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5 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 2:14PM #181
danman916
Posts: 2,600

I hate the formatting in beliefnet, so i hope that people can follow my response to wavering:


 


You do seem to have changed course a little bit in recent years (as Mo has noted).  You were among the vocal, "absolute obedience" 



While that might have been your perception of my posts, that really has never been my position. I still believe in obedience to the Church. Whatever you think my position of "absolute obedience" was, I don't know.


 

 the group here who depends almost exclusively on the catechism, bishop's pronouncements



the reason I quote the catechism is because we were discussing the points of doctrines and dogmas, and the Catechism is the best reference to do that conveniently. Since i don't have much interest in those types of debates anymore (since i can hardly think of a topic that ia haven't debated to death), that's probably why you notice a difference.


You seem to have advanced beyond that level of understanding now.



Again, I think you may have taken previous positions and characterized them that way. If anything, I may have developed a more pastoral style of presentation, but none of my core positions has changed. I simply don't debate that way anymore. It's one of the reasons i don't do b-net much. There's just not that much new to debate, so my interest level has waned.


Sure, I can debate the old topics, like women's ordination and use some of the new knowledge I have, but I just don't have the desire to do it much anymore. Those debates never go anywhere.


  And so, since you do now seem to understand a few more nuances of genuine spirituality and even of genuine faith and genuine "obedience" than a few years ago, could you now please give us your new, more advanced understanding.



What I have been trying to state is that obedience is necessary. Nothing changed there. But obedience is not a motivator, never was, never will be. Obedience may have simply been the natural part of the pray, pay and "obey" mindset. As I said last week, that is the old paradigm. In fact, I never touted the old paradigm. It is just that I have been better able to annunciate that obedience and conscience formation comes from a spirituality in which a person is growing in their relationship with God through active participation in the spiritual life. There is a big difference between being a "spiritual person" and practicing a Christian spirituality. A person with an active spiritual life is going to find that assent to the teachings of the Church "in obedience" is something that just naturally comes out of the intimacy they find in their relationship with God through prayer, contemplation, reflection, the sacraments, etc.


Find a person who is so in love with God that they pray daily, look for the divine in evety corner of their life, see Christ in others, try to be Christ to others, and give themselves as gift every day, and you are going to find a person who sees the teachings of the Church and will follow them because they see those teachings and doctrines as doing for their beloved, which is God.


People without a dynamic spiritual life and formation aren't going to come to that conclusion unless they are living it and experieincing it.


That is why your request about the hierarchy is a question can't be answered the way you state it. It isn't something to be explained. It is something that is known through the experience of the joy of faith (that Jane mentioned).


Some things cannot be adequately explained. They have to be experienced to come to a knowledge of the heart that satifies one's sense of understanding.


 


 And yet, I suspect, your fundamental position hasn't actually changed. 



It has not changed. Why should it? To follow the Church is to love the one whom I love above all things (the Lord). If that isn't reason enough, then nothing will ever be.


 



 Please discuss the "proper context" for viewing the role of hierarchy and doctrine in the church - both the institutional church (a term that used to make Deacon go ballistic - it was simply a shorthand to differentiate between those who make policy and doctrine as well as administrative decisions (some of which were both immoral and illegal), and who, as you now agree, are not THE church) and in the church.


Dan, I'm sure that you can do this if you just try.  If you can't, perhaps you need to think it through a bit more.



I have thought it through, quite comprehensively. The answer lies in my love for Jesus, and my desire to follow him and unite myself to Him. As I said, if that answer doesn't suffice, nothing i can say ever will.


I follow, I am obedient, I do; because of Love of God.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 4:53PM #182
gilg
Posts: 5,200

Feb 4, 2010 -- 2:14PM, danman916 wrote:


 


I follow, I am obedient, I do; because of Love of God.




Danman,


Isn't that true of most people? Even if one doesn't believe in God, isn't it the case that one usualy obeys and does so out of love for others or the esteem one has for some higher value?

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 5:18PM #183
danman916
Posts: 2,600

It is a journey and a path, Gilg. Love grows into deeper understandings and takes on a deeper significance, and calls for deeper committment as a process, not as a finish line.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 5:21PM #184
gilg
Posts: 5,200

Feb 4, 2010 -- 1:45PM, deacon777 wrote:


 


When talking about conscience formation, I do not think either Dan or I mentioned "Catholic" conscience formation. The issue was raised when Newsjunkie ... which bled into conscience formation.


Actually, I think the topic came up on the other thread where we, including Mysty were discussing authority and I mentioned that we can’t discuss that without also addressing conscience and moral obligations (I did respond to your last comments and question) but leaving that aside:


Also, I think “conscience formation” is a new subject for the church. Of course it has been implicit, theologians such as Aquinas talkeded about habit, and others have talked about primary obedience to divine law but the term itself seems to be new.



....for conscience formation to occur, one must have a north star to navigate by, else the formation process is directionless. Who or what are we "forming" towards?... Conscience formation is between the self and God mediated by the Holy Spirit.


I would add that the formation also derives input from cultural values, habits, and important events that force us to reexamine existing beliefs and that much of what we take in and integrate with our sense of morality comes by naturally and mostly without awareness.


 


The whole idea of the Pascal Mystery, the CENTRAL focus of conscience formation, has nothing to do with doctrines or hierarchy and has everything to do with dying to self, and from that experience comes new life, a life greater than your own.


Until that experiece actualizes itself in your life, I maintain the bible, the doctrines of the church, all the saying of Jesus, the sacarments - everything...will make little or no real sense to you.


Ok, I particularly liked the last sentence..


 


Soooo...we arrive at waveringcc question (or was it a challenge?) What is the role of hierarchy in the Church? I assume by hierarchy she is referring to the Petrine ministry of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon. It is to teach, proclaim, and minister Jesus Christ as Lord both in word and deed (especially in deed). And as we do so, try to stay faithful to the ancient apostolic witness and yes, the councils of the church - keeping one eye on the present moment and the other on the sacred tradition of the church...easier said than done. 


In general your summary seems to describe it but in is in translating that mission to practice that problems arise and I would like to return to this topic, particularly since it is in the “how” by deed that we seem to be splitting the church in Latin America between those that advocate principles such as subsidiary and the role justice has played in church history and ministry, and those that want to maintain the status quo, but for now, lets go back conscience formation.




I don’t disagree with your analysis of conscience formation but is that how the concept is taught?


It is really a new terminology. Having grown up with the Baltimore Catechism I’m pretty certain that conscience formation was not discussed, the only direct reference to conscience had to do with examination of it and indirectly it was addressed under the study of the Fourth Commandment that gave reasons why one should obey authority figures and when we were supposed to disobey them, i.e., when they were wrong. At least since Augustine and particularly since Aquinas, theologians have discussed the sacredness of conscience (reference to scripture, I think Romans) in moving us towards truth but as far as I can tell the concept itself, conscience formation, is new.


The concept comes into play in dealing with conditions when the faithful doubt a proposed or existing teaching. The way the formation argument seems to go is that when such conditions arise what the church leadership says takes precedence; more recently bishops say that unless you agree with they say your conscience is improperly formed. I used to believe this with my whole heart and mind. To understand why I don’t, let me digress for a minute


For multiple reasons I don’t reveal much about myself but right now I will do a little. I grew up believing in apple pie and church, I had the most respect for authority, believing that for the most part leaders told the truth and that when clergy, especially a bishop, said something that they were speaking for God. Even though I never really did integrate the notions of papal infallibility, limbo, and that non-Catholics went to hell, I pretty much accepted and integrated into my sense of morality everything authority figures said about morality and truth.


Along comes Vietnam, Bishop/Cardinal Spellman and President Johnson. Johnson sold the war in terms of duty – fighting to protect our way of life and helping others achieve their freedom – and Spellman telling sold it to us as holy war (gee, I can’t believe I was that dumb).  Since the Pope or no one contradicted him it was easy for me to assume that the church was urging us to go fight a holy war. My experience there did not seem to support either what Johnson said or what Spellman sold and I began to seriously doubt Spellman but I postponed really examining the subject issues until after I returned. It was during this time that I also began questioning what I had been taught regarding sexuality but that is another subject though I will add that I did research it as well as the history of marriage and what the church taught regarding sexuality.


Of course it turned out Spellman was simply dishing out bullshit, Vietnam was certainly not a Holy War and the reasons for the Vietnam war weren’t as Johnson had stated. Afterwards I felt betrayed by both country and church. I asked myself if Spellman was simply one bad apple or was it possible that the church leadership did err? I found many historical examples where church leaders erred, sometimes when I read how God’s name was used to justify crimes against humanity and the other abuses I would literally get sick.


It took a long time to understand that we are all humans that err and that my most basic error was deifying the church leadership (hierarchy, clergy, church organization, bureaucrats, whatever you want to call the leadership). I found that even under the best of intentions and sometimes out of pride, greed, temporal values, the leadership will act contrary to Christian discipleship, and that there were many things the church did right and that there was much good that it also did.


So the question for me became what am I to do when I sincerely feel the leadership is wrong? This led to more research, from Augustine to Aquinas and others and to the premise behind natural law, and ultimately to the question of conscience and fidelity to God’s will.


For me, at this time, when I doubt the “Truth” behind what anyone says, including bishops, I do research, sometimes I pray, ask God for help, and in the end I’ll do what my conscience tells me. For the most part, I do what the church teaches but I have reservations about some things and some teachings I simply can’t accept.


For those that say my conscience is not formed, well, all I can say is that conscience is never completely formed, Simply demanding compliance to h authority until my conscience is properly formed is simply not a reasonable argument and given history, I just can’t buy it.


In sum, I agree with your analysis but the point remains that many who use that concept are actually using it to demand compliance from those that may really believes the particular teaching is contrary to faith and reason. It seems this term is a way of undoing previous teachings regarding conscience without appearing to do so. That is, since they can't rewrite what the church has taught and particularly since they can't "unteach" what Vatican II said about human dignity and freedom of religion and expression, they just come up with new terms that basically butcher previous teachings while appearing to be a continuation of preveious thought.


 So: given how bishops are using the term:The question behind conscience formation really is:


When is one morally correct to disobey authority, including bishops?

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 5:23PM #185
gilg
Posts: 5,200

Feb 4, 2010 -- 5:18PM, danman916 wrote:


It is a journey and a path, Gilg. Love grows into deeper understandings and takes on a deeper significance, and calls for deeper committment as a process, not as a finish line.


 




Agreed, it didn't answer my question but I agree with your conclusion regarding love and understanding being a never ending process.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 5:35PM #186
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,748

Feb 4, 2010 -- 1:45PM, deacon777 wrote:


This thread has morphed into something really interesting. First some housekeeping:


the notion of intrinsic evil makes no sense



You're right gilg, I would definately disagree with that but not on any doctrinal grounds. I would disagree with that based on recorded human history and you do do not have to go way back in time either. You can start in the 20th century.


When talking about conscience formation, I do not think either Dan or I mentioned "Catholic" conscience formation. The issue was raised when Newsjunkie rather inelegantly compared "Catholic" education as something akin to indoctrination - which brought up coersion versus free-will choices - which bled into conscience formation.



Please deacon, don't tell people I said something I did not say. If anybody wants to see what I said, please read my posts (151 and 166) earlier in the thread, not deacon's little aside here. 

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2010 - 6:15PM #187
mokantx
Posts: 3,825

Feb 4, 2010 -- 2:14PM, danman916 wrote:


[snip]


  And so, since you do now seem to understand a few more nuances of genuine spirituality and even of genuine faith and genuine "obedience" than a few years ago, could you now please give us your new, more advanced understanding.



What I have been trying to state is that obedience is necessary. Nothing changed there. But obedience is not a motivator, never was, never will be. Obedience may have simply been the natural part of the pray, pay and "obey" mindset. As I said last week, that is the old paradigm. In fact, I never touted the old paradigm. It is just that I have been better able to annunciate that obedience and conscience formation comes from a spirituality in which a person is growing in their relationship with God through active participation in the spiritual life. There is a big difference between being a "spiritual person" and practicing a Christian spirituality. A person with an active spiritual life is going to find that assent to the teachings of the Church "in obedience" is something that just naturally comes out of the intimacy they find in their relationship with God through prayer, contemplation, reflection, the sacraments, etc.


Find a person who is so in love with God that they pray daily, look for the divine in evety corner of their life, see Christ in others, try to be Christ to others, and give themselves as gift every day, and you are going to find a person who sees the teachings of the Church and will follow them because they see those teachings and doctrines as doing for their beloved, which is God.


People without a dynamic spiritual life and formation aren't going to come to that conclusion unless they are living it and experieincing it.


Dan


In a nutshell, the opinion/attitude that you've expressed above is precisely the kind of "elitist" attitude that creates the kind of divisiveness that you decry on these boards.  What you're saying here, in essence, is that anybody who doesn't end up where you have ended up isn't doing it right.  SURELY then, if we'd just do it the way you do it (or strive to do it), then you'd see that the church can never teach anything that's wrong.  And if by chance there IS something the church does or teaches that hurts others, the church is STILL not wrong, but it may just need to come to a "fuller understanding" of its own truth...  I readily admit that those are not your words, but these words are very much the message your words convey, whether intended or not.


That is why your request about the hierarchy is a question can't be answered the way you state it. It isn't something to be explained. It is something that is known through the experience of the joy of faith (that Jane mentioned).


Some things cannot be adequately explained. They have to be experienced to come to a knowledge of the heart that satifies one's sense of understanding.


And to the degree that what you say is true, then is it not also possible that someone who isn't "properly formed" could arrive at truths that may be accurate and applicable, yet be just as difficult to explain to you based on your personal formation, as yours is to them?


 And yet, I suspect, your fundamental position hasn't actually changed. 



It has not changed. Why should it? To follow the Church is to love the one whom I love above all things (the Lord). If that isn't reason enough, then nothing will ever be.



 Please discuss the "proper context" for viewing the role of hierarchy and doctrine in the church - both the institutional church (a term that used to make Deacon go ballistic - it was simply a shorthand to differentiate between those who make policy and doctrine as well as administrative decisions (some of which were both immoral and illegal), and who, as you now agree, are not THE church) and in the church.


Dan, I'm sure that you can do this if you just try.  If you can't, perhaps you need to think it through a bit more.



I have thought it through, quite comprehensively. The answer lies in my love for Jesus, and my desire to follow him and unite myself to Him. As I said, if that answer doesn't suffice, nothing i can say ever will.


I follow, I am obedient, I do; because of Love of God.




There is a reason that some of us tend to choke over the stuff we've see, and continue to see (or not see) coming from the bishops and Rome.  If your unexplainable truth has found a way to accept what we've seen in the scandal, what we continue to see as the church (however you define church) chooses not to hold bishops accountable for actions and inactions that ultimately are so serious as to drive some to suicides, drugs, or otherwise require lifelong counseling, then this must be a powerful truth indeed.  But some of us "lesser creatures" are still somewhat disturbed (in a good way, I should think) by concepts we heard from the bishops during and after Vatican II (remember justice?) 


[As an aside, speaking of Justice, I think just this week, the US bishops teamed up with the leaders of other denominations, and came out in support (if I read it right) of civil disobedience against the injustice of abortion.  Personally, I find that endorsement more than a bit intriguing.  The message seems to be that activism is just fine, as long as your activism is focused on what we tell you to be activist against.  But clearly, it's NOT OK to be activist against injustice within the church....   ]  but I digress, for clearly, had I formed my conscience correctly, and if I loved Jesus enough, then all of this would make perfect sense to me...


My point here Dan, is that I think it quite possible for people to go through the proper formation of a sound conscience, and come out a little different than someone else, or even the church itself on some issues.  Perhaps that's why some of us do tend to look at the church's actions, or structure, and feel passion.  I suspect others may find that passion when they think about the poor, or the homeless, or perhaps the sick, the disenfranchised.  Others still may find their passion in the study of theology, social governance issues, etc.  I don't see the process of formation as leading us all to the exact, identical place, and eliciting the exact identical response to the world.  Quite to the contrary, I daresay that these differences are very likely to be the workings of the Spirit.


Several of us here, over the past few days, have asked that you at least try to help us understand how it is that your concept of a validly formed conscience ties in to things we see as wrong in the church, and how obedience fits in with all of this.  This is not a trivial question, nor was it meant to be a "trap."  Yet your response has been (in essence) that we've obviously not developed our conscience well enough, or we'd just plain understand it all.  I suppose it's possible that you're right.  But from my humble (and clearly subpar) vantage point, there are matters of conscience at play here, which is why I asked my original question. 


I suppose however, that understanding of such matters must be reserved to those who have achieved some higher level understanding.  The rest of us, I supposed, are doomed to something else, something less (whatever that may be.)  Perhaps we're doomed to the knowledge that without change, evils of equal magnitude are more than likely to happen again.  Because we are so inferior, we don't understand that's OK.    Obedience would clearly tell us that.


mo


 

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2010 - 7:05AM #188
Adelphe
Posts: 28,742

Jan 25, 2010 -- 8:53PM, Miguel_de_servet wrote:

The Church has the duty to speak the truth, especially about her own situation, without sacrificing it to a misunderstood sense of leadership.



MdS,


Hasn't she?


Either of the two:


EITHER, for you, being in a state of sin (including the most hideous sins) bears no consequence for the "assurance of salvation";


OR you obviously delude yourself (in spite of your rhetoric ...) that being a patient in that "hospital for sinners" does not apply to you.


(no third option)



Of course there's a third option--even more.


You forget that Protestants don't think we move in and out of "states of sin" as Protestants define sin much more restrictively than you.


"If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 1:10)


Therefore, yes, the church is quite simply a hospital for sinners.  Everyone in the church is "in a state of sin"--a sinner.


Regarding "assurance" of salvation, that is the very essence of what it means to have faith:  trust.  Because this thread is essentially about/on to other things, I will start a separate thread here on that--and I welcome (and of course would expect on such a topic ;-) ) your comments.


What? Including the Mass? C'mon! I don't even need to doubt about this, I know for sure (not only because of your Protestatism, but because of your declared ideas) that this is not so.



No, not including the Mass and I already stated that--appreciating fully the sentiment of the Mass.


However, we are both on the conservative, solidly orthodox end of the theological spectrum (no, we don't share the same ideas about ecclesiology)--to include the Trinity, Nicene Creed, et al.  The very foundation being the same, theology in the main can't help but be shared.



Let's review:


1.  There is a book that has been written since the foundation of the world. [right]


2.  The book--written since the foundation of the world--belongs to the Lamb who was killed. [right: since he was killed and then raised and ascended to Heaven and seated at the right of the Almighty]



So Jesus..."adopted" the Book?  You always did stray a little too far into adoptionism...



3.  Whoever's name is in the book is in there obviously because there was a Lamb who was killed.  (What?  Was this some sort of arbitrary book?) [NO, NOT "arbitrary": the book is being gradually filled with the names of those who are deemed worthy of Life Everlasting]



Even though it was written--before the foundation of the world?



4.  If you don't see God's sacrifice as real (What?  Is it smoke and mirrors?  What is the sacrifice (and when did it, um..."occur" to God (LOL!) in your view?) [the sacrifice is of the Lamb, of Jesus, the God-man, the Incarnated Word of God]



LOL---first, you didn't answer the second question.  Second, you didn't answer the first either but simply...parroted.


5.  as having been always in God's mind--since the foundation of the world [the "book of life" has been "always in God's mind", NOT the sacrifice]



"Not the sacrifice"?  Nonsense.


And the book of life is already written.


6.  And the property of His Son--since the foundation of the world, who "by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Col 1:16) [The things that are "created" are not rocks, trees, birds and animals, because those things were created by God.



And this is where your non/anti-Trinitarianism causes you to stumble.


These things, "thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities", are the powers and positions that were needed by Christ to run his Church, and were created by him for that purpose. The figure of speech known as "anaphora" or "encircling" [Greek: epanadiplosis; Latin: inclusio] helps us to identify the proper context of "all things"—that it is the narrower sense of the word "all", and refers to the things needed to administer the Church.]



LOL!  Er, no comment.  This passage is subtitled simply "The Preeminence of Christ" and is certainly not limited to the domain of His...church.  "And He is the head of the body, the church."

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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5 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2010 - 10:13AM #189
WaveringCC
Posts: 5,136

Feb 4, 2010 -- 2:14PM, danman916 wrote:


I hate the formatting in beliefnet, so i hope that people can follow my response to wavering:


 


You do seem to have changed course a little bit in recent years (as Mo has noted).  You were among the vocal, "absolute obedience" 



While that might have been your perception of my posts, that really has never been my position. I still believe in obedience to the Church. Whatever you think my position of "absolute obedience" was, I don't know.


Thank you for replying, Dan, and clarifying your views.


OK, that's what I thought I was reading between the lines of your posts. It is why I said "seem". That's also the reason I pushed you a bit to answer Mo's questions.  You seemed to be trying to avoid answering, and so buried it under a lot of words that were meant to obscure your understanding rather than clarify it. One more advance in your mastery of "pastoral" expression would be to drop the attitude that your spiritual development is much too advanced for others to undertand. It not only comes across as condescending, it actually could make one suspect that you are still at a Chapter 1 level of understanding.


I don't know that you held as "strict" and "absolute" obedience position as one or two other posters on this board, but, definitely you considered "obedience" to the church (meaning to the hierarchy and official teaching) to be a defining characteristic of being Catholic and expressed this many times.


Both you and Deacon have changed the way you express this stance however. Perhaps you two are studying from the same courses, just in different locations.  (A bit of charm school added to the curriculum? Kiss)


 

 the group here who depends almost exclusively on the catechism, bishop's pronouncements



the reason I quote the catechism is because we were discussing the points of doctrines and dogmas, and the Catechism is the best reference to do that conveniently. Since i don't have much interest in those types of debates anymore (since i can hardly think of a topic that ia haven't debated to death), that's probably why you notice a difference.


You seem to have advanced beyond that level of understanding now.



Again, I think you may have taken previous positions and characterized them that way. If anything, I may have developed a more pastoral style of presentation, but none of my core positions has changed. I simply don't debate that way anymore. It's one of the reasons i don't do b-net much. There's just not that much new to debate, so my interest level has waned.


Exactly. That's what I read in your posts. And why I emphasized the word "seem" several times. However, now that you have learned a more "pastoral style of presentation", you also seem to have learned to use it to duck the hard questions - at least as far as giving a direct answer.  The superior attitude you and deacon (and Red, when she was here briefly) that you all are simply so far advanced in your spiritual life as to be unable to communicate with those of us who are, in your words, still at Chapter 1, incapable of understanding Chapter 18, is not a "real" improvement however. And you predicate this on a fallacious assumption - that because you have reached this (inevitable in your minds) understanding because of the practices of your spiritual lives (prayer, reflection, meditation, the sacraments), and we haven't reached the same conclusions, that our spiritual lives are simply not developed "enough".  Because, you assume, that the place you "land,"  or at least the place you are at this stage of your life, is where everyone would land if only they lived as "spiritually" as you do.  This ignores the truth of the lives of most here - who actually have developed their spiritual lives and religious understanding by praying, meditating, studying, reflecting, and participating in the sacraments - and even being very involved in parish life in most cases. And yet, we are in a different "place".  That does not mean it is the "wrong" place, as you assume.


Sure, I can debate the old topics, like women's ordination and use some of the new knowledge I have, but I just don't have the desire to do it much anymore. Those debates never go anywhere.


Agreed. 


Actually, I am not really much interested in debating church teachings these days either. It is clear that those here approach both organized religion, specifically as implemented in the RCC, and the practice of the spiritual life, from different worldviews.  And it does not seem that those will ever meet (in our lifetimes anyway). What does interest me now is how people arrive at their particular views, vis a vis, the "proper" relationship between the people and the official (hierarchical) church in terms of understanding the concepts of authority and obedience.


  And so, since you do now seem to understand a few more nuances of genuine spirituality and even of genuine faith and genuine "obedience" than a few years ago, could you now please give us your new, more advanced understanding.



What I have been trying to state is that obedience is necessary. Nothing changed there. But obedience is not a motivator, never was, never will be. Obedience may have simply been the natural part of the pray, pay and "obey" mindset. As I said last week, that is the old paradigm. In fact, I never touted the old paradigm. It is just that I have been better able to annunciate that obedience and conscience formation comes from a spirituality in which a person is growing in their relationship with God through active participation in the spiritual life.


So far, so good - for the most part.  That's what spirituality and the spiritual life are all about - developing our relationship with God.


There is a big difference between being a "spiritual person" and practicing a Christian spirituality. A person with an active spiritual life is going to find that assent to the teachings of the Church "in obedience" is something that just naturally comes out of the intimacy they find in their relationship with God through prayer, contemplation, reflection, the sacraments, etc.


This is where you are still missing something very important - at least that is the way it seems.  The still-in-the-box-thinking Catholics  equate the church with God.  Church = God.  It equates assent to the hierarichal church's teachings and "obedience" to the hierarchical church's dictates as being the absolute equivalent of conforming one's will to God.


Find a person who is so in love with God that they pray daily, look for the divine in evety corner of their life, see Christ in others, try to be Christ to others, and give themselves as gift every day, and you are going to find a person who sees the teachings of the Church and will follow them because they see those teachings and doctrines as doing for their beloved, which is God.


See above comments.  I know lots of people who " (are) so in love with God that they pray daily, look for the divine in every corner of their life, see Christ in others, try to be Christ to others, and give themselves as gift every day" who actually don't give assent to ALL church teachings nor consider themselves bound to "obey" either teachings or bishops when their conscience says that the teaching or the "demands" of the hierarchical authorities are wrong.  And they believe that because they love God, they must follow their conscience, even if it goes against the teachings of the human men who lead the church. And that choice is, as Gilg notes, "official" Church teaching!


So, it seems that you are still equating following the teachings and doctrines of the church (assuming you are specifically discussing the RCC here) as being always the same as following God's will. 


Even a cursory look at the history of the church clearly demonstrates that many who, through their intense love of God, developed through an intense spiritual life that included many of the spiritual practices you mention, found that conforming their will to God sometimes meant opposing a teaching or an order from the church.  Many died because of this - they died because of how much they loved God and refused to recant - refused to assent to a teaching or church order that their conscience told them was wrong.


People without a dynamic spiritual life and formation aren't going to come to that conclusion unless they are living it and experieincing it.


See my comments above about your false assumption.


The reality is that millions of people with very deep and intense spiritual lives never come to the conclusion that assenting to all the teachings of the RCC as well as assenting to the orders of its hierarchy, and live God-filled lives. In fact, for some of those, who are members of the RCC, they know that to conform their lives to God's will may mean at times, speaking out about the sins of the church and about how some things in church teachings are simply wrong - as some church teachings of the past were simply wrong.


The most "holy" and "transformed" person I know personally is a work colleague who is a convert to Hinduism. He may not be "Christian" now, but he lives a very Christ-like life (and he was formed in a Christian culture and family).  I know many deeply spiritual and loving Christians who are not Catholic. I know Jews whose spiritual lives are examples to all who know them. And, truthfully, the most "spiritual" and "transformed" Catholics I know - those who are most Christ-like in how they live their lives every single day, totally and joyfully in love with God, with intense spiritual and prayer and sacramental lives, are those whom the "faithful," such as a couple of posters here, believe should leave the RCC.


It is their spiritual lives, nurtured by prayer, contemplation, study etc, that has led them to understand that they are at times morally obligated to dissent occasionally from some church teachings and some orders of bishops.  They are well beyond Chapter 18 in their lives. 


That is why your request about the hierarchy is a question can't be answered the way you state it. It isn't something to be explained. It is something that is known through the experience of the joy of faith (that Jane mentioned).


Some things cannot be adequately explained. They have to be experienced to come to a knowledge of the heart that satifies one's sense of understanding.


 And yet, I suspect, your fundamental position hasn't actually changed. 



It has not changed. Why should it? To follow the Church is to love the one whom I love above all things (the Lord). If that isn't reason enough, then nothing will ever be.



 Please discuss the "proper context" for viewing the role of hierarchy and doctrine in the church - both the institutional church (a term that used to make Deacon go ballistic - it was simply a shorthand to differentiate between those who make policy and doctrine as well as administrative decisions (some of which were both immoral and illegal), and who, as you now agree, are not THE church) and in the church.


Dan, I'm sure that you can do this if you just try.  If you can't, perhaps you need to think it through a bit more.



I have thought it through, quite comprehensively. The answer lies in my love for Jesus, and my desire to follow him and unite myself to Him. As I said, if that answer doesn't suffice, nothing i can say ever will.


I follow, I am obedient, I do; because of Love of God.




 


You are on the right path - assuming, of course, that you understand that your obedience is to God, and that you do not equate obedience to God with absolute obedience to men. But, it does sort of seem that you still can't see outside the box. The true test may come when something clicks in your conscience and tells you that the church is erring in a teaching, and, in its erring, is causing tangible harm at times to God's people. When that time comes for you, and you find you can't ignore it any longer, you may find it very hard to listen - to have the moral courage to follow that quiet voice of conscience, and raise your voice (quietly) against what the church you love is doing or teaching that you suddenly believe (because your spiritual develoment has caused the scales to fall from your eyes) is not in accord with God's will. You may find that it is holy dissent you are being called to by the Holy Spirit, rather than assent to something that causes harm. Right now you don't see anything in the official church that you think is error and that can cause tangible harm to people.  That's right now.  But, if you are truly listening - being still and sitting in silence - and praying, and reflecting, I would not be a bit surprised to hear in a few years that your eyes and heart and mind have opened and you realize that obedience to Church does NOT always = obedience to God.


You may be surprised someday - in five or ten or twenty years - at how your spirituality develops. It may take a very different path than you currently envision. Because if you continue to nurture your spiritual development through prayer, reading, reflection, contemplation, listening in silence, and living in accord with Christ's teachings as much as possible, understanding that it may require opening your mind and spirit to reflecting on the ideas of spiritual thinkers and theologians (including non-Christians) and their understanding of the divine (not simply the catechism and Vatican documents and letters and pronouncements) you may realize that the box you have been living in is not all there is. It is there to support faith development and the spiritual life - especially in the early stages. It should not limit it. However, many believe that the box is all there is. They don't realize that the walls of that box are made of air, and that once you are ready, God wants you to grow beyond it, because faith and spirituality cannot be contained in that box - no matter how beautiful and how comfortable (and how safe?) it is. For most the box is necessary at the beginning. We need the structure, the firm foundation, the safety. The box is always there to provide structure, to provide spiritual community, to be that foundation. But, foundations are not all - the foundation is meant for building on.  You have to be ready to grow, and sometimes, leave the box, even while retaining all that is good in it.  And then you may begin to see. 


 

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2010 - 11:12AM #190
Miguel_de_servet
Posts: 17,095

Adelphe


Feb 5, 2010 -- 7:05AM, Adelphe wrote:

Jan 25, 2010 -- 8:53PM, Miguel_de_servet wrote:

The Church has the duty to speak the truth, especially about her own situation, without sacrificing it to a misunderstood sense of leadership.


Hasn't she?


Nor really. I am specifically referring to the Catholic Church. Not the obvious questions like: are we, as a corporate organization responsible for what happened? Was any document that we issued (rightly) interpreted as an order to omertà mafiosa and a licence to impunity? This sort of ... small questions ...


[Adelphe]


Either of the two:

EITHER, for you, being in a state of sin (including the most hideous sins) bears no consequence for the "assurance of salvation";


OR you obviously delude yourself (in spite of your rhetoric ...) that being a patient in that "hospital for sinners" does not apply to you.


(no third option)



Of course there's a third option--even more. [LOL! typical]


You forget that Protestants don't think we move in and out of "states of sin" as Protestants define sin much more restrictively than you.


"If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 1:10)


Therefore, yes, the church is quite simply a hospital for sinners.  Everyone in the church is "in a state of sin"--a sinner.


Regarding "assurance" of salvation, that is the very essence of what it means to have faith:  trust.  Because this thread is essentially about/on to other things, I will start a separate thread here on that--and I welcome (and of course would expect on such a topic ;-) ) your comments.


In other words, according to our Lady OSAS:


(i) We are all sinners, whatever we do, and, most of all we remain sinners even if we truly repent. Repenting does NOT mean to start with a clean slate (that is a Catholic delusion), it simply means to accept the salvation gratuitously offered to us while remaining sinners.


(ii) Who is saved? Why, obviously those who have "faith", OIOW an unshakable inner certitude that, # whatever they do # wherever they go # they will be saved, nay they are saved, nay their salvation was decreed even before they were born: from eternity. Why? Well, of course, for God's Greater Pleasure! Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam!


Yuck!!!


[Adelphe]



I [Adelphe] always generally agree theologically with deacon--we are at the same end of the theological spectrum.

What? Including the Mass? C'mon! I don't even need to doubt about this, I know for sure (not only because of your Protestatism, but because of your declared ideas) that this is not so.

No, not including the Mass and I already stated that--appreciating fully the sentiment of the Mass.


Quelle finesse!


[Adelphe]However, we are both on the conservative, solidly [LOL!] orthodox end of the theological spectrum (no, we don't share the same ideas about ecclesiology)--to include the Trinity, Nicene Creed, et al.  The very foundation being the same, theology in the main can't help but be shared.


I would say ... er ... classic and traditional picture ... and,, of course, false.


[Adelphe]Let's review:


NOTE

x. Statement  (Adelphe's post #45 of Jan 22, 2010 - 6:01PM/CET; x=1:6)


[interpolated comment] (MdS' post #59 of of Jan 26, 2010 - 2:53AM/CET)


Counter-comment (Adelphe's post #188 of Feb 5, 2010 - 1:05PM/CET)


MdS' present comment



1.  There is a book that has been written since the foundation of the world. [right]


I only want to add here that expressions like "whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life" (Rev 13:8; cp. 17:8) or "whose names  are written in the Lamb’s book of life" (Rev 21:27) do NOT, IMSO, refer to the names of individuals BUT to the criteria that those names have to satisfy, so as to enjoy Life Everlasting. The alternative, that the actual names of the saved are decreed since eternity, is nothing but the doctrine of predestination, one of the most abominable ideas in which the human mind has ever indulged. It is not a coincidence that predestination, for Calvinism is a central doctrine.




2.  The book--written since the foundation of the world--belongs to the Lamb who was killed. [right: since he was killed and then raised and ascended to Heaven and seated at the right of the Almighty]


So Jesus..."adopted" the Book?  You always did stray a little too far into adoptionism...


Your tags (here that of "adoptionism") have always been totally indifferent to me. Jesus Christ exists as a person no earlier than the incarnation of God's Eternal Word in/as ... Jesus Christ. So, if you will, certainly the "Book" exists prior to Jesus as a person.




3.  Whoever's name is in the book is in there obviously because there was a Lamb who was killed.  (What?  Was this some sort of arbitrary book?) [NO, NOT "arbitrary": the book is being gradually filled with the names of those who are deemed worthy of Life Everlasting]


Even though it was written--before the foundation of the world?


See comment to point no.1




4.  If you don't see God's sacrifice as real (What?  Is it smoke and mirrors?  What is the sacrifice (and when did it, um..."occur" to God (LOL!) in your view?) [the sacrifice is of the Lamb, of Jesus, the God-man, the Incarnated Word of God]


LOL---first, you didn't answer the second question.  Second, you didn't answer the first either but simply...parroted.


See present comments to point no.1 and no.2




5.  as having been always in God's mind--since the foundation of the world [the "book of life" has been "always in God's mind", NOT the sacrifice]


"Not the sacrifice"?  Nonsense. [why?]


And the book of life is already written. [see present comment no.1]




6.  And the property of His Son--since the foundation of the world, who "by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Col 1:16) [The things that are "created" are not rocks, trees, birds and animals, because those things were created by God.]


And this is where your non/anti-Trinitarianism causes you to stumble.


On the contrary, I believe your "trinitarinism", your scripturally unfounded myth of the "Eternal sacrifice of the Lamb" is what leads you to a totally warped "doctrine".



[Adelphe]


These things, "thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities", are the powers and positions that were needed by Christ to run his Church, and were created by him for that purpose. The figure of speech known as "anaphora" or "encircling" [Greek: epanadiplosis; Latin: inclusio] helps us to identify the proper context of "all things"—that it is the narrower sense of the word "all", and refers to the things needed to administer the Church.

LOL!  Er, no comment.  This passage is subtitled simply "The Preeminence of Christ" and is certainly not limited to the domain of His...church.  "And He is the head of the body, the church."


Exactly! In your own words, "He is the head of the body, the church". Not only the Church here on earth (Ecclesia Militans) but the Glorious Church of the Elect (Ecclesia Triumphans).


See Wikipedia > Church militant and church triumphant.


MdS

Revelation is above, not against Reason

“The everlasting God is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms ...” (Deut 33:27)
“Do you have an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” (Job 40:9)
“By the Lord’s word [dabar] the heavens were made; and by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6)
“Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the arm of the Lord revealed through him?” (Isaiah 53:1)
“Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (John 12:38)
“For not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13)

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”(Romans 13:8)
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