Rorate Caeli

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Lautsi v. Italy (application no. 30814/06)

CRUCIFIX IN CLASSROOMS:

CONTRARY TO PARENTS’ RIGHT TO EDUCATE THEIR CHILDREN IN LINE WITH THEIR CONVICTIONS AND TO CHILDREN’S RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION

Violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education)

examined jointly with Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion)
of the European Convention on Human Rights

Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court awarded the applicant 5,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage. (The judgment is available only in French.)

Principal facts

The applicant, Ms Soile Lautsi, is an Italian national who lives in Abano Terme (Italy). In 2001-2002 her children, Dataico and Sami Albertin, aged 11 and 13 respectively, attended the State school “Istituto comprensivo statale Vittorino da Feltre” in Abano Terme. All of the classrooms had a crucifix on the wall, including those in which Ms Lautsi’s children had lessons. She considered that this was contrary to the principle of secularism by which she wished to bring up her children. She informed the school of her position, referring to a Court of Cassation judgment of 2000, which had found the presence of crucifixes in polling stations to be contrary to the principle of the secularism of the State. In May 2002 the school’s governing body decided to leave the crucifixes in the classrooms. A directive recommending such an approach was subsequently sent to all head teachers by the Ministry of State Education.

On 23 July 2002 the applicant complained to the Veneto Regional Administrative Court about the decision by the school’s governing body, on the ground that it infringed the constitutional principles of secularism and of impartiality on the part of the public authorities. The Ministry of State Education, which joined the proceedings as a party, emphasised that the impugned situation was provided for by royal decrees of 1924 and 1928. On 14 January 2004 the administrative court granted the applicant’s request that the case be submitted to the Constitutional Court for an examination of the constitutionality of the presence of a crucifix in classrooms. Before the Constitutional Court, the Government argued that such a display was natural, as the crucifix was not only a religious symbol but also, as the “flag” of the only Church named in the Constitution (the Catholic Church), a symbol of the Italian State. On 15 December 2004 the Constitutional Court held that it did not have jurisdiction, on the ground that the disputed provisions were statutory rather than legislative. The proceedings before the administrative court were resumed, and on 17 March 2005 that court dismissed the applicant’s complaint. It held that the crucifix was both the symbol of Italian history and culture, and consequently of Italian identity, and the symbol of the principles of equality, liberty and tolerance, as well as of the State’s secularism. By a judgment of 13 February 2006, the Consiglio di Stato dismissed the applicant’s appeal, on the ground that the cross had become one of the secular values of the Italian Constitution and represented the values of civil life.

Complaints, procedure and composition of the Court

The applicant alleged, in her own name and on behalf of her children, that the display of the crucifix in the State school attended by the latter was contrary to her right to ensure their education and teaching in conformity with her religious and philosophical convictions, within the meaning of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1. The display of the cross had also breached her freedom of conviction and religion, as protected by Article 9 of the Convention.

The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 27 July 2006.

Judgment was given by a Chamber of seven judges, composed as follows:

Françoise Tulkens (Belgium), President,
Ireneu
Cabral Barreto (Portugal),
Vladimiro
Zagrebelsky (Italy),
Danutė
Jočienė (Lithuania),
Dragoljub
Popović (Serbia),
András
Sajó (Hungary),
Işıl
Karakaş (Turkey), judges,

and Sally
Dollé,
Section Registrar.

Decision of the Court

The presence of the crucifix – which it was impossible not to notice in the classrooms – could easily be interpreted by pupils of all ages as a religious sign and they would feel that they were being educated in a school environment bearing the stamp of a given religion. This could be encouraging for religious pupils, but also disturbing for pupils who practised other religions or were atheists, particularly if they belonged to religious minorities. The freedom not to believe in any religion (inherent in the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Convention) was not limited to the absence of religious services or religious education: it extended to practices and symbols which expressed a belief, a religion or atheism. This freedom deserved particular protection if it was the State which expressed a belief and the individual was placed in a situation which he or she could not avoid, or could do so only through a disproportionate effort and sacrifice.

The State was to refrain from imposing beliefs in premises where individuals were dependent on it. In particular, it was required to observe confessional neutrality in the context of public education, where attending classes was compulsory irrespective of religion, and where the aim should be to foster critical thinking in pupils.

The Court was unable to grasp how the display, in classrooms in State schools, of a symbol that could reasonably be associated with Catholicism (the majority religion in Italy) could serve the educational pluralism that was essential to the preservation of a “democratic society” as that was conceived by the Convention, a pluralism that was recognised by the Italian Constitutional Court.

The compulsory display of a symbol of a given confession in premises used by the public authorities, and especially in classrooms, thus restricted the right of parents to educate their children in conformity with their convictions, and the right of children to believe or not to believe. The Court concluded, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 taken jointly with Article 9 of the Convention.

***

This press release is a document produced by the Registry; the summary it contains does not bind the Court. The judgments are accessible on its Internet site (http://www.echr.coe.int).



143 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:41 PM

    Freedom of Religion crap for ya.

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  2. And meanwhile European schools are bowing to demands from Imams that Qurans be placed on the top shelves...

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  3. This shows just how futile the modern concept of 'freedom of religion' is.

    It is simply not possible to put all worldviews on an equal plane. This must be achieved either by stuffing the classroom with an infinite number of religious symbols for all possible faiths, or have none at all. The first option will upset those who find the symbols of other religions or symbols of religions in general objectionable. The second, by purporting to create a 'religion-neutral' territory, will in fact favour the Atheists.

    Of course, for Atheists, Atheism is the 'default worldview.' Strange it's not shared by 90% of the world's population, though.

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  4. It seems the only way atheists can support schools of their own is by forcing religious people to pay for them.

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  5. I wrote the following on the Reuters blog:

    “The presence of the crucifix … could be encouraging for religious pupils, but also disturbing for pupils who practised other religions or were atheists, particularly if they belonged to religious minorities,” the court said in a written ruling. (extract from article

    My comment:

    The quotation above “The presence of the cross…religious minorities” from Para 55 of the Judgement leaves out the important words and thus the judgement is less clear. Here is a ham translation of the missing words:

    “The presence of the Cross could easily be interpreted by pupils of all ages as a religious sign and they might feel that they were being educated in a school with a particular religion.”

    The Italian govt argued that the Crucifix was not a religious symbol but a ethical symbol representing self giving and peace etc and that the Italian State, which was “laique” had freely left the crucifix in classes in order to find a compromise with Catholics in Italy (see para 42) and not for religious reasons.

    This argument seems contradictory. The State does not view the crucifix as a religious symbol but leaves it in the classrooms to compromise with those who do regard it as a religious symbol. So the State does understand that the crucifix is an important religious symbol in eyes of many Italians but but will not defend it right to place this religious symbol in its classrooms.

    I hope Italian Catholics will strongly protest this judgement and demand the State keep the crucifix in classrooms of Italian schools.

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  6. Another reason the European Court of so-called Human Rights should be abolished . . . .

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  7. Secularism is a religion.

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  8. Anonymous10:12 PM

    The ruling is incorrect in Moral Law because it imposes a secularist persepctive on non-secularists. According to this secularist perspective, society must neither promote nor prohibit religion; it must be neutral.

    In contrast, Christians cannot exclude the Catholic Faith from anything, including the State, society, the military, or education. For Christ said, Those who are not with Me are against Me. He did not say that only those who oppose Me directly are against Me. In the Christian worldview, neutrals are enemies who need conversion.


    John Courtney Murray lives! Take the Church out of the State and the State will take Christ out of society, for it is impossible for Catholics, for example, to share their faith fully unless they share it publicly; and it is impossible for them to share it publicly without affecting others. The Christian perspective demands this sharing because it *requires* that we try to convert others to save their souls. Proselytism is intergral to the Catholic Faith. That's why I'm an integrist!

    What we are seeing is merely yet another step in the decline and fall of Christianity. This fall can only go so far, for God will only allow so much. Pray and work for a restoration!

    P.K.T.P.

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  9. Anonymous10:20 PM

    Get ready, Ireland. Get ready, Malta and Poland. Abortion and divorce and sodomy are acoming to you. Now would be a good time to pull out of the E.U. The other route favoured by many is called self-deception. We tell ourselves that disaster will not come, when we know perfectly well that it will. But the liberals will make the transition easier by publishing all the misdoings of the clergy as far and as wide as possible.

    This game of self-deception is the same one favoured by many in Forward-in-Faith in England. The incoming missile from Sweden tells them what they do not want to know, so they turn their backs on Sweden and face Wales. The real problem is that they want to keep all that lovely lovely money and all those splendid old churches which the British Government can take away from them in a flash.

    You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and Mammon.

    P.K.T.P.

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  10. Adeodatus10:21 PM

    Atheism is such a technically sophisticated and elevated philosophical and theological position that it has to eradicate all religious symbols and hide their texts in order to keep people from accidentally becoming backward, knuckle-dragging theists.

    It's the one thing the prophets of tolerance will not tolerate:
    "Bless me, fellow fornicator, for I have sinned... I deliberately entertained thoughts of a pure and virtuous nature."

    "I'm afraid you've committed an unforgiveable breach of social contract, citizen. Please report to the nearest re-education camp for a new personality."

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  11. We should all consecrate Europe to Mohammed and be done with this apostate continent.

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  12. Anonymous10:50 PM

    A COMING STEP

    1. From henceforth, the period beginning at midnight on 24th December and ending at midnight on 26th December shall be designed at law as 'Winterfest'. The previous names on the secular calendar are hereby abolished. It's a new statutory holiday of three whole days for everyone! Whopee!

    2. For all these days which fall on a Saturday or a Sunday, Winterfest will include an equal number of extra days immediately following this new 'triduum'.

    3. Christmas lights and displays may only be shown on private homes; and no clerk may offer anyone any religious greeting except in response to one from a customer. In my country, Canada, there are still Christmas lights and (rarely but still legally) Nativity scenes on public property. Not for long! Time to catch up to the U.S.A. on that. Already in Canada, however, Christmas trees are fast becoming 'holiday trees', and Christmas cake is now 'festive cake'. 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy Christmas' are fast disappearing as greetings, replaced by 'Season's Greetings' and 'Happy Holidays'. I counter the latter by using it for *other* holidays, such as Thanksgiving; and I use Season's Greetings for all the other seasons: all except winter.

    4. Easter Monday and Good Friday are hereby removed from the calendar. There will be a new holiday call Springfest. It will consist of the first Friday of April and the Monday following. Whopee! Two days extra for everyone! (Currently, in Canada, the civil servants get both Good Friday and Easter Monday as holidays, while everyone else only gets Good Friday. I'm not sure about the U.S.A. but I don't think they get Easter Monday anywhere.)


    Of course, once Christmas has been completely privatised by the Government and the secular press, Winterfest will become the third Wednesday and following Thursday and Friday in December, for FIVE (whopee!) consecutve days off. Those who are still Christian will be free to take Christmas as a sick day if it does not fall in this period. Frosty the Snowman will become the mascot of Winterfest, replacing Santa, just as Santa replaced the Infant Jesus. Baby steps: first you replace Christ with one who is at least a popularised version of a saint. Then you introduce a character who is connected to Santa but not to Jesus. Then you replace Santa with Frosty. In the end, Christ disappears altogether.

    P.K.T.P.

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  13. Angelo11:13 PM

    In a nut shell, this ruling is the rotten fruit of the conciliar document, Dignitatis Humanae, which stands in direct opposition, among other papal documents, to the infallible teaching of Gregory XVI in his encyclical Mirari Vos (August 15, 1832):

    “We come now to another cause, alas! all too fruitful of the deplorable ills which today afflict the Church. We mean indifferentism, or that widespread and dangerous opinion sown by the perfidy of the wicked, according to which it is possible, by the profession of some sort of faith, to procure the soul’s salvation, provided that one’s morals conform to the norms of justice and probity. From this poisoned source of indifferentism springs that false and absurd maxim, better termed the insanity (deliramentum), that liberty of conscience must be obtained and guaranteed for everyone. This is the most contagious of errors, which prepares the way for that absolute and totally unrestrained liberty of opinions which, for the ruin of Church and State, is spreading everywhere and which certain men, through an excess of impudence, do not fear to put forward as advantageous to religion. Ah, ‘what more disastrous death for souls than the liberty of error,’ said St. Augustine.”

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  14. Anonymous11:29 PM

    Bryan said, "I hope Italian Catholics will strongly protest this judgement and demand the State keep the crucifix in classrooms of Italian schools."

    I read that the people and politicians are speaking out against the ruling and that is being appealed. It is said too that the ruling did not say to remove the crucifixes.

    I pray people will raise hell over this.

    We do not fight against flesh and blood but principalities and the father of lies.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091103/ap_on_re_eu/eu_italy_religious_symbols_2

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  15. Anonymous11:45 PM

    God will not be mocked. These secularists are digging their own grave in the eternal pit of fire.

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  16. Anonymous12:07 AM

    An interesting perspective on Dignitas Humanae and Mirari Vos:

    http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2009/02/hermeneutic-of-continuity-and-freedom.html

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  17. Prof. Basto12:14 AM

    QUAMDIU, DOMINE???????????

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  18. For the record, I fully believe in the teaching of Mirari Vos, and it is the constant teaching of the Church, but the statements in that particular document are too vague to be considered infallible.

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  19. John McFarland12:45 AM

    Is this not the healthy secularism which Pope Benedict supports? They are state -- which is to say, secular -- schools. So what is the crucifix doing there? I'm embarrassed that the Pope didn't insist that they be taken out long ago.

    And as regards the Muslim, is not the answer that we must demand that the healthy secular state beat them down with the same energy as they beat down the Church.

    But it might be tough work, since there aren't many mullahs who preach a healthy secularism.

    Wicked, wicked mullahs: they do not embrace the principles of their enemies.

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  20. PKTP, the European Court of Human Rights is an apparatus of the Council of Europe, not the European Union.

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  21. Anonymous1:06 AM

    As Obama's Pastor would say: "the chickens is comin' home to roost."

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  22. Anonymous1:06 AM

    John Courtney Murray lives indeed! The great champion of religious liberty whose brother Jesuits turned on him toward the end of his life.

    Error has no rights and can never share equality with TRUTH.

    Once again, the wisdom of the pre Vatican II Church shines.

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  23. Anonymous1:14 AM

    How do these poor scarred atheist children walk down the streets of Italy with so many visible Churches and crosses on top. Perhaps they only look down at the street, towards hell below. At least they will be familiar with the path.

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  24. Is this not the healthy secularism which Pope Benedict supports?

    No.

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  25. Anonymous2:42 AM

    Oh, the foolishness of the "separation of Church and State" which is more a euphemism for "godless state". Pope Leo XIII taught us: "Justice and reason forbid the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness - namely, to treat the various religions alike and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. Since the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone in true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in Catholic States, because the marks of truth are engraven upon it," (Leo XIII, Encyclical, Libertas, On Human Liberty.)

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  26. Anonymous3:16 AM

    The Sisters removed the beautiful crucifixes from their habits; the priests and bishops removed them from the Altars; Paul VI said: "all we ask for is freedom"; the Holy See itself initiated the rewriting of the Concordats with Italy and Spain so that Catholicism would cease to be the religion of the State; Cardinal Ottaviani (an expert in the Church vis a vis the State) was reduced, ridiculed and retired...NOW there is all this outrage!?

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  27. John McFarland3:58 AM

    Anonymous 00:07,

    The arguments of the Hermeneutic of Continuity blogger regarding Mirari vos and Quanta cura and the V2 Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis humanae) achieve the usual results of the hermeneutic in action: failure to demonstrate continuity.

    He talks about Bishop Williamson's statements rejecting the existence of homicidal gas chambers in the German concentrations camps, and the fact that such statements are against the law in Germany and elsewhere, and the fact that Popes Benedict XVI and Pius IX had no more use for freedom of speech than they did for freedom of religion.

    I would go a step further, and note that Bishop Williamson no more believes in freedom to speak falsely than he believes in freedom to practice a false religion, and certainly has no objection to putting people in jail for following in good faith the dictates of their conscience when their conscience leads them wrong.

    But none of this is of any interest unless the blogger can show us the place or places in Dignitatis humanae where it says that publicly practicing the wrong religion should be punished in more or less the same way as publicly doubting the conventional Holocaust narrative (gas chambers, six million killed, etc.) is punished in Germany.

    He does not cite any such statement, because there is no such statement, or anything remotely like such a statement.

    He cites a passage in which the Declaration speaks of the obligation to seek the truth.

    But since it is Catholic doctrine that all religions but the Catholic religion are false religions, it must be case that freedom of religion as taught by Dignitatis humanae is the freedom to practice false religions. Indeed, it would seem that per the Declaration, human dignity requires the freedom to practice false religions; and if human dignity requires it, how can it be right to punish anyone for doing it?

    So when all is said and done, the blogger is back in the usual position of the hermeneuticists of continuity: asserting continuity, but not demonstrating it.

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  28. John McFarland4:09 AM

    Jordanes,

    Please explain the difference between the Pope's healthy secularism and the bad secularism that takes crucifixes out of Italian schools.

    Doesn't secularism MEAN neutrality in religious matters?

    And if the secular state is neutral, shouldn't it exclude crucifixes from its neutral schools, just as it should exclude Islamic and Masonic and Communist and Satanist paraphernalia?

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  29. Exsurge quare obdormis Domine...

    We should all pray the prayers of the Mass for the defense of the Church/Mass against the heathen daily. I don't know the rubrics, but priests should try to offer this votive mass or at least commemorate the prayers as often as possible.

    The enemies of the Church continue to gather - we should pray accordingly.

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  30. In Germany the Nazis tried to ban the Crucifix in Schools in 1936, but they had to take back the law for the Catholic regions due to the huge protests led by Cardinal von Galen.

    The Crucifixes were then banned in 1995 by the German Constitutional Court, because of their violation of religious freedom. Once again, the Nazis were just ahead of their time.

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  31. Anonymous7:24 AM

    I was not really surprised by this verdict. What's far more interesting is the first "reaction" of the overcharged Jesuite Lombardi who wanted to see the ruling and the reasons behind it before commenting. Scandalous!

    hardly surprising so long the curia adheres termless to the barrel burst "healthy laicism" (a contradiction in itself)or praising the UN, another evil institution like this particular court in Europe based on the same erroneous ideology. It was once more Berlusconi's government, often uncalled-for scolded by leftist neocommunist circles inside "the Vatican", which voiced it's indignation.

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  32. Marcel7:33 AM

    "Accord between the Holy See and the Italian Republic
    Modifications to the Lateran Concordat
    Signed on 18 February 1984

    In the light of political and social changes which have occurred in Italy over the last decades and developments promoted by the Church since the Second Vatican Council;...."

    "[The Parties] have recognised the opportunity to agree on the following mutually agreed amendments to the Lateran Concordat:


    Article 1 [Equal partners]

    The Italian Republic and the Holy See reaffirm that the State and the Catholic Church are each in their own way independent and sovereign and committed to this principle in all their mutual relations and to reciprocal collaboration for the promotion of man and the good of the Country..."

    Could the above accord, although seen as practically necassary at the time, be one of the problems? The Church conceded defeat in italy a long time ago, using VII as its justification, and these are the fruits...

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  33. "The presence of the crucifix – which it was impossible not to notice in the classrooms – could easily be interpreted by pupils of all ages as a religious sign"

    Well, I would be concerned if pupils didn't interpret a Crucifix as a religious sign.

    What nonsense this judgement is. In the UK on solemn ocassions The Queen wears the state crown which has a Cross on the top. The link between Christianity and culture in Europe is a fundamental of our identity.

    A counter case for religious persecution seems to be called for.

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  34. Which pope was responsible for ending Catholicism as the state religion of Italy in 1984?

    This policy conforms perfectly with the post-conciliar ecumenical and inter-religious ideals. Everyone should have religious liberty and freedom of conscience which includes non-catholics. Do Catholics have the right to impose their beliefs on non-believers and those of other faith systems? From the date of the revision of the third part of the Lateran Pact signed in 1984 Italy is a multi-confessional state not a mono-confessional one. This effectively gives recognition to 5 religions in the state. Church influence continues but changes are going to be made from time to time concerning how and where that influence is made. The nature of change will become more apparent as time progresses.

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  35. SamGamgee10:39 AM

    Seems ironic that the case should have been brought by a Finnish lady considering there is a Cross on the Finnish flag. Perhaps she never noticed.

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  36. Anonymous10:50 AM

    As a Hungarian I am ashamed that also a Hungarian judge has participated in all this.

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  37. Anonymous11:16 AM

    In my university, a professor complained about the presence of a Bible near the entrance of the library... and the Bible was then removed.

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  38. The arguments of the Hermeneutic of Continuity blogger regarding Mirari vos and Quanta cura and the V2 Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis humanae) achieve the usual results of the hermeneutic in action: failure to demonstrate continuity.

    Allow me to quote Leo XIII's Immortale Dei:

    but (the Church) does not, on that account, condemn those rulers who, for the sake of securing some great good or of hindering some great evil, allow patiently custom or usage to be a kind of sanction for each kind of religion having its place in the State. And, in fact, the Church is wont to take earnest heed that no one shall be forced to embrace the Catholic faith against his will, for, as St. Augustine wisely reminds us, “Man cannot believe otherwise than of his own will.”

    D.H. develops from this. And I think that it does in a smoothly way:

    Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.
    (…)
    This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

    Besides, pronunciations about Church-State separation as Quanta Cura and such are exclusive to the 19th century and can only be traced back to Gregory XVI's Mirari Vos: They are not immemorial teaching, they are not infallible, they can not even be subject of an infallible pronunciation as they do not pertain to Faith or Morals... it is just social doctrine. Doctrine which was valid for the 19th century, but that now is mostly useless, as the society is completely different. (We must agree in that the Revealed Truth which asserts that men have a moral obligation to adhere to the Truth once it is known is not in discussion here)

    Are we expecting non-Catholic governments elected by non-Catholic societies to recognize Catholicism as the true religion? Good luck with that, but if you want to find an answer in tradition about our current situation, then we should look at a time where the socio-political situation was similar to ours... and I can only think of the roman persecution. Only that now we have no emperor to convert.

    Like it or not, the Church can not count with the State anymore to spread the Gospel. We are on our own. Maybe if we get to convert the societies, we’ll get catholic governments again.

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  39. Please explain the difference between the Pope's healthy secularism and the bad secularism that takes crucifixes out of Italian schools.

    "Bad" secularity or laicisim excludes religious activity and religious symbols from public life and public institutions. Healthy secularity or laicism does not.

    Doesn't secularism MEAN neutrality in religious matters?

    No.

    http://ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/b16layjurists.htm

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  40. Besides, pronunciations about Church-State separation as Quanta Cura and such are exclusive to the 19th century and can only be traced back to Gregory XVI's Mirari Vos: They are not immemorial teaching, they are not infallible, they can not even be subject of an infallible pronunciation as they do not pertain to Faith or Morals... it is just social doctrine.

    Sorry, this is wrong. The social doctrine expressed in documents such as Mirari Vos and Quanta Cura are to a certain extent conditioned and limited by considerations of culture and era. Nevertheless, they also express and develop the Church's social teachings of previous centuries.

    It's sheer gibberish to claim that they do not pertain to Faith and Moral, but instead are "just" social doctrine. The Church's social doctrine does not pertain to Faith and Morals?? Then what business does the Church have in making pronouncements about social doctrine?

    Are we expecting non-Catholic governments elected by non-Catholic societies to recognize Catholicism as the true religion?

    No, we are expecting the Church to work to convert (or reconvert) non-Catholic societies so that their governments may eventually acknowledge their duty to God and to the Catholic religion which He has revealed.

    Like it or not, the Church can not count with the State anymore to spread the Gospel.

    When could the Church ever count on the State to do that? That isn't even the State's role or prerogative -- it is exclusively the Church's responsibility. The State for its part has an obligation to conform its laws and actions and institutions to God's revealed will and to the natural law.

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  41. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Kyrie eleison!

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  42. In the hands of modernists "healthy secularism" is suitably equivocal. It is a subjective term allowing abundant place to diverse interpretations. It is potentially very subversive in the ecclesiastical context.

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  43. Anonymous2:20 PM

    I hope that the Holy Father speaks out directly on this issue and forcefully condemns this decision.

    As a political aside, it is remarkable the difference between Americans and the Europeans. How easily they shrug off their sovereignty in consideration of the adoption of the Euro, though while presently stronger than the dollar, has done little to help Italy's economy. The Court is comprised of only one Italian and yet imposes its decision on that whole country. Despite all her problems, thank God we are in America where such a thing as this is unthinkable. I can only hope that the Italian people and government simply ignore this decision and flaunt it in the EU's face. The countries of Europe would do well to reconsider their EU membership.

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  44. Brad C2:34 PM

    Some of the comments here are critical of this decision as such, and some of them are critical of the principles on which the decision is based.

    In fairness, the decision itself is beyond criticism. That is, it is a correct application of incorrect principles. The Italian government's argument, that the crucifix is a secular ethical symbol, is extremely weak. First, it argues for keeping the crucifix in classrooms only after explicitly rejecting its religious meaning. Second, the Court's argument that in a public school in a secular society, displaying a religious symbol from one religion rather than another indicates an endorsement of that religion is plausible.

    If the Church must argue on liberal principles, then the Church will always lose. We cannot argue against this particular decision, because it only draws the logical conclusion from the relevant principles. Even if the Church "won" this decision, it would be only because the Church argued that the crucifix isn't a "religious" symbol--a Pyrrhic victory.

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  45. It's sheer gibberish to claim that they do not pertain to Faith and Moral, but instead are "just" social doctrine. The Church's social doctrine does not pertain to Faith and Morals?? Then what business does the Church have in making pronouncements about social doctrine?


    Church's social doctrine is obviously based in Faith and Moral, but is subject to changes and it is generally not infallible. If that were the case we would be morally bound to burn books according to Mirari Vos.

    No, we are expecting the Church to work to convert (or reconvert) non-Catholic societies so that their governments may eventually acknowledge their duty to God and to the Catholic religion which He has revealed.

    Same here. But in a time where our freedom to worship and live as Catholics is in danger, D.H. teaching is more useful than any 19th century encyclical, to achieve this end.

    When could the Church ever count on the State to do that? That isn't even the State's role or prerogative -- it is exclusively the Church's responsibility. The State for its part has an obligation to conform its laws and actions and institutions to God's revealed will and to the natural law.

    You are right. But given the current situation, the Church should be focusing on making the state to conform it laws to natural law (that would be actually a huge step). A state will never recognize God's revealed will if it does not even recognize natural law.

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  46. Anonymous2:55 PM

    "The countries of Europe would do well to reconsider their EU membership."

    There's no way to do it.

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  47. John McFarand3:20 PM

    Jordanes,

    Secularism means the exclusion of religious matters from public life. Secularism is secular. Go ask those who consider themselves secularists, and whose spiritual ancestors coined the term. They'll tell you.

    It follows that from a Catholic perspective, "healthy secularism" is an oxymoron.

    You can keep saying No! No! No! until you're blue in the face, but it's still an oxymoron.

    Making up one's own meanings for words is not a solution but an evasion, whether done by Jordanes or the Holy Father.

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  48. John McFarland3:30 PM

    Brad C,

    The confusion of principle and practice is a basic element of what might be called Benedictine traditionalism. It's an important means of obscuring the fact that DH and all that has followed from it is novelty.

    Not that I'm suggesting that such people are trying to deceive the rest of us. They are primarily trying to deceive themselves, because they think that you can't be a Catholic unless you figure out some way to spin the novelties as something besides novelties.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Making up one's own meanings for words is not a solution but an evasion, whether done by Jordanes or the Holy Father.

    Or John McFarland.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Alex Benziger.G3:54 PM

    Sir,
    THERE IS NO FREEDOM WITHOUT LAW. Nowadays everybody wants to cheap publicity. The judges personal life and their integrity has to be checked. Western countries encourage freedom. The so called freedom is very set back to the Society. It is started from Vatican2. The world will face a dire consequences.
    alexbenziger@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. Bryan3:58 PM

    The European Court of Human Rights

    is not, repeat not,

    part of the European Union (EEC, Common Market)

    it is associated with the Council of Europe.

    So criticism of the EU is irrelevant to this discussion.

    The British Govt has in the past ignored its Judgments and Italy frequently ignores them:

    ReplyDelete
  52. Not to worry...there will come a time, perhaps not too far off, when Christ the King will reign Glorious and Immortal over the entire earth and those responsible for these insults will have their just recompense. If I were in their (so-called Judges') place I'd be shaking in my boots.

    ReplyDelete
  53. But in a time where our freedom to worship and live as Catholics is in danger, D.H. teaching is more useful than any 19th century encyclical, to achieve this end.

    But DH does not alter the traditional teaching on the duty of all men and all nations to acknowledge the true religion.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Anonymous4:49 PM

    But US schools also ban religious symbols in virtue of the separation of church and state.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Anonymous5:20 PM

    And JPII was a unrelenting chapmion of the EU and the UN. Just how naive can one be?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Anonymous5:39 PM

    "But US schools also ban religious symbols in virtue of the separation of church and state."

    But in the US Catholic schools are not obliged to follow the principle of atheising public space - which is not necessarily the case of Catholic schools (and other organisations) in the EU.

    ReplyDelete
  57. John McFarland7:28 PM

    dcs,

    But DH does make it abundantly clear that one has a right to be wrong, and to have all the institutional accoutrements of that right to be wrong, and that the civil authorities have to obligation to protect that right to be wrong.

    This was not the doctrine of the Church before 1962.

    If we are prepared to punish sanction one who kills the body, even if he believe in all good faith that he had the right to kill for thus and such reason, how can we say that one has the right to kill the souls of others by spreading false religion?

    There are practical problems with sanctioning false religions, you say? Of course; the traditional doctrine made quite clear that in some circumstances, tolerating error was permissible and even necessary.

    But DH is not talking about practical problems. It is talking about PRINCIPLE; and the principLe is: HUMAN DIGNITY REQUIRES FREEDOM OF RELIGION. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO UNDERTAKE TO KILL THE SOUL OF THOSE FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED.

    This is subject to considerations of public order, you say? Certainly; but that exception is really just a reminder that in matters of religion as in all else, those who control the weapons and the jails and the instruments of torture will do as they fit for such reasons as they see fit.

    ReplyDelete
  58. But DH does make it abundantly clear that one has a right to be wrong

    Rather, it teaches that one has the right not to be coerced in matters of faith. It nowhere says that anyone has a right to be wrong.

    HUMAN DIGNITY REQUIRES FREEDOM OF RELIGION.

    Right.

    YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO UNDERTAKE TO KILL THE SOUL OF THOSE FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED.

    Wrong.

    Just wondering, since you are an advocate of empowering the State to punish those who offend in matters of the Faith: what would you say if we lived under conditions in which the Church could, say, instruct the civil authorities to proscribe the activities of the SSPX and to punish its members and adherents?

    ReplyDelete
  59. John McFarland7:45 PM

    Mr. Haley,

    The point of the institution of the Feast of Christ the King was to remind us all that Christ's kingship -- of our hearts and of our institutions -- is a matter of here and now, not just a matter of the end of the world.

    In the Novus Ordo, the feast was moved to the last Sunday of the Church year precisely to signify the Christ's kingship is really only relevant at the end of the world -- which is to say that it is irrelevant to the here and now.

    It is certainly true that in the end, those who refuse to let Christ rule over them will get theirs.

    On the Feast of Christ the King in the old calendar, my SSPX seminarian son called from St. Louis, where all the Winona theologians (the last three years of the seminary) had gone to help celebrate the Feast. That must be 400-450 miles. But their aim is to minimize the number of people who have to get theirs when the Lord comes again to judge the living and the dead.

    ReplyDelete
  60. John McFarland8:00 PM

    Jordanes,

    I would say that such an act is an iniquitous act, and that any law under which it was done, at least as so applied, an iniquitous law.

    I of course am pleased to have the benefit of freedom of religion; but Cathoics are the only ones who have the right to that freedom.

    Those who die outside the Church are going to Hell. To say that our God-given dignity consists among other things of the RIGHT to choose, practice and spread that which will damn us and others is blasphemous. It is worse than saying that a mother has the God-given right to abort her child, if she so chooses (although of course she really shouldn't). At least the soul of the aborted child is not damned.

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  61. Anonymous8:07 PM

    atheists v. Italy

    ReplyDelete
  62. Anonymous8:16 PM

    "This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits." (DH § 2)

    "The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person..." (DH §2)

    "In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed." (DH §2)

    " The freedom or immunity from coercion in matters religious which is the endowment of persons as individuals is also to be recognized as their right when they act in community." (DH §4)

    ReplyDelete
  63. Anonymous8:19 PM

    St. Athanasius was condemned to go into exile...

    ReplyDelete
  64. Anonymous8:29 PM

    "YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO UNDERTAKE TO KILL THE SOUL OF THOSE FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED.

    Wrong."

    Right, because "(...) the social nature of man and the very nature of religion afford the foundation of the right of men freely to hold meetings and to establish educational, cultural, charitable and social organizations, under the impulse of their own religious sense." (DH §4)

    There is no such RIGHT!

    "Thus, Gregory XVI in his encyclical letter Mirari Vos, dated August 15, 1832, inveighed with weighty words against the sophisms which even at his time were being publicly inculcated-namely, that no preference should be shown for any particular form of worship; that it is right for individuals to form their own personal judgments about religion; that each man's conscience is his sole and all-sufficing guide; and that it is lawful for every man to publish his own views, whatever they may be, and even to conspire against the State." (Imortale Dei §34)

    "To make this more evident, the growth of liberty ascribed to our age must be considered apart in its various details. And, first, let us examine that liberty in individuals which is so opposed to the virtue of religion, namely, the liberty of worship, as it is called. This is based on the principle that every man is free to profess as he may choose any religion or none." (Libertas §19)

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  65. Anonymous8:30 PM

    " Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness-namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. " (Libertas §21)

    ReplyDelete
  66. "YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO UNDERTAKE TO KILL THE SOUL OF THOSE FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED.

    Wrong."

    Right, because "(...) the social nature of man and the very nature of religion afford the foundation of the right of men freely to hold meetings and to establish educational, cultural, charitable and social organizations, under the impulse of their own religious sense." (DH §4)


    Where does it say in that passage that men have the right to kill the souls of those for whom Christ died?

    ReplyDelete
  67. I would say that such an act is an iniquitous act, and that any law under which it was done, at least as so applied, an iniquitous law.

    Granted that the act is iniquitous, what is to stop a Catholic State from acting against religious groups that continue to operate after the Church has ordered them suppressed?

    ReplyDelete
  68. Anonymous9:46 PM

    "the Church could, say, instruct the civil authorities to proscribe the activities of the SSPX and to punish its members and adherents"

    If there still would be Catholic states, there would be no problem with the SSPX.

    "Where does it say in that passage that men have the right to kill the souls of those for whom Christ died?"

    Here: "freely to hold meetings and to establish educational..."

    False religions act by holding meetings or establishing educational organizations "under their impulse of religious sense" with the purpose of killing souls with their false teaching. If they aren't aware of this - don't worry, Satan is.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Paul Haley wrote: "If I were in their (so-called Judges') place I'd be shaking in my boots."

    But they can't be wrong, they were OBEDIENT !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  70. John McFarland10:38 PM

    Jordanes,

    God has created us to get to heaven.

    That part of creation is a right --repeat, RIGHT -- to do what conduces to damnation is absurd.

    We have free will, and so can damn ourselves. We also cannot be forced to embrace the Faith, because that embrace is worth nothing.

    But to say that God so created us that we have a right -- repeat, RIGHT -- to do what conduces to our damnation, effectively makes freedom trump any other rights, including God's rights, when it comes to religion.

    Furthermore, and here it becomes more monstrous still, it gives us the God-given right to seduce our fellow man into false religion and hence into damnation, and puts the state under a positive obigation to support this exercise.

    To accept this "doctrine," I submit, is to put God at cross-purposes with Himsef.

    Now you might argue that free will is the same thing, but it isn't. Free will means that man is so made that he is able to go wrong and do wrong. To talk about, in effect, a right to do wrong, built into the very nature of man and of religion, is to say that man is just doing what comes natural, but that God is within his rights to damn him for doing what comes natural. These can't both be right.

    ReplyDelete
  71. If there still would be Catholic states, there would be no problem with the SSPX.

    Wrong. The SSPX's problems with the Church do not just have to do with the teaching in Dignitatis Humanae.

    "Where does it say in that passage that men have the right to kill the souls of those for whom Christ died?"

    Here: "freely to hold meetings and to establish educational..."


    Exactly -- there is nothing in that passage that says men have the right to kill the souls of those for whom Christ died.

    False religions act by holding meetings or establishing educational organizations "under their impulse of religious sense" with the purpose of killing souls with their false teaching.

    No, they don't. That is sometimes, or even often, the effect of their meetings, but it is impossible to affirm that their holding meetings or establishing educational organisations will necessarily kill the souls of those attend. It is a real danger, but it is not something that happens at each and every gathering with each and every individual.

    You should interact with what DH actually says, not argue against what it doesn't say at all.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Mr. McFarland, thanks for your comment. It doesn't address my question, though, nor does it seem to address DH's problematic teaching.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Reading the comments has brought to mind the Holy Father's speech at Regensburgh. And relevant to the blog post, he mentioned the modern West relegating God to the realm of subcultures.

    I think some of the comments conflate the admonition against indifferentism with the issue of evangelization and true ecumenism. One who is patient with those outside the faith is not necessarily subject to the charge of indifferentism. We have seen the fruits of the Holy Father's patience in recent weeks and months.

    Our lips should always speak the truth but our hearts should burn with charity.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Anonymous11:32 PM

    Dear John McFarland,

    In the interest of charity, your position on this issue is incorrect.

    It would serve you well to know that Lefebvre's dubia, "Religious Liberty Questioned" is in error.

    A) Lefebvre's dubia affirms: One is obliged under pain of sin to act according to his honest erroneous conscience,

    BUT...

    Dubia denies: that the moral obligation has a corresponding moral right to act. We have seen that this is impossible as the moral law cannot contradict itself by commanding and forbidding the same thing.

    B) Lefebvre's dubia affirms: Those who ignore "without guilt the dogmas of the true religion" indeed have an objective natural right to worship God,

    BUT . . .

    Dubia denies: That this natural right extends to cases other than the "hypothetical" of those who worship God strictly according to the "lights of natural reason" and without any supernatural revelation.

    C) Lefebvre's dubia affirms: That divine positive law does not cancel the natural law (e.g., muslims retain the natural right to educate their children),

    BUT . . .

    Dubia denies the principle in effect by reducing the natural right to one of "practical non-repression" -- that could be ignored when repression seems more "practical".

    The common theme is a denial that objective natural rights can somehow conflict with the divine eternal law. Indeed, this is true but then how do we resolve the apparent contradictions above?

    St. Thomas provides the key (i-ii, 19, 10) by distinguishing between "material" and "formal" conformity with the divine will. In other words, when man's will is truly good (i.e., men of good-will) then his will is in "formal" conformity with the divine will (as to the common aspect and the point of the last end) - even if it is not in "material" conformity with the divine will (on account of his particular apprehension of reason or honest ignorance of the material aspects of the divine will).

    And there is the "healthy secularism" you so venomously -- and erroneously -- deny.

    As with every other issue, the SSPX is on a trajectory that leads to theological entropy. On this issue more than any other their arguments devolve into Feeneyite ranting.

    Here's constancy of teaching for you: the Church never endorsed forced conversions, nor did Christ ever compel or coerce anyone to convert against their will.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Anonymous11:36 PM

    Italy should privatize schools and give vouchers or tax credits to parents. That way these Euro-courts can't get at the private schools.

    ReplyDelete
  76. John McFarland1:28 AM

    Anonymous 23:32,

    At an initial look, it appears to me that your analysis does not address the issue of the obligation of political authority to repress the public practice and spread of false religion. Since that of course is the primary issue, its absence is not a good sign.

    As of course you know, there is no question of forced conversions in the traditional doctrine, as propounded by the SSPX or otherwise.

    But whether this reflects continuity between pre- and post-1962 doctrine depends on the principles on which the common rejection of forced conversions is based.

    On the other hand, in the traditional teaching there is no question of permitting the public practice and spread of false religion, except as a matter of tolerance in the traditional sense of that term -- tolerance of evil in order to avoid a greater evil. Here there would appear to be a clear discontinuity between pre- and post-1962 teaching.

    If St. Thomas provides the answer you propose, one must wonder why he categorically supported the right of authority to repress false religion.

    I suspect that you are taking arguments from the area of very general and abstract rights and applying them in particular situations where other and weightier principles operate. The right of Muslims to educate their chidren would seem quite consistent with suppressing particular aspects of that education -- in particular, their necessarily false religious education.

    Note in addition that the analysis becomes quite different when is no longer talking not just about the parent, but about the child. The same of course holds true in comparing one's believing in Islam with one's professing and spreading it.

    To put the matter another way: you seem to be projecting an analysis of the rights of the individual subject as the means of dealing with the social aspect of religion. But I think this leaves out traditional doctrines of public law. It appears to support the analysis of DH precisely because it leaves out the same considerations as DH leaves out.

    I may be wrong about this; but this all looks to my jaded eyes like a sophisticated variant of the old "Aquinas the first Whig" analysis of my kinsman Fr. John Courtney Murray et al.

    I have and have read the dubia, but not with enough care to remember anything at all about them. Whether I can find the time to do so, and whether I will have anything intelligent to say if I am successful, is questionable. But I'll see what I can do; and if in the meantime you are interested in responding to any of my remarks, I would be pleased to hear from you and offer what I can by way of response.

    ReplyDelete
  77. "(...) the social nature of man and the very nature of religion afford the foundation of the right of men freely to hold meetings and to establish educational, cultural, charitable and social organizations, under the impulse of their own religious sense." (DH §4)

    If that is actually a direct quote from DH then I cannot see otherwise than that this document is upholding belief in the existence of a natural right of men, founded on what it calls "the social nature of man" and the "nature of religion," to "establish" social structures which would inherently bear in themselves the inducement of human persons to further conviction of, or conversion to, whatever religion adhered to by the men who have established said social structures.

    How can the Church uphold belief in such a thing? For Herself, it is not a matter so much of a "right" as much as it is a matter of Divine Law that She is to remain unmolested in Her proselytization of humanity. Whoever breaks that Law is subjected to God's wrath. But can God's wrath inflame at the molestation of false religions? How could it and He remain Truth?!

    ReplyDelete
  78. "That is sometimes, or even often, the effect of their meetings, but it is impossible to affirm that their holding meetings or establishing educational organisations will necessarily kill the souls of those attend. It is a real danger, but it is not something that happens at each and every gathering with each and every individual."
    ...well, I may say that it unnecessarily expose the souls to serious dangers. It is similar when someone exposes his/her soul to unnecessary temptations that may be avoided and which may lead the soul to commit a mortal sin.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Syllabus of errors condemned by Pius IX:

    77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.

    78. Hence it has been wisely decided by law, in some Catholic countries, that persons coming to reside therein shall enjoy the public exercise of their own peculiar worship.


    Yawn.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Anonymous9:45 AM

    Quanta Cura by Pius IX:

    From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an "insanity,"(2) viz., that "liberty of conscience and worship is each man's personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way." But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching "liberty of perdition;"(3) and that "if human arguments are always allowed free room for discussion, there will never be wanting men who will dare to resist truth, and to trust in the flowing speech of human wisdom; whereas we know, from the very teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, how carefully Christian faith and wisdom should avoid this most injurious babbling."



    6. Amidst, therefore, such great perversity of depraved opinions, we, well remembering our Apostolic Office, and very greatly solicitous for our most holy Religion, for sound doctrine and the salvation of souls which is intrusted to us by God, and (solicitous also) for the welfare of human society itself, have thought it right again to raise up our Apostolic voice. Therefore, by our Apostolic authority, we reprobate, proscribe, and condemn all the singular and evil opinions and doctrines severally mentioned in this letter, and will and command that they be thoroughly held by all children of the Catholic Church as reprobated, proscribed and condemned.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Anonymous9:57 AM

    "Italy should privatize schools and give vouchers or tax credits to parents. That way these Euro-courts can't get at the private schools."

    European states are totalitarian.

    Private schools are not protected from the obligation to submit to godless ideology.

    See for example "Equality Act" in the UK or the Catholic Education Service coming with the idea of adjustment of toilets for muslim ablutions IN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS.

    I'm expecting that in some time religious symbols will be forbidden in your private house (your postman may be an atheist and he may see it). Or the neo-Gestapo officers coming to search your house for the anti-Semitic Book of Isaiah may be offended.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Anonymous12:35 PM

    This Lausi of whatever her name is is from FINLAND.....Lutheran country. No wonder she wouldn't approve of the Crucifix.

    This is the fruit of 40+ years of worthless ecumenism with these Protestants. At the core, t was bigotry and anti-Catholic predjudice that caused this person to file suit against the Crucifix.

    In that Protestantism has no culture, or any tradition, or any values and is totally and absolutely worthless, it is The Vatican and Vatican II to blame for the breakdown of strong Catholic Christian values in Europe that has caused this pervasive secularism. LIberalism, progressivism, ECUMENISM, secularism, and inter-religious dialog has weakened and practically destroyed the Catholic Faith, the only spirtually force that could maintain Catholic-Christian valuses in the face of any supposed religious threat from Islam in Europe.

    The destruction of Catholic/Christian valuse and the loss of respect in them is directly attributable to the deforms and liberalism/ecumenism of Vatican II and of succeeding Popes who would much rather engage in dialog with Muslims, Buddhists, Jews , Hindus, and the thousands of worthless Protestant sects and groups rather than to uphold and strengthen the values of Catholicism as all pre-Vatican II Popes did.

    A classic example is the disgusting and disgraceful celebration in Germany to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the sigining of the accords on Justification between Catholics and Lutherans. This act, one of the highlights of the John Paul II era is a disgrace, and any real Catholic Pope in the furture should annul and repidiate it immediatly.

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  83. Anonymous12:40 PM

    'Which pope was responsible for ending Catholicism as the state religion of Italy in 1984?"

    JOHN PAUL II.....WHO ELSE!!!

    ReplyDelete
  84. Anonymous12:54 PM

    I say: Ignore this childish nonsense entirely, and sue anyone who tries to impose it on your school or your classroom (or on your person, should you happen to be wearing a visible Crucifix). And since such acts would constitute a civil-rights violation, then sue them with vigor, and any corporate or government entity that is representing them.


    No government entity may ever ban the religious symbols of a single religion, or even of all religions; because the ban itself would be illegal as it would be enforcing the idea of 'non-religion' -- the 'religion of non-religion' could then said to have been enforced upon you illegally.


    Also, you cannot force religious people to be pluralistic in their religious beliefs, or to hide their religious beliefs. Anyone who tries to reason otherwise does not even understand the rule of law which they are attempting to enforce, or be in favor of.


    I have already personally experienced this trash in the workplace. I won, and made it clear that I would sue by putting my complaint in writing.


    Stand up to these hateful cowards, and they will blow away in the wind. We cannot bend to 'thought nazism' any longer; or there will be no reason left to fight one day, as the fighting has already been done -- it happened while you were busy cowering your heads from it.


    Laugh at this satanic hatred right in its face. Stand up to anyone who tells you that you cannot exhibit your religion, and that you will not allow your religion to be threatened any longer.



    Robert

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  85. Anonymous1:44 PM

    Anonymous 12:54:

    Right on, Robert!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Mr. McFarland said in part:

    "The point of the institution of the Feast of Christ the King was to remind us all that Christ's kingship -- of our hearts and of our institutions -- is a matter of here and now, not just a matter of the end of the world.

    Of course, it's just that a large segment of the world do not recognize this fact. In fact, they war against it.

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  87. John McFarland3:11 PM

    As a number of the quotations posted above from the pre-V2 popes demonstrate, you can chop logic and quibble until the cows come home, but it is evident that the doctrine of DH cannot be squared with the doctine of the pre-V2 popes. Before V2, the notion of freedom of religion was carefully and roundly condemned. This is no longer the case.

    If Anonymous 23:32 is right, the only conclusion is that St. Thomas and all the 19th century popes and any other orthodox pre-V2 figure who has addressed the point is wrong. If this is continuity, what does discontinuity look like?

    But as I suspected, his citation of Summa Theologica I-II a. 19 q. 10 is hardly dispositive even if viewed fairly narrowly. Very roughly, what St. Thomas is saying is that will is proportioned to reason, and so (for example) the will of the wife of a murderer can, for good reasons from her perspective, will that her husband go free, while the will of the judge trying him can , for good reasons from his perspective, will that he be executed.

    But St. Thomas further notes that such wills can be ranked hierarchically, on the basis of their generality. In this hierarchy, the more general goods trump the more particular ones, and God's will trumps all, because He wills the most common good of all, the good of His entire creation.

    There is much more to be said about this, but I think one thing is fairly obvious: this notion of a hierarchy of will tends to undercut Anon 23:32's argument rather than support it. At a certain level, the desire of a Muslim to educate his children is acceptable. But when we move to a higher level, the stakes go up, so to speak; and like the will of the wife of the murderer, the will of the Muslim cannot be the final decision on the matter of whether he should be permitted to educate his children in a false religion.

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  88. Mrs. Lautsi is originally from Finland. As a Finn myself, it makes me ashamed to Finnish.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Anonymous6:26 PM

    "Theological entropy" - That's a good one!

    Delphina

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  90. Joe B7:24 PM

    Both sides should shelve the "what if" arguments that this discussion is about the right to kill those of other religions, or any other form of punishment for violating a right. The issue is the principle alone, not the application of the remedy.

    The church's stand was always tolerance under conditions of avoiding a greater evil, and she recognized that she did not always and everywhere have the right to apply the principle that 'wrong has no rights'. I have seen nothing here that squares DH with that basic principle, and many quotes that seem very clearly to deny it.

    These discussions are going to be some kind of interesting.

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  91. As a number of the quotations posted above from the pre-V2 popes demonstrate, you can chop logic and quibble until the cows come home, but it is evident that the doctrine of DH cannot be squared with the doctine of the pre-V2 popes.

    It may not be possible, nor necessary, to "square" it completely, if it is a case of noninfallible pre-Vatican II teaching or noninfallible Vatican II teaching. I think this subject involves reformable teachings both pre-Vatican II and Vatican II.

    Before V2, the notion of freedom of religion was carefully and roundly condemned. This is no longer the case.

    It was well before Vatican II that the Church changed (or made significant developments in, if you will) what it taught about usury and slavery. The Church's today also roundly condemns torture, whereas it is well-known that was not at all the case in the past.

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  92. Here are some examples from real life of how confusion is caused in the Church at present in the name of the following: "(...) the social nature of man and the very
    nature of religion afford the foundation of the right of men freely to hold meetings and to establish educational, cultural, charitable and social organizations, under the impulse of their own religious sense." (DH §4)

    1. http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09110304.html
    Quote: In addition to urging pro-aborts to lobby Congress, Richards goes on to say that the U.S. bishops "don't speak for all Catholics." She then includes a quotation from a "Catholic" supporter of abortion, saying that "hundreds of thousands" of people die because they lack insurance, and that the Catholic bishops "don't represent me, and they don't represent my beliefs. I'm speaking out, and I'm asking my Catholic friends and family to do the same."
    Richards then goes on to urge any Catholics who disagree with their bishops to speak to to honor diversity.

    2. http://angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28689
    Quote: No doubt they will be offering support to the good sisters here in Utah as well, one of whom wrote me a rather smarmy letter telling me that there was
    absolutely nothing wrong with the Catholic high school putting on the homosexual play, RENT, because it teaches us to respect all lifestyles and to honor diversity.

    3.http://www.myfoxmaine.com/dpp/news/20091102_pro_gay_marriage_catholics_
    hold_protest
    Quote: Among the speakers at the vigil was Pamella Starbird Beliveau, who was recently removed from her position as a lector at a Lewiston Catholic church after she wrote a newspaper column in support of gay marriage.

    4. http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/NovemberNewsletter09.pdf
    Quote: In defence of marriage and family life, Maurice Lyons from Kilkenny has been imprisoned in Midlands Prison, Portlaoise since 2/07/09. He refused to accept a
    seperation order. Technically he is in contempt of court for not acknowledging a judicial order of seperation, granted to his wife and him although he never requested it. As a Catholic, Maurice has never desired or agreed to a seperation and believes that the State has not made a serious effort to bring about a reconciliation in his family - something that Irish law mandates before a divorce or
    seperation is considered - and so the State is acting illegally, as well as against God's law. In essence Maurice is imprisoned for refusing to sign a document that
    the State is not authorised to require.

    5. http://angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28702
    Quote: Today I was driving my work truck in downtown Seattle and saw a metro bus with an atheistic ad on its side. It had a picture of Santa Claus telling a little
    girl "Yes Virginia, there is no God." I noticed on that it was put by there by an organization called something like Foundation to be Free from Religion.

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  93. Anonymous8:41 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "It was well before Vatican II that the Church changed (or made significant developments in, if you will) what it taught about usury and slavery. The Church's today also roundly condemns torture, whereas it is well-known that was not at all the case in the past."

    1. On usury: The Church's position on this has never changed. What changed was the FUNCTION of money. Interest is allowed under current conditions owing to the way money functions in the modern credit society.

    2. On slavery: This is another misconception. What St. Paul taught that, WHERE SLAVERY EXISTS, slaves must obey their masters. The reason is that the point of life is to get to Heaven, not to right social evils on earth. On the other side, when social evils can be righted without violating the principle of proportionality, we are bound to do so.

    3. As for torture, I see no reason to believe that doctrine has changed. Perhaps the doctrine is better understood now and perhaps the practice is better. But there are cases in which the infliction of physical pain would be justified in order to protect innocents or to punish malefactors. In the latter case, in Canada, judges sentenced people to the lash as late as 1972 (in law) and 1967 (in practice). Does this violate Church teaching? No.

    P.K.T.P.

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  94. On usury: The Church's position on this has never changed. What changed was the FUNCTION of money.

    Yes and no. One could say that the Church's position was modified somewhat because the function of money changed.

    On slavery: This is another misconception. What St. Paul taught that, WHERE SLAVERY EXISTS, slaves must obey their masters. The reason is that the point of life is to get to Heaven, not to right social evils on earth. On the other side, when social evils can be righted without violating the principle of proportionality, we are bound to do so.

    Even so the fact remains that in the past slavery was approved, even mandated by Church Councils, whereas for quite a long time the Church has explicitly and unequivocally called for the abolition of slavery.

    As for torture, I see no reason to believe that doctrine has changed. Perhaps the doctrine is better understood now and perhaps the practice is better. But there are cases in which the infliction of physical pain would be justified in order to protect innocents or to punish malefactors. In the latter case, in Canada, judges sentenced people to the lash as late as 1972 (in law) and 1967 (in practice). Does this violate Church teaching? No.

    There's an important distinction between inflicting corporal punishment and torture, but be that as it may, it's obvious that what the Church now says about torture is different from what the Church used to say. (I'll just mention Fr. Brian Harrison's study on this question and leave it at that.)

    The point here is not to launch into tangential debates about usury, slavery, and torture, but to draw attention to the fact that the Church's social doctrine does change (develop) over time even while the principles on which the doctrine is based never change.

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  95. John McFarland10:32 PM

    "Theological entropy" is indeed a rather amusing term.

    But what does it mean?

    In my own considered judgment, the last people that it applies to are the members of the SSPX.

    To see it applied to the SSPX reminds me of Pope Pius XI's denouncing Father Le Floch, Archbishop Lefebvre's old master at the French Seminary in Rome, as the reincarnation of Lammenais, when in fact the Holy Father, in purging Le Floch, was effectively handing the French church over to the spiritual sons of Lammenais.

    On the other hand, "theoogical entropy" seems to apply very well to the gyrations of those who claim to see continuity where there is no continuity, and then in the next breath attempt to justify change where that change contradicts doctrines of the Church that are at least proxima fidei.

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  96. John McFarland10:55 PM

    Jordanes,

    The doctrine of the 19th and early 20th century Popes on such matters as freedom of religion and the right of the state to suppress false religions is clear and consistent with the doctrine of the Church from the gitgo. It is also quite clear that they were throwing the full weight of their authority behind their teachings, in the face of powerful opposition based on the same arguments that were made at and after V2. I don't mind if you decline to consider them ex cathedra; but at a minimum you are very rash indeed to treat them as time-conditioned.

    By contrast, DH was a mere declaration (whatever THAT is) of a mere pastoral council (whatever THAT is), and appealed to principles that have no pedigree in the doctrine of the Church (Fr. Congar said as much in as many words, and you will have noticed the absence of references to dogmatic precedent). On the other hand, those principles had an obvious pedigree among the Masons.

    Cardinal Ratzinger said as much, but said that those Masonic principles were being purified from the dross of their dubious origins.

    Unfortunately, it is with the purification of the principles of the French Revolution as with the hermeneutic of continuity: the purification is asserted, but not demonstrated. When all is said and done, most of DH sure looks like the same doctrine that Gregory XVI and Pius IX and Leo XIII and St. Pius X denounced root and branch.

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  97. In my above post the correct reading should be: "Richards then goes on to urge any Catholics who disagree with their bishops to speak to their legislators."

    instead of (Richards then goes on to urge any Catholics who disagree with their bishops to speak to to honor diversity.)

    ReplyDelete
  98. Anonymous4:24 AM

    Wow, so all I have to do is object to a crucifix and I get a cash handout of 5000 euros. Talk about a gravy train for the enemies of Christ!

    ReplyDelete
  99. The doctrine of the 19th and early 20th century Popes on such matters as freedom of religion and the right of the state to suppress false religions is clear and consistent with the doctrine of the Church from the gitgo.

    Yes, that seems to be the case, although the doctrine that the state has the authority to suppress false religions cannot be documented prior to St. Augustine.

    It is also quite clear that they were throwing the full weight of their authority behind their teachings

    No, they weren't. These were papal encyclicals, and they are obviously not ex cathedra pronouncements.

    I don't mind if you decline to consider them ex cathedra;

    Thanks, but of course it's not you that I must consult before forming an opinion on these matters.

    but at a minimum you are very rash indeed to treat them as time-conditioned.

    They are unquestionably "time-conditioned" in part. It's hardly rash for a Catholic to treat them that way, as aspects of their doctrine were treated that way even prior to Vatican II.

    By contrast, DH was a mere declaration (whatever THAT is) of a mere pastoral council (whatever THAT is),

    No, it is a declaration of a pastoral oecumenical council, and thus of greater authority individually than a papal encyclical.

    and appealed to principles that have no pedigree in the doctrine of the Church

    DH also appeals to principles of most ancient pedigree in the Church's doctrine.

    Fr. Congar said as much in as many words

    I.e. Father Congar said something else.

    When all is said and done, most of DH sure looks like the same doctrine that Gregory XVI and Pius IX and Leo XIII and St. Pius X denounced root and branch.

    Yes, it does look like that. That may not necessarily be a "deal-breaking" objection, though.

    Mind you, I make these observations as one who much prefers the doctrine of Mirari Vos to that of Dignitatis Humanae.

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  100. Anonymous5:59 AM

    Jordanes wrote:

    "Yes, that seems to be the case, although the doctrine that the state has the authority to suppress false religions cannot be documented prior to St. Augustine."

    So what? There is no requirement that the doctrine be established overtly in the Primitive Church. It is merely a question if the doctrine has been consistently proclaimed in all the teaching in all places.

    The only pertinent question is whether or not the contrary of the doctrine was proclaimed prior to St. Augustine.

    P.K.T.P.

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  101. Anonymous6:01 AM

    Jordanes writes:

    "No, they weren't. These were papal encyclicals, and they are obviously not ex cathedra pronouncements."

    The question is whether or not these encyclicals contain teachings which are ex cathedra in virtue of the ordinary Magisterium, not whether the documents themselves are ex cathdra. Casti Connubii is not an ex cathedra document but it sure as hell repeats ex cathedra teaching on contraception.

    P.K.T.P.

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  102. Anonymous6:03 AM

    Jordanes writes:

    "No, it is a declaration of a pastoral oecumenical council, and thus of greater authority individually than a papal encyclical."

    That does not follow. It depends what authority each document claims for itself. For example, an infallible teaching repeated in a non-infallible encyclical has more authority than has a non-infallible teaching proclaimed in a non-infallible œcumenical declaration.

    P.K.T.P.

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  103. Anonymous8:31 AM

    Jordanes writes:

    "Even so the fact remains that in the past slavery was approved, even mandated by Church Councils, whereas for quite a long time the Church has explicitly and unequivocally called for the abolition of slavery."

    Sources, please? And be explicit.

    P.K.T.P.

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  104. Anonymous8:33 AM

    Jordanes writes:

    "Yes and no. One could say that the Church's position was modified somewhat because the function of money changed."

    No, one could not say that. Money functioned in a different way before the time of credit backed by collateral. The Church's position on usury has not changed. What changed was the nature of money.

    P.K.T.P.

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  105. Anonymous8:39 AM

    Even so the fact remains that in the past slavery was approved, even mandated by Church Councils, whereas for quite a long time the Church has explicitly and unequivocally called for the abolition of slavery.


    Yet again, slavery per se has never been approved as a doctrine of the Church. The Church merely taught that, where it existed de facto, slaves must obey their masters, as St. Paul taught. This is compatible with the teaching of the principle of proportionality and taking into account the purpose of life: where an attempt to abolish an evil would not expect to succeed, or where the abolition would have more evil effects than good effects, the attempt to abolish the evil is not admitted.

    I note that the Church worked hard to abolish slavery from the earliest times in the Americas, for example. I don't know of an explicit teaching that slavery is morally acceptable, only that there are circumstances in which it is tolerable.

    Enlighten us, Jordanes, with a citation to the contrary.

    P.K.T.P.

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  106. Anonymous8:49 AM

    Jordanes writes:

    "the Church's social doctrine does change (develop) over time even while the principles on which the doctrine is based never change.:

    If you mean that the Church's doctrine can develop, yes, that is true, for that means that previous teaching can be enriched by new discoveries about the Deposit of Faith. But addition does not equal alteration. Alteration implies correction. What the Church teaches does not change; that is, previous teachings are not abandoned, only completed. It fits in well with our Lord Himself said: I come not to abolish one jot or tittle of the law but to fulfil it.

    P.K.T.P.

    ReplyDelete
  107. The only pertinent question is whether or not the contrary of the doctrine was proclaimed prior to St. Augustine.

    The contrary of the doctrine was maintained by many prior to St. Augustine -- and was also maintained by St. Augustine himself, who changed his mind back and forth on various opinions.

    The question is whether or not these encyclicals contain teachings which are ex cathedra in virtue of the ordinary Magisterium, not whether the documents themselves are ex cathdra. Casti Connubii is not an ex cathedra document but it sure as hell repeats ex cathedra teaching on contraception.

    You are using "ex cathedra" as a synonym for "infallible." There's no such thing as "ex cathedra in virtue of the ordinary magisterium."

    That does not follow. It depends what authority each document claims for itself. For example, an infallible teaching repeated in a non-infallible encyclical has more authority than has a non-infallible teaching proclaimed in a non-infallible œcumenical declaration.

    Yes, if you're talking about specific doctrines within a magisterial document. But the argument at hand attempted to cast doubt on the authority of DH by questioning what a conciliar declaration is and what a pastoral council is. In terms of authority and weight of individual magisterial documents, a declaration of an oecumenical council is weightier than a papal encyclical.

    Sources, please? And be explicit.

    I can only draw your attention to the Third Lateran Council's imposition of slavery as the prescribed punishment for various offenders, and Popes during the 1400s granted to the rulers of the Portugal the right to enslave inhabitants of the lands they discovered in Africa. Around the same time, of course, and ever after, Popes spoke out against the enslavement of the natives of the Americas, with prohibitions growing more insistent as time went on. Pope Gregory XVI forcefully condemned the slave trade in 1839 (In supremo apostolatus). These developments in Church teaching on slavery and the slave trade show how prior, noninfallible teachings can be and are changed as the deposit of faith is unfolded over time.

    I don't know of an explicit teaching that slavery is morally acceptable, only that there are circumstances in which it is tolerable.

    If is isn't morally acceptable, why were Popes and Councils requiring it or granting permission for it?

    No, one could not say that. Money functioned in a different way before the time of credit backed by collateral. The Church's position on usury has not changed. What changed was the nature of money.

    Yes, the Church's position on usury has not changed -- but the Church's position on what is and isn't usury has changed, because the nature of money changed. So, yes, one could say that the Church's position was modified somewhat -- because it obviously was.

    But as I said before, I did not bring up any of these examples to open up debates on usury or slavery or torture, but to show that the Church's social doctrine has developed over time, so that some things formerly accepted are now no longer, and some things that formerly would not have been allowed are accepted.

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  108. Anonymous6:32 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "The contrary of the doctrine was maintained by many prior to St. Augustine -- and was also maintained by St. Augustine himself, who changed his mind back and forth on various opinions."

    I don't mean by theologians but I mean by bishops who were teaching in union with each other and with the Pope to settle a matter in accordance with their offices. Yes, holy and sainted doctors have erred, including some who are bishops.

    P.K.T.P.

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  109. Anonymous6:36 PM

    Jordanes writes, regarding slavery:

    "I can only draw your attention to the Third Lateran Council's imposition of slavery as the prescribed punishment for various offenders, and Popes during the 1400s granted to the rulers of the Portugal the right to enslave inhabitants of the lands they discovered in Africa. "

    I thought as much. These are not examples of the Church proclaiming that slavery is acceptable. They are only casess of the Church presecribing what is already established. So the only question there is whether or not slavery could have been abolisehd at the time without imposing more evils than goods in the attempt so to do. This does not amount to a doctrine saying that slavery is morally acceptable.

    P.K.T.P.

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  110. Anonymous6:41 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "Yes, the Church's position on usury has not changed -- but the Church's position on what is and isn't usury has changed, because the nature of money changed."

    No, I'm sorry, Jordanes, but you need to consult someone on this. Usury is not the same thing in the two different monetary systems. The Church only condemned usury as it existed in the former system. The Church's position has not been altered one iota because she continues to condemn 'usury' in the previous (and extinct) monetary system and never condemned it in the current system. This was carefully explained to me in detail a few years ago by a real expert, I might add. I suggest that you need to research the question. The Church's positiion has not changed but it is now more comprehensive.

    P.K.T.P.

    P.K.T.P.

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  111. Anonymous6:51 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "Yes, if you're talking about specific doctrines within a magisterial document. But the argument at hand attempted to cast doubt on the authority of DH by questioning what a conciliar declaration is and what a pastoral council is. In terms of authority and weight of individual magisterial documents, a declaration of an oecumenical council is weightier than a papal encyclical."

    Well, any document emanating from an œcumentical council will be weightier than others in regard to source alone but this is almost irrelevant. What counts is the weight of the doctrine, not the vehicle in which it is expressed. The second question here is what weight, exactly, is imparted by a "declaration". This will be determined by what weight is accorded it by the Church. The problem is that the Church has never defined this, so we can't know. Similarly, the Church has never defined what weight is imparted per se by a "pastoral council". These terms were used in Vatican II sessions but they were never defined for us. For example, what is the difference in authority between a 'declaration', a 'constitution', a 'pastoral constitution', and a 'decree'. I challenge you, Jordanes, to point to determined definitions of these terms--term which were used in titles of Vatican II documents--and to show how weighty they are compared to one another and also compared to non-conciliar documents. Hint: you won't find definitions anywhere.

    It is true that an œcumenical council is a more august forum for the setting forth of doctrine than is an encylical, but that need not affect the degree of authority imparted. For determining the degree of authority, the question is TO WHAT EXTENT does this new document reflect previous teaching, UNLESS the document itself indicates that a certain teaching is infallible.

    P.K.T.P.

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  112. John McFarland7:12 PM

    Jordanes,

    1. An ecumenical council is only authoritative if its acts are approved or ratified by the Pope. Indeed, it is really that approval or ratification that makes the council ecumenical.

    2. (a) The traditional notion of the authority of an ecumenical council assumes what was always the case before V2: on dogmatic matters, the council had been convened precisely to resolve weighty and controversial issues.

    (b) Therefore, the authority of an unprecedented "pastoral" council, and a fortiori the authority of a "declaration" of such a council, is by no means clear, beyone the obvious point that a "declaration" would appear to have a lesser authority than other acts of V2.

    (c) The reason for DH's being styled a "declaration" is not difficult to divine. DH contradicted previous settled doctrine, and everybody knew it, although relatively few would admit it. Treating DH as less authoritative made it easier to slide it through.

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  113. John McFarand7:31 PM

    Mr. Perkins,

    Is your usury expert's analysis in writing somewhere?

    My problem is different from Jordanes's: I've never found much if any plausibility in the notion that the issue can be solved by distinguishing between an earlier economy or money or whatever as to in which the taking of usury was wicked, and a later economy or money or whatever as to which it is not.

    Needless to say, I'm prepared to believe what the Church teaches on usury; but I'm not prepared to pretend that bad arguments suppport my belief. So if you can point me to a good argument, I'll be in your debt.

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  114. Anonymous7:48 PM

    Mr. McFarland:

    I'm not sure I'm reading you aright here. Are you saying that Vatican II was not an œcumenical council but only a pastoral one? My understanding is that it was both.

    P.K.T.P.

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  115. Anonymous8:55 PM

    "These are not examples of the Church proclaiming that slavery is acceptable. They are only cases of the Church prescribing what is already established. So the only question there is whether or not slavery could have been abolished at the time without imposing more evils than goods in the attempt so to do."

    Well, it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

    At least some of those documents viz. the peoples of Africa and the New World explicitly authorized the Portuguese throne to "reduce their persons to perpetual slavery", in lands where chattel slavery did not then exist, and certainly was not being practiced there by Europeans. No prudential considerations were needed, and yet the Pope did not forbid the practice.

    But this is not an argument in favor of slavery but one in favor of a living magisterium is necessary to clarify and teach (yes, pastorally) in order to put such problematic pronouncements in their place. Clearly the Second Vatican Council believed both that it was proclaiming no new dogma, and that it was correcting the understanding of settled dogma from the commonly-held interpretation of certain past pronouncements.

    But even acknowledging that V2 was overly-influenced by the spirit of the 20th century, it must also be acknowledged that it was acting, with the respect due an ecumenical council, as a backstop against the spirit of the 19th. Calling freedom of religion "crap" is, according to the Church, erroneous.

    ReplyDelete
  116. John McFarland9:48 PM

    Mr. Perkins,

    If having its acts approved by the Pope makes the Vatican Council an ecumenical council (which I think is the case), then Vatican II is an ecumenical council.

    My issue is the level of authority of an ecumenical council that is also a pastoral council. It seems to me both illogical and without much if any magisterial support to maintain that the acts of an ecumenical pastoral council have the same binding character as the acts of the ecumenical councils that preceded V2.

    Note in this connection that Pope John said that the council wasn't going to define stuff; and that when Archbishop Lefebvre moved the Council to separate its acts into dogmatic and pastoral, he was roundly voted down.

    ReplyDelete
  117. John McFarland10:03 PM

    Jordanes,

    Apropos of Fr. Congar, let me paste in a few remarks of his, from a recent article by John Vennari:

    'Archbishop Lefebvre quoted the progressvist Father Yves Congar, one of the most influential theologians of Vatican II and its aftermath. Father Congar admitted, “It cannot be denied that the declaration on Religious Liberty does say something else than the Syllabus of 1864; it even says just about the opposite.”[10]
    Congar said further about Vatican II in general, “It is clear that the decree on ecumenism does say, on several points something else than Pius XI’s Encyclical Mortalium Animos, and the declaration on religious Liberty says the contrary of several articles of Pius IX’s syllabus, as Lumen Gentium 16 and Ad Gentes 7 do say something else than ‘There is no salvation outside the Church’…”[11]'

    Fr. Congar also once remarked that during the Council he was set by his cohorts to finding scriptural support for freedom of religion, but that embarrassingly enough, there was none. I'll see if I can find the exact quote.

    As you probably know, Fr. Congar received a red hat from PJP II, who on your account started the Church back from the precipice.

    So it seems that having a red hat from PJP II is not necessarily a good way to distinguish the good believers in continuity from the wicked apostles of discontinuity.

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  118. John McFarland10:38 PM

    Craig,

    I have neither the time nor the talent to unravel the issue of slavery, but let me offer my general sense of it all.

    The Church never much liked slavery, but often enough had very limited if any success in doing anything about it, and a limited appetite for even trying. But when the world for whatever reasons lost its taste for slavery, the Church was pleased to join in the denunciations. Now you can spin the significance of these remarks in a number of ways, but there they are, for what they are worth.

    Be that as it may, it seems to me obvious that issues of usury and slavery belong in rather a different conceptual bucket from freedom of religion.

    For one thing, the worst that can be said about slavery is that the Church was rather late to the party.

    By contrast, I think that what Archbishop Lefebvre once said about DH is true: its doctrine has the effect of giving the human soul a place where it is exempt from the action of divine providence.

    Man has free will, and so there is nothing to be done about his choosing a false religion if he himself will not change his mind. But there is something to be done about his practicing his false religion openly, not to mention his spreading the poison; and that something must be done because permitting him public practice will tend to reinforce his complacence in his error; and will also make it easier for him to infect others with those errors.

    But on DH's account, the state must not merely permit those evil results, but actually foster them, based on alleged God-given rights. As I have said before, this is monstrous.

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  119. Anonymous10:55 PM

    Mr. McFarland:

    The quote from Yves Congar is either in the Michael Davies' book "The Second Vatican Council" or "The Rhine Flows Into The Tiber." But Congar wasn't embarrassed at not being able to find scriptual support for this "novelty." Yves Congar - embarrassed?

    With all the chicanery that went on during the Council, is it any wonder the Church is a mess?

    Also, I've noticed that when a pre-Vatican II document doesn't fit in with the post-VII agenda, it's dismissed as non-binding.

    Delphina

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  120. Anonymous11:44 PM

    Craig wrote:

    "No prudential considerations were needed, and yet the Pope did not forbid the practice."

    A failure to forbid a practice does not equal a doctrine that the practice is morally ordered.

    P.K.T.P.

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  121. Anonymous11:52 PM

    Mr. McFarland:

    On usury, no, I'd have to dig up a written source. I have read about this rather extensively in the past but the ethics of finance has never been an interest for me. A expert did explain the matter once.

    Yes, I see your perspective. I believe that there was once an argument in "The Angelus" to the effect that what is erroneous is the hierarchy's present line on usury. This sure as hell will not be a position which Jordanes would favour! As for myself, I've never given the matter serious consideration.

    The arguments to which I was referring are essentially the 'present line' supported by Church authorities today. Hence I was suprised when Jordanes contradicted the argument and claimed that the Church had reversed her position. Jordanes, like God, does indeed move in mysterious ways. Usually, it is liberals who claim that the Church has changed her position on usury, and they usually do so to demonstrate that the Church is not infallible in her Ordinary Magisterium.

    P.K.T.P.

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  122. Vox Clamans Ex Inculta5:35 AM

    God is not mocked.

    ReplyDelete
  123. I don't mean by theologians but I mean by bishops who were teaching in union with each other and with the Pope to settle a matter in accordance with their offices.

    Is that an accurate description of Mirari Vos and Quanta Cura?

    These are not examples of the Church proclaiming that slavery is acceptable.

    They sure aren't examples of the Church proclaiming that slavery is unacceptable. Clearly the Church's doctrine on slavery has changed -- that is, developed -- over the past two millennia.

    So the only question there is whether or not slavery could have been abolisehd at the time without imposing more evils than goods in the attempt so to do. This does not amount to a doctrine saying that slavery is morally acceptable.

    Where is there any evidence that the Council Fathers of Lateran III had such considerations in their minds when she prescribed slavery as the punishment for various offenders against the social order, or when the Pope gave the rulers of Portugal the right to enslave the inhabitants of their African colonies?

    There's simply no denying that the Church's doctrine regarding slavery has undergone development. The Church no longer acts and talks about slavery the way the Church in the Middle Ages acted and talked about slavery.

    Nevertheless, it is should be noted that the Church today does not object to certain forms of "servitude" -- I'm not aware of the Church objecting to criminals in prison being required to make license plates, or being sent out to clean roadsides of trash.

    A failure to forbid a practice does not equal a doctrine that the practice is morally ordered.

    Of course the Church's former endorsement of slavery in papal and conciliar acts is rather more than failing to forbid a practice.

    The Church's positiion [on usury] has not changed but it is now more comprehensive.

    Well, the position is the still the same, but as you say, it is now more comprehensive, and thus the doctrinal content of which that position consists has indeed changed. It is simply impossible to show that what the Church now says about usury is entirely the same as what the Church said about usury in the Middle Ages.

    As for my own understanding regarding the development of the Church's doctrine on usury, it is nothing more than that explained by the old Catholic Encyclopedia:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15235c.htm

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08077a.htm

    I was suprised when Jordanes contradicted the argument and claimed that the Church had reversed her position.

    Read more carefully. I have not contradicted the argumnt, nor have I ever claimed that the Church reversed her position on usury.

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  124. Well, any document emanating from an œcumentical council will be weightier than others in regard to source alone but this is almost irrelevant. What counts is the weight of the doctrine, not the vehicle in which it is expressed.

    When it is a matter of doctrines or teachings of equal weight, the authority of an oecumenical council will outweight the authority of a papal encyclical.

    The second question here is what weight, exactly, is imparted by a "declaration". This will be determined by what weight is accorded it by the Church. The problem is that the Church has never defined this, so we can't know.

    On that question, I think we can only accept the standard definitions of various Church documents, such as those described here:

    http://www.adoremus.org/0902AuthorityChurchDoc.html

    http://www.usccb.org/education/catechetics/livlghtspr2001.shtml#hayes



    Similarly, the Church has never defined what weight is imparted per se by a "pastoral council".

    A pastoral oecumenical council cannot have less authority than any other oecumenical council, or else it would be something less than an oecumenical council. This is what Mr. McFarland is apparently trying to argue -- that Vatican II's authority is less than that of all of the Church's other oecumenical councils, and that Vatican II might not even be an oecumenical council even though the Church, who has vastly more expertise and authority in these matters than Mr. McFarland, says it is and treats it as such.

    These terms were used in Vatican II sessions but they were never defined for us. For example, what is the difference in authority between a 'declaration', a 'constitution', a 'pastoral constitution', and a 'decree'.

    Of those four terms, the only one I've not found a definition of is the only one that is a novel term, "pastoral constitution," of which there has been only one in the Church's history.

    Hint: you won't find definitions anywhere.

    No, I found definitions, though I can't say for sure how to apply them, except to say that it's clear enough that a declaration of an oecumenical council is of weighty authority indeed, and seems comparable to a papal encyclical.

    For determining the degree of authority, the question is TO WHAT EXTENT does this new document reflect previous teaching, UNLESS the document itself indicates that a certain teaching is infallible.

    That is how we determine infallibility, but not necessarily how a document's authority is determined.

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  125. An ecumenical council is only authoritative if its acts are approved or ratified by the Pope. Indeed, it is really that approval or ratification that makes the council ecumenical.

    Vatican II definitely passes that test.

    2. (a) The traditional notion of the authority of an ecumenical council assumes what was always the case before V2: on dogmatic matters, the council had been convened precisely to resolve weighty and controversial issues.

    The Council of Vienne wasn't convened to resolve weighty and controversial dogmatic matters. it was primarily (almost solely) concerned with whether or not to suppress the Knights Templar.

    (b) Therefore, the authority of an unprecedented "pastoral" council, and a fortiori the authority of a "declaration" of such a council, is by no means clear,

    It is clear that the authority of a pastoral oecumenical council cannot be less than the authority of a non-pastoral oecumenical council (assuming there have ever been non-pastoral oecumenical councils).

    beyone the obvious point that a "declaration" would appear to have a lesser authority than other acts of V2.

    As I've been given to understand, a conciliar declaration is of less authority than a conciliar constitution, and derives its weight from a constitution's point of doctrine that the declaration addresses.

    (c) The reason for DH's being styled a "declaration" is not difficult to divine. DH contradicted previous settled doctrine,

    In various points it goes against previous teaching, but not all of those teachings were settled doctrine. If it does go against settled doctrine, then DH must be ignored until such time as it is clarified or corrected.

    and everybody knew it, although relatively few would admit it. Treating DH as less authoritative made it easier to slide it through.

    Or -- its subject was already brought up in a dogmatic constitution, and thus anything further the council said would be addressed in a declaration.

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  126. Re the quotes from Father Yves Congar. It is as I expected, he did not say as much in as many words, but said something else. What he did say (assuming the veracity of the quotes, which I've no good reason to question) sounds accurate enough.

    I am doubtful about the "no scriptural support for freedom of religion" line, though. Human nature is such that we can find scriptural support for almost anything, even if its not really there.

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  127. Anonymous7:21 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "When it is a matter of doctrines or teachings of equal weight, the authority of an oecumenical council will outweight the authority of a papal encyclical."

    Really? And what is your source for that assertion? I would expect that it all depends on what authority is claimed for each by the Pope and on the extent to which each accords with tradition on the matter. In cases in which the authority seems equal between the two, I suppose that a dubium to the appropriate congregation could solve any apparent contradictions.

    P.K.T.P.

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  128. It's just a natural conclusion to draw, keeping in mind that when the Pope and all the bishops join together in saying something in a council, it has to be taken as of greater moment that when the Pope alone writes something in an encyclical.

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  129. Anonymous7:37 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "There's simply no denying that the Church's doctrine regarding slavery has undergone development. The Church no longer acts and talks about slavery the way the Church in the Middle Ages acted and talked about slavery."

    No, I'm sorry, this and Jordanes's other comments are simply not correct. How the Church acts and talks about a matter will be conditioned by circumstances and by all the moral principles involved, including, as I've noted before, proportionality. This is NOT the same thing as doctrine on the same matter. The fact that the Church accepted the existence of slavery and, given that it would have been morally impossible to abolish it, even legislated with that in mind, does not mean that the Church accepted slavery as a matter of principle.

    One must think of the doctrine as a deposit given to us by God through nature and Scripture. However, our imperfections mean and that we only know the Deposit so well; and temporal conditions mean that we are not always in a positon in which the Church can reveal more of the truth at some given point in time. Over time, the Church defines the teaching better and better but doesn not contradict herself on matters of principle.

    There is a huge difference between defining slavery as a moral good, on the one hand, and not defining it as a moral evil, on the other. In the first case, the declaration is made the object of a positive act of the will.

    As I've also mentioned before, the principle of proportionality can affect what the Church chooses to make declarations about. If any good action or declaration is expected to fail and to bring serious evil consequences, then there is no obligation to do it: there may even be an obligation not to do it. This is also the case if the evil consequences will outweigh the good consequences. So the fact that the Church 'acted and did not forbid' does not mean that she defended or approved.

    Again, the Church's position takes into acccount St. Paul's dictum that slaves must obey their masters. This does not mean that slavery is ordered but only that, where its abolition is impossible, it is wrong for slaves to disobey their masters given that this would distract them from their primary end, salvation through acts pleasing to God. This must have been a consideration in the early Church, when most Christians *were* slaves.

    P.K.T.P.

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  130. Anonymous7:42 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "There's simply no denying that the Church's doctrine regarding slavery has undergone development."


    Again, Jordanes, development does not mean change. Change implieds correction. There is no denying that doctrine is developed. What we were discussing is whether or not any previous doctrine was corrected, which would mean an admission of error.

    P.K.T.P.

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  131. Mr. Perkins, the more words you expend in explaining the Church's doctrine on slavery, the more clear it is that the Church's doctrine on slavery has developed, and that there are things the Church has said and done regarding slavery in the past that need to be studied carefully to show that they are in continuity with what he Church says and does regarding slavery today.

    It is an analogous situation with DH, which so obviously differs from the things the Church has said and done about religious freedom in the past. Any continuity is not immediately apparent, and if it is there it will take close, serious study to demonstrate it. I know of the syntheses of solid Catholic writers like Father Brian Harrison, David Palm, Thomas Storck, and Keith Gurries, endeavoring to show the continuity between the Church's pre-Vatican II doctrine and DH. Each of them takes a somewhat different approach to the problem, and each of them sound promising to me (for what that's worth, which isn't much). What we need is for the Church to weigh in on this matter, and that in particular is one of the things I hope will result from the doctrinal dialogue between the Holy See and the SSPX.

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  132. Again, Jordanes, development does not mean change.

    It sure doesn't mean remaining exactly the same.

    Change implieds correction.

    No, correction is only one kind of change.

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  133. Anonymous7:51 PM

    On Jordanes's comments about Mr. McFarland's remarks on 'pastoral' œcumenical councils.

    First, there is no question that Vatican II was an œcumenical council. However, that, in itself, does not impart any particular authority to its documents. To know what authority any particular claim imparts, one must look to the document itself and see what the author says on the matter. Nothing Jordanes has written resolves the matter of whether a decree is more authoritative than a declaration or a pastoral constitution. He has found a defintion for the last term but I don't see there any statement about its relative authority. Hence a pastoral œcumenical council, which does not claim to be defining doctrine at all, would seem to have an uncertain authority. To know the extent to which it is authoritative, the rule is obviously the extent to which it comports with tradition. If a statement in a papal encyclical agrees perfectly with what has been taught always, everywhere, and in all places, we might say that it has a great degree of authority. If a statement from a Vatican II 'pastoral constitution' is not supportable by reference to previous teaching, it might have much less authority than the former. And the way to distinguish between them, ultimately, is reference to the Holy See by submission of a dubium.

    I don't see any Church teaching which says that, mutandis mutatis, a declaration contained in an œcunmenical document bears more authority than one contained in a papal encyclical.

    P.K.T.P.

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  134. Anonymous8:12 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "No, correction is only one kind of change."


    This depends on the object being considered. I can say more today about the poetry of Keats than I said yesterday but this does not change what I said yesterday. To change what I said yesterday, I have to show that there was some error in what I said yesterday. Filling omissions does not amount to change; it does not mean an alteration of what came before.

    It is the same with Church teaching. The Magisterium can say x, y, and z today and can add a, b, c, and d tomorrow, but this does not mean changing, altering, what was said yesterday.

    Now, let us suppose that the object considered is larger: it is partly known and, so far, partly unknown. The Church reveals more and more of that object over time but without changing what she said about it yesterday. So we learn more and more but nothing which comes later contradicts what came earlier. What came earlier must be entirely correct (even if incomplete) because its Author never errs.

    Jordanes, think of the Church's teaching office as an act of revelation. Think of it in the way Michelangelo regarded his work: of removing the dross from a figure which was already present in the stone and merely had to be uncovered.

    The Church is in the business of uncovering God's revelation, and His created object doesn't change, it's just that we learn more and more about it over time. The deposit itself doesn't change because He doesn't change.

    The Roman soldiers threw our Lord onto a rock: that was to be His throne. They did not see the significance. His throne is a rock because rocks are apparently imperishable. He is the rock of salvation who doesn't change, even if the stone which was rejected by the builder has become the head of the corner.

    P.K.T.P.

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  135. Anonymous8:15 PM

    Sorry, I meant 'mutatis mutandis' back there. Slow down and proofread *before* sending.

    P.K.T.P.

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  136. Anonymous8:22 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "It's just a natural conclusion to draw, keeping in mind that when the Pope and all the bishops join together in saying something in a council, it has to be taken as of greater moment that when the Pope alone writes something in an encyclical."

    Well, look, Jordanes, any document can contain hundreds of claims. Very few enshrine only one. The mere fact that bishops voted on a document does not mean that all the claims comport with everything taught in the past (assuming that your average bishop would even know all that). Perhaps some do and others do not. I'm not sure that, semantically speaking, it tells much to say that one entire document has more authority than another. You can go through most Vatican II documents and find that most claims are completely orthodox. Nobody compains about those. The problem is the 2% of time bombs inserted by Freemasonic periti and written in ambiguous locutions. 2% of a million words (often drivel, juding by the platitudes found in L.G.) can still amount to a great deal.

    So the unit for consideration here is not the document but the sentence or paragraph.

    P.K.T.P.

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  137. Anonymous8:31 PM

    Jordanes writes:

    "It is an analogous situation with DH, which so obviously differs from the things the Church has said and done about religious freedom in the past."

    Well, I'd say that therein lies the problem: that it is NOT analagous. I have little respect at all for Harrison, whom you mention. However, it is indeed, as you say, for the Holy See to explain what looks to me like direct contradiction.

    Is the limit to the public display of false religion the maintenance of public order (previous teaching) or the common good (Murray teaching). I'd like to know. Until someone can explain it, I'll read and recommend only Quanta Cura, thank you very much. I sure as hell won't go with anything which comes from the poison pen of a man who was excluded for thelogical error before the Council. It's a scandal that he was allowed anywhere near Rome at the time. I believe that the fault lay with the Cardinal-Archbishop of Baltimore.

    I predict that the difficulty will be finding how to intepret D.H. in a way that was not intended by the periti who drafted it. In other words, if it is orthodox at all, it is only because the Holy Ghost outfoxed what the drafters intended. As John Paul II pointed out, the correct meaning of a teaching is the one which comports with tradition, even if the words used in its formulation could more easily or more readily suggest a different meaning.

    P.K.T.P.

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  138. Anonymous10:30 PM

    "The fact that the Church accepted the existence of slavery and, given that it would have been morally impossible to abolish it, even legislated with that in mind, does not mean that the Church accepted slavery as a matter of principle."

    With all due respect, this statement is bovine excrement. See above; the Church introduced the practice by decree into lands where it was nonexistent. If papal bulls were issued authorizing Catholic princes to take concubines, a reasonable man would conclude that the church approved of concubinage at least some of the time. The plain fact is that bulls were issued authorizing slavery and torture, and that the Church has since repudiated those practices by reassessing and/or circumscribing the authority of those earlier pronouncements. That she has done so for those issues, and that she has done so w.r.t. religious freedom, is all along the same arc: each case evinces Peter holding a greater respect for intrinsic human dignity now than previously. But to deny that the Church has corrected any of her teaching is just gaslighting.

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  139. Is it just me, or are the words "with all due respect" another way of saying "without due respect"?

    Craig, I've approved your message with some reservations that your tone is needlessly harsh and provocative. Let us all please be mindful of our tone so discussion and debate can remain focused on the issues and not on persons.

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  140. Anonymous10:28 AM

    That's all right, Jordanes, I don't mind Craig's colourful expletives in the least; in fact, they brighten up the blog wonderfully.

    There is little point in me reiterating my point to Craig many more times. It will get to the point at which two small children simply deny each other's positions.

    To close on it, I simply remind everyone that the Church's practice in the past reflected established assumptions at the time. That does not equal a doctrine in favour of slavery or torture.

    Craig says that the Church legislated in favour of slavery where it did not exist before. Let us consider this position more carefully. When the Portugese (e.g.) conquered an area, the laws and norms imposed were those of Portugal, not those of the previous rulers. So the Church was legislating in a situation in which slavery would presumably be imposed in any event. Hence the principle of proportionality does come into play. To analyse the situation more closely, I would have to consider specific conditions and legislation.

    I don't know of any Church teaching in the past which proclaimed slavery to be a moral good or which acknowledged that it was morally neutral. This may have been *assumed* by many, just as many assumed that the world was flat. But that does not equal a Church teaching. So if the Church was passing laws to impose slavery, we need to consider the circumstances in each case and we need to look at the wording of the laws to see if there was any affirmation of its moral acceptablililty. We can't jump to the conclusion that the Church meant to imply that slavery was morally good or morally neutral.

    P.K.T.P.

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  141. John McFarland5:51 PM

    Mr. Perkins,

    "I predict that the difficulty will be finding how to intepret D.H. in a way that was not intended by the periti who drafted it."

    The Holy Spirit is not a shyster lawyer, nor is He the inspiration of shyster lawyers.

    What you are proposing to to turn the technique of the V2 progressivists turned against them; but you can't drive out lies and dissembling by lies and dissembling.

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  142. I don't know of any Church teaching in the past which proclaimed slavery to be a moral good or which acknowledged that it was morally neutral.

    The old Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that the prevailing thought for most of the Church's history has been that slavery is not in itself contrary to the natural law -- but it was still looked upon by Christian moral writers as something only to be tolerated:

    "It may be said that the approved ethical view of slavery was that while, religiously speaking, it could not be condemned as against the natural law, and had on its side the jus gentium, it was looked upon with disfavour as at best merely tolerable, and when judged by its consequences, a positive evil.

    "The later moralists, that is to say, broadly speaking, those who have written since the end of the eighteenth century, though in fundamental agreement with their predecessors, have somewhat shifted the perspective. In possession of the bad historical record of slavery and familiar with a Christian structure of society from which slavery had been eliminated, these later moralists emphasize more than did the older ones the reasons for condemning slavery; and they lay less stress on those in its favour. While they admit that it is not, theoretically speaking at least, contrary to the natural law, they hold that it is hardly compatible with the dignity of personality, and is to be condemned as immoral on account of the evil consequences it almost inevitably leads to. It is but little in keeping with human dignity that one man should so far be deprived of his liberty as to be perpetually subject to the will of a master in everything that concerns his external life; that he should be compelled to spend his entire labour for the benefit of another and receive in return only a bare subsistence. This condition of degradation is aggravated by the fact that the slave is, generally, deprived of all means of intellectual development for himself or for his children. This life almost inevitably leads to the destruction of a proper sense of self-respect, blunts the intellectual faculties, weakens the sense of responsibility, and results in a degraded moral standard. On the other hand, the exercise of the slave-master's power, too seldom sufficiently restrained by a sense of justice or Christian feeling, tends to develop arrogance, pride, and a tyrannical disposition, which in the long run comes to treat the slave as a being with no rights at all. Besides, as history amply proves, the presence of a slave population breeds a vast amount of sexual immorality among the slave-owning class, and, to borrow a phrase of Lecky, tends to cast a stigma on all labour and to degrade and impoverish the free poor."

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14039a.htm

    Interesting that the old Catholic Encyclopedia refers to Catholic moral theology that takes account of the dignity of the human person -- looks like that isn't just a Vatican II or post-Vatican II concern. The thinking on slavery has definitely shifted, and it's noteworthy to see the role played by considerations of human dignity in that shift in thinking. DH also bases its teaching on the dignity of the human person.

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  143. Mr. McFarland, I don't think it is some disputable, indeterminate intent of the periti that is to rule how the Church should read Vatican II documents. If one were to take what the Council of Florence said about the form and matter necessary for valid Holy Orders without consideration of what Pius XII taught in Sacramentum Ordinis, one could well get the idea that the Council Fathers of Florence intended to say something that Pius XII says they couldn't have really intended regardless of what the words of Decree for the Armenians seem to say.

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