Catechism "infallible?"


#26

I would like to address two points. St. Micheal’s errant post that the Catechism of Pope Pius taught Limbo. The following is from that Catechism:

1 Q: What are we taught in the Fifth Article: He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead?
A: The Fifth Article of the Creed teaches us that the Soul of Jesus Christ, on being separated from His Body, descended to the Limbo of the holy Fathers, and that on the third day it became united once more to His Body, never to be parted from it again.

2 Q: What is here meant by hell?
A: Hell here means the Limbo of the holy Fathers, that is, the place where the souls of the just were detained, in expectation of redemption through Jesus Christ.

This is not the “limbo” referred to as the place for unbaptized babies without sin (except original sin).

But the Baltimore did teach teh following:

Q. 632. Where will persons go who – such as infants – have not committed actual sin and who, through no fault of theirs, die without baptism?

A. Persons, such as infants, who have not committed actual sin and who, through no fault of theirs, die without baptism, cannot enter heaven; but it is the common belief they will go to some place similar to Limbo, where they will be free from suffering, though deprived of the happiness of heaven.

Note how it said “common belief” which means such a teaching is a best guess of the theologians. Such a comment makes it clear that it was conjecture and not an infallible teaching.

And with regard to either of the past Catechism of Pope Pius or the current Catechism, they are not infallible/inerrant documents, as explained below.

The Catechism is not an inerrant book nor does what it teaches been presented as Revelation via an ex cathedra Teaching of the Pope. It is a reliable catechetical reference book for the faithful to reference with regard to a concise integrated summary and practical presentations of most important matters of Teaching.

This is what the Pope wrote in the introduction.

The Doctrinal Value of the Text
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved June 25th last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. May it serve the renewal to which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly calls the Church of God, the Body of Christ, on her pilgrimage to the undiminished light of the Kingdom!

The approval and publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church represent a service which the Successor of Peter wishes to offer to the Holy Catholic Church, to all the particular Churches in peace and communion with the Apostolic See: the service, that is, of supporting and confirming the faith of all the Lord Jesus’ disciples (cf. Lk 22:32), as well as of strengthening the bonds of unity in the same apostolic faith.

Therefore, I ask all the Church’s Pastors and the Christian faithful to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion and to use it assiduously in fulfilling their mission of proclaiming the faith and calling people to the Gospel life. This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms. It is also offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation (cf. Eph 3:8). It is meant to support ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and wondrous harmony of the catholic faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lastly, is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes.


#27

It is not official Catholic teaching that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is inerrant or an exercise of infallible teaching authority. However…

Direct and positive infallibility pertain to teachings which are “of faith” (de fide) and as such without error and immutable. But there’s another sense of infallibility, called indirect and negative infallibility. This sense does not connote immutability, but pertains to whether the object is harmful or dangerous to the faithful. If I erroneously assert 2+3=7, I’ve made an error, but I have not asserted something that is necessarily harmful to my faith.

Infallibility in the indirect and negative sense pertains to the protection of God given to approved ecclesiastical discipline. It is affirmed by Pius VI condemnation of the Jansenist proposition that approved ecclesiastical discipline can be harmful or dangerous to the faithful (cf. Pius VI, *Auctorem Fidei, *78).

Thus, according to P. Hermann, Institutiones Theologiae Dogmaticae (4th ed., Rome: Della Pace, 1908), vol. 1, p. 258:

“The Church is** infallible in her general discipline**. By the term general discipline is understood the laws and practices which belong to the external ordering of the whole Church. Such things would be those which concern either external worship, such as liturgy and rubrics, or the administration of the sacraments. . . .

“If she [the Church] were able to prescribe or command or tolerate in her discipline something against faith and morals, or something which tended to the detriment of the Church or to the harm of the faithful, she would turn away from her divine mission, which would be impossible.”

See more on disciplinary infallibility, here.

So, it appears that although general disciplinary norms may not be “the best,” given the contemporary situation, and therefore not immutable, they are always protected by God such that they can never be harmful or dangerous to the faithful*. *

From this, it is my opinion that this Divine protection necessarily includes Catholic doctrine. That is, since canon law is infallible in the indirect and negative sense, and since canon law demands religious assent to the doctrines of the Roman Pontiff and the college of bishops in union with him, then it follows that religious assent to this doctrine can not be harmful or dangerous to the faithful, even if such doctrines are not proclaimed solemnly, definitively as de fide. This sense does not connote that the doctrine is inerrant. It simply means that religious assent to authentic Catholic doctrine universally promulgated by the magisterium as certain teaching can never be harmful or dangerous to the faithful.

Consequently, the doctrines (sententia certa) described within the Catechism of the Catholic Church , being universally taught by the magisterium can never be harmful or dangerous to the faithful, and as such, are infallible in this indirect and negative sense.


#28

The Baltimore Catechism is not an *Acta Apostolic Sedis, *and as such has no universal authority.

However, can you provide the reference to the Catechism of St. Pius X, as I have searched it and cannot find reference to “limbo” excepting “limbo of the fathers.”


#29

Ok. So could a faithful Catholic disagree with some part of the Catechism that was not otherwise supported by inerrant teaching elsewhere? (Say something a bit more esoteric than the Virgin birth or the Trinity)? Or is to disagree with the Catechism constitute sin against the teaching of the Church?


#30

Boy. No disrespect intended…and I mean that honestly…but my head spins trying to comprehend the various classifications of Catholic teaching and the respective degrees of certainty attached thereto. I suspect that the average Catholic doesn’t trouble himself with such questions, but as to those who do (and us poor Protestants who are trying to get a grip on Catholic teaching) it sounds like an almost impossible task.


#31

Well, the question pertained to theology. The Catholic faithful don’t need to know any of this stuff to be faithful Catholics, so you are confusing theology with praxis.

Praxis is quite simple for faithful Catholics: give your religious assent of intellect and will to Catholic doctrine, whether it is infallible or not. That’s what our Dogmatic Constitution on the Church demands, that’s what the Code of Canon Laws demand, and that is what the Catechism itself demands. Heb 13:17 teaches us to “obey your leaders and submit to them.” This submission is not contingent upon inerrancy or infallibility.


#32

Well, you have to have a lot better example than the Virgin birth and Trinity since these are both Scriptural and infallably taught.

Theoretically, I’m sure it is true but you really have to have a good example for it to be practically possible. (Edit: I think that itsjustdave below is more correct than this statement of mine as we are called to submit and obey those Christ has appointed as our legitimate teachers until we are highly confident that our ordinary is leading us away from Christ in error. I’m not sure that there are very many people who are adequately trained to really reach that level of confidence with regard to what is taught in teh Catechism). The reason is that the Catechism is presented to us with a great degree of diligence by the author’s/editors and reviewed by the Pope in his legitimate authority as a reliable teacher. Christians don’t look for ways and loopholes justifications for behavior that is immoral and contrary to the Truth. And when they are in doubt regarding morals and teaching, they are to turn to the Church because of its special charisms granted directly by Christ, the Head of the Church.

Recall this from the Prologue to the Catechism:

This catechism is given to them that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms. It is also offered to all the faithful who wish to deepen their knowledge of the unfathomable riches of salvation (cf. Eph 3:8). It is meant to support ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and wondrous harmony of the catholic faith.


#33

You misunderstand Catholic ecclesiology. Catholics are bound to give their assent to any doctrine proposed by the authentic magisterium. Assent is not narrowed to that which is inerrant or taught infallibly.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 892: 892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent" which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.Code of Canon Law: "Can. 752 Although not an assent of faith, a ***religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff OR the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.***"First Vatican Council, Session 4 (18 July 1870): Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world.


#34

in my opinion

The faithful can disagree with particular points within the ordinary non-infallible teaching of the Church, including anything in the Catechism that has not been taught infallibly, except that even non-infallible teachings cannot err to the extent that they would lead the faithful away from salvation. So such a disagreement on particular points or in particular respects cannot be on a matter that is essential to salvation.

On the question of assent, there are two different types or degrees of assent:
sacred assent (theological assent or the assent of faith) given to infallible teachings on faith, morals, and salvation

ordinary assent (religious submission of will and intellect) given to non-infallible teachings

Some disagreement on points not essential to salvation is compatible with ordinary assent, in my opinion. I disagree with those who would make no practical distinction between these two types of assent, because the Magisterium has distinguished between them.

The Catechism errs by confusing Tradition with its transmission and misquotes Dei Verbum to that effect (CCC, 78), in my opinion.

Ron


#35

If a teaching is not inerrant, then there is at least the possibility, however remote, that the teaching is in error. Otherwise it would be inerrant. Still, the faithful Catholic is bound to accept that teaching, presumably even in those cases where his conscience tells him otherwise. And then, presumably, if the Magisterium were to conclude that the previous inerrant teaching was in error, then the faithful Catholic would be conscience bound to accept the new ruling of the Church. Compare that to Paul who, when he knew Peter was in the wrong, opposed Peter and convinced him that Peter’s teachings had been in error.

Galations 2:

11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?”

Now, I am nowhere as Catholic in my beliefs as the Anglican C.S. Lewis, but all of this still reminds me of Lewis’ statement that “[t]he real reason why I cannot be in communion with you [Catholics] is not my disagreement with this or that Roman doctrine, but that to accept your Church means, not to accept a given body of doctrine, but to accept in advance any doctrine your Church hereafter produces.”


#36

Correct.

Still, the faithful Catholic is bound to accept that teaching

Correct.

…presumably even in those cases where his conscience tells him otherwise.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith distinguishes between “dissent” and “serious difficulties, for reasons which appear to him well-founded, in accepting a non-irreformable magisterial teaching.” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Instruction on the Vocation of Theologian, 28). The following pertains to those having the ecclesial vocation of theologian. I would expect such disagreement would be even less justiable for your average Catholic having no vocations as theologian. The Instruction states:

…Such a disagreement could not be justified if it were based solely upon the fact that the validity of the given teaching is not evident or upon the opinion that the opposite position would be the more probable. Nor, ***furthermore, would the judgment of the subjective conscience of the theologian justify it because conscience does not constitute an autonomous and exclusive authority for deciding the truth of a doctrine. ***

  1. In any case there should never be a diminishment of that fundamental openness loyally to accept the teaching of the Magisterium as is fitting for every believer by reason of the obedience of faith. The theologian will strive then to understand this teaching in its contents, arguments, and purposes. This will mean an intense and patient reflection on his part and a readiness, if need be, to revise his own opinions and examine the objections which his colleagues might offer him.

  2. If, despite a loyal effort on the theologian’s part, the difficulties persist,*** the theologian has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities*** the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide ***a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments. ***

In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the “mass media”, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth.

  1. It can also happen that at the conclusion of a serious study, undertaken with the desire to heed the Magisterium’s teaching without hesitation, the theologian’s difficulty remains because the arguments to the contrary seem more persuasive to him. Faced with a proposition to which he feels he cannot give his intellectual assent, the theologian nevertheless has the duty to remain open to a deeper examination of the question.

For a loyal spirit, animated by love for the Church, such a situation can certainly prove a difficult trial. ***It can be a call to suffer for the truth, in silence and prayer, but with the certainty, that if the truth really is at stake, it will ultimately prevail. ***(ibid)

And then, presumably, if the Magisterium were to conclude that the previous inerrant teaching was in error,

To clarify, we are not speaking here of inerrant teaching, but of the binding nature of non-irreformable magisterial teaching.

…then the faithful Catholic would be conscience bound to accept the new ruling of the Church.

Correct.

Compare that to Paul who, when he knew Peter was in the wrong, opposed Peter and convinced him that Peter’s teachings had been in error.

I disagree that this account pertained to Peter’s doctrine, which was infallible. Paul was referring to Peters actions, not his doctrine. Peter was infallible in his doctrine, not impeccable in his actions.

continued…


#37

continued…

… all of this still reminds me of Lewis’ statement that “[t]he real reason why I cannot be in communion with you [Catholics] is not my disagreement with this or that Roman doctrine, but that to accept your Church means, not to accept a given body of doctrine, but to accept in advance any doctrine your Church hereafter produces.”

All due respect to C.S. Lewis, his words do seem rather ironic given what he taught about priestesses in the Church here, compared to what the Anglicans now profess regarding women priests today.

In contrast to C.S. Lewis, I found that being Protestant is to accept in advance, nothing is irreformable.


#38

The magisterium has indeed distinguished between “religious assent of intellect and will” and that of “assent of faith.” However, I disagree that you have captured the distinction correctly.

I believe instead the distinction between the two is in the internal motive of assent. For “assent of faith” the motive is the virtue of faith. For “religious assent” the motive is the virtue of charity. Thus, both require assent of intellect and will, however, a obstinate refusal to give “assent of faith” when it is due is a sin against the virtue of faith, while obstinate refusal to give “religious assent” when it is due is a sin against the virtue of charity.

Religious assent (religiosum obsequium) has never been compatible with what the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith defines as “dissent,” that is, “public opposition to the Magisterium of the Church” (Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of Theologian, 32).


#39

ItsJustDave1988,

Thanks, you make some good points. If I am following you though, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is teaching that, essentially, only learned theologians are in a position where they could even conceivably question certain non-inerrant teachings of the Church. Then, they have every obligation to bring themselves through diligent study and prayer to a complete understanding of the Church’s position and, if they still believe based on concrete evidence that the Church is wrong, they must limit their discussion of the issue to the Magisterium. At that point, it is remotely possible that the Magisterium would conclude that the theologian has a point.

This is interesting because such an approach is remarkably different from the approach we, as Protestants, would take to the problem. (You’d probably agree with that statement, the “rub” being which approach is justifiable).

However, I think you are minimizing the passage from Galations regarding Paul’s rebuke of Peter. Yes, one aspect of the rebuke involved Peter’s actions. (And I follow you on the distinction between a person’s actions and the theology being taught by that person although, from a practical standpoint, such person will undermine his teaching if his life does not comport with that teaching…compare Paul’s instructions to imitate him since he imitates Christ).

Still, the passage also indicates to me that Peter’s teaching was also implicated: "“You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?” If Peter was forcing Gentitles to follow Jewish customs then, presumably, Peter was telling these Gentiles that it was mandated (or necessary, or proper, or appropriate) to follow the Jewish customs. He would have given a reason as to “why” they needed to follow the Jewish customs. When he gives such a reasoning, he is teaching theology, albeit perhaps at a basic level. Paul correctly told Peter that he was wrong. He challenged Peter. Yes, Paul was an apostle and we are not, but we are also admonished to imitate Paul.

Yes, I’ve read C.S. Lewis’ piece on Priestesses. The man could WRITE couldn’t he? This piece was actually instrumental in moving me off of the fence on this issue.


#40

RE: Bolded comment above.
There is a very big distinction between when a Pope speaks ex cathedra (infallably) and I think we all agree this is not to which the exchange between Peter and Paul was about.

For example, if a Pope were to speak ex cathedra that it is an infallible Teaching that consuming alcohol was a sin, as Catholics we are bound to accept that. Whether the Pope continued to drink beer does not reflect on our obligation. We don’t confuse impeccability (the ability of the Pope to resist sin and follow divine teaching doesn’t denigrate the inspiration of the teaching).

And while there are practical considerations to a Pope that doesn’t follow the divinely inspired teaching that he communicates via his Christ-appointed charism, Catholics are under no illusion that the Pope, Peter or Paul were perfect. I have no doubt (despite Paul’s many clear teachngs recorded in Scripture) that Paul himself didn’t stumble many many times after that fateful day when Christ confronted Paul about persecuting Him. Catholics know it happened but we don’t discount what Paul told us. A lay person or a member of the Curia who chastised a Pope for his private behavior doesn’t become the Pope’s superior with regard to Sacred Teaching. Paul understood that too.


#41

Not only theologians, but each of the faithful according to their knowledge and competence have a right, even a duty to manifest their opinion on matters related to the good of the Church. Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, affirms:

By reason of the knowledge, competence, or pre-eminence which they have, the laity are empowered—indeed sometimes obliged—to manifest their opinion on those things which pertain to the good of the Church. If the occasion should arise, this should be done through the institutions established by the Church for that purpose, and always with truth, courage, and prudence, and with reverence and charity toward those who, by reason of their office, represent the person of Christ.

The laity should, as all Christians, promptly accept in Christian obedience decisions of their spiritual shepherds, since they are representatives of Christ as well as teachers and rulers in the Church.

[Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no. 37]

I’m in the military, and we too have an obligation to say to the general, “but Sir…” He expects this from us. However, after a “but, Sir…” or two, I am to subordinate my will to his lawful decision.

This charitable “but, Father…” in the Catholic context should not be confused with “dissent: the public opposition to the Magisterium of the Church.

Then, they have every obligation to bring themselves through diligent study and prayer to a complete understanding of the Church’s position and, if they still believe based on concrete evidence that the Church is wrong, they must limit their discussion of the issue to the Magisterium. At that point, it is remotely possible that the Magisterium would conclude that the theologian has a point.

Correct. Except I don’t think it is “remotely possible.” there are countless examples where a charitable “but Father…” has worked for the good of the Church. Moreover, there are also examples of reform from within the Church with regard to the non-irreformable matters of the Church.

For instance, Protestant author J. Leslie Dunstan, in his book Protestantism, wrote:

Such [reform] movements were pietistic and evangelical… Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) established an order of men pledged to labor in the world for the welfare of others in utter devotion to “the Lord who made Himself poor for us.” (pg 25)

"Somewhere in the twelfth century the structure of life in Europe enter upon a period of change and development… This came about not so much because of the conflict between Church and emperor for supremacy as it did through the assertion by the local ruling houses of their own authority in their own realms. (pg 17)

"…for centuries preceding the modern era the Church had carefully and patiently nurtured the barbarian people who had overthrown the Roman Empire, bringing to them an orderly existence, a defined moral conscience, and a knowledge of their relationship to God.*** In this work the Church was carrying on its proper task of spiritual care.*** The result was to bring to a condition of healthy vitality spirits which had earlier been difussed in primitive waywardness…

In the time of scholasticism (tenth century on), men raised questions about life and the meaning of existence as man is bound to do, but ***the answer to their questions were worked out within the beliefs and principles laid down by the Christian religion… ***

Nonetheless, there were others who instead of reforming from within, chose to simply reject the authority of the Church altogether. Dunstan continues…

But when man’s spirit asserted itself in his awareness of himself as a person, man became his own authority and considered his own reason capable of finding truth for itself. When man came to believe that, scholasticism came to an end… when men became conscious of themselvs as persons, they rose in protest against the conditions of their living and in the course of time wiped out the existing political order and created a new order in which they were recognized as persons. … he puts himself in a position of being master of his own affairs. (pg. 21-22, ibid.)

"This same new birth of man’s spirit was the moving force within Protestantism


#42

continued…

This is interesting because such an approach is remarkably different from the approach we, as Protestants, would take to the problem. (You’d probably agree with that statement, the “rub” being which approach is justifiable).

Yes. I believe the Protestant reformers lacked the patience needed to reform the Church from within, while the Catholic reformers remained stedfast in their loyalty and submission to the Church established by Christ (as demanded by Sacred Scripture), while also reforming from within, moving the Church to live more faithfully in accord with the teachings of Christ.

However, I think you are minimizing the passage from Galations regarding Paul’s rebuke of Peter. Yes, one aspect of the rebuke involved Peter’s actions. (And I follow you on the distinction between a person’s actions and the theology being taught by that person although, from a practical standpoint, such person will undermine his teaching if his life does not comport with that teaching…compare Paul’s instructions to imitate him since he imitates Christ).

Still, the passage also indicates to me that Peter’s teaching was also implicated: "“You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?”

Good point.

If Peter was forcing Gentitles to follow Jewish customs then, presumably, Peter was telling these Gentiles that it was mandated (or necessary, or proper, or appropriate) to follow the Jewish customs.

Perhaps, but I think this is speculative. If he did explicitly mandate, then this pertains to discipline, not doctrine.

However, the word from Galatians translated above as “force” is in Greek “anagkazo.” It means, to necessitate, compel, drive to, constrain." It does not necessarily mean “by explicit command or directive.” According to the Protestant source, *Thayer’s Lexicon, *Thayer asserts that the word ***anagkazo ***as it was used in Gal ch 2, v. 3 and v.14 means to compel “***by your example.” ***Which was my point earlier. Peter led by a bad example and it influenced other Christians to repeat that bad example. I don’t believe we have any evidence that this was by explicit direction from Peter that "compelled’ others to act hypocritically, but it was his bad example.

St. Robert Bellermine affirms that Catholics may justifiably refuse submission to a pope’s “bad example” (St. Robert Bellarming, De Romano Pontifice, II.29). I believe this more accurately depicts the occasion of Paul, rightfully manifesting his opinions on matters pertaining to the good of the Church due to the occasion of Peter’s bad example.

A modern-day example of this, in my opinion, would be when John Paul II kissed the Koran. Many expressed their opinion against the pope for doing this (some not so charitably). I too believe this was a “bad example” which should not compel other faithful Christians to do the same. In this instance, Catholics are certainly permitted (in accord with Lumen Gentium) to imitate Paul’s example and manifest our opinion in charity, and refuse to follow the bad example of a pope.


#43

I agree with what you’re saying here. My questions are about the obligation of the faithful Catholic to obey/assent to teachings which have not been defined as being inerrant (whether by the Pope or the Magisterium). In other words, there are teachings which don’t fall into those classifications and, if I understand Dave correctly, and if Dave has correctly cited the teachings of the Church, I am still obligated to follow if I am to be a faithful Catholic (with the fairly minimal distinction referenced above if I am a learned theologian in certain instances). I referenced Paul’s rebuke to Peter as grounds for disagreeing with this position and Dave made the point that Paul was speaking about Peter’s personal actions as opposed to Peter’s teachings (inerrant or otherwise). While I agree that Paul was referencing Peter’s actions, I think that the rebuke also went towards his teachings as well as mentioned in my post above. If I am correct on that, then you have the Scripture counter-example of an (arguably) ecclesiastical “subordinate” (Paul) very publically confronting and correcting his ecclesiastical superior, the Pope (Peter), regarding a theologial teaching of Peter.


#44

Being ignorant of Greek, I wouldn’t presume to comment on the Greek you cited. But the passage I quoted states that Paul said: "“You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?” It must have been more than a mere bad example by which Peter lead Gentlile converts astray, because Paul accuses Peter, himself, of living like a Gentile. If that was the case, the Gentile converts would be following Peter’s example and living as gentiles, instead of being forced (somehow) to live like Jews as Paul observes.


#45

In Post #33, itsjustdave answered this point quite well regarding our obligation to assent to our shepherd’s exercising proper teaching authority beyond what is declared infallably. We are to do prayerfully engage our thought and will to conform out of confidence and trust in their sacred charism in these matters (an act of faith). If we have trouble doing it as an act of faith, we are called to do it as an act of charity.

There is a continuum with regard to our obligation. For instance, with regard to abortion, the obligation is pretty much absolute. But as the matter becomes more a matter of prudential judgment on the best way to achieve the teaching, the obligation becomes more of a suggestion. For instance, certain matters of social justice might fall into this realm. The following is a personal example.

Several years ago, our state and particularly the agriculture community was in the throes of a combination of drought and low commodity prices. Our Bishop in exercising his appropriate teaching authority urged Catholics to speak together for a particular public policy because of the economic and human impact of what was happening. While my heart and that of the Bishop were one, our views on his public policy remedy were polar opposites. I ran into the Bishop, shared my opposition opinion, and we parted with him saying “I have prayed about my position and am comfortable with it. Have you prayed about yours?” In short, his main teaching priority was related to sensitizing the flock of the pain and suffering and to engage ourselves to be part of the solution. How we prayerfully chose to engage ourselves was of minor concern to him.


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