Material Sufficientcy of the bible


#1

I am reading through the book “Not by Scripture Alone” ed. Robert Sunginus and they were talking about how there is not evidence for the Formal Suffiency of Scripture which is call apon in Sola Scriptora. But, there is Material Suffiency in Sacred Sripture as the book states (as well as material suffiency in Sacred Tradition). I was wondering where do we get that Either Scripture or Tradition are Materially Sufficient ? Is that taught in the bible? J/W.
Thanks and God bless.


#2

Materially Sufficient – I understand this to mean that all the elements of the gospel are present in scripture. Since, John wrote that we may believe…


#3

No, it’s not specifically taught in the bible. But the bible itself is written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (God) so I’d say that’s sufficient enough for me to believe. :slight_smile:


#4

There are a number of patristic statements that appear to be affirming material sufficiency. These are the passages relied on by Protestant apologists to support sola scriptura.

Personally, I find “formal sufficiency” a very vague concept. It appears to mean that you don’t need anything but Scripture to understand Scripture. But what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that nothing outside Scripture is of any value? Few if any Protestants would maintain this. Does it mean that a person could conceivably develop all true doctrine from Scripture alone, without any other assistance? This seems to me to be entailed in material sufficiency. To say that all true doctrine is in Scripture but no one could figure this out without external helps is to cast doubt on what it means for something to be found within Scripture. To take two examples of doctrines that material-sufficiency Catholics would say are found within Scripture (in some form) and most Protestants would say are not: I think that it’s possible that a person might develop some notion of Purgatory from passages such as 1 Cor. 3, and might develop a doctrine of Mary’s complete sinlessness from the Angelic Greeting. I.e., in reflecting on what Scripture means, a person might go down the same road as the Catholic Church, or they might not. Admittedly, deriving all Catholic doctrines, or all Calvinist doctrines (to name two particularly complex Christian traditions) from Scripture alone would require either special divine guidance (which of course the traditional Protestant versions of formal sufficiency presuppose) or a coincidence almost equalling the possibility of monkeys typing Shakespeare. Something like Mennonite theology, which is much simpler and rests on a more literal interpretation of Scripture (the key being a sharp subordination of the OT to the NT), is a little more conceivable.

What I’m trying to drive at here is that high-church Protestants like myself see the tradition’s role as being one of guidance rather than shedding additional light. Tradition steers people away from false interpretations and points the way toward true ones. It’s kind of like saying “hot” and “cold” to someone playing hide-and-seek. What I’d like to see on this board–but rarely do–is a Catholic response to this understanding of tradition. Just how is it insufficient from the Catholic perspective?

Or am I digressing?

Edwin


#5

#6

I have yet to see a defense, regardless of whether it is sufficient or substantial, defending Sola Scriptura.

It seems to have been just appeared during the Prostestant revolt.

Going back, you come up with some patristic fathers who seem to
prove some kind of scriptural sufficiency, I say to you, you are wrong.

The Catholic Church is the sole Interpreter of what Scripture means. We would be were we are even if all the books of the Bible had never been written, or destroyed in some horrendous book burning.

The deposit of faith given to the Church from Apostolic times is ours, and the Holy Spirit guides us in doctrine and keeps us from error.

Only a Catholic could make such a bold statement, and why opponents say we are ‘unscriptural’. Of course that is not true. We take what is available, and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us along the path to the truth. We use scripture, the Fathers, the Doctors of the Church, human reason, and common sense to interpret and explain the tenets of Christianity.

peace,
mgrfin


#7

Defined how?

It seems to have been just appeared during the Prostestant revolt.

In that case you have to explain why the Reformers (in stark contrast to sola fide, which they knew was a revolutionary idea, though of course they claimed it was a recovery of the Church’s original teaching) do not seem aware that they were inventing anything new–in fact, Luther claimed explicitly that he had learned his views on the sufficiency and authority of Scripture at the University of Erfurt.

Going back, you come up with some patristic fathers who seem to
prove some kind of scriptural sufficiency, I say to you, you are wrong.

I’m just going to take your ipse dixit above the plain words of the Fathers (particularly St. Athanasius and St. Augustine)? I think not. Again, we are talking about material sufficiency, not formal–whatever that means. And I am aware that other Fathers, such as St. Basil, seem to have held quite a different view (it is traditional for Protestants to claim that St. Basil was just talking about liturgical practices when he said that some things were passed down through unwritten tradition–but I think this makes an illegitimate distinction between liturgy and doctrine, as shown by the fact that St. Basil appealed to the traditional inclusion of the Holy Spirit in the Doxology to demonstrate the divinity of the Spirit). According to Heiko Oberman, generally the medieval scholastics went with what he calls “Tradition I” (material sufficiency with the Church as the interpreter of Scripture), while the canon lawyers went with “Tradition II” (tradition as a separate source). This is probably too neat, but it does nicely explain the confusion that seems to have existed concerning this issue in the early 16th century.

The Catholic Church is the sole Interpreter of what Scripture means.

Depending on how you define the “Catholic Church,” I would agree with you!

We would be were we are even if all the books of the Bible had never been written, or destroyed in some horrendous book burning.

Maybe. I wouldn’t even know how to evaluate such a claim.

I don’t really think you have engaged my arguments. You don’t have to, of course, but you presented your post as a reply to mine.

Edwin


#8

How do you think I would define “Catholic church”? "Credo in unam, sanctam, catholicam, apostolicam Ecclesiam? The Catholic Church is the Roman Catholic Church. Certain Protestants, Reformed, or otherwise, think they are part of the Catholic Church, so may be I can understand your confusion. We don’t believe they (you) are.

  1. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. “For in one spirit” says the Apostle, “were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.”[17] As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith.[18] And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican. [19] It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit. (Pius XII Mystici Corporis)

Quote:
In that case you have to explain why the Reformers (in stark contrast to sola fide, which they knew was a revolutionary idea, though of course they claimed it was a recovery of the Church’s original teaching) do not seem aware that they were inventing anything new–in fact, Luther claimed explicitly that he had learned his views on the sufficiency and authority of Scripture at the University of Erfurt. Quote

You seem confused. The “Reformers…they knew it was a revolutionary idea… do not seem aware that they were inventing anything new…”

Which is it: it was a revolutionary idea, or it wasn’t.

I still haven’t seen anyone justifying Sola Scripture (even quoting from Patristic writers, or Fathers).

mgrfin

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman
Clothed with the sun, and the moon was
Under her feet, and upon her head a crown of
Twelve stars. Ps 97


#9

Personally, I find “formal sufficiency” a very vague concept. It appears to mean that you don’t need anything but Scripture to understand Scripture. But what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that nothing outside Scripture is of any value? Few if any Protestants would maintain this. Does it mean that a person could conceivably develop all true doctrine from Scripture alone, without any other assistance? This seems to me to be entailed in material sufficiency.

Matter is always defined in relation to form; what material sufficiency means is that someone applying the correct formal rule would be conceivably able to develop all true doctrine without any other assistance. In the case of the Protestant assertion of formal sufficiency, it seems to me that what is being asserted is that “ordinary means” are sufficient to extract dogma, i.e., anyone who can read Scripture sufficiently well to ascertain the author’s intent and who at least hypothetically accepts the notion of what Scripture is supposed to be (in terms of being an inerrant, whole divine revelation) can determine all Christian dogma, and only such determinations are binding on the conscience.

What I’m trying to drive at here is that high-church Protestants like myself see the tradition’s role as being one of guidance rather than shedding additional light. Tradition steers people away from false interpretations and points the way toward true ones. It’s kind of like saying “hot” and “cold” to someone playing hide-and-seek. What I’d like to see on this board–but rarely do–is a Catholic response to this understanding of tradition. Just how is it insufficient from the Catholic perspective?

My general objection would be that it is irrational to have faith in the Protestant formal principle in the first place. It essentially makes one’s own belief that Scripture has these certain properties the proximate object of faith, and frankly, I just don’t think that God is providing special internal revelation to people to tell them that they ought to think this way about Scripture (even apart from the basic incoherence of faith having itself as an object). Without faith in external divine action in the Church, there’s no adequate rational basis for having such faith in Scripture.

My specific objection is that you haven’t justified that Scripture sheds light (in terms of dogmatic certainty) in the first place. You’ve just begged the question in terms of formal sufficiency; when you say “additional,” the immediate response is “additional to what?” You have to define the formal content of Scripture, meaning you have to justify your rule, meaning you’re in the same place as any other Protestant. As a Catholic, I am simply not going to grant you that Scripture is an authority without an identification of the proximate object of faith, because the whole question is where you get your rule.


#10

Just to reiterate, the Catholic Church teaches that while the Bible is a necessity, tradition has a higher and more active role. We need tradition to interpret the Bible properly.

Protestants argue that the Bible is sufficient. Yet no where in the Bible does it say “Sola Scriptura”. In fact, the Bible never mentions which books are inspired by God…except Revelations. If it wasn’t for the Catholic Church, the New Testament would not exist. Simply by Accepting the New Testament, you have accepted the Church as a primary role within your faith. Also, the Bible is in no way sufficient. It is unclear in it’s teaching on Salvation…faith alone, baptism, Eucharist…

In fact, the Bible refutes sufficiency.

2 Peter 16
"He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction"

Peter is clearing up issues Paul addresses in his letters. In the same way, we must rely on the Church to clear up the interpretation of the Bible.

Protestants continually tell me, “the Holy Spirit guides me”. If the Holy Spirit guides your interpretation of the Bible, how is it that there are so many denominations believing DIFFERENT doctrines? Jesus and the Apostles prayed and hoped that we would be UNIFIED in our faith.

John 17:23
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:22-24 (in Context) John 17 (Whole Chapter)
Romans 15:5
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
Romans 15:4-6 (in Context) Romans 15 (Whole Chapter)
Ephesians 4:1
Unity in the Body of Christ ] As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (in Context) Ephesians 4 (Whole Chapter)
Ephesians 4:3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:2-4 (in Context) Ephesians 4 (Whole Chapter)
Ephesians 4:13
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12-14 (in Context) Ephesians 4 (Whole Chapter)

The above is just a copy/paste on a search of the word unity throughout the Bible.

Do all these Denominations sound like Unity? And this is why i’m Catholic, because no other church traces it’s roots to Jesus Christ. All other churches trace their roots back to Martin Luther or John Calvin, from the 16th century.


#11

The Revelation made to the Apostles by Christ and the Holy Spirit, whom He sent to teach them all truth, was final and definitive. To that body of revealed truth, nothing has been, or ever will be, added. The duty of the Apostles and their successors was clear: to guard it jealously, and to transmit it whole and entire to posterity.

St. Paul: “therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” 2 Thess, 2, 14 And again, “hold the form of sound words which thou has heard of me in faith, and in the love which is in Christ Jesus…The things which thou has heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men who shall be fit to teach others also” 2 Tim 1, 13

The important consequence of this message, when the Church teaches that a truth, e.g., the doctrine of sin, is revealed by God, she does not mean that God has just now revealed it to her; but, by virtue of her office as the infallible custodian and interpreter of God’s word, she declares that this truth is contained, and always has been contained, in the deposit of revelation committed to her care. In other words, when the Church teaches a revealed truth, she draws upon the ‘sources’ of revelation.

What are these sources? It would be true, in a sense, to say that there is but one source of revelation, namely, divine Tradition. That is, the body of revealed truth handed down from the Apostles; and it is in this sense that St. Paul uses the word when he urges Timothy to “hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.”

Christ may have given his Apostles instructions to write some account of his life on earth, and of the chief points of his teaching. But, the Gospels do not tell us so. Not all of them did, or, if they did their writings have not come down to us. But he did instruct them explicitly to preach the gospel to every creature; and we know (from Paul quoted above) that it was by oral instruction that the revealed word of God was chiefly propagated
St. Paul presupposes as a necessary prerequisite for faith the hearing of the word, and the preaching of the gospel. Tradition which is the source of revelation is divine Tradition.

St, Augustine points to the universal practice of baptizing children as an indication of that the doctrine of original sin is divinely revealed. Many of the theologians of the early Church, known for their sanctity and learning, are called ‘Fathers’. The consensus of these, considered as witnesses to the general belief of the Church, is an indication of the truth which they unanimously hold to be divinely revealed is, in fact, part of the deposit of faith.

The Fathers and theologians are not the teaching authority of the Church, yet they are witnesses to the universal belief of the faithful which is the result of that teaching

There are no proofs for “sola scriptura” followed by Luther and Calvin. It just made their descent from Catholic teaching easier. St. Augustine tells us: “I should not believe the gospel unless I were impelled thereto by the authority of the Catholic Church”

“Credo in unam, sanctam, catholicam, apostolicam Ecclesiam”

Say “Amen” brothers.
“Amen”


#12

Part 2

Part 2
I did not mean to say in my post on Tradition, that Sacred Scripture is not important. It is the other source of revelation. The books of the Old and New Testament are held as “Sacred” by the Catholic Church but not only because they contain revealed doctrine. The come to us as the work of God himself.

Since the Church is the divinely appointed custodian of revealed truth, it is her duty not only to preserve the letter of Scripture, but also their meaning. The Church is the authentic and infallible interpreter of Scripture. So when Luther gave us his new religion based on Romans 3, 28, he was trying to usurp the Church office as infallible interpreter of such scripture. The Church tells us, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, what God has revealed. The Scriptures are not a source of revelation distinct from oral Tradition, which transmits them to us. The Church holds the Scriptures in such reverence, guarding it most jealously, encouraging scholars and theologians to penetrate its meaning, but always keeping a watchful eye so that human invention and ingenuity should corrupt the wisdom which is divine.

Scripture and Tradition are the sources of divine revelation: tradition preserved by the living and infallible teaching authority of the Church, and Sacred Scripture, the inspired word of God, both of which she preserves pure and undefiled.

mgrfin

Offertory Antiphon: Today’s Vigil
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary,
you who bore the Creator of all things;
you brought forth him who made you,
and you remain forever a Virgin.


#13

Then how do you explain this passage from the Catechism (CCC 838, quoting from Lumen Gentium and Unitatis Redintegratio):

The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."3 Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.”

Don’t these texts from Vatican II provide the necessary lens through which you as a Catholic have to read this passage which you cited:

  1. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. “For in one spirit” says the Apostle, “were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.”[17] As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith.[18] And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican. [19] It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit. (Pius XII Mystici Corporis)

In fact, if it comes to that, doesn’t an Ecumenical Council trump a papal encyclical, if the encyclical is not making a formal ex cathedra definition?

You seem confused. The “Reformers…they knew it was a revolutionary idea… do not seem aware that they were inventing anything new…”

Which is it: it was a revolutionary idea, or it wasn’t.

No, I’m not confused, though my syntax may have been confusing. Sola fide was, by the confession of the Reformers themselves, a revolutionary idea. The unique authority and sufficiency of Scripture, on the other hand, was not–it was something that they were conscious of having been taught by the Catholic Church, and which they simply assumed all pious Christians (i.e., excluding corrupt Roman canon lawyers!) would accept.

Edwin


#14

I would like to see an official Catholic teaching stating this, rather than your simple opinion.

We need tradition to interpret the Bible properly.

That should not be controversial!

If it wasn’t for the Catholic Church, the New Testament would not exist. Simply by Accepting the New Testament, you have accepted the Church as a primary role within your faith.

I entirely agree.

Do all these Denominations sound like Unity? And this is why i’m Catholic, because no other church traces it’s roots to Jesus Christ. All other churches trace their roots back to Martin Luther or John Calvin, from the 16th century.

Perhaps you should post this opinion on the Eastern Christianity board. I will come along and pick up the pieces after the Orthodox are finished with you!

Edwin


#15

That’s reasonable, and why I would not defend the notion of formal sufficiency. (It also is one reason why my class on Biblical interpretation last spring was a total fiasco. But that’s another story, and my own hubris in agreeing to teach a class for which I was not qualified was the main factor.)

My general objection would be that it is irrational to have faith in the Protestant formal principle in the first place.

Well, that would be why I don’t. . . . assuming you mean “formal sufficiency.” If you mean “sola scriptura,” then we’re back to the endless question of what sola scriptura is.

My specific objection is that you haven’t justified that Scripture sheds light (in terms of dogmatic certainty) in the first place.

I didn’t say anything about dogmatic certainty. That is your addition. By “shedding light” I mean simply that Scripture teaches certain things, and these things can be ascertained by reading Scripture. However, it is astronomically improbable that a single human being could come to all the right conclusions (I am not talking about being certain that one’s conclusions are right, which I do not think is important) simply by reading Scripture. God could overrule this difficulty of interpretation by inspiring each individual believer to understand Scripture correctly–but God clearly has not chosen to do this.

You’ve just begged the question in terms of formal sufficiency; when you say “additional,” the immediate response is “additional to what?”

Additional to Scripture?

You have to define the formal content of Scripture, meaning you have to justify your rule, meaning you’re in the same place as any other Protestant. As a Catholic, I am simply not going to grant you that Scripture is an authority without an identification of the proximate object of faith, because the whole question is where you get your rule.

Jonathan, I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’m not completely sure what you mean by “formal content” and “proximate object.” If I understand you correctly, then I would say that I get my rule from the consensus of the Church and have no problem admitting this.

Edwin


#16

My response to this post is in two parts, some of which I have said before. Part 2 is on Sola Scriptura, and Tradition. I think it is an important post. My reply is #11 in this section. But now this:

Part 1:

According to Lumen Gentium, and CCC “the college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff.

I quoted to you from Mystici Corporis, Pius XII’s encyclical letter, which has been a constant teaching of the Church for centuries:
22. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. “For in one spirit” says the Apostle, “were we all baptized into one Body,
whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.”[17] As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith.[18] And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican. [19] It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such
a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.
(Pius XII Mystici Corporis)
This is an encyclical, and you say that a Church Council trumps an enclyclical letter.
For a Catholic like myself, I couldn’t stand having one conflict the other, especially for two relatively recent documents.

There is no conflict. We have been reading into Lumen Gentium something which is not there.
Mystici Corporis" and Pius XII were 'de riguere" when it comes to the teaching of the Catholic Church on the Body of Christ.

Before I get into that, some ‘revisions’, or better, elucidations have taken place on the teaching of Vatican II. Published June 29, 2007the CDF published “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church”.

Benedict XVI has declared that Vatican 2 neither changed nor intended to change the doctrine, but rather developed it, deepened it and more fully explained it.The '‘what’ was what John XXIII said when he inaugurated the Council, and what Paul VI said when he promulgated “Lumen Gentium”. “What” was, still is. To find out "‘what was, still is’ we have to go back to "Mystici Corporis to find out what the “what” is.

Benedict clarified the terminology of “subsists in” versus ‘is’. It made it clear that there is no change in the definition: “Church of Christ” is identical with the Catholic Church".

So, we have to be careful here, the Congregation of Divine Faith, formerly, the Congregation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, with the blessing (and probably at the instigation of Benedict XVI (since that used to be his domain), has insisted there is no change in the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Ave Maria,

mgrfin


#17

I didn’t say anything about dogmatic certainty. That is your addition. By “shedding light” I mean simply that Scripture teaches certain things, and these things can be ascertained by reading Scripture.

That is, in fact, all I mean by dogmatic certainty, and I gather it is also all that is meant by formal sufficiency. I mean that you are certain that some particular proposition is theological truth. My point is that you can’t be certain that Scripture teaches theological truth. You would merely have some probable opinion that some particular thing that Scripture teaches is true.

However, it is astronomically improbable that a single human being could come to all the right conclusions (I am not talking about being certain that one’s conclusions are right, which I do not think is important) simply by reading Scripture.

My difficulty is that you haven’t actually shown that a human being can come to ANY of the right conclusions, because you haven’t shown that interpretation of Scripture gives certain theological conclusions.

God could overrule this difficulty of interpretation by inspiring each individual believer to understand Scripture correctly–but God clearly has not chosen to do this.

We agree on that much. But for someone who makes such an admission, it is irrational for that person to think that his reading of Scripture will reveal theological truth. In other words, you’ve just presented a valid and sound argument for why your interpretation of Scripture can’t produce certain theological truth.

Additional to Scripture?

Scripture is a book, paper and ink, not theological truth. That might seem pedantic, but it’s an important distinction, because some agent has to apply a rule to generate formal propositions from Scripture.

Jonathan, I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’m not completely sure what you mean by “formal content” and “proximate object.”

Sorry. I’ve been reading too much Aristotelico-Thomist literature lately. :slight_smile: Let’s go back to the definition of faith. Faith is a supernatural cognitive faculty establishing a real relation between a person and another real entity (the proximate object; see nd.edu/~afreddos/translat/aquinas5.htm and also Newman’s Grammar of Assent). In that respect, it’s like knowledge, which creates a real identity between the knower and the known, so I will use the term “faither” and “faithed” like “knower” and “known” to emphasize the analogy.
(cont.)


#18

(cont.)
When you have certain knowledge of theological truth, it’s because you have “faithed” the object of truth, much as when you have certain knowledge about anything it is because you have known that thing. That certain knowledge is the formal content of your knowledge or faith. Here’s the problem…

If I understand you correctly, then I would say that I get my rule from the consensus of the Church and have no problem admitting this.

That won’t work, because the “consensus of the Church” is just like one’s “interpretation of Scripture.” It is an intentional being; it is a concept that your mind creates based on what it knows. Unless God Himself miraculously put that concept in your head, there is no way that such a thing can be the proximate object of faith, which requires a real relation between the “faither” and an external object. In Catholicism, however, the Church is a real entity; it really subsists in the Catholic Church, and it is a real object of faith. So when you say that you have faith in the Catholic Church, it’s because there is a real thing “faithed” by you personally. That’s the importance of apostolic succession; it creates and sustains a persistent and real object of faith. Denial of that principle is why Anglican orders are considered invalid in Catholicism.

Scripture could conceivably be a proximate object of faith, but you’d have to be arguing that God was really subsisting in every copy of Scripture, effectively substantiating the charge of Bibliolatry. As it is, the only proper proximate object of faith in Protestantism is baptism, because it is the only knowable divine act left (God’s spiritual presence among two or three gathered being real but not certainly knowable). And most Protestants deny baptismal regeneration so that they don’t even accept that. Orthodoxy, by contrast, has real proximate objects of faith in a significant degree. But it lacks the unity and completeness of the Catholic Church to form a true subsistence, a completely self-existing entity identified with Christ (John 17, see also newadvent.org/fathers/1701108.htm), which is what allows it to serve as the true proximate object of faith. Protestantism and Orthodoxy depend on this subsistence for their reality, which is why the spiritual realities in those bodies are not self-subsistent entities but rather accidents in the metaphysical sense.

Because Protestantism has no external object of faith, Protestant faith is necessarily confused, irrational, and circular, effectively a faith in one’s own mental disposition. That’s the “private judgment” peril of which we Catholics so often speak; it is an attempt to judge theological truth with no real and certain basis. Basically, we believe your faith has no object, so while you actually have the faculty of faith (given in baptism), it isn’t actually being directed to anything other than yourself. It’s the theological equivalent to Descartes, denying the knowability of everything but himself, and it’s wrong for the same reason.


#19

I admitted that that was a crude way of putting it. It seems to me that LG modifies the older teaching rather than abandoning it, clarifying that Pius’s strictures must be understood of a full participation in the Church.

I don’t think any of the rest of what you say makes this understanding inadmissible. It seems to me that you are trying to explain away a quite clear teaching of an Ecumenical Council, when the opposite approach (using LG to modify MC) is far more reasonable on many grounds (because LG is a later teaching, because it is the teaching of an Ecumenical Council while MC is not as far as I know ex cathedra, and most of all because it is the more nuanced position and therefore does not directly contradict MC, while your interpretation of MC does contradict LG).

Edwin


#20

Absolutely not, Edwin. I am not trying to explain away a quite clear teach of an E.C. We may be misunderstanding what we thought LG was saying. For sake of ecumenism, we may have interpreted LG away from MC, and we shouldn’t have (apparently).
I was suprised by the most recent statement of CDF and Benedict (who signed off on this statement) on the matter. But the Pope attended the Council, and he knew what was going on. He has backed us off from a too liberal interpretation of LG, and moving us in the direction of MC
Who is a member of the Church, now, for me is contained in Mystici Corporis, primarily, and narrow definition as found in LG which is in agreement with MC. I now do not have to accept the broader statement, if we can call it that, found in LG.

And Benedict is the pope. He has every right and authority to interpret LG for us.

I am a member of the Church. Someone, though baptised, who doesn’t accept the authority of Peter is not. And that is what Benedict has been saying more than once, and in several places.

peace,
mgrfin


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