18 December 2018

How and how speedily does the Teaching of the Church "develop"?

PF is reported to have declared a day or so ago that his abandonment of the Church's previous teaching on the death penalty "doesn't imply any contradiction with the teaching of the past." He combines this with an insouciant statement that previous popes "ignored the primacy of Mercy over Justice". Dear dear dear. Pretty nasty, that. What silly fellows they must all have been to make such an elementary error. But Don't Worry. All, apparently, can be explained by 'development'.

We've had this cheap trick before. I don't know if you can still find it on the Vatican TV player ... the News Conference at which the Graf von Schoenborn 'introduced' Amoris laetitia. Right at the end, Diane Montagna, with an air of puzzlement, asked whether the new papal teaching contradicted that of Familiaris consortio.

With a sweet smile which has undoubtedly served him well in the Graf's rise within the hierarchy, he answered that No it did not; but it developed it. And he advised his questioner to go away ...

... and read Newman.

                                                        TIMELINE

(1) Familiaris consortio was published in 1981; it repeated the Biblical precepts which for centuries had underpinned the Church's conviction that the Holy Euchatist ought not to be administered to "remarried" divorcees.
(2) Sacramentum caritatis, 2005, repeated this teaching.
(3) Amoris laetitia is dated 19 March 2016, and was released 8 April 2016.
(4) On 5 September 2016 'Guidelines' published by a group of Argentine bishops reached PF. These guidelines are commonly interpreted as allowing some 'remarried' divorcees to approach the Sacraments.
(5) On the same day, PF replied to this group of bishops praising their 'Guidelines' and saying "There is no other interpretation".
(6) On 5 June 2017, PF formally instructed Cardinal Parolin in audientia to have these texts published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis as being "Authentic Magisterium".
(7) They duly appeared in AAS together with the Rescriptum ex audientia Sanctissimi.
(8) Cardinal Kasper, a Great Theologian, subsequently explained that the question was now authoritatively closed. Roma locuta est ...


                                      JOHN HENRY NEWMAN ...

... gave a rather different, and more painstaking, historical perspective. I expect he was a Silly Fellow, too.

" ... the Church of Rome has originated nothing ... 

" ... all through Church history from the first, how slow is authority in intervening! Perhaps a local teacher, or a doctor in some local school, hazards a proposition, and a controversy ensues. It smoulders or burns in one place, no one interposing; Rome simply lets it alone. Then it comes before a bishop; or some priest, or some professor in some other seat of learning takes it up; and there is a second stage of it. Then it comes before a university, and it may be condemned by the theological faculty. So the controversy proceeds year after year, and Rome is still silent. An appeal perhaps is next made to a seat of authority inferior to Rome; and then at last after a long while it comes before the supreme power. Meanwhile, the question has been ventilated and turned over and over again, and viewed on every side of it, and authority is called upon to pronounce a decision, which has already been arrived at by reason. But even then, perhaps the supreme authotrity hesitates to do so, and nothing is determined on the point for years; or so generally and vaguely, that the whole controversy has to be gone through again, before it is ultimately determined."

15 comments:

StMichael said...

I am not sure how to respond to these claims. On one hand, John Finnis has a very reasonable response affirming that coming to affirm the intrinsic immorality of capital punishment could be a real development of doctrine. On the other, I am unsure how to square the intrinsic immorality of capital punishment with the divine commands of the Mosaic Law that require its implementation.

The Archlaic said...

Silly Newman indeed, the process he describes sounds terribly un-progressive, definitely not well-suited to the genius of modern man! How can the Church hope to be relevant when it doesn’t know when to get the heck out of the way and let folks get on with their lives?

E sapelion said...

Over the centuries the Church has considerably varied rules about consanguinity and affinity. For part of the Middle Ages marriage was forbidden within the sixth degree, which meant that a peasant would have nobody in their accessible circle whom they could marry, according to Canon Law. Almost certainly the same would be true of the nobility, unless you looked abroad for a spouse. Of course everbody ignored it, unless someone rich and powerful found it to their advantage to apply for a declaration of nullity.
I do not know what to make of the exception quoted at Matthew 5:32 repeated at Matthew 19:9. And I do not know what to make of the different marriage disciplines of the various Orthodox churches. But I would like to see a calm, careful debate about such matters among competent theologians, and conducted in the open not in some cabal that claims the sanctity of the pontifical secret.
As far as I know, no Orthodox church would approve the remarriage of the 'guilty party', but some tolerate remarriage by the 'innocent party' where adultery and desertion can be demonstrated. And even there a protracted period of penance is required before readmission to Communion.

Papabile said...

The cheap trick was initially previewed with his aeromagisterial statement on birth control & Zika, where the Holy Father said birth control could be used as a defense against Zika.

It was literally an inversion of Pius XII's teaching on the four valid reasons for recourse to the infertile period. Pius XII was clear that recourse to the infertile period could be used when "medical, eugenic, economic and social so-called “indications,”" came into play -- MEDICAL and EUGENIC being two of them.

He was ruling out the use of birth control for things like Zika and pointing Catholics to have recourse to the infertile period.

It's +Francis!™ inverts that very teaching.

Amused said...

"Defense against Zika"--isn't that the worst? When you stop and think about it, and realize birth control does nothing to defend against/attack the VIRUS--all it does is prevent the existence of or kill a PERSON who might have been affected by the virus, if he or she had lived!

Justina said...

According to the Bergoglians, Christianity can come to terms with everything--even Islam itself.

What gives them away is their ceaseless drumbeat demanding an end to all that was formerly recognized as orthodoxy. Evidently, even they recognize that you can't have things both ways.

Fr. VF said...

This comment contains the gender-neutral usage that Catholics must resist:

"For part of the Middle Ages marriage was forbidden within the sixth degree, which meant that a peasant would have nobody in their accessible circle whom they could marry, according to Canon Law."

A Catholic should write:

"For part of the Middle Ages marriage was forbidden within the sixth degree, which meant that a peasant would have nobody in HIS accessible circle whom HE could marry, according to Canon Law."

Marko Ivančičević said...

@E sapelion

This is not a question of getting a divorce or the possibility of a truly Christian version of it. This is a question of the first marriage still existing while the persons in question engage in adultery.

Scenarios proposed usually go like this:
-husband bad, wife good (obviously, we all know women are angels incarnate), wife find new husband
-wife get new kids with new husband
-wife must have coitus with new husband because otherwise new kids feel bad
-wife and new husband will actually sin if they don't have coitus anymore bcuz kids cry

We won't even mention the question of public scandal and separation because WOULD SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!

also:
-wife must have coitus with new husband, otherwise new husband get angry

This is an actual argument which the hierarchy has brought forward. It's not even worth explaining why it is utterly ridiculous.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Yes, the main point is, Francis' theology concerning divorce and remarriage and the death penalty are not and cannot be reconciled with the past teaching of the Church. No twisting or manipulation of the text will suffice, it is theological error pure and simple. Just making the claim as Francis does, does not substantiate his claim. Its another example of the emperors new clothes. Anyone who has studied previous Church documents and theological manuals used to teach seminarians before the 60s can easily see through this facade. These are sad times indeed.

Andrew M. Greenwell said...

Well, Fr. VF, not only that, but there is a lack of parallelism between the subject (peasant, singular) and the personal pronoun (their, plural). So not only no Catholic ought write that way; no English speaker ought to write that way.

Donna Bethell (formerly known as Rose Marie) said...

I certainly agree with Fr. VF and Andrew M. Greenwald. I offer this horror to ruin your day (no context is necessary): "themself."

John Fisher said...

PF should realise his own opinions as not a development of anything. He like us must conform himself to what we have received. He throws the relay baton away and gives us something he substituted telling us its a development when really it's just his capricious choice. Does PF understand what his office entails? Does he grasp the limits and responsibilities? I think not...

Jeff said...

@ E sapelion said...

"Over the centuries the Church has considerably varied rules about consanguinity and affinity."

Those were Church laws based upon their knowledge at the time. Such things can change over time, of course. But God's Law cannot.

"I do not know what to make of the exception quoted at Matthew 5:32 repeated at Matthew 19:9."

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D. has the best treatment of that issue that I have seen, in his book:

THE MARRIAGE COVENANT: A BIBLICAL STUDY ON MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, AND REMARRIAGE

Chapter 6

DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IN THE BIBLE

18 December, 2018

http://web.archive.org/web/20070608182608/https://www.biblicalperspectives.com/books/marriage/4.html

Jeff said...

@StMichael said...

I am not sure how to respond to these claims. On one hand, John Finnis has a very reasonable response affirming that coming to affirm the intrinsic immorality of capital punishment could be a real development of doctrine. On the other, I am unsure how to square the intrinsic immorality of capital punishment with the divine commands of the Mosaic Law that require its implementation.

18 December, 2018
-----

The best treatment I've seen of the Magisterial teaching on the death penalty and the limits to development of doctrine in his article:

Catholicism & Capital Punishment
by Avery Cardinal Dulles
April 2001

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2001/04/catholicism-capital-punishment

Jeff said...

@ John Fisher said...

PF should realise his own opinions as not a development of anything. He like us must conform himself to what we have received. He throws the relay baton away and gives us something he substituted telling us its a development when really it's just his capricious choice. Does PF understand what his office entails? Does he grasp the limits and responsibilities? I think not...

26 December, 2018
---------

I am afraid that Pope Francis may have a very different conception of what his office entails than the Church Tradition on that matter:

Papal Advisor Claims Pope Francis is Above Scripture and Tradition. That Flatly Contradicts Church Teaching.
By JOHN ZMIRAK Published on August 14, 2018
https://stream.org/papal-advisor-claims-that-pope-francis-is-above-scripture-and-tradition/

----------

The Ignatian Qualities of the Petrine Ministry of Pope Francis
Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB
July 31, 2018
http://saltandlighttv.org/blogfeed/getpost.php?id=72516#

Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is “free from disordered attachments.” Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture. Pope Francis has brought to the Petrine office a Jesuit intellectualism. By choosing the name Francis, he is also affirming the power of humility and simplicity. Pope Francis, the Argentine Jesuit, is not simply attesting to the complementarity of the Ignatian and Franciscan paths. He is pointing each day to how the mind and heart meet in the love of God and the love of neighbour. And most of all, he reminds us each day how much we need Jesus, and also how much we need one another along the journey.