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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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 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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"Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, s the Spouse in the Canticles [Sgs 6:8] proclaims: ‘One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her'."

---Boniface VIII, Unam sanctam


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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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 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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 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?

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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: Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:35 pm 
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In reading Pink I was fascinated by his explanation of how Maritain's philosophy helped provide the rationale for the 'roots' of a new 'official theology' on individual religious freedom (and not for the better).

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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:56 am 
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My apologies for failing to keep up with the discussion, as I haven’t checked the forums in a while. My comments on separation of Church and state were quite unclear, and I think, unnecessarily complicated this discussion. We need to return to my original stance, which was that Dignitatis Humanae contradicts Quanta cura, and this occurs principally in three ways:

1) Dignitatis Humanae misunderstands the definition of liberty in the Catholic sense. Liberty exists by virtue of free will, which is not the ability to choose between good and evil, contrary to what many erroneously (yet understandably) think. God created man’s free will as a means of allowing man to choose God—the perfect good—perfectly. To define free will as the ability to choose between good and evil is problematic because it would imply that evil was part of God’s original plan for creation. However, we know that evil—the lack of a good—is not in fact willed by God, who is the perfect good. To say otherwise would lead to a logical contradiction, and God cannot contradict His very nature.

When man sins, he does not “use” his free will for its intended purpose; rather, he abuses it. As St. Augustine said, “man, by abusing free will, loses both it and himself”. Thus, there is no such thing as the “freedom to sin”; rather, the capacity for man to sin and do evil is due to a state of bondage, from which Christ came to set us free. There exists no right to sin, and consequently there is no right to practise a false religion. For practising a false religion or engaging in any acts of false worship is directly contrary to divine positive law, namely, the first commandment of the Decalogue. It is, in fact, intrinsically evil to partake in such activities, and always an objective mortal sin, even if it is not always a subjective mortal sin in every case due to mitigating factors.

Thus, the very idea of religious liberty envisioned by Dignitatis Humanae is fundamentally flawed, and implicitly approves of actions which are intrinsically evil and contrary to divine law.

2) Dignitatis Humanae misunderstands the nature of human dignity. It claims that the “right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person” (para. 2). In claiming this, liberty is presented as that which gives rise to human dignity, rather than a consequence thereof. This fails to consider the fact that man possesses dignity by virtue of his being created in the image of God, and maintains his dignity insofar as he responsibly exercises his liberty in accordance with revealed supernatural truths. By disobeying God, man contradicts the source of his dignity, and offends both God and himself. Unbridled liberty, misrepresented as a right to choose either good or evil, allows man to choose evil, and by choosing evil he offends God, Who is goodness itself. This consequently undermines his own dignity as well, as his dignity comes from God, and is maintained insofar as he acts in accordance with the will of God. Thus, rather than upholding human dignity, Dignitatis Humanae, with its ironic title, actually undermines it.

3) Dignitatis Humanae opposes the principle of higher law, which has always been a fundamental aspect of proper Catholic jurisprudence. Hierarchy exists fundamentally due to the very act of Creation itself. The Creator, who simply “is” (as pure substance) is infinitely greater than any created being, as any other substance is just a substance by participation in God. However, in His great love God has condescended to allow man to participate in lawmaking, by allowing divine and natural law to remain more general in their formulations, and allowing man to promulgate temporal laws which are to be more specific formulations of the eternal law. It therefore follows that some laws are higher than others, and lower laws must be in accordance with those higher laws.

Divine positive law, which is promulgated by God, is absolute and applies to all, and every man is required to follow it insofar as he is aware of it. We saw above that practising false religions is contrary to the first commandment, which is part of divine positive law. Thus, no human authority can, in enacting lower temporal laws, create a law which is not in accordance with divine law. Such a human “law” would in fact be no law at all; lower laws by definition must be more specific formulations of higher laws, and if they contradict said higher laws, they are not valid. Thus, it is impossible for the civil authority to authorise citizens to practise false religions by granting them a so-called right to “religious liberty”. Such civil laws are always invalid in the eyes of God, and the Church of Christ must recognise and uphold this fact.

Dignitatis Humanae is very clearly opposed to the former teaching which is taught in Quanta cura. The Church’s traditional teaching against religious liberty, in favour of limited religious tolerance when necessary, is based in fundamental principles of metaphysics and jurisprudence, the testament of which cannot be easily set aside.


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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:57 am 
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I do agree with Ratzinger/Benedict but it should be said that he does not use the term 'hermeneutic of continuity.' He talks, negatively, of a 'hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture' but contrasts this not with a 'hermeneutic of continuity' but a 'hermeneutic of reform.' The difference between the two opposed hermeneutics is not that the former (negative one) has discontinuity and the other continuity, but that the former has a disproportionate emphasis on discontinuity, leading to rupture, while the latter, being a 'hermeneutic of reform,' contains both continuity and discontinuity.

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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:05 am 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
I do agree with Ratzinger/Benedict but it should be said that he does not use the term 'hermeneutic of continuity.' He talks, negatively, of a 'hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture' but contrasts this not with a 'hermeneutic of continuity' but a 'hermeneutic of reform.' The difference between the two opposed hermeneutics is not that the former (negative one) has discontinuity and the other continuity, but that the former has a disproportionate emphasis on discontinuity, leading to rupture, while the latter, being a 'hermeneutic of reform,' contains both continuity and discontinuity.

He said "hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" in the Christmas greetings address. On other occasions, he has said, "hermeneutic of continuity" - eg note 6 of Sacramentum Caritatis (6) I am referring here to the need for a hermeneutic of continuity also with regard to the correct interpretation of the liturgical development which followed the Second Vatican Council: cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia (22 December 2005): AAS 98 (2006), 44-45.

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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:15 am 
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Jack3 wrote:
Closet Catholic wrote:
I do agree with Ratzinger/Benedict but it should be said that he does not use the term 'hermeneutic of continuity.' He talks, negatively, of a 'hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture' but contrasts this not with a 'hermeneutic of continuity' but a 'hermeneutic of reform.' The difference between the two opposed hermeneutics is not that the former (negative one) has discontinuity and the other continuity, but that the former has a disproportionate emphasis on discontinuity, leading to rupture, while the latter, being a 'hermeneutic of reform,' contains both continuity and discontinuity.

He said "hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" in the Christmas greetings address. On other occasions, he has said, "hermeneutic of continuity" - eg note 6 of Sacramentum Caritatis (6) I am referring here to the need for a hermeneutic of continuity also with regard to the correct interpretation of the liturgical development which followed the Second Vatican Council: cf. Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia (22 December 2005): AAS 98 (2006), 44-45.


My point with this thread was to demonstrate that the hermeneutic of continuity is not enough, given the contradiction between Dignitatis Humanae and Quanta cura. This contradiction is quite substantial, and cannot be resolved by interpretation. This very passage from Dignitatis Humanae needs to be altered before it can be harmonised with prior teaching.


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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:19 am 
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I was responding to CC.

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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:56 pm 
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Has anyone read Thomas Pink's article in Public Discourse?
Very relevant to this topic.
Here's the link:

https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2018/08/39362/

Some points that I think are incredibly hard to refute (from the article) are as follows:

Quote:
That is why in Catholic tradition, as in Aristotle, the state is not just a facilitator of protection and cooperation. The state is also a public teacher. Through its laws, we as private individuals come to understand what the common good involves and how it should be pursued. All states are confessors: confessors of the content of reason as it concerns the bonum commune. A properly functioning state can bear witness to the common good in a way that private individuals cannot.



....


Quote:
And the warnings of Pius IX and Leo XIII do look very prescient. For with that political secularization we find states also departing from natural law on an ever-widening field of issues, including abortion, euthanasia, and marriage. We find the state still confessing, as states must do, but falsely. The secularizing state bears increasingly false witness to the common good. It moves with depressing speed, in many countries, to repress and marginalize opposing Christian witness to the natural law in public life.



And finally

Quote:
No genuinely non-Christian state can be relied upon to recognize either of these things. States that do not recognize them will become confessors of false belief opposed to Christianity, and their great power will turn from supporting Christianity to opposing or even repressing it, especially in relation to its moral teaching. As the rapid movement of many western states from genuine support to increasing enmity toward Christianity illustrates, there is no stable middle way.


By "either of these things" Pink is referring to (1) state recognition of Natural Law and (2) the transformation of Public Reason brought about by 'raising of religion to a supernatural good'.... that is, the State's recognition that the Catholic (or more broadly Christian) religion is a supernatural good that now transcends the State.

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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:58 pm 
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p.falk wrote:
By "either of these things" Pink is referring to (1) state recognition of Natural Law and (2) the transformation of Public Reason brought about by 'raising of religion to a supernatural good'.... that is, the State's recognition that the Catholic (or more broadly Christian) religion is a supernatural good that now transcends the State.


Okay...and what of the distortion of Church teaching (and blatant violations of Thomistic metaphysics) on human dignity and liberty presented in Dignitatis Humanae?


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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:39 pm 
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Could you spell those distortions out?

This article is by Thomas Pink and he wouldn't say that Dignitatis Humanae has any magisterial distortions (compared to early magisterial proclamations).

He separates out the magisterium from the "official theology"; and that the official theology can be distorted in the case of Dignitatis Humanae.

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 Post subject: Re: Hermeneutic of Continuity
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:52 pm 
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p.falk wrote:
Could you spell those distortions out?


No problem. Scroll up a few posts:

1) Dignitatis Humanae misunderstands the definition of liberty in the Catholic sense. Liberty exists by virtue of free will, which is not the ability to choose between good and evil, contrary to what many erroneously (yet understandably) think. God created man’s free will as a means of allowing man to choose God—the perfect good—perfectly. To define free will as the ability to choose between good and evil is problematic because it would imply that evil was part of God’s original plan for creation. However, we know that evil—the lack of a good—is not in fact willed by God, who is the perfect good. To say otherwise would lead to a logical contradiction, and God cannot contradict His very nature.

When man sins, he does not “use” his free will for its intended purpose; rather, he abuses it. As St. Augustine said, “man, by abusing free will, loses both it and himself”. Thus, there is no such thing as the “freedom to sin”; rather, the capacity for man to sin and do evil is due to a state of bondage, from which Christ came to set us free. There exists no right to sin, and consequently there is no right to practise a false religion. For practising a false religion or engaging in any acts of false worship is directly contrary to divine positive law, namely, the first commandment of the Decalogue. It is, in fact, intrinsically evil to partake in such activities, and always an objective mortal sin, even if it is not always a subjective mortal sin in every case due to mitigating factors.

Thus, the very idea of religious liberty envisioned by Dignitatis Humanae is fundamentally flawed, and implicitly approves of actions which are intrinsically evil and contrary to divine law.

2) Dignitatis Humanae misunderstands the nature of human dignity. It claims that the “right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person” (para. 2). In claiming this, liberty is presented as that which gives rise to human dignity, rather than a consequence thereof. This fails to consider the fact that man possesses dignity by virtue of his being created in the image of God, and maintains his dignity insofar as he responsibly exercises his liberty in accordance with revealed supernatural truths. By disobeying God, man contradicts the source of his dignity, and offends both God and himself. Unbridled liberty, misrepresented as a right to choose either good or evil, allows man to choose evil, and by choosing evil he offends God, Who is goodness itself. This consequently undermines his own dignity as well, as his dignity comes from God, and is maintained insofar as he acts in accordance with the will of God. Thus, rather than upholding human dignity, Dignitatis Humanae, with its ironic title, actually undermines it.

p.falk wrote:
He separates out the magisterium from the "official theology"; and that the official theology can be distorted in the case of Dignitatis Humanae.


This kind of separation is exactly what leads to the post-conciliar attitude of picking-and-choosing which parts of Church teaching to follow. For it is not only defined dogmas which demand the assent of Catholics, but also the consistent, "official theology" taught consistently throughout the centuries. We must abide by the Vincentian Canon in times of doctrinal crisis; if Dignitatis Humanae contradicts the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, then Dignitatis Humanae is in error.

The Vincentian Canon is the threefold test of orthodoxy presented by St. Vincent of Lérins (400-50) in his two memoranda (Comonitoria): "Care must especially be had that that be held which was believed everywhere [ubique], always [semper], and by all [ab omnibus]." By this threefold test, heresy can be distinguished from orthodoxy, even when there is a widespread failure of catechesis throughout the Church (like today) and many are confused about doctrine.

Furthermore, Donum veritatis teaches:

Quote:
...it would be contrary to the truth, if, proceeding from some particular cases, one were to conclude that the Church's Magisterium can be habitually mistaken in its prudential judgments, or that it does not enjoy divine assistance in the integral exercise of its mission.


Naturally, the approval of theological writings belongs within the domain of the Church's prudential judgements. Thus, the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, having been approved consistently for centuries, is the authoritative, "official theology" of the Church. It is part of Catholic Tradition, and Catholic Tradition is not limited to dogmatic, magisterial pronouncements.

This kind of disconnect you describe is one of the fundamental tenets of modernism.


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