Why does the Church seem to condemn what it used to condone and vice-versa?

This has been a major stumbling block for my faith. Note that I do not mean any contempt here; over the years, I have come across disturbing discrepancies between what the Church teaches and what she has alower over the centuries. I’ll list them one by one:

  1. The death penalty. If not a reversal of doctrine, the Church has definitely changed its attitude. Nowadays, the Church is vehemently opposed to it, but as recently as 200 years ago seemed all too eager to put the headsmen of the papal states to work.

  2. Child brides, arranged marriages, and incestous marriages. I once saw a list of “sins against marriage”, and it included these two things.

Yet, royals and nobles were allowed to marry their siblings to “keep their bloodles pure”, and the minimum marriage age for women in Italy was raised to 12 as recently as the late 1800s; that was after Italy had been unified, which apparently means the papal states and other surrounding areas were okay with it.

Furthermore, in Medieval Europe there was allegedly a custom known as Droit du signuere, in which a king or lord was allowed to have sex with subordinate women the night before her wedding. That is something the Church today would be moving Heaven and Earth to stop.

  1. Attitudes towards women and liturgy. Whilst skimming through a copy of the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, one entry says that a woman must never approach the Sanctuary, and if she must, she is not allowed to speak. Other declarations said that women actively participating (including altar girls) is an “evil practice”. Apart from the Liturgy, it seems battered wives were not permitted to leave their husbands.

  2. Attitudes towards Islam. Many saints have had fiery words for Muslims, and none of them sounded like the olive branches JPII extended to them. Even Voltaire, no friend of Catholicism, was apolled by Islam’s claims. This one is particularly hard for me; Paul warns to reject a different gospel “even if an angel from Heaven gave it to you” (Muhammad claimed to receive revelations from Gabriel).

Furthermore, recent popes have claimed Muslims “worship the same God”. A cursory skimming of the Quran shows that this simply cannot be true. Muhammad’s exposure to Christianity was erroneous, mostly based of the Nestorian heresy.

Theological semantics notwithstanding, anyone can tell that the Quran is full of commands for Muslims to rape and subjugate women and children and to “kill nonbelievers wherever they are”. Never mind the fact that it claims Alexander the Great (who lived over a millennium before Muhammad) was a Muslim.JPII, a canonized saint, kissed this book. What gives?

  1. Ecumenism. I think one doctor of the Church said that “anyone who prays with a heretic becomes a heretic himself”. So why are we still in “dialogue” with separated Christians? Why are we not calling for their conversion?

  2. Enlightenment thought. The Church used to reject it wholesale, especially in the political sphere. Now we see Church men calling the laity to “faithful citizenship” within democratic republics, and to disobey unjust laws.

But in the 19th Century, the Church told freedom-fighting Catholics in Ireland and Poland to “submit to lawful authority” (that is, the non-Catholic crowns of Britain and Russia, respectively), all in the name of the Social Kingship of Christ. Does Christ’s Social Kingship mean whomever has political power is given free regn to do whatever?

1). I think you have a valid point.
2) I think attitudes in marriage were a political matter not a theological one. A price we are still paying today as seen in the push for ss"m".
3) I think this has changed for the better to better reflect the worth of women in society. I’m proud that this has changed but I think the pendulum has swung too far and will swing back to a more balanced view.
4). I agree
5). I agree
6). Again I think this is more a problem with politics and not theology.

But even if you take the view you do I think the church has the right to adjust her teachings. Not change dogma but adjust her teaching to the people she serves. Even if I disagree or cringe at her way of trying to reach the people.

I would imagine that the fact that the church now condemns these things would *encourage *your faith instead of being a stumbling block?

Do you not agree with these more humanist, kinder changes in teachings?

Or is it that are you upset that the church once allowed these things?

.

They are good things, I agree. It just seems like the Church is talking out of both sides of her mouth. I want to be proven wrong, but it sounds very much like Orwellian doublespeak. Say one thing, then say the opposite direction thing, and claim the latter has always been the status quo.

And yes, I do feel scandalized that the Church used to be okay with such things.

You are correct in discerning that the doctrine concerning the death penalty has not changed but attitudes have. A Catholic can currently support the death penalty in good conscience, but the Bishops hate it for some reason and will make it seem immoral.

Feminism crept into the Church, which caused women to rip off their veils and demand to have a role in the Mass. It was not the desire of the Church for women to do this, but it was forced to change the rules and permit it since rebellion was so widespread.

I have read that Mohammedans *adore * the one true God but they believe in a false god.

True ecumenism focuses on the conversion of non-Catholics by stating the truth. False ecumenism is this idea of putting away our differences and living as if the Catholic religion is equal to other religions.

[BIBLEDRB][/BIBLEDRB]

You know, sometimes I think feminism gets a bad rap. There was a time when people really did think women were only good for being their husbands’ cooks, cleaners, punching bags, and sperm dumpsters.

What is so corrosive to humanity and orthodoxy about the fact that women have more dignity and capabilities than that? (abortion and contraception notwithstanding)

Some of these issues are difficult and would require a great deal of study of the relevant time periods to really understand. I am confident, however, that none of these issues represent a departure from the faith of the Fathers. None of these constitute dogma or fundamental doctrinal truths changing, but represent one or more of the following:

  1. development of doctrine: we must trust the living magisterium… Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Church comes to a better and fuller understanding of the gospel. The death penalty is not intrinsically evil, but the Church’s understanding of its application has evolved so that it is more in line with the Gospel.
  2. shifting political moores… The right of Lords to sexually abuse their subordinates may have been tolerated by society, and perhaps some Church leaders even turned a blind eye, but you’ll never find any Church council, pope, doctor or saint from any era that promoted or officially accepted the practice.
  3. changing disciplinary canons: the Church has the power to bind and to loose. For women to enter the sanctuary in the past was evil for the Church forbid it. Disobeying the Church is evil. Today the Church has changed this matter of ecclesiastical law.

JackVk #1
You seem to have several misconceptions about Catholicism, and “allegedly a custom” seems to reveal an openness to accept without real facts.

  1. On the Koran,
    Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Raphael stated: “I affirmed that he was present when John Paul II kissed the Muslim ‘holy’ book:
    "At the end of the audience the Pope bowed to the Muslim holy book, the Qu’ran, presented to him by the delegation, and he kissed it as a sign of respect.”

While the Pope’s action was not necessary, but a gesture of goodwill, an outright condemnation such as you are so quick to offer is not necessary either. It is a matter of prudence and wisdom.

Do you not know how the Christ spoke to His own Apostles? To His own Apostles, “whom He loved to the end” Jesus exclaimed: “Have you no sense, no wits, are your hearts dulled, can’t you see, your ears hear, don’t you remember?” (Mk 8:17-18) (Frank Sheed, Christ In Eclipse, Sheed & Ward 1978, p 42). "With individuals He was very much the doctor with a duty not only to tell them what was wrong with them, but to make sure they realized it.” (Ibid. p 40-41).

It should be noted that the renewed Muslim extremism through ISIS, while supported by many, is also unsupported by many Muslims, and was not present at that time.

  1. The Second Vatican Council taught that Muslims worship the one true God. Nostra Aetate 3]
    catholic.com/quickquestions/is-it-the-popes-private-opinion-that-muslims-worship-the-same-god

This does not imply that they know The Blessed Trinity, or accept the teaching of Christ and His foundation, the Catholic Church.

  1. On Ecumenism we “dialogue” with our separated brethren so as to enable them to see the truth and greatness of Christ’s own Catholic Church and all of His definitive teaching. That is why many have converted.

  2. Re the Enlightenment:
    Don’t you know of St John Paul II in Centesimus Annus, 13, 1991?
    “The atheism of which we are speaking is also closely connected with the rationalism of the Enlightenment, which views human and social reality in a mechanistic way. Thus there is a denial of the supreme insight concerning man’s true greatness, his transcendence in respect to earthly realities, the contradiction in his heart between the desire for the fullness of what is good and his own inability to attain it and, above all, the need for salvation which results from this situation.”

The so-called “Enlightenment” was exposed for its degradation by St John Paul II:
“The rationalism of the Enlightenment put to one side the true God – in particular, God the Redeemer.

“The consequence was that man was supposed to live by reason alone, as if God did not exist…as if God were not interested in the world. The rationalism of the Enlightenment was able to accept a God outside of the world primarily because it was an unverifiable hypothesis. It was crucial, however, that such a God be expelled from the world.”
Crossing The Threshold Of Hope, St John Paul II, Random House Australia, 1994, p 53.]

Even Friedrich Nietzsche (‘God is dead’) wrote: “Strictly speaking there is no such thing as science ‘without any presuppositions’… a philosophy, a ‘faith’, must always be there first, so that science can acquire a direction, a meaning, a limit, a method, a right to exist… It is still a metaphysical faith that underlines our faith in science.” (*Genealogy of Morals *III, 23-24).

Actions are rightly judged by an individual as to being right or wrong through the natural moral law and conscience, which are clarified by Christ, the Son of God, through His Church.
That is how an individual can and should judge all actions.

A government has the right and duty to enact just laws to protect society. Unless a person is judged to be incapable of rational behaviour then that person is judged according to the law of the land, and in a democracy has the benefit of a lawyer to argue the case based on facts and the existing law, before a magistrate or judge.

The best laws would take into account God’s teaching through His Catholic Church.

  1. The death penalty. If not a reversal of doctrine, the Church has definitely changed its attitude. Nowadays, the Church is vehemently opposed to it, but as recently as 200 years ago seemed all too eager to put the headsmen of the papal states to work.

catholic.com/magazine/articles/did-the-church-change-its-teaching-on-the-death-penalty

  1. Child brides, arranged marriages, and incestous marriages. I once saw a list of “sins against marriage”, and it included these two things.

Yet, royals and nobles were allowed to marry their siblings to “keep their bloodles pure”, and the minimum marriage age for women in Italy was raised to 12 as recently as the late 1800s; that was after Italy had been unified, which apparently means the papal states and other surrounding areas were okay with it.

Nothing short of official Church teaching (e.g. in the Catechism, an encyclical etc.) can be invoked to suggest that the Church has changed its teaching.

Furthermore, in Medieval Europe there was allegedly a custom known as Droit du signuere, in which a king or lord was allowed to have sex with subordinate women the night before her wedding. That is something the Church today would be moving Heaven and Earth to stop.

The Church has always taught that pre-marital sex is sinful. There is no need to speak out about every issue individually.

  1. Attitudes towards women and liturgy. Whilst skimming through a copy of the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, one entry says that a woman must never approach the Sanctuary, and if she must, she is not allowed to speak. Other declarations said that women actively participating (including altar girls) is an “evil practice”. Apart from the Liturgy, it seems battered wives were not permitted to leave their husbands.

The 1917 Code has been abrogated, so one can maintain that a particular action was evil in so far as it was a deviation from the Church’s discipline, bearing in mind that the Church’s discipline is not immutable in itself. It would be evil to reject any imposed/enforced discipline, for as long as it is enforced.

  1. Attitudes towards Islam. Many saints have had fiery words for Muslims, and none of them sounded like the olive branches JPII extended to them. Even Voltaire, no friend of Catholicism, was apolled by Islam’s claims. This one is particularly hard for me; Paul warns to reject a different gospel “even if an angel from Heaven gave it to you” (Muhammad claimed to receive revelations from Gabriel).

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html

I think we often emphasise our similarities too much, but there is nothing intrinsically wrong in doing so.

Furthermore, recent popes have claimed Muslims “worship the same God”. A cursory skimming of the Quran shows that this simply cannot be true. Muhammad’s exposure to Christianity was erroneous, mostly based of the Nestorian heresy.

These words are misleading, and I would never use them myself. Perhaps it is a confused attempt to highlight the truth that worship, even when it is imperfect, can still reach God i.e. God accepts authentic worship (charity, implicit faith etc.), even if it comes from those who have an incorrect understanding of God. (There are varying degrees of error; the child, for example, might think that God is an old man, but, so long as they love and seek God, such ignorance is excusable.).

Not a perfect answer, but I tried :slight_smile:

Theological semantics notwithstanding, anyone can tell that the Quran is full of commands for Muslims to rape and subjugate women and children and to “kill nonbelievers wherever they are”. Never mind the fact that it claims Alexander the Great (who lived over a millennium before Muhammad) was a Muslim.JPII, a canonized saint, kissed this book. What gives?

jimmyakin.com/2006/04/jp2_and_the_qur.html

Unfortunately there is a lot of PC today…

  1. Ecumenism. I think one doctor of the Church said that “anyone who prays with a heretic becomes a heretic himself”. So why are we still in “dialogue” with separated Christians? Why are we not calling for their conversion?

Try Fr. William Most:

“Appendix I: Summary of Decree on Ecumenism”
catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getchap.cfm?worknum=10&chapNum=10

“Appendix II: Declaration on Religious Liberty”
catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getchap.cfm?WorkNum=10&ChapNum=11

  1. Enlightenment thought. The Church used to reject it wholesale, especially in the political sphere. Now we see Church men calling the laity to “faithful citizenship” within democratic republics, and to disobey unjust laws.

But in the 19th Century, the Church told freedom-fighting Catholics in Ireland and Poland to “submit to lawful authority” (that is, the non-Catholic crowns of Britain and Russia, respectively), all in the name of the Social Kingship of Christ. Does Christ’s Social Kingship mean whomever has political power is given free regn to do whatever?

No. The Church speaks out against abortion, euthanasia and countless other evils. To “submit to lawful authority” is not an unconditional statement.

You go, girls! Something of a slippery slope perhaps. ‘We don’t want to do this, but seeing as so many people want it…’

Veils are making a comeback.

Oh, I didn’t realize that the church is saying the latter has always been the status quo.
But that makes no sense.
It’s easy to look at the history books and see otherwise, is it not?

.

I don’t see how women’s desire to have jobs and equal pay has anything to do with them “ripping off their veils”.

The Doctrine of the Faith from 1976 says:

Another objection is based upon the transitory character that one claims to see today in some of the prescriptions of Saint Paul concerning women, and upon the difficulties that some aspects of his teaching raise in this regard.
But it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on their head (1 Cor 11:2-16); such requirements no longer have a normative value.

.

  1. Child brides, arranged marriages, and incestous marriages. I once saw a list of “sins against marriage”, and it included these two things.

Yet, royals and nobles were allowed to marry their siblings to “keep their bloodles pure”, and the minimum marriage age for women in Italy was raised to 12 as recently as the late 1800s; that was after Italy had been unified, which apparently means the papal states and other surrounding areas were okay with it.

Furthermore, in Medieval Europe there was allegedly a custom known as Droit du signuere, in which a king or lord was allowed to have sex with subordinate women the night before her wedding. That is something the Church today would be moving Heaven and Earth to stop.

Not being Catholic I can’t address all your questions. But this particular passage sounds like you’re getting your medieval history lessons out of Game of Thrones and not actual history books. Because I really can’t think of any RL European marriage between siblings. Marriages between close cousins, even uncles and nieces, yes. The Spanish Habsburgs eventually imploded because of inbreeding, the last Habsburg king was insane and sterile. But siblings?

And the whole “droit du signure” myth is seen by most mainstream historians, a myth.

straightdope.com/columns/read/1139/did-medieval-lords-have-right-of-the-first-night-with-the-local-brides

The right of the first night — also known as jus primae noctis (law of the first night), droit du seigneur (the lord’s right), etc. — has been the subject of locker-room humor and a fair amount of scholarly debate for centuries. Voltaire condemned it in 1762, it’s a plot device in Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro, and various old histories refer to it.

The 16th-century chronicler Boece, for example, says that in ancient times the Scottish king Evenus III decreed that “the lord of the ground sal have the maidinhead of all virginis dwelling on the same.” Supposedly this went on for hundreds of years until Saint Margaret persuaded the lords to replace the jus primae noctis with a bridal tax.

Not likely. Skeptics point out that (1) there never was any King Evenus, (2) Boece included a lot of other stuff in his account that was clearly mythical, and (3) he was writing long after the alleged events.

The story is pretty much the same all over. If you believe the popular tales, the droit du seigneur prevailed throughout much of Europe for centuries. Yet detailed examinations of the available records by reputable historians have found “no evidence of its existence in law books, charters, decretals, trials, or glossaries,” one scholar notes. No woman ever commented on the practice, unfavorably or otherwise, and no account ever identifies any female victim by name.

And even if the custom was engaged in by some nobles, that doesn’t mean the Church approved. Having a consenting mistress was even more common, but as I understand, kings and nobles HAD to forsake those mistresses and express repentance, before they could be granted the Church’s last rites.

Also, there is a difference between arranged marriage vs forced marriage, which has always been cause for annulment. The French Henri IV’s first marriage to Margaret of Valois was extremely unhappy even compared to most royal marriages of the time, and was childless. They were eventually granted an annulment, and Margaret did claim she had been forced into the marriage. Of course it’s hard to tell how valid this claim was, but Margaret had refused many offers of marriage before this, and had actually been caught in bed with a lover shortly before the marriage, so it is plausible.

But even if you question the basis for the annulment as corrupt in some way, whoever granted the annulment didn’t claim “kings and queens can get an annulment whenever they want” but did base it on actual Church teaching.

I think that’s the issue many who study the Church gets confused about it, assuming mistakes or even malicious misdeeds by Popes, bishops, priests, etc., are the same as official Church teaching. Same now. Many priests shy away from discussing the Church teachings regarding contraception, and some even tell people it’s OK to use ABC in certain situations. But that’s not the same as the Church teaching itself changing.

Men and women, because they are created differently, have different roles in the Church and in society yet they are still equal in dignity. In the Church, women should not be allowed to serve at the altar and the tradition of veiling should never have been discarded.

I wish

These things are not true.

While there have been first-cousin marriages in Europe (because during The Middle Ages, almost all of Europe’s Nobility was interrelated), sibling marriages have been seen as abhorrent since the classical era.

As for Age of Consent, you have to understand that the age has not always been 18: in Shakespear’s play “Romeo and Juliet”, Juliet is only 13. In several african countries today, the age of consent is placed at 14. Even the United States only made Child Pornography illegal in the 1970s (which most will recall was fairly modern).

As for The Right of First Night: it is simply a myth. No Medieval Legal Document has ever been found giving nobility this right.

Most of the documents on it originate long after the end of The Middle Ages, when Enlightenment Era Radicals used it as a means of smearing The Middle Ages and The Aristocracy. It was a Pundit’s Tool, the only cultures that had laws similar to it were non-christian ones.

Within the Church I can understand, but in society? Why do so many Catholics object to women having roles outside of being a homemaker?

This is a rather extreme example, but in 2008 an SSPX high school in Kansas forfeited a basketball game because one referee was a woman, and they resented the idea of a woman having a position of authority over the men of the basketball team. That sounds frighteningly like something that would happen in SaudI Arabia.

Saying that men and women are “equal in dignity” while men hold all positions of power also echoes the “more equal than others” status of the pigs in Animal Farm.

I apologize if I sound contentious. I make statements like this on CAF in order to be refuted. I want to be proven wrong.

I used to be into Game of Thrones, so maybe my statements have been leavened by that :o. But there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. The way history and it’s narratives have been interpreted is a subject of deep scholarly study.

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