Question about dogma / infallible teachings

Which social teachings are you referring to?

As I said, all of them. None are any more optional than the teachings on gender and sex issues.

The scope of catholic social teaching is broad. Some elements rest so directly on moral truths that there is no room for dissent, but much is quite removed from moral absolutes and you are free to take issue with it.

I think a lot of Catholics think that - that they are free to ignore the Church’s teachings on all but a few issues like gay rights and abortion - but that is not what the Church teaches. Which is why I disagreed with the statement that sexuality and abortion are the issues where people reject Church teachings. I see supposedly devout Catholics directly reject the Church’s teachings in myriad other areas everyday on this forum. No one doubts the Church’s authority to condemn abortion, but it seems that many deny the Church’s authority to teach in lots of other areas.

Not what I said either. I don’t think I need to repeat myself though.

The aspects of the death culture we’re immersed in exist as an obvious moral evil with no grey area. The social teachings of the Church you refer to however, are all completely inside of that grey area.

If we’re commanded to do right by the poor among us - how do we accomplish that? Do you randomly throw money at a heroin addict stupidly thinking he’s going to spend it on food rather than the drug that’s destroying him?

Does that mean that you favor the imposition of a welfare state that acts as the primary driver for the destruction of the family by replacing men with government checks and benefits?

Any political position you could take that results from Catholic social teachings is arguable - unless you have examples to give that aren’t - I’m not claiming to be an expert.

FWIW, Fr. John Trigilio PhD, ThD, and F. Kenneth Brighenti PhD co-authored the perennially popular Catholicism for Dummies. In it, Fr. Trigilio states that all teachings of the “normal magisterium” of the Church may be considered infallible. Despite the trouble and bickering this may cause, I’ll go with the two Fathers on this one.

The social teachings of the Church are neither gray nor optional. Those that choose that put their political leanings above Church teaching are in dissent, even it they prefer to kid themselves and say they are not.

What I mean to say is that the PRINCIPLES behind the teachings aren’t optional - the implementation of these via a secular political system are completely and totally grey-area - and are subject to evaluation for effectiveness.

See the examples I listed above.

I understand your position, I just don’t agree with it.

Perhaps pick a couple of the social teachings and use them to demonstrate your point ?

As I said, pick any one of them. None are optional. The idea that the Church has a special expertise to teach on the morality of sex and gender issues, but lacks the expertise to teach authoritatively on other issues is completely unfounded.

1 Like

So again I ask you if your understanding of the social teachings of the church requires the creation of a secular welfare state with the side-effect of the destruction of the traditional family?

The principle of “assist those in need” can be accomplished in a lot of ways - ways that don’t include a baked-in political agenda that’s made up of an over-the-top hostility to the Church and its teachings.

Ok, do that… over to you.

Did someone say that? Maybe show them the catechism - it’s quite thick and covers much more than sex and gender. [Not sure it addresses gender at all…]

I am not saying that. What I am saying is that the Church has the authority to teach in the social arena. If the Church decided that its own teaching mandates a secular welfare state, the Church would have that authority. What I am arguing against is the notion that the Church can mandate specific behaviors in come contexts (like sex), but not in others (like social welfare).

As I recall, it was you that suggested the Church has less authority when its teaching touches on “material” issues, such as the death penalty, then it does on other issues. Perhaps you can explain what that means, and why the Church’s teachings in some areas are “error-prone.”

Perhaps also reference a church social teaching (I’ve asked several times, you repeatedly decline) so we can be specific. What I have explained is that where prudential judgement is involved, the faithful may disagree. The Catechism is principally addressing matters of faith and moral doctrine - a range of topics far wider than sex - not social teachings.

Define a secular welfare state. Is there a social teaching in that? Please reference it. Could the church make an ex cathedra statement on that? Could it do so on the proper form of democratic government, Eg declaring a constitutional monarchy necessary and calling on republics to change to the former.

The Church has genuine authority in the sphere of faith and morals. That is the extent of the “authority” she claims for herself. Beyond that is your mere assertion. Review the catechism, much of which is structured around the 10 commandments.

Correct. The positive precepts, such as Love thy neighbour, provide directional guidance only. The church may of course weigh in with counsel on how one may go about that, on whether this policy or that are better exemplars, but it has no authority to prescribe just what must be done. It does have authority to prescribe what is necessary to avoid transgressing the negative precepts (Thou shall’t not…) for it is only here that morality is absolute.

You are the one that suggested that the Church is “error-prone” (your term) when it teaches on issues that touch the “material” (again, your term). I believe you were referring to the death penalty in that exchange. As it is you who are claiming the Church’s authority is limited, why don’t you say which teachings are limited in authority or “error-prone”?

OK, I can see now that you are simply being disingenuous. I did not bring up “secular welfare state” and I do not know what that poster meant by that term. I never said the Church mandates it. What I said is that I do believe the Church could teach that a particular type of government is good or bad, mandatory or prohibited. Are you saying the Church lacks the authority to teach on the morality of different forms of government or economics? If so, what is your basis for saying that?

If the church advocates for a particular immigration program, it is error prone.

When the church judges that CP is not appropriate in some time or place or circumstance it is error prone. When the church declares CP not intrinsically evil, it speaks with authority.

I am saying what I said - it does need paraphrasing. The church has no authority beyond what it claims for itself. And your claims exceed hers.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit