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Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #166 
Your point is obviously fallacious. The alleged fact the Church has sometimes been free with annulments clearly doesn't mean that divorce and remarriage is not forbidden according to Catholic doctrine, and it is doctrine and the proclamation of doctrine in question not whether Catholics or even bishops and Popes have always lived up to it. An annulment is not a divorce and what is in question is not whether annulments are permitted but divorces. You will have a lot of work to do to present your point in a non-fallacious way.
Peter

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Reply with quote  #167 
An annulment is a divorce in all but name. Oh, there are rare cases where there are genuine grounds for ruling that no valid marriage occurred, but generally speaking annulment is used as a face-saving device to allow people who no longer wish to be married to each other, or who would prefer to be married to someone else, to do exactly that and remain in the Church. There is nothing fallacious in saying this, it is backed up by the facts in the vast majority of examples. And is entirely consonant with Catholic practice in other areas. Doctrine can never change, so when we change it we'll say it unfolded. Only God may be worshipped, so when we worship the many Marys and the saints we'll call it veneration. And so on.

Now it may well be that if all this hypocrisy were to be put aside the entire edifice of the Church's authority would begin to crumble, and that the answer to how to keep divorced and remarried people in the Church is to cease all efforts to tighten up on annulments and return to the days when they were sprinkled around like, er, confetti. Any suggestion though of actually acknowledging the facts and allowing Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics is incompatible with doctrine in name, which matters, as well as in fact, which doesn't. Getting back to easy annulments won't fool anyone, but it will keep up the fa├žade while minimising the problem. Obviously, senior figures in the Church cannot publicly discourse in those terms. They would however be well advised to do so privately, and forbear fulminations about heresy and schism. Or leaking ships, which is where we started.
Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #168 
You are running together different issues. If the point is the Church has sometimes given out annulments too freely, then that doesn't affect the doctrine in question, any more than the fact a few Popes had children affect the prohibition on fornication. It is obviously fallacious to argue otherwise. There is actually nothing contradictory in maintaining saints can be venerated but not worshipped, or you haven't shown there is. There is in practise a difference between making explicit what was implicit in a doctrine and just overturning that doctrine. Or, again, you will actually have to show the Roman Church does overturn its settled doctrines. Of course, you are also now just attacking the whole Catholic understanding of the Church and magisterium, which is a whole different discussion - your arguments are irrelevant to those holding the Catholic understanding of their Church, an understanding which was tacit in our discussion. I would think Francis and his allies would not say they had a different understanding of the Church's magisterium to their critics.

If the point is Catholic doctrines on annulment and divorce contradict each other, so divorce is banned but some of the permissible circumstances in which annulments are granted (ie., not those in which the actual teaching on annulments says they shouldn't be given) meet the Church's criteria for divorce, then this must be shown in detail. You would have thought theologians and canon lawyers will have noticed.

If the point is that your understanding of the term divorce fits some instances of permissible annulments, though the Church's understanding of divorce doesn't, then this irrelevant. We are discussing whether the Church can change doctrine.

And in the end that is the main point. The entire Catholic understanding of the magisterium is the Church overturn settled doctrine. There's nothing you have brought up that remotely calls that into question or justifies Francis's actions.

Dr. Feser has a good post on papal infallibility, which touches on important aspects of the Catholic understanding of doctrine.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/papal-fallibility.html?m=1
Peter

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Reply with quote  #169 
The answer to the last sentence of your third paragraph is that the Church can change doctrine and has done so on a number of occasions. Nevertheless, the second sentence of your fourth paragraph, 'The entire Catholic understanding of the magisterium is the Church [cannot] overturn settled doctrine', is with my amendment correct, so long as you specify which magisterium you have in mind. The reconciliation of these apparently incompatible statements is that while the Church can add to doctrine, which is after all a change, it cannot go back on doctrine previously announced.

Like most inflexible positions, this can sometimes cause problems. In the specific case, the problem is that divorce and remarriage are now a normal part of society, regrettable as the fact may be, and to maintain an unyielding stance against them not merely risks but guarantees a continual diminution in congregations, to the loss of the Church's power, prestige and, not unimportantly, exchequer. But it has no choice about maintaining that stance. Easy annulments are the answer to the conundrum, ceasing to regard people who divorce and remarry as adulterers and therefore barring them from the sacraments is not. To that extent the Pope's critics are right. They should however descend from their moral high horse before launching their attacks. But anyway my original point was and remains that whatever others do, Pope Benedict in his unique position ought to have remained silent.
Wessexman

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Reply with quote  #170 
I was simply speaking loosely when I said doctrine cannot be changed, as should be clear from the context. I meant by change overturning what is now settled, not drawing out what might be implicit in it or making clear what is not yet clear or settled. My basic point is Francis and his allies seem to have created a situation in which heretical interpretations are given succour, ones that threaten the whole edifice of the Church. This seems a serious enough situation that a gentle intervention from Benedict is fine.

The Roman Church has its moral teachings, and it doesn't necessarily think these must change to match worldly opinion. Unless one thinks that, it is hard to see either why there must be easy annulments or why conservative Catholics shouldn't hold to their moral positions (horses and all). It is surely a basic Christian view that sometimes we should stand against the world for what is right, even if we suffer for it. It isn't even as if liberal churches have fared better than traditionalist ones when it comes to maintaining congregation numbers.

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