Thomas Reese: Signs of the Times

Note to newspaper editors: Change ‘church’ to ‘hierarchy’

Bishops attend a Mass for the opening of a synod in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, on Oct. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

(RNS) — It is time to stop using the term “Catholic church” as a synonym for “Catholic hierarchy.”

We all do it. “The church teaches such and such.” “The church lobbied against gay marriage.” “The church failed to protect children.” “The church is homophobic and sexist.” “The church is authoritarian.” “I hate the church.”

The word “church” has multiple meanings. One theologian counted more than a dozen different ways “church” was used in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, referring to everything from a building to the Mystical Body of Christ.

“Church” is the word we use to translate the Greek word “ekklesia,” which originally had the meaning of an assembly called together by a secular authority.

In the New Testament, the term is used more than 100 times — to refer to Christians assembled for the Eucharist, to a local congregation (such as the church at Corinth) or to all the people of God united as a body with Christ as its head.

The leaders of the community were not “the church,” but the apostles, bishops, presbyters and elders.

Language matters.

I remember in the 1980s taking a tour of the House of Commons in London. The tour guide pointed to a plaque on the wall in honor of a minister “who was killed by the Irish Catholics.” Not the IRA, not the Provos, not the terrorists, but the Irish Catholics.

Today we do the same thing when we say, “Muslims are killing Christians.”

Saying that the Catholic church did not protect children is just as wrong. It was the bishops. It was the hierarchy.

We should not blame the the people of God for the sins of the hierarchy. In many other churches, the people have some say in selecting their leadership and therefore have some responsibility for their hierarchy’s actions. Not so in the Catholic Church, where new leaders are chosen by current leaders.

If the hierarchy had been open with the laity about the sex abuse crisis, if the bishops had listened to the people, we would not be in the mess we are today.

Using the term “church” for “hierarchy” or “bishops” is sloppy writing, and I must plead guilty.

I confess that in the last few months, I have written: “everyone knows the church’s position”; “The church’s attitude toward LGBT members, clerical sex abuse, warfare, poverty, migration, human trafficking and corruption”; “the church’s teaching on the inherent differences between men and women”; “the church’s traditional approach of trying to cram its teaching and programs down the throats of the young”; “the crisis has severely undermined the church’s credibility to speak to the young”; “the church needs to listen to the young and respond to their spiritual needs.”

Confession is good for the soul and good for writing. I will probably fail again in the future, but we should always pause before using the word “church” to ask ourselves whether there is a better, more exact word we can use.

(The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)

About the author

Thomas Reese

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. He was also a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1985-98 & 2006-15) where he wrote Archbishop, A Flock of Shepherds, and Inside the Vatican. Earlier he worked as a lobbyist for tax reform. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of California Berkeley. He entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1974 after receiving a M.Div from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

165 Comments

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  • In the phrase “the church teaches such and such”, the word “hierarchy” cannot be substituted for “church”.

    A possible substitute could be “magisterium”, but any attempt to separate its inherently hierarchical nature (Lumen Gentium) from the church runs headlong into heretical propositions.

    In a teaching church, the church actually does have “positions”.

  • “Positions”… until the hierarchy changes them. I know that seems to give the bishops more agency than they really possess, but teachings evolve over time as one member of the hierarchy after another adds to or “improves” them. Councils will add a note of credibility, universality, to teachings, but what are councils but the hierarchy gathered.

  • Shouldn’t you have said “not in Catholicism” instead of “not in the Catholic Church” when speaking about who chooses the leadership? At least if we are to follow your line of thinking!

  • When was the teaching on the Trinity fixed? Did it spring whole cloth from the mind of Peter? My understanding is that it took hundreds of years to get to the stage of credal. There after it was tweaked and finessed. In some quarters theologians are still working on bringing the teaching into language understandable in the 21st century. So who but the hierarchy will do all that? Certainly there are positions, my point is that they are man made by the hierarchy and can/will be changed by the hierarchy. By the way, I don’t know you. Do you know me or what “chops” I might have?

  • My recollection is that your bona fides are currently Episcopalian of the USA variety, ordained in that denomination, with your previous background in one of the Baptist denominations – American if I recall correctly.

    That would hardly prepare you for parsing Catholic theology, and you demonstrate that with the comment “Did it spring whole cloth from the mind of Peter?” when your text was that teaching changes.

    Perhaps what you meant was that teaching develops.

    Bringing a teaching into a current or new language is not changing a teaching, unless somewhere in the process the Trinity becomes a Quadentity.

    Again, the text you need to familiarize yourself with if you are going to take on the Catholic Church and the role of its hierarchy is Lumen Gentium:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V2CHURCH.HTM

    which makes clear that in Catholic theology the hierarchy is an organ of a single body – the Church – and therefore are not “man-made” any more than the Revelation is man-made.

    I would read Lumen Gentium first. Then I’d work on presenting a teaching “changed by the hierarchy” to make your case.

    Father Reese’ difficulties with Lumen Gentium are some of the reasons he is no longer editor of “America”.

  • “We should not blame the the people of God for the sins of the hierarchy.”

    Baloney.

    It takes two to tango.

    Catholic parents ignored or punished their children who reported sexual abuse perpetrated by “Father”. The ordained man, after all, was “another Christ” who “confected the eucharist” and “had the power to forgive sins”. Perhaps (probably?) not realizing it, the laity played into Rome’s clerical culture, which elevated the ordained and subordinated everybody else. After all, “priests” enjoyed an “ontological superiority” by virtue of their ministerial ordinations.

    Let’s not disregard the “clericalism of the laity”. It was real. It was enforced by practice and doctrine. Only time will tell if Vatican II’s goal of ecclesial renewal will occur in the Church of Rome.

    Count me skeptical.

  • I have read your error-laden take on the Catholic teaching on slavery many times over the years, as well as the responses from much more qualified commentators such Avery Cardinal Dulles, and prefer the much more qualified commentators’s take on the matter.

  • Mark Connelly I am indeed a priest in the Episcopal Church, but have no connection with any of the Baptist Churches. I was an ecumenical officer for 20 years and participant in bilateral dialogues with the three Lutheran denominations that eventually became the ELCA and well as with the Catholic Church in my part of Michigan. About you? Are you the history professor of the University of Kent, or the Irish footballer, or the mega church pastor in Phoenix who was forced out after an extramarital affair… or perhaps someone else. As to your statement, “in Catholic theology the hierarchy is an organ of a single body – the Church – and therefore teachings are not “man-made” any more than the Revelation is man-made”, I know enough to recognize a faith statement when I see one. Without Athanasius would we all be Arians today?

  • You apparently, like Mark Silk, intend to wing it on the Catholic theology of the Church and the role of hierarchy in it. That sort of approach rarely turns out well.

    https://onepeterfive.com/slandering-cardinal-burke/

    The current theology – such as it is – of the church as seen by the Episcopal Church has essentially nothing common with the Roman Catholic theology.

    Without a reading of Lumen Gentium you’ll just waste my time as well as your own.

  • My “much more qualified take on the matter” is based on the Gospel; John T. Noonan,Jr, and general ancient history. Dulles? Eh, not so much although he was an eloquent apologist for minimizing problems in the Church of Rome.

  • John T. Noonan, Jr., was an attorney and historian, not a theologian.

    You’ve also played the Noonan card in the past, and your opponents IMHO got the better of the argument.

    I am sure you’re satisfied that you know it all, while I am not only satisfied but convinced you’re simply an anti-Catholic gadfly.

    No point in pursuing that, eh?

  • Mark Connelly is not his actual name, but an account name he adopted when the last one appeared to be blocked by a moderator here in RNS. Other folks who comment here accuse him of having posted here under various “identities” in the past. I also remember someone alluding to him stating once that he is actually someone well known. I am newer here and don’t know how much of this is true, I just know that other commenters have claimed that it was true.

  • It does not require a “theologian” to discern historical development, doctrinal or not. I have his text, and it’s amply documented with end notes. Dulles’ criticism of Noonan was typical of the cardinal’s apologetics; no surprise there.

    I don’t “know it all”, but I bet I know more than do you.

    “No point in pursuing that, eh?”

    That’s up to you.

  • I am rather certain that the world’s preeminent theologian and expert on slavery in the Church’s teachings does not live in an apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.

    The question is a theological one.

    Dulles was a theologian, Noonan was not, nor are you. Noonan was an attorney, you are not. Noonan was a historian, you are not.

    Have a nice balance of your evening.

  • Mark Connelly isn’t asking much of you: “I would read Lumen Gentium first. Then I’d work on presenting a teaching ‘changed by the hierarchy’ to make your case.”

    Take him on that, why don’t you?

  • “Father Reese’ difficulties with Lumen Gentium” – and Mark Silk’s and everyone else’s around here, pretending to know the Catholic Sacrament of the Holy Orders. Least of all, Joseph Jaglowicz’s.

    Right you are. Again. No one around here speaks with authority on the subject of the Magisterium.

    You’re the Exception to the Rule.

  • I hope not. Let’s hope Vatican II and it’s modernistic heresies are soon reversed. Seems that a lot of the homosexual issues occurred with the newly ordained of the 60’s – 80’s. That was about the time humility and obedience left the priesthood.

  • Compare for us all, then, the Old Catholic “doctrine [of] slavery” with the New. Or are you just saying? Y’know, like FriendlyGoat going, Meh-eh-eh. Meh-eh-eh.

  • I don’t know…The laity is in the pews doing their sheeply thing — mostly handing over their collection money twice a Mass, and are clapping for every Pope the Cardinals choose. Occasionally you may hear a Tssk, Tssk, from the laity about all this abuse stuff — but the Church could not survive without the flock…They can’t be separated.

    No, I say let them feel no shame together. For those who religiously show up on Sundays, donate, make the spaghetti and meatball dinners…they have had plenty of time to punish the clergy for decades…yet mostly sit on their hands. That makes them accomplices. Let them all sink together as the one church.

  • Mark Connelly is winning this debate. Be quiet, Heckler. In Doggie Lingo, that’s, “Sit Ubu, Sit!”

    “Good Dog!”

  • If the need arises for someone to read John T. Noonan’s “Church That Can and Cannot Change: The Development of Catholic Moral Teaching” out loud, I will keep you in mind.

    The only thing you know about Avery Cardinal Dulles is how to spell his name.

  • You do realize that if we go down because of hatred and if there is one person who leads this internationally, it will be the end-times? It won’t be very comfortable. I think you maybe should consider repentance on all sides.

  • The Trinity is never understandable. It is a mystery. It is the great joy of the Church to meditate on it.

  • It may be the “end times” for Catholicism but the world and the rest of us will go on. Though I admit that Global Warming and the resulting social upheaval will present far greater problems than the “end of Catholicism”!

  • Like it or not, this society which derives its roots from Christianity, will perish at the End of the World (or before it). But there will be a new heavens and a new earth when our Lord comes again, with eternal happiness. The Church on this old earth will pass away when His Kingdom Comes. As he says in today’s Gospel: “Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he’ and ‘The time is at hand.’ Do not follow them.(Luke 21:8)” Have you read Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si? I think that would put things more in perspective for you, about taking care of our world.

  • Mr. Reese, have you been getting mail from other TiredCatholics? Tired of having people wipe their shoes on them?

  • It’s true. It is at least his third name here at RNS, though I am pretty sure there is one more. And I have encountered him at least twice elsewhere.
    And he does claim to be a famous person. At the very least, a legend in his own mind.

  • During the Middle Ages under the Catholic Church, Europe slowly came out of the Roman Empire’s slave system. I think you don’t fully get doctrine and policies.

  • ““The church is homophobic and sexist.” ” From what I have seen of this culture, the church is the only being trying to assure homosexuals don’t go to Hell.

  • The trinity in scripture:

    The Baptism of Jesus

    9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son;[d] with you I am well pleased.”

    Father, Son, Holy Spirit

  • I am glad he brought up “Muslims are killing Christians” as a comparison. There are Muslims killing Christians. Not all Muslims kill Christians. There is not a unified “Muslim Church”. Just like there is not a unified “evangelical” church per se. There are many sects of each. However, and I know this frustrates the hell out of good-living, well-intentioned Catholics, there is a unified Catholic church. When a Catholic stands up in Church on Sunday and professes their faith and when they get confirmed in the Church they state publicly that they follow the Church’s teachings. That is why, even if in their private life a Catholic may accept and love their gay son, they do at the same time profess to believe that their gay son is going to hell if he ever falls in love with someone of the same sex and god forbid expresses that love physically.

    You can’t have it both ways. If you don’t like being associated with the Church hierarchy and its teachings, find another church 🙂

  • Well done, Fr. Tom. All of what you said.

    Perhaps if we can clarify that “the Church” is not the hierarchy, we can begin to recognize the difference and value the non-hierarchy and their lived experience. We are not some faceless, nameless, amalgam of unimportant, indistinguishable serfs – but real people with love, compassion, intelligence, education, imagination, courage, and faith. And, we are not robots, we are not cookies made from the same dough, shaped the same, cooked to the same uniform crispiness and color. And we live in the 21st century of our Lord, not the 1st, 5th, 10th, or 15th. We live in different cultures, with different levels of education, and with very different experiences and expectations and hopes.

    Agree entirely with the statement: “Saying that the Catholic church did not protect children is just as wrong. It was the bishops. It was the hierarchy.” It was a clerical culture that thought the “ontologically changed” were too important to have to live by social rules, much less civil law. But even more importantly, it was an all male, (supposedly) all celibate culture that excluded those who could have helped them see that their closed vision was missing something incredibly important – the living, breathing, wonderful experience of men and women who know an aspect of humanity they have given up – what it is to bear, love, protect, and raise a child into adulthood. So the hierarchy didn’t worry about the child, the parent, the family who was abused – they worried about the priest or vowed religious brother or sister.

    They worried about the insiders, those in their closed world. And God knows that does not include lay people, or it only includes lay people after the insiders have first taken care of their own. And only then if it doesn’t cost too much, isn’t too time consuming, and it can all be kept quiet so that the insiders are not embarrassed.

    This myopic vision cannot be cured until the insiders also includes married and single men and women, some who are raising or have raised children to adulthood. There need to be male and female, married and single priests, bishops, cardinals, even a pope, theologians, heads of dicasteries. The inside is now so many centuries removed from the real life, the lived experience of most of those who try to live as Jesus wants that they can’t understand them anymore and have stupid rules – i.e., a ban on all contraceptives or the pontifical secret that protects sex abusing priests and the bishops who cover up their crimes.

    So, there is really a very long row to hoe and the crops that need to grow are not recognizable to those who wield the hoes. But, begin by being clear that “the Church” is not the hierarchy. Give some hoes to those who may recognize the value in a new crop or may recognize that what one hoer once thought was a weed is, in fact, a valuable food.

  • You can believe whatever you want to believe. I prefer to face the world as it is NOT as I or others wish it might be. The Church will indeed pass away but not the earth, that will be here, maybe not as we know it,for a long time to come.

    Our society derives our roots from many places NOT just from Christianity. Christianity derives its roots from paganism! Dec.25 is the celebration of Sol Celestes. Christmas trees have roots in Druidism. The death and resurrection of a God is a commonmythical theme.

    I have read a couple of Francis encyclicals. He shows he has some serious flaws with his thinking!

    Have you read the Upanishads, the Tao teh Ching, the Analects of Confucius, the I Ching, Black Elk Speaks, Joseph Campbells books on mythology to name a few.

  • TRUE OR FALSE: According to Thomas Reese – “In the New Testament … the leaders of the community were not ‘THE CHURCH,’ but the apostles, bishops, presbyters and elders.”

    FALSE: Thomas Reese doesn’t know his bible. For (1) according to Acts 15:22 – “It seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with THE WHOLE CHURCH, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren”. (2) Romans 16:1, 3-5, 16, 23 reads – “I [Paul] commend to you [saints in Rome] our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of THE CHURCH which is at Cenchrea … Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all THE CHURCHES of the Gentiles; also greet THE CHURCH that is in their house. … Greet one another with a holy kiss. All THE CHURCHES of Christ greet you. … Gaius, host to me and to THE WHOLE CHURCH, greets you.” (3) 1 Corinthians 12:28 and 14:4-5, 12 – “God has appointed in THE CHURCH, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. … One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies THE CHURCH. Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that THE CHURCH may receive edifying. … So … you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of THE CHURCH.” (4) 1 Corinthians 16:19 – “Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with THE CHURCH that is in their house.” (5) 1 Timothy 3:15 – “You [Timothy better] know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is THE CHURCH of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”

  • Here’s Wisdom4U:

    “Weed is, in fact, a valuable food” – because “‘the Church’ is not the hierarchy.”
    – ATF45

  • If “the RCC needs to go the way of the dinosaur, same as Islam” – then so too Atheism & Progressive Liberalism.

    After you, Maxximiliann.

  • I think I do get “doctrine and policies” vis-a-vis the history of slavery and church. One of my historical sources is Kyle Harper’s SLAVERY IN THE LATE ROMAN WORLD, AD 275 – 425, Cambridge University Press, 2016. (Whether I “fully get” may be a matter of opinion, but my sources likely do “fully get” the subject-matter.)

    Background on John T. Noonan, Jr and Kyle Harper:

    + https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/21/us/judge-john-t-noonan-jr-dead-federal-judge-ninth-circuit.html

    + http://www.ou.edu/content/dam/provost/documents/kyle-harper-cv.pdf

  • I live in an apartment, but I don’t claim ignorance on the subject of church and slavery.

    You write re: Noonan, “The question is a theological one.”

    To placate you a bit, the question relates to historical theology or theological history. Take your pick. It also relates to institutional history. In any event, Noonan’s obituary mentioned, in part, “Steeped in Catholic theology, Judge Noonan became an expert on the roots and context of morality.”

    See also COMMONWEAL MAGAZINE’s “Remembering John T. Noonan” at https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/remembering-john-t-noonan.

  • I seldom find Mr. Connelly’s comments enlightening. They’re often enough ad hominems and insults.

    I almost feel sorry for the guy.

    But I don’t.

  • OLD: The Church approved of slavery because Jesus approved of it.

    NEW: Vatican II “categorically” (per Noonan) condemned slavery.

  • You mention “homosexual issues” in the Church of Rome.

    I suggest you give up such an absurd claim before you fall even further behind reality.

  • If Church Fathers “approved of slavery”, then citations required so as to be verified, are available upon request. Give’em to me – especially the ones that confirmed the reason why they did that: “because Jesus approved of it.”

  • Pope Callistus (a former slave) knew more about it, I think, having lived it. I think my source is better than yours.

  • Of course truth exists, and pagans can see it. The Church incorporates what is good from many pagan cultures, including the idea of Christ as the light of the World. The wise men were pagans who came to visit him. So it can be with the Tao (68th Teaching): “Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water. Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better…(See John 3:6 on the salutary effects of Baptism).
    And this one for the recent feast of Christ the King: “He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them. He who takes upon himself the countries’ disasters deserves to be King of the Universe…(see Isaiah 53 on the mystery of the redemption).

    The founders of this free nation and the great Abraham Lincoln did not want our nation to “perish from the earth.” Christ freed us from slavery to sin. As we plunge back towards slavery, we will indeed perish. That will definitely be before the Church Triumphant, which is eternal.

    As to the new creation: “The visible universe, then is itself destined to be transformed ,”so that the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just (St. Irenaeus from Catechism of the Catholic Church 1047).”
    Francis’ encyclicals are inspiring. Christianity is not a passing mythology. It is the only thing that makes life in this world worth living.

  • Not to even mention Jesus celebrating the Passover (celebration of freedom from slavery in Egypt) and instituting the Eucharist (celebration of freedom from sin).

  • Yes, I know you love Commonweal, American, John T. Noonan, the late Richard Peter McBrien, and giving Holy Orders the one finger salute.

    You need not refresh my memory.

    I did not suggest you claimed ignorance, I suggested you exhibited it.

  • On this thread the other evening I was going, Where is TiredCatholic, Lord? (Added there for F/X.) Mark Connelly sure could use a fellow True Catholic chiming in here against Pseudo Catholics, whose lies make me wanna exonerate Catholicism. What a phenomenon that is for me, who is just a Bible Christian Through & Through.

    So thanks for being there!

  • And we have a responsibility to one another.

    God said, “When I say to someone wicked, ‘Wicked one, you will surely die!’ but you do not speak out to warn the wicked one to change his course, he will die as a wicked man because of his own error, but I will ask his blood back from you.

    But if you warn someone wicked to turn back from his way and he refuses to change his course, he will die for his error, but you will certainly save your own life.

    ‘“As surely as I am alive,” declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that someone wicked changes his way and keeps living. Turn back, turn back from your bad ways, for why should you die?” -Ezekiel 33:8, 9, 11

  • No! Thank you! HpO, Bible Christian, your representation of Church gels with the Catechism, the Gospels, and the Early Letters to the Church. This push by Fr. Reese, is just more of the same that Mark Connelly unmasked with his report on fallout in Australia. Perhaps Fr. Reese thinks he is enabling the laity. But his assessment of the selection of Bishops is not true to Catholic teaching. The faithful already have incalculable power over the selection of the hierarchy, since their prayers to the Holy Spirit should power the means of inspiration to those who promote priests to their ranks. Now truly, if they are chosen because they are “good businessmen,” or for other wordly reasons that is a sad statement. But it is not new. And we will get past it.

  • Glad to see you have read the Tao teh Ching though it doesn’t seem to have broadened your understanding to see that there are many paths through this world and Christianity is just one such path–neither better nor worse, more right or more wrong than the other paths.

    There are many things that make life in this world worth living. If Christianity works for you that is fine. It doesn’t work for me, there are too many flaws. I have chosen to reject your beliefs for a different set as have many others. We are not better than you just different from you.

  • Just curious though if the old church had slavery as a doctrine. It would be helpful to know that – I have not looked into that with regard to slavery but will check out your sources to find out more and get educated! Thanks for those.

  • You’re most welcome.

    Yes, the Church of Rome’s doctrine did approve of slavery.

    Examples given by Noonan include:

    + “The catechism based on the decrees of the Council of Trent dealt with slaves under the commandment against theft [as well as] the commandment against coveting a neighbor’s goods” (p. 79). The Trent catechism itself, by the way, can be accessed online.

    + Bishop John England of Charleston, SC asserted that “the Catholic Church had always accepted domestic slavery; it was ‘not incompatible with the natural law’; and, when title to a slave was justly acquired, it was lawful ‘in the eye of Heaven'” (p. 108).

    + Bishop Francis P. Kenrick of Philadelphia wrote his Theologia moralis that was “evidently designed to educate seminarians [and] was the first textbook on Catholic moral theology produced in the United States…..His views were those of his colleagues and of the Roman authorities. The trade out of Africa was one thing [not OK]; slavery as an institution was quite another [OK]” (pp. 108-109).

    + In his “in plurimis” written in 1888, Pope Leo XIII “accepted the patristic teaching that slavery was a penalty for sin without explaining how the penalty was visited upon the innocent upon birth to a slave mother…..Leo labeled [slavery] ‘base’ and ‘cruel’. He did not condemn it as intrinsically evil” (pp. 112-113). The pope did, however, mention “‘human dignity'” in his document.

    Historian Thomas Bokenkotter, in his A CONCISE HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, notes the following:

    + “As recently as June 20, 1866, the Holy Office had upheld the slave trade as moral. The justification was based both on philosophy (natural law) and on revelation (divine law). Various quotations from Scripture were cited in support of this position…The Fathers of the Church and local church councils, laws, Popes, and theologians were cited in the attempt to show that the approval of slavery was part of an unbroken, universal tradition” (pp. 487-488).

    + “The statement signed by Pope Pius IX declared that ‘it is not contrary to the natural or divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged, or given, provided in the sale, purchase, exchange or gift, the due conditions are strictly observed which the approved authors describe and explain'” (f.n. 22, p. 488).

    Returning to Noonan:

    + The 1917 Code of Canon Law “maintained the positions set out in the old law that a free person contracting marriage with one believed to be free but in fact a slave contracted invalidly; and that slavery was an impediment to the reception of holy orders” (p. 117).

    + “Also close to the era of Vatican II, Karl Rahner…published the thirtieth edition of ‘Denzinger’. This authoritative and convenient handbook, first produced in 1854…contained the teaching of popes and councils from Clement I in the first century to the date of the edition…Not a single word repudiating or condemning slavery occurred in the collection” (Noonan, p. 117).

    + Noonan describes how slavery was condemned at Vatican II. He notes that it was “not [done] with fanfare and trumpets.” Nonetheless, according to the author, “[t]he Council’s action was the first categorical condemnation by the Church of an institution that the Church had lived with for over nineteen hundred years” (p. 120). The condemnation appears in ‘Gaudium et spes’.

    I should note that in his THE POPES AND SLAVERY, Joel Panzer, a presbyter with the Lincoln, NE diocese, tends to soft-peddle Rome’s moral treatment of slavery. That said, it does have translations of various church documents on the subject.

    Hope this information is helpful.

  • I’m not against the sacrament of holy orders, i.e., ordination to the traditional orders of deacon, presbyter, and bishop. I support the church’s return to a historically based understanding of them.

    “You need not refresh my memory.”

    OK.

  • I agree. The Church of Rome’s institutional apparatus and culture need a complete makeover to bring them more in conformity with the earliest Christian communion of churches and the comparatively few healthy developments since then. The hierarchs are largely self-serving. We can thank “Saint” John Paul the Great Enabler of widespread clerical sexual abuse, episcopal mal- and misfeasance, and papal indifference to all the aforementioned.

    Thank you.

  • I need to save this somewhere – thank you so much for this post – what a wealth of information!!! Thanks again.

  • “The Church on this old earth will pass away when His Kingdom Comes.”

    The Kingdom will come when God is ready.

    In the meantime, I pray the Church of Rome AS IT NOW IS will pass away. Long overdue. Lord, I beseech Thee.

  • Having never met Pope Callistus, I can’t say one way or the other. I do, though, trust the documentation of my respected academic sources.

  • Apparently Mr. Mirius doesn’t have a personal relationship with the holy Spirit. And I like my baloney sandwiches fried, with onions. Mr. Mirius has never apparently whiffed the onions.

  • To believe in your sources given the “respect” I see daily on RNS to the Faith takes more faith than believing in the Trinity.

  • Prayer is always useful. Hope the Holy Spirit enlightens you as to the Fact that the Catholic Church is your Sacrament of Salvation.

  • I applaud your change of tone. I hope you will not attempt to destroy the way of truth. My reading of the Tao showed me that God showed THE Way 600 years before Christ via the Spirit of Wisdom. THE Way for the Wise Men was a star. I will try to enter through that narrow gate that my Lord talked of rather than broaden my pride.

  • “And [the Catholic chuch – laity & clerics alike] will get past it.”

    Thumbs up, all ye Catholics! Routing4U.

  • LIAR. The statement “because Jesus approved of it” ain’t in there!

    DECEIVER. You didn’t “compare for us all … the Old Catholic ‘doctrine [of] slavery’ with the New”!

  • You’ll never be able to provide and explain the biblical basis, by chapter & verse, for Thomas Reese’s (false) claim, that “in the New Testament … the leaders of the community were not ‘THE CHURCH,’ but the apostles, bishops, presbyters and elders.” GO AHEAD PROVE YOUR SALT.

  • “…the Catholic Church is your Sacrament of Salvation.”

    Hmmm……do you accept the teachings of the Second Vatican Council? I ask because the council taught it is “the Church” — not the “Catholic Church” — that is the “universal sacrament of salvation” (LG-48; GS-45). The Church is comprised of all the baptized and not just Catholics.

    For a short overview of ecumenism, I recommend Richard McBrien’s “Vatican II themes: The Church is ecumenical” at https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/essays-theology/vatican-ii-themes-church-ecumenical.

  • Catholic means “universal,” before and after Vatican 2. So the Catholic sacrament of salvation does indeed extend to the baptized — those who receive the sacrament, those who receive baptism of desire, those who receive baptism of blood. You just have to take one little step, Joe. Stop calling it the Roman Church.

  • Thank you for that. I’m grateful especially to those here with courage to stand for truth. But strangely, I’m even more relieved to find out so fully, from the comments and articles, what is in store for the Church. It is nothing new, but it is not what you will hear exactly in the pews. I’ve had the chance to pretty much say what I can being on the ground in PA, and to give what I hope I have. I’ll be back sometimes, but not as often as I have been. Pray for us poor sinners, HpO. TiredCatholic.

  • “Stop calling it the Roman Church.”

    I don’t recall having used the term “Roman Church”.

    On the other hand, I have referred to the “Church of Rome” — just as there is a Church of Buenos Aires, a Church of Toronto, a Church of Louisville, a Church of Mexico City, a Church of Kiev, etc.

    I have also referred to the “Catholic (purported) communion of (local) churches”. (I insert the term “purported” because JPII and B16 made sure that local bishops around the world functioned effectively as papal representatives to their respective local churches. Local bishops were puppets, i.e., lackeys, of the Vatican. A genuine communion, on the other hand, would have the bishop of Rome not interfering in the affairs of local churches around the world unless a serious dogmatic controversy had to be dealt with. Such a communion, in other words, would recognize the autonomy of local Catholic churches in selection of bishops, resolution of doctrinal concerns, etc. A true communion would function much like the Orthodox communion, and the bishop of Rome would be “first among equals”.)

    I asked earlier if you accept the teachings of Vatican II. It appears you do not do so — at least with respect to the understanding of “the Church” as enunciated by the conciliar fathers. Are you by any chance a SSPXer or another schismatic group? If not, are you a supporter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter or a similar group that basically rejects Vatican II but has not broken communion with the Church of Rome? I ask because your language strongly suggests you reject the council.

  • I suggest you go for a brisk walk if you can physically/medically handle the exertion. Conniption fits are unbecoming.

  • Vatican II taught it is “the Church” that is the “universal sacrament of salvation”. Do you reject the understanding of “the Church” as consisting of all the baptized, Catholic and non-Catholic alike?

  • Thanks for info. If “Mark Connelly” was removed by the RNS moderator, I can understand why — given his/her repugnant childish behavior on recent threads.

  • ” At the very least, a legend in his own mind.”

    Aye!

    (i can think of another description, but yours is respectful)

  • I suspect that Dr. Mirus knows far more of the subject than do you. His article, by the way, appears on a noted *conservative* Catholic website.

  • “Just leave me out of it.”

    It takes two to tango. If you don’t wish to challenge me, then don’t try to engage me.

  • Aside from moral theological perspective, your question is immaterial to relations between a man and a woman. Simply put, most people around the world do not embrace Catholic moral doctrine to which you allude.

    So I repeat: Is heterosexual behavior also “penis in anus”?

    My question relates to human behavior, not moral doctrine.

  • I point out that YOU attempted to engage me.

    I have read your stuff for years, so I know your script.

  • The original comment related to the RCC’s incremental movement toward the acceptance of homosexuality.
    As you know, there is no moral equivalency between homosexual and heterosexual sexual acts as far as reproduction is concerned. Homosexual acts are against natural law and the (current) teachings of the church.

  • I promised Dr. Silk I would remain so. And I will. Perhaps, at some point, RNS will find it in their hearts to investigate multiple personalities.

  • I believe you saw my original statement to the other poster as a kind of Christian threat, and responded in kind. It was not a threat, however. It is always best to discuss.

  • Whereas my writings only appear here? Eh well, “The wind blows where it will…” You don’t know where the prayers of the laity appear. For example, I am certain that the Holy Spirit blessed the prayers of some elderly ladies in our parish, who I used to sometimes hear huddled together, praying that “God would send us holy priests.” Our parish did seem singularly blessed in that.

  • I was asking Fr. Reese if he has been receiving notes from Catholics that are disgusted with the situation? From what I have heard, I would suspect so.

  • I am just old, Mr. Jaglowicz. Having learned the Baltimore Catechism at my mother’s knee, means that those who are fans of Father McBrien, will not understand my expression of the Faith. While that may be my own fault, I think you are misled. Yes, I see you have edited one of your other statements about Rome. My answer, to keep this in context, of Fr. Reese’s article: “The canonical mission of the bishops, on the other hand can be made by legitimate customs that have not been revoked by the supreme and [substitute Catholic for universal, just to give it some onions] authority of the Church, or by laws made or acknowledged by the same authority, or directly by Peter’s successor himself. Should he object or refuse the apostolic communion, then bishops cannot be admitted to office. (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Chapter 3, Article 24, Which is from Canon Law of the Oriental Church c. 216-314, also c. 324-339…)” Bishops are indeed expected to be servants of the people of God (also Article 24), but I contest the use of “lackey” to describe each bishop’s role in the apostolic communion. Finally, the use of the Vatican II documents to bully the laity into conformance with worldly teachings, is nothing new. As the laity slowly comes to read them, this will pass away. Two volumes filled with lawyer-like language are not generally delved into, when there is lighter fare. That is why I highly recommend Father R.H. Benson’s dystopian novel “Lord of the World.” Spoiler alert, when Rome Falls the Catholic Church does not!

  • “Language matters” is correct and the word, church, is a key word in understanding scripture. The hierarchy has to change and does change from day one to day seven, not unlike everything else. In day six, individuals become a church and the hierarchy they commune with is from above. This world is now in day six, time is short for people to get understanding. The seventh day we rest.

    Welcome to the sixth day, Reverend Reese.

  • No you tried to push a Christian view as the ONLY way to view the world. I pointed out that it isn’t. You then seemed to assume that I was ignorant and I pointed out that I am not. I am an Atheist so how could I possibly have been concerned whether one of your posts was a threat to Christianity or not? You jump to conclusions about people you meet on line. In the future you might say such things as “I believe” rather than flat statements that something you BELIEVE is the truth!

  • “I am just old, Mr. Jaglowicz. Having learned the Baltimore Catechism at my mother’s knee, means that those who are fans of Father McBrien, will not understand my expression of the Faith.”

    I am age 70 and learned from the Baltimore Catechism during my parochial school years ending with graduation in 1962. I had 4 years of Catholic high school coinciding with the Vatican II years, graduating in 1966. I completed 4 years in Catholic college in 1970. My father’s family produced at least three presbyters, all of whom taught in seminaries and one of whom rose to the position of superior general in Rome.

    I suspect I understand your “expression of the Faith” (the “Faith”, incidentally, is Christianity, which takes its name from Christ; our particular Christian tradition is Catholicism). Occasionally, I edit a comment as an afterthought. I may indicate “EDIT” if my new information is substantial enough to be highlighted for the benefit of the blogger with whom I am conversing).

    No doubt, Professor McBrien “learned the Baltimore Catechism at [his] mother’s knee,” as well. He died in January 2015 at age 78. He strongly supported the teaching of Vatican II, as do I. The main theme of this council was church renewal, i.e., a recognition of the need to make the Catholic Church “new again”.

    If you live in the United States, it is clear that most of the men appointed to the U.S. episcopate by JPII and B16 were, indeed, lackeys. With few exceptions, they kowtowed to Rome, as these two popes expected them to do. JPII’s papacy was marked by his authoritarianism. B16’s papacy was marked by his eagerness to embrace schismatic Catholics, especially those affiliated with the SSPX movement that rejects key teachings of Vatican II. Both popes, as well, ignored conciliar pronouncements relating to the liturgical authority of local bishops and national episcopal conferences. Implementation of the Novus Ordo liturgy, according to the conciliar pope, Paul VI, was an “act of obedience” to the council. (It should be noted that the first document of the council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, was officially approved and promulgated by both Paul VI *and* his fellow bishops; this action was a break from tradition in recognition of the authority of bishops who function as “vicars of Christ” in their local churches.)

    For the benefit of others who may be following our exchanges, information about Rev. R.H. Benson may be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hugh_Benson. Would Benson (d. 1914) have supported the teaching of Vatican II had he been alive during the council? I don’t know.

  • The “original comment” was mine, not yours (to clarify). That said, we know that Western Catholics, by a majority, support same-sex marriage. Therefore, one can conclude they approve of sexual relations between two legal spouses of the same sex. In this sense, Catholic moral doctrine is slowly evolving. Perhaps at some point, the acceptance of same-sex marriage will become official church doctrine. Time will tell.

    You write, “As you know, there is no moral equivalency between homosexual and heterosexual sexual acts as far as reproduction is concerned.” The Church of Rome does not approve of assisted reproductive technologies so far as I know (the lone exception may be if medical science helps a wife become pregnant with her husband’s sperm; the church would not approve of masturbation to obtain his seed).

    Yes, sexual acts between two persons of the same sex are against current Catholic teaching including its interpretation of the natural (moral) law. Perhaps the church will gradually modify such teaching in the future.

  • Of course, I attempt to engage you, and, so far, I’ve succeeded remarkably well :o)

    “I have read your stuff for years, so I know your script.”

    Well, goody for you!

  • Have I asked you if you are a follower of the teachers that Cardinal Ratzinger (later B16), had on the ropes? Answer me that one, first.

  • I disagree. It is not the only way to view it. There is free will and there is freedom of conscience. But there is one TRUTH. If you don’t believe it, why so offended?

  • P.S. Even though Father McBrien spoke slightingly of Eucharistic adoration, I will pray for the three of us next time I go.

  • Because you insist that there is One TRUTH. AND you don’t have it. You have ONLY a tiny piece of it. There is a great poem (I paraphrase here): Truth is the shattered mirror lying in shards upon the ground. Each picks up a piece and thinks his is the whole to own.

    I am not offended, you can’t offend me, I do get angry at people that promote the we the good guys because we possess the TRUTH and you the bad guys because you don’t accept our TRUTH dichotomy that tears our world apart.

    There are many paths through the world and each of us must find and follow the path that works for us. Religion is NOT a one size fits all proposition.

    People should be judged by the content of their character NOT by what religion they follow or don’t follow, by their gender, gender orientation or identity,age, social status, educational attainment, racial, ethnic, or cultural background.

    Your attitudes promote judging people solely by their acceptance of YOUR religious beliefs.

  • I no longer engage in eucharistic adoration. Jesus said, “Take and eat…”, not “Take and look at.” So far as I recall, this practice can be tied to the sacred liturgy becoming essentially the domain of the ordained during the Middle Ages; the laity became passive observers, no longer bringing bread and wine from their homes to be used in worship. Given this novelty in practice, eucharistic adoration, Corpus Christi processions, and other extra-liturgical devotions would be used by Rome to grant lay folk some connection to the eucharist.

  • I am not “a follower of the teachers that Cardinal Ratzinger (later B 16) had on the ropes.” I rely on the arguments used by theologians and others supportive of Vatican II.

    Please stop evading my inquiry. I *first* asked you. Courtesy on your part would be clarifying your status with the Church of Rome vis-a-vis the SSPX and similar schismatic organizations or the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter or other groups that effectively reject Vatican II but remain within the Catholic (purported) communion of local churches. In other words, do you support or oppose the doctrines of Vatican II?

  • Since you don’t mind, you’re blocked.

    I have yet to read anything you’ve written worth reading.

  • I’m glad you are not offended. Who have I judged here? Didn’t this exchange begin with a rather frank condemnation of all Catholics, not on your part, of course, but on the part of the Damien Priestly?

  • Human observation and thinking (informed, no doubt, by sacred scripture) were the key ingredients in the articulation of the natural moral law. It should be noted that said law is not a matter of “faith” as in “faith and morals”. All law, whether “natural” or not, necessarily involves human interpretation in its application to specific situations. On this point, I’m reminded of a reminder by a VA attorney that what the law means (in its application) can often enough depend on whom one asks. For example, we have statutory law enacted by legislators, but we also have case law developed by the courts to judge specific situations.

    To give but one example, I once condemned all procured abortions in accordance with Catholic moral doctrine. Several years ago, however, I read a blogging comment by a moral theologian who expressed the need for the church to sanction killing an unborn child when the pregnancy literally threatens the mother’s life. This comment was in response to the infamous St. Joseph Hospital case in Phoenix, AZ when the hospital terminated a pregnancy because of the woman’s toxic physiological state. She was married with several children. Her doctor had advised her earlier not to get pregnant again, but she either ignored professional advice or was careless in sexual relations with her husband. She was literally lying down at death’s door when presented to E.R. staff. The local bishop, Thomas Olmsted, pronounced that every Catholic hospital official involved in approving and performing the abortion had incurred a “latae sententiae”, i.e., automatic, excommunication from the church. It should be noted that such excommunications — apparently with few exceptions, if any — are generally not publicized by bishops because of their very nature, i.e., being automatic and likely unknown by church authorities. It is up to the Catholics involved to confess their sin(s) to the “priest” to obtain absolution. Olmsted’s behavior in this instance, therefore, was unusual (but, then again, he was notoriously legalistic upon learning of the abortion [he has a canon law background]). The moral theologian suggested that the church could justify abortions in such circumstances by reliance on its own doctrine of self-defense. This argument made absolute sense to me, and so I changed my thinking about abortions determined by board-certified medical specialists as necessary to save a mother’s life.

    In light of the above, does the natural moral law give us “absolutes” that must apply to all situations at all times? For me, the answer is “No”.

  • To sum up our “courteous?” exchange. This began with a prayer on your part (after my response to Damien Priestly) that the “Church of Rome” as it is now would pass away. I WONDER if those in the schismatic organization SSPX ever pray like that. I hope not. I think B16 would not have tried to gather them back into unity, if so. But, since they are baptized of course, they would definitely share in the Definition of Church described in Vatican II. So I wonder about your prayers for apparent disunity. AS A TIREDCATHOLIC (tired of those, who like Father McBrien and Father Curran sometimes sneer at the practices of the lay faithful) I accept Vatican II’s teachings whole-heartedly. At my confirmation I made my baptismal promises, and the Holy Spirit has sustained this poor sinner in them. And I repeat (using Baltimore Catechism terminology) there is baptism of desire. None in good faith will be lost.

  • You see how the Holy Spirit has preserved us, once again. Now we have both: “What our senses (sight is one, not just taste) fail to fathom, let us grasp through faith’s consent (St. Thomas Aquinas)”

  • You judged me with your comments. You also judged Damien Priestly. He didn’t condemn all Catholics–he said “for those” that isn’t a statement condemning all Catholics. You judged me as changing my tone when I did no such thing. You judged that others don’t know the TRUTH by claiming that yours is.

  • I have heard this more and more often — once strangely in connection with the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh. “my truth,” “her truth,” “his truth…” I don’t own TRUTH. God does. Does Damien have some deep-seated animus towards those who make and serve spaghetti?

  • Now that is being judgmental!

    What makes you think that you a mere mortal like the rest of us could possibly figure out what “God” if there is one thinks, or knows?

  • You wish!

    As I have said to many, if you want to believe that, you can, it is your right and I support your right. I choose to reject your beliefs as is my right and I hope you support my right and the rights of others to follow their own path.

    If you really want to get into an argument about the TRUTH of your statement I will do so. But I don’t think you really want to do that. For starters I would point out that the Bible is nothing more than the work of men with all their biases and prejudices. It is no more sacred nor less sacred than the texts of the other world religions or the writings of our worlds great thinkers and philosophers. You will have to prove that it is the word of God. I can prove the Bible as we have it is the work of men, the historical record proves that.

    Then I would insist that you prove that God exists, because he/it obviously couldn’t have sent his Son if he never existed nor exists now. And he certainly couldn’t have written the Bible if he/it doesn’t now nor ever existed. I can prove the God you believe in is nothing more than a figment of your imagination. The proof is in Physics, in the failed arguments of Theologians and in the Bible its self.

    This is why religious beliefs should be kept between you and your God. AND why our founding fathers tried to erect that wall to separate church and state.

  • As before, we have free will. St. Thomas Aquinas had a logical proof of the existence of God through observation of Creation. Isn’t the theory of global warming based on the same thing? Scientific observation? Faith is a gift that is not unreasonable. Our society recognizes truth — see for example the courtroom oath — to tell the truth, not my truth or your truth. This is a free forum, and the founders did not object to people telling of their faith — they objected to the government stopping the free exercise, thereof. But I see you do not like it, so I’ll leave you with one further thought that perhaps you will like: “Why does everyone like the Tao so much at first? Isn’t it because you find what you seek, and are forgiven when you sin? Therefore, this is the greatest treasure of the universe (Tao 62nd teaching)” Our path is the same. Good bye.

  • “For starters I would point out that the Bible is nothing more than the work of men with all their biases and prejudices.”

    For starters you would point out for the 2003rd time that your OPINION of the Bible is that it is nothing more than the work of men with all their biases and prejudices.

    “It is no more sacred nor less sacred than the texts of the other world religions or the writings of our worlds great thinkers and philosophers.”

    You would point out for the 2003rd time that your OPINION of the Bible is that it is no more sacred nor less sacred than the texts of the other world religions or the writings of our worlds great thinkers and philosophers.

    “You will have to prove that it is the word of God. I can prove the Bible as we have it is the work of men, the historical record proves that.”

    All you can prove is that men put writing instrument to writing medium. You have an OPINION as to whether it is the word of God, but you can’t prove that opnion.

    “Then I would insist that you prove that God exists, because he/it obviously couldn’t have sent his Son if he never existed nor exists now.”

    Then you would demonstrate you know zero about Christology.

    “I can prove the God you believe in is nothing more than a figment of your imagination.”

    Do it. Now.

  • There are serious flaws with Aquinas five proofs for the existence of God. I wrote a series of essays for the Religious Tolerance organization addressing the flaws with each of these proofs. Also Bradley Bowen addressed the flaws in a series of essays for infidels.org click on the Blog tab. You can find my essays at religioustolerance.org then click on the new essays tab and scroll down through the months looking for my name or click on the visitors essays tab.

    The Tao isn’t about sins, in the Christian concept of the word. I will get out my copy and check the 62nd passage to see where you misunderstood it.

    And you don’t seem to like people telling why they reject your beliefs. So I guess we are even or is that balanced?

  • I googled and found several different translations on line. As I said to translate the last lines as Sin is a mistranslation. Taoists don’t see/understand the concept as Christians do. I suggest you read some other translations to get a better understanding of what the passage means.

  • You may want to spend some of your time learning how to use urls on the internet.

    Under the “New Essays” tab on the poorly organized messy website for “Religious Tolerance”, which at the moment is begging, the only article by Susan Humphreys are:

    “Two essays donated by Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys”

    “The Ethics of Belief: dealing with the evidence needed that is sufficient to believe.”

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/ethics-of-belief.htm

    “Globalization: cultural, religious, and economic”

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/globalization.htm

    the first of which is a lightweight book review, the second of which is a bit of fluff – for example, it contains the howler “Globalization is the result of Capitalism.” which would have been quite the shock to the citizens of imperial Rome.

    Then we encounter:

    “Four essays by contributing editor Susan Humphreys:”

    “Moral Foundation Theory: Part 1, Part 2”

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/moral-foundation-theory.htm

    where we read “I like to think that I am descended from a long line of Innovators (neophiles). While my earliest cousins were preparing for a hunt, my direct ancestor was probably on a hillside under the shade of a tree chipping away at a flint nodule figuring out how to make arrowheads so his hunter cousins could have more success at their hunt!”

    Eventually we encounter:

    “A series of essays on the existence/non-existence of God: From Feser’s book “Five Proofs of the Existence of God,” she describes alternative views of Fester’s”

    “Aristotalian case for God”

    “Neo-Platonic case for God”

    “Augustinian Case for God”

    “Thomistic Case for God”

    “Rationalist Case for God”

    “Nature of God”

    “Is God good?”

    “Theodicy“

    I began with the “Aristotalian case for God” (presumably the “Aristotelian case for the existence of God”.

    It might be better called “What I Don’t like as a Matter of Taste about the Aristotelian Case for the Existence of God.”

    And it went downhill from there.

  • Your writing “There are serious flaws with Aquinas five proofs for the existence of God.” is like the late Mister Wizard writing “There are serious flaws with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”.

  • “That makes them accomplices.”

    In other words (given the poor state of the institution), enablers.

  • So, you are in communion with the Church of Rome and support Vatican II’s teachings. Fair enough. Thank you.

    I did not pray that (your words) “the ‘Church of Rome’ would pass away.” Let’s be careful in quoting others. I wrote much earlier, “I pray the Church of Rome AS IT NOW IS will pass away.” Major difference. The Roman (purported) communion of (local) churches needs renewal, the main goal of Vatican II. The last two popes hindered this “making new again”.

    RE: salvation, I note LG-15 and -16 and Nostra Aetate (the latter mercifully short for a Roman document).

  • What I’ve mentioned has nothing to do with what “our senses fail to fathom”. Eucharistic adoration, etc. derive from medieval developments increasingly turning Catholic worship into a passive exercise for the laity. At one of his November 1969 public audiences, Paul VI noted that the laity would be discouraged from praying their private prayers and devotions during the Novus Ordo liturgy.

  • Thanks for the publicity Mark! No one would expect you to give an honest review of what I write. But you certainly helped me get those titles out there. Good Job! Glad you looked, now try actually reading them!

  • You should, at the minimum, be able to spell “Aristotelian”, before you challenge Aquinas..

    I highly recommend folks read your material.

    They provide some insights into how you see the world, and them if they disagree with you.

  • This is why the Catholic Church does not promote “sola scriptura,” with our own book, the Bible. The teaching authority of the Church sure makes it easier for us.

  • I’ll stick with Aquinas, who will still be remembered at the end times, which is how this discussion began!

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