Saturday, July 21, 2007

Another Survey on Catholic Unity

(larger view of table above)


A 1999 survey by National Catholic Reporter on American Catholic Beliefs (note, some of the beliefs are required dogma).

"The purpose of inquiring into Catholic identity is to describe more precisely this aspect of the actual lived faith of Catholics, which may or may not fit exactly with official teachings. All religious groups have elements of popular religion that develop among the faithful. The Second Vatican Council reaffirmed that the sensus fidelium -- the sense of the faithful -- is important.

Anyone investigating Catholic identity soon finds that being a Catholic has many possible facets. The Catholic tradition is old, rich, variegated, and for some, bewildering. There are saints, social reformers, relics, mystics, spiritual virtuosi, devotions, obligations, art forms, institutional rules and hundreds of moral teachings. What are the most central and the most important facets? What most defines what being a Catholic really means?"

"The table also shows attitudes broken down in three levels of education. Catholics with different levels of education differ on only two of the six ratings. On the fourth, concerning Mary, the Mother of God, the most educated Catholics have a lower rating than the others; the difference between the most and least educated groups is 16 percentage points. And on the sixth, concerning the teaching authority claimed by the Vatican, the most educated Catholics have a much lower rating than the others. The three groups vary by 21 percentage points.

Here is an indication of trends in the future. Since educational levels among American Catholics are steadily increasing, we may expect future Catholics to resemble the more educated Catholics today. Probably future Catholics will attach less importance to devotion to Mary and to church authority."

(23% of Catholics polled believe a person could be a good Catholic and not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ. 38% of Catholics polled believe a person could be a good Catholic and not believe in the real presence of Christ in the eucharist)

So, if the existence of many different Protestant denominations shows that Sola Scriptura is unworkable, then what do these surveys about the variety of lay Catholic beliefs on church doctrines say about the RCCs infallibility?

"The belief in the Bible as the sole source of faith is unhistorical, illogical, fatal to the virtue of faith, and destructive of unity." Catholic Encyclopedia

41 comments:

Ellen said...

Easy, Carrie. If Roman Catholics disagree, it's because they're bad Roman Catholics. If Protestants disagree, it's because they don't belong to the "true church" (sarcasm alert off)

Seriously - the teaching of Rome is "always right", therefore if one disagrees, it's because they are wrong. Rome's way or the wrong way.

The fact that Roman Catholics disagree with Roman Catholic doctrine should be huge red flags that perhaps if Rome were all that infallible, they'd know the way to teach so that more of their people were educated/catechized correctly. But with so many diagreeing, one has to wonder, what is Rome infallible at? Certainly not getting the message out to her people.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Oh my gosh.

Truly, Carrie, you do not know what you are talking about if you seriously think that this rubbish is worthwhile as an argument.

But to answer the question:

What these surveys say about the Church's infallibility is...precisely nothing. Completely and utterly nothing. You might just as well be asking what effect Thousand Island dressing has on tides in Newfoundland. It makes that much sense.

What these surveys might say is that many American Catholics are not faithful Catholics. It does not say anything about the truth of any Catholic dogma whatsoever, except perhaps in some deluded Protestant framework where the truth is up for a vote. "Well, there are 16 million Southern Baptists, but only a few million Presbyterians, so they must be right." "Well, two-thirds of reputable scholars say that the Jn. 7:53-8:11 pericope is not really part of the Bible, so it should be removed."

Hogwash. The truth is not measured in votes, Carrie. You know that. So why on earth are you wasting your time on this silliness?

On the other hand, sola Scriptura, hand in hand with the idea that each man's conscience is his own ultimate arbiter of the truth, directly and inescapably results in the chaos of Protestantism: in Protestantism, disunity is a feature. In Catholicism, these dissenters are a problem that needs to be resolved.

@Ellen: the Church's infallibility extends to faith and morals, not pedagogy.

Carrie said...

Truly, Carrie, you do not know what you are talking about if you seriously think that this rubbish is worthwhile as an argument.

It is the same rubbish that is said about Protestantism and sola scriptura. Fair is fair.

On the other hand, sola Scriptura, hand in hand with the idea that each man's conscience is his own ultimate arbiter of the truth, directly and inescapably results in the chaos of Protestantism: in Protestantism, disunity is a feature. In Catholicism, these dissenters are a problem that needs to be resolved.

First, you misunderstand sola scriptura. Man's conscience is not the arbiter of truth, God's Word is. The fact that we may not all agree on some points due to differences in interpretion in no way disproves sola scriptura (individual handling of the truth does not invalidate the truth) just as the ignorant/dissenting Catholics doesn't disprove the legitimacy of your church's teaching authority according to you.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, you said: Fair is fair.

Ahh, I see. So your blog isn't actually about apologetics as you claimed. It's about "fair"? It's about "payback" for perceived slights you have "suffered" at the hands of "evil Catholics"?? I would have hoped that it would be about truth. But if all you are about is mudslinging, then I guess we're done. This does at least explain your palpable loathing for the Church, anyway.

And I do not misunderstand sola Scriptura. I was a Protestant for over 20 years. I graduated magna cum laude in biblical studies. I was an adult Sunday School teacher with a reputation for saying, "Don't believe what I say; believe the Bible." More than one person told me that I ought to get my Ph.D (including some people with Ph.Ds). In point of fact sola Scriptura was eventually why I ceased to be a Protestant, quite some time before I became a Catholic.

You say:

Man's conscience is not the arbiter of truth, God's Word is. The fact that we may not all agree on some points due to differences in interpretion in no way disproves sola scriptura (individual handling of the truth does not invalidate the truth) just as the ignorant/dissenting Catholics doesn't disprove the legitimacy of your church's teaching authority according to you.

In your Protestant world, who decides what the Bible says, Carrie?

It's not just that Protestants disagree on "some points". Disagreeing on "some points" is a matter of indifference if the points on which you disagree are themselves matters of indifference, just as St. Paul says in Romans 14. But Protestants also disagree about things that are absolutely NOT matters of indifference.

For example: Protestants disagree about the meaning and mode (and maybe even the number, depending upon how you want to deal with the fact that at least some Anglicans recognize more than just two) of the sacraments.

It is perfectly believable to me that God hasn't dictated to us rules about food and drink, as St. Paul says in Romans 14, so that disputes about them are no big deal.

It is absolutely impossible, though, that the sacraments are matters of indifference about which we may legitimately disagree. God gave them to us to do something, and to represent something. But what?

Protestants disagree with each other. They disagree about Baptism, and they disagree about the Eucharist. And this would mean - if Protestants were right about sola Scriptura - that God gave us something that is important, but didn't give us a means to know with 100% certainty what exactly the truth is about them. How can this be?

You may say that this charge is false. But tell me: which Protestants are right about them? Is it the Presbyterians and Baptists who use bread and grape juice, or the other Presbyterians (and the Anglicans and Lutherans) who use bread and wine? How often? What does baptism mean? Immersion, pouring, or sprinkling, or what combination of these? What does baptism mean? Is the Eucharist just a symbol, or is Christ present in some fashion (as the Lutherans and Anglicans say)?

And how do you know the answer?

Sola Scriptura will not help you answer this question. It will help you arrive at an opinion. And I say that it is nothing more than an opinion because other Protestants will disagree with you. If you can't agree about something like this - something that really matters - then why on earth should we believe that sola Scriptura works?

If you say that the Holy Spirit guides you to the truth, then why doesn't he lead every Protestant to the truth about the sacraments? Obviously he doesn't, since they don't agree.

What this means is that - even in cases where the truth absolutely matters - sola Scriptura cannot deliver the goods. And that means that it is an incoherent principle upon which to rely in attempting to discern the truth. And that means that it is a false principle.

Ellen said...

Speaking of Scripture - a question came to me the other day (I was reading a certain book)

Would Christ have murdered His followers for owning a copy of His Word in their own language? Would it have been His will?

kmerian said...

That is why we do not allow people to pick and choose. As I told you before, merely attending a Catholic Church does not make you Catholic. So, yes, this does decrease the numbers of true Catholics. But this is not the fault of those people, much of the fault lies on the church and poor catechesis.

I don't know what point you are trying to make.

Carrie said...

Ahh, I see. So your blog isn't actually about apologetics as you claimed. It's about "fair"? It's about "payback" for perceived slights you have "suffered" at the hands of "evil Catholics"?? I would have hoped that it would be about truth. But if all you are about is mudslinging, then I guess we're done. This does at least explain your palpable loathing for the Church, anyway.

Again, my point with my final statement was to show that the Catholic apologetic tactic of saying that sola scriptura is false because of the "anarchy" it creates is a silly argument. Maybe "fair is fair" wasn't the best way of describing my point - my bad.

Obviously, you believe that the validity of Catholic teachings should not be judged by the way individuals handle those teachings. I would agree for the most part. But that idea must cut both ways - sola scriptura is not invalidated by how individuals handle that principle.

Again Reginald, you are overreacting here. I provided surveys on the inconsistencies of lay Catholic beliefs; surveys conducted by Catholic institutions. These internal studies show a level of disunity at the layperson level.

If Catholic e-pologists want to be consistent in their arguing for unity among Catholics and a disunity/defectiveness amongst Protestants for sola scriptura, then they must accept the same defectiveness in their own organizations for a similiar reason.

Carrie said...

I don't know what point you are trying to make.

See my response to Reginald. My point was to simply invalidate a claim by many Catholic e-pologists.

But I will say, that as you all claim to have an organizational unity and a defined set of beliefs for everyone, I have to wonder why the results of being the "one true church", "established by Christ", "protected from error" has such poor results at the lay level. If all that the Church claims for itself were true, I would expect to see it reflected better.

You don't have to answer that, just sharing something I do find as extremely inconsistent with the claims Rome makes about herself. Even if I wasn't aware of the counter-biblical doctrines, I still wouldn't buy what Rome is selling just from a common sense point of view.

Carrie said...

Would Christ have murdered His followers for owning a copy of His Word in their own language? Would it have been His will?

Good question. I doubt you will get an answer. Or you will get something like "the pope is only "Christ on earth" when he is doing good things.

Carrie said...

if Protestants were right about sola Scriptura - that God gave us something that is important, but didn't give us a means to know with 100% certainty what exactly the truth is about them. How can this be?

We are back to authority, which I hope to post on soon so I would rather not discuss it in any detail now.

But it is a good question and my question back to you would be - how are you in any better boat? How can you know with 100% certainty that the RCC is the authority it says it is? The Eastern Orthodox makes the same claim to being the one true church established by Christ - how can you know with 100% certainty that your are right and they are wrong.

Just because there is an "authority" to tell you everything you must believe does not mean that they actually possess that authority. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons claim the same authority - how do you know with 100% certainty that they are wrong?

Reginald, I could say that I personally have the authority to tell you exactly what the Bible means on every single verse, but me saying that doesn't make it true. Again, I understand your point, but the argument falls apart for me quickly for these reasons.

kmerian said...

ellen, you said:
Would Christ have murdered His followers for owning a copy of His Word in their own language? Would it have been His will?

The church never killed anyone for owning a copy of the Bible in the vernacular. That is an old protestant fable. Can you name one of these people?

Ellen said...

My mistake...it was only translators and publishers that were executed. Readers and owners were merely anathematized.

he Bible was placed on Rome's Index of Forbidden Books list by the Council of Toulouse/Toledo in the year 1229. It remained there until the index was discontinued at Vatican Council II. Anyone reading or owning a 'forbidden' book was anathematized, or cursed and remanded to hell for doing so.

Cannon 14 from the Council of Toulouse says that the Roman Catholic Church: "Forbids the laity to have in their possession any copy of the books of the Old and New Testament.... and most strictly forbids these works in the vulgar tongue.".

Council of Trent (Session IV, April 8, 1546 Decree Concerning the Canonical Scriptures) ...anyone who studied Scriptures on their own must "be punished with the penalties by law established." Anyone daring to violate this decree was anathematized, or cursed and damned to Hell for it. (Dogmatic Cannons and Decrees of the Council of Trent..., pages 11-13; Copyright 1977, 1912, with Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat. Tan Books and Publishers, P.O. Box 424, Rockford, IL 61105)

Liguori, the most respected of Cannon Lawyers in the Roman Catholic Church, wrote that, "The Scriptures and books of Controversy may not be permitted in the vulgar tongue, as also they cannot be read without permission."

Pope Clement XI (1713), in his bull Unigenitus, wrote that "We strictly forbid them [the laity] to have the books of the Old and New Testament in the vulgar tongue."

I'll rephrase the question: Would Christ have anathematized His people for owning His Word in their language?

What was the penalty for translating, publishing, owning Scripture?

Ellen said...

Hey...are you all fuzzy bunnies? ;-)

Reginald de Piperno said...

Ellen - you are in error. It appears that you have rather grossly ripped apart the context of what Trent said about private interpretation in Session IV.

Here's what you said:

...anyone who studied Scriptures on their own must "be punished with the penalties by law established." Anyone daring to violate this decree was anathematized, or cursed and damned to Hell for it.

Unfortunately that is not what the text says, as you would know if you had actually read it. Here is what it says:

"Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, it [i.e., the Synod of Trent - R.d.P] decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall, -- in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, -- wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church, -- whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures, -- hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established."

So, Ellen. You pretended that Trent condemned anyone who privately interpreted the Bible. As you can see, this is false. What they did was to forbid people from interpreting the Bible in a sense contrary to what the Church teaches in matters of faith and morals. And this would be perfectly consistent with the Church's mission to save souls: if you interpret the Bible contrary to what the Church teaches in matters of faith and morals, you endanger your own soul.

You also add that such people were anathematized. As you can see, that is false. There is no anathema here.

Furthermore, you do not understand what the anathema meant. See here for details. In short: it doesn't and didn't mean what you claim. It doesn't mean that the Church condemns someone to hell.

With respect to the licitness of Bible translations, though...again, you misrepresent the Church. After all, the Douay Bible appeared 30 years before the KJV - in English. So it is simply not the case that the Church condemned literally any Bible translation in the vernacular. What it condemns is "translations" that are specifically designed to contradict the Church's teaching on faith and morals.

If you go here, you will see that there was an Italian translation in 1472, another in 1477, and others in 1542 and 1551. There was a Catalonian Bible in 1478. In addition there were French, German (even predating Luther's), Dutch, Scandinavian, etc.

In short, you seem to be grossly mistaken.

The Church does not and did not condemn vernacular translations of the Bible. It condemns heretical ones.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie -

You said: But it is a good question and my question back to you would be - how are you in any better boat? How can you know with 100% certainty that the RCC is the authority it says it is?

One step at a time.

Do you agree that without an infallible interpreter, the infallibility of the Bible does not gain us anything? Because if you don't, then you don't understand the problem.

But to answer your question (briefly): I have good reasons to believe that the Church has exactly the authority that she claims for herself. I would not have become Catholic if I didn't.

Since you prefer not to discuss it in detail now, I'm content to wait until your post appears before I say more.

I am glad that you at least acknowledge that what I asked is a good question.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, you said:

These internal studies show a level of disunity at the layperson level.

If Catholic e-pologists want to be consistent in their arguing for unity among Catholics and a disunity/defectiveness amongst Protestants for sola scriptura, then they must accept the same defectiveness in their own organizations for a similiar reason.


Since Catholics (I do not consider myself an apologist nor even an "e-pologist"; I'm just a guy) do not dispute the fact that many laypeople are poorly catechized, you aren't winning points by repeatedly bringing it up. On the other hand, Protestants constantly deny that their own disunity reveals a problem, and because that problem strikes at the very heart of what it means to be Protestant, it needs to be brought up over and over.

But it seems that you are confusing things here, albeit perhaps unintentionally. As I said before: if Catholics disagree with what the Church says, they have contradicted what it means to be Catholic. They may do so innocently, out of ignorance (due to a laziness on their own part that really is culpable, or due to lousy teaching by their priests), or they may do so deliberately (in which case their errors are heretical). But for Catholics to disagree with the Church is contrary to Catholic principle.

On the other hand, Protestant disunity is a feature. You can't get unity amongst yourselves, precisely because you all do not acknowledge an infallible teaching authority. In consequence each one is left to his own conscience.

But this disunity is contrary to the unity of the Truth. Luther and Zwingli, for example, cannot possibly both be right about the Eucharist. It is inconceivable that there is not a single, unified Truth about the Eucharist. And it is inconceivable the Eucharist is a matter of indifference. And so I say that the Protestant principles are invalid to the extent that they result in a situation like this...and it is inevitable that those Protestant principles do so. Therefore those Protestant principles are invalid, because they do not and cannot deliver to us certainty about what the content of divine revelation.

Ellen said...

So you're saying that the Bible was never on the list of forbidden books?

Forced unity is no unity at all - it's just subjugation

Ellen said...

So, guys...are you all fuzzy bunnies?

kmerian said...

My mistake...it was only translators and publishers that were executed. Readers and owners were merely anathematized.

But the scriptures were read (and still are) in church every day. Are all priests and lectors anathematized? No, they are not, this is a silly ignorant statement.

The Bible was placed on Rome's Index of Forbidden Books list by the Council of Toulouse/Toledo in the year 1229. It remained there until the index was discontinued at Vatican Council II. Anyone reading or owning a 'forbidden' book was anathematized, or cursed and remanded to hell for doing so.

First of all Toulouse and Toledo are two different cities (Toulouse in France and Toledo in Spain). Second, Toledo was under occupation by the Muslim Moors in 1229, doubtful they would have allowed a Christian Church Council there. There was a council of Toulouse in 1229 and all copies of the scriptures were ordered to be confiscated. But, that is because the heretic Albigensis had passed out doctored scriptures containing heresys, rather than do a house to house search, the Bishops ordered all faithful to turn in their copies in order to eliminate the heresy. Also, the index of forbidden books was not established until 1529. And the Bible was not on it then or up to Vatican II.

Cannon 14 from the Council of Toulouse says that the Roman Catholic Church: "Forbids the laity to have in their possession any copy of the books of the Old and New Testament.... and most strictly forbids these works in the vulgar tongue.".

Yes, that is true, it was also a regional council limited to the south of france and upon the elimination of the heresy, the canon was lifted.

Council of Trent (Session IV, April 8, 1546 Decree Concerning the Canonical Scriptures) ...anyone who studied Scriptures on their own must "be punished with the penalties by law established." Anyone daring to violate this decree was anathematized, or cursed and damned to Hell for it. (Dogmatic Cannons and Decrees of the Council of Trent..., pages 11-13; Copyright 1977, 1912, with Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat. Tan Books and Publishers, P.O. Box 424, Rockford, IL 61105)

You may want to actually read the Canons of Trent, what it actually says is that it is heresy to twist the scriptures to your own beliefs.

Liguori, the most respected of Cannon Lawyers in the Roman Catholic Church, wrote that, "The Scriptures and books of Controversy may not be permitted in the vulgar tongue, as also they cannot be read without permission."

Funny, I cannot find this quote in any of Liguori's works. I don't believe it because there were millions of Catholic Bibles in the vulgar tounges (printed with permission). So sorry, if I dont believe this quote even exists.

Pope Clement XI (1713), in his bull Unigenitus, wrote that "We strictly forbid them [the laity] to have the books of the Old and New Testament in the vulgar tongue."

Once again, it does not say that, it does say:
To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a kind of excommunication.

I'll rephrase the question: Would Christ have anathematized His people for owning His Word in their language?

No, he would not, and as I have demonstrated to you, neither has the Catholic Church.

What was the penalty for translating, publishing, owning Scripture?

With permission, and properly done (literal word for word with no changes) then nothing. Do you realize the Catholic Douy-Rheims actually predates the KJV? If the Church wanted to keep the Bible out of the hands of commoners. Why would it do that?

Do your own research, and stay away from Anti-Catholic sites, they are so often wrong.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Ellen,

You ask: So you're saying that the Bible was never on the list of forbidden books?

Are you going to admit that you misrepresented Trent on private interpretation?

But - having little hope that you will do so - and more's the pity - I will nevertheless answer your question. During the Reformation Pius IV did *restrict* access to vernacular translations - for a reason: they were being abused by Protestants for their own false purposes. In other words, this action was taken in order to protect faithful Catholics from Protestant error with regard to faith and morals.

I say "restrict": you could get permission to read them if you needed it for some good reason. Not exactly a "ban".

That it was a practical, ad hoc restriction is clear from the fact that later in the 16th century the Douay Bible was published (and never banned), so that it would be idiotic to pretend that the Church actually "hated" or "feared" the Bible as some Protestants like to claim.

Next you say: Forced unity is no unity at all - it's just subjugation

Don't be absurd. Please show me where the Church compels anyone to become Catholic or remain Catholic.

To be Catholic means to believe certain things. If people do not wish to do so, they are free to not be Catholic. How is that "forced"?

Ellen said...

So, are you all fuzzy bunnies?

Carrie said...

So, are you all fuzzy bunnies?

No Ellen, they are not. Or at least, thta is not how they ended up here - maybe they coincidentally are.

They have come here from other sites I visit.

Carrie said...

"Since it is clear from experience that if the Sacred Books are permitted everywhere and without discrimination in the vernacular, there will by reason of the boldness of men arise therefrom more harm than good, the matter is in this respect left to the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor, who may with the advice of the pastor or confessor permit the reading of the Sacred Books translated into the vernacular by Catholic authors to those who they know will derive from such reading no harm but rather an increase of faith and piety, which permission they must have in writing. Those, however, who presume to read or possess them without such permission may not receive absolution from their sins till they have handed them over to the ordinary. Bookdealers who sell or in any other way supply Bibles written in the vernacular to anyone who has not this permission, shall lose the price of the books, which is to be applied by the bishop to pious purposes, and in keeping with the nature of the crime they shall be subject to other penalties which are left to the judgment of the same bishop. Regulars who have not the permission of their superiors may not read or purchase them."

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/trent-booksrules.html

Carrie said...

Don't be absurd. Please show me where the Church compels anyone to become Catholic or remain Catholic.


Well, if a person leaves the Catholic Church their salvation is in jeopardy (as says the Church) - that is a bit compelling.

Second, as the discussion has shown here, the Church greatly restricted private use of the Bible. How could someone assess if the Church was true or not if they were not allowed to read a copy of God's Word?

You say the Church was trying to protect the people from error, but it ends up being a forced submission since the people were not allowed access to the Bible.

Catholics love to bring up the fact that for most of history there was no other choice of church but the Catholic church. Considering that the Catholic Church says your salvation depends on her and restricted access to the scriptures - how does that not force people to be Catholic?

Carrie said...

After all, the Douay Bible appeared 30 years before the KJV - in English.

And the Wycliffe Bible appeared in English about 200 years before the Douay-Rheims.

Now, since you seem to know history better than I, do you know what exactly about Wycliffe's Bible (not his other materials) made it heretical?

Carrie said...

But the scriptures were read (and still are) in church every day.

In vernacular or latin?

I know in recent years the Bible is read in the vernacular, but throughout most of history weren't the readings from the Vulgate (in latin)?

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, you said:

Well, if a person leaves the Catholic Church their salvation is in jeopardy (as says the Church) - that is a bit compelling.

"Well, if a person abandons belief in sola fide, their salvation is in jeopardy (as say Protestants) - that is a bit compelling."

So - you see - Christianity itself (not merely Catholics, and not merely Protestants, although this wouldn't apply to universalists) have the same "compulsion" problem you are suggesting: We all say that a person is in jeopardy of going to hell if he renounces what he believed; we all say that a person is in jeopardy of going to hell if he rejects the message of the gospel. This is an essential feature of that other sola (to which all Christians, including Catholics, hold): sola Christus.

More later.

kmerian said...

Carrie, you have produced a church document that does seem to allow Bishops to ban the Bible in their diocese. Here's the problem No Bishop did it! The church continued to encourage the reading of the Bible. As it always had.

And Ellen, no, we are not all fuzzy bunnies, but neither are all protestants, so what's your point?

Carrie said...

Carrie, you have produced a church document that does seem to allow Bishops to ban the Bible in their diocese. Here's the problem No Bishop did it!

How do you come to that conclusion?? It says the bishop may permit the reading in vernacular.

In other words, the default is that the vernacular reading is prohibited unless a Bishop allows it, in writing.

“the matter is in this respect left to the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor, who may with the advice of the pastor or confessor permit the reading of the Sacred Books translated into the vernacular by Catholic authors to those who they know will derive from such reading no harm but rather an increase of faith and piety, which permission they must have in writing.”

Carrie said...

We all say that a person is in jeopardy of going to hell if he renounces what he believed; we all say that a person is in jeopardy of going to hell if he rejects the message of the gospel.

That’s different.

I don’t believe a Baptist will lose their salvation if they become a Presbyterian. Salvation comes from accepting the gospel of Christ and having true saving faith – it is not about being part of a particular church (unlike what the Catholic Church says).

kmerian said...

My comment still stands Carrie, it is your assertion that the Church banned the reading of the Bible in the vernacular, so it is up to you to point out a bishop that actually did it.

Catholic Bibles were sold en masse with the invention of the printing press (Gutenberg printed a Catholic bible in German).

The Bible was never denied the laity.

Ellen said...

My comment still stands Carrie, it is your assertion that the Church banned the reading of the Bible in the vernacular, so it is up to you to point out a bishop that actually did it.

No - it is up to us to show where the decision was made. Whether or not the bishops followed through is immaterial - Rome spoke.

When I am looking at church doctrine, I don't look at how the congregations find the loopholes - I look at the official doctrine.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, you said:

That’s different.

I don’t believe a Baptist will lose their salvation if they become a Presbyterian. Salvation comes from accepting the gospel of Christ and having true saving faith – it is not about being part of a particular church (unlike what the Catholic Church says).


You have changed the subject :-) I wasn't comparing the Catholic Church to individual Protestant denominations.

I said (in the same paragraph from which you quoted me) that Christianity has this "compulsion" problem: we *all* say that if someone rejects the gospel message, he jeopardizes his soul. We differ about details of the content of the gospel message, but the point is the same.

This is why I didn't refer to denominations in the post to which you were replying here: I spoke of the virtually universal Protestant distinctive, sola fide.

So: Yes, Rome requires people to believe certain things. But so do Protestants.

Carrie said...

So: Yes, Rome requires people to believe certain things. But so do Protestants.

No, it is different. Protestants believe that salvation is between the person and God. Once saved, they can take their salvation with them.

The Catholic Church says if you leave its dominion, your salvation will be jeopardized.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, you said:

Catholics love to bring up the fact that for most of history there was no other choice of church but the Catholic church. Considering that the Catholic Church says your salvation depends on her and restricted access to the scriptures - how does that not force people to be Catholic?

The Church didn't restrict access to the Bible to anyone until people started producing heretical translations, specifically so as to protect Catholics from errors. You may not like the specific means that they chose, and obviously it wouldn't work today, but if you were willing to step back from your hostility towards Rome and consider the question objectively and within the historical context, I don't think you would think it particularly objectionable for a Church to attempt to protect its members from errors. Keep in mind that not only was the Reformation a new thing (unlike today), but the printing press was a new thing. Never before in history had the Church been faced with the question of how to deal with errors that were being so widely distributed with so little effort.

Lastly, note also that the restriction was imposed upon Catholics. Protestants would have ignored it anyway. Pagans would not have cared either. This doesn't "force" people to become Catholics; it was intended to help people avoid the errors that might tempt them to stop being Catholics.

This "compulsion" thing is really DOA when you're talking with Catholics. Save it for the Reformed, who say that the reprobate are irrevocably doomed. :-) The Church has never taught that it was acceptable to compel anyone to become Catholic.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, you asked:

Now, since you seem to know history better than I, do you know what exactly about Wycliffe's Bible (not his other materials) made it heretical?

I'm not terribly familiar with Wycliffe. I did a bit of digging around, both on the web and in books here at home, and the most I can see targeted at his Bible is that it was said to contain mistranslations at various points, as well as bad commentaries on the text. I suppose it's possible (but I don't know) that it may have suffered more from guilt by association with a notorious heretic than anything, so that it would not be trusted just because he was involved with it. But I don't know for certain.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, you said:

No, it is different. Protestants believe that salvation is between the person and God. Once saved, they can take their salvation with them.

This is a distinction without a difference, it seems to me, in the present context.

What I mean (and am apparently having a difficult time communicating) is:

You believe that if someone who once believed in sola fide - as, say, a faithful Methodist whose standing as a Christian no Protestant would question - if such a person one day rejected his former belief in sola fide, would you not say that he was jeopardizing his soul?

If you say "No," I don't believe you :-)

If you say "Yes," then you have hit upon what I am talking about. Protestants say that there are things you must believe in order to be saved - yes? This is "compulsion". It may not be institutional - this is the distinction that you have been getting hung up on - but it is still "compulsion" that is not functionally different than the "compulsion" you say that the Catholic Church exercises towards those who would be Catholic.

Like Protestants, the Catholic Church also says that there are specific things that - if you wish to be a Catholic - you must believe. Yes. But it does not say that you must be Catholic in order to be saved. You, Carrie, and all your Protestant friends, are presumed to be Christian by the Catholic Church by virtue of your baptism.

So: Yes, if you want to be Catholic (not that I'm saying you do - yet :-) (that's a joke, so feel free to laugh!) - if a person wishes to be Catholic - he must believe the things that the Church teaches. If he doesn't, then (although by virtue of his baptism he may still be considered to be Catholic) he has made himself a de facto non-Catholic.

And now, I'm tired of this topic :-)

Carrie said...

Reginald,

I am tired of this topic also, but when I have time I still want to address some of the errors in your statements.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Knock yourself out. :-)

But if there are errors in what I said (which would certainly not surprise me), they are mine only, because there are no errors in what the Church teaches with regard to faith and morals, and I renounce anything I've said that is contrary to that.

Peace be with you.

Carrie said...

Keep in mind that not only was the Reformation a new thing (unlike today), but the printing press was a new thing. Never before in history had the Church been faced with the question of how to deal with errors that were being so widely distributed with so little effort.

The reformation was not a "new thing". Long before Luther men like Wycliffe and Hus were opposing the Catholic Church on similiar grounds. Catholics mistakenly think Luther's ideas came out of nowhere, but that is not true. Since this is a consistent Catholic misconception, I think it is worthy of a post when I get around to it.

Lastly, note also that the restriction was imposed upon Catholics. Protestants would have ignored it anyway. Pagans would not have cared either.

Being burned at the stake is a bit of an imposition.

Save it for the Reformed, who say that the reprobate are irrevocably doomed. :-) The Church has never taught that it was acceptable to compel anyone to become Catholic.

First, I can’t speak for the Reformed, but none of the Reformed believers I know believe in election to damnation (that is hyper-Calvinism). Second, I think the execution of many Protestant-like “heretics” is rather compelling. I know I would have feared checking the Church’s claims against the scripture knowing I may be burned at the stake for it. This also is probably worthy of a post also.

You believe that if someone who once believed in sola fide - as, say, a faithful Methodist whose standing as a Christian no Protestant would question - if such a person one day rejected his former belief in sola fide, would you not say that he was jeopardizing his soul?

I believe that once a person has truly come into a saving faith (justified by God) then he will not lose that salvation. It’s not about believing in the doctrine of sola fide, it is about having the right kind of faith and once God has accepted you as his child (through the proper faith), nothing will change your inheritance. Sola fide is simply the description of the right kind of faith, it is not a required article that must be maintained to keep salvation.

The fact that you cannot understand this distinction helps me to understand why you left Protestantism to become Catholic. Unfortunately, I have been in other discussions like this and I know that I will not be able to help you to understand what I am saying. So don’t believe me, that is fine, but I am telling you that you don’t understand the distinction I am making.

But it does not say that you must be Catholic in order to be saved.

Wrong. There is a possibility of being saved, but ultimately you can only be most assured of your chance of getting to heaven by being fully within the fold of the Catholic Church.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, rather than changing the subject here any more, why not post something new?

You said:

The reformation was not a "new thing". Long before Luther men like Wycliffe and Hus were opposing the Catholic Church on similiar grounds. Catholics mistakenly think Luther's ideas came out of nowhere, but that is not true. Since this is a consistent Catholic misconception, I think it is worthy of a post when I get around to it.

Wycliffe died 100 years before Luther was born, and Hus appeared after Wycliffe. 100 years (more or less) is a drop in the bucket of the Church's lifetime even up till then.

But all this argument amounts to is that there were heretics before Luther, which of course is no news. :-)

Lastly - you ignored the far more important point, which was that the printing press was new. Heretics of course were not.

Lastly plus one(!): Luther's ideas about sola fide and sola scriptura were total anomalies historically.

You also say: Being burned at the stake is a bit of an imposition.

What's your point? Check out the brutal suppression of the Catholic Church under Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Check out the theft of Catholic church buildings by Protestants. These things cut both ways at the time; all the Protestants lacked (initially) was opportunity, but they took advantage of power to smack back as soon as they could. This was part of the culture of the time.

And it continued even with Protestants suppressing Protestants. Check out how badly the Anabaptists were treated by their fellow Protestants. And why did the Puritans head to America? And why did John Bunyan spend time in prison? It wasn't the Catholics persecuting them, I promise you. And what about the Quakers? And why did Roger Williams have to flee Massachusetts?

The Protestant record on religious liberty stunk way back when, just as the Catholic record did. I suggest that it does not win points for your side.

Then you say:

I believe that once a person has truly come into a saving faith (justified by God) then he will not lose that salvation. It’s not about believing in the doctrine of sola fide, it is about having the right kind of faith and once God has accepted you as his child (through the proper faith), nothing will change your inheritance. Sola fide is simply the description of the right kind of faith, it is not a required article that must be maintained to keep salvation.

And what is "the right kind of faith"?

And am I correct in inferring that you would therefore say that my example Methodist must not have had your "right kind of faith", or he would never have abandoned sola fide? Or do you mean that a man *can* abandon sola fide and still have the "right kind of faith"?

And then you say:

The fact that you cannot understand this distinction helps me to understand why you left Protestantism to become Catholic. Unfortunately, I have been in other discussions like this and I know that I will not be able to help you to understand what I am saying. So don’t believe me, that is fine, but I am telling you that you don’t understand the distinction I am making.

LOL! Carrie, I understand what you're saying perfectly. :-) You seem to have forgotten that I was a Protestant for more than 20 years, and I read the Bible and theology voraciously. Unfortunately, I suspect that your prejudices will prevent you from believing that someone could move from being a convinced Protestant to a convinced Catholic. I understand the Protestant antipathy towards the Catholic Church all too well, not only from experience as a Catholic, but from having been a Protestant myself who denied that anyone could believe what the Church teaches and really be saved.

Lastly, you quote me (and then comment in response):

But it does not say that you must be Catholic in order to be saved.

Wrong. There is a possibility of being saved, but ultimately you can only be most assured of your chance of getting to heaven by being fully within the fold of the Catholic Church.


You seem not to see the contradiction in your own words. You say I'm wrong, but then you say nothing that demonstrates that the Church teaches you must be Catholic in order to be saved.

The fact that a Catholic has access to sacramental graces which a Protestant does not (besides baptism of course) is certainly a priceless help, but it's no guarantee. You don't get to heaven just because you're Catholic. And if you're baptized, the Church says that you are in communion with the Church (although for non-Catholics that communion is impaired).

But don't believe me. Believe the Catechism (section 1271 especially), where it says that non-Catholic Christians "with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church."