Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Scripture and Tradition in the teaching of the Catholic Church

I wish to continue here the discussion begun in the post and following combox below. You might wish to take up the discussion there in the combox here - as I will append my reactions to the previous discussion here also.

One comment first: I asked the question in the last post about the "origin" of the doctrine - or principle - of "sola scriptura". The responses from PE and Pastor Weedon were sufficient to ascertain one thing - indeed the answer I was expecting from such honest chaps: Neither of them argued that "sola scriptura" is a doctrine/principle which has its origin in Scripture itself. Both believe that it arose through the reflection and development of the post-apostolic Church. THAT is significant. It is tantamount to admitting that "sola Scriptura" is a (gasp! shock!) tradition of the Church.

But, for now, the teaching of the Catholic Church on Revelation and the nature of the Sacred Scriptures from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
74 "God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations. " [DV 7; cf. 2 Cor 1:20; 3:16 - 4:6].

75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel [Nb. not write]… In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel [nb. not "the scriptures"] was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline"32 [DV 7; cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15].

76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on [nb. Latin. transmissio] in two ways:

- orally "by the apostles who handed on [nb. Latin: tradiderunt], by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established [nb. Latin: in praedicatione orali, exemplis et institutionibus], what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit." [DV 7]

- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing" [DV 7].

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority" [DV 7# 2; St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 3, 1: PG 7/1, 848; Harvey, 2, 9]. Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time." [DV 8# 1].

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it… "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition…" [DV 8# 3].

79 "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son…" [DV 8# 3; cf. Col 3:16].

80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal" [DV 9].

81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit"42 [DV 9].

"And (Holy) Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching." [DV 9].

82 As a result the Church…"does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone…" [DV 9].

83 …The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from…["]traditions["], born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these ["]traditions["] can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.

84 The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei) [DV 10# 1; cf. I Tim 6:20; II Tim 1:12-14(Vulg.)], contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church…

85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone [nb. Latin: soli vivo Ecclesiae Magisterio!]. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ" [DV 10# 2]. This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it…" [DV 10§2].

87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me", [Lk 10:16; cf. LG 20] the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.

102 Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely [ie. his Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity] [cf. Heb 1:1-3]:

103 For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord's Body… [cf. DV 21].

104 In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, "but as what it really is, the word of God"67 [Th 2:13; cf. DV 24]…

105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture…
106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books…
107 The inspired books teach the truth…

108 Still, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book". Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, "not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living" [St. Bernard, S. missus est hom. 4, 11: PL 183, 86]…

111 …The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it. [cf. DV 12# 4].
112 1. Be especially attentive "to the content and unity of the whole Scripture"…
113 2. Read the Scripture within "the living Tradition of the whole Church"…
114 3. Be attentive to the analogy of faith [cf. Rom 12:6]…

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

119 "It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgement. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God" [DV 12# 3].

But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me [St. Augustine, Contra epistolam Manichaei 5, 6: PL 42, 176].

120 It was by the apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books90 [cf. DV 8# 3].

124 "The Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, is set forth and displays its power in a most wonderful way in the writings of the New Testament" [DV 17; cf. Rom 1:16] which hand on the ultimate truth of God's Revelation. Their central object is Jesus Christ, God's incarnate Son… [cf. DV 20].

126 We can distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels:
1. The life and teaching of Jesus…
2. The oral tradition
3. The written Gospels…

129 Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself [cf. Mk 12:29-31]. Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament [cf. 1 Cor 5:6-8; 10:1-11]…

132 "Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. The ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture" [DV 24].

133 …Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ [DV 25; cf. Phil 3:8 and St. Jerome, Commentariorum in Isaiam libri xviii prol.: PL 24, 17B].
More to read in the comments in the combox!

59 Comments:

At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 4:00:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

So, now my turn on this.

It seems undeniable that the Lutheran and Catholic understanding of the nature of the Scriptures and their regard for the Scriptures is pretty well exactly the same.

Both agree that both the OT and NT, as a whole and in all their parts as we used to say, is the written Word of God, inspired, apostolic and inerrant. The authority of the Scriptures therefore is not questioned in any way by either community.

In fact, were this not all true, there is no way that I could have become a Catholic in the first place.

Secondly, we must acknowledge what PE and Pastor Weedon have been saying to us, that, in the Lutheran Church, "sola scriptura" does not mean "if it ain't in the scriptures it isn't lawful", rather they are saying that 1) nothing can be mandated nor any binding doctrine proclaimed without express scriptural authority, 2) nothing that is directly contrary to the scriptures may be taught as Christian doctrine.

For our part, having stated that the Catholic Church regards the scriptures every bit as highly as the Lutheran Church (as with the Lutherans, we accord the Scriptures the same veneration that we accord to the Lord's Body in the Eucharist), we also state that it is our fundamental conviction that NOT ONE of the dogmas of the Catholic Church contravenes the teaching of Sacred Scripture, and that (moreover) Sacred Scripture may be shown to support every one of her dogmas.

That's my opening address.

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 4:13:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

It seems that where we disagree is on the role, authority, nature and purpose of:

1) Sacred Tradition
2) The Church
3) The Teaching Magisterium of the Church.

PE will respond that this comes down to one thing: Church uber Alles, Semper et Sola Ecclesia. The Church tops everything else, including Scripture.

He will respond that whereas Catholic theology puts the Church above Scripture (since the magisterium of the Church acts as the sole authoritative interpreter of Scripture), the Lutheran theology puts the Church under Scripture.

But I wonder, in practice, how this can be so? First, the Catholic Catechism explicitly says that the Magisterium is the servant of the Word of God, and not its master. Secondly, even in the Lutheran Church, someone - be it the ministerium, synod or individual - interprets what is read in the Scriptures. Since it is not possible to read anything without interpretation, the mere act of reading Scripture implies the existence of an interpreter. The question is what authority does that interpreter have?

The Catechism passages produced in the main post are, I believe, sufficient to show how the Catholic Church understands the apostolic teaching authority to have been passed from the apostles to their successors the bishops in unity with Peter, the head of their college.

Lutherans need to show how it is that the role of authoritative interpretation is exercised and guarded in their own tradition, so that it does not become the plaything of biblical exegetes and theologians.

Here the Fathers of the Church have a role. The Fathers are, as Pastor Weedon continues to point out, not infallible or certain on every point. But, acc. to the Catechism, the Church looks to them as "witnesses" to the Tradition, rather than sources of it. Then comes the way in which we understand the Fathers - and that is perhaps a different topic.

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 4:45:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

And so to some specific comments arising from the previous discussion:

Tom began with the well known argument that the inspired Scriptures do not give us a "table of contents". This argument is an argument against "sola scriptura" and for the authority of the Church since the Church, and not Scripture, determined what Scripture is.

Unfortunately, this argument sounds as if we place the authority of the Church OVER that of Scripture - and hence PE argued in return that the Church's recognition did not confer validity upon the Scriptures, but rather recognised a validity that the Scriptures already had. PE compared this to the situation when the Church defines dogma. This does not mean that she invents the dogma, rather that she formalised a dogma that was already in existence.

Which is a fair enough statement of the situation.

However, we should not overlook the fact that the Church also decided what was NOT scripture. The comparison would be to when the Church uses her authority to anathematise a heresy.

The answer to the conundrum is to be found in two quotations from Dei Verbum in the Catechism:

80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal"

120 It was by the apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books [cf. DV 8# 3].

Thus, the Word of God passed on in Sacred Tradition enabled the Church to discern the Word of God passed on in writing. In her recognition of the Written Word of God, the Church was acting upon the Traditioned Word of God. For it was Tradition more than any other factor (certainly more than any imagined isolated act of authority on the part of the Church herself) which determined which books were and which were not "Sacred Scripture".

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 4:59:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

PE said: "No where in the bible does Jesus set up a liturgy or ask any one else to do so."

We would quibble. Surely this is precisely what he did when he instituted the ritual meal of the Lord's Supper - right down to telling them to "do this".

The Scriptures do not mandate a particular form of the liturgy (ie. a "particular tradition" in the words of the Catechism) but they are quite clear and plain about the manner of the Eucharistic liturgy itself, and clearly point to the Eucharistic liturgy we know today as "the Mass" as pre-dating the scriptures themselves. This is most clearly seen in Acts 2:42 and Luke 24, not to mention St Paul's letters to the Corinthians.

At another time, PE said: "Nobody...drew up a liturgy, and then sought to build a community of believers around it." In fact, this is very much what happened - although the "liturgy" was given to them by the apostles themselves (doing what Jesus told them to do). It was around the Eucharistic liturgy - not around the New Testament Scriptures - that the community was founded and grew. I once read an essay by an orthodox theologian who pointed out that the original New Testament was not a collection of writings, but the body and blood of the New Covenant!

Similarly with Baptism. We often think that we get the baptismal formula from the great commission in Matthew 28. But St Matthew concluded his gospel with Christ giving this command because that was already the tradition of the Apostolic Church! They were baptising "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (a liturgical rite around which they built a community) before Matthew wrote his Gospel. In other words, we do not baptise in this way because the Scriptures tell us too, but the Scripture record Jesus telling the Church that this was the way to do baptism because that is the way they were already doing it! Presumably on the basis of an oral tradition!

In just the same way, the Eucharistic Verba existed by oral tradition before they were written down. If the Synoptic Gospels and Paul's letter to the Corinthians had been lost or never written, the Church would still have been using these words at the Mass and using the Trinitarian formula for the rite of Baptism.

It is fair enough to argue from this that the Creeds took their form and basis as much from the baptismal rite as from the Scriptures. And to go one step further: The doctrine of the Trinity arguably had as much basis in the practice of Christian baptism as it did in the Sacred Scriptures.

Thus at least these two liturgical rites were mandated by Christ, passed on by example, preaching and institution by the apostles to their successors, and upheld by the authority of the Church long before the formation of the New Testament. Around them and on the basis of them, the Church was founded.

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:16:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

The truth is that the Anglicans - in forming their famous "Lambeth Quadrilateral" - were far closer in semblence to the Early Church than the Lutherans in regard to the recognition of authorities.

Let us recall the post-apostolic, pre-NT-scriptural Church. How did they combat the many heresies, especially Gnosticism?

The answer is: Creeds, Sacraments, and Apostolic Succession. AND Scripture. For indeed the formation of the canon was itself an act aimed at heading off heresy. It was this "quadrilateral" that fought of the encroaching heresies. Not one of these on their own would have been sufficient.

But it is important to note that to reduce in our minds the loci of authority in the post-apostolic Church to "scripture alone" is in fact to subtract from the reality. The scriptures cannot even be said to be the "most stable" form of the Deposit of Faith - for indeed the Deposit took the form of Liturgy, Creed, and Apostolic Ministry as well. So resilient and stable were these forms that they have come down to us today as whole and entire as the Sacred Scriptures themselves.

So, as Mike said, "Scripture is solid, written, fixed and stable". So is the Liturgy (it's different valid particular forms may be regarded much as translations of the Greek and Hebrew texts of the bible are regarded). The Apostolic Succession of Ministry has never been broken in the Church. The Creeds are recited and known by all - and bind all orthodox Christians together.

But this also gives us a context in which we should look at those quotations from the Fathers which Pastor Weedon produced to support the principle of "sola Scriptura". They must all be seen in a context: that is, in a context where the full Apostolic Deposit of Scripture, Liturgy, Creed and Episcopal Ministry were to be found. For eg., none of the Fathers would have thought for a moment of questioning the practice or teaching of the Church in regard to episcopal ordination on the basis of Scripture. In fact, they all accepted it as equally binding.

It is a little like the Alexander Schmemann quotation Pastor Weedon adduces to say what the Church is - he is perfectly right to say that "the Church is the union of all those who have received from Him the gift of new life and the forgiveness of sins." But in the context, we must remember that Fr Schmemann was an Orthodox theologian. He would never, for eg., have granted that a group of baptised, believing Baptist Christians gathering together for the cracker and grape juice rememberance meal of the Lord's Supper was "the Church" in the same way his local Orthodox Church gathered with their bishop to celebrate the Eucharist was Church.

What they say is true. But we need to hear what they do not say also - as they speak from their context. And this context is not "Scripture alone". It is "Scripture Plus". Never "Word of God Plus", mind you, which we anathematise as much as the Lutherans do. We simply do not limit the Word of God to "Scripture alone".

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:31:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

And that brings us to this "divinely commanded" (de jure divino) / "man-made" (de jure humano) split. When applied to the authority of Sacred Tradition the authority of the Church, it is something of a fiction.

The Lutheran assumption is that anything which IS in the Scriptures IS God's Word (which we also assume) and anything that is NOT explicity in the Scriptures is NOT God's Word (which we don't).

Thus they will say that a practice or teaching which is mandated by the Church without corresponding explicit Scriptural mandate is not "by divine right" but "an invention of men".

However, this historically cannot be true, for the Church mandated many things (for eg. the celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays, the ordination of ministers of the gospel, baptism in the Triune Name) long before the completion of the Scriptures.

Ah, you will say, but they were apostolic or even dominical mandates, and did not need the Scriptures. After the Apostles died, the authority of the apostles was tranferred to the Scriptures.

Now is this any more a fantastic notion than the notion that after the apostles died their authority was passed on to their successors in the apostolic ministry? Surely it is more usual for human beings to pass their authority to other human beings than to a book?

When the apostles acted, were they acting by human or divine authority? All will agree that their authority in teaching and practice was divine.

Okay. So the question comes down to: did the apostles pass on their authority to teach to the ministers they ordained to oversee the Church or not? The Catholic Church says "yes"; the Lutheran Church says "no".

Who's to say who is right? But if the Catholic Church IS right, then how are we to distinguish between what the successors do "de jure humano" or "de jure divino"? Could it not be that the humans are exercising divine authority here? Is that not exactly what the ordained minister in both our churches does when he announces absolution? Ah, but, you say, we have Scripture for that authority. Some protestants would quibble on this, although I will agree. Yet the authority to forgive was neither established by nor passed on by the Scriptures, but by the act of ordination, and thus it existed in the Church even before the Gospels of Matthew and John were written.

We do, in fact, distinguish between what is divine and human - hence the catechism talks about "traditions" which the Church's Magisterium "may retain, modify or even abandon" - but we believe that all that is contained in the Word of God - being Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition in harmony - is by Divine Right, even it is decreed by the very human means of the Church's Magisterium.

We therefore recognise the distinction, but not where the line is drawn.

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:36:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

And a final word about Revelation: it is complete - there will be no more "public" revelation - but it is inaccurate to say that it was "completed" when the final words of the New Testament was written.

Divine revelation was and is completed when God fully revealed himself in the person of the Divine Word Jesus Christ, who continues to live in his Spirit in the Church. It is he "in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up".

The Scriptures of the New Testament "hand on the ultimate truth of God's Revelation [such that]...[t]heir central object is Jesus Christ, God's incarnate Son."

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:42:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

And so one final word before I hand it all over to you.

The Catholic Church is convinced that all she teaches is in accordance with God's Word - or she would not teach it.

Aha, you say, but you mean "God's Word" as in "Scripture and Tradition"!

Yes, but I can also say this: Nothing we teach or mandate is contrary to the Sacred Scriptures. You may think it so, but then you would not be understanding the scriptures as the Church does. In contradicting the Church, you may or may not be setting yourself "above the scriptures", but you are certainly setting yourself above the Church - something I would find a fearful thing to do.

It is true that we teach doctrines not at all contained in the Holy Scriptures. The most obvious of these is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. But we also teach that St Paul is dead and buried (I am going to see his tomb in a few weeks), like St Peter (whose tomb I am also to see). None of these doctrines is taught in Scripture either. It is simply a fact.

Some things, like the teaching that masturbation is a grave sin or that the sky is blue, are true, even if they are not in Scripture.

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:42:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

And so, over to you.

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:58:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Paragraphs 75 and 76 are contradictory. The former states a command to preach, not, as you add, write; the latter states that the command was kept by preaching and writing.

If 75 is true, then the writing is not by command of the Lord. If 76 is true, then the command of the Lord included writing.

The rest -- the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church -- is supported by reference to nothing, not Scripture, not Apostolic Tradition, not even the Fathers, but -- a document of the Catholic Church, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, aka Dei verbum (DV), from 1965.

Ah, but that IS Apostolic Tradition, perhaps they say.

Indeed. Just as we know the Catholic Church is the true church because the true church, which is the Catholic Church, says so, we know that Apostolic Tradition is conserved in the documents of Vatican II because the documents of Vatican II, which conserve Apostolic Tradition, say so.

Judas H. Jones, more has appeared as I wrote.

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 7:54:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

"The Catholic Church is convinced that all she teaches is in accordance with God's Word - or she would not teach it.

Possibly so. (-the belief, that is)
Surprising then, that she cannot list all infallible statements 'from the chair'. Cardinal Ratzinger
tried (with help), apparantly, but
with the conditional "this might not be all"
Poor bookkeeping?

Scripture doesn't have such an issue.


zesselo pop (US)
Seems far more reliable. A far better Book.

A brief study of the origins of the Idea of 'Papal Infallibility' is also interesting. Certainly caused some angst at the time (1300's ?) with intense lobbying to quell the dissenting Voices. A bit like Johnny Howard organising the Party Room?

The above are not raised to take a shot at the Cc, but simply to add a cautionary word to any who want to rely heavily on the traditions of an earthly church.

Further, Schutz seems to imply that there was a vacuum 'before (NT) scripture', which had to be filled by Tradition. Yet the NT was written by eye-witnesses (in the main). There is no gap that had to be filled by the word being handed down (spoken)

If you get my drift...

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 9:47:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

I said:
"Further, Schutz seems to imply that there was a vacuum 'before (NT) scripture', which had to be filled by Tradition."

drawing on this (in part..)

126 We can distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels:
1. The life and teaching of Jesus…
2. The oral tradition…
3. The written Gospels…

('zesselo' got dropped in the wrong spot.. clumsy! )

 
At Wednesday, March 11, 2009 11:31:00 pm , Blogger William Weedon said...

Haven't read all the comments as they deserve, but would raise one question? Why the gasp? When have I ever NOT clearly said that the Church learns from the Scriptures the value of Apostolic Tradition and from Tradition she learns that all her doctrine is to be built upon Scripture? Donkey years ago, Dr. Marquart did a fine piece called: "Let's Ask Scripture and Tradition about Scripture and Tradition." I got the idea from him!

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 1:39:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

You're on to something quite profound Vicci! Amazing that a church which claims the ability to make pronouncements infallibly cannot tell you what all of them are so far.

According to my Catholic professors at my Catholic university, "church" itself is part of the ongoing understanding of the church, that the precise formulations of bishop, priest, and deacon are not to be found as we know them in Christ, Scripture, Tradition or history, but rather in the journey through time of the People of God kept by the Holy Spirit, a process of which the definition of Scripture is part, along with an ever deepening understanding of church, of its ministry, of its teaching, of its function, and the state of understanding of one point in the process does not stop the process nor represent its final formulation, which will come only at the end of the journey of the People of God at the end of time.

So as with Scripture, so with church itself -- it is what it is because the church says what it is, and that is a process, the process itself and not any point in it being of God.

The current crisis being not a matter of the process itself, but who controls it, the conservatives wanting to retain something of the old authority for the newly advanced understandings, the liberals thinking much of the old authority is itself an earlier less full understanding than the progress of the People of God comprehends now.

You're travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind, a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imigination -- next stop, the Catholic Church!

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 1:56:00 am , Anonymous Tom said...

David, epic. Just epic. Love it.

PS, thanks PE for taking the time to answer my questions before.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 2:12:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

Do this -- do what, the novus ordo missae, the Tridentine Rite? "Do this" formulates a liturgy? Well hell, Passover is coming, drop by for a seder and I will show you exactly at what point to say "This is my bpdy" and "This is my blood" rather than the traditional words.

God bless me sideways, blow me out the door and sweep me down the street, you invoke an "orthodox theologian" when the plain words of consecration over the wine, concluding the consecration of the elements, call it "the blood the new and eternal testament".

It is the worthless, faithless, miserable, stinking deposit of dung enough to feed more rats than even the Pied Piper could remove, the novus ordo, which detached the proclamation mysterium fidei from this most sacred moment and identifying it -- Mystery of Faith, or, verbs of existence being typically not stated in Latin, This Is the Mystery of Faith -- and morphs it into "Let us proclaim the mystery of faith" leading away from the mystery of faith itself to your choice of several statements about it.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 4:23:00 am , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

Mostly good, Mr. Schütz, but isn't there a problem in the second-last paragraph of your second-last comment? The Assumption of Our Lady is a Dogma of the Faith, a revealed truth, a primary object of infallibility, whereas the deaths of Ss. Peter and Paul (historical facts) and their attainment of eternal beatitude (hagiographical facts) are secondary objects of infallibility, right? I'm just pointing out that the analogy might be flawed since we are talking about the Deposit of Faith here, not connected but non-revealed truths.

"Paragraphs 75 and 76 are contradictory. The former states a command to preach, not, as you add, write; the latter states that the command was kept by preaching and writing."

There’s no contradiction, since 75 talks about how the Apostles preached the Gospel, while 76 talks about how they handed it on.

"Cardinal Ratzinger tried (with help), apparantly, but with the conditional "this might not be all" ..."

Where/when was this? I had never heard about that.

"Amazing that a church which claims the ability to make pronouncements infallibly cannot tell you what all of them are so far."

A question for Lutherans (I don't mean to open up a new thread with this, so just point me towards the relevant section of the Book of Concord if that'll suffice): does the non-infallibility of the Church as conceived of by Lutherans mean that a believer can only ever have a moral certainty, not the certainty of Faith, about the veracity of any given dogma?

“the novus ordo, which detached the proclamation mysterium fidei from this most sacred moment and identifying it -- Mystery of Faith, or, verbs of existence being typically not stated in Latin, This Is the Mystery of Faith -- and morphs it into "Let us proclaim the mystery of faith" …”

Off-topic, but: it should be noted that it is not the Latin Typical Edition of the New Missal that imposes the horrendous “Let us proclaim …”; rather, it is the approved English translation that does the butchering. Does anyone know whether this will be rectified in the forthcoming translation?

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 6:34:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

False. 76 says it keeps the Lord's command. If 75, which contains the Lord's command, is a distinct matter, then both the preaching and the writing of the "handing on" are outside of the Lord's command.

False. Ratzinger's comment was in a commentary written in 1998 on Ad teundem fidem.

False. The objection is not "Let us proclaim ...", objectionable as that is, since it has no basis in the Latin text, but neither does the most common of the "Memorial Acclamations" Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again, in which he is spoken of in the third person yet we say he is right there in the mystery of faith. The objection is to removing the words mysterium fidei from the consecration at all, unwarranted add-ons or not.

Was noch?

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 9:00:00 am , Blogger Vicci said...

(Vicci) "Cardinal Ratzinger tried (with help), apparantly, but with the conditional "this might not be all" ..."

(Cardinal Pole) Where/when was this? I had never heard about that.

1998 commentary (as mentioned by PE), with the assistance of the Prefect Bertone. My 'quote' was poor: C. Ratzinger explicitly stated that their list was not to be taken as exhaustive.

As for papal 'infallibility':
Pope John xxii disagreed with the teaching, as he 'did not want to be bound to the teachings of previous popes.
Pope Honorius was labelled a heretic by the 6th Ecumenical Council (..perhaps unfairly?)

Kung: Infallibility -An inquiry is worth a read...


having said all that, it is really important (imv) NOT then to assume that all or any of the Pope's teaching is in error. Simply, it should be tested by the usual Standard.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:31:00 am , Anonymous matthias said...

I will give a Baptist perspective if I may.Scriptures are held as being of greater importance than tradition. Not Bibliotary as Spong would have people believe,but because the Bible is infallible and correct because of the Holy Spirit's inspiration to the writers.
Tradition well,that is a Slow train,however i note that my church has published a Lenten booklet ,written by a member- a former Anglican minister. i would say that all those canonised as Saints before the Reformation are to some extent still viewed as such by individual members.after 1517-1522 that is different.Many active Baptists and Presbyterians might view some of the Traditions as being humanistic add ons,and i know that the Presbyterian theologian Francis Schaeffer certainly did.Ironically his son Frankie converted to Orthodoxy.
.My father had great regard for Dorothy Day and the catholic worker movement even though he was a Protestant fundamentalist,but told me he viewed some traditions as being unScriptural.
Good to hear from the Cardinal.

equinox: doornock midwinter

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 4:27:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Past Elder said...
Paragraphs 75 and 76 are contradictory. The former states a command to preach, not, as you add, write; the latter states that the command was kept by preaching and writing. If 75 is true, then the writing is not by command of the Lord. If 76 is true, then the command of the Lord included writing.

Cardinal Pole is correct when he answers

There’s no contradiction, since 75 talks about how the Apostles preached the Gospel, while 76 talks about how they handed it on.

§75 does not forbid the apostles to write. Jesus did not command the method by which the Gospel was to be proclaimed. Only three of the 12 apostles later wrote any scripture at all, and we believe that they did so under the impulse and inspiration of the Holy Spirit rather than on the basis of a Dominical command.

I do not want to under-emphasis the importance of the Dominical commands – for it is precisely these that were passed on to the Successors of the Apostles: "Do this", "Baptise", "teach", "preach", etc. are all Dominical commands passed on to all of the Apostolic Successors. Not all wrote, because not all were commanded to write. All were commanded, however, to "communicate the gifts of God to all men".

PE also said:

The rest …is supported by reference to nothing, not Scripture, not Apostolic Tradition, not even the Fathers, but -- a document of the Catholic Church, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, aka Dei verbum (DV), from 1965.

I believe you misunderstand the function of the quotations from Vatican II in the Catechism, Terry. They are not quoted as "supporting references" in the sense of texts which prove this or that assertion. Rather, they are quoted as references from the authoritative and living teaching Magisterium which demonstrate that this or that assertion is the faith which the Catholic Church teaches.

The 1995 Catechism of the Catholic Church may well be called the "Catechism of Vatican II", as it has a relationship to the Council which preceded it much akin to the "The Catechism of the Council of Trent". That previous work, you will remember, quoted the Council of Trent in much the same way as the present Catechism quotes the most recent Ecumenical Council.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 4:53:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

I said: "The Catholic Church is convinced that all she teaches is in accordance with God's Word - or she would not teach it.

Vicci said: Possibly so. (-the belief, that is). No. Truly so. (the belief, that is).

The reference that Vicci raised and PE supported to the Doctrinal Commentary on Ad tuendam fidem is slightly odd – and Vicci surprises me by her familiarity with this document. The document is only in German and Portuguese on the Vatican Website (the link given above includes Ad tuendam fidem, and you have to go half way down the page to find the commentary), but may be found in English on the EWTN Website.

This commentary gives (at §11) some "Examples" of the kind of teachings referred to by the oath "I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act." These are not examples of "infallible" utterances, but rather authoritative utterances which require docile submission from the faithful.

It makes the comment that these "examples" are given "without any intention of completeness or exhaustiveness". That is not to say that one could NOT give a complete or exhaustive list – it is just not what this document attempts to do.

However, I actually concede that in fact it would be impossible to make an exhaustive list.

The reason for this is stated in the commentary itself in footnote 17:

"17 It should be noted that the infallible teaching of the ordinary and universal Magisterium is not only set forth with an explicit declaration of a doctrine to be believed or held definitively, but is also expressed by a doctrine implicitly contained in a practice of the Church's faith, derived from revelation or, in any case, necessary for eternal salvation, and attested to by the uninterrupted Tradition: such an infallible teaching is thus objectively set forth by the whole episcopal body, understood in a diachronic and not necessarily merely synchronic sense."

It is hard to say how it would be possible to list all the implicit truths "contained in a practice of the Church's faith" for instance. In the same way the list would need to be open ended because there is conceivably still more truth to be "derived from revelation" depending on the circumstances which the Church is called to address.

Perhaps as just an aside to this discussion, I have recently been wondering whether it would be possible for the Lutheran Church to compile something like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I rather think not – and that is why they must content themselves with the slim, though otherwise extremely well-compiled and written – Small Catechism of Dr Martin Luther (yes, I know that there is a Large Catechism too, but this is of a different nature).

The problem that would face any Lutheran theologian or pastor or synod trying to compile an exhaustive catechism is that, beyond their core and essential doctrines, Lutherans do not have the same certainty about many broader faith questions that Catholics have.

And here is where I think Cardinal Pole's question is in order, which I repeat, because I think it is a good one:

Does the non-infallibility of the Church as conceived of by Lutherans mean that a believer can only ever have a moral certainty, not the certainty of Faith, about the veracity of any given dogma?

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:00:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Vicci said: Further, Schutz seems to imply that there was a vacuum 'before (NT) scripture', which had to be filled by Tradition. Yet the NT was written by eye-witnesses (in the main). There is no gap that had to be filled by the word being handed down (spoken)

No, I don't think you are on the right track here, Vicci. I meant to respond to your comment about the Beatitudes in the last string.

The natural way of things would incline us to believe that items such as the Beatitudes and Lord's Prayer and the Eucharistic Verba existed as oral tradition before they became scripture. This is supported by the fact that we have separate authorities recording them, and that they record them in very similar, yet slightly different, forms.

It is also worth pointing out again, as I did before, that only three of the 12 apostles actually wrote anything (Matthew, John and Peter). The rest of the NT was not written by eye witnesses – Luke, Mark, Paul, and (for the sake of argument) James and Jude (brothers of the Lord).

On top of that, there is much within the Gospels and Acts that not even Matthew and John witnessed – such as the birth at Bethlehem, or conversation between our Lord and Nicodemus.

I am not questioning the historical veracity of any of these events – I am just saying that oral tradition was the way these stories were preserved so that they could be written down.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:04:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

William Weedon said...
Why the gasp? When have I ever NOT clearly said that the Church learns from the Scriptures the value of Apostolic Tradition and from Tradition she learns that all her doctrine is to be built upon Scripture? Donkey years ago, Dr. Marquart did a fine piece called: "Let's Ask Scripture and Tradition about Scripture and Tradition." I got the idea from him!

I gasp because of the inherent (or apparent) contradiction in what you say.

Major Premise: All doctrine is to be built on Scripture. (Corollary: Any doctrine that is not built on Scripture is false)
Minor Premise: The principle of Sola Scriptura is built upon Apostolic Tradition, not Scripture.
Conclusion: The principle of Sola Scriptura is false.

Am I missing something?

And I am perfectly happy with the idea that Scripture AND Tradition tell us about Scripture AND Tradition, because of the close relationship between the two, but you can't say that Scripture AND Tradition tell us "SOLA Scriptura" because you have already admitted to the "AND".

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:09:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Cardinal Pole said: Mostly good, Mr. Schütz, but isn't there a problem in the second-last paragraph of your second-last comment? The Assumption of Our Lady is a Dogma of the Faith, a revealed truth, a primary object of infallibility, whereas the deaths of Ss. Peter and Paul (historical facts) and their attainment of eternal beatitude (hagiographical facts) are secondary objects of infallibility, right? I'm just pointing out that the analogy might be flawed since we are talking about the Deposit of Faith here, not connected but non-revealed truths.

Well, yes, I was just demonstrating that for something to be true, it did not need to be in Scripture.

But which ever way you look at it, the Assumption had to be an historical event in order to be true as a doctrine of the faith. (Incidentally, there are some, eg. some Anglicans, who do not believe this – but then they believe the same thing about the Resurrection of our Lord).

I believe it is because of the historical timing of the Assumption that it is not narrated explicitly in Scripture (although I believe that St John, who cared for Mary in her old age, refers to it in Rev 12). No "Life of Mary" made it into the canon.

I think an equal example would be if we did not have the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, would we still be required to believe that Jesus was born of Mary in Bethlehem? I believe so, and it would be so on the basis of the historical fact of this event and the oral tradition which preserved it in the Church.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:10:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Cardinal Pole said: Off-topic, but: it should be noted that it is not the Latin Typical Edition of the New Missal that imposes the horrendous “Let us proclaim …”; rather, it is the approved English translation that does the butchering. Does anyone know whether this will be rectified in the forthcoming translation?

Answer: Yes.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:13:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Vicci,

It is only when a pope teaches intentionally and definitively and publically a doctrine that is to be believed by all the faithful that his teaching is regarded as "infallible".

The sad example of Pope Honorius (who has been the subject of discussion on this blog in the past) does not count as his opinion was given in a private letter, and it is not clear that intended this to be taught and believed.

Further, I believe John XXII would have been quite comfortable with the rather narrow definition of "infallibility" accepted by Vatican I. He would not have been bound by terribly much that he was not bound to by Scripture and Tradition already apart from the charism of papal infallibility!

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:46:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

David, I respect your right to your belief(s). Like feelings, they are not a matter of debate..they just are.
However, when 'beliefs' are based on error, or on things contrary to Scripture, they cannot be expected to be 'believed'.
Thankyou for the word on Papal Declarations of Infallibility. It matches my understanding, pretty much.
Regarding the dogma of the Assumption:
this was a Papal Declaration. (Pious xii ?) From the Chair, yes?
Not only was the dogma stated, but added was a line which in effect said that if one did not believe and hold to the dogma, they were not in communion with the RC. (worse, actually).

Part of the dogma refers to the 'ever Virgin Mary'. The statement contradicts BOTH scriture and Schutz, who rightly acknowledge Jesus had brothers.
(Schutz in this com-box)
Numerous passages confirm Mary as having children, and Jesus having brothers.
Scripture says of Joseph, (what a wonderful study of true manhood he is!), that he did not 'know' Mary (have intercourse with) UNTIL AFTER Jesus was born.

Clearly the CC prefers 'tradition'(or something) to scripture in this example.
Clearly the 'infallible' is not.
The only alternative is: Scripture is fallible, and if that is the case, we're all in a pickle.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 7:13:00 pm , Blogger GAB said...

Vicci said: "Part of the dogma refers to the 'ever Virgin Mary'. The statement contradicts BOTH scriture and Schutz, who rightly acknowledge Jesus had brothers.
(Schutz in this com-box)
Numerous passages confirm Mary as having children, and Jesus having brothers.
Scripture says of Joseph, (what a wonderful study of true manhood he is!), that he did not 'know' Mary (have intercourse with) UNTIL AFTER Jesus was born."


It continues to amaze me that this old chestnut still comes up. The only excuse for offering it is if one hasn't yet read "The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary" by St Jerome (a consummate biblical scholar). I have yet to meet an original argument that seeks to prove from the Bible that Mary had children other than Christ (including the one about Jospeh not knowing Mary until she had given birth) that Jerome did not mention and soundly refute in this document in the fourth century.

Here is a link: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf206.vi.v.html

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 7:24:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...

Vicci,

Scripture does not say that Mary had other children.
Scripture does talk about the "adelphoi" of Jesus. "Adelphos" is a word with a much broader range of meanings than the word "brother" in English. It can refer to any close relative.

And "heos" in Mt 1:25 does not mean "UNTIL AFTER." It may mean "until," thus allowing for the fair inference that afterwards something occurs.It can also mean "up to that time" with no implication of anything happening afterwards. The classic example is Michal who had no son until (heos) the day of her death. She most definitely did not start giving birth afterwards.
The intent of Mt 1:25 would seem to me to simply be concerned with the nature of the relationship between Joseph and Mary before the birth of Jesus.

Damian

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 7:25:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...

Oops... See 2 Samuel 6:23 in the Greek for the use of "heos"wrt Michal.

Damian

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:34:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

Hello Father Damian,
-respect your POV -and can understand why you need to
hold it. I'm basing my reply on the following evidence, along with the observation that "God is a God of Order..not Confusion"

Jerome's view, altho superficially attractive, is undoubtedly erroneous.
Though "brother" (I don't do Greek on this keyboard) is nquestionably
sometimes used in the LXX (and possibly) the papyri
in a wider sense ie: (relative), it's usual meaning is brother (blood brother).
If the Writers had meant 'cousin', then they could (-would!) have used the customary word for cousin' (cf: Col 4:10 ) for this relationship.
-NO confusion!
To suggest that several of Jesus' 'cousins' were part of the apostolic circle is in direct opposition to John 7:5 which flatly states that Jesus' brothers did not believe in Him. (cf: Mk3:21, 31-35)
(-any parent will identify with this sort of sibling reation!)

Further Jesus' brothers are only ever associated with Mary and Joseph..not with
Mary of Clopas (assumed by Jerome et al to be the wife of Alphaeus) in the Gospels.
To believe Jerome's spin (because that what his Reply to Helvidius really is), is to believe that Mary had a sister...called Mary.
(-that IS confusing!)
The evidence from scripture is that the evangelists did not hold to this idea of Mary remaining Virgin. eg: Lk 2:7 and Matt 1:25
(I respect your reading of the latter passage, but cannot agree. It's pretty plain language).
Tertullian, notably, supports the above, along with most biblical scholars.
(and Schutz, of course)

There is no veneration of Mary in the NT.
Jesus, Lk 11:27-28 expressly warned against such.

For me, the fact that Jesus was born of an earthly mother, and grew up with siblings
in a family environment, simply reinforces the wonder of 'God Made Flesh'...
..and adds weight to the scripture: He was in all things like us..but without sin.
(-no wonder his brothers weren't enamoured with Him !! )

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:34:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Hey, GAB(by - as I will christen you!), great to have you on the show! Everyone else: Visit Gabby's blog at http://glennabolas.blogspot.com. I love the way you describe yourself, Gabby:

"I am not my job. I am not my upbringing. I am not the things I know or the skills I have. I am a sinner being saved by grace, a self marooned in the cosmos. There are clear signposts. The path is perilous. Fortunately, I am not the first to come this way."

Thanks to you and Fr Damian for coming in to bat.

This is a discussion that has taken place on this blog before, where I said:

"I am convinced that on the grounds of scripture alone, there are very good reasons for understanding "brothers and sisters" to mean something other than "offspring of Mary". I have mentioned the excellent treatment of this question by Raymond Brown in his commentary on the Gospel of John (volume II - in the section dealing with the Women at the Cross), but summary treatments can be found here by Fr Most and here in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Finally, you might like to consdier this essay in First Things, which presents and weighs all the possible views. But for me, a clinching reason for holding Mark 6:3 to mean something other than it appears to mean in "plain English" is the continual memory of the Church from the earliest times, which never (contra Dan Brown et aliter) records a "royal blood-line" of Jesus' relations."

I also think the story of Jesus in the Temple clearly illustrates that Jesus was an only child, and the passages where Jesus' brothers try to control him in the scriptures indicate that they are older (rather than younger) relatives - otherwise Jesus would have been the boss in the household. But really, you can do what Raymond Brown does and look at the relationships described in the gospels between James, and Jude/Judas and Simon etc. and their mothers and you soon see that they are not Mary's own children. This is all based on Scripture alone, by the way.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:36:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

No, Vicci, the usual meaning of "brother" in the NT is spiritual brother. Paul uses it all the time in this sense. That isn't the sense that Jesus' "brothers" are spoken of, but it does show that the term is not at all restricted to immediate siblings.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:42:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

If the Writers had meant 'cousin', then they could (-would!) have used the customary word for cousin' (cf: Col 4:10 ) for this relationship.

There is no word for "cousin" in Aramaic. Paul was writing in a Greek context. The Gospel writers were writing in an Aramaic context.

In fact, as one priest I know pointed out recently, the whole of Nazareth would have been full of Jesus' "brothers".

But you overlook the fact, Vicci, that the person against who Jerome is writing was being renounced as having introduced a "novel idea" - that Mary had other children. Such an idea is simply unknown in the early Church. This is not something the Catholic Church invented. It is the oldest tradition. DESPITE the mentions of "brothers" in the Gospel.

Which makes it a perfect illustration of why the Catholic Church does not embrace "sola Scripture" - as if you could interpret the Scriptures absolutely apart from the way that Christians have always read them.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:47:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Further Jesus' brothers are only ever associated with Mary and Joseph..not with Mary of Clopas (assumed by Jerome et al to be the wife of Alphaeus) in the Gospels.

Mark 15:40?
Mark 16:1?
Matt 27:26?
Luke 24:10?

Who was the "James" spoken of here, if not the James who was the bishop of Jerusalem and author of the Epistle, ie. the Brother of the Lord? And can it be said that this James' mother was also Jesus' mother?

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:51:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Finally, the Lutheran Reformers were okay with the idea of an "ever Virgin" Mary - cf. the Latin version of the Smalcald Articles (Part One, 4).

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:54:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

However, when 'beliefs' are based on error, or on things contrary to Scripture, they cannot be expected to be 'believed'.

Here then is the problem, illustrated by this discussion about the "brothers" of Jesus.

You say that to teach Mary as "ever Virgin" is contrary to Scripture. We say it isn't. You show us your verses, and we show you ours. You are not convinced. Fair enough.

The point is, either interpretation is possible. We choose the interpretation that has the weight of the authority of the Church behind it. Your interpretation is that of an individual man whose views were rejected as heretical by the Church, and with whom not even Dr Luther agreed.

Go figure.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:56:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

"There is no word for "cousin" in Aramaic. Paul was writing in a Greek context. The Gospel writers were writing in an Aramaic context."

Matthew's Gospel was written in Greek. (as you well know)

(I'll get the Lutherans to reply to the Lutheran Question)

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:01:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...

Vicci,

Honestly, I don't care one way or the other - I don't have a particular POV onto which I need to hold. Whilst I give my assent to the longstanding belief of all Christians (with but few exceptions) until the late 1800s, it would not phase me one way or another if a document was found that said Mary had other children.

The simple reality - that all scholars which I know of agree on - is that you can't prove one way or another whether Mary had other children based on the data we have in the New Testament. If I remember correctly, that was about the only point of substantial agreement in the 1990 Lutheran / Roman Catholic dialogue on Mary in the United States.

I'm a bit confused about the God of Order - God of Chaos thing... Surely, there are many difficult passages in Scripture - confusing ones even? Or does a belief in a God who creates Order out of Chaos entail a belief that all which comes from him must be crystal clear and not open to the confusion that arises from using limited human speech to relay his word?

Damian

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:05:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

"Your interpretation is that of an individual man whose views were rejected as heretical by the Church, and with whom not even Dr Luther agreed.

Go figure."

That is incorrect. Please read my post.
(it took long enough to write it)

I suggest that the CCs position is: (as PE has repeated said) that it starts with a conclusion, and works backwards to try to substantiate it.
Jerome clearly does this. He is trying to justify a hypothesis.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:07:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...

Vicci,

just noticed your last comment. Does the fact (?) that Matthew was written in Greek necessarily mean that he used every word as those trained in classical Greek would have used it. Having lived and breathed Italian and German for a number of years, I'm aware of how much I "englished" my Italian and German.

Speaking Italian here the other day with a long term immigrant to Australia (here since 1962), I couldn't help but laugh when she used the words "handicappati" for "handicapped" and "trustare" for "to trust." Her italian was also anglicised.

Why ought we assume that Matthew's Greek was not hebraicised or aramaicised?

Damian

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:17:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

Hello again, Father

Mary having other kids is not germaine to saving faith; agreed.
(If) Mary was taken up to heaven, or not, also is not.

I just don't see the point of some of the traditions of the CC being pushed beyond a fair reading of scripture. In a way, it's the church doing Mary a disservice.
She was picked by God -gosh, as if any earthly veneration could add to that!
It's a pity so much effort is spent in 'fighting' this POV, when
there's so much work to do.
I'm sure you're busy!

Blessings to you as yu go about it.

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:23:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

"Why ought we assume that Matthew's Greek was not hebraicised or aramaicised?"

-why indeed!
(unless one accepts a Divine Hand in the Gospels..)

(that Greek ref. was simply in response to (naughty) Mr Schutz
inserting yet another red herring)

Now, a qn for you Father (if I may?)
Is it true that 'ordination of men only' is not ex cathedra ?

(..and if not, should someone tell the Lutherans? )

 
At Thursday, March 12, 2009 11:38:00 pm , Blogger frdamian said...

Vicci,

Of course you may ask me questions... But, I'm not sure I understand your question or the following allusion to the Lutherans.

Are you asking if the statement re "ordination of men only" was an infallible declaration according to the definition of Vatican I? It's not - and then Cardinal Ratzinger said as much.

Shifting back subjects - as to too much energy being spent on Marian issues - I don't think too many people really spend much time on this... It's not my experience. Further, from the days when I studied the ecumenical dialogues (back in the early 90s), I remember mostly positive outcomes from scholars and bishops/pastors (not necessarily exclusive) engaging in discussion of such issues. More unites us than separates us both!

God Bless
Damian

 
At Friday, March 13, 2009 1:13:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

I'll get into the gale force winds of Vatican II newspeak posturing above as Catholicism later.

But first, re Mary, brothers, Matthew etc, here's something (one of thousands) I was taught by the RCC before the Revolution that I don't hear nay more:

Matthew is in Greek as we have it, but unlike the rest of the NT is actually essentially a translation of an earlier Aramaic text we no longer have. Because of its earlier nature, and having first been in the language of Jesus, it has pride of place in the lectionary (that would be the one tracing back to St Jerome serving the church for a millennia and a half until being dumped in the Revolution for its new one) and also placed first among the Gospel accounts though not the first written as we have it, thus, as the Gospel, primarily Matthew, takes over the place of Torah in the readings at divine services, so also the Gospels take the place of Torah in the NT, coming first, and among them Matthew coming first.

Which would also give a context to the Aramaic/Greek thing in Matthew. Perhaps this is all under the ban from the Intergalactic Congregation (congregations no longer being "sacred", man they got that right) for the Observance of Vatican II.

Since when did a supporting reference prove anything, but rather offer support from that to which it refers. Which was exactly my point. The "magisterium" supports itself by reference to -- the "magisterium"! fMy history with this stuff didn't start in 2001.

Finally for now, if I were, and when I was, a Catholic I should worry less about whether the "Lutheran church" could produce soomething like the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and more that the Catholic Church has produced exactly the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it being neither a catechism nor Catholic.

 
At Friday, March 13, 2009 4:32:00 am , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

Thank you, everyone, for your answers to/comments on what I said earlier.

Since Mr. Schütz has indicated that it's relevant to this discussion, I'll repeat my earlier question:

"Does the non-infallibility of the Church as conceived of by Lutherans mean that a believer can only ever have a moral certainty, not the certainty of Faith, about the veracity of any given dogma?"

Whereabouts in the Book of Concord does it deal with this question, and, more generally, the question of why Lutherans don't think that the Church teaches infallibly through her Bishops (or, in Lutheran terminology, members of the Office of Holy Ministry), whether dispersed throughout the world or gathered in a Council, or her Pope. Or, to put it another way: could one of our Lutheran (or former Lutheran) readers explain how Lutherans go about proving propositions 27 and 29 of Exsurge Domine (1520), and with what kind of certainty Lutherans regard them as true?

 
At Friday, March 13, 2009 6:25:00 am , Blogger Cardinal Pole said...

(I'll be back on Monday.)

 
At Friday, March 13, 2009 8:41:00 am , Blogger Vicci said...

David posted:
"No, Vicci, the usual meaning of "brother" in the NT is spiritual brother. Paul uses it all the time in this sense. That isn't the sense that Jesus' "brothers" are spoken of, but it does show that the term is not at all restricted to immediate siblings."

Agree.

'Brothers' is used several ways -here are two:
Andrew, brother of Simon
James, brother of Jesus

-go figure.

(or as the old joke goes:
Pastor: what has four legs, a tail,
pointy ears and was found in the stable?
Child: well, it sounds like a donkey... but I guess the answer must be Jesus)

Usually, the obvious IS just that.

 
At Friday, March 13, 2009 3:40:00 pm , Blogger Kiran said...

Now, someone else might contradict me here, but didn't Luther say it was ridiculous/insane to question the Perpetual Virginity? (I looked this up, so I am willing to be told why I shouldn't pay attention to it.)

"It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin ... Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact." Weimer, The Works of Luther, Pelikan, Concordia, vol. 11, pp. 319-20

"I am inclined to agree with those who declare that 'brothers' really mean cousins here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers." (Ibid, vol. 22-23, pp. 214-15)

Likewise Zwingli, I am told:

"I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel, as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure Virgin."

Vicci, I wonder if you can find me a passage in scriptures to contradict modalism.

Also, I am inclined to accept that we should call a donkey a donkey. It just so happens however, that the balance of the rest of humanity seems to think that you are wrong in thinking that the beast does walk on four legs, a tail, pointy ears, and lives in a stable.

 
At Friday, March 13, 2009 5:37:00 pm , Blogger Schütz said...

Vicci, I too as a rule always favour what you call the "plain" meaning of the text. (eg. "This is my body").

But of course, it is always tricky to assume what the plain meaning is - especially in ancient writings from another culture that have been through several translations (once from Aramaic tradition to Koine Greek writing and thence into 21st Century English).

1) "Brothers" can have two (or more) meanings
2) No where do the scriptures explicity say that "Jesus' brothers" were "Mary's sons"
3) there is enough scriptural evidence to call the so-called "plain" meaning into doubt.

So we get a case where Scritpure seems to indicate that Mary had other children, but does not categorically say so, and also contains other evidence that Jesus was an only child.

For me then, the clinching factor must be: How were the scriptures understood on this matter by those interpreters who were closest in time and culture to the original text? The answer is that they understood Jesus to be the only child of Mary.

This, incidentally, is not an argument that invokes the Church's authority. It is a sound argument of hermeneutic of any ancient text.

The Church's authority is icing on the cake of an interpretation that is fundamentally historical and textual.

 
At Friday, March 13, 2009 7:09:00 pm , Blogger GAB said...

Schutz, thankyou very much for the welcome. And for those links. Most interesting and pertinent.

A couple of comments to other posters:

There is very good reason for believing that Matthew as we have it now was either translated directly or substantially based upon an Aramaic original. Eusebius explicitly says that Matthew wrote a gospel in the Hebrew tongue (ie. Aramaic) first and that this was later rendered into Greek to give it wider distribution. Furthermore, though I know no Hebrew whatsoever and only a very little Greek, people I know who do have more than a passing acquaintance with these languages inform me that one can clearly detect a number of Hebraic/Aramaic idioms and words lying beneath the Greek in Matthew. Granted, I am taking their word for it, but still...

Secondly, Vicci, I get what you mean when you talk about the Incarnation seeming to be inconsistent with Mary being ever-virgin. If I'm not mistaken, the problem is to do with the kenosis. God, when He becomes Man, should not be given any advantage or special treatment but should be, as Paul says (and you quoted), like us in all but sin. To suggest that His family life was something out of the ordinary seems to impinge upon that. I recall feeling something similar when I first thought seriously about the Immaculate Conception. I still feel it when certain people suggest Mary had a painless delivery. In answer I can only say that, for my part, I don't see why Mary's perpetual virginity should be a necessary truth (ie. had to happen) only that it is true. Christ wasn't the first to be an only child. Quite apart from Jerome's arguments (which I, for one, find convincing scripturally- it makes no sense to me why James and Joses, etc. should have two mothers), if there had been other blood relatives from Christ's immediate family, the same thing would have happened to them as happened to Mary- they would have been accorded special honour. The fact that Mary alone was accorded special honour as time went on is significant. Or, at the very least, vaguely suspicious.

Vicci said: "She was picked by God -gosh, as if any earthly veneration could add to that!" It doesn't seek to add to it (as you rightly point out, how could it?), merely to recognise it.

Vicci said: "It's a pity so much effort is spent in 'fighting' this POV, when
there's so much work to do.
I'm sure you're busy!

Blessings to you as yu go about it." Well put.

 
At Friday, March 13, 2009 8:02:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

I am not convinced!
(but I must admit a certain allure in all of this..)

The chat has been, in the main, a joy. I've been led to get out the Books, and have a good read. No bad thing! As the discussion has developed, a sense of people being really nice.. (but sticking to their guns..as they should) has pervaded Schutz's 'com-box'.
Not unique..but refreshing!

I like the invoking of the 'authority of Luther' in all of this. Nice touch! Not so much because he's Luther..but because he's a Doctor !!
I'm sure that similar invocation of his thoughts on veneration of Mary, or praying to her (or the saints) will also feature!
My sources suggest strongly that the Greek Matthew shows a form which repudiates the suggestion of translation. I'm no scholar, so I defer to such scholarly opinion. (how they 'know' such stuff is hard to grasp!).
Clearly, there is no extant Hebrew (Aramaic) version.

Any Germans present?
I am wondering if Luther translated the troublesome 'brother' as 'cousin'?
( or 'friend, relative, mate'..whatever.)??

Now, I am taking my (2nd!) glass of Barossa Semillon, and leaving the discussion for folk more learned..and less cheeky.

yum!

Clearly God is a Lutheran!!

 
At Saturday, March 14, 2009 2:25:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

As to the Hebraic original nature of the Greek Matthew, evidence of this starts from Word One, I was taught before the Revolution. Matthew offers a genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham; Luke back to Adam. For the Jewish audience of the original Matthew, Abraham is what counts and all that is needed to establish Jesus' pedigree so to speak; for the Gentile audience of Luke, desecent from Adam is shown to connect him with all men, not just Jews.

As to how Luther handled it, I am not a German but will have to do until one comes along, though I grew up among the bleeders, was taught by them, speak a Bavarian dialect, can outlast the heartiest grandmother doing the polka at a wedding reception, and will not have Christmas unless stollen and sausage are served for breakfast, the true test of Germanicity, Germanitude, Germanness, and Germanhood.

So for starters, Luther in John 7:5 uses Brueder, in Mark 3:21 uses die Seinen and Brueder.

 
At Sunday, March 15, 2009 2:09:00 am , Blogger William Weedon said...

Oh, dear. So much...

Well, a beginning:

Dear David, I do not see a contradiction at all. Sacred Scripture teaches us the value of Tradition (and also teaches us to distinguish between mere human traditions and apostolic ones); Tradition teaches us that the sacred Scriptures are the sole source for the foundations of Christian dogma because our faith rests upon the revelation made to the Apostles and Prophets and not on any other revelations made to men, regardless of their sanctity. The Scriptures do not derive their authority from Tradition's witness about them; they derive their authority from being incontrovertibly the Word of God.

Vicci,

This Lutheran holds with Dr. Luther and the entire Lutheran Church for centuries that the Blessed Virgin Mother remained Virgin her whole life through. The Lutheran Symbols state this as well: "So she is truly the Mother of God and yet has remained a Virgin." SD VII:24 I wrote an article about this that Forum Letter published at Christmas. If you email me, I'd be happy to share a copy of the article with you.

 
At Sunday, March 15, 2009 1:31:00 pm , Blogger Vicci said...

Thanks, Pastor W.
I have 'Asked Pastor'
Hopefully it's worked.

V.

 
At Sunday, March 15, 2009 2:16:00 pm , Blogger William Weedon said...

I think I'll post it here as well. It might be of some use to others (and hopefully the Forum folks won't yell at me):

Ever-Virgin? But We’re LUTHERANS!

Because Lutherans are not immune to the historical amnesia that characterizes so much of our world, it is not surprising that they react with shock when they read in the Lutheran Symbols such words as these:

“The Son became man in this manner: He was conceived, without cooperation of man, by the Holy Spirit and was born of the pure, holy [Latin: and ever-]Virgin Mary.” SA I 1:4

“Therefore, she is truly the mother of God and yet has remained a virgin.” FC SD VIII:24

What was rather a commonplace to earlier generations of Lutherans has become all but a novelty among them in this day and age: the notion that Blessed Mary remained a virgin until her death.

Now, note the use of the word “until” in the previous sentence. Quite obviously I did not mean that AFTER her death she ceased to be a virgin! The word “until” doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t necessarily say diddly about what comes afterwards. It’s attention is fixed on “up to that point.” So St. Jerome and the Lutheran Reformers argued we must understand the “until” in Matt 1. “He did not know her until she had given birth to a son.” The “until” there – eos – says nothing about what happened next.

But doesn’t the Bible teach that Jesus had brothers and sisters? Indeed it does. But a brother or sister does not mean, necessarily, a son or daughter of Mary. In fact, it is rather striking that they are never called Mary’s children in the Sacred Scriptures and that at the cross our omniscient Lord (who realized that St. James, at least, among his brothers would shortly be a believer and leader of the Church) entrusted the Blessed Mother into the care and keeping of St. John. For century upon century, Christians understood this as a clear indication that Mary had no other offspring to look after her.

How did the early Lutherans speak of this? Luther was well known for saying we ought not make too much of the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Mother. In this he was not innovating, but following the wisdom of St. Basil the Great. In a Christmas homily, that great father once observed:

For "he did not know her" - it says - "until she gave birth to a Son, her firstborn." But this could make one suppose that Mary, after having offered in all her purity her own service in giving birth to the Lord, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, did not subsequently refrain from normal conjugal relations. That would not have affected the teaching of our religion at all, because Mary's virginity was necessary until the service of the Incarnation, and what happened afterward need not be investigated in order to affect the doctrine of the mystery. But since the lovers of Christ [that is, the faithful] do not allow themselves to hear that the Mother of God ceased at a given moment to be a virgin, we consider their testimony sufficient. Homily [PG 31, 1468]

Yet Luther similarly had no truck for those who denied her ever-virginity. He wrote, quite scathingly:

Helvidius, that fool, was also willing to credit Mary with more sons after Christ’s birth because of the words of the Evangelist: ‘And he knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born Son.’ This had to be understood, so he thought, as though she had more sons after the first-born Son. How stupid he was! He received a fitting answer from Jerome. [St. Louis XX:2098, cited in Pieper II:308]

Thus, though Luther was opposed to making a great issue of the topic, he certainly believed it and not only wrote about it, but preached it. In his homily delivered on the Eve of the Day of Circumcision in 1541, only a few short years before his death, he proclaimed:
Now, although Mary was not required to do this – the Law of Moses having no claim over her, for she had given birth without pain and her virginity remained unsullied – nevertheless, she kept quiet and submitted herself to the common law of all women, and let herself be accounted unclean. She was, without doubt, a pure, chaste virgin before the birth, in the birth, and after the birth, and could certainly have gone out of the house after giving birth, not only because of her exemption from the Law, but because of the interrupted soundness of her body. For her son did not detract from her virginity, but actually strengthened it…. [House Postils III:256]

Nor may we suppose this a bit of medieval catholic leftovers that the fervor of the Gospel had not yet cleansed from the great Reformer. A century after the Reformation, Johann Gerhard’s Sacred Meditations announce:

He is the first and only-begotten of His mother here on earth, who according to His divine nature is the first and only-begotten of His Father in heaven. [Sacred Meditations XIV]

And in his Christmas homilies, the perpetual virginity remained a recurring theme. For example, using typology he sees the mystery of the perpetual virginity hidden in the account of Gideon’s fleece:

Thus, in Jud. 6:38,40 God performs a sign before Gideon so that the dew fell on his spread-out fleece, but the entire ground remained dry; the next morning, the fleece remained dry and the ground was wet. Thus the pure virgin Mary alone among all women, through the working of the Holy Spirit, received the Christ-dew, about which Isaiah 45:8 states: Drip down you heavens from above. Later, this dew came upon the entire earth, that is, the fruits of this birth pertain to all mankind; however, Mary once more became a dry pelt, that is, she remained a pure virgin after the birth, just as she was before the birth. [Postilla I:51]

The examples could be multiplied, but these will suffice to demonstrate that our Lutheran forebears both assumed, meditated upon, and publicly taught the perpetual virginity of Blessed Mary. While rightly noting that no doctrine hinges upon confessing this, they nevertheless clung to it. Why?

It was how they were taught to read the Sacred Scriptures. They firmly believed that the entirety of the Sacred Scriptures were a testimony to the Savior, and their read was typological. Thus, they found figures of Mary’s perpetual virginity in the Old Testament. Not just Gideon’s fleece, but Ezekiel’s vision of the closed door through which none may pass but the Lord (Ez. 44:2) and Aaron’s rod that budded and numerous others. Their focus was not so much upon Mary in all of this, as upon her Son, and the popular belief that being born of a virgin without violating her virginity demonstrated clearly that her Son was not only man, but truly the Logos enfleshed.

How do we read the Scriptures? Do we read them the same way our Lutheran forebears did? If so, we’d not be quite so shocked to discover that the Lutherans could joyfully hold to a quite old and established tradition which, while not explicit in the Sacred Scriptures, they held to be consonant with them and certainly not contradictory to them. I would humbly suggest that what matters about the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Mother is not so much the doctrinal freight of the teaching itself as the light it casts upon how we receive tradition in the Lutheran Church.

Luther once addressed the topic – not in the context of perpetual virginity, but of the baptism of infants. His words are instructive:

I did not invent it [infant baptism]. It came to me by tradition and I was persuaded by no word of Scripture that it was wrong. [AE 40:254]

Such words could equally well apply to the attitude of the great teachers in our Churches during the 16th and 17th centuries regarding, among other things, the perpetual virginity.

At work here is what Krauth once observed about the difference between a Lutheran and a Reformed approach to Scripture:

In the former [the Reformed tradition], Scripture is regarded more exclusively as sole source; in the latter [the Lutheran], more as a norm of a doctrine which is evolved from the analogy of faith, and to which, consequently, the pure exegetical and confessional tradition of the Church possesses more value. [Conservative Reformation, p. 123]

Blessed Mary, Ever-Virgin, then, was what they received from the Church in ages before them and which no Scripture convinced them was in error. For myself, I believe we were richer in those days before a hermeneutic of suspicion about tradition [show me where the Bible says THAT] became so prevalent in our Churches.

 
At Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:20:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello there my dear friend the name is graeme cabral berkerly gaskin from georgetown guyana i am a scripture wirtter i am writting the koran the bible the egyptian book of the dead the egyptian book of shadows as well as scripture on life love and peace and the promise of god for iverlasting life the reason i am writting you is to share some of this knowldge with you for you to use on your journey in a wise manner for the love of god ... there is a passage that i like to say many are choosen and many are selected for the lord does love many to come to his name ...... so for the sake of simplicity as that is the key to survival to be simple and not get caught up in the complexities of life i say ... i shall mix a little biblical ... hinduism and bhuddism and egyptain book of the dead and life and a little bahai and a little zoarastrainism so that you may find a solid foundation in your religious beleiefs ... please note a man that stands for nothing falls for anything .......

ok with all note to the satr of david and the holi trinity ... and all angles related .....
please pray and ask for the overstanding of this knowledge and you shall surely get it ..... to overstand is to be over the knowledge to be under it menas that someone has power and control over you with regards the knowledge ... this knowledge is to set you free not imprison thee ....

ok... now the glory be-ath of god is the glory to be had for kings to live the glorry of the kings is to be had for the glory of the people the glory of the people is to be had for the glory of gods creation .... the glory of gods creation is to be had for thw love and thanks to god for making us ... all mankind .... all womankind ..... all children kind ... all forms of objects both in-animate and animate owe there existance to god ... for that god must be praised and thanks for the granting of iverlasting life ......

ok thats that i have to go now .... i am a poor beggar man living on the streets of guyana ..... i am trying to gain financial independance .... i have two parents who hate god and the scriptures ..... gregory delmar gaskin and aine marie theresa gaskin ... i am now living in the slavation army rehabilitation centre in kingston georgetown guyana south america i have been persecuted ... imprisoned and isolated for my beleiefs in guyana south america ... i have written people all over the world , the pope in rome ... bbc news abc ....news ... cnn news ..... i have written the dalai lama and the knights templar and the freemasons and the essenes and many people all over the world ... asking to help me gain financial independance so that i could live a normal life ... i have outlined all of mine enemies who are responsible for the things that happened to me ...eg dr frank beckles and dr bhiro harry from georgetown public hospital .... and still to this day after six years of writting all over the world i have not been able to get assistance ... please help
tel number 011-592-6624523 ... graeme cabral berkerly gaskin
aka jhemakie ...... they sing about me in the music all over the world now .....

 
At Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:21:00 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello there my dear friend the name is graeme cabral berkerly gaskin from georgetown guyana i am a scripture wirtter i am writting the koran the bible the egyptian book of the dead the egyptian book of shadows as well as scripture on life love and peace and the promise of god for iverlasting life the reason i am writting you is to share some of this knowldge with you for you to use on your journey in a wise manner for the love of god ... there is a passage that i like to say many are choosen and many are selected for the lord does love many to come to his name ...... so for the sake of simplicity as that is the key to survival to be simple and not get caught up in the complexities of life i say ... i shall mix a little biblical ... hinduism and bhuddism and egyptain book of the dead and life and a little bahai and a little zoarastrainism so that you may find a solid foundation in your religious beleiefs ... please note a man that stands for nothing falls for anything .......

ok with all note to the satr of david and the holi trinity ... and all angles related .....
please pray and ask for the overstanding of this knowledge and you shall surely get it ..... to overstand is to be over the knowledge to be under it menas that someone has power and control over you with regards the knowledge ... this knowledge is to set you free not imprison thee ....

ok... now the glory be-ath of god is the glory to be had for kings to live the glorry of the kings is to be had for the glory of the people the glory of the people is to be had for the glory of gods creation .... the glory of gods creation is to be had for thw love and thanks to god for making us ... all mankind .... all womankind ..... all children kind ... all forms of objects both in-animate and animate owe there existance to god ... for that god must be praised and thanks for the granting of iverlasting life ......

ok thats that i have to go now .... i am a poor beggar man living on the streets of guyana ..... i am trying to gain financial independance .... i have two parents who hate god and the scriptures ..... gregory delmar gaskin and aine marie theresa gaskin ... i am now living in the slavation army rehabilitation centre in kingston georgetown guyana south america i have been persecuted ... imprisoned and isolated for my beleiefs in guyana south america ... i have written people all over the world , the pope in rome ... bbc news abc ....news ... cnn news ..... i have written the dalai lama and the knights templar and the freemasons and the essenes and many people all over the world ... asking to help me gain financial independance so that i could live a normal life ... i have outlined all of mine enemies who are responsible for the things that happened to me ...eg dr frank beckles and dr bhiro harry from georgetown public hospital .... and still to this day after six years of writting all over the world i have not been able to get assistance ... please help
tel number 011-592-6624523 ... graeme cabral berkerly gaskin
aka jhemakie ...... they sing about me in the music all over the world now .....

 

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