Catechism contradictions

I’ve heard some people say that there are contradictions between certain things the Catechism of the Catholic Church says and those that previous catechisms say. A small example is that the current catechism says that it’s not lying to withhold the truth from somebody who has no right to the truth (telling the Nazis you’re not hiding any Jews when you really are doing so comes to mind). But previous catechisms don’t make this distinction. I’ve heard other alleged contradictions as well, but this is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. Anyway, how does one answer someone who claims there are contradictions between catechisms and wants to know which one should be believed? Thanks in advance.

Oh, just for the record, the people whom I’ve heard make such statements are so-called Catholic traditionalists who seem to think the current catechism is inferior to previous ones.

[quote=DavidJoseph]A small example is that the current catechism says that it’s not lying to withhold the truth from somebody who has no right to the truth (telling the Nazis you’re not hiding any Jews when you really are doing so comes to mind). But previous catechisms don’t make this distinction.
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Hi David. I don’t see how it can be called a contradiction if one side says something on a particular topic and the other is silent. If previous teaching was silent on not telling something to someone who has no right to know, and the current teaching is that one is not obligated to tell something to someone who has no right to know, there is no contradiction.

[quote=DavidJoseph]I’ve heard some people say that there are contradictions between certain things the Catechism of the Catholic Church says and those that previous catechisms say. A small example is that the current catechism says that it’s not lying to withhold the truth from somebody who has no right to the truth (telling the Nazis you’re not hiding any Jews when you really are doing so comes to mind). But previous catechisms don’t make this distinction. I’ve heard other alleged contradictions as well, but this is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. Anyway, how does one answer someone who claims there are contradictions between catechisms and wants to know which one should be believed? Thanks in advance.

Oh, just for the record, the people whom I’ve heard make such statements are so-called Catholic traditionalists who seem to think the current catechism is inferior to previous ones.
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The Catechism is not in and of itself an infallible document. There could be editing errors and clarifications as we saw with the “Modifications” before the official Latin version. However what you used as an example is not a contradiction between two Catechisms. In older language this would be described as a “mental reservation”. They would have to show me the item in question and I would have to read the entire paragraph and foot notes before answering.

They do not contradict one another. The first ccc simply doesnt elaborate. The church is constantly evolving and with time the fullness of God’s revelation is being revealed. In the first ccc it does not elaborate b/c the church had not had that revelation yet, but by this latest ccc, it has been discovered by the church that there is more to the original equation.

You have to also distinguish between doctrinal and pastoral statements. Take the death penalty for example. The Church still teaches that the state has the authority to administer the death penalty. Pastorally, however, the Church now advises the state not to use that authority where it really isn’t necessary to protect the citizens.

[quote=OnTheFence]They do not contradict one another. The first ccc simply doesnt elaborate. The church is constantly evolving and with time the fullness of God’s revelation is being revealed. In the first ccc it does not elaborate b/c the church had not had that revelation yet, but by this latest ccc, it has been discovered by the church that there is more to the original equation.
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You may be using the wrong terms here:
Catechism
God has said everything in his Word

65 "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son."26 Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father’s one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on *Hebrews *1:1-2:

In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.27

There will be no further Revelation

66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ."28 Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”.

Maybe it would have been more correct to say clarification instead of revelation. It is making a more clear understanding not then making things up.

Is this what you mean TNT?

Scylla

[quote=scylla]Maybe it would have been more correct to say clarification instead of revelation. It is making a more clear understanding not then making things up.

Is this what you mean TNT?

Scylla
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Yes! I believe you are both right. I am not good at articulating what I want to say. Notice that I said that the church later realized that there was more to the equation. What I meant is, the church was correct originally too, but, after years of reflection, in has a more accurate and precise explanation about the matter of lying. And who knows? Maybe in 20 years, she will have even more to say about it! :wink:

God Bless!
~donna

[quote=DavidJoseph]I’ve heard some people say that there are contradictions between certain things the Catechism of the Catholic Church says and those that previous catechisms
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it is a fundamental rule of apologetics that before rebutting a charge or answering a statement the challenger must provide the citation for what he alleges. There is no way to answer this without specific instances where the CCC contradicts the Baltimore Catechism, for instance. “some people say” is not a source that can be debated rationally or constructively. “Joe Blow says in his book Blah Blah on page 9” or "Bill O’bigmouth said on his TV show Saturday night that … . . " are statements that can be discussed and debated.

[quote=DavidJoseph]the current catechism says that it’s not lying to withhold the truth from somebody who has no right to the truth (telling the Nazis you’re not hiding any Jews when you really are doing so comes to mind)
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Does it?

2482 **“A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving.”**281 The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil, … there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."282

2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man’s relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord.

2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.

2489 Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.

2508 Lying consists in saying what is false with the intention of deceiving one’s neighbor.

Note that #2489 offers the options of silence or discreet language, but not of lying as defined in #2482, “speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving”, or in #2508, “saying what is false with the intention of deceiving one’s neighbor”. So, whoever claimed that about the new Catechism was mistaken. The only way that telling the Nazis that you have no Jews in your house could be justified morally is under an idea like that of Cataneo, quoted in Newman, Apologia pro Vita Sua p. 456-7:

In such and similar cases, in which your sincerity is unjustly assailed, when no other way more prompt or more efficacious presents itself, and when it is not enough to say, ‘I do not know,’ let such persons be met openly with a downright resolute ‘No’ without thinking upon any thing else. For such a ‘No’ is conformable to the universal opinion of men, who are the judges of words, and who certainly have not placed upon them obligations to the injury of the Human Republic, nor ever entered into a compact to use them in behalf of rascals, spies, incendiaries, and thieves. I repeat that such a ‘No’ is conformable to the universal mind of man, and with this mind your own mind ought to be in union and alliance. Who does not see the manifest advantage which highway robbers would derive, were travellers when asked if they had gold, jewels, &c., obliged either to invent tergiversations or to answer ‘Yes, we have?’ Accordingly in such circumstances that ‘No’ which you utter [see Card. Pallav. lib. iii. c. xi. n. 23, de Fide, Spe, &c.] remains deprived of its proper meaning, and is like a piece of coin, from which by the command of the government the current value has been withdrawn, so that by using it you become in no sense guilty of lying.

This is not, however, asserted in the Catechism, but remains an opinion neither taught nor rejected by the Church, and if the Church were to teach it, she would have a considerable tradition behind her, Newman’s discussion of which you may wish to consult here - such traditionalists would have no basis to stand on.

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