Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Bellarmine on geocentrism

I say that, as you know, the Council [of Trent] prohibits expounding the Scriptures contrary to the common agreement of the holy Fathers. And if Your Reverence would read not only the Fathers but also the commentaries of modern writers on Genesis, Psalms, Ecclesiastes and Josue, you would find that all agree in explaining literally (ad litteram) that the sun is in the heavens and moves swiftly around the earth, and that the earth is far from the heavens and stands immobile in the center of the universe. Now consider whether in all prudence the Church could encourage giving to Scripture a sense contrary to the holy Fathers and all the Latin and Greek commentators. Nor may it be answered that this is not a matter of faith, for if it is not a matter of faith from the point of view of the subject matter, it is on the part of the ones who have spoken. It would be just as heretical to deny that Abraham had two sons and Jacob twelve, as it would be to deny the virgin birth of Christ, for both are declared by the Holy Ghost through the mouths of the prophets and apostles.


  1. It is just because of this that Robert Sungenis is today a geocentrist, scolding Dave Armstrong for his lack of faith in the Holy Tradition:

    "Ironically, like Mr. Shea, Mr. Armstrong writes detailed books on how Catholics should accept Catholic tradition against the Protestants who believe in Sola Scriptura, yet when it comes to the Church’s almost two millennium tradition that teaches geocentrism, suddenly Mr. Armstrong loses faith in the Church and believes that cameras sent up by godless scientists prove that the Church of the 17th and 18th centuries was being led by the Devil instead of the Holy Spirit. That’s what I call an “embarrassment.”

    The other problem is this: Dave Armstrong, like every other Catholic apologist who wants to insist that the Catholic Church was wrong in its official teaching that the earth was motionless in the center of the universe, has to keep playing the show-stopping “infallibility” card to answering the critics. Although it may provide a temporary escape from being further scrutinized, it is always at the cost of consigning all non-infallible doctrines taught by the Ordinary Magisterium for the past 2000 years into the category of interesting but not necessarily true, and certainly not binding."

  2. The RCC claims to honor and carry on the ECF's beliefs. The ECF believed in the literal 6 day creation week, they also believed in the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, what does the RCC espouse on those subjects?

  3. RC Magisterium's pretty craven folding in the face of both Darwinism and Biblical "highe criticism" really does put a lie to Rome's claim of being courageous traditional with guts to stand up against the forces modernism.

    No - like the vision of John reveals, Rome is a deep down a Harlot that will sell out to the worldly Zeitgeist if the price is high enough. It's not a cheap prostitute, but one that will "do it" for million dollars, like the lady in that one famous Winston Churchill anecdote.

  4. One of many examples that could be cited:

    "What Porphyry wrote about Daniel was so revolutionary, and so disturbing to Christian interpreters, that his critics sought to refute him in detail and at length." (Robert Wilken, The Christians As The Romans Saw Them [New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1984], p. 138)

    "The Book of Daniel, in the form in which we have it, is generally dated on good grounds to the years between 167 and 163 B.C., that is, the period of the harshest persecution of Israel's faith by the Hellenistic King Antiochus IV Epiphanes. In this extreme tribulation, in which the faith of the people of God, its historical hope, seems once and for all to have been reduced ad absurdum, the seer gains a new vision of the totality of history." (Joseph Ratzinger, The God Of Jesus Christ [San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press, 2008], pp. 62-63)

  5. St. Robert Bellarmine, of course, is not infallible as an individual, so he simply made a mistake. Big wow. No biggie. It has no bearing on Catholic magisterial teaching on the matter. For much more on that, see:

    Geocentrism: Not at All an Infallible Dogma of the Catholic Church (David Palm and "Jordanes")

    The early Protestants said the same stupid stuff about cosmology. It was an error of the time.

    Many thanks to the illustrious blogmaster for not deleting this (as he does many of my posts).

  6. Dave,

    I see that you're blowing right past Bellarmine's argument. He appealed to the Tridentine standard of the consensus patrum. So you're not going to get your denomination of the hook that easily.

  7. And, of course, Bellarmine is a doctor of the church. DA is some blogger. The former did have "magisterial teaching authority" of the Roman church, and the latter does not.

    Would you like to take a guess which of the two is an evolutionist and which is a special ("young earth") creationist?

  8. And, of course, Bellarmine is a doctor of the church.

    Exactly. And we don't claim infallibility for Doctors of the Church, which is why this post is a perfect non sequitur.

    If someone is not speaking infallibly they can make a mistake! DUH!!!!!!!

    It's unfortunate that such simple concepts are immensely complicated for the anti-Catholic mind to grasp.

  9. David continues to doge the actual argument of Bellarmine. Heliocentrism forces Roman Catholics to reinterpret the Bible contrary to the consensus patrum, which also violates a Tridentine principle of exegesis.

    The alternative is to retain the traditional (geocentric) interpretation, but deny the inerrancy of Scripture. Which option does Armstrong go for?

    And TFan's point still stands as well. Who speaks for Rome? A self-anointed lay Catholic apologist? Or a saint, cardinal, and Doctor of the Church?

  10. If you want the real Romanism you have to go to some self-appointed blogger, not someone Rome appointed a cardinal and named a "doctor" of the church.

    The problem is that we are too simple minded, and need to be illuminated by the wisdom of the lay blogger.

    Bellarmine's words are, according to this blogger, "a perfect non sequitur." It's only sad that Bellarmine did not have this blogger around to correct him.


  11. Notice Armstrong's evasiveness. He tries to change the subject from the consensus patrum to infallibility. But that's a diversionary tactic.

    The question at issue is not whether Bellarmine is infallible, but whether he has a sound argument on Catholic principles.

    And when Armstrong tries to change the subject, he simply creates another problem for himself (as TFan points out) in addition to the original problem.

    Who speaks for Rome? A layman with a BA in sociology? A layman with no institutional standing in his denomination?

    Or St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church?

  12. Gentlemen: You participate heavily in equivocations when you extrapolate that a doctor of the Catholic Church speaks infallibly in all he or she writes. It is not true and never was. Further geocentrism was never a doctrine of the Church, although many officials in the church may have held that it should have been. What becomes doctrine or dogma (not the same thing) is explained in Newman's DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE. You should study it some time. It is the standard for explaining such things and yet it does not have an Imprimatur. Indeed canon law prohibits some things, which are true, to carry an Imprimatur. One of Dave's latest efforts was an extensive Answer Guide in our book WHAT CATHOLICS REALLY BELIEVE, that does carry the Church's "Rescript" which is the new name for an Imprimatur. Many Apostles and others did not have advanced degrees in theology. Indeed many people in many disciplines are experts in their field by virtue of self-study. Dave Armstrong is a respected (although not infallible) apologist highly respected around the world. Although I have a PhD (partially in logic) I rely on Dave continually to correct my logic thinking. He's not perfect, but he's better than I am at such things. So, gentlemen, a little humility on your part, toward Dave Armstrong, would be a virtuous thing.

  13. Stan, for a guy with a PhD in logic, you're not very logical. You're not responding to what I actually said.

    Instead, you're bouncing off of Dave's diversionary misinterpretation of what I said. Are you incapable of reading for yourself? Can you only read through Dave's prism?

    I didn't base my argument on Bellarmine's "infallibility." Show me, from my actual words, where I did that. You can't.

    What Dave did was to substitute something I didn't say, because his substitution was easier to attack than what I actually said.

    So put away your Dave spectacles, focus on what I actually said, and respond to that.

  14. The irrational dismissal of St. Robert's position (which was that of the entire catholic Church for 16 centuries) belies the indoctrination of those ensnared by Modernism who imagine themselves to be conservative - nay! even traditional. As though nothing evil developed from the Catholic Church losing her dominion over the natural sciences! The French revolution and all the disasters that emanated from it come to mind.