anti-clerical conservatives; the dangers of criticism

The conservative Catholic laity is sliding into Lutheranism.  Demanding married priests.  Pining for a spiritual Church in contrast to the visible “institutional” one.  Cursing the wealth and prestige of the post-Constantinian Church.  Celebrating the destroyed reputation of two canonized popes.  Wanting lay input in the selection of bishops.  Conceding most of the Protestant-liberal critique against the Church as she has existed since ancient times.  Not all of them by any means, but more than I’ve ever seen before.

I helped create this.  For years, I’ve done almost nothing on this site but criticize and insult the Pope and episcopate, screaming about their ambiguously heretical statements while taking for granted and ignoring the unambiguous heresy of the laity.  My intentions were good, not that that counts for anything.  I thought the Church would be better off if she stopped appeasing the modern world, stopped apologizing for her medieval record.  I thought Thomist arguments for the existence of God were flawed but that we could do better if we acknowledge the weaknesses and rebuild more rigorously.  A bit of tearing down, of clearing out, would have to precede this good work, but it was all in a good cause, I thought.  And when the good effects failed to materialize, I decided I just needed to tear down harder.  Innuendo replaced by blunt statement, blunt statement replaced by just-shy-of-blasphemous insult.  All the time thinking I was acting out of love for the Church, all the time actually doing Satan’s work.  ArkansasReactionary and other commenters tried to warn me, but I didn’t listen.

The natural conclusion to be drawn from my blog and those of many traditionalists is that the clergy as a class are contemptible and that our faction at least of the laity is holier, smarter, and braver.  People don’t need much encouragement to believe things like this, and from there it is a small step to demanding power for this superior group of which one is a part.

Why am I telling you this?  First, because it is you, my readers, whom I have scandalized and who deserve this apology.  But more importantly because I’m sure I’m not the only one who has fallen into this trap.  “Offering the Church unwanted help” might almost serve as an alternative definition of “heresy”.  The plan is to tear down and then rebuild, but looking back only the tearing down ever actually happens.

What can laymen do, then?  I’m surely not the one to say, but a few things are clear.  Involving ourselves in clerical politics has not been productive.  It is, in fact, very characteristic of the post-conciliar age, whose instincts have been to exalt the laity not by emphasizing the value of their distinctive roles but by giving them quasi-clerical things to do.  Certainly, we can dedicate ourselves to distinctively lay tasks such as figuring out how to implement an economy that respects Catholic social teaching, figuring out how to embed modern science in a theistic worldview, or hatching plans to reconquer the West.  We can also criticize the infidelity of the laity (punch horizontally rather than up).  If the laity is going to initiate a broader reform of the Church (which I doubt, but many seem to believe it), it will have to reform itself first.  Medieval reforms were never led by lax orders, and the laity will surely not achieve anything good if it asks nothing of itself.  After all, most of what has happened to the Church in the past half century has come from the clergy pandering to us.

I will cull more old posts when I get the chance.  I am also beginning a policy that comments with blanket insults of the clergy will be deleted.

56 Responses

  1. God bless you. And thank you for saying it.

  2. Episcopal response to sexual abuse allegations has been to go social justice, including upping the war on marriage, which hints at overly friendly connections with our secular elite.

  3. This is the kind of self-flagellation we see in liberal, race-denying, self-hating whites – except it’s in matters of Church.
    Clergy is self-flagellating for being clergy, laity is self-flagellating for being laity, then we have clergy trying to be laity and laity trying to e clergy. Clown world.

    I don’t except our spiritual fathers to be what they’re not nor should they fight our battles where it’s inappopriate — the struggle for elite status. In this regard the laity should be separate yet connected to clergy in matters of religion. This is nothing new.

    Yet what we clearly see is a betrayal on their part to at least not unhelp the creation of the knightly class, fearing the gravy train comming from the socialist heathen state and the era of the easygoing democracy would end.
    It’s an unabashed collusion with the demo(n)cratic socialist heathen state to promote the globohomo values. It is a shameful capitalation before feminism-gnosticism-catharism squatting in every liberal and even hostility against any potential Church Elite. I will call the voice of a holy pope Saint Pius X to witness who said the Church must restore its elite shocktroops in every land.

    The anti-Crusade spirit is of the Devil. Are not our countries led by women, the childless, the sodomite and the effeminate, why should clergy be the exception, what shock should come to us then when we hear clergy is infested with sodomites. The Church cannot lead the consecrated life unless it is a militant life.

    Thou helpest the ungodly, and thou art joined in friendship with them that hate the Lord, and therefore thou didst deserve indeed the wrath of the Lord: ~ 2Chron19

  4. I suppose this “church militant” style of populist, anti elitist, and over-politicized mentality is just an ephemeral emotion among self described traditionalists in the west. It is very heartwarming to see educated laymen like you eventually see the potential spiritual damages the anti elitist culture (which is dominant among young people in democratic societies) can cause when it’s implemented in religious matters.

    Pray for me so I can have a vision such as yours to see my wrongdoings and the courage to repent

  5. I think I see what you are doing; and I respect your reasoning. But I predict that it will not work-out; because – sooner or later; and in your direct personal experience – you will be required to defend the indefensible; and you will Not be able to do it.

  6. Bruce Charlton – are you predicting that Bonald will not in the end save his soul? That is the goal is it not? See Matthew 16:26.

  7. The deepest problem is always ourselves, and the answer to that problem is always repentance. The Eucharist is an unspeakably generous gift; the trappings in which it is delivered are reduced to utter irrelevancy in comparison. And as you have been pointing out recently, and trenchantly, the vessel in which it comes to us just is the concrete institutional Apostolic Church, not some mystical ideal.

    The spirit of St. Athanasius can and should be with us; but always within the context of the source and center and summit of the Christian faith, Christ Himself, that is, the Blessed Sacrament.

  8. Soy

  9. “The conservative Catholic laity is sliding into Lutheranism.”

    Bingo!

  10. There was never any other end state possible.

  11. Plus Jim is correct.

  12. “Episcopal response to sexual abuse allegations” has been widely varied. Those who were already “social justice” went moreso, those who weren’t didn’t. It’s a stimulus that largely just pushed people further along the paths they were already on.

  13. You’ve said it yourself: you overreact; and then, you double down. Then, you become embarrassed by what you previously thought and wrote, and become convinced that it did more harm than good. And you say so.

    And you (metaphorically) crumple up all those previous BadThoughts and throw them in the trash. While saving any GoodThoughts that you now recognize you did indeed have, but you now know you had those Good Thoughts sort of by accident.

    And you start again. Because now you finally have Awakened. Now you know What’s What. Now you can tell your BadThoughts from your GoodThoughts. Now, you really, truly recognize your errors and your weaknesses, and have renewed confidence that now, NOW, every rant of yours from now on will be a TrueThought, consisting only of GoodThoughts, and have just the effects on others — and the Universe! — that you want.

    That, by your own admission, has been your pattern.

    I’m glad that’s finally all over now.

  14. >Because now you finally have Awakened. Now you know What’s What.
    >NOW, every rant of yours from now on will be a TrueThought, consisting only of GoodThoughts, and have just the effects on others — and the Universe! — that you want.
    >I’m glad that’s finally all over now.

    lol

    It’s the end of history for Bonald. Finally.

  15. Bonald – I think you’re right, and wrong.

    AFAIK the SSPX, widely criticized, is the only one to successfully navigate this middle ground. God-willing, they will continue to do so. They have avoided going down the track of total schism and heresy that so many have tried to pull them, while also not allowing for themselves to “defend the indefensible” of the obvious corruptions from the 1960’s spirit that blew through the Church, her priests, and the laity.

  16. In the above I meant, of course, a large visible group.

    I have met “a few good men” (diocesan Priests), of course.

  17. Slumlord, I think you forgot to turn off voice activation on your phone going through Starbucks drive thru.

  18. I thought Thomist arguments for the existence of God were flawed but that we could do better if we acknowledge the weaknesses and rebuild more rigorously.

    I am not an expert in Thomist philosophy, but I am certainly he did not regard his own work as articles of faith. I expect he would be disappointed in the end of good-faith efforts by lay scholarship to improve on his weaknesses.

  19. @Buckyinky

    No, this post was Soy Christianity in a nutshell. Reading this post kept impressing the Parable of the Talents on my mind and the censure within it.

    I cannot but have contempt for men who would turn a blind eye to moral evil when performed when performed by members of the clergy, justifying and soothing their conscience by an appeal to “authority’. “I was only obeying orders” was not a defence at Nuremberg and will not be one before God.

  20. “I was only obeying orders” was not a defence at Nuremberg and will not be one before God.

    Funny, since neither will “I was only obeying my premises” be for contraception apologists.

    Nuremberg was about obeying explicit commands to commit immorality. Where, exactly, in the OP was this advocated?

  21. @Wood

    I will have to answer before God for my actions. My conscience will be my only defence. I’m might burn for my position on contraception, but I won’t be burning for keeping silent while kiddy fiddlers and their enablers are given a free pass, soothing my conscience with the thought that I wasn’t being “anti-clerical”.

    The Shepherds haven’t just abandoned their sheep they’re leading them over a cliff. You keep silent, I’ll do the little bit that I can.

  22. Slumlord, I can’t think of anything you could say that would convince me you have any idea what Bonald is doing with his ‘talents.’

    As far as I can tell you’d just like him to get back to normal so you can get back to your scheduled program of drive-by scoffing you’ve been doing since 2010 or so.

  23. @Buckyinky

    I can’t think of anything you could say that would convince me you have any idea what Bonald is doing with his ‘talents.’

    I know.

  24. The laity of the Church is responsible for its corruption, not because they don’t command it, but because they don’t obey.

    Catholics do not live their secular lives in accordance with the Church, rather they try to live their spiritual lives in accordance with Liberalism.

    Catholics need to start living virtuously, while at the same time allowing their example to improve the Church. If lay Catholics run businesses, sit on city councils and run police forces, and do this in service to the clergy, I don’t see how the clergy could help but to be purified by their example.

    The Laity needs to reform the Church, but not by commanding it. They need to win the clergy over without a word.

  25. collegereactionary:

    Something very like that happened when a liberal bishop from Long Island moved to the more conservative diocese of Arlington, VA. I would not want to overstate the case, but the difference in the bishop himself, after several years, was quite noticeable.

    If you want a better sort of leader, first become a better sort of follower.

  26. buckyinky:

    Slumlord’s entire schtick is entirely explained by his support of contraception.

  27. <You keep silent, I’ll do the little bit that I can.

    Right. Apart from not answering my direct question, your position that YOUR scrappy can-do rebellion against Catholic authority is a-ok and is completely unrelated to all these evil clerics rebelling against Catholic authority is well noted.

  28. @Wood.

    Right. Apart from not answering my direct question

    In the I confess to You prayer, the following is said;

    ” confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do

    I highlighted it to help with comprehension. It’s not about following a immoral order, though given the tone of this combox I imagine that many here would turn a blind eye to clerical evil “for the sake of the church”, it’s about failing to act when you should.

    The Parable of the Talents is quite clear about the fate of those who fail to act when they should.

    Soy, endless soy.

  29. Everybody talks as if denouncing the clergy is somehow a brave act. In fact, it’s the easiest, most conformist, crowd-joining act imaginable. I’m not sure where people get the idea that I’m morally obliged to join an anticlerical mob even if I know doing so will promote evil. The Church is morally superior to any of her enemies, and clericalism is far better than the alternative of power in the hands of an apostate laity.

    Thank God I have no talents and almost no influence, or the damage I have done might have been greater. In any case, it is far too much. The rest of you should take a warning from my example. Don’t be so certain that nothing could be worse than the present state; don’t be so quick to denounce and ridicule.

  30. The Church is morally superior to any of her enemies, and clericalism is far better than the alternative of power in the hands of an apostate laity.

    Yeah, but here’s a theoretical question: what happens if you get an apostate clergy? How do you fix that problem up?

    If you think this is about mocking or denouncing the clergy, just simply for the sake of it, you’ve got this so wrong. There has been an unbroken record of loss with regard to Christianity for the last 100 years and there seem to be no real signs of revival. And the guys at the helm are acting like its business at usual. It’s not about wanting to do this, it’s because we’re the last line of defence.

  31. Right. Apart from not answering my direct question, your position that YOUR scrappy can-do rebellion against Catholic authority is a-ok and is completely unrelated to all these evil clerics rebelling against Catholic authority is well noted.

    You’re completely misrepresenting slumlord’s position. He doesn’t care about anyone rebelling against the authority of the Church. He cares about people rebelling against the authority-of-slumlord. He’s not rebelling against the authority-of-slumlord so there’s no contradiction.

  32. slumlord:

    And the guys at the helm are acting like its business at usual. It’s not about wanting to do this, it’s because we’re the last line of defence.

    You are like Elijah claiming that he is the only one left. Patience.

    Laity aren’t going to decide things against the clergy, neither can laity ‘sanctify the clergy’ of extraordinary sins, though they might for ordinary ones.

    What matters will be archbishops versus archbishops. Yes, Vigano may not count, but have patience.

  33. The first six abbots of Cluny are saints (the last of them the famous St. Hugh), and the 9th one is Blessed Peter. The horrible triple-term papacy of Benedict IX was ended only by the intervention of the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry III.
    Benedict was deposed, together with another claimant (Gregory VI, mentor of St. Gregory VII, who took name after him), and the bishop of Bamberg was chosen as Clement II. But when he died, Benedict was here again with the third term.
    Then again Henry III intervened, had Benedict IX deposed and succeeded by the prince-bishop of Brixen (Damasus II) who reigned only a month. Then St. Leo IX came. Emperor Henry III nominated both of them. And when Leo IX became pope, Hugo was already the abbot of Cluny.
    While all this was happening there was a Benedictine monk Robert who became known of his saintly life and competence. With support of Gregory VII, he founded the Molesme Abbey, then influenced St. Bruno to find the Carthusian Order and then, after some two decades in Molesme, discouraged by the too large number of vocations who could not stand his austerity, by the incoming wealth and emerging bureaucracy, he took St, Alberic and St Stephen Harding to found to Citeaux Abbey and, effectively, the Cistercian Order. Then, after a year and half, he was asked to return to Molesme while Alberic and Stephen continued with the separate Cistercian Order.
    Thus: first, the Theophilact papacy could not be crushed without the external help; second, the clergy, was much more virtuous in Germany, under centralization and watched by the Emperor (the clash was on its way), and Burgundy, with almost lack of any centralization.
    Figures like St. Hugh of Cluny, St. Robert of Molesme, St. Bruno or St. Bernard are needed.

  34. To be brutally honest, your writings, particularly the ones that stated that Catholics are no better off than Protestants in terms of ability to discern the truth (given the ambiguity of documents being released??) were influential in keeping me and the family out of the Church.

    Not even close to solely responsible (I am the world’s most indecisive man – always in an infinite loop of analysis and doubt). But influential.
    If I had a recommendation, I would delete these sorts of writings.

  35. I have done you a terrible evil, and I’m very sorry. I have been busy removing posts, and I will continue working on it.

    The point I was trying to make was that interpretation difficulties are overstated, whether made against Protestants or against Pope Francis’s critics among Catholic traditionalists. And it’s a good thing too, because these claims devour themselves via “Who clarifies the clarifier?” retort. We have a lot of context for reading the Bible and for reading the last two thousand years of Magisterial documents. Fortunately, Catholicism never claimed that everything is up for reinterpretation, and some day the pope might declare that Catholic teaching is the opposite of what we had all thought. In fact, the Council of Trent teaches the opposite, that we shall always understand the dogmas of the faith as the Church always has.

    So, no, there’s no getting around the need to interpret, but interpretation is not a hopeless task, and the Catholic interpretation of the “data” of revelation and the human experience has some compelling features. (See e.g. https://bonald.wordpress.com/the-catholic-perspective/.)

  36. I felt bad after posting that comment. You did not do me wrong – I am an indecisive wimp who needs to man up-failing the wife and children is what I am good at. Also your site is not a Catholic “seeker” site – not the point of your writings.

    Thank you for the response and for the reading assignment.

  37. neither can laity ‘sanctify the clergy’ of extraordinary sins, though they might for ordinary ones.

    Evil people have to be purged from the church, as in 1 Corinthians 5. Less boasting, more purging.

  38. Bonald, you say:

    Everybody talks as if denouncing the clergy is somehow a brave act. In fact, it’s the easiest, most conformist, crowd-joining act imaginable.

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Never let us be fooled in eitherdirection that we are brave when we are not, or that we are following the will of God when we are not.

    Further, not joining social activism to change the Church is not the same thing as silently allowing or encouraging the continuance of sodomy, pederasty, and conspiracy among the clergy. There are ways to oppose both without giving into liberalism, but they are very difficult for us to see in these latter days. (Saint Monica and Saint Catherine of Siena, pray for us.)

    Private action is a completely different beast from public action, but by its very nature this blog and everything on it is a public act.

    Never underestimate the power of private prayer, private penance, and private conversation and teaching.

    Aside, it was apparent from your writings that you have been struggling with despair. Never give up hope, never give up striving, and if you’re open to a little advice find a priest you can truly trust for a confessor or a spiritual director.

    The Church will be healed, by the grace of God and the prayer and penance of Her members. Deus veult!

  39. To be brutally honest, your writings, particularly the ones that stated that Catholics are no better off than Protestants in terms of ability to discern the truth (given the ambiguity of documents being released??) were influential in keeping me and the family out of the Church.

    But this is wrong. There is a fundamental difference between a religious authority which can produce new output and one which cannot.

    Catholics have a “living” magisterium, i.e., whenever a dispute arises, the Church can issue a new statement which unambiguously settles the issue. On the other hand, whenever the Bible isn’t totally clear on something, Protestants have no way of ever settling the issue.

    It is irrelevant to point out that the magisterium hasn’t yet decided some issues or that the Bible is very clear on some things. The point is that the Church can in principle decide every dispute that needs to be decided, whereas Protestants are forever stuck with ambiguity on things that shouldn’t be ambiguous.

  40. (My first paragraph was a quote from Bruce.)

  41. Hi David,
    I was merely pointing out the effect his writings, or rather my (mis)interpretation of his writings, had on my thinking.

  42. Catholics have a “living” magisterium, i.e., whenever a dispute arises, the Church can issue a new statement which unambiguously settles the issue.

    I gather the death penalty is now unambiguously inadmissible.

  43. At least until we have a technological reversal or unless technology somehow makes it difficult again to detain criminals. I suppose the Pope and the magisterium assumes most of the difficulty in detaining criminals in first world countries has to do with corruption or some curable inefficiency, which to be honest I have not found anything to directly contradict that. I do not think the mere chance that someone can escape is sufficient cause for the death penalty.

  44. Not every magisterial statement brings greater clarity; some even increase confusion. But my point was that the magisterium is capable of clarifying things. E.g., a future pope could declare ex cathedra that capital punishment is permissible.

    And statements about what is or isn’t currently necessary for the protection of society aren’t magisterial; otherwise, the pope could simply declare that a specific tax code or set of traffic laws (or even a specific judgment in a particular court case) is currently necessary for safeguarding the common good in a certain country, which would give him total control over all governments. Cardinal Ratzinger clarified that Catholics are worthy of Holy Communion even if they oppose St. John Paul II’s opinion (expressed in the 1997 Catechism) that capital punishment is today almost never necessary.

  45. But my point was that the magisterium is capable of clarifying things.

    And what practical difference is there?

    And what essential difference is there between your wish for certainty in principle and some Protestants’ belief that Scripture is totally perspicacious and in principle with enough study, reflection, prayer etc. one might gain absolute certainty on currently unclear matters?

    An Orthodox sums up here what really needs to be said on this grasping for comforting certainty, I don’t have much to add to it. (https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/the-popes-commission/#comment-121031). I

  46. “And what practical difference is there?”

    Obviously, the Bible plus 2000 years of magisterium leave less room for ambiguity than the Bible alone.

    “And what essential difference is there between your wish for certainty in principle and some Protestants’ belief that Scripture is totally perspicacious and in principle with enough study, reflection, prayer etc. one might gain absolute certainty on currently unclear matters?”

    People can read and understand magisterial documents with their natural cognitive faculties, without any supernatural assistence. Social encyclicals are usually addressed to “all people of good will,” i.e., also to non-Catholics.

    The text you link raises the issue of infallibility, which isn’t very relevant here, since even a fallible magisterium would be advantageous.

  47. “Obviously, the Bible plus 2000 years of magisterium leave less room for ambiguity than the Bible alone.”
    There are things I cannot understand from reading the Bible alone. E.g. marriage. What brings a marriage into existence, under what circumstances if any can it be dissolved, etc. You can study the texts, the various manuscripts, the various historic translations and possibilities for new translations, etc. and you will never be able to come to a firm conclusion. Someone smarter and more learned than you will have an alternative understanding. And of course you will struggle to keep your biases at bay.
    I guess you can say that the qualities and nature of marriage is a peripheral teaching but it seems pretty basic to me.
    This is why I continue to be intrigued by the Catholic Church.

  48. Just because clarity is comforting doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, or that it’s a bad thing to want it.

    Just because clarity is a good thing doesn’t mean we always get it.

    This is not a reply to anyone in particular.

  49. Obviously, the Bible plus 2000 years of magisterium leave less room for ambiguity than the Bible alone.

    Not necessarily. Many commentaries only introduce confusion.

    People can read and understand magisterial documents with their natural cognitive faculties, without any supernatural assistence

    What practical difference does this make?

    since even a fallible magisterium would be advantageous.

    A fallible magisterium that supposedly has the authority to command belief in that which is false? How is that advantageous?

  50. There are things I cannot understand from reading the Bible alone. E.g. marriage. What brings a marriage into existence, under what circumstances if any can it be dissolved, etc.

    ‘The two shall become one flesh’ is not hard to grasp, nor is the idea that once you have become one flesh with one, you should not become one flesh with another. Lastly, the one flesh relation ends at death.

    These are all pretty basic.

  51. Many commentaries only introduce confusion.

    Sometimes they do (especially in the current crisis of the Church), but usually they don’t. It is easy to find out whether or not the Church teaches the doctrines of the Trinity, two Natures and two Wills in Christ, the existence of exactly seven sacraments, transsubstantiation, papal infallibility, restriction of the priesthood to men, indissolubility of consummated sacramental marriages, the intrinsic evil of directly killing an innocent human being or of contraception etc. All of that has been successfully clarified.

    What practical difference does this make?

    Having an easy-to-recognize authority makes a practical difference in comparison to having a difficult (or impossible)-to-recognize one. That’s why policemen have badges, uniforms etc.

    With regard to biblical exegesis, Protestants rely on the assistence of the Holy Spirit, while Catholics rely on the magisterium. However, Protestants have no easy way of deciding whose private interpretation of Scripture is based on the assistence of the Holy Spirit and whose isn’t, while magisterial documents are usually easy to distinguish from the personal opinions of theologians. E.g., when Pope Benedict published a series of books on Jesus Christ, he explicitly stated in the preface that the books were non-magisterial and non-binding. On the other hand, Pope Francis’s encyclicals Lumen Fidei and Laudato Si’ explicitly claim to be magisterial.

    A fallible magisterium that supposedly has the authority to command belief in that which is false? How is that advantageous?

    Children usually ought to obey their parents even though they don’t know with infallible certainty that every single one of their commands is morally permissible. By the same logic, we usually ought to assent to the non-infallible magisterium even though we don’t know with infallible certainty that every single one of its doctrines is true.

    ‘The two shall become one flesh’ is not hard to grasp, nor is the idea that once you have become one flesh with one, you should not become one flesh with another. Lastly, the one flesh relation ends at death.

    But this isn’t quite true. Non-consummated sacramental marriages can be dissolved by the Church for a just cause; non-sacramental marriages can be dissolved by the Church if one spouse is later baptized and the other is unwilling to tolerate that. In addition, married couples can seperate for a grave reason (such as adultery, defection from the Catholic faith, cruelty on the part of the husband, obstinate rebellion on the part of the wife).

    Under the Mosaic law, marriages could be dissolved provided the husband issued a written document; it was controversial whether there had to be a grave reason. Jesus Christ abolished that, but many Protestants (because of a misunderstanding of a passage in St. Matthew) falsely believe He made an exception for cases of adultery (and perhaps, by analogy, also for other cases–how can we know whether analogy is legitimate here?). Many “Orthodox” Christians falsely believe marriages can end not only by physical death, but also by “moral death.”

    Good thing the Church has clarified all that!

  52. Sometimes they do (especially in the current crisis of the Church), but usually they don’t. It is easy to find out whether or not the Church teaches the doctrines…

    We are talking about whether understanding Scripture can be confused by the commentary of the magisterium. The magisterium can be perfectly clear in their claims while being wrong and thus muddying the understanding of Scripture.

    With regard to biblical exegesis, Protestants rely on the assistence of the Holy Spirit, while Catholics rely on the magisterium. However, Protestants have no easy way of deciding whose private interpretation of Scripture is based on the assistence of the Holy Spirit and whose isn’t, while magisterial documents are usually easy to distinguish from the personal opinions of theologians

    You will find that many Protestants have held to creeds etc. as authoritative, on other matters personal opinions abound as with the Catholics.

    Children usually ought to obey their parents …we usually ought to assent to the non-infallible magisterium

    I’m not sure how this is relevant, since we were presumably discussing the advantages of having a fallible magisterium vs not having one at all.

    But this isn’t quite true. Non-consummated sacramental marriag

    In other words, marriages where the ‘one flesh’ has not been formed.

    ; non-sacramental marriages can be dissolved by the Church if one spouse is later baptized and the other is unwilling to tolerate that. In addition, married couples can seperate for a grave reason …

    You conflate marriage with the ‘one flesh’ relationship. The first, most essential, and basic level is ‘one flesh’ that knits husband and wife on the physical and essential level, marriage is something takes place on other levels like the social.

  53. Marriage has many facets. Amongst other things, it is supposed to be a social signifier of the physical-essential one flesh relationship.

    To Bruce: certainly, there is much confusion over marriage and how it should be treated on both the social and theological levels.

    You don’t know where to stand, you can’t find stable ground. Therefore first orientate yourself by understanding the essence of the matter, ‘the two shall become one flesh’.

    This is precisely what Jesus did when the Pharisees asked him the question about divorce. Go back to the very essence, that which was described in Genesis, the intended created order since the beginning of creation.

    Once you see that one flesh is of the essence, you can see that that is the underlying logic for why unconsummated marriages aren’t completed marriages, both in Catholic thought and in common law.

  54. I’m not sure how this is relevant, since we were presumably discussing the advantages of having a fallible magisterium vs not having one at all.

    Obeying his fallible parents is better for a child than following his own opinions. Trusting a fallible doctor is better for a sick person than self-treatment. Trusting the fallible scientific consensus is better for a seeker of scientific knowledge than doing his own resarch, starting at zero. By the same token, trusting the fallible magisterium is better for a Christian than relying on his private interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

  55. The one-flesh principle doesn’t of itself imply the absolute impossibility of dissolving a consummated marriage.

    1) Under the law of Moses, even consummated marriages could be dissolved. Matthew 5:32 can be reasonably interpreted to mean that this possibility continues to exist in cases of adultery, although this isn’t the correct interpretation.

    2) Consummated non-sacramental marriages can be dissolved under the Pauline privilege.

    3) It is sometimes necessary to amputate a limb, even though it’s “one flesh” with you.

  56. Obeying his fallible parents is better for a child than following his own opinions. Trusting a fallible doctor is better for a sick person than self-treatment. Trusting the fallible scientific consensus is better for a seeker of scientific knowledge than doing his own resarch, starting at zero. By the same token, trusting the fallible magisterium is better for a Christian than relying on his private interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

    I thought you were saying you were still a child. Now you’re saying that we should trust that the magisterium are analogously experts, which then leads to the question of whether they actually are.

    There is of course also the difference that doctors or scientific experts don’t have the authority to command belief, but you say that a fallible magisterium should, and that it’s a good thing.

    The one-flesh principle doesn’t of itself imply the absolute impossibility of dissolving a consummated marriage.

    I never said it did.

    Marriage takes place on the social level. But the two being one takes place on the essential level and remains as long as the two still live. This is why remarriage to another is not a valid option.

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