24 September, 2009

Discussion with Michael about theistic evolution and Church authority

(Michael) I am rather surprized at you.

Yes, theistic evolution is the position of the Vatican which says from John Paul I on that "evolution is more than a theory" A glorified unbelief in the scriptures is more like it. Perhaps you are unaware of people like the official Vatican astronomer and other official spokespeople who oppose intelligent design something no orhtodox Christian would oppose for the last 2000 years
It is very sad.

(Cristoiglesia) I believe that you are speaking of John Paul II when he commented on the statements of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and not on any statements by John Paul I. the Pope was speaking of the fact that there is more than one theory to be considered and is not giving increased credibility to any one theory. Here is exactly what the Pope said:

"Furthermore, while the formulation of a theory like that of evolution complies with the need for consistency with the observed data, it borrows certain notions from natural philosophy. And, to tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution. On the one hand, this plurality has to do with the different explanations advanced for the mechanism of evolution, and on the other, with the various philosophies on which it is based. Hence the existence of materialist, reductionist and spiritualist interpretations. What is to be decided here is the true role of philosophy and, beyond it, of theology."
(Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996)

I would remind you that nothing that is concluded by the PAS is binding on the Church or its faithful as this group is made up of scientists of whom there are atheists, agnostics and etc. and all of its members are evolutionists. They simply advise the Pope as to scientific progress in science.

The Pope did not say that it is “more than a theory” but that there is more than one theory. However, even if one translates his words as you have done the Pope is not stating that the PAS opinion is “fact” but is still open to scientific inquiry.

It is sad that you take the prejudicial leap of logic to say that John Paul II is stating “A glorified unbelief in the scriptures” when nothing in his statements even suggest such a conclusion. Your unjustified attack on the Pontiff is what is sad.

You say that the Church opposes intelligent design when it , in fact does the opposite. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on science and theology:

159. Faith and science: "...methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are." [ Vatican II GS 36:1]

283. The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers....

284. The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin....

(Michael) Priest are most definitely NOT part of the official teaching church in Catholic dogma you must be a Bishop or higher. This has had a long tern effect of widespread shallow knowledge of the scriptures from medieval times onward

(Cristoiglesia) I believe you are telling a half-truth here and intentionally trying to marginalize the role of the priest as a teacher and as a shepherd of the flock. The truth is that Jesus gave the teaching authority to the disciples and it is the Bishops who are the direct successors of the disciples representing the continuing authority. The priest receives his authority from the bishop and in a real sense we are acting for the bishop under the same authority given by Jesus. We see this occurring even before the completion of the books that would become New Testament Scriptures centuries later. So, you are incorrect in saying that priests are not a part of the official teaching since we do our duties under the Apostolic authority of the bishop. I have no idea what you mean by your next statement which is so general in context and without citation of evidence that it has no meaning. Certainly the knowledge and scholarship of Scriptures by the Church is unsurpassed by any other source throughout the history of the Church.

(Michael) Did the Catholic church depart from teaching the gospel with clarity? Since I am an orthodox reformed conservative protestant I would side with that view of the gospel and most definitely the Catholic church is not teaching sola fide, sola scriptura, sola Christ which I see and the Biblical position

(Cristoiglesia) No, the Church has never departed from the teaching of he true Gospel of our Lord and we have the promise from Christ that we never will. He said that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church and that the Church would remain for all times the “pillar and foundation of truth”. In so being the Church is the Ark not unlike the Ark of Noah that saves man from the sins of the world. The Church remains heavenly in nature receiving it very veracity by the imputation of our Lord.

You define yourself as ” an orthodox reformed conservative protestant” which to me means the following:

Your “orthodoxy” is based on the doctrines of men like Calvin and Zwingli who are heretics and false teachers in protest and disobedience of Christ’s Church. You are “reformed” in that you refuse to be in God’s will as one in His Church as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane praying that we all be one as He and the Father are one. You are “conservative” in that you are conserving the doctrines of men that are taught by heretics like Calvin and Zwingli as your own. Last of all you are ”protestant” in that you are in the company of others who are disobedient to Christ’s Church and outside of God’s will.

You are correct that the Catholic Church does not teach the heresies and man-made doctrines of sola fide and sola scriptura.

Sola fide is a teaching that is in contradiction to Scriptures. The only place in Scriptures where “faith alone” is mentioned is when it is condemned in the book of James as a heresy and evidence of a dead faith. Sola scriptura is also contradictory to Scriptures in that the Bible says that not all of the teaching of Jesus is contained in the Bible and suggests strongly that only a small amount of His teaching is indeed recorded in the Bible. However the fullness of His teaching is taught in the Church which is the regula fidei which Protestants have separated themselves being no longer able to endure sound doctrine as Jesus prophesied. Jesus gave His teaching authority to the Church and not to a book that is interpreted by individuals outside the Church leading to exponentially increasing schisms within the heretical Protestant movement which is based on some truth and much heresy. This is certainly not what Jesus intended or His Church intended when writing the New Testament Scriptures and canonizing the Christian Bible at the African Synods. In conclusion, there is nothing biblical about Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide but they are both man-made heresies promulgated by those desiring to marginalize the Christocentrict nature of the Church where we serve Christ only for the Protestant view instead which is a syncretic blend of Humanism and Christianity that creates a God that serves man instead. Remember the Reformers were Humanists first coming out of Scholasticism. They did not see the need of a God we serve but instead desired a God that served man. You will have to define what you mean by “sola Christ” before I can comment on this position.

(Michael) I can understand you not agreeing with me on the last point as that is a contention between protestant and Catholic, but the first two I am afraid you are misinformed. The Catholic church is way in the direction of theistic evolution and led there by the last two popes.

(Cristoiglesia) No, it is you who is misinformed by your twisting of statements to fit your prejudice.

(Michael) The Catholic church from medieval times on has the Bishops and above as the teaching church unlike conservative protestants which charge the pastors to teach the word.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, as I said before, it is the Bishops who have the teaching authority from Christ. But the priests act within the authority of the Bishops with their teaching so as there would not be any ambiguity or conflict. Obedience to the Bishop is an original tenet of the Church where the authority is given. The first definition of he Church was those who gather around the bishop by St. Ignatius of Antioch who was the disciple of St. John and St. Peter. Protestant pastors have no authority to teach and are not valid clergy according to Scriptures.

Thank you for your commentary and the opportunity to share the truth and contend for Christ’s Church and His faithful. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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