Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Geocentric Double Standards and Exaggerations on Magisterial Documents

Jane: I don't know what we did, but it must've been something dreadful.

Michael: He sent the police after us and the army and everything.

Jane: Michael, don't exaggerate.




One thing I have noticed in reading modern geocentrist material is that so far, to a man, they materially exaggerate the nature and authority of the magisterial documents generated in the Galileo incident and, as a corollary, consistently downplay the nature and authority of the documents that have emanated from the Holy See since that time.

Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S. presents a good summary that supports what I have already laid out elsewhere:

In the case of Rome's 17th-century insistence on geocentrism, we have a teaching which: (a) was promulgated only in disciplinary documents, not in formally doctrinal ones; (b) was never promulgated directly and personally by any Pope, only indirectly, through the instrumentality of the Vatican Congregations of the Index and the Holy Office; (c) was endorsed by the papacy for only 141 years (1616-1757); (d) was never greeted with the emphatic and morally unanimous endorsement of the world's Bishops, only a respectful acquiescence; and (e) never in any case affected the concrete lives and destinies of any more than a handful of professional scientists such as Galileo. (Roma Locuta Est - Causa Finita Est)
Father makes some important points. I would emphasize with him that the documents with which we are dealing are uniformly disciplinary—he is correct that the Catholic Church has never issued any doctrinal decree affirming, geocentrism. And he is right that there is no document specifically on geocentrism "promulgated directly and personally by any Pope". But that is not how the matter is presented by the geocentrists. They consistently exaggerate the authority of the relevant documents.

I first noticed this when dialoguing with one "Cassini" (a pseudonym) on the Catholic Answers Forum. I noticed that he consistently referred to the 1616 decree from the Congregation of the Index and the 1633 decree from the Congregation of the Holy Office as "papal decrees". This is an error of fact, plain and simple. I said in my reply to him:

the 1616 and 1633 decrees concerning Galileo were not “papal decrees”. Period. They were issued by Roman congregations. A papal decree and a decree from a Roman congregation are two different things. No amount of cajoling can make one into the other. In fact, the Catholic Encyclopedia states that the 1633 decree “did not receive the pope’s signature”.

In fact, neither decree was actually signed by the Pope. I will return to this point in a moment. For now it is sufficient to note that these are not papal decrees. But they are consistently presented by geocentrists as if they are. In an extended discussion on Dave Armstrong's blog, "johnmartin" (also a pseudonym) spoke of the 1616 and 1633 decrees as "Papal statements". And geocentrist Mark Wyatt edited the Wikipedia article on "Modern Geocentrism" to say this: "three popes have made official declarations against Galileo and Copernicus' writings (as well as other heliocentric writings) and in support of the geocentrist viewpoint" (Wikipedia, "Modern Geocentrism", 21 Oct 2005).

But the prize for the most egregious exaggeration has to go to Bob Sungenis, who recently wrote: "all the popes prior to the last 100 years were directly preaching against heliocentrism." Really now? Every Pope, from St. Peter to St. Pius X was "directly preaching against heliocentrism"? An interesting assertion, but total nonsense. It is distinctly reminiscent of Sungenis' false claim on his other fixation—the Jews—that, "all popes prior to the [sic] Vatican II have made very strong statements against fraternizing with the Jewish religion" (documented here and here, section 8.) Sungenis' nonsensical exaggeration that "all the popes prior to the last 100 years were directly preaching against heliocentrism" strikes a stark contrast with Fr. Harrison's factual statement that "Rome's 17th-century insistence on geocentrism . . . was never promulgated directly and personally by any Pope".

Father Harrison's statement is a fact, but there is one seventeenth-century papal document that has at least some connection to the geocentrism controversy. It is a papal bull called Speculatores Domus Israel promulgated by Alexander VII. It is true that in some sense it touches upon the geocentrism controversy. But even here we find the geocentrists materially misrepresenting the content and the authority of the document.

First, the facts. In 1664, Pope Alexander VII undertook to republish the Index of Forbidden Books. The Index at that time contained hundreds of works, spanning dozens of different topics. Along with the republication of the Index, Pope Alexander also attached the various decrees that had been promulgated by his predecessors in conjunction with various works being placed on the Index ("the aforesaid earlier classifications and annotations (wherever these exist) will be cited, along with the decrees by which the books were originally censured.") His stated reason for doing so was "quo rei ab initio gestae series innotescat," or, following Fr. Brian Harrison's translation, "In this way the case history of each censured book will be made known" (GWW2, p. 225).

The salient point to consider is that this papal bull was not about Copernicanism. It was about which books were to be placed on the Index. This fact is obscured by the way geocentrists cite this bull. Yes, amongst the many decrees that were included were those connected with the various prohibitions of heliocentric works. But it does not place any special weight on heliocentrism, nor does it explicitly cite the text of any of the prior decrees, whether on heliocentrism or any other topic. It lends no additional weight to any of the decrees attached to it—rather, as Alexander VII states himself, his purpose was to establish "the case history of each censured book".

But what do geocentrists do with this papal bull? First, they emphasize that this was truly a papal action, which is true as far as it goes. Some Vatican documents are reviewed by the Pope and ordered to be published by him, but they only carry the authority of the curial dicastery that actually wrote the document and do not carry the authority of a papal document or act. Such documents are referred to as having been approved “in forma communi.” Other documents are reviewed by the Pope and approved by him in a special way such that they are officially made “his own” and therefore acquire the full authority of a formal papal act. Such documents are referred to as having been approved “in forma specifica.” When a Pope wants to elevate the weight and authority of a document from “in forma communi” to “in forma specifica” all he must do is to sign it with the Latin phrase “in forma specifica approbavit.” (Consecrated Phrases: a Latin Theological Dictionary, p. 62)

But while it is true that Speculatores Domus Israel represents a papal action put forward in forma specifica (with papal authority), we need to ask, for what purpose was that authority invoked? To promulgate a doctrinal decree on heliocentrism? No. It was invoked to promulgate a disciplinary document.

Now geocentrists will on the one hand admit the importance of this distinction. Speaking of Alexander VII's bull, one geocentrist plays up its importance by appealing to its approval in forma specifica:

In this way, the pope’s decree against books teaching heliocentrism was in the forma specifica venue, one of the highest magisterial vehicles for the dissemination of papal authority. (GWW, vol. 2, p. 224).

Interestingly, in his response to me, this same individual took a dramatically different tack when the distinction between in forma communi and in forma specifica was to his disadvantage. In that case, he soft-pedaled the fact that the 1616 and 1633 decrees of the Congregation of the Index and the Holy Office were both approved only in forma communi, not in forma specifica ("Response to David Palm on the Galileo Issue", p. 10). While this double standard is telling enough, his assertion elsewhere that the authority of another document promulgated by this same Pope somehow bleeds over to elevate the authority of Speculatores Domus Israel is downright silly:

What is significant about the genre of Alexander VII’s decree is not only its forma specifica venue but also how popes following him regarded Alexander’s previous decrees. For example, in Pius IX’s dogmatic declaration on the Immaculate Conception in 1854, he cites as supporting documentation the writings of Alexander VII more than any other pope. In reference to Alexander VII’s apostolic constitution, Sollicitudo Omnium Esslesiarum [sic] of December 8, 1661, Pius IX says Alexander VII “authoritatively and decisively declared the mind of the Church” (GWW, vol. 2, p. 226.)

So, according to his argument, Alexander VII issued an apostolic constitution, a document bearing the Church's highest authority. This apostolic constitution was on a topic entirely unrelated to Copernicanism. But it was cited by a later Pope. And this somehow automatically elevates the authority of all of Alexander VII's decrees, even one manifestly issued in a form bearing a lesser authority and on a disciplinary topic at that. Anyone who knows anything about ecclesiastical documents will see that this is utter nonsense.

Second, the geocentrists play up various strongly-worded phrases in the document. Thus Pope Alexander states that he "approve with Apostolic authority by the tenor of these presents, and: command and enjoin all persons everywhere to yield this Index a constant and complete obedience..." (Wikipedia, Alexander VII). Certainly this is a strongly-worded phrase. But to what is it directed? Is it directed to establishing anti-heliocentrism as a binding doctrine of the Church? No, it is directed to the republication of the Index of Forbidden Books. Catholics are indeed expected to respect and obey the Pope, even in a disciplinary matter such as the Index of Forbidden Books. But again this does not make any particular thing on the Index a matter of binding doctrine. The Index itself was duly modified several times—including the removal of the various Copernican works—and was eventually done away with altogether. Clearly, then, these are matters of discipline and not of doctrine, even though certainly Catholics are expected to abide by the disciplinary injunctions of the Pope.

But the most egregious abuse of this papal document is when the geocentrists misrepresent it as if its main topic was Copernicanism. For example, Mark Wyatt stated in his edit of the Wikipedia article on Modern Geocentrism: "Alexander VII, in a Papal Bull declared that 'the Pythagorean doctrine concerning the mobility of the earth and the immobility of the sun is false and altogether incompatible with divine Scripture' and the principles advocated by Copernicus on the position and movement of the earth to be “repugnant to Scripture and to its true and Catholic interpretation" (Wikipedia, "Modern Geocentrism", 25 Oct 2005.) This gives the impression that the central topic of the bull was the condemnation of Copernicanism. But this is simply false. The subject of the bull was the republication of the Index of Forbidden Books. Many decrees, not just those dealing with Copernicanism, were attached to this publication in order that a complete history may be established. And—this is important—in no case was the text of any of them cited in the bull. It is highly misleading to state, as Wyatt did, that Alexander VII's bull "declared" anything with respect to Copernicanism. It is false to present Speculatores Domus Israel as if its subject was Copernicanism.

The obvious proof that Speculatores Domus Israel was a disciplinary document is that the contents of the Index were duly modified several times and eventually the Index was done away with altogether.

So, to summarize, the Congregation of the Index, which issued the public 1616 decree, had as its competence which works should and should not be included on the Index of Forbidden Books. At that time it was ruled that works presenting the Pythagorean theory as a thesis rather than a hypothesis should not be read by Catholics and therefore a number of works that did so were put on the Index. It was therefore a disciplinary decree and not irreformable.

The Index of Forbidden Books was duly and authoritatively updated several times, including the deletion of all of the works concerning Copernicanism from the Index. This, then, covers not only the 1616 decree but also Pope Alexander VII's republication of the Index, prefaced by the papal bull Speculatores Domus Israel.

The 1633 decree of the Holy Office, which was also approved in forma communi, concerned the person of Galileo and his breach of the 1616 decree by continuing to publish books and teach the Copernican hypothesis as a thesis. This too was a disciplinary action against him. Yes, it was publicly announced, as the geocentrists have pointed out. But the Catholic Encyclopedia rightly states:

As to the second trial in 1633, this was concerned not so much with the doctrine as with the person of Galileo, and his manifest breach of contract in not abstaining from the active propaganda of Copernican doctrines. The sentence, passed upon him in consequence, clearly implied a condemnation of Copernicanism, but it made no formal decree on the subject, and did not receive the pope's signature. (Galileo)
The seventeenth-century Popes knew perfectly well how to promulgate doctrinal decrees binding on the whole Church. But they consistently refrained from doing so with regard to geocentrism.

(The geocentrists constantly insist that only another formal, canonical trial can reverse the 1633 decree. They assert that "Canon Law" says so, while never actually citing Canon Law to that effect. They cite various private conversations or correspondences to try and establish this assertion, but never anything official or magisterial. Readers should always be aware of this lack of supporting evidence when evaluating such claims.)

I propose that the Church officially reversed the disciplinary actions of the seventeenth century as follows:

16 August 1820 The Congregation of the Holy Office, with the pope's approval, decrees that Catholic astronomer Joseph Settele can be allowed to treat the earth's motion as an established fact. . . .

11 September 1822 The Congregation of the Holy Office decides to allow in general the publication of books treating of the earth's motion in accordance with modern astronomy. . . .

25 September 1822 Pope Pius VII ratifies this decision. . . . (from Finocchiaro, The Galileo Affair, p. 307)
Thus the Holy Office—the same Roman congregation that was involved in 1633—reexamined the issue and gave permission throughout the Church to present non-Pythagorean views of the solar system as theses rather than just as hypotheses, a reversal of the discipline expressed in the 1616/1633/1664 decrees. Note well that this is not simply a matter of removing books from the Index. This was an act of the Holy Office giving positive permission for Catholics to teach non-Pythagorean views of the solar system. This really is, then, the reform and reversal of the earlier ruling.

In addition, as I have already pointed out, the Church also laid out general principles on which such questions may be addressed. Pope Leo XIII stated in the papal encyclical Providentissimus Deus 18-19 that the Holy Spirit did not put any such information about the physical nature of the universe in sacred Scripture. This was reiterated by his successor Pius XII in Divino Afflante Spiritu 3. And this is bolstered by John Paul II in his speech to the Pontifical Academy of Science in which he echoes his predecessors by stating that, "the Bible does not concern itself with the details of the physical world" (here). As geocentrist advocate "Cassini" has candidly admitted, "The only interpretation of note in the history of the Church that the encyclical [Providentissimus Deus] could be referring to was the fixed sun/moving earth heresy [sic]" (link).  Geocentrists have yet to propose any reasonable alternative issue that Leo XIII (echoed by Pius XII) was addressing.

Thus it is the official papal doctrinal teaching that the matter of geocentrism is not a matter of faith and morals and that Catholics are free to hold various views on cosmology.

But even if this were a matter of faith and morals the decrees of Roman congregations—especially those confirmed only in forma communi—are not infallible or irreformable. By definition "not infallible" means liable to err. As Ludwig Ott states:

With regard to the doctrinal teaching of the Church it must be well noted that not all the assertions of the Teaching Authority of the Church on questions of Faith and morals are infallible and consequently irrevocable. Only those are infallible which emanate from General Councils representing the whole episcopate, and the Papal Decisions Ex Cathedra (cf. D 1839). The ordinary and usual form of the Papal teaching activity is not infallible. Further, the decisions of the Roman Congregations (Holy Office, Bible Commission) are not infallible. Nevertheless normally they are to be accepted with an inner assent which is based on the high supernatural authority of the Holy See (assensus internus supernaturalis, assensus religiosus). The so-called "silentium obsequiosum." that is "reverent silence," does not generally suffice. By way of exception, the obligation of inner agreement may cease if a competent expert, after a renewed scientific investigation of all grounds, arrives at the positive conviction that the decision rests on an error. (Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 10; emphasis mine).

Numerous Catholic scholars and scientists of great erudition and fidelity to the teaching of the Church have concluded that, indeed, the 1616 and 1633 decrees of the Roman congregations do rest on an error. Indeed, a Roman Pontiff has explicitly admitted that there was an error. Pope John Paul II said publicly that, "The error of the theologians of the time, when they maintained the centrality of the earth, was to think that our understanding of the physical world's structure was, in some way, imposed by the literal sense of Sacred Scripture" and that "the sentence of 1633 was not irreformable . . . the debate which had not ceased to evolve thereafter, was closed in 1820 with the imprimatur given to the work of Canon Settele" (here).

It is clear that the Church considers this matter to have been officially dealt with and that Catholics have freedom to embrace the view of cosmology that they believe best fits the scientific evidence.

And my personal advice to the new geocentrists — Don't exaggerate.

§

10 comments:

Jordanes551 said...

Excellent work, David. You've laid out and documented in detail what was previously established about the level of authority of the Church's "geocentrism" documents, the moment when the Church reversed the erroneous judgment in favor of geocentrism and against heliocentrism, and the current state of the question as far as the Church is concerned.

Rick DeLano said...

Ironically, it is Mr. Palm who will downplay the authority of the Church’s official condemnation of heliocentrism in the Galileo case, and will attempt to obfuscate a very simple truth, one which any honest individual can establish without any doubt at all- this condemnation has never been reversed by any subsequent official and binding act of the magisterium.

There is a very good reason why it hasn’t been, and this reason constitutes the point upon which Mr. Palm and his fellow neo- Catholics’ attempts will continue to founder until the Church chooses in Her wisdom to clarify this extremely anomalous episode.

Mr. Palm states:
"Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S. presents a good summary that supports what I have already laid out elsewhere:

In the case of Rome's 17th-century insistence on geocentrism, we have a teaching which: (a) was promulgated only in disciplinary documents, not in formally doctrinal ones; (b) was never promulgated directly and personally by any Pope, only indirectly, through the instrumentality of the Vatican Congregations of the Index and the Holy Office; (c) was endorsed by the papacy for only 141 years (1616-1757); (d) was never greeted with the emphatic and morally unanimous endorsement of the world's Bishops, only a respectful acquiescence; and (e) never in any case affected the concrete lives and destinies of any more than a handful of professional scientists such as Galileo. (Roma Locuta Est - Causa Finita Est)"


>> I thank Mr.Palm (as well as Father Harrison) for acknowledging that geocentrism was in fact insisted upon by the Holy See, was in fact enforced in disciplinary documents issued *with universal effect by the explicit command of Popes*, and was in fact considered a doctrine of the Faith , not only for the 16 centuries prior to its challenge by Galileo, but for well over a century *after* the challenge was officially declared heretical and enforced as such by papal sentence. It has never been reversed, and of course the mere abandonment in practice of reiteration or enforcement of a given teaching does nothing to reverse it. It is quite clear that Mr. Palm, as well as Father Harrison, are confronted with a doctrine that has been taught *and enforced* as part of the ordinary magisterium of the Church. It was taught in catechisms, was unanimously held by Fathers, and was enforced by the Holy Office itself, in a sentence issued and enforced by the command of a Pope.

It now falls to them to prove that these factors can be ignored or set aside.

It is my position that they cannot be.

Rick DeLano said...

DP: "Father makes some important points. I would emphasize with him that the documents with which we are dealing are uniformly disciplinary—he is correct that the Catholic Church has never issued any doctrinal decree affirming, geocentrism."

>>The disciplinary nature of the document does nothing to establish Mr. Palm’s case, since what that disciplinary document is enforcing is a *doctrine*. If the Holy Office condemns a theologian today for teaching aberrant theology, how absurd would it be for an apologist to suggest that this condemnation was never an official teaching of the Church, since it was only found in “disciplinary documents”?

But this is precisely the gambit upon which Mr. Palm depends here.

A moment’s reflection will disclose that such contortions are necessary *only if we first assume* what in fact Mr. Palm can not prove- i.e., that geocentrism is false, and that scientific evidence has proven the Church to be in error in its condemnation of Galileo.

This is a crucial point, and we must examine it carefully.

No objective observer can question that the Church, in Her official capacity as teacher of the Faith, condemned heliocentrism officially, and enforced that decision, in 1616 and again in 1633.
The justification given by the Church at that time was that geocentrism was taught by Scripture, and was a unanimous interpretation of Scripture on the part of the Fathers. (Please read the previous sentence three times, very slowly.)
No subsequent binding doctrinal *or* disciplinary act of the magisterium has ever set this official act aside, or reversed it. If any teaching contradicts the Faith once delivered, then it will be condemned in disciplinary documents, should the teaching pertinaciously contradict the Faith. This is precisely what occurred in the case of Galileo.
The Papal sentence against Galileo of 1633 explicitly claims that these are questions of the Faith, and the actions taken against Galileo are taken on the basis that Galileo has contradicted the Faith.

Therefore the burden of proof resides with Mr. Palm, to show that the Holy Office erred in its two crucial teachings; first, that Scripture teaches that the Sun moves and the Earth is at rest, and second, that this is a unanimous interpretation of the Fathers.

He will not be able to do this.

Rick DeLano said...

DP: "And he is right that there is no document specifically on geocentrism "promulgated directly and personally by any Pope". But that is not how the matter is presented by the neo-geocentrists. They consistently exaggerate the authority of the relevant documents."

>> It is unimportant what Mr. Palm may or may not have encountered in commbox chats. The facts of the case are as related above. If Mr. Palm wishes to establish his case, it is there that he must undertake the task.
***************
DP: "I first noticed this when dialoguing with one "Cassini" (a pseudonym) on the Catholic Answers Forum. I noticed that he consistently referred to the 1616 decree from the Congregation of the Index and the 1633 decree from the Congregation of the Holy Office as "papal decrees". This is an error of fact, plain and simple. I said in my reply to him:

the 1616 and 1633 decrees concerning Galileo were not “papal decrees”. Period. They were issued by Roman congregations. A papal decree and a decree from a Roman congregation are two different things. No amount of cajoling can make one into the other. In fact, the Catholic Encyclopedia states that the 1633 decree “did not receive the pope’s signature”.

>> Again, notice how Mr.Palm attempts to insinuate that the Popes knew nothing and had less to do with the condemnation of Galileo. This is simply ludicrous, as any student of the Galileo affair will discover. There is no teaching of the Church that requires a signature on a piece of paper to exist before a Pope can issue a command or a disciplinary finding. He can, does, and has issued such findings through the relevant curial dicasteries, in this case the Holy Office.

The 1633 decision against Galileo is in fact a *papal sentence*. It was issued with the approval, knowledge, and authority of a sitting Pope. It was issued with His Authority, and distributed by His command throughout Europe.

Regardless of what Mr. Palm might think about it, the Successors of Peter, entrusted with the defense of the Faith, determined that Galileo’s ideas constituted a direct contradiction of the Faith, as determined by Sacred Scripture and the unanimous interpretation of the Fathers.

No subsequent act of the magisterium has ever reversed the authoritative acts of these Successors of Peter.

The ambiguity which certainly does exist, results from the subsequent decision to cease enforcing these decisions.

That subsequent decision is most certainly NOT a matter of Faith, but is instead a prudential and disciplinary decision, and hence could very easily turn out to have been merely tactical or prudential, or even wrong.

But it is clear that the Church believed heliocentrism to be heretical in 1633, and the Pope acted forcefully to ensure that this finding was enforced and upheld throughout Christendom.

It is up to Mr. Palm to show us when this finding was reversed.

He will not be able to do so.

Rick DeLano said...

It is up to the modern defenders of geocentrism to acknowledge that the highly anomalous nature of this affair- including science allegedly providing conclusive proof of heliocentrism (which so-called “conclusive proofs” collapsed utterly upon the adoption of the Theory of Relativity)- constitute excellent grounds upon which to extend the greatest presumption of latitude in examining this question, since the Church might well be called to clarify it as modern cosmological observations continue to provide absolutely stunning evidence of a geocentric cosmos. Perhaps the Church will discern that a development in doctrine is underway in this regard, and indeed perhaps instead we will see that the Popes and Fathers were right all along, and the claim of modernity to have dispensed with geocentrism as a teaching of the Faith will itself prove to have been instead a terrible case of allowing science to intrude in an unwarranted fashion upon the Faith as received and taught by the ordinary magisterium.

In any case, Mr. Palm will be unable to provide two things:

He will be unable to provide an official act of the magisterium overturning or reversing the official condemnation of heliocentrism in the papal sentance of 1633;
He will be unable to provide a scientific proof of heliocentrism.

As a matter of interest, it is worth noting that the official condemnation of heliocentrism as “heretical”, back in 1633, prophetically anticipates discoveries of science which would only occur many decades later, when observations showed that the Sun itself was certainly rotating upon its own axis, and allegedly moving with respect to the galactic center.

It is my position that the Church’s teaching on this point has been abandoned, but never reversed, and any claim that science has disproven geocentrism is utterly without sound basis, in the face of *utterly disproven* scientific claims advanced in the 19th century and subsequently falsified by experiment, such as the crucial Michelson-Morley, Sagnac, and related interferometer experiments..

I will continue examining Mr. Palm’s thoughts as time allows, but his foundational premise has already been effectively rejoined here.

ThePalmHQ said...

Thanks for the feedback. I think it's fair to say that in spite of the comments, the thesis of the piece stands, namely, that the documents involved in the Galileo controversy fall short of establishing geocentrism as a binding doctrine of the faith. On the flip-side, those documents have been reformed in the dropping of all heliocentric works from the Index, in granting positive permission for the publication of non-geocentric works, and most importantly, in making official the patristic tradition put forth most clearly by St. Augustine, championed by St. Thomas Aquinas, and made official in the papal encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII and Pius XII, bolstered by Pope John Paul II. The principle is established in the papal encyclicals that the Bible does not contain any of these details of the physical universe, since the Holy Spirit did not inspire the sacred writers to put them there. Accordingly, a careful look at the Fathers, as has been pointed out by Jordanes, shows that they never once put forward this particular scientific view as a matter of faith. Indeed, when St. Thomas himself discusses the matter he does so with reference, not to Scripture or the Fathers, but to Ptolemy. There is no evidence that it was for them a matter of faith and the principles laid out in papal encyclicals make it clear that it is not for us.

Althought the claim is repeatedly made by the neo-geos that more is required, this assertion is never backed up with any official, magisterial support. It remains a bare assertion of private judgment. I have no illusions that I will be able to convince those who are deeply enmeshed in the intertwined conspiracy theories that underlie the neo-geo position. From what I have seen, they are so wed to this (for them) unfalsifiable view that even were all their privately concocted conditions met, I'm convinced at least some of them would fall into sedevacantism rather than relinquish this view of the universe But for ordinary, faithful Catholics what the Popes Pius VII, Leo XIII, Benedict XV, Pius XII, and John Paul II have said and done has been more than sufficient.

Paul said...

Great article. You have to have a lot of patience to deal with these people.

James said...

Great job Rick. You really sliced and diced the article as it deserved to be! It's down for the count, but they don't seem to know it -- yet, anyway.

And yes Paul, you certainly do need a lot of patience dealing with these people -- these heliocentrists!

James B. Phillips

thepalmhq said...

The following was posted by a sedevacantist. He seems to be addressing someone's views other than mine. A perusal of his blog indicates that this is rather habitual for him. If he is able to put together a reasoned comment that actually interacts with something I've said, I'll post it. Otherwise, this will be his last contribution to the discussion on my blog.

========================

St. Augustine used the science (L. "scientia," i.e., "knowledge") of the Greek philosophers to defend the Scriptures' portrayal and teacing on the nature of the universe/world. Your arguments that they (the Church Fathers, and Doctors of the Church) believed the Greek philosophers owing to their naturalistic credentials, then undisputed, is ficticious. You're trying to make it appear as if Catholics can believe whatever is apparently credible without reference to the Scriptures or the teaching of the Church. We have to believe the authority of God, and be suspicious and sometimes even resist any doctrine that attacks, logically threatens or otherwise undermines the doctrine of the Church. We are certainly bound to keep the doctrine of the Church, and defend it whenever we are able.

The Church Fathers used the Greek mathematicians, et al., to demonstrate that what the Church - following the Scriptures - teaches about the universe is true, and to defend that revealed Truth. They did not wake up one day and feel like defending or promoting the teaching of some Greek philosopher for the philosopher's sake: no, they were defending the Magisterium of the Church against those who attempted to calumniate or ridicule her, using the human sciences of their day.

All philosphy and science (which is SIMPLY FALLIBLE HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, AND NOTHING MORE) is subordinate to Divine and Revealed Truth, and the authority of the Catholic Church. This was the clear teaching of the Apostles; to wit, that we are not to believe every wind of doctrine (teaching) or philosophy or science so-called, but hold fast to the Faith once delivered to the Saints. We were prophetically warned then by the Apostles that as time passed, the proliferation of false doctrines and teachers were to become increasingly worse.

Part of the Faith is in the infallibility of the Church, which is the "pillar and ground of truth," according to the Apostle, and also the Scriptures. The Church Fathers clearly believed unanimously that the earth was the centre of the world, and they used the learning of the Greeks, for example, to defend that teaching.

We are not bound to the learning of the Greeks or the authority of their philosophers; we are, however, bound to the Deposit of Faith; that is, to Divine Revelation. You have spent a lot of time trying to subordinate the Deposit of Faith to mere human knowledge, and don't seem to be at all concerned with the reality that you will be made to account for your works before the Judgemeant Seat of Christ on the Last Day.

Carl said...

Papal documents not withstanding, neo-geocentrists suffer from an acute form of insanity that requires that they deny all physical evidence contrary to their own delusional claims.