Monday, May 17, 2010

The super-super-super-Magisterial magisterial authority, part 2

Paul Hoffer was kind enough to comment at length on my last post, but unfortunately between his original comment that spawned the aforementioned post and his comments on the post, he forgot his own argument, and ironically in many places ends up affirming my own point.  For that, I thank him for tacitly disavowing his argument.  I commend the practice, of course, for while it is a common argument, it is also a very bad and stupid one.

Here is my response, first to another commenter named Space Bishop:


Space Bishop,

catholics have disagreement over the meaning of various things the magisterium teaches?

First off, you have to recognise that the Mag is a bit of a phantom target.  They avoid sticking their neck out very far on many topics, so as to avoid getting pinned down.
The problem for RCs is that this renders most of their claims to infallible guidance totally meaningless - if the infall guide doesn't speak, it's useless.
Anyway, your list, off the top of my head - evolution/not-evolution, inerrancy/errancy, Franciscan/Dominican, church should be poor or rich, heliocentrism/geocentrism, whether EOx are heretics and schismatics or not, whether Prots are heavenbound or not, sedevacantism vs not, Augustinian predestination vs not, whether Trent closed the Canon of Scr or not, whether the Shroud of Turin is authentic, whether Luther was right about the bondage of the will, whether logic is a good measure of truth, and quite a lot of others.  There are far, far too many to keep going listing them out.  Bottom line - you need to deal with reality, not the lines that Catholic Answers feeds you.


you have listed are not disagreements about what the magisterium teaches but rather examples of catholics who simply say that the magisterium is wrong.

That's a distinction w/o a difference.  Mere semantics.  If the RCC wants to put some teeth on its Magisterial teaching, maybe it should start excomming dissidents.


is not the magisterium better as if such a case of contradictory interpretations of the magisteriums teachings arose the magisterium alone can say " A is right and B is wrong" and if disagreements arose as to what is the correct interpretation of that ruling another ruling could be issued and so on and so on.

And when has the Mag done that?  How often?  In fact, often it goes to serious lengths to be unclear and obscure.



Protestants however dont have recourse to this

Yep, poor us.  Guess we'll just have to read the Bible or something.


Paul Hoffer,
I'm sorry you didn't understand that I parotted (Edit misspelling: parroted) you for a specific reason, that is, to show how the same "problem" of individual fallible interpretation is true for your position as well.  Positing a Mag only moves the question back a step, which is why I'm saying you'd need a super-super-Mag to fix the problem.  But then you'd need aNOTHER level back to which to move the question, and on and on unto infinity.


there is much about the Scriptures that is perspicuous, just not everything.

Yes, not everything in the Scr is perspicuous.
What's really funny about this is that the RC doctrines related to salvation and election and all that are pretty much impenetrable in their internal inconsistency, biblical illiteracy, and tradition-bound-ness. As James White likes to say: Give me Romans 8 anytime over the code of Canon Law.


. A written document, whether it is the Word of God as contained in the Scriptures or a Magisterial document interpreting the Word of God, do not “arbitrate” disputes. Rather, it the Church itself that safeguards and interprets the Scriptures that does the arbitrating.

Through written documents.  Thus you bolster my point.  Thanks!
Also, in oral proclamations, alot of the time they get written down.  Then, see above.
Oral proclamations, BTW, are not immune to this.  So you need a super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-super-...



SHOW ME as Space Bishop asked where a Magisterial document

Now you're moving the goalposts.  You had originally made PEOPLE AT LARGE the measure of truth, and now you want me to show two Mag docs that disagree.  I probably could, and I know Carrie could easily, but that's not what we're discussing.


So rather than relying on my authority, I would rest my case on the Scriptures and how the Church interprets them.

Unless the Mag infallibly interped those Scr psgs, you're relying on private fallible interp in order to prove your position that the Mag is necessary to correct for people's private fallible interps.  Something is ironic about that...


It must be noted that Catholics do not put the Magisterium over the Word of God, rather the Magisterium is the servant of the Word of God

So why does it get the Gospel wrong?  And posit Purgatory?  And the Immaculate Conception of Mary?  And the Assumption of Mary?  And worshiping pictures of dead people?  And the treasury of merit and indulgences? And other examples of exceeding what is written all the time?



The Magisterium fulfills this role under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority. (Thus, bringing up stuff about how some Catholics are disobedient by advocating pro-choice agendas is a red herring.)

Since YOU were the one who introduced the idea that a teaching authority is apparently to be measured by the laity's obedience to it, that would be YOUR red herring.
And again, thank you for acknowledging that this argument is stupid.


Unlike Protestantism which bolds that each person is his own magisterial authority

How do strawmen help the Roman cause?  Is it Mag teaching that strawmen are the best strategy?  Is that in Lumen Gentium too?


Thus, the scenario you raise does not occur.

One wonders how you make it work every day with your head stuck that far in the clouds.


Besides, such argumentation is not really atheistic, but is more pantheistic as Whateverman is merely saying that as far as he is concerned he is his own god.

For those who've not spent much time arguing with atheists (as Paul apparently hasn't), atheism IS pantheism and vice versa, esp when it comes to questions of authority.
Which makes it worse for him - now the RC position isn't just echoing atheism, but pantheism as well.  Wow, have fun with that.


Frankly as a person who adheres to the notion of “Contra factum non valet argumentum,” I reject your assertion that logical argumentation is the measure of truth.

Ah, then Jell-O has farley bones and the further they 9 the much.
That reminds me; maybe we should add this to the long list of confusion and internal dissent within Rome - whether logic is the measure of truth or not.

7 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

The Space Bishop said...

Hi. Thanks for your response. The thing that i will take away from it is the fact that the magisterium doesnt seem to say much at all.

As to your list, I checked up on some of them and they werent areas of magisterium teaching that catholics interpreted differently but rather areas that the magisterium has said nothing definite on. It has said things about evolution but only so far as to acknoldge the theory exists but not to actualy put a definite ruling out there.

Like i said your point about the fact that the magisterium dont put its neck out too much is a good one. I think though you need to actually quote official magisterium documents and then quote catholics in disagreement over said teachings.
The more i look into the RCC the more labryinthic it becomes.. Honestly its actually kind of hard to find out what exactly the church teaches. A simple list of all the "infallible teachings" collected in one place would be a great source.

Rhology said...

Hello Space Bishop,

Thanks for your response.

the fact that the magisterium doesnt seem to say much at all.

That's not the only point, but yes, it's a biggie. And to be honest, it's a serious melon-scratcher from my position, outside looking in.


I checked up on some of them and they werent areas of magisterium teaching that catholics interpreted differently but rather areas that the magisterium has said nothing definite on.

Oh, so it's OK as long as the Mag has never said anything on. In 2000 years. Yessssssss, that's a much better situation.



I think though you need to actually quote official magisterium documents and then quote catholics in disagreement over said teachings.

I don't see why I don't need simply to quote Romanists in disagreement over its teachings. It's answering Romanists on Romanists' own terms.

(Sorry if I've addressed you as a Romanist before; I just assumed you were. It would appear I was wrong to assume that, so please accept my apology.)


Honestly its actually kind of hard to find out what exactly the church teaches.

If you think it's hard to figure out what RCC teaches, you should try Eastern Orthodoxy!
By contrast, my church is VERY clear. We have a confession. It's easy, and if someone wants to be a member and won't assent, they can't join. Simple as that. If they are already a mbr and start to dissent, we invite them to repent, then insist that they repent, then plead with them, then excommunicate them. Just like Matt 18 says.
So...how is Rome better than my Baptist church again?


A simple list of all the "infallible teachings" collected in one place would be a great source.

LOL, I've been asking Romanists for that for years. Even asked a big shot - Fr Mitch Pacwa - for it face to face. I've asked for an infallible list. They can't provide one. I've then asked for even a fallible list. They STILL can't provide one.
(The tricky thing is that, if they produce a purported infallible list of infallible teachings, you better be sure that the list itself is on the list, since it's supposed to be infallible too. But of course, you know and I know that Rome can't produce it. So why should anyone believe that Rome has an epistemological advantage?)

Peace,
Rhology

bkaycee said...

Apparently, the strategy is that you can't be wrong if your silent on substance and just pontificate on how infallibale you are or would be.

Paul Hoffer said...

Dear Rhology:

Here is my response to your articles:

http://capriciousness.blogspot.com/2010/08/responding-to-super-super-super-bad.html

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

Wow - three supers!

I quote from the final paragraph of the article: "Unless Rhology or any of his co-religionistsMagisterium [sic] of the Catholic Church. After all, I can point to some 252 dogmas that have been infallibly defined by my Magisterium. How many dogmas have ever been infallibly defined using private judgment or to use Rhology’s words, logical argumentation?"

You claim infallibility for your church, we don't. But a church that falsely claims infallibility is worse than a church that truly acknowledges fallibility.

I'm curious those, where's this list of 252 dogmas?

-TurretinFan

Rhology said...

Indeed.

And since PH can't in fact produce that list, on what basis should I or anyone else conclude that he is indeed correct in listing those 252 (if indeed he can)?
So, after all, PH can point to WHAT HE THINKS are some 252 dogmas that have been infallibly defined by his Magisterium. And yet, given PH's position and also his inability to produce that list, the number of dogmas that have ever been infallibly defined using private judgment or to use my words, logical argumentation, would seem to be the same - zero.


Of course, on biblical Christianity, all doctrines are infallibly defined. By God. How well we sinful humans recognise those infallible doctrines is a different question, but since PH constantly confuses categories, that's hardly my problem.