What role should the Church have?


#1

Hi. This is my first post. :wave: I would like to, to the best of my creative capacities, ascertain the general sentiments about he role of the Church changing its salient role as society progresses into a more advanced stage of modernity. Many recognize that the kind of liberal/conservative dichotomy that applies to essential politic leanings also applies to faith. The conservative stance is generally characterized by a static, rigid, and literal interpretation of hierarchy and words of religious icons whose authority on matters of faith is well established. Therefore, “progress” is a misnomer and is moreover inimical to the Church and Jesus’ message. In contrast, the liberal standpoint would hold that there is an essential undertone (typically of love & compassion) underlying religious scripture. This would seem to conform to a historical view of the Church and its progress socially – that the Church has made mistakes in its decrees and actions and has had to apologize on numerous occasions for them (for example, many of John Paul II’s apologetic statements for Crusades, Inquisition, etc.). The underlying assumption is therefore that human rationality must serve as a check on and competition against human fallibility.

W/out further ado, I will make a few statements about beliefs about the philosophy of the Church. Please select in the poll the number of the proposition with which you most agree.
(Mods - If this thread is misplaced, please feel free to relocate it to the appropriate place :slight_smile: )

1) The Word of God can by human fallibility exist to us only as we interpret it. This is not necessarily to say the God’s Word is subjective; on the contrary, we cannot ever claim to know it. As such, we must take what our good nature and rationality indicate to us as being the positive and essential meaning of Jesus’ message and apply that to a social context. We should be more progressive as a society; the Church should alter its stance on homosexuality and (perhaps) its stance on abortion. If you fall in this category, you’re more likely (though of course not necessarily) to accept the notion of universal salvation.

2) Though our Church leaders have been wrong in the past, their judgment is still more qualified that ours. The have more of a claim to a direct nexus between them and God. We should disagree with Church leaders when it is self-evident that they err, but we should, on the whole, defer to them on matters of judgment. If you are in this category, you might be sympathetic with a changing of the Church’s stance on homosexuality but are less likely to feel the same about abortion. You probably believe that only Christians who follow God and those of other faiths who are of exceptional moral character will attain salvation.

3) That the Church has in the past erred is actually illusory. Every bit of Church law has necessarily remained unchanged through Church history, and any apparent alterations are merely the fulfillment of the meaning of previous and veritable teachings. The Church has a direct and infallible nexus via its papacy to Peter, apostle of Jesus. If you fall in this category, you believe wholly that homosexuality and abortion are mortal sins and therefore should not be condoned by the Church on any level. You are likely to be sympathetic with the current pope’s opposition to so-called “progress” in Church teaching. Salvation is afforded to the righteous only: Catholics who follow the Church and (perhaps) non-Catholics who do the same.

4) You are a traditionalist Catholic. Vatican II is invalid and its baptisms, rituals, etc. are also invalid. It is necessary to keep a so-called “antipope” as the successor of Peter. Homosexuality and abortion are intrinsically wrong and evil. Only Catholics may be admitted into Heaven, and the path for doing so is indeed an onerous one.


#2

Hi El Gaucho,

I could not really find an option that fit me. The poll seems to entertain the notion that you must either believe that all Church teaching can change or that no church teaching can change.

Christ gave his Church the mandate to teach, which means that we must accept to be taught. Bishops individually and together have that mandate, as well as the pope, with or without the bishops. When my bishop gives me a directive, I am in duty bound to try my best to obey it. If I am convinced it is wrong, I can appeal to higher authority, but respect is the order of the day. When the pope gives a directive, I have no choice but to obey it, no matter what I think. These directives can eventually change, but meantime I have to obey them.

Of course infallibly defined doctrine can never be challenged.

You seem to be especially worried about homosexuality and abortion. The Church does not condemn homosexuality; it reiterates its teaching about homosexual practice. As for abortion, it is the constant teaching of the Church, that no child, no matter in what state of development, can be killed.

Verbum


#3

Good golly, the obvious answer isn’t one of your options:

The role the Church **should **have is the role she was given by Jesus when He established it:

To protect, preserve and share the Good News of Christ as it was revealed to the Apostles and to administer the sacraments Jesus instituted.

Society may change but Truth never does.
The Church must always remain firm and steadfast to the Truth as it was revealed to her. She is the body of Christ on earth until He comes again in glory.


#4

Hi!

And that would indeed be a false dichotomy under normal circumstances; but I did not entertain that notion. It would be a true dichotomy, as indicated by the principle of excluded middle, that either Church teaching can change or it can’t. I didn’t posit a percentage or quantity, just that either it could or couldn’t. But if you accept that some Church teaching can change, how exactly can you dictate which ones can change?

Okay.

Very well. But I ask why, especially if you cannot claim that the Church has throughout the centuries and millennia acted with essentially the same intentions. You cannot fall back upon Church teaching, as that would constitute circular logic.

I was using homosexuality and abortion as a reference point. I know what the Church teaching is – that homosexual acts are immoral opposed to the homosexuality that is indigenous to some people. I know the Church’s restrictive stance on abortion. These I know; but I do know that I, along with other Catholics, don’t profess them. I contend that Christ’s core message was one of compassion – one that could not hold any static rendition of God’s law in high esteem; and I consider it uncompassionate and illiberal to actively preach and endeavor for ends that damage and restrict people from pursuing happiness. The intentions may be benign, but the actions sure aren’t. Abortion I can definitely see as being a more sensitive issue. But I reiterate: I was merely wishing to use it as a reference point. I do not wish to engage in an abortion debate because it can be effectively argued that the most compassionate stance is on either side of the debate, which is why it is unfit for this debate.


#5

All four of your propositions are inaccurate notions of the Church, her authority, and infallibility. You have quite a mish-mash there, but none of the four descriptions are an accurate rendering of the Church.

Also, there are no qalifiers such as “liberal” and “conservative” in the Church. There is only “true” and “not true” when it comes to doctrine. There is “inside” and “outside” when it comes to an individual’s relationship to the Church. There is only “correct” and “heterodox” when it comes to any specific pronouncment an individual makes regarding Catholic doctrine.

Your poll is nonsensical and therefore cannot be answered.


#6

Okay. But which one is the best manifestation of that maxim?

I would agree. I just disagree that what the Church claims to be truth is in fact the best approximation of Truth. :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

May I ask how so?

Conservative/Liberal in the sense of a static interpretation of God’s word or one that changes when the Church’s praxes produce bad results according to and understood by some kind of universalized maxim, which I contend is one solely of compassion. Respectively, of course.


#8

Is it your position that objective truth exists, but we cannot know it?


#9

Objective truth exists in the sense that materiality is an objective truth since it is independent of the human mind. Truth can exist if it abides by an agreed-upon maxim; that is to say, once you define goodness you can alter your conception of morality so that it is most conducive to goodness. My maxim is one of compassion and love, which I believe is God’s ultimate message, though I cannot demonstrate this. I would hope that many people would agree with this maxim; so at that point the both empirical and reasonable enter the realm of debate–that is, how to best attain it. And since human feelings can be understood on a psychological basis and therefore (via reductionism) on a material basis, it can be understood in an objective sense.


#10

What is your proof?

and I consider it uncompassionate and illiberal to actively preach and endeavor for ends that damage and restrict people from pursuing happiness.

What is happiness?

Your premise seems to be the Church is not the authority, but you are the authority?

Are you a materialist?


#11

This is a heretical position already condemned numerous times by the Church. Moral relativism and the denial that objective truth exists, is knowable, and is universal and eternal is not compatible with Church teaching or Christ’s own Word.

This heretical position again holds that truth is relative, and denies the infallibility of theCollege of Bishops and the Pope. This position has also been condemned as incompatible with Church teaching.

This position is inaccurate because it fails to accurately distinguish between “Church law” and the revealed truth-- i.e., Doctrine. Church law is absolutely changeable, and the Church has never taught otherwise. Church doctrine is not changeable, and the church has never taught otherwise.

This position is heretical and has been condemned numerous times by the Church. It is not compatible with Church teaching.

Therefore, none of your choices is accurate or valid.


#12

Well, I was hoping my appeals would be perceived as appeals to the axiomatic. I cannot prove Christ’s intentions; I can only show his words and deeds. If this were not Christ’s core message–but rather it were something else–I would not consider myself a Christian.

However we wish to understand it, really. Again, I’m trying to both visualize and appeal to a morality that serves the happiness of which I’m sure everyone here has a good enough conception. Psychologically, it can be indicated, but it certainly is engendered by different stimuli for everyone. I say both positive and negative liberty lead us to a greater realization of happiness and are the only pragmatic conclusions for the attainment of such an end.

I am not the authority, but neither is the Church. Reason is both the authority and God-given, and that’s what I appeal to.

[quote=fix]Are you a materialist?
[/quote]

I am a materialist in that I believe everything can be understood scientifically and empirically as material phenomena.


#13

Objective Truth is God’s truth. Are you denying that objective truth exists, and that God has communicated it to us?

You are only 17, so I’ll cut you a break on your determination to use every SAT word you’ve ever learned, regardless of whether it is nonsensical in the context of your sentence.

What I suggest is that you get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and start reading. It is clear you do not have much understanding of the nature of God, revelation, or Christ’s purpose in the Incarnation.


#14

This is psycho-babble. Happiness is doing the will of God. And, therefore, God does reveal to us his will and the objective Truth. We cannot do God’s will if we cannot know it.

Get out your Catechism.


#15

If by ‘which one’ you are referring to your 4 options, then the answer is none of the above.

The options you pose do misrepresent the church’s authority and position and therefore are false from the get go.

I would agree. I just disagree that what the Church claims to be truth is in fact the best approximation of Truth. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, I used to hold that position for a good 30-40 years :wink:
The thing is, Jesus is the Truth, the Light and the Way.
Most of His teachings are quite clear in scripture for all to see.
For those which are not, He left us the magisterium of the Church to provide further insight. That magisterium for matters of faith and morals is protected by infallibility.

The issues you deem misrepresented by the Church are matters of faith and morals therefore your intellectual opinion on those issues, no matter how well formed by your standards, are incomplete so long as they do not line up with Church teachings.

That was a very, very difficult thing for me to accept in my spiritual journey, but once that set in, the rest flowed rather easily. That infallibility promise from Jesus to his Church is something I could not escape. No matter how much I tried to rationalize and justify my position, the sources of those opinions did not have God’s promise of protection from error. That didn’t mean what I was reading and listening to was flat out wrong, just that it was not the complete truth.

The thing about the devil one has to keep in mind is that he is the master of deception. He can manipulate words, thoughts, and actions in such a way as to lend the appearance of Truth to those who do not have their guard up. Since the Church cannot deceive or err in matters of faith and morals we Christians must allow those teachings to be our compass. That being the case I shifted my intellectual goal: rather than spend time and energy seeking, finding, and absorbing writings from sources outside the church, I focused entirely on materials from the Church. Boy were those eye-openers!! With prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit the fog was lifted and I haven’t bee able to defend my old positions since.

Do not let pride and arrogance deter you from the Truth.
Whenever one makes the statement “I disagree with the Church’s teachings” that is pride speaking, and not the good kind of pride. Beware the snares of the devil when you allow your mind and your heart to be led by that type of pride. Jesus calls us to be humble servants.


#16

The soul is not material, and neither is God.

Therefore, “everthing” cannot be understood scientifically and empirically.


#17

How do you know what Christ said or did?

However we wish to understand it, really. Again, I’m trying to both visualize and appeal to a morality that serves the happiness of which I’m sure everyone here has a good enough conception.

What? So, if one likes to kill puppies and finds that makes them happy that serves some purpose?

Psychologically, it can be indicated, but it certainly is engendered by different stimuli for everyone. I say both positive and negative liberty lead us to a greater realization of happiness and are the only pragmatic conclusions for the attainment of such an end.

I have no idea what that means?

I am not the authority, but neither is the Church. Reason is both the authority and God-given, and that’s what I appeal to.

Reason is an authority? What laws did reason ordain?

I am a materialist in that I believe everything can be understood scientifically and empirically as material phenomena.

Then why would you believe in God?


#18

If God has communicated to us the full essence of objective truth, then why is it ambiguous? And don’t say the Church teaches objective truth; it’s taught different things over the course of history. Hardly objective. Unless objective truth is static and contingent upon Church teaching somehow?

lol. Examples?

Circular logic. The truth of Catholic doctrine needs to be verified by an external source.


#19

hmm, I was wondering who would be the one to say what roles the Church should have. I am not that one for sure.

No poll for me on this one. :smiley:


#20

No, the Church has not “taught different things” over the course of history. Perhaps that is the crux of the problem, you do not properly understand what Doctrine is.


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