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Posts Tagged ‘infallibility’

Popes Acknowledge Economic Fallibility & Independence of Economics

Posted by Tony Listi on November 1, 2012

The Catholic Church has always said that, though politics and economics should have moral goals, prudence is necessary to ensure those goals are actually met. The Church cannot infallibly demand certain economic-political policies be put in place.

The Church has always said there is a lawful diversity of opinion on economic-political matters:

“If I were to pronounce on any single matter of a prevailing economic problem, I should be interfering with the freedom of men to work out their own affairs. Certain cases must be solved in the domain of facts, case by case as they occur…. Men must realize in deeds those things, the principles of which have been placed beyond dispute….These things one must leave to the solution of time and experience.” -Pope Leo XIII

“It goes without saying that part of the responsibility of pastors is to give careful consideration to current events in order to discern the new requirements of evangelization. However, such an analysis is not meant to pass definitive judgments, since this does not fall per se within the Magisterium’s specific domain…. The Church has no models to present; models that are real and truly effective can only arise within the framework of different historical situations, through the efforts of all those who responsibly confront concrete problems in all their social, economic, political and cultural aspects, as these interact with one another. For such a task the Church offers her social teaching as an indispensable and ideal orientation….” -Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus

“Indeed ‘the Church holds that it is unlawful for her to mix without cause in these temporal concerns;’ however, she can in no wise renounce the duty God entrusted to her to interpose her authority, not of course in matters of technique for which she is neither suitably equipped nor endowed by office….” -Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno

“[E]conomics and moral science employs each its own principles in its own sphere….” -Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno

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Posted in Catholicism, Christianity and Politics, Economics, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Religion and Theology, The Papacy, Welfare State, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

St. Irenaeus’ Confirmation All Catholic Doctrines (2nd c. AD)

Posted by Tony Listi on May 23, 2010

St. Irenaeus (b. ca. 115-142), in his Against Heresies, confirms almost every core Catholic doctrine: Roman/papal supremacy, the sacrifice of the Mass, transubstantiation in the Eucharist, the continuation of the earthly priesthood, the crucial mission and authority of the institutional Church, Church authority over Scriptural interpretations, the existence and authority of unchangeable and unbroken apostolic Tradition and succession through bishops, the necessity of obedience (as well as repentance and forgiveness) for salvation, denunciations of schismatics, Mary as the new Eve and as a cause of our salvation, prayers for the dead, the activity of the saints, etc.

Moreover, his work is filled with citations of Scripture.

He begins the work by acknowledging the plausibility of the heresies:

Inasmuch as certain men have set the truth aside, and bring in lying words and vain genealogies, which, as the apostle says, “minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith,” and by means of their craftily-constructed plausibilities draw away the minds of the inexperienced and take them captive, [I have felt constrained, my dear friend, to compose the following treatise in order to expose and counteract their machinations.] These men falsify the oracles of God, and prove themselves evil interpreters of the good word of revelation…. By means of specious and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge; and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth.

How do these heretics rationalize their heresy? Like all heretics, they use Scripture and claim superior understanding or mystical assistance in its interpretation:

They tell us, however, that this knowledge has not been openly divulged, because all are not capable of receiving it, but has been mystically revealed by the Saviour through means of parables to those qualified for understanding it.

Protestants have all these “experts” in exegesis for rationalizing their interpretations. When “reason” fails (as it always does, for there are endless plausible interpretations in isolation from Church tradition/history), the mystical and arbitrary support of the “Holy Spirit” supplies certainty for them.

Such, then, is the account which they all give of their Pleroma, and of the formation of the universe, striving, as they do, to adapt the good words of revelation to their own wicked inventions. And it is not only from the writings of the evangelists and the apostles that they endeavour to derive proofs for their opinions by means of perverse interpretations and deceitful expositions: they deal in the same way with the law and the prophets, which contain many parables and allegories that can frequently be drawn into various senses, according to the kind of exegesis to which they are subjected. And others of them, with great craftiness, adapted such parts of Scripture to their own figments, lead away captive from the truth those who do not retain a steadfast faith in one God, the Father Almighty, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Heretics by no means avoid or flee from Scripture. They are eager to make Scripture fit within their preconceived, dogmatic, heretical theology and worldview. And it’s easily done by those of creative imagination and “craftiness.” For Scripture passages “can frequently be drawn into various senses, according to the kind of exegesis to which they are subjected.”

How does St. Irenaeus know with certainty that the doctrines in question are heresy? He tells us the apostles did not “deliver” such doctrines to the Church:

Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures; and, to use a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they endeavour to adapt with an air of probability to their own peculiar assertions the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and the words of the apostles, in order that their scheme may not seem altogether without support. In doing so, however, they disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures, and so far as in them lies, dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked art in adapting the oracles of the Lord to their opinions…. In like manner do these persons patch together old wives’ fables, and then endeavour, by violently drawing away from their proper connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found, to adapt the oracles of God to their baseless fictions.

All heretics know they have to find support within Scripture, otherwise they would have no support whatsoever for their errors and/or lies, for the authority and unchanging tradition of the Church always stand firmly against them.

Irenaeus condemns the heretics and offers a conclusive coup de grace which proves they are heretics:

You see, my friend, the method which these men employ to deceive themselves, while they abuse the Scriptures by endeavouring to support their own system out of them. For this reason, I have brought forward their modes of expressing themselves, that thus you might understand the deceitfulness of their procedure, and the wickedness of their error….

But since what may prove a finishing-stroke to this exhibition is wanting, so that any one, on following out their farce to the end, may then at once append an argument which shall overthrow it, we have judged it well to point out, first of all, in what respects the very fathers of this fable differ among themselves, as if they were inspired by different spirits of error. For this very fact forms an a priori proof that the truth proclaimed by the Church is immoveable, and that the theories of these men are but a tissue of falsehoods.

The clearest indication that a certain denomination is heretical is that their leaders keep dividing and schisming among themselves. At first there was only Luther; then came Calvin, Zwingli, and a horde of others. Now there are innumerable heretical sects that have sprung from the seed of Luther’s Revolution. There are now many different synods or conventions within mainstream Protestant lines. In many cases, Christianity has been degraded into a private, individual religion, cut off from any resemblance to the original apostolic faith that proclaims the true Church is of one Mind and one Body.

So how is the Christian to know which exegesis of and approach to Scripture is correct? Irenaus tells us that Holy Tradition, handed down unchanged historically from the apostles and universally throughout the world, is our assurance:

The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: … [Irenaeus gives a creed]

…but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory. 

The true faith is received from the Church, not mystically or rationally divined from Scripture by individual believers. Notice also that immortality and salvation are given to those who are obedient to God’s commandments, which is perseverance in His love. “Faith alone” in some purely abstract/mental sense is not enough.

As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.

Truth does not change. The Christian faith could not change in the 2nd century AD. It was already complete and perfect. Moreover, the true Church preserves the faith in its purity and hands it on, nothing more or less. Thus any later deviations from the Holy Tradition of the Church are by definition heretical, including the man-made traditions of the Protestant Revolution which popped into existence in the 16th century.

It does not follow because men are endowed with greater and less degrees of intelligence, that they should therefore change the subject-matter [of the faith] itself, and should conceive of some other God besides Him who is the Framer, Maker, and Preserver of this universe, (as if He were not sufficient for them), or of another Christ, or another Only-begotten. But the fact referred to simply implies this, that one may [more accurately than another] bring out the meaning of those things which have been spoken in parables, and accommodate them to the general scheme of the faith….

God never intended for individual intelligence or reason in and of itself to determine doctrine authoritatively, not to mention change it.

…as these teachers who are destitute of truly divine wisdom maintain; while the Catholic Church possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world, as we have already said.

It is the catholic, the universal, Church that possesses the true faith.

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Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Church Fathers, Church History, Religion and Theology, The Papacy, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“The Rock” in Scripture

Posted by Tony Listi on August 11, 2008

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus designates Peter as “the Rock” upon which he will build His Church. Protestants, so reverent of Scripture in all other cases, seem to blithely dismiss this title of Peter as of little significance.

But what exactly does the word “rock” mean in a Jewish/Scriptural context? After careful Scriptural study, Protestants might want to think twice before ignoring the preeminent authority that Scripture confers upon Peter. For in Scripture, “the Rock” is identified with shelter/refuge, strength, security, the foundation of an altar to God, the place of sacrifice to God, a stumbling block to the stubborn and disobedient, life-giving water (foreshadowing baptism?), the source of life and existence, salvation, the divine, Yahweh Himself, and Christ Himself.

“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
-Exodus 17:6 (KJV)

“Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.”
– Numbers 20:8

“And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.”
-Numbers 24:21

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”
-Deut 32:4

“How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.”
-Deut 32:30-31

“And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted….”
-Deut 32:37

“But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”
-Deut 32:15

“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.”
-Deut 32:18

“And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.”
-Judges 6:26

“So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.”
-Judges 13:19

“And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them.”
-Judges 20:45

“There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”
-1 Sam 2:2

“And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.”
-2 Sam 22:2-3

“For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?”
-2 Sam 22:32

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.”
-2 Sam 22:47

“The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
-2 Sam 23:3

“And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.”
-Nehemiah 9:15

“They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.”
-Job 24:8

“Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.”
-Job 39:28

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
-Psalm 18:2

“For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?”
-Psalm 18:31

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”
-Psalm 18:46

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”
-Psalm 27:5

“Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.”
-Psalm 28:1

“Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”
-Psalm 31:2-3

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
-Psalm 40:2

“I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
-Psalm 42:9

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
-Psalm 61:2

“He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.”
-Psalm 62:2 & 6

“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”
-Psalm 62:7

“Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.”
-Psalm 71:3

“He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.”
-Psalm 78:16

“Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?”
-Psalm 78:20

“And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.”
-Psalm 78:35

“He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.”
-Psalm 89:26

“To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
-Psalm 92:15

“But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.”
-Psalm 94:22

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
-Psalm 95:1

“He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.”
-Psalm 105:41

“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.”
-Isaiah 2:10

“Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips….”
-Isaiah 17:10

“And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.”
-Isaiah 48:21

“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”
-Isaiah 51:1

“O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth.”
-Jeremiah 48:28

What else does the Gospel of Matthew say about rocks?

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
-Mt 7:24-25

What else does the New Testament say?

“He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”
-Luke 6:48

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
– 1 Cor 10:4

“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
-1 Pet 2:8

Search Bible Gateway for yourself: http://www.biblegateway.com

Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Religion and Theology, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »