Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dr. James Galyon Against Hyper-Calvinism

Dr. James Galyon has an interesting post on the topic of Hyper-Calvinism. He provides a long list of items that he views as Hyper-Calvinism, many of which I would agree with. I may not agree with him in every last detail in his definition. For example, he includes as one form of hyper-Calvinism: "Scripture is to be interpreted only by individuals, not by the Church." While that position is wrong, I wouldn't necessarily see it being an error under the umbrella of hyper-Calvinism.

Here's his post.


- TurretinFan

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bellisario vs. Strawman - A Response of Sorts to Bellisario

Over at his blog, the Catholic Champion, Matthew Bellisario has decided to characterize his latest assault on a straw man as a response to one of my recent posts (link to Bellisario)(link to my recent post).

Bellisario's headline reads: "Vatican II and the Papacy- No Redefinition." Well, no kidding. Formally speaking, Vatican II didn't define anything much less re-define anything.

As then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: "The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council." – Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to the Bishops of Chile, 1988.

So, when Bellisario begins his post, "There are some who think that the Second Vatican Council sought to take away the role and authority of the pope," we can only wonder what Bellisario was thinking. The central thrust of his post is not against what I wrote, but rather against what he apparently wishes I had written.

The use of the straw man fallacy, however, is not enough for Bellisario. Bellisario insists on using the ad hominem fallacy as well. He attacks James Carroll for being an "ex-priest." What irony in this attack! While Bellisario means to play this up as somehow an attack on Carroll's character (he tries to compare him to Luther saying: "Martin Luther, who also left the priesthood to engage in unsavory affairs"), Bellisario actually undermines his own credibility. After all, James Carroll attended St. Paul's College, where he earned B.A. and M.A. degrees. He served as a columnist for several years at the National Catholic Reporter and received an award for "Best Columnist" by the Catholic Press Association. Bellisario's credentials can't compare to this. If Bellisario wishes to take the discussion ad hominem (to the man), then Bellisario will lose.

Bellisario continues his fallacious attacks with this gem:
It is not surprising to see that Turretin Fan is just as ignorant of the Vatican II documents as Carroll is. I find it amusing how Turretin Fan uses the term ultramontanism to note the last two papacies. I have to wonder if he even knows what the term really means.
Bellisario's lies here are amusing in view of his previous ad hominem. Carroll was ordained as a priest in 1969, shortly after the close of the Vatican II council. So, naturally, he's not "ignorant" of the Vatican II documents any more than I am. And, of course, a simple search of my blog demonstrates that I've repeatedly discussed a variety of the documents of Vatican II. Also amusing is the fact that my post provided explanation about the meaning of "ultramontanism," which should help to demonstrate to folks that I was familiar with the term's meaning.

Bellisario amusingly continues thus:
We have only to look at the document of Lumen Gentium to see that this supposed lessening of the papacy never happened, and none of the Vatican Documents ever proposed such thing.
Rather than then turning to Lumen Gentium itself, though, Bellisario turns to an note added to it by (shocking surprise ahead) a pope, affirming (get ready to be really shocked) a high view of the papacy. The reason for the note is to counterbalance the text of Lumen Gentium, the text that supports Carroll's point that Bellisario wishes weren't true.

Don't take my word for it. Consider this comment on the note by Christopher A. Ferrara (let's see if Bellisario calls him a liberal dissenter):
The most famous example is Pope Paul's intervention forcing the Council to include the Nota Praevia to Lumen Gentium, which corrects [Lumen Gentium]'s erroneous suggestion that when the Pope exercised his supreme authority he does so only as head of the apostolic college, wherein the supreme authority resides. Paul was alerted to this problem by a group of conservative Council Fathers, who finally persuaded him of LG's destructive potential: "Pope Paul, realizing finally that he had been deceived, broke down and wept." Wiltgen, The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, p. 232."
(Ferrara et al., The Great Façade, p. 88 n.114)

Of course, Bellisario does not interact with Carroll's presentation itself. Carroll wrote:
Surprisingly, no one saw this distortion more clearly than a pope — John XXIII, who called, yes, a council to correct it. His Vatican II (1962-65) aimed to restore the “collegiality’’ of bishops (the pope only as “first among equals’’); to reinvigorate local expressions of belief (hence worship in the vernacular); and to retrieve the “priesthood of all believers’’ as a check on clericalism. Vatican II was a step toward the democratizing of the Catholic Church, which is why Catholic fundamentalists have been seeking to undo it ever since. Fundamentalist-in-chief has been Joseph Ratzinger.
This claim relates to what Carroll believes was an attempted emphasis of restoring balance and removing distortion. The lessening of the papacy, as I had put it, had to do primarily with a matter of balance and emphasis. The goal was not to eliminate the papacy or to re-defined dogma, though apparently the article itself or my blog post about it provided the starting material for Bellisario's fertile imagination.

Bellisario's boorish post continues:
I find it quite amusing that a Protestant E-Apologist like Turretin Fan wants to be known for citing the most liberal dissenting historians and theologians to substantiate his attacks on the Catholic Church.
I didn't endorse everything that Carroll said, and whether or not Carroll is a liberal dissenter (I'll let him answer that charge himself) does not affect the truth of his claims. I've cited to a range of writers both Roman Catholic and not, ranging from William Whitaker to Joseph Ratzinger, as can be quickly established by perusing my blog. Bellisario seems eager to dismiss, but he can't seem to find a way to pull off a counter-argument that's logical and supported by evidence.

Notice how he continues:
I guess it is easy to see why Turretin Fan always gets his facts wrong concerning Catholicism. When you choose to keep company with dissenters, then you will have a dissenters disposition. When you are used to having heroes like Martin Luther, who also left the priesthood to engage in unsavory affairs, then it is no surprise that he looks for similar company like ex-priests today who constantly attack the Catholic Church like James Carroll.
Could there be a comment more full of obvious rhetorical garbage and ad hominem than that? Rather than point out any specific error, Bellisario attempts to refer to some established pattern of error. The problem, of course, is that Bellisario hasn't established such a pattern - and even if he did, he still ought to try to show that a particular statement itself is in error, rather than relying such an alleged pattern.

Ah well, the discerning reader can judge for themselves.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Thomas Jefferson + Creed Hermeneutic

I was (at first) amused to read a post by Mark Olson (Orthodox Church in America) titled "Noetic Noah and the Fluffy Hermeneutic." Olson rejects large swaths of the historical text of the Old Testament with fluffy statements like "Giants are mythic or noetic creatures" and, referring to the location of the garden of Eden, he describes it as "the juncture of four rivers. Real rivers which however in reality are nowhere near each other."

As to Olson's latter claim, Noah's flood dramatically altered the landscape of Earth. The rivers we call by the names of the four Eden rivers are rivers named after those rivers. Likewise, the giants of Scripture are real beings.

As explained at 1 Samuel 17:4-7, Goliath was six cubits and a span (about 9 ft. 4 in.) tall, his armor weighed 5,000 shekels of brass (about 150 lbs.), and the head of his spear weighed 600 shekels of iron (or nearly 20 lbs.). This is a real, though very large, human being. Likewise Og, king of Bashan, had a bed that was nine cubits long and four cubits wide (Deuteronomy 3:11), made out of iron, suggesting that he too was a prodigiously large man.

But Olson goes from merely fluffy to blasphemous when he writes:
Did everything recounted in Exodus take place exactly as the text recounts? Well, as a comparison there may have been a historic King of rocky Ithaca named Odysseus but that does not mean he killed a giant man with one eye. That also does not mean that nothing recounted in the Odyssey took place or that the story contains no great moral truths because Polyphemus is purely or mostly noetic.
While we might expect an atheist like Dan Barker to make such a comparison, it should shock us to hear a person who professes to be a Christian making such a comment.

While Olson writes that, Justin Martyr wrote:
Do not suppose, you Greeks, that my separation from your customs is unreasonable and unthinking; for I found in them nothing that is holy or acceptable to God. For the very compositions of your poets are monuments of madness and intemperance. For any one who becomes the scholar of your most eminent instructor, is more beset by difficulties than all men besides. For first they say that Agamemnon, abetting the extravagant lust of his brother, and his madness and unrestrained desire, readily gave even his daughter to be sacrificed, and troubled all Greece that he might rescue Helen, who had been ravished by the leprous shepherd. But when in the course of the war they took captives, Agamemnon was himself taken captive by Chryseis, and for Briseis' sake kindled a feud with the son of Thetis. And Pelides himself, who crossed the river, overthrew Troy, and subdued Hector, this your hero became the slave of Polyxena, and was conquered by a dead Amazon; and putting off the god-fabricated armour, and donning the hymeneal robe, he became a sacrifice of love in the temple of Apollo. And the Ithacan Ulysses made a virtue of a vice. And indeed his sailing past the Sirens gave evidence that he was destitute of worthy prudence, because he could not depend on his prudence for stopping his ears. Ajax, son of Telamon, who bore the shield of sevenfold ox-hide, went mad when he was defeated in the contest with Ulysses for the armour. Such things I have no desire to be instructed in. Of such virtue I am not covetous, that I should believe the myths of Homer. For the whole rhapsody, the beginning and end both of the Iliad and the Odyssey is— a woman.
- Justin Martyr, Discourse to the Greeks, Chapter 1

Read also this testimony:
Men of Greece, when I came to examine the Christian writings, I found not any folly in them, as I had found in the celebrated Homer, who has said concerning the wars of the two trials: "Because of Helen, many of the Greeks perished at Troy, away from their beloved home." For, first of all, we are told concerning Agamemnon their king, that by reason of the foolishness of his brother Menelaus, and the violence of his madness, and the uncontrollable nature of his passion, he resolved to go and rescue Helen from the hands of a certain leprous shepherd; and afterwards, when the Greeks had become victorious in the war, and burnt cities, and taken women and children captive, and the land was filled with blood, and the rivers with corpses, Agamemnon himself also was found to be taken captive by his passion for Briseis. Patroclus, again, we are told, was slain, and Achilles, the son of the goddess Thetis, mourned over him; Hector was dragged along the ground, and Priam and Hecuba together were weeping over the loss of their children; Astyanax, the son of Hector, was thrown down from the walls of Ilion, and his mother Andromache the mighty Ajax bore away into captivity; and that which was taken as booty was after a little while, all squandered in sensual indulgence.

Of the wiles of Odysseus the son of Laertes, and of his murders, who shall tell the tale? For of a hundred and ten suitors did his house in one day become the grave, and it was filled with corpses and blood. He, too, it was that by his wickedness gained the praises of men, because through his pre-eminence in craft he escaped detection; he, too, it was who, you say, sailed upon the sea, and heard not the voice of the Sirens only because he stopped his ears with wax.

The famous Achilles, again, the son of Peleus, who bounded across the river, and routed the Trojans, and slew Hector—this said hero of yours became the slave of Philoxena, and was overcome by an Amazon as she lay dead and stretched upon her bier; and he put off his armour, and arrayed himself in nuptial garments, and finally fell a sacrifice to love.

Thus much concerning your great "men;" and you, Homer, had deserved forgiveness, if your silly story-telling had gone so far only as to prate about men, and not about the gods. As for what he says about the gods, I am ashamed even to speak of it: for the stories that have been invented about them are very wicked and shocking; passing strange, too, and not to be believed; and, if the truth must be told, fit only to be laughed at. For a person will be compelled to laugh when he meets with them, and will not believe them when he hears them. For think of gods who did not one of them observe the laws of rectitude, or of purity, or of modesty, but were adulterers, and spent their time in debauchery, and yet were not condemned to death, as they ought to have been!
- Ambrose a chief man of the Greeks (contemporary with Origen c. 185–254), Memorial

That is the historic approach to Homer, to condemn its wickedness, not to liken the Holy Scripture to its idle and wicked tales. Such should be reserved for scoffers like Dan Barker or Thomas Jefferson.

Olson doesn't go quite as far as Barker or Thomas Jefferson, though. He accepts those things that are mentioned in "the Creed," but since there are lots of historical passages of the Old Testament that are not specifically he listed in the creed, he views them as adiaphora (a thing indifferent, which one can accept or not).

In essence, the only thing that prevents Olson from denying the virgin birth as a myth is the fact that it made it into the creed. Pontius Pilate? Well, he's in the creed. Herod better watch out though! We're not sure whether "maker of heavens and earth" is enough to get Olson to believe Creationism (we seriously doubt it), and Olson plainly denies the flood. His comment in that regard provides the basis for our conclusion:
Finally, you wonder that a person who does believe in the literal flood and I, who does not, can be said to worship the same religion.
Notice how he speaks of worshiping a religion. For us (Reformed Christians) we do not worship a religion - we worship God. Whether we rightly or wrongly worship God is judged by how closely we follow God's instruction for worship.

Two quick further words of caution. While Olson is attending an OCA parish, and while he is apparently studying to serve in that church in a minor way (as a "reader"), he's not an official spokesman for his religion. Also, while rejecting the historical narratives of the Old Testament as such is a serious error, it may be that the error falls short of being, in itself, a denial of the gospel.


Response to David Meyer on Sola Scriptura

David Meyer wrote: "At the end of the Sola Scriptura authority tunnel I find a mirror and a clown suit. I'm not going to put it on. Christ either gave us a church that has a single knowable doctrine, or this is all just a big joke." (source)

I answer:

I've found that the end of the Sola Scriptura authority tunnel has a book. That book is very near to me, in my heart and mouth that I may obey it (Deuteronomy 30:14). It is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). It is pure, which is why I love it (Psalm 119:140).

It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). It doesn't provide a clown suit, but it does outfit me, rendering me complete, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:17).

It was written so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing we might have life through his name (John 20:31). Furthermore, it was written so that those who believe may know that they have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

That book, of course, is the divinely inspired Bible - the Holy Scriptures. Having that book doesn't mean always being right about everything, or even being absolutely sure of every last doctrine. What it does involve, however, is believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and possessing eternal life through faith in Him.


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Typo in English Translation of Canon Law

I happened to be reading through the Vatican website's English translation of the Code of Canon law and came across an interesting typographic error that appears in numerous places in the code. In those places "over" has been replaced by "offer" (in one instance "offerly" replaces "overly") - the error even affects Canon 333, the canon related to the pope's supposed universal jurisdiction "offer" the church.


in Can. 492 §3. "affnity" should be "affinity"

in Can. 177 §2 "notifcation" should be "notification"

I'm sure no one is going to be persuaded that Rome isn't infallible simply because an error-riddled English translation of the Code of Canon Law was published. Nevertheless, it does provide further evidence of the truly human character of Rome, whether folks wish to accept that or not.

The following is a list of (with the text of) the affected canons.

Can. 134 §1. In addition to the Roman Pontiff, by the title of ordinary are understood in the law diocesan bishops and others who, even if only temporarily, are placed offer some particular church or a community equivalent to it according to the norm of ⇒ can. 368 as well as those who possess general ordinary executive power in them, namely, vicars general and episcopal vicars; likewise, for their own members, major superiors of clerical religious institutes of pontifical right and of clerical societies of apostolic life of pontifical right who at least possess ordinary executive power.

§2. By the title of local ordinary are understood all those mentioned in §1 except the superiors of religious institutes and of societies of apostolic life.

§3. Within the context of executive power, those things which in the canons are attributed by name to the diocesan bishop are understood to belong only to a diocesan bishop and to the others made equivalent to him in ⇒ can. 381, §2, excluding the vicar general and episcopal vicar except by special mandate.

Can. 136 Unless the nature of the matter or a prescript of law establishes otherwise, a person is able to exercise executive power offer his subjects, even when he or they are outside his territory; he is also able to exercise this power offer travelers actually present in the territory if it concerns granting favors or executing universal laws or particular laws which bind them according to the norm of ⇒ can. 13, §2, n. 2.

Can. 155 A person who confers an office in the place of another who is negligent or impeded acquires no power thereafter offer the person upon whom the office was conferred. The juridic condition of that person, however, is established just as if the provision had been completed according to the ordinary norm of law.

Can. 166 §1. The person presiding offer a college or group is to convoke all those belonging to the college or group; the notice of convocation, however, when it must be personal, is valid if it is given in the place of domicile or quasi-domicile or in the place of residence.

§2. If anyone of those to be convoked was overlooked and for that reason was absent, the election is valid. Nevertheless, at the instance of that same person and when the oversight and absence have been proved, the election must be rescinded by the competent authority even if it has been confirmed, provided that it is evident juridically that recourse had been made at least within three days from the notice of the election.

§3. If more than one-third of the electors were overlooked, however, the election is null by the law itself unless all those overlooked were in fact present.

Can. 173 §1. Before an election begins, at least two tellers are to be designated from the membership of the college or group.

§2. The tellers are to collect the votes, to examine in the presence of the one presiding offer the election whether the number of ballots corresponds to the number of electors, to count the votes themselves, and to announce openly how many votes each person has received.

§3. If the number of votes exceeds the number of electors, the voting is without effect.

§4. All the acts of an election are to be transcribed accurately by the secretary and are to be preserved carefully in the archive of the college after they have been signed at least by the same secretary, the one presiding, and the tellers.

Can. 176 Unless the law or the statutes provide otherwise, the person who has received the required number of votes according to the norm of ⇒ can. 119, n. 1 is considered elected and is to be announced as such by the one presiding offer the college or group.

Can. 177 §1. An election must be communicated immediately to the person elected who must inform the one presiding offer the college or group whether or not he or she accepts the election within eight useful days after receiving the notification; otherwise, the election has no effect.

§2. If the one elected has not accepted, the person loses every right deriving from the election and does not regain any right by subsequent acceptance but can be elected again. A college or group, however, must proceed to a new election within a month from notifcation of non-acceptance.

Can. 230 §1. Lay men who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can be admitted on a stable basis through the prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte.

Nevertheless, the conferral of these ministries does not grant them the right to obtain support or remuneration from the Church.

§2. Lay persons can fulfill the function of lector in liturgical actions by temporary designation. All lay persons can also perform the functions of commentator or cantor, or other functions, according to the norm of law.

§3. When the need of the Church warrants it and ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply certain of their duties, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside offer liturgical prayers, to confer baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion, according to the prescripts of the law.

Can. 259 §1. The diocesan bishop or, for an interdiocesan seminary, the bishops involved are competent to decide those things which pertain to the above-mentioned governance and administration of the seminary.

§2. The diocesan bishop or, for an interdiocesan seminary, the bishops involved are to visit the seminary frequently, to watch offer the formation of their own students as well as the philosophical and theological instruction taught in the seminary, and to keep themselves informed about the vocation, character, piety, and progress of the students, especially with a view to the conferral of sacred ordination.

Can. 282 §1. Clerics are to foster simplicity of life and are to refrain from all things that have a semblance of vanity.

§2. They are to wish to use for the good of the Church and works of charity those goods which have come to them on the occasion of the exercise of ecclesiastical office and which are left offer after provision has been made for their decent support and for the fulfillment of all the duties of their own state.

Can. 295 §1. The statutes established by the Apostolic See govern a personal prelature, and a prelate presides offer it as the proper ordinary; he has the right to erect a national or international seminary and even to incardinate students and promote them to orders under title of service to the prelature.

§2. The prelate must see to both the spiritual formation and decent support of those whom he has promoted under the above-mentioned title.

Can. 311 Members of institutes of consecrated life who preside offer or assist associations in some way united to their institute are to take care that these associations give assistance to the works of the apostolate which already exist in a diocese, especially cooperating, under the direction of the local ordinary, with associations which are ordered to the exercise of the apostolate in the diocese.

Can. 328 Those who preside offer associations of the laity, even those which have been erected by virtue of apostolic privilege, are to take care that their associations cooperate with other associations of the Christian faithful where it is expedient and willingly assist various Christian works, especially those in the same territory.

Can. 333 §1. By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power offer the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power offer all particular churches and groups of them. Moreover, this primacy strengthens and protects the proper, ordinary, and immediate power which bishops possess in the particular churches entrusted to their care.

§2. In fulfilling the office of supreme pastor of the Church, the Roman Pontiff is always joined in communion with the other bishops and with the universal Church. He nevertheless has the right, according to the needs of the Church, to determine the manner, whether personal or collegial, of exercising this office.

§3. No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 336 The college of bishops, whose head is the Supreme Pontiff and whose members are bishops by virtue of sacramental consecration and hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college and in which the apostolic body continues, together with its head and never without this head, is also the subject of supreme and full power offer the universal Church.

Can. 337 §1. The college of bishops exercises power offer the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council.

§2. It exercises the same power through the united action of the bishops dispersed in the world, which the Roman Pontiff has publicly declared or freely accepted as such so that it becomes a true collegial act.

§3. It is for the Roman Pontiff, according to the needs of the Church, to select and promote the ways by which the college of bishops is to exercise its function collegially regarding the universal Church.

Can. 338 §1. It is for the Roman Pontiff alone to convoke an ecumenical council, preside offer it personally or through others, transfer, suspend, or dissolve a council, and to approve its decrees.

§2. It is for the Roman Pontiff to determine the matters to be treated in a council and establish the order to be observed in a council. To the questions proposed by the Roman Pontiff, the council fathers can add others which are to be approved by the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 348 §1. The synod of bishops has a permanent general secretariat presided offer by a general secretary who is appointed by the Roman Pontiff and assisted by the council of the secretariat. This council consists of bishops, some of whom are elected by the synod of bishops itself according to the norm of special law while others are appointed by the Roman Pontiff. The function of all these ceases when a new general session begins.

§2. Furthermore, for each session of the synod of bishops one or more special secretaries are constituted who are appointed by the Roman Pontiff and remain in the office entrusted to them only until the session of the synod has been completed.

Can. 350 §1. The college of cardinals is divided into three orders: the episcopal order, to which belong cardinals to whom the Roman Pontiff assigns title of a suburbicarian church and Eastern patriarchs who have been brought into the college of cardinals; the presbyteral order and the diaconal order.

§2. The Roman Pontiff assigns each of the cardinals of the presbyteral or diaconal orders his own title or diaconia in Rome.

§3. Eastern patriarchs who have been made members of the college of cardinals have their own patriarchal see as a title.

§4. The cardinal dean holds as his title the Diocese of Ostia together with the other church he already has as a title.

§5. Through a choice made in consistory and approved by the Supreme Pontiff and with priority of order and promotion observed, cardinals from the presbyteral order can transfer to another title, and cardinals from the diaconal order to another diaconia and if they have been in the diaconal order for ten full years, even to the presbyteral order.

§6. A cardinal transferring through choice from the diaconal order to the presbyteral order takes precedence offer all those cardinal presbyters who were brought into the cardinalate after him.

Can. 352 §1. The dean presides offer the college of cardinals; if he is impeded, the assistant dean takes his place.

Neither the dean nor the assistant dean possesses any power of governance offer the other cardinals but is considered as first among equals.

§2. When the office of dean is vacant, the cardinals who possess title to a suburbicarian church and they alone are to elect one from their own group who is to act as dean of the college; the assistant dean, if he is present, or else the oldest among them, presides at this election. They are to submit the name of the person elected to the Roman Pontiff who is competent to approve him.

§3. The assistant dean is elected in the same manner as that described in §2, with the dean himself presiding.

The Roman Pontiff is also competent to approve the election of the assistant dean.

§4. If the dean and assistant dean do not have a domicile in Rome, they are to acquire one there.

Can. 354 The cardinals who preside offer dicasteries and other permanent institutes of the Roman Curia and Vatican City and who have completed the seventy-fifth year of age are asked to submit their resignation from office to the Roman Pontiff who will see to the matter after considering the circumstances.

Can. 355 §1. The cardinal dean is competent to ordain as a bishop the one elected as Roman Pontiff if he needs to be ordained; if the dean is impeded, the assistant dean has the same right, and if he is impeded, the oldest cardinal from the episcopal order.

§2. The senior cardinal deacon announces the name of the newly elected Supreme Pontiff to the people; likewise, in the place of the Roman Pontiff, he places the pallium upon metropolitans or hands it offer to their proxies.

Can. 357 §1. The cardinals who have been assigned title to a suburbicarian church or a church in Rome are to promote the good of these dioceses or churches by counsel and patronage after they have taken possession of them.

Nevertheless, they possess no power of governance offer them nor are they to intervene in any way in those matters which pertain to the administration of their goods, their discipline, or the service of the churches.

§2. In those matters which pertain to their own person, cardinals living outside of Rome and outside their own diocese are exempt from the power of governance of the bishop of the diocese in which they are residing.

Can. 358 A cardinal to whom the Roman Pontiff entrusts the function of representing him in some solemn celebration or among some group of persons as a legates a latere, that is, as his alter ego, as well as one to whom the Roman Pontiff entrusts the fulfillment of a certain pastoral function as his special envoy (missus specialis) has competence only offer those things which the Roman Pontiff commits to him.

Can. 381 §1. A diocesan bishop in the diocese entrusted to him has all ordinary, proper, and immediate power which is required for the exercise of his pastoral function except for cases which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme authority or to another ecclesiastical authority.

§2. Those who preside offer the other communities of the faithful mentioned in ⇒ can. 368 are equivalent in law to a diocesan bishop unless it is otherwise apparent from the nature of the matter or from a prescript of law.

Can. 409 §1. When the episcopal see is vacant, the coadjutor bishop immediately becomes the bishop of the diocese for which he had been appointed provided that he has legitimately taken possession of it.

§2. When the episcopal see is vacant and unless competent authority has established otherwise, an auxiliary bishop preserves all and only those powers and faculties which he possessed as vicar general or episcopal vicar while the see was filled until a new bishop has taken possession of the see. If he has not been designated to the function of diocesan administrator, he is to exercise this same power, conferred by law, under the authority of the diocesan administrator who presides offer the governance of the diocese.

Can. 435 A metropolitan, who is the archbishop of his diocese, presides offer an ecclesiastical province. The office of metropolitan is joined with an episcopal see determined or approved by the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 437 §1. Within three months from the reception of episcopal consecration or if he has already been consecrated, from the canonical provision, a metropolitan is obliged to request the pallium from the Roman Pontiff either personally or through a proxy. The pallium signifies the power which the metropolitan, in communion with the Roman Church, has by law in his own province.

§2. A metropolitan can use the pallium according to the norm of liturgical laws within any church of the ecclesiastical province offer which he presides, but not outside it, even if the diocesan bishop gives his assent.

§3. A metropolitan needs a new pallium if he is transferred to another metropolitan see.

Can. 442 §1. It is for the metropolitan with the consent of the majority of the suffragan bishops:

1/ to convoke a provincial council;

2/ to select the place to celebrate the provincial council within the territory of the province;

3/ to determine the agenda and questions to be treated, set the opening and duration of the provincial council, transfer, extend, and dissolve it.

§2. It is for the metropolitan or, if he is legitimately impeded, a suffragan bishop elected by the other sufuffagan bishops to preside offer a provincial council.

Can. 448 §1. As a general rule, a conference of bishops includes those who preside offer all the particular churches of the same nation, according to the norm of ⇒ can. 450.

§2. If, however, in the judgment of the Apostolic See, having heard the diocesan bishops concerned, the circumstances of persons or things suggest it, a conference of bishops can be erected for a territory of lesser or greater area, so that it only includes either bishops of some particular churches constituted in a certain territory or those who preside offer particular churches in different nations. It is for the Apostolic See to establish special norms for each of them.

Can. 452 §1. Each conference of bishops is to elect a president for itself, is to determine who is to perform the function of pro-president when the president is legitimately impeded, and is to designate a general secretary, according to the norm of the statutes.

§2. The president of a conference, and, when he is legitimately impeded, the pro-president, presides not only offer the general meetings of the conference of bishops but also offer the permanent council.

Can. 462 §1. The diocesan bishop alone convokes a diocesan synod, but not one who temporarily presides offer a diocese.

§2. The diocesan bishop presides offer a diocesan synod. He can, however, delegate a vicar general or episcopal vicar to fulfill this responsibility for individual sessions of the synod.

Can. 476 Whenever the correct governance of a diocese requires it, the diocesan bishop can also appoint one or more episcopal vicars, namely, those who in a specific part of the diocese or in a certain type of affairs or over the faithful of a specific rite or offer certain groups of persons possess the same ordinary power which a vicar general has by universal law, according to the norm of the following canons.

Can. 479 §1. By virtue of office, the vicar general has the executive power offer the whole diocese which belongs to the diocesan bishop by law, namely, the power to place all administrative acts except those, however, which the bishop has reserved to himself or which require a special mandate of the bishop by law.

§2. By the law itself an episcopal vicar has the same power mentioned in §1 but only offer the specific part of the territory or the type of affairs or the faithful of a specific rite or group for which he was appointed, except those cases which the bishop has reserved to himself or to a vicar general or which require a special mandate of the bishop by law.

§3. Within the limit of their competence, the habitual faculties granted by the Apostolic See to the bishop and the execution of rescripts also pertain to a vicar general and an episcopal vicar, unless it has been expressly provided otherwise or the personal qualifications of the diocesan bishop were chosen.

Can. 492 §1. In every diocese a Finance council is to be established, offer which the diocesan bishop himself or his delegate presides and which consists of at least three members of the Christian faithful truly expert in Financial affairs and civil law, outstanding in integrity, and appointed by the bishop.

§2. Members of the Finance council are to be appointed for Five years, but at the end of this period they can be appointed for other Five year terms.

§3. Persons who are related to the bishop up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affnity are excluded from the Finance council.

Can. 500 §1. It is for the diocesan bishop to convoke the presbyteral council, preside offer it, and determine the questions to be treated by it or receive proposals from the members.

§2. The presbyteral council possesses only a consultative vote; the diocesan bishop is to hear it in affairs of greater importance but needs its consent only in cases expressly defined by law.

§3. The presbyteral council is not able to act without the diocesan bishop who alone has charge of making public those things which have been established according to the norm of §2.

Can. 502 §1. From among the members of the presbyteral council and in a number not less than six nor more than twelve, the diocesan bishop freely appoints some priests who are to constitute for five years a college of consultors, to which belongs the functions determined by law. When the five years elapse, however, it continues to exercise its proper functions until a new college is established.

§2. The diocesan bishop presides offer the college of consultors. When a see is impeded or vacant, however, the one who temporarily takes the place of the bishop or, if he has not yet been appointed, the priest who is senior in ordination in the college of consultors presides.

§3. The conference of bishops can establish that the functions of the college of consultors are to be entrusted to the cathedral chapter.

§4. In an apostolic vicariate and prefecture, the council of the mission mentioned in ⇒ can. 495, §2 has the functions of the college of consultors unless the law establishes otherwise.

Can. 507 §1. One of the canons is to preside offer the chapter; other offices are also to be constituted according to the norm of the statutes, after the practice prevailing in the region has been taken into consideration.

§2. Other offices can be entrusted to clerics who do not belong to the chapter; through these offices they assist the canons according to the norm of the statutes.

Can. 509 §1. After having heard the chapter, it is for the diocesan bishop, but not a diocesan administrator, to confer each and every canonry, both in a cathedral church and in a collegial church; every contrary privilege is revoked.

It is for the same bishop to confirm the person elected by the chapter to preside offer it.

§2. A diocesan bishop is to confer canonries only upon priests outstanding in doctrine and integrity of life, who have laudably exercised the ministry.

Can. 1344 Even if the law uses preceptive words, the judge can, according to his own conscience and prudence:

1/ defer the imposition of the penalty to a more opportune time if it is foreseen that greater evils will result from an offerly hasty punishment of the offender;

2/ abstain from imposing a penalty, impose a lighter penalty, or employ a penance if the offender has reformed and repaired the scandal or if the offender has been or, it is foreseen, will be punished sufficiently by civil authority;

3/ suspend the obligation of observing an expiatory penalty if it is the first offense of an offender who has lived a praiseworthy life and if the need to repair scandal is not pressing, but in such a way that if the offender commits an offense again within the time determined by the judge, the person is to pay the penalty due for each delict unless in the interim the time for the prescription of a penal action has elapsed for the first delict.

Can. 1366 Parents or those who take the place of parents who hand offer their children to be baptized or educated in a non Catholic religion are to be punished with a censure or other just penalty.

The above are all the canons of which I'm aware that have the typographic error of substituting "offer" for "over." Of course, not every instance of "offer" in the code is a typographic error (for example, the many references to "offerings" are apparently intended). My understanding is that the text of the English translation was prepared "under the auspices of" the Canon Law Society of America. I presume some Roman Catholic who cares about having an accurate English-language canon law will locate the right person to contact regarding these mistakes.


Calvin and the Perpetual Virginity (?) of Mary ... plus the Real Francis Turretin

In his commentary on the synoptic gospels, Calvin wrote:
And knew her not This passage afforded the pretext for great disturbances, which were introduced into the Church, at a former period, by Helvidius. The inference he drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband. Jerome, on the other hand, earnestly and copiously defended Mary’s perpetual virginity. Let us rest satisfied with this, that no just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words of the Evangelist, as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called first-born; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin. [FN: French has “Il est nomme Premier nay, mais non pour autre raison, sinon afin que nous sachions qu'il est nay d'une mere vierge, et qui jamais n'avoit eu enfant;” — “he is called First-born, but for no other reason than that we may know that he was born of a pure virgin, and who never had had a child.”] It is said that Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: but this is limited to that very time. What took place afterwards, the historian does not inform us. Such is well known to have been the practice of the inspired writers. Certainly, no man will ever raise a question on this subject, except from curiosity; and no man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.
- John Calvin, Commentary on Matthew, Mark, and Luke at Matthew 18:25

Some Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox folks have taken these comments from John Calvin to suggest that Calvin was endorsing the dogma of the perpetual virginity. This is a mistaken idea. While Calvin does appear to accept Jerome's position of perpetual virginity (absence of sexual union virginity, not also in partu virginity) over Helvidius' more Scriptural position of limited virginity (virginity until Christ was born), Calvin does not attempt to make this a dogmatic position. He views the issue as one that is of limited interest, mostly of interest to those who have nothing better to think about. That's partly because Calvin lived in an age before Rome had defined the perpetual virginity as a dogma. Had he lived in that day, he might have spent more time considering the matter carefully and been less quick to dismiss Helvidius' arguments. Of course, we cannot be sure, but he does seem to reject many of the interpretations upon which Roman Apologists depend today.

It should be noted as well that at Luke 1:34, Calvin comments:
The conjecture which some have drawn from these words, that she had formed a vow of perpetual virginity, is unfounded and altogether absurd. She would, in that case, have committed treachery by allowing herself to be united to a husband, and would have poured contempt on the holy covenant of marriage; which could not have been done without mockery of God. Although the Papists have exercised barbarous tyranny on this subject, yet they have never proceeded so far as to allow the wife to form a vow of continence at her own pleasure. Besides, it is an idle and unfounded supposition that a monastic life existed among the Jews.
- John Calvin, Commentary on Matthew, Mark, and Luke at Luke 1:34

This commentary shows us that if Calvin had been considering the issue in more depth, would not have adopted at least some of the arguments that Roman Catholics present. Specifically, Calvin properly rejected as absurd the idea that Mary's comment "I know not a man" is suggestive of any vow of perpetual virginity.

Furthermore, Calvin rejected the excessive praise of Mary that the Roman Catholics of his day employed:
Woman, what have I to do with thee? Why does Christ repel her so rashly? I reply, though she was not moved by ambition, nor by any carnal affection, still she did wrong in going beyond her proper bounds. Her anxiety about the inconvenience endured by others, and her desire to have it in some way mitigated, proceeded from humanity, and ought to be regarded as a virtue; but still, by putting herself forward, she might obscure the glory of Christ. Though it ought also to be observed, that what Christ spoke was not so much for her sake as for the sake of others. Her modesty and piety were too great, to need so severe a chastisement. Besides, she did not knowingly and willingly offend; but Christ only meets the danger, that no improper use may be made of what his mother had said, as if it were in obedience to her command that he afterwards performed the miracle.

The Greek words (Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοὶ) literally mean, What to me and to thee? But the Greek phraseology is of the same import with the Latin — Quid tibi mecum? (what hast thou to do with me?) The old translator led many people into a mistake, by supposing Christ to have asserted, that it was no concern of his, or of his mother’s, if the wine fell short. But from the second clause we may easily conclude how far removed this is from Christ’s meaning; for he takes upon himself this concern, and declares that it belongs to him to do so, when he adds, my hour is not yet come. Both ought to be joined together — that Christ understands what it is necessary for him to do, and yet that he will not act in this matter at his mother’s suggestion.

It is a remarkable passage certainly; for why does he absolutely refuse to his mother what he freely granted afterwards, on so many occasions, to all sorts of persons? Again, why is he not satisfied with a bare refusal? and why does he reduce her to the ordinary rank of women, and not even deign to call her mother? This saying of Christ openly and manifestly warns men to beware lest, by too superstitiously elevating the honor of the name of mother in the Virgin Mary, they transfer to her what belongs exclusively to God. Christ, therefore, addresses his mother in this manner, in order to lay down a perpetual and general instruction to all ages, that his divine glory must not be obscured by excessive honor paid to his mother.
- John Calvin, Commentary on John, at John 2:4

This passage tends to show that while Calvin had a high regard for Mary, he was cautious about asserting overly high regard for her.

While we are on the subject, let us consider the fact that (for much the same reason as Calvin above) the real Francis Turretin similarly thought that Mary probably remained a virgin for her whole life:
This is not expressly declared in Scripture, but is yet piously believed with human faith from the consent of the ancient church. Thus it is probable that the womb in which our Savior received the auspices of life (whence he entered into this world, as from a temple) was so consecrated and sanctified by so great a guest that she always remained untouched by man; nor did Joseph ever cohabit with her.

Hence Helvidius and the Antidicomarianites (so-called because they were opponents of [antidikoi] Mary)are deservedly rebuked by the fathers for denying that Mary was always a virgin (aei Parthenon). They held that she cohabited with Joseph after delivery; yea, also bore children from him. As Augustine remarks, they rely on the shallowest arguments, i.e., because Christ is called the ‘firstborn’ of Mary (cf. De Haeresibus 56, 84 [PL 42.40, 46]). For as Jerome well remarks, she was so called because no one was begotten before him, not because there was another after him. Hence among lawyers: ‘He is the first whom no one precedes; he is last, whom no one follows.’ The Hebrews were accustomed to call the firstborn also only begotten; Israel is called ‘the first-born of God’ (Ex 4:22), although the only people chosen of God. Thus ‘the firstborn’ is said to be ‘holy unto God’ (Ex 13:2), who first opened the womb, whether others followed or not. Otherwise the firstborn would not have to be redeemed until after another offspring had been procreated (the law shows this to be false because it commands it to be redeemed a month after birth, Num. 18:16).

Not more solidly have they been able to elicit this from the fact that in the New Testament certain ones are called ‘the brothers of Christ.’ It is common in Scripture not only for one’s own and full brothers by nature to be designated by this name, but also blood relatives and cousins (as Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Laban). Thus James and Joses, Simon and Judas are called brothers of Christ (Mt. 13:55) by a relation of blood. For Mary (who is called their mother by Matthew and Mark) is called by John the sister of the Lord’s mother. However what is said in Jn. 7:5 that ‘neither did his brethren believe him’ must be understood of more remote blood relations.

Nor is it derived better from this-that Joseph is said ‘not to have known Mary till she had brought forth her firstborn son’ (Mt. 1:25). The particles ‘till” and ‘even unto’ are often referred only to the past, not to the future (i.e., they so connote the preceding time, concerning which there might be a doubt or which it was of the highest importance to know, as not to have a reference to the future-cf. Gen 28:15; Pss 122:2; 110:1; Mt.28:20, etc.). Thus is shown what was done by Joseph before the nativity of Christ (to wit, that he abstained form her); but it does not imply that he lived with her in any other way postpartum. When therefore she is said to have been found with child ‘before they came together’ (prin e synelthein autous), preceding copulation is denied, but not subsequent affirmed.

Although copulation had not take place in that marriage, it did not cease to be true and ratified (although unconsummated) for not intercourse, but consent makes marriage. Therefore it was perfect as to form (to wit, undivided conjunction of life and unviolated faith, but not as to end (to wit, the procreation of children, although it was not deficient as to the raising of the offspring.
- Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 2, 345-346 (transcription courtesy of the Eastern Orthodox blog Energetic Procession)

The same observations apply as noted above. Even more clearly than Calvin, Turretin explains that his belief is merely one of probability, not one having any positive Scriptural warrant. Had Turretin lived in an era when the Perpetual Virginity had been as carefully scrutinized as our day, we have reason to suppose that Turretin would have acceded to the arguments from Scripture. Additionally, Turretin's mistaken belief that this view had "the consent of the ancient church" might have been corrected with additional study of the issue and more careful scrutiny of the patristic evidence.

- TurretinFan

Monday, April 05, 2010

Rescuing Roman Catholicism from Papalism?

James Carroll has an interesting article in the Boston Globe, in which he argues that Roman Catholicism needs to be rescued from what he perceives as Roman Catholic fundamentalism (link to article). Carroll views Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, as a sort of ringleaders of excessive emphasis on the papacy.

Carroll makes some often-overlooked observations. For example, he correctly relates the historical relation between the definition of papal infallibility and the loss of Rome's political power in the 19th century:
The pope was a supreme ruler only over the papal territories in Italy, and when he lost those in the humiliations of 1870, Catholic bishops rallied to him at the simultaneous Vatican Council I. His political collapse led to his spiritual elevation, with the bishops only then promulgating papal infallibility. Paradoxically, the pope’s claim to supreme Catholic authority, even over a council, rests on the council’s declaration.
Of course, Carroll's comments will be (probably already have been) quickly dismissed without serious discussion by the most zealous of Rome's contemporary apologists. For them, the emphasis on Rome's distinctive element of the papacy is a positive, not a negative.

Nevertheless, Carroll's sentiments express the attitudes, more or less, of the conciliarists who opposed ultramontanism ("beyond the mountains" - a reference to the fact that the bishop of Rome is geographically distanced from many of the "Roman Catholic" churches). However, at least for now, the ultramontanists have won out. While Carroll views Vatican II as providing a measure of conciliarist reform, Carroll rightly notes that the current papacy (as well as the previous one, in which Ratzinger had influence) have sought to push ultramontanism to new heights while undoing any lessening of the papacy brought about by Vatican II.

Obviously, I don't endorse Carroll's opinions, but his comments raise the kinds of questions that Rome's apologists are uncomfortable addressing: the problems of the real historical development of the papacy.


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Christ is Risen!

Truly he is Risen!

1Co 15:14 & 20
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. ... But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

Romans 8:33-34
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.