Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Which Roman Apologist Interprets the Pope Correctly?

Am I the only one who finds great irony in the various interpretations of what the recent pope has been saying? I visit various Roman Catholic websites, and I find such stuff like this. Then I visit another Roman website, and find stuff like this. Some people are claiming that various "spins" are being put on the papal statements.

Why is the pope so unclear? Perhaps this is the answer?

For a guy who's supposed to have the ability to speak infallibly, he certainly has a lack of clarity when not speaking infallibly. We appear to be left in the hands of Roman laymen, all claiming the ability to interpret the pope correctly. Yes, we're left with the private interpretations of Roman Catholic laymen.

I hope this pope has a long career.


EA said...

So we have a large and diverse population of clerics and laity willing to explain exactly what the pope meant. The solution to relying on one's own fallible reasoning to understand what he meant to say is apparently to rely on someone else's fallible reasoning.

How does a secondary or tertiary fallible explanation make more clear the original fallible statement?

I must be too fallible to be Catholic.

Ryan said...

Rome's apologists gave away the boat when they admitted the allegedly infallible statements aren't necessarily perspicuous either.

John Bugay said...

Did you see this comment?

Steve Dalton said...
Matt, I respect the Papal office, but this Pope is a disgrace to that office. I honestly believe he doesn't understand the importance of his position or the function of the same. He doesn't even want to be known as the Pope, he insists on being called the Bishop of Rome. He even refuses to wear papal clothes. What would a private in an army think of a general who refused to wear his uniform? I pray God will get a hold of this poor confused man, and scream, "You're the Pope, act and talk like one, or I'll find someone else who can do the job right!

Pete Holter said...

“I hope this pope has a long career.”

I hope so too. And I hope that the Lord brings some holy Catholics into your life!

Hi John!

With love in Christ,

Rooney said...

"this Pope is a disgrace to that office"

How dare you presume to be wiser than the Pope and be Pope over him?

I wonder how far it will go before RCs see this Pope or any other Pope as an infiltrator.

Rhology said...

I wonder how far it will go before RCs see this Pope or any other Pope as an infiltrator.

The sedevacantists are way ahead of the curve on that one.

PeaceByJesus said...

Keywords, "private theologian"

I think that the pope's handlers have been encouraging reticence in the light of all this.

Those recent quotes do example the need for interpretation using Fallible Human Reasoning (FHR), which RCs censure as unable to provide assurance of truth.

Under the Roman model, the early disciples of Christ should have followed magisterium of the stewards of Divine revelation who rejected Him, versus being persuaded by Scriptural substantiation.

However, the RC reliance on interpretation begins with using FHR in deciding to submit to Rome.

Afterwards it is required in discerning which of 3 or 4 levels (how many there are is also interpretive) of the magisterium, and thus what degree of assent is required, and allowance of dissent, if any, and how.

And as often seen, varying degrees interpretation is also required in understanding the teaching of the magisterium.

Then there is the great liberty to adopt interpretations of Scripture to support Rome, which can be quite inventive, treating Scripture as a servant to support Rome, not as the master from which doctrines come.

Scott said...

James asks:Why is the pope so unclear?

I answer: Pope Francis definitely was NOT being unclear in the recent interview, which has been so widely quoted - and largely out of context! Anyone who will take the time to actually read what Pope Francis said (context is available in my article, which you linked to the original, so I won't link it again here) they can clearly see what he did say is not what he was portrayed as saying in the secular media. Sadly, it seems, several Catholic commentators were taken in by the out-of-context misrepresentations of what Pope Francis actually said!


Rhology said...

Why does the Pope need an interpreter, if he is supposed to be the interpreter of the Bible for us and we can't understand the Bible without an infallible interpreter?

PeaceByJesus said...

If the pope keeps going in the direction he seems to heading, It may be only a matter of time before he gets banned for life by the mighty magisterium at Catholic Answers:)

PeaceByJesus said...

There are two protests, one being that the pope lacks perspicuity, which some lay RCAs (RC apologists) deny (to whom Vatican Two was likely all clear also), and the other is regarding what the pope is most clearly teaching, which some lay RCAs protest, and others rejoice at, and others reconcile this pope as being consistent with their understanding of what Rome, or at least V2 Rome, teaches.

James Swan said...


"Many Catholics with good intentions think all of this confusion is the fault of the media. I beg to differ. It’s not the media, it’s the pope himself. He gives a certain impression with his words, and he’s been around the media long enough to know how to do that. We’re only six months into this papacy: orthodox Catholic commentators are eventually going to get tired of scrambling to do damage control, and indeed this is already happening."


Gerard Plourde said...

"Which Roman Apologist Interprets the Pope Correctly?"

None of them. Despite all of the interpretation, he hasn't abrogated any doctrine of the Church. He is advising that the members (clergy and lay members) be less judgmental and more pastoral and merciful toward those who do not agree with what the Church teaches. He is advising to meet people where they are and to recognize that none of us is in a position to judge another's soul.

PeaceByJesus said...

He is advising that the members (clergy and lay members) be less judgmental and more pastoral and merciful toward those who do not agree with what the Church teaches. He is advising to meet people where they are and to recognize that none of us is in a position to judge another's soul.

Which are reasons why so many TRCs find him so distasteful, as they are characterized by being judgmental and seem to long for Boniface 8 type rule (below) and the Inquisitions and all its unholy means.

Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam:
“We declare, say, define, and pronounce [ex cathedra] that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

"If, therefore, the Greeks or others say that they are not committed to Peter and to his successors, they necessarily say that they are not of the sheep of Christ, since the Lord says that there is only one fold and one shepherd (Jn.10:16). Whoever, therefore, resists this authority, resists the command of God Himself. "

Fifth Lateran Council: ...subjection to the Roman pontiff is necessary for salvation for all Christ's faithful, as we are taught by the testimony of both sacred scripture and the holy fathers, and as is declared by the constitution of pope Boniface VIII of happy memory, also our predecessor,

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9): "The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium."

Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos: "Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius [the eastern “Orthodox” schismatics] and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls?...Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned."

• Pope Leo X: That it is against the will of the Spirit to burn heretics at the stake is condemned as false. (Pope Leo X, “Exsurge Domino,” 1520)

Pope Innocent IV, Ad extirpanda: The head of state or ruler must force all the heretics whom he has in custody,..to confess their errors and accuse other heretics whom they know,...


Scott Windsor Sr said...

I stand by what I said. I stand by what Pope Francis actually said. I am fully aware of those who are second-guessing the pope at every turn, and sadly many of those are professing Catholics. I would suspect that most of those are Traditionalists and/or "Rad-Trads" who are very concerned with how Pope Francis has presented himself thus far. I happen to be more in the Traditionalist camp, but I'm not one who is looking for faults in the pope. If he were to truly expose a fault, I would privately join the nay saying, but publicly I would (I hope) just not endorse something I see as fallacious. IMHO, those Catholics who are publicly broadcasting such negatives, especially unfounded negatives as we've seen thus far, are creating scandal and feeding non-Catholic commentators ammunition for forums, such as this one. Few (here anyway) seem to be listening - the pope said nothing against Catholic teaching in this interview! No one here has produced a single thing he's said which is contrary to Catholic teaching - and you can't because he didn't say anything contrary to Catholic teaching!

Rhology said...

- the pope said nothing against Catholic teaching in this interview

That's the really sad part.

PeaceByJesus said...

More recent comments.

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Rob S said...

Where did you gey those cites? And how do you Know that Pope Boniface was speaking ex cathedra? (Do you know well what ex cathedra means?) I'm protestant also and that's why I want to know it

PeaceByJesus said...

Sorry Rob. S for not seeing your comment until now,. and while I do not know what you are referring to as "cites" in case you mean "sites" I can provide them if needed. One for Boniface is https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/halsall/source/B8-unam.asp .

As for how do you Know that Pope Boniface was speaking ex cathedra? (Do you know well what ex cathedra means , yes, I do know what it means (basically, when the pope, as the pope, formally defines a matter of faith and morals for the whole church) as do others, and thus UNAM SANCTAM is judged by many as being an ex cathedra statement.

Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, an authority on papal bulls and decrees” on Unam Sanctam: “This bull, then, was beyond all doubt an act ex cathedra... Whatever definition, therefore, is to be found in this bull is to be received as of faith." — Vatican Decrees in their Bearing on Civil Allegiance. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1875. pg 57

"It is evident that the presumed infallibility of the Pope gives a strict prescriptive force to any ex cathedra utterance of his on the relation of Church and State. A specially famous utterance of this kind is the bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII. [ Ignaz von[ Dollinger [famed German theologian, Catholic priest and church historian] seems to have regarded this bull as ex cathedra, for his objection to it was specified as one reason why he could not accept the dogma of infallibility." (The Andover Review, Volume 15, 1891, p. 149)

the following critera must hold for a pope's statement to be ex cathedra:

He must:

speak for the whole Church,
invoke all his authority,
intend to definitively define dogma, and
speak regarding the faith and/or morals.

Particular Examples

For example, Pope Eugene IV did meet all these criteria in Cantate Domino (1442):

speaks for the whole Church: "The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches…"
invokes all his authority: The document is an authoritative papal bull.
intend to definitively define dogma: In this case, he is not defining anything new; he's only relaying what has been said before him (like in Unam Sanctam of 1302) regarding the necessity of the Church for salvation.
speak regarding the faith and/or morals: Yes. In this case, he speaks of both.

A similar analysis can be made for Pope Boniface VIII's Unam Sanctam (1302):

speaks for the whole Church: Bulls are addressed to the whole Church.
invokes all his authority: The document is an authoritative papal bull.
intend to definitively define dogma: "…we declare, we proclaim, we define…"
speak regarding the faith and/or morals: Yes. He speaks about what is necessary for salvation, which pertains to the faith. - https://christianity.stackexchange.com/a/28433

PeaceByJesus said...

Note also that until Vatican one in Pastor Aeternus defined papal infallibility ("that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses... that infallibility...in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals" - chapter 4:9) then those who sat in the Pope's chair did not claim to have this personal charism, at least not expressly that i know of.

But after Pastor Aeternus this status of infallibility to papal statements which fulfill the infallibly defined criteria (for ecumenical councils are also defined as speaking infallibly accordingly, in union with the pope) are also said to apply .

For Rome has presumed to infallibly declare she is and will be perpetually infallible whenever she speaks in accordance with her infallibly defined (scope and subject-based) formula, which renders her declaration that she is infallible, to be infallible, as well as all else she accordingly declares.

While the number of infallible papal statements since V1 is said to be 2 or 3, yet in a a four-hour speech Bishop Vincent Gasser, spokesman for the deputation “de fide” (the committee of bishops charged with drafting the V1 solemn definition) said, that "we are not dealing with something new here." "Already thousands and thousands of dogmatic judgments have gone forth from the apostolic See." - http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/papalinfallibility.pdf

Thus the question should not be how do you Know that Pope Boniface was speaking ex cathedra but how do you not know?

However, the formal, if yet somewhat imprecise, definition of infallibility is necessary in order to claim that popes have not taught heresy, as pope Honoriousm, who was condemned as a heretic by the 6th ecumenical council and who thus burned his writings.