b5jms at cs.columbia.edu b5jms at cs.columbia.edu
Thu Dec 30 03:15:07 EST 2004

From: Hal Vaughan <hal at thresholddigital.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 12:11:38 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 157

connolse at bc.edu wrote:

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> JMS wrote:
>>>>So in other words, as long as it's written down in a book you don't
> actually
>>>>have to do what it says. All you have to do is read about it or know
> it's
>>>>I refer you to James 2:14-26.
>>>><quote snipped>
>>>>Then how about this, from the book of Matthew. chapter 7:
>>>><quote snipped>
> I read what you say here and find myself in absolute, 100% agreement
> with your argument.  Yes, faith requires works, and without works faith
> is dead; and yes, "by their fruits shall you know them."
> Perhaps the problem is that I'm not expressing myself clearly, or
> perhaps the medium of usenet does not offer the best medium for such
> conversation.
> Either way, this ties into my earlier points precisely.  The teachings
> od the Church are not just written, they are LIVED by all the faithful.
> By extension, I'd say that those who fail to live the call in word or
> deed fail to live up to their vocation as members of the Church, plain
> and simple.

We ALL fall short in one way or another.  It's the nature of humans to
strive for, but never quite reach perfection.  So those who don't TRY fail
to live up to their vocation?

> Hence those (many) individuals who have failed in their actions to live
> up to the calling of the Gospels are hypocrites, wolves in sheeps
> clothing.  It is precsiely because they DON'T live up to what they
> claim to believe that condemns their actions.

We're talking about the Pope, here.  Was that not made clear?  It was the
Pope (multiple Popes) who ordered the different Inquisitions.  This the the
Pope, who was (within the past 10 years) REAFFIRMED as infallible by the
current Pope.  (And yes, there's another discussion of when he's infallible
and fallible, but ordering the Inquisitions was in his direct line of work,
representing the Church, and making decisions of whether proper
interpretation of scripture called for or allowed such things.)

The bottom line, which several people seem to be dancing around, is that
Popes have ordered things, done things, and said things that show directly,
that the Pope is either not infallible, or follows the orders of a God who
is quite cruel.  It is this Pope who leads church doctrine, which some say
has not changed, but which has been shown, over and over, to have changed.
> Hence I believe I pointed out that the false actions of some, 

"some" would have to include various Popes.

> abusing 
> and manipulating a truth, does not negate the inherent value OF that
> truth.  Just as any seedy politician abuses the reality of justice or
> honesty, does not mean there is no such thing as honesty or justice.  I
> believe it was Aristotle who said that corrupt government doesn't
> invalidate government; rather, it points to the even greater urgency
> and need for SOUND government.

So the Pope, ordering things like the Inquisition that involve torture and
murder doesn't invalidate the Pope's inability to make a mistake in such
matters?  The RC Church has built their foundation around a human who
decides what is right or wrong.  In this case, saying that the Pope is
always right IS invalidated when there is overwhelming evidence that Popes
have done nasty things.  While the entire RC Church may not be invalidated,
the RC Church has put all it's faith in one person (and then another, and
another), and the very actions of these people have invalidated their
belief that he has to be always right.

> The sinfulness of men is one of those Catholic teachings that seems
> dark to some, but unfortunately seems all to real in the cases we've
> been discussing.  

No.  I've mentioned my faith in discussions here.  I'm a member of the
Religious Society of Friends (Quaker).  I do not believe in sin.  I believe
Man and Woman were created in God's image (silly me, I read it somewhere). 
God is perfect.  Therefore all humans are created in the image of
perfection.  In my view, sin is a primitive concept, based on the idea that
this one and all loving God (who supposedly IS love) can and will cut off
his grace from souls if they perform certain acts.  I have an even harder
time believing that this all loving God will restore grace and favor on a
person just for a simple ceremony.  If a human Mother can love her child
and protect him/her, even if they do something as vile as murder or child
molestation, than I don't see how we can expect less of an all loving God.

Now, as to the sinfullness of the teachings -- what we're discussing, at
least what *I'm* discussing, is that the RC Church has no business claiming
ANYONE is infallible when history has shown that is not true.  All humans
make mistakes.  All human institutions make mistakes.  In my faith, in the
past, mistakes were made, such as temporarily accepting slave ownership.  I
can accept that.  I can live with that.

What I am beginning to find actually comical is this dance some are doing to
justify and qualify that the RC Church itself, or the Pope, or the
Church-in-Spirit is perfect.  None of them are.  None of them ever will be. 
Deal with it, accept that all things of a human nature are flawed, ADMIT
the mistakes, LEARN FROM THEM, and MOVE ON and GROW.  That's the wise and
mature thing to do, but it _just isn't happening_.  The RC Church is unable
to admit error and, therefor, unable to learn from error.  I cite all the
recent problems with sexual abuse as an example, not to wave a red flag,
but to point out if the RC Church had paid attention, and was able to
actually say, "We did something that didn't work, we have a problem," it
could have been stopped decades ago.  Instead Priests were transferred and
the problem was denied.  As long as the RC Church is in denial over its'
imperfections, it will not be able to grow and learn from them.

What I see is a lot of rationalizing and excusing rather than taking
ownership of the problems, admitting them, and moving on.  That says to me,
and has said for a long time, that this institution is not yet big enough
or mature enough to admit to mistakes and would rather be right than honest
with itself.

> Hence, perhaps, pointing us even more to need for 
> something GREATER than ourselves to get us out of the mess.  

Which mess in particular?

Most other groups get out of their messes by accepting responsibility for
their mistakes and moving on.  Why not the RC Church?

> Hence the 
> conception of the Church not just as a community of humans, but a
> community of humans called by divine guidance.  Do we fail?  Heck yes.

Yes, but stop excusing it by talking about the difference between Church in
fact and Church in spirit, or other similar word play.

> Does that invalidate the need? Heck no. I'd say it proves the need all
> the more.

I agree with this, 100%.

I'm sorry if I come across as angry, but it just seems to me all I hear is
double talk about this, instead of, "Okay, the RCC made a mistake, we'll
deal with it, grow from it, and move on."

In the rest of your post you make some excellent points, many I agree with
(I'm just abbreviating here).  I hope you don't take my comments
personally, they're not aimed at you.  Your post just had enough of the
elements of what I feel I'm seeing over and over that seem to show an
inability of the RCC to deal with the reality of humans versus what seems
to be a self image of "We're perfect."  Your posts, though, are an
interesting part of this discussion.


From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 02:04:25 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 41

>We're talking about the Pope, here.  Was that not made clear?  It was the
>Pope (multiple Popes) who ordered the different Inquisitions.  This the the
>Pope, who was (within the past 10 years) REAFFIRMED as infallible by the
>current Pope. 

And let us recall one other thing.

In 1632, Galileo wrote and published "Dialogue on the Two Great World Systems,"
which build on the work of Copernicus stipulating that the Earth revolved
around the Sun, which went against the notion -- propagated and defended most
vigorously by the Catholic church and its Inquisition -- that in fact it was
the Sun that went around the Earth.

The Bible clearly states that at one point the Sun was stopped in its orbit
around the Earth, and that, as far as the Pope and the Church was concerned,
was that...and Galileo was forced to face the Inquisition and spent the last
ten years of his life under house arrest.

The first, and most obvious point being that the infallible Church and Pope
were wrong.

The second point being the irony that the Church could not even begin to admit
its mistake for *centuries*.  It wasn't until 1980 that John Paul II
(reluctantly, some said) finally requested a "re-examination of the evidence"
in case they MIGHT have made a mistake about this whole earth/sun business.  It
then took another 12 years, until 1992, before the Church finally said, okay,
so maybe he had a point, and exonerated Galileo.

The accused, now proven innocent, could not be reached for comment.


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
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