Birds of a feather…

[27] … How is it … that certain excellent persons, and of position in the Church, are often permitted by God to preach novel doctrines to Catholics? … [28] … The reason is clearer than day why Divine Providence sometimes permits certain doctors of the Churches to preach new doctrines— “That the Lord your God may try you;” he says. And assuredly it is a great trial when one whom you believe to be a prophet, a disciple of prophets, a doctor and defender of the truth, whom you have folded to your breast with the utmost veneration and love, … secretly and furtively brings in noxious errors, which you can neither quickly detect, being held by the prestige of former authority, nor lightly think it right to condemn, being prevented by affection for your old master.

[72.] Therefore, as soon as the corruption of each mischievous error begins to break forth, and to defend itself by filching certain passages of Scripture, and expounding them fraudulently and deceitfully, immediately, the opinions of the ancients in the interpretation of the Canon are to be collected, whereby the novelty, and consequently the profaneness, whatever it may be, that arises, may both without any doubt be exposed, and without any tergiversation be condemned.But whatsoever a teacher holds, other than all, or contrary to all, be he holy and learned, be he a bishop, be he a Confessor, be he a martyr, let that be regarded as a private fancy of his own, and be separated from the authority of common, public, general persuasion, lest, after the sacrilegious custom of heretics and schismatics, rejecting the ancient truth of the universal Creed, we follow, at the utmost peril of our eternal salvation, the newly devised error of one man.

— St. Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory (ca. 434)

O'Malley's Methodist baptismLet me start with a brief follow-up on what Ed Peters has named “the O’Malley dabbing”. Not long ago I expressed my worries about the indifferentist message which O’Malley’s stunt sent to an already religiously bewildered age, and I think it’s worth showing one more facet of the “mess” which his imprudence has made. This American Life League article (17 Jan 2014) gives some key background on Rev. Robertson, which O’Malley has implicitly blessed in the eyes of the world. Robertson is “the same woman who wrote a book in 2005 entitled God’s Top 10: Blowing the Lid Off the Commandments. In this book, she supports contraception, legalized abortion, and same-sex marriage.” From a zealous defense of Ted Kennedy to a public act of valorizing a heretical minister of what she likes to call the Gospel–one may legitimately wonder if O’Malley’s accelerated rise to the top comes in spite of, or is due to, such indifferentist shenanigans.

Nichols Hindu godsWhatever the case may be, O’Malley seems to have gotten on the right train. How nice that he can pal around with a newly minted Cardinal who once publicly offered flowers to Hindu gods and compare notes with perhaps the closest cardinal to Pope Francis, Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, who recently explained, among other things, that no less than the head of the CDF, Gerhard Müller, needs to taker’easy on the ol’ dogma sauce.

“I strongly believe that the Church has reached the dawn of a new era, as it did fifty years ago when John XXIII opened the window to let some fresh air in.” “Francis is close to people, without looking down on them, but going among them,” Maradiaga added. “The Church is not in the hands of humans, it is the work of God. I am certain that God intervened in the March 2013 election because if the choice had been left up to humans, someone else would now be Pope.” …

No cultish monophystism here, nope. Nuh-uh.

“The Church is bound by God’s commandments and by Jesus’ teachings on marriage: man must not separate what God has united. But different approachescan be taken to make this clear. [Genesis 3:4!] “What God has united, man must not separate. When a marriage fails, we may ask ourselves for example whether they were really united by God. This is certainly an area that is open to further reflection. But we must not go down the “what is black today is white tomorrow” road. [*]

“I asked the Pope why it was necessary to hold a new Synod on the family” after the one held in 1980 and John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation “Familiaris Consortio”. “The Pope replied that these dealt with things as they were 30 years ago but most families today are no longer what they were back then. [*]

“All these things require answers in today’s world and it is not enough to say: this is what traditional doctrine is for. Of course traditional doctrine will be maintained [in cryo-stasis],” Maradiaga went on to say. But there are modern “pastoral challenges” that cannot be addressed by adopting an “authoritarian and moralist attitude” because this “is not new evangelisation.”

So, according to Maradiaga, and whoever else may agree with him, “New Evangelization” explicitly means rejecting traditional doctrine as irrelevant, in favor of modern solutions, based on changing earthly realities? Got it. Kids, you might want to make a T-shirt for that.

In response to a specific question about the Prefect Müller (in reference to the article – written ahead of the meeting on the family – in which the newly-nominated cardinal completely rejected any possibility of opening up the sacraments to remarried divorcees), Maradiaga said: “I think I understand him. He is German, it has to be said. He is above all a German Theology professor [Say, wasn’t there some other German theology professor heading the CDF not so long ago? Didn’t he get a lot of limelight for a few years after that? Gosh, what was his name, again?] and he only thinks in black-and-white terms. [*] But “the world isn’t like that, my brother. You should be a bit flexible when you hear other voices, so you don’t just listen and say, ‘here is the wall’.” The Honduran prelate claims he is certain that Müller “will eventually come to understand other points of view as well,” even though for now “he only listens to his group of advisors.”

After all, Abp. Gänswein rather quickly learned to play along, so Maradiaga has every confidence that Müller will, too. Papa Francesco (2)

What rot. Sadly, though, it’s just just more bullshit from Maradiaga.

Maradiaga has got to be the looniest bird in the whole bin, yet I’ve not heard a peep of critcism from, well, from whomever might be competent to judge him. Handily enough, though, his kind has already been judged.

Of such Catholics, St. Pius X said in Pascendi §49, “Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty!”

Of such Catholics St. Vincent Lerins wrote in Commonitory §51, “I cannot sufficiently wonder at the madness of certain men, at the impiety of their blinded understanding, at their lust of error, such that, not content with the rule of faith delivered once for all, and received from the times of old, they are every day seeking one novelty after another, and are constantly longing to add, change, take away, in religion, as though the doctrine, “Let what has once for all been revealed suffice,” were not a heavenly but an earthly rule—a rule which could not be complied with except by continual emendation, nay, rather by continual fault-finding”

Of such casuistry Pope Clement XIII, “Diabolical error, when it has artfully colored its lies, easily clothes itself in the likeness of truth while very brief additions or changes corrupt the meaning of expressions; and confession, which usually works salvation, sometimes, with a slight change, inches toward death” (In Dominco Agro).

You get the picture.

Does Pope Francis?

Let’s pray he takes more of an active hand keeping his top cardinals in line with his clear vision of traditional orthodoxy.

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About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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32 Responses to Birds of a feather…

  1. Crude says:

    So, according to Maradiaga, and whoever else may agree with him, “New Evangelization” explicitly means rejecting traditional doctrine as irrelevant, in favor of modern solutions, based on changing earthly realities?

    I don’t see Maradiaga as saying that. At least you can’t read it off his words. He’s saying that as far as new evangelization goes, you can’t have an ‘authoritarian and moralist attitude’.

    What there do you disagree with?

  2. Steve Fowler says:

    I disagree because that is another strawman slander of the successful approach that the Church used for some 2,000 years–before the Church decided that a major duty was to praise other religions and stop talking about hell.

    It confuses “authoritarian” with authoritative. It confuses “moralist” (which we are to understand as a pejorative) with concern for morals. And it confuses roles: at a world-wide level, the Vatican cannot be pastoral because pastoral needs vary so much. They must have the humility to leave that (admittedly more fulfilling) work to the local level.

  3. What Steve said.

    Maradiaga: “[I]t is not enough to say {“T”}: this is what traditional doctrine {T} is for. … [T]here are modern ‘pastoral challenges’ {~T} that cannot be addressed by adopting an ‘authoritarian and moralist attitude’ {“T”} because this ‘is not new evangelisation {~”T”}.'”

    He equates adverting to traditional doctrine with taking an authoritarian and moralist attitude–whatever that means, coming from a top prince of the Church who loves to moralize–and says that “new evangelization” must go beyond traditional doctrine. The guy’s a hack, by my lights. Months ago he said that V2 overturned V1’s rejection of modernism (?), which is either heretical or proof that he doesn’t know how to use big words properly. He’s emblematic of the sloppy, “This isn’t Denzinger” theologizing afoot today.

  4. Branch says:

    Thank you for this thought-provoking quote from St. Vincent. What struck me was his mention of Doctors of the Church preaching new doctrines, linking them to “noxious errors”.

    While I know Doctors of the Church are not infallible, I thought it was practically impossible for them to teach error. I thought that was the reason they were Doctors in the first place, that their depth of understanding, orthodoxy and almost specialized teaching provided a unique contribution to the Church’s overall understanding of the Faith.

    But if they can teach novelty or error, then how do we discern what of their teaching is erroneous or not?

    Come to think of it, if what St. Vincent said is true, it makes me wonder about whether St. Therese and her (in her own words) “totally new way” may be itself an example of novelty, foreign to the Tradition that preceded it.

  5. Crude says:

    I disagree because that is another strawman slander of the successful approach that the Church used for some 2,000 years–before the Church decided that a major duty was to praise other religions and stop talking about hell.

    Was that really the approach the Church used? Because my understanding is that the Church’s history involves a whole lot of approaching people on the terms they’re familiar with.

    Keep in mind – I’m not endorsing praising other religions or to stop talking about hell. On the other hand, I don’t think authoritarian and moralizing attitudes are positive.

    Now, you say ‘It confuses authoritarian with authoritative, and moralist with a concern for morals’. But why do you say that confusion is happening? Do you think there are no authoritarian nitwits around? Nor moralists? Because really, you just have to – ironically enough – see how some people treat Codg to see both on display.

  6. Crude says:

    He equates adverting to traditional doctrine with taking an authoritarian and moralist attitude–whatever that means, coming from a top prince of the Church who loves to moralize–and says that “new evangelization” must go beyond traditional doctrine.

    I think what he’s saying is that it’s not going to help us convert anyone if we walk into a conversation and, from the get-go, moralize and act authoritarian.

    I asked this once in the past, but I’ll ask again. How do you evangelize a “gay-friendly” crowd? Tell me. Sincerely. I know how I’d do it, mistakes and all. How would you do it? Because all indications are the recent history of how we HAVE been doing it does not work terribly well, and is not communicating what we must communicate.

  7. Dale Price says:

    What it boils down to is that there are no “hard sayings.” It is pastoralism entirely from the perspective of the wandering sheep, whose experience is normative and whose favor the moral standards have to be lowe–er, adjusted. Pure subjectivism, and pure immanentism.

    We can haz lowest common denominator?

    Yes we can!

    Why the hell do I and my wife bother with the stresses and strains of following the teaching of Humanae Vitae? We simply should have informed the shepherds that things have changed since 1968, and it’s hard enough keeping your head above water in these “neoliberal dictatorships,” amirite Cardinal Maradiaga? The pope can’t bring himself to even mention contraception, so apparently that’s no longer operative as a teaching. Wouldn’t want to screw up the re-imagined Vatican II 2.0 reboot with that mistake again. So, why are we pounding our heads against the wall?

    That’s not just a sarcastic query–it’s a frustrated one, and sincere.

  8. Branch says:

    Amen

  9. Crude says:

    Dale,

    I sincerely understand the frustration. And maybe that’s part of the problem here – the sense that the people who actually strive to follow Church teaching are getting cast aside as ‘moralists’. The guys and girls who violate it routinely? Well, they’re just struggling lost sheep trying to get by, we have to reach out to them and not offend them.

    That I see as a real problem, and it’s deplorable. And I recognize there’s an important line between reaching out to nonbelievers and liberals, and tolerating them. Just as there’s a line between criticizing moralists, and criticizing people who really are trying to be moral.

    Personal anecdote: remember the Chik-fil-a fiasco? I remember at the time reading a quote from the guy who really blew that open where he said, ‘We’re a family business, and we believe in living a moral life. All of us are still married to our first wives.’ And for a brief moment I thought negatively – like, ‘Yeah yeah, go ahead, talk so high and mighty.’

    Then I caught myself and realized, wait a freaking second. He is PROUD of something that he SHOULD be proud of. Why am I reacting so negatively to that? And I’m not exactly mister liberal over here.

  10. Tony Jokin says:

    “While I know Doctors of the Church are not infallible, I thought it was practically impossible for them to teach error.”

    I think the difference is that Doctors of the Church never contradicted Church teaching on matters that were already defined (or corrected themselves if something was defined during their life contrary to what they held). So they were always faithful to the Church. But they did err sometimes when they speculated. St. John Chrysostom for an example erred in some speculative writings regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary (he presumes that the Blessed Virgin Mary was acting out of some foolish pride or vanity). That would be an error but one he is least culpable of since he did not know of the precise definitions (on original sin, immaculate conception) that were to come later.

    “But if they can teach novelty or error, then how do we discern what of their teaching is erroneous or not?”

    I believe on the aspects that we cannot trace historically back to traditions from the first apostles (so on a matter of speculative or derivative teaching), the Church’s magesterium and the Pope would be the final arbiter.

  11. I think your expectations of the Doctors is too high. As the old (uh-oh!) Catholic Encyclopedia notes, “The requisite conditions [for being called a Doctor] are enumerated as three: eminens doctrina, insignis vitae sanctitas, Ecclesiae declaratio (i.e. eminent learning, a high degree of sanctity, and proclamation by the Church).” Certainly being a formal heretic, or a recurringly material heretic, does not comply, but to expect absolute infallibility from Doctors is unrealistic. And while I find Maradiaga’s bimboid grandstanding endlessly galling, I certainly admit there is a place for growth in the knowledge and implications of dogma, which is the special value of the Doctors. They have been declared reliably to lead all the faithful into the depths of the faith, and any verbally “novel” claims they make are judged to be formally in accord with the Tradition. It’s a longstanding criticism of St. Vincent’s Canon that it’s not only almost impracticable but also proves too much. Leave his rigorism to the Eastern Orthodox, but, please God, leave Maradiaga’s magic-balloon show to the Modernists.

  12. Tony Jokin says:

    Great quote in the introduction (and the quote later in the post) by St. Vincent of Lerins.

    I think the problem today is that almost all of the Cardinals (and at times the Pope) explicitly reject the idea of “getting rid of” the doctrine. They always state their approach as being a pastoral one. So they will SAY things that seem to blatantly fly against the doctrine. They will condone ACTIONS that seem to blatantly fly against the doctrine. But they will justify their sayings and actions in the name of compromising for the sake of being pastoral.

    So its difficult to confront them. If you confront them, they will say they actually hold every ounce of doctrine that Catholics should hold (they are sons of the Church). But they are willing to say things and do things that may not seem to fit with the doctrine (and encourage things contrary to doctrine) because they are being pastoral. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they would (and perhaps have) even act as modernists (upon other philosophical and theological positions) and say things that modernists do for the sake of winning the ear of the world (in the name of being pastoral).

    The real charge that we can bring up here is that “by doing and saying what you do, you confuse (or scandalize) the Catholic faithful who look up to you for guidance. Then some of these men and women who are scandalized and happen to be Catholics parents, will pass down the ambiguity or (worse) the erroneous doctrine expounded from your actions and saying to their children.”

    But so far the reply (at least implicitly) has been that its worth the risk. I think Pope Francis might even be saying is that it is necessary as per Vatican II that we DO take the risk. I personally disagree with such a general approach. I think there needs to be a qualifier that “Yes, we should be pastoral but also PRUDENT and remember that PRUDENCE may call us to sometimes be HARSH in our criticism of error and sin in the world”……
    Because today, at least here in the European and American part of the Church, there is shrinking room for stating the heinous nature of sin or a call for repentance. Instead, there is growing encouragement to finding solutions to integrate publicly and vocally unrepentant sinners in to the Church community. So there is growing scandal / confusion.

  13. Tony Jokin says:

    I guess the even more important question to ask if, is there a limit that is imposed by the side effects (confusion and scandal) that a certain evangelizing technique will cause? Because so far, the idea seems to be that confusion and scandal are not be considered. We must do anything we can to reach out. In fact, most will choose to not inform the Catholic faithful with clarity that this is just in the name of reaching out. Why? Probably because they think that saying that publicly will also undermine their evangelizing technique since the party they are targeting will know they are just bluffing…

    So what we have here is that the “need for evangelizing” trumps EVERYTHING. Doctrine will of course kept fully intact and preserved in some treasure chest or ones mind. But one will do anything and everything short of a sin to bring others to Christ. So while scandalizing actions are under taken, another problem for me here is that most have to throw out things like “avoid near occasion of sin”. Basically, we have a Church that is becoming more and more against the use of any prudence.

  14. Tony Jokin says:

    EDIT: Also to add, when someone becomes against prudence, they also build an opposition toward traditions. Why? Because tradition contains prudential and ancient wisdom on how best to do things. So for a person who thinks contrary to prudence finds tradition burdensome and a set of rules constraining them.

  15. I call it the “I’m not touching heresy Game” (like when kids play the “I’m not touching you!” As long as you don’t formally and obstinately deny dogma, even if the statement is a very strong papal statement, the general feeling is that a little stretching is okay.

  16. tamsin says:

    When I read Mr. Cathy’s statement, I was pleased. It was a vote of confidence in women. As a women, as an “old girl”, as a “first wife”, I was smiling. It was a vote of confidence that one woman is a lifelong partner with one man in the project of parenting… at a time when women are becoming increasingly optional. Women are now more disposable than ever before: two men can obtain a baby and call themselves parents.

    So, that was an example of finding “love” in “tough love” talk. And for the guys, he didn’t even say, “you should stay married to your first wife”, he said “I am married to my first wife”.

    A big THANK YOU to Phil Robertson for preferring women, and daring to suggest other men should prefer women, too. We are in a sorry state of affairs when it’s objectionable for Phil to say “she’s got a lot more to offer”.

  17. Flambeaux says:

    I’m pretty much where Dale is in terms of frustration. But I suspect I may be closer to throwing in the towel. The Church, whether Trad or Prog, doesn’t want “my kind”. Society doesn’t want “my kind”. And I don’t mind being an outcast. But I do get tired of ponying up the money to keep the train wreck going and kicked in the teeth for my trouble.

  18. ErnstThalmann says:

    “All these things require answers in today’s world and it is not enough to say: this is what traditional doctrine is for. Of course traditional doctrine will be maintained [in cryo-stasis],” Maradiaga went on to say. But there are modern “pastoral challenges” that cannot be addressed by adopting an “authoritarian and moralist attitude” because this “is not new evangelisation.” … From article

    “He equates adverting to traditional doctrine with taking an authoritarian and moralist attitude–whatever that means, coming from a top prince of the Church who loves to moralize–and says that “new evangelization” must go beyond traditional doctrine.” … Codgitator

    The abuse here seems to me to be in Maradiaga’s presuppositon – not unlike Frank’s respecting “obsessing” pro-lifers – that “authoritarian and moralist attitudes” are even present at the level of Catholic praxis. Where in Catholic life – in preaching, for example – does one even detect hints of the proclamation of “traditional doctrine” so-called? One suspects that the term “traditional doctrine” is being employed specifically to cast it in terms of a kind of rigidity. It would have been enough to have said “doctrine” without the adjective. What we have is the politician’s strawman, don’t we?

  19. Crude says:

    I really understand the worries about those limits. But I’m left asking the same question I asked, and which I keep asking.

  20. Tony Jokin says:

    Crude,

    Well your question is answered by the limits, no? As in, the limits dictate that (with the “gay-friendly” crowd for an example) you can try anything that is humanly possible as long as you do not violate not just moral laws BUT these limits enforced by prudence (because if you were to violate the limits, you will cause much confusion / scandal regarding the moral laws and matters of faith that will lead to new problems).

    So the major problem here is the disregard for prudence (or tradition) when it comes to reaching out. The concept that something might contribute to confusion is rarely mentioned. When is the last time a Church document discouraged anything because it will cause confusion and scandal to the faithful (I might be wrong in saying there was nothing recent and I hope someone can provide something because it will strengthen my hope)?

    A pronouncement like “offensive to pious ears” (piarum aurium offensiva) would seem to be a concept from a different Church today. That is a problem. Because even if Human technology changes, man is still human. Humans still face the inclination to error/sin and will always face that inclination. But today there is an effort to act as if such an inclination does not exist.

    Now I am sure someone might say “but what if things done within limits do not work?”. Well, I am not sure what it means to conclude that “it does not work”. Because the Church should be praying continuously for the conversion of sinners while doing all it can within these limits. It might not happen tomorrow and it might not happen at all (not necessarily because of the failure of our methods but because of the person’s own free-will). But we can never say our methods are a failure for the act of praying for another to convert (in the event of being met with failure through the direct approach) cannot be said to have failed till we know their fate. Even if it does fail, why think its something wrong with the method? Aren’t people free to reject the Church and choose hell? What if many people just happen to be choosing that? Do we blame our “old” methods that cannot be compromised without causing much confusion and scandal?

  21. I love the last two paragraphs of this comment. Where has prudence gone? And is the Gospel really to be judged by its sales demographics and investment returns?

  22. Crude says:

    Tony,

    Well your question is answered by the limits, no?

    Well, no, it’s not. You’re highlighting some difficulties involved with evangelization, which I grant, but at the same time what I’m asking here is how you deal with an audience that is already aware of and biased against the very moral views you are espousing – that, if anything, they regard those moral views you’re espousing as immoral in their own twisted way.

    Because if the answer is ‘Well you repeat what they already know’, I think a mistake has been made. If the answer is ‘They are already lost, so you can’t even deal with them’ I think a mistake has been made.

  23. Anyone here a sports fan (or athlete)? I think there are fruitful analogies to be had in sports strategies, maybe even in the Art of War. I’m not proposing any at the moment, but in sports as in war, we already know that the opposition is aware of our aims and totally hostile to our efforts… yet some teams are successful while others aren’t. What accounts for the difference?

  24. Branch says:

    “(because if you were to violate the limits, you will cause much confusion / scandal regarding the moral laws and matters of faith that will lead to new problems).”

    Like grabbing the tail of the one sheep while the 99 scatter about.

  25. c matt says:

    Well, if scripture is to be a guide, at some point you just shake the dust from your sandals and move on. If someone does not want to be convinced, he won’t be. And I don’t believe our job is to “close the deal,” rather, it is to present the reasons for the hope that is within us. In charity, of course. So to your pro-gay crowd example, lay out the bases for your belief, and don’t be rude about it. The rest is up to them. I have a pro-gay co-worker in my office and from time to time, the subject comes up. I give her my reasons, she gives me hers. We pretty much discuss it cordially and leave it at that. If she does not want to be convinced, she won’t be.

  26. c matt says:

    I don’t mean to be rude, but … seriously? Past Christians got fed to lions, present ones get slaughtered and tortured in the Middle East, and you’re talking about throwing in the towel over the silly antics of various prelates? I understand and share the frustration, but, buck it up man! And where would you go? If the RCC hasn’t gotten it right, no one has.

  27. Dale Price says:

    It’s more involved than that.

  28. Tony Jokin says:

    Crude,

    “Well, no, it’s not. You’re highlighting some difficulties involved with evangelization, which I grant, ………”

    But I am not just highlighting difficulties. I am actually stating those are things that exert limits. Within those limits, every person is free according to their gifts to approach the task of evangelizing.

    It’s similar to asking “How do I choose a spouse?”. There is no fixed way. There are important things to look for in a spouse which are known through ones faith and prudence (that much is fixed). Within that, one is free to make a choice according to additional preferences and as long as their choice is within those fixed limits, it would be a reasonable choice. The fact that a person cannot find someone within those limits doesn’t mean they should pick a spouse at random. I feel the issue is similar here.

    “Because if the answer is ‘Well you repeat what they already know’, I think a mistake has been made. If the answer is ‘They are already lost, so you can’t even deal with them’ I think a mistake has been made.”

    I am not so sure if this is correct (because I fail to see where there is any acknowledgement in such thinking of free-will of the other person). During the time of Jesus, the Pharisees had a distorted view that their hypocrisy was moral (among other things). Both St. John the Baptist and Jesus chastised them for it. Why is it that Jesus or St. John the Baptist didn’t try “dialogue” with them? After all, it seems at times that Jesus goes out of his way to send a hint of chastisement toward the wrong doings of Pharisees. In modern thinking on evangelizing, Jesus would be a prime example of what not to do, no?

    Also, I do not see how simply praying for their conversion after all possible evangelizing techniques are exhausted amounts to saying “they are already lost”. It would just be an acknowledgement that the person is not open to the truth (which is the real case here). At that point we just pray to God to give them more Grace to become open to the truth.

    To put this another way, given that the evangelizing techniques within limits do not work, would you consider conversion by threats and force legitimate? I am sure you would say “No” because it violates human dignity and so forth. All I am saying is that breaking the limits is also just as bad because it leads to confusion / scandal. But within those limits, there is infinite possibilities. The problem is present today because of the thriving mentality in the world that “if its not immoral, then you can do it”, the “sin of scandal / confusion” does not exist anymore. In fact, it cannot even be defined properly anymore with the rejection of the idea of “sin of scandal / confusion /near occasion of sin”. Because all these things are very much dependent on having a good sense of prudence. Probably the most visibly obvious place you see this confusion today is with modesty in dress. While the threats and force are seen as unacceptable, everything else looks like fair game to most.

    Just to be precise, I am not saying use the old techniques of sending in missionaries to a town and have them preach Catholic doctrine on a town square. Rather, I am saying to use the old limits of prudence in devising new methods. Don’t just abandon tradition and prudence and attempt everything short of something immoral. That to me can only lead to major problems (as it already has for the American and European parts of the Church).

  29. ErnstThalmann says:

    My friend, you are not alone. Lots of us are close to throwing in the towel. While I’ve received the kind encouragement of a number of people here, much more official distain for sound teaching and praxis and I’m out the door. You don’t have to go to another Church to dissociate yourself from what you see in today’s Catholicism, you can just stop participating. That’s where I’ve gotten. A little more and I’ll declare it official.

  30. Bill G. says:

    I am no theologian, and no expert in canon law, so I am honestly asking here.

    If it sounds like heresy, smells like heresy, walks like heresy, and looks like heresy, when does it become heresy?

    Weren’t we told “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.”

    If I didn’t truly believe in the teachings of the church and believe firmly “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus”, I would cross the Volga and go over to the Orthodox Church.

    This is a cruel trap, this belief of mine that schism will send me to hell, but what church am I supposed to be part of? I am truly beginning to feel that what sanity was left in the church is gone. I truly suspect that the Vatican been taken over by lunatics and apostates!

    Just venting. Sorry.

  31. ErnstThalmann says:

    Not hard to comprehend, amigo. I’ve chosen non-participation rather than exit for the time being. With Benedict as Pope, I knew what I had and felt confident that the basic direction of things was sound at least. Now I have no such confidence and fully expect to be let down as the future discloses itself. Add that to a number of long-standing personal complaints about the non-extant fellowship and the senseless hierarchical control of service here locally and I don’t know how long I’ll stay even as an on-looker. One sees a more convincing Christianity in twelve step groups these days than in the Church.

  32. Pingback: Extra communitatem nulla salvatione? | FideCogitActio : "Omnis per gratiam" fidescogitactio @ gmail . com

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