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 Post subject: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:41 pm 
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It is widely known that the implementation of Vatican II was often unfaithful to the text of the actual documents. A vague “spirit of Vatican II” obscured the actual intentions of the Council Fathers, leading to much anarchy and confusion. Many have proposed interpreting Vatican II according to a “hermeneutic of continuity”, or in the “light of Tradition”. While this is certainly understandable, there seem to be some points which I have not been able to figure out whether they can be viewed in this light.

For example, Dignitatis Humanae affirms the following:

"This Vatican Synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that in matters religious no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs. Nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits".

Meanwhile, Quanta cura says the following:

"From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI, an 'insanity', viz., that 'liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way'."

For 1,900 years, the Church has taught that the state has the moral obligation to restrict the practice of false religions, with a relaxation of the restriction only when necessary to avoid a greater evil. Today, however, the teaching seems to have changed to the state allowing the practice of all religions, true or false, with vague, undefined “due limits”.

How do we reconcile these seemingly contradictory statements? I’m thinking that perhaps we could think of the change in circumstances, because the reality remains that many societies have become more religiously diverse in the last hundred years. However, Dignitatis Humanae asserts that a right to religious liberty arises as a consequence of man’s human dignity, something which is intrinsic to the person, and not a matter of circumstances. So it would seem that thinking of circumstances would be a non-starter.

Does anyone have any thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:40 am 
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Have you read Thomas Pink here?

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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:44 am 
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Note well, that there are three possibilities

1. DH and previous teaching are reconciliable

2. DH is wrong

3. Previous teaching is wrong. Oh, and DH is wrong

See DH affirms explicitly previous teaching, including the duties of states to the true religion. Either the rest of the document fits with that, or the document contradicts itself.

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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:48 pm 
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Pro Ecclesia Dei wrote:
Have you read Thomas Pink here?


I just took a look at this: https://www.firstthings.com/article/201 ... d-coercion

As far as I can tell, it appears that his argument is that the Church has jurisdiction over religions matters, and the State has jurisdiction over secular matters, and the two do not intersect unless the Church expressly authorizes the State of act as her "coercive agent". This position can be summed up in the following: "The state is forbidden to coerce in matters of religion, not because such coercion is illicit for any authority whatsoever, but because such coercion lies beyond the state’s particular competence". So, the author concludes, Dignitatis Humanae is not asserting that an individual has a right to false belief (condemned proposition no. 15 in Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors) but rather changing the policy of the Church, no longer authorizing the State to act as this "coercive agent".

The first troubling element in this argument is the fact that such a policy implicitly gives support for separation of Church and State, an idea which has been condemned various times by various popes, as well as in the aforementioned Syllabus.

The author also writes the following: "In Immortale Dei, issued in 1885 (fifteen years after the close of the First Vatican Council), Leo XIII expressly denied, as a matter of doctrine, the state’s possession of any jurisdiction over the religious and the sacred as such. That jurisdiction belonged only to the Church".

The meaning of this passage is that the State has no control over the affairs of the Church; for example, the State cannot appoint bishops unless the Church expressly grants permission for this. This is because, in the proper order of things, the State is subordinate to the Church, rather than the other way around. However, to assert that the State has no jurisdiction over the Church (a true statement), does not mean that the State necessarily needs express authorization in order to regulate matters of religion insofar as they pertain to the public and social order. To assert that the State has no authority to interfere with ecclesiastical governance is not the same thing as asserting that the State has no right to restrict the public practice of false religions. Thus, making the argument that the State has no jurisdiction over religious matters is a non-starter.

What Dignitatis Humanae proposes is for the State not to interfere in matters of religion at all, and to treat all religions equally, giving no preference to the true faith. On the other hand, the Church had always taught that the State should restrict the public practice of false religions, because these religions are false, and a threat to both public order and the salvation of souls. As for allowing the practice of false religions, the State would normally say "NO", allowing "YES" only under specific circumstances, to avoid a greater evil (religious tolerance). However, Dignitatis Humanae teaches that the State should always say "YES" to false worship, and only "NO" under specific circumstances (religious liberty) Religious tolerance and religious liberty mean completely different things; tolerance implies reluctance, while liberty implies approval. Dignitatis Humanae changes the policy of religious tolerance to one of religious liberty.

One can argue that this is merely a change of policy, not doctrine, but it is clear that such a change in policy implies a doctrinal change, not only with regard to how religions ought to be treated by the State, but also concerning the fundamental relationship between Church and State.

The State, working to protect social order and the common good, must necessarily, by natural law itself, exercise some degree of control over how religion is practiced under its jurisdiction. The spread of false religions leads to rampant immorality and disturbances in public order; one can only imagine what disastrous consequences would have resulted had the State not suppressed the 13th-century Catharist heresy, whose adherents (for example) regarded marriage as evil. Undermining marriage undermines social order, and so the State had the right to suppress this heresy. If the public practice of false religions opposes the common good, the State inherently has the right to suppress these religions.

It is only when the State attempts to suppress Catholicism or interfere with the freedom of the Church, refusing submission to her, that it exceeds its purview. However, the State does, by natural law itself, possess the authority to forbid the public practice of false religions, because error has no right to protection.


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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:53 pm 
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More Pink:
https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.o ... me7fu1z7wa
http://www.academia.edu/32742609/Dignit ... r_Leo_XIII

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-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:26 pm 
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I would suggest you are misreading Pink if you think he supports separation of Church and State! For one, his claim is related to the use of coercive force in religious matters. Even without that, the State still retains a duty to recognize the true religion, and the civil right endorsed in DH is limited by, not only public peace, but morality (as taught by the Church) and the freedom of the Church, which thus retains a privileged position

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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:33 pm 
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Pro Ecclesia Dei wrote:
I would suggest you are misreading Pink if you think he supports separation of Church and State! For one, his claim is related to the use of coercive force in religious matters. Even without that, the State still retains a duty to recognize the true religion, and the civil right endorsed in DH is limited by, not only public peace, but morality (as taught by the Church) and the freedom of the Church, which thus retains a privileged position


First, I'm not saying Pink supports separation of Church and State. All I'm saying is that putting Dignitatis Humanae into practice will lead to the practical application of the principles regarding this separation, and that is problematic.

A quote from the article another poster just linked:

"Our natural right to liberty, based on our human dignity, gives us a right not to be subject to coercive direction—to directives backed by punitive threats—save those issued by a competent authority. Once it is secularized and detached from acting on the authority of the Church, the state entirely lacks competent authority to coerce us in matters of religion; and so our human dignity gives us a right not to be coerced religiously by the state—exactly as Dignitatis Humanae says".

A few brief thoughts...

1) Discussions on whether the State has the right to "coerce" are moot because this was never the function of the State. The Church taught that the State has the obligation to restrict the public exercise of false religions; this has nothing to do with coercing others to accept the Catholic faith or forcing them to participate in Catholic religious practices.

2) Why doesn't the Church simply re-assert her authority over the State? Then maybe we won't have the secular mess called "modern society"... This seems to be a clear case of acquiescing to this godless world; there was clearly a shift in thinking in the 1960s, in which the Church is no longer a "sign of contradiction" (Lk. 2:34) but is now an entity which must "dialogue" with a world clearly not on equal footing with her.

3) It violates the natural order to allow the State to continue refusing this subordination to the Church.

4) Even if Dignitatis Humanae isn't teaching doctrinal error, the effects of accepting Pink's thesis - that the Church should continue acquiescing to the secularization in the modern world - are disastrous, and not at all conducive to the salvation of souls.

In any case, the failure of Church leaders to take steps to rectify the current state of the world, in which Church and State are acting as separate agents, the latter no longer subordinate to the former, indicates that the bishops do not view Dignitatis Humanae the same way that Pink does. And here we get back to the root of the problem: we can interpret Vatican II's ambiguous passages according to a "hermeneutic of continuity" or "in light of Tradition", but the vast majority of Church leaders do not.

So, what do we do?


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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:55 am 
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Quote:
So, what do we do?

Pray.

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"May our tongues proclaim Your truth. May Your Cross be a protection for us as we let our tongues be turned into new harps and sing hymns with fiery lips"

-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:35 am 
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https://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/11/letters pink defends his article in FirstThings.

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"May our tongues proclaim Your truth. May Your Cross be a protection for us as we let our tongues be turned into new harps and sing hymns with fiery lips"

-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:59 am 
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Christus_vincit wrote:
Pro Ecclesia Dei wrote:
I would suggest you are misreading Pink if you think he supports separation of Church and State! For one, his claim is related to the use of coercive force in religious matters. Even without that, the State still retains a duty to recognize the true religion, and the civil right endorsed in DH is limited by, not only public peace, but morality (as taught by the Church) and the freedom of the Church, which thus retains a privileged position


First, I'm not saying Pink supports separation of Church and State. All I'm saying is that putting Dignitatis Humanae into practice will lead to the practical application of the principles regarding this separation, and that is problematic.

A quote from the article another poster just linked:

"Our natural right to liberty, based on our human dignity, gives us a right not to be subject to coercive direction—to directives backed by punitive threats—save those issued by a competent authority. Once it is secularized and detached from acting on the authority of the Church, the state entirely lacks competent authority to coerce us in matters of religion; and so our human dignity gives us a right not to be coerced religiously by the state—exactly as Dignitatis Humanae says".

A few brief thoughts...

1) Discussions on whether the State has the right to "coerce" are moot because this was never the function of the State. The Church taught that the State has the obligation to restrict the public exercise of false religions; this has nothing to do with coercing others to accept the Catholic faith or forcing them to participate in Catholic religious practices.

2) Why doesn't the Church simply re-assert her authority over the State? Then maybe we won't have the secular mess called "modern society"... This seems to be a clear case of acquiescing to this godless world; there was clearly a shift in thinking in the 1960s, in which the Church is no longer a "sign of contradiction" (Lk. 2:34) but is now an entity which must "dialogue" with a world clearly not on equal footing with her.

3) It violates the natural order to allow the State to continue refusing this subordination to the Church.

4) Even if Dignitatis Humanae isn't teaching doctrinal error, the effects of accepting Pink's thesis - that the Church should continue acquiescing to the secularization in the modern world - are disastrous, and not at all conducive to the salvation of souls.

In any case, the failure of Church leaders to take steps to rectify the current state of the world, in which Church and State are acting as separate agents, the latter no longer subordinate to the former, indicates that the bishops do not view Dignitatis Humanae the same way that Pink does. And here we get back to the root of the problem: we can interpret Vatican II's ambiguous passages according to a "hermeneutic of continuity" or "in light of Tradition", but the vast majority of Church leaders do not.

So, what do we do?


I think you need to be clearer: eg What are the "principles" of separation of Church and state?

On #1, I do not understand the distinction that you are making.

#2, I think dialogue vs contradiction might be a false dichotomy - In ES, the Encyclical in which Pope St Paul brought forth the word and concept of dialogue, he refers to Pius XI and Pius XIII and says, "And what was this apostolic endeavor of theirs if not a dialogue?"

#3, I'm confused - Does subordination to the Church belong to the natural order?

#4, Are you saying that Pink claims that hat the Church should continue acquiescing to the secularization in the modern world? I'd like a source for that. (If anything, he is traditional.) What do you mean when you say secularization?

_________________
Prayers,
Jack3
South Indian Eastern Catholic teenager.

"May our tongues proclaim Your truth. May Your Cross be a protection for us as we let our tongues be turned into new harps and sing hymns with fiery lips"

-From the introduction to Our Father, "On the feasts of the Lord and other important feasts", Syro Malabar rite


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