Gary Michuta sent an email to tell me that he has corrected his original post (The 44% Solution: Why Anti-Catholics Should Trust Their Instincts) primarily with regards to authorship on the posts here. He has also included a brief reply to some of my points, but I don’t think he has really addressed most of the issues. In Gary’s defense, I think he is a bit busy with real life so I understand he may not have the time to go through everything at the moment.
In the meantime, though, I would like to respond to a few things Gary has written. First, Gary’s new post addressing his corrections can be found below his original post. Unfortunately, Gary doesn’t have individual links for his articles, so you will have to look through his homepage to find the corrected and new posts.
In one correction, Gary admits his mistake in where the "44% vote" took place:
“Second, the "44% vote" was not made in the particular councils (the classes), but the General Council. When writing the article, I was referencing the Latin texts and as you can see in CT, v. 5, p. 10, the header read "classes."
However, in his revision of the original article he maintains that the vote is still a straw vote (even though he now knows it occurred in the general congregation):
“Why is there disagreement on what this vote was on? Because the 44% vote had no effect on the final decree. It was a straw vote taken during an ongoing discussion Moreover, if you look closely at the quote above (Concilium Tridentinum, volume 5, p. 10) you will see that the vote didn't decide anything for the General Council. The document explicitly states "(sed nihil decretum)", which is translated "(but nothing was decided)."
First, Gary is in conflict with the Catholic historian Jedin (an expert on Trent) who stated “The result of the above-mentioned vote of the general congregation of 15 February committed the Council to the wider canon…” (History of the Council of Trent, vol 3, pg 57). Second, Gary’s reference again to the “sed nihil decretum” still does not address the fact that the use of this wording was questioned by Duncker (CBQ, vol 15, pg 291) in a paper Gary used in his rebuttal. Since Gary does admit the confusion in the CT around this vote, I don’t think he can make such a firm statement as “you will see that the vote didn't decide anything for the General Council”:
“Carrie is also correct in noting, and I mentioned this in my article, that the diaries and the acts give conflicting accounts of exactly what this vote represented (including even the tallies). I believe the confusion was due mainly to two reasons. First, the "addition of arguments" and "the anathema" questions are different but also very interrelated. It would be easy to see why different people understand the vote to represent different things. Second, whenever Trent does an important vote, more times then not, it is very precise, individual's votes are recorded, and additional comments are carefully noted. As Duncker notes, this vote is a mess. I can only conclude from this what I state in my article; the 44% vote was little more than a straw vote.”
What is the proof it was a "little more than a straw vote"? Gary has offered no evidence to back this up.
Finally, Gary says:
I think Carrie and I can agree, however, on the main points of my article, (1) The Wikipedia article that was cited in Carrie's article was overly interpretive of Metzger to the point of being misleading, (2) The "44%" was not on the final adoption of the decree on April 8, 1546, but February 15, 1546, and (3) Whatever the "44%" vote represented, it was not on the adoption of the Florentine canon.”
Yes, I can agree to #1 and #2, but not #3. I think Gary’s wording on #3 is imprecise and also misleading, and I think my critique of Gary’s original article still stands. The vote did mean something.
Finally, Gary’s summary of the Metzger quote that started this whole discussion does not solve any problems for me:
“Metzger was really saying was that the Decree on the Canon promulgated on April 8, 1546 was the first decree on the Canon to include an anathema, which was adopted by a 24 to 15 vote with 16 abstaining.”
That’s right. The decision to adopt the Florentine canon as an article of faith was agreed to by only 44% of the council members.
I guess my questions is, why did 56% of the council members believe that the biblical canon that was supposedly taught throughout church history, accepted by Hippo/Carthage and later confirmed by the Council of Florence, perhaps shouldn’t be an article of faith? In other words, if the historical witness of the canon was so clear that Luther (and Protestants in general) could be accused of “throwing out 7 books of the Bible” (a common RC apologist claim), why were 56% of the council members not in favor of making the canon an article of faith?