Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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“Which ones we can blow off?”

November 29th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

Fr. Joe Marcoux provides us with a little insight into the minds of progressives, and how these individuals justify disobedience:

“So he tells the Pharisees and the scribes that yes the litmus is the rule but it’s this rule of love and everything else is human. Now that being said, there are (depending how you count) 618 Deuteronomic laws and 1752 Canon laws. How do we know which ones to follow and which ones we can blow off? I think, that Jesus would say that when a law becomes more important than the human it was made for then, as my Belgian friends would tell me, we’ve lost our north. Basically, we’ve lost our guiding principle. You’ve got to follow your conscience and your conscience has to be informed by love. I think this is relevant today because we still put rules over and above people. Examples: let’s start with the Church; what’s happening right now between the Vatican and the women religious of the United States. What about ultra-conservative Catholics versus ultra-progressive Catholics…we can’t even be civil to each other because of the rules!”

Source: http://www.stcathofsiena.org/homily/2012-0902%20homily.htm

Do tell us, Father, which parts of the Code of  Canon Law should Catholics “blow off” because they fail your love test? Is it the Canon on the ordination of men alone (#1024)? The Canon that forbids lay homilies (#767)? What about the law that describes marriage as the union of a man and a woman (#1055)? Maybe the one that requires priests to obey the Holy Father and their bishop (#273)? — I’m not accusing you of ignoring the first three, though you publicly disregard the fourth whenever you sign a petition opposed to some Vatican action (see “What if we just said wait”, Open letter on gays and lesbians).

The laws and norms of our Church exist for the good of the Church! Sure, there may be instances where a law can be broken (for example, missing Mass on Sunday due to illness), but the Church’s laws are not something we can “blow off” because we don’t like them.

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151 Responses to ““Which ones we can blow off?””

  1. avatar Scott W. says:

    Do tell us, Father, which parts of the Code of Canon Law should Catholics “blow off” because they fail your love test?

    Don’t hold your breath because if there is one thing progressives do well, it’s being vague. So you will get “dialog with the Church on the full range of human sexuality” when what they really mean is “the Church needs to bless homosexual couples and allow married people to use contraception.”

    Sure, there may be instances where a law can be broken (for example, missing Mass on Sunday due to illness)

    Just a quibble I suppose, but since the law allows for absence for illness or other serious reasons, it’s not breaking the law.

  2. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    …..we can’t even be civil to each other
    because of the rules.

    Baloney.

    ……your conscience has to be informed
    by love.

    So what is love?
    Too tough to define abstractly?

    Let’s remind ourselves of love’s proof?

  3. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    The Gospel According To Saint John:

    If you love me,
    you will keep my commandments.

    If you keep my commandments,
    you will abide in my love, just as I have
    kept my Father’s commandments
    and abide in his love.

    A reading from the first letter of Saint John:

    Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ
    is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent
    loves the child. By his we know that we love the
    children of God, when we love God and obey his
    commandments. For this is the love of God, that
    we keep his commandments.

    Ffor the priest who asked
    which rules we can blow off, I hope he finds his
    his hope in the great high priest,
    the Lord Jesus Christ.

    May this priest who Dr. K quotes rediscover the
    depth of wisdom and knowledge in the Son of God made Man
    who has endowed the Catholic Church with the fullness of
    the means of salvation.

    God bless you, Father Marcoux, and the people you pastor.

  4. avatar annonymouse says:

    I believe that canon law is intended to ensure the very rule of love of which Fr. Marcoux speaks. I am also pretty darn sure that, if he doesn’t want to get in trouble with the Diocese office (the chancellor in particular), he ought not “blow off” any of them.

    In answer to the question “which of these rules do the progressives get to blow off,” that one’s easy – any and all of the ones that get in the way of license to do as they please, all in their (completely misguided) notion of “conscience.” In the progressive world, ANYTHING can be justified in the name of “love” and in good conscience. Problem is – they have a totally misguided idea of love and conscience. Fr. Marcoux – if you equate love with license, I’d suggest you spend some quality time gazing upon a crucifix – THAT is the love we are called to.

    This from Fr. Marcoux, I’m afraid, is more of the thinly-veiled pro-homosexual blather that he is not doing a very good job of concealing. He’s becoming quite well-known and fairly outspoken about his views in this regard. I’m not sure what he’s going to do when a bishop is appointed who (we have every reason to believe) won’t be at all tolerant of his priests leading his flock into serious sin.

  5. avatar Scott W. says:

    I’m not sure what he’s going to do when a bishop is appointed who (we have every reason to believe) won’t be at all tolerant of his priests leading his flock into serious sin.

    I advocate the Bishop Vasa solution which is make every priest, religious, employee, volunteer, or anyone who is perceived as speaking for the Church sign a personal affirmation of faith that explicitly has the “hot button” issues in it. That way, anyone not signing is handed the pink slip and anyone who signs but has been hinky about it in the past will have to explain themselves to their secular progressivist faction.

  6. avatar BigE says:

    @Scott W
    So if someone believes in their heart that women should be ordained, but also believes that the current teachings of the church should be followed – should they sign your proposed affirmation of faith?

  7. avatar raymondfrice says:

    “That way, anyone not signing is handed the pink slip”

    What a wonderful idea!!! We will save a lot of money with each diocese having about 2 employees; maybe a bishop and one custodian.

  8. avatar Jim R says:

    My, my! For some reason Fr. Marcoux’s epistle reminds me of the old anti-Protestant jab:
    “It’s no so much that Protestants don’t want a Pope as much as it is the every Protestant wants to BE the Pope.” 🙂

  9. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Annonumouse, I agree about a thinly veiled blather. Isn’t that the mantra of those spokesmen and women advocation ignoring any rule they don’t like. They say the rule implies no love. It’s all touchy-feely.

    Scott,

    I agree but if priests here had to sign an affidavit, then we would have to look outside the diocese to replace all thiose priests who wouldn’t sigh it. I still would like such a document.

  10. avatar Scott W. says:

    So if someone believes in their heart that women should be ordained, but also believes that the current teachings of the church should be followed – should they sign your proposed affirmation of faith?

    No they shouldn’t because paying lip-service is deceitful and cowardly. And frankly, referring to the teaching male-only priesthood as “current teaching” as if the Church and the Holy Father are merely like the U.S. President and his administration and this just happens to be their policy that can be changed when we get a different administrations is pretty cheap stuff.

  11. avatar Scott W. says:

    I agree but if priests here had to sign an affidavit, then we would have to look outside the diocese to replace all thiose priests who wouldn’t sigh it. I still would like such a document.

    That’s possible, but I truly believe that many would repent and only a few of the more notorious holdouts would remain.

  12. avatar raymondfrice says:

    We already have a promise of obedience to the bishop by the priests. So all the bishop has to do is to invoke that promise and clearly articulate what he wants of his priests. If they don’t comply, send them to a monastery to think it over and if they don’t go, suspend them and let them get used to a very substantially lower standard of living.

  13. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,

    So if someone believes in their heart that women should be ordained, but also believes that the current teachings of the church should be followed – should they sign your proposed affirmation of faith?

    We’ve been over this haven’t we? If someone does not assent to this teaching (regardless of whether they make no external actions against it), then they have removed themselves from full communion from the Church. I believe that would make them unfit to be in one of the above mentioned positions. I would agree that a personal affirmation of faith would be a great thing. I think there would be a few who would refuse and I’d say good riddance.

  14. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben
    Yea, we have been over it. Every church document I’ve seen defines an individual as being in “full communion” with the Church if they have received all the Sacraments and are actively participating in the life of the Church. If I remember correctly, you were not able to produce anything supporting your definition for an individual. (I’ve only seen “not in full communion” used in conjunction with other faith traditions and/or churches, ie protestant faiths…but not for individuals….)

  15. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,
    Here’s the long explanation:
    http://cleansingfire.org/2012/07/the-infallibility-of-the-magisterium-the-male-only-priesthood-and-the-intrinsically-evil-nature-of-contraception/

    but to cut to the chase:
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfadtu.htm

    Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine16 and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

    To be clear having difficulty with such teachings is fine as long as one still assents that the Church is correct and has the authority to teach as such. You might not be able to work out all the pieces in your own mind, but you must still assent to the Church’s teachings.

  16. avatar Scott W. says:

    To be clear having difficulty with such teachings is fine as long as one still assents that the Church is correct and has the authority to teach as such.

    Correct. And I’d say it wouldn’t be a problem if someone signed our hypothetical affirmation but said, “Ok, I don’t fully get this teaching and it seems counter-intuitive to me, but I freely and unreservedly give assent to it.” and didn’t load it with sour-grapey stuff like, “Well, I’ll agree with this policy for now because the boss is making me.”

  17. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    1) Since the “cut to chase” statement you provided was in reference to infallible teachings, I think we’re back to that tricky subject.
    2) And on further reflection, to some extent, I can understand the logic of your statement. If someone doesn’t agree with EVERY teaching of the Catholic Church (infallible and fallible) then I suppose “not in full communion” could equal “doesn’t beleive in every teaching”. That makes sense on some level to me. But then 80% of the church is not full communion with the Catholic Church. What are the practical implications of that? Do you advocate a church that is 80% smaller than it is right now? Certainly the Church herself doesn’t. She’s obviously already made room for theologians to disagree with teachings and remain in the Church. She’s obviously made room for dissenting priests and bishops (as members of the church, not necessarily as teachers of the faith). So based on your definition, “full communion” doesn’t appear to be a prerequisite for membership in Church. And if that’s the case; then so what if someone isn’t in full communion?

  18. avatar annonymouse says:

    I did a little research, and it appears that Fr. Marcoux has already taken an “oath of fidelity” whereby he has sworn:

    “What is more, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic Magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.”

    So long as he’s truthful, he’s already committed to not blowing off what Rome has taught. This from:
    http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/teach/cdfoath.htm

  19. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Incredible

    It’s unbelievable that over two hours have elapsed since BigE’s
    last comment and not one reply. I would have thought a dozen defenders
    should have logged in already.

    80 percent of the church is not in full communion with the Catholic Church
    writes BigE. That statement, if accurate, corroborates the fact that
    THERE IS A CRISIS OF FAITH.

    The Year of Faith is the pertinent step taken to implement the new evangelization.
    Of course those in full communion are always in need of ongoing
    conversion of heart, repentance and renewal. These spiritual realities
    are essential to genuine Christianity.

    Those 80 percent, BigE, are the beloved who aren’t living fully committed
    lives of discipleship. Recent popes have been saying over and over
    that Christ is to be proclaimed to traditionally Christian people,
    counties and churches.

    Now before I close sibling BigE, please allow me to remind you that
    Pope Benedict himself has mused aloud that perhaps the Lord is
    prunning, purifying, forming a smaller Church.

    Wide and broad is the way that leads to destruction and
    many …….
    Strait and narrow the way that leads to life and few…….

    Father Marcoux? He makes me shutter when I remember the
    fullness of the means of salvation God gives Christ’s Catholic Church
    and he and his people waste time asking what we can blow off!

    http://www.spiritdaily.com/defend.htm links us to an article about
    defending against attacks coming from outside the Church.
    Important as it is to do that, with priests like the one featured in
    this post, it is urgent to implement the new evangelization in this
    Year of Faith.

    (wow, Marcoux’s conversion was quick)

  20. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Belgin friends. Does that mean people at the closed seminary at Louvane(spelling). That’s where he was trained. I read that seminary was rife with homosexual activity.

  21. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    E,

    Just try and believe the teachings of the Church and if there are stumbling blocks, ask God for the grace of acceptance and understanding.

    True, 80% of Catholics don’t believe in all the teachings. I might give you 90%. But that’s the fault of the bishops and clergy over the last 40 years.

    We’ll do our part but let God orchestrate things.

  22. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    One more thing. It’s tragic Fr. Marcoux is working for the other side.

  23. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – it matters not whether the teaching is fallible or infallible. What matters is the Oath which (unless I’m misreading what I’ve researched) Father Marcoux and every ordained cleric takes:

    ““What is more, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic Magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.”

    N.B. – “even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.” Meaning, even if the teaching is not declared infallibly.

    And there is no conscience clause “out” for priests here – they are swearing to adhere to all the magisterial teachings, fallible and infallible, whether they agree in their heart of hearts or not. You and I, BigE, may or may not have to follow this or that teaching that is not proclaimed infallibly (although elsewhere we the Faithful are bound to the same obligation of assent), but as an ordained cleric, Father Marcoux has no such wiggle room.

    And there is no “out” for “love” however that may be defined, either (what is love tends to be in the eye of the beholder, anyway, huh Father M?).

  24. avatar snowshoes says:

    Thank you Dr. K. Of course, we must be moved by Christian charity for dear Father Marcoux, or we sin. St-Jean Marie Vianney speaks of the heartbreak of those who come to Sunday Mass every week but persevere in their indifference. He says, if he had known what being a parish priest for them was going to be like, he would have retired to the solitude of the desert or a monastery. Despite his almost unique success as a pastor and confessor, he said this often, he was deeply wounded to witness the lassitude of those he lovingly tried to shepherd to heaven. He even tried to run away at least two times and was brought back by his people, such was his sorrow at the unrepentance of so many. Now, I am not at all condoning dear Father’s attempt to deal with a situation, but, if the patron of parish priests was so broken-hearted, and actually ran away out of sorrow over the sins of his flock, can we but pray for priests who are so demoralized by our sins that they give in, and try to justify them? Pray for our priests, as St-Jean Marie says, we get the priests we deserve… St. Andrew pray for us.

    Si j’étais assez malheureux pour vous voir, contre mon attente et l’espoir que me donne votre religieuse attention, persévérer dans votre indifférence, alors, je vous le déclare devant Dieu, je me retirerais dans quelque solitude pour ne pas exposer mon propre salut au milieu de vous, dont je répondrai au tribunal de mon Juge et du vôtre.

    ORIOL P. V. 92

  25. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,
    I’m sorry, but your gig is up. No more beating around the bush – you are not reading what I am sending you and that’s a shame. You claim to take this seriously, but you clearly are not. We had this conversation over a year ago and I spent several long months researching it to answer all of the questions raised. I did so slowly and thoroughly to truly address your questions (as I’m sure many others have the same questions). Since I have done so and clearly presented the facts to you, I’d appreciate it if you took the time to read it. Read it 2, or 3 times or more if you need to… I’ll wait – there’s no rush. So, what am I talking about? These 2 statements:

    If I remember correctly, you were not able to produce anything supporting your definition for an individual.

    This statement is false. I’ve refuted it in each and every comments sections that you’ve brought it up. I quickly refuted it again here. Then you continue on with your game of dodge ball…

    Since the “cut to chase” statement you provided was in reference to infallible teachings, I think we’re back to that tricky subject.

    Again this is false. In the very same document I referenced, the teaching on women’s ordination is clearly mentioned as an infallible doctrine. Please go back and read the links I sent you. I’m getting tired of pretending that this issue hasn’t been settled. Read the documents – there really is no fuzziness or trickiness.

  26. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    so apparently the expression is “the jig is up” – not the “the gig is up”. Fortunately, that was not infallibly defined.

  27. avatar Scott W. says:

    For reference, here is the prefatory letter and statement of affirtmation of faith by Bishop Vasa: http://www.dominicanidaho.org/docs/givingtestimony.pdf In it, he answers some possible objections. One might say, “They have already taken an oath, they shouldn’t have to do this.” But Bp. Vasa puts it in point 8 that “…they are also subject to very broad, subjective interpretation…The question of whether such persons actually meet the necessary Diocesan criterion for public ecclesial ministry needs to be clarified. Indeed, the Diocesan criteria need to be more clearly enunciated.”

    And point 27 is a bombshell:

    27. While there is a possibility that someone may object that such a policy is an unjust infringement on an individual’s right and duty to follow their own conscience such an objection is invalid. Conscience is not something which exists in a vacuum. No one can claim a legitimate right to follow a conscience which is clearly not formed in a fashion consistent with the very clear teachings of the Catholic Church. The following of one’s own conscience is a strict moral obligation but that obligation is preceded by the obligation to assure that the conscience one is following is properly formed. When that conscience leads to judgments which are diametrically opposed to the clear and consistent teachings of the Catholic Church then the conscience has established itself as a new and individual, infallible personal magisterium which far exceeds the definition of conscience. Furthermore, it is one thing to claim a right to follow one’s conscience,
    even if it is erroneously formed, it is quite another to insist that one be afforded certain privileges, to which one has no right, while following that manifestly ill-formed conscience.

  28. avatar annonymouse says:

    Scott – thank you for that. I would say that settles it, and much more clearly makes the point I was trying to make about conscience, a term that “progressives” love to cite but which has been completely misappropriated and misunderstood.

  29. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    1) Why is it that if someone reads the material you posted, and remains unconvinced; that you assume they in fact didn’t read the material? Do you believe the arguments posted are so air tight as to not allow the possibility of an opposing viewpoint (see my question 3a below)?
    2) And your right, in the Marlene Vigna thread back on Oct 11th (which is the discussion I had in mind) you did provide your argument for “not in full communion”. I had missed it. My apologies.
    3) So I assume the following is the clear mention of women’s ordination as an infallible teaching that you reference:
    “The Supreme Pontiff, while not wishing to proceed to a dogmatic definition, intended to reaffirm that this doctrine is to be held definitively, since, founded on the written Word of God, constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”
    3a) So my question is (and I asked this same question before in the Marlene Vigna thread after we had agreed on the conditions necessary for infallibilty – but you didn’t answer it – or I missed it again…) – exactly how did the womens ordination issue get set infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium?

  30. avatar BigE says:

    @Scott W:
    Sounds like “the pt 27 bombshell” argument around a well formed conscience is a “no true scotsman” logical fallacy to me.
    http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/no-true-scotsman/

  31. avatar Scott W. says:

    Not at all. We can see this when dissidents mistranslate and selectively quote Aquinas. So they will give this lovely quote:

    “Conscience is more to be obeyed than authority imposed from the outside. By following a right conscience you not only do not incur sin but are also immune from sin, whatever superiors may say to the contrary. To act against one’s conscience and to disobey a superior can both be sinful. Of the two, the first is the worse since the dictate of conscience is more blinding than the decree of external authority.” [St. Thomas Aquinas, De veritate, q. 17, a.5]

    When the proper translation is, “For a correct conscience binds absolutely and perfectly against the command of a superior. Which is further buttressed when we add the preceding sentence that dissidents conveniently omit: “Nevertheless, the situation is not the same in the case of a correct conscience and that of a false conscience.”

    A conscience in opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church is a conscience objectively in error. Now, the conscience is primary in the sense that The Church can not force anyone to believe against their conscience, but as Bp. Vasa concludes, “it is one thing to claim a right to follow one’s conscience, even if it is erroneously formed, it is quite another to insist that one be afforded certain privileges, to which one has no right, while following that manifestly ill-formed conscience.”

    Conscience has for too long been misappropriated and made a code for incoherent moral relativism.

  32. avatar Scott W. says:

    Ahhh bad tags. The third line break should go:

    When the proper translation is, “For a correct conscience binds absolutely and perfectly against the command of a superior.” Which is further buttressed when we add the preceding sentence that dissidents conveniently omit: “Nevertheless, the situation is not the same in the case of a correct conscience and that of a false conscience.”

  33. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,

    1) Why is it that if someone reads the material you posted, and remains unconvinced; that you assume they in fact didn’t read the material?

    because the claims you use to build your counter argument are clearly refuted in the material you are arguing against.

    Do you believe the arguments posted are so air tight as to not allow the possibility of an opposing viewpoint (see my question 3a below)?

    Yes. To be clear – these aren’t my arguments – they are the Church’s arguments.

    3) So I assume the following is the clear mention of women’s ordination as an infallible teaching that you reference…

    Yes.

    3a) So my question is (and I asked this same question before in the Marlene Vigna thread after we had agreed on the conditions necessary for infallibilty – but you didn’t answer it – or I missed it again…) – exactly how did the womens ordination issue get set infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium?

    In this post:
    http://cleansingfire.org/2012/07/the-infallibility-of-the-magisterium-the-male-only-priesthood-and-the-intrinsically-evil-nature-of-contraception/
    I quoted the late Cardinal Dulles’ book:

    The ordinary universal Magisterium is engaged when the whole body of bishops, in hierarchical communion with the successor of Peter, is morally unanimous in teaching a certain doctrine as a matter of divine and Catholic faith, to be accepted by all as pertaining to the faith of the Church. The unanimity of the episcopal body is sometimes difficult to verify, but in many cases it is apparent from what the bishops regularly do or knowingly permit in preaching, liturgical prayer, catechesis, confessional practice, and the like. M – p67

    You can read more about the infallibility of the ordinary and universal teaching authority of the Church by reading the Grisez’ articles I link to in that post as well.

    note: This is really important and often gets overlooked. The ordinary is the usual. The extraordinary means the rare. IOW, contrary to popular belief, most of the infallible teachings of the Church are not defined either ex cathedra or by a council, but simply by the ordinary and universal teaching authority of the bishops in communion with the bishop of Rome.

  34. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    Your missing the point of my last question. How do you know “when the whole body of bishops, in hierarchical communion with the successor of Peter, IS MORALLY UNANIMOUS in a teaching”? Was there a poll taken in regards to the womens ordination issue?

  35. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    @BigE,
    You go off of the evidence. Obviously there was no poll, but the evidence clearly shows that the Church has always taught that only men can be priests. That’s exactly what jp2 said. Once again, you’re asking questions that were answered ther. Go back and read the post I linked. If you’re going to play the “show me 100% empirical evidence” game, then you’re basically rendering the teaching capacity of the Church useless and don’t have to believe anything. I could just as easily say, “how do you know that Pius IX declared ex cathedra that Mary was immaculately conceived?”

  36. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    1)And what has happened to Bishops who HAVE taught that women should be ordained? Does removing someone from their position count towards the moral unanimity? Wouldn’t “always” also include today?
    2) I’m not rendering the teaching of the Catholic Church useless. You are. I’m only claiming this particuliar teaching is not infallible and therefore worthy of further discussion and reflection. You are the one taking it to the extreme by saying unless the teaching is infallible it’s useless.
    3) I assume that the Pius IX declaration was ex cathedra because it met the conditions for an ex cathedra declaration. Why? Are there people who don’t think the conditions for ex cathedra were met by that declaration?

  37. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,
    1) nope not true. Once again, go read the documents I’ve linked. Hello?!? Can you hear me ?!?!

    2) no, I’m not. Your attack doesn’t even make sense. An mouse has stated, you’d still owe “religious submission of will and intellect”, but in certain cases like the male-only priesthood, the teaching goes further beyond that.

    3) my point is, you could always follow up with, “but how do you know? but how do you know? but how do you know?” If you’re going to play that game, then you’ll have to admit that you don’t know anything.

    I’m done with this conversation until you show some evidence that you’ve taken the time to read the material I’ve linked. Such evidence includes not asking questions that have already been answered. If you have an new question that wasn’t addressed, I’ll be happy to continue. If you want to dissent on a teaching that the Pope has said is infallible, the burden of proof is on you to prove that it isn’t… you can’t simply ignore the evidence and then claim, “well, it’s not clear, so I can believe whatever I want”… all the while playing the part of the intellectual while in reality being the one who is ignorant.

  38. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    real quick
    1) the teaching is either at one moment in time or perhaps a generation or two – certainly not each and every individual bishop throughout all time. That wouldn’t even make sense since a bishop somewhere has dissented on every teaching.

    3) the point is – on whose authority do you know Pius IX made that statement? How do you know you haven’t been duped? How do you know that Pius IX was a validly elected pope? How do you even know he existed? You have to take it on someone else’s authority. The type of assurance you’re looking for doesn’t exist – that’s not how God chooses to do things. To be Catholic means to embrace Catholic thought – not question everything.

  39. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – I would like to remind you of the words you swore upon your reception into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil:

    “I BELIEVE AND PROFESS ALL THAT THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH BELIEVES, TEACHES, AND PROCLAIMS TO BE REVELAED BY GOD.”

    WHY, in God’s name, to you continue to persist now in denying what the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God?

    You’ve ignored this question before. Please answer.

  40. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – which part of this do you not understand:

    “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

    Let me emphasize: “I DECLARE…THAT THIS JUDGMENT IS TO BE DEFINITIVELY HELD BY ALL THE CHURCH’S FAITHFUL.”

    Give. It. Up.

  41. avatar BigE says:

    @annonymouse
    In answer to your first question: I haven’t denied anything. I’ve questioned. Two very different positions. And yes, I’d rather see the truth reached through debate, discussion, and consensus rather than any heavy handed squelching of the exploration of ideas. And if the truth has already been reached, I’d rather it see taught so that it’s students understand it, concur, and buy into it, because it is the truth – and not simply because someone said it had to be accepted without understanding.

    And when I made my proclamation of faith, my priest knew exactly where I was at. “All the Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God” is around the love of Jesus Christ and the Good News of the Gospel. The Nicene Creed. I’ve NEVER heard of anyone being turned away from the faith because they struggled with the issue of womens ordination. Never. Have you? And I was specifically told by my Priest not to let it keep me from the table. And so I didn’t.

    In answer to your second question; I find the term “definative” to be foggy term relative to the infallible issue.

  42. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,

    I’d rather see the truth reached through debate, discussion, and consensus rather than any heavy handed squelching of the exploration of ideas.

    There is absolutely no shortage of explanation, debates, or discussions as to why there is a male-only priesthood. It’s simply that those who disagree don’t accept the explanation no matter how many times they get pummeled in those debates and discussions. I’d point you to resources, but you won’t read them anyway. Also, consensus is not how Catholic teachings come to be. Sorry – it just isn’t.

    And when I made my proclamation of faith, my priest knew exactly where I was at.

    This would mean you made an incomplete profession, but probably in good faith. Your priest, while possibly also in good faith, was simply wrong. Now you are in the know. You are aware that you a “not in full communion with the Church” and that you are “opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.” (phrases of bxvi and jp2). I’d suggest you seriously consider where you are at. Actually, I’d suggest you get some of the resources that explain why we have a male-only priesthood and spend some time praying about it. Find a priest who is not “opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church” and talk to them about it.

  43. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    BigE,

    I totally hear what you are saying and I totally see that you will not be heard. It’s a shame that in order to be considered a “faithful” Catholic by some, you have to think in black and white. I think you did the right thing by not “throwing away” your faith just because you have the intelligence to question things.

  44. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Not heard? Puhleeze… who isn’t being heard? I went out from a discussion over a year ago to specifically answer his questions. I read books, church documents, and scholarly journals, and followed up with a lengthy post. This saga is emblematic of the broader problem of dissent. The dissenters are never happy no matter how much dialogue, discussion, etc unless they are allowed to continue in their dissent forever. Once they are proven wrong, the only strategy left is to cry foul. I think I know BigE enough to know he’s above this strategy. I only hope and pray that my recent challenge here will finally sink in.

    As to throwing away his faith – I was suggesting nothing of the sort. I was simply suggesting that he honestly assess where he’s at and consider embracing the entire Catholic faith.

    Salltyanne, I’d really appreciiate it if you don’t make stuff up and stoke the

  45. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    as to greyness vs black-and-white-ness… of course some issues have grey areas. The question, though, as to which issues are black-and-white and which are grey and have room for various opinions is not up to the individual. It’s kind of like the Protestants who say, there’s essentials and non-essentials. Yeah, well, who gets to decide which issues fall into which bucket? We are Catholics, so we let the Church decide that. The Church has made the issue of the male-only priesthood black-and-white – it is clearly not grey. To pretend otherwise is to make yourself your own pope.

    Also, I’m curious as to your thoughts on the Council of Nicea. Do you think the Church was heavy-handed to declare Jesus Christ true God, consubstantial with the Father? Do you think Arius wasn’t heard? Do you think this issue should have remained grey?

  46. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE – if you believe everything that the Church, teaches, believes and holds as revealed by God, well then there really isn’t any need to “question” anything. The questioning should have been done while you went through RCIA and the scrutinies. Once you got to the Vigil, you should have been comfortable swearing that oath, and your “questioning” should have stopped. You should have been willing, with a humble heart, to accept the authority of the Church, even if you did not fully understand everything. For what matter of faith do we EVER fully understand? Yet we believe – we CHOOSE to believe.

    But as a wise person once said: “You can convince a man against his will; he’ll be of the same opinion “still.

    Or, as Ray Gurendi put it on EWTN – did you ever try reasoning with a three-year old? You can try, but they won’t change their mind because “they don’t want to.”

  47. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE –
    You call what you’re doing “questioning?” I call it dissent. You have been provided the rationale for every single teaching that you “question” and yet (assuming you’ve actually prayerfully read them) you continue to “question.” That’s not questioning, and it’s not even doubt. It’s dissent. You disagree with these teachings, and you’ve made that abundantly clear for a few years. You continue to deny the very truths you’ve sworn that you believe.

    I will continue to pray for you. And now, I will pray for the priest who “guided” you through RCIA. With such serious open “questions,” perhaps you oughtn’t have been received into the Church until you got satisfied as to the answers to these questions.

    I must say this – you are a most unusual convert. Most converts enter the Church and happily and humbly EMBRACE what Holy Mother Church teaches. As I’ve asserted in the past, humility does not seem to be a virtue often exhibited by the Church’s dissenters.

  48. avatar BigE says:

    @annonymouse
    1) I don’t believe that everything the Church teaches and believes has been revealed by God. I do believe however, that all that God has revealed, the Church teaches and believes. “However, until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells the pilgrim Church, in its sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.” (LG 48)
    2) So when two people respectfully disagree after making their case – one is always acting like a 3 yr old? (and I assume it would be the one whose view point disagrees with yours?)
    3) Call questioning whatever you’d like. I’m ok with dissent. However, dissent is not denying, as I’m willing to admit that I may discover someday that I am indeed wrong. My understanding of a lot of things has changed over the years.
    4) I appreciate your prayers. Lord knows I need ’em. And I appreciate the prayers for the priest. He’s one of the wisest, most pastoral, and spiritual men I have ever met.
    5) My guess is that “humbly disagreeing” with the Church is an oxymoron in your book. But I’ll grant you that I’m a different type of cat. 🙂

  49. avatar annonymouse says:

    1. Your problem is that you continue to doubt/question/openly defy the AUTHORITY of the Church which Jesus Christ (i.e. God, God’s only begotton Son) left in charge. Jesus could have named “BigE” as His vicar. He did not.
    2. It is not my opinion that you are disagreeing with. It is that of Holy Mother Church and her Spirit-chosen shepherds. I am humbly submitting to her authority. You are brazenly denying it.
    3. When have you EVER discovered that you are indeed wrong? I suspect you’ll have to dig pretty deep to answer this one.
    4. Of course you think he’s wise, pastoral and spiritual. All of those are in the eyes of the beholder. “Pastoral” is, after all, a code word for “it’s OK to break the rules” – to get back to the origin of this thread, I suppose Fr. Marcoux would fit your definition of “pastoral.” Your priest is also one of the most outspoken “progressives” in the diocese and presides over one of the most “progressive” parishes, I’m willing to wager.
    5. It takes a special kind of hubris to assume one is right (as you continue to do) and that Holy Mother Church is wrong, despite 2000+ years of her accumulated wisdom and consistent teaching in the areas in which you doubt her.

  50. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    BigE…keep on keeping on, I say. Possibly, some day, someone in this blog will have the strength to ADMIT that all is not written in stone when it comes to MAN making rules for all Catholics to follow.

    Anonymouse said in response to BigE:

    1. Your problem is that you continue to doubt/question/openly defy the AUTHORITY of the Church which Jesus Christ (i.e. God, God’s only bin charge. Jesus could have named “BigE” as His vicar. He did not.

    Anonymouse, first of all, you begin your statement to BigE with the words, YOUR PROBLEM..
    I CLEARLY SEE THAT THE PERSON WHO HAS THE PROBLEM IS YOU. YOU ARE ARGUING WITH HIM, YOU HAVE THE PROBLEM.

    then you go on to tell him what he is doing, as if you are one with him…

    you ACCUSE him of doubting, questioning, and openly DEFYING the AUTHORITY of the Church, which Jesus Christ left in charge.

    Annonymouse, please think before you speak such nonsense. The Church is not the authority of the world. The Church is headed by mere men, men, who, by the way, knew absolutely nothing of sins they have hidden for years, the sin of sexual abuse of children, so HOW can you even accuse BigE when the whole world knows that the the authority of the church, even though unintentional, allowed their human IGNORANCE, IGNORANCE caused by their BLACK AND WHITE thinking and lack of SECULAR psychology and knowledge to cause thousands of innocent children to suffer at the hands of the HIGHER UPS, those with power, a fact that remains and has allowed the sexual abuse of children to run rampant in our society, and I mean in families, not only the CHURCH. DOUBTING THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH IS NOT ONE IN THE SAME WITH DOUBTING GOD ALMIGHTY! I see this stuff on here, and I shake my head in dismay. I ask you all, what is it that you hope to spread to others? Dissention? Might it be to be in favor with God? I question your motives, not just you, but I see total ignorance and dissention in this blog, not what I believe God would want…so go on spreading your Christianity…it looks like the devil to me…

    Then, you openly jab him with SARCASM just because he questions things, as if QUESTIONING the authority of the Church is a sin. What you are saying to him is: Big E, get with it, you have a problem

  51. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Delete the last paragraph from your mind…I thought I deleted that…

  52. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    To add, I do believe that the CHURCH has some very valid points, and I choose to be a member of the Catholic Church because I believe in the value of the eucharist and all of the sacrements…the intercession of the saints and Our Blessed Mother…I love the spirit that flows throught he Church during Mass, but I also question some things…this is what people do, and this is perfectly fine… let go, open your minds, people!! You are feeding the devil!

  53. avatar Scott W. says:

    It must be Advent….

  54. avatar annonymouse says:

    SallyAnne – very simple question – if the magisterium of the Church is not to be our Authority on matters theological and moral, then who is?

  55. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Sallyanne,
    Questioning is fine. I pray you ask od for the grace of accepting those points of faith you are having issues with.

  56. avatar BigE says:

    @anonnymouse
    1,2) And anyone on this site could have been named the Bishop of Rochester, but none were. But apparently it was ok to doubt/question/openly defy that AUTHORITY of the church. A validly ordained Bishop, the Spirit chosen shepherd of our diocese. Please explain to me how that is a “humble submission” to authority?
    3)When was the last time I discovered I was wrong? Ummm….right off the top of my head, without having to dig too deep…scroll up this thread to my Dec 1st post, 2:27 pm. Item #2.
    4) Pastoral is the code word for love above all else, yes, even rules “Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4: 8) And um, I’ve never met Fr. Marcoux. And um, you have no idea “who my priest” is or was (since he has since retired). And “my priest” never publicly said a thing against the church.
    5) Apparently you keep failing to grasp the difference between the statements, “Could the church be wrong?” versus “The Church IS wrong!”. Maybe that’s a little hubris on your part.

  57. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    ANNONYMOUSE ASKS:

    SallyAnne – very simple question – if the magisterium of the Church is not to be our Authority on matters theological and moral, then who is?

    I don’t question the fact of WHO is the authority of the church, I question some of thier reasoning. To me, those in “authority” are subject to making mistakes. As a parent, I have “authority” over my children (when they were small) but that does not mean that I didn’t make mistakes and if I ever responded with “Because I said so” when my child questioned my reasons for something, I’d say that I responded with ignorance. Questions open up possibility and promote growth, but I don’t see that happening here, at Cleansing Fire.

    RICHARD THOMAS SAID:

    Sallyanne,
    Questioning is fine. I pray you ask od for the grace of accepting those points of faith you are having issues with.

    Richard, some of points of faith I disagree with, in my opinion, do not need prayer. I don’t feel like I’m sinning if I question Church authority, only those that directly reflect God’s rules. For instance, women becoming priests…Actually, I could care less that women can’t be priests…I can accept that, but some people might take issue with it, and from what I understand, it’s not condemned in scripture. It might be suggested in scripture, but who is speaking and to whom should be taken into account so the whole context of the message is understood, as I’m sure you understand. I take issue with the rigidity that exists in this blog…how a person is attacked and sometimes ridiculed, even being accused of being PROGRESSIVE as if that were a dirty word. We can’t deny the fact that thousands of innocent children have been hurt at the hands of those in authority in the Church…all because of rigidity and an unwillingness to question things and educate themselves. The Church allowed this to happen and the Church no longer does because the Church has learned something…The Church was wrong…and the Church will continue to be wrong on certain issues because the Church is headed by human beings who make mistakes so it looks ridiculous to me to see the constant justification of the Church here on this blog when somebody questions the Church.

  58. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Every once in awhile the comments
    and their tone cause me to sigh.

    I just sighed.

    Rather than answer any one comment
    in particular or address my comment
    to any one in particular, I will attempt
    to put an end to this conversation.

    The Catholic Church is the receiver and
    bearer of divine revelation. She teaches
    with the authority of Christ. There is a hierarchy
    of truths. We are to submit. There is no
    contradiction between faith and reason.
    The Cstholic faith is reasonable. Of course
    we are to use our minds… Faith seeks understanding.
    If a Catholic can’t accept a teaching: KEEP IT
    TO YOURSELF, GOD, and YOUR CONFESSOR.
    The Church does not have the authority to ordain
    Women to the priesthood.
    John Paul 2 said the discussion is closed.

    Be at peace and look for the coming of the Lord.

  59. avatar annonymouse says:

    SallyAnne –

    Another very simple question: So you accept the authority of the magisterium unless they are wrong, correct?

  60. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE –
    1,2. Please find ONE POST where I have ever questioned the authority of the Bishop of Rochester.
    3. Thanks for that – I missed it. My apologies.
    4. “Love” can be defined in a plethora of ways, and is in the eye of the beholder. Many believe (including Father Marcoux, I believe) that it is “love” that is exhibited in a relationship of two individuals with same-sex attraction. Holy Mother Church sees that relationship as intrinsically disordered and, if acted upon sexually, objectively, gravely sinful. The Church teaches that the loving thing (doing that which is best for the other) is to live chastely if one has such an attraction. Who is truly “loving?” Moreover, who is to decide which is truly “loving?” Finally, on #4, you really have no idea what I know or don’t know.
    5. Perhaps your point is true. However, you, sir or madam, have no idea of the difference between “I’ll take it on faith” and “I’ll question until I am provided certainty.” So you’ll continue to question, refusing to accept the perfectly reasonable explanations and answers put forth by both Holy Mother Church and folks here. What is the difference between questioning ad infinitum and defiance? I think there is none. We are called, are we not, to give our ASSENT even to those truths with which we wrestle? Finally, on the matter of women’s ordination, Pope John Paul could not have put it more clearly – the Faithful are to definitively accept his decision that the Church has no power to ordain women. So on that matter, “the Church cannot be wrong.”

    Incidentally, why do you persist in misspelling my name?

  61. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Annonymouse:

    SallyAnne –

    Another very simple question: So you accept the authority of the magisterium unless they are wrong, correct?

    I didn’t say that, Anonnymouse. I said that I don’t question the fact that the magisterium is the authority of the Church. If I disagree with them on certain issues,I’ll question their reasoning. And, I won’t feel guilty or be made to feel guilty simply because I question their reasoning.

    And to respond to what Dominic Anthony said: Why, if I question a teaching of the Church, must I KEEP IT TO MYSELF? I agree, ask God, but why must it be in confession? It’s not a sin to question the authority of the Church. If it is, please correct me. Show me why it’s a sin and why I must confess just for asking questions?

  62. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    annonymouse says:

    Sorry, I didn’t realize that I was misspelling your name..Annonymouse is the spelling I copied and pasted from a previous post…what is the correct spelling of your name?

  63. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Yes, I did misspell your name…my apology…I just noticed that in my previous response.

  64. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    To question in order to seek understanding is theological inquiry.

    To publicly deny, disagree and challenge the ordinary magisterium
    is heresy and schism.

  65. avatar annonymouse says:

    OK, Sally, then let me ask you:

    When one (i.e. BigE) has been provided, ad nauseum, the rationale for those Church teachings he or she “questions,” at what point does one accept those explanations on faith (with faith in the authority of Christ’s appointed leaders, mind you) and stop further questioning?

    Can ANYTHING in matters religious, spiritual, and moral, EVER be known with certainty?

    How, exactly, did Jesus Christ intend for us to know:
    – what is truth
    – what is sinful
    – how we are to live our lives as Christians?

    I’ll answer the last one for you – He left us a Church and more specifically, He left twelve guys in charge, and when one fell away, they chose a replacement for him (these twelve were our first bishops). The Church, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gave us Holy Scripture and she has carried on 2000 years of Tradition. It was the Lord Himself who established the magisterium of the Church and left them in charge at His Ascension.

    Now one final question: On the issues which BigE continues to “question,” namely women’s ordination, artificial contraception, same-sex relationships (did I miss any, E?), oughtn’t that magisterium get the benefit of the doubt, when we have 2000 years of clear and consistent teaching on each?

  66. avatar BigE says:

    @annonymouse
    1,2) I don’t think you have. In fact, I think you have been very balanced and consistent in your posts. I actually admire that about you. My comment was more in reference to this website in general, and not you specifically. Sorry for not making that clear.
    3) No problem my sister. All is good.
    4) I agree love is in the eye of the beholder. But hopefully we all do what we do with an attitude of love. I have no doubt that IS what you do – even though we may disagree on some theological issues.
    5) See my response Dominick below.
    6) I misspell your name because I am a lousy speller, respond too quickly before checking the spelling, and have a mental block about where that third “n” should go. All my fault.

  67. avatar BigE says:

    @Dominick
    Relative to disagreeing and challenging:
    1) All the faithful, both clerical and lay, should be accorded a lawful freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought and freedom of expression [Gaudium et Spes, no 62.]
    2) Even though faith is above reason, there can never be any real disagreement between faith and reason, since it is the same God who reveals the mysteries and infuses faith, and who has endowed the human mind with the light of reason. God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever be in opposition to truth. (Vatican 1 Council, Session I, Chapter 4)
    3) In accord with the knowledge, competence and preeminence which they possess, the Christian faithful have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard for the integrity of faith and morals and reverence towards their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons. (Canon 212, § 3)

  68. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Sallyanne,

    You don’t care to pray about those issues of disagreement with the Majesterial teachibngs; Isn’t that pride and ego: I can do this by myself. What if God’s grace enables you to look at an issue in a light you never contemplated?

    Feeling is different than objective analysis. Some things that aren’t correct may feel good but they are wrong.

    You are correct that many have been harmed by people in the Church but there is a difference between people doing a horrible job upholding the truths of the faith and the actual elements of the faith. Unfortunately, many have left the Church because of the actions of a bad few. But there is a difference between action and doctrine.

    I am not attacking you. It is a question of discernment. Part of the problem after Vatican 2 was that all people had to form their consciences was dissent and there were few if any who promoted the majesterial teachings. The only people used to form a conscience was those who hold dissenting views.

  69. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,

    But apparently it was ok to doubt/question/openly defy that AUTHORITY of the church. A validly ordained Bishop, the Spirit chosen shepherd of our diocese. Please explain to me how that is a “humble submission” to authority?

    My comment was more in reference to this website in general,

    Please provide evidence where this website had denied Bishop Clark his proper role of authority.

    BigE/SallyAnne,
    Please reread my comments above – you have provided absolutely no rebuttal for a rock-solid argument. This conversation is off the rails. Commenting ad nauseum cannot cover up the fact that you have failed to address these issues.

  70. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Richard Thomas, I plan on looking further into this. Thank you.

    BigE, you answers to Dominick and Annonymouse are very helpful.

  71. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    Who is to determine which rebuttals are rock solid? Just wondering. I never thought in all of my life, that my thoughts and opinions and answers must be “right.” I seek to understand and learn. Sometimes I even rant and rave, as you all know. I’m human and proud to admit that.

  72. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    The statement was not that this website has denied the Bishop his propoer role of authority, but that this website has “doubted/questioned/openly defied” the authority of the Bishop. I think they are two very different statements. And the statement was made within the context of, and as a reaction to annonymouse saying that I have “doubted/questioned/openly defied” the Pope. Given that, off the top of my head, I’d go with the….
    1) running countdown counter for the Bishop’s retirement (disrespectful, and as a result, undermines authority)
    2) Reactions to his school closings and parish consolidations.
    3) Reactions to assigning of Pastoral Administrators.
    4) Reactions to his discipline (or percieved lack thereof) in regards to many issues (what his priests write, say, do, etc).
    How many times did I see calls for letter writing campaigns to Rome pleading for them to handle issues clearly within the domain and scope of Bishop Clark?

  73. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    This thread has gone in a lot of different directions. Which “rock solid” argument do you want me to comment on? When you said above, did you mean the whole thread or were you referencing a specific post of yours?

  74. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    Before I make my “rock solid” counter argument – let’s set the table a bit. I think we both agreed on the requirements for an infallible teaching did we not? I’ll restate what I think we agreed on, and you confirm with me that you agree.

    A teaching is infallible if:
    1) Declared Ex Cathedra or…
    2) by a solemn definition by a valid ecumenical council or….
    3) by a teaching of all the bishops, in full communion, with the intent to declare a teaching infallible (or per the words of Canon 749.2 “to be held definitively”) or
    4) is based on scripture or an unbroken tradition, or both.
    5) and is accepted by the faithful
    Note: Canon 749.3 – No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly the case.

    Do we agree on the components of what makes a teaching infallible?

  75. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    BigE comes up with “rock solid” answers, in my opinion. What I have witnessed on this blog about Bishop Matt was totally disrespectful. I thought the same thing but am glad that BigE responded before I did. Nothing more needs to be said.

  76. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    BigE says:

    December 4, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    @Ben,
    The statement was not that this website has denied the Bishop his propoer role of authority, but that this website has “doubted/questioned/openly defied” the authority of the Bishop. I think they are two very different statements. And the statement was made within the context of, and as a reaction to annonymouse saying that I have “doubted/questioned/openly defied” the Pope. Given that, off the top of my head, I’d go with the….
    1) running countdown counter for the Bishop’s retirement (disrespectful, and as a result, undermines authority)
    2) Reactions to his school closings and parish consolidations.
    3) Reactions to assigning of Pastoral Administrators.
    4) Reactions to his discipline (or percieved lack thereof) in regards to many issues (what his priests write, say, do, etc).
    How many times did I see calls for letter writing campaigns to Rome pleading for them to handle issues clearly within the domain and scope of Bishop Clark?

    How about adding a #5…the cartoons congratulating Bishop Clark on his birthday? When I took offense to that I was “informed rock-solidly” that this was not meant to be anything but “entertainment” for those who had been subjected to his “progressive abuses” that he put upon those in the Diocese of Rochester…TELL ME THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN and I will recant…

  77. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,
    1) it was a matter of fact
    2) this is a matter of administration (temporal authority) – not teaching authority. people are allowed to express disagreement. Just as I can express bewilderment as to the Catholic Church’s general slowness to embrace technology.
    3) this is clearly against canon law – that’s right – Sure, I will deny the bishop’s authority to usurp canon law.
    4) again, this is a matter of a sever lack of prudential judgment – not teaching authority.
    5) If you mean the jib-jabs, I will agree that people can legitimately think they are in bad taste.

    Do you understand the difference between teaching authority (aka Magisterium) and temporal authority?

    Since you failed to present any legitimate cases, let me provide one for you. Suppose Bishop Clark were to explain that parishioners are to stand after the agnus dei. This would be legitimate authority and parishioners would have no right to complain. They may disagree, but they must do so respectfully and in a way that shows they submit to the bishop’s authority. A similar case could be made for EMHC or female altar servers. I don’t remember anyone here saying he has no authority to allow those things. On the flip side, you are denying the authority of the ordinary and universal Magisterium to teach infallibly – something which V2 clearly teaches.

    BigE,
    no, I don’t agree with your list for determining infallible doctrines (neither does V2). The “rock-solid” argument is the link I’ve posted many times (it is not my argument – I’m not rock-solid. The teaching Magisterium, however, is):
    http://cleansingfire.org/2012/07/the-infallibility-of-the-magisterium-the-male-only-priesthood-and-the-intrinsically-evil-nature-of-contraception/

    You’ve mentioned canon 749 before and I’m remembering now that I haven’t addressed it. I will get back to you on that one. I’m not sure if this is a good article or not, but this is what I’m starting with:
    http://docwelch.net/research/heythrop.pdf

    In the first part, I will scrutinize and criticize Sullivan’s contention that canon 749.3 should apply to undefined dogmas taught by the ordinary universal magisterium. The second part will examine Sullivan’s contention that the debate over monogenism and polygenism illustrates the principle that a breakdown in the consensus among theologians is sufficient to nullify a claim that a doctrine had already been definitively taught. In the third part I shall critique Sullivan’s interpretation of Tuas libenter. The claim that Sullivan makes about the importance of the consensus of theologians is grounded upon his understanding of this papal letter

  78. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    Sallyanne,

    I can think of the time about 380 AD. St Jerome states the world groaned and woke up Arian. 95% of Catholics, including bishops and priests, believed in the Arian Heresy. The only major players who did not adopt Arianism were the Pope and St Athanaeus. Yet, 200 years later, Arianism had disappeared.

    I have gotten into trouble trying to figure out what was right and wrong. It had a lot to do with my leaving the faith for 18 years. And in my high school, a local Catholic high school, all I and other impressionable teenagers heard was dissent, especially on birth control. Sadly today, I am learning many of my classmates are no longer Catholic.

    Now, 40 years later, there is aan encyclopedia of information concerning abortion, pornography, pre-marital sex, birth control, natural family planning, sex abuse and other issues that solidly support the Pope and the Majesterium.

    So knowing this track record, I can be comfortable knowing the Pope and the Majesterium are correct on these moral issues. But when you have the scientific and sociological information, this supports the majesterium. Repitable organizations like the Catholic Medical Association and the American Life League are tremendous resources. And other organizations like Courage, One More Soul and The Cardinal Newman Society are also helpful in forming consciences by giving all sorts of helpful information on these sublects.

    And from my ecperience in discussing issues with people of dissent, all I get for responses is ideology and raw emotion. Dissenters cannot argue the facts. And if push came to shove, as was the case with Bishop Clark, he simply suppressed organizations, for no good reason, when they promoted the majesterial teachings on issues like homosexuality.

  79. avatar annonymouse says:

    NO, BEN, NOOOOO! NOT THE FEMALE ALTAR SERVER QUESTION AGAIN!!!

    For not too long ago, E (I believe) was defending the right of a deacon (forget his name) to be protesting the Bishop’s decision in just such a case, down in a diocese in Virginia if memory serves.

    I think that might be checkmate.

  80. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    1) Are you really going to say with a straight face that the counter for Bishop Clark was just a “fact” and there there was no other message intended? Really? I think you’re being disingenuous with that answer (I know I’m not the sharpest tool in the box, but I’m not that dumb….)
    2-4) Where did my statement distinguish between teaching and temporal authority? I just said authority. So I guess you’re ok with someone challenging the Church’s temporal authority? Do you think challenging a Bishop’s (or a Pope’s) prudence and temporal authority impacts his ability to teach?
    5) And on the flip side, I am not denying the right of the ordinary and universal church to teach infallibly. I fully recognize that authority. I am just wondering if the conditions (the church herself has laid out) for determining infallible doctrine have indeed been met. Those are two very different statements.
    6) It would be easier if you took my list of requirements for infallibilty and tell me what you think is wrong or needs to be changed.

  81. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse
    That Deacon protest is ok per Ben. That was in regards to the temporal authority of the Church, NOT the teaching authority.
    🙂

  82. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Mouse,
    If I recall the rules, I believe that individual pastors have the right to disallow female altar servers regardless of whether or not the bishop allows it. The bishop has the right to disallow female altar servers for the whole diocese ( which is, I believe, the case to which you are referring.). However, if both the bishop and the priest allow female altar servers, the parishioners are certainly allowed to voice a contrary opinion, but they certainly couldn’t demand they be disallowed. That was the point I was trying to get at.

    BigE,
    More in a few days. Back to reading “Humility of Heart”

  83. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    How about some good old fashioned question and answer fun!

    First, a disclaimer from the MOTU PROPRIO for the approval and publication of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
    “Catechism….a sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine.
    The Compendium…… is a faithful and sure synthesis of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It contains, in concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the Church’s faith…..which allows believers and non-believers alike to behold the entire panorama of the Catholic faith.”

    12. What is Apostolic Tradition?

    Apostolic Tradition is the transmission of the message of Christ, brought about from the very beginnings of Christianity by means of preaching, bearing witness, institutions, worship, and inspired writings. The apostles transmitted all they received from Christ and learned from the Holy Spirit to their successors, the bishops, and through them to all generations until the end of the world.

    Having fun yet?

    32. In what way is the faith of the Church one faith alone?

    The Church, although made up of persons who have diverse languages, cultures, and rites, nonetheless professes with a united voice the one faith that was received from the one Lord and that was passed on by the one Apostolic Tradition. She confesses one God alone, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and points to one way of salvation. Therefore we believe with one heart and one soul all that is contained in the Word of God, handed down or written, and which is proposed by the Church as divinely revealed.

    Fasten your seat belt for this next one.

    185. When is the infallibility of the Magisterium exercised?

    Infallibility is exercised when the Roman Pontiff, in virtue of his office as the Supreme Pastor of the Church, or the College of Bishops, in union with the Pope especially when joined together in an Ecumenical Council, proclaim by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. Infallibility is also exercised when the Pope and Bishops in their ordinary Magisterium are in agreement in proposing a doctrine as definitive. Every one of the faithful must adhere to such teaching with the obedience of faith.

    ‘the obedience of faith’. I love that phrase.
    Doesn’t it just warm your heart?

    Last question and answer coming up.

    28. What are the characteristics of faith?

    Faith is the supernatural virtue which is necessary for salvation. It is a free gift of God and is accessible to all who humbly seek it. The act of faith is a human act, that is, an act of the intellect of a person – prompted by the will moved by God – who freely assents to divine truth. Faith is also certain because it is founded on the Word of God; it works “through charity” (Galatians 5:6); and it continually grows through listening to the Word of God and through prayer. It is, even now, a foretaste of the joys of heaven.

    Got Faith?

    I hope that you enjoy reading these questions and answers as much as I enjoyed copying and pasting.

  84. avatar annonymouse says:

    Dominic – We don’t have to agree with the Catechism unless it’s been proclaimed ex cathedra, correct?

    (just helping out here – anticipating your next post, BigE)

  85. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse,
    My post would have been much more nuanced than that.
    1) Since Ex Cathedra is only one of a number of ways that doctrine can be declared infallible, a more accurate statement would be “we don’t necessarily have to believe those teachings in the Catechism not declared infallible”.
    2) And then I would have said the presumption is that we would still need to respectfully follow and abide by even fallible teachings, even if we don’t understand (believe) them, except in the hopefully very rare circumstance that doing so would totally go against our conscience.
    3) And finally, I would have asked if EVERY teaching needs the same level of assent. Why does the Church even bother to distinguish between fallible and infallible teachings?
    So thanks for the help, but you didn’t very accurately state my position.

  86. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE, I just shake my head at you in amazement. You are the prince/ss of moral relativism. You don’t have to believe ANYTHING that you don’t want to, do you? Your conscience (even if improperly formed) trumps all. The Church magisterium is just one source of moral teaching among many. Right or wrong is what I say they are, what feels right to me and my conscience. There is no such thing as objective truth, and even if there were, I’ll be damned if the Roman Catholic Church leadership is going to tell me what it is – what do a bunch of celebate old men know about sex, anyway?

    I think that sums up, sans “nuance,” exactly where you’re coming from.

    This type of thinking is quite rampant in today’s culture. It’s not consistent with Roman Catholicism, but you fit in, especially among baby boomers (which, based on the consistent content of your posts, I assume you are one), whose response to authority ever since the 1960s has largely been one of dissent and argumentation. Hence the three-year old comment I made above. “Because I don’t want to.”

    A couple questions, E – do you fully “understand” everything you claim to “believe.” Better yet, do you fully “understand” ANYTHING you claim to believe? Why do you think you need to fully understand before you believe? Theology, afterall, in St. Anselm’s definition, is “faith seeking understanding.” The faith precedes the understanding. In your world, it would seem that until there’s understanding, there shall be no faith. Questioning is fine, in the spirit of coming to a greater understanding of a truth already appropriated in faith. You seem eternally unwilling to appropriate anything in faith prior to having been provided explanations to meet your satisfaction.

  87. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse,
    1) So do you want me to lie and say I believe something that I don’t truly believe?
    2) The Church made that statement on conscience, not me. Why do you believe everything in the Catechism EXCEPT CCC1790? I find it ironic that you dissent on the Church’s teaching on dissent (conscience).
    3) And why do you also continue to distort my position in order to bolster your straw man argument? You keep “summing up” a position I don’t hold, no matter how often I point out the error to you. I’ve never once claimed objective right and wrong is what I say it is. Never. I’ve said I don’t understand the Churches teaching on some (what I and others believe to be) fallible issues and so have questioned them which is perfectly within my right. I haven’t clamored for any Bishops to go rogue and ordain women. I haven’t supported the blessing of gay marriages. I’ve never encouraged couples to use contraception. The ONLY thing I’ve done is press for the right to continue discussion around those topics. Your fear of these discussions, freedom of thought, and your comfort with blind obedience to Church authority is YOUR world view, that again ironically YOU claim to be an objective truth, because it feels right to YOU and YOUR conscience.
    4) There you go again. Please show me where I ever said someone has to FULLY understand something before they can believe it. You once again are attributing to me a position I have never taken. Let me ask you a question. Do you believe the Church has nothing more to learn? Is it a pilgrim church continuing to grow in love, faith, and knowledge, or is it a static church with nothing left to discern? You confuse blind obedience with faith. Faith can take on many forms. If obediance to a church authority were truly the sole path to truth, how would you support the actions of early Christians who were in opposition to the religious authority of their time?

  88. avatar snowshoes says:

    At her trial, St. Joan of Arc replied, “About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they are just one thing and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.”

    The Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, has always proclaimed the unbroken practice of the sacrament of Holy Orders to be reserved to males, as the sacrament was established by Our Lord. It is the unbroken practice, from Christ which makes this an infallible teaching, as Blessed JPII declared. Catholics are bound to give assent to this teaching. As has been stated elsewhere, the prior requirement is that we ensure that our consciences are properly formed.

    The scriptural warning on this one is in John 9:41 where Jesus after receiving the man He cured of his blindness said: “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Then the Pharisees retorted, “Are we also blind?” and the Lord said to them, “If you were blind you would have no guilt, but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”

    We are not Protestants, we go by Fides quaerens intellectum, and loving obedience to all the Church teaches. St. Nicholas, pray for us.

  89. avatar annonymouse says:

    1. No, I want you to empty yourself, put your pride aside, and realize that the Church holds the deposit of Faith entrusted to her by Jesus Christ Himself, and by your will, adhere to her teaching. THEN do all the reading and learning so that you more fully understand that which you have CHOSEN to believe.

    2. You persist in mistaking “conscience” from a well-formed conscience. Following one’s conscience is what St. Thomas More did – rather than acquiesce in the King’s plans, he went to his death. Conscience is doing that which you know in your heart to be right. Even in my early years when I thought artificial contraception was fine, I knew in my heart of hearts that it was wrong. Conscience is not nor ever has been picking and choosing for oneself which of the Church’s teachings one will believe and abide by. That which you call conscience, my friend, is no more than license.

    3. I used a bit of hyperbole in my post, but I stand by its gist. If you’ll prayerfully read the post again, you will see yourself in whom I’ve described.

    May I ask you – WHAT is the purpose of continuing to “discuss” and “question” topics and subjects which have, for 2000 years, been settled matters, if not with the naive aim of changing them?

    4. The Church is learning all the time. And that is fine. But I am humble enough to recognize, intelligent as God has made me, that I am in need of the direction of those whom God has placed in charge of my direction. I used to question everything, ESPECIALLY the contraception thing. Then I got a lot older and, I hope, a lot wiser – as I’ve aged I’ve come to realize just how little I do know, how out of touch my own distorted-by-sin paradigms can be, and yes, how life-giving and TRUE the teachings of Holy Mother Church are. You speak of “blind obedience” like it’s the last thing on earth you wish to be accused of. I rather think obedience is what the Gospel demands of us (John 14:15).

  90. avatar annonymouse says:

    Oh, and one more thing, E – please don’t proof-text the catechism. You cannot read CCC1790 without also reading 1791 and 1792 – they speak to EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

    Where exacly were you taught your notion of conscience, anyway?

  91. avatar SALLYANNE says:

    BigE,

    No matter what you say and how much sense it makes (which it does) it’s a no win. Annonymouse, I’m wondering when and why you decided to become ultra obedient to the Church when you did think for yourself and express yourself when you were younger. Where has this obedience gotten you? Does your whole family believe as you do? If not, how do you deal with this?

  92. avatar Scott W. says:

    You cannot read CCC1790 without also reading 1791 and 1792

    Indeed the whole section is called “Errors in Judgment”. I.e. There is right or wrong, truth or falsehood, a correct conscience or a false conscience. See my above post on Aquinas. There’s no wonder why no one interacted with it–it is literally catching progressives red-handed in the act of distorting a teaching. Making “conscience” a code, and not a very deep code at that, for the utterly vapid and dominating secular teaching of moral relativism.

  93. avatar annonymouse says:

    Sallyanne –

    Like anything else in life, our faith journey is not a one-and-done sort of thing. With God’s grace, I have become more and more obedient to the moral teachings of the Church as, over time, I have come to more and more see the truth and beauty in those teachings. As Catholic Christians, our lives are to be journeys of ever increasing faith and holiness, are they not? Which includes ever-increasing adherence to God’s law (as revealed to the Church!).

    I still think for myself (as I hope has been evidenced by my passionate defense on these pages of the Jesus-given authority of Holy Mother Church), and I still (far too often) do not adhere to that which I know to be right and true – this is called SIN (ah, but who sins any more? no need to call it sin – simply justify it by saying “I was following my conscience,” eh?).

    Where has obedience gotten me? What a ridiculous question! As if “obedience” were the worst sort of thing one could ever aspire to!! (I presume you are also a “boomer”) Well I’ll answer – Hopefully in a closer relationship to the Lord, of course! Isn’t that what we’re here for? Isn’t that all we were created for?

    As to my family – one does the best one can and leaves the rest to God. I came into the world alone, will die alone and will face the eternal judge alone. Yes I have my family to answer for too (have I done the best I can in bringing them to the Lord?), but ultimately, it is the depth and fruits of my faith for which I will have to answer.

    To you, and E, and everyone else who thinks disobedience is a valid option, I ask: look around you at the world we live in and tell me – where has disobedience gotten us?

  94. avatar BigE says:

    @Scott
    1) ccc1790 does not state that by following one’s conscience, we are always making the right decision. In fact, the second sentence of ccc1790 clearly allows that following the certainly of our conscience may lead to “erronous judgements” (that is why the importance of a well formed conscience is later discussed). But that in no way abrogates the first sentence, and our responsibility to follow our conscience. Otherwise, the first sentence would have simply said “A human being should only follow his conscience when it is well formed.” It does not say that even though you would like it to.
    2) Secondly, implicit in your response, is that a well formed conscience can not disagree with any teachings of the Church. That, as I mentioned before, is simply circular logic. And no where in the Catechism do I see that definition for a well formed conscience. And if that is what the Church truly believes, than why even put ccc1790 into the Catechism? Why not just say all are obligated to follow all the teachings of the church, even when they are opposed in conscience? Answer: because that is not what the church teaches. In fact, ccc1782 states “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”

  95. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse,
    So many interesting things to comment on from your post….
    1) I’ve admitted I may be wrong. Are you willing to admit YOU may be wrong? And if your answer is no, then who exactly is not setting aside pride here?
    2) See my response to Scott in regards to conscience.
    3) You still haven’t answered my question as to why the Church felt the need to distinguish between fallible and infallible teachings.
    4) You still haven’t reconciled for me how early Christians could challenge the Church authority of its time, a Church Authority that also felt it had the deposit of faith.
    5) You mentioned your struggle with church teachings. A struggle that sounds as if it lasted for years. Yet you refuse to let me (or others) have the same struggle. You demand that we be exactly where you are now, and come exactly to your same conclusions without that struggle. I wonder how the you of those past years would have reacted to the you of today. And would your beliefs today be as firm without those struggles. Interesting.

  96. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE, c’mon, I KNOW you’re smarter than this.

    1. It’s not about whether I am right or wrong. It’s about whether I am willing to submit to an authority on faith and morals outside of myself. It’s not even about whether the Church is right or wrong. It’s about whether I have the humility of heart to submit to her authority, authority given her by Jesus Christ Himself!

    2. With respect to 1790, do not overlook the word “certain.” You yourself admit to “questions” and therefore cannot claim to be following your “certain” conscience in these matters you find so problematic. Moreover, you are completely misreading CCC1790 and 1791, for 1791 very clearly states that if you follow your ill-formed conscience, due your taking “little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin,” then you are “culpable for the evil he commits.” So the CCC does NOT mean to say that you should follow your ill-formed conscience in all respects – it means you should FIRST ensure that your conscience is well-formed, which 1792 makes very clear, means you cannot reject “the Church’s authority and her teaching.” !!! Which part of that do you not get?

    3. For you and I, there is no need to have so distinguished. You and I are bound to assent in faith to her teachings REGARDLESS of whether they’re fallible or infallible. And in all your writings, you leave the impression that our faith, rather than being a unity of interrelated truths, is a smorgasbord of teachings that we are or are not at liberty to accept. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read this, it’s good:
    http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/dbushman_hiertruths_sept05.asp

    4. Please elaborate on this question – it’s the first time I’ve seen you raise this. But, puhlease – do you really think the Church just “feels” it has the deposit of faith? For 2000 years, since Jesus gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom, that has been a FACT, not a feeling.

    5. If I used the word “struggle,” then I misspoke. I deliberately disregarded the Church’s teachings. There was no struggle. It was pure, unadulterated self-interest without any real seeking of what’s good and true and right. One of the greatest sins of my life, to be sure, one that if I could relive my life, I would ask for a “do-over.”

    By grace I learned the Church’s reasons for its teachings and my eyes were opened to the beauty and truth and wisdom the Church possesses, and could see with much greater clarity how really messed up our contraceptive culture of death is!

  97. avatar BigE says:

    @annonymouse,

    1) C’mon annonymouse, you’re making it ALL about right and wrong. I’m wrong for arrogantly questioning some of the church’s teachings, and you’re right for humbly not doing so. You simply avoided my question.

    2) So how does following the “certainty” of one’s conscience change anything I wrote? And again, if the Church’s point is that we should all just follow every teaching, even when in conflict with our conscience, then why mention conscience at all? Why confuse the faithful with a non essential point? Plus, if it’s true, as are you implying, that the only people in the world who have “well formed” consciences are those Catholics who do believe all the teachings of the church; then out of 7 billion people on the planet, only .002% of us have a well formed conscience! So that would make the mentioning of conscience not only non-essential, but also irrelevent.

    3) Can you show me the source of your assertion? I think those distinctions were made exactly for you and I. Who else would they be made for? I think you’re avoiding this question too.

    4) The essence of our disagreement I believe, is this: When is it ok to challenge our religious authority (The Catholic Church) on some teachings? I believe you are proposing that because of her accumulated wisdom, and based on faith, our reasoning should never lead us to challenge our acknowledged teaching authority, The Church. Have I stated your position correctly?

    5) You didn’t specifically use the word struggle, but to Sallyanne you said; “Like anything else in life, our faith journey is not a one-and-done sort of thing. With God’s grace, I have become more and more obedient…our lives are to be journeys of ever increasing faith and holiness….which includes ever-increasing adherence to God’s law…” I said struggle because you did not get to where you are overnight, you grew “more and more obedient” and had “ever-increasing” adherence. Are you saying you misspoke when you told Sallyanne that?

    6) On the lighter side….I think I’m getting the hang of spelling your name correctly! 🙂

  98. avatar annonymouse says:

    1. I am wrong all the time. That is EXACTLY why I am in need of a sure and certain moral teacher – the one left me by Christ Himself!
    2. Your understanding of conscience is completely twisted. We should follow every teaching. Period. Conscience comes in when forces are compelling us to disregard such teachings – for example the government forcing Catholics to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. In good conscience, a Catholic cannot do so. So in that instance the Catholic must follow his or her conscience and not acquiesce to the government’s demand.
    3. Those distinctions are made for theologians. We the Faithful are bound by a duty of assent. You, sir or madam, took an oath to that effect when you entered the Church. So given that oath, I don’t know why you persist in caring about what is fallible or infallible. You said that you believe it ALL.
    4. My position is this – I am a pretty smart person, thanks be to God, but I am not nearly as smart, or nearly as holy, as those shepherds Christ and His Spirit have given to us. In fact, there is a very real danger, due to the effects of sin and distorted, perhaps disordered paradigms, that left on my own, my moral judgments may go completely awry. For that reason, I am in need of a sure and certain guide for teaching me what is right and wrong, and she is the very Church Christ left us.

    To conclude that I am smart enough or holy enough or wise enough to be able to pick and choose for myself when Holy Mother Church is right and when she is wrong would be the height of sinful pride.

    5. OK, I see what you mean by “struggle.” In which case, I suppose I need to be more patient with others’ journeys, realizing that God is in control, that Jesus Christ is the Savior, and I am not. So I ought not deny anyone else’s struggles on that journey. On the other hand, I feel the pain of the disunity of the Church and wish to do what I can to help bring about unity. I suppose I need to leave that to Christ as well, who will one day bring His bride the Church, spotless and without wrinkle, as a holy gift to His Father.

  99. avatar Scott W. says:

    1) ccc1790 does not state that by following one’s conscience, we are always making the right decision. In fact, the second sentence of ccc1790 clearly allows that following the certainly of our conscience may lead to “erronous judgements” (that is why the importance of a well formed conscience is later discussed). But that in no way abrogates the first sentence, and our responsibility to follow our conscience. Otherwise, the first sentence would have simply said “A human being should only follow his conscience when it is well formed.” It does not say that even though you would like it to.

    1. Yes, one is always obligated to follow his conscience, but as you say, a conscience can be in error. This is why progressives mistranslate Aquinas. They want the conscience to be a moral law unto itself, so they conveniently remove the fact that consciences are either correct or false.

    If one’s conscience tells him that abortion is morally acceptable, no one can force him against his conscience to say or believe otherwise, but guess what? Abortion IS always and everywhere morally wrong no matter what your conscience tells you. More importantly, while the Church won’t force anyone, the Church is acting perfectly reasonably when it forbids pro-abortionists from presuming to speak for the Church.

    2. There is nothing circular about believing the whole of the Deposit of Faith.

  100. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse,

    5) Amen my sister! You have a good heart…

  101. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    E,

    Who are you using to help form your conscience? The Fr. Mcbriens and the Fr. Currins? Are you using the few priests who are faithful to the Majesterium?

    Do you believe the pope has the authority to proclaim doctrine, not earthly practices, without the approval of the bishops.

    Take the time of the Arian Heresy. 95 % of bishops and priests believed in Arianism. If the Pope needed approval, or a majority of bishops to proclaim doctrine, he could never have proclaimed Christ was divine.

    Have the popes ever been wrong when proclaiming doctrine.

    If not, aren’t you more certain they are corrrect.

    You can form your conscience or form it properly. The choice is yours. If you persist in heresy, it’s you immortal soul.

    Who are you going to use to help form your conscience?

  102. avatar BigE says:

    @Richard
    1) I form my conscience by: Reading Scripture, Reading Church Documents, Reading Theologians, Praying, Discerning, Going to Confession, regularly seeing a Spiritual Director.
    2) No, I have not consulted your approved list of priests.
    3) Yes, I believe the Pope can proclaim doctrine without his fellow Bishops, but I don’t think he would be wise to do so (in most cases).
    4) I am not an expert on the history of Arianism, but Blessed John Henry Newman, who was, said it was the people who affirmed Christ’s divinity.
    5) Teachings have certainly changed.
    6) My guess is that your definition of a well formed conscience differs from mine.

  103. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    E

    So why consult priersts who are comfortable with dissent?

  104. avatar BigE says:

    @Richard
    1) I’m not sure what you even mean by “consult”…
    2)…and who said the priests I see are comfortable with dissent? I just said I have no idea whose on your list of approved priests.

  105. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE-

    1. Regarding your list you use to form your conscience, how do you rank these sources of wisdom? Or are they all given equal weighting?

    mouse

  106. avatar BigE says:

    @annonymouse
    I can’t rank them in my mind. Too much overlap and integration of them all.

  107. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE-

    So the Bible and Popes’ encyclicals don’t rank any higher than, for instance, what your spiritual director is telling you?

    Let me ask another question – which of these sources has led you to believe, as you’ve formed your conscience, that intentionally contracepted sexual acts are morally good?

    Thanks
    mouse

  108. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse

    1) Well, since much of the discussion with my Spiritual Director is about Scripture and my Prayer. No, I don’t think the Pope’s encyclicals rank any higher.

    2) My guess is that you must not have much experience with a Spiritual Director. Because if you did, you’d know that a good Spiritual Director doesn’t “tell” you anything. They just help you recognize God’s active presence in your life.

    3) I don’t think of contraception as morally good. I just don’t think it’s morally bad. And I believe there’s a difference in those two statements. I would guess I came to my conclusion the same way the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control did back in 1967 (which included 16 Bishops) when it proposed that artificial birth control was not intrinsically evil.

  109. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    E

    You need to read the description of how the pontifical academy was rigged in favor of contraception. There was nothing genuine about anything the commission did. Pope Paul wanted genuine input but instead got only ideology. I don’t know where to obtain a copy. When I get home I will look for it. Themo will mention all the medical and social evils related to birth control.

    But be assured the process was rigged

  110. avatar annonymouse says:

    BigE –

    With respect to spiritual direction, I did not mean to focus on that – you are the one who named your director as a source of the development/formation of your conscience. Are you now saying that is not the case?

    And sorry to be so black and white, but in moral theology, there is no “not bad.” An act is either good or evil, and done for good or evil intentions. I take it since you think artificial contraception is not morally evil, then you must think it’s good, fine, OK, however you wish to put it.

    I find it absolutely abhorrent that you can so casually dismiss the teaching authority of our popes and the college of bishops (not the 1967 commission which was advisory only) in communion with them, and 2000 years of unbroken tradition before that. Given how casually you dismiss the teaching authority of the Church, I still simply don’t understand why on God’s green earth you ever decided to become a Catholic.

    And why do you bother accepting even that authority when exercised ex cathedra? If you’re so casual with your disregard of other promulgations of the Holy Father, why do you stop there? Why not casually disregard whatever teaching you “feel” like disregarding?

    I find it much harder to understand and intellectually accept (although I do) the dogma of the Immaculate Conception than I do to understand why artificial contraception is gravely, mortally evil and completely opposed to the nature of human sexuality as God created us.

    I’ve tried to crack your stubborn, obnoxious intransigence, but to no avail. May God have mercy on us all.

    But before I finally give up, please tell me if you believe the promulgations of the Second Vatican Council to be binding and infallible. And if you do, please tell me how you find no moral objection to artificial contraception in light of Paragraph 51 of Gaudium et spes. Thank you.

  111. avatar BigE says:

    @Scott,

    Sounds like revisionist history to me. Certainly there are always minority and majority factions and a certain amount of political infighting. I have no doubt there were some heated disagreements within the committee. But how was the commission “rigged” to predetermine the result? Didn’t the Pope select the committee himself?

    And…was the negative response of the Belgian Bishops to Humanae Vitae also rigged? Or what about the 600 theologians/academics who also objected? Or what about the Canadian Bishops response? Were they all rigged too?

  112. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse

    1) Spiritual Direction IS a source of wisdom. But not from the Spiritual Director “telling” me what to do, but from the Spiritual Director helping me understand what God is asking me to do. BIG difference.

    2) If EVERY action is either morally good or intrinsically evil, then how would you define the action of someone who chooses to smoke? Or what about someone who chooses to drink alchohol?

    3) Can you disagree with your parents and still respect them? Is every student who questions something they are being taught being disrestful to the University they are attending or the Professor who is teaching them? If what you are saying is true, the Catholic Church would be the only teacher I know that doesn’t encourage critical thinking. And then it isn’t “teaching”, it’s simply demanding obedience. Mother Church is better than that.

    4) I guess I should be equally frustrated with your stubborness?

    I got run at the moment, I’ll deal with your last question when I get back…..

  113. avatar annonymouse says:

    1. I find that spiritual direction usually winds up being a discussion of my sinful pride.

    2. Smoking is evil. No two ways about it. Drinking to excess is evil. Drinking in moderation is good.

    3. You’ve gone far past questioning, and are in open defiance. At least on the subject of artificial contraception – you’re satisfied that your conscience is well-formed and that on that one the Church is 180 degrees WRONG. With respect to “demanding obedience,” yes, she does. Perhaps “invite obedience” is a better way to put it. She cannot force you to avoid evil and do the right. All she can do is teach what is good and what is evil and leave it to you. Which is what the Lord did as well – he coerced nobody.

    When Holy Mother Church teaches on matters of faith and morals, she expects assent from the Faithful. I know you resist that with every bone in your body, but hey, you’re the one who agreed to that among the assembly of the faithful at the Vigil Mass.

    4. I am not always so stubborn – and I don’t know why I’m trying so hard to get through to you. It seems a lost cause.

    5. I VERY MUCH look forward to your answer to the last question.

    AND, WRT your response to Scott, it is important to note that the Canadian bishops have fully recanted their earlier intransigence regarding Humanae Vitae.

    As an aside, HV is proving daily to be one of the most accurate and prophetic documents ever promulgated by Rome – soon-to-be-Blessed Paul VI NAILED that one – he foresaw exactly what would happen in our contracepted culture of death, and it aint pretty.

  114. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    picking up the thread from a few days ago…

    BigE said

    1) Are you really going to say with a straight face that the counter for Bishop Clark was just a “fact” and there there was no other message intended? Really? I think you’re being disingenuous with that answer (I know I’m not the sharpest tool in the box, but I’m not that dumb….)

    Sure, it provided hope for those who suffered under Bishop Clark’s rule. If a matter of fact provides for that, then so be it. It’s kind of like the casualty counters during the Iraq war. People agreed or disagreed with that war, but who could argue against the cost involved?

    2-4) Where did my statement distinguish between teaching and temporal authority? I just said authority. So I guess you’re ok with someone challenging the Church’s temporal authority? Do you think challenging a Bishop’s (or a Pope’s) prudence and temporal authority impacts his ability to teach?

    The point is that voicing an opinions in matters of prudential judgment is not the same thing as undermining the teaching authority of the Church. Also, defending Magisterial teachings against bishops and priests is laudable – not undermining authority. If the local bishop and his followers teach things contrary to Magisterial teaching, then you better believe I will stand with the Magisterium.

    I present to you some canon law, which I know you are well versed in:
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__PU.HTM

    Can. 211 All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land.

    Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

    §2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.

    §3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

    Can. 213 The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments.

    Can. 214 The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church and to follow their own form of spiritual life so long as it is consonant with the doctrine of the Church.

    Can. 215 The Christian faithful are at liberty freely to found and direct associations for purposes of charity or piety or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world and to hold meetings for the common pursuit of these purposes.

    Can. 216 Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

    BigE also said

    5) And on the flip side, I am not denying the right of the ordinary and universal church to teach infallibly. I fully recognize that authority. I am just wondering if the conditions (the church herself has laid out) for determining infallible doctrine have indeed been met. Those are two very different statements.

    But it seems your set of conditions can never be met. Can you please give me an example of an infallible teaching of the ordinary and universal magisterium that you assent to? After doing so, please explain to me the criteria by which you’ve judged it to meet these conditions.

    6) It would be easier if you took my list of requirements for infallibilty and tell me what you think is wrong or needs to be changed.

    BigE’s criteria was:

    A teaching is infallible if:
    1) Declared Ex Cathedra or…
    2) by a solemn definition by a valid ecumenical council or….
    3) by a teaching of all the bishops, in full communion, with the intent to declare a teaching infallible (or per the words of Canon 749.2 “to be held definitively”) or
    4) is based on scripture or an unbroken tradition, or both.
    5) and is accepted by the faithful
    Note: Canon 749.3 – No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly the case.

    Do we agree on the components of what makes a teaching infallible?

    no, we do not agree.

    1) yes
    2) yes
    3) no. canon 749.3 does not apply to undefined doctrines taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal
    4) not exactly.
    Lumen Gentium

    And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded.

    This includes both teachings that are 1) divinely revealed (1st paragraph in the CDF’s instruction on the PF) and 2) virtually connected with divine revelation and necessary to protect divine revelation (2nd paragraph in the CDF’s instruction on the PF). Read the Ford/Grisez article for much more elaboration on this topic.

    5) no – the Pope actually just spoke on this:
    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/1794/pope_remarks_upon_value_of_theology_real_meaning_of_sensus_fidelium.aspx

    “Nowadays, however, it is particularly important to specify the criteria which permit the authentic ‘sensus fidelium’ to be distinguished from its imitations. This is not in fact a form of ecclesial public opinion, and it would be unthinkable to refer to it to challenge the teachings of the Magisterium, since the ‘sensus fidei’ cannot truly develop in a believer other than to the extent to which he participates fully in the life of the Church, and it therefore necessitates responsible adhesion to her Magisterium”. – Our Holy Father

    and now to canon 749… (I will eventually integrate what follows into my magisterium post)

    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.

    §2. The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively.

    §3. No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.

    BigE’s argument is that the teachings in question ( 1: male-only priesthood and 2: intrinsically evil nature of contraception) are not manifestly evident to having been taught by the ordinary and universal teaching Magisterium of the Church and thus cannnot be understood as infallible. As it turns out, refuting this line of thought is actually relatively simple… I will paraphrase from this article by Dr. Welch (linked above as well) where he takes Sullivan to task:

    THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE ORDINARY UNIVERSAL MAGISTERIUM: A CRITIQUE OF SOME RECENT OBSERVATIONS

    This is poor paraphrasing. Please read the whole thing – it is well worth the read.

    749.3 applies to defined doctrines. The teachings in question are not defined. Thus 749.3 does not apply to them. NOTE: definitive and defined are two different concepts. Definitive means unchangeable and defined means explicitly stated. Defined dogmas are those that are taught ex cathedra or by a council. So, how do we know which undefined doctrines have been infallibly taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium? Well, that’s actually a good question and one that isn’t entirely settled (and probably will never be entirely). But, the thing you have to keep coming up against is that in addition to the evidence, which is extremely strong in both of these teachings, is that the official teaching authority of the Church has stated that they have met the criteria. So, no matter how you look at it, you are defiantly rejecting the teaching authority of the Church. You cannot use the Church’s own documents, as you try to do with this canon and with your quotes from the CCC, to show that your dissent is somehow approved by the Church. It simply isn’t. To fight against these things is to fight against an authority ordained by God.

    So, BigE, once again, all of your rebuttals have been refuted. I’ll continue this part of the discussion when/if you bring up anything new. Until then – consider your arguments refuted.

    As to your stubbornness and the folks on this thread so nobly spending their time to try to get through to you – I applaud their efforts. It shows true Christian charity. I’ll throw 2 more thoughts into the mix.

    1) perhaps you’ve been educated at SBI or been taught your arguments by someone who was educated at SBI. BigE, you must hear this – much of SBI’s teachings are far outside of authentic Catholic teaching/communion. Perhaps you think that these folks are the scholarly norm… that all educated folks agree to the opinions taught there. But here’s the thing – that’s just not the case. SBI is a liberal hotbed of dissent. There are other places where SBI professors would be taken to task so quickly that their academic pedigree would be left in a heap of dust. You must realize this. Just because that school might have a consensus does not mean that all of Catholic academia agrees with such nonsense. Please consider this. Being in good company (if that’s what you judge it) counts for nothing. Being faithful to truth and God’s grace is what matters.

    2) Here’s one more thing I’ll throw out there that I hope hasn’t already been discussed in this thread… the whole “by your fruits” argument . Just look at the fruits of individuals, families, communities, parishes, and dioceses that accept the entire doctrine of the Catholic Church. Compare this fruit to the rotten fruit produced by the dissenters. Look at the Church in the Northeast US. It has nearly completely fallen apart… except where things are beginning to turn around. And what is turning them around? Is it dissent or is it faithfulness?

    After all that’s been said here, BigE, I’d ask you to then go and read Luke 16:19 through to the end of the chapter. Please consider Our Lord’s words:

    27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’”

    I would analogize this to our argument by saying, “if they do not hear the martyrs, the Saints, 2000 years of unbroken Tradition, the Popes, and the Roman Curia, neither will the be convinced if a Pope applies an ‘ex cathedra’.”

  115. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    People if dissent , especially those priests and nuns in the DOR and St Bernards state contraception is OK.

    But you never hear them addressing these and other issues related to birth control

    50% of couples routinely using birth control divorce while only 3% of couples using the more effective NFP divorce. Thiose stats are from the Catholic bishops web site.

    A recent study shows that the hormones contained in the pill may cause a woman to choose a mate with whom she is incompatible. A study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B in August of 2008, suggests that women on the pill undergo a shift in preference toward men who share similar MHC genes, while women who are not under the influence of hormonal birth control choose men with dissimilar genes, thus setting them up for relationship catastrophes when they stop taking the pill. Immune genes may have a “powerful effect in terms of how well relationships are cemented,” says University of Liverpool psychologist Craig Roberts, who co-authored a research paper that arrived at the same conclusion.1,3
    Similarly, women who begin taking the pill after they are married may find that they become disinterested in the spouse they have chosen, preferring a man, instead, with similar MGC genes.1,3

    Loss of libido. One of the very common reasons women become disinterested in their husbands and vice versa is that the pill can cause a loss of libido. One of the mechanisms responsible for loss of libido in women on the pill is a rise in the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). It combines with the woman’s naturally occurring testosterone, reducing her interest in sex.4,5,6

    A litany of diverse physiological and psychological side effects are listed by manufacturers of the pill, which can range from problematic to devastating for a marital relationship. Among the psychological consequences are depression and nervousness. The pill can cause a disease known as porphyria, which can manifest among other things acute mania, including hallucinations. Physical side effects of the pill include migraine, headache, dizziness, loss of scalp hair, weight gain, bone loss, and nausea. Lethal side effects include deep vein thrombosis and cancer.4,5,6

    The pill is getting into the water supply. Sewage treatment does not remove it. We are seeing changes in the sexual characteristics including decreased testasterone and shortened penus in amphibians and small mammals as well as more females. These are rapidly producing species. The effects make manifest in humans 2 or 3 generations later.

  116. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    http://thepenitentwitness.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/enemy-at-the-gates/

    BigE, your comments remind me of my
    studies at SBI, 1989-1993.

    You have studied there, haven’t you?

    In the spirit of academic rigor and creative
    reflection, I suggest you accomplish three
    tasks.

    1) read the article at http://thepenitentwitness.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/enemy-at-the-gates/
    as many times as necessary for you to be able
    to articulate in your own words the essence of
    the author’s angle.

    2) outline for CF readers what that point of view
    is.

    3) immagine yourself to be annonymouse
    and how she would critique the article with
    a view to how the angle/ point of view
    of the author both helps and hinders her
    commitment to and relationship with the
    Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    BigE, not only will this be fun for you,
    it will be revealing for all of us as your
    academic work, creative reflection
    and spiritual analysis demonstrates
    how well you comprehend, summarize
    and appreciate the spiritual walk of another.

    Buon lavoro!

  117. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    What happened with the Pontifical counsel concerning birth control in 1968 was: This is according to Germain Griest( Spelling). A Dominical Priest hijacked the commission. He refused participation to those who were against birth control. The findings were a foregone conclusion.

    Yet, dissenters, especially those in the DOR are ALWAYS referring to this commission. But they are either never aware of how the commission was rigged or they deny it. And they cry that this commission was the will of the people and the pope and the Vatican are BIG, BAD, rigid and authortian people.

    You never hear dissenters talking about the prophicies of Pope Paul VI concerning birth control that have come true:
    Lowering of morals.
    Loss of respect of women.
    Increase in divorce and abortion.
    Population control.

  118. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    1) The Iraq war is not a person so the analogy is not the same. If you honestly don’t see the Bishop’s countdown as disrespectful, then I guess we have agree to disagree. I know that many do, and that’s the first thing they mention about this site. So whether intended or not, many people see it (saw it) that way.

    2) Off the top of my head, infallible teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (not declared by Council or Ex Cathedra) that I adhere to -> Abortion and Euthanasia.

    3) Relative to Sensus Fidelium: “That is why the council declares that the entire people of God participates in the prophetic ministry of Jesus,and that, anointed by the Holy Spirit (cf. 1Jn 2:20, 27), it ‘cannot err in matters of belief’….Likewise, Dei Verbum teaches that the Word of God has been ‘entrusted to the Church’, and refers to the ‘entire holy people’ adhering to it, BEFORE (my caps) then specifying that the pope and the bishops have the task of authentically interpreting the Word of God.[78] This ordering is fundamental for Catholic theology.”

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_cti_doc_20111129_teologia-oggi_en.htm

    So Sensus Fidelium is important to the issue of infallibility. And as the article you posted pointed out, it can not alone determine that a teaching of the church is fallible. But I do think it points out that a teaching that does not have “Sensus Fidelium” may need to be reformulated until it can be understood as infallible by the whole church (which is a subtle difference from saying a teaching is wrong). It could just be saying that the core truth is infallible, and the formulatation around that core truth isn’t quite there yet.

    4) As for Canon 749.3, you misunderstood my argument. I don’t think we’ve yet explored the issue of whether these teachings are “manifestly evident to having been taught by the ordinary and universal teaching Magisterium of the Church.” And that is not what Canon 749.3’s intent is. My argument is that Canan 749.3 helps us understand is a specific document making an infallible declaration? So my argument is that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is not making an infallible declaration because the document itself was not manifestly evident that this was its intent. However, in theory, a male only priesthood still could have been infallibly taught by the magisterium. I’m just arguing we can’t come to that conclusion from OS.

    So my rebuttals have not been refuted. You either need to prove how OS makes itself manifest that it’s making an infallible declaration, or you need to show how the teachings of a male only priesthood having always been taught and are thus an infallible part of the deposit of faith. You haven’t proved the former and we haven’t really discussed the latter.

    5) As far as your SBI comments go – I need to ask – have you ever taken any courses at SBI? And I fully realize the more liberal leanings of SBI, just as I am sure I could recognize the more conserative leanings of another institution. So? That’s the nature of academia. I’ve never found any of the SBI professors to teach anything at odds with Catholic theology. If you have examples where they have – I’d love to hear about it.

    6) Ben, you need more than anecdotal statements to back up your “by the fruits” argument. Exactly what comparisons are you making?

  119. avatar annonymouse says:

    Yes, exactly, BigE – when John Paul wrote “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” he undoubtedly have meant that the faithful can choose to disregard this teaching if they so desire. Yeah, sure. Right. Exactly.

    WHICH part of “I declare” and “this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” do you think John Paul left it to you to disregard?

    Now that I know you’re a product of St. Bernard’s, I dearly hope that not all St. Bernards graduates (which include our pastoral associates and deacons!) are of the same mind and spirit as you are, BigE. For if they are, God help us all! The next bishop is going to have quite a task.

    More frightening to me is the thought that by your St. Bernards education you may actually BE one of the above-named folks who are in a position to impart your faulty, dissenting viewpoints on the unsuspecting Faithful. Please put my mind at ease and say it aint so!

    Still waiting on your response to Paragraph 51 of Gaudium et spes.

  120. avatar annonymouse says:

    Playing devil’s advocate, BigE, has there been a Papal pronouncement on abortion? I know the CDF had a declaration in 1974, and you’ve already indicated your willingness to disregard as non-binding the pronouncements of the CDF (such as the one that declared Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be infallible). So why do you feel bound to consider the Church’s teaching on abortion to be infallible? There has certainly been nothing declared ex cathedra, and 50%+ of self-identified Catholics just re-elected the most pro-abortion president in history, so it’s hard to assert that there’s been any unanimity/sensus fidei, which you prescribe as a requirement of considering anything infallible.

    Let’s go one further – since the “pill” and the IUD have demonstrated abortifacient effects, does that mean that you find the pill and IUD to be immoral as abortifacients (because you find abortion immoral – infallibly so), but other forms of contraception to be morally good?

  121. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I’ve heard speakers from SBI ad nauseum. It’s all the same spiel. Artificial birth control is OK in their minds.

    And after hearing deacons saying they know much at SBI is heretetical, they just regurgitate the contents of the courses to get a passing grade. That speaks volumes.

    Again, E, why not start a dialogue with faithful priests like Frs. Bonsignore or Antineralli. I’m sure contributers to this blog have the names of other faithful priests.

  122. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse
    1) The debate has not been about what John Paul meant. The debate has been about is what John Paul meant infallible.

    2) He didn’t leave anything for me to disregard. And as been explained to you numerous times, I haven’t.

    3) How many classes does one have to take at St. Bernard’s to be labeled as a product? Do certificate courses count? Is Dominick who apparently studied there 4 yrs also a product of St. Bernard’s?

    4) Rest at ease.

    5) Already answered.

  123. avatar annonymouse says:

    I apologize if I missed your answer to the Gaudium et spes question. I think your response to that one was:

    “I got run at the moment, I’ll deal with your last question when I get back…..”

    I’m interested in knowing if you consider Gaudium et spes to be binding on the Faithful and infallible. And I’m interested in knowing how you can treat artificial contraception as good / not evil in light of that document’s paragraph 51.

  124. avatar BigE says:

    @Dominick
    1) Done.
    2) Article = The Church is under attack and she shouldn’t be.
    3) Annonymouse =
    a) Anyone who questions any church teaching is attacking the Church.
    b) because the Church knows best and is never wrong in what she teaches.
    c) and if you tell me the church might be wrong on something, and it were true,
    how could I, or others, possibly trust anything she might say?

  125. avatar annonymouse says:

    With respect to St. Bernards, you referred to multiple professors there whom you’ve “never found to…teach anything at odds with Catholic theology.” That’s what led me to believe that you have had more than a passing exposure to St. Bernards. If that’s inaccurate, I’ve read too much into it.

    And yes, if Dominick studied there 4 years, he most definitely is a “product” of St. Bernards. I guess that answers my question – it must be possible that one can come out of St. Bernards without heterodox views. I won’t automatically jump to conclusions as to the theology and ecclesiolgy of the St. Bernards graduates/course takers whom I meet.

  126. avatar BigE says:

    @annonymouse
    Oops – you’re right – I spent time inputting a response this morning and must’ve never went from the preview mode to the post mode. My apologies.

    Here is what I meant to post to your question:

    “In this regard it is crucial to a right understanding of Vatican II to remember what His Holiness Pope John XXIII declared in his opening discourse (L’Osservatore Romano 10/12/1962), what was reaffirmed by the Secretariate of the Council (November 16, 1964), by His Holiness Pope Paul VI at the close of the Council (L’Osservatore Romano, 12/7/1965; AAS 1967,57;Audience of 1/12/1966 published in L’Osservatore Romano 1/21/1966) namely that the Council did not intend, nor did it in fact propose any teaching as an infallible, irreformable definition. His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, addressing the Chilean Episcopal Conference (cf. Il Sabato 7/30–8/5/1988), reaffirmed the same when he said, “The truth is that the Council itself did not define any dogma, and that it consciously wanted to express itself on a more modest level, simply as a pastoral Council.” Vatican II therefore an exercise of the prudential Magisterium, that is of the authentic teaching office exercised in a non-infallible, consultory manner,…”

    http://www.franciscan-archive.org/apologetica/flaws.html

  127. avatar annonymouse says:

    OK, so I guess that means that Gaudium et spes was not an infallible document.

    But given the gravity of a promulgation of an ecumenical council of the Church’s bishops in communion with the bishop of Rome, and that bishop’s subsequent Encyclical on the matter, you STILL feel at liberty to disregard that teaching and essentially believe that these shepherds (virtually UNANIMOUSLY adopted – 2,037 – 75) and the Holy Father are 100% wrong on that teaching.

    Wow. Simply wow.

    Let me sum up BigE’s moral framework – “I will consider infallible those teachings defined as such, and I feel bound to follow only those teachings so defined, and also any others I feel like following. Anything not infallibly defined is fair game to completely disregard.” That seems accurate, wouldn’t you say?

  128. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    2) Off the top of my head, infallible teachings of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (not declared by Council or Ex Cathedra) that I adhere to -> Abortion and Euthanasia.

    and why? If I disagreed, would you be ok with that?

    3) Relative to Sensus Fidelium: …it ‘cannot err in matters of belief’…

    What is the source for that quote?

    Likewise, Dei Verbum teaches that the Word of God has been ‘entrusted to the Church’, and refers to the ‘entire holy people’ adhering to it, BEFORE (my caps) then specifying that the pope and the bishops have the task of authentically interpreting the Word of God.[78] This ordering is fundamental for Catholic theology.”

    What in world is the above supposed to prove?

    Your link doesn’t work.

    4) As for Canon 749.3, you misunderstood my argument. I don’t think we’ve yet explored the issue of whether these teachings are “manifestly evident to having been taught by the ordinary and universal teaching Magisterium of the Church.”

    no, you don’t seem to understand. What I’m saying is that they don’t need to be manifestly evident.

    So my argument is that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is not making an infallible declaration because the document itself was not manifestly evident that this was its intent.

    It’s intent was to state unequivocally that the doctrine has already been taught (not manifestly evident, no defined) by the ordinary and universal magisterium.

    So my rebuttals have not been refuted. You either need to prove how OS makes itself manifest that it’s making an infallible declaration, or you need to show how the teachings of a male only priesthood having always been taught and are thus an infallible part of the deposit of faith.

    yep – let’s discuss the latter. This teaching was never even questioned for 2000 years. The burden of proof is on you. Go.

    5) I’ve never found any of the SBI professors to teach anything at odds with Catholic theology. If you have examples where they have – I’d love to hear about it.

    http://cleansingfire.org/2010/07/sr-pat-on-sexual-ethics-part-1/

    6) Ben, you need more than anecdotal statements to back up your “by the fruits” argument. Exactly what comparisons are you making?

    That God blesses those who adhere to his teachings.

  129. avatar BigE says:

    Annonymouse,
    Your continued premise that one who follows a rule, but questions it, is not following the rule – amazes me. So wow, simply wow, right back at ya…..

  130. avatar BigE says:

    @Richard Thomas
    I wouldn’t support the taking of the pill just because of the health reasons you cited.

  131. avatar annonymouse says:

    “In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium which must be accepted with docility according to the mind of the Council concerning the nature and aims of each document.”
    — Pope Paul VI, General Audience, 12 January 1966

    This is extraordinary – I have BigE on record basically saying that we may disregard the teachings of Vatican II because that Ecumenical Council was not infallible.

    And without a declaration of infallibility, BigE shall accept NO TEACHINGS with a spirit of docility.

    Actually, BigE, you’ve go me pegged exactly. I agree that we should not dissent from the moral teachings of Holy Mother Church, because she teaches that we should assent to them, accept them with docility, however you wish to phrase it. Again, you write as if you think that is a bad thing!

    “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” and that extends to the Church to whom Jesus imparted the power to loose and bind. Humbly assent to all she teaches you, BigE – that is what your Faith demands. It is what you solemnly agreed to in front of the assembly of the Faithful.

  132. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,

    Your continued premise that one who follows a rule, but questions it, is not following the rule – amazes me.

    What would you say of someone who leads a completely exemplary Christian life, but in their heart does not believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead? No one except this person knows of this doubt. Is this person missing anything? Are they fully a Christian? Are they at fault?

  133. avatar annonymouse says:

    E –

    “Your continued premise that one who follows a rule, but questions it, is not following the rule – amazes me”

    When you make the statement that there is nothing morally evil about contraception, you are no longer just questioning a teaching (“rule”), then you have drawn a moral conclusion and are in open defiance. Or are you saying that while you find nothing morally evil about contraception, since the Church teaches it’s gravely sinful, you don’t engage in the practice? I doubt very much that’s what you’re saying, but I thought I’d give you the benefit of the doubt.

    It is more than a bit disingenuous to claim only to be “questioning” the teachings that you clearly disagree with.

  134. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse

    1) I love ya and all, but you’re driving me a little crazy by continually attributing to me something I never said. Could you please show me where I EVER said “that we may disregard the teachings of Vatican II because that Ecumenical Council was not infallible.”

    2) And yes, I tend to question teachings I do not understand. And yes, when in the middle of a heated debate I tend to state “my” current understanding of things, not what may be “the” truth of things. Forgive me.

  135. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben
    I would say they have Christ in their heart and don’t yet recognize him. So yea, they would certainly be missing something. Why would I be worried about attaching a label to that? And how would I posssibly know if it’s their fault?

  136. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    The point is that it matters what you believe – not just your external actions. You’ve seemed to imply that as long as you follow the rules, how can that be wrong? The wrongness comes down to a lack of faith, which according to Scripture is quite important.

  137. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    BigE,
    Your comment addressed to me posted
    today at 1:14 PM is a BigD.

    What a disappointment to me personally.
    If you ever submitted such a half-hearted,
    unsubstantiated, sub-par effort to a professor
    at Saint Bernard’s, you would be embarrassed
    by the comments in red.

    Not only is your outline summarizing the
    essential content of the article inadequate,
    it is WRONG.

    Your attempt to imagine you
    are annonymouse as you share how the article
    helps and hinders your relationship with the
    Savior Christ the Son of God demonstrates a
    total ignorance of what constitutes relationship
    with the Divine Word made flesh

    At best you have offered an unfavorable
    caricature of annonymouse.

    Your need to both encounter the living Messiah
    and relate to Him in God’s Church is quite evident.

    Feel free to ask Mr. Ben Anderson for my
    contact information if you are serious about
    discipleship. I would whole heartedly enter
    into friendship, brotherhood and companionship
    if you become serious about the Gospel of
    the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Until then best regards for a Merry Christmas
    and a Happy New Year.

  138. avatar BigE says:

    @Dominick,

    As much fun as you think the project you outlined might be – I don’t have either the time (hours), or the energy available for it (writing is a lot of work). And not that you intended it that way, but don’t you think maybe I was a little put off by your “spiritual test”? How was that not unfavorable to me? And how have my responses indicated in any way that “I’m not serious about the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” or “discipleship” versus the responses of others, beyond our differences of opinion on the role of church, and the infallibilty of some doctrine? Is someone only serious about the Gospel of our Lord if they exhibit a specific theological bent?

    I often think that’s the problem in our country, both politically and within our faith – where we need to demonize or minimize opposing views instead of simply acknowledging our differences of opinion and being able to have respectful dialogue about it.

    And I was not trying to be unfavorable to Annonymouse, I was trying to succinctly state what I think she believes. I think she said “I pegged her”. And if you or her think I presented her views in unfavorable light, I certainly apologize for that. That was not my intent. For as much as I may disagree with Annonymouse, I certainly respect her viewpoint and understand why she has it.

    May you also have a very Blessed Christmas my brother, and a Happy New Year!

  139. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben,
    Because sometimes you may come to believe by following the rules. Through discipline, and by being exposed to the truth. In your example, if you made the individual leave the church because of his lack of belief – exactly where would he ever come to eventually recognize the truth of our Risen Lord? Is there a chance that instead of bringing Him closer to Christ, you might actually harden his heart and push him further away through your actions or reactions?

  140. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE,

    if you made the individual leave the church because of his lack of belief

    huh? when did I say that? Certainly I’d agree that playing Church can lead to belief, and this is what’s good about cultural Catholicism – it can lead to authentic belief. My point was that I’d hope you’d agree that something is lacking in his life – belief. And that following the rules isn’t enough. Our religion isn’t merely about our works – it’s faith + works. Faith is immensely important to us Catholics.

    John 3:18 – He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

    This passage is talking about belief in Christ. Your lack of belief is perhaps not on par with the condemnation of this passage, but it’s analogous. Your lack of belief in the institution given power and authority by God, IS what’s missing. Belief in God doesn’t mean you have to be able to explain everything – it does mean you must believe. Belief in the Church doesn’t mean you have to be able to explain (understand/defend) everything taught by the Church, but it does mean you have to believe it. I’m not telling you to leave the Church. I’m inviting you to let go of your difficulties and offer them to God, “Lord, I don’t understand this teaching, but I accept it by the authority you’ve given to your bride, the Church.”

  141. avatar annonymouse says:

    Pardon me, E, I must have misread you. You posted a quote which indicates that the pronouncements of Vatican II are not to be treated as infallible. I assumed (I guess wrongfully) that you meant to address Gaudium et spes 51 in that manner.

    Please read Gaudium et spes 51 and tell me how you can disregard that teaching of an Ecumenical Council, when followed three or four years hence by a Papal Encyclical, fallible or infallible.

    Thanks.

    I’ll let you answer and leave it at that. I am clearly not going to convince you to change your attitude toward one of humble docility, even though I think that’s something we all must strive to “put on” in our spiritual journey. I do wish you and yours a blessed Christmas, as we celebrate the God of the universe humbling Himself to take on flesh in the person of a poor, tiny baby. And all for you, and me! God bless.

  142. avatar annonymouse says:

    P.S. May we all, in this season of Advent, ponder and strive to imitate the purity, lowliness and docility of the Immaculate Conception, Mary Our Mother, without whose humble “YES” to God we would not have been graced to have the salvation of her Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord.

  143. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    E.

    I am not doubting your spirit. Obtaining a spiritual advisor is a good thing but any spiritual advisor who allowed anyone to come to a conclusion that birth control was OK, and then led him or her to believe that was from God did serious harm to the soul or souls entrusted to them.

    Too many times we have heard the phrase: “After prayful consideration”, then people go out and do things contrary to the teachings of Christ. No, a good spiritual advisor would never let anyone come to any conclusions against the teachings of Christ.

  144. avatar BigE says:

    @Annonymouse

    I’ve never meant to advocate that any teaching of the church should be disregarded, infallible or otherwise. And when I say “disregarded”, I mean that in the sense that every teaching of the church should be treated with the respect it is due. We should not just ignore (“or blow off”) any teachings of the church. Even if we internally struggle with them, we are still to respect them and should always be striving to understand them.

    And I definately never meant to support anyone “acting out” against the teachings of the church. I certainly do not support Bishops going rogue and ordaining women. Or priests presiding at same sex marriages. Or encouraging people to use contraception.

    The ONLY thing I have advocated is allowing for respectful dialogue around teachings that may be reformable while at the same time still respecting those teachings. Certainly there has been disagreemnt here around which of those teachings are reformable (not infallible) and I beleive that is worthy of discussion too.

    Maybe the problem is I’m unique in thinking that someone can not fully agree with a teaching, but can still fully respect it. Maybe my problem is compounded by the fact that I have passion for debate that runs in my family (btw, my wife has banned from our house my Dad and I arguing politics, and my brother and I arguing theology, where ironically enough, I take on the role of catholic apologetic versus my born-again non-denominational brother. In her estimation we get way too loud and need to take it outside, even though at the end of the day we love other and fully respect each other’s idea’s. We just love exploring idea’s through debate)

    That’s where I come from.

    Peace and out my sister. 🙂

  145. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben
    1)I think I fully agreed in my first response to you that something was lacking in his life.
    2) I didn’t mean to indicate you’d kick him out of the church. I just think in our zeal sometimes, we can give people wrong impressions (I apparently have been very guilty of that in this thread….) and I was struggling with what you (or I) would do with our knowledge of that individual.

  146. avatar BigE says:

    @Richard
    Thank you. To be honest, I’ve never brought up my views on those teachings with my spiriual director. I’ve usually had other things going on in my spiritual life that seemed way more important. So my spiritual director hasn’t “allowed” anything.

  147. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    E’

    Thank God my wife and I agrtee on politics and religion. My sister and some friends, now that’s another ball of wax!

    I was away from the Church in the tumultous 70’s and much of the 80’s. When I came back I was fortunate to have about 1 1/2 years of spiritual formation with a religious order that was solidly traditionialistic.

    It hurts me to think that clergy are forming souls improperly. Look @ what happened in the DOR. Too many people who went to church for the last 30 years have now adopted many heretetical beliefs. And, like your father, it is impossible to talk with them. One can only pray and hope they will be receptive to God’s grace.

  148. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    BigE

    Maybe the problem is I’m unique in thinking that someone can not fully agree with a teaching, but can still fully respect it.

    I don’t think you’re unique. I think we can all sympathize. Maybe you’re not as far away from assenting to these teachings as we all think. Maybe you need to learn more about what it means to assent. It doesn’t mean that you have to think that the evidence is manifestly evident. You don’t have to be able to explain it or fully understand it. What it does require is humility in saying, “My brain doesn’t compute, but I surrender to God that my brain is wrong and that the Church is correct.”

    Maybe my problem is compounded by the fact that I have passion for debate that runs in my family

    we’re up to 140+ comments… I think we all possess this problem 🙂

  149. avatar BigE says:

    @Ben
    lol…relative to the 140+ comments…maybe I’m a Muse for this site! 🙂

  150. avatar Dr. K says:

    “we’re up to 140+ comments”

    151 now 🙂


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