I'm curious about the “freedom to discount” claimed by EA and John.
In 1879 Leo XIII writes in his encyclical Aeterni Patris, “Let carefully selected teachers endeavor to implant the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas in the minds of students, and set forth clearly his solidity and excellence over others. Let the universities already founded or to be founded by you illustrate and defend this doctrine, and use it for the refutation of prevailing errors.” (Paragraph 31)
Earlier in this letter – paragraph 21 – Leo quotes half a dozen of his predecessors in support of Thomism as the official Catholic philosophy. One indicative example is Urban V, who Leo quotes as having written, “"It is our will, which We hereby enjoin upon you, that ye follow the teaching of Blessed Thomas as the true and Catholic doctrine and that ye labor with all your force to profit by the same." (emphasis added). I take it to mean that when a pope “enjoins” something, it is necessarily official doctrine – not “semi-official”. (And Leo is here reaching back into 500 years of Catholic history for support.) Is it fair to consider these writings as mere opinions?So were one to feel free to discount Thomism as I take EA and John to mean, they would be undermining not just the opinions of one or another pope, but a whole series of them. And that, I think, casts some doubt on the idea of “Tradition”, no?I wrote:
That one may disagree with the opinions of previous popes does not undermine "tradition" - and especially not "Sacred Tradition." Would it be wise to reject sound Catholic teaching in favor of more modernist views? Probably not! But so long as what is being disagreed with is not dogmatically defined (ex cathedra) statements from popes, then Catholics may disagree with them.
[January 22, 2012 addendum]
Hi Scott,I respond...
So, if the language was right and the audience was right, then you could disregard papal bulls, right? I think that is your point. My question remains – where is that taught?
1) I never said one can "disregard papal bulls," but I will say some of THAT would depend upon the language and to whom the bull was addressed/intended.
Earlier you wrote,
“But so long as what is being disagreed with is not dogmatically defined (ex cathedra) statements from popes, then Catholics may disagree with them.”Peace. So, the 60+% or Catholics who disregard the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae's teaching on contraception or the nearly 50% of Catholics who do not affirm the doctrine of transubstantiation are perfectly within their rights, according to your standard. Do I understand that correctly?
You can see below where I point out even our first pope is disagreed with, so "where is that taught?" is answered in Scripture for you. As for disregarding the Church's CURRENT declarations upon contraception - this is a precept which is binding upon ALL Christians, even non-Catholics (whether they choose to accept this binding is not relevant to the fact that it IS binding upon them!). A faithful Catholic cannot pick and choose which current precepts they will accept or reject - and based on the FACT that most forms of contraception are abortificants, the premise of this precept is "Thou shalt not kill." Those who participate in artificial birth control/contraception cannot be considered "faithful Catholics."
As for the alleged 50% who do not affirm the doctrine of transubstantiation, again, this teaching is quite clear and explicit for Christianity! Those who reject the teaching cannot be considered faithful Christians/Catholics.
Now, to the specifics you mention here, THIS discussion is not about contraception or transubstantiation, so let us not be distracted into tangential topics in THIS discussion.
[End of January 22, 2012 addendum]
A blogger who goes by the initials EA responds:
"But so long as what is being disagreed with is not dogmatically defined (ex cathedra) statements from popes, then Catholics may disagree with them."Constantine states:
Lumen Gentium (III,25):
In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.So there's a bit of an issue here. Pope Pius X insisted in some very assertive language that Thomism is the bedrock of and essential to Catholic teaching. But Cardinal Ratzinger stated that Thomistic philosophy needed to be discarded in order to save Catholicism.In order to give some assent to both of these statements, somehow they need to be reconciled. Good Luck.
I think Scott has to show where it is taught that the Roman Catholic in the pew has the authority to disregard papal bulls - ex cathedra or not.I respond:
The most obvious evidence to present would be where our FIRST POPE was contradicted and corrected by St. Paul! St. Paul chided St. Peter for although being a Jew, he lived as a Gentile and was expecting the Gentiles to take on Jewish traditions, this is recorded in Galations 2:14-21. If even our first pope can be disagreed with - then why would you question our position of being able to disagree with later popes? Now I understand non-Catholics do not accept that St. Peter was a pope at all - but the objective reader must understand as well that it is the Catholic position that he was indeed pope and thus this confrontation of St. Paul was against our first pope! From the very beginning of what we recognize as the papacy we have faithful Catholics confronting them!
As for then Fr. Ratzinger disagreeing with Pope Pius X (a pope nearly 100 years prior) said about teaching - which is where this discussion stemmed from, allow me to retrace a bit. James Swan found a couple of blog entries from "Catholic Champion" which intrigued him. One was "A Warning to Those Who Oppose St. Thomas and Scholasticism" and the other, in Swan's words "a real gem" was: "Contradictions, You Decide..." My guess would be that Swan is impressed with the perceived contradictions put forward by Matthew Bellisario (aka "Catholic Champion").
First off, I'd like to say that the encyclicals from Pope Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X are essentially stating that the scholasticism of St. Thomas Aquinas should be used by Catholic schools and universities. While they use some pretty strong language to "exhort" such to use St. Aquinas' works, it is not "demanded." In fact, Pope St. Pius X says in Doctoris Angelici: "We renew and confirm them and order them to be strictly observed by all concerned." This sounds very forceful, and the document is even a "moto proprio" - BUT - it is directly addressed to "Italy and the adjacent islands," therefore is specifically NOT binding upon the whole Church!
The next thing I'd say is that the quote from then Fr. Ratzinger is an obscure quote from an obscure source making it very difficult to check on the context. Therefore, without being able to see the context, I reject this quote from Fr. Ratzinger.
Now, the above being said, it is clear that Catholics CAN disagree with papal statements - and I reiterate that we Catholics see St. Peter as our first pope - and Scripture provides evidence that faithful Catholics can contradict and confront even the sitting pope.
I'm not sure that those over on Beggars All will be satisfied with these answers - but clearly I have presented the case where we CAN contradict a pope - within reason. Below I provide opinions of other Catholics and I will respectfully consider further challenges by those who have initially challenged me.
Roman Catholic theologian, Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Marcus Grodi offers his opinion: