Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Roman Catholic Research & Interpretation

In Ineffabilus Deus, Pope Pius IX’s declaration of the Immaculate Conception (the idea that Mary was born without original sin), the Pope referred to sanctions issued by previous Popes, forbidding interpreting scripture or the fathers in a way other than clearly asserting the Immaculate Conception.1  He then commissions a study by numbers scholars to get their opinion on the Immaculate Conception. 2    Of course, they are forbidden from giving him any other answer then the one he wants them to give.  There are a rot of problems with this approach, but one of them is that people’s opinions are inherently personal and ultimately can’t be outsourced. 

1  "And therefore, against all and everyone of those who shall continue to construe the said Constitutions and Decrees in a manner apt to frustrate the favor which is thereby given to the said doctrine, and to the feast and relative veneration, or who shall dare to call into question the said sentence, feast and worship, or in any way whatever, directly or indirectly, shall declare themselves opposed to it under any pretext whatsoever, were it but only to the extent of examining the possibilities of effecting the definition, or who shall comment upon and interpret the Sacred Scripture, or the Fathers or Doctors in connection therewith, or finally, for any reason, or on any occasion, shall dare, either in writing or verbally, to speak, preach, treat, dispute or determine upon, or assert whatsoever against the foregoing matters, or who shall adduce any arguments against them, while leaving them unresolved, or who shall disagree therewith in any other conceivable manner, we hereby declare that in addition to the penalties and censures contained in the Constitutions issued by Sixtus IV to which we want them to be subjected and to which we subject them by the present Constitution, we hereby decree that they be deprived of the authority of preaching, reading in public, that is to say teaching and interpreting; and that they be also deprived ipso facto of the power of voting, either actively or passively, in all elections, without the need for any further declaration; and that also, ipso facto, without any further declaration, they shall incur the penalty of perpetual disability from preaching, reading in public, teaching and interpreting, and that it shall not be possible to absolve them from such penalty, or remove it, save through ourselves, or the Roman Pontiffs who shall succeed us.  (link)

2  That we might proceed with great prudence, we established a special congregation of our venerable brethren, the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, illustrious for their piety, wisdom, and knowledge of the sacred scriptures. We also selected priests, both secular and regular, well trained in the theological sciences, that they should most carefully consider all matters pertaining to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin and make known to us their opinion.


De Maria said...

Hi Dan,

I understand your frustration. Have you ever read in Scripture:
Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Do you think he bought that pearl in order to deface it? I don't. I think he wanted to keep it as beautiful as the day he found it.

What does the Scripture say concerning the Gospel?
Romans 6:17
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

This, then, is the Catholic logic. We interpret Scripture according to the Tradition upon which Scripture is based. The CCC says it like this:
113 2. Read the Scripture within "the living Tradition of the whole Church". According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church's heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God's Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (". . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church").

You see, Jesus Christ did not write even one letter of Scripture. First, He established a Church (Matt 16:18), He appointed men in authority over this Church (Matt 16:19; 18:18). And then He commissioned that Church and those men to teach His commands in the whole world. In so doing, He established Tradition.

The Church then preached in the whole world and began to write the Scriptures as certain members of the Church were inspired by the Holy Spirit:
2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.


De Maria

De Maria said...

Sorry Dan, I think I was premature in ending that message. I don't think I took the logic to its conclusion.

The Pope is not trying to hinder progress. He wants to make sure that the doctrine is explained in a manner which does not contradict the revelation of our Lord.

Protestants frequently accuse us of eseigesis. And they are not far wrong. We don't discover anything new in Scripture. Before we read Scripture, we already know what it will say. Because we live the Traditions of the Church. The Traditions from which Scripture was written.

Whereas Protestants have abandoned both anchors. They no longer have the authority of the Church nor the foundation of Tradition. So, when the read the Scriptures, each Protestant can come to his own contradictory conclusion about what that Scripture means.

I hope that makes more sense.


De Maria