Friday, January 30, 2009

Quoting in Context

I recently heard someone say that whenever someone quotes a proof-text at you, you should ask them to quote the four verses before the text and the four verses after it, just so that it is put in context.

A case of this appears to be in the following picture:

In his letter of 22nd of December to St Mary's pastor, Archbishop Bathersby put this quotation in its broader context:
4. Possibly to indicate that South Brisbane was on side with the Pope, St Mary’s filtered words from his address to the French Bishops on 14 September and printed them on a banner in front of the Church. It stated: “Everyone has a place in the Church. Every person without exception should be able to feel at home and never rejected.”

These words of the Pope were taken selectively out of context. Delivered to the French Bishops at Lourdes the Pope’s statement largely promoted harmony between Catholics seeking the vernacular Mass and others seeking the Latin Mass. St Mary’s would hardly applaud the latter.

In a paragraph adjacent to the words selected by South Brisbane the Pope stated: “It can never be said often enough that the priesthood is indispensable to the Church, for it is at the service of the laity. Priests are a gift from God for the Church. Where their specific missions are concerned, priests cannot delegate their functions to the faithful.” Those words are reinforced by the Catechism of the Catholic Church that states in no.1142 “The members of the Church do not all have the same function”. Certain members are called by God in and through the Church to a special service of the community. Those servants are chosen and consecrated by the sacraments of Holy Orders, by which the Holy Spirit enables them to act in the person of Christ the Head, for the service of all members of the Church.” Again such words would hardly be accepted by South Brisbane.

In the paragraph immediately following, the Pope writes, “The Church, which cannot oppose the will of Christ, firmly maintains the principle of the indissolubility of marriage while surrounding with the greatest affection those men and women who, for a variety of reasons, fail to respect it. Hence initiatives aimed at blessing irregular unions cannot be admitted.” Again, such statements would hardly be approved by South Brisbane and yet words of the Pope are selectively chosen from the very same statement for the benefit of South Brisbane.

Among the more serious abuses that the Archbishop asked St Mary's to correct was the use of invalid baptismal formulas. This too is relevant to the Archbishop's point regarding the misuse of John Paul II's words:
Despite St Mary’s boast that it welcomes all, its misuse of the baptismal formula has significant ecumenical implications.
The fact is that in the Catholic Church all ARE welcome - but please use the front door rather than the back door. The front door is entered (as the holy water stoop reminds us) through repentance and conversion, baptism and confirmation, faithfulness to the Church, and the call to discipleship. To all who enter by this door, we say: "You are welcome" to eat and drink at the table of the Lord with us.


At Saturday, January 31, 2009 9:41:00 am , Blogger Paul said...

Its a coincidence that the St.Mary's South Brisbane and SSPX issues are around at the same time. One group thinks Rome is a bully, the other thinks it is weak. Truly, unfaithful Catholics are all unhappy in their own ways.

At Saturday, January 31, 2009 3:40:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Yes, but try explaining to our media that Pope Benedict isn't really "right-wing" - he's "centre". Caught between a rock and a hard place.


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