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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Catholic Encyclicals on the Bible

I recently found a blog run by Catholic professors of Scripture and Theology called The Sacred Page. I see that Moonshadow is ahead of me on this one.

Contrary to what Candy and others assert, the Bible is not banned for Catholics. Bible study is encouraged, and it has been the subject of several papal writings.

The three papal encyclicals on the Bible.

These are:
1. Pope Leo XIII,
Encyclical Letter On the Study of Sacred Scripture,
2. Pope Benedict XV,
Encyclical Letter Commemorating the Fifteenth Centenary of the Death of St. Jerome,
3. Pope Pius XII,
Encyclical Letter Promoting Biblical Studies,
As I'm reading through these encyclicals again, I'm struck by what a treasure trove of teaching they are on a whole host of issues: inspiration, inerrancy, interpretation, the literal and spiritual senses of Scripture, the role of the Scripture in the spiritual life and mission of the Church, and on and on.

As you can see by the dates, this Catholic interest in the Bible even pre-dates Vatican II. Perhaps some of you would be interested in giving Mary and the Pope a rest, and discussing our commonalities and differences in views on the Bible.

Some previous topics of interest from VTC:
The Catholic Bible
Bible Catholics
The Catholic View of Scripture

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47 comments:

SunshinyLiving said...

A little off the topic, but in the RCIA classes at my church (for those who don't know, this is an RC introductory class for for those wanting to join the Church and for those simply interested in finding out more about RC doctrine)each person is given a bible to keep as their own. That is, EVERY person attending, whether it be a 1st timer or one of the staff people or one of the sponsors (which have come numerous times). I don't know how other RC churches do it, but at ours it is obvious to anyone with eyes or ears that Sacred Scripture holds a very important and revered position in our church. (OK, it was not a KJV....)

Moonshadow said...

Bible study is encouraged

This is true but we would say that a Catholic can be a good Catholic without ever reading the Bible outside mass. I don't think Protestants would say that. Bible reading is the epitome of Protestant spirituality, n'est-ce pas?

anymommy said...

"Bible reading is the epitome of Protestant spirituality, n'est-ce pas?"

In my experience, Protestants HAVE to read the Bible on their own because it is not generally read in the church service except for 1 or 2 verses. A Protestant will NEVER hear the whole Bible if they're waiting around for their pastor to read it to them--especially if they want to hear it in any kind of order.

Sue Bee said...

"Bible reading is the epitome of Protestant spirituality, n'est-ce pas?"

Hmmm...perhaps in some non-sacramental protestant circles - those that read and memorize it like there is going to be a quiz at the end (and you are damned if you fail).

To me, those who have an active and fervent prayer life seem to be higher up the spiritual ladder. Prayer is more personal and springs from faith rather than the intellect. JMHO

Sue Bee said...

anymommy wrote: In my experience, Protestants HAVE to read the Bible on their own because it is not generally read in the church service except for 1 or 2 verses. A Protestant will NEVER hear the whole Bible if they're waiting around for their pastor to read it to them--especially if they want to hear it in any kind of order.

You're kidding, right?

Elena said...

NO, she's not kidding and for some churches she is probably correct. In fact the church behind me seems to have about 20 favorite bible readings that they like to rotate through, but if indeed they are only reading what they advertise on their board outside of their church, then indeed they are never making it through the entire bible.

Please see note in side bar - not all statements about Protestants fit all!

Moonshadow said...

Interesting that y'all ran with the second half of my comment.

Does that mean that this -

a Catholic can be a good Catholic without ever reading the Bible outside mass

is agreed?

Sue Bee said...

Elena wrote: NO, she's not kidding and for some churches she is probably correct...

I thought anymommy's comment sounded familiar, like something Candy once said about Roman Catholics.

Moonshadow asks: a Catholic can be a good Catholic without ever reading the Bible outside mass

I don't know but I am interested in what will be the answers...

Clare said...

Sue Bee
Why do you think Anymommy is kidding?
Do Lutheran churches cover the entire bible in a systematic way?
I'm asking because I'm curious. In all my time in protestant churches I've never seen anything other than a rather idiosyncratic, ad hoc approach to the scripture reading of the day.
Usually it depended on the chosen 'theme' for the series of talks.

"I thought anymommy's comment sounded familiar, like something Candy once said about Roman Catholics."

You're point being...?

Do you mean that Candy has claimed that Catholics don't get to hear the bible, and that Anymommys comment is a sort of 'tit for tat' equivalent of Candys?

But of course the irony of that is that Candy was UTTERLY wrong. Anymommy, on the other hand, is pretty much on the money, at least in my varied experience of the Christian smorgasbord on offer.

Clare said...

Forgot to sub to comments.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

"The solicitude of the Apostolic office naturally urges, and even compels us, not only to desire that this grand source of Catholic revelation should be made safely and abundantly accessible to the flock of Jesus Christ, but also not to suffer any attempt to defile or corrupt it, either on the part of those who impiously and openly assail the Scriptures, or of those who are led astray into fallacious and imprudent novelties." ( taken from Providentissimus Deus)
-----------------------------------

Great counselling and warning! I must also add, that the Bible is also a great source of CHRISTIAN revelation (not just Catholic).

Peace and blessings :-)

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Do Prostestants cover the Bible in a systematic way? Yes. At the weekly Sunday or Sabbath School. Whole passages are memorized and/or studied, and discussed.

Hope this helps.

Peace and blessings.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Amen for Bible Study.

Clare said...

DOW
Do Prostestants cover the Bible in a systematic way? Yes. At the weekly Sunday or Sabbath School. Whole passages are memorized and/or studied, and discussed.

Oh yes, i know I attended lots of very thorough, in depth Protestant bible studies.
My question was, is there a unified, systematic approach to scripture study whereby the entire bible will be covered?
My experience was that there wasn't. That it was down to the individual pastor to set the 'theme' and the scripture readings accordingly. Ditto the bible studies that I attended.

Elena said...

Clare, some Protestant churches follow the same reading schedule that the Catholic church does. I learned that from a Presbyterian minister. Of course they do not use any of the Deuterocanonical books, and now that the Catholic church is on three year cycles I'm not sure how that changed things either.

But I guess the short answer is some do, and some do not.

Elena said...

I thought anymommy's comment sounded familiar, like something Candy once said about Roman Catholics.

She prefaced the remark with "in my experience." This is something Candy, to my knowledge, has NEVER done when talking about Catholicism.

Please review the statement in the side bar. When we discuss Protestantism one size does not fit all and particularly on this blog we are not discussing Lutheranism.

Clare said...

Anymommy "prefaced the remark with "in my experience." This is something Candy, to my knowledge, has NEVER done when talking about Catholicism.

Absolutely. And those three little words make all the difference in the world.

Jennie said...

About halfway through the Leo XIII encyclical, it says this:
Wherefore the first and dearest object of the Catholic commentator should be to interpret those passages which have received an authentic interpretation either from the sacred writers themselves, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost (as in many places of the New Testament), or from the Church, under the assistance of the same Holy Spirit, whether by her solemn judgment or her ordinary and universal magisterium(35) - to interpret these passages in that identical sense, and to prove, by all the resources of science, that sound hermeneutical laws admit of no other interpretation. In the other passages, the analogy of faith should be followed, and Catholic doctrine, as authoritatively proposed by the Church, should be held as the supreme law; for, seeing that the same God is the author both of the Sacred Books and of the doctrine committed to the Church, it is clearly impossible that any teaching can by legitimate means be extracted from the former, which shall in any respect be at variance with the latter. Hence it follows that all interpretation is foolish and false which either makes the sacred writers disagree one with another, or is opposed to the doctrine of the Church.
If the first and dearest object of the Catholic commentator is to interpret scripture in the identical sense as the judgments and the magisterium of the Church, and to prove that there is no other legitimate interpretation (as well as interpreting those passages which have received an authentic interpretation either from the sacred writers themselves, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, in the identical sense; what if these two-the sacred writers and the magisterium-disagree?)this contradicts the teaching of scripture that, like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, we should search the scriptures to be sure that our teachers are correct, even if that teacher is an Apostle like Paul. There we see that the written scripture is the rule against which the spoken word is measured, and also against which any other written word is measured. So oral tradition must bow to the known written scripture.

Jennie said...

This statement by Leo XIII also contradicts the teachings of Jesus on the work of the Holy Spirit to teach, comfort, guide, and illuminate the truth of scripture to the disciple of Christ (John 14-17). If the magisterium sets its interpretation and tradition as law then this takes away the ministry of the Spirit to the individual believer, placing itself in this position instead. This squelches the work of the Spirit, who is like the wind, and blows where He wills; yet we know that the Spirit can be suppressed and blocked, as we are warned against this in 1 Thess. 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. We also know that added traditions can make the word of God of no effect, as Jesus taught in Mark 7:13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.
Leo XIII says and Catholic doctrine, as authoritatively proposed by the Church, should be held as the supreme law; for, seeing that the same God is the author both of the Sacred Books and of the doctrine committed to the Church, it is clearly impossible that any teaching can by legitimate means be extracted from the former, which shall in any respect be at variance with the latter. This statement directly places Roman Catholic doctrines as the supreme law over and instead of God-inspired scripture which truly is the Supreme Law and Rule, while erroneously affirming that the same God is the author of scripture and 'the doctrine committed to the Church', if by the latter we assume 'oral tradition' is referred to. In saying 'it is clearly impossible that any teaching can by legitimate means be extracted from the former, which shall in any respect be at variance with the latter' Leo XIII precludes the possibility that the Holy Spirit Himself can teach the saints of Christ anything that contradicts RC doctrines. This puts the RCC in the place of the Holy Spirit, and quenches His work in the hearts of the people. This statement 'cuts the Holy Spirit off at the pass' so to speak; if Leo's statement can be demonstrated to be false by comparing scripture to the oral traditions, then it must be a lie inspired by another spirit. Over and over 'oral traditions' have been shown to have no scriptural support and no support by unanimous consent.

Elena said...

So oral tradition must bow to the known written scripture.

In Catholicism this isn't an issue. Oral Tradition and Scripture always go hand in hand.

Elena said...

III. THE CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

797 "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church."243 "To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members."244 The Holy Spirit makes the Church "the temple of the living God":245

Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the "Gift of God" has been entrusted. . . . In it is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent to God. . . . For where the Church is, there also is God's Spirit; where God's Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace.246

798 The Holy Spirit is "the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body."247 He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity:248 by God's Word "which is able to build you up";249 by Baptism, through which he forms Christ's Body;250 by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ's members; by "the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts";251 by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called "charisms"), by which he makes the faithful "fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church."252

Jennie said...

Elena,
In Catholicism this isn't an issue. Oral Tradition and Scripture always go hand in hand.
In Catholicism oral tradition and Church doctrines are used to interpret scripture instead of scripture being the rule to determine tradition and Church doctrine. Scripture is the rule, and it interprets itself, and is interpreted by the Holy Spirit, in those who believe (are regenerate) and seek Him in His word with all their hearts.

Elena said...

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."35 Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."36

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes."37 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."38

79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."39

II. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRADITION AND SACRED SCRIPTURE

One common source. . .

80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal."40 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".41

. . . two distinct modes of transmission

Elena said...

81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."42

"And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."43

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."44

Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.

Elena said...

III. THE INTERPRETATION OF THE HERITAGE OF FAITH

The heritage of faith entrusted to the whole of the Church

84 The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei),45 contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."46

The Magisterium of the Church

85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."48

87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me",49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.

The dogmas of the faith

88 The Church's Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.

89 There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith.50

90 The mutual connections between dogmas, and their coherence, can be found in the whole of the Revelation of the mystery of Christ.51 "In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or hierarchy of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith

Jennie said...

Yes, the church is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is built by the Holy Spirit as He calls people by grace through faith in God's word and regenerates them as new creations.
The church is not the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the body of Christ, made one spirit and one flesh with Him by His Spirit whenever His word is preached.
Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple.

Luke 11:If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

John 1:I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Acts 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.


The magisterium is not the Church; and the magisterium is not the Holy Spirit. The RCC and it's councils cannot legitimately dictate to people how to interpret scripture, since they are using their own words as a rule of interpretation.

Elena said...

The Magisterium of the Church

85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."48

87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me",49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.

Jennie said...

These statements, this one from the catechism, I presume:
"Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it.
and this one from Leo XIII's encyclical:
and Catholic doctrine, as authoritatively proposed by the Church, should be held as the supreme law
directly contradict each other. Saying as the RCC does, that the Church is the sole interpreter of Scripture and that Catholic doctrine is held as the supreme law, puts scripture and the Holy Spirit under the subjection of the magisterium.

Elena said...

proving once more that context is everything.... Leo in context (and I threw in some Augustine too since ya'll seem to really like him!)


Wherefore the first and dearest object of the Catholic commentator should be to interpret those passages which have received an authentic interpretation either from the sacred writers themselves, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost (as in many places of the New Testament), or from the Church, under the assistance of the same Holy Spirit, whether by her solemn judgment or her ordinary and universal magisterium(35) - to interpret these passages in that identical sense, and to prove, by all the resources of science, that sound hermeneutical laws admit of no other interpretation. In the other passages, the analogy of faith should be followed, and Catholic doctrine, as authoritatively proposed by the Church, should be held as the supreme law; for, seeing that the same God is the author both of the Sacred Books and of the doctrine committed to the Church, it is clearly impossible that any teaching can by legitimate means be extracted from the former, which shall in any respect be at variance with the latter. Hence it follows that all interpretation is foolish and false which either makes the sacred writers disagree one with another, or is opposed to the doctrine of the Church. The Professor of Holy Scripture, therefore, amongst other recommendations, must be well acquainted with the whole circle of Theology and deeply read in the commentaries of the Holy Fathers and Doctors, and other interpreters of mark.(36) This is inculcated by St. Jerome, and still more frequently by St. Augustine, who thus justly complains: "If there is no branch of teaching, however humble and easy to learn, which does not require a master, what can be a greater sign of rashness and pride than to refuse to study the Books of the divine mysteries by the help of those who have interpreted them

Jennie said...

I was saving the Augustine and Jerome part for a separate comment.
This is inculcated by St. Jerome, and still more frequently by St. Augustine, who thus justly complains: "If there is no branch of teaching, however humble and easy to learn, which does not require a master, what can be a greater sign of rashness and pride than to refuse to study the Books of the divine mysteries by the help of those who have interpreted them?"(37) The other Fathers have said the same, and have confirmed it by their example, for they "endeavoured to acquire the understanding of the Holy Scriptures not by their own lights and ideas, but from the writings and authority of the ancients, who in their turn, as we know, received the rule of interpretation in direct line from the Apostles."
Who is the greatest Master who can teach and interpret His own word for His disciples? Certainly it is helpful to know how others have interpreted scriptures, but there is a wealth of treasure in scripture which has not yet been fully mined and understood.
Proverbs 8:17
I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.

Jeremiah 29:13
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Kelly said...

Many of the more liturgical churches use a shared lectionary.

DOW said: Great counselling and warning! I must also add, that the Bible is also a great source of CHRISTIAN revelation (not just Catholic).

Perhaps here, you should take the word Catholic in its meaning of "universal."

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Elena posted:

"85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome."

-----------------------------------

Does this mean that only the clergy or theologians are allowed to interpret scripture in your church?

I guess that would limit a lot of confusion if everyone had their own interpretation. The only problem I see with just using clergy alone is that God sometimes uses laypersons to prophesy and teach. We have the Biblical model of deacons and elders (laypersons), and pastors and bishops (clergy). We also have regular lay people who have been gifted with Spiritual gifts, such as prophecy, tongues, healing, teaching, word of wisdom, administration, etc.

How does your church take into account the Spiritual gifts which God might bestow upon lay persons?

Elena said...

How does your church take into account the Spiritual gifts which God might bestow upon lay persons?


We canonize them!

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hillary asked:
'How does your church take into account the Spiritual gifts which God might bestow upon lay persons?"

Elena replied:
"We canonize them!"
-----------------------------------

(Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle)

I guess you guys can call me St. Hillary from now on.

Peace. :-)

unknown anon said...

FYI--

Candy's 'writing from love' (and ignorance) again.

Jennie said...

Here is something Paul quoted on Patrick Madrid's 'Speak Your Mind' forum:
Augustine
And again, in his work on The Merits and Forgiveness of Sins (written around the year 411 A.D.), he expressed his mature thoughts in this manner:

That statement, therefore, which occurs in the gospel, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every one that cometh into the world,” has this meaning, that no man is illuminated except with that Light of the truth, which is God; so that no person must think that he is enlightened by him whom he listens to as a learner, although that instructor happen to be — I will not say, any great man — but even an angel himself. For the word of truth is applied to man externally by the ministry of a bodily voice, but yet “neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” Man indeed hears the speaker, be he man or angel, BUT IN ORDER THAT HE MAY PERCEIVE AND KNOW THAT WHAT IS SAID IS TRUE, HIS MIND IS INTERNALLY BESPRINKELED WITH THAT LIGHT WHICH REMAINS FOR EVER (sed ut sentiat et cognoscat verum esse quod dicitur, illo lumine intus mens ejus aspergitur, quod aeternum manet), and which shines even in darkness. But just as the sun is not seen by the blind, though they are clothed as it were with its rays, so is the light of truth not understood by the darkness of folly. (emphasis mine)

Augustine could not have expressed himself clearer; his epistemology regarding spiritual truth is rooted in the immediate and eternal influence of the light that only God can give. Even Ambrose (339-397), in addressing the Arian heretics, scolds them saying, “Judge not, Arian, divine things by human, but believe the divine where thou findest not the human.” Yet, it is the practice of modern-day Catholic apologists to ridicule the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in confirming the hearts of believers, or to pretend that it was a novel concept initiated by the Reformers.
Hence, we acknowledge with Augustine that the Church is most often the initial and outward means by which men are called to faith in Christ. >>>>> As Heiko Oberman explained with respect to this passage from Augustine, Augustine never exalted the authority of the Church over the Scriptures. “While repeatedly asserting the primacy of Scripture, Augustine himself does not contrast this at all with the authority of the Catholic Church [as Catholic apologists assert]: ‘. . . I would not believe the Gospel unless the authority of the Catholic Church moved me.’ The Church has a practical priority; her authority as expressed in the direction-giving meaning of [[[commovere, to move,]]] is an instrumental authority, the door which leads to the fulness of the Word itself.” Scripture itself furnishes us with clear illustration of this in the fourth chapter of John’s gospel. After having dealings with Christ, the woman of Samaria returns to her city, and there bears witness to Christ. John 4:39-42:

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”
40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.
41 And many more believed because of His own word.
42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”


continued

Jennie said...

continued
We see, then, that though it was the woman’s witness which intially induced belief in Christ, nonetheless, the confirmation of their faith came to rest in the testimony of Christ’s own word. While the woman’s witness was true and sufficiently credible to move the inhabitants of the city, it does not follow that she became the infallible bulwark of their subsequent faith. They came to rest, not in her word, but Christ’s. Answering the same argument as proposed by the Catholic apologist Stapleton, William Whitaker replied, saying, “The church does indeed deliver that rule [i.e. the Scriptures], not as its author, but as a witness, and an admonisher, and a minister.”
Oberman further observes, “The moving authority of the Church becomes in late medieval versions the Church’s approval or creation of Holy Scripture.” He notes that “the lonely voice of the fourteenth-century Augustinian Gregory of Rimini (d. 1358), protesting that Augustine meant merely a practical priority of the Church over Scripture, went unheard.” After all, what Christian would dispute that the Church has been granted divine authority under God to proclaim the Gospel of Christ as he is freely offered in Holy Scripture (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8)? But Calvin’s emphasis on the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit, as the means by which believers come to recognize and embrace the divine authority of the inscripturated Gospel, was shared by Augustine, who likewise taught that believers “come into a position to know what we believe by the inward illumination and confirmation of our minds, due no longer to men, but to God Himself.”

Jennie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennie said...

continued
Elsewhere Augustine declares, “It is lawful for pure minds to know the eternal law of God, but not lawful to judge it.” Faith comes, not by the Church as the origin of faith, but by hearing the word of God which comes from the Holy Spirit (Rom. 10:17). Thus The Apostle Paul explained concerning the faith of the Thessalonians: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). He had occasion to remind the Corinthians that his speech and his preaching “were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4-5). We would have no way of knowing the existence any of these citations today apart from Holy Scripture, our divine informant.
SOURCES:
A Disputation on Holy Scripture Against the Papists, p. 288.
Ibid., p. 235.
Ibid.
Aeternam igitur legem mundis animis fas est cognoscere, judicare non fas est. See De Vera Religione, Caput XXXI, PL 34:148

Elena said...

Why should I care two wits about what an anonymous commenter on an online forum thinks about St. Augustine?

And how does have that have anything to do with this topic?

Answer: I don't and it doesn't.

Let's keep on topic Jennie.

Kelly said...

The only problem I see with just using clergy alone is that God sometimes uses laypersons to prophesy and teach. We have the Biblical model of deacons and elders (laypersons), and pastors and bishops (clergy). We also have regular lay people who have been gifted with Spiritual gifts, such as prophecy, tongues, healing, teaching, word of wisdom, administration, etc.

How does your church take into account the Spiritual gifts which God might bestow upon lay persons?


That really depends on the gift and the person. The Catholic Church distinguishes between public and private revelation. If a person receives a prophesy, it would be a private revelation, and therefore not disseminated to the entire church.

The Catholic Church does teach that spiritual gifts are still given today, not that they ended with the apostolic age. However, they are considered less common. Some might be spiritual gifts, and some might be from bad spirits. How does your church distinguish between them?

Lay people work in any number of roles in the Catholic Church, including administration, teaching, etc. Many theologians are not clergy. Dietrich von Hildebrand springs to mind as an extremely influential married male theologian. We also have two female religious (nuns) who are Doctors of the Church.

Paul said...

Elena,
Are Papal Encyclicals considered "infallible"?
And if they are, does that include claims that are made in them regarding history and the writings of the ECF's?

Jennie said...

Elena,
Aren't we talking about the RC view of scripture and the Church? That quote was a commentary on Augustines view of this. It was not anonymous. Paul quoted it on the forum.
Paul, who was the author of that? I'm not clear on that.

Paul said...

Jennie, that was all in David Kings:Holy Scripture Vol 1.

Elena said...

Aren't we talking about the RC view of scripture and the Church? That quote was a commentary on Augustines view of this.

St. Augustine, a doctor of the church and a canonized saint is nonetheless not infallible.

Kelly provided several Encyclicals, let's stick with those - that's more than enough

Jennie said...

Elena,
of course Augustine is not infallible, and neither is Leo XIII, or he wouldn't have said what he did. Augustine understands better than Leo the relationship between scripture and the church.
No one is infallible except the writers and speakers of God's word, the Apostles, but only when they communicated the inspired Word.
If someone claims to be infallible, yet contradicts the written scripture, he is a liar.

Elena said...

...and on that note we're going to end this thread as well. Sorry Kelly, but there just doesn't seem any interest in REALLY understanding what the Catholic church teaches. Thanks for supplying those links to the encyclicals though.