Friday, August 6, 2010

Notes: Friday, August 6, 2010

Fr. Donovan on conscience and predestination

The Rev. Fr. Daniel Donovan writes that

Predestination teaches that God has pre-ordained those who will be saved and those who will be condemned and the individual cannot alter his/her fate. Needless to say, Catholic teaching has always condemned any form of predestination as heresy.

In fact it is Fr. Donovan who is in error here. The correct teaching is that the Elect are indeed predestined, while the Damned are reprobated (see The Catholic Encyclopedia's article "Predestination" and Dz. 316, 320-22, and 348). It's disturbing to see this kind of doctrinal illiteracy from a priest and "former lecturer in religious education".

Fr. Donovan's understanding of conscience also leaves much to be desired. For the process of decisions of conscience he gives a convoluted and verbose eight-stage sequence, when the process is really quite simple. Judgements of conscience are acts of the intellect, so the process is the simple three-stage one by which the minor premise is referred to a major premise, from which is inferred the conclusion. In the case of moral reasoning, the major premise gives some law commanding, forbidding, or permitting certain acts, the minor premise is the fact of whether the act under consideration is one of those acts, and the conclusion is the judgement of whether the act under consideration is therefore commanded, forbidden, or permitted.

There are other problems with Fr. Donovan's article but I don't have time to go into them all here.

More from Mr. Coyne on "Home Masses"

At the Catholica forum:

I don't know if you'd call it a "house church" but we've been thinking of running an ad up here in the Blue Mountains for a while to see if we might find a few like-minded people to get together occasionally for a simple meal, a bit of prayer and reflection, and basically just seeing if we can form some sort of community to explore this further. I do know of a few established small groups around Australia that follow and pass around amongst themselves some of the commentaries from Catholica. I pick up a sense that there is a hunger for "small communities" (as opposed to the "big communities" of a parish). I have really fond memories of the Home Masses and many inter-Church get togethers I was involved with when I was active in the Hawthorn parish in Victoria in the 1970s.
[my emphasis,]

It amuses me how those of Mr. Coyne's ilk will berate Traditionalists for wanting to 'turn the clock back' when the 'ageing-hippie'-types themselves want to relive a bygone era. (For more on Mr. Coyne's religious opinions, see this Catholica Forum thread, where he writes that

Ultimately I think I am searching for "truth". I'm not searching for "authority figures" who provide me with some kind of emotional comfort. I sincerely want to know what the truth is — about the meaning of my life, what is the end objective of my life, is Jesus the one 'with all the answers', on what 'authority' we can have confidence in his answers.


There are things in that which I can agree with and other things I disagree with or I am sceptical about. For example I am not sure that Jesus founded Christianity, or was intending to found "a church", or "the church" which subsequently came to bear his name. From your own commentaries on Catholica I am more of the view today that Christianity as it came to be known was founded more by Paul and Peter and their disciples and, importantly, the "tension" between the contrasting perspectives put forward by Paul and Peter and their disciples. Certainly they and their disciples each drew their inspiration from Jesus but as you yourself have pointed out despite the common source for the inspiration they came up with ways of understanding, and implementing, the Jesus' message that were at times in complete opposition or at least deep contrast.


I am particularly interested in seeing what Vynette has to say from her explorations of what view Jesus had of himself concerning his divinity. My own view is that Jesus had no concept of "the Trinity" as that concept was subsequently developed or in the way many Christians think of that concept today. I don't believe though that that invalidates either Jesus or the concept of a Trinitarian God. Jesus certainly "planted the seeds" for the subsequent Trinitarian picture of the Godhead that emerged with his differentiations between himself and "my Father in heaven" and the spirit that would remain after he had gone. Was his view though as "theologically elaborate" as what was subsequently developed by the later Church Fathers?

and most strikingly:

As I argued in another post my sense is that the Jesus we are invited to worship and follow is something much greater than the mere historical figure.

Recall condemned error no. 29 of Lamentabili, the anti-Modernist syllabus:

It may be conceded that the Christ whom history presents, is far inferior to the Christ who is the object of faith.

Mr. Gooley on Scripture, liturgy, and the Traditional Latin Mass Vatican II

The Rev. Anthony Gooley, a deacon in The Archdiocese of Brisbane, writes that

“The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s body” (Dei Verbum 21).

This is such a profound image of the two tables yet the truth of it has been obscured historically by the use of Latin and the narrower selection of texts used in the pre-Vatican II liturgy.

The faithful did not receive enough from the table of the word.

[my emphasis]

In other words, for Mr. Gooley, the Traditional Latin Mass deprives the Faithful of a due good. Which makes the T.L.M. ... evil, I take it? But I would contend that it is the T.L.M, not the N.O.M., which leaves the Faithful better acquainted with Scripture anyway. Towards the end of his article Mr. Gooley ask a few rhetorical questions:

To what extent are ordinary Catholics familiar with the Scriptures and use them for daily prayer?

Are Catholics immersed in the Scriptures and more able to meditate on them and read them with confidence?

Is there a repertoire of Biblical texts which Catholics know by heart as they know familiar traditional prayers or the responses at Mass?

Yet by having three readings each Sunday, with a three-year cycle for those readings, the N.O.M. guarantees that only those Catholics who go out of their way to memorise parts of the Bible will be the ones to know much, or even any, of it by heart, not to mention the N.O.M.'s suppression of the Last Gospel.

And Mr. Gooley uses an odd comparison at one point:

We can find in Scripture proclaimed in liturgy food for our spiritual nourishment just as we receive food from the Eucharist to transform us into the Body of Christ.

But hearing Scripture readings produces its effects in us in quite a different way to that in which Holy Communion produces Its effects in us.

"The APA's Biased Paper on Same-Sex Attraction and Therapy"

"The Sybil" on the situation in The Diocese of Wollongong

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, A.D. 2010

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