Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Necessity of Baptism for Salvation

Has Catholic Teaching Changed with regard to the Necessity of Baptism?
In recent discussions with "John" (that's all I know him by) I have insisted that no dogma has ever been changed.  He challenged with the teaching on the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism, and he points to the Ecumenical Council of Florence for the "definition" put forth by that council:
Ecumenical Council of Florence, Session 6, 1439 AD:
With regard to children, since the danger of death is often present and the only remedy available to them is the sacrament of baptism by which they are snatched away from the dominion of the devil and adopted as children of God, it admonishes that sacred baptism is not to be deferred for forty or eighty days or any other period of time in accordance with the usage of some people, but it should be conferred as soon as it conveniently can; and if there is imminent danger of death, the child should be baptized straightaway without any delay, even by a lay man or a woman in the form of the church, if there is no priest, as is contained more fully in the decree on the Armenians.
Also (defining), the souls of those who have incurred no stain of sin whatsoever after baptism, as well as souls who after incurring the stain of sin have been cleansed whether in their bodies or outside their bodies, as was stated above, are straightaway received into heaven and clearly behold the triune God as he is, yet one person more perfectly than another according to the difference of their merits. But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains.

So, while not exactly the formula we expect from an infallibly defined dogma, this does appear to be a "definition" of the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism - and those who die without Baptism "go downward straightaway to Hell."  Then we come to modern teaching:

CCC 1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

Now, before I continue - keep in mind, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not an infallible document - and NO "catechism" ever has been.  That being said, the keys here in the modern teaching are: 
a) the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude and 
b) God Himself has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments.
And for another modern teaching:

29. The Catholic Church's belief that Baptism is necessary for salvation was powerfully expressed in the Decree for the Jacobites at the Council of Florence in 1442: “There is no other way to come to the aid [of little children] than the sacrament of Baptism by which they are snatched from the power of the devil and adopted as children of God”. This teaching implies a very vivid perception of the divine favour displayed in the sacramental economy instituted by Christ; the Church does not know of any other means which would certainly give little children access to eternal life. However, the Church has also traditionally recognized some substitutions for Baptism of water (which is the sacramental incorporation into the mystery of Christ dead and risen), namely, Baptism of blood (incorporation into Christ by witness of martyrdom for Christ) and Baptism of desire (incorporation into Christ by the desire or longing for sacramental Baptism). During the 20th century, some theologians, developing certain more ancient theological theses, proposed to recognize for little children either some kind of Baptism of blood (by taking into consideration the suffering and death of these infants), or some kind of Baptism of desire (by invoking an “unconscious desire” for Baptism in these infants oriented toward justification, or the desire of the Church). The proposals invoking some kind of Baptism of desire or Baptism of blood, however, involved certain difficulties. On the one hand, the adult's act of desire for Baptism can hardly be attributed to children. The little child is scarcely capable of supplying the fully free and responsible personal act which would constitute a substitution for sacramental Baptism; such a fully free and responsible act is rooted in a judgement of reason and cannot be properly achieved before the human person has reached a sufficient or appropriate use of reason (aetas discretionis: “age of discretion”). On the other hand, it is difficult to understand how the Church could properly “supply” for unbaptised infants. The case of sacramental Baptism, instead, is quite different because sacramental Baptism, administered to infants, obtains grace in virtue of that which is specifically proper to the sacrament as such, that is, the certain gift of regeneration by the power of Christ himself. That is why Pope Pius XII, recalling the importance of sacramental Baptism, explained in the “Allocution to Italian Midwives” in 1951: “The state of grace is absolutely necessary for salvation: without it supernatural happiness, the beatific vision of God, cannot be attained. In an adult an act of love may suffice to obtain him sanctifying grace and so supply for the lack of Baptism; to the child still unborn, or newly born, this way is not open”.  This gave rise among theologians to a renewed reflection on the dispositions of infants with respect to the reception of divine grace, on the possibility of an extra-sacramental configuration to Christ, and on the maternal mediation of the Church.

101. “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them’ (Mk 10:14; cf.1Tim 2:4), allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism”.
Again, this commission is not infallible - and is expressing compassion for grieving parents that they MAY have hope in God's mercy.  This is not a "change" in the dogma, for even the commission goes on to stress the importance of the Sacrament of Baptism as well as stressing that no one should delay the sacrament from any child.   The fact that there is theological speculation on how God MAY have mercy on those whom He chooses does not change the fact that "the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude."

Now, to answer the question this article asks...  no, the Church has not changed the teaching on the necessity for the Sacrament of Baptism.  The only way any such speculation would have the affect of "changing dogma" is if another definition was made, using the proper formula, which would be contrary to the initial dogma - and THAT has never happened.



  1. There's a lot that I could say here, and probably will say, but let's just start off with the most obvious.

    Why did you ignore Vatican II which says that God does not deny “the assistance necessary for salvation” to those who, "without any fault of their own, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God."

    I take it you agree that Vatican II purports to define dogma?

  2. You take it wrong. Nothing new was defined, dogmatically speaking, at Vatican II. VCII was a pastoral council, not a dogmatic one.


    1. Prove it, in light of the fact that a number of the documents of that council are entitled "Dogmatic.....". e.g. "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church", "Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation", etc. By whose authority do you say that a properly convened council of the church, which issues documents entitled "dogma", did not define dogma?

    2. John, I cannot prove a negative. Everything which is part of a "dogmatic constitution" - if there was anything "dogmatic" stated in it, it was previously defined. Sorry to disappoint you, but VCII is a pastoral council, and it was the first of its kind.

    3. So let me get this straight. Scott Windsor on his blog issues a challenge that nobody can prove the Catholic church has issued conflicting dogma. When I point out that 2 Catholic ecumenical councils, both signed off by the pope, both labelled in their documents as "dogma" in fact contradict themselves, your response is, "oh well, one of those isn't actually dogma". When challenged to prove it, you say "believe me, I'm Scott Windsor".

    4. John, get off the high-horse - it doesn't suit you. Even though I cannot prove a negative, I did prove, from the Vatican website, the intention of Vatican II. Now, before you spout off again, present something you feel was dogmatically defined at Vatican II, which was not previously defined, and then we can discuss that. Otherwise, put a cork in it. I have never stated, "believe me, I am Scott Windsor."

    5. What the Vatican web site says might be interesting IF you listened to it when I quote it. But when I quote it you say "oh, no no no, that's not dogmatic. Ignore, ignore ignore.". The document you quoted about Vatican II, is it dogmatic? NO! So why shouldn't I follow your advice and ignore?

      Here's the problem, you consider the Vatican web site as definitive when it suits your purpose, and consider it garbage when it suits your purpose. You consider properly convened ecumenical council statements labelled as "dogmatic" as dogmatic when it suits your purpose, and you consider them garbage when it suits your purpose. What is the difference between the two scenarios? Only that Scott Windsor says so, as far as I can see. What other difference is there?

    6. When have I said "Ignore, ignore, ignore" when it comes to something quoted from the Vatican? You're going off on tangents - would you like to return to substance and stop attacking me personally? If I have misrepresented Catholic teaching - I will accept and correct - but on your word alone? Sorry - that's not going to happen John. Now, unless you can document me saying "Ignore, ignore, ignore," I expect you to retract that statement. If you have an ounce of integrity, when you are challenged to document or retract, you will do so.


    7. This whole blog article is a long list of Catholic contradictions to Florence. Your conclusion about all these contradictions? They don't "use the proper formula"... meaning... apparently... we can ignore them as far as discerning catholic dogma.

      Did you use the phrase "ignore". No you didn't, you can take that as a retraction, if you want to be nitpicky. But as far as I see, that was your message. Ignore all these common catholic sources because they don't use the right formula.

    8. First: For "this whole blog article" to be a "long list of Catholic contradictions to Florence" would be a bit hard to accept since it includes quotes from Florence!

      Second: What I did say was that VCII is not a dogmatic council (nothing new was defined at VCII). Where dogma was discussed, it was previously defined. I also said the CCC, being a catechism, is not an infallible document - and NO catechism is infallible!

      Third: Thank you for the retraction. Allow me to clarify my position for you. A faithful Catholic MAY accept the absolute literal expressions from the Council of Florence. A faithful Catholic MAY NOT reject the defined statements of Florence. This does not say that a faithful Catholic MAY NOT have hope in the mercy of God when it comes to the fate of unbaptized babies - God alone is the Judge. As the CCC states, all the Church KNOWS is that baptism is necessary and we MUST teach its necessity. This is why the CCC goes on to say that it is quite important to not withhold baptism from any child.

      I hope this helps.


    9. So what are you saying, that you may not reject defined statements, but you may hope they are wrong or have grave doubts they are right? And you may publicly promote and encourage others to have the same doubts? And be a faithful catholic? Have you really thought this through?

      You say that where VII discusses dogma, it was previously defined. Firstly, who dogmatically defined THAT? Secondly, saying that VII is dogmatic but defined nothing is weasel words. We could say this debate is dogmatic, since it discusses dogma but defines nothing. It's a meaningless statement. Thirdly, by your statement I might understand that any theological statement VII makes is dogmatic, and if per chance those dogmatic statements were defined somewhere else, that's a problem for the theological naval gazers. In other words, if it's dogmatic, it's dogmatic, and whether it is the first or second such definition I don't care.

    10. > J: So what are you saying, that you may not reject defined statements,
      > but you may hope they are wrong or have grave doubts they are right?

      sw: It is not a "hope they are wrong" matter - it is hope in God's mercy. You're making more of this than there is to make of it.

      > J: And you may publicly promote and encourage others to have
      > the same doubts? And be a faithful catholic?

      sw: Publicly I encourage everyone to get baptized - period.

      > J: Have you really thought this through?

      sw: Yes. There's not much to think about... you may hope, but that hope may be in vain - only God is the final arbiter, not you and not me - and not even the Church. All the Church "knows" is that baptism is a necessary part in the economy of salvation. The Church does not and has not "taught" to the contrary. Personal, theological opinions do not overrule defined teachings - but God can, if He chooses.

      > J: You say that where VII discusses dogma, it was previously defined.
      > Firstly, who dogmatically defined THAT?

      sw: No "definition" is necessary here, John. Not everything we say and do is under the charism of infallibility.

      > J: Secondly, saying that VII is dogmatic but defined nothing is weasel words.

      sw: No sir, that is the truth. You cannot show me one thing which was newly defined at VCII. The CCC discusses dogma too, but that does not make the CCC an infallible document nor the opinions expressed within it, even if discussing dogma, are infallible. Anti-Catholics always want to throw the infallibility argument at us, but they don't seem to realize how limited in scope it actually is.

      > J: We could say this debate is dogmatic, since it discusses
      > dogma but defines nothing. It's a meaningless statement.

      sw: It is not "meaningless," it simply could mean we're discussing dogma - so yes, this IS a dogmatic discussion - but the discussion itself is not dogma. Do you catch the difference here?

      > J: Thirdly, by your statement I might understand that any theological
      > statement VII makes is dogmatic,

      sw: No.

      > J: and if per chance those dogmatic statements were defined
      > somewhere else, that's a problem for the theological naval gazers.

      sw: I'm not sure what a naval gazer is. Aside from that, no - if one KNOWS Catholic teaching, one understands the nature of VCII and knows the difference between defined dogma and discussion about dogma.

      > J: In other words, if it's dogmatic, it's dogmatic, and whether it is the first
      > or second such definition I don't care.

      sw: John, words mean things and you cannot equivocate dogma with dogmatic. The former is something defined, the latter is descriptive of the former - but it is not the former.

  3. From the Vatican website:
    John XXIII wanted a pastoral Council and one of renovation... In his first encyclical Ad Petri Cathedram, June 29, 1959, he stressed that the Council was meant primarily to promote the increasing of the faith, the renewal of traditions, and the updating of ecclesiastic discipline.

    Note, the intention of the council was to promote the increase in faith, renew traditions and the updating of disciplines... nothing about defining new dogma.


  4. Firstly, doesn't dogma increase the faith, renew traditions etc etc?

    Secondly, what John XXIII was thinking before the council is completely irrelevant. Probably Constantine before Nicea was thinking about strengthening the unity of his empire before calling it, or who knows what. That's water under the bridge. I mean, the 5th ecumenical council was called specifically to _refute_ Pope Vigilius. I'm sure the Pope's intention before that council was also that it not define dogma and contradict him, but such was not the result.

    As far as I see, what John was saying is that the council wasn't called to deal with any pressing controversy like Arianism, or Protestantism, or something like that. That's what he means by pastoral. But clarifying dogma has a pastoral application. People thinking that babies are going to hell for example, causes pastoral problems that are solved by defining dogma.

    Thirdly, when you make theological statements, they are by nature dogmatic and not pastoral. If you want to make pastoral statements, you talk about how priests conduct themselves, how churches should be run, and things like that. If you talk about the eternal destiny of people its theological in nature. And when its theological in nature, in a document labelled "dogmatic"... well what is anyone to think?

    So what are we really saying here then? That you consider the CCC, all the recent popes, the Vatican II council, and presumably the bulk of Catholics (brought up under the CCC) as heretical? All to preserve an etherial ivory castle of catholic dogma that nobody actually holds to?

    And again, who is to say what is catholic dogma? There is no index of catholic dogma (other than perhaps the CCC which you seem to be arguing is in error). Apparently, if you can form a plausible theory why the documents of an ecumenical council, labelled "dogmatic" and signed off on by the pope might not be dogma, hey feel free to consider it wrong. Where is the end game of that? I can give you plausible theories why Florence wasn't a valid council too. I can give you plausible theories about a lot of them. Let's all decide for ourselves what to believe shall we?

    1. The CCC is not an index of dogma, it's a catechism. To answer your questions:
      1) Dogma defines matters of the faith. Dogma has nothing to do with traditions (and disciplines, which was part of the original statement).
      2) John XXIII was the pope who convened the Second Vatican Council - his intentions in convening that council is quite relevant, regardless of your personal opinion to the contrary,
      3) What you might "think" is what is irrelevant to the actual meaning and use. Please John, if you think your position has merit, provide me/us with a dogma which Vatican II defined. I'm telling you now, there is no such thing. Vatican II taught in a pastoral manner regarding things already defined - it didn't define anything new, nothing, nada, zip.
      4) "What are we really saying?" "We" aren't saying anything. I am explaining to you a subtlety of Catholicism which you were apparently unaware of previously. If you get off the high horse and listen for a moment instead of trying to trap me or teach me about MY faith - maybe, just maybe, YOU will learn something here. Now, do I consider the CCC and all recent popes to be heretical? No.
      5) Who is to say what is Catholic dogma? Anyone can, if they are citing valid Catholic authority which has so defined it.
      6) I was not walking your primrose path, you simply took statements out of context and expected me to just accept your argumentation as gospel? Why are you so shocked that I would not do that? Will you accept, perhaps, that you don't know quite as much about the Catholic Faith as I do? I am quite willing to answer your honest and respectful questions - if you're going to go off half-cocked on me, then we're approaching the end of this discussion quickly.


  5. (1) Eternal salvation is not discipline.
    (2)(a) John XXIII never ever said that dogma has no pastoral application. Lots of things have pastoral application. Therefore I see no reason whatsoever to assume that a council hoping to improve pastoral care wouldn't define dogma. (b) John XXIII's musings are not dogma. Anytime I quote to you something outside of the bare dogmatic statement you say "oh, no no no, that's not part of the defined dogma". ( c) Your interpretation and thoughts about John XXIII are irrelevant and your own personal opinion only.
    (3) (a) I already provided you with the dogma in Vatican II. It was a statement about the eternal salvation of people who don't have the gospel. Why you accuse me of not providing it to you? (b) taught in a "pastoral manner"? That phrase is a bit of fluff that doesn't mean a whole lot. ( c) If it supposedly taught things "already defined" as you are claiming here, how come it says that non-Christians, the non-baptised can be saved? Where was that previously defined?
    (4) So you've admitted that the CCC and recent popes teach contrary to dogma, but they aren't heretical. You're going to have to explain that.
    (5) I cited a valid catholic authority: Vatican II.
    (6) Which Catholic faith do you know about? The populist one, or the former one defined at Florence where the unbaptised go straight to hell?

  6. "All the Church "knows" is that baptism is a necessary part in the economy of salvation."

    You seem to be very confused about the meaning of "necessary". You've agreed time and again that baptism is necessary for salvation and that this is a defined dogma of the church. Then you keep saying things like:

    "you may hope".

    Why would you hope contrary to the dogma of the church?

    Worse, why would you hope, and then claim this is no contradiction and no repudiation of dogma in such a Machiavellian way?

    If the church is officially teaching that hoping contrary to its defined dogma is fine and dandy... actually no, it is encouraged from pontiff on downwards, then your church is really crumbling from the foundations.

    "John, words mean things"

    Ha ha, you're a joker I see. What does necessary mean?

    "you cannot equivocate dogma with dogmatic"

    The only difference between dogma and dogmatic is that dogma is the noun and dogmatic is the adjective. And when the point of discussion is the formal documents of an "ecumenical" church council, we all know what that is supposed to mean.

    "No sir, that is the truth. You cannot show me one thing which was newly defined at VCII."

    VCII produced documents labelled as "dogmatic" that say God will give the unbaptised the assistance necessary to be saved. If that's not new, fine, tell us where that was defined before.

    "The CCC discusses dogma too, but that does not make the CCC an infallible document nor the opinions expressed within it, even if discussing dogma, are infallible."

    It's hardly the same thing is it? Look at the title of the document: "DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION

    Firstly we see that its "dogmatic". Then we see that its a "constitution". That is a word which signifies a body of laws, decrees, principles and ordinances. Then we see that it is "solemnly promulgated". What does promulgated mean? It means to put a law or decree into effect by official proclamation.

    So what do we have here? It's a document, dogmatic in nature that aims to enact official laws and principles, and it is solemnly put into effect by the reigning pontiff. But you want to weasel out of it as being dogma of the church? Really? As for the CCC, it only claims to be a Catechism, that's all.

    If the Catholic church can put out documents from a council that it itself labels as ecumenical, which are labelled as dogmatic and constitutional, and which are labelled as officially, solemnly promulgated by a reigning pontiff, and then Catholics can say, oh no, no, no they aren't dogmatic, where does this end?

    I'm sure clever catholics can weasel out of ANY dogma, if that is allowed. Pick a church council anywhere, pick anything they said, and you'd be able to say oh, no, no, no that wasn't dogmatic. Papal infallibility? Just an opinion of Pius IX, nothing we need to take overly seriously, right?

    1. John, before I continue - you claim you have cited examples of dogma being defined in Vatican Council II but all I can find is vague references and the citation of a title of a document. For the sake of argument, please present exact quotes with citation of the document and paragraph(s) within.

      Thank you.

    2. VII, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, paragraph 16.

      Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues. But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Saviour wills that all men be saved. Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature", the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

    3. No dogma defined there, my friend, but thanks for providing an actual citation/reference.

  7. I just wanted to make a point here in this discussion--I do not intend to jump in the debate. What most people outside the Church (as well as many Catholics) don't understand is that Vatican II was unique. John did touch on the fact (in one of the posts above) that Vatican II was not called to clear up a heresy such as Armenianism. Neither was it called to write new or settle old dogma, as Scott has pointed out. It was to: "transmit doctrine that was pure and integral, without reduction or misrepresentation." "Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure [the doctrine of the Church], as we have done down the ages, but to dedicate ourselves with energy and without fear to this work, as our age demands(...). It is necessary that this sure and immutable doctrine which should be faithfully adhered to, be studied and presented in a way that corresponds to the needs of our times." (S. Occ. Conc. Vat. II Constitutiones Decreta Declarationes, 1974, 863-865) ---Pope Benedict XVI quoting John XXIII from "Christ-Church-Mankind: The Spirit of Vatican II according to Pope John Paul II" Ed. by Zdzislaw Jozef Kijas and Andrzej Dorzynski. New York: Paulist Press, 2012, introduction, page 8.

    What the pope is trying to convey is exactly what Scott said, that the purpose is not to define new dogma, but to make sure the "immutable doctrine" is adhered to AND presented in a way that will be understandable today. Vatican Council II was meant to help Catholics of the third millennia understand the doctrines of the Church. As Scott said, the point was not to change doctrine or dogma but update the language and write the documents to help understand, teach, and use them to evangelize for Christ today.

    1. The above quote from the book "Christ--Church--Mankind", is from the introduction to Chapter one, not the introduction to the book. Sorry if that was confusing.

    2. I don't know what the point of the quote is. Firstly, with any meeting among men, and this includes ecumenical councils, various participants walk away with various opinions on what happened, various versions of what took place, and various opinions, pro and con about the results. This ranges from taking the 100% official line of the documents, to being totally against everything that happened. e.g. Pope Vigilius was totally against the 5th ecumenical council, until he was held in prison long enough to repent. I'm sure if you'd asked Vigilius about the 5th council, he would not have given what would become the official line, at that time.

      Which is to point out that even in Roman Catholic theology, it really doesn't matter what Popes say about councils at various times, all that matters is if they signed off it eventually as being an ecumenical council. Which apparently John XXIII did. Whether he did enthusiastically or grudgingly, we don't care. Whether he did after some pressure or not, we don't care. Whether he did but later had misgivings, we don't care. Whether he did but then had a ton of odd notions about the result, we don't care. Whether he did, but then was confused about it, we don't care.

      Secondly, what difference does it make to me whether the council is infallibly defining some point of dogma for the first time, or whether it is infallibly presenting dogma in a way appropriate for our times? Take for example, the book of Galatians. The whole tone of the book is that Paul is not teaching them anything they didn't already know. The tone of the book is that the Galatians have been taught the gospel but are now misapplying the dogma to their lives. Galatians perhaps is the Vatican II of the Gospel then, explaining that the dogma of the Gospel should should be better applied in their life. Would we then suggest that Galatians isn't an infallible dogmatic document then? Of course not. Any infallible document that clarifies the application of a dogma is itself dogmatic.

      In this case, the Vatican II documents themselves claim the title of "dogmatic". If there was any doubt about the intentions of the council, it is right there. This supercedes any subtle arguments about what this or that bishop or pope thinks about it.

      It's not as if any of this is foreign to Catholics themselves. It's well known that many Catholics seem to treat Vatican II as almost a "super council". Everything is filtered through the prism of this council. Which isn't all that unreasonable given quotes like the one above. Like if all the other councils were presenting dry dogma, but this one is claiming to finally show what it really means and how it should be applied to ordinary people of the time, then it would make it a kind of super council. The council that clarifies all the other councils. At the end of the day that's what all councils claim to do. Clarify what was supposedly already dogma.

    3. > John wrote: In this case, the Vatican II documents themselves claim
      > the title of "dogmatic". If there was any doubt about the intentions of
      > the council, it is right there. This supercedes any subtle arguments
      > about what this or that bishop or pope thinks about it.

      sw: John, you keep repeating yourself even though we have corrected your opinion - or at least attempted to. Your persistence in this error is a demonstration of ill-will. Just because the discussion at VCII was over previously defined dogma that does not make that which was said any sort of "new dogma," and THAT is the only point you could possibly have here. The fact of the matter is no new dogma was defined at Vatican Council II, and you merely repeating your erroneous opinion is not going to change that fact. Yes, they were discussing dogma, so that made it a "dogmatic" discussion - but again - no new dogma was defined at Vatican Council II, none. Just because you perceive from their theological discussions and even speculations that some new dogma was defined does not and will not make that reality.

      sw: I understand your desire to find fault here - but you're making a mountain of a molehill.


  8. There was dogma defined at vatican II. Whether it was NEW dogma, old dogma, middling dogma, what do I care? I don't care. Dogma is dogma, no matter what its age or providence.

    When you put out the challenge that nobody can prove Catholic dogma has changed, I realise its easy to worm your way out by saying, oh well, this document from an ecumenical council, labelled by the Pope as dogma, and officially promulgated by the Pope and the Catholic church isn't actually dogma. But it means you just lost. It means you are your own pope and magisterium. The Roman Catholic church has promulgated conflicting dogma, even if Scott Windsor only accepts the bits that don't conflict. Whether the conflicting dogma that the Catholic church has promulgated is supposedly new or old is quite beside the point.

    1. You truly, truly don't understand and you do not wish to be instructed on the truth, John. The facts have been laid out, and you remain obstinate in your manifest denial of the truth. OUR discussion here is "dogmatic" because we're discussing dogma, but nothing in and of this forum is infallible - though we may discuss infallible teachings. Unfortunately, you appear to focus on non-dogmatic teachings and label them as dogma.

      For what it's worth, I understand, to a point, your confusion - but I have tried (quite patiently) to explain this to you in several different ways. It's time to move on to another discussion/topic.


    Time to move on.