Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interpreting the Actions of a Pope... Even Popes Make Mistakes

...and exactly who in the Papacy allows her apologists to make judgements like the following:

For my part, I freely, if reluctantly, grant that there were some seriously problematic things the late Holy Father did that I dearly wish he had not done (e.g., kissing a Koran, the Assisi inter-religious prayer events, allowing altar girls), as well as one thing in particular that I dearly wish he had done but didn’t: namely, to have sacked at least a few of those notoriously malfeasant, corrupt, and publicly heterodox bishops who did such tremendous damage to the church during the wasting years of their devouring regimes.

But that’s just me.

For the record, I love and esteem Pope John Paul II and am convinced of his heroic personal sanctity. And yet, I also recognize that the variegated aspects of his pontificate are a needed reminder of the hard lesson that even good and holy and courageous popes like him, are imperfect and can make mistakes in how they govern the Church. [source]
Note the use of the word "mistakes." Kissing the Koran was simply a mistake. Not "sacking" "a few of those notoriously malfeasant, corrupt, and publicly heterodox bishops who did such tremendous damage to the church during the wasting years of their devouring regimes" was a mistake. "Inter-religious prayer events" were a mistake.

53 comments:

Joe said...

I am in a conversation right now with a RC about Galileo/helio...where he argues a similar view that several Popes/Nuncias, Catechism of Trent, etc...all just made a mistake.

And that the Church has now embraced hello instead of geocentrism.

And the famous argument, well, Popes can mistakes as well...but in the case of Galileo, apparently it can be for other than private matters.

After, pointing out some of Sungenis arguments that geo is still the official stance of the Church since there has been no ruling correcting the Galileo (and others) decrees...my email acquaintance is now looking into it.

But to top it off, he says "I am not willing to understand the Church". Need duct tape from keeping my head from exploding on this one!

in Him,

-Joe

Paul Hoffer said...

Here I think you are confusing papal infallability (a grace of the Holy Spirit with indefectibility. We Catholics have not ever considered popes to be indefectible. Yes, Popes do make mistakes and sin too. The charism of infallibility is a protection against such mistakes. Short answer because of extreme shortness in time responding to your category error.

God bless!

Edward Reiss said...

James--

If a RC apologist admits they are much more than mistakes--then the whole edifice of their religious worldview falls apart. Even a pope like Honorous who was condemned as a heretic gets a lot of explanations as to why his heresy doesn't really affect the authority of the pope. This is because if the RCC is what her apologists say she is, then any explanation, no matter how strained, is more likely to be the truth than that the RCC is not what she says she is.

Edward Reiss said...

James--

If a RC apologist admits they are much more than mistakes--then the whole edifice of their religious worldview falls apart. Even a pope like Honorous who was condemned as a heretic gets a lot of explanations as to why his heresy doesn't really affect the authority of the pope. This is because if the RCC is what her apologists say she is, then any explanation, no matter how strained, is more likely to be the truth than that the RCC is not what she says she is.

dtking said...

Blogger dtking said...

Here I think you are confusing papal infallability (a grace of the Holy Spirit with indefectibility. We Catholics have not ever considered popes to be indefectible. Yes, Popes do make mistakes and sin too. The charism of infallibility is a protection against such mistakes.

Yes, of course, too bad that "charism of infallibility" didn't protect Liberius from signing an Arian creed and declaring Athanasius to be out of communion with Rome. But, hey, Romanists don't sweat that historical stuff. :)

Joe said...

Paul,

But can several popes, catechisms, etc...when declaring formal heresy on a given single issue (for ex at a tribunal) based off their interpretation of scriptures, still be in err?

If so then are you saying that the church can officially lead the people of God into err?

Thanks.

in Him,

-Joe

Paul Hoffer said...

Joe, do you believe that the universe revolves around the sun? I don't. Heliocentrism is as wrong as geocentrism. The sun is not the "center" of the solar system, but a focus around which most planetary bodies in the solar system move around in eliptical orbits as opposed to circular ones. Moreover, our solar system is part of a far bigger galaxy which itself is a mote in the far larger universe. Galileo, who was repeating what Copernicus said 70+ years earlier, got in dutch because he, unlike Copernicus, taught heliocentrism as a fact as opposed to a theory. In many ways the Catholic condmenation of Galileo is no different than the condemnation of evolution because the latter is being taught as a fact when in reality it is still only a theory that has yet to be proved.

Ed, the more these sort of things are discussed, the foundation upon which the edifice of my worldview is strengthened. Kissing a Koran might be a mistake, it might even be heretical (actually wouldn't the proper term be scandalous?), but unless the Pope directed all Catholics to go around and start kissing Korans as a matter of faith and morals, he did not teach heresy.

Rev. King, as for whether Liberius condemned Athanasius or not is irrelevant as matters of discipline are not matters to which infallibliity attach. BTW, did Athanasius deny that Liberius had the authority to do so?

As for the statement that Liberius signed an Arian creed, could you please tell me which creed he supposedly signed. Our host demands ad fontes reseach after all and you wouldn't want to disappoint our host. Parroting what some other writers may have written is not evidence, it just means you wear feathers. I am sure that in the interests of integrity, fairness and Christian charity, you actually spent the time to look up the specific document he supposedly signed and saw his signature on it, determined that the creed in question oes in fact contain heretical material, and that Pope Liberius then directed Catholics to believe that the heretical creed in question was a part of the rule of faith and are now able to provide actual documentation for your assertion as opposed echoing someone's opinion. After all, we wouldn't want folks to have to go out and buy anti-perspirant because they mistook mere polemic for historical fact, an opinion for fact or a lie for truth now would we?

Part of the problem with your claim is that Pope Liberius was not immediately restored after he supposedly signed a purported heretical creed (after being exiled and tortured for refusing to sign it in the first place) tends to undermine the veracity of your opinion.

God bless!

@GodnChzburgers said...

James there is really no point to your post. Popes make mistakes and so do Catholic apologists. Heck, even you make mistakes like Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura.

But hey, Protestants don't sweat what is Scriptural they just make it up as they go along (just over 500 years of heretical teaching).

Constantine said...

Well, the "charism" apparently went missing, too, when Pope Zosimus officially endorsed Pelagianism - twice - in 417.

But, hey, let's not let facts interfere with theology, ok?

Peace.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Joe, Popes and tribunals can err when declaring that someone is in heresy. Many of the church's greatest saints were so accused. the problem is that some Protestant and some Catholic apologists (not members of the magisterium) throughout history have distorted the meaning of the doctrine.

Now let's take what you think are errors that refute the doctrine of infallibility.

Galileo-the church has never stated that heliocentrism is wrong or has solemnly defined geocentrism as dogma. If you disagree, please show me where the Church has used its charism of infallibility to state either. What passage from the Catechism of Trent do you think proves your position? I own a copy and I don't see it.

BTW, do you believe in geocentrism? If not, why not since Sungenis and others of his view teach that the Scriptures hold to that doctrine? Aren;t they perspicuous enough to determine this issue or do you believe that the Scriptures do not teach science?

BTW, do you agree with Galileo's teachings that the sun is immobile and that the earth revolved around it in a circular orbit? Since both have subsequently conclusively been proven to be false, was the tribunal wrong to oppose Galileo's attempt to force a redefinition of Scripture to fit his view of heliocentrism?

FTM, can you show me any papal decree that infallibly rules on Galileo's views either way?

The bottom line is this: The Catholic Church has never claimed that the decisions of ordinary tribunals, such as the one that judged Galileo, to be infallible. Such tribunals have disciplinary and juridical authority only; neither they nor their decisions are infallible. You will find no ecumenical council that met concerning Galileo. You will find no papal pronouncement that did anything other than to ratify the decision of the tribunal.

For the Pope to exercise the charism of infallibility: (1) he must speak in his official capacity as the successor of Peter; (2) he must speak on a matter of faith or morals; and (3) he must solemnly define the doctrine as one that must be held by all the faithful.

It is a straw man argument to claim the Catholic Church infallibly defined a scientific theory that turned out to be false. At best, one can argue that a tribunal erred in judging Galileo and a pope erred in affirming the decision that condemned the proposition that the Church change its understanding of Scripture to fit a private interpretation of an individual to fit a particular scientific view. As for me, I do not think that the tribunal or the Pope erred.

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Constantine, which documents are you referring to in making that assertion?

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Constantine, I went and did some research on your Pope Zosimus reference. I found nothing that suggests that he endorsed Pelagianism in 417 or any other time. He did exonerate Pelagius and one of his followers in 417 AD when they lied to him and claim that they believed in original sin and claimed that they were submitting themselves to his authority as pope and the crucial witnesses against them didn't bother to show up. Is that what you are talking about?

Chris said...

Paul Hoffer wrote: "Kissing a Koran might be a mistake, it might even be heretical (actually wouldn't the proper term be scandalous?), but unless the Pope directed all Catholics to go around and start kissing Korans as a matter of faith and morals, he did not teach heresy."

If your argument is that personally modeling an egregious theological mistake (even perhaps modeling heresy) to the watching world is different from teaching faithful Roman Catholics under his charge to make the same theological mistakes for themselves, you win.

But I don't need the Catholic Church to tell me that venerating the Qur'an (bowing and kissing) is theologicaly inept and malfeasant.

Do you need the Catholic Church to tell you that, when the Vicar of Christ on earth does such a thing, it is? If so, I trust you've been informed from on high about this matter.

I agree with you that there was no charism of infallibility involved here. Perhaps you should extrapolate from that point.

dtking said...

You wrote: "...as for whether Liberius condemned Athanasius or not is irrelevant as matters of discipline are not matters to which infallibliity attach."

Only in the mind of a Romanist, especially when the "discipline" involved the positive alignment with and affirmation of heresy. The man signed an Arian creed, and erred in doctrine. All your word games trying to distract from that only underscores the dilemma of the Romanist contention that is forced to defend the indefensible because Rome declares its bishop to be infallible. But the "infallible" protection scheme didn't work for Liberius.

You wrote: "BTW, did Athanasius deny that Liberius had the authority to do so?"

Did Athanasius deny the existence of airplanes in his day? FYI, Athanasius refused even to give Liberius an audience - so much for any recognition of an alleged sense of "papal primacy" on the part of Athanasius.

But let's show the uselessness of your question concerning Liberius' authority . . . When Hilary (or one of his contemporaries) wrote, "I say anathema to you, Liberius, and to your accomplices"..."anathema to you again, and yet a third time, prevaricator Liberius!" (PL 10:677, 678, 679) - Does Liberius ever deny that Hilary (or his contemporary) had the authority to do so? lol

Your anachronism for the "papal primacy fuzzies" is duly noted. Thanks for nothing new in the arena of Roman pretense.

Ben said...

dtking,

But, hey, Romanists don't sweat that historical stuff.

That’s hardly fair in light of this, as well as my recent discussion with Turretinfan - see this.

Turretinfan said...

Ben:

That's hardly a counter-example.

-TurretinFan

dtking said...

"That’s hardly fair ..."

I agree, there's nothing fair, right, or historical about any anachronistic connection between Liberius and papal primacy (or papal infallibility).

kaycee said...

A doctrine that "developed" for 1900 years is hardly convincing. Pius was just melancholy from losing temporal power and needed a self esteem boost. He could also count on his large block of paid pensioners to vote for whatever he wanted.

Paul Hoffer said...

Rev. King:

Your attempts to redefine the doctrine of infallibility and pretend that it is more than what Catholics claim it is in order to create a strawman argument is duly noted.

I will repeat my foundational question, s bit more directly in case it got lost my verbosity:

Can you direct us to the particular Arian Creed that Liberius supposedly signed so we all can see whether he subscribed to heresy or not?

Your use of secondary evidence is not really convincing if one wishes to be objective about things. You cite to spurius fragments attributed to St. Hilary, a bishop who affirmed Mary's perpetual virginity, and a forged letter attributed to Liberius written by some Arian in order to conspire against Athanasius as your main evidence ! Are you that desperate to refute the teachings of the Catholic Church?

But let's Easter Bunny pretend that Hilary's fragments that you referenced are not mere spuria, have you given any thought that Hilary could have been mistaken? After all, no one is claiming that he was infallible.

And lest you now want to bring up Jerome or Sozomen, perhaps you should in fairness quote Theodoretus, Socrates, Severus Sculpius, and Anatasius all of whom said Liberius did not subscribe to the supposed creed.

As for St. Athanasius, why rely on a spurius writing attributed to Liberius manufactured by Arian heretics when you can quote Athanasius' version of events from his Apologia de Fuga 4:

"Even very lately, while the Churches were at peace, and the people worshipping in their congregations, Liberius, Bishop of Rome, Paulinus , Metropolitan of Gaul, Dionysius , Metropolitan of Italy, Lucifer , Metropolitan of the Sardinian islands, and Eusebius of Italy, all of them good Bishops and preachers of the truth, were seized and banished , on no pretence whatever, except that they would not unite themselves to the Arian heresy, nor subscribe to the false accusations and calumnies which they [the Arians] had invented against me."

Ditto 9:

"Had they not acted in this manner; had they not driven into banishment those who spoke in my defence against their calumnies, their representations might have appeared to some persons sufficiently plausible. But since they have conspired against so many other Bishops of high character, and have spared neither the great confessor Hosius, nor the Bishop of Rome, nor so many others from the Spains and the Gauls, and Egypt, and Libya, and the other countries, but have committed such cruel outrages against all who have in any way opposed them in my behalf; is it not plain that their designs have been directed rather against me than against any other, and that their desire is miserably to destroy me as they have done others? To accomplish this they vigilantly watch for an opportunity, and think themselves injured, when they see those safe, whom they wished not to live."

Or how about his History of the Arians Book 5 where he speaks admirably of Pope Liberius and where the worst thing Athansius could say against him was this in Chapter 41:

"But Liberius after he had been in banishment two years gave way, and from fear of threatened death subscribed. Yet even this only shows their violent conduct, and the hatred of Liberius against the heresy, and his support of Athanasius, so long as he was suffered to exercise a free choice. For that which men are forced by torture to do contrary to their first judgment, ought not to be considered the willing deed of those who are in fear, but rather of their tormentors."

Paul Hoffer said...

cont.

There is no mention in Athanasius' writings that he refused to meet with Liberius or otherwise failed to recognize Liberius' position as Bishop of Rome. Would not one think that if Athanasius had been condemned by Liberius or that Athanasius refused to meet with him that Athanasius would have these matters up in stuff that he wrote? (I must wonder why you brought up the issue of papal primacy here, since I did not mention it all. Was that your efforts to poison the well?)

In short, cherry picking quotes from spuria and dubia hardly proves your case against Liberius. At best, all you can show is that a pope signed a document under threat of death that he repudiated no more than 5 years later in 362 AD.

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Chris, assuming that Bl. JPII even knew that the book in question was a Koran, I have no qualms contending that personal conduct from a pope does not infallibly define a doctrine. We have never been afraid to rebuke popes for their sinful behavior. (Ex. Dante's placement of popes in hell in his Divine Comedy). Infallibility is a negative protection that protects the Church from popes imposing their personal conduct as doctrine. Even with the worst of popes who engaged in sexual perversions, you don't see a one of them redefining doctrine to legitimatize their behavior as non-sinful like Protestant folks do with abortion, contraception and homosexual marriages.

I hope that clears things up for you. Infallibility is a charism protects doctrine, not a guarantor of personal sanctity.

God bless!

Constantine said...

Mr. Hoffer,

I refer to two letters from Pope Zosimus to the North African bishops.

The first one, entitled Magnum pondus assures Augustine and his fellow bishops that "the faith of Caelestius (Pelagius' partner in heresy) was completely satisfactory."

The second one, entitled Postquam ad nobis assures the North Africans of the "absoluta fides" of Pelagius and Caelestius together.

Peace.

Paul Hoffer said...

Constantine,

Thank you very much. In neither of those letters did Pope Zosimus approve of Pelagian teachings, only that Pelagius and Caelestius had satisfactorily professed that they adhered to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Once the African Bishops provided Pope Zosimus proof that they had deceived him, he issued his Tractoria condemning them and Pelagianism.

Again, this does not prove or disprove infallibility as Catholic doctrine was never changed, only that popes tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.

louis said...

In all seriousness, the way you people gerrymander infallibility it can never be disproven. If the pope is wrong, it was a disciplinary matter, or he wasn't speaking ex cathedra, etc. And if he teaches blatant idolatry, well, he has interpretive authority so who can question him?

Heck, his reasoning can even be proven wrong, but infallibility still attaches to his decision. It's rigged so you can't lose. Nice.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Louis,

It is not gerrymandering on our part if your compatriots misstate the doctrine of infallibility and then expect us to agree with their false definition or application of same. When one of you guys are going to treat with the subject, would it hurt to actually cite a definition from the Catechism or from Vatican I or from an actual magisterial document? In regards to the doctrine of infallibility, there are plenty of them around.

For example here is the definition of papal infallibility from Vatican I:

From Dei Filius:

"Wherefore, by divine and catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium."

Here is a definition taken from Pastor Aeternus as to when a doctrine promulgated by a pope is infallibly defined:

"The Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedrâ, that is to say, when in the exercise of his office of pastor and teacher of all Christians he, in virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, defines that a doctrine on faith or morals is to be held by the whole Church, by the assistance of God promised to him in the person of Blessed Peter, has that infallibility with which it was the will of Our Divine Redeemer that His Church should be furnished in defining a doctrine on faith or morals."

As noted in Vatican II's Lumen Gentium, the Catholic Church does not merely adhere to the doctrine of papal infallibility but acknowledges that infallibility attaches to other teachings as well:

"Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held. This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith."

There are other definitional statements I could reference, but I think that you find that as with the above statements of doctrine, there is nothing that states that popes or bishops never make mistakes. Catholics do not state this, so why do Protestant apologists pretend that we do? For that matter, why complain about me offering a more accurate statement of what infallibility is? If I were in your shoes, I would want to treat with an accurate statement rather than a strawman definition. I have no problem discussing the merits of infallibility but wouldn't make sense for all of us to be on the same page first?

God bless!

Ben said...

TurretinFan and dtking,

Folks, my point was simply that making blanket accusations like “Romanists don't sweat that historical stuff” is indeed unfair and quite ridiculous. People make mistakes. And as I said to TF, though we’re all liable to error, we should be willing to correct those errors when they are brought to our attention.

And why the term “Romanists”? Why not simply say Catholics?

louis said...

Mr. Hoffer,

My point is that your whole doctrine of infallibility, even with its precise definitions, is nothing but a gimick.

We tend to look at the actual teaching of your church, and there we see everything from gross error to normal human foibles and confusions. Occasionally the evidence is such that even you have to admit these.

So, your church commits, models, and teaches error. If you want to pretend that somewhere in the recesses of all that, there is a divinely protected "infallible" core, have at it. And if the many distinctions and qualifications help you to maintain that fiction with an easy conscience, so be it.

Some of us are more interested in what your church actually teaches, and does. So forgive us if we don't play the infallibility game with you.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi louis:

Catholics have never denied that the Church is made up of both wheat and chaff, goats and sheep, saints and sinners as some Reformed theologies contend. Infallibility is a divine gift that protects the deposit of faith from being distorted from the opinions and actions of the chaff, goats and sinners. Using your logic, we should toss out the Scriptures too since there are those who commit. model and teach error teaching from them as well. You confuse teacher with what is being taught.

You claim that some of you "tend to look at the actual teaching of my chruch" but yet the problem is that you folks never do look at what it teaches. If you did, I would expect to see a citation from a catechism or an encyclical or a conciliar document referencing what the Church teaches.

BTW, did you search Pope John Paul II's heart to determine what he was thinking when he kissed that book. Or better yet, what prompting of the Holy Spirit led you to the knowledge that when he kissed that Koran, he knew for certain that he was kissing a Koran as opposed to a Bible in Arabic. Or for that matter, have you considered differences between Polish culture and our own?

The problem is that you are willing to assume the worst or see the worst in anything that a Catholic does as opposed to worrying about what is in your own heart. Remove the beam from your own eye before complaining about the mote in others.

Turretinfan said...

"you folks never do look at what it teaches"

This is so obviously false that I wonder what the point of saying it was? It's not like any of us are going to believe you. Is it just to spark a response?

Turretinfan said...

"popes tend to give people the benefit of the doubt"

This is amusing. Zosimus wasn't (in this case) giving the benefit of the doubt to Innocent (later known as Innocent I), his immediate predecessor, or to the North African bishops.

Moreover, Zosimus doesn't express any doubt.

Instead, Zosimus approved of the orthodoxy of both Pelagius (based on a letter) and Caelestius.

The best explanation of this is that Zosimus was more concerned about power than doctrine, that he thought the Pelagian controversy was a tempest in a teapot in the West, and that he didn't fully appreciate the errors of Pelagius and those associated with him.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. Fan, I am not interested in "best" explanations, only true explanations. And as far as the honesty of my opinion as to whether some "folks" look at what the Catholic Church "actually" teaches, your trio of articles comparing Augustine with "modern Rome" without stating once in any of those three articles what "modern Rome" actually teaches on transubstantiation is Exhibit "A" that you folks do not care to make a truthful presentation of what the Church teaches in your attempts to impugn it.

God bless!

Edward Reiss said...

Paul Hoffer,

"... without stating once in any of those three articles what "modern Rome" actually teaches on transubstantiation is Exhibit "A" that you folks do not care to make a truthful presentation of what the Church teaches in your attempts to impugn it."

The problem is, that due to the "development of doctrine", that no one can say what the RCC will teach tomorrow.

The issue is not so much "what the church teaches" in a generic sense, but that whenever a pope does or says something unorthodox, a raft of tendentious explanations are put forth to explain away what the pope in question did. Did the pope write letters supporting a heresy? Well, that is not an infallible statement according to how the doctrine of infallibility later developed etc. etc. The answer actually makes history and theology obscure, because a later template--in this case the later "development of the doctrine of papal infallibility--is always forced upon an earlier event. These interpretations are tendentious because if one is not already RCC, they are quite weak and have the air of circularity about them.

Finally, it is a common trope for RC apologists to advance the claim that their opponents "don;t understand" what the Church teaches. In ythe vast majority of cases this i snot true--we understand, we just reject the apologist's explanation as tendentious and we also reject Rome's claims, which are the fount of the tendentious explanations.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer,

I'll chalk up your false claims to ignorance of the remainder of the body of my writings on the topic of transubstantiation. I'd rather do that than accuse you of intentional dishonesty, which would seem to be the only other alternative.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr .Reiss,

Thank you for a thoughtful response.

I pray that I will be able to reply as throughfully.

You wrote:

The problem is, that due to the "development of doctrine", that no one can say what the RCC will teach tomorrow.

Me: No one can say what heresy or misunderstandings that the Church will need to respond to tomorrow. Development of doctrine is not arbitary innovation but an attempt to make more clear the deposit of faith which was handed on to the Church. Or as the Church teaches:

"The tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts, through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For, as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her" (Dei Verbum 8).

You wrote:

The issue is not so much "what the church teaches" in a generic sense, but that whenever a pope does or says something unorthodox, a raft of tendentious explanations are put forth to explain away what the pope in question did.

Me: It is not tendentious to offer an explanation consistent with what the Church teaches when someone uses the actions or words of its shepherds to attack it. Our host attempts to offer such correction when he perceives some using the words or actions of Fr. Luther to undermine attributes unique to Protestantism. Should I not do likewise when it is within my capacity to do so? Or should I meekly allow misapprehension to be used to mislead brothers and sisters in Christ?

You wrote:

Did the pope write letters supporting a heresy? Well, that is not an infallible statement according to how the doctrine of infallibility later developed etc. etc. The answer actually makes history and theology obscure, because a later template--in this case the later "development of the doctrine of papal infallibility--is always forced upon an earlier event.

Me: Did development of doctrine help clarify Christ's nature at Nicea? Did our understanding on the Trinity become clearer in response to heretical musings? Infallibility does not make history or theology obscure, rather it puts such writings into perspective. In other words, I do not have such a negative view of the utility of language.

You wrote:

These interpretations are tendentious because if one is not already RCC, they are quite weak and have the air of circularity about them.

Me: Since my aim of argument in this forum is to offer the reasons for my hope, not trash others, whether my statements are construed as partisan is not my problem. You have to look into your own heart as to whether they should been seen with suspicion. And if you view them as being circuitous, I would only point out that such arguments are not fallacious if the truth claims behind them are true.

Paul Hoffer said...

Cont.

You wrote:

Finally, it is a common trope for RC apologists to advance the claim that their opponents "don;t understand" what the Church teaches.

Me: It is not so much of understanding what the Church teaches, but of treating with what it actually teaches rather than opposing distorted constructs which may stoke one's pride when such are refuted but in the end do not advance any legitimate aim of argument.

You wrote:

In the vast majority of cases this is not true--we understand, we just reject the apologist's explanation as tendentious and we also reject Rome's claims, which are the fount of the tendentious explanations.

Me: I imagine that you are more discerning than that and do not actually reject out of hand the truth claims underpinning what someone writes merely because you find them to be tendentious. I would hope that you would stip away the pretense and hyperbole and focus on what the person says and not necessarily on how they say it. Applying your assertion, I should out of hand reject everything you have written because I perceive it to be as tendentious as well, but that is not the way I am.

Mr. Fan: If I have written something untrue please show me where in any of the three articles you wrote do you state what "modern" Rome teaches. Since you did not link to anything else in those articles that sets forth what you think modern Rome teaches, I would not have any basis for going outside of the articles themselves.

God bless!

Edward Reiss said...

Paul Hoffer,

"Since my aim of argument in this forum is to offer the reasons for my hope, not trash others, whether my statements are construed as partisan is not my problem. You have to look into your own heart as to whether they should been seen with suspicion. And if you view them as being circuitous, I would only point out that such arguments are not fallacious if the truth claims behind them are true."

I am not "trashing" anyone, I am just pointing out that your arguments depend so much on circularity (the RCC is the church...) or special pleading "that developed later...." that they are not at all convincing. This is a defect of your argument and not one of my understanding, or of TFan's understanding etc.

To whit, when confronted with a good example which undermines your belief about the infallibility of the bishop of Rome, you resort to "Development of doctrine", which actually admits the RCC does not teach today what it taught yesterday. Or, if that tack is not taken, you state that for a variety of reasons the "mistake" in question is not actually the pope teaching ex cathedra--because from we "know" from hundreds of years later what an actual ex-cathedra teaching is because it "developed" in a certain way. (Development of doctrine is a novelty, BTW--i.e. it "developed" too). And if that doesn't work, the final trope is to claim your opponents are basically too dim to understand the teachings of the Majisterium, which teaching is supposed to be an explanation of what we are supposed to believe in the first place according to the development of doctrine. I.e. if even the Majisterium's teaching is too difficult for non-experts to grasp, your whole interpretive framework falls apart--because that is one of its main purposes, isn't it?

All of these tools are used to avoid and obfuscate what is under discussion, and they are frankly quite weak and unconvincing. It looks more like sophistry than anything else.

Hence, when you quote what "the church" teaches, it looks like just another convenient citation of what "the Church" teaches today, and depending on circumstances in the future, it may mean something completely different from what you say it means tomorrow. It all depends on the "development of doctrine". Since things are always "developing", you are in no better position to state what RC teaching is than anyone else.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Mr. Reiss:

You wrote:

I am not "trashing" anyone, I am just pointing out that your arguments depend so much on circularity (the RCC is the church...) or special pleading "that developed later...." that they are not at all convincing. This is a defect of your argument and not one of my understanding, or of TFan's understanding etc.

Me: Whether my argument is defective or not remains to be seen. All I pointed out originally is that the intimation that Catholics think that popes do not make mistakes is demonstrably false. The Catholic Church has never held that. There is a distinct difference between indefectibility and infallibility. I merely pointed out the difference between the two and offered a definition of the latter to demonstrate the difference. I made no attempt to persuade the readers here that the pope’s actions of kissing a koran was appropriate or correct. If there has been development here, it is how my points have been developed into a full-fledged argument.

As far a circuity of argument goes, there are vicious circles and virtuous circles. You have yet to demonstrate that my argumentation suffers from the former as opposed to the latter.

And in regards to special pleading, I don’t see how I have done that. There is not a time ever when the Church has taught that a pope is indefectible. Not ever. There is no time in history that the Church ever taught that infallibility is equivalent to indefectibility. Thus, whether the doctrine of infallibility has developed is irrelevant to the matter at hand. The only special pleading that has been engaged in on this thread is the suggestion that personal conduct of a pope somehow undermines the dogma of infallibility.

You wrote:

To whit, when confronted with a good example which undermines your belief about the infallibility of the bishop of Rome, you resort to "Development of doctrine", which actually admits the RCC does not teach today what it taught yesterday.

Me:

You would have to show me when the personal conduct of a pope has ever been held up at any time in the 2000 year history of the Church to be the equivalent as infallible teaching before this example could be considered as a “good” example that should undermine my belief in anything the Church teaches. As I indicated before, such has never been the case. Yes, it is true that the doctrine of infallibility has developed or to be stated more precisely has been clarified and refined over time, but to my knowledge, infallibility has never been used to explain away the personal conduct of a pope or to excuse personal error.

You wrote:

Or, if that tack is not taken, you state that for a variety of reasons the "mistake" in question is not actually the pope teaching ex cathedra--because from we "know" from hundreds of years later what an actual ex-cathedra teaching is because it "developed" in a certain way. (Development of doctrine is a novelty, BTW--i.e. it "developed" too). And if that doesn't work, the final trope is to claim your opponents are basically too dim to understand the teachings of the Majisterium, which teaching is supposed to be an explanation of what we are supposed to believe in the first place according to the development of doctrine. I.e. if even the Magisterium's teaching is too difficult for non-experts to grasp, your whole interpretive framework falls apart--because that is one of its main purposes, isn't it?

Me: Your argument might have had legs you can show a single time in the post-apostolic
history of the Catholic Church when it has elevated the personal conduct of a pope to what amounts to an ex cathedra pronouncement of dogma. Now that would be a development indeed!

Paul Hoffer said...

Cont.

You wrote:

All of these tools are used to avoid and obfuscate what is under discussion, and they are frankly quite weak and unconvincing. It looks more like sophistry than anything else.

Me: True sophistry is representing my argument to be something that I didn’t argue.

You wrote:

Hence, when you quote what "the church" teaches, it looks like just another convenient citation of what "the Church" teaches today, and depending on circumstances in the future, it may mean something completely different from what you say it means tomorrow. It all depends on the "development of doctrine". Since things are always "developing", you are in no better position to state what RC teaching is than anyone else.

Me: All I have done is provide you definitions of infallibility from official Church documents
to demonstrate that such is not considered to be synonymous with indefectibility which is the standard that you are holding the pope to, a standard, by the way, that you do not hold your own leaders to. If you can show me how I have misstated the doctrine in any way, I am open to correction.

For that matter, if you can show me a time when the Church has ever equated infallibility with indefectibility, you might actually have something that amounts to a real argument as opposed to a tendentious (to borrow your term) rehash of Protestant talking points.

God bless!

Turretinfan said...

Let's consider this claim: "Development of doctrine is not arbitary innovation but an attempt to make more clear the deposit of faith which was handed on to the Church."

How could anyone tell the two apart in practice? In other words, how can someone in Rome's communion distinguish between a situation where the pope is developing doctrine and where the pope is arbitrarily innovating?

It's fine to just assert that it is not arbitrary innovation, but if it looks like arbitrary innovation, and it quacks like arbitrary innovation ...

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"If I have written something untrue please show me where in any of the three articles you wrote do you state what "modern" Rome teaches. Since you did not link to anything else in those articles that sets forth what you think modern Rome teaches, I would not have any basis for going outside of the articles themselves."

One reason you might go outside the three posts (to look at some of the thousands of other posts) is if you were going to make a general claim, like the general claim you made above.

Paul Hoffer said...

TF, Again what general claim did I make? I stated that nowhere in the three articles that you wrote comparing what Saint Augustine believed in regards to the Eucharist with what "modern Rome" teaches did you attempt to actually articulate what "modern Rome" teaches. Please show me anywhere in those three articles where you stated what the present-day Catholic Church teaches.

And if you supposedly have written thousands of articles on the subject, wouldn't it have been nice to link to even one of them so the reader could have made up their own mind as to the veracity of your claims.

BTW, before I made the assertion, I did the follow search: +"modern Rome" +transubstantiation +Turretinfan. Nothing comes up showing that you cited to anything produced by "Modern Rome," no conciliar document, encyclical, or even the CCC. Likewise, when you tap on the transubstantiation tag on your own website, no such documents can be found in any of your postings aside from Mr. Bellisario citations to same. Now I will admit that it is possible that I may have missed something in the voluminous mass of writing that you manufacture on your website, but I will reassert again that one reading those three articles alone would have no idea they exist. Thus, I would be careful when bandying the word "false" about.

And as far as the legitimate development of doctrine vs. arbitrary innovation goes, I guess that is why we Catholics rely upon a magisterial authority rather than one's subjective private judgment to assist us.

God bless!

Joe said...

Hi Paul,

I do apologize for my delay. Recent heart bypass surgery has unordered my life a bit.

You said, "do you believe that the universe revolves around the sun? I don't. Heliocentrism is as wrong as geocentrism. The sun is not the "center" of the solar system, but a focus around which most planetary bodies in the solar system move around in eliptical orbits as opposed to circular ones."

No, I do not believe that the universe revolves around the sun. That was not what an acquaintance (Brandon) and I were discussing. Yes, I imagine those living at that time did not know how expansive the universe was. So hello/geo would have different meanings now. But again, that was not my point. (or the concept of either elliptical or circular)

Among others, we were discussing Pope Urban VIII in 1633 at the tribunal of Galileo where he said:

"The proposition that the sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to the Holy Scripture"

and...

"The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith".

Brandon rejects these official statements by the Pope, and several popes following, and the Catechism of Trent, etc....while still claiming that the Church does not error, ever, not even one "iota".

His only defense what that was the issue was not an important one. I said, declaring something "formally heretical" and an issue that relates to the interpretation of scripture is not important?? Also, informed him that it was also considered a "pernicious danger to the Catholic faith"...and it was the unanimous consent of the fathers.

Then he accused of being "not ready or in the position to understand the church"...when in the meantime, he considered changing his views on what the official stance of the church actually is.

That is why I needed duct tape to keep my head from exploding! I agree that it is not an infallible teaching, and can be changed. But if it still has not been changed, than I do not understand why any Catholics would disagree with Pope Urban just because science may show something different. Most, at least many of RC teachings were not declared to be infallible, but that does not mean they can be just ignored or disobeyed.

-in HIm,

Joe

Joe said...

Also, my acquaintance Brandon said that it is the teaching of the RCC that the truth claims of the RCC have been shown to all....so if I do not accept the claims of the RCC, then that is his reason for saying I am not in a position to understand the church yet.

And again, in the background, he had no defense and was actually looking into see if I was right...that the church still officially teaches that the earth is motionless, etc.

in Him,

Joe

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Joe:

You wrote:

I do apologize for my delay. Recent heart bypass surgery has unordered my life a bit.

Me:

I hope that nothing that I write here will impair your recuperation in any way. My father and other family members have had heart bypass surgery so I am well aware how such an event disrupts a person’s life and the lives of friends and loved ones. I will add you to my daily prayers as I do my hours that God grace you with a full recovery.

You wrote:

Among others, we were discussing Pope Urban VIII in 1633 at the tribunal of Galileo where he said:

"The proposition that the sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to the Holy Scripture"

and...

"The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith".

Brandon rejects these official statements by the Pope, and several popes following, and the Catechism of Trent, etc....while still claiming that the Church does not error, ever, not even one "iota".

Me: I can not address the discourse between you and Brandon since I have not seen a transcript of it. However, the first problem that I have is the fact that the propositions you reference are not the words of Pope Urban VIII at all or an official statement by him. The above propositions are taken from Galileo’s sentence which was signed by seven of ten cardinals who presided over his trial. In fact, Urban VIII never signed any document involving Galileo’s trial whatsoever. He did not participate in the trial although a nephew of his was oe of the judges (who refused to sign the sentence btw). If you do not believe me on this, you may wish to refer to the Trial of Galileo website here: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/galileo.html

You wrote: That is why I needed duct tape to keep my head from exploding! I agree that it is not an infallible teaching, and can be changed. But if it still has not been changed, than I do not understand why any Catholics would disagree with Pope Urban just because science may show something different. Most, at least many of RC teachings were not declared to be infallible, but that does not mean they can be just ignored or disobeyed.

Me: If you are getting the idea that it has not been changed from something Mr. Sungenis wrote, he is flat out wrong. I have been doing Catholic apologetics now for 16 years. In that time, I have acquired a Catechism of the Council of Trent. I have read many of the conciliar documents going back to Nicea I. I have read at least portions of most of the papal encyclicals going back to middle ofthe 19th century. I own both Denzinger’s Sources of Catholic Dogma and Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. I have not ever come across any statement that rises to the level of dogma that states that the Church requires Catholics to adhere to a scientific notion of geocentrism. In fact, I have never the Church take a dogmatic position on any scientific theory. What the Church has dogmatically stated is that scientific truth and religious truth will never contradict each other, a doctrine held by Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and most emphatically reaffirmed by Bl. John Paul II in his encyclical Fides et Ratio.

Paul Hoffer said...

cont.

In regards to Galileo himself, what he was tried for breaking a written promise made to Cardinal Bellarmine in 1616 that he would not teach that the Copernican view of heliocentrism was an absolute fact until the matter could first be studied by other scientists and that theolgians could determine how such a view would impact the Church’s understanding of certain scripture passages. His Dialogues broke that promise by holding that heliocentrism was not merely a theory but an absolutely proven matter of fact. Galileo’s views were opposed by not only by the Catholic Church but by Protestant communities as well.

The problem I have with the use of the Galileo trial a Exhibit “A” in perpetuating the myth of supposed papal attack on science is that Urban VIII encouraged Galileo to write a book setting forth both the proofs and arguments that were both pro and con about the Copernican theory of heliocentrism, and Galileo wrote a book that did not treat the arguments of both sides scientifically, but chose instead to ridicule and mocked those who disagreed with his view on things. Again, you don’t have to take my word for it, check out the timeline on the above website.

As for the Church still condemning Galileo’s views today, in 1741, his books were given an imprimatur (meaning that they contain nothing that is contrary to the faith) and were taken off the index of prohibited books in 1757. Pope Pius VII issued a decree in 1822 that allowed the then present-day view of heliocentism and the modern astronomic theories on the sola system could be taught in Catholic schools. In 1893, Pope Leo XIII cited favorably in Providentissimus Deus that Catholics needed to understand that the Scriptures often makes use of figurative language and is not meant to teach science. In 1992, Pope John Paul II formally issued an apology for the fact that Galileo should not have been tried for his views.

As for the levels of teaching in the Catholic Church, which ones are considered infallible and which ones are not, there are a number of books out there that provides guidance on the matter. My favorite is a book written by Msgr. Agius entitled “Tradition and the Church”.

I hope this helps you to save some money in not having to buy duct-tape.

God bless!

Joe said...

Also, I never, and I do not believe Sungenis has either...said that this raised to the level of dogma. I admitted that the teaching could be changed without contradicting the infallible teachings of the RCC. A very close friend, who has trying to convert me to Rome for many years now, has explained to me that teachings can be changed, but dogma can never be changed.

Also, was not Aquinas and the unanimous consent of the fathers thru the Middle ages (except for 2 in the middle ages) all geocentrists? And those like Sungenis do not believe that geo contradicts science.

You: In regards to Galileo himself, what he was tried for breaking a written promise made to Cardinal Bellarmine in 1616 that he would not teach that the Copernican view of heliocentrism was an absolute fact until the matter could first be studied by other scientists and that theolgians could determine how such a view would impact the Church’s understanding of certain scripture passages. His Dialogues broke that promise by holding that heliocentrism was not merely a theory but an absolutely proven matter of fact. Galileo’s views were opposed by not only by the Catholic Church but by Protestant communities as well.

Me: Don't see anything I disagree with here probably other than it was not simply a matter of Galileo declaring it as absolute fact. The implications that geo was incorrect was considered a "pernicious danger to the Catholic faith".

You: The problem I have with the use of the Galileo trial a Exhibit “A” in perpetuating the myth of supposed papal attack on science is that Urban VIII encouraged Galileo to write a book setting forth both the proofs and arguments that were both pro and con about the Copernican theory of heliocentrism, and Galileo wrote a book that did not treat the arguments of both sides scientifically, but chose instead to ridicule and mocked those who disagreed with his view on things. Again, you don’t have to take my word for it, check out the timeline on the above website.

Me: Yes, I will check the timeline you provided, and Sungenis' timeline as well. He has one too. :) And similarly to my prior comment, I think the issue goes way beyond how Galileo reacted. I do not much care on that really. The issue is about the actually viewpoint on geo and hello. Helio was rejected by the church even prior to Galileo. Certainly it came more to a head with Galileo. Another hopefully related quote from Sungeis:

Prior to issuing this decree (the 1633 decree), Pope Urban VIII was in protracted discussions with the Grand Duke of Tuscany about putting a stop to Galileo, stating that Galileo’s teaching was a “pernicious danger to the Catholic faith.” After the 1633 decree, Pope Urban VIII sent
letters to all the papal nuncios and universities of Europe stating that Galileo had been
condemned and that heliocentrism was branded as “formally heretical” and not to be taught by anyone. Most important is the fact that the 1633 decision condemning heliocentrism as
formally heretical has never been overturned by the Catholic Church, even to the present
day."

You: As for the levels of teaching in the Catholic Church, which ones are considered infallible and which ones are not, there are a number of books out there that provides guidance on the matter. My favorite is a book written by Msgr. Agius entitled “Tradition and the Church”.

Me: Are there disagreements as to which papal statements/teachings/etc...are considered infallible. Is the book you mention infallible? If not, are there other books that have different opinions? These are not questions to be polemical...honest questions.

cont..

Joe said...

You: I hope this helps you to save some money in not having to buy duct-tape.

Me: Sorry, the duct tape is needed. When someone accuses me of not willing to understand the church on an issue, when they themselves start looking into the actual issue because of the info I provide him, and then claim I am not a point that I am actually even willing to understand, after providing much evidence to the contrary that he could not refute...because it is his church's teaching that the God shows the claims of Rome to be true to anyone legitimately seeking.....requires a few roles of duct tape. Sorry for the run-on. That conversation still bothers me...as you can probably tell. :)

In Him,

Joe

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Joe, I sincerely appreciate your comments and I now have a sense where your frustration comes from based on this statement:

"Well, I can respect your years of apologetics within the RCC. Honestly, I do. But, Sungenis also has credentials...and since there is disagreement among apologists regarding the matter, I simply just cannot take your word for it. This is not to be offensive, and I am confident you will understand."

Me: I take no offense. I am not a theologian or a scholar. I don't pretend to have "credentials" other than I am a member of the "Body of Christ" by virtue of my baptism and my faith who is not afraid to give the reasons for my hope. I take no offense because I do not try to present present my opinion as authoritative. That is why I try to link to source documents and documents that I understand to be authoritative according to the teachings of my church (including Scripture) rather than put on airs of personal authority.

Please do compare Mr. Sungenis' timeline with the one I linked to. I am not one to let the facts to get in the way of the evidence. I will end my participation in this discussion with this note. According to the Magisterial sources I own and have access to, Pope Urban VIII did not teach anything that rises to the level of infallible teaching. If Mr. Sungenis thinks that certain pronouncements that came out of a papal tribunal should be clothed with such a garment, then I would expect him to rail against people who smoke anywhere on Catholic Church premises since Pope Urban actually issued a ban on smoking during his pontificate (which his successor repealed).

God bless!

Constantine said...

Paul Hoffer writes,

Once the African Bishops provided Pope Zosimus proof that they had deceived him, he issued his Tractoria condemning them and Pelagianism.

So you agree, Zosimus did indeed affirm Pelagianism. It was sort of a John Kerry moment – he voted against it after he voted for it.

Which is why the African bishops appealed to the emperor, Honorius who, in his letter Ad conturbundum (April 30, 418) banned Pelagius and Caelestius, closed the issue.

“The Church of Africa thus saved the Roman see from taking up with doctrinal error; and at the same time, made it clear that by the Roman primacy they did not consider themselves to be bound by orders from Rome.” (Kidd, B. J. The Roman Primacy to A.D. 461. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1936., Pp. 90-1)

Peace.

Joe said...

Hi Paul.

I know you may be done with this conversation with me, but I wanted to make sure I did not misrepresent Sungenis. I do thank you for the information you provided.

You said: According to the Magisterial sources I own and have access to, Pope Urban VIII did not teach anything that rises to the level of infallible teaching. If Mr. Sungenis thinks that certain pronouncements that came out of a papal tribunal should be clothed with such a garment, then I would expect him to rail against people who smoke anywhere on Catholic Church premises since Pope Urban actually issued a ban on smoking during his pontificate (which his successor repealed)."

To my knowledge, Sungenis has not said that Pope Urban's comments/approval/etc...rose to the level of infallible teaching. Actually, from what I recall, he said that it was not necessary infallible and the Church could change their mind on the matter and repeal it.

But he does argue that many if not most of Rome's teachings have never been considered infallible...and that an obedient RC should embrace the earth being still, etc.

in Him,

Joe

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello Constantine,

You wrote:

“So you agree, Zosimus did indeed affirm Pelagianism. It was sort of a John Kerry
moment – he voted against it after he voted for it.”

Me: Sigh... That not what I said at all. What I said was that based on the evidence presented
to Pope Zosimus, he believed that it appeared that Pelagius affirmed the teachings of the Catholic Church and had not swerved into heresy. In other words, Zosimus did not affirm Pelagianism; rather he was tricked into thinking that Pelagius did not affirm Pelagianism. That is a big difference my friend.


You wrote:

Which is why the African bishops appealed to the emperor, Honorius who, in his letter Ad conturbundum (April 30, 418) banned Pelagius and Caelestius, closed the issue.

Me: Have you read any document labeled “Ad conturbundum” dated on April 30, 418 AD that
supposedly ruled on the appeal of the African bishops? I could not find such a document, although I did find in the New Schaff-Herog Encyclopedia of Religius Knowledge on page 442 a reference to a rescript issued by Honorius on that date at Ravenna that banished Pelagius and his followers from Rome and confiscated their property. I also found that in February 418, the bishops of Africa met, compiled a dossier which was sent to no emperor, but to Pope Zosimus who issued his Epistle Trattoria condemning both Pelagius and Caelestius as well as solemnly condemning Pelagianism.


You wrote:

“The Church of Africa thus saved the Roman see from taking up with doctrinal error; and at the same time, made it clear that by the Roman primacy they did not consider themselves to be bound by orders from Rome.” (Kidd, B. J. The Roman Primacy to A.D. 461. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1936., Pp. 90-1)

Me: I do not have time to go to a library to read the quote in context, but it is interesting to me
that in reading Saint Augustne’s letter, the Bishops of Africa did not rely on their own authority for their appeal, but on that of Pope Innocent, Zosimus’ predecessor, but we are not talking about Roman primacy today, but whether Catholics believe that popes are indefectible as well as infallible. We do not. End of discussion.

What you have shown is how desperate some folks are to hype this issue up. In 417, Pope Zosimus is deceived that two miscreants are not heretics. In 418, he is convinced that he had been deceived, and he reverses his statement regarding the orthodoxy of Pelagius and Celestius and renews the excommunication of the heretics. Some Protestants (including some who have never heard of Honorius’ supposed Ad Conturbundum) attempt to use this to counter Papal Infallibility. Invariably, even though the Protestant folks don’t believe in the doctrine, they redefine it rather than deal with what the Church holds it to mean just so they can refute it. That is a strawman argument and like all strawmen they go up in flames when tested by the fire of truth.

God bless!

Paul Hoffer said...

P.S. Please forgive my atrocious spelling. I typed my comments on a little notebook computer and I am not used to the keyboard, I do not claim any sort of indefectibility btw.

James Swan said...

Please forgive my atrocious spelling.

Well, there are those trolls out there who would use typos to your detriment. I rarely make a big deal out of typos.