Monday, July 2, 2007

Catholic Fallacies: Private Interpretation



One of the statements that Catholic e-pologists like to throw around against Protestantism is the relativism and disunity of private interpretation. While Protestants look to the scriptures for authority on faith-based issues, Catholics look to the authority of their visible church organization.

“"The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.” CCC 85


Based on these claims by Catholics you would assume that a church-approved commentary of the Bible would exist to lead Catholic laypeople, especially Catholic apologists, to the correct interpretation of each biblical passage. Yet nothing even close to such a thing exists. In fact, very few biblical passages have been officially defined by the RCC.

“The Church has no official commentary on Scripture. The pope could write one if he wanted, but he hasn’t. And with good reason: Scripture study is an ongoing, developing field. To create an official commentary on Scripture would impede the development of this field.” Catholic Answers


I guess 2000 years (if you believe the RCC’s claim to history) is not quite long enough to figure out the truth. While some Protestants have written commentaries on the entire Bible in their own lifetime, the “infallible” RCC has been unable to even attempt the same in 2000 years.

“As far as I have been able to document, only seven passages of Scripture have had their senses partially (not fully) defined by the extraordinary magisterium. These definitions were made by the Council of Trent…” Catholic Answers


Off the top of my head, I do not no how many verses there are in the bible, but seven is certainly a very, very small percentage. Catholics keep telling me that the RCC has the “fullness of truth” - I think it would be more honest to say “a very slow development of truth”.

Where does that leave the Catholic apologist (e-pologist)?

“The liberty of the Scripture interpreter remains extensive. Taking due consideration of the factors that influence proper exegesis, the Catholic Bible interpreter has the liberty to adopt any interpretation of a passage that is not excluded with certainty by other passages of Scripture, by the judgment of the magisterium, by the Church Fathers, or by the analogy of faith. That is a great deal of liberty, as only a few interpretations will be excluded with certainty by any of the four factors circumscribing the interpreter’s liberty” Catholic Answers


Seems to me that much liberty could lead to chaos, and it does. Anyone who has interacted with more than one Catholic e-pologist knows that before long they begin to contradict each other.

But more to the point, how can the interpretation of a biblical passage by any Catholic apologist even be entertained? If their own infallible authority has only been able to define 7 passages of scripture over 2000 years, the apologist/e-pologist cannot have the integrity or the authority to even attempt to interpret scripture on their own. If they do, they fall into their own “private interpretation” trap so carefully, but foolishly, set for the Protestants.

24 comments:

JH said...

Let me If I can interact with your very interesting post. I am horrible with html tags so I will put you wirting in "".

"While Protestants look to the scriptures for authority on faith-based issues, Catholics look to the authority of their visible church organization."


Well as to Catholics that really doesn't tell the whole story

Authority in the Catholic and Orthodox world and yes even Anglican to some degree is based on on the Famous 3 legged stool analogy.
That is Scripture, tradition, and Church authority. Neither is exclusive is either leg of the stool exlsuive but all we beilieve in faith cannot contradict. Scripture does take a Prima importance though in Catholicism

As the quotes you mention from Catholic answers say there is much freedom for individual Catholic. THe Catholic Church often defines Dogma when there is a controversy or when its needed. It is often phrased in the negative so as to say that a Interpretation cannot deny "x" teaching. However there is no restriction on seeing how much more one can interpreted and brought out as to that scripture passage. See the traditional 4 senses of scripture intepretation we have obtained from the Church fathers
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s1c2a3.htm#115

I supposef theoretically the Church could define every piece of scripture in a commentary but then that would go against its very ethos.

As to Controversy well I suppose there is some. For instance in some things the Church is quite up front about it not knowing. However, on the basics though of dogmas that must be beleived it gives us paramenters.

For instance Catholic Apologist all day long could argue and take different interpretations of scripture as to the issue of what happens to unbaptized babies, Or some parts of "predestination", Or if the the ORthodox view of Divine Energy and essence can be reconcilled with the Catholic Doctrine of Divine Simplicity etc etc.

However on the basics we know what is essential and cannot be denied. Such as issues of the Trinity. The Church is always meditating on God's word because it is dynamic and living in the Community of the Church.

JH
Louisiana

jswranch said...

Carrie,
While Protestants look to the scriptures for authority on faith-based issues, Catholics look to the authority of their visible church organization.
Protestants (some) believe that the H.S. gives individual person "the task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God." Catholics believe that while the H.S. can/does lead each person to the truth, the H.S. only annointed certain Christians to proclaim the truth with certainty. This is one of the reasons why there is one Catechism of the Catholic Church, but numerous opinions from 'bible only' folks who each believe their "interpretation of the Word of God" is the authentic one. Look to Acts 15, the apostles didn't send each person to figure it out for themselves. The H.S. guided these men to the decision, and now all Christians believe it. The pattern and the power has not yet stopped.

Based on these claims by Catholics you would assume that a church-approved commentary of the Bible would exist to lead Catholic laypeople, especially Catholic apologists, to the correct interpretation of each biblical passage.
Yo, we have many of those. Here are a few:
http://www.catholiccompany.com/product_detail.cfm?ID=3297
http://www.catholiccompany.com/product_detail.cfm?ID=6782
Historically, we have plenty of commentires.

I guess 2000 years (if you believe the RCC’s claim to history) is not quite long enough to figure out the truth.
If you think you have figured out the entire truth of the Word of God (Christ) then I have to question your sanity. God is infinitly deep, true and large. Our minds cannot completely figure out everything about God. I have to disagree with you that you, any other human, or all humans combined can fully "figure out the truth." God is infinite, we are finite. It is impossible for us to fully define all that He is.

While some Protestants have written commentaries on the entire Bible in their own lifetime, the “infallible” RCC has been unable to even attempt the same in 2000 years.
Wrong. We have written many commentaries on the entire Bible. I just bought one a few years ago. See above. Seriously, you should walk through a Catholic bookstore in your area some time. Heck, look in the back of the CCC. It has an index of scriptures.

Catholics keep telling me that the RCC has the “fullness of truth” - I think it would be more honest to say “a very slow development of truth”.
Why are you equating dogmatic pronouncements on scripture with development of doctrine?

How many passages has the Protestant Church dogmatically defined? If you cannot tell me which verses your church has deffinitively and authoritativly defined, then how can you get on Catholicism for only defining 7 so far?

But more to the point, how can the interpretation of a biblical passage by any Catholic apologist even be entertained?
Because a passage does not have to be dogmatically defined before it is used. I think you could really use a study of Catholic doctrine from Catholics.

phd4jesus said...

Hi js. I checked out the commentaries. Do they come with an imprimatur?

If not, are there any commentaries sanctioned by the magisterium?

Carrie said...

I have to disagree with you that you, any other human, or all humans combined can fully "figure out the truth."

I didn’t say that.

We have written many commentaries on the entire Bible.
the H.S. only annointed certain Christians to proclaim the truth with certainty.


I am really starting to wonder if your are purposefully obtuse or if you really don’t get it. Your “commentary” is not written by your magisterium – the ones you claimed can only know the “truth with certainty”. That is the point!!!

If you cannot tell me which verses your church has deffinitively and authoritativly defined, then how can you get on Catholicism for only defining 7 so far?

Because we don’t claim to have certain individuals “anointed to proclaim the truth with certainty”. We don’t claim infallibility. That is quite a claim for a group who can only authoritatively define 7 passages of scripture!

Because a passage does not have to be dogmatically defined before it is used. I think you could really use a study of Catholic doctrine from Catholics.

Again, missing the point. You, John, are not anointed by the HS to proclaim the truth with certainty according to your church. Therefore, you interpretation of scripture is meaningless. If you had any ability to rightly discern the truth of scripture, you wouldn’t need the magisterium to do it for you.

You can’t use “private interpretation” against Protestants and then go and do it yourself. It’s dishonest.

jswranch said...

Carrie,

Because we don’t claim to have certain individuals “anointed to proclaim the truth with certainty”. We don’t claim infallibility.
Then how could you ever say my interpretation or anyone's interpretation is wrong? If you cannot be certain your interpretation is correct, how can you ever say that mine is faulty?

John: I have to disagree with you that you, any other human, or all humans combined can fully "figure out the truth."

Carrie: I didn’t say that.


Ok, you did not say that, but you are implying it. We do not claim the ability to dogmatically define the full meaning of every verse in scripture, because to do so would mean to fully define the meaning of God in a book. God is much larger than a book or what we can fully define. However, we believe God has revealed enough things about himself that we can be dogmatically certain about some of His traits but not all. To fully and completely define even one verse of scripture would be to a human attempt to fully and completely define God. Of the 7 we have defined, we only have defined some senses of it.

Seriously, you need to study Catholic understanding of scripture and dogmatic theology.

Again, missing the point. You, John, are not anointed by the HS to proclaim the truth with certainty according to your church.
But, I can tell you what the Church has said. I am but one blind beggar telling another blind begger where to find bread. What if beggar #1 were to be told that he is not to be trused because he does not make or own the bread? Would he still be untrustworthy? I don't think so.

Therefore, you interpretation of scripture is meaningless.
Not so according to the magisterium. I can learn and teach from scripture, we just cannot be infallibly certain on the meaning. Remember the words from the last chapter of Peter. If we do not know what scripture means, then we can misguide ourselves on the meaning.

You, John, are not anointed by the HS to proclaim the truth with certainty according to your church. Therefore, you interpretation of scripture is meaningless.
You, Carrie, are not annointed by the HS to proclaim the truth with certainty according to your own words. Therefore, is your interpretation of scripture still meaningless? We can all agree no.

Your error here is equating noninfalible with worthless.

jswranch said...

phd4jesus,

Do [the commentaries] come with an imprimatur?
I am pretty gosh darn sure they do. I will go check and get back to you if they do not.

It has been a while. How are you doing?

What was your name again?

What do you have your phd in?

Carrie said...

Hi js. I checked out the commentaries. Do they come with an imprimatur?

Actually phd, the imprimatur wouldn't prove much. I was told on another blog by a Catholic that the imprimatur is on many flawed works.

What John needs to show is a Vatican-sanctioned commentary.

Carrie said...

Ok, you did not say that, but you are implying it.

No John, I wasn't implying that extreme and I am getting tired of you building these strawmen.

Your error here is equating noninfalible with worthless.

No, my error is expecting you and your fellow apologists to have some integrity when defining your faith. You claim that Protestants are left to chaos because of private interpretation but yet you yourself are left to private interpretation for the majority of the Bible.

Either stop privately interpreting the Bible or stop dismissing Protestants for doing the same thing you do.

jswranch said...

Carrie,

You claim that Protestants are left to chaos because of private interpretation....
We Catholics are not the only ones claiming this chaos in Sola Scriptura. Just look at the words of Luther:
“There are almost as many sects and beliefs as there are heads; this one will not admit baptism; that one rejects the Sacrament of the altar; another places another world between the present one and the day of judgment; some teach that Jesus Christ is not God. There is not an individual, however clownish he may be, who does not claim to be inspired by the Holy Ghost, and who does not put forth as prophecies his ravings and dreams.”

...but yet you yourself are left to private interpretation for the majority of the Bible.
You seem to think that I am only left to private interpreatation since I have only a few dogmatic statements on particular verses. I find your understanding errant.

Again, read DV.

Mike Burgess said...

Carrie, over at Dave Armstrong's site you made some comments with which I took issue. You selectively responded to me and lumped my comments in with someone else's. So there's no confusion, I wanted to follow up with you.

You said, most recently,

"This is a standard Ctaholic mistake. Because you listen to men you assume that Prots do also, just different men. I can tell you that I was saved and walking with the Lord for many years without knowing squat about the Reformers. I still know very little. My beliefs are based solely on the Bible.

Second, to go from God and God's glory to saints in heaven is a huge jump. That right there is bad exegesis - reading into scripture what you want to be there."

OK, which Bible? How do you know what is and is not Scripture?

Second, you don't seriously expect me to believe that, totally in a vacuum, you just all-of-a-sudden got a Bible dropped in your lap and read it and never heard anything from Grandma, Pastor Jenkins, another student from youth group, et al., do you? You've never taken the word of other men into account? If so, answer question one again, please.

Third, the term you wish to apply to me, I believe, is eisegesis. That's when you read something into a text that isn't there. And I did no such thing. God promised to adopt us with a supernatural adoption, give us His spirit, create in us a new heart, remove our old heart, make us partakers of the divine nature, give us grace to be glorified and likened to His image, which includes all the aspects mentioned by Jesus that I cited from John 3, among many others, He promised to make us "know even as" we are "known," (and please carefully consider all the ramifications of that phrase), and to become partakers of the divine nature. Just for starters, ma'am. All straight from Scripture: Ezekiel, Acts, John's Gospel, Matthew, Paul's letters, Peter's letters, Revelation, and so on and so on. To go from God's glory to the glorified saints is no stretch, because our glory then is still His glory, ma'am. Noone can diminish it, not even He Himself, for when He gives it away He still retains it and simultaneously lets us possess it in a reflective and reflexive fashion. This, too is Scriptural.

You want to make blanket assertions like "all Stephen saw was God," but the passage clearly indicates he saw, at a bare minimum, the "heavens opened up." What did Isaiah see when the heavens were opened up to him? Angels, censers, coals, etc. What did John see when the heavens were opened up to him? Martyrs under an altar, roads, sea, angels, created beings, saints with white robes, etc. Why are you bearing false witness against me by saying I "read something into" Scripture? Do you not adhere to the principles whereby Scripture interprets itself and that it does not contradict itself? If so, that's a strange version of "Bible-only" Christianity. Of course I don't believe that to be the case - I'm sure you sincerely do adhere to those principles. So, then, how could what Philip saw be any different from Isaiah's or John's vision of the heavens? It can't, and you know it.

Thanks for your time. I'll also paste this back on Dave's combox since you're transferring to a new blogger site, in case it should be more convenient to answer me there.

Mike Burgess

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, unlike the circumstances of the Protestant, who simply refuses on principle to submit to any authority when it comes to the content of divine Truth, the Catholic does not need to resort to the Bible in order to learn what God would have him believe. The Magisterium informs us.

Furthermore, when we do resort to the Bible, the Deposit of Faith as authentically interpreted by the Magisterium provides the framework within which we must interpret it. We are simply not free to interpret it however we wish. Far from "chaos", as you suppose, we actually have a framework within which to understand the Bible, and no serious questions as to the content of the Truth are left hanging in the air. This is because it is the Magisterium that instructs us as to the answers to those serious questions.

The circumstance is completely different for the Protestant, who (as I said) considers the Church, all denominations, creeds, councils, confessions, and so forth to be susceptible to error. He places himself above all these, deciding for himself what the Bible teaches and judging for himself whether creeds, councils, and so forth are "biblical" or not. By denying any divine authority in the Church, and limiting it exclusively to the Bible, Protestants have effectively locked themselves out of any genuine certainty concerning the Truth and into what you have described as the "trap" of private interpretation: you do not submit, whereas we do: to the Church.

More here...http://the-supplement.blogspot.com/2007/07/protestant-attempts-tuquoque-and-fails.html

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, you said: You, John, are not anointed by the HS to proclaim the truth with certainty according to your church. Therefore, you interpretation of scripture is meaningless. If you had any ability to rightly discern the truth of scripture, you wouldn’t need the magisterium to do it for you.

John's words are authoritative to the extent that they are consistent with the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium.

You would say that your words are only authoritative to the extent that they are consistent with the teaching of the Bible. Wouldn't you?

Hence it ought to be clear that John only claims a derivative authority for himself, just as you do. The claim that he would have to be a part of the Magisterium to speak authoritatively is a non-starter. He isn't claiming more for himself than you are for yourself.

But John's circumstances are nevertheless different than the Protestant's, inasmuch as he is answerable to the Church as to how he interprets the Bible. Consequently he works within a legitimate framework of authority. The same cannot be said for the Protestant, who invests himself with the authority (from where? How derived? On what basis?) to decide for himself what Truth is. He submits to no one in this endeavor - unlike the Catholic.

It should be obvious that the real question is authority. John should be heard to the extent that he faithfully represents the teaching of the Magisterium. No offense, but why should anyone listen to you?

Carrie said...

Mike,

“Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Acts 7:54-56

Stephen saw potentially three things:
1. Glory of God
2. Jesus
3. God

I say that #1 and #2 are actually the same thing – basically the Father with his glory/radiance surrounding him.

Stephen clarifies what he saw: And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." (acts 7:56)

Stephen says he saw:
1. God
2. Son of Man (Jesus)

You appear to be saying that Stephen saw saints and other things, but the fact is, that is not what the text says.

Here are some passages talking about “the glory of God”. These are the passages that I would think of when thinking about what Stephen saw:

“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,” Revelation 21:22-24

“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—“ Revelation 21:10-12

“And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever, and the sanctuary was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.” Revelation 15:7-8

Now, could Stephen have seen other things when the heavens open? Sure. But the text does not say that he did and I have no motivation to read more into it than there is written. Apparently you do.

I’ll try to take a look at your Paul quote, but no promises. My husband is away and I think my two year old is planning a hostile takeover. As such, I need to limit my computer time. And my priority is moving my blog – I won’t be able to move comments unless I copy and paste.

Carrie said...

Reginald,

A quick comment (see Mike's answer for my time limitations).

My authority comes from the Holy Spirit and I submit to God.

Jesus held people accountable to the scriptures - I suggest you do the same. They are not something to simply "resort to", they are the very Word of God.

Unfortunately what I see from Catholics attempting to interpret scripture under their "authority" is butchering and reading into scripture to make it fit their church's false doctrines.

Moonshadow said...

Carrie said:

"While Protestants look to the scriptures for authority on faith-based issues, Catholics look to the authority of their visible church organization."

The Jews of Jesus’ day remarked that the Lord taught as “one having authority” (Matthew 7:29).

Paul tells Titus “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.” (Titus 2). The one who teaches derives his authority from Christ and His word. Is this not the same in your church? Does your pastor lack authority to teach?

Again, Carrie said, quoting the CCC:

"This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with […] the Bishop of Rome."

You are familiar with the role of overseer in the New Testament church.

Among his many qualifications, Paul instructs Timothy that the overseer must be “apt to teach.” (1 Tim 3:2)

In order to teach, an overseer must be able to understand the faith (John 3:10) as taught in the Bible.

Not everyone is called to teach (1 Cor. 12:28-29; Eph 4:11; James 3:1).

Carrie said:

"[Y]ou would assume that a church-approved commentary of the Bible would exist ..."

Hmm, no, because the bishops’ task is fulfilled face-to-face, during the Sunday sermon. Go to a Catholic worship service some Sunday morning and hear for yourself. Will your experience be like that of Thomas Merton (http://teresatwocents.blogspot.com/2006/03/since-it-was-summertime-eleven-oclock.html)?

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie,

You said: My authority comes from the Holy Spirit and I submit to God.

No offense, but that is a non-answer. :-)

How am I to know that your authority comes from the Holy Spirit?

Are you saying that your authority is equal to the Holy Spirit's? Surely not. Therefore your authority is derivative: just as I said that the Catholic's authority is. The only question, then, is: derived from what, or from whom?

I have already said that the Catholic's words have authority to the extent that they accurately reflect the teaching of the Magisterium. So our authority derives from our faithfulness to that Truth.

From what do you say that your authority is derived? Do you make mistakes when you interpret the Bible? Of course you will say (I hope) that you do. But how may we know in any specific instance whether you are wrong, especially given that you can't even identify your own mistakes? I mean no offense when I say that; what I mean is that if you did know you had made a mistake, you would surely correct yourself.

So you obviously cannot know for sure where your mistakes lie. Since neither you nor I can know where your mistakes are (according to your framework), why should we consider anything you say to be reliable?

I do hold people accountable to Scripture: as it is understood within the framework of the doctrine taught by the Magisterium. What framework informs your interpretation of the Bible? (Please don't say that you don't have one, or we won't be able to stop laughing :-)

You say: Unfortunately what I see from Catholics attempting to interpret scripture under their "authority" is butchering and reading into scripture to make it fit their church's false doctrines.

No, what you see is an interpretation of the Bible according to a framework that is alien to you. What's more important is whether your framework is coherent or not. Unfortunately, the problem of authority within your framework pretty much demolishes anything you might choose to say within it.

Carrie said...

Therefore your authority is derivative: just as I said that the Catholic's authority is.

Except you have a middle-man who is only infallible under very specific circumstances(according to your beliefs) while I go directly to the source.

Carrie said...

The one who teaches derives his authority from Christ and His word. Is this not the same in your church? Does your pastor lack authority to teach?

It is a different type of authority. My pastor is not infallible and would readily admit that. We hold him accountable to the scripture.

Moonshadow said...

Carrie said,

"It is a different type of authority."


That's fine. I understand that and grant you that.

Carrie said,

"I guess 2000 years (if you believe the RCC’s claim to history) is not quite long enough to figure out the truth. While some Protestants have written commentaries on the entire Bible in their own lifetime, the “infallible” RCC has been unable to even attempt the same in 2000 years."


A published biblical commentary with some official Catholic approval would be reasonable to expect because Protestants have produced as much in less time?

But Scripture commentary is provided every Sunday, and sometimes every day, in Catholic churches the world over. I say again, in the sermon. It's authentic, biblical teaching with greater accessibility than studying a hardcover.

I see Catholic churches meeting the need that you say she's shirking. Just not the way you expect, just not in black & white.

Mike Burgess said...

Thanks for the partial response. No rush on the other questions, but whenever you get to them, I'm genuinely curious about your answers.

You said, "Stephen saw potentially three things:
1. Glory of God
2. Jesus
3. God

I say that #1 and #2 are actually the same thing – basically the Father with his glory/radiance surrounding him.

Stephen clarifies what he saw: And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." (acts 7:56)

Stephen says he saw:
1. God
2. Son of Man (Jesus)"

But you are completely ignoring what comes before the conjunction in "Stephen's clarification," as you called it. "I see the heavens opened," quoth the first martyr. So, he saw more than God. God is not His creation, even the invisible creation. The heavens are different from God. The heavens are not God. The heavens are created things and are full of created things. How many ways do I need to emphasize this point? You go on to cite significant and wonderful passages about God's glory. All well and good. As I'm sure you know, there are several meanings of God's glory, and your passages are hardly exhaustive. But they are interesting in that you implicitly admit that there are other things to be seen in heaven. Angels, living creatures, martyrys under the altar, saints in white robes, armies, the Bride, swords, jewels, gold, blood, smoke, stars; in short, creation redeemed and recapitulated by Christ.

Stephen could have said "I see Jesus at the right hand of God," but the Holy Spirit (with Whom he was filled) inspired him to say "I see the heavens... and... God." As I said, he saw creation redeemed and God Who redeemed it. He saw everything there is to see. By the way, did this require omniscience? No.

Do read St. Paul's words in context. Savor them, as I'm sure you have and will.

Thanks again. God's blessings on you and yours.

Mike Burgess

Reginald de Piperno said...

Carrie, you said: Except you have a middle-man who is only infallible under very specific circumstances(according to your beliefs) while I go directly to the source.

What do you hope to get out of the Bible?

I suspect that what you want to know from the Bible is twofold: what you ought to believe, and how you ought to live.

But these are precisely the areas in which the Magisterium is infallible. The "specific circumstances" of which I suspect you are speaking (papal infallibility) have to do with the exercise of only a single aspect of the Magisterium's infallibility. But of course, there are others. The point that matters, though, is what is guaranteed to be infallible: and that infallibility is guaranteed with respect to its teaching on faith (what we ought to believe) and morals (how we ought to live).

For your part, however: how do you know, when you go to the Bible, that you have understood it correctly? What happens when you're wrong, and you believe something false, or you make an error with respect to how you ought to live? You say you go to the source, but if you cannot know that you have understood it correctly, what good does it do you to go to the source? What good is an infallible source apart from an infallible interpretation?

Carrie said...

But you are completely ignoring what comes before the conjunction in "Stephen's clarification," as you called it. "I see the heavens opened," quoth the first martyr. So, he saw more than God. God is not His creation, even the invisible creation. The heavens are different from God. The heavens are not God. The heavens are created things and are full of created things. How many ways do I need to emphasize this point?

I remembered your first assertion resting on “the glory of God” including more which is why I addressed it. However, I do not see how “heavens” is any better.

In Acts 7:56 “heavens” = ouranos in the greek.

Biblical usage:
1) the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it
a) the universe, the world
b) the aerial heavens or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and where thunder and lightning are produced
c) the sidereal or starry heavens
2) the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings

The use of “heavens” could simply be a place where God and Jesus were visible and nothing else. To prove your point you would have to show that every use of “heavens” include other creatures (angels, saints, etc.). That “heavens” couldn’t simply mean that the sky opened up and God was visible.

As I said, Stephen very well could have seen more, but the text does not state that and that cannot be proven based on the use of the word “heavens” elsewhere in scripture.

Carrie said...

But Scripture commentary is provided every Sunday, and sometimes every day, in Catholic churches the world over. I say again, in the sermon. It's authentic, biblical teaching with greater accessibility than studying a hardcover.

But priests are not infallible.

Of course, if I post some sermon material that conflicts with official church doctrine, that would be your answer.

Jarfly said...

While whiling away my time today, I can across your blog and would like to offer the following comments:

(1) You incorrectly state, "While Protestants look to the scriptures for authority on faith-based issues, Catholics look to the authority of their visible church organization." Catholics look to three pillars of interpretation of Scripture: (A) the Magisterium; (B) Sacred Tradition (not all tradition), and (C) Scripture itself, and none can be in conflict with the other. To be accepted as Church dogma, none of these sources must be in conflict with the other.

(2) You state, the “infallible” RCC...." There is no such thing: even the Catholic Church does not - nor has it ever - claimed infallibility for itself. Infallibility is a very narrow concept, and applies only the the Pope when, in consultation with the Magisterium, he teaches in matters of faith and morals. The Pope is not infallible, and does not claim to be.

(3) You correctly state that the Church has no concordance, and correctly state a reason for same. That's what the Catechism is for, as I'm sure you realize.

(4) You state, "Off the top of my head, I do not no how many verses there are in the bible, but seven is certainly a very, very small percentage. Catholics keep telling me that the RCC has the “fullness of truth” - I think it would be more honest to say “a very slow development of truth." This whole sentence is a non sequitur: in other words, you can't logically proceed from one Catholic commentator's viewpoint to a sweeping conclusion such as the one you drew.

It would be advantageous for everyone for you to research your facts more thoroughly.

You also appear to bear an animus to the Catholic Church (by the way, the official, correct name for the Church is the "Catholic Church" - not the "Roman Catholic Church."), which has clouded your thinking and the conclusions you draw.


Anthony C. Griffin