Archive for the ‘Zollitsch’ Category

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.

-TurretinFan

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