<< Roman Catholics are supposed to defer to the PBC in the same way any reasonable person should defer to any body of experts. >>
i) Is it really as simple as that? Doesn’t every Catholic seminary or Catholic college with a school of theology have its own body of experts? Are they all on a par with the PBC? Or is the function of the PBC to set the guidelines for other experts in this field?
ii) Every Evangelical denomination has its own body of experts. And we are a liberty to quote from each other’s body of experts as well.
But one of the main things which is supposed to set Catholicism off from all the other denominations is not expertise, but authority. Due to a divine teaching office, you have a review process and accountability system which is supposed to confer on your church an epistemic advantage over us benighted Evangelicals who have no magisterium.
iii) I’d also reiterate that this is not just about the PBC. For when I and others pull rank and quote the Pope or the Prefect, we get exactly the same line. So it matters not how high up the chain-of-command we go. We are treated to the very same disclaimer. Whether I cite magisterial or non-magisterial statements, whether I cite ordinary or extraordinary magisterial statements, the response is always the same—the same wiggle room, the same “that was then, this is now,” even now, it’s not for us to say. So the bottom-line is that there is no bottom-line. I keep digging, I keep peeling away layers of the onion, but no example I ever cite from your own official sources ever sticks. This is Teflon Catholicism.
<< IOW the kinds of things that are important to scripture scholars qua scripture scholars simply are not important for lay Catholics, or Protestants, qua believers seeking to know and love their God. >>
<< As long as they believe that (and all that it entails), abstruse worries like what human being penned the Petrine epistles are hardly of interest. (Always provided, of course, that the primary authorship of the Holy Spirit is affirmed.) >>
i) Well, you’re free to speak as a Catholic layman, but speaking for myself, this is not an abstruse issue. If a NT letter is said, in the letter itself, to be written by Peter or Paul, then is this statement true or false?
Does the Holy Spirit inspire falsehoods? Does the Holy Spirit inspire forgeries?
And if this statement is false, what other falsehoods are made in the course of the letter?
ii) Why do we believe that such a letter is inspired at all? Although you don’t have to be an Apostle to be inspired, you have to be inspired to be an Apostle. Their apostolicity is the traditional reason that Petrine and Pauline letters are believed to be inspired in the first place.
<< It's quite acceptable for the apologist to say, of a non-magisterial documents, that there's a mistake. >>
Maybe so, but in that event, what is his frame of reference? Since it was the magisterium which put the PBC in place, and is responsible for appointing its members, he is not judging the PBC by a higher standard. Since the magisterium set the review process in place (nihil obstat, imprimatur, imprimi potest), he is not judging these publications by a higher standard. So, as a practical matter, the divine teaching office is moot. This is not where he is looking for his source of guidance.
<< Steve, you simply drain all nuance from the things you talk about. There is room for a great deal of freedom within the Church. >>
Yes, there’s a lot of freedom in the RCC. A lot of nuance. But that is not what is supposed to set you apart from us anathematical schismatics. You are supposed to have something extra, something better. What sets you apart is not liberty, but authority—not nuance, but certainly.
<< I do wonder if you're prepared to concede the other points I made about your grasp of Catholicism--specifically, your failure to understand Molinism and your utter failure to understand St. Francis. >>
i) I’m happy to concede a good argument. If and when you are prepared to make an argument for Molinism, and apply it to Chaput’s hypothetical, I’ll give it a fair hearing. But all you did, the last time I checked, was to make assertions, not arguments. If you don’t give reasons, there is nothing for me to concede.
ii) As to St. Francis, this is something Randy Gritter brought up. He thinks it’s relevant, I don’t. I only responded because he brought it up.
Randy acts as though the RCC has a monopoly on holiness. He also acts as though the post-Tridentine, post-modernist Church of Rome has an exclusive contract with any Latin Christian who lived before the Reformation. Now, this may make perfect sense for a Roman Catholic with a Catholic view of church history, but to urge it on a Calvinist (or any other Evangelical) as a disproof of Calvinism in particular or Evangelicalism in general simply begs the question.
I would also note that although my take on St. Francis has come under fire, no one has taken issue with my factual characterization.
And, frankly, there’s something not a little hypocritical about having Catholics who wallow in a modern-American standard of living urging the example of St. Francis on me or any other Protestant. Do you personally emulate the lifestyle of St. Francis? For you and Randy and others to keep harping on this issue is self-incriminating.
St. Francis was a godly man. But he had a simplistic grasp of the Sermon on the Mount.
Now, either your agree with his interpretation or you don’t. If you think he was right, then why aren’t you doing the same thing? And if you think he was wrong, what’s your beef with me? Why should he be an example to me when he is no example to you?
I’d add that if every Catholic were to follow in his footsteps, the Vatican would be broke and childless. Poverty and chastity do not fill churches or pay the light bills.