Friday, April 23, 2010

Banned from, and defamed by, "Glosses from an Old Manse"

Here are some comments which I submitted to 'Pastor Mark' Henderson's blog a couple of hours ago, but which he has refused to publish (as of now, which I know because he has let through other comments since their submission). I'm kicking myself for not saving the comments which induced my banning, but I'll be much more careful dealing with "Pr Henderson" in future and will make sure to publish them here too.

"You've been hoisted on your own petard, Reginald."

No, I haven't. As I said in the comment, that quotation was something

"with which no Catholic will disagree"

So in trying to appear clever, you've made a fool of yourself. Your quotation from Dei Verbum is a statement of Catholic doctrine, and one with which Protestants (so-called 'orthodox Protestants', though perhaps not 'liberal Protestants') will agree. Protestants and Catholics will disagree, of course, as to my statement of the doctrine of sola Scriptura, a statement which you have yet to prove.
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Sir (as I said in one of my deleted comments I said "Let me know" whether you insist on me calling you "Pr Henderson", but you have still not said so),

Could you please e-mail me a copy of those comments of mine which you declined to publish? I'm kicking myself for not saving them in Notepad or elsewhere before submitting them for publication. (I don't expect you to publish this comment, of course, but I would like to post those comments of mine at my own blog, and those willing to engage in open discussion may discuss them at my blog. Interesting how the most fervent defenders of 'freedom of speech' are always the quickest to violate it.)

As for the question of the status of Magisterial pronouncements: In addition to the usual two criteria for a prounouncement to be considered Magisterial (namely, (1.) that they are issued by the Pope or (and) Bishops(s) in his (their) teaching capacity, and (2.) that they are on a matter of Faith or morals), the two criteria which set ex-Cathedra-level pronouncements apart from non-ex-Cathedra-level ones are (3.) definitiveness and (4.) imperativeness.

3.=> that the statement is pronounced finally, irreformably, definitively (a common form is "We, by Our Apostolic Authority, hereby define, declare and pronounce ...", though the Magisterium is not restricted to this or that form; so long as the definitiveness is conveyed, then that is enough).
4.=> that the pronouncement is issued as irrevocably binding on the faithful. Again, no particular form is necessary.

Look at the wording with which, say, the direct object of Munificentissimus Deus is pronounced, and compare that to the wording with which Catechisms and Vatican II's pastoral essays are pronounced, for comparison.

So if contradictions in teachings of the Ordinary Magisterium, not the Extraordinary Magisterium, are all you have, then you're knocking down a straw man.

(As for your particular question regarding salvation, see this blog post by a lay, but reliable, theologian.)
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"[I] refuse to address [you] by the title [you] request"

No. You're over-reacting. I asked "let me know" if you insisted on that. As I said, in Australia, the accepted short form for "The Rev. John Smith" would be "Mr. Smith".

"[I] apparently harbour a desire to see [you] burned at the stake"

I indicated no such thing, and harbour no such desire. Please publish my original comment so that your readers can see whether this comment of yours is defamatory or not.

"If [I] have any sense of honour"

If you have any sense of honour then you'll publish those comments of mine.

"which is completely beside the point"

No, I asked for final pronouncements, and you have given me none. You're using apples against oranges.

"[Vatican II was] an authoritative utterance of a body -an Ecumenical Council in the Roman view -which claims infallibility aqccording to thei rown doctrine."

Compare and contrast:

The Pope can speak ex Cathedra, in which case the prouncement is irreformable, but pronouncements at a lower level--even if they come from the Pope--are not irreformable of themselves.

A Council can speak ex Cathedra, in which case the prouncement is irreformable, but pronouncements at a lower level--even if they come from a Council--are not irreformable of themselves.

Why do you grasp the first but not the second?
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This episode has brought back memories of Mr. Henderson's philosophical cousin, MgS. For a little trip down memory lane, visit my blog post "On the funny way that liberals show how much they value 'freedom of speech'".

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. George, Martyr, A.D. 2010

Response to "Rick"'s comment

The comment to which I refer is available here, and though I've submitted my response for publication, I doubt whether it will indeed be published.


What I'm asking for are phrases like 'by Scripture alone', 'Scripture only', 'nothing but Scripture'. If we let X be a set containing the books in the Canon, and Y being (supernatural) truths necessary for salvation, then you need words which amount to

X and only X contains Y
All Y is in X

You'll probably object that I'm making up my own criteria. But we have other examples of such language; for instance, Our Lord says 'No-one comes to the Father but by Me' (the bi-conditional 'X and only X is Y'). He doesn't just say 'People come to the Father by me' (the conditional 'X is Y'), which would leave open the possibility that people can come to the Father by other ways too. What Christ says there is 'people come to the Father by Me alone, 'people come to the Father only by Me', 'no-one comes to the Father but by Me'. So 'by Christ alone' is in Scripture, but where is 'by Scripture alone'?

So, on to your proof-texts:

25 Now to him that is able to establish you, according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret from eternity; 26 (which now is made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the precept of the eternal God, for the obedience of faith) known among all nations: 27
[Romans 16:25-26,]

"[B]y the Scriptures alone", though?

30 Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name.
[John 20:30-31,]

From which Rick infers that

"Therefore, the Book of John is sufficient for salvation."

!!! So the rest of the New Testament isn't even necessary?! I'm not going to bother refuting that!

27 And he said: Then, father, I beseech you that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brethren, 28 that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments. 29 And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them. 30 But he said: No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance. 31 And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.
[Luke 16:27-31,]

Irrelevant; it doesn't say that everything which God revealed after the Old Testament is contained in the New Testament.

19 And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts. 20
[2 Peter 1:19,]

Also irrelevant; the preceding verses speak of the New Testament, and the "prophetical word" therefore refers to the Old Testament. (Here are the preceding verses, together with the one already adduced:

17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear him. 18 And this voice, we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts. 20
[2 Peter 1:17-19,

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Reginaldvs Cantvar,
Feast of St. George, Martyr, A.D. 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Sydney Archdiocese liturgical dancing: Handing on the tradition, St. Joachim's Parish, Lidcombe

At this rate I'll have to start a "liturgical dancing" post label. Here's an item from the 'Parish Noticeboard' section in last Sunday's edition of the Sydney Catholic Weekly on the perpetuation of this sacrilege:
The next liturgical dance practice will be held at 9am on April 18 in St Joachim’s parish hall, Lidcombe. Practices will then be held every Sunday until Pentecost: April 25, May 2, 9 and 16. For more details ring Michelle on 9648 2912 or 0421 839 474.
Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Anselm of Canterbury, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2010

St. George's Day coming up--and there's a vacancy in The Order of the Garter

This Friday is St. George's Day. And the passing away of Lord Richardson last January leaves The Most Noble Order of the Garter with only twenty-three Companions. But I don't expect an announcement from Buckingham Palace this Friday on the matter, since the vacancy has arisen too recently. But we'll see.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Anselm of Canterbury, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2010

Birthday of H.H. The Pope and H.M. The Queen of Denmark, 2010 (plus our own Queen's birthday today)

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that last Friday, April 16., was the birthday of both H.H. The Pope and H.M. The Queen of Denmark, their eighty-third and seventieth, respectively. As far as I know there were no extraordinary celebrations for His Holiness, while there was a busy schedule of special events for Her Majesty's milestone of the big seven-oh (go hither for more information about the latter celebrations, and hither for a magnificent, interactive panorama of the highlight of those celebrations, the Gala Performance at The Royal Theatre, April 15., 2010). And I see in today's edition of The Sydney Morning Herald that today is the eighty-fourth birthday (natural, rather than official, birthday, that is) of our own (civic) Sovereign, H.M The Queen. Long may all three continue gloriously to reign, their respective shortcomings notwithstanding.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Anselm of Canterbury, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Wollongong Diocese liturgical dancing: At Holy Cross, Helensburgh and at John Therry Catholic High School, Rosemeadow

From The Catholic Weekly's Parish Noticeboard of two weeks ago:
Girls will take part in a liturgical movement for the Easter Vigil on April 3 at Holy Cross parish, Helensburgh.
From the Autumn 2010 edition of Journey, Wollongong's Diocesan magazine:
Student School Representatives joined with students from John Therry Catholic High School at the Diocesan launch of Caritas Project Compassion on February 16. ... Hosted by John Therry Catholic High School, Rosemeadow, they participated in a Liturgy which explored the theme "Blueprint for a better world," through dialogue, reflection and prayer.

John Therry students brought the theme to life in a colourful, creative style using drama, music, singing and liturgical movement. ...
[my transcription, with my ellipses,
p. 7,]
(On the same page there is a picture of the "colourful, creative" scene.) Note the popular liturgical dance euphemism of "liturgical movement" used in both sources.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Thursday in Easter Week, A.D. 2010

Facts and figures: On the increase in the regular availability of the T.L.M. in Italy

From a Jerusalem Post article posted at
In 2007, in an effort to bring the traditionalist elements of the Church back into the fold, Benedict issued a “Motu Proprio” declaration allowing wider use of the 1962, pre-Vatican II Roman Missal containing this prayer, which was previously restricted to small groups. Three years ago only 30 Italian churches were affected by that decision, as opposed to the 118 that regularly use the liturgy today.
If only Australia could boast of an increase like that.

Reginaldvs Cantvar,
Thursday in Easter Week, A.D. 2010

Facts and figures: Prof. Thomas Plante on sexual abuse by priests

A short but surpringly balanced article (apparently not available on-line) in connection with the present round of media reporting on sexual abuse by Catholic priests appeared in The Weekend Australian Magazine last Saturday. Of particular interest was the section which I transcribe here:
But when Vatican officials express indigna-tion [sic] that their Church is being singled out as a corrupt institution when pedophilia and under-age sex are part of a larger social probem, they may have a point. A large-scale survey by Dr Thomas Plante of Stanford University suggests that 2-5 per cent of priests have had sexual expe-rience [sic] with a minor, far lower than the figure for the general adult male population, estimated at 8 per cent.
[my interpolations, with the relevant dashes preserved where the article went to a new line in the hard copy,
The Weekend Australian Magazine, April 3-4 2010, p. 6]
A Google search turned up a useful article, entitled "A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse", by Prof. Plante himself. Here are some excerpts (though the whole article is worth reading, and is not too long):
[...] First, the available research (which is quite good now) suggests that approximately 4% of priests during the past half century (and mostly in the 1960s and 1970s) have had a sexual experience with a minor (i.e., anyone under the age of 18). ... However, although good data is hard to acquire, it appears that this 4% figure is consistent with male clergy from other religious traditions and is significantly lower than the general adult male population that is best estimated to be closer to 8%. Therefore, the odds that any random Catholic priest would sexually abuse a minor are not likely to be significantly higher than other males in or out of the clergy.

[...] Second, 80% of all priests who in fact abuse minors have sexually engaged with adolescent boys not prepubescent children. ...
[my ellipses,]
And in last Saturday's edition of The Weekend Australian, Mr. Christopher Pearson provided some useful references:
For a forensic rebuttal, search out Raymond de Souza's essay last week in National Review Online and George Weigel's First Things piece, "Scoundrel Time(s)".

The most compelling evidence on the Milwaukee trial itself comes from Thomas Brundage, the canonical judge who presided over it, at the Catholic Culture website.

Readers wondering about the plausibility of the suggestion that the Pope is complicit in a vast cover-up may care to reflect on his record.

Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols has summarised his reforms of the process of handling accusations in a timely fashion in the days when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the British Times Online site.
Reginaldvs Cantvar,
Thursday in Easter Week, A.D. 2010