Saint Thomas Aquinas

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bridges Over Troubled Water...Chess Player, or Court Jester?

No matter how hard I want to get away from this topic, Heckle and Jeckle just will not leave well enough alone. Let us look at Gene Bridges latest amusements from the TF blog. Normally I would not go to this extreme comment here, but now we can see that Gene Bridges is just a plain liar and an obstacle to truth. One thing I can't stomach
is a liar. Good spirited debate is wonderful, even colorful comments etc, even an insult here or there. Mistakes are made sure. But someone who will outright lie I cannot tolerate. I want to point out very clearly how he is now lying outright with reference to his comments on contraception.

Bridges has now said, "I've not argued that Rome PROMOTES the withdrawal method, etc"

Yet let us look at his prior statement.."Natural contraception includes the withdrawal method and natural family planning. This is a simple fact." "Rome advocates these means."

But wait....look.....he was not done.....he said

"Rome advocates these means."

Here is the earlier post in full,

Gene Bridges posting on Thoughts of Francis Turrretin Blog,

"One more thing...

Natural contraception includes the withdrawal method and natural family planning. This is a simple fact.

Rome advocates these means. It does not advocate artificial means, like barrier methods.

And is not I who "don't know what I'm talking about." I'm the one who spent several years as a public health educator, and STD/HIV prevention and services was the discipline in which I served. I know what I'm talking about, because I've had this discussion with more than one Roman Catholic priest and I've read Rome's own documents. Who should I believe, Rome's documents and what her own priests have told me to my face, or Matthew Bellisario?"

Now today he posts this...
"What MB and his supporters have failed to realize is that, in addition to documenting from public health education literature the definition of "contraception," I've been quoting and paraphrasing Moderate to Liberal Catholics, including bishops and ethicists within the Catholic communion.

And here's why:

I've not argued that Rome PROMOTES the withdrawal method, etc. As my friend Turretinfan (hereafter TF) has correctly stated, I have shown that there is no infallible condemnation of the rhythm method."

So now Bridges is completely contradicting himself. I can no longer address, nor tolerate this guy. In fact I am beginning to think I am debating Bill Clinton, since he is nothing more than a "Slick Willy".

Since Bridges will try and slither out of this by some slick wording, I have provided the definition of advocate that he used on his earlier post. We can see that it means the same thing as promote.

The thesaurus says for the word advocate the following, To aid the cause of by approving or favoring: back, champion, endorse, get behind, plump for, recommend, side with, stand behind, stand by, support, uphold. Idioms: align oneself with, go to bat for, take the part of. See support/oppose.

Definition from the free online says,

verb 1. recommend, support, champion, encourage, propose, favour, defend, promote, urge, advise, justify, endorse, campaign for, prescribe, speak for, uphold, press for, argue for, commend, plead for, espouse, countenance, hold a brief for (informal) << OPPOSITE oppose

Case closed on that one..

Now this is humorous as well, Bridges continues "

I've shown that Catholicism is not monolithic on this issue. In fact, it's rather easy to document the amount of past and present dissent within Catholicism itself on this, ranging from individual priests to entire groups of bishops, particularly in the US, Canada, and Europe. Remember, Rome's standard for infallibility is the Pope speaking ex cathedra or the Pope speaking UNITED with the Bishops in her communion. The bishops, indeed not even the Cardinals, are united with the Pope(s) on this one. So, we're left with a bunch of lay Catholics like MB who are, it seems, more conservative than members of their own hierarchy. So much for obedience to your bishops. I thought that was a high value for the Papists. I guess not. The reason I addressed it, was because, like a good chess player, I was thinking several steps ahead, leading my opponent down the primrose path the whole time. I would like to thank MB for playing along."

Playing along? A good chess player? I am playing chess with the court jester of King Henry's court! I am simply pointing out his false statements and refuting them by documented sources. Bridges here has not provided one source. Here is how he likes to argue. Instead of providing a source, he says, and I quote, " " I've been quoting and paraphrasing Moderate to Liberal Catholics, including bishops and ethicists within the Catholic communion." My question is, where???? Where???? Where??? We can see, he favors liberal sources, but whom, we do not know.

Ive asked who all of these bishops are. Yet no response. He also does not understand the ordinary teaching Magisterium either. Just look at this complete nonsensical statement. Bridges says, "Remember, Rome's standard for infallibility is the Pope speaking ex cathedra or the Pope speaking UNITED with the Bishops in her communion. The bishops, indeed not even the Cardinals, are united with the Pope(s) on this one. So, we're left with a bunch of lay Catholics like MB who are, it seems, more conservative than members of their own hierarchy. So much for obedience to your bishops. I thought that was a high value for the Papists. I guess not"

Bridges over Troubled Water here lives up to his name as we can plainly see that he is completely misconstruing the whole meaning of the text. The text doesn't imply that all of the bishops have to agree like they are in a democracy. What foolishness. We can see that the Church taught the truth during the Arian heresy with most of the bishops in the Church in complete heresy. This guy Bridges is a legend in his own mind. I am done with this guy. Someone who is now to the point of lying is not worth my time. I would recommend Cardinal Avery Dulles book called Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith.

Update #1 Turretin Fan defends Bridges by saying the he didn't really mean what he wrote and that I have taken the word to mean something that it does not. I am really to the point now of disassociating with these guys. I will finish my debate with TF. But after that I no longer have any use for someone who will not face reality. How can one take Bridges' statements above and reconstruct what he said so they do not contradict one another? This is the abominable state of our culture. One that cannot see a reality. Do you think that anyone would have gotten away with this stuff 40 or 50 years ago? No, they would not have. Today language means nothing. Words only mean what you want them to mean and nothing is absolute anymore. This is why I posted the definition of the word. I knew this is exactly what they would do. See the previous post above. Just like Bill Clinton redefining the meaning of a sexual act, we see this same "slick" model here followed. At this point I don't care what Bridges digs up on the net, nor what liberal bishop or priest he finds to support his false statements. All his credibility is lost with me now. When one can't even take the posts side by side and see that Bridges contradicts himself, all reality has been forsaken.

I am sick over this denial of the definition of the words promote and advocate. Read the two definitions, they mean the same thing.

Here is the synonyms for promote
1. To raise to a more important or responsible job or rank.
2. To advance (a student) to the next higher grade.
2. To contribute to the progress or growth of; further. See synonyms at advance.
3. To urge the adoption of; advocate: promote a constitutional amendment.
4. To attempt to sell or popularize by advertising or publicity: commercials promoting a new product.
5. To help establish or organize (a new enterprise), as by securing financial backing: promote a Broadway show.

Here is the Websters definition of advocate

Entry Word:

Text: to promote the interests or cause of has for the word promote
Main Entry: promote
Part of Speech: verb
Synonyms: abet, advance, advocate, aggrandize, aid, better, bolster, boost, brevet, champion, elevate, encourage, endorse, enhance, exalt, forward, foster, further, help, move up, patronize, plug, prefer, publicize, push, raise, sponsor, translate

What more can one say or do in this case of obvious contradictions in Bridges quotes? How does one get away with such an obvious contradiction in his statements? Tf says I am picking on his friend. No TF, he has obviously not interested in truth, nor in being honest. I also cannot understand you in wanting to go down with the ship defending him either. This is just too much. You will not redefine these two words to your own liking without regard to common definitions of the word. At this point anything else you post on this is not worth reading.


Alexander Greco said...

As for the logic, try to follow more closely.

Me: As for the information, try to get it right.

Turretinfan: The major premise (correctly stated) is not in the form, "All A is B."

Instead it is in the form A = B, or "All A is B & all B is A." That is to say, the major premise is a definition.

Me: Okay, All men are animals (A=B) & all animals are men (B=A). That is very logical. My dog is an animal, my dog is a man. You would make the nutjobs in PETA (fish are people too) very happy here.

Turretinfan: It's like "Men are male human beings," or "bachelors are never-married men."

That's why your attempt to throw stones actual shatters only your own pup-tent.

Me: Oh, I see. Men are male human beings. Tell me, is there any ontological difference between a male human being and a man? I cannot think of any. So basically they share the same nature.

However, NFP (no sex), and contraception (sterile sex) do not share the same nature. Here is the ringer, my friend, one has sex and the other doesn't. So your analogy fails...miserably.

Turretinfan: As for your counter-definition, even under your counter-definition, the method of rhythmic contraception takes on the nature of separating the unitive act from the procreative act by the mechanism of scheduling the unitive act at a time when procreation is naturally prevented.

Me: I'm sorry Turretinfan, but contraception happens during the sexual act. I cannot contracept if I am not having sex. You really need to grasp this concept. Yet maybe you do but you just don't know it yet. For instance:

Turretinfan: Personally, I think that if you had an argument for why the broad common-sense definition of contraception (i.e. trying to avoid conception as a consequence of sexual behavior) you wouldn't be forced to simply insult the definition.

Me: "Avoid conception as a consequence of sexual behavior."


Guess what? Abstinence is not a sexual is the absence of sexual behavior.

Alexander Greco said...

Read this from Turretinfan:

Trying to muddy the waters with the issue of a female priesthood won't work here.

The pope, even as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is still fallible. He's only infallible when speaking ex cathedra or in union with an ecumenical council. That's your own church's rule for the nonsense - you should know it.

Allow me to educate you on the difference between religious assent and De Fide assent:

I quote now from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

891 "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals.... The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council.418 When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed,"419 and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith."420 This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.421

892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent"422 which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.

Hopefully, you now see the difference between the two. Furthermore, as a practical matter, while those involved in women's ordinations to the priesthood are getting the practically unheard-of (these days) sanction of automatic excommunication (at least according to some sources ...), I have not heard of any similar punishment for those involved in withdrawal method contraception. Have you? Can you point to a single instance of that?


Alexander Greco said...

Turretinfan: Trying to muddy the waters with the issue of a female priesthood won't work here.

Me: Can you humor me with a relevant difference? Well here is your attempt:

Turretinfan: The pope, even as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is still fallible. He's only infallible when speaking ex cathedra or in union with an ecumenical council. That's your own church's rule for the nonsense - you should know it.

Me: Uh, Turretinfan, Benedict was not pope then...a little research would do you well, and you have displayed that you will not put in any effort.

The Church has another means for infallible teaching, as I quoted Lumen Gentium, 25: it is called the ordinary and universal magisterium. This is not the same thing as those other two means of infallible proclamations which you have alluded to. I can go further into this tommorrow.

As of right now, read this:

Alexander Greco said...

I do not have anymore time tonight to respond, however, I did want to make a quick comment on this:

Turretinfan: Guess what ... scheduling one's sexual behavior involves, yes, sexual behavior. There is a difference between simple abstinence and NFP: one involves sexual activity, one does not. One is like the young couple up the street that makes love 3 weeks a month, the other is like the picture you portray of Jesus' mother and legal father.

Me: Apparently you continue to want to draw up your own terminology without any logical consistency. Here, for example, you conflate abstinence with celibacy.

Alexander Greco said...

Gene: So, I'm merely setting conservative Catholics against the moderates on this. Moderates deny that the traditions on conception constitute an infallible dogma.

Me: Moderates generally deny much more than the Church's teachings on contraception. Also, terminology like "conservatives" and "moderates" do injustice to the issues. It is more appropriate to say "orthodox" and "heterodox." Various popes and Congregation have been quite clear that this has been a teaching of the ordinary and universal magisterium, and it is irreformable. So yes, those who oppose it are not orthodox.

Bridges: Catholic theologians generally affirm that the teachings on this issue fall under the Ordinary Magisterium and therefore do not rise to the level of infallibility.

Me: In order to be better informed on the issues, you need to read this:

Also for around $5.00 you can purchase on Amazon: The Ordinary Magisterium's Infallibility
Journal article by Germain Grisez, Francis A. Sullivan; Theological Studies, Vol. 55, 1994

Bridges: Now, there is a set of them that does, but they do so not on the basis of Vatican 2 - nothing beforehand. This merely begs the question by setting the defintion of infallible dogmas on the sliding scale of Vatican 2 - it is because a set of bishops wants to say so....and, funny thing, the article on this was published in 1978. It took them a decade to make that decision. Uh-huh.

Me: And how is this argument relevant?

Bridges: And there's yet another flaw in the argument. Vatican 2's standard of development would be that HV is an authentic development of earlier Christian moral doctrine rooted in revelation. So, this invites a vicious regress, namely appealing to Roman Catholicism's general view (not infallibly defined) exegesis of particular passages on either this issue itself to support HV today or, alternatively, an appeal to their peculiar exegesis of particular Scriptures on the authority of Rome to support the already defined dogmas on papal, Roman, Magisterial authority itself. That's a fallacious line of argument on its face.

Me: I'm not sure how something can be fallacious when it sustains internal logical coherency.

The Church's teachings on contraception is also rooted in the Divine institution of Holy Matrimony and the complete and total giving of oneself to another according to our nature.

Bridges: The abstract for it can be found here:

I'll let my friend TF discuss how problematic that it is. I particularly like this bit:This discussion does not consider the question of whether the Church's teaching on contraception is divinely revealed. Many of those who have handed on the teaching have stated explicitly that it is. At the same time, for purposes of this discussion, it is conceded that the teaching might not be divinely revealed. Noonan, for example, argues that in condemning contraception, the Fathers of the Church were not restating primitive teaching but were making a fresh initiative. Assuming for the sake of argument that this is s, this should be viewed as a case of an authentic development of earlier Christian moral doctrine rooted in revelation.

How marvelously circular.

Me: It is doubtful that you are aware of how academic journals, and the writings therein are pursued. I imagine that if you have a higher education past high school you would know this. Most schools at least discuss academic journals as a means of information. At the school I attended, we had to use peer reviewed articles in order to support our research. A specific thesis is developed and argued for, but they hardly attempt to discuss all related aspects of the topic. I suggest that you avoid the red herring.

Bridges: In addition, this objection seeks to relegate what is infallible dogma to the past. Well, in a Millenium, the bishops who now dissent will be part of the deposit of faith too. So, it will then be true that the deposit of faith is NOT united.

Me: This is a display of clear ignorance of the dogmatic teachings of the Church. If the teaching is defined (and considered to be irreformable) then it is just that.

Me from before: Bridges, so some theologian who states that God is not three Divine Persons, or some Bishop who states the same, this would mean that sensus fedelium does not exist, perfect collegiality does not exist; therefore this is not a dogma?

Brideges: Mr. Greco, it may behoove you to actually learn the basic rules of logicial argumentation. Your analogy is spurious. The doctrine of the Trinity is an infallible dogma obtained not by the universal consent of the faithful, but by an ecumenical council. I'm not the one making "ignorant arguments."

I'm merely setting the conservatives of your communion against the moderates. Take it up with them.

Me: Mr. Bridges, you are missing the point. If something is an infallible teaching of the Church, heterodox opinion does not change the teaching's infallibility. Besides, your conception of sensus fidelium is seriously flawed.

Bridges: And why am I doing that? - a point NOT ONE OF YOU HAS ADDRESSED - one of your arguments here and elsewhere against the Protestant rule of faith is that it doesn't "work" because there is "dissent" and "private interpretation," "schism," etc. MB chose an issue over which there is quite a bit of discussion and dissent, so, on the grounds he chose all by himself without any prodding from TF or me or anybody else on my side of the theological aisle, your rule of faith is by no means superior to ours. So much for that prong of the argument against Sola Scriptura.

Me: Actually the argument still holds. Not because there is disagreement amongst the followers at the individual level, but because on the aggregate level of so-called "church doctrines" there is disagreement. Truly sad.

Bridges: Note the way the original arguments have shifted. This is why I generally let my opponents frame the issue.

First, we were told that we need a Magisterium to teach us that contraception is a sin - and infallibly so, presumably as a utilitarian argument against Sola Scriptura.

I believe I have MORE than demonstrated that this issue has done nothing but muddy the waters for Catholics. HV has only led to dissent in the laity and clergy alike. So much for that prong of the original argument.

Me: And so has the Arian heresy. Humanae Vitae did not lead to dissent, disobedience towards la voce di Dio did.

Bridges: MB is the one who invoked HV.

But Catholics, including their own theologians, are not united in viewing HV as infallible, and thus they aren't united in viewing Catholic teaching on contraception as infallible.

Me: Theologians are also not united on women priests, but I assume that you would at least agree that that teaching, in the mind of the Church, is infallible (I acknowledge in saying this that you do not believe in the capacity of an infallible Magisterium).

Bridges: So, the goalpost moved to the definition of "contraception," but that's merely an exercise in begging the question and truth by stipulation for the Roman Catholics who've tried that line of defense.

Me: Actually, it only proved your utter failure at discerning the ontological variation between the act of having sex while directly separating the unitive from the procreative ends of the sexual act, which does vioence to its nature, and acting in accordance with the nature of the sexual act (as designed by God) and not violently separating the unitive from the procreative ends.

Bridges: So the goalpost changed to the teaching of the bishops being infallible over the ages - but unless you can poll every Catholic bishop who ever lived, it can't be demonstrated that they have been united only to divide in the present age. Also, where's the supporting argument for the infallibility of their teaching in general? I reject that notion on its face anyway.

Me: Your regulations on the office of the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church is not the same as those of the actual Magisterium (as recently expressed in its teachings on women priests). Your argument holds no water.

Bridges: So, the goalpost moves to Vatican 2, which IMO, is probably the best line of defense for a Roman Catholic to use - but Moderate Catholics and their Conservative Counterparts don't agree over that defense.

Me: Appealing to dissenters of the Faith is hardly a defense.

Bridges: Others have tried to say it is an meets the standards of an ex cathedra definition:

The lack of unanimity among Roman Catholics on the way to understand HV, much less the infallibility of the ordinary Magisterium is striking.

Me: Not according to the Church:
4. The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity; it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life.33
(Vademecum for Confessors 2:4, Feb. 12, 1997)

As you can see, your argument fails...

Bridges: Which defense is correct? I thought the authority of the Magisterium was supposed to quell such dissent.

Me: Dissent always exists, it is part of human nature. You have created a straw man logical fallacy.

Bridges: So, we're back to the start, which proves the heart of my argument: The Roman Catholic Rule of Faith is NOT superior to ours. It is on epistemic par. The utilitarian argument has been proven to be utterly false.

Me: The lack of the utility of Sola Scriptura is self-evident in this example. However, you need to take that argument up with Mr. Bellisario. I am discussing the morality of your distructive means at regulating births.

Bridges: So, we're left with what, exactly?

Rome's claim here collapses into its own ipse dixit - truth by stipulation.

Me: Actually, there have been numerous avenues of proof given, among them logical consistency and natural law which you have yet to contradict. So your comment above is seriously flawed. It seems that you have not been following the conversation.