Thursday, April 01, 2010

Rome's middle man

I and others got into an impromptu debate with da Champ over at Beggars All. All of the Protestant commenters made excellent observations. For now I'm reposting my own comments.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"I think everyone knows who won the debate. I have yet to hear of anyone who thinks you successfully defended your affirmative position."

TFan won the debate. Next question?

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"My blog exists only because of people like you."

In other words, Bellisario is a parasite.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Steve, you really shouldn't talk now should you?"

I simply took you at your own word. To judge my your reaction, does this mean you're going back on your word?

"How many of your posts are dedicated to attacking Catholics and the Catholic Church?"

Not to mention all the other topics I blog on.

"It seems you fit the definition of parasite well."

Since I blog on many topics that have nothing to do with Catholic, the definition doesn't fit.

"Go back to your immoral blog and continue making your bad arguments against the Church."

I've never made an argument against the Church. I've only made arguments against your particular denomination.

BTW, calling someone's argument "bad" is not an argument.

"You are of no use here, unless of course you want to debate the issue at hand."

You seem to forget that both you and I are guests here. You're not the gatekeeper of Beggars All. That's for Swan to decice.

steve said...
Chuck Williams said...

"Steve Hays, shouldn't you be in 'Olympic' practice right now or are you done?"

Chuck Williams, are your priests continuing to sodomize underage minors?

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Can you prove that God replaced all oral transmission of his Divine Revelation by the written Word alone? This is what you need to prove. The burden falls upon you proving that God no longer transmits His Word orally."

Can you prove that Benedict XVI isn't an alien from outer space who's simulating humanoid form (a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers)? This is what you need to prove. The burden falls upon you proving that Benedict isn't a little green mensch (cleverly disguised) with a German accent.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Steve, have you taken any courses on logic? It appears not."

You're very fond of brandishing the word "logic." Unfortunately for you, sprinkling your comments with the word "logic" is a poor substitute for logic. Logic is more than a noun which you insert into every other sentence.

Both the proponent of authoritative, postbiblical oral tradition and the opponent of authoritative, postbiblical oral tradition are making constantive claims. Hence, it's not as if the opponent shoulders the burden of proof while the proponent is absolved of any corresponding burden. At the very least, both sides shoulder a respective burden of proof. But it's actually the proponent who shoulders a higher burden.

One guest says an elephant is in the room while another guest denies an elephant is in the room.

What evidence does the denier require? Simply the absence of a visible, tangible elephant. Of course, through trick mirrors, it's theoretically possible that there really is an elephant in the room, even though no one can make him out.

On the other hand, what evidence does his opponent require? Well, if there's an elephant in the room, then that ought to be observable. The evidence for the presence of an elephant in the room is the manifest presence of an elephant in the room.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"You can come up with all the false analogies you want."

Whether or not that's a false analogy is something you need to argue. Adjectives are poor substitutes for arguments.

"But it does not help your fallacious position."

Calling something "fallacious" doesn't make it fallacious. You're very fond of using logical terms as a shortcut for logical reasoning. You're like a 5-year-old who's very proud of himself because he learned a polysyllabic word.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"In fact His Written Word tells us that the Oral Word is still valid and will still be carried on along with the His Holy Writ."

Oh, I see. You admit the perspicuity of Scripture. You know, without recourse to an infallible interpreter, what the Bible tells us.

"I can prove that God's Oral Word preceded the Written."

I can prove that God spoke to Adam long before the church of Rome was instituted. Therefore, the spoken word trumps all popes and councils.

"...and by the existence of the Oral Word as lived and carried on in the Church."

Before you can even try to take that step, you need to prove "the Church."

"Your empty rhetoric may work on some, but not on me or with those who have half a brain."

Does that mean you have more than half a brain or less than half a brain?

BTW, which half, or quarter, of a brain (as the case may be) do you have?

And is this a congenital condition of yours, or was it due to some unfortunately accident?

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"God and His Oral Word is the infallible interpreter."

No, you don't get off the hook that easily. You said: "In fact His Written Word tells us that the Oral Word is still valid and will still be carried on along with the His Holy Writ."

So you were alluding to one or more passages of Scripture which you take to prove your point. Therefore, you need quote your source(s) for the infallible interpretation of your prooftexts.

"His Oral and Written Word guides the Councils. Nice try here to create two opposing authorities that only exists in your imagination."

You appealed to chronological priority. Very well then. God's word to Adam antedates the institution of Roman church by many centuries. So who needs the church?

"Jesus did that."

Which you also need to prove. What is your source of information?

It can't be what Jesus said about the church in the Gospels inasmuch as you reject sola Scriptura.

It can't be the church fathers inasmuch as their classification as church fathers presupposes "the Church." No church, no church fathers.

It can't be the church itself inasmuch as the very question at issue is the identification of the church.

So this is yet another example in which you flaunt logical rhetoric, but the moment you're challenged you resort to hollow slogans. You need to stop bluffing and start producing real arguments.

steve said...
" I can prove that Jesus proclaimed His Gospel by oral proclamation and the apostles continued to proclaim it orally. God's Word is on my side, not yours."

I can prove that Jesus went barefoot and the apostles continued to go barefoot. The onus lies on you to justify the papal slippers.

steve said...
Let's run through some of Bellisario's silly claims.

"The New Testament attests to God's Oral Word as still being carried on. St. Paul says this, 1 Cor 11:1-2, 2 Thes, 2:14,fora couple of examples."

I notice that you didn't cite any infallible Catholic sources to vouch for your interpretation.

Does this mean think 1 Cor 11:1-2 and 2 Thes 2:14 perspicuously teach what you claim they teach?

"We know that this the proper interpretation because that is what the Church interpreted these passages as meaning by its testimony throughout the ages."

i) Infallible testimony? Or fallible testimony? What's your source? An ex cathedra pronouncement of the pope?

ii) You can't appeal to the church until you first identify the true church.

iii) You're also assuming, without benefit of the argument, that if your denomination interprets a verse a certain way, then that's the proper interpretation.

"Jesus clearly established one Church in the NT, not many. Matt 16."

i) Do you think Mt 16 perspicuously teaches that?

ii) Modern Catholic Bible scholars don't assume that the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels were actually spoken by him.

iii) Mt 16 doesn't say anything about the 21C church of Rome. Or the church of Rome generally.

iv) Protestants like me don't deny that there is one church. What we deny is an equipollent relation between the one true church and one particular denomination.

"Who are you?"

Who is Bellisario? Is he the pope? Is he a cardinal? Is he an archibishop? Is he a bishop? Is he even a priest? Is he a Catholic theologian at the Gregorian? No. He's just a squeaky little wannabe who presumes to speak for his denomination.

"Once again, the Catholic Church and the Church Councils have never proclaimed themselves to be above God's Word."

If they presume to dictate what the Bible means, then that puts them above God's Word.

"By the way, your Adam argument is absurd..."

Naturally, since it was a reductio ad absurdum of your argument from relative chronology.

For somebody who prides himself on logic and rationality, you're not very acute. Perhaps you should spend less time genuflecting before pretty pictures and spend more time learning how to think.

I could discuss some of your other silly statements, but let's hammer a few loose nails at a time.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Read Trent, that is infallible, Next."

No, not next. You have a bad habit of cutting corners at key parts of your argument. You need to acquire some intellectual discipline and intellectual honesty.

i) To begin with, from the Catholic theologians I've read, not everything an ecumenical council says is infallible. For example, the canons maybe infallible, but that doesn't make everything else infallible.

ii) Where does Trent provide the infallible interpretation of 1 Cor 11:1-2 and 2 Thes 2:14?

"Yes, who said otherwise? God's Oral Word tells us what it means."

i) Illogical response. If you admit those verses perspicuously teach what you claim, then we don't need oral tradition to tell us what they mean.

ii) And you have yet to document what infallible oral tradition gives us the correct interpretation of your prooftexts.

"Infallible as taught by the Church."

You need to document the specific source of your claim. Once again, you keep taking shortcuts at key junctures of your argument.

"It doesn't have to be an ex-catherdra statement by the pope."

I never said it did. It's incumbent on you, not me, to specify the source. If it's not an ex cathedra statement, then what is the specific source for the infallible interpretation of 1 Cor 11:1-2 and 2 Thes 2:14?

"Oh really? Then where does that put you? In the same position, above God's Word I am afraid."

I don't dictate the meaning of Scripture. Rather, I use exegetical arguments. Are you too dim to know the difference?

"Just as 2 Thes tells us."

So you admit that 2 Thes is perspicuous. In that event, we don't need oral tradition to tell us what it means. Thanks for your concession to sola Scriptura.

"Until you answer that without using the logical fallacy of begging the question, then I am finished here."

You're bowing out of the debate because you couldn't defend your claims.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Do you deny that Jesus gave His Divine Revelation by Oral proclamation?"

For someone who brags about his mastery of logic, you're oddly deficient in your knowledge of argumentation.

I'm not arguing on my own grounds right now. Do you need to have that explained to you?

Rather, I'm arguing on your grounds. How do you know that Jesus gave his revelation by oral proclamation? Did you get that from the Gospels?

If you're appealing to the Gospels, then your appeal is no better than your private interpretation–unless you can cite infallible interpretations to corroborate your claim.

The alternative is for you to concede the perspicuity of Scripture.

"A fancy way of telling us that you are going to interpret the text for us. You are refuting your own claims."

You seem to lack what it takes to draw rudimentary distinctions. No, I'm not going to interpret the text for you. Rather, I present an exegetical argument for my interpretation. Unlike Catholicism, that is not an appeal to authority. Rather, that's an appeal to reason and evidence. Try to learn the difference.

"Wrong again, God determines what His Word means by what Jesus preached, not by what you think it means. Sorry, you missed the argument completely."

And how do you know what Jesus meant? Are the Gospels perspicuous?

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Yes, like the infallible statements and canons of the Ecumenical church Councils."

In your opinion, which statements of which councils give the infallible interpretation of 1 Cor 11:1-2 and 2 Thes 2:14?

BTW, what is your infallible criterion to distinguish fallible from infallible conciliar statements?

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Steve, again for the 7th time, where did Jesus tell you that the New Testament replaced, and did away with His Oral Word?"

Notice Bellisario's repeated and ironic reliance on *documentary* evidence to make his case for oral tradition. How does he try to prove oral tradition? citing a text.

Even if, for the sake of argument, we granted his interpretation, his appeal is self-defeating since he must reply on the written word to make his case for the spoken word.

Obviously, the spoken word had to be committed to writing for Bellisario to lodge this appeal. Unless the spoken word was written down for posterity, he would have no evidence for oral tradition–even if his fallible interpretation were correct.

And, of course, oral transmission is not equivalent to oral tradition, in the sense of Sacred Tradition. Bellisario is playing a bait-and-switch game.

steve said...
BTW, I think the onus lies on Bellisario to disprove the existence of leprechauns on the sunny side of Mercury. It's begging the question to presume their nonexistence. Every square inch of Mercury must be explored.

P. S. Bring lots of bottled water.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"I am letting Scripture speak for itself."

So Bellisario is now a crypto-Protestant.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"No, I am holding you to your own standards which you are arguing for. You need to stick to your own rules if you are going convince someone else to use them, and win your argument."

i) In other words, you now admit that your Biblical prooftexts for oral tradition don't actually prove your contention. You merely cited them for the sake of argument.

But if even a Catholic epologist like yourself has to concede that they fail to prove Sacred Tradition, then why in the world should a Protestant like me think they prove something which you yourself deny?

If, on the other hand, this isn't merely a tu quoque argument on your part–if, in fact, you think your Biblical prooftexts for oral tradition really prove oral tradition, then your appeal is dependant on the perspicuity of Scripture. So you've backed yourself into a dilemma. Whichever horn you seize, you will be self-impaled.

ii) As far as "my own rules" are concerned, your appeal to "oral tradition" is patently equivocal. To begin with, oral transmission isn't the same thing as oral tradition. In addition, you've done nothing to establish the specific content of Sacred Tradition from your threadbare appeals to the spoken Word. It's just a cipher.

iii) In addition, when, 2000 years down the pike, you must take recourse to written sources to attest the existence of oral sources, that undermines your argument since, absent the written sources, you'd have no evidence for oral sources. So all you've demonstrated is the inadequacy of oral transmission (or oral tradition).

That, of itself, is an argument for sola Scriptura. Thanks for proving my point.

"Using Catholic Tradition to prove your that there is no Tradition, is well, self refuting."

I'm not the one who's been using Catholic Tradition in this thread. So you're becoming discombobulated.

However, your objection is simple-minded. Yes, it's possible to cite tradition to refute tradition. The purpose of the citation is not to refute the bare existence of tradition.

Rather, one could cite tradition to expose inconsistencies between one church father and another (or pope or council). Or inconsistencies between early tradition and late tradition.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"God's Oral Words says that in-vitro fertilization is immoral."

Of course, that technology didn't exist in the 1C. So how could there be an oral tradition going back to the Apostles regarding in-vitro fertilization?

Bellisario is tacitly redefining oral tradition as continuous revelation. He's not appealing to a once-for-all-time deposit of faith. Rather, he acts as though his church is receiving new revelations.

Indeed, his position commits him to a series of theological innovations throughout church history.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Prove there was no singular bishop in Rome Andrew. Were you or Kelly there?"

Prove that every pope is not an antipope. After all, were you present at every conclave? For all you know, money changed hands. The fix was in.

steve said...
Andrew said...

"Steve, I wouldn't mess around with Matthew Bellisario the master logician if I were you. You have been warned."

Thanks for the tip. I'll have to make sure my getaway car is close by and the escape route is unimpeded.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

“How do decide if something is moral or not if Scripture does not address it directly? Or, how do address moral issues if you think Scripture does not address a particular subject, despite what your forefathers like Calvin saw in Scripture such as the sins of impurity or contraception, which you now reject?…Hence Tradition is needed to determine what is moral and what is not, and it is needed to determine the proper understanding of His Word.”

Is that a fact? That’s odd since, by contrast, this is what one Catholic theologian said a few years ago:

“We are in fact constantly confronted with problems where it isn’t possible to find the right answer in a short time. Above all in the case of problems having to do with ethics, particularly medical ethics, but also in the area of social ethics. For example, the situation in American hospitals forced us to deal with whether it is obligatory to continue giving food and water to the very end to patients in an irreversible coma. This is certainly enormously important for those in positions of responsibility, if only because they are really concerned and because it’s necessary to find a common policy for hospitals. We finally had to say, after very long studies, ‘Answer that for now on the local level; we aren’t far enough along to have full certainty about that.’ Again in the area of medical ethics, new possibilities and with them new borderline situations, are constantly arising where it is not immediately evident how to apply principles. We can’t simply conjure up certitude. Then we have to say, ‘Work this through for now among yourselves, so that we gradually mature to certainty from level to level within the context of experience.’ There needn’t always be universal answers. We also have to realize our limits and to forgo answers where they aren’t possible.”

So who should I believe? Bellisario? Or the Catholic theologian I just quoted?

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

“How do decide if something is moral or not if Scripture does not address it directly? Or, how do address moral issues if you think Scripture does not address a particular subject, despite what your forefathers like Calvin saw in Scripture such as the sins of impurity or contraception, which you now reject?…Hence Tradition is needed to determine what is moral and what is not, and it is needed to determine the proper understanding of His Word.”

If that's the case, then why are there so many rival schools of Catholic casuistry?

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Saint Paul says that we must follow God's Word, which he says he is passing on to his followers, whether it is written or spoken. It is up to you to prove that what Saint Paul said was false, or that he meant something entirely different than what his words say taken at face value.

Notice, once more, that Bellisario's appeal takes for granted the perspicuity of Scripture.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

“Actually you should go tell your Protestant brothers and sister this since many of your kind allow abortion under certain circumstances.”

Doesn’t Catholicism allow abortions in double effect situations?

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

“Its Steve Hays vs John Calvin who both say that Scripture is so plain and clear…”

Needless to say, that’s a straw man version of perspicuity. Read the qualified definition of perspicuity in the Westminster Confession, or the qualified definition in Turretin’s Institutes.

“…yet we have these two self professed geniuses who cannot agree on a proper interpretation of the passage.”

I’m a “self-professed genius?” That’s news to me. And if I were a “self-professed” genius, I’d expect to be the first to know.

“I am certain that John Calvin would say that you are wrong.”

Actually, Calvin has had a lot of time refine his understanding of Scripture. Heaven is the best seminary around.

“After all he was a great Scripture scholar.”

Calvin was the greatest exegete of his generation. But there have naturally been advances in Biblical scholarship since the 16C.

“Who are we going to believe, you or him?”

Of course, that’s a dumb way to frame the issue. This isn’t a question of taking somebody’s word for it, as if this were an argument from authority. Rather, we go with whoever offers the best exegetical argument for his interpretation.

“According to you, Calvinists were being mislead by Sacred Scripture for 500 years until you and Steve Hays came along to change the teaching and interpretation for everyone today. Calvinists for 500 years interpreted Gen 38 one way, and now you expect everyone to go along with your interpretation?”

Does Bellisario have polling data for the past 500 years on how all Calvinists have understood Gen 38?

“TF, abuse has nothing to do with the discussion at hand. Just a desperate ad-hominem on your part to distract for the ridiculous statements you have made over the course of this post.”

Needless to say, Onanism has nothing to do with the discussion at hand. But that didn’t prevent Masturbatory Matt from defaulting to his favorite topic of conversation.

“You are really putting yourself up on a pedestal to decry that no Calvinsts looked at this passage for 500 years until you and hays, and some others came along. It is nice to know that you think that you are a greater Scripture scholar than those of your kind that came before you for the past 500 years, but that still does not prove that your interpretation is correct. then I guess.”

Biblical archeology has improved our understanding of Scripture in many respects.

And at the risk of stating the obvious, for a dim bulb like Bellisario, Calvin is not our rule of faith.

steve said...
I'm also waiting for da Champ to respond to the theologian I quoted. Perhaps he's too shellshocked at this point for a rematch.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"No it does not. If you understood anything about moral theology you would not have made that comment. Catholicism condemns abortion for any reason. We won't get into double effect and moral theology, that would be another debate. I think its too hard for Steve to grasp."

We'll see who has a problem grasping the issues:

The Oct. 25-Nov. 7 edition of this paper included a column by the neuroscientist - priest Father Tad Pacholczyk. It addressed the morality of three approaches (two surgical and one pharmaceutical) used to resolve the lifethreatening, often fatal tragedy of pregnancy attachment outside the womb. (extrauterine/ ectopic pregnancy).

He asserted that only one — a surgical approach — is morally acceptable and the other two are morally objectionable.

His opinions do not represent the teaching of the church nor mainstream moral thinking faithful to the magisterium on this topic.

This issue has been reviewed by the cardinal’s Bioethics Committee three times in the past six years. In those reviews, note was taken of the concerns his column raised. But, these concerns were not found to be contrary to church thinking. Some writers like the author do not agree with this. Yet, the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has not addressed the matter — though the topic has been supposedly before it for almost a decade.

Because such pregnancies are not uncommon and their outcome potentially fatal, a fuller discussion in the column should have occurred. A more adequate treatment would have included the following key points consistent with Catholic moral analysis.

First, the two surgical procedures are morally acceptable because the intent behind the surgery is to heal damaged tissue, not directly kill the fetus. Besides the appropriate moral intent, the surgical act is acceptable. In light of the risk of the mother bleeding to death caused by the attachment’s damage and possible rupture of the site, time is of the essence in these circumstances.

The surgical procedure he questions is tolerated because again the purpose is to remove with as little risk as possible to the mother the damaged tissue at the site where tragically the cells have attached. In removing the damaged tissue, the doctor, as is the case with the removal of a cancerous womb in a pregnant woman, foresees but does not intend the demise of the embryonic/fetal person. Thus it is morally acceptable and has been since first advanced over 40 years ago by the conservative Jesuit moralist Father John Connery.

The columnist also argues that the use of methotrexate, a chemical often used with cancer therapy, is not morally acceptable. Its hypothesized outcome is the dissolving of those embryonic or fetal cells which have attached sadly to the wrong and often lethal place within the mother’s body. It is used when medically appropriate as an alternative to surgery to avoid the latter’s risk of infection and other problems.

Morally, it is tolerable because it is not factually clear, as the author notes, as to what exactly is dissolved and also if a moral distinction at that early stage of development should occur between the attaching cells and the other parts of the terminal pregnancy.

Again, the intent is to remove the cells which are attacking the health of the mother, not attack directly the fetal/embryonic person. The moral object/purpose of this intervention is to address damaged tissue and start the healing process. It is not to kill the embryonic person.

In both situations, as well as in the surgical intervention the columnist accepts, other measures to allow the continuation of the pregnancy do not exist. These emergency circumstances then allow for the use of the moral reasoning known as the principle of double effect (or multiple outcomes) to address this type of tragedy. In all three measures, it is always affirmed there are two lives present. No one advances that an abortion is acceptable. These measures do not constitute an abortion.

The church’s wisdom notes the tragedy and sadness the unintended, though foreseen, loss under these limited circumstances presents. It uses its wealth of reflection to reason how the matter can be addressed morally and both lives respected — the mother’s as well as the young fetus/embryo.

While some commentators like this neuroscientist- priest are free to note their reservation on this or any other matter, church teaching supports a broader perspective. Some may not agree with the moral calculus used. However, it has served our magisterium and others within the church well.

Catholic mothers, physicians and nurses are morally free to use the two surgical and pharmaceutical approaches when it appears the pregnancy will not resolve itself naturally. In doing so they witness to the Gospel of life in using their God-given talents to respect life even when it cannot be preserved.

Grogan serves as recording secretary of Cardinal George’s archdiocesan Bioethics Committee. He wrote this column in response to a column by Father Tad Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"No it does not. If you understood anything about moral theology you would not have made that comment. Catholicism condemns abortion for any reason. We won't get into double effect and moral theology, that would be another debate. I think its too hard for Steve to grasp."

Catholic moral theology distinguish between direct and indirect abortion according to the double effect principle, viz.

"First, while the Church opposes all direct abortions, it does not condemn procedures which result, indirectly, in the loss of the unborn child as a 'secondary effect.' For example, if a mother is suffering an ectopic pregnancy (a baby is developing in her fallopian tube, not the womb), a doctor may remove the fallopian tube as therapeutic treatment to prevent the mother’s death. The infant will not survive long after this, but the intention of the procedure and its action is to preserve the mother’s life. It is not a direct abortion."

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

“You pull a quote out of context dealing with a nonspecific issue and then act like that refutes the specific I was talking about.”

The context is bioethics. In-vitro fertilization is one bioethical issue–among many.

“So you have to prove where the Church says that what I presented as being certain, is not certain. Quoting a theologian, that talks in generalities about some things in medical ethics which may as of yet have no certain answers has nothing to do with the specifics that I presented where the Church does teach with certitude…Cardinal Ratzinger never said that we cannot know anything outside of Scripture dealing with morality for certain.”

Now you’re backing down from your initial claim. You originally led with a blanket assertion about how Tradition enables us to determine what is right and wrong–over against sola Scriptura. You said:

“How do decide if something is moral or not if Scripture does not address it directly? Or, how do address moral issues if you think Scripture does not address a particular subject, despite what your forefathers like Calvin saw in Scripture such as the sins of impurity or contraception, which you now reject?…Hence Tradition is needed to determine what is moral and what is not, and it is needed to determine the proper understanding of His Word.”

Now, however, you’re retreating to the far weaker claim that, at best, Tradition only determines what is right or wrong in some cases, while leaving us to grope in the dark in so many other cases.

“First of we all we know with certitude that in-vitro fertilization is immoral. God says so by His oral Word, which comes through His only Church.”

Ratzinger didn’t appeal to oral tradition. Rather, he appealed to the experience of medical practitioners.

steve said...
Your church opposes direct abortions, but supports indirect abortions under certain circumstances. In both cases the life of the unborn child is taken (to save the life of the mother).

steve said...


In direct abortion a living and nonviable fetus is removed from the uterus. The reason for the removal is that the pregnancy, added to some pathological condition from which the mother is suffering, increases her difficulties or even lessens her chances of survival. No condition exists, however, which makes the removal of the uterus itself necessary as a means of saving the mother's life.

The abortion is termed indirect when the pregnant uterus itself is excised because its condition is such that its removal is medically necessary. If the uterus contains a living and nonviable fetus, the fetus will of course inevitably die. There is no direct attack upon the fetus, however, and its death is merely permitted as a secondary effect of an act which needs to be performed and which, as we shall see immediately, it is permissible to perform.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

“It is funny how you two have completely changed the argument from Sacred Tradition and Sola Scriptura into a debate on abortion, and 10 other topics. I guess when you cannot admit that you are wrong on one argument, one way to draw attention from it is to start another one. Yet everyone you start you end up in the same place, on the losing end.”

Funny how you can’t remember your own comments. Did I bring up the issue of abortion? No. That was you, back when you said: “Actually you should go tell your Protestant brothers and sister this since many of your kind allow abortion under certain circumstances.”

So, the fact that you initiated this change of subject must mean, when measured by your own yardstick, that when Bellisario can’t admit he was wrong on one argument, one way to draw attention from his error is for him to start another argument.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"Steve you can backpeddle all you want. But we all know the Catholic Church does not support abortion under any circumstances, period. The law of double effect applies, and the act is not considered to be an abortion by the quote you quoted yourself from the USCCB."

Your church allows for pregnancy termination under certain circumstances. That's the working definition of an abortion. You can't weasel out of the substantive issue by evasively redefining your terms.

And if you try to redefine abortion in such tendentious, idiosyncratic terms that pregnancy termination doesn't fit the definition, then your church has a policy on abortion which is every bit as permissive as NARAL.

steve said...
Matthew Bellisario said...

"It is the same deal with your interpretation of Gen 38, or lack of an interpretation, that allows you to justify the abomination of self abuse."

Coitus interruptus is hardly synonymous with masturbation. Perhaps when you're old enough to take 8th grade sex-ed, you'll learn the difference.


  1. I hope the Lord is okay with me observing hard-nosed apologists going at it pretty hard.

    FWIW, I'm not an unbiased judge, but IMHO, da Champ got knocked out. Repeatedly.

  2. For what it is worth I know that you are biased and I also think that you are a liar. Also, before you go about holding Steve's hand as the declared winner (and I would touch any of his hands if I were you) you might want to engage the arguments being made. Matt has clearly demonstrated that the Church does not allow abortions in any circumstance. My comments are posted at Beggars All.

  3. That is, I wouldn't touch any of his hands if I were you.

  4. Alexander,

    Why do you call me a liar when all I'm doing is expressing my (biased) opinion that Steve Hays beat da Champ?

  5. Alexander,

    If you had expressed your opinion that Steve Hays lost, I would disagree with you, *BUT* I wouldn't call you a liar.

  6. Alexander: "That is, I wouldn't touch any of his hands if I were you."

    I wasn't planning on it.

    But let's take a little deeper look at your expressed sentiment here, Alexander. Are you familiar with the Donatist heresy? Let me assume that you are.

    So let's say that there's a pedophile, child-molesting Catholic priest. And just a short time before he confected the Elements and before he directly placed the wafer in your wide-open mouth, he molested and diddled the boy and himself with his hands.

    Imagine he did *NOT* wash his hands (maybe he forgot or maybe he was in a rush) and he confected the elements and he placed the wafer in your wide-open mouth with those unclean hands.

    Accordingly, due to the Donatist heresy, you still receive the Real Presence. And so you don't have to worry if his unclean hands touched your mouth.

    For some folks, that would be utterly gross. But for you, no problem. Open wide.


    "Matt has clearly demonstrated that the Church does not allow abortions in any circumstance."

    To the contrary, Bellisario tried to split hairs over synonyms. But the church of Rome does distinguish between direct and indirect abortion, and the church of Rome allows pregnancy termination in double effect situations. I documented all that from Catholic sources.

    If Alex is going to split hairs over synonyms, that's a tacit admission of defeat on the substantive issue.

  8. Steve you made an ass out of yourself by quoting the USCCB which refuted your own argument.

    Remember your quote?
    "No one advances that an abortion is acceptable. These measures do not constitute an abortion."

    This means that the Church is not supporting an abortion, period.

  9. Bellisario,

    i) First of all, you only quote one sentence from one of the three sources I cited. You do that because, if one were to compare all three, it would be evident that different Catholic sources use different synonyms to.

    ii) Moreover, different synonyms denote the same underlying concept. The common concept is pregnancy termination.

    In double effect situations, Catholicism justifies pregnancy termination. Because it involves a double effect, that distinction is captured in terminology which distinguishes between direct and indirect abortion. I both can and have documented that terminology in Catholic sources.

    You make a fool of yourself when you quibble over synonyms, as if this were a debate over the choice of synonyms rather than the underlying concept.

    Moreover, you can't even sustain your objection at a purely semantic level inasmuch as Catholic sources do use the nomenclature of direct/indirect abortion–as I've documented.

    You're not doing Catholicism any favors with your bungling efforts to cover your own tracks.