This is somewhat disingenious, Mark Shea:
In the Land Where Everybody is a Protestant, Including the Catholics…
I have recently been defending you in the double attack launched as a petition to EWTN. Both on account of finding the layman Perry Lorenzo saintly - no doubt not meaning cohabiting with another man is good example as such, but I think you meant he gave lots of good example apart from that, including to his partner - and on account of being a layman, blogger and making money from that. It is a thing I do myself, namely be a layman and a blogger but except so far make money (unless you count the 3000 and some more € from granny last year as from my writing) and that is anyway what I intend if I am not remaining stopped and stumped. As has the case been so far. But I agree, the way of livelihood is honest as such and who is such and such petitioner to block someone from it. And finding one man saintly, whom afterwards one sees was homosexual, but general evaluation still stands to one, and then being confirmed he lived chastely is not a disqualification from that calling. Nor is being homeless (before making the money) such a disqualification.
However, it seems you are overdoing the point of your book By What Authority and leaning a bit too much on a bishop who cannot himself say certain things as publically as you without getting attacked and deserving it and thereby illustrating a bit more the failure of precisely authority in the Church after Vatican II. You seem to think he speaks for all bishops if he tries to make people believe that Pope and all bishops are evolutionists. Your actual words are that with these the 4.5 billion years of earth and 13.5 billion years of universe "are not controversial" - a rubber phrase which is equally true if none of these bishops openly oppose evolution as a heresy and if none of those bishops disbelieves evolution as a new dogma. Unofrtunately it gives an unwary reader the impression of meaning the latter. A writer should beware of such rubber phrases. Chesterton - whom I know you like - was not very fond of the phrase just quoted.
And the Kolbe Institute is not in opposition with Rome, nor is it in trouble with the bishop where it is headed. Its patron is St or Blessed Maximilian Kolbe and its agenda is opposing evolution. So, you might just have shot your loyalty to episcopacy a bit over the mark.
And if it were true that both Pope and each non-Pope bishop in communion with him were supporting evolution as a new dogma, judged by which "fundamentalism is a heresy" as you put it according to them, one could ask what authority they have to make a major change of doctrine like that. Obviously none. And they know it. If the bishop has authority because he is successor to some apostle, he cannot declare heretic a view of Genesis which each Apostle pretty obviously had. If he has authority because he is delegate of the Pope, then that is because the Pope is successor of St Peter.
And St Peter was a Young Earth Creationist especially and explicitly writing about the Deluge of Noah as of a true historic fact. And his successors have not become such with any authority to change his doctrine, that is one thing Vatican I makes very clear. Quoting from memory: "non ut novam doctrinam patefaceret spiritu sancto revelante sed ut depositum fidei ..." - " not in order to publish as it were on revelation of the Holy Spirit a new doctrine but to ... the deposit of faith".
"Part of being President is deferring to people who *do* know what they are talking about in fields where you wield no expertise."
First of all, no President could possibly make any real decision based on us supposedly descending from Tiktaalik. One can be bad at writing, as was Charlemagne, and be a decent king, emperor or president or duke or whatever.
Second, part of that is being able to choose with some freedom between rival claimants to knowledge. Some Pagans had Pagan priesthoods pretty firmly established as the acknowledged expertise on "the gods" and choose to overturn that expertise in favour of the Catholic Church. Like the descendants of Cathbad had to give way to St Patrick. Like an Odinist priest of Northumbria (probably descending from poor old magician and sham god Odin himself) counselled his king to leave off being Odinist. He even burned the temple he had been serving in. Reducing evil to ashes.
Third, then, comes the question whether a President should endorse continued dogmatical teaching of evolution or give at least freedom to teach the controversy.
"In the field of the sciences, the overwhelming evidence is that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old and that the universe is about 13.5 billion years old."
Here comes that "not controversial" phrase. Avoid it, as said. It is a rubber phrase. I tried to comment on this asking the pertinent question of whether the overwhelming thing for this is really the actual observed evidence or the consensus of scientist who need to comply with certain theories in order to make their academic carreers (one reason why I for one prefer being a layman blogger and try to make money out of that).
But if it were really true that Pope plus all Bishops in communion with him do uphold Evolution as the Truth, that would pose a pertinent question of whether they really are in charge of their ministries or rather intruders from some non-Catholic sect - such as Freemasonry. You know, Freemasons are pretty dogmatical about both a cosmography of planets orbitting solar systems and evolution happening in that framework. And each bishop who acts consistently in such a way as to make himself suspect of upholding evolution as the truth "de fide ecclesiastica" thereby makes himself suspect of being an intruder from such sects. Even cradle Catholics may apostasise in secret and then get in charge of ecclesastic offices that are really reserved for such as have not apostasised.
"In the Catholic Church, to which Marco Rubio belongs, this consensus is not controversial among educated people (including the Pope and all the bishops of the world)"
Catholicism does not reckon with such a deference to non-controversiality (as said, avoid such rubber phrases if you like clear writing) among "educated people". First apostles include one educated but fallen man, previous to his calling: St Matthew was Levite before he was Tax Collector. Levite implies educated. Tax collector implies fallen. They involve at least four not so educated people: Sts Peter, Andrew, James and John (humming the relevant line of Lord of the Dance in my head).
Judaism is based on this deference. One single rabbi - though the oldest, Gamaliel - did not want Christianity summarily condemned. All the other educated people did. You know the kind who would commiserate the Kelly Family because when they were street musicians they sometimes missed a shower.
So - is your bishop or priest or whoever tells you this stuff about "educated people" - a Catholic or a Jew?
"and only causes a stir with cranks and people who think they are Catholic but in fact are still fundamentalists."
And Catholicism condemned "fundamentalism" at what council? Not at Trent. It condemned "sola scriptura" but not "tota scriptura" and indeed condemned Protestants for not believing things that are there in the Scriptures such as II Maccabees on prayers and sacrifice for the dead and for their absolution (in some sense) from their sins.
Not at Vatican I. Which stood clearly for - as mentioned - complete continuity of doctrine. And not Vatican II either, though a phrase in Dei Verbum taken separately from previous magisterium seems to give a loophole for not being fundamentalist about the 6000 or 7200 or 7500 years that the world had been in existence. In the Latin rite you communicate with monks whose reading from the martyrology of December 25th gives the world about 7200 years.
But perhaps Pope Leo XIII condemned fundamentalism in the case of Geocentric implications thereof by Providentissimus Deus, encyclical? Check out paragraph 18:
18. In the second place, we have to contend against those who, making an evil use of physical science, minutely scrutinize the Sacred Book in order to detect the writers in a mistake, and to take occasion to vilify its contents. Attacks of this kind, bearing as they do on matters of sensible experience, are peculiarly dangerous to the masses, and also to the young who are beginning their literary studies; for the young, if they lose their reverence for the Holy Scripture on one or more points, are easily led to give up believing in it altogether. It need not be pointed out how the nature of science, just as it is so admirably adapted to show forth the glory of the Great Creator, provided it be taught as it should be, so if it be perversely imparted to the youthful intelligence, it may prove most fatal in destroying the principles of true philosophy and in the corruption of morality. Hence to the Professor of Sacred Scripture a knowledge of natural science will be of very great assistance in detecting such attacks on the Sacred Books, and in refuting them. There can never, indeed, be any real discrepancy between the theologian and the physicist, as long as each confines himself within his own lines, and both are careful, as St. Augustine warns us, "not to make rash assertions, or to assert what is not known as known.''51 If dissension should arise between them, here is the rule also laid down by St. Augustine, for the theologian: "Whatever they can really demonstrate to be true of physical nature, we must show to be capable of reconciliation with our Scriptures; and whatever they assert in their treatises which is contrary to these Scriptures of ours, that is to Catholic faith, we must either prove it as well as we can to be entirely false, or at all events we must, without the smallest hesitation, believe it to be so."52 To understand how just is the rule here formulated we must remember, first, that the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately, the Holy Ghost "Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation."53 Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers -- as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us -- "went by what sensibly appeared,"54 or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.
A Heliocentric saying that the miracle of Joshua has no geocentric implications would be one way of obeying that. A man claiming that the miracle of Joshua has such implications would also be obeying it if he was strictly geocentric or geostatic. The one who would not be obeying it would be the guy who said "ok, the text has geocentric implications, but that is because it is erroneous" even if he added "though not in a matter pertaining to our salvation". And precisely people who make that kind of claim are among the chief pushers of evolutionism.
But didn't Leo XIII at least make clear how he saw things, that he fully accepted Heliocentrism? Check out final words:
Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers -- as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us -- "went by what sensibly appeared,"54 or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.
He as well as I knew that quote from Summa Theologiae. Where it answers how come the Bible does not mention the crystalline spheres which that Church Father believed in. And St Thomas as well. So, for anyone accepting the new astronomy and calling the Bible wrong on that account, or even trying to reconcile the Bible with it, the problem is that this Church Father was "excusing" the "incomplete" info to be gotten from the Bible because he believed a contemporary account of astronomy - precisely as the 19th C. man who would not be believing the crystalline spheres. Who would be vindicating the impression the Bible gives of a void above us and between the stars.
Of course, one can argue that Leo XIII should have taken a firmer stand against Heliocentrism if it really was wrong.
Papacy may have been promised never to take a firm stand on anything without having a due and true reason, but it has not been promised to take such a stand immediately each time there is such a reason. Honorius did not take a firm and clear stand against Monotheletism, which is a heresy (I have by the way heard such accounts of Gethsemane/Crucifixion in St Nicolas du Chardonnet as to make me wonder if they are not, some of the priesthood, by reducing the preference of Christ for not dying to an animal reaction, sharing monothelite tenets). Leo X finally had to take a firm stand against Luther, but he didn't really want to.
If in some instances the Church nearly falls all of it into a heresy before Papacy speaks up against it, the promise of Christ remains and it remains compatible with the Papalist interpretation thereof.
And if Humani Generis does allow learned people to discuss whether Adam was formed out of previously alive material (taking a stand either for or against) Pius XII does not actually say that the learned who take a stance for it should be such as belong to the faithful. Jews like Gould are learned enough to give such a debate two sides even if all learned Catholics partaking in such a debate are strict Young Earth Creationists.
In fact the reception of Humani Generis as a blanket licence to be evolutionist with a few reservations (including not doubting Adam and Eve) has destroyed the debate. Except that Catholics like Sungenis and a few Protestants like Tasman Walker make it a debate again, as Pius XII had ordered.
It is funny how some Catholic bishops or priests or watchful laymen are at odds with anything that is popular among Protestants. In Paris Mgr Williamson has among Trads taken more bashing for liking Tolkien and C S Lewis than for supporting a certain interpretation of the evidence of chemistry in relation to gas chambers. Why? Because JRRT and CSL can both be labelled "New Age" and because CSL remained an Anglican and never converted to Catholicism. And because he is popular among Evangelicals.
At the same time some Catholics take up Puritan prejudices against individual almsgiving. With a clear preference for soup kitchens and social workers. After all, the beggar theoretically could be an alcoholic who would spend all he got on alcohol. And it would *so* be the almsgiver's fault if the almstaker spent alms the wrong way. A Muslim who wanted to give me ten € asked for only one condition: that I promise not to buy alcohol from it. Otherwise it would be a sin for him to give. Some Catholics seem to have the same take, although I have not found it in St Francis of Sales. I turned the offer down, because I wanted to give a lesson about freedom, about property not remaining in hands that give them away, and about me not wanting to be a project for Muslims trying to reform me. Besides, I had a toothache and a few drops of liquor might have done well as combined disinfectant and anaesthetic. But it seems some Catholics would more agree with that Muslim than with me. And I wonder why they keep calling themselves Catholics, when they think like Protestants.
And likewise some *Catholics* are ashamed to agree with a Conervative Protestant like Kent Hovind or Tasman Walker but not ashamed to agree with Stephen J. Gould who is a liberal Jew.
I fully agree that it is shameful when people expose Scriptures so as to contradict clear evidence from experience and reason. That is of course the passage most quoted by Gouldians who are confessionally Catholic from De Genesi ad Litteram:
If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?
I quoted it myself on my post about Distant Starlight problem:
Triviū, Quadriviū, 7 cætera : Distant Starlight Problem - Answered by Geocentrism
I tried to post this in a comment on your blog post. However it was "awaiting moderation" last time I saw it, and it has not been published. I also in same comment linked to my exchange (on scientific matters) with Biblical Geologist Tasman Walker:
Creation vs. Evolution : Feedback to Tas Walker on Geological Columns
You see, I hold to the Tridentine definition of not exposing Scripture other than according to consensus, not of present day scientists but of Church Fathers gone by and gone to Glory since Christ founded his Church. That also happens to be one Orthodox insistence about exegesis.
I see much clearer evidence in the same Church Fathers for Geocentrism and Young Earth than for either Papal or Episcopal Supremacy in the Church and also clearer than for or against Filioque. Though, thanks to St Athanasius, and a few others, filioque is clearer than papacy. At the very least as a valid option.
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
(a special library in Paris)
Second Sunday of Advent
Day after Feast of Immaculate Conception.