Friday, July 16, 2010

Paul Hoffer all over the map

Paul Hoffer has been doing yeoman's work in a recent thread about whether Mary sinned in "anxiously" looking for the boy Jesus in Jerusalem, in Luke 2.  He is an attorney, so we'd hope that he'd be versed in the art of consistent argumentation.  Unfortunately, if these comments are any indication, he's among the 99% of attorneys that give the other 1% a bad name...

Let's start, though, in the middle of Paul Hoffer's first comment to me, where he said something very interesting:

can you point me to the official binding Calvinist interpretative authority that interprets Scripture to mean what you think it does?

Unfortunately for PH, this question is meaningless and has been dealt with dozens of times on this blog alone.
So let's ask PH:  Can you point me to the official binding Magisterial interpretative authority that interprets Scripture to mean what you think it does? 
Let's see how many times he does so.  Or does he just give us a bunch of personal, private, fallible interpretations of biblical passages and "Magisterial documents", and does he ever give us an infallible means of knowing whether these "Magisterial" statements are infallible?  Let's find out.



Apologetics is the responsibility of all Christians.

How does he know that?  Did the Mag infallibly state such? If he appeals to a verse like 1 Peter 3:15, can he give an infallible Mag interp of it?
If not, how does he know any of this?



The Magisterium is only an office within the Church that has limited parameters and specific responsibilities.

How does he know that?  Did the Mag infallibly state such?
How does he know the Mag won't in the future correct him?



Or are there times when one only needs a mechanic or could roll up one’s sleeves and change the oil himself.

Bad analogy.  What I hear from RCs all the time is that I need infallibility to be sure of things theological, that as a fallible individual, I have no hope to escape the chaotic quagmire of Protestantism.  But when convenient, apparently PH doesn't (edit: toe) that line.


I certainly can repeat what the Magisterium does teach

How does PH know that?  Did the Mag infallibly state such?





Citing to a Magisterial authority, since apparently that is what you want, Lumen Gentium 12 states that as a whole the People of God are living witnesses to Jesus Christ

1) *I* don't want a "Magisterial authority".  RCs tell me all the time that I need the Mag, so I want to see PH play that out in real life. What makes him think that a Sola Scripturist like me would want any part of the Roman Mag?
2) Did the Mag infallibly state that LG is infallible?  Where?



but with that said, there should be no longer any question whether Dave, I or any other lay apologist are allowed to give service to Our Lord and His Church.

I have plenty of reason to think he's NOT allowed to do so. He's fallible.  He's an individual.  He could be in error. 
Plus, surely you've heard this before:
It is not, then, surprising that the question of disputations with heretics has been made the subject of ecclesiastical legislation. By a decree of Alexander IV (1254-1261)inserted in "Sextus Decretalium", Lib. V, c. ii, and still in force, all laymen  are forbidden, under threat of excommunication, to dispute publicly or privately with heretics on the Catholic Faith. The text reads: ... (We furthermore forbid any lay  person to engage in dispute, either private or public, concerning the Catholic Faith. Whosoever shall act contrary to this decree, let him be bound in the fetters of excommunication.) This law, like all penal laws, must be very narrowly construed. The terms Catholic Faith and dispute  have a technical signification. The former term refers to questions purely theological; the latter to disputations more or less formal, and engrossing the attention of the public. There are numerous questions, somewhat connected with theology, which many laymen  who have received no scientific theological training can treat more intelligently than a priest. In modern life, it frequently happens that an O'Connell or a Montalembert  must stand forward as a defender of Catholic interests upon occasions when a theologian would be out of place. But when there is a question of dogmatic  or moral theology, every intelligent layman will  concede the propriety of leaving the exposition and defence of it to the clergy.

Unfortunately, such would be very inconvenient to him and especially to, ahem, professional Catholic apologists, who derive their entire living from disputing publicly with heretics while not in any official ecclesiastical capacity. 
So yeah, I have quite a lot of reason to doubt whether these guys are allowed to do this.



I presented the views of a bona fide recognized theologian, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange,

Even if I were to overturn what he said (which I did, BTW), you always have the disingenuous escape hatch of "well, he's just a private fallible theologian".  So the Sola Scripturist has to ask himself - why bother refuting what the guy said?


The issue was presented to the Magisterium. Rome has spoken, the case is closed.

Oh, by order of the Magisterium, Rome has spoken, the case is closed? 
Is he sure the LDS Prophet didn't say that?  Or the WatchTower?  It sounds just like what one of those guys said. 
See, I'm far more concerned with what GOD said than what the Roman Mag said.



The six or seven ECF’s that thought (erroneously) that Mary sinned, none of them claim that she did so at Lk 2:48. So relying upon them is a thin reed indeed..

I don't "rely" on them.  PH is really disappointing me here.  I cite them to show HIS position is wrong.  He quoted Augustine.  I countercited others.  Why did he even bother quoting Augustine if he was just going to pull the "Mag is infallible - shut up" card?  Why ever play anything other than that one?



after the question has been decided-no one claims otherwise. Show me otherwise if you think I am wrong.

The fact that there was dissent before the "Mag decided it" shows that any appeal to "tradition" is completely worthless.  He doesn't care about tradition.  He only cares about what the Mag says.


Rho:  Mary's mother was Divinely chosen to be the Mother of the Mother of God (that is to say, she was predestined from all eternity for the maternity of the Divine maternity). Why wasn't her mother IC'd?
PH:  Because God didn’t find it to be necessary to do so. Saint Anne was not the Theotokos and no one is claiming that Mary is God incarnated.


Oh, OK. Watch this.  Why wasn't Mary immaculately conceived?  Because God didn’t find it to be necessary to do so.
And the "no one is claiming that Mary is God incarnated" is moving the goalposts, quite seriously.  You had gone on to say "But Mary would not have been a worthy Mother of God had she ever sinned".  Anne wouldn't have been a worthy mother of the Mother of God had she ever sinned. 
Heck, let's just go all the way back to Eve.  Eve must've been sinless b/c she wouldn't've been a worthy mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the mother of the Mother of God if she'd ever sinned.


Moreover, your response demonstrates why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is needed. Thank you for showing us that!

Wow.  If anyone doubts the blindness of the disciple of the Magisterium, I hereby present to you Exhibit A.



Far from diminishing her liberty or free will, the effect of this preservation from sin was to confer on her full liberty in the order of moral goodness

Ah.  So presumably he has no problem with the Calvinist doctrines of Irresistible Grace and Preservation of the Saints on "freewill" grounds.  Cool - we're making progress!



you all deny that people cooperate whatsoever with God’s salvific grace adopting the error of Fr. Luther that our justification is merely an alien/forensic one rather than an inherent one....Show me anywhere in works of the Pelagians or folks you anachronistically labeled as Semi-Pelagians that they “dumbed” down sin so they can fit their imperfect lives into the dumbed-down law.

How many times this past hour has PH had an impure, anxious, or imperfect thought?  If answer ≥ 0, he's out of luck with that one. Then he has to deal with today.  Then this week.  Then this month.  Then this past year.  He can lie to me all you want, but he can't lie to God.


Note that Uzzah was not given permission to touch the ark here.

Yes, and he unintentionally sinned by steadying it.  PH, your point is dead.  Find another one, please.


Despite the warnings in the Law, despite his foreknowledge,

1) Wait a second.  He was a fallible, private individual, and he expects him to be able to properly understand the Law w/o an infallible interpreter present?  I could've sworn he was militating against that very idea above...
2) Most every time we sin, intentionally or unintentionally, we know the warnings.  PH is continuing in his quest to water down the holiness of God and His Law.



Please note the operative word “PRACTICES.”

Please note the "sin is lawlessness" statement.  As an attorney, PH should be used to reading more than one phrase out of a thought.



If you do have kids, haven’t you ever lost sight of your children at the mall or when the bus was supposed to drop your children off from school at 3:15 pm and it does not show up for hours because it broke down (and you have no way of knowing)

I do have kids, thanks.  And yes, I have done all of those things.  How does this respond to the point that anxiety is a failure to "lay all your fears at the feet of God"? Let me remind you that I'm a dirty Calvinist and that I happen to think I'm a very great sinner.



Given Lk. 2: 48, Lk 22:44 and 2 Cor 11:28, it is plain that not all anxiety is sinful.

1) There he goes again, giving private fallible interpretation.  Which he told me isn't licit.  The man can't keep track of what pants he's wearing.
2) Hmm, begging the question in citing Lk 2:48.  Aren't attorneys supposed to be a little sharper than that?
Lk 22:44 - 44And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
Where's the anxiety there?  The worrying about whether God will take care of Him? 
2 Cor 11:28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
(For the sake of argument:) Who says this is not sinful?  Where did Paul say that?  Is he asking me to make a fallible private interp of this psg?  Where did the Mag pronounce on this verse? 
Was Mary concerned for the church she founded when she lost the boy Jesus?  Was she concerned that He'd fallen into sin, as Paul continues in v 29?



You have yet to show us where in the Scriptures anxiety by itself is enumerated as a sin.

Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."



Since perfection is possible for man, it is obligatory.

1) Where did the Magisterium say this?  Or is he just speaking on his own again?
2) Where did the Bible say this?  And where was that verse infallible interped by the Mag?
3) Please name for me a mere man who has achieved perfection.  And how you know. 



You need to throw away your Jack Chick tracts and actually read some real Catholic theology books. I would recommend “A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist”

1) Is he saying that I can read real Catholic theology books and understand the real meaning?  Don't I need an infall interper?  Or does he play that card only when I read the Bible and show him how it conflicts on its face with RC theology? 
2) Anyone can read my recent discussions and analysis of this idea and compare to Jack Chick's stuff.  I don't recall PH participating in those disputes, however.  Has he even read them?  Looks doubtful.



Stop assuming that Catholics look at the Real Presence as a carnal or sensual presence.

The dogma says "really, substantially present".  PH needs to read my argument before assuming he knows the refutation.


First, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the Church teaches that Mary was sinless, that is free from both original and actual sin, CCC 411, 490-493...Pius IX Ineffabilis Deus

How does PH know that the CCC or Ineffabilis Deus is infallible?  Does he know that infallibly?  Where is the infallible RC Canon of infallible teachings?



Since I have now taken the effort to list magisterial sources and quotations for you, you should now provide your infallible magisterial authorities that interpret the Scriptures.

1) PH did nothing more than cite them fallibly.  No indication of how he knows infallibly that these are infallible documents.  He's done nothing more than ipse dixit open his Bible to the Table of Contents and point: "See?  It's all right here!"
2) He's using his language *very* sloppily.  He didn't point us to authorities that INTERPRET themselves.  He pointed us to the documents.  He's committing a category error, therefore, to ask me know to point to "authorities that interpret the Scriptures" - on my worldview, the Scriptures themselves ARE the infallible documents. 

So, in review, Paul Hoffer hasn't held to his own rules, which he wishes to impose on the Sola Scripturist.  If he does not consider himself constrained by his rules, who am I to argue that anyone else should be?

4 comments:

Matthew Bellisario said...

Maybe you should try actually refuting his arguments instead of attacking his character as an attorney. I looked through the post and it appears to me that he answered all of your erroneous charges.

Rhology said...

What would be even better is if you would go ahead and answer the question put to you recently.

Andrew said...

Rhology, do not question St. Middle Man. He doesn't have time for things like answering questions, or making intelligible arguments.

Constantine said...

Rhology nowhere impugns Paul Hoffer’s character – as an attorney or otherwise. The fact that the Saint of Sledgehammer Scholasticism can’t discern that is not surprising.

Rhology presumes that PH will be well versed “in the art of consistent argumentation” and “if these comments are any indication” - which they either may or may not be – Rhology doesn’t tell us - then, and only then will PH be among a “group” that gives others a bad name. Nowhere does Rhology single out PH and attack his character.

But, if you really want to see what impugning someone’s character looks like, consider His Holiness’s own words from May of this year:

Before John Bugger starts calling people liars he better look at his own midget minded arguments first.

Now THAT’s impugning someone’s character.

Way to go, Catholic Champ!