First thread I’ve started, not sure this is the right place, but here goes.
I was in a conversation on another thread and it came up that previous Councils (Council of Trent, in this instance) and Papal Bulls override the teachings in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church. I understood from one poster that some of the teachings in the CCC are in error. In particular we discussed 818 which talks about the salvation of baptized “separated brethren.”
It was my understanding that the current CCC represented the Church’s teachings. But now I’m genuinely confused. Granted, this is a personal issue with me as my whole family is Protestant. But more disturbing is that I was under the impression that the CCC could be relied upon and I read it and refer to it often.
Could someone who may be a little emotionally detached or able to explain to me in layman’s terms describe why Catholics don’t accept the teachings in the CCC? I have been studying Catholicism for four years and came into the Church 1.5 years ago. But so much to learn!
Certainly the current CCC represents the Church’s teachings and is ordinarily reliable. But it does not carry the weight of an infallible ecumenical council of the Church. For that matter depending on the wording, most papal bulls, encyclicals, and other proclamations are fallible too. The Church has been very careful to outline the limits of the infallible teachings of the Church and they do not extend to the catechism. Ordinarily, quarrels can be resolved between Catholics with an appeal to the catechism. But if it can be demonstrated that the catechism is incompatible with a teaching of an infallible ecumenical council, or an ex cathedra statement from the pope, the pope, or the council would take precedence as far as teaching authority goes.
So the reason why a Catholic might not accept some part of the catechism is that the Church did not intend that the catechism be an infallible document, but a full explanation of her teachings many of which have been defined elsewhere as infallible. Many of the infallible definitions of the Church are necessarily couched in cumbersome and sometimes difficult philosophical and theological terms apart from detailed explanantion. The most valuable teaching tools of the Church, such as the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas, or the various catechisms the Church has promulgated, are valuable to bring light and understanding. As I understand it, it is permissible that a faithful Catholic might take issue with an item here or there in the CCC. One can doubt the catechism, one cannot doubt the Council of Trent. That is why a poster might appeal to a council over the CCC.
I was in a conversation on another thread and it came up that previous Councils (Council of Trent, in this instance) and Papal Bulls override the teachings in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church.
**Councils and papal bulls have to be understood in their historical context.
Boniface VIII’s UNAM SANCTAM, for example, was primarily aimed at one of the German emperors.
And there have been only TWO (count 'em!) papal statements that are generally considered infallible.
And then, there are always people who misunderstand either the CCC, Magisterial staments, or both.**
I’m sorry–did I offend you? I don’t know what Catholics believe regarding the CCC. I thought I did but found out I did not. I intended no accusation–just a request for information.
I wasn’t intending to speak for all Catholics. Sorry if this wasn’t clear–the title of my thread was “Why do some Catholics reject parts of the CCC?” Maybe I should have been clearer inside my post.
I didn’t bring up Protestantism except to say that I was one before I came into the RCC and my family is Protestant. Why the question? Obviously Protestant teachings are varied, hence the numerous denominations. One of the things I appreciate about the Catholic Church is that I felt its teaching were clear and authoritative. Now I feel a little adrift–it’s not a criticism of you or the billion+ Catholics.
I think I should not have brought this up here. But I sent the question to Ask an Apologist and haven’t received a reply–I don’t blame them. I don’t think it meets the broad question criteria and I understand. Just confused and hoped for some information, but your response mostly just confirmed I should look somewhere else.
After I responded to redrosetea I read all of your posts. Thank you for your contributions–I love to study and would welcome any recommendations for how to begin to understand the Councils, Papal Bulls, etc. and why they are binding while the current teachings are not.
That’s a good point. However, it wasn’t infallible was it (I understand that Orthodox do not subscribe to papal infallibility, so look at it from a Catholic viewpoint)? In fact, neither were. But we should consider that the Baltimore Catechism was the main catechism taught in almost every Catholic school. The current CCC is almost never taught.
Well, these days I think I’d go for something printed prior to Vat. II. I haven’t looked at a cathecism since childhood. I’m getting the impression that there’s a trend to update and modernise just about every old book these days, especially if it’s aimed at children.
I consider it a form of mind-control or state propaganda: “You’re free to say or think what you want, as long as it’s acceptable. And non-judgemental. And tolerant. And in line with the New Thinking. Which we decide.”
The doctrines of the Church don’t change, so an old catechism should do the job. Cripes, it’s like living in a science-fiction story from my youth; Farenheit 451 or 1984 somesuch!
The teachings of the Catholic Church are based on three items. The Bible, Tradition, and the Majesterium. That third item is very important, because it is the “interpreter” of all that has gone before. As time passes, this teaching function continues to study scripture, tradition, and the previous teachings and inspired by the Holy Spirit develops a more complete and perhaps a more nuanced understanding of what the previous teachings actually mean. The problem arises when intelligent persons, without teaching authority attempt to interpret the actual meaning on their own. That’s when good Catholics inherit the protestant or non-Catholic problem of many different interpretations. The Holy Spirit does not guarentee the understanding of individuals who do not have this teaching authority. Thus the non-acceptance.
Other than theologians who would ususaly argue and dispute other interpretations and understsandings, the majority of those that reject parts of the CCC are “Cafeteria”
Catholics who pick and chose only what they like and agree with. Many of the others usually don’t really understand the truths and their definitions. Although pronouncements
of a council, along with the pope, are infallible, their teachings may be a further
explanation or clarification of known truths. Since the Magisterium is dependent and directed by a council, its issuances can be accepted as the teachings of truth and its
“stamp of approval” usually means freedom from error.