The State, Libertarians, Socialists, and Infallible Dogma


#24

I am curious how you understand “Church’s infallible teaching”. Are you saying that any teaching that is not an “infallible dogma” is insufficient to meet your needs?

I recently finished a crash course through the University of Dayton on the Social Teaching of the Church.

Our texts were mainstream teachings of the Church, the Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Father Kevin E. McKenna’s A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching which summarizes papal encyclicals and statements of the U.S. bishops.

I have to confess that I found this text quite refreshing. Although I don’t agree with all of Fr. McKenna’s conclusions, it is an excellent collection and summary of the relevant church documents. It is, as the OP noted, of importance, apolitical in that it does not espouse any particular system, party, or platform, but gives a very accessible summary of how Catholic values can, and should, be lived in any society/governmental system.

I think the OP was quite clear he does not want to discuss it.


#25

I’m afraid my friend Guano has misunderstood me. I thought my OP was quite clear, but I suppose not.

First, I’m not asking about specific types of governments or specific actions the state can or cannot take. I’m asking about the moral status of the state and the very general bounds the Church may or may not put on its activity.

I have no problem personally accepting the notion that we must give intellectual assent to CST even if it isn’t a defined, infallible teaching. However, as I stated, many libertarians and socialists who call themselves Catholic don’t see it this way. They claim that the Church’s teaching on the moral role of the state are not defined as infallible and thus they are not required to believe them. They think they can believe whatever they want about the moral role of the state and be consistent with the Magisterial teaching of the Church.

The whole point of my question was to find a way to rebut their claims. Guano seems to have taken a very uncharitable view of my question for some reason, but I figure I’ll try again and see if someone else cares to weigh in more charitably. I do appreciate the charity Stephen Bales and others have shown.


#26

I’m afraid my friend Guano has misunderstood me. I thought my OP was quite clear, but I suppose not.

First, I’m not asking about specific types of governments or specific actions the state can or cannot take. I’m asking about the moral status of the state and the very general bounds the Church may or may not put on its activity.

I have no problem personally accepting the notion that we must give intellectual assent to CST even if it isn’t a defined, infallible teaching. However, as I stated, many libertarians and socialists who call themselves Catholic don’t see it this way. They claim that the Church’s teaching on the moral role of the state are not defined as infallible and thus they are not required to believe them. They think they can believe whatever they want about the moral role of the state and be consistent with the Magisterial teaching of the Church.

The whole point of my question was to find a way to rebut their claims. Guano seems to have taken a very uncharitable view of my question for some reason, but I figure I’ll try again and see if someone else cares to weigh in more charitably. I do appreciate the charity Stephen Bales and others have shown.


#27

You are right, I am not sure what this means. The faith was born into Pagan Rome, a State saturated with ever kind of immorality.

Since morality is a function of individual persons, not the State, I am unclear how a state can have any “moral status”.

I guess I am wondering why the “moral status of the State”, if there is such a thing, is relevant. I can speculate that you are inquiring into the relative morality of the individual in relation to the State.

I think you are pointing out that there are actions that a government can take that are considered by Catholics as immoral? Such as engaging in unjust wars, and promoting a culture of death? These things are clearly addressed in the Churches’ social teaching.

In the United States, we live in a condition where Church and State are separated. Ostensibly, the State cannot put restrictions on religion, and religion cannot put restrictions on the State.

Do you think there is a moral obligation for the Church to set boundaries around government activity? This is certainly a medieval point of view.

I think you are saying that there are certain people who call themselves Catholic and yet, feel free to ignore what the Church teaches on these matters? What does that have to do with you, if anything? Since you have no problem accepting what the Church teaches, why are you concerned about others who have lost their Catholicity?

I have heard these people referred to as “cafeteria Catholics”, but I think they are just Protestants who don’t know they are.


#28

Yes, it certainly seems this way. Are you looking for an infallible dogma so you can persuade them?

It just hit me bad. You seemed to have been a member for one day, and you give instruction on who we are and how CAF works (accurate only in your imagination). it is primarily a discussion forum, but you don’t want to discuss.

You seem to set aside scripture as a source of moral imperative for the Catholic faith. Perhaps the people you are trying to rebut have done the same. When someone claims to be looking for “infallible dogma” and is not willing to consider the contents of the Scripture, I have trouble taking it seriously. If you and your audience don’t have any place for the words of Jesus about these matters, what else will be of any use?


#31

(Scripture)

It just seems hard to believe that, if a person will not listen to the teachings of Jesus, some kind of “infallible dogma” sill be persuasive.

I don’t think so. You made it clear 1)that you didn’t want discussion (having come to a discussion forum), 2) you erroneously believe there are people running this site who are here to provide you with catholic answers 3) me cutting and pasting scriptures was less than worthless to you. All of this happened before I had a chance to get cynical.

You have lost me here. It is a genuine question. If the people you wish to persuade want to rationalize what Scripture says about our relationship with the State, why do you think some “infallible dogma” will make a difference?

Normally I would, but you said you did not come here to have a discussion, so I recommended a book, because that is what you said you wanted. Maybe you are not sure what you want, which is ok too.

Perhaps so. I was drawn to your thread because the Christians’ relationship with the State is one that is of interest to me. I think it is to you also, or you would not have started the thread.


#32

^^This.

Maybe guanophore could have been a little less harsh in his response, but when a new person starts a thread and then gets annoyed because people are discussing applicable Scripture and refers to discussion as “500 post long cryptic (word I don’t think I’m allowed to use on CAF even in a quote)” , and then gets progressively more upset with each post, it discourages me, and probably others, from wishing to participate in the thread.

Scripture and the Magisterium’s interpretation of it are essential parts to our understanding of Catholicism.

God bless


#33

Thank you, this is phrased much more succintly and more charitably than I was able to do, but it does express my sentiment.


#34

Sorry, I reacted quite cynically to a person coming to a discussion forum and posting this, and demanding “answers”.

I don’t think any member of CAF could assume this. There are so many principles contained in the passage from Romans that address your issue that could be unpacked, it is disappointing you are unwilling to do so.

Actually, I don’t know this. I have never met anyone who interprets these passages “differently” to the point where they should not be applied to our daily conduct in society. I am sorry that you are dealing with people who call themselves “Catholic” and have no regard for the Holy Scriptures.

If this is the case, then there is a much deeper problem here than one that would be satisfied with a document of “infallible dogma”. The governing authority with whom they are having issues is not a temporal one, but a spiritual one. They are not accepting the rule of Christ. He is Head of His One Body, the Church, and King of all over which He reigns. If the people you are concerned about are not willing to allow Him to be Lord of their lives, and allow their attitudes and decisions to be guided by His instruction, there is not much you will be able to do.

We can’t change other people only ourselves.


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