Does the church require unquestioning obedience?


#1

This is a tough question, and I doubt anyone knows the answer to this. Not even I know the answer. I know what I believe, and that is we must be always vigilant even in regards to matters of faith.

The church history is filled with teachings of discipline that have been in error. The selling of indulgences, Galileo and Adolph Hitler to just name a few. The popes in those times “taught” in regards to those precepts and later it was found they were wrong. If unquestioning obedience is required, how would we have ever discovered those errors?

So I ask for your opinion, are we required to unquestionably obey the Pope in matters of discipline?


#2

The key to this question is unquestioning. If the popes expected unquestioned obedience they wouldn’t write long explanations, encyclicals and other writings to answer the questions they anticipated.


#3

Do they write enclyclicals and bulls in regards to discipline?


#4

With relation to discipline? No. If that were the case, discipline would never change. Do you really think the Pope is some sort of dictator? That’s never been the case. Particularly when it comes to changeable discipline.

-Michael


#5

[quote=gelsbern]Do they write enclyclicals and bulls in regards to discipline?
[/quote]

Pastor Aeternus-Dogmatic Consitution ewtn.com/library/councils/v1.htm#6


#6

[quote=gelsbern]The church history is filled with teachings of discipline that have been in error.
[/quote]

This is impossible, that would mean that The Church is not indefectible and that she is not protected by the Holy Spirit. If what you mean by this is that there have been abuses in spite of what The Church teaches, then that is true, but The Church has not been in error.


#7

[quote=Asimis]This is impossible, that would mean that The Church is not indefectible and that she is not protected by the Holy Spirit. If what you mean by this is that there have been abuses in spite of what The Church teaches, then that is true, but The Church has not been in error.
[/quote]

Are you saying then that, using the three examples I gave above, that those were all indefectable teachings? That there should still be the selling of indugences, that Galileo’s discoveries should still be condemned and that the church was correct in staying neutral in regards to the holocaust?

Also please explain where you get the idea that the church is totally indefectable? If it was, would there have been a reformation?


#8

[quote=gelsbern]Adolph Hitler to just name a few.
[/quote]

Are you saying that any Pope said that hitler was good?

because if you believe that read this article…

catholic.com/library/HOW_Pius_XII_PROTECTED_JEWS.asp


#9

[quote=Tyler Smedley]Are you saying that any Pope said that hitler was good?

because if you believe that read this article…

catholic.com/library/HOW_Pius_XII_PROTECTED_JEWS.asp

[/quote]

So you have answered one of the items from an article that is both biased and revisionist. I can find an article that is the complete opposite and written by people of the Jewish faith.

jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/pius.html

Anyway where is the explanation and defense of the action of the Pope when it came to the passports that were given to former nazis by the Vatican to escape to South America, and yes, the Pope was involved with it.

But anyway, I digress, you have answered about one of the items, but what of the other two?


#10

[quote=gelsbern]Are you saying then that, using the three examples I gave above, that those were all indefectable teachings?
[/quote]

The abuses are not indefectable teachings, they go contrary to the teachings.

That there should still be the selling of indugences, that Galileo’s discoveries should still be condemned and that the church was correct in staying neutral in regards to the holocaust?

There were abuses on the selling of indulgences on the local level. The Church still gives indulgences.

I think the issue with Galileo was a bit overblown and I think there is a lot of misinformation about it.

As far as Hitler, Pope Pius XII wrote about protecting the jews, I am not too informed in this topic. But I don’t think that he remained neutral.

Also please explain where you get the idea that the church is totally indefectable? If it was, would there have been a reformation?

And since when was the reformation due to some defect on the teaching of the Church? Was it not a group that rebeled against the Church, reacting against some abuses that were being doen in spite of what the Church teached?


#11

Yes and no, the reformation was twofold. The obvious result was the schism of Luther, but the other result was reform with in the church of ending abuses that spanned from the lowest ranking priest all the way to the Papal throne, and the abuses were in matters of discipline, not faith and morals, therefore there was defect in discipline.

Which is why I was very specific in my question. I believe in perfect obedience in regards to the Church’s teachings on faith and morals, but I question the requirement of perfect obedience to disciplines.


#12

I answered yes to the question Does the church require unquestioning obedience?
I take this to mean that when the Church/Pope speaks we as members of the" Mystical Body of Christ" are to be obedient.
The Pope was given the title of Vicar on earth waaay…back when Jesus first gave St. Peter the Keys… so when the Pope is speaking for Christ and His teachings, I’d say I had better be obedient…:wink:


#13

[quote=gelsbern]Which is why I was very specific in my question. I believe in perfect obedience in regards to the Church’s teachings on faith and morals, but I question the requirement of perfect obedience to disciplines.
[/quote]

Well, in response to your question: no, we are not requiered to give unquestioning obedience on matters of dicipline. Dicipline should be judged in the light of The Church teaching on faith and morals and if they are found to be good and beneficial then we can follow them.


#14

In dogma, yes!

In doctrine, no. However, it should be acknowledged that one’s personal questions on a subject must be tested by the far greater authority and knowledge of the Magesterium.

Discipline requires obedience, though questioning is allowed. In fact, questions and doubts are far more legitimate when coupled with obedience. Discipline by it’s very nature involves prudential judgement on the part of those in authority. It is fine to question the judgement of those in authority as long as one does not deny that authority. The latter situation can lead to heresy if carried to an extreme.


#15

[quote=gelsbern]So you have answered one of the items from an article that is both biased and revisionist. I can find an article that is the complete opposite and written by people of the Jewish faith.

jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/pius.html

Anyway where is the explanation and defense of the action of the Pope when it came to the passports that were given to former nazis by the Vatican to escape to South America, and yes, the Pope was involved with it.

[/quote]

I’ve read quite a bit about this and I believe that you are wrong in asserting that Akin’s article here is biased and revisionist. I do know that there are many n-C posters and authors who try to allege that what you say is true, but the facts are not supported by history, and the bias is on the side of the allegation. I would point out people like St. Maximillian Kolbe and his Immaculata magazine and other such publications who in obedience to the pope did indeed criticize the nazis and as a result paid a price in blood.


#16

Not even I know the answer.

i like how you worded that.

i would argue that the Church requires questioning obedience. many of the Church Fathers and later writers have stated (though no specific quotes come to mind right now) that the Truth withstands all scrutiny and its depths and nuances are more greatly brought to light by questioning and investigation. st. augustine’s “confessions” is a good example of this and the fruit it bears. the desire to address the questioning mind is proven by the Church’s requirement, since the beginning, that people be educated before entering into any of the sacred mysteries.

what cannot be tolerated is undue or uninformed criticism and personal statements of nonconformity. where people find themselves unable to endorse some tenet of doctrine, the Church teaches that the person must accept those doctrines by faith alone, so the heart can be lead by the Holy Spirit to knowledgable understanding and acceptance.

The selling of indulgences, Galileo and Adolph Hitler to just name a few.

if you cite examples such as these, you should carefully examine the facts surrounding them.

almsgiving is and has always been a valid way of obtaining indulgences. in the past, as well as in the present, alms given to alleviate the needs of the Church or the poor were taken by individuals and used for personal gain. that is sinful. but it is the personal sin of the individuals. the Church, neither as a matter of doctrine or discipline, has ever endorsed this. there have been times in particular places where this corruption was popular, and Rome eventually addressed it. it is not much different in character from the current sex scandal in the united states and elsewhere.

read John Paul II’s recognition of galileo’s ordeal and the facts of his imprisonment. while it may have been a mistake for some officials to get involved in the situation in the way they did (the Church doesn’t dictate the truths of science), galileo’s trouble really started when he denounced the Church as a whole. he declared himself an apostate, and for better or worse, that was a crime at the time. it is something he would most likely not have done, if Church leaders hadn’t been involved, but that event in history was not about a “discipline of the Church”. galileo wasn’t a pilar of faith in the first place either.

throwing around the name ‘adolf hitler’ as some blanket accusation is dangerous. don’t forget that the pope did issue statements, but was limited in what could be said and done. the vatican was on the brink of invasion and he was responsible for millions under the control of fascism. 12 million died at the hands of the nazis, not just 6 million, and the greater percentage of them were Catholics. how many more would you have had him sacrifice by further inflaming the situation? i don’t know anything about what a few might have done regarding passports and what not. being a nazi and being a mass murdering nazi are two different things. there are plenty of men walking around germany who were nazis, but i don’t know of any walking around who were butchers in the death camps. if the vatican provided passports to “nazis” it is the burden of the accusers to show that those people were known mass murders. i have never read or heard of credible accounts of them knowingly assisting anyone who should have been brought trial. this issue needs to be kept in perspective, especially by those of us who didn’t have to live through it. and if by saying “and yes, the Pope was involved with it” you expect me to believe that the pope was down in the basement printing up passports and shaking hands with these nazis as they got on boats and planes, don’t hold your breath. what? was he holding the visa stamp and processing the passports one by one?

if anyone wants to object to the faith, fine. but let’s leave the psycho conspiracy theories out of it.


#17

[quote=pnewton]In dogma, yes!

In doctrine, no. However, it should be acknowledged that one’s personal questions on a subject must be tested by the far greater authority and knowledge of the Magesterium.

Discipline requires obedience, though questioning is allowed. In fact, questions and doubts are far more legitimate when coupled with obedience. Discipline by it’s very nature involves prudential judgement on the part of those in authority. It is fine to question the judgement of those in authority as long as one does not deny that authority. The latter situation can lead to heresy if carried to an extreme.
[/quote]

This seems well-reasoned and explained. Where in scripture are we instructed that Jesus, in establishing the Church with Peter as its head intended him to be considered infallible by believers?


#18

This seems well-reasoned and explained. Where in scripture are we instructed that Jesus, in establishing the Church with Peter as its head intended him to be considered infallible by believers?

for an understanding of infallibility see the catechism:
vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p4.htm
starting at n.888

for related scripture:
Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Luke 24:49 "And (behold) I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Mark 16:20 "But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs."
Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

there are others.

Scripture really doesn’t give definitions. the definitions are given so that we can properly understand Scripture. the infallibility is Christ’s, exercised in the teachings of the Church through the office of the successor of Peter.


#19

[quote=Island Oak]This seems well-reasoned and explained. Where in scripture are we instructed that Jesus, in establishing the Church with Peter as its head intended him to be considered infallible by believers?
[/quote]

Boy, that is a whole new thread. Remember, though, that the Bible is not the only authority we have.


#20

[quote=gelsbern]This is a tough question, and I doubt anyone knows the answer to this. Not even I know the answer. I know what I believe, and that is we must be always vigilant even in regards to matters of faith.

The church history is filled with teachings of discipline that have been in error. The selling of indulgences, Galileo and Adolph Hitler to just name a few. The popes in those times “taught” in regards to those precepts and later it was found they were wrong. If unquestioning obedience is required, how would we have ever discovered those errors?

So I ask for your opinion, are we required to unquestionably obey the Pope in matters of discipline?
[/quote]

Yes, we are required to obey disciplines while in effect. The examples you give do not pove your point.
Indulgences were never sold by the church. Some local clerics did some wrong things.

Galileo affair is misrepresented by most. He wanted to mix science with theology and he was not competent.

Hitler? The Church could not speak out in every instance because the nazis retailitated severely when She did.


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