Contradictions : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

In a conversation I had last week, a troubling question arose. The person said, " How can you defend Dignatus Humanae against Pius IX sysabus of Errors".

The one gives the right of religious freedom, and the other calls it a heresy" I had no answer, but I looked it up and as far as I can tell, he was correct.

-- Martin (, October 05, 2004


Response to Cntradictions

This reply bumps the question to New Answers.

-- Andy S (""), October 05, 2004.

I don't see that there is any conflict at all. I don't see how there could there be, given that the two documents deal with completely different subjects.

The Syllabus of errors condemns social movements which lead to false theological and moral views, including liberalism, pantheism, rationalism, indifferentism, communism, and a few others.

Dignitatis Humanae, while clearly reaffirming the identity of the Catholic Church as the one true Church founded by Christ as the channel of salvation for all men, denounces coercion as a means of forcing people to accept a specific religion.

Where's the conflict??

-- Paul M. (, October 05, 2004.

One set of belief takes as its premise: "there is no ultimate truth so let's all get along with one another" - this is condemned by the Church. It's the basic Masonic stupidity that even they don't believe.

The other is "there is one ultimate truth but given God's nature and man's, only freely choosing the good is worthy of the good" - and the Church is OK with this proposition.

If you opt for the first so-called secular presupposition your intentions may be noble but in the end you get tyrannies and terrors - ideologies may all start out claiming not to be the new Gospel and salvation, but they all end up taking its place and promising mankind (at the cost of how many individual lives?) what can't be given.

The second way is to acknowledge reality as it is - there is a plurality of cultures and beliefs. It's not as if we're hoping to someday achieve this polyglot as an's that we've already got here thanks to the Fall and have to deal with it. Now that we're here, how best to evangelize? You can't evangelize - bear the good news if you think this news is just as good as any other... nor can you bear witness to Christ using secular means only...i.e. state coercion.

Human dignity - as revealed by Our Lord - shows us another way, a higher path that will require holiness of life on the part of us laity, coherance and solidarity (working together, not lumps on the log or passive parishoners).

It requires wisdom not just good intentions... prudence and knowing when to take a stand and when to bind one's time... all complex and awfully un-showy stuff. Not something for the timid or proud to deal with.

The proud would write their manifesto of life the universe and everything (ala Das Kapital), theorize simultaneously that there is no ultimate truth but my way is better than any other to achieve utopia so if you don't agree my minions may legitmately 'bury you'....and then a generation later the college dons will take up this call and make it chic - and a generation after that, the young lawyers and politicians will take a turn at the wheel of power using this theory...

The Gospel way is hidden within culture - like leaven - and thus isn't so easy to isolate. But whereas the ideology strives for glory in this world, the Gospel seeks God's glory by working for the redemption and salvation of souls - who unlike the culture or state are immortal.

-- Joe (, October 05, 2004.

From what I see the "living document" ideas are very dangerous. The same can be said of the Americn constitution. That idea brought the right to privacy and abortion. The church went from a dead language to a living language, and again a failure. We must go back to our old ways, like it or not.

The myth I want to mention is the idea that the crisis we now face was not caused by the Council or the changes imposed in its name. These people would object to Mel Gibson's recent statement in Time magazine, when he was asked about the effects of Vatican II on the Church: "Look at the main fruits; dwindling numbers and pedophilia."

I have a several responses to the post hoc objection, which comes mainly from conservative Catholics.

First, the correlation in time between the holding of the Council and the subsequent decline is just so startling it's beyond reason to deny the link. I won't go through the numbers. but in every area the numbers flipped almost immediately with the Council numbers that were on a steep increase immediately before began a precipitous slide.

Therefore we must go beyond the rhetoric, and take an honest look at results. Talk is cheap, action takes work.

Second, the most serious declines came in exactly those areas that were most affected by the changes for example, reform of seminaries and convents led to an immediate decline in vocations; the de-emphasis of the distinction between priest and laity was followed by a dearth of priests; the change of the Mass resulted in plummeting Mass attendance; and the emphasis on ecumenism brought about a decline in conversions and missionary activity. The list is endless.

Third, I think the burden is on those who make the post hoc argument to offer a better reason. If the changes made after Vatican II did not cause the crisis, what did? They offer no other reason.

In response to the post hoc objection, I submit another Latin slogan res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself.

What Is to Be Done?

-- Roger2 (, October 05, 2004.

What is to be done is to look at the WHOLE PICTURE, not the part. It's a matter of perspective. Look what what Council fathers were grappling with: it's 1962, Godless communism was sweeping across the globe, largely unchecked. atheist hedonism was sweeping across the western world too through the cultural elite... most missionaries were european or north american, while growing numbers of catholics were natives...

They saw an impressive Church infrastructure in the USA - schools, big parishes, big seminaries... apparently all very pious and filled with Tridentine faith... but wait - what was wrong with the Tridentine mass and the status quo if EUROPE - the cradle of Christianity was itself in serious decline?

Post hoc ergo propter hoc could be applied to Trent too! The rise of anti-Catholic regimes, nation-states, tyrany, war and the rise of atheism, the loss of the elites and thus culture... all happened after Trent and before Vatican I or II!

Obviously something had to happen - why not take a shot at giving this booming "golden days" American Church a set of marching orders to evangelize the laity and through them turn a corner for the world?

Ahh, because the good old days weren't. The Tridentine Catholics of north america and Europe were hollow. Sure YOUR parents and grandparents were the exception - that's why you still believe...but their relatives and friends - look how easily they let go of that faith! Look how easily the theologians and priests and bishops, the nuns and monks, the whole apparatus of supposedly holy and intelligent people rolled over and played dead!

No, I say the proof that the council was needed was in how quickly a supposedly solid church imploded - proving that it wasn't solid - or informed or intelligent.

But in the 3rd world and places where the Council was implemented soundly, there has been a great explosion in conversions and vocations and holiness. Martyrs are still dying for the faith in the 3rd world while Americans and Northern Europeans are fighting for ways to make their Catholicism easier to bear.

-- Joe (, October 06, 2004.

As just an observant person, I see decons doing more and more of the priestly duties,so wheb I see the archbishop of Cincinnati saying that the reduction in priests is a good thing, that we had too many priests to begin with, I wonder what kind of reasoning is going on.

Do we also say that the churches were too crowded and now we have more room in the pews?

When will those that be admit that there is a great problem.

-- Borden (, October 09, 2004.

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