Monday, January 14, 2008

The e-Father ad litem

Replies to Questions on Catholic Teaching Regarding Contraception and Sexual Morality

Compiled from my replies to questions on the CHNI Discussion Board, where I am a moderator.

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/01/replies-to-questions-on-catholic.html

Question: Why are Catholics treating Dave Armstrong as their spiritual advisor? Why aren’t they going to their parish priest for spiritual guidance?

When is Armstrong going to set up a Dial-a-Dave hotline so that he can function in his self-appointed capacity as the e-Father at Large? When is he going to erect his own Tower of Power, just like ORU, where Catholics around the world can turn to their e-Father ad litem for pastoral counseling.

21 comments:

  1. Hater in the house!

    Seriously though. What makes you think this? Dave isn't doing anything that you're not doing; are we to assume that your readers are relying on you for spiritual guidance as opposed to their pastors? That's just ridiculous.

    Whatever you think of Dave's work, keep this in mind; he could do worse, he could have clones posting articles on his blog.

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  2. "Whatever you think of Dave's work, keep this in mind; he could do worse, he could have clones posting articles on his blog."

    Is that different than his own clones defending him on other people's blogs?

    And, talk about a hater. Why are you hating on the Borg collective? You did know that, didn't you? The posters here are just different parts of the unity.

    Oh, and in case you thought I was ducking you, a think a slight "difference" is in our dispartae theologies. Seriously, why is a catholic running to Armstrong rather than their parish priest? Does it even matter what Dave says? After all, why go to Dave when you have the Popish font, and the infallible well of church dogma to drink from? The difference is failry obvious, I'd say.

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  3. Seriously though. What makes you think this? Dave isn't doing anything that you're not doing; are we to assume that your readers are relying on you for spiritual guidance as opposed to their pastors? That's just ridiculous.

    Your analogy is obviously disanalogous at the key point of comparison. We Protestants believe in the priesthood of all believers. Even the elders of the local church can ask for help and advice from the "laity." Our ecclesiology, whether Presbyterian or Baptist or Methodist, allows for this. Indeed, the standard work on the Priesthood of All Believers is a Methodist publication.

    But in Catholicism, who is Dave to hand out spiritual advice and guidance? Who is Dave - or any layperson - to interpret Scripture for others? Dave is not part of the Magisterium. For that matter, where can we find the list of infallibly interpreted Scriptures that he could even use in order to justify what he says? In Catholicism, the proper spiritual advisor is the parish priest and the officially recognized officers in the lower orders.

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  4. I'd add that marinating your post in the tu quoque fallacy isn't necessarily getting off on the right foot.

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  5. From the Catechism:
    1268 The baptized have become "living stones" to be "built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood."73 By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light."74 Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.

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  6. Richard,

    You're simply equivocating in your appeal to the Catechism. The question is not whether Catholicism can quote Scripture and Scriptural imagery, but how it interprets that imagery consistent with its authoritarian polity.

    Try, for once, to think about what you quote instead of merely reciting your Catholic formulae.

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  7. Actually Steve, that was a reply to Gene's objection regarding the priesthood of all believers; he implied that his position is different (better?) because Catholicism doesn't teach this, when in fact it does.

    If you want to object that this teaching is not consistent with what Catholicism teaches elsewhere, fine. But that's another subject.

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  8. No, Richard, it's not another subject. What is the actual position of the RCC on the priesthood of believers? Using Scriptural words and imagery, but investing them with unscriptural content in order to make them harmonize with Catholic polity, is very much the issue.

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  9. Richard, quoting your catechism does nothing to overturn anything I said. Romanism does not affirm the priesthood of all believers. This is no great secret, it has been a point of contention between Catholics and Protestants since the first generation of the Reformation.

    All you've done is quote your catechism which employs biblical images and then interprets them in a way consistent with Catholicism. For one thing, this simply begs the question. For another, you've not bothered to discuss how this is like or unlike the Protestant doctrine. To do that, you could start with reading and interacting with the standard Protestant work on the subject, to which I have already alluded, The Priesthood of All Believers, An Examination of the Doctrine from the Reformation to the Present Day by Cyril Eastwood. Simply put, our concept and yours are not alike. Try again.

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  10. A note on the difference between the priesthood of all baptized and the ordained priesthood with regard to the prophetic or teaching role of the Church:
    Truth is universal property; it should serve the good of everyone. However, there is also untruth. Ultimately the Truth is Jesus (I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. Jn 14:6).
    All Catholics are called to live by the truth, and to propagate the truth, and offer valuable direction when informed by the truth. In this way, Dave Armstrong is doing a service to Catholics, to Christians, and to all men of good will. The priests and bishops should be thankful.
    Priests and the Magisterium are the guardians of truth. That is, they are obliged to speak up when someone good or ill intentioned propagates as truth something that is contrary to the truth. Since there is untruth, God has provided his Church, his beloved, with the Holy Spirit and a Spirit guided institution (founded upon the authority given to the apostle's teaching) to interpret truth and untruth without which all truth is relative.

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  11. Paul Manatatics1/15/2008 5:39 PM

    That is, they are obliged to speak up when someone good or ill intentioned propagates as truth something that is contrary to the truth.
    So, anon, why doesn't it speak up when Sungenis promotes geocentrism?

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  12. I'm not familiar with Sungenis' teaching of geocentrism.

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  13. ANONYMOUS SAID:

    “All Catholics are called to live by the truth, and to propagate the truth, and offer valuable direction when informed by the truth. In this way, Dave Armstrong is doing a service to Catholics, to Christians, and to all men of good will. The priests and bishops should be thankful.”

    How is that distinguishable from the Plymouth Brethren or Primitive Baptists?

    Why should the priests and bishops be thankful? Shouldn’t *they* be teaching the laity?

    If the laity can read for themselves and teach each other, who needs the magisterium or lower clergy?

    How do you know that Dave is propagating the truth? He has no degree in theology from a Catholic seminary, does he? Have his online articles received the imprimatur? Is he a patrologist? A canon lawyer?

    How is Dave any different from a storefront preacher or a backwoods preacher who “received the call"?

    Dave set up shop and hung out a shingle.

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  14. Paul Manatatics - LOL -

    Steve said:
    If the laity can read for themselves and teach each other, who needs the magisterium or lower clergy?

    1Corinthians 12 - 13

    I'll save you some typing:

    Richard, you've assumed what you need to prove: you haven't exegeted the passages: where has the Catholic Church infalliby defined those for you? and my favorite: "Using Scriptural words and imagery, but investing them with unscriptural content" etc...

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  15. Richard, how do you actually correlate 1 Cor 12 with Catholic polity? Please show us the one-to-one correspondence between your prooftext and the Catholic command-structure.

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  16. Answers In Sungenesis1/16/2008 12:41 PM

    How do you know that Dave is propagating the truth? He has no degree in theology from a Catholic seminary, does he? Have his online articles received the imprimatur? Is he a patrologist? A canon lawyer?

    How is Dave any different from a storefront preacher or a backwoods preacher who “received the call"?

    He has several endorsements from priests here: http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/07/my-apologetics-credentials.html
    Plus his widespread acceptance by mainstream Catholic apologetics indicates implicit approval of the magisterium.

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  17. Wow, that's non-responsive to the question. As a Catholic, you must look to the Magisterium qua Magisterium to answer that question. Instead, you violate your own principles and look Dave's own list and draw a conclusion about his "acceptance by mainstream Catholic apologetics" indicates.

    1. Of course, in that list there are only two priests, one of which is anonymous, known only as "Australian priest." Uh-huh.

    2. Catholic lay apologetics has fallen into some disarray of late. So much for Catholic "unity."

    3. What the "mainstream apologetics" community may feel is no measure of what the Magisterium has to say. That would come not from some endorsements by Sungenis or Hahn, but by a Papal Imprimatur, which very few in that community enjoy. Indeed, it makes one wonder if the reason so few have received the imprimatur is because this leaves the Magesterium in a position giving them plausible deniability.

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  18. Have his online articles received the imprimatur?

    Nope, but The New Catholic Answer Bible has:

    http://www.amazon.com/New-Catholic-Answer-Bible-American/dp/1592761402/ref=pd_sim_b_1/002-8796686-4595235

    So has The Catholic Answer Bible (where I alone wrote the inserts), from different people:

    http://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Answer-Bible/dp/1931709602/ref=sr_1_4/002-8796686-4595235?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1177906017&sr=1-4

    My book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism has a Forewrod by the late Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., close advisor to Pope Paul VI and also Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity. He is now being considered for sainthood.

    But I suppose that is not sufficient. You guys require a signed letter by the pope himself, authorized by a Notary Public and witnessed by a board of 12 anti-Catholic nitwits like yourselves. Then you'll admit that I can write on behalf of the Church on Tuesdays and Thursdays on odd-numbered years, between 12:30 and 5:30 when the moon is full.

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  19. How is Dave any different from a storefront preacher or a backwoods preacher who “received the call"?

    Dave set up shop and hung out a shingle.


    Nice try, but again you show your profound ignorance of how Catholic teaching authority in the laity works. There is no excuse for this. You could have found all the information you need to get up to speed on my site alone.

    For one thing (beyond the Imprimaturs and massive endorsements), I am on the staff of the Coming Home Network International (Facilitator of Online Apologetics and CHNI Discussion Group). As its website states:

    "This lay apostolate has also received constant encouragement, from such Church leaders as His Eminence Cardinal George, Bishop Paul Dudley, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Mother Angelica of EWTN, Karl Keating of Catholic Answers, Patrick Madrid of Envoy Magazine, Thomas Howard, Dr. Scott Hahn and Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR, President of Franciscan University of Steubenville."

    The following clergy are spiritual advisors to CHNI:

    Most Rev. Gilbert I. Sheldon, Retired Bishop of Steubenville
    Most Rev. Paul Dudley, Retired Bishop of Sioux Falls, SD
    Fr. Raymond Bourque, O.M.I.
    Deacon Dominic Cerrato
    Fr. John McClosky, III, S.T.D.
    Fr. Mitch Pacwa S.J.
    Fr. Benedict Groeschel C.F.R.
    Fr. Charles P. Connor

    Moreover, you obviously don't have a clue about express approval from the magisterium of lay Catholic ministries or apostolates in general. Have you ever heard of the Second Vatican Council or ever read it? Just checking. See my papers:

    Apologetics and Lay Apostolates: Express Approval and Strong Encouragement From Popes Paul VI and John Paul II

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/06/apologetics-lay-apostolates-express.html

    Catholic Church Teaching on Internet Evangelism, Catechesis, and Apologetics: Excerpts

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2005/12/catholic-church-teaching-on-internet.html

    Now, you can choose to remain supremely ignorant of these matters and keep making foolish and ridiculous statements or you can learn from your mistakes and move on. The choice is yours.

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  20. I presume most people asking these questions are just trying to get a perspective from a fellow catholic that would perhaps help them in their discussions with their priest. I mean, that's the whole point of discussion forums - to see other perspectives, learn new info, be spurred into investigating other resources, etc. If people were taking Dave (or some fellow parishioner they know in real life) as a proxy for their priest/spiritual advisor on moral issues such as this, that would be a problem I would think as they are to give account for the care of their flock, not a parishioner or internet apologist. Not sure Dave would disagree on that point.

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  21. SuperDave Fortinbras1/19/2008 11:15 AM

    I presume most people asking these questions are just trying to get a perspective from a fellow catholic that would perhaps help them in their discussions with their priest.

    Well John, why does he not offer disclaimers that everything he writes is to be vetted against bona fide writings or members of the magisterium? Surely a column in a magazine that gave medical advice would always state the credentials of the author (whether they are an MD, or only a nutritionist, or are only quoting someone) as well as appropriate disclaimers. What Dave does may have more serious consequences.

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