Saturday, February 06, 2010

Retroengineering Romanism

In the excerpts below, notice how Liccione retroengineers Catholicism is the same way that Darwinians retroengineer evolution.

Evolution is a "fact." Hence, there must be an evolutionary pathway from here to there. Therefore, we can postulate any just-so story to arrive at our desired destination.

And the theory is unfalsifiable because we can always introduce enough ex post facto adjustments to harmonize the evidence with the theory. Whatever zigzag direction it takes, be it backwards, forwards, or sideways, is consistent with the deposit of faith.

Far from representing the “faith once delivered,” what Liccione has given us is just a piecemeal, philosophical construct.


“It is not important to fix the precise times when one could say, from a scholarly standpoint, that the conditions had been met for such doctrines to have been infallibly taught by the OUM alone. If the doctrines in question are de fide, which they are, then something logically equivalent to them was always taught infallibly by the OUM; if that were not the case, then substantive addition to the deposit of faith would be occurring over time, which nobody is willing to allow. The ‘development’ consists in coming to see this over time, when it was not fully explicit at first to those who were in fact exercising the charism of infallibility.”

“As I've already implied, the entire deposit of faith has been infallibly taught by the OUM from the beginning. If the dogmatic pronouncements of the infallible ‘extraordinary’ magisterium were always necessary for the exercise of infallibility, then nothing was taught infallibly before the first ecumenical council--a consequence unacceptable for all sorts of reasons, one of which is that it is ultimately incompatible with the very idea of a ‘faith once delivered’ in its entirety. And so, e.g., the assertoric content of the confessions of faith contained in ‘the Apostles' Creed’ were infallibly taught by the OUM all along. Nobody disputes that; the question always is what the relevant affirmations mean, exactly; and such questions are settled over time by the Magisterium.”


  1. "notice how Liccione retroengineers Catholicism in the same way that Darwinians retroengineer evolution."

    Brilliant, Steve. Your observation was foreshadowed by Vittorio Subilia, who put it this way:

    "The Catholic position in the century that succeeded the Reformation finds its classical expression in the words of Bossuet... to the effect that the essence of Catholic truth is its immutability, in contrast with the essential mutability of heresy.

    "And the great Bishop of Meaux challenged the Protestants to prove the contrary: 'If they can show the least inconsistency in us, or the least variation in the dogmas of the Catholic Church, from its origins to our time -- that is from the founding of Christianity -- I am quite ready to concede that they are right, and I shall myself erase all my history.'

    "This invariable-variable contrast has been repeated in a number of pronouncements by the supreme magisterium up to recent times. There is an echo of it even in the Apostolic Letter of 13th September, 1869, which Pope Pius IX [said concerning the Catholic Church]: 'in which truth remains forever constant, never liable to any sort of change, like a deposit entrusted to this Church to be kept in its perfect entirety.'

    "However, the historical criticism of the 18th and 19th centuries had been able to penetrate far enough into the world of study to bring home the fact that this attitude of invariableness could not be further sustained. In its hour of need the Catholic position found timely help in Mohler, and especially in Newman.

    "These introduced Catholic thought to the notion of the seed idea, gave credence to the concept of the evolution of dogma.... The idea had to overcome not a little distrust and not a little opposition.... But the hour was bound to come when the conception of Catholic dogma as a living organism, developing and growing without check through the ages, would be hailed as one of the most important....

    "Here we have, thanks to Romanticism and the ideas of biology and 19th-century evolutionary science, a most interesting reversal of the Catholic thesis. Catholic theology slowly begins to assert that we must indeed consider that the revelation of truth was completed in the apostolic age, but that truth has been revealed 'both explicitly and implicitly'....

    "The Church of the centuries that follow has the task of rendering explicit the divine deposit it has received... conceived as a living thing. Its identity is maintained, not by leaving it inert like a mineral, but by letting it develop like a living organism.

    "This biological principle is then used to explain the whole history of dogma, even to the extent of explaining the appearance of new doctrinal formulae. Even where, instead of a normal process of development, there is an abnormal transformation, even deformation; even where new and spurious elements are added to the original authentic ones -- still, all is justified on the ground that no one can deny that in the beginning, it all existed in germinal form.

    "We can see the dubious nature of this theory very strikingly in the Marian doctrine, which, even in its most improbable developments, can always refer back to its germ of origin, the fact that the mother of Jesus is certainly mentioned in the New Testament.

    "In this way, any heresy whatsoever, granted it has taken root slowly, almost imperceptibly, can be put forward as the recognition and the rendering explicit of some truth originally implicit, even if in its later stages of growth it has reached positions diametrically opposed to the original ones.

    "As Brunner rightly observes, 'this kind of thinking involves nothing less than the abdication of the idea of truth itself before the movements of history.'"

  2. Sorry for the long comment, but it's worth the read.

  3. It's real simple.

    You build on a foundation of sand, when the heat comes, the sand turns into glass and house falls because the glass shatters.

    You build on a foundation of Truth, when the heat comes, the Truth turns into a rock and the House stands.

    Another way of looking at it is the story of the old man about to be torched at the stake with bundles soaked in accelerants surrounding him. Asked to recant, he, joy in his eyes, replied, torch!

    Now, to one, it seems like a house built on sand who were watching his Life being snuffed out by flames. He died that fateful day. They roasted him like a pig.

    Where is he? Where are they?

    The mysteries are indeed mysteries. They confuse those who live on earth, earthdwellers alone.

    Here are the feelings of earthdwellers, who dwell on the earth alone:::>

    Rev 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

    Question I suppose?

    "retroengineering Romanism anyone"?