27 Responses

  1. Peter Aiello says:

    The Holy Spirit is throughout the whole church. At the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, the letter to the Gentiles from the council was sent by the “The apostles and elders and brethren” (15:23), and said that “it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us” (15:28). The letter was sent by the whole Church and not just the apostles.

    • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

      Correction: the letter was sent by the whole Church *in communion with* the Apostles

      Even though I understand that you are maintaining your usual defense of Sola Scriptura and the ability of the faithful to personally interpret it even apart from the Magisterium… I am at a loss as to what the relevance of your intervention is for this specific thread. I suspect that you may be uncomfortable with some aspects of Catholic Social Teaching that conflict with your political leanings and are thus trying to appropriate the Holy Spirit’s authority to keep believing as you want, but I may be reading you wrongly. However, if not for this, the purpose of your comment seems obscure to me.

      • Christopher Lake says:

        Pedro,

        Peter is actually a professing Catholic. I have had many interactions with him here (including a currently ongoing one, over at the “Pastors Gotts Pastor” article), and given some of his objections to certain aspects of Catholic teaching and church governance, I did think, for some time, that he was a committed Protestant, but he is actually a member of the Catholic Church.

        He has strong objections to Mariology, in particular, and I have pointed out to him that his objections are much the same as those of the militantly anti-Catholic Protestants that I know (and once was, myself, years ago, but that is another story!). His reply has been that his concerns about Catholic Mariology are rooted in Scripture and its supposed lack of Mariology– which is exactly what vocally anti-Catholic Protestants always say, but I digress! 🙂

        I haven’t seen any evidence that his objections to Catholic teaching are political in nature. I could be wrong about that, but his objections seem, to me, to be theological in nature, and rooted in *his particular interpretations* of Scripture and Tradition. For example, he is convinced that St. Louis de Montfort’s thinking on consecration to Mary logically involves latria– worship of Mary. I strongly disagree with him on that, and more importantly, the Church disagrees with him, but I have gotten nowhere with him on that point (or any other one, really). I have tried, though, and still continue to try! 🙂

        • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

          Christopher, I already have had my share of interactions with Peter and I know that he is Catholic (even though is rhetoric and objections closely follow Protestant-like arguments.)

          But my interactions with him predate yours. His first comment on this blog (that I’m aware of) was on an article of mine about the death penalty. He defended the alleged scriptural commandment to apply the death penalty to murderers as in Gen 9. So his objections, while theological in nature, are also political.

          Either way, I never said his objections on this particular post are political, but that his intervention on this article doesn’t make sense otherwise. I can’t find any other possible explanation for his comment on this particular article

          • Christopher Lake says:

            Thanks for your reply, Pedro. I was not aware that you had had a longer history of interacting with Peter here. I apologize for the misunderstanding on my part.

            From what I can tell, Peter’s intervention on this article (and on all other articles on this site, actually, from what I have seen!) is promoting his apparent belief that his interpretations of Scripture and Tradition are sufficient to judge certain aspects of Church teaching to be objectively un-Biblical or anti-Biblical.

            As far as what his thoughts in that direction actually have to do with *this particular article*, I am honestly not sure, other than that Peter simply has an agenda to push on this site which involves numerous objections to Church teaching, and he is pushing that agenda, wherever and whenever he can, in both its theological and political implications.

            Peter, if I am incorrect here, please show me how that is so. I am only writing based on the evidence that you have given with your comments.

          • Peter Aiello says:

            A part of what I do in my comments is to try to make Catholics see that we should not exclude Scripture in forming our consciences. It is here for our use also and not just for the hierarchy. Scripture tells us to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1Thessalonians 5:21). I take this verse literally. We can only evangelize what we have internalized into our personal consciences from different sources during our lifetime. I learned from others the most important things that I live by. I didn’t think of them myself. Scripture has been the most important resource for me. I did spend many years away from the Church, but I never labeled myself a Protestant. I am a Catholic who found my present spirituality from what I read in the Bible. I did not find it from later Catholic writings.

      • Peter Aiello says:

        My comment on Acts 15 may have been intended for another article which quotes Act 15 without mentioning that the letter to the Gentiles was sent by the whole Church guided by the Holy Spirit and not just the hierarchy. Current Catholic culture has a tendency to diminish the role of the laity in the Church.
        You are correct. I do believe that current Catholic Social Teaching leans more to the left than I am comfortable with.

      • Peter Aiello says:

        My reference to Acts 15 actually does apply to the last sentence in the first paragraph in this article where Pope Francis quotes Acts 15:28; but he restricts the “us” to only the apostles. The letter sent to the Gentiles was from the whole Church (15:23). This is why our own Scriptural test is important. Do we assume that everything that is presented to us by the hierarchy as Holy Spirit doctrine is indeed doctrine that is inspired by the Holy Spirit; or may it be ideology? Are all of the popes, cardinals and bishops under the influence of the Holy Spirit? How do we know? Is there an overarching Holy Spirit in the Church that is separate from the Holy Spirit who is within the individuals in the Church? I see no evidence of this.

  2. carn says:

    “We see the same thing happening in the abortion debate, on the artificial separation between “supply” and “demand.” Liberals prefer to focus on demand, while conservatives work on the supply side. So far so good. But the problem is that liberals seem to think that policies that curtail supply are unnecessary,”

    Could you give a hint who are the liberals you are talking about here?

    That is because i could not name any left of center party in any western country, regarding which i am aware that any parts of the party ever did the following:

    analyze the situation of women pregnant unplanned/in difficult circumstances and the difficulties that makes it hard for them to welcome their child; in public then say that call out said difficulties as being among other things a cause for the death of unborn humans; and suggest policies to alleviate the difficulties as this would also then prevent the death of unborn humans.

    The only things i am aware of is left of center parties proposing better contraception access, but not also for saving the life of unborn humans, but solely for the reason to avoid unplanned pregnancies; and suggesting more social welfare, but not also for saving the life of unborn humans, but for other reasons, e.g. reducing poverty, more equality.

    In other words, i am not aware of any left of center party ever doing/proposing anything also for the goal of preventing the death of unborn humans. (Which i suspect is due to left of center party usually not considering unborn humans to be humans)

    Therefore, please give if possible examples who the liberals are you talk about.

    Thanks.

    • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

      I think I made it pretty clear that I was talking about sectors inside the Church, not about political parties

      The “supply” vs “demand” dichotomy as it pertains to abortion has been very fashionable lately in social media, and it been advanced precisely by more liberal sectors. I recommend you research the New Pro Life Movement, and any movement with the tag Whole Life on it

      • carn says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        “I recommend you research the New Pro Life Movement, and any movement with the tag Whole Life on it.”

        Already done that some time ago; while on a pure theoretical level they have a point, they will be on a practical level ineffective, cause they will end up being more busied with denouncing other pro-lifers for this or that supposed/actual breach of the “seamless garment” and/or for being to focused on abortion than being politically effective.

        They should take Pope Francis words about abortion being like hiring a hitman as a guide.

        • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

          Well, you’re actually agreeing with the point of my article then

          Our sole point of contention is whether your own side is also doing something similar, by spending too much time railing against “liberal” policies on unrelated fields (immigration, etc) which are not only compatible with Church Social Teaching but actually demanded by it… instead of just focusing on fighting abortion

          You should take Francis’ teaching on abortion seriously. But you should also take Francis’ teachings on immigration seriously. Instead of looking how the other side doesn’t take Francis seriously, why not do some soulsearching about how your own side doesn’t take Francis seriously, so that you may start changing your side accordingly?

          • carn says:

            “Well, you’re actually agreeing with the point of my article then”

            With some parts i disagree strongly.

            E.g. two hypothetical scenarios:

            austria, abortion allowed up to 3 months, afterwards only in case of health issue of mother or child; 3 lines of thought try to gain traction: 1. scrapping the entire law making abortion on demand possible for any reason whatsoever paid by taxes/social security funds up until baby exits birth channel; 2. leaving the law as it is; 3. introducing mandatory counseling and a 3 day waiting period

            Catholic teaching is clear: a catholic may not support number 1; both number 2 and 3 might be supported; and i would feel free to call any catholic supported of number 1 a dissenter

            Next scenario, again austria; this time 3 proposals about social welfare: 1. raise welfare expenditures by the state and pay for it with higher taxes; 2. leave things as they are; 3. lower welfare expenditures and use the saved money to lower taxes; supporters of 1 argue, that this is the only way to reduce poverty in any meaningful way; supporters of 2 argue, that taxes are already so high, that they are a major factor keeping unemployment high and thereby cause poverty; supporters of 2 just think that both arguments are wrong

            How could i identify someone as dissenter?

            Very hard, i would have to study economics, tax code, the effects of increase and reduction of welfare, the current situation regarding welfare in austria in a VERY, VERY DETAILED way to have any chance, to know for certain and have evidence that either 1 or 3 is false – and only chance, cause economics and sociology are far from exact sciences, so that even after carefully studying the issue i might end up unable to have a reliable estimate who is wrong; just taking what experts say helps neither, cause there will be experts for supporting any of the 3 options.

            So while i would end up with some personal preferences for one of the option, i would never achieve the certainty required, so that i could point my finger at one of the groups of supporters and call them out for proposing something against catholic social teaching; cause catholic social teaching is of course both in favor of sufficient help for the poor and of not having unemployment boosting tax rates.

            That is dissimilar from the abortion situation, in which i can at least call out the up until birth for any reason-people as dissenters.

            The comparable situation would be, if someone suggested reducing any welfare spending of the state to absolute zero, so that literally no state employee would raise a finger for people starving right on the street in front of parliament; but as far as i know, nobody is suggesting that; unlike scrapping all abortion restrictions, which some people politically fight for.

            But that is what new-pro-life and similar groups in my view will end up or do end up doing: calling people dissenters who think raising welfare spending a bad idea and/or who think welfare spending is getting so high that it is furthering poverty instead of reducing it; which will just convince nobody, but harm any coalition building.

            “Instead of looking how the other side doesn’t take Francis seriously, why not do some soulsearching about how your own side doesn’t take Francis seriously, so that you may start changing your side accordingly?”

            Insofar i am active on one of “supply” or “demand” sides of pro-life, i am purely active on the “supply” side.

            But the supposedly “demand” side people are a lot more open and at least in principle willing to help than the supposedly “supply” side people; of the latter side some did not think it even to be prudent to confirm receipt of mails; the rest tended to be a bit unwelcoming; i expect that if i ever would need concrete help to further my “supply” side proposals, i could rely only on the supposedly “demand” side people; contact with them is a bit like communication between soldiers on the same side in the same battle, just fighting in a different area of the battlefield; not much to do to help each other at the moment, but if there would be an opening to help the other guys, one could expect the other group to do what they can from where they are on short notice.

            Never had this impression with “supply” side people.

            But maybe the day will come when they will prove otherwise.

          • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

            You would not need to study so much economics, really. It would suffice to study Catholic Social Teaching to ascertain the situation and know what the best option would be. Claiming otherwise is trying to create “ambiguity” in order to wiggle in ideas that are usually not compatible with CST.

            Same as a pro-choicer who would try to equivocate that you would need a degree in biology and sexology to know when human life really begins. You don’t need that. Common sense, guided by strong Catholic values, is suficient to know that abortion is wrong. The same can be said about most other issues.

          • carn says:

            “You would not need to study so much economics, really. It would suffice to study Catholic Social Teaching to ascertain the situation and know what the best option would be.”

            A claim i rank as totally bizarre.

            Who or where it is supposedly suggested that CST teaches with a more/less tax vs less/more social welfare spending decision which would be the correct and for catholics absolutely mandatory way to decide the issue?

            “Common sense, guided by strong Catholic values, is suficient to know that abortion is wrong. The same can be said about most other issues.”

            Most?

            I do not know how to call that adequately.

            But this at least explains, why you at wherepeteris see so many dissidents.

          • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

            The problem is, you’re looking at it from the wrong angle, as if CST was supposed to say “more or less tax” or “more or less welfare.”

            Your angle is similar to President Obama on abortion. When confronted with a status quo he wished to maintain because of his ideological premises, he just equivocated and needlessly complicated the issue, and then replied the answers were “above his paygrade”

            But this is not (mainly) a question of economics, it’s a question of morality

            According to the Universal Destination of Goods doctrine, the earth’s resources were created for everyone to have a decent livelihood at least

            So, if a person can’t provide for himself and his family, and so lives in poverty without access to the needed resources to live a dignified life, he is being stripped of what he is owed to him by Justice

            CST mandates that we should correct this injustice. First, we must see if private charity is capable of correcting this situation

            But if it is found that private charity is not enough, then the State has the right and the duty to correct this, namely through wealth redistribution via taxation

            This is CST. You can find a sample of it on the Casti connubii quote on my article

            So you don’t need an economics degree. All you need is to answer 2 questions:

            1. Is individual X privy to the resources needed to provide for himself a dignified life?

            2. If not, are private initiatives enough to correct the situation explained in no. 1?

            That’s it. If you answer “no” to both questions, then you are bound by CST to demand the State to intervene

            As for your second point, yes. Dissent in all its forms is sadly widely prevalent. You seem to think that’s a problem with Where Peter Is and not with the World

          • carn says:

            “then you are bound by CST to demand the State to intervene”

            But i am not bound regarding what the intervention is, whether it is – in the simplified case – raising taxes to supposedly redistribute better, lowering taxes to supposedly reduce poverty by more jobs or doing continuing with the ongoing intervention as it is, cause it is overall better at poverty reduction than number 1 or 2.

            And as i am not bound, (probably) no one else is bound either; hence, i cannot call out someone for being a dissenter for choosing 1, 2 or 3 instead of the others.

            That is unless i somehow have acquired a sufficient and reliable knowledge about economics and sociology to know for certain, which of the options results in the most optimal poverty reduction.

            “Your angle is similar to President Obama on abortion.”

            No, it isn’t. Cause when presented with the choice, i will try to choose what i think is best in light of the moral framework provided by CST. But I will (usually) refrain from calling out others who make a different choice for being dissenters; i will call them wrong, lacking understanding of the situation, socialists, cold-hearted capitalists or whatever; but not dissenters.

            Cause i am not in a position to know whether they are dissenters or just err in their evaluation, which option is optimal at poverty reduction.

            Maybe you are unaware, but while sometimes the state raising taxes to get things done helps, it also sometimes hurts more than it helps. So that CST teaches that poverty is to be reduced/eliminated, this teaching does not in any way prescribe which policies are best.

            Hopefully the Pope will help driving the point home:
            https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-says-entrepreneurship-needed-in-face-of-scandalous-poverty-74327
            ““If there is hunger on earth, it is not because food is missing!” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square Nov. 7.

            “What is lacking is a free and far-sighted entrepreneurship, which ensures adequate production, and a solidarity approach, which ensures fair distribution,” he continued.”

            You need those entrepreneurs to reduce poverty; and to have them, sometimes requires less state involvement and activity. Of course you also need solidarity and if it comes in insufficient amount freely, then the state must help through taxes and redistribution.

            But the discussion, when and where what is needed and to be avoided, is the wrong place to start calling out people for dissent.

          • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

            Redistribution of wealth through taxation is a part of CST, explicitly mentioned in Caritas in Veritate (and implied in other encyclicals, namely Casti connubii)

            Trickle down economics is a libertarian concept, foreign to CST and explicitly condemned by Francis (bear in mind, entrepreneurship is not trickle down economics)

            As I told you, before we call the State to intervene, we must see if private intervention suffices. That includes an entrepreneurship that takes solidarity seriously, as Francis has said

            If you think we have such entrepreneurship in our current context in which entrepreneurs object to even paying their employees a living wage, then I will say that you are a person who has a preconceived answer and try to apply it to every situation, no matter how inappropriate it will be to solve the problem. Lowering taxes in this context with the hope that those entrepreneurs will somehow trickle down their newly acquired wealth is something Francis has told is wrong, so you can’t read his other interventions to promote that

            In the meantime individual X is still living in poverty, deprived of what is being owed to him, and he needs our response

            And if you think calling someone a cold-hearted capitalist is somehow better than calling someone a dissenter, then I don’t know what to say to you. A dissenter is simply someone who does not assent to a teaching. I use it not as an insult but as a description of their error. “Cold-hearted”, on the other hand, is judgmental on someone else’s heart

          • carn says:

            At least i can say, that that claim of mine was correct:

            With some parts [of what you suggest] i disagree strongly.

            “Trickle down economics is a libertarian concept,”

            You seem to be unaware, that not everybody suggesting under some circumstances that lower taxes might be beneficial to society and to poverty reduction is actually talking about “trickle down economics” or is a libertarian.

            “As I told you, before we call the State to intervene, we must see if private intervention suffices.”

            And as i told you, just because private intervention might be in certain circumstances insufficient to reduce poverty sufficiently, it not in all such circumstances the state interfering further would improve the situation.

            Maybe – as you have a medical background – think about a situation, in which you are in doubt whether it is better to do nothing and hope the patient will get better by himself or to start some treatment with side effects potentially worse than the actual illness; it would be wrong to argue, that the patient is in bad shape, therefore active intervention is absolutely mandatory no matter whether it is worse than the illness. That would be a plain stupid approach.

            Look at Venezuela; there is some serious poverty there; is the solution more state involvement, more redistribution and/or higher taxes? i do not think so, cause it seems state interfering too much and the wrong way is the cause of the whole mess.

            You tell me that if i happened to end up ruler of Venezuela tomorrow that i would have according to CST attempt redistribution of wealth to reduce poverty in Venezuela? And that if i end up not doing that, that i am a dissenter to CST? Seriously?

          • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

            Venezuela is currently undergoing a humanitarian crisis. People are living in poverty and unable to provide for themselves. The private sphere is utterly crushed. If you suddently became the all-poweful ruler of Venezuela, you could not simply dismantle the State and suddenly people would magically be able to fend for themselves. As with any humanitarian crisis, you would have to provide some relief to people, which is also a form of redistribution.

            Of course, as soon as minimal societal structure was restored and the private sphere showed enough vitality again, you would have to start reducing the weight of the State. This is demanded by the CST principle of Subsidiarity, according to which problems should be dealt with at the lower level possible. Again, this is a moral principle, not an economic one.

            The field of economics should follow the moral principles and not the other way around. I recommend you read the chapter “Buddhist Economy” from the book “Small is Beautiful” by economist E.F. Schumacher. Economy is a morally neutral field that produces whatever we design it to do. Until now, we have designed economics to maximize profit, not to maximize employment or to minimize poverty. We should design an economy to take into account the values of Solidarity and Subsidiarity as interpreted by CST, not try to fit those values into predefined ideologies. In this sense, a moral compass is more important than a PhD in economics.

            Now, your medical analogy seems to imply that I am advocating for more State as a principle. Not so. That is precisely the point of my article:

            «Ideology is a very comfortable worldview, in that it supplies easy answers to every problem, without any need of reflection or discernment. This happens because the answer is always the same. If you are confronted with a societal problem and you’re left-wing, your automatic response will be: “We need more State. State is always the answer.” If you are confronted with the same problem and you’re right-wing, you will reflexively say: “We need less State. State involvement is always a problem.”But according to a mature and realistic worldview, each problem should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, solving the problem will require less State. Other times, it will require more State. Some other times, it will require better State. What matters most is that we are guided, not by pre-formatted answers to every single question, but by solid moral values that may guide our discernment of each particular case
            But according to a mature and realistic worldview, each problem should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, solving the problem will require less State. Other times, it will require more State. Some other times, it will require better State. What matters most is that we are guided, not by pre-formatted answers to every single question, but by solid moral values that may guide our discernment of each particular case»

            So, in your Venezuela example, we would need “Better State” during a first phase and “Less State” on a second stage. But in the example of a western economy with an entrepeneurship which is not socially-minded as Francis urges it to be, we need “More State”.

            There is no dissention in having diferences of opinion on prudential matters, but it is not good to use the overarching excuse “prudential judgment” to shut down an option that is legitimate according to CST and may actually be morally demanded by its moral principles. People who claim “redistribution of wealth” is not compatible with Catholicism are dissenting from social encyclicals issued by popes. People who admit this possibility in theory, but in practice try to find, through equivocation and needless complication, to always justify this possibility away and always lobby for the same answer “less State, less State, always less State”, may not be theoretically dissenters, but they still show they are putting abstract ideological principles ahead of Church teaching… and ahead of the concrete situations of their needy brethren.

            Once more, I do not mean to call you a dissenter, nor use dissenter as an insult. I am bowing out of this conversation now. God bless and thank you for your contribution.

          • carn says:

            “each problem should be addressed on a case-by-case basis.”

            “So, in your Venezuela example, we would need “Better State” during a first phase and “Less State” on a second stage. But in the example of a western economy with an entrepeneurship which is not socially-minded as Francis urges it to be, we need “More State”.”

            According to my estimate, “western economy” encompasses around
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_world

            30 something countries.

            These have a spread of public spending ratio between 35% and 55% of GDP.

            A proposal for more taxes/less welfare spending/not doing anything for more welfare spending/less taxes/not doing anything is something completely different, when offered in the US (37% public spending ratio; and quite a chunk of that the military) and Austria (49%).

            Besides, the ratio of entrepreneurs with some “morality handicap” could be different in the US than in Austria.

            Why should the case by case approach be discarded if some words of the Pope might be understood or even if the Pope actually thinks, that both in the US and Austria the economic situation is so similar, that one can forget the case by case approach and apply to both the same policies?

            That the economic situation and the extent of state activity is rather different between US and Austria is not a matter of faith and morals, but simply data available via google:
            https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/government-spending-to-gdp

            Why should it be a matter of prudential matter?

            Am i really supposed to believe, that it is binding catholic teaching, that these two:

            “France 56.50”
            “Australia 36.20”

            both absolutely need more state?

          • Pedro Gabriel Pedro Gabriel says:

            And as you keep manipulating numbers to needlessly complicate the issue, I notice that the concrete situations of the concrete people who are facing poverty do not factor in anything you said.

            Again, instead of keeping with those incessant questions, you should really just answer two:

            1. Is individual X living according to the dignity owed to him as an image of God?

            2. If not, does private initiative suffice to give him what he lacks at this exact very moment?

            This conversation is not moving anywhere, so I’m going to end it. Thank you and God bless

  3. Christopher Lake says:

    Peter,

    I agree with you completely that (in your words) “we should not exclude Scripture in forming our consciences.” Of course, Scripture is God’s written word to us, and as such, the Church strongly affirms the reading of Scripture in forming our consciences.

    What the Church can *never* affirm, though, is that it is right for us to interpret Scripture in any way that may seem correct to us, for that way of interpreting Scripture can easily lead to Arianism or to any other heresy.

    It seems that you are advocating, on this site, for interpretations of Scripture (and Tradition) that would reject teachings which the Church commends to us as being solidly based in Biblical reasoning. For example, you largely reject Mariology, but the Church teaches that Mariology is firmly rooted in what Scripture tells us about Christ.

    After many interactions with you here, I am honestly curious, Peter– what is your endgame with your comments? When I was a Protestant, to my shame, I did try to “evangelize” Catholics by showing them where and how the Church was supposedly “Biblically wrong,” according to my personal interpretations of Scripture alone. As a Catholic, I now very seriously wish that I had not engaged in that particular sort of Protestant evangelism.

    In that light, I cannot help but wonder– why do you, as a Catholic, feel strongly compelled to spend so much time on a Catholic blog telling other Catholics exactly where, and how, the Church’s interpretations of Scripture and Tradition are wrong, according to your personal interpretations of Scripture and Tradition?

    For myself, as a Catholic, I left behind personal interpretation of Scripture which “judges” the Church’s teaching to be wrong when I ceased to be a Protestant. My Protestant past was helpful in many ways, but it was also very anti-Catholic in some of the ways that I personally interpreted Scripture. That is not a mistake that I wish to repeat in any way, shape, or form.

    • Peter Aiello says:

      How can you read Scripture without interpreting it? You’re advocating something that is humanly impossible. The real question is whether we automatically subordinate our interpretation to the prevailing interpretation in the Church. I believe that we violate our Vatican II psychological freedom if we do, and we violate our personal consciences when our conscience is convinced of our personal interpretation. The Holy Spirit in us is quite capable of guiding us also individually.
      By the way, I do the same thing in Protestant blogs and articles in which I am able to comment.

      • Christopher Lake says:

        Peter,

        Of course, I would not even try to say that we can read Scripture without interpreting it. Virtually all reading, period, necessarily involves interpretation.

        However, for a number of years, I had a good friend who was sincerely convinced that he was being guided by the Holy Spirit in his personal interpretation of Scripture, and he reached the conclusion that the doctrine of the Trinity is un-Biblical and heretical. Wouldn’t it have been better for him to listen to the Catholic Church, and thus, remain within basic Christian orthodoxy? Alas, he did not listen, and he became a vocal proponent of a view of God that is heretical.

        You say, just as Martin Luther did, that the Holy Spirit is quite capable of guiding us individually to interpret Scripture. However, according to my friend, the Holy Spirit did guid him, *through personal Scriptural interpretation*, to reject the Trinity. That is just one of many bad outcomes that can happen when we reject the Catholic Church’s authoritative role in interpreting Scripture in favor of our personal interpretations.

        • Peter Aiello says:

          I believe that the Catholic Church would say that he is obliged to go with his conscience even if the Church considers it to be erroneous.

          • Christopher Lake says:

            Peter,

            The Church obviously does teach about the importance of carefully listening to one’s conscience. The Church also teaches that one’s conscience can be either well-formed or ill-formed. I am not aware of anywhere in the Church’s teaching, however, where one can find the idea that the type of personal interpretation of the Bible which leads to heresy is a part of forming one’s conscience well.

            For example, when you say, for all intents and purposes, that consecration to Mary clearly conflicts with Biblical teaching, even though that consecration has been strongly commended by centuries of Saints and Popes, down to our present day, you have embraced a form of personal interpretation of the Bible which not only is not *encouraged* by the Church, but that is *directly opposed* by the Church. That is not a reliable road to forming the conscience well, unless you simply wish for your conscience to be autonomous, and not formed and guided by the same Holy Spirit which guided the Church in forming the Biblical canon, and in the Church’s teachings on faith and morals.

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