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  #1  
Old Nov 30, '11, 8:00 pm
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samiam1611 samiam1611 is offline
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Default How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

I would like to know, in very precise terms, how the Holy Spirit guides the Church. Whether it be an infallible declaration on faith or morals or just a general guidance, I want to know how. What exactly does God "do" (?) to prevent errors from being made? My question is not about infallibility, understand. I would like to know the specifics of that word "guide." Thanks!
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  #2  
Old Nov 30, '11, 8:08 pm
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

I'm sure others can answer more ably.
In the meantime, some thoughts:

Some information from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_cs...m/p1s2c3a8.htm

http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/profess4.html

Biblical

Jesus gave the first leader of His Church the promise:
you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d]bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.[” Matthew 16

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the world.” Matthew 28

Jesus promised, “12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 15

And so the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the teachings of the Catholic Church have the authority of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
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Catechism of the Catholic Church http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
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  #3  
Old Nov 30, '11, 9:09 pm
Nita Nita is offline
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by samiam1611 View Post
I would like to know, in very precise terms, how the Holy Spirit guides the Church. Whether it be an infallible declaration on faith or morals or just a general guidance, I want to know how. What exactly does God "do" (?) to prevent errors from being made? My question is not about infallibility, understand. I would like to know the specifics of that word "guide." Thanks!
In the sense that you probably mean "precise terms", we don't know "how" -- anymore than we know precisely "how" He created the universe.

What we do know is that He is all powerful and what He Wills to happen, happens; and what He Wills not to happen, does not happen. There could be any number of ways in "how" God sees to it that what He Wills takes place.
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Old Nov 30, '11, 10:50 pm
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

In the simplest terms, the Church is an extension of the Incarnation united by the Eucharist. Jesus promised He would remain with us. The Holy Spirit guides the Church by prevention, not by force.
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  #5  
Old Dec 1, '11, 8:34 am
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by samiam1611 View Post
I would like to know, in very precise terms, how the Holy Spirit guides the Church. Whether it be an infallible declaration on faith or morals or just a general guidance, I want to know how. What exactly does God "do" (?) to prevent errors from being made? My question is not about infallibility, understand. I would like to know the specifics of that word "guide." Thanks!




Well, lets see: the Church still here after 2000 yrs.
Apostolic succession continues.
the Faith is the same is it what was 2000 yrs ago.
The Chair of St Peter still in Rome.
She still works as a Kingdom. The Kingdom of God.
the Priesthood and Bishops remains in her.
The daily celebration of the Covenant of our Lord in the Sacrifice of hte Mass.
and our Lord wills that all come to the knowledge of the Truth, therefore in the Church the Truth is protected so all can come to know it.

there is much more.......
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  #6  
Old Dec 1, '11, 1:47 pm
grannymh grannymh is offline
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

Quote:
Originally Posted by samiam1611 View Post
I would like to know, in very precise terms, how the Holy Spirit guides the Church. Whether it be an infallible declaration on faith or morals or just a general guidance, I want to know how. What exactly does God "do" (?) to prevent errors from being made? My question is not about infallibility, understand. I would like to know the specifics of that word "guide." Thanks!
Regarding the specifics of that word "guide" -- Would you accept "inspire" as an action of guiding? If yes, I can continue. If no, what kind of action word would you accept in the place of inspire?
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Old Dec 1, '11, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

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Originally Posted by Nita View Post
In the sense that you probably mean "precise terms", we don't know "how" -- anymore than we know precisely "how" He created the universe.

What we do know is that He is all powerful and what He Wills to happen, happens; and what He Wills not to happen, does not happen. There could be any number of ways in "how" God sees to it that what He Wills takes place.
This is a very unsatisfying, but honest answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grannymh View Post
Regarding the specifics of that word "guide" -- Would you accept "inspire" as an action of guiding? If yes, I can continue.
That's a bit hard to accept I admit.

Quote:
If no, what kind of action word would you accept in the place of inspire?
Well here is what I picture in my mind. I know this is not really how it works but it's just the image in my head, you see.

It's the olden days. A pope is sitting at his desk, it's night time, and he's writing by a kerosene light. He's writing an encyclical or other important document. He finishes, satisfied with what he wrote, and writes a flourishing signature with his feather pen. So he blows out the candle and goes to bed.
The next day, the pope wakes up bright and early, because it is an important day - he is about to release this document he wrote. He goes over to his desk, and he left the window open. The wind blew the curtains on his window and the curtains knocked his kerosene lamp over. Kerosene got all over his paper, smearing the ink. It's pretty much unreadable now. A sign from God? He must've written something wrong. So he rethinks it and writes something different.

I know that's silly though.



I have an example, where I think you Catholics would say the Holy Spirit was in action. Maybe you can come up with some possibilities of how Holy Spirit guided the Church in this example :

After the Pontifical Commision on Birth Control released a report proposing that birth control was okay, Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae, saying no it isn't.

While I know the Magisterium is not a democracy, it's not unreasonable to expect the pope to listen to his committee's recommendation. The pope did not accept their recommendation though.

So what do you think the Holy Spirit "did" to ensure that the pope did not make an error when he made a decision on this?
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Old Dec 1, '11, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

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Originally Posted by samiam1611 View Post
After the Pontifical Commision on Birth Control released a report proposing that birth control was okay, Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae, saying no it isn't.

While I know the Magisterium is not a democracy, it's not unreasonable to expect the pope to listen to his committee's recommendation. The pope did not accept their recommendation though.

So what do you think the Holy Spirit "did" to ensure that the pope did not make an error when he made a decision on this?
the pope evaluated their information against Scripture Tradition and Sacred Scripture. The Holy Spirit then guided him to the correct answer. It is quite evident that the Pope made the correct call since all the evil that he predicted would result from an acceptance of birth control has come about.
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Old Dec 4, '11, 8:51 pm
grannymh grannymh is offline
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

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Originally Posted by samiam1611 View Post
This is a very unsatisfying, but honest answer.


That's a bit hard to accept I admit.



Well here is what I picture in my mind. I know this is not really how it works but it's just the image in my head, you see.

It's the olden days. A pope is sitting at his desk, it's night time, and he's writing by a kerosene light. He's writing an encyclical or other important document. He finishes, satisfied with what he wrote, and writes a flourishing signature with his feather pen. So he blows out the candle and goes to bed.
The next day, the pope wakes up bright and early, because it is an important day - he is about to release this document he wrote. He goes over to his desk, and he left the window open. The wind blew the curtains on his window and the curtains knocked his kerosene lamp over. Kerosene got all over his paper, smearing the ink. It's pretty much unreadable now. A sign from God? He must've written something wrong. So he rethinks it and writes something different.

I know that's silly though.
If you add a couple hundred people along with the Pope and extend the time frame to maybe a decade, you would be close to being accurate. What I see in your imagination is not only a hard working Pope but lots of other people struggling to define a Catholic doctrine. Scripture needs to be studied. The early Church Fathers have to be studied. Tradition has to be studied. Previous Church Councils have to be studied. Plus the opposition to a teaching has to be studied.

I can see a Pope and others getting frustrated and burning what was written. I can see a Pope or Bishop doubting their own intelligence. And so you can ask -- What is the Holy Spirit doing with all this?

If you go to the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, you will hear Jesus say -- "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." The really interesting thing is this sentence which follows immediately. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."

In my humble opinion, the first thing God does is to give peace, hope, and courage to persevere in the search for truth to those who are studying and researching in order to define a doctrine in the words of Divine Revelation. I do believe that the Holy Spirit inspires these holy people as they read, learn, and draw conclusions. There are lots of both discussions and prayers as people prepare for a Major Church Council. The Holy Spirit continues to draw people to the truth of Divine Revelation, maybe not as dramatically as on Pentecost, but just as effective.

Quote:
I have an example, where I think you Catholics would say the Holy Spirit was in action. Maybe you can come up with some possibilities of how Holy Spirit guided the Church in this example :

After the Pontifical Commision on Birth Control released a report proposing that birth control was okay, Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae, saying no it isn't.

While I know the Magisterium is not a democracy, it's not unreasonable to expect the pope to listen to his committee's recommendation. The pope did not accept their recommendation though.

So what do you think the Holy Spirit "did" to ensure that the pope did not make an error when he made a decision on this?
[/quote]

Friends of my parents contributed to that Commission. This particular couple were leaders in the Christian Family Movement. I do not know their position on artificial birth control, but I do know they were wonderful Catholics. And they would have been outspoken about the problems in family life since that generation experienced the Great Depression.

Pope Paul VI had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to establish that Commission. In doing so, he was making sure that he took into consideration all that is involved in moral living during difficult times. Perhaps, he needed to hear first hand about love between husband and wife and their children. Considering the depth of Humanae Vitae (I have not read it completely) Paul VI did listen to that Commission's reasons for their recommendation and did weigh them with the responsibility of the Church to preserve morality. I believe that the Holy Spirit also inspired other advisors to the Pope so that he could see the whole picture which would extend into the future.

I keep going back to the word inspirer. But that word says what the Holy Spirit does.
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Old Dec 4, '11, 10:34 pm
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samiam1611 samiam1611 is offline
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

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Originally Posted by grannymh View Post
Friends of my parents contributed to that Commission. This particular couple were leaders in the Christian Family Movement. I do not know their position on artificial birth control, but I do know they were wonderful Catholics. And they would have been outspoken about the problems in family life since that generation experienced the Great Depression.
Wow what an honor! According to Wikipedia, 4 priests, 1 cardinal and 2 bishops said no to birth control so apparently your parents' friends must have been among the 68 people who said yes to birth control.

Quote:
Pope Paul VI had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to establish that Commission.
fyi, Pope John XXIII established the commission with 6 people, and Paul VI added additional people for a total of 72.
Quote:
In doing so, he was making sure that he took into consideration all that is involved in moral living during difficult times. Perhaps, he needed to hear first hand about love between husband and wife and their children. Considering the depth of Humanae Vitae (I have not read it completely)
Really? It's not that long. Though as a granny, it's kind of a moot issue for you I suppose.

Quote:
Paul VI did listen to that Commission's reasons for their recommendation and did weigh them with the responsibility of the Church to preserve morality. I believe that the Holy Spirit also inspired other advisors to the Pope so that he could see the whole picture which would extend into the future.

I keep going back to the word inspirer. But that word says what the Holy Spirit does.
Let's talk about this word inspire. Do you think the Pope/theologians/whoever is writing this stuff are aware of it? I mean more than the average person. Is it like, they go about their every day life like usual, but when they sit down and talk about this stuff, they suddenly feel all magical or something?
What is the difference, inspiration-wise, when members of the Magisterium sit down and talk vs members of a non-Magisterium group? (such as the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said in the Winnipeg Statement that individuals can in good conscience use contraception as long as they have first made an honest attempt to accept HV first.) Is the inspiration quantitatively or qualitatively different?

p.s. I hope you don't mind my paraphrasing or lack of sources. The content is not the issue so I don't feel copying and pasting and citing sources like I normally would.
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Last edited by samiam1611; Dec 4, '11 at 10:49 pm. Reason: added p.s.
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Old Dec 5, '11, 3:01 am
grannymh grannymh is offline
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

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Originally Posted by samiam1611 View Post
Wow what an honor! According to Wikipedia, 4 priests, 1 cardinal and 2 bishops said no to birth control so apparently your parents' friends must have been among the 68 people who said yes to birth control.
Glad to see you. I have continued to think about the situation.

Which is more important -- the reasons for yes or no or the actual words y-e-s
or n-o? My child may say yes to going with me to the grocery store because he knows that it is easy to steal the candy.

Quote:
fyi, Pope John XXIII established the commission with 6 people, and Paul VI added additional people for a total of 72.
Thanks for the info. Pope Paul VI had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to expand the commission.

Quote:
Really? It's not that long. Though as a granny, it's kind of a moot issue for you I suppose.



Quote:
Let's talk about this word inspire. Do you think the Pope/theologians/whoever is writing this stuff are aware of it?
The Holy Spirit does get around.

I was thinking about the answer to a question just like yours. Thank you for asking.
What inspired you to ask?

Catholicism is more than sitting down to a desk, turning on the computer, putting on head phones connected to "God", and then writing or cutting and pasting to suit one's purpose. Jesus Christ, Himself, is truly present in the Catholic Church. His presence in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not a silent one. There is a real, personal relationship between God and us. Even if a person does not believe in God, that denial does not eliminate God's love for all, yes all, persons. Communication between God and us is unlimited. Communication is another way to say "inspirer"!!!

Prayer is a general term. It addresses the active components of our relationship with God. In general, relationships need nurturing and nourishment. Jesus is continually present to nurture and nourish us. Do all people in the Catholic Church follow God's will? Not necessarily. But those who do follow God's will use some form of prayer to communicate with God. And God through His love communicates with us.

One more thing about prayer communication with God. Prayer does not automatically mean that we choose to follow the teachings of God. We have free choice and can scorn our Creator.

In the first sentence of my post 9, I referred to decades involved
in writing an encyclical, not just a night of writing. It would be more proper to say that when a major Catholic teaching, e.g., encylclical is involved,
centuries are involved as the writers, in serious prayer, go back to the teaching of Jesus and then to the ways these teachings were expressed in the Apostolic Age, and then to how these teachings were expressed by subsequent people and councils.

Quote:
I mean more than the average person. Is it like, they go about their every day life like usual, but when they sit down and talk about this stuff, they suddenly feel all magical or something?
Sorry, but I have no clue how anybody feels unless they personally tell me. Nonetheless, various Catholics have written books and composed poetry and prayers in order to describe their "feelings." Everyone is free to search out authors.

Quote:
What is the difference, inspiration-wise, when members of the Magisterium sit down and talk vs members of a non-Magisterium group? (such as the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said in the Winnipeg Statement that individuals can in good conscience use contraception as long as they have first made an honest attempt to accept HV first.) Is the inspiration quantitatively or qualitatively different?
"Inspiration-wise" can come in many human forms in addition to that from the Holy Spirit. Inspiration can be either objective based or subjective based or both objective and subjective. Inspiration can be pride based or greed based. Or inspiration
can flow from the life of Jesus Christ. Refer to the Gospel of John, Chapter 14. A general rule of thumb is to compare "inspiration" with Divine Revelation as taught by Jesus Christ and explained by Major Church Councils, etc., etc. In practice, this means that general "inspiration" can be both quantitatively
and qualitatively different. In practice, this means that the Holy Spirit has His work cut out for Him.

Divine inspiration trumps.

Quote:
p.s. I hope you don't mind my paraphrasing or lack of sources. The content is not the issue so I don't feel copying and pasting and citing sources like I normally would.
On the contrary,the content is primary when it comes to any kind of inspiration.
Personally, I am not always impressed with quote mining because the context is usually missing.
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Old Dec 5, '11, 6:15 am
Nita Nita is offline
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Default Re: How, precisely, does the Holy Spirit guide the Church?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nita
In the sense that you probably mean "precise terms", we don't know "how" -- anymore than we know precisely "how" He created the universe.

What we do know is that He is all powerful and what He Wills to happen, happens; and what He Wills not to happen, does not happen. There could be any number of ways in "how" God sees to it that what He Wills takes place.
This is a very unsatisfying, but honest answer.
Some of the problem might be that you have a preconceived idea as to what this "how" should consist of if it is to be capable of ensuring that the Church does not teach error. That it must involve something beyond, or out of the ordinary that the Pope and Bishops would experience as a definite sign that God wanted this particular teaching proclaimed - some unique sign from God that they would experience. If that is the type of conclusion your reasoning has led you to, you will be unsatisfied with all the answers that will be given, since that is not what happens. Neither did Our Lord say it would.

As I said, the guidance can take place in many ways. Just a few examples.
It can be in bringing certain Scripture passages to mind.

It can be in having certain sentences in materials one is reading, stand out -- really make sense; have a special insight into the situation; .......

It can be in bringing the Pope into contact with certain people.

It can be in allowing certain controversies to arise that force the issue to be studied and a conclusive decision made.

And on, and on, and on. It is the same sort of guidance experienced by other Christians. God gives His guidance according to the needs and responsibilities of the particular person, their abilities, .... The guidance (normally) is not experienced as a direct contact with the Holy Spirit that one is sensibly aware of.

As to when a writing is to be an infallible Church teaching, our absolute confidence that what gets proclaimed is truth rests in a large part on the knowledge that God would intervene to prevent its proclamation if it were not the truth. Possibly even calling the Pope "home" before he could officially proclaim/publish it as Church teaching.

Last edited by Nita; Dec 5, '11 at 6:32 am.
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