Is new Vatican document on neo-Pelagianism at odds with Pope’s preferred pejorative?

From LifeSiteNews:

ROME, March 1, 2018

In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis refers to the “self-absorbed promethean neo-Pelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past.”

He added that “a supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.”

Such people, he said in the apostolic exhortation, are not really “concerned about Jesus Christ or others.”

Many have taken the Pope’s comments on neo-Pelagianism to refer to those whom he has said “rigidly” adhere to doctrine and tradition, particularly in light of other similar comments he has made in the course of his pontificate.

In an address on Christian Humanism delivered in Florence’s famous cathedral, Pope Francis said that Pelagianism “prompts the Church not to be humble, selfless and blessed. And it does so with the appearance of being a good.”

“In facing ills or the problems of the Church,” the Pope added, “it is useless to look for solutions in conservatism and fundamentalism, in the restoration of practices and outdated forms that even culturally aren’t able to be meaningful.”

But is this what neo-Pelagianism really means, according to the Vatican?

In a letter released today, targeting neo-Pelagianism and neo-Gnosticism as two contemporary errors that can be obstacles to salvation, the Vatican’s doctrinal office made no connection between these erroneous “tendencies” and Catholics who adhere to the Church’s tradition.

It also doesn’t mention rigidity or anything about neo-Pelagianism meaning those who “observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past.”

Entitled “Placuit Deo” (In His Goodness), the Letter was signed by Archbishop Luis Ladaria, S.J., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and approved by Pope Francis. Its aim is to “demonstrate certain aspects of Christian salvation that can be difficult to understand” in today’s culture.

The document focuses on Neo-Pelagianism and Neo-Gnosticism, which it says are two modern schools of thought that “resemble certain aspects of [the] two ancient heresies” of Pelagianism and Gnosticism. It notes that Pope Francis has often referred to these two “tendencies” in his addresses and homilies.

The letter refers to Neo-Pelagians as individuals who believe themselves to be “radically autonomous,” who presume to be able to save themselves and depend on their own strength. They are unable to recognize that they derive “from God and from others.” Such ways of thinking are “incapable of welcoming the newness of the Spirit of God,” it says.

Classical Pelagianism was the heresy of Pelagius, a British priest of the fifth century, who stated that humans are on their own, without need of grace, and could initiate their own salvation. St. Augustine of Hippo was one of the main opponents of Pelagianism, arguing that God’s unmerited grace is necessary for us to perform any good work that will help us get to heaven.

By contrast, Neo-Gnostics accept a model of salvation that is “merely interior, closed off in its own subjectivism.” The document adds that it consists in “improving oneself,” of being “intellectually capable of rising above the flesh of Jesus towards the mysteries of the unknown divinity.”

The Neo-Gnostic way of thinking “presumes to liberate the human person from the body and from the material universe,” and fails to see traces of God’s provident hand in creation. Neo-Gnostics experience a reality “deprived of meaning,” and foreign to the fundamental identity of the human person as a unity of body and soul. This idea of reality is therefore “easily manipulated by the interests of man.”

Classical Gnosticism is ancient pantheistic belief in “secret teachings” of Christ, namely, that he came in order to free us from the evils of matter so that we might live as purely spiritual beings.

Placuit Deo notes that while there is “a great difference” between modern, secularized society and “the social context of early Christianity, in which these two heresies were born,” there are  “similarities” between the ancient histories and the modern tendencies to which Pope Francis refers, insofar as they represent “perennial dangers for misunderstanding Biblical faith.”

It adds that as both modern-day versions of these heresies prevent Christ from mediating salvation, it is important to “reaffirm that salvation consists in our union with Christ.”

Placuit Deo observes the natural human desire for salvation, but adds that it is often “secret and hidden”: it can coincide with “hope for physical health,” take the form of worrying about “economic well-being,” or manifest itself as a need for “interior peace” and peace with one’s neighbor.  It can also manifest itself in “endurance” and “overcoming pain,” as well as the need to ward off “ignorance and error, fragility and weakness, sickness and death.”

By contrast, faith in Christ teaches that no created thing “can totally satisfy us because God has destined us for communion with Him.” The letter therefore explains that salvation does not consist in filling our hearts with “things that the human person can obtain by himself” such as wealth, knowledge or self-satisfaction. The ultimate vocation of man is divine. “Our hearts will be restless until they rest in Him.”

The Letter also stresses that “the origin of evil” is not found in the material world, and its “most damaging” form comes from man’s heart. Salvation, the Letter therefore reasserts, “begins with welcoming Jesus” who heals and redeems mankind from sin. Quoting Benedict XVI, the document states that being a Christian is about “the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”

Christian salvation, it adds, “shows how baseless the individualist perspective is,” reminding that from an encounter with God, Christ “opens for us the door to freedom.” Salvation, it says, consists in “incorporating ourselves” into Christ’s life, “receiving his Spirit.”

The document explains understanding how the salvation “brought by Jesus” comes to us through His Church helps to overcome  “reductionist tendencies.” The salvation that God offers man is not  achieved with our own individual efforts alone, nor is it limited to the neo-Gnostic view of “merely interior salvation.” Such ways of thinking “contradict the sacramental economy through which God wants to save the human person” and bring him into communion with the Holy Trinity.

The Letter teaches that true salvation is not about “liberation from the body” but rather “includes its sanctification.” The sacraments allow Christians to have a “type of relationality” that calls “for the care of all suffering humanity through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.”

The Vatican document says that the fullness of life in Christ means Christians must establish a “sincere and constructive dialogue with believers of other religions, confident that God can lead ‘all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way.’” But it also retains the call to evangelize as it is in Christ’s hope “that we are saved.’”

“Total salvation of the body and of the soul is the final destiny to which God calls all of humanity,” the document concludes. “Founded in faith, sustained by hope, and working in charity, with the example of Mary, Mother of the Savior and first among the saved, we are certain that ‘our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.’”

Vatican Presser on “Placuit Deo”

Explaining the genesis of the document at a Vatican press conference this morning, Archbishop Ladaria said that following the promulgation of Dominus Iesus in 2000, “various theologians” asked the CDF to study several aspects covered in the document, and suggested “a new document on Christian salvation.”

The CDF Prefect said the initiative “was not the Pope’s” but came “from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and various theologians” who in one way or another asked us about the matter.

He said there was “no special reason” why the letter was published now, but that the Pope approved the letter after reviewing it at their Plenary session last month, and asked that it be published “as soon as possible”

Asked by the French news agency La Croix to provide concrete examples of neo-Pelagianism and neo-Gnosticism, the CDF prefect pointed to references to the two tendencies made by Pope Francis, said he would not “point fingers” and limited himself to pointing out the tendencies to “self-reliance and to isolation.”

Asked which is the more important, he said it is “easier” to point to examples of neo-Pelagianism, but you could “fill books” with ancient Gnosticism which is a “very complicated phenomenon.”

In light of the Pope’s repeated use of the term neo-Pelagianism to describe those who “rigidly” adhere to doctrine or Tradition, the National Catholic Register asked why the word or sentiment does not appear in the Letter. Archbishop Ladaria said he was not aware the word was not included, and added there was “no particular reason” why it was not.

Finally, a journalist from the Associated Press said she “marveled” that the document only used the word ‘Catholic’ once (in the title) and asked whether Placuit Deo marked a departure from the Church’s teaching regarding the “fullness of salvation” being only found in the Catholic Church.

The CDF Prefect said the Church has often repeated what Vatican II taught that “Christ’s Church subsists in the Catholic Church.” He also referred to the Council document Lumen Gentium which teaches that “many elements of salvation are found in Christian religious confessions” and that these elements “tend towards Catholic unity.”

Archbishop Ladaria said that denominations have “elements of sanctification” and “we recognize these gladly.” And he stressed that “the fact that we don’t enter directly into this [in Placuit Deo] doesn’t mean that the teaching has changed. It seems to me to have deepened.”

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50 Responses to Is new Vatican document on neo-Pelagianism at odds with Pope’s preferred pejorative?

  1. Kate says:

    “12. The place where we receive the salvation brought by Jesus is the Church, the community of those who have been incorporated into this new kind of relationship begun by Christ (cf. Rom 8:9).” If “those who have been incorporated…” is those who have been baptized, then is this a heretical attempt to re-cast “the Church” as Christianity rather than the Catholic Church?

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  2. David says:

    That was as clear as mud.

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  3. mary salmond says:

    Possibly reading the document “Placuit Deo” could be just as unclear as this commentary. Vague, broad, without examples for clarity.

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  4. geoffkiernan says:

    Yes Mary….. There’s that word again….Clarity!!!

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  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
    Despite our pope beckoning us to follow him, we must not. He has proven himself unworthy of trust and confidence. Despite his being (I’m willing to assume) a sincere believer in Christ Jesus, we must not be hoodwinked by his hippie philosophy. Despite adding pelagianism to his Great Big Book of Insults aimed at faithful Catholics, it seems to me his whole ontological outlook (I think that’s the word I’m looking for) smacks of it.

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  6. johnhenrycn says:

    Yes, His Holiness has pretty well got all faithful Catholics pegged as miscreants and reprobates:

    H/T Ann Barnhardt.

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  7. kathleen says:

    Talking of “clarity”, Raymond Arroyo of EWTN’s ‘World Over Live’, interviewed well known Catholic author Philip Lawler on his programme last Thursday. LifeSiteNews also reported on this interview. Among other things, Lawler said:

    ”Why would you not want clarity? Unless your intent was to provide that fuzzy space in which people can manoeuver around Church teaching.”

    Arroyo asked Lawler to respond to comments made in 2015 by one member of the pope’s circle, Archbishop Victor Fernandez, that Francis is aiming at irreversible reform in the Church.

    Lawler responded that he didn’t know why Francis would have this as his goal.

    “But there’s something inherently wrong with the idea of irreversible reform unless what you mean by reform is back to the fundamentals of the Catholic faith,” he added, “because the role of the pope is inherently to conserve, to protect the deposit of the faith.

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  8. Mary Salmond says:

    Just watched it today. He was good, thorough, and clear.

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  9. johnservorum says:

    I believe it’s time for Francis to resign and retire.

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  10. johnhenrycn says:

    johnservorum:
    I would endorse your call, except for two worries:

    1. Despite our most estimable and beloved Pope Benedict XVI having done so (under suspicious circumstances) I think the resignation / retirement of the pope is an unwelcome precedent, even in situations (canonically valid findings of heresy aside) where it is clear the occupant of the office is unfit .
    2. Who’s to say the next pope will be any less radical than the present one, especially if the present one is a power broker in advance of the next conclave, thus turning the Sistine Chapel into a smoke-filled room? In the event of his retirement, wouldn’t be surprised if Francis were to exert his influence in order to steer the College of Cardinals in a direction acceptable to his ways of thinking.

    Best to watch and pray.

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  11. Mary Salmond says:

    JH: i agree on the precedent issue. It has not looked good since Benedict left to the outside world. And yes, you never know what the next pope could bring; another progressive could be rushed in to continue.

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  12. johnhenrycn says:

    “…another progressive could be rushed in to continue.”

    Perish the thought, Mary; but yes, the next pontiff might be a bigger disappointment than Francis. I can think of not just a few bishops and cardinals who would be absolute travesties from the get-go. Never bad enough for me to consider leaving the One True Church – never that – but enough to persuade me to never visit Rome, which I have not yet done and yearn to do before the final act of my final scene.

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  13. johnhenrycn says:

    …the final scene of my final act, I meant to say.
    And to think that exactly a half century ago I won the Best Director award at the Georgian Bay Drama Festival which everyone knows is a far more prestigious theatrical event than even the Tony Awards hosted last year by a
    notorious homosexual buttwacker.

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  14. JabbaPapa says:

    The letter refers to Neo-Pelagians as individuals who believe themselves to be “radically autonomous,” who presume to be able to save themselves and depend on their own strength

    Tat’s pretty much what I said that the phrase means, all those years ago.

    It’s a characterisation (with the neo-Gnosticism) of Modernism.

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  15. johnhenrycn says:

    “Neo-Pelagians…presume to be able to save themselves and depend on their own strength…”

    Sounds like a certain pope I know who says (either directly or through a mouthpiece) loosey-goosey things about adulterers, protestants, homos, muslims and sundry other fellow travellers who seek to dilute the Faith until it’s meaningless except to Gnostics like you who can read between the lines.

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  16. JabbaPapa says:

    except to Gnostics like you

    You have not even the faintest idea what you’re talking about.

    Probably, you don’t even understand what the Modernist Heresy actually is

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  17. johnhenrycn says:

    Pope Francis (God save Argentina) is a religious man, more intense in his beliefs than I can lay claim to, and more mistaken in his beliefs than I can sincerely admit to. Yes, he’s been around longer than I, and he was a Catholic before I was, but so too was Toad. He (PF) is a deconstructionist who yearns to return – and worse – thinks we can return to Eden on Earth. His philosophy resembles this:

    “Deconstruction deconstructs itself, and disappears up its own behind, leaving only a disembodied smile and a faint smell of sulphur.”

    Dr Roger Scruton (as he then was) Modern Philosophy, Penguin paperback edition (blush) 1996.
    Paul VI said something similar. Was he thinking of PF when he spoke of the “Smoke of Satan” three years after Fr Bergoglio’s ordination? Probably not, but Paul VI is now close to sainthood, is he not? (Yes, Jabba, logical fallacy and all that.)
    ____
    When worrying about this pontificate, I take comfort in words which I wrote on 25 October 2008, but which I did not attribute to anyone when I did so, even though I’m scrupulous about attribution, which makes me wonder if perhaps I’m a prophet:

    “The importance of one’s actions upon the tide of history, whether one be a hermit or a dictator is the same as one’s efforts to walk east on the deck of a westbound ship.”

    I welcome people to Google that and to correct my prideful prophetic pretentiousness if they can. As near as I can determine, I may have been reading a Patrick O’Brian novel when I wrote those words. Raven and Burrito will understand. Or maybe it was Macaulay, the historian, who subconsciously inspired me.

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  18. johnhenrycn says:

    Jabba: looking at that same page in my Commonplace book, I now see something written on 18 October 2008 – a year before we became acquainted, TBTG (compliment):

    “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.”

    Not the words of a mere human, as you know, but my reflection immediately above those words were these:

    “God loves us – this is true, but equally (perhaps) as important to our salvation is whether He will recognize us at the end of our days.

    Does your perspective correspond with mine? If so, I’m going to be okay.

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  19. johnhenrycn says:

    “What we choose is what we are, and what we love we yet shall be, the goal may ever shine afar, the will to win it makes us free.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_De_Witt_Hyde
    William De Witt Hyde (d. 1917) Congregationalist (I thought he was Methodist)

    Like

  20. johnhenrycn says:

    “The soul is to the body as the smile is to the face [not] as the coffee is to the cup.”
    [Rowan Williams, August, 2005]

    “Cultural conservatives are always at a rhetorical disadvantage…they do not have a theory of *everything*…They are unable to appeal to the paranoid mode of explanation that rarely lies far beneath the surface of political discourse…The conservative appeals to reality, the utopian to fantasy: and to the disgruntled, that is to say the majority of the human race…”
    [Anthony Daniels, September, 2001]

    “Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away…”
    https://www.cathykiffney.com/cathykiffneystudio/2012/12/runaway-bunny.html
    [Inspired by the homilies of Pope Francis]

    The meaning of life cannot be learned until the heart has been broken. When the heart is torn asunder, the Holy Spirit is able to enter in.
    [Me, yesterday and today]

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  21. JabbaPapa says:

    Pope Francis … thinks we can return to Eden on Earth

    What a load of utterly baseless pole-dancing nonsense.

    Like

  22. johnhenrycn says:

    All Poles have a base. Ask MMVC. I don’t follow you. Hardly ever can. But I’m right about PF.

    Like

  23. johnhenrycn says:

    I’m so absolutely right about our Holy Father that it takes my breath away. He’s a politician, first and foremost. Catholic (yes, he is) but not first and foremost.

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  24. JabbaPapa says:

    I’m so absolutely right

    Modernism in a nutshell.

    And as for your stuff about “Poles”, all that it really demonstrates is the grotesque ongoing extent of your sockpuppetry.

    There’s sadly still no “block” function in WordPress …

    Like

  25. Toad says:

    “The soul is to the body as the smile is to the face [not] as the coffee is to the cup.”
    [Rowan Williams, August, 2005]

    He’s right about the coffee – dualism.
    But i’d suggest the nearest analogy is, ”the soul is to the body as is electricity to the computer.”
    No need to explain.

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  26. kathleen says:

    Jabba @ 13:51

    I hope you don’t mind me butting in here, but I must say that JH has never used “sockpuppetry” AFAIK. (He can correct me if I am wrong 😉.) And his play on the word “pole” was nothing more than a good natured joke and not personal! (That’s how I read it anyway.)

    Block JH?? Please not. Can you not see that JH says many things with his tongue in cheek? But his points are spot on. He is anything but a “Modernist”!

    The comment that has probably got you so annoyed is JH’s comment at 22:30 yesterday.

    Leaving aside his cheeky calling you a “Gnostic” (again, not to be taken to heart) Pope Francis does, at every opportunity, either directly or through his like-minded aides, “seek to dilute the faith until it is meaningless”… in the opinion of most faithful Catholics at least!
    That you often appear to see a different, clear and more orthodox meaning somehow hidden within Francis’ words is true, isn’t it? That is the reason you have debated so persistently, vigourously, and at such length with so many of us here who find Francis anything but clear… and sometimes, far worse, even bordering on heretical!

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  27. Mary Salmond says:

    I was looking at the book of errors by the 2 popes, thought maybe Pope Francis should be edited in there

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  28. johnhenrycn says:

    Thank you, Kathleen, for pointing out that things I say are sometimes tongue-in-cheek. Toad knows that, as should Jabba who should remember the many times we’ve been in agreement on other websites. His desire to “block” me is childish. Anyway, I’ve lost count of the conservative websites which have banned me, a conservative, and his threat to do likewise is water off Aku Ankka’s back. I share Aku Ankka’s name in real life, as (being a moderator) you well know.

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  29. mmvc says:

    JH @ 09:57, this will resonate with many a traditional Catholic.

    And your word play @ 09:45 put a much needed smile on my face.

    Kiitos! :o)

    Like

  30. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad says: ” I’d suggest the nearest analogy is, ‘the soul is to the body as is electricity to the computer’ “.
    That seems too Catholic to me from the likes of you. Are you saying that the body without a soul cannot function anymore than a computer cannot function without electricity?

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  31. kathleen says:

    ”I share Aku Ankka’s name in real life, as (being a moderator) you well know.”

    😆 Quack, quack…. (meaning, “I do”!)
    But I’m sorry to hear you have been banned on none other than conservative websites – surprising!! Why’s that? Perhaps they just fail to understand and appreciate you… like your pals do here. That’s their loss, and our gain 😉.

    Talking of sock-puppets and banned commentators though, you might remember that Dublin lawyer who got kicked off our blog, Mr John Kehoe, do you? Ever since that day he has tried, under various sock puppets, to get back in to spout his continual mean, peevish accusations at everyone and everything… don’t ask me why. Perhaps he just likes throwing his weight around and quarrelling, or perhaps he really is a very mentally-disturbed man. (The good priest, Father Hugh, had to block him too for causing similar trouble on his blog.)

    Anyway, after getting blocked The Raven got most of Mr Kehoe’s daily – yes, daily! – poisonous diatribes aimed almost entirely at me to go straight into our behind-the-scenes trash bin; so nobody reads them, certainly I don’t! In fact I haven’t read a single one for absolute months after the first few weeks of his banishment. Oh dear, poor Mr Kehoe… all that wasted time spent every day bent over his computer in his stuffy office composing nasty, snide, cruel remarks, gleefully hoping to hurt me (although the old sicko could never do that) and I don’t even see them! But I know he’s still at it as I see the numbers in trash grow every day until one of my team-mates deletes the whole lot. By trying different sock puppets, at first some of his comments were appearing in pre-moderation, but they were all typical hate-filled Kehoe-style poison and were sent into either trash or spam, where they now go direct. So I haven’t looked in ‘spam’ for months either. Ignorance is bliss in this case 🙂.

    What to do about trolls like old Mr Kehoe? And who exactly is a troll? These are the problems everyone who has a blog has to deal with. That extreme left-winger, “Wall-eyed Mr Whippy”, was another trouble-maker who we eventually had to ban and who kept trying to return under different sock puppets, only to get banned again; and there have been a few others, but mostly one can tell by the first initial comment that automatically goes into pre-moderation when a troll is afoot.

    We are not opposed to people with differing opinions who argue constructively and without resorting to gutter language insults and obscenities. In fact some of our Catholic fellow bloggers occasionally tell us that we are too lenient sometimes, e.g., with Toad! We all moderate Toad at times incognito, so he never knows who to be angry with 😉. But Toad is not a real troll – he’s just a toadish sort of jester.

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  32. johnhenrycn says:

    “…sorry to hear you have been banned on none other than conservative websites…”
    I wrote a detailed apologia a few minutes ago, but then my laptop shut down. Not worth trying to piece it together again, especially since I don’t mind having fewer internet options.

    Mr Kehoe sounds like such a strange duck (even more so than Aku Ankka)) and I can’t fathom why he cares about being banned from a website whose outlook he never cared for to begin with. He may be lonely. They say Dublin can be boring.

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  33. JabbaPapa says:

    who find Francis anything but clear

    kathleen, I’ve no idea why you might suppose that I find Pope Francis to be “clear” — after all, if some knowledge of some obscure heresies of Antiquity or of the fine theological subtleties differentiating the various degrees of doctrinal, pastoral, disciplinary Authority is needed to make sense of some of his statements, then it’s obviously quite the opposite that’s true.

    That you often appear to see a different, clear and more orthodox meaning somehow hidden within Francis’ words is true, isn’t it?

    What’s true is that I do not indulge in any hermeneutic of rupture versus the Catholic hermeneutic of continuity (and see ? Pope Benedict could sometimes be clear as mud himself, which doesn’t mean he wasn’t completely right in his critique — but what % of Catholics do you suppose have the sort of learning to understand what a hermeneutic is and isn’t ? even though every single person’s thoughts and opinions and reactions are constantly defined by various hermeneutics ?).

    jh writes “His desire to “block” me is childish” — aaaah yes, oh so “friendly” and “tongue-in-cheek”, isn’t he …

    He is anything but a “Modernist”

    kathleen, I’m afraid that most people who use the M-word don’t fully understand what it means, but they confuse it most typically with Modernity instead — but I’ve found that explanations of it are also typically misunderstood.

    Not that it’s in any way “stupid” not to correctly understand such frankly rather difficult words as “neo-Pelagian”, “hermeneutic”, or “Modernist” — but rather, most people’s educations lead them into affairs of more practical, useful, and grounded considerations than these sorts of heavy abstractions, which most, quite rightly, do not care about at all.

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  34. Toad says:

    ” Are you (Toad) saying that the body without a soul cannot function anymore than a computer cannot function without electricity?”
    Exactly that, JH. More significantly, contrariwise, a soul without a body is a meaningless concept. Without the body It is literally non existent.
    But, after writing the above, it strikes me that a rather better analogy is that of a candle, which is ”lifeless’ without its flame. However, the flame cannot exist without the candle. Any more than you can have a grin without a Cheshire cat. (That’s what Carroll was getting at, I believe.)
    I’m also reminded of Thurber’s grandmother who believed if there was not a light bulb in every socket, electricity would leak all over the house.

    Don’t know why I haven’t thought of the candle analogy before.
    …Except that i’m a dimwit.
    The soul is not a free-standing ”thing,” but an immaterial, animating, force – electricity itself, in fact. …Or so I think. (You’ve been reading too much Unamuno, Toadie.)

    Oh, and Jabba is a sensitive soul and I am not. So please go easy with him.

    Like

  35. johnhenrycn says:

    The existence of the soul is scientifically irrefutable and unassailable. Forgive the redundancy, but it needed to be said twice.

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  36. Toad says:

    ”The existence of the soul is scientifically irrefutable and unassailable. ”
    Of course it is – inasmuch as ‘soul’ is the essential quality of being alive. No need to ‘refute’ or ‘prove’ ‘that – it’s axiomatic. But it all depends on what we agree to mean by ”soul;” and whether whatever it constitutes is,
    1: Capable of existing independently.*
    2: Immortal.*
    Nobody nowadays (I hope) denies an elephant has a soul. But then what? What happens when the elephant dies? What happens when I die? Science has, rightly, nothing to say on those topics, and what is said metaphysically on the topic is debatable, to say the least.

    *I don’t believe it ‘s either. I think Descartes was wrong – we are not machines with ghosts in us! Although I May be wrong, too. Maybe we are.

    Like

  37. kathleen says:

    Jabba @ 01:49

    kathleen, I’ve no idea why you might suppose that I find Pope Francis to be “clear”

    Do you really have no idea, dear Jabba? Isn’t it glaringly obvious?
    The reason I “supposed” this to be the case is because every time we are surprised, puzzled, or even shocked and dismayed at the newest bombshell to hit the Catholic media headlines of some un-Catholic-like word or deed from Pope Francis, you are the only one (bar the heterodoxical progressives among whom I do not include you) who appears to know exactly what Francis meant to say or do, but somehow did not!! Of course we would all like to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that basically he is a true defender of Catholic Doctrine and tradition (in the same way Philip Lawler went to great lengths in his recent book to try to achieve) but let’s be honest…. he, and nearly every other faithful Catholic, including good Father Z, are finding this now an impossible task. There are just too many terrible scandals he has committed e.g., calling that wicked witch, Emma Bonino, “one of Italy’s greats”, hobnobbing with militant pro-LGBT defenders whilst to all those disgusting homo-erotic goings-on in the Vatican he turns a blind eye, plus his stubborn REFUSAL to answer the dubia – such a very simple task – to put an end to the widespread confusion and erroneous interpretations he has instigated… and such a long etcetera of horrors after five years of his Pontificate that I hardly know where to stop.

    Pope Francis wants “to reform” the Church, but not to undo or reform the errors of the post V2 decades with its slide towards Protestant heresies and worldliness, but to actually hurry up the reform of Her destruction! He is proving himself to be the final product of the evil infiltration into the Church of the ideology of Marxism (also known as Freemasonry). Read Bella Dodd’s confession if you have not already done so. “The proof is in the pudding”… as they say.

    Jabba, I am well aware that the heresies of Modernism are not related to Modernity. I have read both Popes Pius IX and Pius X on the many ways its evils can penetrate the life of the Church and how they must be avoided. I still believe JH has not fallen for its snares.

    On your last point: I do not believe the root beliefs of the Catholic Faith are too complicated for even small children to understand, and yet many simple but devout believers will never have heard the words “neo-Pelagian”, “hermeneutic” etc. Remember the amazing love for “Holy God” of four year old Little Nellie (Organ), and her yearning to receive Him in Holy Communion? And young St Francisco Marto of Fatima’s long hours of silent contemplation in his burning desire to console Our Blessed Lord hidden in the tabernacle for so many sacrileges and offences committed by “ungrateful men”?

    “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” – (Luke 10:21).

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  38. JabbaPapa says:

    you are the only one (bar the heterodoxical progressives among whom I do not include you) who appears to know exactly what Francis meant to say or do

    Overly optimistic, sorry.

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  39. Toad says:

    “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” – (Luke 10:21).”

    Then surely the sensible thing would be to hand over the running of the Church to little children.
    I’d be all in favour of that.
    ”Unless ye be as little children,,” i.e. unformed, uneducated, ignorant, trusting of adults, and credulous.
    Why should a sensible God hide things from the wise and learned, anyway?
    Is that a wise thing to do? I think we should be told.

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  40. geoffkiernan says:

    Are All toads this stupid? I think we should be told.

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  41. Mary Salmond says:

    Geoff: it’s another spittle ploy and it worked!

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  42. kathleen says:

    Jabba @ 18:35 yesterday

    Overly optimistic, sorry.

    Really? We’ll soon see when the next Francis-riddle hits the headlines… I doubt it will be a “riddle” for you 😉.

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  43. geoffkiernan says:

    Mary: I had no sooner pushed the send button when I realised what I had done. Unfortunately no edit button on this site…..
    Sadly the wise and the learned among us are just not as wise and learned as they think they are. Children lack the guile and rat cunning of most adults. Even a half smart God can see that.
    Ditto to your last, Kathleen.

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  44. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad (17:57)

    Tut, tut: The existence of the immortal soul is scientifically irrefutable and unassailable. Do you understand now what I was saying?

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  45. Toad says:

    ”The existence of the immortal soul is scientifically irrefutable and unassailable. ”
    Oh, really JH? How does science test it? Where is the proof written?
    In fact, it is neither. Even the most extreme fundamentalist will agree. (well, maybe the second
    most extreme fundamentalist .) Do elephants have immortal souls?

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  46. johnhenrycn says:

    Oh good, Toad. You’re catching on. Science cannot test it. Therefore, science cannot refute it.

    Regarding your last question, I doubt non-humans on earth have immortal souls. It makes no sense (why would they in terms of eschatology?) and has no scriptural (or scientific) basis that I know of.

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  47. JabbaPapa says:

    More significantly, contrariwise, a soul without a body is a meaningless concept. Without the body It is literally non existent.

    This notion is directly contrary to the very concept of the soul.

    Oh, and Jabba is a sensitive soul and I am not. So please go easy with him.

    No, I’ve just had to learn the hard way that it does me no good whatsoever to tolerate certain forms of behaviour.

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  48. JabbaPapa says:

    I do not believe the root beliefs of the Catholic Faith are too complicated for even small children to understand

    Nor do I, dear kathleen, despite the fact that I personally needed actual divine interventions before I could.

    The roots of our Catholic Faith are within our souls though, not in our thoughts.

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