Archive for the ‘Benedict XVI’ Category

Papal Priorities: Biblical Study or Saint Veneration?

September 12, 2016

Roman Catholics often raise the topic of authority and claim that we need an infallible interpreter to interpret Scripture.  This, they say, means we need the papacy.  But what does the papacy actually do or care about?

When pressed, however, Roman Catholic apologists typically acknowledge that an allegedly infallible interpretation has been provided for fewer than 20 verses (see this document from Roman Catholic apologist and pilgrimage promoter Steve Ray).  Moreover, when you dig into the claims about those verses, most of the interpretations are actually the alleged interpretations of ecumenical councils, rather than popes.

On the other hand, the Roman Catholic church also teaches that infallibility is exercised in the designation of a deceased person as a “saint.”  How often is this alleged gift of infallibility exercised? John Paul II canonized 482 saints in 26 years (apparently a record number).  Benedict XVI canonized 45 saints in 7 years.  Francis has canonized 29 saints plus 812 companions of one of those, in his three years so far as pope.

I think it’s fair to say that papal priorities are revealed by papal actions. In this case, the priority of the papacy is clearly on the veneration of the deceased, rather than on the study and interpretation of Scripture.  In the lifetime of most of my readers, the popes have never once infallibly interpreted Scripture but have allegedly infallibly canonized saints literally hundreds of times.

Roman Catholic apologists may say we need the popes to understand the Scriptures, but Roman Catholic practice demonstrates that announcing saints for veneration is far more central to the actual papal role.

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Trinity Review of Year of Faith

March 5, 2013

Despite the passing of John Robbins, the Trinity Review continues occasionally to publish reviews. The latest one is a review of Rome’s “Year of Faith.” The review takes a position of continuity with respect to Rome – it continues to reject the gospel now, just as it has at least since Trent. The language may be more polished now, but that makes the snare more subtle. One of the best lines in the review was “Once Evangelicals go down the ecumenical path into Rome and its rituals, it is difficult to resist her deceptions, except by the Word of God.” To that I would add that consequently one of the first things that many of Rome’s apologists seem eager to do is to cast suspicion and doubt on the Scriptures and their clarity, as though the Scriptures were hopelessly ambiguous and in need an of external, authoritative interpreter.

-TurretinFan

P.S. I should add that Benedict XVI’s long-awaited encyclical on faith was not published, allegedly because it was not complete. If it is ever completed and published, the Vatican has already indicated that it will not be an encyclical and will not in itself carry the weight of papal authority.

A Half Century for the Emergence of the Council

February 17, 2013

One of the supposed benefits of Rome’s councils is that they allegedly provide a clarity that is missing from Scripture. But those who think this should consider Benedict XVI’s comments on Vatican II:

I would now like to add yet a third point: there was the Council of the Fathers – the real Council – but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council apart, and the world perceived the Council through the latter, through the media. Thus, the Council that reached the people with immediate effect was that of the media, not that of the Fathers.

We know that this Council of the media was accessible to everyone. Therefore, this was the dominant one, the more effective one, and it created so many disasters, so many problems, so much suffering: seminaries closed, convents closed, banal liturgy … and the real Council had difficulty establishing itself and taking shape; the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real force of the Council was present and, slowly but surely, established itself more and more and became the true force which is also the true reform, the true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that, 50 years after the Council, we see that this virtual Council is broken, is lost, and there now appears the true Council with all its spiritual force.

(Original Link: Benedict XVI, “The Second Vatican Council, as I saw it” Updated Link: Meeting with the Parish Priests and Clergy of Rome, 14 February 2013 – the second ellipsis is part of the official text, the first is mine)

If a council is so easily misrepresented and so widely misunderstood, even when its writings are all easily obtained, how is that supposed to be a solution to the problem of alleged ambiguity in Scripture?

-TurretinFan

Interesting Benedictine Juxtaposition

February 12, 2013

“Human beings are not the authors of their own vocation, but respond to a divine call. Human weakness should not lead us to fear God’s call. It is necessary to be confident in His strength, which acts precisely in our weakness.” (Benedict XVI, General Audience 10 February 2013)

“I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.” (Benedict XVI, Declaration 11 February 2013)

The point is not to beleaguer a tired old man, but simply to observe the interesting contrast of comments in the course of a day. There are also some troubling implications to Benedict’s statements regarding incapacity. Then again, he hasn’t pretended to infallibly define any dogmas, so perhaps it’s not of any great to concern to the minimalists who feel obliged only to follow the pope on those points where he solemnly defines dogma.

-TurretinFan

Benedict XVI to Resign for "Health" Reasons

February 11, 2013

Benedict XVI is an octogenarian, so it is not in the least surprising if he has serious medical concerns. On the other hand, as many people are pointing out, a pope hasn’t resigned the papacy since 1415, when Pope Gregory XII “resigned” to end the Western Schism (his resignation was basically forced by the Council of Constance – for a voluntary resignation, one would need to go back to Celestine V in 1294, or to the resignation of Benedict IX who was a “disgrace to the Chair of Peter“). Nevertheless, confirmed news reports indicate that Benedict XVI will be resigning shortly (link to a report).

Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy has been involved in a number of different scandals, including the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal, in which various allegations of corruption were made and various aspects of the sex-abuse scandal, including allegations that Bendedict XVI had (prior to becoming pope) discouraged Irish bishops from reporting abuse to the police. The most recent major scandal in the U.S. was Archbishop Gomez’s decision unilaterally to impose what amounts to discipline on Cardinal Mahoney, his hierarchical superior.

The health issue may be a real and even a primary motivation for Benedict XVI’s remarkable resignation – but this breakdown in the hierarchy is a more obvious reason. One would expect that the princes of the church would be disciplined by the pope himself, not by their local archbishop. Nevertheless, it is hard to know how much of the iceberg lies beneath the surface.

Benedict XVI will not get to pick his successor. However, his suggestions may carry weight amongst the cardinals who participate in the papal enclave. There are currently 199 Cardinals, of which only 79 are eligible to vote (a cardinal cannot vote after he reaches a certain age). The oldest living cardinal is Paul Augustin Mayer, born May 23, 1911 (101 years old), and the youngest is Peter Erdö, born June 25, 1952 (60 years old).

If I had to guess who the new pope will be, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is the top name, followed by Cardinal William Joseph Levada. If I had to guess who Benedict XVI would like to see as the next pope, Cardinal Walter Kasper seems like a possibility. And don’t forget, Cardinals Law and Mahoney are both eligible to be elected by the other cardinals as the next pope. I don’t think that’s remotely likely to happen, but it’s worth noting that they maintain their current ecclesiastical rank (see the full list here).

Others have other favorites:

So, who are the current favorites? Three names are most prominent: Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; and Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa.

Cardinal Scola, 70, is highly esteemed by the pontiff, who moved him from the Patriarchate of Venice to Milan, one of the largest and most important sees in Europe. He is a brilliant, if at times recondite, theologian, a major supporter of the New Evangelization and a leader in Catholic-Islamic dialogue. His election could be hampered by internal divisions among the Italian cardinals.

Cardinal Ouellet, 68, is a Sulpician and served as archbishop of Quebec from 2002 to 2010 before taking over as head of the powerful Vatican office that oversees the appointment of the world’s bishops. Critics point to the lamentable state of the Church in Quebec during his tenure and wonder if he would be able to reinvigorate the faith in the West.

Cardinal Bagnasco, 69, is very well known among the Italian and European Cardinals and has a reputation for intellectual heft. He is also president of the influential Italian Bishops’ Conference.

(source)

-TurretinFan

For those in the Roman Communion Who Think There is Only One Church …

October 16, 2012

Consider Bendict XVI’s remarks as reported today by the Vatican Information Service (emphasis mine):

The problem Europe has in finding its own identity consists, I believe, in the fact that in Europe today we see two souls: one is abstract anti-historical reason, which seeks to dominate all else because it considers itself above all cultures; it is like a reason which has finally discovered itself and intends to liberate itself from all traditions and cultural values in favour of an abstract rationality. Strasburg’s first verdict on the crucifix was an example of such abstract reason which seeks emancipation from all traditions, even from history itself. Yet we cannot live like that and, moreover, even “pure reason” is conditioned by a certain historical context, and only in that context can it exist. We could call Europe’s other soul the Christian one. It is a soul open to all that is reasonable, a soul which itself created the audaciousness of reason and the freedom of critical reasoning, but which remains anchored to the roots from which this Europe was born, the roots which created the continent’s fundamental values and great institutions, in the vision of the Christian faith. As you said, this soul has to find a shared expression in ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches.

I have noticed that some folks in the Roman communion have seemingly scrupled over calling the Reformed churches “Churches,” opting instead for weird-sounding alternatives like “faith communities.”

While I wouldn’t hope that Benedict XVI’s statement signals a reversal of his view that Rome is the one true church, perhaps his broader use of the term to encompass Orthodox and “Protestant” churches is something that his servants can bring themselves to adopt.

-TurretinFan

What Else Has Been Destroyed?

October 5, 2012

According to the linked news report, the papers that the pope’s butler leaked were papers that the pope had personally indicated as being papers to be destroyed.    This reminds us of the similar case of Archbishop Dziwsz refusing to follow John Paul II’s request that his personal papers be destroyed after his death.

Given that we see evidence of at least the two most recent popes attempting to have documentation of their papacy destroyed, one really has to wonder, what else has been destroyed by popes over the years?

Zealous “conservative” RCs have a very rose-colored picture of the papacy.  But the reality is that it is institutionalized corruption.  We have the butler and the archbishop to thank for two peeks into the machinations that go on behind the curtain, but does anyone doubt that this is but the tip of the iceberg?

-TurretinFan

In Whom Is His Trust?

October 4, 2012

Today, the Vatican Information Service reports:

Benedict XVI today made a pastoral visit to Loreto, Italy, where he entrusted to the Blessed Virginvenerated in the famous Marian shrine there – two impending ecclesial events: the Synod of Bishops on new evangelisation which is to run from 7 to 28 October, and the Year of Faith which will begin on 11 October. The Holy Father’s visit today was also intended to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Blessed Pope John XXIII‘s pilgrimage to Loreto during which, on the eve of the inauguration of Vatican II, he entrusted the Council to the Virgin.

This is Mariolatry, not Christianity. In Christianity, our trust is in the Lord:

Matthew 12:14-21
Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; and charged them that they should not make him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, “Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”

2 Samuel 22:3
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.

Job 13:15
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Psalm 2:12
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Psalm 5:11
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

Psalm 9:10
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psalm 20:7
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Psalm 33:21
For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.

I suppose that there are those who will read the verses above and say that in Roman theology, they don’t just trust in Mary but in God also.  But in Christianity, we are specifically forbidden to trust in mere humans:

Psalm 118:9
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

Psalm 146:3
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

2 Corinthians 1:9
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

Moreover, our God is our only rock:

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

Psalm 62:6
He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.

Consequently, we are to entirely trust in God:

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

But let us pray for those who unwittingly follow the Roman religion, the disciples of a New Testament era Shemaiah:

Jeremiah 29:31
Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie:

We may conclude thus:

Psalm 25:2
O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

Amen.

-TurretinFan

"The" Catholic Position on The Rule of Faith

July 31, 2012

An advocate for the papacy, over in the Greenbaggins comment box wrote:

And, again, whether or not the Papacy is a divine institution – the Burden of Proof is always on him who asserts. In this case, Reformed Christians and Catholic Christians both have something to prove.

The Reformed assertion: Scripture is the Rule of Faith.
The Catholic Assertion: The Church is the Rule of Faith.

I answer:

First, I thought that Mr. Anders had already agreed that Scriptures are “A” rule of faith. If so, then the only question is whether there is another rule of faith in addition. In that case, while the Reformed side may have had something to prove, that time has passed.

After all, if one concedes that the Scriptures are a rule of faith, then one has – in effect – conceded that we have met our burden. The only other assertion required to move from “Scripture is a rule of faith” to “Scripture is THE rule of faith” is the negative proposition “and we don’t have any other rule of faith.”

The burden is on the proponent of that other proposed rule of faith.

Moreover, Mr. Anders specifically asserted: “The Catholic Assertion: The Church is the Rule of Faith.”

Interestingly, Benedict XVI (Yes, I know he’s German like Kung, Rahner, and Luther, but hear me out) is reported as saying:

The word of Scripture is not “an inert deposit within the Church” but the “supreme rule of faith and power of life”. Benedict XVI wrote this in a message to participants in the annual Plenary Session of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, held from Monday, 16, to Friday, 20 April, at the Vatican’s Domus Sanctae Marthae.

L’Osservatore Romano, 21 April 2012

So, will our Roman communion friends concede what that German prelate who claims to be the successor of Peter and Paul concedes? Or do will they deny that Scripture is the supreme rule of faith?

I mean one might think that “the Catholic position” is better expressed by the pope who says: “The Church has always considered and continues to consider Sacred Scripture, together with sacred Tradition, “as the supreme rule of her faith” (DV 21) and as such she offers it to the faithful for their daily life.” (19 June 1985, General Audience)

And yes, he’s quoting from Vatican II, but I hear that they are planning on making even SSPX finally assent to those teachings.

So, what will it be? Will our Roman communion friends be on the pope’s (I suppose that should be popes’, as the 1985 audience would be the Polish prelate, not the German one) side? Do they agree that he has conceded that the Scriptures are a rule of faith and has further alleged that “Tradition” is as well?

If so, we’ve met our burden on this point – but Rome’s apologists still have to meet theirs by somehow deomnstrating that their “Tradition” is to be received as the rule of faith.

-TurretinFan

The "Here I am" Girl or the "Where were you" Girl?

May 18, 2012

As reported by the Vatican Information Service, Benedict XVI stated (on 18 May 2012):

Mary of Nazareth is the woman of a full and total “Here I am” to the divine will. In her “Yes”, repeated even when faced with the sorrow of the loss of her child, we find complete and profound beatitude”.

A) The Bible calls Jesus, “Jesus of Nazareth.” It never calls his mother, “Mary of Nazareth.” We don’t know where she was raised.
B) There is no “yes” recorded from Mary in Scripture.
C) There is no “yes,” recorded from Mary when faced with the sorrow of the crucifixion.
D) Her state was one of mourning, not bliss, as it was prophesied: “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,” (Luke 2:35).
E) Although Mary does not say, “Here I am,” in Scripture, the following people do:

1) Abraham (Genesis 22:1 & 11)
2) Jacob (Genesis 31:11 & 46:2)
3) Moses (Exodus 3:4)
4) Samuel (1 Samuel 3:4-6 & 8)
5) Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8)
6) Ananias (Acts 9:10)

Why not draw from those six men if one wishes to learn “Here I am,” to the divine will?
F) Moreover, on the contrary, one of the few recorded statements of Mary is not, “Here I am,” but almost “Where were you!”

Luke 2:43-52

And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.”

And he said unto them, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Full and total, “Here am I”? Really? Why not pick an exemplary man like the prophet Isaiah? or one of the patriarchs who Scripture praises for their faith and devotion, rather than a woman whose blessedness is totally derived from being chosen to bear Christ?

The answer, of course, lies in Benedict XVI’s devotion to Mary, as one might be devoted to a goddess. He is blind to her faults, and creates virtues in her for which there is no support in Scripture.

-TurretinFan


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