Friday, 10 September 2010

Church Times on the papal visit

A few weeks ago, the Dean of Westminster wrote an article. See A chance to recall the nation’s Christian roots.

The Pope’s visit could help to emphasise how the state can engage with the Churches, argues John Hall

This week there is a news report, Pope’s state visit won’t be a fishing trip, says Nichols.

THE Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, has said that the Pope will not be “fishing” for Anglicans when he comes to Britain next week.

Pope Benedict XVI will meet the Archbishop of Canterbury next week during the first state visit by a pope to the UK, and the first papal visit for 28 years.

Archbishop Nichols told the BBC that there were “delicate and difficult issues” between his Church and the Church of England. But there would be no “harsh words” between the two church leaders during next week’s visit. The Pope’s creation of an Or­dinariate for those who chose to leave the Anglican Church was made only in response to repeated re­quests.

“Sometimes, people want to say, ‘Oh, this is the initiative of the Pope, who is going fishing for Anglicans.’ That is not true. He is responding to requests that he has received, and those requests we have to handle sensitively on both sides. There are delicate, difficult issues between our two Churches at the moment.”

And there is a Leader, English lesson for Pope Benedict.

…The interest in Pope Benedict’s visit is there, too, but it stems, in part, from negative sources. In place of the Revd Ian Paisley and Pastor Jack Glass will stand, physically or metaphorically, Peter Tatchell and Richard Dawkins, criticising not the brand of Christianity represented by the Pope, but the whole Christian edifice. Where ecumenical endeavour has failed, ignorance has triumphed, so that divisions within the Church are largely unperceived by the general public. The Pope’s views are taken to be the views of all, just as the crimes of a few Roman Catholic priests have cast a shadow over all…

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Comments

I listened to Mark Dowd's excellent documentary on the state of English Catholicism on Radio Four.

What came across was the utter ignorance of the young people as to what the Catholic Faith was.

The trads, nice and safe in their liturgical ghetto.

The Archbishop of Westminster not facing the reality of what the gay Soho mass represents.

"I cannot make a moral judgement" was his comment.. would Paul have said that over the man in an incestuous relationship? Cardinal hume refused active homosexuals who approached him for Holy Communion?

If I did not believe in the Petrine promises I would have been totally depressed.

The sad fact is that the Catholic Church that Vincent Nichols will present to the Pope is as false as the sham villages facades that Catherine the great was presented with on her Imperial progresses.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 11 September 2010 at 2:43pm BST

""what the gay Soho mass represents. ... "I cannot make a moral judgement" was his comment.. would Paul have said that over the man in an incestuous relationship?"


...because gay relationships are the equivalent of INCEST, I take it RIW?

Please take your homophobia (Yes, I'm sure prettied up w/ your bogus "Petrine promised" Biblical *interpretation*), tie a millstone around it, and deposit it in the depths of the sea! >:-(

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 11 September 2010 at 7:29pm BST

"The Archbishop of Westminster not facing the reality of what the gay Soho mass represents.

'I cannot make a moral judgement' was his comment..

Would Paul have said that over the man in an incestuous relationship? Cardinal hume refused active homosexuals who approached him for Holy Communion?"

- Robert Ian Williams -

Robert, tell me, are you here equating incest with same-sex relationships? If so, you may just be on the wrong web-site. Most of us here are concerned with the fight for justice for women and gays, whose intrinsic sexuality is the soevereign work of a loving God - and not to be compared with St. Paul's opinion on incestuous relationships.

I find your suggestion rather ingenuous, and completely lacking in sensitivity towards serious 'Thinking Anglicans' who are seeking justice and Christian charity here. Perhaps the RC Archbishop of Westminster is being more charitable than one of his newly-recruited flock

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 11 September 2010 at 8:28pm BST

I never thought of it like that. I did not express my view but that of the Catholic Church, of which the topic was concerned. Of course heterosexual immorality, incest, adultery etc are all sins in Catholic moral teaching. The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual practice ( not persons) is gravely sinful ( as does Anglicanism ), but the Archdiocese of Westminster are in my view quite duplicitous on the issue of the Soho Mass.

Indeed we have written evidence that when the Archbishop writes to some concerned persons he pretends the Mass is for celibate homosexuals.

Archbishop Nichols should represent his Church and come clean with the Pope.

Ron , there is such thing as false charity. A true friend always tells you the truth and not what you want to hear.

If Archbishop Vincent Nichols believes that homosexuality is gravely sinful, he has no right to approve the Mass. If he doesn't believe that homosexuality is sinful, he should resign his office and quit the Catholic Church.Yet this is the same Archbishop who rebuked Tony Blair over his desire for the Church to change its teaching on homosexuality!

Surely you may not agree with the Catholic position, but is not my reasoning honest?

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 11 September 2010 at 11:48pm BST

RIW
"Surely you may not agree with the Catholic position, but is not my reasoning honest?"

No, I don't think your reasoning is honest.
The Pope is not infallible unless he speaks ex-cathedra. To my knowledge, there has been no ex-cathedra pronouncement on homosexuality.

I have a Catholic friend who supports the ordination of women. She would never go against the rules of her church, but she says it is perfectly legitimate to say that this is something you hope the Pope will eventually change his mind on.

The Catholic church really isn't as rigid as you try to portray it.
You chose to ally yourself with the rigid wing of it.
That is your personal choice and Fr Ron is right to hold you accountable.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 12 September 2010 at 11:47am BST

"If Archbishop Vincent Nichols believes that homosexuality is gravely sinful, he has no right to approve the Mass. If he doesn't believe that homosexuality is sinful, he should resign his office and quit the Catholic Church."

- Robert Ian Williams -

Robert, I appreciate your response, but cannot help wondering why you would want to question the morality a Metropolitan Bishop of your own R.C. Church on an Anglican web-site. Would it not be preferable, and perhaps more helpful to your own Church community, if you were to challenge Abp. Nichols' seeming hypocrisy through one of your own Roman Catholic web-sites - or an R.C. Paper?

Such a crisis of confidence as you apparently have with one of your own Church's Bishops is serious enough to be brought to the attentions of your own Bishop - or at least your parish priest.
I'm not sure that anyone subscribing to Thinking Anglicans is equipped to help you on this one.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 12 September 2010 at 12:20pm BST

Rome is a dead end. Nichols doesn't represent the pope and I'm sure Papa Ratzinger doesn't want anyone speaking for him.

Posted by: bobinswpa on Sunday, 12 September 2010 at 2:15pm BST

So by your reasoning Ron, why are you so obsessed with commenting at Roman Catholicism.

Erika , you should be affirming me..as what I am saying is , why is there a seeming contradiction between Archbishop Nichols attacking Tony Blair over revising Church teaching on homosexuality and giving a nod and a wink to the issue in the Soho Mass.

In Wales we call this " running with the hare and the hounds."...or " eating your bun and keeping your penny."

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 12 September 2010 at 3:52pm BST

When I go to worship there is no way to know if my fellow worshippers are celibate or not. Nor do I care. All I hope is that they are happy.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 12 September 2010 at 7:57pm BST

Erika,

"The Pope is not infallible unless he speaks ex-cathedra."

This is true, although irrelevant in this case. When the "Ordinary Magisterium" speaks with one voice on a subject or issue, that issue is likewise closed. Thus, the declaration "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" of Pope John Paul II in 1994 which declared that the Church does not have the capacity to ordain women was not an ex cathedra infallible definition, but as the CDF clarified in the following year what OS does is to specify that the constant teaching of the "Ordinary Magisterium" is "irreformable " (i.e., unchangeable) and thus infallibly taught. No doubt the same is true and could (and in my view ought to) be done on the subject of sodomitic pseudogamy (or abortion or the Church's teaching against contraception). Your "Catholic friend" who supports the "ordination" of women is thus acting either in willful defiance of the teaching of the Church or in untaught ignorance of the fact that it is not only the relatively few ex cathedra magisterium that demand assent and adherence of the faithful.

Posted by: William Tighe on Sunday, 12 September 2010 at 8:05pm BST

Your "Catholic friend" who supports the "ordination" of women is thus acting either in willful defiance of the teaching of the Church or in untaught ignorance of the fact that it is not only the relatively few ex cathedra magisterium that demand assent and adherence of the faithful.
Posted by: William Tighe on Sunday, 12 September

Few people these days -who are not having a breakdown of some kind, will accept this kind of impenitent control and bullying.

Happily the RC demoninaion is far from monolithic and a richly diverse life flourishes, beyond papal impertinences ! Not only sexually, but liturgically, theologically and in so many ways. Yes, I ahve been at RC masses where lay people said part or all of the prayer of consecration or particular paragraphs, where the lavabo was done for all and so on. I have been invited to vest and concelebrate as an anglican minister; and it hardly needs mentioning that reciprocal ('inter-')communion is widely practised. I wouldnt dream of not taking the bread and cup at an RC eucharist, and it wouldnt occur to many RCs not to take communion at the eucharist in other denominations. This includes both RC humanist style celebrations and charismatic group eucharist celebrations--as well as more common or garden contexts. Also on occasion an RC minister has handed over to me the last rites and gone home for necessary sleep. No need to get all worked up about it though ! It does no harm and in fact a
lot of good spiritually and in terms of building up faith hope and charity.

This kind of sharing, collaboration and loving goes on all the time beyond all the rules and red tape beloved of those who think love and grace and fellowship can be hemmed-in, corralled and limited - and subverted.

It's just ordinary human relating and getting on with it, really. Isn't it ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 12 September 2010 at 11:05pm BST

"Your "Catholic friend" who supports the "ordination" of women is thus acting either in willful defiance of the teaching of the Church or in untaught ignorance of the fact that it is not only the relatively few ex cathedra magisterium that demand assent and adherence of the faithful."

- William Tighe, on Sunday -


Well, William, there would appear to be something of an underground revolt against your celebrated *magisterium* on this issue, and there are many Roman Catholics - including priests and Religious whom I know personally - who cannot see why women cannot be ordained priests & bishops. Perhaps you do not have your ear as 'close to the ground' and have not detected any of the groundswell amongst Roman Catholics on this particular matter.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 12:03am BST

Robert Ian Williams: "there is such thing as false charity. A true friend always tells you the truth and not what you want to hear"

Ah yes: the whole "if it's true, it's charitable" blanket defense.

Hence, behold the "charity" of burning the heretic alive, "so that he may repent, and avoid the eternal flame hereafter."

This kind of "logic" comes *direct* from the Father of Lies, RIW.

No stipulated "Truth" can turn hatred into charity. As is obvious, your co-religionist William "sodomitic pseudogamy" (!!!) Tighe HATES the people that God made LGBT. Is that road you want to travel (down)?

In True Charity, you put *yourself* on the cross, as Christ did---you don't nail others onto it. That means giving others freedom and *equality* to follow their own consciences (per the ethics of soon-to-Blessed JHN) EVEN IF you're convinced (in your own conscience---Bishop of Rome concurring) they're wrong.

A suggestion: why not let Charity define Truth, instead of the other way around? In other words: if Truth is Christ (which of course, for us Christians, it is) . . . did Jesus come to bring us a dogma? Or to lovingly open wide his arms on the tree and SAVE us?

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 12:31am BST

W. Tighe wrote " Your 'Catholic friend' who supports the "ordination" of women is thus acting either in willful defiance of the teaching of the Church..." Yeah, there is a lot of that going around these days. It's called cafeteria Catholic. It tends to thrive outside cloister walls.
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Letters/1200898.html

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 1:04am BST

Thought this article interesting from our side of the pond.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/11/AR2010091101582.html?hpid=sec-religion

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 1:47am BST

I am amazed by the in-denial RC's who imagine that the Roman Catholic hierarchy has been entirely consistent or immutable on all things through the millennia.

I know that I will not see female RC priests in the relatively few years I have left, but I am reasonably confident that my children will see that occur, or at least the foundations for that being put in place.

The Holy Spirit can even break through the prejudices and self-imposed barriers of Rome.

Of course for that minority of non-hierarchy RC's who demand universal conformity in faith as well as in action, such a concept brings reactions akin to the witch trials of Salem or the worst depravity of the Inquisition.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 6:16am BST

laurence... its not a question of making rash judgements about a person presenting themselves for Holy Communion. The issue is as much the context of the Mass.

Is it a group of men and women wishing to conform their lives to Catholic teaching, or is it a group being confirmed in what Catholic teaching declares is trespass and sin.

Are the officiating priest's preaching that homosexual practice is a sin and enjoining chastity...no

Are the group joining in the Gay Pride demo..which is a celebration of the gay lifestyle ......yes

Have you read the Mass web site?

That is why I believe the Archbishop is wrong.

Will some one explain to me, how He can criticise Tony Blair as regards his plea for revision of Church teaching on homosexuality and yet allow this apparent contradiction of Catholic teaching.

Laurence, Ron, Erika ..who is the more logical on this.. Archbishop Vincent Nichols or myself?

Or can someone square the circle for me?

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 7:14am BST

RIW
I think you are making the same mistake William made in his reply to me, which is to equate thinking with acting.

You may not act against the wishes of the church but unless there has been an ex-cathedra pronouncement on something you do not have to believe that the church is right.

Your statement "If he doesn't believe that homosexuality is sinful, he should resign his office and quit the Catholic Church." is therefore not honest reasoning.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 7:36am BST

Robert, see what Abp Nichols said in this Sunday Telegraph interview,
and read down to the para which starts, "Should the Church one day accept the reality of gay partnerships?"

But could we please leave this issue, which arose only from the Dowd radio programme comment (I agree that it was an excellent programme) and stick to comments about what the Church Times articles said?

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 7:55am BST

Re: The Pope is not infallible unless he speaks ex-cathedra. To my knowledge, there has been no ex-cathedra pronouncement on homosexuality.

Erika,

I don't think that's quite correct. My understanding is that Ecumenical Councils are also concidered to be infallible, and there was a twelfth century Ecumenical Council condemning homosexuality, as well as a thirteenth century Ecumenical Council condemning unmarried sex.

I don't think, personally, that homosexuality is wrong, but if one views tradition as infallible, then it is a theological conundrum, because supposedly infallible traditions (i.e. two Ecumenical Councils) do condemn homosexuality. Needless to say, I _don't_ view tradition as _infallible_, though I do grant it a certain authority, and I'd hope that eventually the RC church would weaken its definition of infallibility as well.

Posted by: Hector on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 4:21pm BST

Posters interested in infallibility, R.C. Church teaching, and women's ordination may find this article by Joseph Fitzmeyer interesting.

http://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/fitzmyer.asp

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 5:58pm BST

Thanks Hector.

Is there anyone here who can confirm that the ecumenical councils are (always?) considered to be infallible?

Is there any website where one can research the whole list of all infallible pronouncements there have been and on which topics?

And just out of interest, is it possible to reverse an infallible decision? I'm just trying to imagine what would have happened if slavery had at any point been prounced as infallibly acceptable.

Simon, please don't post this if you think it's too off-topic.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 6:11pm BST

In talking about what Ecumenical Councils did and didn't do, you have to differentiate between doctrinal pronouncements and the canons enacted by them in the area of discipline. There are lots of "dead canons" that are no longer enforced by any Church - so just because a Council took action on a perceived problem doesn't mean that all those actions are equal.

Posted by: BillyD on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 8:03pm BST

Re: And just out of interest, is it possible to reverse an infallible decision?

I'm sure it would be possible to argue that the ecumenical councils didn't share our modern understanding of homosexuality. The twelfth century Lateran Council condemned 'unnatural sex', so one could maybe plausibly argue that as our understanding of nature evolves (and is informed by scientific learning, as it must be) our understanding of what is unnatural (and therefore wrong) should also evolve.

I guess it depends on whether one things that we should follow the spirit of tradition, or the letter (this is the same debate that we have over the biblical verses, of course).

I'm not RC, of course, so I don't what a Roman Catholic spokesperson would say in response to your question.

Posted by: Hector on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 8:38pm BST

The Orthodox consider the decisions and determinations of an ecumenical council to be binding canonically and infallible dogmatically when they have been accepted by the consensus of the Church, the Orthodox Church, as a whole. The Catholic Church considers both of them to be, respectively, binding and infallible, when formally accepted and promulgated by the pope (or with his authority). Such infallible dogmatic decisions remain permanently binding and (to use Latin canon law language) "irreformable" (i.e., unchangeable in such a way as to contradict them), although any canons passed by an ecumenical council and promulgated by the pope are always subject to alteration, amplification or repeal by a future pope or by a future ecumenical council whose measures in that regard are accepted by the pope at that time.

This also answers Erika's other question - no, it is not possible to "reverse an infallible decision" (thank God).

Posted by: William Tighe on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 9:52pm BST

In response to W. Tighe's post at 9:52 BST, the matter of women's ordination an various types of infallibility remains a controversy inside the R.c. Church. The link here will take you to an article by Peter Burns S.J., who has a perspective nuanced very differently W. Tighe. I want to comment on decision making and authority with regard to women's ordination, but I'm going to do that in a separate post next.
http://astro.temple.edu/~arcc/burns.htm

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 11:42pm BST

Hector, you're referring to Canon 11 of the Third Lateran Council, which reads:

"11. Clerics in holy orders, who in open concubinage keep their mistresses in their houses, should either cast them out and live continently or be deprived of ecclesiastical office and benefice. Let all who are found guilty of that unnatural vice for which the wrath of God came down upon the sons of disobedience and destroyed the five cities with fire, if they are clerics be expelled from the clergy or confined in monasteries to do penance; if they are laymen they are to incur excommunication and be completely separated from the society of the faithful. If any cleric without clear and necessary cause presumes to frequent convents of nuns, let the bishop keep him away; and if he does not stop, let him be ineligible for an ecclesiastical benefice."

It's a canon - a rule - not a doctrinal pronouncement.

Posted by: BillyD on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 11:56pm BST

The posts from W. Tighe on the ordination of women all go to ground on the issue of ecclesiastical authority, the obedience required by the "faithful" to the magisterium, councils, and clergymen. Those kinds of arguments work especially well for those who belong to group from which the arguments emanate i.e, the male hierarchy and devotees of a patriarchal ecclesiastic culture. Church authority has to be taken seriously. I feel for my fellow liberal Catholics who are (unlike me) required to contend with Roman obedience. That Roman Catholic women and men longing for an end to sexism with regard to ordination have a long struggle before them is a gross understatement. However, governance or "canonical" authority in any church is not the only or even the primary authority that must be considered. There is the authority of scholarship and learning. There is as well the authority of consensus of the whole people. The rather wholesale disregard for the teaching of the magisterium with regard to birth control is illustrative of the authority of consensus in conflict with ecclesiastical authority. The hierarchy of both the R.C. Church and our own Anglican Communion (in the matter of the Covenant for example) are moving very close, in western democratic societies, to an authority crisis in which consensus and intellectual insight may leave ecclesiastical authority either morally vacant or with a greatly diminished constituency. I find it difficult to imagine the “Vatican” will ever move to permit the ordination of women. I find it far less difficult to imagine the Vatican’s authority will eventually become a rump in many places in the world. Enthusiasts of the Anglican Covenant may find that the Primates and Lambeth conferences will meet a similar political fate.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 12:17am BST

Re: No doubt the same is true and could (and in my view ought to) be done on the subject of sodomitic pseudogamy (or abortion or the Church's teaching against contraception).

I generally agree with you about abortion, and wish more Episcopalians and Anglicans did an better job of fighting the abortion culture, but I can't agree with you on contraception (though certainly contraception is often abbused to facilitate casual sex), or about 'sodomitic psuedogamy' (though that's a hell of a turn of phrase).

And I certainly don't agree with you that every ecumenical council, to the letter, is infallible. Nor the Pope neither.

Posted by: Hector on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 2:01am BST

"I'm sure it would be possible to argue that the ecumenical councils didn't share our modern understanding of homosexuality. The twelfth century Lateran Council condemned 'unnatural sex', so one could maybe plausibly argue that as our understanding of nature evolves (and is informed by scientific learning, as it must be) our understanding of what is unnatural (and therefore wrong) should also evolve."

Oh, it already has . . . even in the Vatican!

What was condemned in years past as "unnatural sex" (anything other than penile-vaginal intercourse, sans "artificial" birth-control methods) is now considered (see re "The Catechism") "Just Fine, Thank You" . . . as long as it CONCLUDES in "penile-vaginal intercourse, sans 'artificial' birth-control methods" (between an "opposite-married" m/f couple, of course).

Yup, the Vatican believes that those of the "One Man/One Woman" crowd can engage in all the Glorious Sodomy they want to . . . as long as the Big Shebang occurs, unimpeded, in the Godly Destination! *LOL*

[This is all Off-Topic isn't it, Simon? Shutting up now! :-X]

@Rod Gillis, re "It's called cafeteria Catholic. It tends to thrive outside cloister walls."

Yeah, I don't quite understand how Popoids can claim to define the True Christian Religion, oft citing their Massively Bigger Numbers (than us Anglicans, for example) . . . and *at the same time* dismiss every RC who differs from the Pope on ANYTHING as "not a real Catholic"? O_o [Ergo: if we use the True Popoid Believer population, we're talking about a MUCH SMALLER clique here!]

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 2:14am BST

"I did not express my view but that of the Catholic Church, of which the topic was concerned."

I vas just following orders!

No wonder you like Ratzinger so much!

Spiritual and moral cowardice are the bases for Roman Catholicism.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 5:24am BST

Who cares what the Pope thinks or says?

Why all this brouhaha?

Do you know what his final outcome will be? The same as all the rest of us, and all those who pretend to speak for God especially. He's just going to die and be forgotten. No one will care in twenty years what Josef Ratzinger did or said, let alone 100.

Don't give the old self-seeking publicity hound more ink to gloat over. Consign him to the rubbish heap of history with his fellows.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 5:31am BST

And having an infallible living authority is not oppressive..its actually liberating, as Our lord said the Truth shall set you free.

I want the truth, not what my sinful heart wants.

There is a way that seems right to a man and the end thereof is death.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 7:11am BST

Hector

This doesn't really quite add up.
It has been said here that the Pope's view of homosexuality has the status of infallibility, you are telling me that these decisions can never be revoked.

And yet, there is debate about homosexuality in the church and among RC theologians, something that would simply not happen if an eternal decision had been pronounced.

Rather than express their own opinions or interpretations, can anyone point me to the actual rules about infallibility and about precisely what has been declared infallible?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 7:15am BST

"There is a way that seems right to a man and the end thereof is death." . . . unless he occupieth the Seat of Peter? Is that the quote RIW?

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 8:56am BST

"The issue is as much the context of the Mass.

Is it a group of men and women wishing to conform their lives to Catholic teaching."

- Robert I Williams -

Concerning your question, Robert; More correctly and more importantly, the people at Mass would be more profitably engaged in 'wishing to conform their lives' to Christ's teaching; which is not necessarily synoymous with 'Roman Catholic teaching'.

And regarding the celebrated 'Magisterium', you should read what Hans Kung (a periti theologian at Vatican 2) has to say about that conceit - in his autobiography published in 2003.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 11:11am BST

"And having an infallible living authority is not oppressive..its actually liberating, as Our lord said the Truth shall set you free.

I want the truth, not what my sinful heart wants."

Yes, so much easier to be TOLD what the truth is, than to have to figure it out on your own.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 11:28am BST

@Erika "Rather than express their own opinions or interpretations, can anyone point me to the actual rules about infallibility and about precisely what has been declared infallible?" Erika, see the link to the article by Peter Burns SJ in my earlier post.He outlines the rules. The article is dry but answers your question, at least from a R.C. view, with clarity. It shows where W. Tighe, for example, is factual, and where he is not.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 12:53pm BST

Infallibility Erika is the fulfilment of the promise of Our Blessed lord to Peter that his Faith would not fail after his restoration.

After establishing the Apostles as the ruler of the New Israel, our Lord says to them, Satan has desired to sift you ( plural)like wheat but I have prayed for thee ( singular and to Peter) that your faith will after your restoration never fail and you will confirm your brothers.

Vatican One simply drew from this deposit of faith and developed the doctrine. Its fabulous.

It stands to sense that the spokesman of a Church which is the pillar and bulwark of the truth is also endowed with the certainty of faith ..or the gates of Hell would have prevailed against it.

An official magisterial pronouncement on a issue like Anglican Orders ( Apostolicae Curae) or birth control ( Humanae Vitae )infallible as are definitive statements from the Chair of Peter on faith and morals.

Remember this is the Church fulfilling the promise in the last verse of St Matthew's Gospel, teaching men to observe the commandments of God until the end of time.

Any theologian who challenges the Magisterium at this level is in reality not a Catholic in good standing.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 9:24pm BST

Re: This doesn't really quite add up.It has been said here that the Pope's view of homosexuality has the status of infallibility, you are telling me that these decisions can never be revoked.

I'm not really saying that they can't be revoked _in practice_. I think, and hope, that the RC church will allow its understanding of the natural and the unnatural to evolve and that gay relationships may end up on the licit side of the line. What I am saying is that they will need to do some fancy theological footwork to square that with the belief that ecumenical councils are infallible (I was arguing with your point that there hasn't ever been a 'infallible' condemnation of homosexuality).

All this is somewhat beside the point from my point of view, as I don't believe that church councils or popes (at least, taken to the letter) are infallible in the strict sense of the word. I wish the RC church would also allow its understanding of infallibility to evolve, but I'm not sure how likely we are to see that. Again, I'm not RC, just a (often) sympathetic outside observer.

That said, there are a lot of lay Catholics in practice who don't really believe that church councils or popes are infallible to begin with (though they may extend them authority & respect).

Posted by: Hector on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 10:45pm BST

JCF,

I'm not sure the teaching has evolved as much as all that. The most common and widely practiced sexual act previously concidered 'unnatural' (i.e. contraception) is condemned by the Vatican as much as it was in the past.

Though it's worth pointing out that the modern RC Church does accept the practice of knowingly confining sexual acts to infertile periods, which I'm pretty sure was condemned as immoral by a number of early church fathers. (Not sure if it was specifically considered a form of the sin against nature, though). In this respect, at least, church teaching has evolved and isn't the same as it once was.

Posted by: Hector on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 10:50pm BST

"Vatican One simply drew from this deposit of faith and developed the doctrine. Its fabulous."

As in, "resembling or suggesting a fable"? Quite so.

Posted by: BillyD on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 11:52pm BST

"Vatican One simply drew from this deposit of faith and developed the doctrine. Its fabulous."

- Robert I. Williams -

'Fabulous' as in FABLE? Well that really says it all, Robert. This may be just one more instance of the need to chose one's words carefully on this site.

I really would recommend the academic paper written by Peter Jones SJ (a Roman Catholic) on infallibility - especially as it relates (or not) to your Church's TRUE position on Women's Ordination. You may be surprised! You can find the article by clicking on the link provided by
Rod Gills on Monday, 13 September, on this thread. Perhaps William Tighe might also learn something from this document. Happy Reading!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 1:04am BST

Homosexual practices are condemned in Holy Scripture which is infallible. The New Testament teaches that no practising homosexual ( passive or assertive ) can hope to enter Heaven. This of course is also true of adulterers, liars and fornicators as well.

That has been the consistent exegesis for two thousand years.

Hector, the Catholic Church has become more understanding of the person with homosexual tendencies, but the Catholic Church will not change its view on the practice.

It would be inconsistent with the constant teaching, that all sexual intercourse must be within marriage and open to the God's gift of life.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 7:05am BST

Holy Scripture is infallible.

Oh, so Joshua really did stop the sun in the sky, huh? Neat trick, since the sun doesn't move around the earth. And stopping the earth from rotating has all kinds of ramifications in physics.

Oh--and I guess we're all in trouble from eating pork, right? And we ought to be stoning our adulterers?

And which VERSION of scripture is infallible? The Hebrew? The Aramaic? The Greek? The Latin? The modern languages?

(You DO know none of those ancient languages had a word--or even a phrase--precisely equivalent to what we call "homosexuality," which is a 19th century coinage?)

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 12:53pm BST

Re: Homosexual practices are condemned in Holy Scripture which is infallible.

As you yourself concede, it isn't scripture itself that condemns them, it's the exegesis of scripture. The argument from scripture has no special validity that the argument from tradition doesn't have, because scripture is a product of tradition (this is one of the many points on which I do agree with your church) so it's not really necessary to bring six dubious scriptural verses into it.

The arguments from scripture and from tradition are both compelling, but ultimately they both rest on the premise that homosexual acts are against nature (that's the whole reason that it used to be called 'the crime against nature'). So ultimately the argument from scripture, and from tradition, both boil down to the argument from natural law, which is (and needs to be) informed by our evolving understanding of nature.

If we can't show that homosexual acts are actually against nature, in other words, then it seems to me we really need to assess whether or not we adapt the scriptural/traditional view to take account of new knowledge (which I think we should).

Posted by: Hector on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 1:58pm BST

Re: "Vatican One simply drew from this deposit of faith and developed the doctrine. Its fabulous."

Seriously? Of all specifically RC teachings that you could glory in (and there's a lot of RC teachings that I do find 'fabulous', including about purgatory, Mary, the protection of human life, etc.) you chose papal infallibility?

Posted by: Hector on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 2:02pm BST

RIW, I hope you've never eaten black pudding, in light of the New Testament's infallible teaching that it's a sin...

"practising homosexual ( passive or assertive )"

What the heck does this even mean? I've been a "practicing homosexual" now for 40+ years, but I've never come across the term "assertive" in this context before.

Posted by: BillyD on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 3:52pm BST

"...all sexual intercourse must be within marriage and open to the God's gift of life."

Which, of course, is precisely why the Church requires fertility verification before announcing the banns, and bars post-menopausal women from marrying...

Posted by: BillyD on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 4:33pm BST

"The New Testament teaches that no practising homosexual ( passive or assertive ) can hope to enter Heaven."

I just hope I can get a seat in Hell. With all the masturbators the RCC says are Hell-bound, I'm sure it's going to be crowded.

Posted by: BillyD on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 7:03pm BST

I'm not sure the teaching has evolved as much as all that. The most common and widely practiced sexual act previously concidered 'unnatural' (i.e. contraception) is condemned by the Vatican as much as it was in the past.'

Paul set up a Commission of experts to advise on contraception when he was thinking of adopting a modern and humane approach. The Commission recommended birth control, Paul as we know, ignore their guidance, and the result was Humanae Vitae. The teaching of HV has been ignored by married couples ever since. When JP2 visited the UK they were hard to put to find a family to present to him, which had more than 2 children !

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 7:59pm BST

"Homosexual practices are condemned in Holy Scripture which is infallible. The New Testament teaches that no practising homosexual ( passive or assertive ) can hope to enter Heaven. ... That has been the consistent exegesis for two thousand years."

This is simply, factually FALSE, RIW. (In a quote attributed to the late NY Senator Moynihan: "You're entitled to your own opinion. You're not entitled to your own facts.")

ONE MORE TIME: the ***concept of homosexuality*** (and ergo "homosexual practices" "homosexuals") DID NOT EXIST before the late 19th century! Holy Scripture CANNOT have condemned what DID NOT exist!

The closest *intimation* of "homosexuality* in the ancient world, is Plato's Symposium (the Myth of the 4 legged, two-headed human being, split in half, each half searching for its mate). We have no evidence that ANY Biblical author (Yes, inc. Paul) was even dealing w/ this myth---but even this myth cannot be equated w/ the fully-developed theory of homosexual orientation (immutable, at least in males, by every SCIENTIFIC study). ***The Bible does NOT comment on homosexual orientation!***

Stop peddling this bogus ...stuff ("Biblical condemnation of homosexual practice"), RIW! >:-(

[Re "Vatican One simply drew from this deposit of faith and developed the doctrine. Its fabulous": historically, the Vatican has been only TOO fabulous! ( http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fabulous See 1,3) ;-)]

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 10:54pm BST

OK that's quite enough off-topic comments. This thread is about the Pope's visit, not about moral theology. Let's move on.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 8:34am BST
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