Thursday, August 05, 2010

Edward Feser comments on the Prop. 8 decision

Some thoughts on the Prop 8 decision (entry at his own blog)
The Catholic Thing: Tradition, Continuity, and Vatican II By David G. Bonagura, Jr

Yet an effort to avoid polemics is a mere surface reason for Benedict’s choice of the word. By insisting that Vatican II be interpreted in continuity with the Church of all ages, the pope is saying that the council is part of the Church’s Tradition (with a capital “T”), that is, part of the Church’s authoritative interpretation of divine revelation. Vatican II, therefore, is not a “rupture” in the Church’s Tradition (interpretation of God’s word) or traditions (ecclesial practices descended from the Apostles) resulting in a completely new way of believing, as Professor Hans Küng on the Left and the followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on the Right maintain. For Benedict, Vatican II is a legitimate development in the Church’s ongoing understanding of Christ and His saving message for the world.
With respect to the sentences in bold -- I don't see how the second necessarily follows from the first.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Public Discourse: The Abiding Significance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Christopher O. Tollefsen

Americans must still wrestle with what it means to take the lives of innocent civilians intentionally.

There are, finally, some problem areas, puzzles regarding which we have not yet determined how the lessons of World War Two are to be brought to bear. As I noted, military ethics now take for granted that civilians are not to be targeted. Perhaps, however, that has simply made our leaders more scrupulous about calling civilian casualties “collateral damage,” even when they are willing to accept many more such casualties than they would harm to our own troops. But the original precept against killing the innocent no matter what the consequences is based on an even deeper truth: the fundamental and radical equality of all human beings as persons, as free and rational beings whose lives are each loci of intrinsic and incommensurable value. The West’s willingness to bomb at a distance, engage in drone attacks, and tolerate, in Iraq and Afghanistan, wildly disproportionate numbers of civilian casualties, suggests that our soldiers do indeed count more than their wives, children, and elderly. While this may be an understandable viewpoint in any society, it is not, for all that, a correct one.

I find it odd that someone who has studied MacIntyre would employ a modern notion of justice to explain the precept against murder. But as Grisez was very influential on Professor Tollefsen, it is not unexpected. This sort of explanation is employed by other contemporary Catholic intellectuals and by a few bishops as well. The explanation is serviceable, but it fails to distinguish the difference between justice from charity. (Since Grisez is not interested in keeping the Thomistic account of the virtues, it may not seem important, but if there is going to be more than a verbal difference between charity and justice then... )

Monday, August 02, 2010

A Prayer Rule by St. Theophan the Recluse


Other resources
Orthodox Information Center

Did Cardinal Ratzinger think that Vatican I is non-negotiable?

It would seem so, with respect to its teachings on the office of the pope. From the CDF's Doctrinal Commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem:

With respect to the truths of the second paragraph, with reference to those connected with revelation by a logical necessity, one can consider, for example, the development in the understanding of the doctrine connected with the definition of papal infallibility, prior to the dogmatic definition of the First Vatican Council. The primacy of the Successor of Peter was always believed as a revealed fact, although until Vatican I the discussion remained open as to whether the conceptual elaboration of what is understood by the terms 'jurisdiction' and 'infallibility' was to be considered an intrinsic part of revelation or only a logical consequence. On the other hand, although its character as a divinely revealed truth was defined in the First Vatican Council, the doctrine on the infallibility and primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff was already recognized as definitive in the period before the council. History clearly shows, therefore, that what was accepted into the consciousness of the Church was considered a true doctrine from the beginning, and was subsequently held to be definitive; however, only in the final stage - the definition of Vatican I - was it also accepted as a divinely revealed truth.
I don't see why he would have changed his mind once become pope.