hans kung, papal infallibility, vatican 2 and so on...

bananabrain

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hi, this is mostly for thomas, but also for anyone else that's interested. i just read two histories of the papacy on holiday, one of which being by hans kung, the eminent catholic theologian.

Hans Küng - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

i was struck by his analysis of the period of john paul ii as being basically regressive and illiberal, despite gesture politics towards ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, which seems to be continuing under benedict xvi; i was wondering how people feel about this.

is the legacy of vatican 2 being undermined by support for ultra-conservative sects like opus dei, hidebound rejectionism vis-a-vis abortion, contraception, women priests, celibacy and divorce, supersition (think sacred heart of jesus and 500 new saints), revisionism (e.g. canonising pius xii, the tridentine rite) and, most of all papal infallibility?

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
as a non practising lapsed catholic non-theologian...

I think the legacy of vatican 2 IS being undermined by ultra-othrodox church leaders...

for me, JP2 laid the foundations for modern catholics, and I had hoped our new pope would take up the reins and make the church more worthy of its "catholic" descriptor...
 
Hi bananabrain,

hi, this is mostly for thomas, but also for anyone else that's interested. i just read two histories of the papacy on holiday, one of which being by hans kung, the eminent catholic theologian. i was struck by his analysis of the period of john paul ii as being basically regressive and illiberal, despite gesture politics towards ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, which seems to be continuing under benedict xvi; i was wondering how people feel about this.

Gee, thanks pal ...

I haven't read Küng, so can't comment on what he said, so all I can do is comment generally on my view of the papacy subsequent to Vatican II.

Pope John XXIII kicked off the Council in '63 in an attempt to "let some fresh air into the Church" and to promote an aggiornamento, which translates as "bringing up to date". Bearing in mind this was the 60s, such a concept was open to a multitude of interpretations, and inevitably there was a broad range of opinion as to what that term meant, and what should be done. It's a huge subject, but I'll give you my views. Bear in mind I'm an old fart and a traditionalist ...

Two things about Councils. One is that historically they were only ever called in response to some order of crisis, when there is a need for a response, a statement from the Church as whole on a matter of faith and/or morals, on what is orthodox Catholic faith and what is not. Thus they tended to put forth a more precise definition of doctrine. It's a fundamental truth of the history of the councils that they never 'invent' new doctrines, but rather affirm, restate, and define in greater scope, depth and detail, that which always has been the Fides Qua, the Rule of Faith.

What Vatican II inaugurated was the view not of 'the church against the world' — ecclesia contra mundum — but rather of 'the church in the world' — and thus as well as opening windows, there was to be an opening of doors. What was never intended, but what many tried to engineer, was to throw out the principles on which the Church had stood for two millenia.

For example. VII allowed for Mass to be said in the vernacular. What emerged, somehow, was the banning of the Latin Mass. That was not intended, and was then and is now not the case. Yet I recall being at Mass, as a child, and being asked to pray for those 'misguided souls' who requested the Latin Mass to continue. Lets think about that: Most parishes (in those days) celebrated the mass three/four times on a Sunday. Was it too much to ask that one of those be in Latin? Or once a month? Assuming the mid-morning mass a family mass, why not the early morning, the evening? Yet today, the amount of criticism from people who do not even go to mass about Pope Benedict's suggestion that the Latin Mass be reinstituted, is quite amazing. But back to the plot ... within a year, the Latin mass was effectively outlawed.

And so it went on. The liberalising element just threw stuff out wholesale, and we're still suffering the fallout, not least of all a major schism in France, and the decimation of congregations across the board. One aspect you're probably aware of is the sexual disorders among the American clergy, which dates back to the liberal policies governing American seminaries in the 70s. It's a known fact that is surfacing only now, that anyone showing a 'genuine vocation to serve God' was considered suspect by the seminarian intakes, whilst those with an open 'it's all relative' outlook were welcomed. I can cite research if anyone wants.

So is the Churc h following VII 'regressive' and 'illiberal'? Not really. In many ways it was very progressive — but unless you read its Consitutional Documents, you won't see it. They are major works of theological insight that still provide a rich seam of enquiry ...

But what annoys people is that the Church elected not to 'swing' with everyone else in the 60s. Opening the windows did not mean 'let it all hang out' nor did it mean 'do your own thing' which was the litany of the 60s movements — In short, the Church decided not to succumb to the Philosophy of Relativism that was to shape Western thinking for the rest of the century. A philosophy which is now showing itself to be somewhat creaky...

The theologians of the Ressourcement Theologie were the architects then of Vatican II's aggiornamento — The Dominican Yves Congar was one of those called to Rome to take part, after 15 years on the Index, in bringing the Church 'up to date'. They saw their task required them to go back to the very roots of Christianity, to mine the rich seams of spirituality to enlighten a teaching that had become rigid, sterile, dry and enervated. This was the fresh air John XXIII wanted in, a Church that was actively, openly, and visibly engaged — at all levels — with its central Mysteries, rather than a church which was in danger of becoming a scholastic anachronism, an ethical humanism with liturgical overtones.

No doubt Hans Küng saw it another way ... but heck ... what does he know, anyway?

One closing comment, on contentious subjects ... the question of a female priesthood, say. Intellectuals usually have the best arguments, or at the least can make a good argument, but they do not always reflect what the majority of the people want, rather they present what seems to them reasonable, and logical, and assume that the less intelligent should fall in line with their thinking. A female priesthood in the Anglican Church has split the church in two and led to a flood of Anglicans joining Catholic orders. The argument over homosexuality overshadows every other concern the church might have. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has complained bitterly that infatuation with sex has blined the church to every other concern, and I agree, and see it in my own Church ... not that we should reverse our teachings, far from it ... but there is hunger, and poverty, and injustice.

The Catholic Church may indeed one day allow a female priesthood — but that time is not yet, and the damage will be worse than the achievement.

Take the recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about Sharia Courts in the UK. Uproar! Demonstrations! Press hysteria! Calls for resignation! Questions in the House! Yet Jews have their courts ... we Catholics have our courts (and remember, we were only let back into the UK about 150 years ago) ...

Academic theologians of every ilk run the danger of occupying ivory towers and are usually not in touch with the people outside their academic institutions. Hans Küng might well be amongst them. Karl Rahner is another. Pope John Paul II was a pastoral theologian, he has the common touch, which is why the media loved him, and that's why he's so popular — Wil, for example, rates him quite highly — yet one look at JPII's theology and you realise that I am something of a liberal! JPII is very Augustine, very Thomist ...

Pope Benedict is the other way round. He's a theologian's theologian, so the media distrust him cos they know he's too intelligent for them, and they set about damning him, before he'd even opened his mouth. Joseph Ratzinger was conscripted into the SS as a 12 year old child ... so he's obviously a dyed-in-the-wool Nazi. Günther Grass volunteered for the SS, but he's OK 'cos' he writes cool books.

I read one review of Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth, in a mainstream UK intelligent broadsheet — which was mostly a negative criticism of ... the structure of the bibliography. He'll never get a decent press.

A prolific author, he has said he plans few documents from the Chair of St Peter ... so far, two, the first on Love, the second on Hope ... any media comment ... zilch. All we've had so far is one out-of-context comment from a 45 minute speech mailed to every Islamic news agency in the world. Result, a nun shot dead within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, union between the Christian denominations draws ever closer (a Copt and I are having greate fun elsewhere), and dialogue with Islam, the Jews, Buddhism, continues ... but the only stuff you'll read is negative.

Thomas
 
Thomas said:
I haven't read Küng, so can't comment on what he said
*wags finger* well, perhaps you should! it sounds to me like he's had quite a tough deal.

Bearing in mind this was the 60s, such a concept was open to a multitude of interpretations, and inevitably there was a broad range of opinion as to what that term meant, and what should be done.
sure, i get that, but i guess at least part of the point of the conference was to try and resolve some of the differences between, say, the conservative bits of the curia and the feedback on the ground.

Two things about Councils. One is that historically they were only ever called in response to some order of crisis, when there is a need for a response, a statement from the Church as whole on a matter of faith and/or morals, on what is orthodox Catholic faith and what is not.
which is presumably why it was VI in 1870 that felt the need to rule on infallibility, right?

It's a fundamental truth of the history of the councils that they never 'invent' new doctrines, but rather affirm, restate, and define in greater scope, depth and detail, that which always has been the Fides Qua, the Rule of Faith.
well, that's a faultlessly conservative answer, but hardly adequate when faced with things that are obviously introduced later on, like "ex cathedra" infallibility and clerical celibacy, both of which are hardly ancient. and what about an even better example, the immaculate conception of mary, which was introduced by pius IX in 1854 - where is that in the "fides qua"?

What was never intended, but what many tried to engineer, was to throw out the principles on which the Church had stood for two millennia.
look, where the principles concerned had been around for two millennia, fair enough - but what about throwing out something like the "syllabus of modern errors", which dates only back as far as 1864? that condemns *socialism*, which i think would have absolutely appalled jesus. what about the index of prohibited books?

For example. VII allowed for Mass to be said in the vernacular. What emerged, somehow, was the banning of the Latin Mass.
this is a fair point about the baby/bathwater principle that you get in all reforms - judaism is no exception. nonetheless, the problem of modernity remains and ducking it is no solution.

a known fact that is surfacing only now, that anyone showing a 'genuine vocation to serve God' was considered suspect by the seminarian intakes, whilst those with an open 'it's all relative' outlook were welcomed.
ok, but you're presenting a bit of a false dichotomy here, which suggests that it's "all change or no change" and i don't think that's what i would be driving at, nor certainly is it what küng intended.

So is the Church following VII 'regressive' and 'illiberal'? Not really. In many ways it was very progressive — but unless you read its Consitutional Documents, you won't see it. They are major works of theological insight that still provide a rich seam of enquiry ...
yes, but that's actually precisely my point - we *should* be seeing it. it does your actual rank-and-file catholics no good at all if it's sitting in a constitutional document, whilst the day-to-day reality in relation to, say, matters of personal status and medical ethics remains hidebound.

But what annoys people is that the Church elected not to 'swing' with everyone else in the 60s. Opening the windows did not mean 'let it all hang out' nor did it mean 'do your own thing' which was the litany of the 60s movements — In short, the Church decided not to succumb to the Philosophy of Relativism that was to shape Western thinking for the rest of the century. A philosophy which is now showing itself to be somewhat creaky...
i don't disagree with any of that, *BUT* instances where the church shows itself to be blatantly unfair, prejudiced or discriminatory cannot be addressed by it.

They saw their task required them to go back to the very roots of Christianity, to mine the rich seams of spirituality to enlighten a teaching that had become rigid, sterile, dry and enervated.
that is *precisely* küng's point. i really suggest you read his book.

One closing comment, on contentious subjects ... the question of a female priesthood, say. Intellectuals usually have the best arguments, or at the least can make a good argument, but they do not always reflect what the majority of the people want, rather they present what seems to them reasonable, and logical, and assume that the less intelligent should fall in line with their thinking.
basically, your line is that he's an elitist and the rank and file don't want it. unfortunately, this is a prescription for a church of the lowest common denominator, which would mean that you would get a brain drain of the "spiritually middle class", leaving you only with the "lumpen proletariat" of spirituality and a bunch of ultra-conservative theologians at the top. in fact, it looks to me like a prescription for schism and, moreover a continuation of the current strategy which, if you ask me, has utterly failed. i take your point about anglicans going catholic over women priests, but you have to admit that the sort of anglicans you are getting are the anne widdecombes, the die-hard conservatives, if i may be so bold. this may work over the short term, but in 25 years where will your young families and the next generation of leadership be coming from?

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has complained bitterly that infatuation with sex has blined the church to every other concern, and I agree, and see it in my own Church ... not that we should reverse our teachings, far from it ... but there is hunger, and poverty, and injustice.
oh, i agree, but there remains injustice within the church, too!

Academic theologians of every ilk run the danger of occupying ivory towers and are usually not in touch with the people outside their academic institutions. Hans Küng might well be amongst them.
i'm not an academic theologian, a catholic or even a christian, so my knowledge can hardly be described as "ivory tower" - küng's programme for change looks to me to be unutterably practical; there's not a word in it that wouldn't make sense to the sort of christian that doesn't see modernity and christianity as fundamentally opposed. i think this accusation of yours is quite unfair. i think you ought to read his book first.

Wil, for example, rates him quite highly — yet one look at JPII's theology and you realise that I am something of a liberal! JPII is very Augustine, very Thomist ...
both of whom are *highly* mediaeval, hierarchical and dated in their outlook if you ask me, from what i've read.

Pope Benedict is the other way round. He's a theologian's theologian, so the media distrust him cos they know he's too intelligent for them, and they set about damning him, before he'd even opened his mouth.
look, i read his actual speech over the "paleologus quote" furore and frankly, it wasn't exactly a fuss over nothing as far as i could see. furthermore, i don't think the orthodox churches or anglicanism are being treated truly ecumenically - all this stuff about other churches being "fundamentally in error" is precisely what i'm talking about, unless i've failed to understand the implications of that. what is more, if he's a "theologian's theologian", surely what goes for küng in terms of ivory-tower thinking should be even more so true for benny 16. i'm more prone to give him a fair deal than most for the simple reason that i know people who know him personally and think he's a good guy and that he's more liberal than he's given credit for. i must say, however, i've not seen much evidence of it so far.

dialogue with Islam, the Jews, Buddhism, continues ... but the only stuff you'll read is negative.
it is hard to know how to take comments such as the one made by r. david rosen (someone else i know personally and have a lot of time for) about the reference to the jews in the tridentine rite, in that case.

remember, i'm not gunning for catholicism or anything, so i think we have the potential for a good discussion here!

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
*wags finger* well, perhaps you should! it sounds to me like he's had quite a tough deal.
Gimme a break!

which is presumably why it was VI in 1870 that felt the need to rule on infallibility, right?
Yes. The Church affirmed nothing more than had always been the accepted rule — well, as she sees it, I suppose I must allow ... but in the end she has to go with her own conscience.

The Magisterium, when it speaks ex cathedra, speaks with the authority of the Ecumenical Councils that were before it. Even before the schism with the East, the Bishop of Rome was given preference in Council.

well, that's a faultlessly conservative answer, but hardly adequate when faced with things that are obviously introduced later on, like "ex cathedra" infallibility and clerical celibacy, both of which are hardly ancient. and what about an even better example, the immaculate conception of mary, which was introduced by pius IX in 1854 - where is that in the "fides qua"?
In those two cases, I think both are. You can trace both back through the Councils and in the writings of the Church generally.

The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is an interesting one. It has been believed since the time of the Fathers, but was only stated in 1854 to clarify the Church's position in the face of question.

The definition gives many reasons, not the least the we believe the dogma is supported by Scripture (e.g. Mary's being greeted by Angel Gabriel as "full of grace" or "highly favoured") and as her role as theotokos.

In 1858 the Marian Apparition at Lourdes announced herself to the child as "I am the Immaculate Conception" which seemed to swing any residual the argument.

But I admit to conservatism.

Did you know the Resurrection of Christ has never formally been defined? Why? Because it's never been doubted.

look, where the principles concerned had been around for two millennia, fair enough - but what about throwing out something like the "syllabus of modern errors", which dates only back as far as 1864? that condemns *socialism*, which I think would have absolutely appalled jesus. what about the index of prohibited books?
Hang on a 'mo. That document considers 'pantheism, naturalism and absolute rationalism', points on which I agree. The term 'socialism' is not (sadly) defined in the document, so one could argue it does not discount social justice — whilst similarly it can be criticised for using 'socialism' in a perjorative context which might owe something to the conservatism of the day.

So I would not throw the document out — I'd define more precisely what I meant by 'socialism'.

nonetheless, the problem of modernity remains and ducking it is no solution.
I don't think it's been ducked. I think it's been confronted, and I think we're still in the throes of that confrontation.

ok, but you're presenting a bit of a false dichotomy here, which suggests that it's "all change or no change" and i don't think that's what i would be driving at, nor certainly is it what küng intended.
I can't speak for Küng. Nor do I mean to imply such extremes. For as many people think VII did not go far enough, many thought it went too far. The Church's first priority is to listen to its people, then dialogue with the world. The 'damage' within the Church was substantial — the sedevacantists and the SSPX under Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre evidence that. There's no point in a Church bending to the will of the world to such an extent she breaks her back.

Someone said a year in the Vatican is like a week in politics ... we never move fast enough, we never move far enough ...

yes, but that's actually precisely my point - we *should* be seeing it. it does your actual rank-and-file catholics no good at all if it's sitting in a constitutional document, whilst the day-to-day reality in relation to, say, matters of personal status and medical ethics remains hidebound.
Whether they're hidebound is a matter of opinion. I think the day-to-day Catholic does see it ... the Liturgy of the Church is a radically different entity to what it was in my childhood.

There was far, far more to the Novus Ordo than a matter of language. I think the NO is great, I think the symbolism is often unfocussed, and I think the English text is often mundane. That's committees for you. If we'd have given it to a lyricist or a poet, it might be something else. I'm a symbolist, but symbolism'ds old hat, too ...

i don't disagree with any of that, *BUT* instances where the church shows itself to be blatantly unfair, prejudiced or discriminatory cannot be addressed by it.
If that's the case, I hope and pray those faults are rectified...

basically, your line is that he's an elitist and the rank and file don't want it.
Not quite so starkly. I'm saying there is a pastoral consideration.

unfortunately, this is a prescription for a church of the lowest common denominator...
In my view that's what the modernisers wanted to achieve.

Benedict XVI has written two encyclicals, one on Love, one on Hope. There's theology enough in both to show how forward looking and clear-sighted the Church is, and how this differs not one whit from what She has always believed and preached. Pope JPII's Theology of the Body is his magnum opus, and that, too, is a philosophically significant document, by modern standards.

The 'traditionalists' who have ascended the Chair of St Peter have been first-rate theologians with global reputations. One reason why the modernists have not trumped them is, perhaps, their argument is not sound enough? I can't say, as 'we' would refute what they hold to be the case.

I'm saying we're still close to events (by our measure) ... I have to go with my gut, and my gut is with these guys.

which would mean that you would get a brain drain of the "spiritually middle class", leaving you only with the "lumpen proletariat" of spirituality and a bunch of ultra-conservative theologians at the top.
There was a huge shift from Roman to Greek Orthodoxy after VII. I looked there first, before returning to Rome. It was because I would have no voice there, that I sided with Rome, too, believe it or not. Theological debate has always been full-on in Rome, that's why so much publicity ... the Orthodox have criticised us heavily for that ... they think we have a tendency to ask questions on topics which should be left in reverential silence.

What the Church wanted then I think, and needs more than ever now, is a Sense of the Sacred. We lost more than we gained in that department, by 'de-mystifying' the Church, forgetting that the central articles of faith are in a Mystery.

My complaint with the Novus Ordo and all the modern liturgical practices, is that there is a danger of the congregation celebrating the fact that it's there, rather than what it's there for ... more social Christianity than Spiritual Christianity ... more spirit than Spirit, if you see what I mean.

in fact, it looks to me like a prescription for schism and, moreover a continuation of the current strategy which, if you ask me, has utterly failed.
I don't think so. I think we are recovering from overzealousness, but that's me...

but in 25 years where will your young families and the next generation of leadership be coming from?
From the traditional values, else we're in danger of having to re-build the Church every time there's a shift in cultural trend. These cycles run longer than a generation. You have to take the long view.

oh, i agree, but there remains injustice within the church, too!
Mea culpa.

i'm not an academic theologian, a catholic or even a christian, so my knowledge can hardly be described as "ivory tower" - küng's programme for change looks to me to be unutterably practical; there's not a word in it that wouldn't make sense to the sort of christian that doesn't see modernity and christianity as fundamentally opposed. i think this accusation of yours is quite unfair. i think you ought to read his book first.
True. But I would say he's not the only theologian with a view. I could ask you to read those critical of him, to understand their reasoning ... but I'm not tit-for-tatting ... you're right, I can't comment on Küng as I don't really know his stance.

both of whom are *highly* mediaeval, hierarchical and dated in their outlook if you ask me, from what i've read.
And I've read highly refreshing and modern-looking ... and timeless ... honestly! It's all a matter of opinion. Thomism is still a lively pursuit for philosophers ... I don't think you can write them off.

look, i read his actual speech over the "paleologus quote" furore and frankly, it wasn't exactly a fuss over nothing as far as i could see.
Again, many Muslim authorities supported him ... even if they don't like his total view. He has a right to his beliefs.

furthermore, i don't think the orthodox churches or anglicanism are being treated truly ecumenically - all this stuff about other churches being "fundamentally in error" is precisely what i'm talking about, unless i've failed to understand the implications of that.
No. But I don't agree either. We can't all be right ... and I don't see why that obliges me to say we're all equally wrong ... or pretend the differences don't exist. Many have applauded him for simply refusing to politely ignore fundamental differences and issues.

what is more, if he's a "theologian's theologian", surely what goes for küng in terms of ivory-tower thinking should be even more so true for benny 16. i'm more prone to give him a fair deal than most for the simple reason that i know people who know him personally and think he's a good guy and that he's more liberal than he's given credit for. i must say, however, i've not seen much evidence of it so far.
Let's go with them then!

it is hard to know how to take comments such as the one made by r. david rosen (someone else i know personally and have a lot of time for) about the reference to the jews in the tridentine rite, in that case.

I'll have to read up, bananabrain, sorry ...

Sheesh ... I've got a reading list as long as my arm, and now I've got you to add to it!!

Pax tecum,

Thomas
 
Originally Posted by bananabrain
*wags finger* well, perhaps you should! it sounds to me like he's had quite a tough deal.
Gimme a break!
hehe never want to be on the wrong end of a BB *wags finger* or Harrumph or herr herr herr or when he beats his rod to the ground repeatedly.

gotta say I love those.

and equally as much Thomas's responses..

great conversation to watch guys
 
Thomas said:
Gimme a break!
hehe - ok, sour grapes and all that, but it sounds to me like he definitely has reason to be fecked off with the current incumbent.

The Church affirmed nothing more than had always been the accepted rule
i believe there were two famous cases of errant popes still being discussed at VI in 1870, though they were eventually ignored. and honorius I was condemned as a heretic by three ecumenical councils in the C7th, which was reconfirmed by his successor leo II, which doesn't sound like an accepted rule to me. küng is apparently unable to date infallibility earlier than 1377 when it was introduced by a franciscan called petrus olivi.

The Magisterium, when it speaks ex cathedra, speaks with the authority of the Ecumenical Councils that were before it.
ok, that's the current definition - what i am saying, however, is that for the first millennium nobody regarded the bishop of rome as having "special inspiration from the holy spirit".

Even before the schism with the East, the Bishop of Rome was given preference in Council.
but weren't the legates of leo the great, the first great promulgator of roman primacy, refused precedence at the council of chalcedon in 451? in fact, leo's letter on the relationship between the human and the Divine in christ was first checked by the council to see if it met their standards of orthodoxy. doesn't sound like preference to me, moreover, constantinople was given equal status at this council.

In those two cases, I think both ["ex cathedra" infallibility and clerical celibacy] are [ancient].
i can concede that a tendency towards clerical celibacy existed from very early on in the western church, but surely the fact that the eastern church allowed it to continue allows us to conclude that it was by no means clear that such a position should be universal until far later and, moreover until after the great schism.

and while we're on the subject, you said earlier about women priests:
The Catholic Church may indeed one day allow a female priesthood — but that time is not yet, and the damage will be worse than the achievement.
yet in the early church and, indeed, up until the 5th century, female deacons were certainly ordained! surely you could countenance a step like that with a view to rectifying an ancient error borne out of prejudice?

The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is an interesting one. It has been believed since the time of the Fathers, but was only stated in 1854 to clarify the Church's position in the face of question.
but where's the *evidence* that it was believed that early? this is the best i can do at such short notice, i'm afraid it's from wikipedia:

The Conception of Mary was celebrated as a liturgical feast in England from the ninth century, and the doctrine of her "holy" or "immaculate" conception was first formulated in a tract by Eadmer, companion and biographer of the better-known St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), and later popularized by the archbishop's nephew, Anselm the Younger.
the C11th is hardly the time of the fathers.

The definition gives many reasons, not the least the we believe the dogma is supported by Scripture (e.g. Mary's being greeted by Angel Gabriel as "full of grace" or "highly favoured") and as her role as theotokos.
there's a bit of a jump from such an to immaculate conception, wouldn't you say?

In 1858 the Marian Apparition at Lourdes announced herself to the child as "I am the Immaculate Conception" which seemed to swing any residual the argument.
some might call such a "deus ex machina" resolution of the issue a suspiciously convenient convenience given the time at which it showed up.

The term 'socialism' is not (sadly) defined in the [syllabus of modern errors] so one could argue it does not discount social justice — whilst similarly it can be criticised for using 'socialism' in a pejorative context which might owe something to the conservatism of the day.
i think you're twisting and turning like a twisty-turny thing here, thomas; what you appear to be saying is that the church was coming down firmly on the side of conservatism, but you are glossing over the fact that the conservatives in question conflated all of these issues in the same way as the syllabus and gave a firm thumbs-down to issues of social justice on the grounds that the poor should be content with their lot - a position which the church, to its shame, supported.

I don't think [modernity has] been ducked. I think it's been confronted, and I think we're still in the throes of that confrontation.
however, the confrontation appears at least before VII to be a high-handed gainsaying of any benefit to be found in modernity.

The Church's first priority is to listen to its people, then dialogue with the world.
so why is it not listening to the large numbers of people that say that the church's positions on abortion, contraception, celibacy and homosexuality are what prevent them from being "good catholics" - look at south america; almost everyone uses contraception there!

I'm saying there is a pastoral consideration.
so am *i*. i am saying that you are ruling large numbers of people out of catholicism to assuage the conservatism of a smaller number of purists - surely the meaning of a "catholic" or universal church is that it should do no such thing?

Benedict XVI has written two encyclicals, one on Love, one on Hope. There's theology enough in both to show how forward looking and clear-sighted the Church is, and how this differs not one whit from what She has always believed and preached.
can you give me an example for discussion?

The 'traditionalists' who have ascended the Chair of St Peter have been first-rate theologians with global reputations. One reason why the modernists have not trumped them is, perhaps, their argument is not sound enough?
deary me, it sounds like you're saying that the right argument always wins without fear or favour! forgive me if i am a tiny bit sceptical of this - i think it flies in the face of human nature.

My complaint with the Novus Ordo and all the modern liturgical practices, is that there is a danger of the congregation celebrating the fact that it's there, rather than what it's there for ... more social Christianity than Spiritual Christianity ... more spirit than Spirit, if you see what I mean.
yes, but you cannot have one without the other; surely your problem is one of degree, not one of substance?

True. But I would say he's not the only theologian with a view. I could ask you to read those critical of him, to understand their reasoning ...
sure - recommend me something for my reading list!

And I've read highly refreshing and modern-looking ... and timeless ... honestly!
perhaps we need to have a separate discussion on augustine elsewhere!

We can't all be right ... and I don't see why that obliges me to say we're all equally wrong ... or pretend the differences don't exist. Many have applauded him for simply refusing to politely ignore fundamental differences and issues.
to be precise: we can't all be right *if we make universalist claims, particularly of superiority and exclusivist salvationism*. that is the major difference between judaism and its two daughter religions.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
hehe - ok, sour grapes and all that...
I've read quite a critique of Küng that would indicate he's the sour grape, because VII did not buy his agenda wholesale. As ever, there's two sides to every story.

but it sounds to me like he definitely has reason to be fecked off with the current incumbent.
And we've got every reason to be fecked off with Küng!

... which doesn't sound like an accepted rule to me. küng is apparently unable to date infallibility earlier than 1377 when it was introduced by a franciscan called petrus olivi.
Well I think that's Küng's selective — and indeed partisan — presentation of the issue. The evidence is clear from the debate about the wording of the Creed at the Council of Constantinople in 381, because they regarded the Symbol of Nicea, 325, as inviolate. Every Ecumenical Council has always held that what prior councils have stated is infallibly the Rule of Faith.

Also the Pope isn't infallible in himself, as history only too clearly demonstrates. The Office is infallible.

No papal constitutional ruling on doctrine has ever been made by a pope in isolation — always in discussion with the Church.

Technically, the pope — as first amongst equals — speaks for the whole Church, all the bishops but, technically, when all the Bishops are in unison, they can in theory over-rule a pope. The situation has never arisen, so we don't know what would happen if it did.

ok, that's the current definition - what i am saying, however, is that for the first millennium nobody regarded the bishop of rome as having "special inspiration from the holy spirit".
Oh, bananabrain! I'm not trying to trump you, mate ... but you have been given a one-sided view of the argument:

Council of Sardica 342:
"If any bishop loses the judgement in some case [decided by his fellow bishops] and still believes that he has not a bad but a good case, in order that the case may be judged anew ... let us honour the memory of the apostle Peter by having those who have given the judgement write to Julius, Bishop of Rome, so that if it seem proper he may himself send arbiters ..." .

"If some bishop be deposed by the judgement of the bishops sitting in the neighborhood ... another should not be appointed to his see until the bishop of Rome can be acquainted with the case and render a judgement"

Optatus of Milevus 367
"In the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head ... the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would [presume to] set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner... "

Council of Constantinople I 381
"The bishop of Constantinople shall have the primacy of honour after the bishop of Rome, because his city is New Rome".

Jerome 396
"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails"

"The church here (in Syria) is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own ... while I keep crying, "He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!" ... Therefore, I implore your blessedness ... tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria."

There's loads more like this, that indicate that the Bishop of Rome was always the Primary Seat of the Church.

but weren't the legates of Leo the Great, the first great promulgator of roman primacy, refused precedence at the council of chalcedon in 451?
No, that was at the 'Robber Council of Ephesus' in 449, when the Emperor in the East tried to take control of the Church, by insisting that Constantinople was the seat of the Empire, not Rome. 130 bishops in attendance, one Dioscorus presided, by command of the emperor, and the emperor denied the vote to any bishop who had voted against his support of Eutyches two years earlier.

At Chalcedon 451, with over 500 bishops attending, the papal legate Paschanius was sent to preside. Paschanius refused to give Dioscorus (who had carried out the emperor's command and excommunicated the pope) a seat at the council, and further ordered the reinstatement of Theodoret and that he be given a seat, but this move caused such an uproar among the council fathers, that Theodoret also sat in the nave, though he was given a vote in the proceedings.

The new emperor Marcian wished to bring proceedings to a more speedy end, and asked the council to make a pronouncement on the doctrine of the Incarnation before continuing the trial. The council fathers felt that no new creed was necessary, and that the doctrine had been laid out clearly in Leo's letter to Flavian, by then called "The Tome". The second session of the council ended with shouts from the bishops, "This is the faith of the fathers! This is the faith of the apostles! So we all believe! Thus the orthodox believe! Anathema to him who does not thus believe! Peter has spoken thus through Leo!"
Go on, the Latins! ... sorry, b. old chap ... got completely enthused there ... !

I can concede that a tendency towards clerical celibacy existed from very early on in the western church...
In the whole Church ... even the East favours celibacy, but only the West made the rule. So what was desired became the rule.

if you ask me, I can see a time when married men might be accepted into the priesthood, as indeed married Anglicans can take up Catholic orders. But I would see that happening under the Eastern Rule. The fact that priests are married in the East, and the West views their ordination and the sacraments of the Eastern Church as valid, counts for a lot.

The East, on the other hand, is a lot less forgiving ... they regard the West as invalid.

and while we're on the subject, you said earlier about women priests ... yet in the early church and, indeed, up until the 5th century, female deacons were certainly ordained! surely you could countenance a step like that with a view to rectifying an ancient error borne out of prejudice?
Women serve as Eucharistic Ministers today, which is parallel to the diaconate in some respects, without the requirements, so in some ways the argument is invalid?

but where's the *evidence* of the Immaculate Conception? In the Fathers. Not the 11th, more the 3rd. I'll try and dig out some references for you.

some might call such a "deus ex machina" resolution of the issue a suspiciously convenient convenience given the time at which it showed up.
Oh, ye of little faith!!

i think you're twisting and turning like a twisty-turny thing here, thomas;
Of course I am ... 'give 'em an inch, and they'll want a mile' ... so I won't budge even an inch. I'm saying that one words in the heading of a document can be rectified without having to rewrite the whole document, or dismantling the Magisterium!

The Church is surrounded by people who are desperate to shout "Ah! Gotcha!" at any opportunity.

I'm not saying that the politics of the day was right, it was wrong, but I'm not saying the politics of today is right either ... so that fact that certain things offends the modern sensibility does not mean they're wrong ...

however, the confrontation appears at least before VII to be a high-handed gainsaying of any benefit to be found in modernity.
Not at all ... The Church is still hosting scientific debates and issues, what we reject is high-mined statements from secular modernity about what the Church is, or what the Church can and can't say ... there's Christians on this forum who are ready to argue that Scripture is myth, or made up, or this, or that ... we simply say no, it's Revelation, what happened actually happened, you are wrong.

And they can't prove otherwise. They simply assume, on the basis of their philosophy, that they're right, when the philosophy itself has been demonstrated to be far from infallible.

so why is it not listening to the large numbers of people that say that the church's positions on abortion, contraception, celibacy and homosexuality are what prevent them from being "good catholics" - look at south america; almost everyone uses contraception there!
None alone is good, but God.

That's why we're called 'practicing' Catholics! But the reality is that people want the law amended to suit themselves, whereas the Church has always stood on principle, founded on Scripture and the Words of Christ. He was not a relativist, and He would not have stood for relativism.

Not I nor anyone else is without sin. Anyone who thinks himself 'a good Catholic' needs to think about it ... a loyal one, maybe ...

There's always the Sacrament of Reconcilliation — we actually make quite a big deal about forgiveness ... but that sacrament is largely ignored these days, another example of symbolic blindness and and the cult of the self which is so prevalent in modern society.

to be precise: we can't all be right *if we make universalist claims, particularly of superiority and exclusivist salvationism*. that is the major difference between judaism and its two daughter religions.
We're exclusive about the Sacraments, but not about salvation.

The major differences between orthodox Catholicism (Latin and Greek) and post-reformation Christianity is quite profound, and focusses on the Liturgy and the Sacraments ... and I would argue that the history of the Christian denominations marks the history of Revelation becoming subject to increasing limitations according to human reason and philosophical relativism... perhaps I'll do my Masters one that very topic.

Catholic and Orthodox treat Scripture as Absolute, its meaning mediated by tradition, those that follow treat it all as relative and subjective, the truth mediated by the self.

Sola Scriptura is patently a nonsense, as those who championed the doctrine were very quick to burn those who did not agree with their interpretation — so Sola Scriptura means, as long as you read it the way I do.

Sorry Mr B. — called away, a rushed ending to this one ...

Thomas
 
Thomas said:
The evidence is clear from the debate about the wording of the Creed at the Council of Constantinople in 381, because they regarded the Symbol of Nicea, 325, as inviolate.
you might have to go into some detail about what in the creed supported papal infallibility otherwise i won't be able to tell whether this makes sense or not.

Every Ecumenical Council has always held that what prior councils have stated is infallibly the Rule of Faith.
and are you saying that no ecumenical council has ever disagreed with something a prior ecumenical council has said? that seems a little unlikely to me.

Also the Pope isn't infallible in himself, as history only too clearly demonstrates. The Office is infallible.
yes, but i have trouble seeing the distinction beyond semantics - can you give me an example of where the office is being infallible, where the office-holder isn't?

re "special inspiration from the holy spirit":

Council of Sardica 342:
"If any bishop loses the judgement in some case [decided by his fellow bishops] and still believes that he has not a bad but a good case, in order that the case may be judged anew ... let us honour the memory of the apostle Peter by having those who have given the judgement write to Julius, Bishop of Rome, so that if it seem proper he may himself send arbiters ..." .

"If some bishop be deposed by the judgement of the bishops sitting in the neighborhood ... another should not be appointed to his see until the bishop of Rome can be acquainted with the case and render a judgement"

Optatus of Milevus 367
"In the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head ... the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would [presume to] set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner... "

Council of Constantinople I 381
"The bishop of Constantinople shall have the primacy of honour after the bishop of Rome, because his city is New Rome".

Jerome 396
"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails"

"The church here (in Syria) is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own ... while I keep crying, "He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!" ... Therefore, I implore your blessedness ... tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria."
but all of this is about *primacy*, not about *special inspiration*, isn't it?

No, that was at the 'Robber Council of Ephesus' in 449, when the Emperor in the East tried to take control of the Church, by insisting that Constantinople was the seat of the Empire, not Rome. 130 bishops in attendance, one Dioscorus presided, by command of the emperor, and the emperor denied the vote to any bishop who had voted against his support of Eutyches two years earlier.
küng clearly states that the council he means is chalcedon in 451 - i find it difficult to believe he would get something so basic wrong - how do we work out which of these is right? perhaps you're confusing the occasion, or the events i'm describing? obviously, i'm not playing favourites between the latins and the easterners here, i just want to find out what is going on.

The fact that priests are married in the East, and the West views their ordination and the sacraments of the Eastern Church as valid, counts for a lot.
hmmm. i could read between the lines here i suppose, but wouldn't it be simpler to just adopt that principle in the west if the sacraments are valid, then? i take your point about reciprocity though.

Women serve as Eucharistic Ministers today, which is parallel to the diaconate in some respects, without the requirements, so in some ways the argument is invalid?
oh, really? what does being a "eucharistic minister" involve?

I'm saying that one words in the heading of a document can be rectified without having to rewrite the whole document, or dismantling the Magisterium! The Church is surrounded by people who are desperate to shout "Ah! Gotcha!" at any opportunity.
well, i hope you're not thinking i'm one of them. i'm just trying to get insights here in order to work out what my own opinion is.

Not at all ... The Church is still hosting scientific debates and issues, what we reject is high-minded statements from secular modernity about what the Church is, or what the Church can and can't say ... there's Christians on this forum who are ready to argue that Scripture is myth, or made up, or this, or that ... we simply say no, it's Revelation, what happened actually happened, you are wrong.
hmmm... on the basis of what i have seen (not just from the Big K, but other authors, too) i think you're glossing over a great deal of anti-scientific and paleoconservative opinion within the C19th church at least. how about the encyclical mirari vos?

I would argue that the history of the Christian denominations marks the history of Revelation becoming subject to increasing limitations according to human reason and philosophical relativism... perhaps I'll do my Masters on that very topic.
you could say the same about much of post-enlightenment jewish thought; perhaps there's an interesting parallel?

Sola Scriptura is patently a nonsense, as those who championed the doctrine were very quick to burn those who did not agree with their interpretation — so Sola Scriptura means, as long as you read it the way I do.
i agree. in fact, this is precisely why modern islam is running into so many problems - it is impossible to do without interpretation, as the jewish karaites found out!

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
Lol, well that was/is an interesting dialogue between one house and another. Reminds me of a joke. (good one actually). But I'll leave that to another day. Nice to see people debating nice. I actually learned some things. Warms the heart and soul. Bravo Zulu to BB and Thomas. God Speed to both.
 
you might have to go into some detail about what in the creed supported papal infallibility otherwise i won't be able to tell whether this makes sense or not.
No, sorry, that's not the point. Rather, each council treats the findings of a previous council as 'infallible'. The Magisterium follows in that tradition. What has been determined as the Rule of Faith — a dogma or doctrine — cannot be changed. It can be explained in greater precision, but the essential message cannot be altered.

and are you saying that no ecumenical council has ever disagreed with something a prior ecumenical council has said? that seems a little unlikely to me.
Nonetheless, I don't know of anyone who's made that argument stick.

yes, but i have trouble seeing the distinction beyond semantics - can you give me an example of where the office is being infallible, where the office-holder isn't?
Popes have been excommunicated, and popes have been criticised for supporting the wrong party in a debate. The pope is not necessarily the most intelligent person in the whole church.

A statement ex cathedra is issued by the pope as the head of the Church, but it is a statement of what the Church believes.

Pope Benedict has written two encyclicals, and these join the corpus of doctrine — as statements on the faith, they are infallible. He's also written two books on Jesus Christ, but these are his own meditations, and do not comprise doctrine. They were written with Benedict as Pope, but are not ex cathedra statements, rather simply statements of the Pope's own belief.

re "special inspiration from the holy spirit" ... but all of this is about *primacy*, not about *special inspiration*, isn't it?
The belief of the Church is that She is guided by the Holy Spirit. Her members can err, but She cannot.

küng clearly states that the council he means is chalcedon in 451 - i find it difficult to believe he would get something so basic wrong - how do we work out which of these is right? perhaps you're confusing the occasion, or the events i'm describing? obviously, i'm not playing favourites between the latins and the easterners here, i just want to find out what is going on.
Wikipedia offers a fair summary.

There were (possibly) two heresies going round, Nestorianism and Eutycheanism (both technically very complex). The issues were clouded by translating texts between Latin and Greek, and certain ambiguities resulting from translations. But the Emperor took side against the Pope at Ephesus, and basically anybody who didn't vote the way he weanted, couldn't vote. The delegation from Rome was silenced, and the letter from Pope Leo never read out.

Chalcedon did resolve the matter, but there was schism as a result — the followers of Nestorius had already fallen away (Nestorianism) and Egypt followed (exacerbated by geopolitical pressures as Egypt, the breadbasket of the Eastern Empire, slipped out of the Emperor's control). The Egyptian Christians, followers of the late St Cyril of Alexandria, disputed with Rome, whom they accused of leaving the door open to heresy ... thus the Coptic Oriental Church ... in the last 50 years Rome and Alexandria have resolved their differences, and we are in communion. St Cyril of Alexandria is, for us, the Father of Christology.

But as regards the Papacy, Ephesus is famously "The Robber Council" and Chalcedon is famously the Christological Council which proclaimed "St Peter has spoken through Leo".

The differences are so nuanced, so semantic, so finely balanced of a language that was simply incapable of expressing exactly what it means, that the moment that political pressures entered the scene, these differences were exploded into acrimonious disputes. Each side, in this instance, accused the other of a tendency to heresy, as each professed exactly the same thing, but in a different way ... as the empire fragmented, so the Church was wounded.

hmmm. i could read between the lines here i suppose, but wouldn't it be simpler to just adopt that principle in the west if the sacraments are valid, then? i take your point about reciprocity though.
It's a matter of timing.

oh, really? what does being a "eucharistic minister" involve?
"Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion" are those lay faithful who have been authorized by their clergy to administer and distribute the 'True Presence of Jesus Christ' — the 'Consecrated Host', 'Holy Communion', 'Eucharist' — to other parishioners during, and outside of, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Typically, Eucharistic Ministers can also distribute 'Holy Communion' to those in prison, or to those who are sick and unable or incapable of attending the Sacrifice of the Mass.

A deacon in the Roman Catholic Church is described as one of service in three areas: the Word, the Liturgy and Charity. The deacon's ministry of the Word includes proclaiming the Gospel at the Eucharist (the Mass), preaching and teaching. His ministry at the Altar includes various parts of the Mass proper to the deacon, including being the proper minister of the cup. The ministry of charity involves service to the poor and marginalized and working with parishioners to help them become more involved in such ministry.

... on the basis of what i have seen (not just from the Big K, but other authors, too) i think you're glossing over a great deal of anti-scientific and paleoconservative opinion within the C19th church at least. how about the encyclical mirari vos?
How about it?

But yes, it was a tough time for the Church. One of my favourites, and an architect of Vatican II, was Yves Congar OP — he was on the Index for 15 years, a burden he bore without complaint ... and even after his reinstatement, had some harsh words for those who moved in the shadows of the 'corridors of power' in the Vatican.

There are critics of Küng who point out that his prime motivation seems to be tied in with the fact that his theology wasn't adopted wholesale by Vatican II ... then again he had lunch with Pope Benedict recently I think (recent in catholic terms, could have been years ago!) ... watch this space ...

Thomas
 
Thomas said:
What has been determined as the Rule of Faith — a dogma or doctrine — cannot be changed. It can be explained in greater precision, but the essential message cannot be altered.
well, that's what we believe about Torah, the essential message cannot be altered, but how we interpret and act upon it often seems to change. therefore, if i see a girgashite, even if he's dancing naked on top of a harpsichord singing “girgashites are here again”, despite the biblical (and therefore eternal, unchangeable etc) commandment to exterminate the amalekites and the “seven nations of canaan” - the caananites, amorites, hivites, jebusites, girgashites, hittites and perizzites - which still stands, i can’t carry it out any more because the sages decided 2000 years ago that “sennacherib mixed up all the nations” (tosefta kiddushin 5:6). is this the sort of thing you mean?

Nonetheless, I don't know of anyone who's made that argument stick.
personally, i'm not sure how one might be persuaded to conclude that every single council has been in agreement for 2000 years. or maybe that's just a jewish thing - we diagree with practically everything, all the time, especially each other.

A statement ex cathedra is issued by the pope as the head of the Church, but it is a statement of what the Church believes.
so, what benny 16 writes in an encyclical is necessarily infallible, because it's in an encylical? or are there ex cathedra encyclicals and, er, in cathedra encyclicals?

The belief of the Church is that She is guided by the Holy Spirit. Her members can err, but She cannot.
ok, i understand, but what constitutes a statement by "her", as it were?

But as regards the Papacy, Ephesus is famously "The Robber Council" and Chalcedon is famously the Christological Council which proclaimed "St Peter has spoken through Leo".
yes, but we're still at an impasse unless we can establish which council it was at which the leo's legates were refused precedence.

The differences are so nuanced, so semantic, so finely balanced of a language that was simply incapable of expressing exactly what it means, that the moment that political pressures entered the scene, these differences were exploded into acrimonious disputes. Each side, in this instance, accused the other of a tendency to heresy, as each professed exactly the same thing, but in a different way ... as the empire fragmented, so the Church was wounded.
i understand, but if that's true, how is it possible to say that no error has been made by the magisterium, if we don't know exactly what the language is expressing? i mean, either we're glossing over a difficult issue, or it is clear and there is an insoluble difference of opinion between one bit of the church and the other.

"Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion" are those lay faithful who have been authorized by their clergy to administer and distribute the 'True Presence of Jesus Christ' — the 'Consecrated Host', 'Holy Communion', 'Eucharist' — to other parishioners during, and outside of, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Typically, Eucharistic Ministers can also distribute 'Holy Communion' to those in prison, or to those who are sick and unable or incapable of attending the Sacrifice of the Mass.
so how does that differ from what a priest does with the eucharist and communion?

How about [mirari vos]?
ok then, here are some things that leap out at me, based on this translation (do tell me if it's not a reputable source) - MIRARI VOS

the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority.
it seems to me that this is saying that things the church about natural law can't be wrong, which would presumably mean scientific pronouncements.

it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain "restoration and regeneration" for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune.
couldn't this be restated more succinctly as "there is nothing wrong with the church and nothing about it needs to be changed, nor has anything ever been wrong about it"?

The people therefore must be zealously taught that a marriage rightly entered upon cannot be dissolved; for those joined in matrimony God has ordained a perpetual companionship for life and a knot of necessity which cannot be loosed except by death.
but G!D permits divorce explicitly in the Torah!

This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone.
i'd call that pretty categorical, myself. that puts the church in fundamental conflict with liberal democracy.

Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor. We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice.
and this says that free speech is wrong, doesn't it?

We have learned that certain teachings are being spread among the common people in writings which attack the trust and submission due to princes; the torches of treason are being lit everywhere. Care must be taken lest the people, being deceived, are led away from the straight path. May all recall, according to the admonition of the apostle that "there is no authority except from God; what authority there is has been appointed by God. Therefore he who resists authority resists the ordinances of God; and those who resist bring on themselves condemnation." Therefore both divine and human laws cry out against those who strive by treason and sedition to drive the people from confidence in their princes and force them from their government.
it is hard to interpret this as other than a denial of the legitimacy of any resistance to the unjust rule of any monarch whatsoever, provided that monarch has been sanctioned by the church - and, of course, republicanism is therefore illegitimate. this would presumably also outlaw any form of egalitarian socialism which attempted to remove class distinctions and the authority of a noble over a peasant.

perhaps we might discuss some of these presumably ex cathedra statements?

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
well, that's what we believe about Torah, the essential message cannot be altered, but how we interpret and act upon it often seems to change...
That's it. The job of the Councils is to clarify doctrine to prevent error, or present doctrine in a way more suited to the times in which we find ourselves. What the Council won't do, which really p*ss*s everyone off, is alter doctrine to match the prevailing morality of the day.

As I alluded earlier, I think, the changes in view brought about by the Enlightenment were so radical that the Church was caught without an adequate philosophical response, so the 18th/19th centuries were not our most brilliant times (nor for Western thought as a whole, but that's my opinion). We recoiled into the relative safety of Thomism ... if you read the theologians of Vatican II (and probably Küng felt the same) theology of the late 19th/early 20th century was a very dull, dry affair.

All we could do was counter the relativistic arguments of the modernists with the assertion that man can know Absolute Truth, through the datum of Revelation, which was all a bit dogmatic. Everyone was gunning for the Church, and the result was that any question from within was far from welcome, so theologians and exegetes ducked the big issues.

Only by getting to grips with the new (post-Kantian) philosophies would any reasonable counter-argument come forward. As I have said before, the phenomenology etc., that developed in Europe saw a divide — Continental Philosophy as other than AngloAmerican Empiricism — and the former provides sufficient argument to refute the assertions of the Empiricists as absolute. Now, of course, we have our own philosophers who shred the arguments of Relativism ... Bernard Lonergan's General Empirical Method, or Cognitive Philosophy, for one ...

personally, i'm not sure how one might be persuaded to conclude that every single council has been in agreement for 2000 years. or maybe that's just a jewish thing - we diagree with practically everything, all the time, especially each other.
Yes, i think it is a Jewish thing.

I heard a lovely story from a famous Jewish author/philosopher (an American, you will know him) who recalled growing up in Israel (on a kibbutz?) and all the men sitting round in the courtyard arguing theology from sunup to sunset ... and then one of the women came out cos one of the air conditioners had packed up, and not one of them knew what to do ...

so, what benny 16 writes in an encyclical is necessarily infallible, because it's in an encylical? or are there ex cathedra encyclicals and, er, in cathedra encyclicals?
Yes, didn't make myself too clear.

There are a hierarchy of documents. Scripture, of course, stands above all this. At the top, for example, are Constitutional documents — they define the constitution of the Church. Then subsequent documents refer to the ones above them...

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (to you, young man) has written 2 encyclicals. One on Love, one on Hope. Both are commentaries on the theological virtues according to St Paul ... so faith, love and hope are the top three, cos Scripture says so, and love its 'topest' of all. If you look at the encyclical, its an extended commentary offering a contemporary Catholic interpretation of the Scriptural meaning of 'God is love", and it takes as its baseline Scripture, then the teaching of the Church, saints, philosophers (Plato and Aristotle). So an encyclical is a sure and faithful exegesis of Scripture following the tradition of the Church ... it won't contradict what's gone before. Even though BXVI wrote it, it will have been checked by others to affirm its orthodoxy.

ok, i understand, but what constitutes a statement by "her", as it were?
That's an interesting question, and one that could run and run ...

When all the bishops are in agreement? When all the faithful are in agreement?

The Arian dispute, for example, arose in the people, not among theologians. The politicians took sides subsequently, but what kicked the whole thing off was when the congregation complained to the Bishop of Alexandria that Arius was teaching something that contradicted what they thought they had professed at their baptism.

Then again, the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the particular regard for the Blessed Virgin, has always existed in the faithful in a way that 'won't go away' — so although there is no explicit reference in Scripture to her state of grace, or to her assumption into heaven, it has always been held and believed by the people, down through the centuries. At times the Church has been wary of the Blessed Virgin assuming the status of a goddess among the faithful, and played her down ...

yes, but we're still at an impasse unless we can establish which council it was at which the leo's legates were refused precedence.
The council in question was held at Ephesus, in August, 449. had it been legitimate it would be Ephesus II. It was at the invitation of the Emperor, a friend of the heresiarch Eutyches who taught that Christ's human nature was fully absorbed by his Divine nature, so that there was only one — whereas the orthodox teachig is that Christ is both 'fully man and fully God'. Eutyches had influence with the Emperor, and at the council only his friends and followers were allowed a voice. Dioscurus, the patriarch of Alexandra and supporter of Eutyches, presided. He ignored the papal delegates, would not permit the letters of Pope Leo, explaining how Eutyches was in error, to be read in the assembly. Eutyches was declared orthodox and reinstated in his priestly and monastic office. Those who opposed Eutyches and challenged hius teaching, notably Flavian of Constantinople and Eusebius of Dorylaeum, were deposed. Flavian had been so badly beaten he subsequently died of his injuries and was succeeded by one Anatolius, a friend of Dioscurus. Owing to the gross violence of Dioscurus and his partisans, this assembly was called by Leo the "Latrocinium", or Robber Council, of Ephesus, a name that has since clung to it.

At Chalcedon, the papal legates protested against the presence of Dioscurus, formally accusing him of heresy and of unjust actions committed at Ephesus. He was removed from his seat among the bishops and deprived of his vote. At the second session when the pope's famous epistle was read the members of the council exclaimed that the faith contained therein was the faith of the Fathers and of the Apostles; that through Leo, Peter had spoken.

So sorry mate, but Küng's got it wrong.

i understand, but if that's true, how is it possible to say that no error has been made by the magisterium, if we don't know exactly what the language is expressing? i mean, either we're glossing over a difficult issue, or it is clear and there is an insoluble difference of opinion between one bit of the church and the other.
Well there have been insoluble differences, and thus schism. The Nestorianism, for example. And still, today, the Greek Orthodox would insist that Rome is in error. I happen to believe they are wrong.

so how does that differ from what a priest does with the eucharist and communion?
Only a priest can perform the rite of consecration. The eucharist is then given to the eucharistic minister, the em cannot consecrate the host.

... gotta get on with stuff ... discussion of the rest to follow ...

Thomas
 
the discipline sanctioned by the Church must never be rejected or be branded as contrary to certain principles of natural law. It must never be called crippled, or imperfect or subject to civil authority.
it seems to me that this is saying that things the church about natural law can't be wrong, which would presumably mean scientific pronouncements.
I think that is over-extending the argument. I think the 'principles of natural law' refer to the Magisterium's right to exercise its authority, according to the principles that most people would find acceptable. The Church has only two 'domains' over which She claims authority — faith and morals — that has been the case since day one.

Where the Church will disagree with science is when science chooses to contradict Her on one or both points.

(Without rehashing the argument, the Magisterium had accepted the theory of heliocentrism long before Galileo, Copernicus published his theory with the full support and public endorsement of Rome. What Galileo did was say that heliocentrism proved that Scripture was wrong ... )

it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain "restoration and regeneration" for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune.
couldn't this be restated more succinctly as "there is nothing wrong with the church and nothing about it needs to be changed, nor has anything ever been wrong about it"?
No. She accepts change, there was a Counter Reformation after the Reformation, the Council of Trent was a massive 'root and branch' refoerm, as was Vatican II ... but what she doesn't do is go with the flow. You have to take into accout the order of restoration and regeneration the critics were tralking about, probably restructuring the Church according to the fashion of the day. The Church always measures Herself against Her foundation, the Word ... not against transitory contingency and relatively ephemeral sociopolitical conditions.

The people therefore must be zealously taught that a marriage rightly entered upon cannot be dissolved; for those joined in matrimony God has ordained a perpetual companionship for life and a knot of necessity which cannot be loosed except by death.
but G!D permits divorce explicitly in the Torah!
I know! But Our Guy ruled it! (Matthew 5:19 and 19:7).

This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone.
i'd call that pretty categorical, myself. that puts the church in fundamental conflict with liberal democracy.
Well if it does, I'm right there with the Church. 'Liberty of conscience' assumes that the individual person is superior to human nature as such ... which is a nonsense, to me.

Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor. We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice.
and this says that free speech is wrong, doesn't it?
Does it? I don't think so. We have laws of libel in the secular world, should they be done away with?

One line quoted from a speech by Pope Benedict, taken out of context and sent to every islamic news agency globally, got a woman shot dead within hours. Is that responsible. Was her life a fair price to pay for 'freedom of the press' — even when that press is simply concerned with stirring dischord and ferment? I mean, a world in agreement is no news, is it?

C.S. Lewis wrote an excoriating essay lambasting theologians for just this kind of thing. Remember we are talking in a religious cobntext, and specifically about the Catholic faith. What someone chooses to write about car repair, or Buddhism, is no affair of ours. But 100 years or so later, I recall 'theologies' that had Christ as married, as in a gay relationship with St John, an open relationship with the Magdalene, and all this very damaging to the faith of simple folk ... and all of it a crock of ... It's like the disputre about who wrote the Gospel of John, everyone's got an opinion, and the queue goes round the block, but none of the many contenders has anywhere newar the credibility of John, as the author.

It's not freedom the Church is against, its the irresponsible exercise of freedom, and the lack of responsibility, and today more than ever it's the pursuit of personal fame ... I think you're taking an extreme position on these point, old chum.

We have learned that certain teachings are being spread among the common people in writings which attack the trust and submission due to princes; the torches of treason are being lit everywhere. Care must be taken lest the people, being deceived, are led away from the straight path. May all recall, according to the admonition of the apostle that "there is no authority except from God; what authority there is has been appointed by God. Therefore he who resists authority resists the ordinances of God; and those who resist bring on themselves condemnation." Therefore both divine and human laws cry out against those who strive by treason and sedition to drive the people from confidence in their princes and force them from their government.
it is hard to interpret this as other than a denial of the legitimacy of any resistance to the unjust rule of any monarch whatsoever, provided that monarch has been sanctioned by the church - and, of course, republicanism is therefore illegitimate. this would presumably also outlaw any form of egalitarian socialism which attempted to remove class distinctions and the authority of a noble over a peasant.
I don't think so. It certainly speaks against violence, treason and anarchy ... again, it's a matter of context.

perhaps we might discuss some of these presumably ex cathedra statements?
We can, but you're just getting my opinion, not an expert view ... basically I'd say these pronouncements refer to the practice of the Catholic Faith, although since Vatican II the Rome has tended to address the world.

But I would say the statements are not unreasonable nor illogical, but they will conflict with the prevailing philosophy of relativism, a philosophy which the Church rejects, as Catholics believe we can commune with God, and God can make Himself known to man.

To be honest, I'd rather not have to defend every line of every document that anyone finds objectionable — at least, I can but it will stand low on my list of priorities in terms of organising a response ...

Thomas
 
Thomas said:
As I alluded earlier, I think, the changes in view brought about by the Enlightenment were so radical that the Church was caught without an adequate philosophical response, so the 18th/19th centuries were not our most brilliant times
gosh, thomas, that's actually the closest i've seen you get to a criticism - ever! i should be very proud of myself. and "dogmatic", "dull and dry", "ducked the big issues".... well, i'm not going to make more of your statements than they really imply but you can certainly see my point.

Only by getting to grips with the new (post-Kantian) philosophies would any reasonable counter-argument come forward. As I have said before, the phenomenology etc., that developed in Europe saw a divide — Continental Philosophy as other than AngloAmerican Empiricism — and the former provides sufficient argument to refute the assertions of the Empiricists as absolute. Now, of course, we have our own philosophers who shred the arguments of Relativism ... Bernard Lonergan's General Empirical Method, or Cognitive Philosophy, for one ...
it seems to me that what is generally known as "modern orthodoxy" within judaism has had recourse to similar methodology, a lot of it coming out of places like yeshiva university where thinkers like r. norman lamm have drawn on both scholarly and traditional methods to try and define a place for the traditionally-minded in the modern world - and indeed vice-versa!

I heard a lovely story from a famous Jewish author/philosopher (an American, you will know him) who recalled growing up in Israel (on a kibbutz?) and all the men sitting round in the courtyard arguing theology from sunup to sunset ... and then one of the women came out cos one of the air conditioners had packed up, and not one of them knew what to do ...
hah, that's why the kibbutz movement is insolvent in a nutshell. i expect you mean ideology rather than theology, however (unless it was a religious kibbutz) as most kibbutzniks are a famously practical bunch - in fact the idea that they'd call an air conditioner mechanic rather than try and work it out for themselves, would take some getting used to.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (to you, young man)
hur hur hur. i didn't get where i am today (wherever that is) without a healthy dose of lèse-majésté. of course, that includes referring to sir jonathan sacks, chief rabbi of the hebrew congregations of great britain and the commonwealth, as "chiefy". then again, we often refer to the Big G as "the KBH", or for the more modern-minded, the "HBO" (short for Holy Blessed One). tush and fie.

[what constitutes a statement by 'her'? is] an interesting question, and one that could run and run ... When all the bishops are in agreement? When all the faithful are in agreement?
oh, good, so we've zeroed in on one of those things that douglas adams, of blessed memory, identified as a "rigidly defined area of doubt and uncertainty", as demanded by religious pundits everywhere. of course, jewish theology is one big one of those to start with.

the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the particular regard for the Blessed Virgin, has always existed in the faithful in a way that 'won't go away' — so although there is no explicit reference in Scripture to her state of grace, or to her assumption into heaven, it has always been held and believed by the people, down through the centuries. At times the Church has been wary of the Blessed Virgin assuming the status of a goddess among the faithful, and played her down ...
i can see where the way the arian dispute arose would be problematic. on the other hand, could you not find scriptural grounds to concede that something held and believed by the people (*cough* priestly celibacy *cough*) and which it might be politic to be lenient about (*cough* contraception *cough*) might be something that might assist the church in the long term?

Only a priest can perform the rite of consecration. The eucharist is then given to the eucharistic minister, the em cannot consecrate the host.
i can see where this might provide grounds for some people to stay within the church and others to get annoyed that it didn't go far enough, but yes, effectively outsourcing the labour-intensive bit would be quite a good solution.

I think the 'principles of natural law' refer to the Magisterium's right to exercise its authority, according to the principles that most people would find acceptable. The Church has only two 'domains' over which She claims authority — faith and morals — that has been the case since day one.
is that the same as saying that the church is herself an instrument of natural law?

(Without rehashing the argument, the Magisterium had accepted the theory of heliocentrism long before Galileo, Copernicus published his theory with the full support and public endorsement of Rome. What Galileo did was say that heliocentrism proved that Scripture was wrong ... )
i don't think that's right. i've read up on this recently and galileo went to great lengths to stick to the maths and steer clear of any suggestion that he might be criticising the church; the church however, was definitely claiming that heliocentrism was in contradiction of scripture, which it definitely isn't. read dava sobel's "galileo's daughter", it contains all the relevant correspondence.

You have to take into account the order of restoration and regeneration the critics were talking about, probably restructuring the Church according to the fashion of the day. The Church always measures Herself against Her foundation, the Word ... not against transitory contingency and relatively ephemeral sociopolitical conditions.
hmmm. i fail to see how the paleo-conservatism of the C19th ultramontanist tendency would be at all compatible with jesus' stated position on the poor (and not the "always with us" bit, either) - i would say that it was the condition of the church itself that was already subject to the aforementioned ephemeral sociopolitical conditions and needed to restore its scriptural foundations - spiritual underpinning, if you like.

I know! But Our Guy ruled it! (Matthew 5:19 and 19:7).
in 19:7, actually, both sides get it wrong when they say moses commanded the original command. unless jesus is suggesting that moses is slipping something of his own in (which is prima facie grounds for karet or spiritual excision) the fundamental and original Torah text has been misunderstood. moreover, the case given doesn't cover what happens if it's the wife that wants to divorce. and, either way, i just plain don't see how that is compatible with 5:17-19, but then again i probably wouldn't, being jewish. it just doesn't make sense to me, but then again i'm not christian.

Well if it does, I'm right there with the Church. 'Liberty of conscience' assumes that the individual person is superior to human nature as such ... which is a nonsense, to me.
not at all. not only has philosophy been able to adequately establish that individual liberty of conscience is inalienable (in other words, even if someone has a gun to your head you can still refuse, even though it'll mean you get shot) - but it's not about the person being "superior to human nature", every time i refuse to eat a big mac i demonstrate my superiority but about conceding that the contents of your head cannot be effectively controlled, let alone legislated. the sages recognised this in the mishnah: "everything is in the hands of Heaven - except respect for the awe of Heaven itself".

Does it? I don't think so. We have laws of libel in the secular world, should they be done away with?
oh, can open, worms everywhere, mate. are you seriously contemplating using the libel laws to protect scripture? what happens when another religious group (not even us!) sues the church because they say that the new testament is libellous? in fact, the libel laws stipulate that if something can be shown to be demonstrably untrue and doesn't come under "fair comment", it constitutes an offence. i shudder to think how any scripture would stack up to that standard without all the illustrative hermeneutics.

One line quoted from a speech by Pope Benedict, taken out of context and sent to every islamic news agency globally, got a woman shot dead within hours. Is that responsible. Was her life a fair price to pay for 'freedom of the press' — even when that press is simply concerned with stirring dischord and ferment? I mean, a world in agreement is no news, is it?
so you're saying that what the pope says shouldn't be reported? that's got very little to do with the press and everything to do with populists in the islamic world needing any excuse to get their dander up and pick a fight.

But 100 years or so later, I recall 'theologies' that had Christ as married, as in a gay relationship with St John, an open relationship with the Magdalene, and all this very damaging to the faith of simple folk ... and all of it a crock of ...
and as i recall, the church has conducted itself with considerable dignity in these cases. as much as i consider it unlikely that jesus was unmarried (that would have caused considerable comment in someone over 20 let alone 30) the people coming up with these theories are their own worst representatives imho. but as for it being "damaging to the faith of simple folk", that is at best patronising and at worst disturbingly control-freakish.

It's not freedom the Church is against, its the irresponsible exercise of freedom, and the lack of responsibility, and today more than ever it's the pursuit of personal fame ... I think you're taking an extreme position on these point, old chum.
unfortunately, i find myself forced by the current situation of anti-semitic comment, combined with the new accusation that "jewish control of media prevents free speech when it comes to criticism of jews and israel", to concede that even the right to free speech of holocaust-deniers must be upheld and that a line must be drawn between the legal permissibility of what is, to me, hate speech and the legal impermissibility of hateful action. unfortunately, this isn't terribly clear-cut as yet and hence one can only rely upon the law in a minority of cases. i am afraid that the environment for us is therefore one of extreme vituperation due to "the irresponsible exercise of freedom" - but i'm afraid i cannot concede that any religious group can be trusted to decide what constitutes responsibility in this respect.

I don't think so. It certainly speaks against violence, treason and anarchy ... again, it's a matter of context.
hmmm...except, at the time, the context was republicanism and socialism, so i think it amounts to the same thing, doesn't it?

We can, but you're just getting my opinion, not an expert view ...
you're plenty expert enough for me. besides, if an intelligentlay sympathiser can't understand it, it is hard to see why a sceptic should give it the benefit of the doubt.

But I would say the statements are not unreasonable nor illogical, but they will conflict with the prevailing philosophy of relativism, a philosophy which the Church rejects
oh, straw-mannery, thomas! just because something imputes relative value to something outside the church, that doesn't make it a case of pure moral relativisim. you must concede that there are some non-christian moral standards of which you approve and others of which you don't, where the former is "better", or "moral" and the latter is "worse" or "immoral"! surely the fact that a universal statement such as, oh, i don't know, the hippocratic oath, can establish a standard of morality without reference to catholicism indicates that not all such statements are "pure moral relativism", doesn't it?

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
(Without rehashing the argument, the Magisterium had accepted the theory of heliocentrism long before Galileo, Copernicus published his theory with the full support and public endorsement of Rome. What Galileo did was say that heliocentrism proved that Scripture was wrong ... )
That is a complete and utter falsification, not just untrue but anti-true (that is, very near to the direct opposite of the truth).

The person who asserted that heliocentrism was contrary to Scripture was Cardinal Bellarmine, author of the catechism which continued to be used for centuries afterwards. And after the Galileo trial, when it became apparent that heliocentric literature continued to be printed despite condemnations, a general Bull "Speculatores Domus" was appended to an Index to make clear that not only were the particular books Indexed to be condemned, but "by virtue of our apostolic authority" the Pope (Alexander VII) "enjoined upon all the faithful the duty to abjure the pernicious Pythagorean doctrine that the Earth is subject to a double motion, a diurnal rotation about a central axis and an annual revolution about the Sun". This Bull seems to meet all the Vatican One criteria for an "infallible" declaration, and was hard for the Church to back down from.

It was not until the 1830's that an astronomy book was given an Imprimatur, which discussed heliocentrism with the heading "Modern astronomers now believe...": that is, even at that late date it was not permissible to say that heliocentrism was correct, but only to let Catholic children know what those scientists were believing. Late in the 19th century, under Pope Leo XIII, the catechisms were rewritten, quietly removing geocentrism along with other embarrassing medieval "clinkers": this is when the Baltimore Catechism took shape in America, for example. Conservatives were upset about losing the old Bellarmine Catechism, and the more right-wing successor, Pope Pius X, mollified them by declaring Bellarmine a "Doctor of the Church" (in the rarified company of Aquinas, Augustine, and a handful of others), but without any move back to dogmatizing geocentrism.
 
That is a complete and utter falsification, not just untrue but anti-true (that is, very near to the direct opposite of the truth).
Hi Bob — this is typical of your anti-Catholic polemic.

Let me offer this:

In 1514 Copernicus made available to friends his Commentariolus ("Little Commentary"), a short hand-written text describing his ideas about the heliocentric hypothesis. In 1533, Johann Albrecht Widmannstetter delivered in Rome a series of lectures outlining Copernicus's theory. He received encouragment from Catholics as well as others, and a series of lectures were given in Rome which were heard with interest by Pope Clement VII and several Catholic cardinals. On 1 November 1536, the Cardinal Archbishop of Capua Nicholas Schönberg wrote a letter to Copernicus from Rome:

Some years ago word reached me concerning your proficiency, of which everybody constantly spoke. At that time I began to have a very high regard for you... For I had learned that you had not merely mastered the discoveries of the ancient astronomers uncommonly well but had also formulated a new cosmology. In it you maintain that the earth moves; that the sun occupies the lowest, and thus the central, place in the universe... Therefore with the utmost earnestness I entreat you, most learned sir, unless I inconvenience you, to communicate this discovery of yours to scholars, and at the earliest possible moment to send me your writings on the sphere of the universe together with the tables and whatever else you have that is relevant to this subject ...

Pope Clement VII (1523-34) reacted favorably, rewarding the speaker with a rare manuscript. There is no indication of how Pope Paul III (1534-49), Julius III (1550–1555), Macellus II (1555), Paul IV (1555-59), Pius IV (1559-65), St Pius V (1566-72), Gregory XII (1572-85) or Sixtus V (1585–1590) thought about Copernicus' theory, but as it was then a theory, there was no issue with Scripture.

In 1546 a Dominican, Giovanni Maria Tolosani, denounced the theory in an appendix to a work defending the absolute truth of Scripture. He also noted that the Master of the Sacred Palace (i.e., the Catholic Church's chief censor), Bartolomeo Spina, a friend and fellow Dominican, had planned to condemn De revolutionibus but had died before so doing.

Christoph Clavius (1537-1612) was a leading astronomer in the sixteenth century. A Jesuit, he incorporated astronomy into the Jesuit curriculum and was the principal scholar behind the creation of the Gregorian calendar. Like the Wittenberg astronomers, Clavius adopted Copernican mathematical models when he felt them superior, but he believed that Ptolemy's cosmology was correct.

By 1600 then, there was no official Catholic position on the Copernican system, and it was certainly not a heresy. (When Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake as a heretic, it had nothing to do with his astronomy, but his theological writings.)

I will not address the issues raised about its condemnation. You are materially right, but polemically so biased I'm not going to bother.

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
There has been much controversy over the events leading up to Galileo's trial, and it seems that each year we learn more about what actually happened. There is also controversy over the legitimacy of the charges against Galileo, both in terms of their content and judicial procedure. The summary judgment about this latter point is that the Church most probably acted within its authority and on ‘good’ grounds given the condemnation of Copernicus, and, as we shall see, the fact that Galileo had been warned by Cardinal Bellarmine earlier in 1616 not to defend or teach Copernicanism. The were also a number of political factors such as the Counter Reformation, the 30 Years War, and the problems with the papacy of Urban VIII that served as further impetus to Galileo's condemnation. (McMullin, ed. 2005) It has even been argued (Redondi 1983) that the charge of Copernicanism was a compromise plea bargain to avoid the truly heretical charge of atomism, though this latter thesis has not found many willing supporters.
I recommend one reads the whole article for a balanced viewpoint.

(Especially on the idea of what constitutes proof ... much food for thought.)

It has also been noted that his punishment, a 'house arrest', involved retirement to a sea-side villa, where he finished his writing, entertained guests ... something by which, measured against the norms of the day, the Church can be shown to act with great humanity.

One might also notice that one of Galileo's 'proofs' (in his own mind) of his system of geocentrism — the tides — was later demonstrated to be an error. For this reason Galileo did not receive the total support of his own scientific community.

For a balanced view, I recommend this reference Galileo Galilei (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

By the way, you forgot to mention the ban was lifted in 1822, and that Pope John Paul II famously apologised for the condemnation of Copernicus and Galileo in 1992, and stated publicly that the Vatican was in error.

I am not defending the Church at all cost, any more than I am condemning Galileo ... all I ask is a reasoned and balanced argument, not a continual spouting of Protestant, and latterly secular, propaganda.

Thomas
 
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