Friday, February 10, 2023

The Faith Once for All Delivered

Coming soon, the important new anthology The Faith Once for All Delivered: Doctrinal Authority in Catholic Theology, edited by Fr. Kevin Flannery.  Contributors include Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke (Foreword and Introduction), C. C. Pecknold, Christopher J. Malloy, Thomas Heinrich Stark, Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist., John M. Rist, Edward Feser, Eduardo Echeverria, Kevin L. Flannery, SJ, Robert Dodaro, OSA, John Finnis, Guy Mansini, OSB, and Robert Cardinal Sarah (Afterword).  My essay for the volume is on the topic “Magisterium: The Teaching Authority of the Church.”

54 comments:

  1. The book has been honored with an appearance on Father Z's Amazon.com wishlist.

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  2. I understand the focus of this blog. Don't have to either agree or disagree with that. But, there are many faiths. Christianity is one, as near as I can deduce. Catholicism is a religion, in my opinion. Understandings differ. Those differences emerge from interests, preferences and motives. Those, in turn, are forged by other influences.

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    1. I'm not concerned with differing "interests", "preferences" and "motivates", but with Truth. Do not confuse what is Good with what is willed.

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    2. So what if people disagree with each other? That just means that there are ignorant people that we must enlighten!

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  3. I will dispense with who I am. Someone attacked my remarks here, connecting them with the subsequent post by Dr. Feser. Misconstruction and obfuscation are not helpful. Constructing any sort of fallacy is weak. If you are not better than that, shut up. I am not interested in what you assert about your beliefs, or the
    alleged truths thereof. Complexity is collapsing, under its' own weight. And, I seriously doubt what you believe will prevent that. Neither of us are likely to know.

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  4. @ Ed Feser,

    Looks like an exciting book.

    Tom Cohoe

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  5. WCB

    Catholics claim to be the one true religion. So do the Calvanists and Lutherans. And the we are told Islam is the One True Religion. And of course we have Mormons, Hindus and Shintoists.

    Verily, the mind boggles.

    WCB

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    1. "People have different and incompatible opinions. Verily, the mind boggles."

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    2. "Verily the mind boggles" ūü§ď

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    3. It is sure ok to find a lot of diferent opinions and just be perplexed. But that is only the beggining of the road, for doubt must be followed by investigation if it is genuine.

      For instance, it is quite strange to mention hindus and shintoists when talking about how the diversity of religions turns unlikely that any is true when these two specific religions do not see themselves as the only true one but do see other religions as paths ro the same destination*, so the diversity of religions is worthless as a argument against these two religions. Lumping all religions as a kinda of Christianity is a slip common with people that do not bother to investigate the religion thing at all.

      So let your doubt exist, but do what she asks of you: investigate!

      *being honest, i do not even know if Shinto is even supposed to get you to salvation, i think that japaneses usually go to buddhism for that?

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    4. If St. Alphonsus is correct that daily, frequent prayer together with frequent mass is 100% effective in turning sufficient grace into efficient grace, then Catholicism has the most fair and equitable system of salvation of all religions. Anybody, no matter how bad they are, can close their eyes, focus, and pray, so sinners have no excuses.

      All the other religions (Judaism, Islam, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy) basically teach that salvation is God's choice, so they're not worth your time. Either He will save you, which means you shouldn't worry, or he won't save you, in which case there's no point in worrying.

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    5. WCB

      The bible claims God has predestined fron the beginning of time who shall be the elect and thus who shall not be the elect. God the great potter, who arbitrarily chooses who shall be "vessels of mercy" and who shall be "vessels of wrath". Grace is a gift, not earned by our actions. God hardens herats, Romans 11. God hardens the hearts of the Jews to not accept Jesus as messiah. None of this makes much sense. With the "Great Commission", why not harden the hearts of all to believe? In the prophets, we are told God will place his laws and statutes into the "inner most parts", the "hearts" of the Israelites so that that will never stray from God. Why not from the beginning of mankind? Why not now? When theologians ignore what the Bible claims, again and again, why should I, off skeptical bent belive them at all?

      I think, if I was God, would I do things the way this Bible God acts?

      WCB

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    6. WCB, it's curious that you trust your reasoning. If you think God predetermined your ability to come to him and you haven't come to him, you haven't actually made an argument against him. By your own admission you ought to think that maybe you just aren't able to come to the correct conclusion.

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    8. WCB

      Romans 9 is crystal clear. We are told God hardened the hearts of the Jews. So the question is, why would God do that?

      WCB

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    9. Keep reading in Romans 9 and Paul answers these kinds of objections: "Who are, O man, to answer back to God? Will the thing made say to its Creator, why did you make me thus? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?" In other words, 'who the hell do you think you are to question God's sovereign will?"

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    10. WCB: I don’t believe in God.

      Also WCB: God hardens the hearts of those who don’t believe in him such that they are incapable of believing.

      It’s funny when they admit they’re not swayed by rational arguments.

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    12. Romans 9 theme is more in trying to help the jews accept that the gentiles are being brought to justification and eternal life by Jesus while the israelites that reject Him are being rejected. Reading just Romans 10 after should make this clear.

      My friends, here is a tip on christian theology: if a teaching started with Calvin you can safely ignore it.

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    14. Read first something about the controversies between the jewish and gentile early christians, like the Jerusalem Concil parts on the Acts of the Apostles, and them reread Romans 9 and 10, EB, things will become clear.

      Your view do apply somewhat, but there is more there.

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  6. What is the ongoing issue in this blog's comment section with the continuing, and seemingly studied, passive aggressive petulance of commenters who adamantly refuse to clearly distinguish their comments from those of others, by use of any kind of consistent and individual identifier?

    Do those of you who refuse to do so think that your use of an arbitrary and untraceable comment tag will somehow endanger you back on the street where you live?

    Is it too additionally fatiguing or time consuming to sign in with a few consistently arranged letters or numerals before depositing the body of your comment, complaint, or sarcasm?

    No one requests that you leave your real name and home address. Nor can I imagine anyone seeking them. Not even the vacuuming snout of the FBI of the Big Guy father of the Crack-Addict.

    Step up to the plate like a man; or a reasonable facsimile of one. Be like "Brutus", or "Federal Farmer" or "Publius", or "Pierre Delecto" if you think your chances for a high court appointment risk being imperiled should someone learn you called Aquinas an 'obsolete poopy head'

    Spit in the face of fear! Disdain rudeness! Embrace courtesy! Boldly sign your fake made-up name, so readers will at least know what voice is saying what.

    Sort of know, anyway.

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  7. Looks interesting. I will add it to mae list.

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  8. Sounds encouraging. I hope the work does properly interpret Vatican II according to tradition on every point, without giving an inch to false oecumenism, false collegiality and false religious liberty (as clearly defined by Popes Pius IX, Leo XIII and Pius X). Otherwise the faithful are left defenceless against the germ of what has produced the last half century and more of crisis in the Church. The Vatican II thing, like the Council of Constance, needs fixing, by Rome. Until then, private "interpretations of Vatican II "in the light of tradition" will be as varying as there are opinions on this subject. In the meantime, surely the prudent thing to do is continue the understanding so clearly laid out by the popes. above. Picking and choosing when it comes to the doctrinal novelties encouraged by conciliar texts will get us nowhere.

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    1. ...Vatican II inequivocally taught religious liberty. There is no "backing away" from that.

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    2. The Council of Constance also included (in its recognised and unrecognised sessions) things that have been corrected or modified, a process which took quite some years. I would not be too hasty in defining what Vatican II will ultimately mean for the Church. Wait and see. It's all up to Rome.

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  9. No contribution from Archbishop Vigano?

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  10. Reading the Amazon description, this book appears to be a must-read for every Catholic who aspires to stay faithful to the teachings of the one and only Church of Christ, from the time of the apostles to the present day, without encountering doubtful and epistemologically challenging interpretations of continuity.
    I would suggest two things: (1) to make a Kindle version of it available as soon as possible, (2) to translate it into other major languages.
    Having said that, I don't think that something went "wrong with Catholic Theology" solely after Vatican Council II (VCII). The issue is much deeper, and in my opinion, stems from incorrect pastoral choices that were overly focused, petty-bourgeois attitude, on the morality of actions rather than the radical choice of Christ that each of us must make.
    These incorrect pastoral choices date back centuries and eventually led to a questionable theology in the 19th century and the post-Catholic theology that we are now facing, which not only forgets what the Church considers to be the qualities of a Saint, but also blurs the lines between morality and politics, and is unfortunately taught at the highest levels of the hierarchy.

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    1. > which not only forgets what the Church considers to be the qualities of a Saint

      Traditionalist Catholicism has a very strong moralist quality to it, where sainthood was synonymous with being a moral person. However, many Old Testament saints, especially Jeremiah and Ezekiel, were not considered by any of their contemporaries to be moral people. But they were tellers of the Truth.

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    2. I don't know what Traditionalist Catholicism is; I only know Catholics and post-Catholics. If we look at the famous parable of the rich young man, it is very clear that being a moralist, in the sense of focusing solely on the execution of the law, is definitely not sufficient for one to be elected as a Saint by our Lord. On the other hand, St. Paul is very clear that when we are of the Lord, i.e. Saints, we do not wallow in vice.

      The Good News is very clear: do not focus your life solely on abiding by the Law, which only condemns, but rather choose Christ radically and you will not sin. And if it does happen that you sin, as you have chosen Christ, you are already redeemed through the Holy Sacraments which are the very Thaumaturgic acts of Christ Himself through the Holy Church. Not sinning and being forgiven each time we do is a consequence of the Holiness of our Election, not a preamble.

      A petty-bourgeois attitude is similar to the pharisaic one: a "beans-counters" attitude where one tries to negotiate their unwillingness to be radically of Christ by trading that against committing fewer sins. It is because of this that we have the whole casuistic approach, which is the art of finding good reasons to have attenuating circumstances in order to avoid personal responsibility while sinning. This nitty-gritty attitude is not spiritually or doctrinally sustainable, and "modernism" is a process that moves further to the point where everybody would be saved in all circumstances. Moreover, only some generic collective sins would make sense, reducing the whole Redemption plan of God Himself to a mere political discourse to try to eliminate these "social" sins, which are comfortable because they do not require any individual choice to be radically on the side of Christ. All religions become more or less equivalent, including the absence of any.

      Vatican Council II is just a symptom, and in that sense, it is something healthy. However, it is not the sickness itself. Wishing to cure the symptom is about failing to have a chance to cure the real scourge.

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    3. It's very unfortunate that you see the division between the "spirit of Vatican II" and what preceded it as "individual choice to be radically on the side of Christ" versus "bean-counters". Firstly, that is what many who have distorted Christ's doctrine since the Council say to excuse themselves. Secondly, it is not the issue here, unless you wish to begin a thread on schools of spirituality.

      Of course right doctrine is no guarantee of charity or being a true Christian. False doctrine, however, is never a sign of true Christianity. Since Vatican II, doctrinal falsehood has been much more in evidence than charity, something demonstrated by any survey of lay and clerical attitudes towards doctrines of the faith. There are problems with the "spirit" and the texts of this Council, beans or no beans.

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    4. @Miguel Cervantes

      The Greek word that is the theme of 1 Corinthians 13 is Love, not Charity. There is a separate Greek word that means Charity, and Paul never used it in that chapter.

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    6. @Miguel Cervantes
      Unfortunately you totally absolutely misread what I wrote down about Vatican II, doctrine, etc.: may be, if you try to read my post again you will notice that.. If not, tough luck: but "c'est la vie"!

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    7. @EmpoweredBeing
      we are all different: we must accept that.

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    8. @Ga√ętan Cantale-Mi√®ge Yes, you are right.

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    9. Gaetan, being a mere mortal, I may not have understood you. No doubt you are quite entitled to leave me wallowing in my ignorance.

      However, you can't let the Council off as a "symptom" of something generalised in the Church prior to it.

      The spirit and the law issue has always existed. Nor was most of the Catholic world in 1960 bourgeois, petit or otherwise. Fashionable new ideas and modernist tendencies were spread during and after the Council from a handful of countries around the North Sea and North America to the other 80% of the Catholic world where nobody was asking for it. The modernist mentality minimises sin, so its beans turn into some kind of paste that can't be counted - a very different problem to the issue you mentioned. Of course, modernism has its new woke sins, but we're talking about worldly ideas. Ideas matter. The Council brought new ones and new problems which were not generalised in the Church previously. The Church was not seething with Vatican II spirit beforehand. For most of it, what was thrown at them in the 1960s was so foreign to past experience they did not know whether or how to react to it. Let's not pretend it's all because of "Francesco". He's just continuing along the 1960s path. Luckily, he's also the last of that generation.

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    10. @Ga√ętan Cantale-Mi√®ge

      we are all different: we must accept that.

      Hmm... it seems like this is vulnerable to a retorsion argument.

      We are all different, we must accept that. But we can't accept people who don't accept that "we are all different and we must accept that", because they are different and we won't accept that.

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    11. @EmpoweringBeing
      I personally can accept people who do not accept that "we are all different and we must accept that", simply because this is accepting the Principle of Reality: that we are all different is a matter-of-fact, including people who might think it is not the case.
      This, nonetheless, does not oblige anyone to agree on the rightness and the goodness of a difference: e.g. conversely to my elaborate point of view about "modernism" you expressed another simplified opinion about the notion of "hatred", and I simply stated that I accept that we have two very different stand-points, but not that I deemed your position as much correct or complete or whatever as mine.
      I wish you a nice Sunday of the Quinquagesima

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    12. @Miguel Cervantes
      The issue that became apparent in the aftermath of Vatican Council II was the gradual replacement of the central function of announcing the Holy Gospel with an erroneous, non-Catholic theology in the discourse of many Church officials.

      This erroneous "modernist" theology can be traced back to the 19th century, and its roots can be found in a pastoral discourse that emphasized the attenuation of one's sins rather than a radical and genuine conversion to Christ. This discourse, which can be referred to as "petty-Catholicism," has been more and more prevalent over the last centuries.

      The origin of this discourse can be traced back to St. Raymondo de Penaforte in the 13th century. He compiled guidelines for confessors to judge cases submitted to them by penitents, but these guidelines were never intended as a guide for spirituality to become saints. Rather, they were intended as a tool to assist confessors in their judgments, and the nitty-gritty considerations in the guidelines made sense from their point of view. However, becoming a saint is not simply about avoiding or minimizing sins, but rather about not committing any sins at all and being of Christ Himself.

      Modernism, in oversimplified terms, has turned this guidebook for confessors into a new gospel for salvation. To combat modernism and its negative influence on the Church for the past 60 years, we should individually return to the teachings of the Church and bravely accept their radicality in our lives, with the help of God's grace, and discard any attempts to justify our sins and vices through extenuating circumstances, which in reality only serve as aggravating circumstances when examined closely.

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    13. Modernism, in oversimplified terms, has turned this guidebook for confessors into a new gospel for salvation.

      Ga√ętan, I don't think your version of the historical details is correct. A kind of improper focus on individual sins and kinds of sins has always been a danger to Christians, and its prevalence has waned and waxed over the centuries. That kind of mistake is absolutely not the sort of error as is found in Modernism, even if it is found in modern times somewhat prevalently among certain groups. Modernism denotes quite a different collection of errors, as detailed by Pope St. Pius X in Domenici Gregis.

      What is sad is that although both Leo XIII and Pius X outlined how to combat Modernism, their warnings were not taken seriously, and seminaries in certain places were teaching Modernism at least as early as the 1920's and 30's, but (again, sadly) even of the seminaries that weren't pumping out Modernist priests before Vatican II were not actively countering Modernism by properly teaching their students as outlined by the prior popes. Hence at Vatican II there were certainly some mal-formed bishops, and many others ill-equipped to handle the issues involved. Hence both the process under way at VII, and the documents produced, were damaged by Modernism even though the Modernist bishops did not get everything going their own way.

      Even though it remains true that an unhelpful over-focus on individual sins is an impediment to holiness, attacking that problem will do nothing at all to unwind Modernism present in the Church. As C.S. Lewis comments in The Screwtape Letters, it is a Satanic ploy to get us to attend to (real) problems that are not our main problems, to get us fritter away our efforts on things that won't really move us forward in the spiritual life, and avoid tackling that which is really dangerous. Well, perhaps the same is true of the Church as a whole, and Francis's mindlessly singular hatred of ossified reconstructionist traditional Catholics is an example of it: yes, there are some out there, but THEY are not what is pushing the whole barque of Peter into the depths.

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    14. Gaetan, I don't think any creditable history of modernism will provide the genealogy you give. What you are discussing is something completely different and not responsible for the "spirit of Vatican II". Do you have any authorities for this connection between the great Saint Raymond and the fruits of the Council?

      Tony, the Vatican II phenomenon didn't happen because of the extent of modernist ideas in the Church. That old summary, The Rhine Flows in the Tiber, explains how a minority from a small number of countries got to determine its outcome (with the help of Paul VI). I was a little unfair earlier when I implied that majorities in these countries and North America were behind this "Conciliar Spirit". Even in these regions, modernists were a distinct minority.

      Vatican II was a revolution from the top. Some of its texts are perfectly equivocal enough to support the interpretations that have commonly been given to them in the "post-Conciliar" Church. The Council is not a symptom or an accident. It must be dealt with. If we won't do this, barking at Francis will be mostly a waste of time.

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    15. @Tony and Miguel Cervantes
      I'm afraid we will have to agree to disagree once again. For me, it is clear that every so-called "modernist" statement, which has been condemned for the past 150 years, every ambiguous statement made during the Vatican Council II, and even Humanae Vitae, as well as some of the statements made by the current pontificate, all share the same ultimate goal: to avoid obliging anyone to truly and wholeheartedly choose Christ. This trend began with the faithful being more concerned with minimizing their responsibility for their sins and vices for various "good" human and psychological reasons, instead of genuinely converting to Christ.

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  11. DNW
    I left you a comment on the Fr Bill Blog.

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  12. "AnonymousFebruary 13, 2023 at 7:27 PM
    DNW
    I left you a comment on the Fr Bill Blog."


    Who's "Fr Bill"?

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    1. I meant Fr Ed. Dr Feser's blog on "An Anonymous Saint."

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  13. Father Z has updated his posting about this book:

    IMPORTANT BOOK ALERT: The Faith Once for All Delivered: Doctrinal Authority in Catholic Theology – UPDATED
    Posted on 14 February 2023 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

    https://wdtprs.com/2023/02/important-book-alert-the-faith-once-for-all-delivered-doctrinal-authority-in-catholic-theology/

    Excerpt:

    Edward Feser’s treatment of the Magisterium is deeply instructive and challenging to the present pontificate. The same is true of John Rist’s masterful commentary on contemporary heresies. These essays are especially valuable in debunking the current German synodal way and stand as a warning about the upcoming Synod on Synodality.

    The book has received accolades from the recently deceased George Cardinal Pell and the prolific Gerhard Cardinal M√ľller.

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  14. Quasi off-topic comment.

    Been binging on YouTube videos featuring your old philosophical mentor (if that is not too strong a characterization) and it occurs to me after six or seven hours of viewing over several days, that there is a kind of analog thread that runs through or maybe parallel to the will vs intellect issue seen here. It is in Searle's body of work.

    And I am not referring specifically to the matter of the question of how consideration of intentionality and consciousness and semantics on the one hand logically refutes AI strong computationalism and mere syntax based personhood on the other, per se. But rather how it becomes obvious that the responses to his arguments by his critics is so will-driven (and even wilfully childish) in some cases.

    There seems to be a peculiar and consistent dynamic in the exchanges dating all the way from the 1984 discussion between Searle and Boden right through to the 2009 Google talk before the Singularity group.

    It's as if a grown man is laying out sound arguments before clever, self-regarding and smirking children, some of whom, possess a malicious streak only thinly veiled with a patina of politeness.

    That smug malice does not seem directed at him personally; and they seem able to appreciate his wit and arguments as elements of a tour de force or at least legacy performance.

    But they are obviously driven by some possibly emotion based conceit to refuse to respectfully acknowledge the intellectual force of the arguments.

    They seem to believe, even as their multipronged attacks fall short of the mark, that they shall eventually triumph in creating a conscious calculating machine (given enough causal/sensory inputs and layered programming) which will be somehow entitled to the same right to personal consideration which they would see fit to grant human beings.

    And this would apparently obtain whether this simulacrum of a mind were created to output through bronze gears, cams, cranks and spindles ( his beer can illustration) or silicon.

    If one wishes to witness clever pseudo-philosophical will on display, arrayed against careful and critical reason, I cannot think of a better illustration than Searle's engagement with the "Man is nothing, We are gods" A.I. crews.

    If they manage to become the gods they believe themselves to incipiently be, what would a kingdom produced by so many slightly twisted little godlets look like?

    One in their own image and likeness,one might reasonably suppose ...

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    1. DNW,

      Do you have any links you can post?

      A computer is just souped-up abacus.

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    2. Guys like Thomas Nagel and Bernardo Kastrup seems to draw similar reactions.

      Materialism is seen like a obvious truth, the orthodoxy, so there is this tendency of not taking the critics serious. I mean, every intelectual worth of attention knows that it is true, why is these guys denying it?

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    3. "bmiller

      'DNW,

      Do you have any links you can post?

      A computer is just souped-up abacus.'
      "

      Some good ones. The other Bryan Magee interview not listed here, is a good one too.

      Consciousness in Artificial Intelligence
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHKwIYsPXLg


      Debate on AI & Mind - Searle & Boden (1984)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5a9NJ10iGQ

      Consciousness as a Problem in Philosophy & Neurobiology (John Searle)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot4z1UrPvZY

      An old classic having not much to do with consciousness
      Ludwig Wittgenstein - John Searle & Bryan Magee (1987)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2JVMOkoDo8

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  15. It’s funny when they admit they’re not swayed by rational arguments.

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