All right, first, I get that Catholics are not permitted even to disagree with a Church teaching on faith/morals that has its origins in the popes, the councils, the magisterium–all infallible sources of moral/faith Truth, at least so I understand.
But, what about cases where, say, one individual priest (say, your own, in your church) thinks something to be sinful while another priest does not? And, what if this very specific matter has not been ruled on infallibly through any of the instruments mentioned above? Is a Catholic, in this situation, obligated, even though he may not agree with his own priest’s assessment of sin, to obey the priest in any action touching on this particular matter as if it were sinfl?
Also, how would this kind of situation worked before modern times? Say, in the early Church, one Church official believed one thing to be sinful while another did not but there had been no what would have then been considered “offcial” ruling from Rome on the issue. Was the Christian back then obliged to follow his local official even when he disagreed with his position? (Of course, as I understand it, in that time, it was less easy/convenient to communicate with Church authority in Rome, especially if you were in charge of a far-off province.)
Le’ts take an antique example, as it is the first one for me that comes to mind on a subject like this. Say we have an early Church Father who disagrees with reading pagan poetry (such as the Aeneid) or even writing poetry because of the pagan/worldly associations of both, but a church member believes that, even if the works he is reading are pagan, they still may contain some wisdom and even delight the reader by their stories. He doesn’t think that he will be adversely affected by reading, say, the Aeneid. What is he to do in this situation, especially if there had been no official ruling on the issue and one person often disagreed with another on issues like this? To whom is he obligated in this case? Can he still read classical poetry?
Finally, is the notion that one must obey even though one disagrees itself a dogmatic/infallible issue of faith and morals? If not, are we even permitted to disagree with, and, thus, potentially not to follow it, with prudence, of course, so that we are careful not to cause any dissensions?
Another issue might be one of gluttony (the teaching on which may have changed over time??). As I understand it, a part of gluttony used to be (officially/infallibly?) defined as including both “needless” snacking and even eating “dainty”/spicey foods/foods highly appealing to the senses. Today, as I understand it, gluttony is now primarily defined essentially as overeating. Prior to this redefinition(?), would someone who consumed spicey foods because he disagreed that doing so was a sin be in violation of some Church precept about obeying while, at the same time, disagreeing? Indeed, was there ever truly an infallibly-determined efinition of, precisely, what gluttony is or were/are(?) the avariants mentioned above varying definition of individuals, albeit scholarly ones such as many ear Fathers as well as Aquiinas?
OK, I do hope the above makes at least some sense! I am still very new to looking into Catholicism so, really, in a lot of this, I am not even quite sure what to ask/how to ask it. Also, my terminology in places may be a bit off, so do bear with me.
And thanks in advance for any help!