Monday, January 9, 2012

Contradictions? You Decide...

Proposal #1

Pope Pius X wrote: "The chief doctrines of St. Thomas' philosophy cannot be regarded as mere opinionswhich anyone might discuss pro and con, but rather as a foundation on which all science of both natural and divine things rests. If they are taken away, or perverted in any way, then this necessarily follows: that the students of sacred studies will not perceive even the meaning of those words whereby the divinely revealed dogmas are uttered by the teaching of the Church."

Doctoris Angelici
Pope Pius X
29 June 1914

Pope Leo XIII wrote, "Let, then, teachers carefully chosen by you do their best to instill the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas into the minds of their hearers; and let them clearly point out its solidity and excellence above all other teaching. Let this doctrine be the light of all places of learning, which you may have already opened, or may hereafter open. Let it be used for the refutation of errors that are gaining ground."
Aeterni Patris
Pope Leo XIII 
4 August 1879

Pope Pius XII wrote, "In theology some want to reduce to a minimum the meaning of dogmas; and to free dogma itself from terminology long established in the Church and from philosophical concepts held by Catholic teachers, to bring about a return in the explanation of Catholic doctrine to the way of speaking used in Holy Scripture and by the Fathers of the Church. They cherish the hope that when dogma is stripped of the elements which they hold to be extrinsic to divine revelation, it will compare advantageously with the dogmatic opinions of those who are separated from the unity of the Church and that in this way they will gradually arrive at a mutual assimilation of Catholic dogma with the tenets of the dissidents.

Moreover, they assert that when Catholic doctrine has been reduced to this condition, a way will be found to satisfy modern needs, that will permit of dogma being expressed also by the concepts of modern philosophy, whether of immanentism or idealism or existentialism or any other system. Some more audacious affirm that his can and must be done, because they hold that the mysteries of faith are never expressed by truly adequate concepts but only by approximate and ever changeable notions, in which the truth is to some extent expressed, but is necessarily distorted. Wherefore they do not consider it absurd, but altogether necessary, that theology should substitute new concepts in place of the old ones in keeping with the various philosophies which in the course of time it uses as its instruments, so that it should give human expression to divine truths in various ways which are even somewhat opposed, but still equivalent, as they say. They add that the history of dogmas consists in the reporting of the various forms in which revealed truth has been clothed, forms that have succeeded one another in accordance with the different teachings and opinions that have arisen over the course of the centuries. It is evident from what We have already said, that such tentatives not only lead to what they call dogmatic relativism, but that they actually contain it.

The contempt of doctrine commonly taught and of the terms in which it is expressed strongly favor it. Everyone is aware that the terminology employed in the schools and even that used by the Teaching Authority of the Church itself is capable of being perfected and polished; and we know also that the Church itself has not always used the same terms in the same way. It is also manifest that the Church cannot be bound to every system of philosophy that has existed for a short space of time. Nevertheless, the things that have been composed through common effort by Catholic teachers over the course of the centuries to bring about some understanding of dogma are certainly not based on any such weak foundation. These things are based on principles and notions deduced from a true knowledge of created things. In the process of deducing, this knowledge, like a star, gave enlightenment to the human mind through the Church. Hence it is not astonishing that some of these notions have not only been used by the Oecumenical Councils, but even sanctioned by them, so that it is wrong to depart from them.

Hence to neglect, or to reject,or to devalue so many and such great resources which have been conceived, expressed and perfected so often by the age-old work of men endowed with no common talent and holiness, working under the vigilant supervision of the holy magisterium and with the light and leadership of the Holy Ghost in order to state the truths of the faith ever more accurately, to do this so that these things may be replaced by conjectural notions and by some formless and unstable tenets of a new philosophy, tenets which, like the flowers of the field, are in existence today and die tomorrow; this is supreme imprudence and something that would make dogma itself a reed shaken by the wind. The contempt for terms and notions habitually used by scholastic theologians leads of itself to the weakening of what they call speculative theology, a discipline which these men consider devoid of true certitude because it is based on theological reasoning.

Humani Generis 
Pope Pius XII
12 August 1950

Proposal #2

The then Father Ratzinger wrote, "I want to emphasize again that I decidedly agree with Küng when he makes a clear distinction between Roman theology (taught in the schools of Rome) and the Catholic Faith. To free itself from the constraining fetters of Roman Scholastic Theology represents a duty upon which, in my humble opinion, the possibility of the survival of Catholicism seems to depend."

  Zum Problem Unfehlbarkeit -
"The Problem of Infallibility"
 a series of essays edited by Karl Rahner.
Fr. Joseph Ratzinger,  1971

The then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, "In a certain sense, the theology of the first half of the [20th] century was more balanced, but also more closed within itself. Much of that theology lived inside the box of Neo-Scholasticism. It had greater certainty and logical lucidity than today's theology, but it was far removed from the real world. The adventure that began in the Council took theology out of that box and exposed it to the fresh air of today's life."
  "Consequently this exposed it to the risk of new unbalances, since it was subject to divergent tendencies without the protection of a system. This caused theology to look for new balances in the context of an open and lively dialogue with today's reality.

"This step seems to me not only justified, but also necessary, because theology should serve faith and evangelization, and, for this reason, must face reality as it is today .... Therefore, it was a just and necessary step, although also a risky one .... But risk is part of a necessary adventure."

Interview from 1994 from
the Portuguese edition of 30 Giorni-
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger  

 (30 Dias, April 1994, p. 62)

The then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, "As a result of this struggle [between faith and reason], a new philosophical category – the concept of “person” – was fashioned, a concept that has become for us the fundamental concept of the analogy between God and man, the very center of philosophical thought….The meaning of an already existing category, that of “relation”, was fundamentally changed. In the Aristotelian table of categories, relation belongs to the group of accidents that point to substance and are dependent on it; in God, therefore, there are no accidents. Through the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, relation moves out of the substance-accident framework. Now God himself is described as a Trinitarian set of relations, as relation subsistens. When we say that man is the image of God, it means that he is a being designed for relationship; it means that, in and through all his relationships, he seeks that relation which is the ground of his existence. In this context, covenant would be the response to man’s imaging of God; it would show us who we are and who God is. And for God, since he is entirely relationship, covenant would not be something external in history, apart from his being, but the manifestation of his self, the “radiance of his countenance.” (P. 76-77). 

'Many Religions – One Covenant' 
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger


Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

It's amaqzing. The older (and IMHO) understanding was clear-cut and easy to understand. (By those who studied it.) It respected the wisdom of those who came before them and built upon it. The new understanding is based on the false assumption that the old understanding was 'fettered" down and removed from the "real world". Huh?! A religion that had to fight and defend itself from the heresies, false doctrines, and the hostilities of the past centuries is removed from the "real world"? how could the then Cdl. Ratzinger make such a blunder in judgement? Not meaning to be disrespectful, but what "world" was he living in when he said this? My decision? It is a contradiction of what have been handed down by past generations.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Again, another reason why the Catholic Church is what it is, the one true Church. No matter how many weird Popes we have had, none have corrupted the faith from the Chair of Peter. Ever wonder why he has released his books as a private theologian and not as "Pope?"