Friday, April 24, 2009

Reginald di Piperno Misses the Point

Apparently Reginald di Piperno (a pseudonym - like my own) has missed the point (link). Reginald seems to have mistakenly concluded that I imagine the Roman Catholic position to be that individual bishops (other than the bishop of Rome) are infallible. Of course that's not what I think or what my previous post suggested (link to previous post).

No, as seems often to be the case with Reginald, he has missed the point. The point is not that the Archbishop in the story is fallible: the point is that he's dead wrong. He's wildly wrong. He's ridiculously wrong. And Roman Catholicism hierarchy has by and large approved of this guy - he holds a position of high regard within the German branch of the Roman Catholic church - and is not about to do anything regard these teachings of his.

But when he gets together with a bunch of his colleagues (and his supervisor the pope) who seem to have no problem letting him spread his errors via the public media (after all - he's still in office, isn't he?), Reginald is willing to believe that this collection of men is not only not highly likely to err but actually to the contrary is infallible!

It should be obvious to any reasonable person that when you get a bunch of fallible men who tolerate gross errors by their colleagues together, you are not going to have a body that produces infallible decisions. Unfortunately, however, Reginald (and others) simply accept the idea that their church is infallible as an article of faith and refuse to submit their teacher (their church) to the higher authority of Scripture (even denying - some of them, I cannot say whether Reginald has done this yet - that Scripture IS a higher authority).

Meanwhile, when these things are brought to their attention they tend to miss the point. They choose to attribute absurd misunderstandings to the critics, as though someone could be unaware of the fact that Roman Catholicism doesn't say that individual bishops are infallible (other than the bishop of Rome). There's nothing particular rational about either of these approaches (either taking on faith that one's own church is infallible or willfully misunderstanding criticisms of your church). Perhaps this will serve as a little goad to Reginald to refocus his attention on the real issues and away from easily defeated straw men.


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