Saturday, May 25, 2019

Popes, heresy, and papal heresy


In an interview at National Catholic Register, philosopher John Rist defends his decision to sign the open letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy (on which I commented in an earlier post).  At Catholic Herald, canon lawyer Ed Peters argues that the letter fails to establish its main charge.  Properly to understand this controversy, it is important to see that a reasonable person could judge that both men have a point – as long as we disambiguate the word “heresy.”

What is heresy?

“Heresy” is a word that has both a broader ordinary usage and a narrower technical usage, and both usages have their place.  In this respect it is like words such as “assault” or “robbery,” which have both ordinary usages and technical legal usages.  If a lady slaps a man for saying something ungentlemanly, most people would probably not think of that as an “assault,” but legally it might be classified that way (even if left unprosecuted).  A tax which served to fund no legitimate governmental function would meet the commonsense criterion for “robbery” (the unjust taking of property by force), but no legal code would count it as such.   

There is nothing necessarily wrong with such semantic divergence.  Ordinary usage is not always precise, but the law needs to be.  Hence technical legal definitions don’t always correspond exactly to ordinary usage, even if there is considerable overlap.

The same thing is true of “heresy.”  As Parente, Piolanti, and Garofalo’s Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology says, the word “originally… meant a doctrine or doctrinal attitude contrary to the common doctrine of faith” (p. 123).  The word derives from the Greek hairesis, which means a “choice” of some elements of Christian doctrine out from among the others, which the heretic rejects.  (Heretics, you might say, are the original “pro-choice” types.)  Hilaire Belloc notes in The Great Heresies that a heresy involves plucking a theological thesis out from the larger context that gives it its precise meaning, and thereby distorting it. 

For example, the heresy of Sabellianism treats Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as mere modes or aspects of one divine Person, rather than as three divine Persons.  The reason it does so is that it “chooses” or focuses on God’s unity to the exclusion of his Trinitarian nature.  It rejects one aspect of Catholic doctrine in the name of another aspect.

This is the way heresies typically operate.  They aren’t made up out of whole cloth.  Rather, they start with something that really is there in Catholic doctrine, but focus on it so obsessively and exclusively that they distort it, ignoring other doctrinal elements that balance out the one that the heretic fixates on, and attention to which would have prevented him from falling into error.

Now, suppose a Catholic puts such an emphasis on Christ’s mercy that he takes it to imply that someone in an adulterous second “marriage” can be absolved and receive Holy Communion despite having no intention of refraining from adulterous acts in the future.  This would manifestly be a heresy in the original sense cited by the Dictionary, and in the sense explained by Belloc.  For it would both be an obvious departure from two millennia of common doctrine, and would involve a distortion of the notion of mercy, turning it into a kind of license to sin.

Indeed, it would be an especially perverse distortion, since it would, in the name of Christ’s teaching on mercy, reverse Christ’s teaching against divorce and remarriage – a teaching that Christ enjoined on his disciples precisely in the name of mercy!  For it was, Christ said, only because of their “hardness of heart” that the Israelites were permitted by Moses to divorce, a permission he explicitly cancelled.  So, a permissive attitude toward divorce and remarriage is the very last thing one could justify in the name of Christ’s understanding of mercy.

Does Pope Francis endorse such a reversal of traditional teaching?  The open letter accuses him of this and other errors.  Of course, some of the pope’s statements on doctrinal matters are ambiguous, and in interpreting what a person means, it is only fair to look at the larger context rather than consider an ambiguous statement in isolation.  The trouble, the open letter argues, is that the larger context makes things look only worse for the pope, not better.  For, the letter notes, the pope has made a series of problematic statements, and refuses to respond even to repeated respectful pleas for clarification from some of his own cardinals and from theologians.  Moreover, he praises and promotes churchmen who favor a heterodox interpretation of his words, while criticizing and sidelining those who uphold traditional doctrine. 

Prof. Rist rightly complains of “double-talk,” and of a “servile mentality” among some of the open letter’s critics, who nitpick over details while “diverting attention from the main concerns.”  He might have added that the pope’s defenders have for years now mostly relied on blatant sophistries and ad hominem attacks rather than addressing the concerns of the pope’s critics in good faith and with serious arguments.  They have, given the feebleness of their case, only reinforced rather than defused worries about the pope.  Prof. Rist says: “I am not a canonist... What I am is someone who believes he can recognize intended heresy in word [and] also how the words are confirmed by the actions.”  And if one understands “heresy” in the older and broader senses of the term expressed in Parente, Piolanti, and Garofalo’s Dictionary and in Belloc’s The Great Heresies, one can see his point (even if, as I suggested in my earlier post, it would have been better to speak of papal negligence vis-à-vis heresy).

Who decides?

The trouble is that the open letter does not confine itself to these broader senses of the term.  It explicitly accuses the pope of heresy in the technical, canon law sense of the term.  And in making such a charge, it matters very much whether one is a canonist – which Ed Peters is. 

Now, there are three major problems here.  The first is that the term “heresy” has a narrower meaning in canon law than it does in popular usage, or even in the usages I cited from Belloc and from the Dictionary.  Heresy in the canonical sense entails “the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith.”  The key phrases here are “obstinate” and “divine and Catholic faith.” 

The first point to make is that for someone to be a heretic in the canonical sense, it is not enough that he holds an opinion that is in fact heretical.  He has to know that it is.  That is to say, his opinion has to be formally heretical rather than merely materially heretical.  This is where the obstinacy condition becomes crucial. The idea is that a person can usually be counted as a formal heretic only if he has been warned that his opinion is heretical, and has nevertheless persisted in his opinion. 

Now, the open letter argues that the pope has indeed been obstinate in heresy, but this brings us to the second key phrase.  What is to be believed “by divine and Catholic faith” are doctrines that have been officially defined as such by the Church.  To be sure, there are lots of other things Catholics are also required to assent to, but denying or doubting them would not count as heresy in the canon law sense.  As Parente, Piolanti, and Garofalo’s Dictionary says:

Heresy in the full sense of the word is opposed to a truth of divine-Catholic faith.  If the denial concerns a revealed truth which is clear and commonly admitted as such, but has not been defined by the Church, the one who denies such a truth is called proximus haeresi (very close to heresy).  (p. 123)

Hence, even to establish that the pope is a heretic in the broader senses cited in the Dictionary and by Belloc would not suffice to show that he is a heretic in the narrower canon law sense (much less an obstinate one) as opposed to being merely “proximate” or “very close” to heresy.  Now, the authors of the open letter realize this too, and they try to make a case that the pope is guilty of heresy in this stricter sense.  The trouble is that the very ambiguity of the pope’s words make such a case difficult.  Precisely because his statements can be read in different ways, even an unsympathetic reading might yield only something “heretical” in the broader sense rather than in the narrow canon law sense. 

That brings us to the second difficulty, which is the one emphasized by Peters.  Canon law is governed by a “principle of benignity” which requires that the accused be given the benefit of the doubt, and in particular that the law be interpreted in a way that is as benign or favorable to the accused as is reasonably possible.  Given this principle, Peters says, “heresy cases are not impossible under canon law, but they are, and are meant to be, very difficult.”

It would, accordingly, be difficult to show that the pope meets both the condition of obstinacy, and the condition of denying a doctrine that is heretical in the narrow canon law sense.  A defense lawyer might argue that the pope’s persistent ambiguity is precisely evidence, not of heresy, but rather that he simply lacks interest in and sufficient knowledge of doctrine (as opposed to being interested and knowledgeable enough to deny it, as a heretic would be) and that he lacks either patience or capacity for clear and careful theological reasoning. 

There is an irony here in that Pope Francis and his defenders often badmouth what they call “legalism” and the cavils of the “doctors of the law.”  For it is precisely “legalism” which provides the pope with his best defense against the charge of heresy, and precisely a “doctor of the law” who would be best able to get him an acquittal.

But that brings us to the third problem, which is that you can’t put a pope on trial in the first place.  As canon law says, “the First See is judged by no one.”  Contrary to what some people suppose, that does not mean that Catholics cannot ever criticize a pope for prudential or even doctrinal errors.  The Church allows such criticism under certain circumstances.  What it means is that there is no one on earth with the authority to do anything about it if the pope ignores such criticism.  Vis-à-vis the governance of the Church, his only superior is God. 

So what happens if a pope really does become a heretic (which can happen when he is not speaking ex cathedra)?  There are different theological theories about this, but no settled Church teaching and no mechanism in canon law for dealing with such a situation.  On one theory, a pope who becomes a formal heretic is ipso facto automatically excommunicated, and thus no longer a member of the Church, and thus no longer pope.  So, if the cardinals or bishops were to issue a finding to the effect that this has happened, they would not be judging a pope, because he wouldn’t be a pope any longer.  They would just be noting a fact, as they would be if they simply reported that a pope had died.  It would then be possible for them to remove the (now former) pope, and proceed to the election of a new pope.

The authors of the open letter appeal to this sort of theory.  They rightly reject the sedevacantist interpretation of the theory, according to which a heretical pope would automatically lose his office even without any intervention on the part of the bishops (such as their issuing a warning to the pope that he is in danger of formal heresy).  As the open letter says, this would throw the Church into chaos.  Any individual Catholic with a stack of theology books and a blog could decide for himself that a pope has lost his office on account of heresy, refuse to recognize him, and call on others to do the same.  We would have exactly the sort of “private judgment” and consequent anarchy that Catholicism has always criticized Protestantism for, and which the Church’s hierarchical structure is intended to prevent.

So, the open letter suggests, the right way to understand the theory is to hold that a pope could not lose his office on account of heresy without some prior formal action on the part of the bishops.  In particular, the letter argues that the bishops would first have to have warned the pope more than once, and that if he remains obstinate after their doing so, they would have to issue some sort of formal declaration to the faithful to the effect that the pope has become a formal heretic.  Only subsequent to their doing so could a pope plausibly be said to have lost his office.  However, the open letter suggests:

These actions do not need to be taken by all the bishops of the Catholic Church, or even by a majority of them.  A substantial and representative part of the faithful bishops of the Church would have the power to take these actions

End quote.  The reason for this qualification is obvious.  It could turn out, of course, that some bishops, even a majority of them, sympathize with the heresy into which a heretical pope has fallen, and would therefore not be inclined even to warn him, much less declare him a heretic.  And even non-heretical bishops might be wary of such an extreme measure.  Hence, the open letter judges, it would suffice if “a substantial and representative part of the faithful bishops” take action.

Now, the problem with all of this is not merely that it is just a theory, albeit a defensible one.  The problem is that it doesn’t really solve the grave difficulty facing the sedevacantist interpretation of the theory.  For now the problem of “private judgment” and the anarchy it entails simply arises once again at the level of the bishops.  Suppose that half of the bishops decide that a pope has become a formal heretic and lost his office, but that the other half disagrees and tells the faithful that the pope is not a formal heretic.  What happens then?  Does the pope lose his office or not?  Is the first group of bishops supposed to convince the cardinals to elect a new pope?  What if the cardinals are themselves in disagreement about whether the current pope has lost his office?  What if the heretical antipope simply waits things out, lives for another decade or so, and keeps appointing new cardinals, until the only ones left are those appointed by him?  How do we ever have another valid papal election?

Or, even if the first half of the bishops do convince the cardinals to gather and elect a new pope, what happens if the other half of the bishops simply refuse to recognize him, and continue to recognize the pope that their fellow bishops have declared a formally heretical ex-pope?  Now we would have two competing popes.  Who decides which one is the true pope?

Of course, a fifty-fifty split is optimistic.  A more likely scenario would be one where a minority of bishops declare the pope a formal heretic and judge that he has lost the papal office.  So what happens in that case?  Do they elect a new pope, while the majority of the Church continues to be in communion with the current pope (whom the minority now regards as an antipope)?  Suppose this majority retains control of the Vatican and all of the other real estate and other institutions of the Church.  What happens to the idea that the Church is a visible institution that is clearly identifiable and continuous over time, rather than a Gnostic secret society? 

This is all horrible enough, but it is really only the beginning of sorrows.  For in the chaos that ensues, everyday Catholic life would become intolerable.  Some bishops and priests would remain in communion with the pope that has been declared heretical, and some would not.  So, are the former to be judged schismatic?  And in that case, how could their acts be licit, or in some cases even valid?  Will your local parish priest retain his faculties for weddings and for hearing confessions?  How will the ordinary Catholic be able to know that his marriage is valid or that he has been truly absolved of his sins?  How will he know who to trust on doctrinal questions?  Even learned faithful Catholics would have great difficulty resolving some of the theoretical and practical problems that will arise in the circumstances described.  How is the average Catholic supposed to manage?

Again, the problem of “private judgment” and its consequent anarchy threatens the open letter’s position, no less than it threatens the sedevacantist position that the letter rightly rejects.

Prof. Rist and the letter’s other signatories judge that the situation in the Church is extremely bad and that many faithful Catholics are in denial about it.  They are absolutely right about that.  They judge that action must be taken, and that too many faithful Catholics lack the spine for it.  They are right about that too. 

Where they go wrong is in forgetting rule one for dealing with a crisis: “First, do no harm.”  Because as bad as things are, they could be even worse – much, much worse.  Imagine the Arian doctrinal crisis, the heterodoxy of Pope Honorius, the Great Western Schism, the chaos that followed the Cadaver Synod, and the moral squalor of the pre-Reformation Church, all rolled into one gigantic and unprecedented mess.  It could happen.  Maybe it will happen; we’re part of the way there already.  But it could also happen that Pope Francis reverses course, or, perhaps more plausibly, that he does not but that his successor does (even if this too is not a sure thing).  Since these are manifestly better scenarios than the horror story I have just told, the best thing for faithful Catholics to do is to facilitate them.  And, to say the least, a reasonable person could doubt that the best way to facilitate them is to float the suggestion that Pope Francis ought to lose his office due to heresy.

A small (papal) error in the beginning…

However the current crisis is resolved, one of the good fruits it is likely to bear in the long run is a more sober understanding of the nature of the papal office.  Catholic theology and magisterial teaching during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries put heavy emphasis on the large scope of papal power, and for good reason.  But papal power is not unlimited, and it is possible to overemphasize it.  Indeed, if even heresy is something a pope might in theory be guilty of, lesser but still serious errors are also possible and more likely – and have indeed been committed by recent popes, which is part of the reason we’re in the mess we’re in.  One of the excellent points Prof. Rist makes in his interview is this:

John Paul’s theatrical talents, and his comparative indifference to Curial reform, have not been helpful. The former encouraged the disastrous practice, which we now see in spades, of assuming that if you want the answer to any question, you go to the pope as talking oracle: The media took (and takes) advantage of that, often to the detriment of the Church.

End quote.  Part of Rist’s point here is that Pope St. John Paul II was such a strong personality that the line between the man and the office he held came to be blurred.  Many people, including too many faithful Catholics, started to think that Catholicism is just whatever the current pope happens to be saying (even though this was certainly not John Paul II’s own view). 

Cardinal Ratzinger was sensitive to this problem, and made it clear that not everything John Paul II said amounted to binding Catholic teaching (as in his 2004 memo on worthiness to receive Holy Communion, which noted that Catholics are not obliged to agree with the pope’s call to abolish capital punishment).  As Pope Benedict XVI, he emphasized the limits of papal power, especially in matters of doctrine:

The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law.  On the contrary: the Pope's ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word.  He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God's Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism…

The Pope knows that in his important decisions, he is bound to the great community of faith of all times, to the binding interpretations that have developed throughout the Church's pilgrimage.  Thus, his power is not being above, but at the service of, the Word of God.  It is incumbent upon him to ensure that this Word continues to be present in its greatness and to resound in its purity, so that it is not torn to pieces by continuous changes in usage.

End quote.  Unfortunately, this was too little too late, and many have come to think of the papacy in essentially voluntarist terms.  The sequel has been the Orwellian notion that a pope can by fiat turn a reversal of doctrine into a development of doctrine, and heretical water into orthodox wine.

Prof. Rist also makes reference to John Paul’s “comparative indifference to Curial reform,” and that is another major part of the story of what is happening in the Church today.  People wonder: Where did all these heterodox prelates come from?  The answer is that they gained prominence in the Church, and in many cases were made bishops and cardinals, precisely under John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Now, these popes certainly tried to reign in the worst heretical excesses of the post-Vatican II period, but they were never as draconian as their enemies liked to pretend.  Though famous dissident theologians like Hans Küng and Charles Curran lost the right to label themselves officially as professors of Catholic theology, they were not excommunicated or defrocked.  They have remained priests in good standing, and have continued teaching and writing and otherwise freely spreading their ideas in Catholic circles.  And these are just the most visible dissidents.  Countless other heterodox theologians have been left entirely unmolested and free to teach and write whatever they like, in Catholic institutions and elsewhere.  Naturally, these people have had an enormous influence on generations of Catholic laymen, priests, and prelates, even if the latter usually don’t express their heterodox views frankly and in public. 

This patience with heterodoxy contrasts with the attitude of past popes.  It is one thing to try to live up to the Church’s teachings and to fail, but quite another to reject those teachings and lead others to do the same.  That is why, while the Church has always tolerated those guilty of sins of weakness (drunkenness, fornication, etc.), she has, traditionally, not tolerated heresy.  You can’t follow Catholic teaching even imperfectly if you don’t know what it is.  Hence, while other sins are like a bad flu, heresy is like cancer.  If it is found in some part of the Church, it must either be cured straightaway (by convincing the heretic to repent) or removed (by excommunication, if there is no repentance).  Otherwise the whole organism is threatened. 

So, why were John Paul II and Benedict XVI less severe than past popes in dealing with heterodoxy?  That’s a complicated issue, but I suspect that two of the main reasons are these.  First, with Vatican II, the Church sought to affirm, as far as was possible consistent with orthodoxy, whatever positive aspects might be found in modernity.  This led churchmen increasingly to adopt the rhetoric of freedom, democracy, human rights, religious liberty, the dignity of the person, etc., and to deemphasize those aspects of traditional Catholic teaching that do not sit well with such rhetoric.  Now, this rhetoric is, of course, the rhetoric of the liberal political tradition, broadly construed – the tradition of Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, and company.  And central to this tradition is the ideal of minimizing coercion, and respecting the liberty of the individual conscience, as far as is reasonably possible.

Now, churchmen whose moral sensibilities have been formed by this sort of rhetoric are naturally going to find distasteful the exercise of coercive power.  Gently persuading the heterodox is bound to seem more agreeable than disciplining them, and more in keeping with the ideals of freedom, democracy, etc.  That, I submit, is one factor underlying the leniency of the post-Vatican II popes.

The second factor, I would suggest, is that both John Paul II and Benedict XVI were intellectuals, and started out as academics.  Now, the intellectual, and especially the academic, highly values the give and take of free debate, and wants to settle disagreements through argumentation rather than the exercise of authority.  Of course, in an academic setting that is exactly the right approach to take.  But it might be tempting for an academic who becomes pope to transfer that approach to this very different context – to treat the Church as if it were a big classroom or professional academic meeting, and the faithful as students or fellow academics who will come around to the right conclusions if only you set out the arguments for them in a compelling way.

In short, though we admirers of John Paul II and Benedict XVI often think of them as Philosopher-Kings, they were really Professor-Presidents.  And the students they should have failed or dropped from the class have now taken over the classroom.

191 comments:

  1. Your line of reasoning closely resembles the recent translation of 19th century canonist Dominique Bouix over at trueorfalsepope dot com: the attempted excising of a heretical pope could gravely worsen the entire situation.

    I agree with your assessment. Of course sedevacantists would assert that the enormous canonical impediments to removing a heretical pope helps their theory that either 1) a heretical pope is removed via “divine” law and not ecclesiastical law (which runs straight into the private judgement problem you illustrated) or 2) that Francis (and all V2+ popes) could not have been popes at all, because a true pope could not have promulgated heresy (which would beg the question) or could not have promulgated errors (relying on an expansive understanding of papal authority). Which all leads back to... private judgement.

    Pray for the Church!

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  2. What was in the open letter that was so bad? I read something about "seven points that constitute heresy" but nobody arranged them in a numbered list.

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    1. @ErotemeObelus

      Why don't you simply download the actual letter and read it?? The seven points are clearly enumerated.

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  3. Regarding your last few paragraphs, I am reminded of the old adage, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”.

    I think many people with heterodox opinions want their teachings to be true, and that is why they will not ever be convinced of their error. Before I accepted all of the Church’s teachings, I would search for ways to get around certain sins that I wanted to be able to commit. If I had access to some good liberal theologians at the time, I might still be committing those sins (alas all I could find were simple straight-forward answers, so I had to choose orthodoxy or abandon my faith). That is why the Philosopher-King attitude does not work. The magisterium must have rational justification for its sentences, but eventually you just have to put the foot down for the sake of the faithful.

    I am also a little tired of the way people talk of excommunication as being medicinal. Yes it is medicinal...but primarily for the faithful who are being scandalized, not the one doing the scandalizing. Of course we pray that heretics re-embrace the Faith, but at that point, you are more focused on damage control. Someone who obstinately rejects the faith, as we see with many of these pro-Choice “Catholic” politicians (Pelosi, Cuomo, etc.), will probably not embrace the true faith no matter how stern or lenient you are. Sometimes you can be as kind as you want to someone and “walk with them”, and they will only exploit you all the more for it. You can pray all you want (and you should), but it will not eliminate their free-will.

    I honestly think it would be refreshing to see some hardcore St. Ambrose level bishops laying down the law. Sure the media would hate Catholicism even more, but they already hate Catholicism, so what difference does it make?

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    1. It should hopefully shock the heterodox person into thinking, "Wow, my views really aren't in line with the Faith!"

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  4. To me it's very difficult to understand how to square this situation with Christianity being true. As much as I try I can't get past that the only warranted avenue for any Christian is to trust Christ's promise to be with his church till the end. Protestantism, to me, is a interpretative and doctrinal mess, doctrinal knowledge is up for grabs, and I have no idea how it can have any claim to the truth. But, if a Pope can simply stack the hierarchy of the church such as to by way of his misguided opinions or design and of those that will follow on his footstep throw the Church in doctrinal upheaval , as if the Catholic Church has become just another liberal protestant denomination, that is potent evidence that no such promise was made or it's all a mere story from imaginative 1st century lunatics, and given the doctrinal state of Protestantism, I find myself unable to escape the conclusion that it would be the later. I pray that God saves us from this, for I don't see anything less than a miracle doing so at this point.

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    1. But, if a Pope can simply stack the hierarchy of the church such as to by way of his misguided opinions or design and of those that will follow on his footstep throw the Church in doctrinal upheaval , as if the Catholic Church has become just another liberal protestant denomination, that is potent evidence that no such promise was made or it's all a mere story from imaginative 1st century lunatics,

      The difference is that, no matter how many hierarchs are heretical, or even publicly teach heresy, official Church teaching cannot embrace heresy. Of course, official Church teaching might be obscured in some quarters by heretical prelates (although with the rise of the internet I think pretty much anybody can now check what they're hearing against the authoritative documents), but as long as official teaching remains orthodox, the Church has the resources for a revival. It also means that we'll never have to choose between the mortal sins of heresy and schism, unlike in Protestant denominations, which are increasingly making adherence to heretical teaching necessary for their members (I mean heretical even by the past standards of their denomination; obviously they're all heretical to some degree, else they'd be Catholic).

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    2. To quote from 1 Corinthians 15:
      “But if there is no resurrection of the dead...We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised...your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

      That sounds to me like sobriety, not lunacy.

      The simple answer is that it is a situation, a moment in time that is ultimately transitory, while Christ's promise is for all time. That promise is that the Church shall not ultimately fail, not that she should never stumble. To say, “...that is that is potent evidence that no such promise was made or it's all a mere story from imaginative 1st century lunatics...,” is to assume that the present moment represents the final outcome. Take any window of time from dire days of the Church—the Arian heresy, the Albigensian heresy, the height of the Reformation—and you'll find voices raised in concern at the destruction of the Church. God's words to Job are salient, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” We are finite, our understanding frail. Abraham never saw the fruition of what was promised. Moses saw only the shadow of what would come. David caught only a glimpse. We are blessed if we see only the barest hint of God's work in our brief time on this Earth.

      I tremble with you at what the future holds, but we need to cleave to Christ. Despair is a sin that we often forget about, but it is as spiritually deadly as any other.

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    3. Gauis, David. Thank you very much for your answers. Just to clarify, I did not mean to say we have at this point potent contradictory evidence of the truth of Christianity, rather I rather meant to stress my lack of vision at the moment of writing and the fear it stilled in me (in conditional form), and I hoped such answers as the one´s given by you both would help, as I think they have. God bless you.

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    4. Bear in mind, POPES ARE MORTAL, and they rarely know precisely when they will die.
      "Put not your trust in princes,
      in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
      When his breath departs he returns to his earth;
      on that very day his plans perish."
      That applies to princes of the Church, too, including Popes, and in either case -- secular or ecclesiastical princes -- the perishing of their plans is not always a bad thing. So when you worry about an announced upcoming synod, remember this from James:
      "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain'; whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.'" Replace "going into such and such a town" with "convene a synod" and remember that if God wants to the synod to be thwarted, His arm is not too short.

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  5. To me the only logical solution is the sedevacantist one and to distrust the ordinations / consecrations by anyone other than Priests of the SSPX. Sure the local 'parish priest' is a good orthodox man, but how can I be sure that he was validly ordained and that the man who 'ordained' him was really a Bishop.

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    1. Sedevacantist = Protestant but with Mary

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    2. well put it this way, given the sins of co/omission by theodora mccarick, donatella wurl and josephina tobin, do you REALLY believe that they meant to ordain real priests ? Leferbvre held to the faith as do the men he consecrated.

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    3. There are multiple problems with this theory. The "intent" required for successful sacraments is not as strict as you're probably thinking. Elsewise (sorry to burst your bubble), Archbishop Lefebvre may not have been a real bishop either; he was ordained by a man years later to be revealed, if it is believed, to be a freemason, even though he himself was a traditional (which is not the same thing as orthodox) Catholic. At least, it would be so until his rise to the level of bishop, since that typically involves 3 different bishops ordaining the new one, and only one meaning the correct intention would suffice.
      The SSPX has "no canonical status" and was given certain faculties during the "jubilee year of mercy" and extended until further notice.
      Also, SSPX is not sedevacantist. They recognize the pope.
      Sedevacantism is false and puts way too much stock in a troublesome interpretation of a theological THEORY. It also adds the problem of private judgement (who are you to say any pope is heretical? Especially when orthodox readings can be given, and the policy of benignity applied?) along with the practical problems put forward in the above article.
      Thankfully, the Church, in Her wisdom, has already addressed such issues in the past as you put forward about the "intention".
      The minimum intent required is that the minister intend to perform a rite of the Church, and follows it in the externals. St Thomas Aquinas says, "Sometimes he [the minister] intends to do what the Church does, although he considers it to be nothing."
      St Thomas Aquinas, doctor of the Church, also said, "In the words uttered by (the minister), the intention of the Church is expressed; and this suffices for the validity of the sacrament, except the contrary be expressed exteriorly on the part of the minister."
      There is a somewhat popular quote in these quarters by Pope Leo XIII (though I have difficulty tracking down where it is from, though Pope Leo XIII certainly wrote a LOT through his long papacy).
      "Concerning the mind or intention, inasmuch as it is in itself something internal, the Church does not pass judgment; but in so far as it is externally manifested, she is bound to judge of it. Now, if in order to effect and confer a Sacrament a person has seriously and correctly used the due matter and form, he is for that very reason presumed to have intended to do what the Church does. It is on this principle that the doctrine is solidly founded which holds as a true Sacrament that which is conferred by the ministry of a heretic or of a non-baptized person, as long as it is conferred in the Catholic rite."
      There is no need...indeed, there would seem to be that you have no right to question the validity of the Sacraments conferred by such persons as you have mentioned unless they manifestly displayed that they did not intend to do such. Saying they have done evil or teach falsely within the totality of their careers would not be enough. We are not Donatists.
      The references to Aquinas are found in IV Sent., dist. 6, Q. 1 A. 3, sol 2, ad 1 and then in III, Q. 64, A. 8 ad 2).

      I hope to have assuaged some fears. I used to be a sedevacantist. It is false. Stay in the boat with St Peter. I would argue that, historically (think Boniface VIII (I think the 8th), etc., the trial for heresy was after their death. Hence, I would say if we were to have a heretical pope, we would bear with it until the next pope, when he could then be tried. This is very similar if not exactly the position of ie Bishop Schneider that he enumerated some short time ago.

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    4. *priest, not bishop, when talking about Lefebvre in my above comment. Sorry.

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  6. We live in a strange world where those who are now hysterically talking sedevacantism are so often the same people who were goody two shoes defenders of the hierarchy and papolatry under previous pontificates (where they had more prestige and jobs it seems). These same people did and continue to do all they can to reconcile conciliar and post-conciliar texts with Church Tradition either by agreeing with novelties that contradict it or pretending the fault-lines aren't there. There is an undercurrent of philosophical conservatism which is not Catholic underlying the worldview of these people. They do not have the same DNA as Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci.

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  7. I would just like to remind the readers of this blog that the author of this blog likes and encourages discussion of the issues introduced in speculative fiction. And Left Behind is just as much speculatice fiction as anything with precog or Doctor Doom.

    What would happen if Pope-Reprobate Peter II made it mandatory for "faithful" Catholics to receive the mark of the beast, something that both Paul and John say will happen near the end?

    Also some of the issues raised by declaring a Pope heretical are not as severe as one might think.

    Some bishops and priests would remain in communion with the pope that has been declared heretical, and some would not. So, are the former to be judged schismatic?

    Yes, because they broke tradition and are playing the role of "Protestants" in this hypothetical scenario.

    And in that case, how could their acts be licit, or in some cases even valid? Will your local parish priest retain his faculties for weddings and for hearing confessions?

    This is the question of Docetism, and will likely require a theological council.

    How will the ordinary Catholic be able to know that his marriage is valid or that he has been truly absolved of his sins?

    Your ordinary Catholic is going to have to be catechized in order to identify tradition from non-tradition.

    It's not "private judgment" to compare and contrast an antipope's teaching with what Anthiny of Padua taught and see that it is xintradictory in every way.

    But here's the real question: if a high-energy eucemenical council collided a pope with an antipope, would the event cause the creation of exotic new ecclesiastical officials?!

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  8. The Anglo-conservative impeach-the-Pope obsession is truly fake. Where were they when Cardinal Ratzinger's Dominus Jesus came out? It contained mistakes as bad as anything Pope Francis is accused of. It was also inspired by the "subsistit in" atrocity introduced at Vatican II, which Pope Benedict also knew something about.


    It is no coincidence that the signatories to the letter almost all believe in conservative political ideology, and come from countries influenced by Anglo-conservatism (apart from some Italians now in Steve Bannon's pocket). Fortunately Bishop Athanasius Schneider has disowned this crew of freebooters. The Church is not about to have its Boston Tea Party moment. The letter is important because it leaves the coup-plotters exposed. We can also see who's behind them. How interesting... and just when we all thought the modernists were the only barbarians within the gates!

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    1. It is no coincidence that the signatories to the letter almost all believe in conservative political ideology.. [blah blah blah]

      And there it is, the predictable Miguel Cervantes hobbyhorse. You're insane, a nutter, a monomaniac. I could write a blog post about poached eggs or knitting and you'd try to find a way to tie it in to "Anglo-Conservatism," Steve Bannon, etc.

      Any further comments from you along these lines will be deleted. Either cut it out or go away.

      Or better, since I know from experience that you won't cut it out, let's not make it a disjunction: Just go away, period.

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    2. ED: Heretics are the original pro-choice voters.

      ED: Sarte's essence versus existence is the first argument over the definition of the word "is."

      ED: Voluntarists are the original low-IQ Maxine Waters.

      ME: Yeah, and consequentialism is like how Bush lied and people died!

      ED: Woah, woah woah! Why is politics on your brain all the time?! Are you obsessed or something?!

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    3. EO,

      That's all very cute, but, of course, not an accurate representation of the situation. First, I didn't actually say the second two things you attribute to me, so it's kind of silly to use them as evidence of hypocrisy on my part. Second, while I did make the "pro-choice" remark, that was obviously just a passing joke and had nothing to do with the actual arguments of the post.

      Miguel, by contrast, is pretending that bringing Bannon et al. up is actually relevant to the issues discussed in the post, a devastating objection, etc. And he brings this irrelevant stuff up pretty much in every thread he chimes in on. In other words, classic trolling and threadjacking behavior.

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    4. @Ed That sounds reasonable. I guess I just have PTSD from high school and beyond when I was constantly accused of going off-topic, and often chastised sternly for it. So whenever someone else is accused of trolling/threadjacking, I am transported to an uncomfortable time in my life and tend to get jumpy and reactive.

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    5. Paul admonishing Peter was the first known example of Anglo-Conservatism. Oh, if only some Castillo-Conservative were there to tell them like it is!

      #cervantismisnotthomism

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    6. Miguel Cervantes, might not know what a troll is. Proclaiming "political conservatism" "might just possibly result in criticism." Hence, he thinks, he can engage in it whenever he sees fit. But of, that doesn't follow. That's just rationalization of bad behavior and bad thinking. Beside, Dr. Feser did himself argue that the open letter accusing Pope Francis of heresy had a lot of bad arguments in it. So, indeed, maybe there ISN'T an "Anglo-Conservatism" conspiracy here!

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    7. Where are the counter-arguments to Miguel's comments? Why the ad hominem attacks? It would be nice to see arguments against him.

      We know that not only Islam is attacking the Church. So is Zionist conservatism. That is actually the far greater and deeper danger to the Church. And "Anglo-Conservatives", as he calls them, are the preferred tools of Zionist, "Judeo-Christian" (whatever that is) ideology.
      You see their influence even in conservative Catholic groups. Look at George Wiegel, R. R. Reno for instance. Very Zionist. What "think tanks" has Wiegel been on, who has financed him, what has he so often said!
      Christianity for them is synonymous with Christendom and Noahide Laws. It is not a Person, and Crucified too! The Law only condemns us. Only grace through Jesus Christ saves us.
      Yet Reno thought, (while sitting in a synagogue of all places, according to his article) that we should have the brick and mortar churches stand out to the world to be a motive of jealousy for the gentiles - of all reasons. Why think in these terms? Only Christ is The Temple. Has he ever said that - to Zionists? Has Wiegel? (Yes, I know his point is more subtle, but if you want to see the big picture, where he's coming from, you will.)
      And so, these things are realities. They are subtle, but very evil at bottom. You see how in the end, if we will be given a choice between the Cross and the Crucified, and a human perfection of the West restored to all its glory, many will chose the West? The Pharisees, after all, wanted to get rid of Roman pagans - "my body my choice" types. That seems to make sense doesn't it? The temptations of Jesus were not "from the left". They would've sounded good to those "from the right"! The kingdoms He would've had would've been law-abiding to be sure, they would've been "Western". But there would've been not a single soul saved.
      The Cross is the measure of the world, and whomever carries it, knows Christ implicitly, even if they are Palestinian, or American, or Hebrew. It's the one standard for each of us.
      And yes, this is a problem that conservatives are more likely to fall prey to, and American conservatives more than other conservatives. That is true! So let's address that too.

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    8. Anon, because Miguel's comments are nothing but the same gratuitous and demonstrably false accusations he's parrotted for ages.

      Dr Feser rejects the foundational theses of modern philosophy, which of course include the Anglo-American "conservative" Protestant/secular novelties insofar as they depart from Aristotelian-Thomism and traditional Catholic doctrine. This is not a secret and couldn't be any more obvious to anyone who follows Dr Feser's work.

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  9. A few precisions, Ed.
    "On one theory, a pope who becomes a formal heretic is ipso facto automatically excommunicated, and thus no longer a member of the Church, and thus no longer pope."
    1. Ipso facto excommunication doesn't exclude one from the Church, except if it's for striking the pope. The reason a (public) heretic isn't a member of the Church is because the Church is a visible unity of those who profess the same, true faith. If public heretics were members, the Church would lack visible unity, which is impossible. This is why Bellarmine (the Doctor, par excellence, of the papacy) says, "it is proven with arguments from authority and from reason that the manifest heretic is “ipso facto” deposed. The argument from authority is based on St. Paul (Titus, c. 3), who orders that the heretic be avoided after two warnings, that is, after showing himself to be manifestly obstinate — which means before any excommunication or judicial sentence. And this is what St. Jerome writes, adding that the other sinners are excluded from the Church by sentence of excommunication, but the heretics exile themselves and separate themselves by their own act from the body of Christ."
    2. Even canonically, a warning is not necessary to establish pertinacity (obstinacy). Cardinal de Lugo (the greatest theologian since Thomas Aquinas, according to St. Alphonsus Liguori, himself a Doctor of the Church) says "Neither is it always demanded in the external forum that there be a warning and a reprimand as described above for somebody to be punished as heretical and pertinacious, and such a requirement is by no means always admitted in practice by the Holy Office. For if it could be established in some other way, given that the doctrine is well known, given the kind of person involved and given the other circumstances, that the accused could not have been unaware that his thesis was opposed to the Church, he would be considered as a heretic from this fact… The reason for this is clear because the exterior warning can serve only to ensure that someone who has erred understands the opposition which exists between his error and the teaching of the Church. If he knew the subject through books and conciliar definitions much better than he could know it by the declarations of someone admonishing him then there would be no reason to insist on a further warning for him to become pertinacious against the Church." (De Lugo, disp.XX, sect.IV,n.l57-158). This doctrine may be surprising to non-technicicians (non-canonists) but it's common. See also, Diana, resol.36; Vermeersch, pg.245; Noldin, vol.i, "Compl. de Poenis Eccl.", pg.21; Regatillo, pg. 508.
    It may be that the '83 Code modified the law in some way relevant to this issue, which would be further evidence of the malice of JP2...

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    1. Thisis exactly the main point I wanted to raise in correction of Ed's post. Obstinacy does not require, as a matter of law, the 2 rounds of explicit warnings. The warnings help to prove the obstinacy, but they are not essential to it. If you imagine a priest or theologian who has been called to Rome to be put on trial for heresy, and who simply refuses to go, obviously their situation cannot absolutely preclude a determination that they are heretics simply because they managed to avoid Rome and superiors who were willing to say "stop it".

      In the current case, I would like to hear from canonists whether a studied refusal to CONSIDER the detailed theology that proves one's theology is out of step with orthodoxy can be part of the finding of obstinacy. I suppose that it may have been just so in earlier heresies, but with modernism and its daughters the heretics spend half of their time explaining why they don't need to consider X or Y or Z orthodox teachings, rather than considering them. Pope Francis seems to have engaged, for 3 years and counting, a studied refusal to consider admonitions and corrections as having anything to say in his regard. (Seems to, in that we cannot know whether he has actually given them an honest and open-minded hearing internally).

      One aspect of the concept "The First see is judged by no one", in connection with what Bellarmine seems to hold about the pope being deposed at God's behest if publicly determined (by the bishops) to be a heretic: It seems odd (to say the least) to propose that the pope would NOT get the same protections and defenses against the Church finding him a heretic that any other teacher would get - he should get all the benefit of the doubt that anyone would get. But no earthly judge can put the pope on trial so as to give him the explicit benefit of the Church's protections and defenses. So we seem to be stuck in this situation where in order for the pope to be found to be a heretic, the bishops would have to subject him to an extra-legal investigation and determination, (since they cannot subject him to a legal one), and yet in doing so he cannot be afforded the defenses and protections that any lesser member of the faithful would get. Is there a way out of this paradox? The only one I can see is if the bishops were to perform an investigation / determination that can be seen to have the substance of all the benefit of the doubt that an ordinary Catholic would get on trial, without the superficial form of those benefits. (And, mind you, that the bishops would undertake and carry out this process each on his own, or perhaps in local synods, since there is no provision for calling a worldwide synod or council without the pope's approval). It is, to say the least, so implausible as to be farcical. Hence Bellarmine's idea seems to be only theoretically possible, not something that could ever be carried out.

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  10. 3. "What is to be believed 'by divine and Catholic faith' are doctrines that have been officially defined as such by the Church." There's an ambiguity in the word "defined" as used some sources. The Vatican Council (1870) is sufficiently clear: "by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium." And here is heresy explained in a catechetical work: "The error must concern a doctrine contained or revealed in the Scriptures, and also proposed as such by the Church to our belief. But, be it carefully observed, it is not necessary for the guilt of heresy that the doctrine should have been solemnly defined by supreme authority; it is quite sufficient that it should form part of the ordinary daily teaching of the Church throughout the world, which is infallible. To say, "It is not heresy to deny this doctrine, for the Church has never defined it," is utterly unsound. Hence it would be heresy to deny any truth clearly contained in the Scriptures, because the Church teaches all that the Scriptures do.
    "As for truths proposed to us by the Church in her office as infallible teacher, but not as being revealed, the sin committed against Catholic belief by denying them (for sin there would be) would not be one of heresy for instance, if a man denied that a canonized Saint, e.g., St. Francis of Assisi, was actually in Heaven at the time of canonization." From: https://archive.org/details/lettersonchristi01dezuuoft/page/n59
    4. Bouix's doctrine is (perhaps) comforting to those who don't want to confront the severity of the crisis. I will just note that it is a singular opinion, not merely a minority view, but entirely Bouix's own theory.
    5. If you want to understand the crisis in one pithy statement, here is Romano Amerio, professor of philosophy: "The external fact is the disunity of the Church, visible in the disunity of the bishops among themselves, and with the Pope. The internal fact producing it is the renunciation that is, the non-functioning, of papal authority itself, from which the renunciation of all other authority derives." From: http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/books/Iota_Unum/chp_06.htm#s65

    Regards,
    John.

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  11. Miguel, I've yet to see a single argument from you. All you've got is names, ad hominem attacks. That's what makes you a troll. And it's helpful for Prof. Feser to point that out. Nothing about me, or him, or anybody else, has anything to do with the price of tea in China. Imagine if I dismissed everything you said because you're some kind of Spanish conservative? Or whatever?

    And your attacks are misplaced. I'm an 'Anglo-conservative' and there's no friction between that and my religion - Catholicism - or philosophy - Thomism - or science. None, whatsoever. But I'm guessing you presume a lot about the 'Anglo-conservative' bogeymen you like to attack.

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    1. And before you cry that we're dismissing you as a troll; this is because you habitually make these ad hominem attacks. The authors are this, the authors are that, never x is y, x is z, therefore y is z or anything like that.

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  12. Guys, please stop feeding this troll. I've deleted his latest barrage of logorrheic ad hominems and will delete all future comments from him. Let's get back on topic. Thanks.

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  13. I wouldn't want to belong to any religion that didn't consider Francis a barking heretic.

    What's more, sedevacantism is simply based on the recognition of one of the most obvious realities in history of no-brainers, i.e., that Francis does not hold the Catholic faith.

    Alas, however, none are so blind as those who will not see.

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    1. Sedes deny Matthew 16:18 they are just Protestants with Rosary beads.

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  14. Prof Feser,

    If Francis isn't a heretic in the narrow sense, for whatever reasons the "legalists" can came up with, why doesn't he JUST SAY SO?

    Let's take seriously the scenario, which incredibly enough is the one suggested by his defenders, that His Holiness is just too ignorant to know when he's "close to heresy" or outright heretical and just too imprudent to be cautious because of this ignorance. Supposing his bona fides, then, to be accused of heresy by his flock should be heart-wrenching. He should be the first to deny it. He would answer the dubia and his critics, if not with a theological treatise, with a simple reassurance, "I hold the Catholic faith". But NO ONE, neither those who attack him nor those who defend him, expects him to just say that.

    On the whole can of worms opened up by the fact that the Holy See cannot be judged in this world, yeah, that's true, but irrelevant. The truthfulness of the proposition "We wouldn't know what to do if the Pope were a heretic" does not affect in the slightest the factual question of whether he is one.

    Alejandro above said that "To me it's very difficult to understand how to square this situation with Christianity being true". So it is to me also.

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  15. Re: all this "How can Catholicism be true" stuff:

    Really, guys, what part of "Not infallible when not speaking ex cathedra" do you not understand?

    Something that Protestant critics of Catholicism, sedevacantists, and ultramontanists all have in common is supposing that when the Church says that non-ex cathedra statements are not infallible, she doesn't really mean it. "OK, so non-ex cathedra statements are not infallible. Except really (wink, wink) they are supposed to be infallible too!" Then a problematic non-ex cathedra statement is hauled out and the Protestants say "See! Error taught as-if infallibly, so Catholicism is false!" and the sedevacantists say "See! Error taught as-if infallibly, so he isn't really a pope!" and the ultramontanists say "See! It's taught infallibly, so it must not really be an error, and if it seems to you to be be that's because you're just being disobedient, or are in the pay of Steve Bannon, etc.!"

    It's ridiculous. Again, non-ex cathedra statements are not claimed in the first place to be infallible. Hence if it turns out that a pope makes an erroneous non-ex cathedra statement, it doesn't follow that Catholicism has been falsified.

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    1. Really, guys, what part of "Not infallible when not speaking ex cathedra" do you not understand?

      Okay. But what prevents an asshole pope from saying "Homosexual relationships are more holy than heterosexual ones and all priests must become trannies. Also I declare the previous statement ex cathedra"?

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    2. What I'm saying is this: from what I can ascertain it seems that the system is designed so that the only thing preventing a pope from adding the ex cathedra tag to a statement is that he doesn't want to.

      So if the previous is true then an asshole pope would reason like this: even though most of my non ex cathedra statements are error and can be overruled by bishops or ecumenical councils... I can rest secure that if I really wanted to, I can use my ex cathedra ability to cause any doctrine I don't like to die...if I so choose to.

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    3. But what prevents an asshole pope from saying ...

      Ummm, God?

      from what I can ascertain it seems that the system is designed so that the only thing preventing a pope from adding the ex cathedra tag to a statement is that he doesn't want to.

      That, and God. The doctrine of infallibility includes, as either an explicit or implicit notion, that God will intervene if a pope (or an ecumenical council) tries to declare in an infallible way something contrary to the truth. God will stop him. God will either kill him, or silence his voice, or strike his pen hand with palsy, or anything else necessary to stop him.

      If a pope both held a heretical view of a matter, and knew that his view is heterdox, AND thought the rest of Catholicism is true, he would be very hesitant to try to proclaim his heresy infallibly, because doing so would likely wind up with him dead rather than succeeding in proclaiming heresy. Much more likely, of course, is the scenario where a pope (or anyone else, for that matter) thinks that his own view is "just like the true (orthodox) position, but orthodoxy just needs a slight adjustment, you know" and thus not have an explicit recognition that his view is heretical. God would still prevent him from successfully teaching it in an infallible way (whether he realized it was heretical or not), but he is far more likely to try if not aware of it AS heresy than to test God explicitly to see who has more authority and power.

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    4. You do realize that ex cathedra declarations are very rare and require very precise and unmistakable conditions, right?

      What stops a pope from declaring error ex cathedra? God. If a pope were to declare error ex cathedra, that would disprove the Catholic Church.

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    5. You do realize that ex cathedra declarations are very rare and require very precise and unmistakable conditions, right?

      No. So a Pope couldn't rest secure that he could use his ex cathedra touch to cause any doctrine he wants to die?

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    6. I don't understand your question.

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  16. Also, don't forget that the magisterial statements about infallibility, the Church's indefectibility, etc. were all formulated carefully to be consistent with what has actually happened historically. And historically, things have here and there temporarily gotten very bad. The ship always rights itself, but sometimes it takes years, or even a few decades. So, Catholicism does not in the first place make claims about papal authority or the Church's indefectibility that rule out the possibility of extended periods of papal misgovernance or widespread heresy among the bishops and faithful. What is ruled out are false ex cathedra statements, and the ordinary magisterium actually settling on error for a prolonged period of time.

    Hence, to give a concrete example, I would say that if the Church ever unambiguously and explicitly adopted a thesis like "Capital punishment is always and intrinsically evil," and it stuck -- that is to say, it gradually became the settled teaching, those who resisted it all died away, it became repeated by a series of popes and became as stereotypically Catholic as opposition to abortion, etc. -- then Catholicism will have been falsified.

    To be sure, I am certain that will not happen. But -- in case someone were to claim that Catholic claims are, given the qualifications I have called attention to, unfalsifiable and thus untestable -- it would be an actual concrete example of something that would falsify Catholicism if it happened.

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    1. So if a Pope made a statement that clearly contradicted the Bible (all priests must become trannies, e.g.) and added the rider "...the previous is ex cathedra," the rider doesn't qualify as an ex cathedra statement (that is, the Pope was mustaken when he said it was ex cathedra) unless it becamed settled theology and steretypically Catholic to have shemale priestesses.

      Yes, it's an absurd example, but I'm trying to push it to the logical extreme. I am still a practicing Catholic... so yeah, I don't believe the above will happen.

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    2. No, it's not that "it doesn't count as ex cathedra". If the pope used the forms that go with an ex cathedra statement, it WOULD be an ex cathedra statement. If he said "by the Petrine power, to teach all the faithful, to strengthen my brethren, to secure the divine and Catholic doctrine, (and the other infallibility formulations)... I hereby proclaim as a teaching that definitively must be held with divine and Catholic faith by all the members of the Church, that blah, blah, homosexual sex...", that WOULD BE an ex cathedra statement - i.e. infallible. What is wrong here is the premise: "if the pope said..." The doctrine of infallibility is that NO MATTER HOW MUCH the pope may want to or try to say such a thing, he would fail to say it because God would prevent him. Now, we think that 99.999% of the time, God will prevent this kind of thing by making sure the pope is not the sort of person who would want to say such an outrageous thing. But the doctrine of infallibility closes the loop on the last bit of a % by saying that God would prevent him no matter what he wanted.

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    3. The doctrine of infallibility is that NO MATTER HOW MUCH the pope may want to or try to say such a thing, he would fail to say it because God would prevent him.

      I'm sorry, but that doesn't make much sense. It implies that if God doesn't prevent "by the Petrine power, to teach all the faithful, to strengthen my brethren, to secure the divine and Catholic doctrine, (and the other infallibility formulations)... I hereby proclaim as a teaching that definitively must be held with divine and Catholic faith by all the members of the Church, that blah, blah, homosexual sex...", then God has given his divine approval.

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    4. The requirements of infallibility include that the Pope speak in union with the bishops. So any crazy statement the Pope makes on his own is not infallible (presuming that the bishops don't support him on it).

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    5. David T,

      The 1870 definition of infallibility does not require the bishops. In fact, it says that it does not require the "consent of the Church". See Ch.4, n.9 in Pastor Aeternus: https://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/papae1.htm

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    6. The 1870 definition of infallibility does not require the bishops.

      That sounded like a baaaad idea.

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    7. I'm sorry, but that doesn't make much sense. It implies that if God doesn't prevent "by the Petrine power, ... homosexual sex...", then God has given his divine approval.

      Ero, I am not seeing what your objection is. You seem to object, but you have not laid out what the problem is.

      The doctrine of infallibility implies that God both can AND WILL intervene directly in the pope's affairs upon the occasion (if it were to happen) that the pope is about to attempt to issue a false teaching under the ex cathedra conditions.

      Your objection, so far as I can make it out, seems to assume that God only ever acts indirectly and (at most) through means that might be ascribed as under usual or natural causes, or something like that. Catholicism holds no such assumption, quite but the reverse - Catholic doctrine holds that God does intervene directly in human affairs, sometimes as miracles, i.e. in ways that can be understood as direct intervention, and other times with direct action that we cannot know for sure WAS direct intervention but was anyway. If God intervenes in the career of a pope by having him die early so that he never gets the chance to issue a heretical teaching, we might never be able to be certain it was a non-natural death, but it would still be God acting so as to protect the Church with its charism of infallibility.

      If the Church were wrong about its claim to infallibility, (and the pope's part of that, particularly), then one might entertain the prospect of a pope formulating a heresy in his mind and actually setting it forth in the "conditions of an ex cathedra teaching". Then the worry that such a thing would have the appearance that "God has given his divine approval" to what is actually a heresy. But the premise of such a hypothetical is ITSELF contrary to Church doctrine, so there is no need for a Catholic to answer it as if it were a problem: God will not let such a thing happen, so there is no need to worry about its appearing to imply God's approval.

      The same thing, I might add, applies to the Old Testament prophets, and the theory I have seen some people hold forth, that on occasion one of the prophets, when he said "God told me to tell you X", that he (the prophet) might have made a mistake about what God was telling him. No, such a hypothesis cannot be entertained: Once God established the public bona fides of one of his prophets, God kept up the protections on his life and claims so that he could never convey "God said X" without it being true. In the Old Testament, it shows God striking down false prophets, and also striking down false priests engaging in the wrong worship, by direct intervention. Even so slight a deviation from God's explicit direction to prophets as the example of Moses when he was told to strike the rock for water shows us God's intention to preserve His word: when Moses struck the rock twice rather than once, God punished him. Thus we learn that God's readiness to take direct action to keep the official prophets from straying when they claim to be declaring God's word is much more direct and immediate than His approach with men in general, (whom he lets err to some degree or other without direct intervention).

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  17. Ed writes:

    Something that Protestant critics of Catholicism, sedevacantists, and ultramontanists all have in common is supposing that when the Church says that non-ex cathedra statements are not infallible, she doesn't really mean it.

    The Church never said that non-ex cathedra statements by the Holy See were non-infallible. She only said that ex cathedra statements were infallible. You're affirming the consequent. If one were to say, "John goes to Church on Sundays", that doesn't imply that he only goes to Church on Sundays.

    Also, can I gather from what you have been saying that you believe that the pope only has to be Catholic when he speaks ex cathedra?

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    1. >The Church never said that non-ex cathedra statements by the Holy See were non-infallible. She only said that ex cathedra statements were infallible. You're affirming the consequent.

      It seems like you are nit-picking a bit here and violating the principle of charity with respect to what Ed is saying.

      Can. 749 §1. By virtue of his office, the Supreme Pontiff possesses infallibility in teaching when as the supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful, who strengthens his brothers and sisters in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.

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    2. George R

      You should take Ed's advice he gave to a reader namely to spend an afternoon reading a logic book.

      "The Church never said that non-ex cathedra statements by the Holy See were non-infallible"

      The vatican Council tells us about the infallibility of the pope and when this is exercised and gives the CONDITIONS that must be met.

      "The Vatican Council (Sess. iv, cap. iv) solemnly taught the doctrine of papal infallibility in the following terms:

      "The Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedrâ, that is to say, when in the exercise of his office of pastor and teacher of all Christians he, in virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, defines that a doctrine on faith or morals is to be held by the whole Church, by the assistance of God promised to him in the person of Blessed Peter, has that infallibility with which it was the will of Our Divine Redeemer that His Church should be furnished in defining a doctrine on faith or morals."

      So the conditions are:
      1.It must be a decision by the supreme teaching authority in the Church.
      2.The decision must concern a doctrine of faith or morals.
      3.The decision must bind the universal Church.
      4.The decision must be irrevocable or, as it is called, definitive.
      infallibility is not attributed to every doctrinal act of the pope, but only to his ex cathedra teaching; and the conditions required for ex cathedra teaching are mentioned above.

      Why would the Church bother with conditions that determined if a statement counts as an ex cathedra one and therefore infallible if nonex cathedra statement are infallible too?

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    3. For the obvious reason that this definition describes how a pope may teach infallibly with a single act.

      Think about it this way: Is this definition intended to be a full description of the infallibility of the Church, or of the magisterium (the teaching office), or of the bishops generally? No, it isn't, and nobody except perhaps some post-V2 square-the-circle ignoramuses ever thought it was.

      The Church is infallible in her ordinary teaching activity, conducted by the bishops around the world. This is referred to as the "ordinary magisterium." The conditions are different from the conditions which govern the extraordinary act to which the definition of papal infallibility refers, because the kind of activity is different.

      The same is true of what has been referred to as the "ordinary papal magisterium." If a pope or popes repeatedly state a doctrine but without meeting the conditions of the extraordinary magisterium on any particular occasion, it is argued that this teaching activity is also unable to be mistaken. That is, the popes cannot mislead the Church over time, any more than a single pope can mislead the Church by a single act.

      I happen to agree with this argument, but even if you don't, you should be able to see that nothing in the definition of 1870 conflicts with it.

      Regards,
      John.

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  18. George is right, obviously, and there's no issue with charity in stating an obvious fact. I suspect Ed is an adult, and won't be appealing to charity to avoid having to answer an argument.

    Ed, "ultramontanists" were the orthodox party, in an argument in which the other side were Gallicans. Gallicanism is heresy now (since 1870), so I think using "ultramontanist" as a pejorative makes one sound ignorant or worse, liberal.

    I agree with Ed that the Church has been through crises before and she'll survive this one too. No problem. That doesn't affect the numerous curly questions to which any serious crisis gives rise. And there couldn't be a worse argument than, "If this were true, bad things would happen" when analysing reality. Follow the arguments, from sound premises to logical conclusions, and let the chips fall where they may. God is big enough to have it all sorted. He doesn't need us to hide our eyes from the facts in case He hasn't got a solution.

    Regards,
    John.

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    1. I thought it obvious that I was not using "ultramontanism" in its original sense but rather in the loose sense in which some have recently used it to refer to those who insist on defending every ill-advised statement made by the current pope.

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  19. Ed, this is a post-V2 myth: "What is ruled out [is] the ordinary magisterium actually settling on error for a prolonged period of time."

    Time has nothing to do with it. No lesser theologian than Cardinal Franzelin, who was possibly the most significant theological authority at the 1870 Vatican Council, explicitly rejected the notion that the ordinary magisterium is infallible only "over time." The doctrine of the infallibility of the ordinary magisterium is not formulated so as to include some extended period, or indeed ANY period of time. Duration is simply irrelevant.

    Franzelin says, speaking the Vincentian Canon (the text usually misinterpreted by those trying to square the post-conciliar circle):

    "As marks by which the apostolicity of a doctrine can be known, two characteristics are proposed:
    i) universality, i.e. the PRESENT consensus of the Church, and,
    ii) the consensus of antiquity, to be understood in a relative sense, i.e. a consensus shown to have existed before the controversy arose."

    As is obvious, DURATION is not in view, it is irrelevant. The Church is incapable of being wrong ALWAYS, at every moment of her existence. She is not merely incapable of being wrong for more than, say, a hundred years, or some other equally arbitrary period.

    I am not saying that there is a universal consensus in favour of any of the errors of Vatican II (although it is certainly arguable that there is such a consensus in favour of religious liberty). My purpose here is merely to highlight the falsity of this myth that the Church is infallible only "over time." It's a BASELESS and FALSE principle.

    Franzelin's masterful explanation of the Vincentian Canon can be read here in translation: http://strobertbellarmine.net/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=740

    Regards,
    John.

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    1. Honorius erred vis-a-vis monothelitism, at the very least by speaking ambiguously. John XXII erred vis-a-vis the particular judgment. These were errors that were temporary rather than persisting over time. So obviously there is a sense in which duration is relevant.

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    2. My purpose here is merely to highlight the falsity of this myth that the Church is infallible only "over time." It's a BASELESS and FALSE principle.

      John, I have heard and read repeatedly that the exercise of the infallibility possible to the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium is understood as pertaining to a consensus that exists over time, including in sources that ought to be reliable (including pre-Vatican II sources, for example), that I must insist that it has at least some basis.

      For one thing, the kind of universality that you mention (a) may not EVER have taken place even once in the history of the Church, (there is no recorded instance of it that I have ever heard of, so if there is please report it), and (b) even if it may have occurred in fact, in order for it to have its effect of TELLING US that the teaching is infallible, the successful universality of all the bishops at one moment teaching the same doctrine, though dispersed throughout the world must be known publicly as the same doctrine taught by all of them. Again, there is no extant example. And there could not be one, without some explicit forum in which the bishops registered as fact both that they DID teach the teaching, and propose it as definitive, that (as of some specified moment in time) they all responded in such a forum in the positive, though dispersed throughout the world. Again: history reports no such reality.

      It is theologically problematic to suggest that the Church has proposed for our understanding a belief, in 1870, in a specific way of exercising infallibility that had never before then actually ever been in use in the Church, and for which the Church (this was pre-radio) had no clear anticipation of exercising in reality in the future.

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    3. Remember, there are 2000 dioceses in the world, (and many more bishops, considering auxiliaries etc), and at any moment there are some dying and others being appointed / consecrated, so that the exact constitution of the college of bishops changes almost by the day. A so-called "universal" agreement would (at this point) have to be specified as TO THE DAY, it would not be enough to specify it to the year. There has not ever been a forum in which all the bishops declare a doctrine is true on a specific day. And even if here were, you can guarantee that a few would abstain, a few would be too ill, and a few would hem and haw and be ambiguous about it. (Even infallible doctrinal statements in councils get a few bishops who refuse to assent, it is certain that when dispersed throughout the world they would have even more willingness to delay or muddle assent).

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  20. Hi Ed,

    Neither spoke as pope, in the relevant sense. The first wrote a private letter to the Emperor counseling him, and the latter preached sermons to a local congregation.

    But I agree there is a sense in which duration is relevant - but not to infallibility, only to pertinacity. That is, there can always be a question of whether the culprit meant what he said or wrote, or knows whether it's heterodox. Time tends to clarify those questions.

    In the case of Honorius, he was dead before there was even any controversy, because his letter was a private one and had not been published. In the case of John XXII, he said immediately there was controversy that he would have experts study the matter and advise him, which he did. Ergo, no pertinacity.

    The issues for future theologians arising from the present circs will be many, but one will be to explain how the official acts of these men, published to the world, including in many cases in the Acta (always previously regarded as a sure sign of the text being a truly papal act), and actually misleading the Church on the most serious matters, can be reconciled with the infallibility of the Church, not just the papacy.

    You refer to Protestants when referring to sedevacantists, and I understand why, but it's even more "Protestant" a theory to describe a Church in which the faithful find themselves the final arbiters of what to believe. This remains true even though the faithful refer back to earlier papal texts, and therefore are not making up their own doctrine, because in this case the only difference with Protestantism is that the Prots refer back to Sacred Scripture, and we refer back to sacred tradition as well as Scripture. In principle there would be no difference.

    No, we need an actively teaching hierarchy that is implicitly trustworthy, and ensuring that we have it is the job of the pope...

    Regards,
    John.

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    1. Well said, John. I find it increasingly difficult to even engage in traditional contra-Protestant apologetics. And for me, the game changer here is Francis' teaching on CP. He has made it clear that he intends to contradict his predecessors and the Tradition here, and has explicitly stated that there has been a "development" that allows us to say now that capital punishment is immoral, which, of course is nothing less than an endorsement of Modernism--the "synthesis of all heresies". When the *Pope* can officially say, as Francis has in the Catechism text, that "the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissable" while sending us through a footnote to a *Papal* address that describes capital punishment as "per se contrary to the Gospel" then in all honesty of what use is the Papacy as a *living* infallible guide? Are we now expected to use private judgment to weigh the words of the living pontiff against the words of his predecessors in order to determine the truth? And by what criteria? As Aquinian points out, this is nothing other than a Protestantism that appeals to Tradition instead of Scripture alone.

      To me, Sedevacantism would then be the logical conclusion but I think that too leads to an impasse. If one can reject as Pope a man universally held to be Pope by the bishops, then it seems impossible to ever be certain that a partiuclar man is Pope. The result would be that de fide definitions would ultimately rest on an opinion. Sedevacantism makes Catholicism impossible.

      I'm at the point now where my defense of Catholicism has devolved to moral/pragmatic arguments. I feel that all that is left for me to convincingly appeal to is the fact that religion is a powerful moral force, encouraging spiritual growth, pulling individuals out of vice, healing families, strengthening local communities, nations etc. And I see Catholicism as having a long Tradition with great resources to help accomplish this, through the Church's liturgical/sacramental life, its prayer and mystical tradition, its emphasis on spiritual growth and personal perfection, its architecture etc. Catholicism holds out to us the transcendent and ennobling ideals of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. I see Catholicism as uniquely catering to this need and as therefore a desirable good. But as far as Traditional apologetics go, I'm finding myself less and less convinced. If the Magisterium itself isn't reliable, or is only reliable over some unspecified length of time, then how is one ever to know the Truths of the Faith with absolute certainty? With Francis, and perhaps even before, the Magisterium has basically committed suicide, or at least that's how it seems to me.

      Or rather, we could just say that the Modernists have won. Traditional Catholicism says to follow the Pope as the sure guide in matters of Faith and Morals. Well, the Popes teach Modernism now. Therefore, Traditional Catholicism leads to Modernism. And I think that's a pretty difficult conclusion to avoid since VII. Even Pius X's condemnations can be seen as just prudential judgments etc. After all, with Francis' capital punishment logic, everything is cast into doubt at this point as susceptible to a development that contradicts what came before. Why not then just say that the condemnation of Modernism itself was merely "for the times"?

      As a final thought, I find myself now more emphasizing the ineffable side of God and Dogma. It's definitely a change for my Western/scholastic mind (though, obviously, the scholastics were not at all opposed to via negativa / apophatic theology) but I think the emphasis on "mystery" is helpful. Besides, if the teaching of the Magisterium itself is now suspect, then unfortunately for Catholicism all dogmas are now suspect as well. Perhaps we should just say that the dogmas are true analogically and on a "higher plane", just as all our predications of God are on account of the limited nature of human intellect/language.

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    2. If we go by Fr. George Welzbacher analysis of the official revised Latin Text of CCC Francis' revision can be interpreted in an Orhtodox Maner of course no catechism by definition can be infallible otherwise it could never be revised.
      A Catechism can contain infallible teaching without itself being infallible.

      https://thewandererpress.com/catholic/news/frontpage/the-revised-catechism-section-2267-what-the-latin-text-actually-says/

      Every Sede wannabe is a heretic and so are the anti-Vatican II fanatics.

      "per se contrary to the Gospel" in what sense?

      The Latin clears it up.

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    3. @Son of Ya'Kov,

      Yes, I've seen Fr. Welzbacher's attempt, and I myself recognized the potential ambiguity in "quippe quae" in a comment to Fr. Zuhlsdorf back in August 2018 (http://wdtprs.com/blog/2018/08/pope-francis-changed-the-catechism-about-the-death-penalty-what-next-wherein-fr-z-opines/#comment-582350)

      I have no doubt that it is *capable* of being interpreted in an orthodox manner. That's not what't at issue. I can't interpret *virtually anything* in an orthodox manner (as Dr. Feser has pointed out multiple times before). The purpose of the Papacy is not to give us strings of words that we can force an orthodox interpretation upon. With the same logic, I could say that capital punishment is intrinsically evil and then just interpret the Tradition as actually condemning the practice. In fact, I could do this with good reason since Francis' statements on CP are some of the strongest papal statements on capital punishment ever made. To counter Francis, which Pope has ever *approved* of capital punishment by saying "The Church teaches, in light of the Gospel..." Even if not infallible, I think Francis' statement here is perilously close to qualifying. Is he not speaking qua Pope? Yes. Is he not claiming that this is the teaching of the Church? Yes. Is he not claiming that it has its source in Revelation? Yes. What more do you want? The Pope can use whatever medium he chooses for teaching.

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    4. Albinas the clear issue is does the Pope have a moral obligation to be clear? I would say yes he does.

      That is the problem. Not fictional heretical Popes.

      > I think Francis' statement here is perilously close to qualifying.

      Close only counts in horseshoes not infallibility.

      > Is he not speaking qua Pope? Yes. Is he not claiming that this is the teaching of the Church? Yes. Is he not claiming that it has its source in Revelation? Yes. What more do you want? The Pope can use whatever medium he chooses for teaching.

      Well get back to me when he changes the CCC to say "CP is intrinsically evil in all senses and is morally on the level of sodomy and idolatry".

      Till then I live in Matthew 16:18.

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    5. Son of Ya'Kov,

      It doesn't matter what words Francis uses. You will simply interpret them, no matter how implausibly, to make them fit an orthodox pattern, or you will deny that the teaching is truly ex cathedra. I've been there, I've done it, and I'm tired of it. It's putting your head in the sand. It's fideistic and "No True Scotsman". People who do this think they're defending the Pope and the Papacy but ironically by refusing to understand the words according to their natural meaning and context they end up making the teaching authority of the Church vacuous, or at best, extremely minimalistic.

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    6. >It doesn't matter what words Francis uses.

      No I gave an example on CP that would be a clear contradiction.

      >You will simply interpret them, no matter how implausibly, to make them fit an orthodox pattern, or you will deny that the teaching is truly ex cathedra.

      Horseshit! There is an objective standard as to what constitutes an Ex Cathedra statement and what does not. Just as in civil government there is an objective standard as to what constitutes an executive order(build the Wall) from the POTUS vs a mere Presidential Proclimation(please pray on 911).

      It is not hard. I have seen no act by the current Pope that constitutes an Ex Cathedra act. The Burden of proof is on you to show changing the CCC is an Ex Cathedra act. I don't have to prove it isn't.

      > I've been there, I've done it, and I'm tired of it. It's putting your head in the sand. It's fideistic and "No True Scotsman".

      We call this point weak pound pulpit.

      >People who do this think they're defending the Pope and the Papacy but ironically by refusing to understand the words according to their natural meaning and context they end up making the teaching authority of the Church vacuous, or at best, extremely minimalistic.

      Or you are no better than an Atheist who sets Bible quotes against one another to manufacture error where none is needed or should be assumed?

      The Pope comes close to error on CP but it seems divine providence via the offical Latin text of the CCC saves him.

      Morons who are wasting time trying to prove "Papal Fallibility" would do better coming up with defeaters for arguments for the existence of God. Take out the Big Guy first & ignore his stooge.

      That would be a more profitable use of a non-believer's time.

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    7. Albinus this is why I can't take you seriously.

      >Is he not speaking qua Pope? Yes. Is he not claiming that this is the teaching of the Church? Yes. Is he not claiming that it has its source in Revelation? Yes.

      Hey buddy last time I checked on the doctrine of infallibility Vatican I said "The Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedrâ, that is to say, when in the exercise of his office of pastor and teacher of all Christians he, in virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, defines that a doctrine on faith or morals is to be held by the whole Church,".

      What is defined by the change in the CCC?

      Nothing. Defining something is usually a clear act such as for example defining the doctrine of Papal Infallibility via Ex Cathedra decrees.

      The last clearly infallible statement made by the Pope said "By the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by Our own authority, We declare, pronounce and define the doctrine (insert clearly stated doctrine here )to be revealed by God and as such to be firmly and immutably held by all the faithful," or through an accompanying anathema stating that anyone who deliberately dissents is outside the Catholic Church.

      So like I said get back to me when Pope Francis does all of the above and clearly says CP is always in essence and at all times intrinsically evil like acts of Sodomy or Idolarty.

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    8. I don't understand why people can't see the easy and obvious way out of this: the Pope has to be infallibly erroneous or erroneously infallible to make Our Lord's promises to St. Peter false. But Pope Francis isn't. Albinus is right, the Pope is wrong, unambiguously wrong. I know what he means, you know what he means, and he knows what he means. And the Son of Ya'Kov is right too, the Pope isn't speaking ex cathedra. If he really, really, really meant it, in a sitting on a throne kind of way, he'd say so, and there'd be an anathema thrown in at the end. But there's not. And his immediate predecessor taught us, in a much clearer way, that on this issue, we're free to disagree with the Holy Father. As I said elsewhere, I did not agree with the Catechism before the change either; it was just Pope John Paul II's private opinion. Did we call him a heretic? No. And Pope Francis' opinion isn't really that different.

      And maybe the lack of clarity about what level of dogmas this all is, maybe that is a fair thing to criticize, but I also thank God for it, because I fear that if Pope Francis was the type that liked thrones and anathemas, we'd have an actual problem, an actual crisis of faith.

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    9. >I don't understand why people can't see the easy and obvious way out of this: the Pope has to be infallibly erroneous or erroneously infallible to make Our Lord's promises to St. Peter false.

      ???????????????
      What you wrote above has no discernible meaning to me. Therefore it cannot be correct or incorrect.

      >But Pope Francis isn't. Albinus is right, the Pope is wrong, unambiguously wrong.

      Is this some attempt at satire?

      > I know what he means,

      That makes one of us.

      >you know what he means,

      I do not.

      >and he knows what he means.

      Sure.....why not? Not that it helps my ignorance here.

      > And the Son of Ya'Kov is right too, the Pope isn't speaking ex cathedra.

      Well at least you are sensible on this point.;-)

      > If he really, really, really meant it, in a sitting on a throne kind of way, he'd say so, and there'd be an anathema thrown in at the end.

      No Pope Francis would merely be clear and unambiguous.

      >But there's not. And his immediate predecessor taught us, in a much clearer way, that on this issue, we're free to disagree with the Holy Father.

      So I take it here you are channeling Pope Benedict's teaching that one may disagree with the Pope on Capital Punishment? That seems probable. Pope Francis has never formally abrogated that.

      >As I said elsewhere, I did not agree with the Catechism before the change either; it was just Pope John Paul II's private opinion. Did we call him a heretic? No. And Pope Francis' opinion isn't really that different.

      No the issue is Pope Francis possibly mudding the distinction between wither CP was morally permissible in principle vs the prudence of carrying out the death penalty or the practical need for it. He comes close but close only counts in Horseshoes.

      >And maybe the lack of clarity about what level of dogmas this all is, maybe that is a fair thing to criticize, but I also thank God for it, because I fear that if Pope Francis was the type that liked thrones and anathemas, we'd have an actual problem, an actual crisis of faith.

      Well like I said the difference between Pope Francis whom the 19 accuse of heresy vs actual heretics like Luther and or Arius is the later are rather clear in their errors. Indeed Pope John XXII was clearer in his error than Pope Francis' alleged errors.

      I personally believe he is ambiguous because the Holy Spirit is restraining him.

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    10. Son of Ya'Kov,

      I'm sorry. I've accused Aquinian of being creative with words and got carried away myself. My point is that for us to despair of all hope, the Pope must be wrong - erroneous - and in a very specific way - infallible. Therefore, erroneously infallible or infallibly erroneous.

      The Pope's comments on capital punishment are erroneous. He's made the change to the Catechism, there's the speech the change appeals to for authority, there are his comments since. He's wrong - erroneous.

      But, like you point out, he's not taught this ex cathedra - not infallible. He's not erroneously infallible, or infallibly erroneous. It's just his prudential opinion, and we're free to agree or disagree.

      Pope Francis can be ambiguous. But if there's ambiguity here, it's about what level of dogma this novel teaching is, not what the teaching is. And I think you're right, that may be the Holy Spirit. That's why I said, I thank God. Because imagine if he held that capital punishment was wrong, that there was an actual development in morality, and he hopped on the sedia gestatoria and rode down to St. John's and got on his throne and said, in Latin, as much, and threw in an anathema at the end. That, that would be very troubling, that would justify the panic we're seeing, and the accusations of heresy. But he doesn't really seem to believe in smells and bells, so we've been spared that. Imagine if he was a liberal traditionalist? I am,

      Didymus

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    11. And even then, I don't think that comical situation would be enough. Rome would have to go the way of Constantinople and Canterbury all together before I'd give up on Him. One Holy Father's erroneous opinion is not worse than the Apocalypse. I am,

      Didymus

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    12. Son of Ya'Kov,

      I am not claiming that the change on CP qualifies as technically ex cathedra. In fact, I would be extremely surprised if I could find even one serious theologian who would assert that such is the case. My mistake for even bringing up the "ex cathedra" claim since it's not what's precisely at issue.

      The point I want to make is that Francis is in fact using his Magisterium there: "The Church teaches, in light of the Gospel..." This is not a case of Francis simply opining as a private theologian. It's official papal teaching, and it's natural meaning shows it to be erroneous--which is a serious problem. At issue here is not merely the 1870 infallibility definition but the more general doctrine of indefectibility. Even if papal infallibility is preserved, we are faced with the Pope using his Magisterium to officially sanction grave error. After all, Francis teaches not only that CP is wrong, but also (and more damning) that his predecessors were wrong on this point for centuries. So Francis teaches as Pope the Church was in grave moral error for centuries. Wonderful. How is it even possible for the Pope to teach such? With hardly even a peep from the bishops? Of what good is papal infallibility when it is rarely invoked and is compatible with grave error officially existing in the Magisterium?

      By the way, I DO think Francis HAS used his "ex cathedra" power in a different area: his canonizations. And, this is another big problem. How to reconcile the canonizations of JPII and Paul VI with the indefectibility of the Church. Think about it: canonizing a man who kissed the Koran!

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    13. @Didymus

      Thanks for clearing that up guy.

      Cheers.

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    14. Albinus,

      So many mistakes......

      >I am not claiming that the change on CP qualifies as technically ex cathedra.

      Then what is with the bitching and kvetching. Whatsthefreakinproblem? Oy Vey!

      >The point I want to make is that Francis is in fact using his Magisterium there: "The Church teaches, in light of the Gospel..." This is not a case of Francis simply opining as a private theologian.

      Except if he is not teaching clearly then that is as meaningful as him saying ""The Church teaches, in light of the Gospel bada bing bada boom." then it doesn't mean anything.

      >It's official papal teaching, and it's natural meaning shows it to be erroneous--which is a serious problem.

      Not really since Pope Benedict (who is also against CP) offical teaching also says Catholics are allowed to be at odds with the Pope over CP in a manner they are not permitted in terms of Abortion & similar issues. So your claim is laughable.

      >At issue here is not merely the 1870 infallibility definition but the more general doctrine of indefectibility. Even if papal infallibility is preserved, we are faced with the Pope using his Magisterium to officially sanction grave error.

      Not really since he hasn't explicitly said CP is intrinsically immoral which is what you need & Catholic doctrine does not endorse the moral errors of Kant that claim we are morally obligated to have the DP. We are not. The Church teaching is CP is permitted in principle. "Inadmissible" is not a classic term of Art & thus is ambigious and is no better then "bada bing etc".

      >After all, Francis teaches not only that CP is wrong, but also (and more damning) that his predecessors were wrong on this point for centuries.

      Judging the prudence of the previous Pope to allow CP is not a pronouncment on Faith and Morals. So this is wrong.

      >It's official papal teaching, and it's natural meaning shows it to be erroneous

      By your own admission and that of Fr. Welzbacher the offical Latin text meaning is not all that plain. You can't have it both ways. He can be both ambigious and clear in his teaching. The only clear thing here is he is ambigious. Bada Bing etc...

      >Of what good is papal infallibility when it is rarely invoked and is compatible with grave error officially existing in the Magisterium?

      We it is invoked then the matter is settled. Pope Francis for example never tired of sucking the joy out of liberal reporters telling them Pope St John Paul II closed the door on women Priests (even if he does tease them with Deaconesses).

      > So Francis teaches as Pope the Church was in grave moral error for centuries.

      He literally hasn't said that. You read that interpretation into him. Which is a possible interpretation. But until he clears it up then I can rely on the orthodox interpretation of the Latin text of the CCC and Pope Benedict's teaching hasn't been formally abrogated.

      >By the way, I DO think Francis HAS used his "ex cathedra" power in a different area: his canonizations. And, this is another big problem. How to reconcile the canonizations of JPII and Paul VI with the indefectibility of the Church. Think about it: canonizing a man who kissed the Koran!

      So much stupidity in one paragraph. If Koran kissing invalidates Pope JP2's canonization then how can Jerome be a Saint with his 66 book canon? Indeed how can anyone but the Sinless Virgin Mary be a saint since I can come up with a Mountain of personal flaws and mistakes made by Saints threw the years. Gives new meaning to the phrase a knowledge of history is the death of Protestantism. Even the high Church version Radtrads love.

      St Francis of Assisi offered to pray with the Sultan in Jerusalem long before there was an Assisi event.

      Your head is up your own arse.\

      You have not made one intelligent argument to me. I am almost insulted.

      Delete
    15. So, Son of Ya'Kov, according to you the indefectibility of the Church is compatible with ambiguity over grave matters existing in the official papal magisterium? What kind of indefectibility is that, especially when the ambiguity is so forced that you have to take things like "CP is per se contrary to the Gospel" and say, ah, this is ambiguous..in *what sense* does he mean it is per se contrary to the Gospel? Is that all indefectibility means? That you can always find a loophole to make things work? How wonderful.

      Delete
    16. >according to you the indefectibility of the Church is compatible with ambiguity over grave matters existing in the official papal magisterium?

      It doesn't show the Catholic Church is defectable. For the Church to be defectable means God ceases to protect Her with the Holy Spirit and She ceases to be the One True Church.

      How does ambiguity do that? Pope Alexander VI and Segius III both spent their Papacies bonking their mistresses (some Popes in the 12th century hung out with their boyfriends which is worst). If that doesn't cause the Catholic Church to cease to be the True Church I don't see how Francis teaching "Bada Bing" does it?

      Geez you seemed so intelligent at the beginning?WTF happened?

      >What kind of indefectibility is that, especially when the ambiguity is so forced that you have to take things like "CP is per se contrary to the Gospel" and say, ah, this is ambiguous..

      He doesn't tell me in what sense it is "contrary". Is it contrary to the theme of the Gospel where Christ spends most of his time acquiting sinners guilty of capital crimes like the woman taken in adultery? Or is it contrary to the moral teaching of the Gospel (which would be heresy)?

      I don't know and good luck waiting for Pope Francis to tell us during his lifetime.

      > Is that all indefectibility means? That you can always find a loophole to make things work? How wonderful.

      I have a better question for you. Where has the Catholic Church ever taught your novelty that the Pope potentially erroring in his magesterium when he is not speaking Ex Cathedra produces defectability?

      Well? While I am still young and good looking.

      PS Any "feelings" you have that it should DON'T FRACKING COUNT GENIUS!

      Oy Vey! My blood pressure. Against stupidty even the gods themselves contend in vain.

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    17. Son of Ya'Kov,

      If you actually read the address you'd see that he does tell you:

      "It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity. It is per se contrary to the Gospel, **BECAUSE** it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator and of which – ultimately – only God is the true judge and guarantor." http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2017/october/documents/papa-francesco_20171011_convegno-nuova-evangelizzazione.html

      It's not a question of the Pope merely erring in a non ex cathedra statement that produces defectibility. It's the Pope erring (or being insufferably ambiguous) on a matter of settled doctrine, calling into question the entire moral tradition of the Church, and not being rebuked for it immediately by the bishops. Your logic implies that the entire ecclesia docens (i.e., pope and bishops) can fall into error (or into a we-might-be-able-to-make-this-work ambiguity) for any length of time as long as there are no false ex cathedra definitions.

      Tell me, then, Son of Ya'Kov. Are you certain that CP is NOT intrinsically evil? After all, there has never been an ex cathedra statement in this regard. By your logic, indefectibility is untouched unless a Pope makes an erroneous ex cathedra statement. So, perhaps Francis is right and the previous Popes/Tradition are wrong? Perhaps there will be someday an ex cathedra condemnation of capital punishment "in toto"? If not, why not? What about an ex cathedra approval of contraception? Why not?

      Delete


    18. >If you actually read the address..

      Excuse me I thought we where talking about the Pope's Magesterium? How is a mere address an exercise in the Pope's teaching Magesterium? Changing the CCC I can understand in which case we would refer to the Latin Text but this address existed way before the change and nobody understood it as magesterial. Even if we make it erronous threw and threw & I don't even attempt a defense.

      Come back when you have something coherent to work with. To respond to the rest of your nonsense would be pointless given this grevious flaw.

      You keep moving the goal posts.

      >It's not a question of the Pope merely erring in a non ex cathedra statement that produces defectibility.

      Do you even have a coherent objection at this point? I think not. I think you are bitching for the sake of bitching.

      > Perhaps there will be someday an ex cathedra condemnation of capital punishment "in toto"?

      Perhaps on that day we will also dig up Christ's festoring rotten and unresurrected corpse as well along with Mary's body as well?

      Dream on.

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    19. additional:

      >Tell me, then, Son of Ya'Kov. Are you certain that CP is NOT intrinsically evil? After all, there has never been an ex cathedra statement in this regard.

      It is taught by the ordinary and universal magestrium & the Pope has not formally and unambigiously contradicted it.


      I think you have your own made up doctrine of Church teaching authority.

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    20. Seriously, Ya'Kov. The address is referenced through a footnote in the Catechism change to provide context for the change obviously. Is it now not acceptable to use the footnote provided by the CCC itself for context? You claim the CCC text is ambiguous but refuse to use the reference provided by the CCC itself for clarification? Thanks for participating.

      Just to clarify in case anyone else is following our little dead-end discussion. It is not my intention here to cast doubt on the legitimacy or coherency of Catholicism. As I mentioned in my original post on this thread, I believe Catholicism has a lot to offer in terms of moral/spiritual development and THAT type of argument is a type of anchor I can grab onto in these times of unprecedented magisterial confusion, really since VII and especially now under Francis. Let's face it. Ever since VII, the Church has taken a drastic turn. Whether through outright error or just ambiguity or whatever the Church just doesn't seem to be what it has been in the past and I'm not sure what to make of it. I suppose I'm learning more now towards a view of Church teaching as analogically true, rather than literally (just as our knowledge of God is analogically true). I feel that this position makes the most sense given the evidence, but who really knows? What I DO know, though, is that a life of virtue is desirable and worthwhile. And that religion--Catholicism in particular--helps me and my family in that endeavor, regardless of whatever way we attempt to solve these doctrinal puzzles. Good day to all, even to you Son of Ya'Kov. I wish you the best.

      Delete
    21. Albinus, on a personal note, I think you're taking this too personally, man. For a while I did too. But it's just the Pope's opinion. This isn't the Apocalypse. That's the point I've tried to make again and again. It's not worth losing faith, or anymore sleep, over. He's wrong and that's okay. He drinks out of a communal gourd, too, and that's really vile. And while it might be fun to talk about all these things, it's really not our problem. I am a man under authority, remember? Your talking about virtuous living and anchoring arguments is troubling; what about Christ? Maybe the Church only offers a lot, but He offers everything, and He isn't anywhere else but here. So get in line, in your own head, like I had to. In love,

      Didymus

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    22. >Seriously, Ya'Kov. The address is referenced through a footnote in the Catechism change to provide context for the change obviously.

      So what? The address itself by definition cannot be an act of the magisterium.

      >Is it now not acceptable to use the footnote provided by the CCC itself for context? You claim the CCC text is ambiguous but refuse to use the reference provided by the CCC itself for clarification? Thanks for participating.

      Your Sola CCC novelty is noted. Why must a footnote alone be cited for context sans the rest of Tradition?

      >Just to clarify in case anyone else is following our little dead-end discussion. It is not my intention here to cast doubt on the legitimacy or coherency of Catholicism.

      Or offer a coherent objection that doesn't move the goal posts. Sorry but that is how I must call it.

      >As I mentioned in my original post on this thread, I believe Catholicism has a lot to offer in terms of moral/spiritual development and THAT type of argument is a type of anchor I can grab onto in these times of unprecedented magisterial confusion, really since VII and especially now under Francis.

      I am not confused. It is all rather clear to me.

      > Let's face it. Ever since VII, the Church has taken a drastic turn. Whether through outright error or just ambiguity or whatever the Church just doesn't seem to be what it has been in the past and I'm not sure what to make of it.

      It amuses an old man like me you think there was some Golden Age of Catholicism before the Council? No, the world and Catholics have always sucked. Otherwise we would have no need of the Incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection and the Church.

      > I suppose I'm learning more now towards a view of Church teaching as analogically true, rather than literally (just as our knowledge of God is analogically true).

      A view unjustified by any rational standard that lack all coherence and flies in the face of Tradition.

      >I feel that this position makes the most sense given the evidence, but who really knows?

      What "evidence" all I saw was a lot of bad arguments sprinkled with some incoherent ones? What sense?

      > What I DO know, though, is that a life of virtue is desirable and worthwhile. And that religion--Catholicism in particular--helps me and my family in that endeavor, regardless of whatever way we attempt to solve these doctrinal puzzles. Good day to all, even to you Son of Ya'Kov. I wish you the best.

      That is all true as far as it goes but your case for "defectability" did not impress me.

      Somebody find Tony. HE can pistol whip me with a good argument.

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    23. Thanks, Didymus. I suspect my problem may be excessive rationalism? I don't know...something like that. I'm going to immerse myself more in the mystical-liturgical-contemplative side of Catholicism for a bit rather than getting bent out of shape over apparent contradictions for now...

      Son of Ya'Kov,
      I'll let your latest be the last word. I'm too busy now attempting to ascend the mountain to Ipsum Esse Subsistens. Maybe I'll have something ineffable to tell you after I've attained the Unitive Way and am prompted hither and tither by the Gifts of the Holy Ghost. :-D

      Delete
    24. Albinus, we have a lot of problems. And maybe Pope Francis is one of them. But I think obsessing over what he says and does is as well. Past generations of Catholics didn't know how the Pope liked his coffee, or that he drank mate instead. Like I said, this is all very interesting, but ultimately it's not our place. Like the centurition, we are men under authority. Offer it up to God.

      And sometimes we lose sight of the forest for the trees. It might be better to say we forget the foundation admiring the roof. That happens in cathedrals. And often I go back to my intellectual foundation. The Gospels are true. Sacred Scripture is true. The Fathers are true. The Church is true. So it went on my path. And the crypt is in the foundation, so look to the Saints for support along yours. I often feel like the roof, all this fancy theology and philosophy, it's too good to be true. It overwhelms me. But the foundation is solid, the cornerstone is solid.

      I once worked in politics. I gave up on it. This is all part of that. I tried farming, doing something with my hands. That didn't work, so I'm becoming an artist. There's ways to love God and win souls without arguing and thinking all the time.

      Take care of yourself, brother. In love,

      Didymus

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  21. Maas's comments on religious liberty apply equally to slavery. If the state of slavery is intrinsically evil, then the Church gave approval to a moral evil for almost two millennia, starting with St. Paul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you really don't know the difference between chattel slavery (which is intrinsically immoral) vs other forms of compelled servatude which recognize the servant's rights under natural Law?

      Typical but then again you think Pope St Paul VI was a homosexual based on the claims of a French Communist/Atheist Pederast and gay rights advocate.

      What is the point of you Radtrad?

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    2. @Aquinian
      Do you have an unambiguous doctrinal statement to back up the "the Church gave approval" claim?

      Delete
    3. Aquinian loves to abuse words. Here it's slavery; he's appealing to the colloquial meaning. Up above he preferred a 19th Century theological term over the colloquial. In another place naturalism meant something to him and him alone. It makes coming to terms, and therefore any fruitful discussion, impossible. Especially in a discussion about the meaning of terms, like heresy or ex cathedra.

      He reminds me of the scientist who insists, to the point of fury, that snakes are not poisonous, they're venomous. Until his tongue slips and he talks like everybody else and tells us they're poisonous.

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    4. * earlier than 19th Century theological definition over the colloquial

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    5. I have no idea what you are referring to when you mention "colloquial."

      On slavery, the Church repeatedly condemned the making of slaves unjustly, never the mere ownership or even sale of slaves.

      Slavery as a result of a just cause (e.g. prisoners taken in a just war, debts incurred by an irresponsible borrower) has never been condemned.

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    6. Aquinian, that's just my point. It's not standard modern English usage to call prisoners of war or debtors slaves. If anybody calls these things slavery, it's rhetorical.

      Of course, sometimes it's necessary to use a word in a technical sense. Fine. But you have to define it for everybody else. Otherwise you're just scoring points on your own scoreboard.

      You did the exact same thing with naturalism. I'm talking about Jesus Christ killing the firstborn of Egypt because His chosen people are facing extinction, and you're going on about how it's a natural thing? And up above you take Professor Feser to task for calling a certain group of people ultramontanists, when the rest of us also call them ultramontanists?

      The confusion your use of words creates rivals the Holy Father's. It's a crisis of language unprecedented in salvific history. I'd say the sky is falling, but you'll probably use sky to mean ground and falling to mean rising.

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    7. Edited for formatting.

      “Aquinian, that's just my point. It's not standard modern English usage to call prisoners of war or debtors slaves. If anybody calls these things slavery, it's rhetorical.”

      Chattel slavery is defined as the mere owning of slaves. This has never been condemned by the Church. Chattel slavery is what is generally referred to as “slavery.” You refer to indentured servitude and other similar contracts, as if those are what are being discussed. I’m afraid it’s you who is using words that people won’t generally understand.

      “You did the exact same thing with naturalism. I'm talking about Jesus Christ killing the firstborn of Egypt because His chosen people are facing extinction, and you're going on about how it's a natural thing?”

      I really think you had no idea what was being discussed in that exchange. Maybe go back and review it?

      “And up above you take Professor Feser to task for calling a certain group of people ultramontanists, when the rest of us also call them ultramontanists?”

      Actually, that is the very problem I’d like to see go away – the abuse of this term, which has quite a specific meaning, and which has been constantly abused by liberals so that people like you use it in a quite wrong sense, thus effectively aiding them in their efforts to discredit the Catholic Church. The Gallicans very deliberately made “ultramontanist” into a pejorative term, and the English Protestants, including the Prime Minister Gladstone, leaped upon it and gleefully employed it to demonise the orthodox party in the Church. What was primarily at issue was papal infallibility, but closely associated at the time were the liberty of the Church (the Papal States) and the whole Freemasonic attack on the Church. As far as I’m concerned, those who use it wrongly today are following in the inglorious footsteps of betrayers of the Church like Lord Acton and Döllinger. Obviously this is unconscious, but instead of complaining about my straight-forward correction of fact, how about you realize that you don’t know very much about it and go do some study?

      Regards,
      John.

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    8. "Slavery as a result of a just cause (e.g. prisoners taken in a just war, debts incurred by an irresponsible borrower) has never been condemned."

      VS.

      "You refer to indentured servitude and other similar contracts, as if those are what are being discussed."

      Delete
    9. Maybe it will help if I point out that the ONLY thing the Church has condemned is the unjust MAKING of slaves (e.g. the Africans captured and enslaved for no reason except commercial profit). She has not condemned the STATE of SLAVERY, in whatever form you wish to define it. Slavery is slavery is slavery, actually. My point is that it is not intrinsically immoral, to the great embarrassment of "liberal Catholics."

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    10. Aquinian, that may or may not be. I'm not arguing with you about slavery. I think it's pointless to argue with somebody who equivocates. I'm merely pointing out that you equivocate, and that it makes fruitful discussion difficult. In these four comments slavery is not slavery is not slavery; it's been chattel slavery, it's been the making of slaves, it's been the state of slavery, it's been prisoners of war, it's been debtors, it's been indentured servants, it's been the African slave trade. It's something different every time it suits you.

      "... which has quite a specific meaning..." which doesn't matter. If words have meaning in English, it's what the majority of us use them or understand them to mean. And that can and does change. Sometimes for natural reasons, sometimes not; sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not. That's why the OED is a descriptive dictionary, not prescriptive. Likewise the 'authoritative' grammar of English, the Cambridge Grammar.

      If you're going to say the Church has never condemned slavery, you need to define slavery at least, and probably the Church and condemnation.

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    11. Wow, you really put your best foot forward, eh?

      The Church has never condemned slavery, not chattel slavery, not indentured servitude, not debt prisons. None of it.

      If you think she has, cite your sources. And don’t bother with the ones already cited here, they only condemn the unjust reduction of men to slavery, that is, the reduction to slavery without a just cause.

      I think that’s clear, and I am confident in two things: 1. You’re the only one who (apparently) needed it restated, and 2. You won’t try and prove it wrong, you would rather violate the moral law by accusing another of sin on insufficient grounds.

      Delete
    12. @Aquinian

      Sorry but the Church has condemned Chattel slavery. That is any form of slavery that at best treats the slave as if he
      had the moral status of an animal or at worst an object with no natural human rights or any right under natural law.

      In the 19th century the Church via the Holy Office ruled such slavery was immoral and intrinsically evil. Now compelled servatude as such where the slave/servant rights under natural law are upheld the Church ruled such a hypothetical version of slavery was "not contrary to the Gospel or Natural Law". As Feser then pointed out a scholastic might argue against that version of slavery on the grounds of prudence. Since a master in such a case would still have an inordinate amount of power over a slave the temptation to abuse it and for it to devolve into tyranny and chattel slavery in the del facto sense would be too great to allow it.

      You really should keep up with the reading here. I realize you are an extremist Trad who dogmatically thinks in an antiquarian manner to befuttle an issue but there really is no excuse for your ignorance here and ambiguity.

      But then again you believe Pope St Paul VI was a secret homosexual based on the claims of an Atheist Communist French Pederast who falsely accused him.

      Really what is the point of you Radtrad?

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    13. So far there has been a certain congruence between Aquinian and the likes of John T. Noonan. Each proposes that the Church has "approved" of something, while foregoing the evidentiary backing of the argument.

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    14. Aquinian, what don't you understand: I am not arguing with you about slavery or what the Church says about it. My point is that you equivocate. You use a word one way here, then another way there. And it's a bizarre usage each time. Prisoners of war, debtors, indentured servants, whatever, are not slaves. And imprisoning war criminals, collecting debts, and signing contracts, even bad contracts, aren't kinds of 'enslaving'. Debt bondage maybe is. Every just cause for slavery you've listed doesn't result in slavery at all! But until you define slavery or start writing in plain and simple English, it's impossible to discuss the issue with you.

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    15. And silence. Just like when you dismissed God's wonders amongst the Hebrews as naturalism and were presented with Scriptural evidence to the contrary, silence.

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    16. Michael, SoY, are you looking for this reply of the Holy Office?

      https://suchanek.name/texts/atheism/slavery.html

      It says that there is nothing intrinsically immoral about the state of slavery. It also says that the state of slavery is in no way opposed to the natural law, so this is not only a matter of revelation. In looking for that Holy Office text, I searched Ed's old posts, and I note that Ed used to assert that slavery is contrary to the natural law. I wonder if he still holds that view?

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    17. @Didymus

      Just for the record, this is simply untrue: "Just like when you dismissed God's wonders amongst the Hebrews as naturalism and were presented with Scriptural evidence to the contrary."

      Delete
    18. @Aquinian

      So you are using a translation of this Holy Office document produced by Atheists? Well we all know you trust Atheists like the Atheist Pederast who accused Pope St Paul VI of being a homosexual. So why am I not surprised?

      The document in question clearly refers to non-Chattel slavery. That is slavery that respects the natural law rights of the slave vs the immoral version of slavery. It vindicates everything I said and Feser has said in the past.

      > I note that Ed used to assert that slavery is contrary to the natural law.

      Stop lying.
      https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/07/msgr-swetlands-confusions.html#more

      Quote"the monsignor grossly oversimplifies and misrepresents the history of Catholic teaching on slavery. What most people think of when they hear the word “slavery” is chattel slavery, which involves complete ownership of another person, the way one might own an animal or an inanimate object. This is indeed intrinsically gravely evil, and the Church condemns it. But the Church has always condemned it. It is not some novel or recent teaching.

      There are, however, other practices that are sometimes loosely labeled “slavery” but which are very different from chattel slavery. For example, there is indentured servitude, which is a contract to give the right to one’s labor to another person for a prolonged period of time – for example, in payment of a debt. And there is penal servitude, which involves forcing someone to labor as part of a punishment for a crime. Catholic theologians have long regarded some of these practices as so morally hazardous, and in particular as posing a serious enough danger of degenerating into chattel slavery, that in practice they ought not to be employed. But the Church has not condemned them as intrinsically immoral the way chattel slavery is."END QUOTE

      Don't lie to me Aquinian. You are already on my shit list.

      Anyway to quote the document you provide from Atheist anti-biblical propoganda.

      Servitude itself, considered in itself and all alone (per se et absolute), is by no means repugnant to the natural and divine law, and there can be present very many just titles for servitude, as can be seen by consulting the approved theologians and interpreters of the canons. For the dominion which belongs to a master in respect to a slave is not to be understood as any other than the perpetual right of disposing, to one’s own advantage, of servile work, which dominion it is legitimate for a person to offer to another person. From this it follows that it is not repugnant to the natural and divine law that a slave be sold, bought, exchanged, or given, as long as in this sale, or buying, or exchange or giving, the due conditions which those same approved authors widely follow and explain, are properly observed. Among these conditions those which are to be especially looked at are whether the slave who is put up for sale has been justly or unjustly deprived of his liberty, and that the seller does nothing by which the slave to be transferred to another possessor suffer any detriment to life, morals or the Catholic faith." END QUOTE

      Sounds like you are not allowed to sell a slave to a non-Christian or anybody who might cause the slave to suffer things which are forbidden to inflict on another due to natural law?

      So it doesn't say "the state of slavery is in no way opposed to the natural law" without qualifications.

      What is the point of you Radtrad?

      Delete
    19. So, you can't quote the Church condemning "chattel slavery," you just assert it without proof?

      Here is Ed: "For what it is worth, classical natural law theory would absolutely rule out chattel slavery, not on the grounds of the sort of radical self-ownership Rothbard affirms, but rather on the ground that each human being has a natural end to which all other ends – including those of a would-be slave owner, but including also his own contingent ends – are subordinate. That is to say, since I am ordered by nature to certain ends, I cannot be turned away from them by some other human being, as if I were his property." From: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/08/rothbard-revisited.html

      I didn't lie. But that's beside the point. It is contrary to the moral law to accuse another of sin without strong evidence. If I were running this blog, any such accusation would be deleted and the culprit warned that a repeat would result in a permanent ban. If we don't care about morality, what's the seriousness of our interest in truth? Well, that's a rhetorical question, in this context, isn't it?

      As for the kind of slavery that existed in the USA, the American bishops absolutely defended it, and assured Catholic slave-owners that there was nothing intrinsically wrong in their owning slaves. Nor can you escape this official interpretation of Christian doctrine by accusing the bishops of "Americanism", for there is not the slightest basis for such an argument. The popes never corrected the American bishops (unlike the case of Americanism), and as far as I have read, no other Catholic authority did either.

      You can define US slavery as "chattel slavery" and in turn define chattel slavery as implying the right to abuse the slave's rights, so that you get to where you can say that US type slavery was immoral, however that seems to me to be begging the question. It is to allege, without apparent proof, what is really at issue - whether or not there was an intrinsically immoral element in slavery as it existed in the USA. And the problem with that claim is precisely that the Church's official teachers, the bishops, said that there was no such element. (I understand that since Vatican II it has become almost habit to ignore the bishops and decide all such questions oneself, but it's totally unCatholic and won't wash with anybody with the slightest sense of submission to the Church.)

      Over to you, Einstein.

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    20. @Didymus

      I have just re-read this thread, and I see that this is not correct: "You refer to indentured servitude and other similar contracts, as if those are what are being discussed."

      It wasn't you that introduced the distinctions between the kinds of slavery, it was Son of Ya'Kov and Robert Morton.

      But in any case, if you're going to complain about people using words in a non-colloquial or specialised manner, see them not me. I've said every time that slavery is not immoral, period. In this respect I make no distinction between the kinds of slavery, they're all morally unobjectionable in themselves. I only mentioned the different kinds because others had started distinguishing, and I only mentioned them in order to include all possible kinds under the term, "slavery" so as to cut off such escape routes. The verbal quibbles are all on the other side.

      Thanks.

      Delete
    21. Nominalist shell game and unofficially "official" teachings. Tactically similar with Noonan.

      Delete

    22. Read what I wrote, instead of the smoke being blown over it.

      Consult any pre-V2 theology manual that addresses slavery and you will find that the data begin with St. Paul instructing slaves to obey even nasty and unjust masters, and then theologians proceed to point out that the Fathers had nothing to say that was anything different. The Church didn’t condemn slavery, her entire concern in the matter seems to have been to instruct masters on treating slaves justly, which mysteriously for liberals did not include freeing them, and instructing slaves to act obediently to what were their rightful masters. If you have different data, post it. But I think you don’t, and that’s why you’re playing the man.

      Has anybody thought to consult a moral theology manual on this question? No, you haven’t. How strange, don’t you think?

      We’re now told with directness and clarity by Son of Ya'Kov that “In the 19th century the Church via the Holy Office ruled such slavery was immoral and intrinsically evil.”

      We’re still waiting to see this startling text, never before heard of, yet testified to with such confidence by your champion. Do you really believe in proof for assertions, or are you just another politician?

      Delete
    23. @Aquinian

      You lied again and you are shameless about it.

      >So, you can't quote the Church condemning "chattel slavery," you just assert it without proof?

      So your standard is you want a literal statement "Chattel slavery is condemned" but you don't follow your own standards.

      Excuse me but you said " I note that Ed used to assert that slavery is contrary to the natural law."

      The quote you provide nowhere has Feser saying "slavery is against natural law". What is against natural law is "each human being has a natural end to which all other ends – including those of a would-be slave owner, but including also his own contingent ends – are subordinate.".

      For example if I am a Catholic Slave and my Catholic owner wants to become a Baptist he has no right to force me to become one too just because he owns my labor and I am bound to his sevice.
      If he did have that right I would be a chattel slave.

      Nothing you have said contrtadicts what I have said or Feser and you clearly lied. Where does Feser say "slavery is against natural law"? He doesn't. Liar! By your own standards. The proof is in front of me.

      What is the point of you Radtrad.

      >As for the kind of slavery that existed in the USA, the American bishops absolutely defended it

      Till Pius VII told them to cut it out.

      What is the point of you Radtrad? SSPX are degenerates and nutters.

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    24. So you agree that slavery is not contrary to the natural law, only a perversion of it is.

      Which is exactly what I maintain.

      And no, you can't cite your Nineteenth century Holy Office text, can you?

      We all tend to judge others according to our own experience of life. The honest man tends to naivety; the liar always suspects others of lying.

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    25. From the Wiki on Pius VII

      Opposition to slavery

      Pius VII joined the declaration of the 1815 Congress of Vienna, represented by Cardinal Secretary of State Ercole Consalvi, and urged the suppression of the slave trade. This pertained particularly to places such as Spain and Portugal where slavery was economically very important. The pope wrote a letter to King Louis XVIII of France dated 20 September 1814 and to the King John VI of Portugal in 1823 to urge the end of slavery. He condemned the slave trade and defined the sale of people as an injustice to the dignity of the human person. In his letter to the King of Portugal, he wrote: "the pope regrets that this trade in blacks, that he believed having ceased, is still exercised in some regions and even more cruel way. He begs and begs the King of Portugal that it implement all its authority and wisdom to extirpate this unholy and abominable shame."

      Aquinian is an idiot.

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    27. >So you agree that slavery is not contrary to the natural law, only a perversion of it is.

      You cannot bring up the term "slavery" unqualified and contrary to normal use. I qualified it and what I said is in 100% harmony with and affirmed by your own source material.

      Anyway you lied about Feser and I caught you. Now get lost Radtrad. I am done with you.

      PS you are against Pius VII.

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    28. Pius VII condemned the unjust reduction of free men to the state of slavery.

      If he had condemned slavery as such, he’d have risked the kind of reaction Francis is currently provoking, and a theologian or two would have noticed.

      Let Ed say if I misread him. I reckon your credibility is pretty much toast.

      Regards,
      John.

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    29. >Pius VII condemned the unjust reduction of free men to the state of slavery.

      No he called for the abolition of the slave trade and to abolish slavery. Obviously English is not your first language.

      I had originally said to you on this topic.

      "So you really don't know the difference between chattel slavery (which is intrinsically immoral) vs other forms of compelled servatude which recognize the servant's rights under natural Law?"

      The document from the Holy Office said "servitude" and it condemns chattel slavery.

      You are a liar and an idiot.

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    30. Aquinian is mostly right in that slavery as such has rarely been the object of the Church's censure (much less approval).

      Explicitly forbidden, several times, was the unjust enslaving of people - but not the just enslaving, that is, the reduction of prisoners taken in just war to slavery.

      I'm Brazilian, and this was a major point in our colonial history: disputes between colonists and the Church - especially the Jesuits - about which wars counted as "just". Needless to say, the colonists had an expansive view of these wars' "justice", while the Jesuits had a restrictive view.

      The Church also had many, many slaves of her own. In Brazil, most of the colonists were illiterate and estates rarely spanned more than three generations. The result is that most econometric studies of Brazilian slavery rely of slaves belonging to the Church or monastic orders, since there was continuity over time and the owners were literate and punctilious accountants.

      This also happened in the United States, as you can see perusing this dissertation: `Negroes of ours'': Jesuit slaveholding in Maryland, 1717--1838, by Thomas Murphy, available here: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/dissertations/AAI9831883/

      I don't know which document Ya'kov refers to in the discussion above, but I suspect it may be Leo XIII's In Plurimis (http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_05051888_in-plurimis.html). It's well worth a read.

      It condemns slavery in no uncertain terms, but does not say it is intrinsically evil, so much so that a slow step-by-step approach to abolition is there recommended.

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    31. >Aquinian is mostly right in that slavery as such has rarely been the object of the Church's censure (much less approval).

      I never disputed that except in Aquianian's demented imagination. I made a natural distinction between Chattel Slavery vs other forms of compelled servatude which recognized the servant's rights under natural law.

      The Church has NEVER condoned any version of slavery that did not recognize the slave's rights under natural law.

      Aquinian because of his dogmatic antequarianism & pseudo Traditionalism likes to equivocate on terminology.

      The document was provided by Aquinian from a book written by an Atheist attacking the Bible.

      https://suchanek.name/texts/atheism/slavery.html

      It upholds the view I advocate and clearly condemns all versions of slavery that deny the slave/servant his/her rights under natural law and the moral law as well.


      Anyway thanks for the link to Leo XIII one wonders how Aquinian will spin it as a Post Vatican II sentiment?

      Cheers Al.

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    32. I read that encyclical some twenty years ago. It is exactly as described. No condemnation of slavery as such, nor could it have done without contravening Christian doctrine.

      SoY, if you take nothing else from this bruising encounter, at least note that some people don't walk into controversial issues unless they have read thoroughly on the matter and thought hard about it.

      The whole "chattel slavery" line doesn't pass the smell test anyway, of course, because however you define it, what the Romans had was obviously "worse" than any modern form, and St. Paul didn't condemn it, and neither did anybody else.

      The project of somehow making the Church the real force behind what was really a Protestant effort, abolitionism, simply doesn't work.

      Regards,
      John.

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    33. Aquinian,

      Again, I think you need to define what you mean by slavery. Is serfdom slavery? If not, then the rarity of Roman slavery in Christian ages is very telling.

      Regardless, can you offer more than silence from your Church authorities? Not condemning something is not the same as praising or even permitting it. In the case of capital punishment we have clear and repeated teaching that it is morally permissible, even necessary and good. I am,

      Didymus

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    34. The article in the Catholic Encyclopedia is actually very informative; it can hardly be accused of being post-Conciliar. I am,

      Didymus

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    35. Aquinian,

      In addition to defining what you mean by slavery and demonstrating Church teaching in favour of its practice, can you also define what you mean by enslavement and that versus slavery, and can you list just causes for enslaving a person? I ask because you have stressed the difference between slavery and enslavement or the act of enslaving somebody and you've said that the Church has condemned a variety of reasons for enslaving a person, but hinted that there might be some just reasons for doing so. Thank you. Very interesting. I am,

      Didymus

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    36. Aquinian, when you read that encyclical some 20 years ago, did you read this part:

      "Is is, however, chiefly to be wished that this may be prosperously accomplished, which all desire, that slavery may be banished and blotted out without any injury to divine or human rights, with no political agitation, and so with the solid benefit of the slaves themselves, for whose sake it is undertaken."

      Or this part?

      "In the presence of so much suffering, the condition of slavery, in which a considerable part of the great human family has been sunk in squalor and affliction now for many centuries, is deeply to be deplored; for the system is one which is wholly opposed to that which was originally ordained by God and by nature."

      I'm excited to hear from you, but if that's not a condemnation of slavery, what is? I am,

      Didymus

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    37. Didymus, read this. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14039a.htm

      I'm not suggesting slavery was a good thing, or that the Church praised or promoted it. I'm merely saying that it was approved as ethically unobjectionable, contrary to the principles and wishes of the liberals.

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    38. Didymus, in thinking about the Church's role in modern "abolitionism" keep the dates in mind. Here's a useful timeline: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_abolition_of_slavery_and_serfdom

      Leo's intervention was in 1888.

      And no, his condemnation was of slavery in the concrete forms it then existed in, not of slavery per se. If it had been the latter, it would have been a revolutionary encyclical, something like one of the effulgences of John XXIII (Pacem in Terris), or Paul VI (Humanae Vitae), or Francis (numerous erroneous and scandalous documents). You know, it would have shocked the Catholic world, produced cries of heresy, and generally shattered the unity of the Church. But it wasn't like the documents of our era, and it didn't produce any consternation about Leo's orthodoxy, so no, it didn't contradict Tradition by condemning what had always been approved.

      Regards,
      John.

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    39. SoY, another invention of yours:

      >As for the kind of slavery that existed in the USA, the American bishops absolutely defended it

      "Till Pius VII told them to cut it out."

      Really? How about citing the document?

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    40. >SoY, another invention of yours:

      Like your fantasy claim Feser originally taught Slavery was forbidden by natural law?

      >Really? How about citing the document?

      Didymus is already doing a good job with the citations & he is correct you keep equivocating and you wind up being ambigious.

      I believe he or someone else said to you "Hey that's the Holy Father schick"(I paraphraise from memory).

      As for a citation I remember hearing it on EWTN or I read it somewhere & I trust my memory. Also why should I bust my arse for a Radtrad Troll like you?

      I already documented you lied about Feser and you don't have the decency to own your error.

      So piss off.

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    41. Translation: "Yeah, I made that up, but I called you a liar so it's OK."

      😂

      Delete
    42. Aquinian, I found that article insightful as well.

      "And no, his condemnation was of slavery in the concrete forms it then existed in, not of slavery per se."

      Again, what do you mean by slavery per se? How is that different from enslavement? What are just causes for slavery or enslavement? And where has the Church taught that any of these are acceptable, as opposed to being silent on the matter? Thank you again. I am,

      Didymus

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    43. >Translation: "Yeah, I made that up, but I called you a liar so it's OK."

      I made nothing up & I called you a liar because you are one. A shameless one.

      So where has Feser ever said Slavery is against natural law? Well? Nowhere & I provided direct citations that contradicted your claims and you provided nothing to back up your claim.

      Indeed the only citation you provided was one where Feser correcly said nobody may be licitly denied their natural law rights not even a slave master my deny his slave's natural rights.

      That is hardly the same as claiming Slavery is against natural law now is it?

      All the documentation here upholds the claims I have made & all the documentation is on my side.

      You have nothing. All you have done is equivocate and pettifog the issue.

      What is the point of you Radtrad?

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    45. Aquianian refused till proded to make a moral distinction between illicit forms of perminate bound servitude that treat the servant like Chattel vs forms that do. Teh illicit forms treat the servant/slave like property no different then ownership of an animal or an object.
      In theoretical slavery,( the type which holds the slave is human with natural rights and rights as a Christian) a Master strictly speaking doesn't "own" the person of the slave. He owns their labor and their service and the slave owes his master service but the Slave is not completely owned by his master in the absolute sense of chattel slavery. God owns both of them in the full absolute sense. Why is this hard?

      "Chattel slavery" is the term we use for morally illicit forms of bound servitude.

      There is no dogma or instuction from the Church mandating it merely means it is not immoral to buy a slave or "own" a slave per say. That is Aquinian's novelty.

      He is not interested in a good faith discussion. He only wants to equivocate.

      He reminds me of a liberal I once argued with over this very issue. He too refused to learn moral distictions. I told him you could strongly condemn non-chattel slavery on the grounds of prudence(like Pope Leo & Pius VII). You just could not say it was instrinsically evil. But for some reason for him that wasn't enough.

      Radtrads and Liberals? What is the point of them?

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    46. The final Nail in Aquinan’s coffin.

      The 1912 Catholic Encylopedia on the Ethics of Slavery.

      http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14039a.htm

      Quote” The Roman laws in the heyday of the empire, treated the slave as a mere chattel. The master possessed over him the power of life and death; the slave could not contract a legal marriage, or any other kind of contract; in fact he possessed no civil rights; in the eyes of the law he was not a "person". Nevertheless the settlement of natural justice asserted itself sufficiently to condemn, or at least to disapprove, the conduct of masters who treated their slaves with signal inhumanity.END

      So much for Aquinan’s weird personal novelty that the term “chattel” only refers to the buying of a slave and not the moral status of the slave. “Chattel slavery” as per the language used by the PreV2 Catholic Encylopedia was and is clearly intrinsically evil. Theoretical Slavery not so much for reasons already discussed…….

      What is the point of you Radtrad?

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    47. It's necessary for Aquinian to define his terms. We can't say the Church has or hasn't condemned X until we know what X is. I'm guessing his Christian 'slavery' will be so far removed from what everybody else understands slavery to be that it really can't be called slavery at all. But until he does, we can't really say.

      Delete
    48. Aquinian is more ambigious than Pope Francis and Cardinal Kaspar combined. He is them on crack.

      >I'm guessing his Christian 'slavery' will be so far removed from what everybody else understands slavery to be that it really can't be called slavery at all.

      You are correct sir. The problem with Radical Traditionalists is they worship the Pre-Vatican II Church to the point of idolatry but more often then not hold views completely at odds with it.

      Where has the Catholic Church ever defined "Chattel Slavery" as merely the act of buying slaves? Nowhere but the old Catholic Encylopedia uses the term "chattel" the way I use it and Feser uses it. To refer to morally evil versions of Servitude.

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    49. Liberal principle: liberty is the highest value.
      Ergo, slavery in any form is evil.

      Christian principle: liberty is merely a means to the universal end of man, the glory of God in the salvation of souls.

      The Catholic reaction to slavery is therefore to treat it as virtually irrelevant in itself, and in any concrete case to be judged against the chief question: is it an obstacle or even, perhaps in some cases, an aid to virtuous and successful living?

      The contrast with the liberal mindset could not be more stark. To the liberal, slavery is the worst kind of horror, a living death. For a Catholic, it is a state of affairs which might and probably usually is a cross, to be met with the same pragmatic yet supernatural approach as any other. You might be born blind, lame, or mentally retarded; you still have a soul to save with the available means, within your particular constraints. The same is true of being a slave. Your means are limited, but they are sufficient.

      Historically, the progress of Christian development meant a continued growth in personal responsibility. Since duties imply rights, the duties of the serf to the land and its lord meant that he also had rights. He might owe a certain amount of produce, as well as personal service, to his lord; he also enjoyed stability of tenure, and could not be deprived of his land without a grave and proven fault.

      In this organic manner, the state of the slave was transformed into serfdom, then more complete liberty, but at each stage it was duty giving rise to rights giving rise to more liberty, which was expected to be enjoyed dutifully and responsibly.

      Liberalism, making liberty essentially an end, not a means, eschewed responsibility and focused only on liberty, and began to speak of rights which were not correlatives of duties, but which just are. This bizarre notion of rights hanging in the air, rooted only in a human dignity which has no specific content, has become commonplace and attracts virtually no adverse comment. It’s weird.

      This is the philosophy behind the modern anti-slavery movement. There’s nothing Christian about it whatsoever.

      In the atmosphere of liberal ascendency, Catholic apologists are challenged to explain how the Church failed for two millennia to condemn slavery. This gives rise to a kind of equivocation, in which certain abuses not intrinsic to slavery are bundled up and entitled “chattel slavery.” This, we are told, has been condemned. Actually, what has been condemned are the abuses, the treatment of men as though they are not truly human. Further, the same abuses were if anything more prevalent, and more legally recognised and approved, under the Romans, than in any modern system of slavery. So if chattel slavery is condemnable, and has been condemned, why so late?

      The question remains, and cannot be answered to the satisfaction of liberals, why was slavery not condemned by the Church?

      Of course liberal Catholics, or Catholics infected with liberalism, find the whole thing intolerably embarrassing, and either deny the facts (and make up their own) or simply say that the Church was wrong and has now corrected her error.

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    50. “Where has the Catholic Church ever defined "Chattel Slavery" as merely the act of buying slaves?”

      Who ever said it was defined in this way?

      Son of Ya’Kov, you’re already dead and buried, could you please stop the zombie act?

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    51. In the interest of debate, I made four simple requests. Define slavery, define enslavement versus slavery, list just causes for either, and demonstrate Church teaching supporting any. You wrote an essay but didn't do one of those things. Why not?

      "Actually, what has been condemned are the abuses, the treatment of men as though they are not truly human."

      And this is why I'm asking you to define slavery, because by my own understanding slavery is based on the principle that slaves are not fully human. You seem to agree that a man cannot be owned and used or abused and disposed of like chattel, so how exactly do you define slavery? Because if that behaviour is condemned, then I'd say slavery is condemned.

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    52. Aquinian English really isn't your first language now is it?

      >Who ever said it was defined in this way?

      I just cited the 1912 Catholic Encycopedia article " [the]slave as a mere chattel. The master possessed over him the power of life and death; the slave could not contract a legal marriage, or any other kind of contract; in fact he possessed no civil rights; in the eyes of the law he was not a 'person'. "

      Catholic Tradition condemns this as intrinsically evil.

      >Son of Ya’Kov, you’re already dead and buried, could you please stop the zombie act?

      Channeling your inner Bagdad Bob won't help you.

      Chattel Slavery is intrinsically evil. Non-Chattel bonded Servitude/slavery is merely "not contrary to the Moral and Natural Law". That doesn't mean it's desirable or good or should be instituted but it is not intrinsically evil.

      Read it for yourself in all it's pre-vatican II glory.
      http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14039a.htm

      Taken at face value you agree with me but for some sick reason you keep pretending you don't because you have decided the term "slavery" must never be qualified and you argue in one breath against the notion Chattel slavery is intrinsically evil & with another agree that it is? It's bizzaro.

      Basically you commit fallacies of equivocation.

      >Actually, what has been condemned are the abuses, the treatment of men as though they are not truly human. Further, the same abuses were if anything more prevalent, and more legally recognised and approved, under the Romans, than in any modern system of slavery. So if chattel slavery is condemnable, and has been condemned, why so late?

      You just contradicted yourself Mr. Equivocation.

      So you agree "chattel slavery" has alway been condemned because the Church has always condemned "the treatment of men as though they are not truly human". Thus any slavery that treats men thus is intrinsically evil. Otherwise known as "Chattel Slavery " via the CE.

      Make up your mind Radtrad.

      >This gives rise to a kind of equivocation, in which certain abuses not intrinsic to slavery are bundled up and entitled “chattel slavery.”

      No this give rise to a precise definition used prior to Vatican II. "Chattel slavery"=intrinsically evil slavery that treats the slave as a non-person vs theoretical slavery = treats the slave as a person with rights under natural law, civil justice and the moral law.

      Get with the precise definitions and stop channeling your inner Pope Francis. Enough of the ambiguity.

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    53. Didymus, you really ought to take more care about the company you keep. I keep having to remember that your brute of a mate SoY, with his penchant for personal abuse and generally loutish words is not you.

      The discussion with you feels somewhat surreal. You write, "Aquinian, I found that article insightful as well."

      Exactly. And it expresses my own views, more or less (I have a quibble which I will express below), which is why I shared it.

      But you go on to ask, "Again, what do you mean by slavery per se?"

      The answer is in that CE article. It's bizarre that you would ask this when you are praising that article and thanking me for sharing it.

      "How is that different from enslavement?"

      Again, it's all there. Do you really not understand the difference between unjustly enslaving somebody, and the state of slavery itself?

      "What are just causes for slavery or enslavement?"

      They are listed in the article...

      "And where has the Church taught that any of these are acceptable, as opposed to being silent on the matter?"

      Again, read de Lugo, quoted in the article. He was giving the universal doctrine of the schools, which of course IS the teaching of the Church. The Church was not silent on slavery, far from it.

      What she was, and continued to be, was "silent" in condemning it. Nor did she condemn "chattel slavery" actually. The term is not the Church's term, it's the term of those who are seeking to shoehorn a condemnation of slavery into the Church's actual doctrine.

      Now, my quibble with the article. Note that it says that the Romans held that the owner of the slave had the right of life and death over his slaves. This is an odd comment, because actually the paterfamilias had the right of life and death over the entire household, including his own children - and therefore his slaves as well, as they were part of his household. So that was not a feature of Roman slavery at all, it was a feature of Roman social structure.

      This way of bundling up some abuse or other with "slavery" and then giving the bundle a title (chattel slavery), is what I explained above as not really good reasoning. It's tendentious and obscures the subject. Actually, the article does not use the term "chattel slavery" and I don't think any Catholic authority ever did use the term. It's a term used by apologists, trying to soften attacks on the Church by liberals and Protestants.

      Anyway, I think this discussion has come to a natural end, and my main purpose was to highlight some thoughts for Ed, who is certainly smart and educated enough to have gotten the points. Thanks for being a foil.

      Regards,
      John.

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    54. Aquinian.
      You pretty much bring the Abuse on yourself because you insist on being ridiculous. You have no honor nor decency. You falsely accused Feser of holding a view he clearly did not hold and you can even man up and admit it.

      Chattel Slavery is condemned. End of discussion. Not all slavery is chattel slavery obviously. There is "theoretical slavery" which is "not contrary to the natural and moral Law". It's right there in the CE and your opposition is incoherent & contradictory, a bizarre combination of equivocation, antiquarianism and selective adherence to Tradition.

      > Nor did she condemn "chattel slavery" actually. The term is not the Church's term, it's the term of those who are seeking to shoehorn a condemnation of slavery into the Church's actual doctrine.

      Yet the CE shows the opposite and your backflips and spin to deny the obvious are pure comedy? But the good news is the Democratic Party can use a clown like you. So can CNN.

      >Now, my quibble with the article.

      Is you have your own ready made terminology you made up from your own private readings which you like to equivocate with Catholic doctrine and Tradition and it is unconvincing?

      > Note that it says that the Romans held that the owner of the slave had the right of life and death over his slaves. .... paterfamilias had the right of life and death over the entire household, including his own children....So that was not a feature of Roman slavery at all, it was a feature of Roman social structure.

      That is an irrational argument from special pleading and a false either/or argument. The natural conclusion is the "Chattel Parenting" of pagan Romans is condemned by Catholic moral dogma as well as chattel slavery. You don't own the person of your children. You have authority over them and that is it.
      It doesn't logically follow parenting is condemned but in general "parenting" is considered a benign exercise so we don't ordinarily qualify it unless it is bad parenting. Historically slavery is tied to oppression, brutality, immorality (with female slaves) even slavery that is at least on paper "theoretical" & or "just" and not "chattel" devolves. One opposes "theoretical slavery" on the grounds it has features that are very easily subject to abuse and tyranny thus we should not do it. It all falls on prudence not essence. I remember your liberal Catholic Mark Shea Fanboyz counter part with whom I had this argument. He believed all slavery was intrinsically immoral(without qualification as you believe in not qualifying the term) & I said the mistake with that thinking is God Almighty gives moral guide lines to institutional biblical slavery vs condemning it outright. God doesn't give pagans guide lines for gay marriage unions & tolerates it till finally condemning it in the NT. That didn't happen. Gay sex and so called gay "marriage" is intrinsically evil. You can't have God as an author of evil. Also what made him stupid like you was he wanted to condemn the abuses of slavery. Well you can do that without damaging Catholic and Biblical teaching by being obsure. You ironically have the same problem.

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    55. part 2
      >This way of bundling up some abuse or other with "slavery" and then giving the bundle a title (chattel slavery), is what I explained above as not really good reasoning.

      Fallacies of equivocation, contradicting yourself, antiquarianism and false traditionalism, not owning your mistakes and crying like a little girl because I am harsh with you isn't good reasoning either. You sound like a modernist.

      Also slavery (as correctly understood and defined) isn't intrinsically good like parenting. Nor is it a positive good. It is merely "not contrary to the moral and natural law". Doesn't mean you should do it or that there are no grave pratfalls associated with it. Anymore then drinking a beer is intrinsically good since abuse of it can lead to alcoholism and persons who have a family history of alcoholism should reasonably conclude it prudent to be tea totalers. In a like manner we can have a human civilization that reacts to even Theoretical Slavery and falls into practical chattel slavery like a Irish or Scotsmen drinks himself into the gutter. It is not an endorsement of the errors of Locke to admit this. Silly.

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    56. In short we don't have a good track record with slavery and should not do it in the future.

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    57. Aquinian, you still haven't defined your terms. That article uses the term slavery in two very different ways. But it's honest about it. And we know, going in, that's it might be archaic and it'll probably be technical. And it is both. Do you see my point?

      You're right, in a sense, to say the Church has never condemned slavery. But what it has never condemned is a theoretical slavery that the average Joe would call something else. What the average Joe would call slavery the Church has absolutely condemned.

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    58. No, I don't see your point, I think you didn't know anything at all about the subject when this started, so you misunderstood my very plain and easy to understand statements, and it deteriorated from there. It didn't help that Yak was intervening with clouds of dust at every opportunity.

      Slavery is the permanent state of bondage in which the entire work effort of the subject belongs to the master.

      "Chattel slavery" has no definition given by the Church, as it isn't a Catholic term, it's a layman's term. But as it's used by Yak and his type, it means "slavery plus abuses". The abuses have been condemned, but not the slavery itself. But by bundling them together, Yak and co get to say that "chattel slavery has been condemned". Let them, I don't care, I only care that the terms are understood and the Church's teaching isn't perverted by their word-games.

      As for your second point, that the Church only "never condemned" theoretical slavery, you're simply wrong. She didn't condemn Roman slavery, she didn't condemn American slavery. FACT.

      As I wrote way back up above somewhere in the distant past, without any answer whatsoever:

      << As for the kind of slavery that existed in the USA, the American bishops absolutely defended it, and assured Catholic slave-owners that there was nothing intrinsically wrong in their owning slaves. Nor can you escape this official interpretation of Christian doctrine by accusing the bishops of "Americanism", for there is not the slightest basis for such an argument. The popes never corrected the American bishops (unlike the case of Americanism), and as far as I have read, no other Catholic authority did either.

      You can define US slavery as "chattel slavery" and in turn define chattel slavery as implying the right to abuse the slave's rights, so that you get to where you can say that US type slavery was immoral, however that seems to me to be begging the question. It is to allege, without apparent proof, what is really at issue - whether or not there was an intrinsically immoral element in slavery as it existed in the USA. And the problem with that claim is precisely that the Church's official teachers, the bishops, said that there was no such element. >>

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    59. You are a first class idiot Aquinian.

      > It didn't help that Yak was intervening with clouds of dust at every opportunity.

      I cited Feser (whose possition you openly lied about) and the pre-Vatican CE. Your fantasy that the term "Chattel Slavery" solely and dogmatically refers the buying and or owning of slaves is clearly not true by your own definition which is as follows.

      >Slavery is the permanent state of bondage in which the entire work effort of the subject belongs to the master.

      100% correct (of course I said as much). Note it is the work of your's or my hypothetical bondsmen which is properly chattel. The bondsmen is not chattel. You don't own the person per say like the Romans viewed owning their slaves. Like you would own cattle or your dog or a disposable pen.

      Why is this hard? Aquinian it would help if you didn't make up your own version of Catholicism.

      >"Chattel slavery" has no definition given by the Church, as it isn't a Catholic term, it's a layman's term.

      It is a valid and accurate term used by the CE. There is no Catholic definition claiming Chattel slavery is purely the buying and selling of slaves. What is this some type of Sola Eccesia argument you are venturing? Pathetic!

      >But as it's used by Yak and his type, it means "slavery plus abuses".

      Anything morally good or morally neutral plus abuses is rendered instrinsically evil.
      That is the point. Also even theoretical slavery is not morally good or mandatory.
      Marriage is good. Marriage plus swinging is instrinsically evil. Drinking beer is neutral. But drinking to get drunk is evil.

      How is this dificult for you?

      >But as it's used by Yak and his type, it means "slavery plus abuses".

      Why does that make you butthurt? Do you long to see negros whipped for being uppity? One would hope not. A rational person would take what I have said and conclude "Theoretical Slavery" is not "contrary to the moral and natural law". Or do you envision a return to those days because of your implied antiquarianism? I am using a term the pre-V2 CE uses. It is quite clear.

      > I only care that the terms are understood and the Church's teaching isn't perverted by their word-games.

      Nothing I said can do that however your ambiguity, atiquarian obsession and weird aversion to qualifying terms and definitions can lead ignorant persons into believing the Church condoned the slave trade (which She condemns for unjustly denying free people their liberty) & all the brutality and injustice associated with it. I know this first hand because I argued with your liberal counter part about in on FB. He was just as clueless as you.

      Delete
    60. part 2
      >As for your second point, that the Church only "never condemned" theoretical slavery, you're simply wrong. She didn't condemn Roman slavery, she didn't condemn American slavery. FACT.

      Your equivocations are entertaining and factually incorrect. Pius VII and Leo XIII where rather clear and there has been about 800 years of condemnation of chattel slavery from the Church. The Holy Office did however teach theoretical slavery was "not contrary to the gospel". Your spin is silly.

      >As for the kind of slavery that existed in the USA, the American bishops absolutely defended it,

      Till Pius VII told them to cut it out as he condemned the slave trade and he sided with those who called for the general abolition of slavery.

      >The popes never corrected the American bishops (unlike the case of Americanism), and as far as I have read, no other Catholic authority did either.

      So because you are ignorant that makes it true?

      > It is to allege, without apparent proof, what is really at issue - whether or not there was an intrinsically immoral element in slavery as it existed in the USA.

      To say there was no intrinsiclly immoral element is as insane as denying the holocaust.

      You are a lunatic fringe political extemist. I have never seen anybody defend slavery like this before. It's is bizzare. US slavery was evil. Even if the "Bishops" condoned it well these days bishop still allow Pro-bortion politicians to take communion. Your example doesn't mean anything other then your weird performance here as an apologist for slavery.

      But then again you are the freak who accuses Pope St Paul VI of being gay based on the accusations of a French Atheist/Communist pederast gay rights avocate.

      You are a nutcake Aquinan.

      Delete
    61. "[Chattel slavery] is a valid and accurate term used by the CE."

      Everyone is able to read the Catholic Encyclopedia for themselves and see that this isn't true. And every claim you make is of similar quality.

      Delete
    62. You are delusional at this point.

      Quote"The Roman laws in the heyday of the empire, treated the slave as a mere chattel. The master possessed over him the power of life and death; the slave could not contract a legal marriage, or any other kind of contract; in fact he possessed no civil rights; in the eyes of the law he was not a "person"."END QUOTE.

      BTW your said "" I note that Ed used to assert that slavery is contrary to the natural law.".

      The quote you provided proved the opposite. It said humans have natural ends that may not be thwarted by anybody not even the Master over a slave.

      You didn't own your mistakes you dug in. Thus I rightly label you a liar.

      Delete
    63. >Middle English chatel (from the word “cattle”)

      Given the origin of the word if it is used as an adjective for Slavery how can it not be instrinsically evil. Human beings wither a slave, freeman or king are not animals. They are made in the divine image.

      This is not rocket science genius. This is the Pre-Vatcian II (& post) tradition of the Holy Church.

      Delete
    64. This was not hard to find.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_slavery

      Quote"In discussions of Church teaching, “slavery” is defined by some Catholic writers as the condition of involuntary servitude in which a human being is regarded as no more than the property of another, as being without basic human rights; in other words, as a thing rather than a person. This form of slavery can be called “chattel slavery.” They contrast this with "just servitude" in which a metaphysical distinction is made between owning a person as an object, and only owning the work of that person. In practical terms a person could be bought sold or exchanged as a form of "just servitude" subject to certain conditions.[18]

      Holy Office decree 1866, ref Panzer 1995, p. 110, Maxwell 1975 p. 87

      Wow Aquinan your research skills really suck.

      Delete
    65. Maxwell's work on this subject is definitive.

      http://anthonyflood.com/maxwellslaverycatholicchurch.pdf

      It seems more than a few Theologicans use the term "chattel slavery" for immoral forms of servatude.

      Quote"by the seventeenth century Catholic moralists had deduced a priori that chattel-slavery must be morally wrong because only God can have ownership over a human person, nevertheless they also argued a priori to the existence of another sort of slavery which is morally legitimate,END QUOTE

      Stop making a fool of yourself Aquinan.

      Delete
    66. To further quote Maxwell.

      QUOTE"This distinction between a chattel-slavery which is morally unjust and an ameliorated slavery which is morally legitimate was part of the common teaching of the moralists in the eighteenth century,<171) through the nineteenth century, (172) and indeed during the twentieth century until the time of the second Vatican Council.<178).END QUOTE

      Delete
    67. So you CAN'T cite an authority, you can only cite laymen summarising the position of others. But I knew that already.

      As for the elephant in the room, the one you simply will not address, the Church didn't condemn Roman slavery, and she didn't condemn American slavery. FACT. And no, don't repeat the lie that "Pius VII told the bishops to cut it out" when they pronounced the standard teaching that slavery per se was morally unobjectionable. He did no such thing, and nor could he, since he was not alive when the relevant controversy was going on, Gregory XVI was. I called you out on this invention of yours already, and you now repeat it! Shameless. Do you think nobody will read anything here except what you write?

      Not only did Pius VII (or Gregory XVI, or Pius IX, or Leo XIII) not correct the bishops, the Jesuits and other religious had their own slaves. So did some of the bishops themselves in the USA.

      The problem with the "chattel slavery" line is precisely that IT is the "theoretical slavery" that you claim "approved" slavery was. The slavery of the Romans and the Americans was not condemned. The latter was, indeed, DEFENDED by the Catholic authorities.

      You are as innocent of the facts as you are of Christian doctrine.

      People who actually read might find this of interest: https://www.academia.edu/33782613/CHARLESTON_CATHOLICS_AND_SLAVERY_COMPARING_BISHOP_JOHN_ENGLANDS_AND_BISHOP_PATRICK_LYNCHS_DEFENSE_OF_SLAVERY

      Delete
    68. Here's an excerpt from the paper linked above:

      << One fervent public letter was not enough to express the full range of [Bishop] England’s indignation. On 10 October 1840 he expounded on the Catholic Church and slavery. He defended the common Catholic teaching which held that slavery was ‘not incompatible with natural law.”19 He pointed out that the 1839 Provincial Council of the U.S. bishops had virtually ignored the slavery issue.20 Why should Forsyth invoke British abolitionists, and by extension American abolitionists, in the argument? He quoted the pontiff: “Though the Southern States of your Union have had domestic slavery as an heir-loom, whether they would or not, they are not engaged in the Negro traffic that is the Slave trade”. >>

      So there you have Pope Gregory XVI EXPLICITLY stating that the condemnation of the "slave trade" was not a condemnation of slavery in the USA.

      OK Yak, which of us sounds like a Catholic bishop, not to mention a Roman Pontiff, and which a confused liberal? I'll leave that to others to work out.

      Delete
    69. Aquinian, my point is that you're using a common word in an uncommon way. Your definition of slavery is unusual, to say the least, and almost meaningless. Of course the Church hasn't condemned that. I don't even think that's illegal in most places. Hell, that sounds like living in socialist Canada until tax freedom day. That's why I asked you to define your terms.

      Delete
    70. I think I broke you Aquinan. I don't feel bad about it.

      >So you CAN'T cite an authority, you can only cite laymen summarising the position of others. But I knew that already.

      Neither can you by your own double standard. You are your OWN AUTHORITY for your dogmatic and basically weird belief the term "chattel slavery" exclusively refers to the buying and selling of slaves and NEVER as a technical metaphysical description for an immoral version of bonded servitude & that using this term somehow "perverts" Church teaching? Which is basically insane at this point.

      >As for the elephant in the room, the one you simply will not address, the Church didn't condemn Roman slavery, and she didn't condemn American slavery. FACT.

      Nope that is an opinion. That is about as intelligent an objection as listening to a Protestant heretic complain the term "Bishop of Rome" isn't in Holy Writ & makes no sense. Clearly Roman slavery was intrinsically immoral if you can kill your slaves at will as well as your family members. That is not hard to figure out.

      >Not only did Pius VII (or Gregory XVI, or Pius IX, or Leo XIII) not correct the bishops, the Jesuits and other religious had their own slaves. So did some of the bishops themselves in the USA.

      Clearly the Popes did correct the bishops as they all called on Slavery to be abolished across the board & for Catholics to free their slaves. It's right in the paper I linked to so look it up. Also there is the use of the term "Chattel Slavery" for immoral versions of slavery which it appears has been used since the 17th century and right into the 20th.
      Your personal dogma the term "chattel slavery" perverts doctrine is your own queer novelty.

      > And no, don't repeat the lie that "Pius VII told the bishops to cut it out"

      Yet you lied clearly about Feser ever claiming Slavery was against natural law"?
      I trust my memory and you have already shown you can' t be trusted from your own citations.

      > Do you think nobody will read anything here except what you write?

      I don't know who here believes Feser has ever taught Slavery across the board without qualification is against natural law? He said rather explicitly even Masters cannot make their slaves act against their natural ends.

      Delete
    71. part 2
      >The problem with the "chattel slavery" line is precisely that IT is the "theoretical slavery" that you claim "approved" slavery was.

      Drugs? So "theoretical slavery" allows us to violate the human rights of a slave under natural law and the moral law? It allows us to declare a bondsmen is not a person? Yeh that is the opposite claim of all the documents cited here and all the statements of the Popes. You also contradict yourself.

      >The slavery of the Romans and the Americans was not condemned.

      I think you equivocating here(again). We have already conceded (& I stated it from the beginning) that theoretical slavery is not "contrary to the moral and natural law" by the ruling of the Church. Your objection makes about as much sense as saying "No ecumenical council of the Church condemned the worship of the Canaanite god Molech" so somehow it wasn't idolatry? That is just silly. As Fr, Rutler once said on EWTN quoting an American slave trader's observation of Spanish slavery "they treat their slaves with the same brutality as we do but not with the same contempt". Romans institutionally and legally didn't see slaves as human beings and Americans saw them as 3/5th of a human being. Also the Flood paper I linked above said this.

      Quote"It was not until 1864, during the Civil War, that the Catholic Bishop of Florida issued an appeal to the Catholics of the Southern Confederate States to ameliorate the existing legal system of chattel slavery and divest it of the features which would make it odious to God and man. But he states that
      the law of God does not reprove slavery. He proposes that as a means of setting the Confederacy upon a solid basis, a servile code should be drawn up and adopted, defining clearly the rights and duties of slaves.END QUOTE

      That sounds like a condemnation to me and an explicit acknowledgement the institutional slavery on the South was both legally as well as practically unjust in the Confederacy. Of course Pius VII called for the slave trade to be banned across the board.

      You are just full of S**t at this point.

      >People who actually read might find this of interest: https://www.academia.edu/33782613/CHARLESTON_CATHOLICS_AND_SLAVERY_COMPARING_BISHOP_JOHN_ENGLANDS_AND_BISHOP_PATRICK_LYNCHS_DEFENSE_OF_SLAVERY

      You mean the paper you just put up that says "John England and Patrick Lynch relied on their own interpretation, of papal dicta on slavery in their propaganda efforts."

      You might as well cite Fr Martin on homosexuality.

      >So there you have Pope Gregory XVI EXPLICITLY stating that the condemnation of the "slave trade" was not a condemnation of slavery in the USA.

      Based on their "own interpretation" of the Pope's words according to your own source which as rooked you again. Pathetic!

      Stop making a fool of yourself.

      >OK Yak, which of us sounds like a Catholic bishop, not to mention a Roman Pontiff, and which a confused liberal? I'll leave that to others to work out.

      Not you since you cannot read even your own paper.

      Delete
    72. Didymus, I'm using "slavery" to mean "slavery" and you and Yak are trying to insist that "slavery" in fact always, or usually, means "chattel slavery." But that isn't true, not nearly so, as you can see by perusing the literature. Not only is that not true, but you also insist that "slavery" as I am using it (i.e. correctly) is entirely theoretical and not actual, whereas "chattel slavery" is what everybody actually practiced, but that isn't true either.

      Read what Bishop England and Gregory XVI wrote above - they use the term "slavery" without qualification, and they approve it as morally unobjectionable. They are talking about the actual slavery then in practice, in the USA.

      You have a choice - either you say that Roman and American slavery was "chattel slavery" and then accept that this was approved by the Church, or you can say that Roman and American slavery was not "chattel slavery," and maintain that "chattel slavery" was condemned.

      But what you cannot maintain is that Roman and American slavery was "chattel slavery" and that this was condemned by the Church.

      What WAS condemned was the slave trade, which involved numerous injustices, beginning with the greatest injustice of all, reducing free men to slavery without a just cause.

      The abolition of slavery by the victorious Northern aggressors in the civil war was not about love for the slaves, either. You can see that at a glance by noticing that the slaves were put out of their positions by law, could not be employed on wages because the Southern economy could not be restructured instantly to pay for that, and so ended up in utter poverty and misery wandering the countryside. The real motive was to damage the economy of the South. The Catholic approach, as Leo XIII made clear, was to lift the slaves by education and instruction and gradually free them as they became capable of supporting themselves.

      Delete
    73. Yak, you'll say anything won't you?

      << You mean the paper you just put up that says "John England and Patrick Lynch relied on their own interpretation, of papal dicta on slavery in their propaganda efforts." >>

      The paper is by a modern liberal. Try and take from it only the data that's reliable, the actual quotes from the bishops and the pope, and resist the irresistible (to you) temptation to adopt as your own the liberal opinions of the author.

      Others reading here will find this no great challenge.

      Delete
    74. Aquinan you really need to read your sources. All you have shown me is a paper on [Bishops] John England and Patrick Lynch personal defense of slavery and their use or misuse of the Pope for a political end.

      To provide the relevant quotes your own paper "John England supported slavery as did his fellow Charleston writers and thinkers, especially in their generally anti-British, pro-Irish belief. British and Yankee Protestants were so closely aligned with abolitionists that the bishop, and his opponents, could not separate religion from slavery. These points drove him to argue the distinction between international slave trade and American domestic slavery...................In the controversy over pro-slavery and abolition, with the attendant controversy over Catholicism and Protestantism, there was no middle ground. Bishop England could not advocate Catholicism and abolition because the terms of the argument were formed by the Protestant abolitionists. He could not advance his plans to evangelize blacks and Native Americans because Northern Protestant missionaries had already taken the field and American Catholic bishops were opposed to his plans. John England thus found himself defending Irish-Democratic values in the South and that defense obliged him to support the enslavement of African Americans.END QUOTE

      Also you should read your footnotes in your own article.
      Quote" Historian Robert Emmett Curran holds the Pope[Gregory XVI] condemned slavery and seemed to condemn the slave trade as well. Cyprian Davis agrees with this position. James Hennessy holds that the Pope condemned the slave trade but not slavery; and John T. Noonan holds that the Pope did not condemn either slavery or the slave trade. For a discussion of these points of view, see Quinn,“Three Cheers”: 71 note 19. Adam L. Tate, “Confronting Abolitionism: Bishop John England, American Catholicism and Slavery,” Journal of the Historical Society 9:3 (September 2009): 373

      Aquinan you really don't sound like a bishop or a scholar. You sound like your hero Bishop England. A propagandist.

      Anyway it is interesting to see the American Bishops have always been clueless idiots way before even our era. Also it kills the Radtrad myth of the golden era of Catholicism.
      That myth for the good of the faith should die.

      Delete
    75. And we come to the truth: "Anyway it is interesting to see the American Bishops have always been clueless idiots way before even our era."

      In other words, you don't care what the bishops of the Catholic Church have always taught; if they disagree with your liberal dogmas they're idiots.

      Delete
    76. >Didymus, I'm using "slavery" to mean "slavery" and you and Yak are trying to insist that "slavery" in fact always, or usually, means "chattel slavery."

      No loser I am insisting the term "slavery" need to be defined and qualified with the proper adjective so we can know what is condemned by the Church and what is not.

      But you for some mad reason want to be as ambiguous as Pope Francis and Cardinal Kasper on crak!

      You are an idiot. BTW I agreed with your definition of slavery which after much teeth pulling by my counter part you finally provided. My problem with you is I don't think YOU agree with your own definition of slavery.

      I don't think you have a coherent thought in your head.

      Delete
    77. >In other words, you don't care what the bishops of the Catholic Church have always taught; if they disagree with your liberal dogmas they're idiots.

      Says the hypocrite Radtrad who refers me to a "liberal" paper as an authority but throws it under the bus when it contradicts his incoherent narative.

      Get bent.

      Delete
    78. Didymus

      You are a nice person (unlike moi). But I think Aquinan is nuts.

      >they use the term "slavery" without qualification, and they approve it as morally unobjectionable.

      So he has some weird personal dogma or novelty of his own making that it is wrong to qualify the term slavery and it is not important to define it? Since you had to do some major teeth pulling to get him to finally spit out a definition.

      When he does define it (& at face value I agree with him. If anything I suggested it first) he says "Slavery is the permanent state of bondage in which the entire work effort of the subject belongs to the master.

      In other words your master owns your labor and service. He doesn't own "you" per say.
      He can't just do what he wants to you without regard to the moral and natural law.

      That is theoretical "slavery" vs the "Chattel" version of the Romans and other heathen which is immoral and intrinsically evil.

      Delete
    79. Aquinian,

      "Slavery is the permanent state of bondage in which the entire work effort of the subject belongs to the master," said no slave-owner, ever; Hell, said nobody, ever. That's just not the definition of slavery. That's a theoretical relationship that's never existed. So of course the Church has never condemned it. Even if it did exist, how could She? Even your liberal bogeymen wouldn't condemn that. It's my capitalist life! Come on man.

      No, slavery is much, much more. Slavery is about owning people, bodies, souls. I can buy slaves, and I can sell them. Not their labour, them. And I can breed them like cattle and enslave their offspring and when they're done I can hamburger them - for the dogs, because cannibalism is gross whether the Church has condemned it or not.

      And the Church has absolutely condemned what I described. And even if you deny that, you cannot deny that it condemns everything that it is built upon. I live in a former slave colony, and you cannot begin to understand the lack of Christian worldview, of sound medieval and ancient philosophy, of common sense, required to participate in that. The only way to justify it at all is by jettisoning all of that and adopting the worldview of your liberal bogeymen, with modern ideas like scientific racism and real social classes. You've got to throw out the golden rule, for Heaven's sake. Aquinian, how would you like to be a slave?

      Only then, after you have denied Christ to His Face, can you own a man, or at least believe you do. I am a man under authority, but that authority is God's alone. I am,

      Didymus

      Delete
    80. Well said Didymus.

      This is why you need proper qualifications and definitions. When I was debating in Facebook Chat some idiot Mark Shea Fanboyz he defined "slavery" the way you described it. I insisted you needed precise terms. "Chattel Slavery" is the "slavery" most people popularly think of here. That is where the bondsmen is not seen as a human being with rights under natural or the moral law. He is seen as no better than "Cattle" which is immoral since humans are not irrational animals and the term "Chattel" comes from the word "Cattle". How a Radtrad like Aquinan can sit there defending it as a positive term in light of Traditional Scholastic moral teaching is beyond me?
      As to wither or not "Theoretical Slavery" ever existed well logic dictates in the course of history there have been (even among the Pagans) Masters who saw their slaves as fellow humans & treated them accordingly. In American Law pre-revolution if a slave was murdered even by his master it was a hanging offense. But I believe at most a handful of masters who murdered their slaves ever suffered this fate and mostly it happened for political purposes. That is as a sacrifice to the just outrage of abolitionists. Slavery is as such practically speaking a sort of institution where even if in civil law you try to protect the rights of slaves the master still has inordinate power over them and can be tempted to villainy & it can still devolve into tyranny.

      As we have seen the Roman pagans in additional to having chattel slavery had chattel parenting where the Father had the right to kill his children or wife at will. Saying that is evil is not the same as saying parenting is evil.

      Of course the moral difference between Parenting vs Theoretical Slavery is Parenting is intrinsically good where as theoretical slavery is merely "not contrary to the natural & moral law". It's not intrinsically good and by nature can never be.

      Cheers.

      Delete
  22. Not all slavery, but just chattle slavery is intrinsically immoral. Other forms, like debt slavery, aren't always immoral (but are discouraged by the Church).

    Here's Pope Eugene IV (1431-1447) condemning the enslaving of residents of the Canary Islands and excommunicating everyone who does so:
    https://www.fisheaters.com/sicutdudum.html

    Pope Paul III (1534-1549) condemning the enslaving of Indians:
    https://www.fisheaters.com/sublimusdei.html

    Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) condemning the enslaving of blacks:
    https://www.fisheaters.com/insupremoapostolatus.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See above, none of those documents condemn slavery. They all condemn the unjust practice of enslaving men without good cause.

      Delete
  23. Well, the claims of the Catholic Church simply won't hold up empirically, based on Francis and other things like Vatican II. You are faced with one of the following options now matter how you slice it, which entails a denial of one of those claims. They've all been pounded to death here and elsewhere, but anyway.

    1) A Pope can fall from office (or never attain to it in the first place despite being otherwise validly elected) via formal heresy, and from that point forward everything he does is null and void, despite the absence of an official judgment from the Church on this point, meaning that the Church's original judgment that Francis, or whoever, is Pope is still in effect. (Sedevacantism) This is legal anarchy; it is for every individual to determine on his own whether or not this has happened. Which makes authority in essence subjective; it is based on (for instance) whether I think the Pope's statement is indicative of obstinant heresy or not.

    2) Since a Pope's non-ex-cathedra but authoritative teachings aren't "infallible", even very, very grave evils can exist therein (Papal minimalism). Not just simple errors, but outright evils. But this is doctrinal anarchy; it is for every individual to determine on his own whether a given teaching is good or evil. Such teaching has no independent authority in reality, notwithstanding the grandiose claims of those in white and red cassocks that it does.

    3) There aren't in fact any real contradictions, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. (Fideism, essentially) This is a simply a denial of reality and of reason, whereas the Catholic Church claims the assent of faith is eminently reasonable.

    4) Papal pronouncements, despite appeals to the unchanging natural law, "perennial" philosophy, etc., are in reality historically conditioned, no matter what they or anyone else claims, and therefore can and do change over time, as humans gain in knowledge and moral sense (Modernism).

    Take your pick, but this is what it comes down to.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Horseshit.

      >Well, the claims of the Catholic Church simply won't hold up empirically, based on Francis and other things like Vatican II.

      None of your arguments deal with those claims or offer any proof empirical or otherwise. They are all red herrings or strawmen.

      If I might respond to them by #.

      1) There is nothing preventing the Pope from walking out of the Vatican and walking down to the Lutheran Church and joining it. Such an act would be the same as if I walked off my job right now and never came back & ignored all contact with them. Both would be del facto resignations. That is what becoming a formal heretic means. It would have to be unambigious and formal. What secret errors or doubts a Pope might have would constitute mere material heresy which does not depose him.
      Me thinks you are equivocating between the two.

      2) Non-ex-cathedra statements that clearly contradict doctrine are possible but they are also clearly not Ex-Cathedra. Pope John XXII for example made it clear his erronous opinion on saved only recieving the Beatific Vision at Judgment day was just his opinion as a private theologian. He never bound us to believe it and later he retracted his error.

      3) There are real contradictions and it is not our fault if divine providence sees fit to make sure the Pope mucks about in ambiguity rather then proclaim formal error as doctrine. Blame the Holy Spirit. If Francis was Archbishop of Canterburry he would be ordaining trans-women priest by now. But the Holy Spirit has him so oh well......

      4)This is just an ad hoc claim & special pleading without proof.

      Delete
    2. This is unfortunately all too representative of what passes for serious intellectual argument in traditionalist circles.

      Again, the claim is that you must pick either 1), 2), 3), or 4) to defend against the charge of wholesale defection of the Catholic Church and no matter which one you pick it entails a denial of some claim of the Church. If you have a 5), I'd love to hear it, but these are the only ones I've heard and they seem the only logical possibilities. Now, you're not responding to the arguments I was actually making.

      1) does not refer to the mere possibility that a Pope could fall into formal heresy, which is admitted. It refers to what is supposed to happen afterwards: the juridical/legal recognition that the person is no longer the Pope.

      2) does not refer to any old statement by a Pope such as one made as a private theologian, but authoritative (though non-ex-cathedra) teaching.

      3) If there are real contradictions, it isn't mere "ambiguity".

      4) No, the claim that if not 1), 2), or 3), then 4).

      If Francis is the Pope, his teachings aren't evil, but they do contradict what was before, then the conclusion that Papal teachings (non-ex-cathedra ones anyway) are historically conditioned is forced.

      Delete
    3. More Horseshit.

      >This is unfortunately all too representative of what passes for serious intellectual argument in traditionalist circles.

      I am not a Trad if anything I am a brutal critic of most Trads and Radtrads. You are not giving me a serious exercise in the intellect but you are merely arguing by repeating yourself. It is tedious.

      >Again, the claim is that you must pick either 1), 2), 3), or 4) to defend against the charge of wholesale defection of the Catholic Church....

      So basically this is a "do you still beat your wife/dog/pet water buffalo?" type of question? Pass....

      > I'd love to hear it, but these are the only ones I've heard and they seem the only logical possibilities.

      No they are all strawmen and red herrings. No exceptions and no logic involved.

      >Now, you're not responding to the arguments I was actually making.

      I don't need too the "arguments" are invalid like proverbial questions of wife beating.

      >does not refer to the mere possibility that a Pope could fall into formal heresy, which is admitted.

      You said " A Pope can fall from office (or never attain to it in the first place despite being otherwise validly elected) via formal heresy,". Ambigious much? Say what you mean next time.

      > It refers to what is supposed to happen afterwards: the juridical/legal recognition that the person is no longer the Pope.

      So this is what you "really meant"? Well next time speak plainly and don't go all Pope Francis on me. What does the Church do when a Pope dies? Who is ever in charge declares him dead and the see of Peter vacant. A Pope who formally leaves the Church can be dealt with in a similar fashion. It is not hard genius. If he formally leaves the faith we will all know it.

      >does not refer to any old statement by a Pope such as one made as a private theologian, but authoritative (though non-ex-cathedra) teaching.

      Without an "empirical" example this is all meaningless and itself ironically ambiguious.

      >If there are real contradictions, it isn't mere "ambiguity".

      Again where is the empirical evidence since even the Papal Critics admit ambiguity is the problem here? He is plainly ambigious. If the Pope was a straight up heretic like Luther or Arius it would be easier. Luther plainly contradicted Church teaching as did Arius.

      >4) No, the claim that if not 1), 2), or 3), then 4).

      That is hardly clear now is it?

      >If Francis is the Pope, his teachings aren't evil, but they do contradict what was before, then the conclusion that Papal teachings (non-ex-cathedra ones anyway) are historically conditioned is forced.

      More ad hoc special pleading. The Pope is too ambigious to contradict doctrine clearly. That is his problem and ironically his strength till a better Pope comes along.

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  24. Good post, Ed.

    When was the last time we had a good pastoral Pope?

    I would argue that we haven't had one since at least Pius XII. Certainly, I don't think anyone can realistically argue that any of John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Franics was a good pastor.

    Maybe after the current failed papacy, the Cardinals will think about the benefit to the Church of electing a good pastor.

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    1. Jack, since all of the current cardinals were appointed by JPII or later, it is highly unlikely that they recognize that none of John XXIII on past were not good pastors. If left to ordinary causes, new elections will result in more of the same kind of popes as those who appointed these cardinals. It is (unfortunately) far more likely that the college of cardinals will turn away from the current nonsense only if faced with a crisis even more extreme, even more devastating, than what we have right now, which is more like an ongoing sub-surface paralyzing pandemic than a raging fatal epidemic). It seems heartless to say, but I think we are likely to get a change only if the true nature and extent of the heresy pandemic comes out from hiding and rears its ugly head in visible (admitted) form, so that even lukewarm and even half-taught bishops reject it. It's a scary notion to contemplate.

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    2. Thanks, Tony. It's scary indeed.

      St. Gregory the Great, pray for us. We need you now more than ever.

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  25. Ed, I am not certain but in one section of your argument you seem to be going beyond "they shouldn't do this, it will lead to worse consequences than the present problems" to make a reductio ad absurdum argument: "such action would lead to such chaos and so diminish the visibility of the Church's unity that it must be theologically impossible". The problem with such an argument would be that it has been empirically falsified historically. God did allow such confusion and the very uncertainties you listed to obtain for an extended period of time during the Great Western Schisms with their pluralities of popes. Full communion was broken, and questions of canonical and sacramental legitimacy, which papal election counted, etc., were rife. The fact this was caused by politicised schism rather than heresy as such doesn't change the fact that the effects were the very ones you seem to exclude as inconsistent with what is possible as being consistent with visible unity. And, let's not forget, the Church has since canonised Saints on both sides of such splits. So, it's not like it was even retrospectively obvious or officially determined who was in and who was out, so to speak. Ergo, the outward unity of the Church is not guaranteed to be as visible and manifest as one might like. As such, the more extreme proposed responses to the present difficulties cannot be excluded on such grounds, though they may be able to be excluded for other reasons, of course.

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    1. Thank you, Fr. Kirby. That is exactly right.

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    2. Hello Fr. Kirby, no, that is not my view at all and not only did I not say that, I explicitly said the opposite when I wrote, in the original post:

      Imagine the Arian doctrinal crisis, the heterodoxy of Pope Honorius, the Great Western Schism, the chaos that followed the Cadaver Synod, and the moral squalor of the pre-Reformation Church, all rolled into one gigantic and unprecedented mess. It could happen. Maybe it will happen; we’re part of the way there already.

      My point was not that this is not possible, but rather that it is possible and thus something we should do what we can to avoid.

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    3. Understood, Dr Feser. I think it was your arguing the private-judgement objection applied as much to the letter's approach as that of sedevacantism, and coupling this with listing the difficulties abovementioned, that caused me to infer a theological rather than pragmatic objection. Sorry if I over-interpreted, so to speak.

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    4. It seems to me that Fr Kirby's specific objection was mistaken, as Ed pointed out, but maybe his general objection is in the right direction. Ed wrote:

      Where they go wrong is in forgetting rule one for dealing with a crisis: “First, do no harm.” Because as bad as things are, they could be even worse – much, much worse.

      Well sure. Things could be worse. But I don't see Ed's warrant for concluding (1) that in fact the letter has done harm (or will tend to do harm as some possible future horror scenario plays out) or (2) that the absent-minded/hot-headed signatories forgot the "do no harm"-rule (surely not?! - that seems absurdly patronizing).

      Ed wrote further:

      But it could also happen that Pope Francis reverses course, or, perhaps more plausibly, that he does not but that his successor does (even if this too is not a sure thing). Since these are manifestly better scenarios than the horror story I have just told, the best thing for faithful Catholics to do is to facilitate them. And, to say the least, a reasonable person could doubt that the best way to facilitate them is to float the suggestion that Pope Francis ought to lose his office due to heresy.

      But wouldn't a reasonable person also suppose that the letter's signatories are among those who hope that Francis changes course, that further horrors may be avoided? Wouldn't he suppose that the signatories hope that their letter spurs Francis to do so, might facilitate him doing so, etc.? They certainly know that it's not in itself any kind of efficacious canonical instrument! A reasonable person could indeed doubt that the letter is the best way, but that's no grounds for categorically asserting that it is not, and that they are wrong, that they have forgotten the "do no harm"-principle, etc.

      Similar things apply to Ed Peters' comments on the principle of benignity.

      That brings us to the second difficulty, which is the one emphasized by Peters. Canon law is governed by a “principle of benignity” which requires that the accused be given the benefit of the doubt, and in particular that the law be interpreted in a way that is as benign or favorable to the accused as is reasonably possible. Given this principle, Peters says, “heresy cases are not impossible under canon law, but they are, and are meant to be, very difficult.”

      It would, accordingly, be difficult to show that the pope meets both the condition of obstinacy, and the condition of denying a doctrine that is heretical in the narrow canon law sense. A defense lawyer might argue that the pope’s persistent ambiguity is precisely evidence, not of heresy, but rather that he simply lacks interest in and sufficient knowledge of doctrine (as opposed to being interested and knowledgeable enough to deny it, as a heretic would be) and that he lacks either patience or capacity for clear and careful theological reasoning.


      Right, a clever defence lawyer might argue... But if such an argument were admissible, then perhaps heresy cases would be impossible after all, not merely very difficult. A clever prosecutor, on the other hand, would argue that this is not a reasonable way to defend Francis, and so it would go. But the judge in the case will ultimately be God, and surely, as Vigano made clear, that's the court that ultimately counts, for all of us (even Francis), sooner or later (always), and it's in the light of his perfect light that the signatories wish to offer their remonstrances to God's humble servant Francis, notwithstanding his legal prerogative to choose to be judged by no man on earth.

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  26. Vince S, Son of Ya'Kov is Ed's pet troll. Best to ignore, he's here for decoration and entertainment only.

    On apologetics and the Church's credibility, consider what was predicted and what happened.

    Cardinal Giuseppe Siri wrote directly to Paul VI warning that, if promulgated, Dignitatis Humanae would “especially benefit religious indifferentism.”

    Archbishop Lefebvre declared on the Council floor, “Should this statement in its present terms come to be solemnly accepted, the veneration that the Catholic Church has always enjoyed among all men and all nations, because of her love of truth, unfailing to the point of martyrdom, will suffer grave harm, and that to the misfortune of a multitude of souls whom Catholic truth will no longer attract.”

    What happened immediately? Conversions to the Church collapsed. They fell off a cliff.

    What happened in the longer term? Apologetics collapsed.

    A moment's reflection makes it clear why.

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    1. >Son of Ya'Kov is Ed's pet troll.

      Moi? I have one thing to say about that.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3sOuEv0E2I

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  27. @Miguel Cervantes aka Doc Angelic of feserismisnotthomism fame:


    Your dishonesty and sophistry really know no limits. You keep strawmanning Dr Feser's arguments and equivocating the meaning of words in order to suit your trollish goals.

    Stop lying, go grab a book on critical reasoning, and learn a bit about logic and fallacies.

    Also, someone has already taken the time to answer your ridiculous diatribes:
    https://manczpompon.blogspot.com/

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  28. Thanks Ed,
    Very well reasoned article. It's easy to get one's head on backwards, when the pope appears to be a heretic following the common usage of the term.

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  29. The Pope has finally said something about McCarrick and Vigano, among other things.

    https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/05/28/in-new-interview-pope-francis-says-he-knew-nothing-about-mccarrick/

    “I said it many times, I knew nothing, no idea”

    Can it really be that the Pope removed sanctions on McCarrick without first finding out why the sanctions were there in the first place? Did he really just never wonder, never ask, and was never told anything?

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    1. But if the "sanctions" where secret then legally they didn't really exist. B16 expected McCarrick on his honor to honor the "sanctions". He didn't while B16 ran the show and after he left he sucked up to Francis.

      OTOH maybe Francis is lying? Or Vigano is mistaken(not the first time)? Anyway it is a mess.

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  30. “I said it many times, I knew nothing, no idea”

    "Many times"? The only thing Pope Francis explicitly said was that he was not going to say one word about the matter.

    Sigh. Thank God when I came back to the Church I was under no illusions about its state.

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