter about which it is liable to be mistaken.


Not only would the greatest harm result if the Church stretched infallibility beyond its limits, but a similar harm would result if individual members of the Church stretched infallibility beyond the limits set by the Church, which is exactly what you and John Daly have done.


Last edited by RJS on Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:58 am, edited 7 times in total.

Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:28 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Going through old posts I noticed an error I made in a post above. I left out the word Universal in this post:


RJS, I think your main problem is you fail to understand that the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church cannot teach ANY error whatsoever. The conciliar church teaches error on a regular basis, it's liturgy is riddled with error and this the Catholic Church can't do. One thing to note is that the error doesn't have to be heretical. If the conciliar church is the Catholic Church then it follows that the Church has failed and we both know that this cannot be.


Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:42 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS, maybe this can help clear things up:
The teaching office of the Church is the Ordinary Magisterium which is comprised of the Bishop's of the Catholic Church including the Supreme Pontiff. When it teaches something that is the same throughout the whole world and it is evident to all that the Church has commited Herself to it, it is the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium teaching and it is infallible. In other words, the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is the Ordinary Magisterium when it teaches something worldwide to all of the faithful.

Does that make things any clearer?


Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:03 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Lance Tardugno wrote:
RJS, maybe this can help clear things up:
The teaching office of the Church is the Ordinary Magisterium which is comprised of the Bishop's of the Catholic Church including the Supreme Pontiff. When it teaches something that is the same throughout the whole world and it is evident to all that the Church has commited Herself to it, it is the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium teaching and it is infallible. In other words, the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is the Ordinary Magisterium when it teaches something worldwide to all of the faithful.

Does that make things any clearer?


Lance,

I just wrote you a lenghty reply and then lost my internet connection. When attempted to post it, I lost everything I wrote. Suffice it to say that the current confusion, errors, and double-speaking coming from members of the hierarchy does not constitute teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.


Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:50 pm
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
Notice how limited Papal Infallibility is. Merely approving a document does not imply that everything contained within it is protected by infallibility. And notice that he specifically says “not all the doctrinal decisions which the pope proposes in encyclical letters should be considered definitions”.


Look, you don't understand this stuff, that's just completely clear to me I'd afraid. Manifestly. I also see why you don't understand it, and it's because you are making the same error the Feeneyites, the Protestants, the Home-aloners, and all others who fall into error make - you use private judgement to interpret sources.

You don't even know you're doing it, which compounds the problem.

You can't read solemn definitions like the one on what must be believed with divine and catholic faith or the one on papal infallibility without the relevant context, by which I mean a study of the whole subject, made with an open mind prior to any strong conclusions. You'll just end as you have ended, which is with a coloured filter before your mind, interpreting everything through it - in this case, even Van Noort, whom you don't grasp the meaning of because you're reading him through your filter.

This is why I suggested you go and find some doctrinal definitions (not solemn ones) in the kinds of sources given by Zapalena (and his list is identical to the list in every other manual). I'll bet you can't find a single example because your understanding of what you are looking for is radically inaccurate. But they are there or the list wouldn't be right, would it? Try looking at catechisms alone. These contain authoritative doctrinal declarations, imposed on the faithful, and which cannot be doubted without leaving the Church. How weird does that sound in light of your present theory of what a definite doctrinal imposition would look like?


Quote:
Therefore, the entire thrust of John Daly’s article, as well as his conclusion that a true Pope could not have singed those documents, since they contain errors, is false, and shows a complete misunderstanding of infallibility.

The irony! :)


Quote:
Two things: First, notice what is missing from that quote: The distinction between members of the true religion and those of false religions.

So it isn't true to say that this is revealed truth, is it? That claim is already a false claim. To assert something simply which is only true conditionally, or in a qualified way, is to err. The statement of Vatican II is erroneous.

Quote:
Paul VI himself admitted that infallibility was not engaged. And even Ratzinger admitted that Vatican II did not attempt to define any dogmas.

Well infallibility has a broader scope than the definition of dogma, as you have already had to concede.
Paul VI didn't admit that infallibility was not engaged. JS Daly showed that this claim is factually untrue in the same article. It's simply not true. If you think it is, please give us the evidence.

Quote:
Second, you equate “doctrinal instructions which are clear and authoritative” with “doctrinal definitions”. Are you implying that clear and authoritative doctrinal instructions constitute doctrinal definitions that are protected by infallibility? If so, how do you reconcile that with the following quote from Van Noort.

Van Noort wrote:
“For the same reason, namely a lack of intention to hand down a final decision, not all the doctrinal decisions which the pope proposes in encyclical letters should be considered definitions. In a word, there must always be present and clearly present the intention of the pope to hand down a decision which is final and definitive.


I'm using the word "definition" in its technical sense of a concise statement of a doctrinal truth. A solemn definition is an act of the extraordinary magisterium. But don't get caught up in this point - I'm trying to help you by using a term about the ordinary universal magisterium which emphasises the clarity of doctrinal formulation which must be employed in order to constitute an infallible act. If you find it too close to the term "solemn definition" and you'd rather I use another term, you won't like the result, because it will be something much broader like "teaching".

Quote:
What is infallible about Apostolicae Curae is the final and definitive decision the Pope gave to the question. We know the decision is infallible because, to quote Van Noort, “there [was] clearly present the intention of the pope to hand down a decision which is final and definitive”.

OK, so please find it in the bull and quote it. Let's see how it meets your understanding of what such a definition should look like.

Van Noort wrote:
“The teaching office of the Church or, as they say, “the teaching Church,” is made up of those to whom God entrusted the right and the duty to teach the Christian religion authoritatively. The words “in matters of faith and morals in such a way as to require of everyone full and absolute assent” are included in the proposition because, according to Catholic teaching, the Church's rulers are infallible not in any and every exercise of their teaching power; but only when, using all the fullness of their authority, they clearly intend to bind everyone to absolute assent or, as common parlance puts it, when they “define” something in matters pertaining to the Christian religion. That is why all theologians distinguish in the dogmatic decrees of the councils or [b]of the popes between those things set forth therein by way of definition and those used simply by way of illustration or argumentation. For the intention of binding all affects only the definition, and not the historical observations, reasons for the definition, and so forth. And if in some particular instances the intention of giving a definitive decision were not made sufficiently clear, then no one would be held by virtue of such definitions, to give the assent of faith: a doubtful law is no law at all.”

This is a passage covering a part of the subject in general. Obviously it will contain all relevant distinctions. We were discussing how a theologian might speak about a specific document in relation to whether it contained any infallible text (I use the term loosely - a text is not infallible, of course, a person is).

Anyway, we're at a stalemate unless you do as I suggest and go off and find some infallible teaching in the various kinds of documents listed by Zapalena.

The text of Vatican II we're discussing so clearly fits the requirements that it is astonisning that anybody could ever have failed to see it. It even uses the word "declare" for heaven's sake, which is usually a clear sign of a solemn definition.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:03 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
Suffice it to say that the current confusion, errors, and double-speaking coming from members of the hierarchy does not constitute teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium.


Dear RJS,

There is nothing unclear about the doctrine of religious liberty taught by all of the bishops of the New Church. The only ones who are unclear about it are people like Brian Harrison and you (i.e. not members of that hierarchy) who are not reading the text objectively.

Have a look at this mumbling misfit, who passes as one of the most conservative and orthodox of the members of that hierarchy, and who is lionised by conservative Novus Ordoites as a great white hope against "real" Modernists. Is is he a proponent of your reading of Dignitatis Humanae, do you think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Kt2PMa4zY

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:35 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
Have a look at this mumbling misfit, who passes as one of the most conservative and orthodox of the members of that hierarchy, and who is lionised by conservative Novus Ordoites as a great white hope against "real" Modernists. Is is he a proponent of your reading of Dignitatis Humanae, do you think?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Kt2PMa4zY


How does he come up with the implied assertion that the SSPX believes that a Catholic civil authority can coerce belief in the Catholic faith? I've never read such a statement.


Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:10 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
John Lane wrote:
RJS wrote:
Notice how limited Papal Infallibility is. Merely approving a document does not imply that everything contained within it is protected by infallibility. And notice that he specifically says “not all the doctrinal decisions which the pope proposes in encyclical letters should be considered definitions”.


Look, you don't understand this stuff, that's just completely clear to me I'd afraid. Manifestly. I also see why you don't understand it, and it's because you are making the same error the Feeneyites, the Protestants, the Home-aloners, and all others who fall into error make - you use private judgement to interpret sources.


It is not I who don't understand this stuff. It is you who don't understand it. It is very clear. You claim I am engaging in private judgment, yet I am the one citing sources to back up my position. Have you noticed that while you keep telling me to read the theologians, I am the only one citing them?

I can't help wonder if, by telling me to read the theologians (when you yourself never quote them), it is you way of giving your position an air of authority. After all, if you claim your opponent doesn’t know what he is talking about, and then suggest he should read the theologians, it suggests that you have read them and do know what your talking about. The problem is, you never quote them. And when I do, your only reply is to say I have misunderstood them.

John Lane wrote:
You can't read solemn definitions like the one on what must be believed with divine and catholic faith or the one on papal infallibility without the relevant context, by which I mean a study of the whole subject, made with an open mind prior to any strong conclusions. You'll just end as you have ended, which is with a coloured filter before your mind, interpreting everything through it - in this case, even Van Noort, whom you don't grasp the meaning of because you're reading him through your filter.


I do grasp the meaning of Van Noort. Is this the best defense that you have? To ignore the citations and simply claim I don't understand them? That is similar to what Novus Ordos do when you quote the Popes.


John Lane wrote:
This is why I suggested you go and find some doctrinal definitions (not solemn ones) in the kinds of sources given by Zapalena (and his list is identical to the list in every other manual). I'll bet you can't find a single example because your understanding of what you are looking for is radically inaccurate. But they are there or the list wouldn't be right, would it? Try looking at catechisms alone. These contain authoritative doctrinal declarations, imposed on the faithful, and which cannot be doubted without leaving the Church.


Yes, but the Catechisms are not defining the doctrines. They are merely teaching doctrines that have either been defined, or are part of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium. You do realize the difference between a catechism teaching a defined doctrine, and a papal or conciliar document defining a doctrine, don't you? Based on what you wrote above, and what you wrote in your prior post, you don't seem to understand the difference.

RJS wrote:
Second, you equate “doctrinal instructions which are clear and authoritative” with “doctrinal definitions”. Are you implying that clear and authoritative doctrinal instructions constitute doctrinal definitions that are protected by infallibility? If so, how do you reconcile that with the following quote from Van Noort.

Van Noort wrote:
“For the same reason, namely a lack of intention to hand down a final decision, not all the doctrinal decisions which the pope proposes in encyclical letters should be considered definitions. In a word, there must always be present and clearly present the intention of the pope to hand down a decision which is final and definitive.


John Lane wrote:
I'm using the word "definition" in its technical sense of a concise statement of a doctrinal truth.


OK, this confirms what I wrote above. You are confusing the act of teaching doctrinal truth and the act of teaching doctrinal definitions, with the act of defining of a doctrine. These are two completely different things.

If you would, please explain to the difference between the act of defining a doctrine, and the act of teaching a defined doctrine.


Last edited by RJS on Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:40 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
Dear RJS,

Some more comments to assist in seeing where you're mistaken and why.

RJS wrote:
I can think of something even more dangerous, namely, extending the scope and manner of infallibility beyond the limits the Church herself has established. Realizing this danger, the Church itself does not extend infallibility beyond its proper limits.

Van Noort wrote:
“The Church surely makes no mistake when it determines the force and extent of its infallibility, for the greatest of harm would result if the Church, by stretching infallibility beyond its limits, could force everyone to give unqualified assent to a matter about which it is liable to be mistaken.


You're taking this the wrong way around. Van Noort is using this as a proof of the assertion, "The Church's infallibility extends to theological conclusions." He is saying that the Church thinks herself infallible in these decisions, therefore she must be so. You are trying to use the text to say that it would be dangerous to extend the scope of infallibility too far. Indeed, it would be, but Daly doesn't do it and neither do I, and this text of Van Noort's doesn't help your case at all, because it's not saying what you think it is.

Here's the whole relevant part of the text:
Quote:
Assertion 1: The Church's infallibility extends to theological conclusions. This proposition is theologically certain.

...

Proof:

...

2. From the mind of the Church. The Church surely makes no mistake when it determines the force and extent of its infallibility, for the greatest of harm would result if the Church, by stretching infallibility beyond its limits, could force everyone to give unqualified assent to a matter about which it is liable to be mistaken. But the fact is that the Church has often and openly expressed its conviction of being infallible in the matter of theological conclusions. It has expressed this conviction at least in an active, practical way, by irrevocably repudiating doctrines which, while not directly opposed to revealed truths, are opposed to theological conclusions. See, e.g., DB 602, 679, 1542, 1748.

Further, note that Van Noort is happy in proving this to rely upon the fact that the Church "expressed this conviction at least in an active, practical way, by irrevocably repudiating doctrines..." Once again, on your theory you'd find it impossible to identify an infallible doctrinal definition of this type. Because the way you read Van Noort's definition of infallibility itself, you think there must be some solemn formula expressing "supreme magisterial authority" and the intention to bind the Church irrevocably. But no such formula is required, just clarity of meaning.

Van Noort goes on to say, in explanation of infallibility, the following:
Quote:
Furthermore, the Church must be infallible not only when it issues a formal decree, but also when it performs some action which, for all practical purposes, is the equivalent of a doctrinal definition.

Now on your narrow and incorrect reading of the definition of infallibility, this statement is simply inexplicable and must be wrong. He is talking about the Church performing actions like promulgating a liturgical text, a prayer, or issuing a law, or re-ordaining anybody from a particular class, such as Anglican clergy. Leo XIII himself points out that in the latter case the infallible judgement of the Church was already clear from her own practice and the failure of some Catholic writers to notice this must be put down to their ignorance of the facts. Yet you will look in vain for what you are claiming is necessary for an infallible teaching - that is, the clear statement that this is binding on all and the clear statement that the supreme authority is being invoked. In such a case there was merely unambiguous actions. Not unambiguous to all, obviously, in the sense that the ill-informed missed the full meaning of them, but sufficiently clear to the learned, that is objectively clear.

Quote:
Two problems with the above statement: First, it is not the job of the ordinary magisterium to define doctrines, but to teach what the Church teaches.

And this is completely muddled. Defining doctrines is teaching. Teaching is defining doctrines. The magisterium, exercised in the ordinary way, just as much defines doctrines as the magisterium exercised in the extraordinary manner.

The same teaching office is in view - it is merely the mode of its exercise, and the degree to which it commits the Church, that varies. The scope, of course, by definition, does not vary at all.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:44 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
JRJS wrote:
Two problems with the above statement: First, it is not the job of the ordinary magisterium to define doctrines, but to teach what the Church teaches.


John Lane wrote:
And this is completely muddled. Defining doctrines is teaching. Teaching is defining doctrines.


John,

The above confirms exactly what I said in my last post (hopefully you saw it). It appears that you are confusing the act of teaching defined doctines, with the act of defining a doctine.

I asked this in my last post: Please explain the difference between the act of teaching an infallibly defined doctine, and the act of defining a doctrine infallibly.


Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:56 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
It is not I who don't understand this stuff. It is you who don't understand it. It is very clear. You claim I am engaging in private judgment, yet I am the one citing sources to back up my position. Have you noticed that while you keep telling me to read the theologians, I am the only one citing them?


You're quoting texts that I published. Or have you forgotten that?

I am trying to make you read them. You won't do so. You insist instead on taking your theory to them, selecting the bits that confirm your mistaken notions, then pasting those bits in here.

You're either trying to convince me or not. I'm telling you that your arguments are totally unconvincing because they don't accord with what the theologians actually say. Or are you just trying to win an argument? I haven't got time for arguing for the sake of it.

My whole purpose here is to take you on face value, as expressed in your first post on this thread, which is that you don't find the sedevacantist position convincing for specific reasons. My answer is, go and read about infallibility thoroughly, accepting what the authorities say, without any preconceived theory of your own. Then come back and put your case based on what they say.

Quote:
I can't help wonder if, by telling me to read the theologians (when you yourself never quote them), it is you way of giving your position an air of authority. After all, if you claim your opponent doesn’t know what he is talking about, and then suggest he should read the theologians, it suggests that you have read them and do know what your talking about. The problem is, you never quote them. And when I do, your only reply is to say I have misunderstood them.

I am claiming that I have studied these matters deeply and that I understand them well. I am claiming that. This is my forum and I can make that claim. If I didn't claim it, I wouldn't have the forum at all. If it wasn't plausible, nobody would come here to ask questions and put objections.

Now it is perfectly possible that I am deluded fellow who is off with the fairies, and worse, that I have compounded the delusion with the disastrous notion that I am actually possessed of real knowledge. That's quite possible. But if it's true, why are you here at all? If it's true, I can't help you.

The only rational approach to this is to act on the hypothesis that I am capable of assisting you, and then follow my advice. If you won't do the latter, you don't really think the former. And if you don't think the former, what are you really up to?

Quote:
I do grasp the meaning of Van Noort. Is this the best defense that you have? To ignore the citations and simply claim I don't understand them?

It's not a defence. It's an attempt to assist you with what you say is your objective.


Quote:
Yes, but the Catechisms are not defining the doctrines. They are merely teaching doctrines that have either been defined, or are part of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium. You do realize the difference between a catechism teaching a doctrine, and a papal or conciliar document in which a doctrine is defined, don't you? Based on what you wrote above, and what you wrote in your prior post, you don't seem to understand the difference.

When you have read the theologians, come back and explain concisely the difference between a doctrine taught infallibly via catechisms, and one taught infallibly by the ordinary, universal, magisterium via some other instrument. At present, you simply can't even say what the difference is. Yet you assert that I don't understand the difference. Hint: there is no difference insofar as catechisms are real instruments of the magisterium and the magisterium is just as infallible when it uses those instruments as when it uses any other.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:04 am
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New post Re: Strongest arguments against sedevacantism
RJS wrote:
I asked this in my last post: Please explain the difference between the act of teaching an infallibly defined doctine, and the act of defining a doctrine infallibly.


Why? You're the one claiming that there's a difference. I don't see what it is, except on the hypothesis that you reduce infallibility to solemn definitions.

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:07 am
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