Archive for the ‘Papal Infallibility’ 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.


Benedict XVI and the Word of God

April 20, 2012

On April 20, 2012, Vatican Information Services reported a message from Benedict XVI to Cardinal Levada (the head of the CDF). Among the points found in the message were the following (as reported by VIS):

“Thanks to the charisma of inspiration”, the Benedict XVI goes on, “the books of Sacred Scripture have a direct and tangible appeal. Yet the Word of God is not confined to writing, for although the Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle, the revealed Word has continued to be announced and interpreted by the living Tradition of the Church. Thus the Word of God, fixed in the holy texts, is not an inert matter at the heart of the Church but the supreme rule of her faith and her life force. The Tradition she draws from the Apostles advances with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and grows through reflection and study on the part of believers, through the individual experience of spiritual life and the preaching of bishops”.

Hence the need for deeper study on the theme of inspiration and truth in the Bible, because it is “fundamental for the life and mission of the Church that Sacred Scripture be interpreted according to its nature; and inspiration and truth are constituent characteristics of that nature”.

First, note the denial that the Word of God has been confined to writing while acknowledging that Revelation ended with the death of the last apostle. Hopefully you’ve seen this Roman claim elsewhere. But where else is the Word of God to be found?

Benedict XVI refers to the “Tradition she draws from the Apostles,” but the only tradition that is traceable to the apostles is Scripture. There is not a body of extra-scriptural tradition that can be reliably alleged to be apostolic. I do not mean to suggest that only us Christians lack that tradition. Even within the Vatican there is no access to earlier tradition. The Vatican Secret Archives don’t contain notes from the Apostle Paul that are not in Scripture. The cardinals don’t get together every year and hand on oral tradition from mouth to ear to the next generation of cardinals. In general, they have what we have.

Benedict XVI went on to claim that the apostolic tradition, “advances with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and grows through reflection and study on the part of believers, through the individual experience of spiritual life and the preaching of bishops.” This is clearly wrong. What the Holy Spirit does is to preserve Revelation and to open the eyes of men to it. The Revelation is itself a fixed quantum. It does not grow, even if believers’ understanding of it grows. The Holy Spirit has given believers great understanding over the ages, but that understanding is not itself Revelation, or a growth or advancement of the Revelation.

It is interesting to see Benedict XVI claim that “the Word of God, fixed in the holy texts, is not an inert matter at the heart of the Church but the supreme rule of her faith and her life force.” That is true of Christians, where “the Word of God” refers to the Scriptures. It’s not really true that the Word of God is the supreme rule of faith for those in the Roman communion, however.

For those in the Roman communion, the magisterium’s dogmatic proclamations are the supreme rule of faith. If one finds any discrepancy between the dogmatic proclamations of Rome and the Scriptures, one is to simply accept what Rome has dogmatically proclaimed. But Rome’s dogmatic proclamations are not the Word of God. Therefore, it follows that Rome’s supreme rule of faith is not the Word of God, but the word of the magisterium.

Benedict XVI goes on to say that it is “fundamental for the life and mission of the Church that Sacred Scripture be interpreted according to its nature … .” But isn’t it remarkable that Rome has found so few occasions for exercising its alleged gift of infallible interpretation of Scripture. How many verses have been infallibly interpreted? People have attempted to make lists, but the lists all tend to show the same result: not many. No whole chapters, and obviously no whole books.

Moreover, the few verses that have been interpreted in connection with allegedly infallible papal decrees have been wrongly interpreted (Genesis 3:15 is the most obvious example), so that defenders of papal infallibility have been forced to qualify the alleged gift to simply limit it to the definition of dogma itself, without regard to the interpretation on which it was actually founded.


Roma Locuta Est – Causa Finita Est – Debunked Some More

December 16, 2011

Advocates of the papacy frequently allege that Augustine said, “Roma locuta est, causa finita est.”  Augustine did not say this.  My friend Dr. White debunked this urban legend some time ago.  Others have also debunked it.  I’d like to add my own two cents.

After all, I’ve recently encountered a couple of advocates of the papacy who argue that, although Augustine didn’t say “Roma locuta est,” he did say “causa finita est” (the cause is ended).  This is true.

Here’s the relevant portion from Sermon 131 in context:

For already two councils have, in this cause, sent letters to the Apostolic See, whence also rescripts have come back. The cause is ended: would that the error might some day end! Therefore we admonish so that they may take notice, we teach so that they may be instructed, we pray so that their way be changed.

Although he did say “the cause is ended,” this sound bite doesn’t actually help the papal advocate, for at least the following three reasons:

1) The appeal is to settled conciliar authority (not papal authority as such).  So, “Rome has spoken, the case is closed” is not a very accurate summary.  A more accurate summary would be “two councils have spoken – the case is closed.”  That’s not to say that the rescripts weren’t from Rome – they were.

2) The reference to rescripts is a reference to a response from Rome regarding the decisions of the councils. Such a rescript neither has its own infallibility nor gives infallibility to the decrees of the councils, whether considered by Roman standards of that day or this day.

3) Notice that there were two councils, not just one.  This is part of Augustine’s point.  His point is that, in terms of church court process, continuing this debate is beating a dead horse.  He’s not saying that two councils is a magic number, just as he’s not saying that getting a response from Rome magically makes the conciliar decisions correct. 

– TurretinFan

A Quick Comment on the Fastigi Infallibility

May 5, 2011

The Fastigi vs. White debate took place a number of years ago. I was listening to it today and happened to notice the quotation that is described by Fastigi as the culmination of patristic quotations in favor of papal infallibility. And what was that quotation? It was Chalcedon’s comment, which I have already fully explained, “Peter has spoken (to us) through Leo.” (parenthetical in Fastigi’s quotation) If that’s the best that’s out there, there really isn’t much Rome has to offer by way of historical evidence to support its historical assertions.

Papal Infallibility Debate with William Albrecht

October 23, 2010

This past week I debated Mr. William Albrecht (Roman Catholic) on the subject of Papal Infallibility. The specific question was whether Vatican I was correct regarding papal infallibility. Naturally, I answered the question in the negative. Here’s the video.

(link to mp3)

– TurretinFan

Bellisario (by Proxy) on the Papacy – Part 2

July 9, 2009

Although I could not find any other published debates, articles, or podcasts from Mr. Bellisario specifically on the papacy, I did find one book review that is of interest. Mr. Bellisario recommends Mr. Adrian Fortescue’s “The Early Papacy” as being: “full of great apologetics material for substantiating the Papacy in the early Church.” One presumes that Mr. Bellisario may rely on what Mr. Fortescue has written in his presentation on the Dividing Line today.

Mr. Fortescue writes: “let us see what [the pope’s] authority really is, as defined by the Catholic Church today. We shall then be able to show that it was the same in the first four and a half centuries.” (pp. 34-35) Mr. Fortescue seems to recognize that the immediate objection to his claim is that the doctrine of the papacy developed. Mr. Fortescue responds thus: “Has the papacy grown? In a sense it has, just as every Dogma of the Church may be said to have grown. We come here to that question of the development of doctrine, of which much might be said.” (p. 35) After briefly qualifying the kinds of development, Mr. Fortescue concludes: “But we do not admit that this development means any real addition to the faith; it is only a more explicit assertion of the old faith, necessary in view of false interpretations.” (p. 35)

Mr. Fortescue, in his brief discussion, had compared the development of the papacy to the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. In Mr. Fortescue’s view, the decision of the Council of Nicaea “grew” the doctrine of the Trinity. In his view, the Fourth Lateran Council’s use (in the 13th century) of the term “transubstantiation” and Vatican I’s definition of papal infallibility (in the 19th century) are analogous developments to Nicaea. They are simply making explicit something that was already the old faith.

There is a serious problem with Mr. Fortescue’s argument: the Nicaean definition can be shown historically to be simply a restatement of ancient doctrine. We can prove (from Scripture) that the Trinity was the teaching of the Apostles. The same is not the case for transubstantiation or papal infallibility. With respect to those views one is essentially left taking Rome’s word for it: the historical evidence (whether Scriptural or patristic) does not substantiate Rome’s claim that transubstantiation and papal infallibility were the faith of the Apostles.

Mr. Fortescue tries to make a positive case for papal infallibility being the ancient faith. He writes:

A conspicuous case of this is the declaration of papal infallibility by the First Vatican Council. The early Church recognized that the Pope has the final word in matters of faith, no less than in those of discipline, that she herself is protected by God against heresy. Put that together, and you have, implicitly, what the Council defined.

(p. 35)

Again, Mr. Fortescue’s argument is seriously flawed – in this case on at least three levels. First, it has been shown that the early church fathers did not view the bishop of Rome as having the final word in matters of discipline. In fact, to the contrary, we can demonstrate from history that this is not the case. In lieu of making this an unbearably long article, let me post a two historians (as quoted in William Webster’s book, the Matthew 16 Controversy (available here):

Rome itself never either exercised or claimed to exercise ‘patriarchal’ rights over the entire West. Such ‘patriarchal’ jurisdiction of Rome existed de facto over the so-called suburbicarian dioceses, which covered a relatively large territory – ten provinces – which were within the civil jurisdiction of the prefect of Rome. The power of the pope upon this territory was, in every way, comparable to the jurisdiction of the Eastern patriarchs.

(John Meyendorff, Imperial Unity and Christian Division (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s, 1989), p. 328)

Nicaea I, which took place during Sylvester’s episcopate, is of interest…because of canon 6. It invoked ancient customs in assigning Egypt, Libya, and the Pentapolis to the bishop of Alexandria, affirming the customary jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome, and asserting the traditional authority of the bishop of Antioch and of the provincial metropolitans. The canon does not fix the boundaries of Roman regional power. But the expansion of the canon in Rufinus (345?–410) seems to limit Rome’s authority to the suburbicarian sees. This may reflect the actual jurisdictional situation at the end of the fourth century…Nicaea presupposes a regional leadership of Rome, but indicates nothing more. Thus one concludes that down through the Council of Nicaea, a Roman universal primacy of jurisdiction exists neither as a theoretical construction nor as de facto practice awaiting theoretical interpretation.

(Paul Empie and Austin Murphy, Ed., Papal Primacy and the Universal Church (Augsburg: Minneapolis, 1974), Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue V, pp. 72, 77)

A second weakness is that even if there is evidence of an eventual widespread jurisdiction of the papacy in the West, there is not corresponding evidence that the papacy had “the final word in matters of faith.” In fact, as late as 1418, the “ecumenical” Council of Constance stated that: “legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, constituting a general council and representing the Catholic church militant, it has power immediately from Christ; and that everyone of whatever state or dignity, even papal, is bound to obey it in those matters which pertain to the faith, the eradication of the said schism and the general reform of the said church of God in head and members.” According to the Council of Constance, ecumenical councils, not the pope, had the final say in matters of faith.

A third weakness is that even if there were evidence both of teachings of universal disciplinary jurisdiction (which there is not) and universal “final say” in matters of faith (which there is not), it would not follow that the early church fathers viewed the bishop of Rome as infallible in himself. In other words, one could still reject the portion of Vatican I’s definition: “such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable.” In a hypothetical world in which the bishop of Rome has “veto” authority over even ecumenical councils (contrary to what the Council of Constance said), the bishop of Rome would still not be infallible in himself, but only by the consent (as expressed by the council) of the church. He could prevent a definition from being made, but he could not make one himself, much as the American President can veto laws, but he cannot legislate.

We could go on and on, but why belabor the point? These sorts of arguments that the doctrine was “implicitly” there in the early church fathers is almost as crushing an admission as that provided by Roman Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman who, speaking of his theory of the development of the papacy, wrote:

It will be said that all this is a theory. Certainly it is: it is a theory to account for facts as they lie in the history, to account for so much being told us about the Papal authority in early times, and not more; a theory to reconcile what is and what is not recorded about it; and, which is the principal point, a theory to connect the words and acts of the Ante-nicene Church with that antecedent probability of a monarchical principle in the Divine Scheme, and that actual exemplification of it in the fourth century, which forms their presumptive interpretation. All depends on the strength of that presumption. Supposing there be otherwise good reason for saying that the Papal Supremacy is part of Christianity, there is nothing in the early history of the Church to contradict it.

(An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, p. 154 of the London:1878 edition)

In short, Newman has to admit that all he has is a theory, not historical documentation. A theory that he does not find contradicted by the evidence, but one that cannot be supported from the evidence (for if it could, the theory itself would not be a theory). It is a theory that “all depends on the strength of [Newman’s] presumption” and more specifically the notion that there is “otherwise good reason for saying that the Papal Supremacy is part of Christianity.”

Whether Fortescue’s approach of seeking to find implicit teachings of the doctrine or whether Newman’s approach of reading the doctrine in via external presumption is more fair, I leave to the reader’s judgment. It is sufficient that both of these gentlemen are forced to admit that there is no clear teaching of such essential doctrines of Roman Catholicism as papal infallibility in the early church. Let us hope that, in his discussion on the Dividing Line today, Mr. Bellisario is as candid regarding the absence of explicit and clear patristic evidence as the scholars of his church are.


Reginald Tries Again

April 24, 2009

I was glad to see that Reginald took another shot at the issue of important Roman Catholic bishops publicly going wildly wrong on doctrine (link). Unfortunately, he still doesn’t quite get it.

First, he argues that fallibility of bishops does indeed explain why they sometimes get doctrine wildly wrong. No doubt. Again, no one suggested otherwise.

Then he goes on to say that “He seems furthermore not to understand that the gift of infallibility is a gift of the Holy Spirit.” (bold in original) I do understand that this is the claim that is made, but there are two issues with this:

1) There’s no reason to believe councils of bishops like Zollitsch are the kinds of councils that would have such a gift (even if any councils would).

2) If anything that is not infallibly taught by Reginald’s church could be wildly wrong because it is fallible then Reginald is imprudent in not limiting his acceptance of his church’s doctrines to those things infallibly defined (assuming he could somehow figure out what those things were – which is a job in itself).

But the more important bottom line is that we see that Reginald is just taking his church’s say-so on faith. He not only swallows the wild errors of Zollitsch but of the Arians as well (he says so himself). It’s no big deal to him that what he views as his church is not preserved from gross heresies. He doesn’t think this is a problem, because he doesn’t realize its implications.

He doesn’t see that it may be that a heresy (or bundle of them) has actually prevailed in the church of Rome and that he is an heretical sect rather than being in a Catholic church (notice the important difference in this case between “Catholic” and “Roman Catholic”).

Notice what he says: “But the gift of infallibility doesn’t work like that. It extends to the college of bishops under certain conditions, and to the Pope under certain conditions.” (again, the bold is his) As usual, he’s missing the point (as though we don’t know that his church’s position is that the college of bishops isn’t always infallible and that the pope isn’t always infallible). But his comment is actually revealing in the point that it raises: what are these conditions and where did they come from?

We know where the conditions for the pope’s infallibility came from (Vatican I), but what about the conditions for the college of bishops (this issue is a sort of logical precursor, since Vatican I was a council). Was it decided by a previous council? By a previous pope? Or is it just something that Reginald read from some fallible source that might be pulling a Zollitsch or an Arius.

Is Rome’s claim to authority simply a circle – “we are authoritative because we say so” – or is Reginald willing to admit that he doesn’t rely on a circular argument but on faith in his church itself (a misplaced faith if Zollitsch is any indicator). I guess we’ll see.


Bellisario on Contraception (Again!)

April 1, 2009

Contraception seems to be a very hot topic for Mr. Bellisario, as he has yet another post on it on his blog (link).

Let’s examine what he says:

Turretin Fan has posted an audio response to my earlier article on contraception. He claims that since there are not any anathemas attached to the statements by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church on the teaching of contraception, that it is not infallible doctrine. The teaching that I posted earlier is the only “officially” held position that the Catholic Church has on contraception. First off there does not have to be an anathema attached to a teaching in order for it to be infallible. This is a qualifier that Turretin Fan has invented, since the Church has never taught that in order for something to be doctrine or dogma that there must be an anathema attached to it. Where Tf gets this I have no idea. It sounds like he presents an “Ace in the hole” here, but there is nothing that substantiates this undocumented statement of his.

Yes, Mr. Bellisario actually wrote that!

I suppose that Mr. Bellisario thinks I invented this:

The Pope must attach the sanction of anathema to the decree, either explicitly or implicitly. In other words, since obedience to superiors is necessary for salvation, the anathema means that the representative of Christ on earth intends to avail himself of the full height of his God-given authority and command our intellectual assent.


Of course, that applies specifically to papal infallibility, but a similar concept exists with respect to conciliar infallibility.

Perhaps, as well, Mr. Bellisario thinks I invented this:

The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.


“Defined no dogma at all” and was a “merely pastoral council.” Inconvenient for Bellisario? Yes. Invented by TurretinFan? No.

Don’t get me wrong: Vatican II is still viewed within Catholicism (leaving aside the sedavacantists and similar groups) as valid and binding. Indeed the same source I quoted immediately above says: “It is a necessary task to defend the Second Vatican Council against Msgr. Lefebvre, as valid, and as binding upon the Church.” And, of course, this source is the same person who is now pope.

I almost stopped my response to Mr. Bellisario’s ignorance at this point, but then thought that perhaps I should make clear the link between defining a doctrine and infallibility, though perhaps poor Mr. Bellisario will think I invented this as well:

It has been sometimes said that it is impossible to know whether or not a theological definition has been issued; but very few words are needed to show that the assertion is without foundation. At times, doubt will remain about the definitive nature of a decree, but as a rule no possibility of doubt is consistent with the terminology of a definitive decree. Thus in the doctrinal teaching of a general council, anathema attached to condemned errors is a certain sign of an infallible definition.


Bellisario continued:

Turretin says I cannot defend my position in regards to the Church’s teaching on contraception. I have demonstrated quite clearly that the Catholic Church has one clear teaching on this subject. (Contraception, more specifically the use of condoms). Let us dive into this empty argument provided by Turretin Fan. He claims that he has proven that there is disunity within the Catholic Church. My point is that there is no division within the “official” teaching of the Church. I do not know whether Turretin understands this or not, but individual bishops do not make up Catholic doctrine. He claims that since there is disagreement among bishops of the Church, that that in itself defeats Rome’s claims of the infallible Catholic Magisterium. This however does not prove that at all.

Or to paraphrase Bellisario, “I don’t care what TurretinFan’s point is, I want to argue over something else!” This is a great example of the use of straw man tactics that we see over and over again from Bellisario. Mr. Bellisario seems to be unable (or unwilling) to address the points I actually raise:

1) That the teaching on contraception in Humanae Vitae is not a doctrinal definition and consequently is considered “infallible” teaching within Romanism; and

2) The fact that Humanae Vitae teaches what it teaches doesn’t prevent, in practice, the bishops of his church openly holding to positions that disagree with Mr. Bellisario’s position.

Bellisario continued:

It is my argument that just because there are many bishops who refuse to follow the Magisterium’s clear “official” teaching on this subject, doesn’t negate the authority of the Magisterium, nor its effectiveness in teaching clear unifying doctrine. All it does is demonstrate that there are and always have been those who dissent from “official” Church teaching. So no, Turretin Fan has not demonstrated that there is disunity in the Catholic Church that upsets the authority and clearly held doctrine of the Catholic Church. The Magisterium can promulgate the truth all day long, yet if bishops refuse to follow, Turretin attaches the blame on the Magisterium and claims that it doesn’t solve doctrinal problems. This is clearly nonsense. Yes we have many clear examples of bishops rejecting Church teaching. So what? As I stated before, there have been times in the past where many bishops bought into heresies. The Church Magisterium however always held fast to true doctrine and dogma.

Notice how the straw man comes out again, this time attacked as “clearly nonsense.” Well, you know, I’m sure my position can sound like nonsense when it is misrepresented by Bellisario, but my actual position is something with which Bellisario cannot argue (as usual).

Bellisario continued:

Turretin Fan readily admits in his audio response that he never claimed to prove that “official” Catholic teaching was divided on this issue. It is quite obvious that any Catholic who wants to remain faithful to the Church will follow “official” teachings and not individual bishop’s dissenting views. Turretin Fan’s argument does not upset the Magisterium as he claims it does. What would he have Rome do, go out and hunt everyone down who dissents from “official” Church teaching and off them? That may not be a bad idea….I am joking here… Well Rome has essentially done this doctrinally in her documents. In my next post I will address the teaching of the Church and whether or not the teaching on contraception by the Church is an infallible doctrine.

Ah, at last Mr. Bellisario pays some limited attention to what I was saying. Yes, I never claimed to prove that “official” Catholic teaching was divided on this issue.

Mr. Bellisario jokes about hunting down those who dissent, but these folks are “dissenting” on an issue that has not been defined. That’s something that Mr. Bellisario doesn’t seem to get. There are really two issues here:

1) The issues Bellisario has identified as allegedly wrong positions by bishops of his own church (bishops that still hold their office and openly teach what they teach) are not contrary to any infallible teaching of his church (though they are contrary to things that Benedict XVI has said, and they are arguably contrary to what the CCC and Humanae Vitae said); and

2) Whether or not this matter has been defined, there is doctrinal and moral disunity within Catholicism, despite the organizational unity.

The second point is really the main point of this discussion, whereas the first point is carry-over from the previous debacle where Gene Bridges schooled Mr. Bellisario on the issue of contraception.

Bellisario continued:

I also got a chuckle once again that Turretin creates a “Mr. Bellisario vs the bishop” scenario instead of “official” Church teaching vs the bishop scenario, which would be a much more accurate headline. Be that as it may, Turretin Fan has only demonstrated that there are and always will be dissenters in the Church. He also readily admits that there is clear “official” Catholic Church teaching on this matter, which defeats his argument trying to tear down the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. In my next article I will go through the wording of “official” church documents and demonstrate that this moral teaching cannot be changed, and therefore falls into the category of Church doctrine.

Again, we see more straw man arguments. Although he noted above (apparently) that it is not my goal with this argument to “tear down the Magisterium of the Catholic Church” – now Mr. Bellisario claims that he has defeated this argument that I haven’t presented. It seems Mr. Bellisario has struck on the perfect way to win arguments: argue with points that the other side doesn’t either present or defend.


P.S. For more on the infallibility issue and Humanae Vitae, check out my friendly Romanist opponent, Kelly Wilson at Kakistocrat (link).

UPDATE: Bellisario simply couldn’t get enough of this topic and posted YET AGAIN! (link) I’ll address his comments below:

I really got a kick out of Turretin’s last post where he tries, unsuccessfully to substantiate, that for the Catholic church to define something infallibly it must use anathemas to do so. Anyone who knows anything about Catholicism knows this is simply not true. Turretin thought it would clever to post on the specific use of papal proclamations which we haven’t even discussed so far. We are not arguing over one document as TF is suggesting. If you see my original post i used several. Then he quotes something on Vatican II which we also haven’t even addressed specifically, but TF likes to use Red Herrings to hide his idiotic arguments. I guess he didn’t notice that many of the documents I soured were not from VCII. I won’t waste any more time on the foolish Turretin Fan because he is not rational.

Poor Bellisario, his ignorance exposed, lashes out. It’s not the first time he’s made this kind of comment and it won’t be the last. Since he doesn’t actually address the issues in this portion of his rant, there’s no need for further response from me.

Bellisario continued:

It is unfortunate but I do not have the time to keep engaging with bloggers like himself because he will just lead you around in circular arguments, which is another favorite tactic of his. He figures if he writes enough nonsense that he will wear his opponent down and then he can claim victory. Well he has successfully worn me down, and yet once again he has not proven that the Catholic church is divided on the issue of contraception when it comes to “official” Church teaching. He keeps saying that he doens’t intend to do so, yet what is his point? It is to try and prove that the Catholic Church is not unified in its teaching regarding contraception.

As noted above, this is Bellisario’s constant retreat: the straw man. Sometimes, I’m not sure that Bellisario knows it is a straw man, but after it has been pointed out and he still repeats the same false characterizations you have to figure he’s realized he cannot defeat the argument presented, so he’s off to try to argue against something else.

For my actual point, see above.

Bellisario concluded:

He is trying to argue this from an untenable positions, because he refuses to acknowledge “official” Catholic teaching in favor of individual opinions. That is why i had to emphasize that there is a “official” Church teaching that all Catholics are obliged to follow. this would hold even if the teaching was not infallible. Turetin also does not understand this either. He refuses to acknowledge that individual bishops have no bearing on the “official” Church teaching, and so Catholics who follow the “official” Church teaching are not divided. The two unfortunately are synonymous to the pitiful “Reformed” apologist. I will tear myself away from this and now focus on the Catholic doctrine regarding human sexuality, and more specifically contraception. I am now working on a response to Kelly, who stopped by my blog and sided with me on part of my post against TF, yet challenged me on whether or not the Church has infallibly defined this teaching on human sexuality. My argument will be that is is infallibly defined. Thanks for reading.

As noted above, this is just a response to Bellisario’s straw man. He complains about a lack of time. One solution would be for him to spend less of his time on straw men.


An Inconvenient Conciliar Truth – Part 07

September 10, 2008

An Inconvenient Conciliar Truth – Part 07

Some folks seem to find relying on councils a comfort. For these folks, there are some inconvenient facts that they must face. This post is the seventh in what has become a multi-part series.

Council of the Vatican I (began December 8, 1869) – Council never Completed

The council last met on September 1, 1870. The council never formally closed, however. As the Catholic Encyclopedia reports:

At the close of the eighty-fifth general congregation a “Monitum” was read which announced that the council would be continued without interruption after the fourth public session. Still, the members received a general permission to leave Rome for some months. They had only to notify the secretary in writing of their departure. By 11 Nov., St. Martin’s day, all were to be back again. So many of the fathers made use of this permission that only a few more than 100 remained at Rome. Naturally these could not take up any new questions. Consequently the draft of the decree on vacant episcopal sees, which had been amended in the meantime by the deputation of discipline, was again brought forward, and debated in three further general congregations. The eighty-ninth, which was also to be the last, was held on 1 Sept. On 8 Sept. the Piedmontese troops entered the States of the Church at several points; on Tuesday, 20 Sept., a little before eight o’clock in the morning, the enemy entered Rome through the Porta Pia. The pope was a prisoner in the Vatican. He waited a month longer. He then issued on 20 Oct. the Bull, “Postquam Dei munere”, which prorogued the council indefinitely. This day was the day after a Piedmontese decree had been issued organizing the Patrimony of Peter as a Roman province. A circular letter issued by the Italian minister, Visconti Venosta, on 22 Oct., to assure the council of the freedom of meeting, naturally met with no credence. A very remarkable letter was sent from London on the same day by Archbishop Spalding to Cardinal Barnabo, prefect of the Propaganda at Rome. In this letter he made the proposition, which met the approval of Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop Manning, and Archbishop Dechamps, to continue the council in the Belgian city of Mechlin, and gave ten reasons why this city seemed suitable for such sessions. Unfortunately the general condition of affairs was such that a continuation of the council even at the most suitable place could not be thought of.

This incomplete council, and especially the promulgation of a doctrine of papal infallibility, led to the formation of a sect of “Old Catholics,” which did not accept the novel dogma of papal infallibility.


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