Warsi mosque minaret 2
Islam

Mosque without minaret? Baroness Warsi spectacularly misses the point

 

What’s the main problem with Islam? The mosque and minaret, or the Wahhabi-Salafist apprehension of Mohammed? Professor Sayeeda Warsi (of St Mary’s University, Twickenham) explains: “What I would like to see is the quintessential English mosque,” says the Baroness to the Telegraph‘s John Bingham. “It is not for me to say what that would look like,” she adds with academic humility, before retracting her diffidence with the observation that there is “no reason why” mosques might not be built to resemble English village churches.

Which is a bit useful, because quite a few English churches have already been converted into mosques, though not too many village ones: the rural idyll of harvest, cricket, cowpats and warm beer isn’t the preferred lifestyle of most Muslims. But converted churches abound in British towns and cities – Brent, Peckham, Wembley, Brick Lane, Green Lane, Manchester, Oldham, Southend, Margate, Cardiff..  And don’t assume that it’s just an Anglican/Nonconformist problem: St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Stoke-on-Trent has also been converted into a mosque.

With most of these churches, the spire has been converted into a minaret, or, where there was no existing spire to convert, a great minaret has been abutted to the main church building to somehow islamify it. Baroness Warsi isn’t a huge fan of this. It’s not for her to say what the “quintessential English” mosque should look like, but minus the minaret is, for her, seemingly a bit more English.

Which is a bit odd, since minaret-less mosques exist all over the world (as they do without mihrab, minbar or dome). The Unites States has been moving away from the minaret for quite a few years, and Switzerland eve has a minaret ban. Even the Kaaba in Mecca is just a cube. A minaret-less mosque is no more quintessentially English than tolerance and respect are British values.

But Professor Baroness Warsi “is urging architects and designers to come up with a new model for Islamic places of prayer as part of a drive to develop an authentically ‘British’ brand of Islam”. She notes: “If the principal reason no longer exists, with someone having to physically go up to the minaret, should we take more local cultural reference points from this country instead?”

It is true that the adhan (call to prayer) no longer has to belted out from the top of a tall tower: loudspeakers from the main hall are the new technology. But since when did “principal reason” become the determinant of enduring religious tradition? The principal reason for not eating pork or seafood no longer exists: we have refrigerators to stem the growth of harmful bacteria, which was quite difficult in desert climates. The principal reason for halal/kosher slaughter no longer exists: the ‘blooding’ of animals for hygiene purposes has been superseded by more compassionate methods. The principal reason for Muslim men growing a beard no longer exists: why emulate the grooming habits of a seventh-century prophet if you’re not going to wear a turban or ride a camel? There is much to discuss about religious tradition, theory, interpretation and reformation, but minarets on mosques are a bizarre starting point (not least because ‘Mosques don’t need minarets‘ was the observation of Naseem Khan writing in the Guardian six years ago):

Why does a mosque have to look as if it had been transported directly in from the Middle East? There is no specific directive in the Qur’an about minarets. The building simply has to face in the direction of Mecca. Just that. But over time we have come to stereotype the mosque. The traditional has become the conventional, and convention has become thoroughly identified with sanctity. Cupolas, domes and minarets are it.

Professor Baroness Warsi agrees up to a point: “The only requirement is for it is to have a place for the imam to stand, to be facing Mecca when you pray and to have places for people to wash before prayer.” But surely the principal reason for wudhu in the mosque was to wash all that Arabian sand off your hands and dust off your feet before you prayed? Do we not now have showers and baths in our own homes, not to mention roads made of tarmac and cars that don’t reek of camel?

But then we read this:

The peer, who served as faith minister in the Coalition government, is setting up a new foundation in her name to promote religious tolerance, said she wanted to start a national debate about places of worship in the 21st century and is planning a design completion to come up with new plans for mosques.

Ah, the ‘Warsi Faith Foundation for the Promotion of Religious Tolerance’? This debate (and design competition) isn’t so much a socio-theological inquiry as an exercise in branding and self-promotion. What is the principal reason for this new foundation, when we already have the Tony Blair Faith Foundation dedicated to the same theo-political pursuit? Why couldn’t she simply join that and help to forge a genuine cross-party mission?

“I want to see an Islam which sits comfortably within Britain and a Britain that sits more at ease with Islam,” says the Baroness. Well, so do we all. But it doesn’t begin with external matters of architecture, dress or what you eat. That is the blind leading the blind. What did Jesus say to the Pharisees and teachers of the law when they criticised his disciples for not washing their hands before they ate? He talked of those who honour God with their lips while their hearts are far from Him. ‘But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men’ (Mt 15:9). It isn’t what goes into someone’s mouth that defiles them, but what comes out of their mouth. It isn’t a minaret on a mosque that offends the English spiritual disposition, but the evil thoughts and vile sermons of too many imams in those mosques, not to mention the perpetual cosying up to the fons et origo of the Islamist ideology. Why didn’t Baroness Warsi say much against Saudi-Salafism when she was a Foreign Office Minister? Too busy obsessing about the evils of Israel and the virtues of Palestinian statehood?

Forget the minarets: a “quintessential English” Islam urgently needs a robust Mohammedology for modernity (and the freedom to develop one without allegations of preaching ‘hate’, ‘Islamophobia’ or being summarily beheaded).

  • Murti Bing

    There is no need to face mecca either. The al-aqsa mosque in Jerusalem doesn’t – it’s round. There is a very specific reason for this. And the traditional domes are all copies of St. Sophia in istanbul, which is really a church.

    • Pubcrawler

      al-aqsa is rectangular. Perhaps you are thinking of the Dome of the Rock (which is octagonal in plan).

      • Murti Bing

        I stand corrected, though I hope my initial point remains clear.

  • Marcus

    Quite right on the focus of the problem not being architecture, but the following. Who on earth is teaching what and where? Until that is properly discovered and dare I say, dealt with, we be getting ourselves into more and more trouble.

  • Dreadnaught

    I don’t know which is worse; Warsi panting for Mosques without minarets or Christians selling their Churches for conversions to Mosques.

    • Pubcrawler

      Well, Baroness Who-She is here today, gone (we hope) tomorrow and her legacy will enjoy the obscurity that it so richly deserves; however, once a mosque, always a mosque.

      • Anton

        Cordoba?

        • The Explorer

          Cordoba’s just a mosque waiting to be restored to its true function. Just as St Peter’s, St Paul’s, Canterbury Cathedral etc are mosques waiting to assume their rightful role.

          • Anton

            I was being pedantic but I take your point. Did you know that a few years ago a Muslim group sought to buy the site of old St Thomas’s hospital directly opposite the Houses of Parliament to build a mosque with a minaret taller than Big Ben – the symbolic point being to tell the world, which came here for the 2012 Olympics, that Allah ruled Britain?

          • The Explorer

            I did know that. And the attempt to build a mosque next to the London Olympic stadium that would have been the largest religious building in Europe. And exactly the same motive: to show the world that Allah ruled Britain.

          • Anton

            If you know the people who prevented these megamosques from happening then we might have some mutual friends.

          • Albert

            Errr…Canterbury Cathedral is, of course, waiting to assume its rightful and original role.

            You can keep St Paul’s, but we’ll retain ownership of he land.

          • Anton

            By whose tithes was it paid for? By the labour of which ethnic group was it erected? The English, not the Italians.

          • Albert

            You place ethnicity above faith. I think you need to re-read Galatians. In any case, it is perfectly English to be Catholic. Protestantism, on the other hand, is a German invention.

          • CliveM

            Are you saying that Catholicism is an English invention?!

            Not sure of the purity of your logic in the above post!

          • Albert

            I cannot see how can move from “It is perfectly English to be Catholic” to “Therefore Catholicism is an English invention.”

            I think my logic is quite sound. 🙂

          • CliveM

            You seemed to be suggesting that if the source was foreign to these shores, it was unsuited to the English. As you stated that Catholicism was suited to the English, it would suggest you believe its origin was English! :0)

          • Albert

            English Catholicism was one of the factors creating the English. Although it came from abroad, “Englishness” did not pre-exist it. But Englishness did pre-exist the Protestant Reformation, and was disrupted by it. Therefore, there is a clash here between Englishness and Protestantism, which does not exist between Englishness and Catholicism.

          • Anton

            When the Church of Rome ceases also to be based in its own nation-state as well then I’ll accept that argument.

            Protestantism is, of course, a biblical re-invention to get rid of a lot of gratuitous additions deriving from various countries.

          • Albert

            The “Church of Rome” is plainly not based on its own nation-state. So presumably, you must now accept the argument.

            Protestantism is, of course, a biblical re-invention to get rid of a lot of gratuitous additions deriving from various countries.

            Protestantism is a combination of a cut and past approach to scripture, with a view to making it more palatable to certain populations.

          • Anton

            What on earth do you mean? Vatican City is a nation-state. Pius IX ardently refused to accept Italian citizenship and the papacy went into a 70-year sulk which ended when it made a covenant with this world in the person of Mussolini.

          • Albert

            Catholicism is not based on the Vatican. You are confusing two things:

            “Catholicism has its head in the Vatican”

            which is true

            and

            “Catholicism is based on the Vatican”

            which is false.

          • Anton

            The Roman Catholic church acts as a nation when it suits it eg diplomatic relations and concordats with loathsome dictators, and acts like a church when it suits it. All very convenient except that Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world, a precedent which the papacy seems uninterested in following.

          • Albert

            Even if that were all true (which it isn’t), even if it were bad (which it isn’t), it still wouldn’t support your original claim that it is based on its own nation state.

          • Anton

            Of course it is a bad thing. The church should not make covenants with this world. And of course it is based in its own nation state. That is why Pius XII kept quiet about the Holocaust: fear, not for his own skin, but for Vatican City. In a private letter of March 21st, 1944 he wrote to Bishop Preysing of Berlin that he was bound by his conscience to try to save Rome because it had always been the centre of Christendom, and its destruction would supposedly shake the faith of Catholics worldwide. (Preysing, although resident in the heartland of Nazism, wanted Pius to speak out about the Holocaust; this fact obviously wrongfoots apologists for Pius who assert that Pius kept quiet for the sake of Catholics in Nazi lands.) A previous sacking of Rome had elicited St Augustine’s City of God, but Pius seemingly thought his flock put their faith in bricks and mortar.

          • Albert

            Of course it is a bad thing. The church should not make covenants with this world.

            Protestant dualism, the resurgence of Manichaeism. Does not scripture say: Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.? When the Church buys something, if it buys land or insurance, does it not make some kind of covenant with someone. Does not St Paul speak of becoming all things to all men?

            That is why Pius XII kept quiet about the Holocaust: fear, not for his own skin, but for Vatican City. In a private letter of March 21st, 1944 he wrote to Bishop Preysing of Berlin that he was bound by his conscience to try to save Rome because it had always been the centre of Christendom, and its destruction would supposedly shake the faith of Catholics worldwide.

            Did the Pope happen to mention in that letter that he was hiding huge numbers of Rome’s Jews in the Vatican and in other Church properties? He had, in any case said to the same bishop, We leave it to the [Local] bishops to weigh the circumstances in deciding whether or not to exercise restraint, ad majora mala [to avoid greater evil]. This would be advisable if the danger of retaliatory and coercive measures would be imminent in the cases of public statements of the bishops. Here lies one of the reason we ourselves restrict our public statements. He already had the experience of the Dutch bishops speaking out more fully, and it was bad for Dutch Jews.

            If you look at what Pius did, and what he said behind the scenes, instead of focusing on his public pronouncements, where he was guarded with good reason, you will see that your judging of him is unjust. In any case, who set you up as the judge here? Not Christ. If you had any faith in him, you would leave judgement to him, he who knows the secrets of all hearts: Pius’, mine and even yours.

          • Anton

            I don’t need your permission to discuss Catholic history. If you can’t take it, clear off. I am part of Christ’s bride so I can hardly hate her; like Christ, I simply want her clean.

            It is a matter of historical record that, once the Final Solution was under way – and known to Pius XII – he never publicly mentioned the Jews or Nazis by name or the systematic genocide that was going on, let alone condemned it. His actions toward the Jews of Rome show that he was not anti-semitic, but his moral leadership was a disgrace. So it would have been worse if he had? I don’t accept that. If you do, prove it.

          • Albert

            I don’t need your permission to discuss Catholic history.

            What exactly did I say that made you think I thought you did? Of course, I would question the degree to which you are discussing Catholic history.

            I am part of Christ’s bride so I can hardly hate her

            You are not wholly part of her.

            It is a matter of historical record that, once the Final Solution was under way – and known to Pius XII – he never publicly mentioned the Jews or Nazis by name or the systematic genocide that was going on, let alone condemned it.

            This is what he said in 1942:

            “Humanity owes this vow to those hundreds of thousands who, without any fault on their part, sometimes only because of their nationality or race, have been consigned to death or to a slow decline” [also translated: “marked down for death or gradual extinction”]

            Now that might not be strong enough for you. But I have already given reason for him being careful. What he did behind the scenes was more powerful. Even his enemies admit this:

            One of Pius XII’s main critics, Michael Phayer, did change his interpretation of the speech between his 2000 and 2008 books, acknowledging in his later work that historians (himself included) have been “too dismissive of the 1942 address” although he agrees that “Pius never spoke out again”.

            So it would have been worse if he had? I don’t accept that. If you do, prove it.

            Obviously, it would have been worse for the huge number of Jews being sheltered by the Church. I’ve seen before your callous response to that, and doubtless, I will see it again. You know better than those Jews who begged him not to speak out more. You know better than those Jews whose lives were saved by his. You know better than the US Jewish newspapers who praised the Pope at the time for speaking out – who understood what was going on. You know better than the Jews who even in the war wrote to the Pope to thank him for sending people to try to care for them. You know better than all these people – all from the comfort of your own warm home, in your sunny democracy.

            The problem is, as Jewish historian Rabbi David Dalin points out, attacks on Pius are always really about something else. They are, he says, really just attacks on Catholicism, or the papacy in general. Thus, people like to use the sufferings of the Jews to advance their own agenda. They overlook the difficulties he faced and what he achieved. All that can be ignored for the sake of using the holocaust for some other agenda.

          • Anton

            Yes, I reckon I know better than Catholic apologists who are prepared to use any trick of rhetoric to misrepresent the facts and paint their church as perfect. Those Jews who were helped by Pius, and their friends, are rightly going to be grateful. But when the Bishop of BERLIN wished Pius to be explicit about the Holocaust and he wasn’t, that can reasonably be regarded as craven leadership.

            Pius came closest in his Christmas 1942 message,
            following warnings from neutral Latin American Catholic countries that his silence was harming the papacy’s moral authority. (Do you agree with them, by the way?) Near to the end of this 45-minute speech he said that (as you quote) “Mankind owes this vow to those hundreds of thousands who, without any fault on their part, sometimes only because of their nationality or race, have been consigned to death or to a slow decline.” This was the fourth in a series of six consecutive “Mankind owes this vow…” statements in the speech, specifying suffering groups. Pius equated the Holocaust simply with the sufferings of mothers of combatants and of others mentioned in those six statements. But World War 2 was obviously a war between nations – nationalities – and Pius never mentioned by name Jews or Nazis. His sentence might have been understood by Hitler, but it was sufficiently woolly not to have been understood by the millions of European combatants on both sides who didn’t know what was going on. Pius never warned Catholic Germans that to take part in the transportations and gassings was a mortal sin. (Do you think it was, please?)

            Pius, as I said, wrote privately to Bishop Preysing of Berlin stating that he was bound by his conscience to try to save Rome because it had always been the centre of Christendom, and its destruction would supposedly shake the faith of Catholics worldwide. Once the Germans had retreated northwards from Rome, however, and were threatening the Jews of northern Italy, Pius told the Allies that he would press the German ambassador to the Vatican to ask Hitler to cease deporting Jews, as a matter of conscience. These two mentions of conscience appear to be the only two that Pius made in relation to the Holocaust (according to Phayer). Taken together, they indicate that he prioritised the fate of Rome, the seat of the Catholic church and his own home city, over the fate of Europe’s Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

            I repeat that if Hitler had known in advance that Pius would not do more than protect a few thousand Jews in Rome and make one radio protest that did not mention them or the Nazis by name, he would have been delighted. Tell me, do you agree?

            Please also explain your words that I am “not wholly part of [the bride of Christ]”. Your meaning is not clear to me.

          • Albert

            Yes, I reckon I know better than Catholic apologists who are prepared to use any trick of rhetoric to misrepresent the facts and paint their church as perfect.

            Well, that’s totally compromised for a start. No Catholic thinks his Church is perfect.

            But when the Bishop of BERLIN wished Pius to be explicit about the Holocaust and he wasn’t, that can reasonably be regarded as craven leadership.

            Not from that fact alone, no. Did the Bishop of Berlin, for example, know what happened to the Dutch Jews when the Dutch bishops spoke out against the holocaust?

            Pius came closest in his Christmas 1942 message, following warnings from neutral Latin American Catholic countries that his silence was harming the papacy’s moral authority. (Do you agree with them, by the way?)

            I think it is very easy for people who do not know the competing goods in the decision to make to make easy decisions.

            His sentence might have been understood by Hitler, but it was sufficiently woolly not to have been understood by the millions of European combatants on both sides who didn’t know what was going on

            We know full well that that’s not true. Contemporary records show the Pope’s words were clear enough.

            Pius never warned Catholic Germans that to take part in the transportations and gassings was a mortal sin. (Do you think it was, please?)

            How dare you? How dare you doubt my morality by asking such a disgraceful question? You really think that because I am Catholic you get to judge that I might not know that? I’m not carrying on with this discussion with someone so rooted in sin and darkness that you think it acceptable to suggest that a Catholic does not know that being complicit in murder is a mortal sin. There is nothing Christlike in that.

          • Anton

            I was seeking to establish whether you considered it adequate defence that those Nazi troops who actually enacted the Holocaust, rather than the men who planned it, were “just obeying orders” from those higher-ups. Your response indicates that, like me, you believe it is not an adequate defence. Why then did Pius not issue a warning about mortal sin which would have been understood by the Catholic troops involved – men who as Catholics looked to Pius for spiritual leadership? The troops involved were a mix of Catholic, protestant and neither, but I am asking here a specific question about Pius and the Catholic ones.

          • Pubcrawler

            There is also some agitation to make Hagia Sophia a mosque again.

        • Pubcrawler

          As Explorer notes, that’s to be seen as a temporary blip.

  • Anton

    “BARONESS WARSI SPECTACULARLY MISSES THE POINT”
    Why criticise people for sticking to what they are good at, Your Grace?

  • Anton

    The principal reason for draining animals of blood before eating them does still exist: blood is sacred to God. This comes from the covenant with Noah in Genesis 9 – which unlike the covenant with Moses applies to all men, not one ethnic group – and was reiterated in Acts 15.

    • Dead on. Better from you than me, as I wasn’t going to be the one to suggest here…with folks fired up in the days before Christmas…that you guys should be eating kosher!

      • Anton

        There’s more to kosher than that, I understand. But I have checked slaughterhouse techniques for differing animals and I certainly avoid meat that I believe has not been properly bled.

        • Oh yeah, there’s more. A lot more. But if you’re concerned primarily with the blood issue, you might consider “kashering” your cuts of meat with salting and rinsing, although how effective that is with conventional slaughter by stunning and the “hanging” of the carcass is another question.

          • Anton

            Slitting the animal’s throat so that it bled to death was good enough for God in the written Law of Moses and it’s good enough for me. Even salting and rinsing will only get you from 90% to 99% or whatever.

          • I usually do the meat cooking at home, and I can yell you that even with strict Glatt kosher, which nowadays is always pre-kashered, there is still a little blood…or “juice” as we prefer to call it. It’s understood that it’s impossible to temove all blood, but that sh’hita and kashering remove the excess and fulfill the requirement.

          • Pubcrawler

            My understanding is that the juice is myoglobin rather than blood per se.

          • You’re right. Just looked it up. Myoglobin is a protein in the muscle tissue which puts the red in red meat. I should do more pub-crawling!

          • Anton

            Yes we agree, there will always be a little blood, but God said that meat is OK, so the question is where he draws the line. The answer in the written Law of Moses is good enough for me: slaughter by blood draining, so that the heart pumps out the blood from the great vessels and whatever little blood is left in the capillaries in the muscle meat is OK before God to eat.

  • More mosques only encourages more Islam. Why do we need more Islam in England? We don’t.

    • The Explorer

      We do if you’re a Muslim.

      • All muslims as a prerequisite of becoming a British subject should have to denounce Islam and either become a Christian or none at all.

        • Anton

          Playing the Trump card!

          • Not quite, but I can understand where he is coming from. It’s about preservation and keeping an orderly society.

          • Anton

            I wasn’t criticising him or you – the comment was irresistible!

  • The Explorer

    A minaret may not be necessary in an era of loudspeakers, but what remains problematic is the nature of the prayer. It refers to those who have gone astray. That’s not a reproof to lax Muslims; that’s a reproof to Christians.

    • Pubcrawler

      Exactly

    • Anton

      The whole point of the minaret in the age of loudspeakers is to disrupt the lives of non-Muslims who live within earshot.

      • The Explorer

        I don’t follow. Loudspeakers would disrupt the lives of non-Muslims just as effectively as a prayer delivered from a minaret. A minaret is certainly an alien architectural intrusion into the European landscape, and disruptive in a visual sense. That was why the Swiss outlawed them.

        • Anton

          If you doubt my assertion, visit the Holy Land.

      • Ivan M

        Absolutely, unequivocally true. Though I’d add that it irritates the Muslims too.

    • CliveM

      I suppose the argument will be made that if Churches are allowed to use bells as a call to worship, why can’t Muslims use their call to prayer, either by minaret or loudspeaker.

      I remember seeing a Hindu temple opened in London a few years back (BBC news), showing little compromise to local sensibilities. So I’m confused why the blasted Bareness feels mosques need to?

      Is there something about Islam that needs to reassure I wonder?

      • The Explorer

        That’s my point. Bells call to worship. They don’t, in the process, issue criticisms of other religions.

        • CliveM

          As far as I can see this is a literal translation “‘ALLAH is Most Great. ALLAH is Most Great.

          ALLAH is Most Great. ALLAH is Most Great.

          I testify that there is no god except ALLAH.

          I testify that there is no god except ALLAH.

          I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of ALLAH.

          I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of ALLAH.

          Come to prayer.

          Come to prayer.

          Come to success.

          Come to success.

          Prayer is better than sleep.

          Prayer is better than sleep.

          ALLAH is Most Great.

          ALLAH is Most Great.

          There is no god except ALLAH”

          It could be argued that that is no more then an encouragement to the faithful (like bells)?

          • That sounds like guilt inducing brainwashing to me. What sort of a nation needs that sort of intensity and rigorous herding?

            The gentle peel of Bells was a reminder that the Church service was about to start in case one was engrossed in one’s Sunday hobby or snoozing in the comfy chair. But one hardly hears any bells these days.

          • sarky

            Gentle peel of bells? The bells of the church near me used to drive me bloody mad, especially after a night shift. Thankfully the local residents got them knocked on the head.

          • Albert

            Bells have been rung in England since at least the Sixth Century. The special kind of ringing found in England is somewhat unique and has been around for centuries, being found here and in parts of the old Empire to which it was taken.

            Since the Sixth Century, the bells only fell silent during World War II when they were silenced so as to be able to be used to warn of invasion. They were allowed to ring again to celebrate the Battle of El Alamein.

            That’s quite a history. But people got this piece of English culture silenced. Not something to be proud of.

            I wonder if it is similar to the case I recall as an Anglican, when just before the service started, some new resident stormed into church shouting “What the hell are you doing ringing bells on a Sunday morning?”

            The line between secularism and cultural illiteracy and vandalism is all too brief.

          • CliveM

            Good point Albert. It makes as much sense as moving to the country and complaining about the animal smells or the tractors.

            Secular cultural vandalism.

          • Albert

            Yes. If you choose to live near a football stadium, you can’t complain at the noise on match days. It’s extraordinary that a council will stop bell ringing, and it does smack of inconsistency.

          • sarky

            People have clocks now so the bells are kind of redundant. They come from a time when people actually went to church. Things move on that’s life.

          • Albert

            Thank you for demonstrating my point about cultural illiteracy so completely.

            In any case, what you say about people not going to church is false – you should see the congregations in my local Catholic parishes, and that’s just the Catholics. The comparison I made was with football matches. Apparently you don’t realise that more people go to church than to football matches. So your argument (if we can call it that) is multiply flawed

          • sarky

            You are talking rubbish. There were just over 17million attendees to football league matches last year and just under 14 million for the premier league. The most optomistic estimates for church attendance was around 10 million.

            As for the catholics, your numbers are only high due to the influx of our eastern European friends.

          • James60498 .

            Do you know how those figures are calculated sarky?

          • sarky

            Football attendance – FA

            Church attendance – census

          • James60498 .

            Fair enough. But how are they calculated?

            My guess is that the Church attendance only counts people once even if they attend 52 weeks a year. And that the football attendance includes someone every time they attend.
            This would mean eg that my sister who attends both would be counted as one when attending church but 20 when attending football, rather skewing the figures if I am correct.

            I had a look myself at some football, premier league, attendance lists and that confirmed my suspicions on the football.

            This may be a case of statistics proving what you want them to prove. As indeed they often do.

          • sarky

            I understand it was based on weekly attendance, multiplied by a factor of 52. Also, you have to remember football doesnt run for 52 weeks

          • Albert

            There were just over 17million attendees to football league matches last year and just under 14 million for the premier league. The most optomistic estimates for church attendance was around 10 million.

            Clearly it depends on how you count it. If the same people keep going to church regularly, but different people go to football matches, the number of the latter across a year (and I made no claim about years) could well be greater than the former, even though the number of people at church on Sunday could be greater than were on the terraces the day before.

            From the Telegraph:

            More than 1.7 million attend Church of England services in the average month. This figure could be larger, but it is still enormous, far more than the number who attend football matches, often assumed to be Britain’s favourite weekend activity.

            Again, if we ask merely about weekly attendance at football matches the I found this figure:

            The Premier League averages 687,430 people through the gates every week, and non-league football averages 162,500 people every week. No further figures.

            In comparison, approximately 1 million people in 2012 attended a CofE service each week. But the CofE is not the only Christian community, it is not even the most well attended.

            So I am not talking rubbish. It’s very easy to find sources saying what I have said.

            As for the catholics, your numbers are only high due to the influx of our eastern European friends.

            There speaks someone who has not been to Mass recently. But even if it were true, Eastern Europeans are people aren’t they? Are do you want to “unperson” them in order to sort out your claims?

            Finally, the utter vulgarity of your original point is undefended:

            People have clocks now so the bells are kind of redundant. They come from a time when people actually went to church. Things move on that’s life.

          • sarky

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_Kingdom

            The results from 2015 make interesting reading. Blows your assumption that we are a christian country right out of the water.

          • Albert

            Blows your assumption that we are a christian country right out of the water.

            A claim I did not make. Where’s the point on that page that defends you claim that what I wrote was “rubbish”?

          • sarky

            Listen, we can throw stats at each other all night, but the fact is that church attendance has fallen through the floor and for the first time non believers outnumber believers.
            As for the bells, they belong to a bygone age which no matter how much you would wish for it, is never coming back.

          • Albert

            Church attendance has fallen. That does not mean we should trash our culture.

            As for the bells, they belong to a bygone age

            The fact that it is necessary to get the council to shut them up shows that is false.

            no matter how much you would wish for it, is never coming back.

            In 100 years time, the kind of thing you represent will be as lively is Stalinism is today. But the Church will be where she is now. The only issue is whether people like you will have become Christians, Muslims or moved on to the latest fad which will be dead a century after that.

          • sarky

            “But the church will be where she is now” – pretty much forgotten.

          • Albert

            Well, if the Church has been forgotten, you have a strange need to keep attacking the Church. But if you want to talk about the Church being forgotten we will be back to stats and comparisons with things plainly not forgotten (football matches, political parties), which you decided you didn’t want to talk about and also the effect of the Church on other things that are important (charitable giving, voluntary work etc.).

            But you will recall it wasn’t just the factual errors of your first post that bothered me but its vulgar cultural vandalism.

          • sarky

            Think we have more to worry about than bloody church bells!!!

          • Albert

            I agree. So why did people bother to get the tradition silenced? Small-minded cultural vandalism.

          • bluedog

            Well if you must live in a Muslim neighbourhood…

          • sarky

            I dont! I have 2 baptist and 1 cofe church within 10 minutes walk.

          • Dreadnaught

            I hope you have disinfected you keyboard!

          • CliveM

            Smartphone, easy to wipe clean!

          • Pubcrawler

            Might need an exorcism, though.

          • Orwell Ian

            About as encouraging and usually as deafening as the bells of Notre Dame were to Quasimodo.

          • The Explorer

            Yes that’s a very fair point. There are two ways round it: one, that Christianity is the established religion and has privileges that other religions don’t have (as church bells are not allowed in Muslim countries); two, that Britain is now a secular country and bells should be banned, along with Muslim calls to prayer.
            I read somewhere that some muezzins quote Surah 1:7, with its criticism of Jews and Christians, and that’s what I was referring to. If I can track down the source, I’ll get back to you.

          • CliveM

            Obviously I’m not advocating this prayer, but in today’s Britain, with the ‘uman rights industry, it’s hard to see a way of opposing it successfully.

            I look forward to your reference.

          • The Explorer

            I was confusing the muezzin’s call to prayer with the first pillar of Islam, the daily prayers (Salat) required of believers. This involves reciting the first chapter of the Qur’an.
            Most commentators agree that 1:7 refers to Jews and Christians (Although they are not mentioned by name).

            Sarky mentions that his neighbourhood succeeded in getting bells banned. That will probably be the only way of banning prayers. (By the same token, getting rid of Muslim schools might require the abolition of all faith schools.)

          • jsampson45

            Goodbye to free speech, if prayers are banned.

        • Pubcrawler

          Bells are simply an announcement; the call to prayer is a supremacist declaration and summons.

          • Albert

            The other thing about bells is that they just sound nice to lots of us. Very English and joyful. The local bells of my Anglican church ring Sunday by Sunday. I sometimes stop to listen. I have no intention of attending though, and do not feel in the slightest that they summon me.

            As Sheridan Gilley wrote after converting to Catholicism (words to the effect of):

            “I do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It does not toll for me.”

            But the same can hardly be said of someone shouting “Hasten to prayer.”

          • Ivan M

            As an aside, though it shows the schizophrenia of the Muslims, the mullah does add in a lower key the following supplication to Allah: “…bestow onto Mohamet, the highest place in heaven that you had guaranteed…”

            This is part of the prayer after their banshee shrieks. I hear it in Malay around my parts. There is something thoroughly amusing about this so-called prayer.

            The Faithful are apparently not sure of the present status of Mohamet (pbuh, pour beer upon him) after 1,400 years of supplication. When I invoke the name of a saint in my prayers to Jesus, I certainly do not add that I hope the saint say, John Paul II, is in heaven.

  • Orwell Ian

    Any reform would need to be widely owned by Muslims and developed from within since they always close ranks against the infidel. Ayaan Hirsi Ali put forward 5 pillars of reform as a via media between apostasy and atrocity:

    1. Rethink the conduct of Mohammed and understand that the Koran is not the literal word of Allah.
    2. Abolishing the supremacy of the afterlife over this one.
    3. Abandoning Shariah law.
    4. Abolition of the Islamic principle of “commanding right and forbidding wrong.”
    5. Replacing the call for Jihad with a call to peace.

    She has been branded a heretic and apostate. Her life being under constant threat since making a movie about the treatment of women in Islam during 2004.

    Reforming Islam. Good luck with that one. Snowballs, chances and hell come to mind.

  • alternative_perspective

    If people want to live in a christian country then they need to support Christianity. Praying and giving ones life to Jesus is a great place to start.

    There are only two alternatives, living in a Muslim country or a totalitarian secular one. Both are authoritarian institutions that compel peace. But peace defined in different ways.

    We only enjoy the peace we have because of the tension created between Christianity, secularism and pluralism. Whilst secularist attack the Christians the slack is taken up by the others, which happen to be Muslim.

    By attacking Christianity the secularists are condemning their children to oppression. Attack the children of God, and your own children will suffer the same attack you yourself dealt God’s children…you reap what you sow. Its kind of like a spiritual 3rd law of motion.

  • Albert

    The principal reason for not eating pork or seafood no longer exists: we have refrigerators to stem the growth of harmful bacteria, which was quite difficult in desert climates.

    Is it a fact that the principal reason for not eating pork or seafood was the lack of refrigerators to stem the growth of harmful bacteria? If so, why was the rule removed in the NT?

    I want to see an Islam which sits comfortably within Britain and a Britain that sits more at ease with Islam

    The latter is, of course, conditional on the former.

    • The Explorer

      Very good point. My answer would be that certain dietary rules were imposed to impress on the Jews their separateness. The food restrictions were removed in the NT for the same reason that a garment made from two fabrics was no longer an issue: with the atonement accomplished, the separateness was no longer necessary.

      • Albert

        Thank you Explorer. That is exactly my view. Of course, there may even have been a prior hygiene reason, but that is pure speculation, and unlikely to be correct, for the reason given. Most likely the hygiene thing is a modern rationalisation, an attempt to make something that looks odd to modern eyes look more reasonable (although the popularity refrigerators is not that old, so the rationalisation was probably very ethnocentric – appealing to certain kinds of people (academic types) in certain kinds of places (the industrialised West)).

        • Anton

          But it would be quite a coincidence that the two things most likely to give infection or poisoning are prohibited by Mosaic Law. I’ve no strong views on this subject, but perhaps the fact that ancient Israel was a nation whose laws were binding on Israelites, whereas the church is (at least in the NT) a voluntary association, is also relevant.

          • Albert

            You may be right. I just don’t think that one should state a facts things that are actually speculation. It’s pretty obvious that there are other things which are prohibited that are not obviously unhygienic, while it is possible to get other rationales for the prohibition on the things that are prohibited.

      • Pubcrawler

        Mary Douglas was of that view in Purity and Danger, though she later revised her opinion (as I’ve just discoverd: I read the book long before the 2002 edition). In both views, however, the hygiene explanation was rejected.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purity_and_Danger

      • grutchyngfysch

        I’d refine that by saying that it’s not that separateness is not necessary, it’s that the uncleanness that results from breaking the Law is paid for once and for all at the cross. There is subsequently no need to consider substances and creatures unclean because all uncleanness that a man might bring into his body is purified through the atoning blood of the Lamb. By the same token, since our liberation from the Law comes through the sacrifice of Christ, we have no right to treat that liberation cheaply. We are not, in fact, freed to snub and snark the Law (as many edgy liberal Christians now do), but to hold obedience and spiritual discipline in even deeper reverence.

    • bluedog

      Didn’t the Romans invent refrigeration?

      • Albert

        Perhaps, but how many people had them?!

  • Anna

    “I want to see an Islam which sits comfortably within Britain and a Britain that sits more at ease with Islam,” says the Baroness.

    Islam has never co-existed peacefully in any culture in history, and a Britain that sits more at ease with Islam will probably be a Muslim Britain. Baroness Warsi seems confident that more and more mosques will be built in Britain, and feels there is a need to make these Islamic places of worship more welcoming and less forbidding to potential converts to Islam.

  • ‘I want to see an Islam which sits comfortably within Britain and a Britain that sits more at ease with Islam,’ says the Baroness

    As the ‘Muslim population of England and Wales is growing faster than the overall population’, Britain is adjusting to Islam every single day, and all without Islam having to alter its beliefs by even a punctuation mark, especially not:

    [3:54] They plotted, and Allah plotted. Allah is the supreme Plotter.

    • Albert

      Support the Islamisation of the West: use contraception!

      • @ Albert—Support the de-Islamization of the West: vote extreme Right!

        • Albert

          Or one could just have larger families, stop aborting children etc. No need to do something immoral.

          • @ Albert—By Western standards, Islam is repulsive. Therefore, the de-Islamization of the West (coming soon to a continent near you) will be moral.

          • Albert

            True or not, it would be unnecessary if only we had an adequate birthrate.

          • Anton

            Which we did have for more than one generation after reliable contraception became widely available. The problem is not contraception – for bad demographics have been a problem in the decline of much older empires – but people not wanting to bring children into a world where they see no hope, where they’d rather spend their money on themselves, and where the cost of decent childrearing is huge. Government is much to blame for some of those factors. On top of which I’d not take advice on family planning from a bunch of compulsorily celibate men who add rules to God’s.

          • Albert

            We call it the contraceptive mentality, something which is plainly the fruit of contraception. All cultural things take a while to have their full effects.

            On top of which I’d not take advice on family planning from a bunch of compulsorily celibate men who add rules to God’s.

            Well, this is conversation about the negative effects of contraception. Jesus said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

            But then, you will probably reject Jesus on this matter, because he was celibate.

          • Anton

            I never reject Jesus. A better description of the mediaeval Roman Catholic hierarchy would be hard to find.

          • Albert

            It seems to me that we are agreed that the decline in births is a problem. We are surely agreed that this is caused by contraception and the contraceptive mentality. We know these things are supported, contrary to all earlier Christian teaching, by Protestants. We are also agreed that false prophets reveal themselves by their fruit: a good tree cannot be evil fruit and an evil tree cannot bear good fruit.

            And yet, you avoid the logical conclusion and jump, without reasoning or evidence, to a condemnation of the mediaeval Catholic hierarchy – all of them apparently.

          • Anton

            You are avoiding the fact that demographics have been a problem that were implicated in the decline of previous empires in the pre-contraceptive era. And that the Catholic church teaches “Natural Family Planning” now that more a about reproductive physiology it is known.

            Contraceptives are like guns, aren’t they? Do guns kill people or do people kill people?

          • Albert

            You are avoiding the fact that demographics have been a problem that were implicated in the decline of previous empires in the pre-contraceptive era.

            You have given no evidence or examples of that, so it is currently difficult to answer.

            And that the Catholic church teaches “Natural Family Planning” now that more a about reproductive physiology it is known.

            And you are avoiding the fact that the Catholic Church nevertheless opposes the contraceptive mentality.

            Contraceptives are like guns, aren’t they? Do guns kill people or do people kill people?

            Nothing is evil in itself, though some manufactured things are made for evil purposes. If a woman uses a pill to deal with period pains, that’s not evil. If however, couples use the pill to separate those things which God has joined together, so that her sexual act is no more directed to its natural end than a homosexual act, then that is obviously sinful. And you can tell a tree by its fruit.

          • Anton

            You say that I am avoiding the fact that the Catholic church opposes the “contraceptive mentality”. Please define that phrase. If you are referring to sexual promiscuity, you should be aware that many protestant denominations, and certainly the church that I am in, opposes it too.

            The question you have never answered about this subject is this. If it is OK for a husband and wife to deliberately use “natural family planning” (ie, timing informed by best practice) to have sex and avoid having a child – which I understand is Rome’s view today – then why is it not OK for them to use a condom for the same purpose?

          • Albert

            If you are referring to sexual promiscuity

            Obviously, it refers to something more specific than that. The contraceptive mentality, is the mentality, which, even when contraception is avoided, nevertheless, has the mentality of separating sex and procreation. Thus to take an extreme example, a young married couple who have sex but always use natural family planning so as never to get pregnant have a contraceptive mentality, even if they don’t use artificial contraception.

            The question you have never answered about this subject is this. If it is OK for a husband and wife to deliberately use “natural family planning” (ie, timing informed by best practice) to have sex and avoid having a child – which I understand is Rome’s view today – then why is it not OK for them to use a condom for the same purpose?

            Was it your intention to make it sound as if I have been evading that issue? I don’t believe I’ve ever been asked, or if I have, I am sure I have given an answer. It’s hardly a big question.

            If it is OK for a husband and wife to deliberately use “natural family planning” (ie, timing informed by best practice) to have sex and avoid having a child – which I understand is Rome’s view today – then why is it not OK for them to use a condom for the same purpose?

            Because the two cases are not the same. One is natural, one is unnatural. One allows sex to be open to the natural ordering the all-wise God gave it, the other perverts that natural ordering form the wisdom of God to the “wisdom” of man. In one the couple give themselves totally to each other, in the other they hold something back, and therefore abstract the sex from the person, thereby coasening the act and the relationship. In one the couple together take personal responsibility for family planning, in the other, technology depersonalises that responsibility and, often places it entirely on the shoulders of the woman. In one, the connection between sex and marriage is maintained (since one does not live under the illusion that procreation is impossible), in the other marriage and family life are corrupted because that link, placed there by God appears to have been removed undermining the need for marriage to bind the man to the woman. In one man says to God “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”, in the other, man talks back to God and says “Why did you make me thus?”

            Catholic teaching says that sex has two elements: the unitive aspect, and openness to procreation. Both must be present, even though, in actual fact the couple may know that conception is unlikely to take place. That is quite different from using contraception when it might take place to stop it taking place.

          • Anton

            Why then do Catholics repeatedly explain that (even marital, barrier) contraception reduces the act of sex to lust? The married couple knowingly having sex with intent not to conceive, when they believe that the woman is not fertile, are in exactly the same category as regards intention as the couple using a condom. As for what is and is not “natural”, have you ever taken medicinal drugs?

          • Albert

            Why then do Catholics repeatedly explain that (even marital, barrier) contraception reduces the act of sex to lust?

            I think that depends on what the word “reduces” means. If it means that the act is itself reductive – that is, that moves in the direction of the sex being lust, then I would say the statement is true. If it means that it actually succeeds in making sex nothing more than lust then I would say that is false.

            The married couple knowingly having sex with intent not to conceive, when they believe that the woman is not fertile, are in exactly the same category as regards intention as the couple using a condom.

            No they are not. Clearly they are not. How do you think they are?

            As for what is and is not “natural”, have you ever taken medicinal drugs?

            Yes, to make things work properly, not to stop them working properly.

          • Anton

            I wrote: “The married couple knowingly having sex with intent not to conceive, when they believe that the woman is not fertile, are in exactly the same category as regards intention as the couple using a condom.” You replied: No they are not. Clearly they are not. How do you think they are?

            Because the intent in each case is to have sex yet not conceive.

            The only difference is HOW they avoid conception, and at this point you draw an arbitrary distinction between what is natural and what is not natural. The condom is no more or less natural than electric lighting, powered flight and nylon clothing.

          • Albert

            I’m not prepared to discuss any matters with you because of your behaviour elsewhere. But since this is a purely moral matter and you are making elementary errors, I will indicate a response. But this will be my last post to you.

            The problem with your argument here, is that, as with so many Protestants, in the end, your thought is determined by secular, consequentialist patterns. You think the moral significance of an act is in the intended outcome or consequences. That this is plainly not a Christian way of thinking is evident firstly from the scripture. God commands us to avoid certain actions, the 10 Commandments do not give us consequences to avoid, but actions to be avoided. Secondly, we need only look at the kinds of people who promote consequentialism: they are those people who seek to undermine Christian morality, using consequentualism.

            But apply your consequentialism to this case, and it seems there is no moral difference between a couple having sex during the infertile part of the cycle and using a condom. But for the same reason, not only secularists have also seen there is no moral objection in principle against homosexual acts.

            But if one judges the rectitude of the act itself (as scripture shows acts ought to by judged), it looks entirely different. The couple who do not use artificial contraception simply intend and engage in a sexual act that is unitive and is, of itself, open to procreation. The fact that they can be morally quite certain that procreation will not occur does not alter the nature of the act itself that is engaged in.

            You can probably see that there is nothing in Catholic teaching that prohibits sex during the infertile period. Therefore, if a couple choose to have sex during the infertile period, there is no logic in principle (i.e. setting aside wider concerns of contraceptive mentality) that requires that they must also have sex during the fertile period.

            Thus, viewed from a more Christian moral perspective, your description is quite wrong: the intent in each case is to have sex yet not conceive. On the contrary, the intention is to have a legitimate and natural sexual act, which they could do just as well at that time in the month even if they were trying to conceive. Their intention of not conceiving, is thus not part of that act, but rather in their choice not to engage in sexual intercourse during the fertile parts of the month. But since there is no logic that gets you from “The couple have sex during the infertile part” to “Therefore, the couple must have sex during the fertile part of the month” your conclusion does not follow. Once your faulty premise is corrected, no logic gets you to your conclusion.

            None of this of course means that consequences should not be weighed when making a moral judgement. It is simply that a morally evil act cannot be made morally good by the outcome. Besides, the outcome here is morally evil as well, as everything from the demographic crisis, through to the collapse of marriage and natural and Christian sexual norms in our society.

            So your position fails to be consistent and Christian in virtually every way: it fails to show that there is no moral difference between natural and unnatural family planning (since your position is rooted in secular consequentualism). It fails on its own terms, since the logical consequences of your position are evil logically (e.g. homosexuality), socially (decline of marriage and family life) and demographically (no society can survive with such low birth rates as we have, and so we import our labour from different cultures creating all sort of tensions here). Moreover, once people separate sexuality from openness to procreation, it’s a small step to abortion if need be. And all this stems entirely from this failure properly to baptize one’s moral thought and move away from the secular, consequentialist modes of thought that seem to ensnare secularists and Protestants (at least liberal Protestants) alike.

          • Anton

            “I’m not prepared to discuss any matters with you because of your behaviour elsewhere. But since this is a purely moral matter and you are making elementary errors, I will indicate a response.”

            So you don’t believe in the principle of non-contradiction after all.

            “apply your consequentialism to this case, and it seems there is no moral difference between a couple having sex during the infertile part of the cycle and using a condom”

            You have distorted what I said by omitting a key phrase from your summary: the question is whether there is a moral difference between a (married) couple having sex KNOWING THAT IT IS during the infertile part of the cycle, and using a condom.

            You say I’ve neglected the fact that the couple presumably abstain from sexual intercourse during the fertile part of the wife’s cycle. But I am not asking about their approach during their lifetime together (during which their approach might change). I am asking about the morality of that particular act of sex. Churches routinely consider whether or not a particular act of sex is moral, eg if it constitutes fornication or adultery. What about this act?

            And what if they use a condom even though they are fully confident that the woman is infertile? What if one of them has a short-term medical condition that makes this medically advisable?

            You can’t get out of the problems that these situations pose for the Vatican’s position by talking about whether the act is “open” to conception. That is sophistry.

          • Albert

            All this post shows is that you’ve not understood anything I’ve said. In fact, I wonder if you’ve even read it.

          • Anton

            I consider the same about you.

          • Albert

            There are two differences: I’ve academically studied Protestant and secular thought, as a Protestant. and your post here explicitly rests on a point I had explicitly addressed. But since you have shown such disgraceful contempt for Catholics, there is no point in discussing the matter.

          • Anton

            I’m not deterred by your claim to have studied this “academically” as a protestant. If your learning is so great then it should be easy for you to rebut my position. Instead you make artificial distinctions between what is and is not natural, talk absurdly about a sexual act deliberately waited for until the wife is known to be in an infertile phase as being “open” to conception, and fail to quote any words of God against barrier contraception within marriage. We agree on one thing, anyway: you are under no obligation to reply.

          • Albert

            Anton, you are someone who has questioned whether, as a Catholic I think it is a mortal sin to be an accomplice to murder. So I don’t think there’s much point discussing these complicated point with you, especially as, they have been addressed already.

          • Anton

            Readers may decide for themselves whether you have adequately tackled those questions. As for the mortal sin issue, I expected (and agree with) the answer you gave. Why then did Pius XII not point out that genocide was being enacted against the Jews by the Nazis and that any Catholic soldiers who took part in running the trains or the camps were placing their own souls in grave peril?

          • Albert

            Of course readers can judge for themselves. But these issues are complex and require familiarity with ideas which, in our secular age in which moral teleology, although integral to any Christian doctrine of creation have now become opaque. That’s why I started this discussion by appealing to the bitter fruits that have stemmed from the contraceptive culture you support. Jesus does not authorize us to judge moral matters for ourselves, rather he says simply “look at the fruit”:

            Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

            Let people judge that.

          • Anton

            What a telling reply to my question about Pius!

          • Albert

            Obviously, I wasn’t responding to your question about Pius. I have said before that I think your desire that he risk the thousands of Jews in his care by making a fruitless gesture for the Jews is callous. That would simply be another example of judging a tree by its fruit.

          • Anton

            Fruitless? You’re misphrasing speculation as fact. The Nazis had an awful lot of Catholic soldiers and informing them – accurately – that the Jews were being industrially gassed and that it was a mortal sin to take part could have put a major spoke in the Nazi wheels and made an enormous difference to the far greater number of Jews headed for the gas chambers. That neither of us can be certain is why Christians are told to do the right thing and leave the big picture to God. Did Pius?

          • Albert

            I find it hard to believe that anyone in the modern world can be as naive as this. Pius couldn’t even protect his own priests. He had no idea who would win. He knew from the Dutch experience what happens when you speak out. When Catholic bishops spoke out the Nazis killed their priests (even when they left the bishops alone). The Pope had spoken out before the war the to no avail (except for evil consequences), and he had all the Jews in his car on his conscience.

            Only malice would pretend that it is as simple as you make out, the kind of malice that is callous with the lives of the Jews in his care.

          • Anton

            So: Did Pius give the leaders of the Roman Jews he was sheltering the option? Did he say to them: my priests and bishops throughout Europe and the ambassadors of the Allied Nations to the Vatican all tell me that millions of Jews are being murdered by the Nazis in a systematic programme; shall I speak out against it at risk to yourselves or keep quiet about it, for your sake at least? If not, why not?

          • Albert

            It’s funny you should ask that, because, as I understand it, the leaders of the Roman Jews begged him not to speak out.

            Obviously, they knew less about anti-Semitism and living in a modern industrial dictatorship during the greatest war the world has ever seen, than you though.

          • Anton

            It is for information like that, that I asked a question rather than made an assertion (as you falsely imply). Please provide a reference.

          • Anton

            It is for information like that, that I asked a question rather than made an assertion (as you falsely imply). Please provide a reference.

          • Albert

            I didn’t make any implication that you made an assertion. As for a reference, try here:

            http://www.catholicleague.org/a-righteous-gentile-pope-pius-xii-and-the-jews/

            and also Rabbi Dalin’s book The Myth of Hitler’s Pope – How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis. You might also consult the Jewish historian Martin Gilbert, best known for his official eight volume of biography of Churchill. His book is The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust. He says this: Hundreds of thousands of Jews [were] saved by the entire Catholic Church, under the leadership and with the support of Pope Pius XII

            But compared to you, I guess these Jewish historians and contemporary sources don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Or perhaps they just don’t like using the suffering of the Jews during the war to advance an anti-Catholic agenda that has its roots elsewhere.

            Shame on you.

          • Anton

            I asked for evidence that Pius XII actually consulted the Jews he was sheltering, or – I am willing to widen – that they came to him, in either case knowing (whether from Pius or other sources) of the Holocaust, and asked him not to speak out about it. You have provided no specifics whatsoever. That website does not assert this; it anyway gives no references; and it can’t even get Eamon Duffy’s university right (he’s at Magdalene, Cambridge, not Magdalen, Oxford). You refer me to books but give no names or dates involved in any such meeting and no page numbers of the books. You don’t know, do you?

            As I recall, when Churchill had a conversation with some senior Jews and told them of Auschwitz, they begged the Allies to bomb it regardless of Jewish loss of life. That did not happen, but it suggests that when Jews were informed of the Holocaust they were in favour of action – ANY action – rather than maintenance of the status quo; and Pius was the one man in Europe who with words could reach into the hearts and minds of large numbers of Hitler’s troops.

          • Albert

            You have provided no specifics whatsoever.

            Have you read The Myth of Hitler’s Pope? It is in there. Besides, the article I cited referred to a similar request to Cardinal Galen a Catholic bishop in Germany. Bishops report to Rome you know? Just as a Luxembourgian bishop in Dachau notified the Vatican that “whenever protests were made, the treatment of prisoner worsened immediately.” But perhaps your complaint is that in that article Dalin does not give a reference. Well obviously – it’s an article not a paper. You might just consider it possible that Dalin, a Rabbi is just telling the truth – even if it is inconvenient to you. Is it your view that Dalin is lying? Please answer yes or no.

            That did not happen, but it suggests that when Jews were informed of the Holocaust they were in favour of action – ANY action – rather than maintenance of the status quo

            That is staggering. Of course it might have made sense to bomb Auschwitz, but you cannot infer from that that they wanted anything done. Bombing Auschwitz would take out the biggest industrial complex killing the Jews, thereby lessening the rate at which Jews would be killed. But obviously Jews were opposed to actions that would increase the killing. How is it that you cannot see this for yourself? You claim to have read books about the subject, and yet you cannot think through the evidence. You hatred blinds you.

            Well let me give you some explicit evidence, an Italian Jew who said “None of us wanted the pope to speak out openly. We were all fugitives and we did not want to be pointed out as such. The Gestapo would only have increased and intensified its inquisition…It was much better the pope kept silent. We all felt the same, and today we still believe that.”

            But you will dismiss that evidence, and so incur Dalin’s judgement, who points out that if you do not accept their testimony on this, you question the credibility of their testimony in general:

            To deny and delegitimize their collective memory and experience of the Holocaust…is to engage in a subtle yet profound form of Holocaust denial.

            You say this:

            and Pius was the one man in Europe who with words could reach into the hearts and minds of large numbers of Hitler’s troops.

            If you honestly think he could have made such a difference, I really doubt you have read anything at all about Hitler’s Germany or the control working in any modern dictatorship. Remember: one fifth of Poland’s priests were sent to Auschwitz. You really think Catholics needed to be told that was wrong?

            Indeed, 95% of clergy in the camps were Catholics. And why was any of this happening? It happened because Protestants voted for Hitler. Had the Protestants voted for Hitler in the numbers that Catholics did, Hitler would never have come to power. But all of that is safely ignored on your hate-filled world-view which is so malicious against Catholicism that you will ignore all that, ignore evidence of those Jews who lived at the time, ignore the evidence and judgement of Jewish historians like Dalin and Gilbert, and draw really stupid conclusions from the evidence you do have (like the bizarre conclusion that because Jews asked Churchill to bomb Auschwitz) that therefore they would have favoured an action which everyone thought (with good reason based on the experience of the Dutch Catholic bishops) would result in the persecution being intensified.

          • Anton

            I have not read The Myth of Hitler’s Pope because I take it, based on its title, to be a corrective to Cornwell’s book, and my views are not influenced by Cornwell – he is unreliable.

            I asked for a reference to any mention of possible action by Pius in light of the Holocaust, in any communication between Pius and leaders of the Jewish community he was sheltering. For all your dissembling and rhetoric you have not given one. You say it is in The Myth of Hitler’s Pope but you do not give a date or who met who, or even a page number. You claim to have academic standards, but not in your referencing. I welcome those details if you can give them.

            I have no cause to believe that Dalin stated something he knew to be untrue. Whether what he stated is accurate, I cannot say without further information. As for the quote you provide from an Italian Jew, you do not say whether it was a comment about the preservation of the Jewish community in Italy (as I’d guess) or about the Jewish community of Europe informed by knowledge of the ongoing Holocaust. And that is what is at issue.

            You are pretending to know what would have happened if Pius had spoken out. You can’t know. Neither can I, but it is a disgrace that you take into account only those contingencies that would have worked out worse for the Jews.

          • Albert

            I have not read The Myth of Hitler’s Pope because I take it, based on its title, to be a corrective to Cornwell’s book, and my views are not influenced by Cornwell – he is unreliable.

            What have you read that defends Pius? Please list.

            I asked for a reference to any mention of possible action by Pius in light of the Holocaust, in any communication between Pius and leaders of the Jewish community he was sheltering. For all your dissembling and rhetoric you have not given one. You say it is in The Myth of Hitler’s Pope but you do not give a date or who met who, or even a page number. You claim to have academic standards, but not in your referencing. I welcome those details if you can give them.

            Oh for goodness’ sake. This is a blog. I have given you evidence of a request made to one of Pius’ bishops, and I have given you reference to a book and a quotation. Now you demand a page number! None of this really makes any difference. Who cares to whom the request was made or on which page number the reference is found? The fact is such requests were made, and the key thing is the reason: speaking out would make things worse. It had made things worse in the past, and it was reasonable to think it would make things worse in the future. Just possibly, the Jews who made those requests knew better than you.

            I have no cause to believe that Dalin stated something he knew to be untrue. Whether what he stated is accurate, I cannot say without further information.

            You just raise the bar higher and higher so as to prevent your position being falsified. Why not just assume that a Jewish rabbi and historian of the holocaust gets his facts right? It’s obvious why not. In the future, I will doubt all claims you make unless you can produce a primary source.

            As for the quote you provide from an Italian Jew, you do not say whether it was a comment about the preservation of the Jewish community in Italy (as I’d guess) or about the Jewish community of Europe informed by knowledge of the ongoing Holocaust. And that is what is at issue.

            If your argument really rests on the assumption that Pius speaking out would have made things better for the Jews of Europe your argument is hopeless. Firstly, saving Italy’s Jews was no small issue. In Italy, 80-85% of Jews were saved only Russia, which was largely unoccupied had a lower death rate for Jews. You probably think that’s a pity, as if they all died you would have more of a case.

            Secondly, you seem ignorant of the other things Pius was doing: he was providing aid to people in camps across occupied Europe, he was also active in trying to negotiate on behalf of peoples, like the starving Greeks who were trapped between warring factions. He also had care for the Catholics of Europe as a whole. You think it would be a good idea to give all that up, and risk the Jews in Rome and Italy, in order to make a fruitless gesture which would have made him a hero, but cost their lives without saving anyone, but rather increasing the danger. And you seem conveniently to have ignored the fact that it was you Protestants who put Hitler in power.

            What did work, and what Pius did do, was to appeal on behalf of the Jews to leaders who were Catholics like Horthy and Tiso. But you don’t care about that. Better to do it in the open, even if it didn’t do any good and cost people’s lives. Ironically, had he done that, you would be arguing that he was self-aggrandizing and placing his reputation above Jewish lives.

            You are pretending to know what would have happened if Pius had spoken out. You can’t know. Neither can I, but it is a disgrace that you take into account only those contingencies that would have worked out worse for the Jews.

            This is just confused logic. I do not need to prove what would have happened had Pius spoken out. Certainly, I think, given the evidence, it is utterly unreasonable to assume anything other than what I have said. But I don’t need to show that or for that to be true. I just need to show that it was a reasonable position to take given the evidence of the time. How about taking the word of Marcus Melchior, Holocaust survivor and former chief rabbi of Denmark:

            It is an error to think that Pius XII could have had an influence whatsoever on the brain of a madman. If the pope had spoken out, Hitler would probably have massacred more than six million Jews and perhaps ten times ten million Catholics, if he had the power to do so.

            Let me appeal to a Jew who was not in the holocaust: Robert MW Kempner, a prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials:

            every propaganda move of the Catholic Church against Hitler’s Reich would have been not only ‘provoking suicide,’…but would have hastened the execution of still more Jews and priests.

            Kempner has particularly strong views on people like you, he says that the effect of your kind of argument is to lessen the guilt of those really responsible:

            The premise and the conclusion…are equally untenable. The archives of the Vatican, of the diocesan authorities and of Ribbentrop’s Foreign Ministry contain a whole series of protests – direct and indirect, diplomatic and public, secret and open.

            How about Jewish theologian and historian Pinchas Lapide:

            The saddest and most thought-provoking conclusion is that while the Catholic clergy in Holland protested more loudly, expressly, and frequently against Jewish persecutions than the religious hierarchy of any other Nazi-occupied country, more-some 110 000, or 79 percent of the total were deported from Holland to death camps.

            It is interesting to compare that figure with those of the nearby and similar countries: Belgium 60%, Luxembourg 20%.

            And this the real irony of your position. It’s not that I have to pretend to know what would happen if Pius spoke out more strongly. It’s that you have to show that Pius could reasonably have known what would happen and that the effect would have been positive. In other words, to establish your position, you would need to show that Pius could reasonably have known that each of these sources given here is wrong.

          • Anton

            “What have you read that defends Pius? Please list.”

            I don’t categorise books as anti-Pius and pro-Pius; along that path lies paranoia.

            “Oh for goodness’ sake. This is a blog. I have given you evidence of a request made to one of Pius’ bishops, and I have given you reference to a book and a quotation. Now you demand a page number! None of this really makes any difference. Who cares to whom the request was made or on which page number the reference is found? The fact is such requests were made”

            Then provide the reference.

            “and the key thing is the reason: speaking out would make things worse.”

            Only God can say if that is true. There are plenty of reasons why the opposite might have been the case: Catholic Nazi troops might have refused orders (as your reply to the question which offended you reveals you believe they should have done). Hitler might have attacked the Vatican and the Catholic countries having extensive coastlines on either side of the Atlantic be denied to the Nazis, substantially shortening the war (and causing the iron curtain to descend father east). Neither of us knows (nor do the people you have quoted); but, as I said, you take into account only the negative possibles and ignore the positive possibles. That is shabby.

            “You just raise the bar higher and higher so as to prevent your position being falsified. Why not just assume that a Jewish rabbi and historian of the holocaust gets his facts right? It’s obvious why not. In the future, I will doubt all claims you make unless you can produce a primary source.”

            Give me the reference I am requesting! I shall be glad to receive it if you can. It is absurd to say that you will or will not doubt something simply because I am requesting documentation about something else. Grounds for doubt are unrelated to rhetorical tactics, are they not?

            “And you seem conveniently to have ignored the fact that it was you Protestants who put Hitler in power.”

            Not my denomination; are you thinking in hierarchies again? Catholics are prone to do that. I remind you that the Vatican shafted the explicitly Catholic “Centre Party” once the Nazis gained power and the Reichskonkordat – a “covenant with death” to quote Isaiah – was concluded.

          • Albert

            I don’t categorise books as anti-Pius and pro-Pius; along that path lies paranoia.

            That’s just feeble. The fact is that there are publications of both types – as you’ve already unwittingly indicated you understand. But if you don’t want to categorise, why not just say what you have read?

            Then provide the reference.

            What? Despite all the other evidence, you want me to read the whole book again? You’ll just come up with another excuse to ignore it!

            Only God can say if that is true.

            Pius had to work on the evidence he had. I have given reason and evidence from primary sources to say that that was right. You have given no evidence in reply to these points, but you continue as if you have proved them false.

            There are plenty of reasons why the opposite might have been the case: Catholic Nazi troops might have refused orders (as your reply to the question which offended you reveals you believe they should have done).

            This is where your hatred of Catholicism prevents a fair reading of the evidence. Obviously, they should have done, but it’s a question of “If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, even if someone should rise from the dead.” Any faithful Catholic already knew that these things were terribly wrong. If they ignored that fact, then they wouldn’t have listened even had the pope said something. Besides, your position is terribly naive about how a totalitarian state works – you can’t just complain to the police you know.

            Hitler might have attacked the Vatican and the Catholic countries having extensive coastlines on either side of the Atlantic be denied to the Nazis, substantially shortening the war (and causing the iron curtain to descend father east).

            This is sheer fantasy, and even if plausible, it’s just the same point again – if these countries would not declare war on Hitler for his crimes, they would not listen to Pius. Have you any idea how hard it was to attack occupied Europe and supply the troops? You seriously think second world Brazil was going to do that? Or that Franco’s Spain, which was only just recovering from Civil War would suddenly take on Hitler for invading the Vatican? Franco did not even dare take on Britain over Gibraltar in the summer of 1940 as Hitler suggested! Yet you are presumably imagining an attack on German occupied France across the Pyrenees! Or maybe you imagined Mussolini’s Italy would declare war on Hitler! Never mind the fact that Italy provides a test case for how silly your suggestion is: Italy did change sides, and did not exactly show herself capable of making much difference.

            Neither of us knows (nor do the people you have quoted); but, as I said, you take into account only the negative possibles and ignore the positive possibles. That is shabby.

            The “positive possibilities” you suggest so far seem to be nothing more than unevidential, implausible fantasies. And yet, you think that Pius should have risked all those people’s lives for them. It’s just an outrageously immoral call.

            Give me the reference I am requesting! I shall be glad to receive it if you can. It is absurd to say that you will or will not doubt something simply because I am requesting documentation about something else. Grounds for doubt are unrelated to rhetorical tactics, are they not?

            I have given you endless references. Yes, I have not been able to give a page number for the precise info you want, but I have given primary sources to show that the point stands however he heard it. And let us remember that he did not speak out against atrocities committed against his own priests. You have given no evidence for your fantasies.

            Not my denomination

            What is your denomination? Did it even exist there and then?

            I remind you that the Vatican shafted the explicitly Catholic “Centre Party” once the Nazis gained power and the Reichskonkordat – a “covenant with death” to quote Isaiah – was concluded.

            Have got a reference for that? I remember reading it was not true, was not supported by the evidence and was in fact contrary to the evidence.

          • Anton

            I ask for a reference and you say it is in a book but you won’t give me the page number? How may I know that your memory is not playing as many tricks as your rhetoric?

            “You have given no evidence in reply to these points, but you continue as if you have proved them false.”

            That is false, of course; I have consistently said that neither of us knows what would have happened. The problem is that you have ignored some counterfactuals while accepting others. Now you are simply doing your utmost to poo-pooh the counterfactuals that are inconvenient for your position. I think your arguments are so weak that I’m happy to let them stand unchallenged and let readers decide.

            I am in a congregation set up the scriptural way: no hierarchy. So it’s not really a denomination.

            “Have [you] got a reference for that?”

            Yes, several. To start with, and quoting from Wikipedia on the Reichskonkordat, on 22 April 1933 the British Minister to the Vatican recounted what the Vatican Under-Secretary of State had told him, “The Holy See is not interested in the Centre Party. We are more concerned with the mass of Catholic voters in Germany than in the Catholic deputies who represent them in the Reichstag.” What a U-turn given the Catholic history of the Centre Party!

          • Albert

            I note with interest, that you will not tell me what you have read. It seems to be the case that you only read books that give a negative assessment of Pius, because you have a bizarre psychological need to read against Catholicism. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

            I also note that you have given no evidence whatsoever for the possibility that Pius could reasonably have expected your bizarre counter-factual of a decisive attack from Catholic countries on both sides of the Atlantic.

            I ask for a reference and you say it is in a book but you won’t give me the page number? How may I know that your memory is not playing as many tricks as your rhetoric?

            You don’t, it’s true. But your own position of demanding one is one of rhetoric, for I hardly need the page number. The point has been made in variety of different ways by a whole range of primary and secondary Jewish sources. Pius has been defended even if no one told him the Jews didn’t want him to speak out – he could work it out for himself as well as they could. You keep banging on about a page number to make it look as if no evidence has been given but abundant evidence has been given.

            I have consistently said that neither of us knows what would have happened. The problem is that you have ignored some counterfactuals while accepting others.

            But not all counterfactuals are equal. Of course, it’s possible that if Pius had spoke out, Hitler would have died of a heart attack. It’s possible that the world would have been invaded by aliens and the WWII would have been moot. It’s possible that the second coming may have occurred. The trouble is that, down here in the real world, when you have the care of millions of people, you cannot take risks on the basis of thing that are only really logical possibilities.

            Now you are simply doing your utmost to poo-pooh the counterfactuals that are inconvenient for your position. I think your arguments are so weak that I’m happy to let them stand unchallenged and let readers decide.

            They are not just inconvenient, they are utterly absurd!

            Here’s the fundamental irrationality of your position, on the one hand you demand a page number for one thing, on the other, you expect, with no evidence whatsoever to be able to judge Pius as wrong for not guessing that had he spoken out, then the Vatican would have been invaded and in response, Catholic countries from both sides of the Atlantic would have declared war on Hitler and been able to bring sufficient force against him to speed up the end of the war to such a degree that it would have saved lives. Not only does your position entail that Pius should have known that was a reasonable outcome, but that it was a more reasonable outcome than that for which he had evidence: that the Nazis would actually round up more Jews (again, you’ve not commented on the statistical evidence for that), or at least that the finishing of the war quicker as a result of your fantasy would have saved lives despite more Jews being sent to Auschwitz.

            The sunny shores of reason have safely been embarked from. I am more than happy for readers to judge that for themselves.

            I am in a congregation set up the scriptural way: no hierarchy. So it’s not really a denomination.

            In other words, it’s just yet another division of evangelical Protestantism: so depending on how we categorize that, either your “denomination” did not exist in Germany at the time (oddly for the real Church is one and exists from the time of Christ) or if it did exist, your brothers and sisters put Hitler in power.

            “The Holy See is not interested in the Centre Party. We are more concerned with the mass of Catholic voters in Germany than in the Catholic deputies who represent them in the Reichstag.”

            This is not evidence of the point you are trying to defend! It simply doesn’t say it. Consider this instead: by 1933 only 13.9 % of the population supported the Catholic Parties, and as a proportion of Catholics, only 47% supported them. Obviously, the Holy See is going to be more interested in the people, not in a party they aren’t even voting for.

            In contrast, here’s Michael Burleigh, with no axe to grind on the behaviour of the Catholic Centre Party:

            It is tempting to see betrayals and conspiracies at every stage of this story. Many (mainly Protestant) historians have claimed that the Vatican did a squalid deal with the Nazis, first persuading the Centre Party to vote for the Enabling Law, in return for the prospect of a concordat only to throw the CP to the wolves once the Concordat had guaranteed the Church’s own institutional interests. Thanks to the scholarship of Rudolf Moresy and Konrad Repgen, we know that none of these speculation is true…Papen certainly sought such a total ban…but his interlocutors [in Rome] then spent three months trying to find ways for bishops to permit some clerics to engage in politics. That position was abandoned only when the CP, and its Bavarian analogue the BVP, had abolished themselves on 4 and 5 July. [Pacelli] first knew of this development, of which he disapproved, when he read about it in the newspapers. It seems inherently improbably that an experienced diplomat such as he would urge the abolition of a party whose continued existence was a vital bargaining chip in his negotiations with the German government.

            He then goes on to say that all parties contributed to the demise of democracy, and that it was CP that was the last one standing. In these circumstances, the dissolution of the CP was a foregone conclusion.

            Burleigh points out that the Catholic Church (which began the negotiations by condemning Nazi anti-Semitism) had already condemned the Nazi Government. All of which raises the question of why the Nazis did not object to political Protestantism. Burleigh’s answer is instructive: most ‘Political Protestants’ were either Nazis or conservatives – and many of the latter’s views were hard to distinguish from those of the former…[In contrast to the condemnation of the Catholic Church] Conservative German Protestants overwhelmingly welcomed the ‘government of national concentration’ in Jan 1933, with some bishops issuing too fulsome statements.

          • Anton

            “I note with interest, that you will not tell me what you have read. It seems to be the case that you only read books that give a negative assessment of Pius, because you have a bizarre psychological need to read against Catholicism. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

            You seem to me to wish to give marks out of ten to a list of books provided by myself. Why should I play such an absurd game? Also, I shall not answer questions, in the preamble to which you impute motive to me. My replies to you do not claim to know what is going on in your head. I consider this happens as an attempted diversion from weak arguments.

            “I also note that you have given no evidence whatsoever for the possibility that Pius could reasonably have expected your bizarre counter-factual of a decisive attack from Catholic countries on both sides of the Atlantic.”

            Where did I mention an attack? I was talking about closure of ports, denial of use of coastal facilities, etc.

            “You keep banging on about a page number to make it look as if no evidence has been given but abundant evidence has been given.”

            But not by you. If you can cite the date of such a meeting and a reference to it, please do so. What will readers suppose otherwise?

            “I am more than happy for readers to judge that for themselves.”

            Grand.

            I wrote: I am in a congregation set up the scriptural way: no hierarchy. So it’s not really a denomination. You replied: “In other words, it’s just yet another division of evangelical Protestantism: so depending on how we categorize that, either your “d enomination” did not exist in Germany at the time (oddly for the real Church is one and exists from the time of Christ) or if it did exist, your brothers and sisters put Hitler in power.”

            The congregation I am in was not formed in a schism from any other. Its leaders have never cut a covenant with Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. We have never persecuted any unbelievers, let alone other Trinitarian Christians. Have you no shame?

            Regarding the Centre Party in early 1930s Germany, Michael Burleigh’s book on Nazi Germany is one that I started reading; I appreciated the scholarship but gave up because of his appalling written style – although I’d reached the dissolution of the Centre Party before then. It was consistently outmanoeuvred until it had lost most of its support, a situation due in no small measure to Pacelli. Bruening, the devout Catholic leader of the Centre Party, wrote that Pacelli misunderstood German politics, despised democracy and the parliamentary system and preferred rigid governments and rigid centralisation. The subsequent Reichskonkordat was a covenant with death.

          • Albert

            Why did you assert that I was not *wholly* part of the body of Christ?

            As the Church is a visible body, and a visibly united body, no Protestant is wholly part of it. This you have already conceded:

            The congregation I am in was not formed in a schism from any other. Its leaders have never cut a covenant with Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. We have never persecuted any unbelievers, let alone other Trinitarian Christians. How about your church system?

            The fact is that the Church has done these things – whether or not one takes “the Church” to refer to the Catholic Church. Therefore, you are in a new body, and not one going back to Christ.

            You seem to me to wish to give marks out of ten to a list of books provided by myself.

            And yet, you do expect me to provide page numbers on matters which are hardly necessary for my case. These reason it is important to see how balanced your reading is, will be made obvious below. The reason you ask for page numbers is so that you can avoid having to answer the evidence I have given which you cannot dispute.

            Also, I shall not answer any questions in the preamble to which you impute motive to me. My replies to you do not claim to know what is going on in your head.

            Actually, they do sometimes.

            I consider that your discussion of my motives is merely an attempted diversion from weak arguments.

            For weak arguments read “arguments drawn from actual examples of the behaviour of the Nazis, supported by Jewish witnesses of the time, Jewish authorities since and essential statical evdience.” For weak arguments how about this one:

            Where did I mention an attack? I was talking about granting port facilities to Allied warships.

            Again, what is the evidence for this? Have you any evidence this was something that Pius could reasonably rely on, when risking the live of potentially millions of people? The truth is, you haven’t any evidence, and what evidence there is counts strongly against it. I’ve already dealt with Spain and Italy without response. You can’t be referring to Hungary since it is land-locked, was not free and in any case, Pius had already done all that could have been done there. So which? Poland?! You can only mean the Catholic countries of South America, and here, far from having evidence, all the evidence is against you.

            Even if we set aside the relative poverty of these nations (and therefore the limited effect that could have on things), after early 1943 Argentina was the only country Latin American country not to have broken with the Axis powers, and even then it was clearly closer to the allies. Many of the Latin American countries had already declared war on Germany by 1943 (a large number after Pearl Harbour). So how is some great war changing difference going to come from Latin America when they have already done what you thought they might do if Pius took that risk? Your totally unevidential proposal, looks rather an undependable risk to take when one knows that possibly millions of deaths will result if it doesn’t work. I am sure that, if he had followed your advice and it had gone wrong, you would be heading the queue to condemn him for being reckless with Jewish lives.

            And this is why it would be good to know what you have been reading. Your suggestions are so wild and lacking in foundation in reality that it just looks like a campaign, using the sufferings of the holocaust, against someone you don’t like for other reasons.

            I appreciated the scholarship but gave up because of his appalling written style – although I’d reached the dissolution of the Centre Party before then

            Really? How come then, you said:

            I remind you that the Vatican shafted the explicitly Catholic “Centre Party” once the Nazis gained power and the Reichskonkordat – a “covenant with death” to quote Isaiah – was concluded.

            Your comment is doubly wrong. Firstly, the dates are wrong: the CCP ceased to exist before, not after the Reichskonkordat and therefore the point as stated simply fails. Secondly, as Burleigh had shown (and which you claimed to have read), the claim itself is false. Why then did you make it? You don’t seem to notice evidence that goes against your fixed positions. Now if you don’t even read books (or finish them) that give evidence against your position, and you don’t remember what you have read when the evidence counts against your position, how likely is it that your position is rational?

            That’s one of the reasons why I think, if you demand pages from books I have read, that you at least tell me what you have read. Without a grounding in evidence you end up with the kind of position that suggests that Pius should have put the Jews and many other across Europe in harms way, on the assumption that to do so, might have caused Hitler also to invade the Vatican which might have caused Latin American countries to side with the allies which might have shortened the war. Even if we exclude the factual element here (that the Latin American countries were already siding with the allies) that’s quite a stretch, and yet it is for not doing this, that you seem to be condemning Pius. But this is the realm of fantasy.

            Bruning, the devout Catholic leader of the Centre Party, wrote that nuncio Pacelli misunderstood German politics, despised democracy and the parliamentary system and preferred rigid governments and rigid centralisation. He got it alright.

            Well let’s see. As always, you do not give a source. But I’ve found the comment in The Pope’s Dilemma by Kornberg. And it is important to say what follows:

            The Bruning version of events had a long shelf-life, even though his account was untrustworthy…for they were a transparent exercise in self-vindication…Bruning re-wrote history…Bruning, seeking vindication, pinned the blame on Pacelli for sinking the Weimar republic…Bruning’s evidence does not hold up

            So, I would like to know, what did you actually read to get that quotation? Have you read the evidence that counts against Bruning?

            Now with the basic elements of the comment found to be false, we can examine the rest of it. First of all, what is the purpose of calling Bruning a “devout Catholic”? The purpose is surely to say that he is trustworthy – he is speaking against his own interests. But we can now see the opposite is true. Whatever his piety, it is evident that he was not arguing against his own interests. Finally we have the claim that Pius despised democracy. I simply don’t know. There are certainly problems with democracy, and democracy was a fairly young and untried thing at that time – even Britain had gone to war in 1914 excluding from the vote a huge number of men (let alone women) who would be expected to die for the country.

            But when you say he despised democracy (for which no evidence has been given except that of the unreliable Bruning) you make it sound that he was pro-totalitarian. But the evidence is that he was profoundly opposed to totalitarianism as well. Of course, at this point in time, he was profoundly, and with good reason, opposed to communism, and it appears it was the rise of communism Pacelli was trying to avoid. He rightly saw that democracy was the method by which totalitarianism would come about, he was wrong about which party would destroy it. It does not seem to me that he misunderstood German politics – at least if he did, so did everyone, except Hitler. So what is the value of your comment now?

            what was the Roman Catholic church doing in German politics given that politics is the art of compromise? Where did Christ compromise? All of this is why I am in the sort of congregation I am.

            Compromise is not necessarily wrong, as Jesus says make friends for yourselves by the mammon of unrighteousness. In a situation where you have no power, you may have to compromise, provided you do not do evil yourself, it may be necessary especially when greater evils will occur to innocent people if you don’t. The comparison with Christ is therefore false since he was never in such a situation. To apply it here is exactly the kind of Manichaeism that I think you represent.

          • Anton

            I wrote: Why did you assert that I was not *wholly* part of the body of Christ? You replied: “As the Church is a visible body, and a visibly united body, no Protestant is wholly part of it. This you have already conceded”

            Which words of mine are you twisting here? Even among denominations which place their self-regard in the apostolic succession as a cover over their apostasies, you ignore the Eastern Orthodox, who comprise a spanner in your reasoning. As for unity, I have that with various Catholic (and other) friends when we pray and have fellowship together. St Paul explained to the Ephesians that unity lies in the Holy Spirit – rather than in any denomination.

            I wrote: You seem to me to wish to give marks out of ten to a list of books provided by myself. You responded: “And yet, you do expect me to provide page numbers on matters which are hardly necessary for my case.”

            I do. You have not only failed to provide a page number; you have failed to provide the name of anybody acting as Pius’ agent in a discussion with leaders of the shielded Jewish community of Rome; you have failed to provide the name of any such Jewish community leader; you have failed to say whether the Holocaust was even explained to these Jews; you have failed to state whether they were asked whether they would prefer Pius to keep quiet for their sakes or speak out against the Holocaust. Do forgive me for being sceptical enough to ask for further detail.

            Can you deny that if the Germans attacked the Vatican then Catholic neutrals such as Portugal and Latin American nations would make their port facilities available to Allied warships? Can you deny that it would have made a significant difference to the war, given that the Battle of the Atlantic was the one thing that Churchill stated gave him sleepless nights? Can you deny that a broadcast stating the Jews were being placed on trains to extermination camps, and that it was a mortal sin for Catholic troops to do that or to run those camps, would have been a concern to Hitler?

            “Without a grounding in evidence you end up with the kind of position that suggests that Pius should have put the Jews and many other across Europe in harms way”

            Might have put the Jews in harm’s way? Were they having an enjoyable war up to that point?

            “The Bruning version of events had a long shelf-life, even though his account was untrustworthy…for they were a transparent exercise in self-vindication…Bruning re-wrote history…Bruning, seeking vindication, pinned the blame on Pacelli for sinking the Weimar republic…Bruning’s evidence does not hold up”

            So now you are willing to hang Bruning, a committed Catholic and a longtime German politician, out to dry for the sake of Pacelli/Pius’ reputation.

            “I would like to know, what did you actually read to get that quotation? Have you read the evidence that counts against Bruning?”

            Those quotes about Pacelli and (German) politics are from Bruning’s memoirs as cited in Robert Ventresca’s book about Pius XII, “Soldier of Christ”. The title (among other things) shows that it is no character assassination. As for Bruning, pages 73-5 give ample reason to back his assessment.

            And the Vatican has been driving in recent years for Pius’ canonisation despite the New Testament being clear that “saint” is (like “priest”) a term applicable to all committed Christians, while canonisation invovles someone addressing the deceased Pius in prayer and receiving a miracle – a procedure more full of holes than a colander.

          • Albert

            Even among denominations which place their self-regard in the apostolic succession as a cover over their apostasies, you ignore the Eastern Orthodox, who comprise a spanner in your reasoning.

            No it isn’t. That just shows, again, an irrational criticism without understanding first.

            As for unity, I have that with various Catholic (and other) friends when we pray and have fellowship together. St Paul explained to the Ephesians that unity lies in the Holy Spirit – rather than in any denomination.

            Unity in the Spirit comes through shared faith, as Paul points out in the same text.

            You have not only failed to provide a page number

            I made the comment in good faith. I am not prepared to re-read the book to find it. Apart from anything else, my case does not remotely rest on the point – as I have shown. I have given endless evidence to support my position, you have given none – except evidence taken from Wiki, which I have shown did not support your claim, and which I have shown, using evidence you claim to have read, was false. Why then did you make that claim?

            Can you deny that if the Germans attacked the Vatican then Catholic neutrals such as Portugal and Latin American nations would make their port facilities available to Allied warships? Can you deny that it would have made a significant difference to the war

            Yes, I can deny all that, because they already had – as I have said already.

            Can you deny that a broadcast stating the Jews were being placed on trains to extermination camps, and that it was a mortal sin for Catholic troops to do that or to run those camps, would have been a concern to Hitler?

            I do deny that. Anyone who did not know that already would not listen to the Pope – as I have said already.

            Might have put the Jews in harm’s way? Were they having an enjoyable war up to that point?

            You misread me. I distinguished between the Jews and others across Europe (the across Europe bit was intended for others, not the Jews). I apologise if I was unclear. However, the point still stands – German policy towards the Jews was extended after the declaration of the Dutch bishops and could thus be expected to happen similarly elsewhere – as I have said already.

            So now you are willing to hang Bruning, a committed Catholic and a longtime German politician, out to dry for the sake of Pacelli/Pius’ reputation.

            What I asked you was whether you had read the evidence against Bruning. Kornberg points out that even supporters of Bruning see Bruning’s account as unrealible here. Thus, it is not reasonable for you to jumpt to the conclusion that I am hanging him out for the sake of Pius. I am simply following where the evidence lead and that means pointing out that Bruning is unrealiable and therefore cannot be used as evidence against Pacelli/Pius as you would like – as I have said already.

            Those quotes about Pacelli and (German) politics are from Bruning’s memoirs as cited in Robert Ventresca’s book about Pius XII, “Soldier of Christ”. The title (among other things) shows that it is no character assassination. As for Bruning, pages 73-5 give ample reason to back his assessment.

            Is Ventresca’s a book you have read? Kindly give the page number for his opinion that Pacelli despised democracy and the parliamentary system and preferred rigid governments and rigid centralisation. In the meantime, I simply quote Kornberg’s assessment that his memoirs are patently an attempt at self-vindication.

            And the Vatican has been driving in recent years for Pius’ canonisation despite the New Testament being clear that “saint” is (like “priest”) a term applicable to all committed Christians

            And so it is also used by Catholics in that sense. But that scripture holds out some as of being specially significance, even for our future, can hardly be denied.

            while canonisation invovles someone addressing the deceased Pius in prayer and receiving a miracle – a procedure more full of holes than a colander.

            To those who have no faith…

          • Anton

            “Unity in the Spirit comes through shared faith, as Paul points out in the same text.”

            Yes, that’s right, faith in Jesus Christ – which my Catholic and my (other) protestant friends share.

            “Yes, I can deny all that, because they already had – as I have said already.”

            You can deny it. You can deny or assert anything, of course. But that does not make it so.

            You are very keen to know what I have read rather than simply respond to my words on the basis of your own reading, which would be the better course, for you are not my examiner.

            “Kindly give the page number for his opinion that Pacelli despised democracy and the parliamentary system and preferred rigid governments and rigid centralisation.”

            By all means: Robert Ventresca, Soldier of Christ p 79, in quotation marks from Bruning’s memoirs (footnote 157, which on p336-7 gives the exact reference within the archive of Bruning’s papers). As I’ve said, pp.73-5 give ample reason for Bruning’s judgement of Pacelli.

            I wrote: canonisation invovles some one addressing the deceased Pius in prayer and receiving a miracle – a procedure more full of holes than a colander. You replied: “To those who have no faith.”

            Faith in what or whom?

          • Albert

            Yes, that’s right, faith in Jesus Christ – which my Catholic and my (other) protestant friends share.

            Faith in Jesus Christ implies faith in his body, the Church of which he is head.

            You can deny it. You can deny or assert anything, of course. But that does not make it so.

            Against your assertions, I have given evidence, evidence, which I do not notice you answering.

            You are very keen to know what I have read rather than simply respond to my words on the basis of your own reading,

            As anyone can see, I have repeatedly shown the evidence is against you.

            By all means: Robert Ventresca, Soldier of Christ p 79, in quotation marks from Bruning’s memoirs (footnote 157, which on p336-7 gives the exact reference within the archive of Bruning’s papers).

            I do not have access to those pages as they are not in the preview.

            As I’ve said, pp.73-5 give ample reason for Bruning’s judgement of Pacelli.

            They are in the preview and they do not support the judgement, indeed Ventresca himself raises doubts over Bruning’s account – that is together with the comment I have already given from Kornberg. This is the problem of your position, you ignore or forget evidence that counts against you (e.g. Burleigh), you make up scenarios that contradict the real situation, and then you make inferences which go well beyond the evidence.

            Faith in what or whom?

            Faith in Christ who is the head of the Church.

          • Anton

            You could always try running your sector of the church consistent with his scriptures, of course.

            Let readers examine Bruning’s comments in the context provided by Ventresca, who was not anti-Pius, and decide for themselves. I wish you well in getting hold of a copy.

            “Against your assertions, I have given evidence, evidence, which I do not notice you answering.”

            But that’s what I consider I’ve done, with you ignoring.

            “Faith in Jesus Christ implies faith in his body, the Church of which he is head.”

            And I am part of that church.

          • Albert

            You could always try running your sector of the church consistent with his scriptures, of course.

            What evidence do you have for that? The fact is that we do not run the Church in a way that is consistent with your interpretation of his scriptures. But that is not evidence that the Church is not consistent with his interpretation of his scriptures.

            Let readers examine Bruning’s comments in the context provided by Ventresca, who was not anti-Pius, and decide for themselves.

            But not only Ventresca (who, contrary to your presentation raises questions about Bruning’s accuracy), also Kornberg (not pro-Pius) who is robust in arguing they are not accurate, and also Burleigh who is clear and explicit that your interpretation of events is unsustainable and has been shown to be so by proper scholarship. Personally, I think it’s obvious that Bruning was trying to white-wash himself and by the time he published his memoirs, there was open season on Pius.

            And you still haven’t clarified what you mean by “despise democracy” and what that might entail.

            But that’s what I consider I’ve done, with you ignoring.

            You made a claim that Catholic countries might have done something decisive to Hitler if Pius spoke out and Hitler invaded the Vatican. No evidence has been given for this claim. On the other hand, I have pointed out the following facts, that are easy for anyone with the internet to verify:

            Even if we set aside the relative poverty of these nations (and therefore the limited effect that could have on things), after early 1943 Argentina was the only country Latin American country not to have broken with the Axis powers, and even then it was clearly closer to the allies. Many of the Latin American countries had already declared war on Germany by 1943 (a large number after Pearl Harbour). So how is some great war changing difference going to come from Latin America when they have already done what you thought they might do if Pius took that risk? Your totally unevidential proposal, looks rather an undependable risk to take when one knows that possibly millions of deaths will result if it doesn’t work. I am sure that, if he had followed your advice and it had gone wrong (and it seems obvious that it would, for it could not have made the difference you hope for), you would be heading the queue to condemn him for being reckless with Jewish lives.

            And I have made similar remarks on European Catholic countries – again, all of which can be verified easily.

            How can you possibly claim that there is any parity between your utterly unsubstantiated assertion, and my response that Latin American countries were already doing what you thought they might start to do (with decisive results) if Hitler invaded the Vatican?

            And I am part of that church.

            You’re a Catholic? Since when?

          • Anton

            You can insinuate that “the church” in the New Testament is synonymous with the Roman Catholic church as much as you like, but that doesn’t make it so. Even Rome calls protestants a form of church nowadays, I believe; I find that fact highly ironic but my question to you is: will you go against that? As for “interpretation”, this arises when a verse is hard to understand, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

            Of course Ventresca regards Bruning as having his own agenda. (Who doesn’t have one?) But the context and history set out by Ventresca in the pages I have specified support Bruning’s statements about Pacelli.

            By the way, a Christmas present for you: if you can’t find a particular page of a book for which Amazon does provide a preview, try using the ” search inside this book” facility for a word you have reason to believe is in the passage you want and then clicking on its occurrences on particular pages. Amazon can be capricious but you might get what you want. Especially it you try it on Amazon.co.uk and on another tab on Amazon.com.

            I take “despise democracy” to mean what Bruning meant, which I take to be what a dictionary states. Any objection?

          • Albert

            You can insinuate that “the church” in the New Testament is synonymous with the Roman Catholic church as much as you like, but that doesn’t make it so

            I am not insinuating it, for it is not something bad and I am not merely suggesting it. I confess it as something true and good.

            Even Rome calls protestants a form of church nowadays, I believe

            Source?

            As for “interpretation”, this arises when a verse is hard to understand, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

            All attempts to draw meaning from texts are exercises in interpretation. The fact that you think a verse is not hard to understand may just be because you don’t understand it: you interpretation is wrong. Besides, the real issue is the depth of the scripture – an “easy to understand” interpretation is unlikely to grasp the full depth of it, especially as it needs to be read in the light of the whole. Thus your principle is quite false and there is no reason for me, or even you, to trust your judgement on scripture.

            Of course Ventresca regards Bruning as having his own agenda. (Who doesn’t have one?) But the context and history set out by Ventresca in the pages I have specified support Bruning’s statements about Pacelli.

            It’s not just that Ventresca regards Bruning as having his own agenda, it’s that he questions his reliability. And as Kornberg points out, Bruning’s agenda (which you admit) is such as to make him unreliable: his agenda is the opposite of the one you insinuated it was. Most importantly of all, the case you seem to want to build on it, has been shown to be false. So I wonder why you keep going on about it.

            By the way, a Christmas present for you: if you can’t find a particular page of a book for which Amazon does provide a preview, try using the ” search inside this book”

            Thank you for that. The search does not give the page, though it does show that the words are there “despise democracy”. But I’m not denying that Bruning said that – I can see from other sources that he did. I am questioning Bruning’s reliability and I am doing so, on the basis of proper secondary sources (including those parts of your source, Ventresca I can see), as well as the inherent problems of a man who, having played a role in Hitler coming to power, seeks to avoid blame and points the finger at someone how had already achieved mythological status in this regard. As Kornberg points out, even those sympathetic to Bruning don’t think Bruning has this right.

            I take “despise democracy” to mean what Bruning meant, which I take to be what a dictionary states. Any objection?

            Now, we are still without evidence (except for the untrustworthy Bruning) that Pacelli did despise democracy. Secondly, I did not ask you simply for your interpretation of the words. I said, And you still haven’t clarified what you mean by “despise democracy” and what that might entail.

            When you say he despised democracy, the implication is “he was in favour of totalitarianism” even “he was in favour of Hitler”.

            But that is not what it can mean in Pacelli’s case. On the contrary, his concern about democracy, judging from his writings, is that he thinks it leads to socialism – that is, to communism and totalitarianism. Of course, after 1933, he may well have added to that concern, the fact that it was democracy that led to National Socialism. So even if Pius had said (which he didn’t) those words, he did not mean to entail by them, what you seem to entail by them.

            But all of this seems to me to be well beside the point. Your claim is that Pius did not speak up more the Jews because he was worried about the Vatican. Normally, when someone makes a claim, they do so on the basis of evidence.

            1. No evidence has been provided for your claim.

            2. The most you have managed is to suggest scenarios against alternative explanations (e.g. this bizarre idea that the Jews were going to be saved by Portugal and the Latin American Catholics, and that somehow, Pius should have spoken up because by being invaded, they would somehow provide the decisive thrust to finishing to the war sooner).

            3. But again, no evidence has been provided for these scenarios.

            4. As I have shown, the evidence is that these scenarios were unreal.

            5. Beyond that, you have pointed to the judgements of odd individuals like Bruning, or situations like the dissolution of the CCP, but even the books you direct me to, and which you claim to have read either undermined your claims about those situation or have explicitly questioned the judgement of those individuals.

            Now a just, reasonable and charitable person draws his conclusions, especially on matters of weight, after hearing the evidence. But you have no evidence. And yet you have your conclusion, and you will stick to it regardless of the evidence. You have begun with your conclusion, you have failed to marshal evidence in its favour, you have ignored abundant evidence against it. And yet you will stick to it. Why?

          • Anton

            You are inventing a just, reasonable and charitable person in your own image, which is none of those in relation to the matter at issue. You parrot that I have provided no evidence when what you do is deny blankly the evidence I have provided. Such a trick of rhetoric takes no skill, no knowledge, no intellectual effort, and I trust people to see it for what it is: consequentialism, so as to reach the view that the Catholic position is correct regardless of all other considerations.

            I wrote: You can insinuate that “the church” in the New Testament is synonymous with the Roman Catholic church as much as you like, but that doesn’t make it so. You replied: “I am not insinuating it… I confess it as something true and good.”

            Your lips may speak it but that does not make it true either. I trust in Jesus Christ as fully human and also fully divine in the sense of the universal and sole Creator; and in him crucified, died for my sins and risen; while the Holy Spirit is likewise divine, and I deny all other gods. If you do not admit me as your brother in Christ then it is you who are the schismatic.

            “Source?”

            In Lumen Gentium (from Vatican 2), it was still asserted that those who remained outside ‘the church’ would not find salvation, but the definition of ‘the church’ was subtly altered. The church was said to ‘subsist in’ the (Roman) Catholic church rather than be identical with it; and the precise meaning of ‘subsist in’ was left open to be argued over by theologians and canon lawyers. It had to be left open, because if Rome had said that protestants who made informed choice not to be Catholics might find salvation then that would have constituted a reversal of its ‘inerrant’ teaching – which would consequently have been shown to be in error on one or other side of the change. The cost of making it up as you go along while trying to remain consistent with all that has gone before is the muddying of the water to such an extent that no non-trained person can possibly understand what is being said. That is in glaring contrast to the clarity with which Christ spoke to the everyday folk for whom his message was intended. The associated Vatican 2 document Unitatis Redintegratio treated protestants according to the notion that they are ‘separated brethren.’ Protestants should welcome the Catholic recognition that they are in some sense brothers, but real progress can come only when Rome acknowledges that mediaeval condemnations such as Unam Sanctam – which unlike modern documents are totally unambiguous – are wrong. We await.

          • Albert

            Well, tell me, what was the evidence again that Pope Pius XII did not speak up more because he was worried about the Vatican? It’s no good saying (as usually do) that you have already given it. It isn’t there. And yet you judge the man on these grounds.

            Your lips may speak it but that does not make it true either.

            I never said that it did, I merely pointed out that the fact that you interpret the Bible in a particular way is no evidence of the interpretation Our Lord wishes us to have. This being so, your disagreement with my confession of the Church is moot.

            I trust in Jesus Christ as fully human and also fully divine in the sense of the universal and sole Creator; and in him crucified, died for my sins and risen; while the Holy Spirit is likewise divine, and I deny all other gods. If you do not admit me as your brother in Christ then it is you who are the schismatic.

            I never said that you are not my brother in Christ, I said that you are not a full member of the Church. Part of the reason is that you do not have faith in Christ to guide his body the Church on earth.

            The church was said to ‘subsist in’ the (Roman) Catholic church rather than be identical with it; and the precise meaning of ‘subsist in’ was left open to be argued over by theologians and canon lawyers.

            This I think is the damage that is done by liberal Catholics. The Church’s official interpretation of that passage, is that subsists in means “is” here. For interest, I cite the Church’s teaching on this, at the end.

            It had to be left open, because if Rome had said that protestants who made informed choice not to be Catholics might find salvation then that would have constituted a reversal of its ‘inerrant’ teaching

            Well this is just very confused. If you read the rest of the documents of Vatican II it shows that the interpretation you give here is not that of the Church.

            That is in glaring contrast to the clarity with which Christ spoke to the everyday folk for whom his message was intended.

            So because you have misunderstood what the Church says, therefore the Church has misunderstood.

            That is in glaring contrast to the clarity with which Christ spoke to the everyday folk for whom his message was intended.

            Does Mark 4.10 not appear in your Bible?

            The associated Vatican 2 document Unitatis Redintegratio treated protestants according to the notion that they are ‘separated brethren.’

            Which is the point I am making.

            Protestants should welcome the Catholic recognition that they are in some sense brothers, but real progress can come only when Rome acknowledges that mediaeval condemnations such as Unam Sanctam

            I think you are confused about Unam Sanctam.

            On “subsists in”:

            With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56 But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.57

            17. Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.58 The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.59 Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.60

            On the other hand, the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery,61 are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church.62 Baptism in fact tends per se toward the full development of life in Christ, through the integral profession of faith, the Eucharist, and full communion in the Church.63

          • Anton

            “I think you are confused about Unam Sanctam.”

            What part of we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff do you not understand? Attempts by subsequent Catholic sophists to muddy the meaning of Boniface’s thunderbolt (the context was his threat to excommunicate the king of France) are risible; there is no doubt what Boniface himself meant by these words, is there? This monster had already, while Pope, had the entire population of Palestrina massacred – some 6000 men women and children – as part of his vendetta against the Colonna family. He discredits himself and his seat.

            “that you interpret the Bible in a particular way is no evidence of the interpretation Our Lord wishes us to have.”

            Interpretation again! You are forced to this position so you can claim that the faithful need the church, and specifically the Roman Catholic church, to interpret it. This is nonsense, of course. Most passages are clear and the others are the exceptions.

            “I said that you are not a full member of the Church. Part of the reason is that you do not have faith in Christ to guide his body the Church on earth.”

            I do. I just disagree with you over what constitutes his body on earth. It is simply the collective of those who have faith in him and as such it has certian characteristics, expounded in the scriptures and not matched by such men as Boniface VIII and his court.

            I wrote that, at Vatican 2, The church was said to �subsist in� the (Roman) Catholic church rather than be identical with it; and the precise meaning of �subsist in� was left open to be argued over by theologians and canon lawyers. you replied: “This I think is the damage that is done by liberal Catholics. The Church’s official interpretation of that passage, is that subsists in means “is” here.”

            Please say where. In any case, church documents are interpretations of scripture, so by your own admission we have here an interpretation of an interpretation. What next – an interpretation of an interpretation of an interpretation? Of course, Rome could always go back to the scriptures.

            “Does Mark 4.10 not appear in your Bible?”

            Perhaps you have forgotten that higher up this thread I reminded you that Jesus often spoke in such a way that only the faithful would grasp his intended meaning.

          • Albert

            Please say where.

            I didn’t just say where – I gave a three paragraph quotation. What’s the point of posting to you, if you don’t read what I write? This thread has had several examples of this: things you’ve quoted which do not say what you said they said, books you claim to have read, but which say positions you hold are untenable, so I suppose it is not surprising that you don’t read what I write.

            And this is surely more reason to think Protestantism phoney. You either do not read, or you read and don’t understand or you read and forget, anything that disagrees with you.

          • Anton

            You are right: I failed to read those three paragraphs – specifically and only those three – because of a certain glitch in my email client software, which I usually check up on but failed to on this occasion; my apologies.

            But O, the knots you get into when you make it up as you go along for 2000 years, all the while having to deny that you are changing your position even as you do so, so as to avoid the obvious conclusion that you have not been inerrant! And the legalism. Did Jesus Christ or Paul EVER speak like those three paragraphs do? Truly this stuff is beyond parody. Were it not tragic, it would be hilarious.

            Now, about Unam Sanctam,. What part of we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff do you not understand? Attempts by subsequent Catholic sophists to muddy the meaning of Boniface’s thunderbolt (the context was his threat to excommunicate the king of France) are risible; there is no doubt what Boniface himself meant by these words, is there?

          • Albert

            I’m still struggling to get the point regarding Unman Sanctam. You seem to think that Unam Sanctam is in conflict with subsistit in. But as I have pointed out, that isn’t the case. Let’s take this part of the document I quoted:

            With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.

            Now Pope Boniface could have said all that (I grant, it is unlikely that we would have said all that, but that is a different matter!), for the simple fact is that, valid sacraments do exist outside of the Catholic Church – and this was Catholic teaching long before Boniface. So where is the problem I am supposed to be dealing with? Can you be more precise?

            And the legalism. Did Jesus Christ or Paul EVER speak like those three paragraphs do?

            I’m not sure what you are referring to here. It seems pretty obvious that there is no salvation other than that given by Christ – and this Jesus and Paul certainly taught. If there is no salvation outside of Christ, it follows that there is no salvation outside of the Church.

          • Anton

            As the church is simply the community of the saved,
            “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” is a tautology – or an implicit definition of “the church”. But it isn’t identical with the Roman Catholic church. Boniface is very clear that it is, however; perhaps you could emerge from Rome’s clouds of obfuscation, which you so eloquently describe, and tell me with a clear Yes or No whether Rome has changed its mind from Boniface’s view.

          • Albert

            Firstly, how precisely is this helping you to demonstrate the idea that Pius XII did not speak up for the Jews more because he was worried about the territorial integrity of the Vatican?

            As the church is simply the community of the saved

            If you mean by that that the Church is simply the collective noun for all those who are saved and only they, I do not accept the premise.

            Boniface is very clear that it is, however; perhaps you could emerge from Rome’s clouds of obfuscation, which you so eloquently describe, and tell me with a clear Yes or No whether Rome has changed its mind from Boniface’s view.

            The statement as put is sound. It’s just that we ask a different question now, a question that Boniface would not have considered and certainly wasn’t addressing. You can be found by looking in the right documents of Vatican II – perhaps you should do a little research before sounding so self-confident?

          • Anton

            I consider that I’ve made my point about Pius XII to anybody who is genuinely prepared to consider what both sides say. I concede to you unreservedly in knowledge of the verbiage that came out of Vatican 2. I am now raising the subject of Unam Sanctam and you need not reply, of course – although others might find it difficult to square the phrase it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff with the salvation of *some* non-Roman-Catholics, which I *think* Rome now accepts. (Does it? Please include a clear Yes or No in any reply.)

            I wrote: the church is simply the community of the saved and you replied, “If you mean by that that the Church is simply the collective noun for all those who are saved and only they, I do not accept the premise.”

            Obviously such men as the OT prophets never knew Jesus Christ in their lives on earth. And obviously the church, as the community of the the saved, has certain collective characteristics not shared by other groupings of men – characteristics stated in the NT. But please give your own definition of “the church”.

          • Albert

            I consider that I’ve made my point about Pius XII to anybody who is genuinely prepared to consider what both sides say.

            But, as anyone who reads this can see, you have given no evidence whatsoever for your main contention (that Pius did not speak up more for the Jews so that he could save the Vatican).

            You have given odd pieces you claimed were evidence for some matters you seemed to think (but did not argue) were related, but these pieces of evidence

            1. Turned out not to say what you said they said, or
            2. Were found to be unreliable even by the secondary sources you got them from, or
            3. Were directly contradicted and found to be untenable by proper scholarship (which you claimed to have read)

            and as I say none of these points (each of which failed) even began to support your original contention. In addition, you have found your position attacked by Jewish witnesses of the holocaust and by Jewish historians of the holocaust.

            If this is the best case against Pius XII then yes, then anyone who is genuinely prepared to consider what both sides say will clearly not be convinced by your assertion (and it is nothing more than that).

            it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff with the salvation of *some* non-Roman-Catholics, which I *think* Rome now accepts. (Does it? Please include a clear Yes or No in any reply.)

            It’s like saying “Is the Logos homoousios with the Father yes or no?” The answer depends on exactly what is meant by that. In the Third Century “homoousios” implied unitarian heresy, but in the Fourth Century “homoousios” implied Trinitarian orthodoxy. To understand doctrinal pronouncements, you can’t just cite the words and say “Yes or no”, you need to know the context of the statement: that gives you what is meant, and most especially, what the statement is said against. I had already alluded to this point in my previous post and yet here you are charging in displaying little understanding of the issues.

            If you wish to claim a contradiction in Catholic teaching, I would like to see the passage of Church teaching with which there is supposed to be a contradiction. I can think of passages that could be taken as such, but I’m not going to do your research for you when all you are doing is trying to find fault – your conclusion is held already and will not be altered by evidence.

            Obviously such men as the OT prophets never knew Jesus Christ in their lives on earth.

            This is exactly what I mean. You agree that your statement was either false, or that it could only correctly be understood once a wider context.

            And obviously the church, as the community of the the saved, has certain collective characteristics not shared by other groupings of men – characteristics stated in the NT. But please give your own definition of “the church”.

            Hang on a minute! It was you that made the claim the church is simply the community of the saved. I simply refused the definition – something it appears from your post you now agree with. So why am I suddenly required to give a definition? I’m not sure I would even want to try to do that – at least not exhaustively. I say simply that “the Church” does not by definition include only those who are saved, and isn’t simply the collective noun for “the saved” (whatever “the saved” means – I don’t think scripture uses that precise expression).

          • Anton

            Despite your angling to make it my problem, it is your problem that Unam Sanctam cannot be squared with Vatican 2. “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus” is a distraction. Catholics simply cannot square “it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Unam Sanctam) with the Vatican 2 position that some non-Christians may be saved even in the church era (in Lumen Gentium: “Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience”). The point here is that Rome has changed its mind on a matter of doctrine. So Rome was, in some aspect, wrong either before or after. So it cannot be inerrant. So the claim of doctrinal inerrancy is false. The “context” for Unam Sanctam is irrelevant, because the quote above from it is utterly unambiguous; the only limitation is that there *be* a Roman Pontiff, which wasn’t the case in the era of the prophets of ancient Israel but which Catholics believe has been so ever since St Peter’s pastoral leadership began.

            As for Pius XII, I dispute what you say in your preceding comment: about him, about my position, and about the appropriate conclusions to be drawn. I consider that you have added nothing to what we have already written above, and I’m happy to let readers decide for themselves whether what you say is accurate.

          • Albert

            Happy New Year!

            Despite your angling to make it my problem

            Of course it’s your problem. You decided to launch an attack on the Catholic Church by defining the Church – a definition I queried – and then, in your next post you promptly altered your definition.

            it is your problem that Unam Sanctam cannot be squared with Vatican 2

            Now this is fascinating. In my last post I wrote:

            If you wish to claim a contradiction in Catholic teaching, I would like to see the passage of Church teaching with which there is supposed to be a contradiction. I can think of passages that could be taken as such, but I’m not going to do your research for you when all you are doing is trying to find fault – your conclusion is held already and will not be altered by evidence.

            And here you are doing exactly that:, you say, without hearing my case, Unam Sanctam cannot be squared with Vatican 2. You have come up with the exact passage from Vatican II that I thought you would, but rather than wait for my explanation, as I said before, your conclusion is held already and will not be altered by evidence. You can’t see a solution and therefore there is none. Now how did I know you would take that position? It’s because that’s what you always do – at least in matters Catholic. I suppose I should be grateful though that, in this case, unlike the Pius XII case, you have drawn your conclusion prior to hearing the evidence rather than in the face of it.

          • Anton

            You asked for a contradiction or volte-face in Catholic teaching, so I gave you one. Instead of attempting to refute it, you congratulate yourself on your prescience that I gave the doctrines you expected. It will be obvious to readers that you haven’t refuted my claim. Do try…

            “your conclusion is held already and will not be altered by evidence”

            That’s what I think you do – Rome uber alles, including logical reasoning.

          • Albert

            You asked for a contradiction or volte-face in Catholic teaching, so I gave you one. Instead of attempting to refute it, you congratulate yourself on your prescience that I gave the doctrines you expected. It will be obvious to readers that you haven’t refuted my claim.

            It will be obvious, in the event that anyone is reading this, that I didn’t even try to refute your claim. You see, whether you have given a contradiction in Church teaching is the matter at issue. You decided it was, even before you heard the case against. My purpose was to emphasise the fact that you were drawing a conclusion before hearing the evidence and that you were doing so, even though you knew already that I had reasons to think there was no contradiction. Therefore, my purpose was to show that you did what I said you would do – draw the conclusion antecedently to hearing the evidence and reasoning upon which alone, that conclusion can rationally be based.

            Now it ought to be obvious that there is no clear contradiction here. But before dealing with that, we need to consider the nature of Church teaching. You say:

            The point here is that Rome has changed its mind on a matter of doctrine. So Rome was, in some aspect, wrong either before or after. So it cannot be inerrant. So the claim of doctrinal inerrancy is false.

            This just shows, as usual, that you don’t bother to understand that which you attack. For the Church does not claim that all her teaching is inerrant, rather she claims that her infallible teaching is infallible. Thus, it is perfectly possible for the Church to change her teaching on matters she has not defined infallibly, or for her non-infallible teaching to be…well…non-infallible. Thus the question here needs to be about whether both teachings are given with infallible authority. It is evident that they are not. Boniface may well be, since he presents his teaching as a definition, Vatican II is not, and is not held by anyone to be so. Thus it is perfectly possible that Vatican II at least is simply wrong.

            This being so, you can draw no conclusions at all that the claim of doctrinal inerrancy is false

            But, as I have said, it is not evident that there is a contradiction here. Here are the two statements:

            Boniface:we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff

            and

            Vatican II: Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience

            There is no contradiction between these two statements, if you think there is, please show it. Indeed, Vatican II itself cites the traditional formula:

            unity of the mystical Body, without which there can be no salvation.

            You go on:

            That’s what I think you do

            You forget that I was not always a Catholic.

          • Anton

            “You forget that I was not always a Catholic.”

            I respond to the words you write here, not your autobiography.

            “whether you have given a contradiction in Church teaching is the matter at issue. You decided it was, even before you heard the case against.”

            As you were waiting for me to provide what I believe is a contradiction, the order of events could not have been any different, could it? Or were you expecting me to ask you “How can Catholic statement ‘A’ be reconciled with Catholic statement ‘B’? I am not obliged to meet your expectations! Moreover the sight of a man publicly congratulating himself on his foresight is not an edifying one.

            Unam Sanctam stated that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff”.

            Lumen Gentium stated that “Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.”

            These statements are obviously contradictory – unless you are trying to rewrite the dictionary again, which has been your preferred way to try to get out of a jam. The statements are contradictory because Lumen Gentium states, in the era of existence of the Roman Catholic church, that some persons are able to be saved who are not subject to the Roman Pontiff. Yet Unam Sanctam denies that assertion. I care little whether Unam Sanctam is wrong or Lumen Gentium is wrong but they are in clear contradiction.

            Unam Sanctam was an ex cathedra statement by Boniface VIII, the degenerate who while Pope had the entire population of Palestrina – 6000 men, women and children – massacred as part of his vendetta against the Colonna family some 7 centuries ago. The idea that statements made in Boniface’s capacity as Pope (ie, ex cathedra) will be guaranteed to be statements of the Holy Spirit, on a par in authority with the Bible, yet paying no regard to Boniface’s character, is ludicrous. And Lumen Gentium is a dogmatic constitution regarding the Roman Catholic church and was promulgated by the then Pope in 1964 after being approved at a General Council known as Vatican 2 by overwhelming majority vote.

            Now, you might claim that Lumen Gentium is not an ex cathedra promulgation and that the will of a General Council counts for nothing; assuredly you know more about Rome’s small print than me. But if that is the case then Rome is simply making a fool of itself and there is no cause to trust it about anything else, for in that case a General Council and a Pope have been led astray about a matter of salvation – and what is more doctrinal than that? The conclusions of Vatican 2 have been taught as authoritative throughout the Roman Catholic church since the 1960s, so if you reject it then Rome’s claim of inerrant teaching is unsustainable, isn’t it? What you are really doing is dissembling like the pharisees so as to be able to pick and choose those parts of Rome’s teaching that you agree with and reject those parts that you don’t. And you accuse protestants of private interpretation!

          • Albert

            As you were waiting for me to provide what I believe is a contradiction, the order of events could not have been any different, could it? Or were you expecting me to ask you “How can Catholic statement ‘A’ be reconciled with Catholic statement ‘B’? I am not obliged to meet your expectations! Moreover the sight of a man publicly congratulating himself on his foresight is not an edifying one.

            I was not congratulating myself, but pointing out that your conclusion was reached – in an entirely characteristic way – before you had heard any evidence and reasoning which might disagree with the conclusion you wanted to reach. As you condemned Pius without producing evidence against him, so you condemn the Church without hearing a defence. I don’t have a duty to defend Church teaching to you. It is evident from repeated discussions that your conclusions are draw prior without evidence and thus will not be altered by evidence – even the sources you cite sometimes say the positions you hold are untenable. Jesus makes it clear that we do not have to give evidence to those who are not honest seekers, and you are not an honest seeker when it comes to the Catholic Church. But on the contrary, turning your back on scripture, you rejoice at wrong even when wrong may not even be there.

            Could your posts have been different? Contrary to what you say here, of course they could. I had set out an example of how doctrine develops – an example you would have to accept yourself if you are truly a Christian. I had said that I thought I knew which passages you would use and that I think there was no contradiction. You then used those passages. Despite all these warnings, you nevertheless propose your conclusion. Not “I think these passages contradict” but These statements are obviously contradictory – unless you are trying to rewrite the dictionary again, which has been your preferred way to try to get out of a jam (I’d love to see an example of my rewriting the dictionary BTW, do you have one or is this just another example of you being allowed to just judge and condemn me without evidence, simply because I am a Catholic?). And in a previous post you wrote:

            You asked for a contradiction or volte-face in Catholic teaching, so I gave you one.

            Again the conclusion is firmly held before the defence is heard. And in an earlier post you even sought to draw a further conclusion:

            The point here is that Rome has changed its mind on a matter of doctrine. So Rome was, in some aspect, wrong either before or after. So it cannot be inerrant. So the claim of doctrinal inerrancy is false.

            A point which, even if it had been shown there was a contradiction here (which it hasn’t), simply would not follow. You hurry to the conclusion that Catholicism is false with such haste that you give the game away: the aim is not to give Catholicism a fair hearing, but to present it as false. Have you never read what Jesus said Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly? and Do not judge, or you too will be judged.For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged?

            How would you react to a Muslim, who claimed without waiting to hear a response that Christianity is contradictory because we believe in one God without partners and yet believe he is three? Or to him if he said that since you think Jesus is Man that therefore he cannot be said to be God without contradiction? Think about it. That is how you come across to me. Would you be impressed? Would you even reply to such a Muslim?

            Since there is no openness in your heart to the possibility that Catholicism may not be guilty of the things for which you condemn her, I am loath to offer a defence of Church teaching here, since Jesus makes clear that we should not in cases such as this. But lest any other reader think I refuse because I cannot, I will take this step by step. Here are the two statements, you allege are contradictory:

            Boniface: we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff

            and

            Vatican II: Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience

            Do you accept that there is no verbal contradiction? That is to say, there is nothing said in one sentence that is literally, word for word, contradicted in the other. For clarity: a verbal contradiction would be if Vatican II had said something like we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is not absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff. As you would say, please provide a yes or no answer.

            You continue:

            The idea that statements made in Boniface’s capacity as Pope (ie, ex cathedra) will be guaranteed to be statements of the Holy Spirit on a par in authority with the Bible, without regard to Boniface’s character, is ludicrous.

            Well I know little about Boniface’s behaviour; it matters little since some popes were clearly wicked. I suggest though, that if your comment is anything to go by you know little about the Bible’s doctrine of grace. The Church’s capacity to preach faithfully does not rest on human works (are you some kind of ecclesial pelagian?), but on the providential grace of Christ. Have you never read the 11th Chapter of the gospel according to St John:

            Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.

            So, according to you, God is able to make a non-Christian prophetically speak the truth, even while he argues to kill Christ, and yet, you doubt that God is able to speak through the mouth of a wicked pope? Where are you getting all this? The wickedness of a man is no evidence that he does not speak the truth – that is a truth in normal reasoning, even before we add grace and providence to the situation.

            Now, you might claim that Lumen Gentium is not an ex cathedra promulgation and that the will of a General Council counts for nothing; assuredly you know more about Rome’s small print than me.

            Another extraordinary set of inferences made with no attempt to hear first the other point of view.

            What you are really doing is pharisaic dissembling so as to be able to pick and choose those parts of Rome’s teaching that you agree with and reject those parts that you don’t. And you accuse protestants of private interpretation!

            I cannot for the life of me see why any fair minded and informed person could draw such a conclusion from my words.

          • Anton

            I don’t have a duty to defend Church teaching to you. It is evident from repeated discussions that your conclusions are draw prior without evidence and thus will not be altered by evidence – even the sources you cite sometimes say the positions you hold are untenable. Jesus makes it clear that we do not have to give evidence to those who are not honest seekers, and you are not an honest seeker when it comes to the Catholic Church.

            Honesty? If you gave me some reason based on our scriptures to believe that you were not working backwards from Rome’s own position, that it is the only meaning of “church” and can never be wrong, so as to maintain that position (in the process torturing logic and the meaning of words), then I’d be willing to rethink. As it is you concede that Lumen Gentium, promulgated by a Pope after an overwhelming vote at a General Council and consequently taught throughout the Catholic church, might be wrong, while yet you believe that the Catholic church’s teaching is inerrant.

            It is for you to decide when and if to disengage from this dialogue. But when you issue a barely veiled warning of hellfire, is it not a shameful diversion?

            I’d love to see an example of my rewriting the dictionary

            I’ve pointed out several such abuses of the dictionary and/or of logic on this blog: how you assert that the words apostolos, episkopos and presbyteros have varying meaning, after I showed that their use in the New Testament implied a church system without oversight over multiple congregations by the same person or set of people. Your only way out was to reduce words to meaninglessness. How you did the same over the incompatibility of Catholic ordained compulsory celibacy with Paul’s exhortation that congregation leaders (episkopoi, in Paul’s meaning of the word) should run their own family well (1 Tim 3). How you assert that Rome respects the (scriptural) universal priesthood of believers although its ceremony of ordination ordains the ordinand “as a priest” with the implication that he was not previously one (of any category). How you insist that a contraceptive-free act of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife, who have waited until they believe the woman is temporarily infertile because they do not want a child, is “open” to conception when the point of their waiting was to close the door to it.

            Re Boniface VIII, the Pope who ordered mass murder at Palestrina, you wrote: The wickedness of a man is no evidence that he does not speak the truth. Nonsense. A wicked man may sometimes speak the truth, but scripture is clear (eg Proverbs) about the correlation between thought, word and deed.

            You have quoted Unam Sanctam, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff and quoted Lumen Gentium, Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. You now ask: Do you accept that there is no verbal contradiction?

            As we are using words, there is no difference between “verbal contradiction” and “contradiction”. There is a contradiction even though one statement is not the explicit negation of the other (as it was in the example you gave). To prove a contradiction it suffices to find a statement entailed in one of these two statements whose negation is entailed in the other. Now, it follows from Lumen Gentium that a man may exist who, in the era of the Roman Pontiff’s existence, is saved without being subject to him. Unam Sanctam denies that.

          • Albert

            If you gave me some reason based on our scriptures to believe that you were not working backwards from Rome’s own position, that it is the only meaning of “church”

            So let me just get this clear: you regard me as dishonest because my interpretation is not consistent with your Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura? How hard is this for you to understand? Catholics do not accept the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura. We think it bogus. We think it is not in scripture. That does not make us dishonest. It makes us honest. It isn’t in scripture. Obviously, as a Catholic, in terms of my reading of scripture, I must make sure my reading of scripture is consistent with that of the Catholic Church. How does that make me dishonest, when I think that the Catholic Church is the oracle through which the Holy Spirit, who inspired the scripture, makes his meaning known?

            and can never be wrong, so as to maintain that position

            How is it that you just don’t get anything you don’t agree with? How is it that you consistently maintain your position of judgement, even though you do not understand that which you judge, even though it has been repeatedly explained to you? I have explained that Catholic teaching is not that the Catholic Church can never be wrong: Catholic teaching is that when she speaks infallibly, her teaching is infallible (and cannot be wrong), but this happens very rarely. Why not do some research, not with a view to simply condemning us, but with a view to understanding us (either that, or just do something else)?

            (in the process torturing logic and the meaning of words

            I am not torturing words. We have seen abundant evidence in this thread that you like to rush ahead and reach a conclusion which you want to follow, even when it has been explicitly explained to you that it does not follow. I use words precisely, and with a view on their context. That’s not torturing logic and the meaning of words, that’s how logic and meaning of words works. Read some philosophy of language.

            As it is you concede that Lumen Gentium, promulgated by a Pope after an overwhelming vote at a General Council and consequently taught throughout the Catholic church, might be wrong, while yet you believe that the Catholic church’s teaching is inerrant.

            This is an example of what I mean about your lack of precision. Surely even a child can see the point here…Why don’t you do some proper reading and try to understand that which you condemn? For the third time: I believe Catholic teaching is infallible when it is given infallibly. For the second time Lumen Gentium wasn’t. You can only make your argument here if you torture logic and the meaning of words.

            It is for you to decide when and if to disengage from this dialogue. But when you issue a barely veiled warning of hellfire, is it not a shameful diversion?

            I have not issued a warning of hellfire – but even if I had, it would not be a shameful diversion. Already in his post, I have had to correct, again, several points I have repeatedly corrected already but which, in your hatred of Catholicism you seem unwilling to pick up. What am I supposed to do when you consistently ignore what I say? Is there any point? Yes, there is, because others may be reading this.

            I’ve pointed out several such abuses of the dictionary and/or of logic on this blog

            As I have shown, your logic is all over the place, and your inability to grasp what your opponent says and believes prevents you from making such an accusation.

            how you assert that the words apostolos, episkopos and presbyteros have varying meaning

            I’m astonished the word apostolos is in there, since it is clearly used differently from the other words. As for the other two words, sometimes they may have been used interchangeably, but what I have pointed out – a position which is a fairly standard academically – is that neither the ministry nor the language of the NT is fixed. Paul, an apostolos, clearly has a different role from an episkopos. Timothy clearly has a different role from other ministers, whatever they are called. I invite any reader here to go and check that for themselves.

            How you did the same over the incompatibility of Catholic ordained compulsory celibacy with Paul’s exhortation that congregation leaders (episkopoi, in Paul’s meaning of the word) should run their own family well (1 Tim 3).

            I pointed out that if one takes Paul’s language with literal hardness, as law that is (and as your argument required), then you end up making Paul contradict himself. I pointed out that no one really takes Paul literally there, for it would mean that a man who was married but had no children could not be an episkopos, likewise, it would mean that if his wife died, he would have to lose his ministry. It would also mean that, on your reading Paul, could not be an apostolos, since, as Paul was single, and on your reading a single man cannot be an episkopos and on your argument, an apostolos is the same as an episkopos, Paul clearly couldn’t have been an apostolos. But that’s plainly false and so your argument is false.

            I suggested that while you condemn the Catholic Church you are guilty yourself as charged. You do not, in your congregation, have the order of widows Paul describes. In all this, you either tried to evade describing your congregation (which is hardly publicly visible, like a city built on a hill-top as the Catholic Church is) or you tried to come up with some dreadful evasion about widows, that Paul was not talking about enrolling them into the order of widows (as Protestant commentators think), but that he was talking about not receiving them into the Church (this would apply if she was young or had children or grandchildren to look after her). It was the most extraordinary tortur[ing of] logic and the meaning of words.

            How you assert that Rome respects the (scriptural) universal priesthood of believers although its ceremony of ordination ordains the ordinand “as a priest” with the implication that he was not previously one (of any category).

            We acknowledge that in the scriptures the word “priest” is used different ways – again, as anyone with a concordance can check for himself.

            How you insist that a contraceptive-free act of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife, who have waited until they believe the woman is temporarily infertile because they do not want a child, is “open” to conception when the point of their waiting was to close the door to it.

            Again, you just haven’t bothered to try to understand that which you attack. The fact that a couple have sex during the “safe” part of the month does not morally oblige them to have sex during the fertile part. You are simply torturing logic if you think otherwise.

            A reminder: I used to be a Protestant. I got my degrees in Theology while a Protestant from non-Catholic universities, almost always studying under non-Catholics. I understand your position (at least, I understand Protestantism generally, it’s unclear what kind of Protestant you are). But, as any honest reader of just this post, will immediately grasp, you have no understanding of Catholicism. And yet you condemn us, often without evidence, sometimes in the face of evidence.

            A wicked man may sometimes speak the truth, but scripture is clear (eg Proverbs) about the correlation between thought, word and deed.

            Did the Holy Spirit lie John Chapter 11, when speaking of Caiaphas speaking the truth? Please provide a yes or no answer in your reply. As for Proverbs, it is hardly the last word when it comes to grace.

            As we are using words, there is no difference between “verbal contradiction” and “contradiction”.

            It was my sentence, and I was very clear and precise over how I was using the words. You don’t get to rewrite that meaning to suit you.

            There is a contradiction even though one statement is not the explicit negation of the other (as it was in the example you gave). To prove a contradiction it suffices to find a statement entailed in one of these two statements whose negation is entailed in the other.

            I said I was taking it step by step – you as, always rush to the conclusion. I’ll take that as a yes, there is no verbal contradiction between the two statements. Therefore, the claim that there is a contradiction rests on what we take the words to mean.

            To prove a contradiction it suffices to find a statement entailed in one of these two statements whose negation is entailed in the other.

            Fine.

            Now, it follows from Lumen Gentium that a man may exist who, in the era of the Roman Pontiff’s existence, is saved without being subject to him.

            That is what you have sloppily thought Lumen Gentium to be saying. It ought to be obvious that that is not what LG says. Let’s now look at that document:

            it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one body of Christ into which all those must be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God.

            those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life.

            In any community of the altar, under the sacred ministry of the bishop,(52*) there is exhibited a symbol of that charity and “unity of the mystical Body, without which there can be no salvation.

            Elsewhere, Vatican II says this:

            Christ Himself ‘by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door. Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it.’ Therefore though God in ways known to Himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel to find that faith without which it is impossible to please Him, yet a necessity lies upon the Church, and at the same time a sacred duty, to preach the Gospel.

            Finally, let us note that in Unam Sanctam, Boniface does not say people must submit to the Roman Pontiff, but they must be subject to him.

            Now, again, this is where precise understanding of words is important. Someone can be subject to someone else without knowing it. As an Englishman, I was subject to the Queen and to British law before I knew what those things were or meant. Boniface does not wish to exclude from salvation those Catholics who are either too young, too stupid or too ignorant to understand the nature of the Church to be able consciously to submit to her. They are part of the Church and are therefore her subjects. This is directed it Philip, who is trying to extract himself from being a subject of the Church, and making it submit to himself.

            It ought to be obvious that Vatican II is as clear that such a person cannot enter salvation as Boniface was, but, as he no doubt would, is stressing the implicit nature of the faith of those who are not in a position to know or make an explicit submission.

            When we look then at Vatican II, if it was teaching what you think it teaches it would say:

            Those also are saved (this was your sloppy wording above) who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience

            But in fact it says:

            Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience

            So this is talking about something in the future: they are not yet saved. Why not? Because they have not yet found that faith without which it is impossible to please Him the Church is simply denying that they will be excluded by ignorance for which they are inculpable.

            How then can they be saved? Vatican II does not say, it simply adds God in ways known to Himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel to find that faith without which it is impossible to please Him. Therefore, logically, at some point in the future, God will save them by ensuring they hear the Gospel (which note, according to Vatican II means being a member of the Catholic Church, and therefore, being a subject of the Pope – even if only implicitly, neither document requires an explicit submission). Hopefully, this happens by them hearing the Gospel and converting. What happens to those who don’t here this before they die? As ought to be evident, if they die without the Catholic faith they cannot be saved.

            So how are they saved? Vatican II doesn’t say – it says this is known to God. However, a perfectly reputable theory, consistent with both texts is to say that God reveals himself to such a person in the moment of death and they make their choice. There is therefore no contradiction between the two passages. This you would have known if you had bothered to do some reading before condemning us.

            Not for one moment of course, do I expect you to accept this, for no evidence in defence of the Catholic Church is admitted by you. But it is evident that Vatican II and Boniface agree and that far from there being a contradiction between the two, the space between the two poles of the alleged contradiction is wide enough to drive a tank through. You close the space by (i)sloppy reading (ii) drawing conclusions which go beyond what the words say.

          • Anton

            “you regard me as dishonest because my interpretation is not consistent with your Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura?”

            I never said that. It is because you work backwards from the position that Rome’s teaching cannot be wrong, without considering that it might be.

            “I believe Catholic teaching is infallible when it is given infallibly… Lumen Gentium wasn’t.”

            We agree that the scriptures are infallible, words given to all of God’s people. Also presumably the tested words of prophets given to local situations. (There were plenty of genuine prophets in ancient Israel whose prophetic words didn’t get into scripture simply because those words were not intended for all of God’s people.) I do not agree that ex cathedra pronouncements of Popes are infallible; some such words are correct, some aren’t. Many committed Christians share this viewpoint – it is not private interpretation. You may shout louder that your churchmen insist ex cathedra pronouncements are infallible and that they alone comprise the true church, but that is all you are doing: shouting louder.

            Then there is the problem of legalism, in this case talking about teaching issuing from Rome which is inerrant and other teaching which isn’t. If a document promulgated by the Pope following an overwhelming vote of a General Council is deniable then it doesn’t show that the Roman church system has much confidence in itself, does it? If Lumen Gentium wasn’t in the category which Rome’s sophist-icated small print declares as infallible then why has it been generally taught as authoritative within the Catholic church for two generations?

            “As I have shown, your logic is all over the place”

            You have not shown that, except perhaps to your own satisfaction.

            I do not intend to revisit the meanings of episkopos, presbyteros, apostolos and hiereus. You asked for examples of where you torture logic and/or the dictionary and I have given them. They can be inspected elsewhere on this blog.

            “I suggested that while you condemn the Catholic Church you are guilty yourself as charged. You do not, in your congregation, have the order of widows Paul describes.”

            You are misunderstanding scripture here, as I explained. But even granted that, are there such widows within and directly maintained by your congregation, as you suppose Paul is saying?

            “In all this, you either tried to evade describing your congregation (which is hardly publicly visible, like a city built on a hill-top as the Catholic Church is”

            It is no less publicly visible than the local Roman Catholic or other congregations. I am not going to give its name, because I wish to preserve my own anonymity.

            “The fact that a couple have sex during the “safe” part of the month does not morally oblige them to have sex during the fertile part.”

            Nor did I suggest Rome said that. I am asking for your views about the morality of that particular act of sex, conducted (without contraceptives) when the husband and wife believe the wife is infertile, and waited for, for that precise reason. You say it is acceptable under Catholic teaching because without contraceptives it is “open to conception”. That is an absurd statement given that the couple deliberately delayed until the door to conception was shut. (Of course I have no problem with what they did, but how about you?)

            “A reminder: I used to be a Protestant. I got my degrees in Theology while a Protestant from non-Catholic universities, almost always studying under non-Catholics.”

            If I had my time again I’d still do theoretical physics, but nowadays history would come a close second. Not theology, though; academic theology is, apart from the history and the skill of learning the languages involved, mostly erudite philosophical waffle and (perhaps after your time) liberal apostasy. God designed faith in him to be comprehensible and liveable by persons of all intelligence, not just scholars.

            As regards formal logic, I am fully familiar with the principles and the deployment of binary propositional (ie, Boolean) logic and its essential relationship with Aristotelian syllogistic deductive logic; and am writing a book on the history and physical applications of quantitative inductive logic, which when correctly understood IS probability theory (provided that the latter is also correctly understood).

            As regards Unam Sanctam vs Lumen Gentium, you have given a fuller quote from the latter than I did, but nothing in that fuller quote negates the inference I drew from it. (Lumen Gentium is not self-contradictory.) Regarding Unam Sanctam’s statement that salvation requires a person to be subject to (Latin: subesse, ie under) the Roman Pontiff, you have pointed out that it is possible to be under the Queen but not aware of it, eg small children. The analogy fails, however, because Christianity is about faith, and faith involves some knowledge of the object of that faith. The contradiction I expounded therefore remains.

          • Albert

            I asked you a yes or no question on the issue of Caiaphas. You have not answered and perhaps wisely so. If you answer yes, you have defeated your own argument. If you answer no, you make the Holy Spirit a liar. Therefore, you should withdraw the argument – unless you can show me wrong here.

            I never said that. It is because you work backwards from the position that Rome’s teaching cannot be wrong, without considering that it might be.

            Your accusation was that I was dishonest because of that. This is what you wrote:

            Honesty? If you gave me some reason based on our scriptures….

            That is an specious accusation. I do not consider that Rome’s infallible teaching can be wrong. I am open to the possibility that it’s non-infallible teaching is wrong. The idea that I as a convert have never given consideration that Rome’s teaching may be wrong, is just plain silly. And why should I? I do not consider that there is a better authority to judge the meaning of scripture that Christ teaching through his Church. I certainly don’t accept the authority of Protestant private judgement.

            Many committed Christians share this viewpoint – it is not private interpretation.

            Bad logic. The fact that a private judgement is widely held does not stop it being a private judgement. I means it is a widely held private judgement.

            You may shout louder that your churchmen insist ex cathedra pronouncements are infallible and that they alone comprise the true church, but that is all you are doing: shouting louder.

            I think you are very bad at remembering the points you make. It is nothing to do with shouting louder, but to do with the fact that you were erroneously attributing infallibility to all Catholic teachings. I was merely correcting the error. If you hadn’t made the error in the first place in condemning the Catholic Church, I would not have even whispered infallibility.

            Then there is the problem of legalism, in this case talking about teaching issuing from Rome which is inerrant and other teaching which isn’t. If a document promulgated by the Pope following an overwhelming vote of a General Council is deniable then it doesn’t show that the Roman church system has much confidence in itself, does it? If Lumen Gentium wasn’t in the category which Rome’s sophist-icated small print declares as infallible then why has it been generally taught as authoritative within the Catholic church for two generations?

            This is just silly. Any organisation can think aloud before coming to a settled conclusion or propose a position with confidence without saying it is fixed for ever. The point is that the Church does not require us to receive her teachings with more confidence than that with which she gives them. Had the fathers been asked to vote that LG was infallible, they would have voted against it. Therefore, it is just bogus logic to assume that because not all Catholic teachings are infallible that therefore the Church does not have confidence in her teachings.

            LG is taught authoritatively, but not infallibly. Why should it be? Infallibility is best left for emergencies, or at least occasions when a lot of reflection has been given to a teaching.

            You have not shown that, except perhaps to your own satisfaction.

            The examples I have given speak for themselves. Look at the poor logic here:

            If a document promulgated by the Pope following an overwhelming vote of a General Council is deniable then it doesn’t show that the Roman church system has much confidence in itself, does it?

            I cannot for the life of me see why someone who claims to have a good grasp of logic can reach such an unsupported conclusion. It would be like saying that because the Government puts forward a position which she does not put into law, that therefore the Government does not have confidence in itself, or that we cannot have confidence in the laws she does pass. Perhaps scientists work in such black and white ways, but human beings don’t. Different positions are held with different degrees of confidence – and rightly so.

            I do not intend to revisit the meanings of episkopos, presbyteros, apostolos and hiereus. You asked for examples of where you torture logic and/or the dictionary and I have given them. They can be inspected elsewhere on this blog.

            I cannot conceive of any serious reader of scripture coming to the conclusion that these words do not have “varied” meanings (the word is yours). If anyone does, there is nothing logic can do to save them.

            You are misunderstanding scripture here, as I explained.

            Yes, you made it very clear that when Paul is talking about not enrolling widows, he means not enrolling them as Christians, rather than (as every commentary I have looked at says) not enrolling them in some kind of order of widows. I invite any reader to check 1 Tim.5 to see what they think. Such a reader will wish to note that Paul is saying don’t enrol young widows or widows with children (or grandchildren). In other words, on your interpretation, for Paul, being a young widow or a widow with children is an obstacle to being part of the Church. I think your position needs only to be stated to be shown to be false.

            But even granted that, are there such widows within and directly maintained by your congregation, as you suppose Paul is saying?

            Some do, some don’t. But then, I don’t share your legalism about scripture, so I, unlike you, am not guilty of inconsistency. However, my Church clearly has such people – does yours?

            Nor did I suggest Rome said that. I am asking for your views about the morality of that particular act of sex, conducted (without contraceptives) when the husband and wife believe the wife is infertile, and waited for, for that precise reason. You say it is acceptable under Catholic teaching because without contraceptives it is “open to conception”. That is an absurd statement given that the couple deliberately delayed until the door to conception was shut. (Of course I have no problem with what they did, but how about you?)

            I have explained already that this problem of yours only arises when one looks at the consequences of an act rather than the act in itself. Consequentialism is plainly not a Christian model of morality. If one considers the act in itself, there is no absurdity here. A Christian couple who deliberately distort the conjugal act to make it unnaturally infertile are clearly doing something different from a couple who regularly have sex but choose not to during the fertile period. The acts themselves are entirely different: one is unnaturally distorted and one is natural as God made it.

            Not theology, though; academic theology is, apart from the history and the skill of learning the languages involved, mostly erudite philosophical waffle and (perhaps after your time) liberal apostasy. God designed faith in him to be comprehensible and liveable by persons of all intelligence, not just scholars.

            The problem is that, if you are going to engage with other people, you do have to understand their positions. You don’t. You just condemn them anyway. That does not mean that you should go and study theology, it just means you should be a little more open to the possibility that you misunderstand other people.

            As regards formal logic, I am fully familiar with the principles and the deployment of binary propositional (ie, Boolean) logic and its essential relationship with Aristotelian syllogistic deductive logic; and am writing a book on the history and physical applications of quantitative inductive logic, which when correctly understood IS probability theory (provided that the latter is also correctly understood).

            What’s the clue? Inductive logic. I see a lot of that in your writings – it is, if you like my main complaint against you (together with the fact that, when attacking positions you don’t like, you often start with a false premise). And here’s a case in point:

            The analogy fails, however, because Christianity is about faith, and faith involves some knowledge of the object of that faith. The contradiction I expounded therefore remains.

            My argument did not rely on, or even major on, the analogy. I nearly expressed the point without that analogy or even reference to the meaning of “subject”. I did so, because I thought it was important to loosen your inferential direction, from what you wanted the word to mean, to what it does mean. My main argument – that you had clearly read more into LG than the text requires – or in context bears – remains unanswered. But that means your objection currently fails.

          • Anton

            “I asked you a yes or no question on the issue of Caiaphas. You have not answered and perhaps wisely so. If you answer yes, you have defeated your own argument. If you answer no, you make the Holy Spirit a liar.”

            I didn’t answer because you were off topic and I had no intention of opening another front. Of course the Holy Spirit does not lie. If you think that that fact negates my argument then you need to understand the meaning of “correlation”, which is inductive not deductive and not 100%.

            “I do not consider that Rome’s infallible teaching can be wrong.”

            Exactly. That’s what I was saying, although I’d put it like this: you do not consider the possibility that Rome’s self-declared infallible teaching might be wrong. Therefore, when I show where it is inconsistent with scripture, which we both agree is infallible, you have to go off into intellectual contortions.

            “I certainly don’t accept the authority of Protestant private judgement.”

            Not private: there are plenty of us and we discuss it amongst ourselves and we all believe in Jesus Christ. We are therefore part of his church. Deny it as much as you like; we know our identity and you can’t burn us nowadays.

            I wrote: Then there is the problem of legalism, in this case talking about teaching issuing from Rome which is inerrant and other teaching which isn’t. If a document promulgated by the Pope following an overwhelming vote of a General Council is deniable then it doesn’t show that the Roman church system has much confidence in itself, does it? If Lumen Gentium wasn’t in the category which Rome’s sophist-icated small print declares as infallible then why has it been generally taught as authoritative within the Catholic church for two generations? You replied: “Any organisation can think aloud before coming to a settled conclusion or propose a position with confidence without saying it is fixed for ever. The point is that the Church does not require us to receive her teachings with more confidence than that with which she gives them. Had the fathers been asked to vote that LG was infallible, they would have voted against it. Therefore, it is just bogus logic to assume that because not all Catholic teachings are infallible that therefore the Church does not have confidence in her teachings.”

            This is absurd legalism. The deliberations at Vatican 2 were the time for the Catholic church to think out loud. The conclusions were the time to say “This is what, having thought out loud, we believe”. If you don’t believe it, don’t promulgate it and don’t then teach it to your flock.

            “Infallibility is best left for emergencies, or at least occasions when a lot of reflection has been given to a teaching.”

            Infallibility is best left to egomaniacs. There can be no other description for Pius IX who got himself declared infallible whenever he said he was, or Pius XII who made a statement he insisted was infallible yet for which there was, according to Eamon Duffy, “no historical evidence whatever for” (What Catholics Believe About Mary, published by the Catholic Truth Society, 1989, p.17)

            “I invite any reader to check 1 Tim.5 to see what they think.”

            I second that invitation.

            I wrote: Nor did I suggest Rome said that. I am asking for your views about the morality of that particular act of sex, conducted (without contraceptives) when the husband and wife believe the wife is infertile, and waited for, for that precise reason. You say it is acceptable under Catholic teaching because without contraceptives it is “open to conception”. That is an absurd statement given that the couple deliberately delayed until the door to conception was shut. You replied: “I have explained already that this problem of yours only arises when one looks at the consequences of an act rather than the act in itself… If one considers the act in itself, there is no absurdity here. A Christian couple who deliberately distort the conjugal act to make it unnaturally infertile are clearly doing something different from a couple who regularly have sex but choose not to during the fertile period. The acts themselves are entirely different: one is unnaturally distorted and one is natural as God made it.”

            I see you have dropped your strange argument about the act being “open to conception” and are now bringing in what is and is not natural – you talk about “unnaturally infertile” as an obvious euphemism for contraception. If you want to restrict yourself to what is and is not natural, cease using electricity and modern medicine for a start. Here’s a question for you: Does Rome think it is OK for a married couple ever to have sex without contraception but with the intent not to have a child? (I am expecting the answer to be Yes but you are fond of pointing out my ignorance of Catholic small print so please forgive the question.) Has Rome ever changed its mind and its teaching about that? Please include a clear Yes or No in any reply.

            I’ve nothing to add re Lumen Gentium vs Unam Sanctam. I consider I’ve shown a contradiction. You consider you’ve reconciled them.

          • Albert

            If you think that that fact negates my argument then you need to understand the meaning of “correlation”, which is inductive not deductive and not 100%.

            Exactly. So even without grace, there is no apriori reason to think a wicked man is not telling the truth. Therefore, if one adds grace and the promises of Christ, there is no reason to think that Christ cannot speak infallibly through a wicked pope. Therefore, your argument fails.

            Therefore, when I show where it is inconsistent with scripture, which we both agree is infallible, you have to go off into intellectual contortions.

            But I don’t think you have done that. Just because you think you have shown something is inconsistent, doesn’t mean it is. It might just mean you are mistaken. I don’t believe that I go off into contortions, I think I use language precisely, and you don’t. I think you infer from texts more than they bear. I think you read scripture legalistically, and I don’t think scripture expects that of us (at least, not necessarily in the non-legal sections). Moreover, I don’t think for example that we have discussed much infallible teaching here.

            Not private: there are plenty of us and we discuss it amongst ourselves and we all believe in Jesus Christ.

            You happen all to draw the same private conclusion, therefore it is private. The fact that you then discuss it amongst yourself is irrelevant.

            We are therefore part of his church. Deny it as much as you like; we know our identity

            So because you agree with other private judges on judgements drawn privately therefore you are part of the Church? Now notice that given the dividedness of Protestantism, you are only part of the Church in its fullest sense, if there is no visibly united body. But that’s a doctrinal position, not simply a bid for self-identity. So again, the conclusion does not follow.

            This is absurd legalism. The deliberations at Vatican 2 were the time for the Catholic church to think out loud. The conclusions were the time to say “This is what, having thought out loud, we believe”. If you don’t believe it, don’t promulgate it and don’t then teach it to your flock.

            This is just bizarre. You are critiquing the Catholic Church for not using an authority you do not believe it has. You also show no grasp of Church history. Is it your view, for example, that when Pope Francis speaks he must always be speaking infallibly?

            Infallibility is best left to egomaniacs. There can be no other description for Pius IX who got himself declared infallible whenever he said he was

            What about the possibility that the doctrine was declared because people believed it was true? This is your usual way of arguing: you don’t understand something, so you assume bad faith. I call that bad logic.

            Pius XII who made a statement he insisted was infallible yet for which there was, according to Eamon Duffy, “no historical evidence whatever for

            Well if you want to rest everything on historical evidence, I simply quote scripture to you:

            The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,

            I find it extraordinary that you think the Church’s faith should be subject to a secular discipline like history. The Church teaches with authority because she has the treasure within her, not because some historical scholar tells her she can. But that reminds me of Luther. His doctrine is not found in history either. He divided Christians over it. I think that’s a better definition of an egomaniac, don’t you?

            I see you have dropped your strange argument about the act being “open to conception” and are now bringing in what is and is not natural – you talk about “unnaturally infertile” as an obvious euphemism for contraception.

            Again you try to make windows on the Catholic soul. I didn’t drop, it, I just didn’t use it. If you ever bother to understand the position you attack you would see that my position required the point about “open to conception” since it is based on the act itself. As for “unnaturally infertile” that is hardly an introduction of a euphemism for contraception (for it is hardly a euphemism, it’s more an explicit definition of what it effects) and it is the point from the beginning. Catholic teaching is that it is opposed to artificial contraception. I would have thought that was obvious.

            If you want to restrict yourself to what is and is not natural, cease using electricity and modern medicine for a start.

            I have answered this point before. Medicine is used to restore the natural function of something. Electricity likewise enables us to flourish in accordance with our nature. Someone who uses electricity against nature (e.g. by electrocuting someone) sins. Your comparison works in the opposite way from the way you think it works.

            Does Rome think it is OK for a married couple ever to have sex without contraception but with the intent not to have a child?

            Yes.

            Has Rome ever changed its mind and its teaching about that?

            I think it probably has, although I don’t have sufficient history to know a precise statement. But lest you accuse me of being evasive, I will say yes.

            I’ve nothing to add re Lumen Gentium vs Unam Sanctam. I consider I’ve shown a contradiction. You consider you’ve reconciled them.

            Nothing you have said shows you understand the position I have taken – on the contrary, your previous post indicated you did not.

          • Anton

            “Nothing you have said shows you understand the position I have taken – on the contrary, your previous post indicated you did not.”

            You mistake disagreement and incomprehension.

            “Exactly. So even without grace, there is no apriori reason to think a wicked man is not telling the truth. Therefore, if one adds grace and the promises of Christ, there is no reason to think that Christ cannot speak infallibly through a wicked pope. Therefore, your argument fails.”

            There is every reason to suppose that Christ will not speak through a wicked man. If such a man makes a statement that is true, it is going to be himself who is getting it right.

            “You happen all to draw the same private conclusion, therefore it is private. The fact that you then discuss it amongst yourself is irrelevant.”

            But I might say exactly the same about Catholics…

            “So because you agree with other private judges on judgements drawn privately therefore you are part of the Church?”

            No. I am part of the church because I believe in Jesus Christ, divine son of the universal Creator, crucified, died for my sins and risen. Dispute that and it is you who are being schismatic, not me. As for protestantism being divided, so is the non-protestant church: why should I listen to you rather than to the Eastern Orthodox?

            Protestantism is divided only because it still has hierarchies, which are unscriptural. Yours is the biggest hierarchy of all. The time is coming – it jhas been prophesied and it gives me no pleasure to contemplate – when all church hierarchies are going to be lopped off by persecution, all church buildings closed, and then there will not be Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Methodists, etc any more – there will only be Christians. Christ is purifying his bride. Look hard and you can see it coming, a little over the horizon. Take the growing Chinese church as a model: they think of Catholic and protestant merely as terms from European church history. They are right. I want to be i a congregation that understands what is going on rather than one that runs around like a headless chicken when that time comes.

            “This is just bizarre. You are critiquing the Catholic Church for not using an authority you do not believe it has. You also show no grasp of Church history. Is it your view, for example, that when Pope Francis speaks he must always be speaking infallibly?”

            I don’t think that of any Pope.

            “I find it extraordinary that you think the Church’s faith should be subject to a secular discipline like history.”

            The Bible, unlike the sacred books of other religions, is history, or at least a timeline – one running into the future. If you call history secular then you are making an apostate categorisation. Jesus Christ came in time and will come again in time.

          • Albert

            You mistake disagreement and incomprehension.

            You argued against a point that did not affect the argument. As I have said, I can rewrite the argument without the analogy. The key point, as I repeatedly pointed out, was not that you had misunderstood Unam Sanctam, but that you had misunderstood LG. Therefore, assuming you are writing in good faith, it seems to me that you have not understood the argument and my argument stands.

            There is every reason to suppose that Christ will not speak through a wicked man.

            Jesus said, The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. Thus you cannot apply your principle. You will admit that Christ speaks infallibly through wicked men, for you admit that the apostles were sinners, but they wrote scripture infallibly.

            If such a man makes a statement that is true, it is going to be himself who is getting it right.

            So why then, does John tell us that Caiaphas speaks the truth because he is a prophet?

            But I might say exactly the same about Catholics…

            And if you did, you would show that you do not understand the difference between us. As it happens, my private judgement is that Mary was conceived without original sin. But I do not believe it because of my private judgement, but because that is how the Church interprets revelation.

            No. I am part of the church because I believe in Jesus Christ, divine son of the universal Creator, crucified, died for my sins and risen. Dispute that and it is you who are being schismatic, not me.

            It is perfectly possible to believe all that and still be cut off from the Church:

            If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
            If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

            “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”

            You go on:

            As for protestantism being divided, so is the non-protestant church: why should I listen to you rather than to the Eastern Orthodox?

            Because Eastern Orthodoxy lacks the office of Peter, and so cannot resolve matters. Hence, Eastern Orthodoxy hardly changes at all – they can’t even agree to use a correct calendar.

            Protestantism is divided only because it still has hierarchies, which are unscriptural.

            That is utterly bizarre. Non-hierarchical communities do not really exist, they just end up being run by particular personalities. Moreover, non-heirarchical “churches” break up just as much. Finally, hierarchy is integral to the NT Church: Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

            It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

            Paul clearly exercises hierarchical rights over his churches, and in so doing shows hierarchy exists: I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. and Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

            You go on:

            The time is coming – it jhas been prophesied and it gives me no pleasure to contemplate – when all church hierarchies are going to be lopped off by persecution, all church buildings closed, and then there will not be Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Methodists, etc any more – there will only be Christians. Christ is purifying his bride. Look hard and you can see it coming, a little over the horizon.

            People have always said this sort of thing…doesn’t seem to happen though.

            Take the growing Chinese church as a model: they think of Catholic and protestant merely as terms from European church history.

            I wonder which Chinese Christians you are speaking for here? Those who agree with you, I guess! They are half right: the existence of Protestantism is merely a consequence of European church history. You like to comment on the Eastern Orthodox: they see Protestantism as simply a fruit of Western European Christianity – not at all as a reading of the Bible.

            I don’t think that of any Pope.

            If you acknowledge that a pope does not have always to speak infallibly, why must a council?

            The Bible, unlike the sacred books of other religions, is history, or at least a timeline – one running into the future. If you call history secular then you are making an apostate categorisation. Jesus Christ came in time and will come again in time.

            This is just confusing lots of different things. Duffy says the Assumption has “no historical evidence whatever for”, but if you ask him “is it revealed in the word of God?” he would reply yes. But if you asked him “is there historical evidence for the double-procession of the Holy Spirit?” he would surely say “No.” If you ask him “is the double procession of the Holy Spirit revealed in the word of God” he would reply “Yes.” The point is that, just because you understand the Bible in relation to history in one way, it does not follow that that is how everyone else does. So you can’t lift his words, then translate them into your meaning and carry on as if he agrees with you. He is using the word “history” differently from you. And isn’t this the point over and over again? You infer things that don’t follow because you don’t study other people’s points of view properly.

          • Anton

            “The key point, as I repeatedly pointed out, was not that you had misunderstood Unam Sanctam, but that you had misunderstood LG.”

            I think I haven’t.

            “You will admit that Christ speaks infallibly through wicked men, for you admit that the apostles were sinners, but they wrote scripture infallibly.”

            All men are sinners, but you spoke of wicked men in a way that in context was clearly different from that. That comment of Christ’s, about do what the scribes and pharisees teach you but not what they do, is not an easy saying, since they added orally transmitted laws to those in the Pentateuch – something He then goes on to criticise them for. I suggest that the mention of scribes means Jesus is referring to the written law ie Pentateuch and saying that they are decent exegetes of that but ignore the extra stuff. In short he is saying sola scriptura, in fact.

            “So why then, does John tell us that Caiaphas speaks the truth because he is a prophet?”

            He is the High Priest, a position ordained of God in the OT. I dispute that the papacy is ordained of God in the NT.

            “It is perfectly possible to believe all that [much of the Nicene creed] and still be cut off from the Church: If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault…”

            Yes, but protestants and Catholics do not sin against each other simply by disagreeing about the definition of the church. This scripture is a clear reference to personal mistreatment at the hands of another.

            I asked: “why should I listen to you rather than to the Eastern Orthodox?” and you replied: “Because Eastern Orthodoxy lacks the office of Peter, and so cannot resolve matters. Hence, Eastern Orthodoxy hardly changes at all – they can’t even agree to use a correct calendar.”

            Greek Orthodox do but Russian Orthodox don’t, I believe. Yet it’s better than the calendar used by the Jews in Jesus’ time; this is hardly a theological objection.

            Peter’s role as first among equals died with him. He was first to call Jesus the Messiah and Jesus replied: �you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church,� promising Peter the keys of God�s kingdom.. This is a pun on Peter’s name. But Peter himself used the image to call Christians living stones being built into Jesus� church, quoting the Old Testament to show Jesus is the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:4-8). Paul makes the distinction clear in Ephesians 2:19-22. Comparison with Matthew (18:18) and John (20:23) shows that the keys and promises were for all the disciples. If Peter were appointed as senior, why did a dispute break out over which of the disciples was greatest at the Last Supper (Luke 22:24)? Paul�s letter to the congregation in Rome nowhere indicates that it has a privileged role and no scripture prophesies it.

            “That is utterly bizarre. Non-hierarchical communities do not really exist, they just end up being run by particular personalities.”

            I have explained many times that, scripturally, congregations are run by a council of episkopoi/presbyteroi, not by one man.

            “Finally, hierarchy is integral to the NT Church: Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.””

            Yes, the apostles who knew him in the flesh have a special role. Later generations didn’t, which is why the apostolic succession is bogus. But Jesus takes personal oversight of the seven churches of Asia minor in Rev 2&3; he does not order any diocesan hierarchical merger. Incidentally none of the letters of Christ or of the NT writers is addressed to “the priest” of a congregation – an omission that is deadly to your ecclesiology.

            “Paul clearly exercises hierarchical rights over his churches, and in so doing shows hierarchy exists”

            Over those he founded as an apostolos; but when he is gone they ARE the church in that place, autonomous under Christ.

            I wrote: The time is coming – it has been prophesied and it gives me no pleasure to contemplate – when all church hierarchies are going to be lopped off by persecution, all church buildings closed, and then there will not be Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Methodists, etc any more – there will only be Christians. Christ is purifying his bride. Look hard and you can see it coming, a little over the horizon. You replied: “People have always said this sort of thing…doesn’t seem to happen though.”

            Who else has said that when?

            In no other era have we had globalisation and the return of the Jews to the Holy Land. Eyes open!

            I wrote: Take the growing Chinese church as a model: they think of Catholic and protestant merely as terms from European church history. You replied: “I wonder which Chinese Christians you are speaking for here? Those who agree with you, I guess!”

            Read Brother Yun’s books about the burgeoning Chinese house church movement. Very faithful movement numbering many millions. Before Mao there were denominations, as Western missionaries imported schisms. Persecution struck and expelled the missionaries and all that Chinese believers had in common was the Bible; and it has proved enough. They’d go with sola scriptural but they didn’t learn it from protestants. They manifestly have the Holy Spirit and if you have God’s anointing then who needs man’s?

            “If you acknowledge that a pope does not have always to speak infallibly, why must a council?”

            I was speaking only of the papacy and not considering councils. But I question some of the conclusions of the early councils too. The point is that a Pope chose to promulgate a constitution voted overwhelmingly for at a general council and then hasn’t the confidence to say it trusts it as it does other church statements.

            “This is just confusing lots of different things. Duffy says the Assumption has “no historical evidence whatever for”, but if you ask him “is it revealed in the word of God?” he would reply yes.”

            I very much doubt it, if by word of God you mean the NT. Verse please!

            “But if you asked him “is there historical evidence for the double-procession of the Holy Spirit?” he would surely say “No.” If you ask him “is the double procession of the Holy Spirit revealed in the word of God” he would reply “Yes.” ”

            I don’t know whether by double procession you mean the eternal and the temporal procession, or whether you mean the precession from Father and Son (as Rome believes and as Byzantium disputes). But in any case the relations among the Trinity are beyond time, whereas the assumption of Mary is not. This is a poor comparison.

          • Albert

            I think I haven’t.

            Well, whatever you think, the argument is left unanswered.

            All men are sinners, but you spoke of wicked men in a way that in context was clearly different from that. That comment of Christ’s, about do what the scribes and pharisees teach you but not what they do, is not an easy saying, since they added orally transmitted laws to those in the Pentateuch – something He then goes on to criticise them for. I suggest that the mention of scribes means Jesus is referring to the written law ie Pentateuch and saying that they are decent exegetes of that but ignore the extra stuff. In short he is saying sola scriptura, in fact.

            Even if I accept that (and remember, my only point here is to say that someone can speak the truth even though they are sinners), you are only answering one passage and example. I gave two others and the point there still stands.

            Now this was your original position:

            The idea that statements made in Boniface’s capacity as Pope (ie, ex cathedra) will be guaranteed to be statements of the Holy Spirit on a par in authority with the Bible, without regard to Boniface’s character, is ludicrous.

            Now, clearly, Catholics do not regard infallible statements as being on a par in authority with the Bible – that’s just another bad inference you have made. The point here though is that you think that the reliability of statement made by an office holder is, in some sense, dependent on his character. You now seem to agree that this position was unscriptural:

            He is the High Priest, a position ordained of God in the OT. I dispute that the papacy is ordained of God in the NT.

            So a wicked man in a legitimate office can speak the truth, by the Holy Spirit – that was the point I made and which you disputed. Of course, you don’t think the papacy is that office, but that wasn’t your argument – it was to do with the character of the office holder as you said. And isn’t this part of the problem with Protestantism? It simply does not seem to grasp the saving power of God’s grace. You might say, for example, that I am wrong to say you are not fully part of the Church. In fact, materially speaking, I believe nothing less about your church than you do. I just believe that Christ gave us more than that. You deny that “more than” and so you would be offended if I said you were a full member of the Church in the sense I understand it. The point being: you simply don’t believe as much about the generosity of Christ to his Church as I do. But as this example of Caiaphas shows, your reasoning behind your rejection of that generosity is not always that of scripture.

            Yes, but protestants and Catholics do not sin against each other simply by disagreeing about the definition of the church. This scripture is a clear reference to personal mistreatment at the hands of another.

            Your claim was:

            No. I am part of the church because I believe in Jesus Christ, divine son of the universal Creator, crucified, died for my sins and risen. Dispute that and it is you who are being schismatic, not me.

            But now you have admitted that that wasn’t sufficient to be a member of the Church. Again, that is all I needed to show.

            Greek Orthodox do but Russian Orthodox don’t, I believe.

            As I said, the problem is that they cannot agree not even on such a basic point.

            this is hardly a theological objection.

            Quite, if they can’t even agree on such basic and factual earthly things how then can they teach us heavenly things?

            Comparison with Matthew (18:18) and John (20:23) shows that the keys and promises were for all the disciples.

            These passages do not show that, you are assuming that Jesus is speaking to everyone as individuals, rather than to the Church as a whole or to the twelve.

            If Peter were appointed as senior, why did a dispute break out over which of the disciples was greatest at the Last Supper (Luke 22:24)?

            I might as well ask “If Jesus had really performed all those miracles, why did Judas leave the Last Supper to betray him?” It’s called sin. The key thing is how Jesus deals with the matter:

            “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you [plural, meaning all of them], that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you [singular, meaning Simon Peter alone] that your [singular] faith may not fail; and when you [singular] have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

            From this, we can see that your claim that the promises made to Peter are for all the disciples is false. Jesus is clearly protecting Peter with a power which he gives to Peter to protect the others. Now what happens at the Last Supper Jesus intends to last until he comes. Therefore, your claim that his office died with him is also contrary to scripture.

            Regarding “rock” Jesus clearly names Peter as the rock on which his Church is built. You cannot then try to evacuate that word of the meaning Jesus gives with reference to other scriptures without reducing the passage to absurdity. That’s not how symbolism works. For example, Jesus said “I am the door” but that does not mean that every time the word “door” appears we are to assume that the word “door” refers to Jesus. Thus you cannot make the word “rock” apply to Jesus rather than Peter in Matthew 16 – one only needs to consider the sentence that would result to see it is false.

            Paul�s letter to the congregation in Rome nowhere indicates that it has a privileged role and no scripture prophesies it.

            Actually, it is usually recognized that Paul’s tone in Romans is quite different from others, besides which, it is unclear whether Peter founded the Church at Rome or whether he just ended up there – something that could have happened after Paul wrote his letter, so your point is doubly moot.

            I have explained many times that, scripturally, congregations are run by a council of episkopoi/presbyteroi, not by one man.

            This is triple wrong as well: 1. what you have described is still a hierarchy, and 2. they are ultimately under the care of one man: the apostle. This is why, even though you shape your congregation after what you think is going on at the local level in the NT, you can never end up with a NT Church, because they are, in fact under the care of a man who looks after several congregations. 3. It is evident from the Pastoral Epistles that Paul does raise up one individual above the others.

            Yes, the apostles who knew him in the flesh have a special role. Later generations didn’t, which is why the apostolic succession is bogus.

            Well, I doubt you understand apostolic succession. But again, I just wonder what Bible you are reading. Firstly, not knowing Jesus in the flesh is not something the NT looks down on: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Secondly, Paul indicates some kind of apostolic succession in the Pastoral Epistles.

            But Jesus takes personal oversight of the seven churches of Asia minor in Rev 2&3; he does not order any diocesan hierarchical merger.

            In Catholicism, Jesus always has full pastoral oversight of his Churches, and is always able to speak prophetically through non-clergy so this proves nothing. In a sense, this is the real meaning of the word “rock” applying sometimes to Jesus and sometimes to Peter: they are not in competition as Protestant philosophical nominalism would have it, rather, Peter is the rock because Jesus is. But as we have seen, in this case of Revelation, Jesus is speaking through a presbyter, so it isn’t the example you think it is.

            Incidentally none of the letters of Christ or of the NT writers is addressed to “the priest” of a congregation – an omission that is deadly to your ecclesiology.

            No it isn’t.

            Over those he founded as an apostolos; but when he is gone they ARE the church in that place, autonomous under Christ.

            This is not true. When he is gone, he maintains oversight of them, either through letter, messenger or by revisiting them. And he is clear when he is writing to them, that they must not be autonomous, since he appeals to the practice of other Churches as authority for them, and he condemns schism. When we discussed this before, you had no evidence whatsoever for this claim about autonomy except the quotation from Rev. you just gave – but that does not provide evidence at all, as I have just shown. Moreover, since the Church is one body, local churches cannot possibly be autonomous – that would be like saying the hand or the foot is autonomous from the head, which is absurd. So your attack on Catholic ecclesiology is repeatedly scripturally flawed here and lacks all evidence.

            Who else has said that when?

            The Cathars said it, and justified killing clergy as a result. Protestants have always said it. Secular thinkers said it at the time of the French Revolution when the Pope was taken captive. Anyway, I see no reason at all to think it is going to happen now and you have given no reason for it.

            Read Brother Yun’s books about the burgeoning Chinese house church movement. Very faithful movement numbering many millions.

            I have no doubt that it will be possible to find a book that says what you say. Just as I can find evidence to falsify it. From wiki:

            The modern Chinese language generally divides Christians into two groups: adherents of Catholicism, Tiānzhǔ jiào (天主教), and adherents of Jīdū jiào (基督教)—literally, “Christianity”— or Jīdū Xīnjiào (基督新教), “New Religion”- Protestantism. Chinese speakers see Catholicism and Protestantism as distinct religions, even though the degree of distinction is not made in the Western world. Thus, in Western languages, the term “Christianity” can subsume both Protestants and Catholics (i.e. Christians as opposed to, for example, Hindus or Jews). Yet in Chinese, there is not a commonly used term that can subsume the two (today, in Chinese Catholic literature, the term “jīdū zōngjiào” (基督宗教) is used to signify all Christian sects, as the term in Chinese means “religion of Christ”).

            Who’s to say what’s going on here? Personally, I would say that China is clearly large and complicated. I would be very suspicious of anyone who tries to find a one size fits all model as you do: Take the growing Chinese church as a model: they think of Catholic and protestant merely as terms from European church history. I wonder, do the Chinese Catholics think like that? Well I’ve met plenty…

            Persecution struck and expelled the missionaries and all that Chinese believers had in common was the Bible; and it has proved enough. They’d go with sola scriptural but they didn’t learn it from protestants. They manifestly have the Holy Spirit and if you have God’s anointing then who needs man’s?

            So form all that, you infer that the ideal Church is that which is left by Chinese atheistic persecution? Of course God blessed them, even though they lacked other helps he has given to other places. Consider a similar situation of Catholics in Japan. Your vision is too narrow.

            I was speaking only of the papacy and not considering councils.

            But they have the same teaching office, except that a Council cannot define without a pope, but a pope can define without a Council, so regarding limitations of the Pope’s office, what applies to the Pope applies a fortiori to the Council.

            The point is that a Pope chose to promulgate a constitution voted overwhelmingly for at a general council and then hasn’t the confidence to say it trusts it as it does other church statements.

            I think you are stuck in a fast food approach to the Church. Of course the Church can speak infallibly on these matters, but that does not mean that the Church is always ready to do so. Acknowledging that, gives no rational ground to doubt the Church’s capacity for infallible teaching – on the contrary, it is saying “We need more time to reflect prayerfully with the people of God on these matters.”

            I very much doubt it, if by word of God you mean the NT. Verse please!

            If you mean by “word of God” the verbal text of scripture, I will simply cite the word of God is alive and active and He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. There are many doctrines which you believe that do not have the kind of verse proof you are demanding here of us: sola scriptura and the Trinity for a start!

            I don’t know whether by double procession you mean the eternal and the temporal procession, or whether you mean the precession from Father and Son (as Rome believes and as Byzantium disputes).

            I mean the latter.

            But in any case the relations among the Trinity are beyond time, whereas the assumption of Mary is not. This is a poor comparison.

            Feeble. The fact is that we can know certain things without having the kind of historical proof that historians like Duffy might look for. We can know these things because we judge spiritual things spiritually.

          • Anton

            I’m leaving much of that alone because I consider it a reply but not a response, and you have admitted that you refuse to consider the possibility that Rome might be wrong in its teaching, meaning that it is a waste of time providing you with the (ample) evidence.

            “Now, clearly, Catholics do not regard infallible statements as being on a par in authority with the Bible”

            Rewriting the dictionary again? Or just doubting the infallibility of the Bible?

            “Regarding “rock” Jesus clearly names Peter as the rock on which his Church is built”

            You need to distinguish between petros, meaning a stone, and petra, meaning rock in situ. So which petra did Jesus mean? It’s more subtle than you understand.

            I wrote: Paul s letter to the congregation in Rome nowhere indicates that it has a privileged role and no scripture prophesies it. You replied: “Actually, it is usually recognized that Paul’s tone in Romans is quite different from others”

            Certainly it is. On this occasion he was writing to a congregation that he hadn’t founded or yet visited. My statement stands, however.

            I wrote: The time is coming – it has been prophesied and it gives me no pleasure to contemplate – when all church hierarchies are going to be lopped off by persecution, all church buildings closed, and then there will not be Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Methodists, etc any more – there will only be Christians. Christ is purifying his bride. Look hard and you can see it coming, a little over the horizon. You said sceptically that others had said the same, and I asked who. You now reply: “The Cathars said it, and justified killing clergy as a result. Protestants have always said it. Secular thinkers said it at the time of the French Revolution when the Pope was taken captive. Anyway, I see no reason at all to think it is going to happen now and you have given no reason for it.”

            This reply about the Cathars is just a disgrace. They were not Christian in their theology but your words give the impression that they went round murdering Catholic clergy when the truth is that they lived peaceably until Pope Innocent III raised a genocidal Crusade against them. What is your source? (If you disengage, as you’ve said you plan to, please answer this question at least.) As good a Catholic as Bernard of Clairvaux said that the ‘heretics’ in that part of France lived moral lives (Sermon 65), St Dominic Guzman wandered Cathar lands at no personal risk disputing theology with them, and Count Raymond of Toulouse refused to persecute them for their beliefs because they were good subjects. Anyway you are talking nonsense because I asked you for people who said that church unity would arise by church hierarchies being cut off, and there were only two hierarchies in the Cathars’ time, Rome and Orthodoxy, and Cathars were probably unaware of the latter. I also doubt that secular thinkers during the French Revolution (or at any other time) believed that church unity would be effected by de-hierarchisation. It is not correct to say I have given no reason why it might be imminent, for I mentioned in this context globalisation, which is prophesied in scripture in conjunction with a universal persecution. Eyes open!

            I wrote: Persecution struck and expelled the missionaries and all that Chinese believers had in common was the Bible; and it has proved enough. They’d go with sola scriptura but they didn’t learn it from protestants. They manifestly have the Holy Spirit and if you have God’s anointing then who needs man’s? You replied: “So from all that, you infer that the ideal Church is that which is left by Chinese atheistic persecution?”

            I suggest you compare the church as portrayed in Acts, Yun’s book and Catholicism today.

            I wrote I don’t know whether by double procession you mean the eternal and the temporal procession, or whether you mean the procession from Father and Son (as Rome believes and as Byzantium disputes). You clarified the latter. I have no views on that and I think it is rash to come down on either side of the filioque.

          • Albert

            They were not Christian in their theology but your words give the impression that they went round murdering Catholic clergy when the truth is that they lived peaceably until Pope Innocent III raised a genocidal Crusade against them. What is your source?

            My apologies. I had remembered that the Albigensian Crusade started after a Legate to the Cathars was murdered. I had not appreciated that he was not usually thought to have been murdered by them, but by one of their supporters.

            Since I’ve replied to that, I’ll just reply to this, since it involves some confusion:

            You need to distinguish between petros, meaning a stone, and petra, meaning rock in situ. So which petra did Jesus mean? It’s more subtle than you understand.

            Actually, it’s both less subtle and more subtle than you make it for Jesus was not speaking Greek but Aramaic and the same word would have been used twice with no variation in his sentence. So what he would have said was “You are rock [kepha] and on this rock [kepha] I will build my Church.”

            Now if you wish to import some kind of distinction here, to make the second rock refer to Jesus, it would then mean: Jesus said, “You are rock [Peter] and on this rock [Jesus] I will build my Church”. But that makes no sense and there is no indication of it in Jesus’ words.

            The distinction in Greek comes from the need to have the masculine form of the word (Petros) for a man in a word play over a word which is naturally feminine. As far as I can see whenever the Greek wants to use the word “rock” it has it in the feminine form, except for when naming Peter. Moreover, in contrast, if the NT wanted to use a word for “stone” as opposed to rock, it had a more usual one: λίθος. So your interpretation is wrong because 1. Jesus’ language did not make the distinction. 2. The use of the word “Petros/Petra is completely explained by the gender difference and this is the consistent NT usage. 3. If the distinction you wish to make was being made, the NT would have used a different, much more common word and 4. the interpretation you impose on the passage is obviously false because it is absurd. Put all this together and it is evident that your interpretation is driven by the need to avoid allowing scripture to say what it actually says.

          • Anton

            This sums up my position fairly well:

            http://www.reachingcatholics.org/rock.html

            To avoid a clash with the scriptures (not least Peter’s) stating clearly that Jesus is the cornerstone, I’d translate the Greek as: “You are a stone, and of such rock I will build my church”. This is not inconsistent with the Greek.

            Jesus spoke Hebrew not Aramaic, by the way; the mainstream scholars are wrong again. A solid case is made in “Understanding the difficult words of Jesus: New insights from a Hebraic perspective” by David Bivin and Roy Blizzard. (NB Bivin has published another book with a fairly similar title.)

          • Albert

            I can’t see that your article adds anything here. We have the usual assertion that Petros means stone – despite the fact that even the passages the article cites do not use Petros for stone, but lithos as I said. Neither is there a single example given of the NT using petros for stone (because there is none). The fact is that in the consistent NT usage petra is used for rock, and lithos is used for stone and Petros is never used for stone. So the interpretation is just special pleading – in short, the article you stand by does not address the argument I gave. Unsurprisingly, you stick to the position you held before the evidence was given.

            What’s odd about it though is that it still does not altogether affect the Catholic interpretation. As I have already said:

            In a sense, this is the real meaning of the word “rock” applying sometimes to Jesus and sometimes to Peter: they are not in competition as Protestant philosophical nominalism would have it, rather, Peter is the rock because Jesus is.

            So even if Peter is only a stone to Jesus’ rock, that’s fine. We don’t think the Church is built on Peter and not Jesus. If some Protestants really think we think that, they do not understand that which they reject.

            Jesus spoke Hebrew not Aramaic, by the way; the mainstream scholars are wrong again.

            You state things with such confidence – this is not an area I know anything about, and I doubt that you have read both sides of this. I would not wish to put something in such absolute terms as you do.

            It seems to me that Jesus actually spoke both Hebrew and Aramaic. We can see this from the way he quotes the Hebrew scriptures and also those books which are in Aramaic. It is also evident from the bits of Aramaic left over after translation into Greek (of which Cephas is probably the best known, but hardly the only example).

            So I think that to say, as you do “Jesus spoke Hebrew not Aramaic”, is just wrong. I wonder if, having heard a case for Hebrew, you have inferred that therefore he did not speak Aramaic.

            The odder thing here though is that it makes little difference, for the Hebrew for rock צוּר is as masculine as the Aramaic for rock. So the distinction you wish to impose on the Lord’s words, simply wasn’t there. He called Simon rock and said on this rock he would build his Church.

          • Anton

            Yes I have read both sides of it, because I too once supposed Aramaic until I bumped into that book. Of course I then checked out “my” side of the argument and found to my surprise that it could not withstand the arguments presented. So I changed my mind. There are plenty of non-academic scholars who are neglected because they work(ed) outside the mainstream. Dan Gibson on the location of the Garden of Eden, and also on whether Mecca really is the city of Islam’s beginning, is another (he accepts the authenticity of Medina but not of Mecca); and PJ Wiseman on how the book of Genesis was written and collected is one more (the key word is toledoth). Wiseman presents an alternative to the apostate liberal documentary hypothesis of Wellhausen, so that we can now say to the liberals “read this” instead of just “O no it isn’t”.

            “You are Petros, and of this [ie, of such] rock I will build my church” is consistent with Matthew’s Greek and consistent with Peter’s statement that Jesus is the keystone. The Catholic view is not consistent with the latter.

          • Albert

            I think there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the Mecca mentioned in the Qur’an is not the place Muslims go to today. However, I think the idea that Jesus did not speak Aramaic would need a lot of evidence. But as I say, it does not alter the argument I have given.

            “You are Petros, and of this [ie, of such] rock I will build my church” is consistent with Matthew’s Greek and consistent with Peter’s statement that Jesus is the keystone. The Catholic view of Peter is not consistent with the latter, even if the Catholic view of this verse might be.

            This is just wrong and back where we started, with you holding all sorts of unevidential and factually false prejudices against Catholicism. I have already indicated how the two things hold together, since Jesus and Peter are not on the same levels and therefore are not in competition with each other. Directly to contradict what you have just ignorantly asserted, let me just quote from the Catholic document you have quoted most:

            The Lord Himself compared Himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the cornerstone.(35) On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles,(36) and from it the Church receives durability and consolidation.

            and

            the apostles, by preaching the Gospel everywhere,(145) and it being accepted by their hearers under the influence of the Holy Spirit, gather together the universal Church, which the Lord established on the apostles and built upon blessed Peter, their chief, Christ Jesus Himself being the supreme cornerstone.

          • Anton

            Check out Gibson’s book “Quranic Geography” for that. He says his arguments that it isn’t Mecca are stronger than his arguments that it is Petra (his best guess) and that the latter argument should not influence the former. But Petra would transform Mohammed’s night journey to Jerusalem from the dream or vision that Muslims suppose into the physically possible.

            Gibson also found the Garden of Eden by resolving the problem of the river dividing into four in Genesis 2, when everybody knows that rivers converge, not diverge (except at deltas), to which there is only one exception worldwide at a waterfall in the Rockies where a river divides into two. Division into four is not plausible. Gibson twigged that the writer was looking upstream. Two rivers are the Tigris and Euphrates and the other two are lost; sea level has since changed and so have the courses of these two main rivers, so there is no point in trying to identify the other two. But look at a satellite map of the area and you find a sea of green between the two rivers and desert on either side. Is it not obvious that this was the Garden?

            Jesus may well have been able to speak Aramaic. I am claiming that Hebrew was the everyday language of the Jews at his time, not Aramaic. There had been a back-to-roots movement after the Maccabean wars including Hebrew; the pharisees came out of this movement. Evidence, including a knockdown of the Aramaic view, is in Bivin’s book.

            “You are Petros, and of this [ie, of such] rock I will build my church” will do for me.

          • Albert

            “You are Petros, and of this [ie, of such] rock I will build my church” will do for me.

            That’s not what it says. Not enough to go to the Greek here: I’ve just checked 24 different translations (only one of them Catholic) and they all say “upon” or “on”. I’ll stick with what the Bible actually says, thanks.

          • Anton

            That’s good to hear, if a little unusual given your style of Catholicism. What do you mean by “not enough to go to the Greek” when the original is written in Greek?

          • Albert

            That’s good to hear, if a little unusual given your style of Catholicism.

            That just shows that you haven’t understood anything at all about Catholicism, my style or otherwise. You’re the one who is ignoring how scripture uses words and making the text say something it doesn’t.

            What do you mean by “not enough to go to the Greek” when the original is written in Greek?

            Because if I simply translate the Greek you might try to say that it is my translation of ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ that is wrong. By multiplying translations, I head off that possibility. That you are reduced to trying to change that meaning speaks volumes.

          • Anton

            It’s what I take from that webpage, in which I have confidence; and it is *consistent* with the Greek.

          • Albert

            Why do you have confidence in the webpage? It tells us that Petros means stone, despite the fact that it never means that in the NT and that all the examples of the word “stone” (including those used in the webpage) use a different word. If the authors don’t acknowledge that, they are either bad scholars or dishonest.

            They also quite baffling try to head off the Aramaic objection of kepha and kepha: What Jesus might have said in Aramaic is conjecture That’s just poor. We know that Jesus called Peter Kepha for the name is retained in Aramaic in scripture (e.g. John 1.42). We know this word means “rock” in Aramaic. We know that Matthew 16 is using typical word-play on the word rock. To doubt therefore, that Jesus was using “kepha” and “kepha” strains credibility and the authors would not be suggested were it not for the fact that the authors don’t like the Catholic feel of the words. In any case, as I have shown, the Catholic position can be defended without recourse to Aramaic, simply on the basis of scripture.

            No grammatical evidence is offered for your reading either.

            So we can safely discount that webpage and return to the evidence of scripture: Peter is the rock on which the Church is built according to Matthew 16. That’s what scripture says, however hard it may be for some evangelicals to accept.

          • Anton

            Tosh.

            Let’s do this in more detail. We agree that petra is a mass of solid rock in its natural setting. You said that stone was always lithos, not petros, but Strong’s disagrees:

            http://biblehub.com/greek/4074.htm

            (This webpage for petros includes a hyperlink to lithos.)

            I am presuming we agree that Matt 16:18 says “You are Petros, kai epi taute te petra I will build my church”.

            kai – and

            taute – this

            epi – most commonly translated “on”, but in my NIV interlinear there is an intermediate word-for-word translation in which, in Matt 19:9 (for example), me epi porneia is translated as “not of fornication”. And “of” is a word that epi is certainly capable of meaning, according to context.

            So: is it “on” or “of” in Matt 16:18? Nothing in the sentence itself settles the matter. It could be “on this rock” or “of this rock” meaning “of this sort of rock”, ie “of such rock”. The fact that Jesus is the keystone, as stated by Peter himself, points to the latter. If you consider the “building site” images deliberately evoked by these phrases you will see that your view that it is not either/or between Christ and Peter cannot hold in context.

            Everybody who comes to this verse has to decide: to what does “this petra” refer? I take it to refer to men who stand like rock for the truth that Jesus is Lord (a truth first declared by Peter himself). Catholics take it to mean Peter only, but apart from the “imagery” critique above that does not fit the meaning of “petra”. Some protestants take it to mean faith – exemplified by Peter’s – that Jesus is Lord, but that seems to me to be an artifice aimed against the Catholic view.

            That website is correct: we have scripture in the Greek, and the Aramaic is irrelevant.

            Peter was first to declare Jesus as messiah and son of God; first stone to be laid, first pastor of the church; but nowhere in scripture is it stated that the title was his to hand on. It is too bad, theologically speaking, that a huge building of stones in Rome now bears his name. When it, and Westminster Abbey, and other great church buildings are gone or put out of use, Christians will regain a better understanding what church really means. The Chinese apostles who are moving to preach in the strongholds of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism “won’t build a single church building anywhere, but the Lord will be building up his church of living stones, with Jesus as the cornerstone” (Back to Jerusalem by Brother Yun, p.50).

          • Albert

            Let’s do this in more detail. We agree that petra is a mass of solid rock in its natural setting. You said that stone was always lithos, not petros, but Strong’s disagrees

            The page you linked certainly says the word petros can mean stone, but it also says it can mean rock. The point I made was slightly different: I said that it never means stone in the NT and the page you linked does not give a counter example. Therefore, my point stands.

            So: is it “on” or “of” in Matt 16:18?

            This is exactly why I checked so many translations and not one of them supports you. Now according to Strong’s (which you claim as your authority) epi can mean “of” but in the sense of “because of”, which would make the sentence “You are Peter and because of this rock, I will build my church” which hardly helps your cause. And even then, not one translator follows you in your wording of Matthew 19.9.

            Some protestants take it to mean faith – exemplified by Peter’s – that Jesus is Lord, but that seems to me to be an artifice aimed against the Catholic view.

            That is certainly true!

            That website is correct: we have scripture in the Greek, and the Aramaic is irrelevant.

            It’s not irrelevant no. The question is whether there is a difference of meaning because the gender of the word changes or whether that is just a change to accommodate the fact that the person named is male (c.f. the difference between Philip and Philippa). Now if that difference does not even occur in the language Jesus was using, but is necessary because of the way the Greek works that would seem to settle the matter. Put that with the fact that when the NT means stone is uses λίθος not petros and the case would seem to be closed.

            Just remember those figures I gave you:

            Uses of λίθος to mean “stone”: 53.
            Uses of petros to mean stone: 0.
            Uses of petra to mean rock: 16.
            Uses of petros to mean rock apart from when it is naming Peter 0.
            Uses of petros to name Peter: 161

            So your case has to be, that contrary to the accumulation of all those examples, Petros means stone, uniquely in Matthew 16, that there is a theological significance even though there cannot be in the words Jesus used, and that, contrary to 24 translations, it does not mean “upon” but “of” which results in the claim that Jesus built the Church because of Peter.

            I think this is pretty desperate even for special pleading.

          • Anton

            I think it is pretty desperate to suppose that I am indulging in special pleading.

            Petros means stone in the Greek of 2000 years ago and the fact it does not appear in the NT is irrelevant. Lithos and petros may have slightly different meanings but in many cases they are synonyms, and petros merely happens not to be used. There is even a plausible reason: to prevent confusion with Peter.

            It is you who are putting the word “because” into an English translation of Matt 16:18, not me. I take epi to be capable of meaning “of” based partly on the translators in my NIV interlinear; take it up with them. Above all, though, you are ducking my imagery-of-building argument. You say it isn’t Jesus OR Peter, but the imagery involved means this dichotomy is unavoidable in context. And, for the Christian, Christ has to be primary. Hence my translation has to be the appropriate one.

          • Albert

            I think it is pretty desperate to suppose that I am indulging in special pleading.

            I think I have given a pretty clear case.

            Petros means stone in the Greek of 2000 years ago and the fact it does not appear in the NT is irrelevant.

            What is the source for this information? Not NT Greek, but presumably classical Greek. But these are not the same. Consider how quickly the word “gay” has changed its meaning.

            Lithos and petros may have slightly different meanings but in many cases they are synonyms, and petros merely happens not to be used. There is even a plausible reason: to prevent confusion with Peter.

            You have given not one example of them being synonyms in the NT. It’s hardly confusing – no one is going misread “Then the Jews took up Peters to Peter him” or “Who shall roll away the Peter from the door of the sepulchre?” Much more plausible is that the word Petros is not used for stone because that was not how the word was used at that time and place, rather, following the root of the word, it meant rock. If there was a reason for not using petros to mean stone, it is more likely to be because authors did not wish to imply a difference of meaning between Petros and petra.

            It is you who are putting the word “because” into an English translation of Matt 16:18, not me.

            No, I am taking it from Strong’s: the authority you appealed to:

            ἐπί epí, ep-ee’; a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution (with the genitive case), i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dative case) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.:—about (the times), above, after, against, among, as long as (touching), at, beside, × have charge of, (be-, (where-))fore, in (a place, as much as, the time of, -to), (because) of , (up-)on (behalf of), over, (by, for) the space of, through(-out), (un-)to(-ward), with.

            And while we’re on Strong’s how does it define Petros?

            Πέτρος Pétros, pet’-ros; apparently a primary word; a (piece of) rock (larger than G3037 this refers to Lithos); as a name, Petrus, an apostle:—Peter, rock. Compare G2786.

            Above all, though, you are ducking my imagery-of-building argument.

            I haven’t ducked it. It just hasn’t been expressed with sufficient clarity to have any purchase. Moreover, you are ducking my repeated point that your interpretation makes no sense, since it results in Jesus meaning “You are Peter and on myself I will build my Church.” Finally, you don’t seem to realise that even if that was the meaning, it wouldn’t falsify the Catholic position. We are quite happy with Peter being a rock hewn from Christ – it fits with a whole realm of imagery – the Church being the moon reflecting the real light of the sun etc.

            And, for the Christian, Christ has to be primary. Hence my translation has to be the appropriate one.

            Even when no one else thinks that, even when it makes no sense of what Jesus says? Are you now going to say that the word “door” must primarily refer to Christ? What sense does that make of passages like: And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door [Jesus?] of the tomb?”

          • Anton

            “I think I have given a pretty clear case.”

            I’m sure you do. As usual, please do not take silence as acquiescence or as inability to reply.

            I wrote: Petros means stone in the Greek of 2000 years ago and the fact it does not appear in the NT is irrelevant. You replied: “Not NT Greek, but presumably classical Greek. But these are not the same.”

            The difference is mainly that koine Greek is a dumbed-down version, so that fewer synonyms are expected (unless a point is being made).

            I wrote: It is you who are putting the word “because” into an English translation of Matt 16:18, not me. You replied: “No, I am taking it from Str ong’s: the authority you appealed to:”

            That’s AN authority I appealed to. Also the translators of my NIV interlinear.

            I wrote: Above all, though, you are ducking my imagery-of-building argument. You replied: “I haven’t ducked it. It just hasn’t been expressed with sufficient clarity to have any purchase.”

            To paraphrase Upton Sinclair, it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his argument depends upon his not understanding it.

            “you are ducking my repeated point that your interpretation makes no sense, since it results in Jesus meaning “You are Peter and on myself I will build my Church.””

            No; I have stated explicitly that the verse is in effect “You are Peter and of the rock of men who, like you, confess who I am, I will build my church.” Had you forgotten that?

          • Albert

            The difference is mainly that koine Greek is a dumbed-down version, so that fewer synonyms are expected (unless a point is being made).

            Thank you. I have studied NT Greek – although I don’t pretend to be good at it.

            That’s AN authority I appealed to. Also the translators of my NIV interlinear.

            Does your NIV interlinear translate Petros as stone in any other passage? Also, does it follow your reconstruction of epi to mean “of” in Mat.16.18? Speaking of stones, even if Petros does mean stone, that still doesn’t deal with the problem, since, as we have seen the NT regularly speaks of Christ as stone, so all this attempting to read petros in a way that the NT never does simply gives you the same problem.

            To paraphrase Upton Sinclair, it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his argument depends upon his not understanding it.

            Or may be you haven’t expressed it clearly. Or may be it’s just a bad argument. Or may be it argues for something that isn’t a problem to us. After all, this thread is full of examples of you ignorantly attributing to us things we don’t believe. Yesterday you presented a position which you said was deadly to Catholicism. I promptly quoted Catholic teaching which almost word for word was the position you said was deadly. So perhaps your argument only counts against what you think is Catholicism, rather than what Catholicism is.

            No; I have stated explicitly that the verse is in effect “You are Peter and of the rock of men who, like you, confess who I am, I will build my church.” Had you forgotten that?

            Actually, I don’t think you have explicitly stated that. But it isn’t what the Bible says, it’s what you want the Bible mean. I am going to stick to what the Bible says, thanks.

          • Anton

            That would make a pleasant change.

            I believe that any intellectually honest reader will understand what I am saying – that the image Peter conveys in words in 1 Peter 2, of Christ as cornerstone, cannot be squared with the image following from your view of Matt 16, that Peter is the rock upon which Christ will build his church. If you refuse to try to imagine it, two minutes with a sketch pad would convince you of that.

            By the way, you said above: “clearly, Catholics do not regard infallible statements as being on a par in authority with the Bible”.

            It’s not clear to me! Would you care to clarify?

          • Albert

            That would make a pleasant change.

            I assume that refers to my comment that I will stick to what the Bible actually says. If so, when else do Catholics change the scripture? I think you may be confusing us with Luther’s cut and paste approach. I know you and disagree on the meaning of scripture, but please note, I disagree with Evangelical interpretations often not because I am a Catholic, but because I think they are implausible human traditions, very much dependent on the specific situation of the 16th Century. Hence, I did not accept them as plausible readings even when I was a Protestant myself.

            I believe that any intellectually honest reader will understand what I am saying – that the image Peter conveys in words in 1 Peter 2, of Christ as cornerstone, cannot be squared with the image following from your view of Matt 16, that Peter is the rock upon which Christ will build his church.

            I have answered this already. The conflict only occurs if one regards Jesus and Peter as being on the same level, equivalent and therefore in competition. But that makes no sense theologically and would be a failure to grasp the fact that these are two different passages, both using imagery (and therefore not properly read as literally as you do) and both using imagery in a slightly different way. Consider how Jesus says both “I am the light of the word” and “You are the light of the world.” On your reading that is a contradiction, but clearly, if we understand the imagery properly it is not. Jesus is using the imagery in a slightly different way in each passage. As we are the light because Jesus is the light (remember my reference to the moon reflecting the sun?), so Peter is the rock because Jesus is. This is the point I have already made by quoting Vatican II:

            the universal Church, which the Lord established on the apostles and built upon blessed Peter, their chief, Christ Jesus Himself being the supreme cornerstone.

            So you were quite wrong I think to say: To paraphrase Upton Sinclair, it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his argument depends upon his not understanding it. I had understood it and answered it, it’s just that your argument depended upon your not understanding my response.

            You go on:

            It’s not clear to me! Would you care to clarify?

            This gets to the heart of where you are fundamentally confused about Catholicism. We believe God’s revelation is completed with the death of the last apostle, and that no new revelation will be given (because God has already said everything he is going to say to us). Thus everything that is revealed had already been received by the apostles (which is not of course to say that the apostles exhaustively understood it all).

            Now when the apostles preached, yes, we say they spoke infallibly as the Church now does, but we say more than this. We also believe they were inspired, which the Church is not. The difference is that inspiration is positive and gives us, if you like, the revelation itself, while infallibility, is a negative concept meaning Christ by grace and providence will preserve the Church from error in interpreting that revelation. So as Peter and Jesus are not on the same level regarding the foundation of the Church (why would you even think that we think that, given that the Church is Christ’s body and not Peter’s body?) so also the teaching office of the Church is not now on the same level that it was in the days of the apostles. It is however reliable, not because bishops and popes are good and wise, because Jesus promised it would be and his promises do not fail.

            Now of course, you can deny that the Church is infallible. But that does not alter the fact that much of your argument is against what you think we believe rather than what we actually believe.

          • Anton

            I go by the Bible, not by Luther; he simply refocused the church’s attention on it at a time when this needed doing. If he had gotten back to a synagogue rather than a Temple model of the church then it would have been better still.

            Most of scripture is easy to understand; most of the rest is comprehensible with better knowledge of ancient Middle Eastern culture; as for the rest, I do not intend to take my views of it from corrupt ecclesiastical megalomaniacs like Boniface VIII and the Renaissance Popes.

            Regarding my imagery point, you have responded before but you have not answered it, and you have not done so now either. I am asking you to construct a sketch, on paper or in your head, showing the relation between Jesus, Peter and later Christians, consistent with Matthew 16:18 and 1 Peter 2:4-8. No prior assumptions are involved about whether Jesus and Peter are “on the same level”. If you are willing to do this then your error will become clear to you – as I believe it is to readers.

            “I had understood it and answered it, it’s just that your argument depended upon your not understanding my response.”

            I think that’s the only thing you can say in order to maintain your tortuous position.

            I asked you to clarify your statement that “clearly, Catholics do not regard infallible statements as being on a par in authority with the Bible” and you have responded as follows:

            Now when the apostles preached, yes, we say they spoke infallibly as t he Church now does, but we say more than this. We also believe they were inspired, which the Church is not. The difference is that inspiration is positive and gives us, if you like, the revelation itself, while infallibility, is a negative concept meaning Christ by grace and providence will preserve the Church from error in interpreting that revelation. So as Peter and Jesus are not on the same level regarding the foundation of the Church (why would you even think that we think that, given that the Church is Christ’s body and not Peter’s body?) so also the teaching office of the Church is not now on the same level that it was in the days of the apostles. It is however reliable, not because bishops and popes are good and wise, because Jesus promised it would be and his promises do not fail.

            You are diverting so as to consider the relative authority of the apostles and the church, but I am asking about the authority of the texts they wrote. If you believe that a particular statement is “infallible”, how can you say it is less authoritative for the church than holy scripture?

          • Albert

            he simply refocused the church’s attention on it at a time when this needed doing.

            No. He simply refocussed people’s attention onto themselves and their own interpretation of the Bible. He didn’t really mean to do that of course, since he really wanted to focus everyone’s attention on his interpretation of the Bible. He was surprised that not everyone read the text as he did. Evangelicals have been surprised by that, ever since.

            Most of scripture is easy to understand; most of the rest is comprehensible with better knowledge of ancient Middle Eastern culture

            So you don’t actually believe in a Spirit-led interpretation of scripture, but one in which authority is handed over to specialist historians and archaeologists. But your premise here, even if true, is beside the point. The issue is to know the Bible at its full depth. What you have said here precludes that.

            do not intend to take my views of it from corrupt ecclesiastical megalomaniacs like Boniface VIII and the Renaissance Popes.

            As we have seen, the wickedness of the office holder hinders not the effectiveness of Christ’s capacity to teach through him. You can doubt that X is a legitimate office holder, but you cannot doubt Christ’s capacity to teach through him because he is wicked.

            Regarding my imagery point, you have responded before but you have not answered it, and you have not done so now either. I am asking you to construct a sketch, on paper or in your head, showing the relation between Jesus, Peter and later Christians, consistent with Matthew 16:18 and 1 Peter 2:4-8. No prior assumptions are involved about whether Jesus and Peter are “on the same level”. If you are willing to do this then your error will become clear to you – as I believe it is to readers.

            This is so confused it is hard to see where to begin to answer it. You are misunderstanding even such simple elements of scripture. The point is that it is symbolism – it isn’t something you are supposed to go away and sketch! Secondly, you are conflating two independent pieces of symbolism. This is not meant to be two architectural blue-prints that you could stick together (they aren’t architectural blue-prints at all). All of this ought to be obvious from even a cursory reading of 1 Peter. He speaks of Christ as a living stone. What on earth is a living stone? Would you care to draw Christ as a living stone? To be honest, it’s a bit like saying that because the Church is sometimes described as a Bride that therefore she cannot also be described as a building. And I dealt with all of this when I spoke of Christ conflating two types of imagery: I am the light of the word, and you are the light of the world.

            So your interpretation is just false, because it fails to take the genre of the text seriously. But even if we take it literally, scripture also speaks of this model in Ephesians 2 and it reconciles them: So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone Note the conflation of two incompatible kinds of imagery (would you please draw a sketch of how they are both citizens and also stones?), the passage shows how the two can fit together.

            And this is just the latest attempt to evade the clear meaning of scripture. You have attempted to foist a unique interpretation of the vocab, you have attempted to fiddle with the linguistic background to make your point, you have attempted to change the grammar contrary to every translation I could find, and now you are trying to control the imagery with reference to another passage (a form of control that although mistaken, does not in fact falsify the point you want falsified). And all this from a man who says: Most of scripture is easy to understand; most of the rest is comprehensible with better knowledge of ancient Middle Eastern culture. Well, all I can say is, you have to have a better understanding of the vocab than Strong’s which explicitly precludes the interpretation you wanted to put on Petros.

            And this of course, is on top of all the other stuff (rock is his faith etc.) Evangelicals sometimes come up with to try to avoid the meaning of this passage – stuff which you yourself have admitted is wrong. Why all this effort? Isn’t it because the passage obviously means that Christ builds his Church on Peter? If your interpretation was the proper one, why are there so many alternatives attempts to wriggle out of the passage?

            The irony is of course, that the Papacy doesn’t require Matthew 16. I think I am right in saying, you brought this passage up, not me.

            I think that’s the only thing you can say in order to maintain your tortuous position.

            There is always something tortuous about trying to straighten a tortuously twisted stick.

            You are diverting so as to consider the relative authority of the apostles and the church

            How?

            If you believe that a particular statement is “infallible”, how can you say it is less authoritative for the church than holy scripture?

            This is an elementary distinction in theology. You are confusing “authority” and “truth”. Both statements are both true, but do not have equal authority. This you already believe, since you regard the words of an apostle who repeats in scripture the words of Jesus as equally true, but you do not regard the apostle as an equal authority. You also know this to be the case because of what John says about Caiaphas.

          • Anton

            “[Luther] refocussed people’s attention onto themselves and their own interpretation of the Bible. He didn’t really mean to do that of course, since he really wanted to focus everyone’s attention on his interpretation of the Bible. He was surprised that not everyone read the text as he did. Evangelicals have been surprised by that, ever since.”

            Debate about the scriptures is a healthy thing when conducted in the right spirit. Give me that any day over the Roman system prevailing at the time, which spoonfed the illiterate not scripture but Rome’s interpretation of it, and which burnt as heretics many who faithfully affirmed the scriptures but held a different interpretation.

            Did any order ever go out from mediaeval Rome that parish priests were to do their best, Sunday by Sunday, to give an oral rendition of the Vulgate in the local vernacular?

            I wrote: Most of scripture is easy to understand; most of the rest is comprehensible with better knowledge of ancient Middle Eastern culture You replied: “So you don’t actually believe in a Spirit-led interpretation of scripture, but one in which authority is handed over to specialist historians and archaeologists.”

            You are confusing two things: having other people interpret scripture for you, and having other people give you information which allows you to interpret it better. Authority rests indeed with the Holy Spirit, who works in many ways; you are making a false dichotomy here.

            “As we have seen, the wickedness of the office holder hinders not the effectiveness of Christ’s capacity to teach through him.”

            No, not “as we have seen” but “as you believe”. I deny Unam Sanctam and I assert that it is merely an example of human pride spoken by a megalomaniac abusing his office in a fit of pique with the king of France.

            Regarding your response to my imagery challenge, it is very obvious that Peter had Christ’s words to him in mind when he wrote. You are trying to muddy a simple situation. As when you point out that Christ is a living stone and challenge me to draw a stone that is alive. The contrast is with inanimate stones, of course; the church is like a building, only its constituent stones happen to be living beings not inanimate objects. Allow yourself the picture, in your mind’s eye.

            Of course, there is a very large building of inanimate stones in Rome that is called a church, but Catholics are not the only ones to make idols of church buildings.

            “Isn’t it because the passage obviously means that Christ builds his Church on Peter?”

            In the sense that Peter is the first stone to be laid on Christ the cornerstone, most certainly. But the church is not built one stone atop the next like a deck of cards: look at any building. Many stones are placed directly upon the foundation. Do some imagery.

            I wrote: If you believe that a particular statement is “infallible”, how can you say it is less authoritative for the church than holy scripture? You replied: “This is an elementary distinction in theology. You are confusing “authority” and “truth”. Both statements are both true, but do not have equal authority.”

            Each person attaches to any statement their own view of how likely it is to be true. A person who asserts that a particular statement is infallible assigns it (rightly or wrongly) 100% confidence. A Christian assigns (or should assign) 100% confidence to scripture. The two are on a par here.

            It seems that you want to assign to a statement a further quality distinct from confidence, namely its authority. I accept that confidence is not the only quality that can be attached to a statement (another such is its importance), but please define authority assigned to a statement in such a way as to clearly distinguish it from confidence. So far you have been using words in a different way from a normal dictionary, and you have now said that you are using terms theologically. Christ got his ideas across without need of any specialist vocabulary that differs from colloquial usage.

          • Albert

            spoonfed the illiterate not scripture but Rome’s interpretation of it

            Rome’s faith is the authentic interpretation of scripture.

            which burnt as heretics many who faithfully affirmed the scriptures but held a different interpretation.

            Well, as always, it is very difficult to put the spotlight onto your congregation because you keep it hidden in the darkness, whereas the Catholic Church has always been in the light. May I ask, is your congregation pacifist?

            Did any order ever go out from mediaeval Rome that parish priests were to do their best, Sunday by Sunday, to give an oral rendition of the Vulgate in the local vernacular?

            What do you think the Friars were about?

            You are confusing two things: having other people interpret scripture for you, and having other people give you information which allows you to interpret it better.

            That distinction doesn’t work in practice. Someone who has done some study, wrongly tells you that your interpretation isn’t tenable because of historical context and, unless you have good confidence in the precise topic, you can’t tell whether they are right or not. Again, I think you need to do some academic theology, just to see how impossible your position is.

            No, not “as we have seen” but “as you believe”

            So Caiaphas didn’t speak as a prophet then? I thought on this one, you actually agreed with scripture, with very little attempt to worm out of it, that he did.

            Regarding your response to my imagery challenge, it is very obvious that Peter had Christ’s words to him in mind when he wrote. You are trying to muddy a simple situation. As when you point out that Christ is a living stone and challenge me to draw a stone that is alive. The contrast is with inanimate stones, of course; the church is like a building, only its constituent stones happen to be living beings not inanimate objects. Allow yourself the picture, in your mind’s eye.

            The purpose of my speaking of Christ as a living stone is to point out that these things cannot be sketched. How do you sketch a living stone? It just makes no sense. What are you going to do? Draw a stone with a smiley face and a beard? Drawing these things shows a kind of literalism that does not belong here.

            Your position is like someone conflating two quite different poems, taking the imagery too literally and then demanding that the imagery be reconciled. That would just be a failure to take the genre seriously. I notice that you have ignored the counter-examples your position that I have given and you have missed again, the way in which I did reconcile the passages. So in fact, you haven’t touched my counter argument, you’ve just exhibited a failure to understand the nature of the symbolism.

            Of course, there is a very large building of inanimate stones in Rome that is called a church, but Catholics are not the only ones to make idols of church buildings.

            That’s just wicked. We obviously do not worship buildings. But again, your hatred prevents you from being just.

            In the sense that Peter is the first stone to be laid on Christ the cornerstone, most certainly. But the church is not built one stone atop the next like a deck of cards: look at any building. Many stones are placed directly upon the foundation. Do some imagery.

            But again, by demanding some kind of literal picture, you are missing the point that it is symbolism. But even if we set that point aside, I’ve got no problem with Peter being laid on Christ the cornerstone, but notice how you are mucking up the symbolism here even if we take it literally. No building is built entirely on the concernstone. It is rather that the headstone in the corner is fundamental to soundness of the rest of it.

            Each person attaches to any statement their own view of how likely it is to be true. A person who asserts that a particular statement is infallible assigns it (rightly or wrongly) 100% confidence. A Christian assigns (or should assign) 100% confidence to scripture. The two are on a par here.

            Provided you are talking about its truthfulness, that is the point I made.

            It seems that you want to assign to a statement a further quality distinct from confidence, namely its authority… but please define authority assigned to a statement in such a way as to clearly distinguish it from confidence

            Confidence is something in us, authority is something in the speaker or the text.

            So far you have been using words in a different way from a normal dictionary

            I don’t think that is true at all. Consider how in a dictatorship an official lie may come with authority, but have no truth-value.

            Christ got his ideas across without need of any specialist vocabulary that differs from colloquial usage.

            Well, here’s what I said: You are confusing “authority” and “truth”. Both statements are both true, but the speakers do not have equal authority. This you already believe, since you regard the words of an apostle who repeats in scripture the words of Jesus as equally true, but you do not regard the apostle as an equal authority. You also know this to be the case because of what John says about Caiaphas.

            If you want to say that the apostles have the same authority as Christ or that Caiaphas has the same authority as the Holy Spirit then yes you have a problem with what I wrote. But that is not because there is a problem with what I wrote, but because you have a problem.

            And why, again, are you just ignoring the substantive part of all of this? The reality that the revelation is given to the apostles who are inspired – able to announce new truths of God, but the Church receives no new revelation but is divinely guided to interpret that truth?

            Christ got his ideas across without need of any specialist vocabulary that differs from colloquial usage.

            No he didn’t, because, as is evident, he didn’t always get his ideas across. But how do you apply your own principle to yours? Take the word “Trinity”. This was not a colloquial word – certainly not as it was being used when it was first introduced.

          • Anton

            “Rome’s faith is the authentic interpretation of scripture.”

            Asserting that does not make it so.

            “it is very difficult to put the spotlight onto your congregation because you keep it hidden in the darkness, whereas the Catholic Church has always been in the light. May I ask, is your congregation pacifist?”

            We are more similar than you acknowledge: neither of us has given our names in a way that permits us to be identified; neither of us has stated what individual congregation we are in; both of us have stated what church system we are in. You are in the Roman Catholic denomination, I am in a congregation that is not overseen by people who oversee other congregations. Your rule of faith is the Catholic catechism (or anyway something Catholic in the public domain); so is ours, the New Testament.

            I am not personally a pacifist and I don’t think our elders are either. There might be some in the congregation. It is not a matter of policy.

            I asked: Did any order ever go out from mediaeval Rome that parish priests were to do their best, Sunday by Sunday, to give an oral rendition of the Vulgate in the local vernacular? You replied: “What do you think the Friars were about?”

            Tell me. But please do not fail to answer my specific question. I want to know if people were given the scriptures *verbatim*, as best possible in their vernacular and as a matter of policy. This would involve something like a man able to read Latin doing a “simultaneous translation” out loud into the vernacular among a largely illiterate peasantry. Scripture moves inside a man in a way that no summary can.

            “Again, I think you need to do some academic theology, just to see how impossible your position is.”

            Please define “academic theology”.

            “I notice that you have ignored the counter-examples your position that I have given and you have missed again, the way in which I did reconcile the passages.”

            I ignore smoke and mirrors.

            You wrote, some time back, “clearly, Catholics do not regard infallible statements as being on a par in authority with the Bible”

            A statement that a community takes to be correct with certainty is fully authoritative within that community. Any member of that community can quote it to any other who is saying or doing something inconsistent with it, and the community will side with the quoter of the statement.

            Any well-educated person who is not a professional theologian will take “Catholics do not regard infallible statements as being on a par in authority with the Bible” to be absurd. For all I know, professional theologians will, too; I have only your word to the contrary. But if you are right then it is execrable use of English, because the words have standard meaning and my previous paragraph demonstrates that they are not being used correctly.

          • Albert

            Asserting that does not make it so.

            Exactly. You made an unsubstantiated assertion and I was therefore entitled to reply in kind. It’s a bit odd that you complain at me for doing the thing you did. But then, that’s the story of your posts: you object what you think is a mote in someone else’s eye…

            We are more similar than you acknowledge: neither of us has given our names in a way that permits us to be identified; neither of us has stated what individual congregation we are in; both of us have stated what church system we are in.

            I accept all of that, it’s just the last bit . Either I have forgotten or you have not been clear.

            You are in the Roman Catholic denomination, I am in a congregation that is not overseen by people who oversee other congregations. Your rule of faith is the Catholic catechism (or anyway something Catholic in the public domain); so is ours, the New Testament.

            I accept all of that again (although we don’t use the word “denomination”). I simply deny the latter is true of you. And even if it is true, the history of interpretation makes it impossible to judge from within those who claim to be NT Christians what you think.

            I am not personally a pacifist and I don’t think our elders are either. There might be some in the congregation. It is not a matter of policy.

            Exactly. I had dinner this week with a Protestant friend who is insistent that the teaching of Jesus is pacifism. So you see, it’s not enough for you to say that your rule of faith is the NT. I actually thought you might be a pacifist. Now if you are not a pacifist, then you will admit that, to stop certain damage, violence may be used. Perhaps you would use violence to protect democracy for example. But whatever, someone else can just say that people of your ilk have used violence to suppress something you don’t like and therefore your position is compromised.

            Tell me. But please do not fail to answer my specific question. I want to know if people were given the scriptures *verbatim*, as best possible in their vernacular and as a matter of policy. This would involve something like a man able to read Latin doing a “simultaneous translation” out loud into the vernacular among a largely illiterate peasantry. Scripture moves inside a man in a way that no summary can.

            The Friars were preaching the Gospel in the vernacular. I really don’t know whether they were giving a verbatim interpretation. Medieval translations into the vernacular were more common than people realise, but the issue here is more to do with whether people could read or not. I don’t know the answer, but I do not that the letter is not as important as the Spirit. So provided the faith was proclaimed, then, given that these people were illiterate, perhaps that was all that could be managed and was sufficient.

            Please define “academic theology”.

            The study of theology that is able to hear positions from all sides, I guess. I doubt that’s sufficient, but I think it’s a start.

            I ignore smoke and mirrors.

            Direct counter examples of your positions are not smoke and mirrors. You demanded a particular fashion of interpretation of biblical symbolism. I pointed out that if one applied this in other cases it would lead to absurdity. You have not answered that and so your own position is exposed. It’s not smoke and mirrors – it’s how discussions work. Let’s take another example – this time we can stick to the same author and the same chapter. The use of the word “head” in 1 Cor.11.

            1. We find, a woman has her own head: any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonours her head

            2. But also, her husband is her head: the head of a woman is her husband

            3. The husband naturally has his own head: Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head

            4. But the head of the husband is also Christ: the head of every man is Christ

            5. And God is the head of Christ: the head of Christ is God

            So we have here a woman with at least four different heads – all in the space of about 4 verses. Would you care to sketch this for me please without it looking like a pagan hydra? Imagery and symbolism simply do not work in your literalist way, not even here when they appear so close together from the same author. But the reality is that you wish that to happen so that you can control the meaning, rather than letting scripture speak for itself. In a sense, that’s smoke and mirrors that you are doing, because it looks like taking scripture seriously, when really it isn’t.

            A statement that a community takes to be correct with certainty is fully authoritative within that community. Any member of that community can quote it to any other who is saying or doing something inconsistent with it, and the community will side with the quoter of the statement.

            I’ve answered this several times already. You are talking about its truthfulness not authority. I have also shown that you must admit the same thing in your view of words of apostles and words of Christ, and the words of Caiaphas and the authority of the Holy Spirit. You have not answered these examples of scripture, but are clearly arguing against them. Bizarre.

            Any well-educated person who is not a professional theologian will take “Catholics do not regard infallible statements as being on a par in authority with the Bible” to be absurd.

            Possibly (although I’m not sure, most institutions will include this kind of distinction), but any well-educated person who is also open to the truth will then say “That seems absurd to me, can you explain how you are using the words?” And then, when the explanation is given he will grasp the point. After all, this happens in science does it not? Each discipline has its own language and nuances. There is one kind of educated person who struggles most with this sort of thing, though: those trained in science and not in humanities. They tend not to grasp the breadth of meaning in words, and the way in which use affects the meaning (read Wittgenstein on this). Hence they end up messing up the symbolism, as you do.

            And this is another reason why the Protestant view of scripture fails and results in such division, contrary to the plain meaning of scripture.

          • Anton

            “You made an unsubstantiated assertion and I was therefore entitled to reply in kind.”

            You are entitled to say whatever you wish whenever.

            I wrote: You are in the Roman Catholic denomination, I am in a congregation that is not overseen by people who oversee other congregations. Your rule of faith is the Catholic catechism (or anyway something Catholic in the public domain); so is ours, the New Testament. You replied: “I accept all of that again (although we don’t use the word “denomination”). I simply deny the latter is true of you.”

            My apologies; I put a bracket in the wrong place. I meant to write: “Your rule of faith is the Catholic catechism (or anyway something Catholic) in the public domain; so is ours, the New Testament.” My point is that you do know our rule of faith.

            You then wrote: “And even if it is true, the history of interpretation makes it impossible to judge from within those who claim to be NT Christians what you think.”

            That’s your problem, not mine.

            “I had dinner this week with a Protestant friend who is insistent that the teaching of Jesus is pacifism. So you see, it’s not enough for you to say that your rule of faith is the NT.”

            But the Catholic catechism will be capable of more than one understanding at certain points. Give me healthy debate within the body of Christ about the scriptures, rather than a historically corrupt unscriptural hierarchy that imposes, often with threat of force, one view which in many places is manifestly wrong. At times the debate to which I refer has become unhealthy – whence schism if a hierarchy is involved – but freedom of conscience was always granted to people by Christ; he simply warned of the consequences of wrong belief and moved on – and told his followers to do the same.

            “I actually thought you might be a pacifist. Now if you are not a pacifist, then you will admit that, to stop certain damage, violence may be used. Perhaps you would use violence to protect democracy for example. But whatever, someone else can just say that people of your ilk have used violence to suppress something you don’t like and therefore your position is compromised.”

            Your “therefore” fails. Violence is never to be used in furtherance of the Christian faith. People, Christian or not, have the right to defend their community from marauders.

            “It’s not smoke and mirrors – it’s how discussions work.”

            You are still ducking my imagery request by using false analogy. I don’t intend to spend my time in a discussion with you on women’s hats.

            I wrote: Any well-educated person who is not a professional theologian will take “Catholics do not regard infallible statements as being on a par in authority with the Bible” to be absurd. you replied: “Possibly (although I’m not sure, most institutions will include this kind of distinction), but any well-educated person who is also open to the truth will then say “That seems absurd to me, can you explain how you are using the words?” ”

            When I realised that you were assigning authority distinct from truth-value, that is what I did.

            “this happens in science does it not? Each discipline has its own language and nuances.”

            In physics our jargon does not involve using everyday words in different ways for the dictionary. Please explain how the outworkings differ between (a) a situation in which a statement made by a Pope ex cathedra is regarded as infallible but of less authority than a verse of scripture; and (b) a situation in which they are granted equal authority as well as both being infallible.

          • Albert

            You are entitled to say whatever you wish whenever.

            No one doubted that. The puzzling thing was that you seemed to think you had privileges you wouldn’t extend for me, so you criticised me for doing what you did.

            My apologies; I put a bracket in the wrong place. I meant to write: “Your rule of faith is the Catholic catechism (or anyway something Catholic) in the public domain; so is ours, the New Testament.” My point is that you do know our rule of faith.

            I know what you claim is your rule of faith. All Protestants make the same claim. I think you misinterpret it, so I don’t actually know what your positions are until you say.

            That’s your problem, not mine.

            No, you are trying to say that your position is entirely public because it is what the NT says – i.e. if I go and read the NT I will know what you think. But history and the divided nature of Protestantism shows that to be false. There are more Protestant interpretations of the Bible than there are Protestant interpreters. Which is yours? How am I supposed to know? The only thing I know is that I won’t get your interpretation from the Bible alone.

            But the Catholic catechism will be capable of more than one understanding at certain points.

            Of course, lots of things are open to discussion, but where necessary, misinterpretations are ruled out of court and that does not happen when people just say sola scriptura.

            rather than a historically corrupt unscriptural hierarchy that imposes

            That’s now assuming the point you need to prove. Remember: from my point of view your position is bogus. I don’t find in scripture the things you think you find there. I see why you think scripture says the things you think it does. I just don’t think those passages support the points you draw from them.

            often with threat of force

            and when Christians have thought the Bible demands force to defend the faith?

            but freedom of conscience was always granted to people by Christ

            I’m not sure that those who were there when Jesus cleansed the Temple would agree. And what do you mean by freedom of conscience? That does not seem to be a concept found in scripture.

            People, Christian or not, have the right to defend their community from marauders.

            And what if Christianity is so associated with one’s society that one defends both at once?

            You are still ducking my imagery request by using false analogy. I don’t intend to spend my time in a discussion with you on women’s hats.

            I’m not ducking your imagery request. I am showing that it is bogus – I have argued this repeatedly. I have given at least three biblical counter examples, each of which you have left unanswered, except for this trivialisation of scripture here of what you call, a discussion of women’s hats. Poor St Paul!

            When I realised that you were assigning authority distinct from truth-value, that is what I did.

            Fine. But then I can’t make any sense of your argument, for it seems to me to fail to make that distinction. Can you explain that?

            In physics our jargon does not involve using everyday words in different ways for the dictionary.

            Yes they do. Physicists use the words “uncaused”, “nothing”, “explanation” and “law” entirely differently from how people normally use them. They often don’t notice this themselves BTW which is why atheist scientists end up thinking they’ve excluded God.

            (a) a situation in which a statement made by a Pope ex cathedra is regarded as infallible but of less authority than a verse of scripture; and (b) a situation in which they are granted equal authority as well as both being infallible.

            I have done this twice already. Why should I do it again? When I ask you to repeat something you say is there already, you say it is there above and I should go and read it for myself. I began this post saying I don’t think I should have lesser privileges than you. So I end in the same way – read above.

          • Anton

            “you are trying to say that your position is entirely public because it is what the NT says – i.e. if I go and read the NT I will know what you think.”

            I’m not trying to say it – I *am* saying it. If you don’t understand the scriptures then I’ll gladly help you provided that you say at the start that you are willing to entertain views that differ from Rome’s; otherwise it’s a waste of both our times.

            I wrote: but freedom of conscience was always granted to people by Christ. You replied: “I’m not sure that those who were there when Jesus cleansed the Temple would agree.”

            Putting the various accounts together I suggest that he whipped the animals out and their owners chose to follow because they did not want to be responsible under Mosaic law for any damage that the animals did and because the animals were valuable.

            “what do you mean by freedom of conscience? That does not seem to be a concept found in scripture.”

            You have to be very highly educated indeed to find such things difficult to understand. Try asking somebody who has lived under communism.

            I wrote: People, Christian or not, have the right to defend their community from marauders. You replied: “And what if Christianity is so associated with one’s society that one defends both at once?”

            The community of Christians is called the church, not any town or village or country.

            “each of which you have left unanswered, except for this trivialisation of scripture here of what you call, a discussion of women’s hats.”

            I’ll discuss men’s hats with you. Why, in view of Paul’s words, do Catholic bishops and cardinals wear various types of headgear, and the Pope a triple tiara? A crown of thorns was good enough for Christ.

            I wrote: In physics our jargon does not involve using everyday words in different ways for the dictionary. You replied: “Yes they do. Physicists use the words “uncaused”, “nothing”, “explanation” and “law” entirely differently from how people normally use them.

            We use “nothing” in basically the same way. We don’t use “uncaused”; the meaning of causality in physics is entirely about time-ordering. Explanation and Law do have a more restricted meaning but the context always makes it clear, which is not the case with the words you are using in their context.

          • Albert

            I’m not trying to say it – I *am* saying it.

            All Protestants say that. It doesn’t help.

            If you don’t understand the scriptures then I’ll gladly help you

            If I needed help understanding the scriptures, you would be one of the last people I would go to, judging by your showing here.

            provided that you say at the start that you are willing to entertain views that differ from Rome’s; otherwise it’s a waste of both our times.

            Or how about this: you come to the scripture accepting that Rome might be right and Protestant human tradition be wrong?

            In the film of Jean Brodie she said to a Catholic, “I prefer to do my thinking for myself.”

            Sounds like you are on the way to being a rationalist. Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

            and potted summaries together with a set of rules

            That didn’t follow.

            Putting the various accounts together I suggest that he whipped the animals out and their owners chose to follow because they did not want to be responsible under Mosaic law for any damage that the animals did and because the animals were valuable.

            That’s one interpretation. What if you’re wrong? What if Christ is showing us that we should use force to defend religion? Or more importantly, what would you say to a Protestant who was convinced that that was the meaning of the passage? There’s nothing you can say. He thinks it means one thing, you think it means the other. Your human tradition encourages that kind of narcissism of interpretation.

            You have to be very highly educated indeed to find such things difficult to understand. Try asking somebody who has lived under communism.

            Well I was asking you for its biblical basis. You’ve appealed instead to 20th Century Russia! Freedom of conscience has meant freedom from God’s law. Is that what you mean?

            The community of Christians is called the church, not any town or village or country.

            That’s just your anti-incarnational Manicheeism again.

            Then I’ll discuss men’s hats with you. Why, in view of Paul’s words, do Catholic bishops and cardinals wear various types of headgear, and the Pope a triple tiara? A crown of thorns was good enough for Christ.

            That’s just another attempt to change the subject. You tried to foist a model of controlling scripture onto Matt.w 16 to prevent it meaning what it clearly means. I pointed out that your model of scripture is applied elsewhere would lead to absurdity. You’ve changed the subject rather than answer.

            We use “nothing” in basically the same way.

            Look at how the word “nothing” is used of quantum vacuums and the big bang. It isn’t actually nothing.

            Explanation and Law do have a more restricted meaning but the context always makes it clear

            That’s not try. You only have to look at physicists on TV saying things like “The law of X explains Y”. Laws are not in themselves, explanations.

          • Anton

            “how about this: you come to the scripture accepting that Rome might be right and Protestant human tradition be wrong?”

            Of course I accept that Rome might be right. Often it is. But I also accept that it might be wrong. What are you contrasting with “protestant human tradition”, please?

            I wrote: In the film of Jean Brodie she said to a Catholic, “I prefer to do my thinking for myself.” You replied: “Sounds like you are on the way to being a rationalist.”

            Sounds like you replied without knowledge of the context (which matches our discussion). She was preferring a protestant church in which the scriptures are pondered, not summarised and reduced to a set of rules aka law.

            I wrote: The community of Christians is called the church, not any town or village or country. You replied: “That’s just your anti-incarnational Manicheeism again.”

            Actually it’s scripture again.

            “Look at how the word “nothing” is used of quantum vacuums and the big bang. It isn’t actually nothing.”

            Which is why we speak of “vacuum” rather than “nothing” ever since quantum field theory was worked out. Please explain your comment about “nothing” in relation to the Big Bang.

          • Albert

            Of course I accept that Rome might be right. Often it is. But I also accept that it might be wrong. What are you contrasting with “protestant human tradition”, please?

            The solas will do. Neither is biblical.

            Sounds like you replied without knowledge of the context (which matches our discussion). She was preferring a protestant church in which the scriptures are pondered, not summarised and reduced to a set of rules aka law.

            I don’t get the reference, but it sounds like a justification of individualistic private judgement against the Church as teacher.

            Actually it’s scripture again.

            So your view is that it is impossible to create a Christian society? (I don’t mean a society without sin.)

            Which is why we speak of “vacuum”

            Along with imprecise stuff about uncaused events.

            Please explain your comment about “nothing” in relation to the Big Bang.

            I suppose the place to start would be the following, but an atheist physicist:

            Krauss, L. 2012. A Universe from Nothing.

          • Anton

            I asked: What are you contrasting with “protestant human tradition”, please? You replied: “The solas will do. Neither is biblical.”

            Let me put my question more clearly: “protestant human tradition” in contrast to Catholic…

            Please complete that sentence.

            “I don’t get the reference, but it sounds like a justification of individualistic private judgement against the Church as teacher.”

            In context it was the statement of a preference to ponder the scriptures rather than somebody’s potted interpretation of them.

            “So your view is that it is impossible to create a Christian society? (I don’t mean a society without s in.)”

            Yes, that is exactly my view. There has not been and will not be a Christian country until Christ returns.

            “Along with imprecise stuff about uncaused events.”

            You might get such phrases in badly phrased popular expositions of physics, but not in proper textbooks at any level, from GCSE to the research frontier. I wrote about the selection effect by which trash gets favoured in popular expositions on the recent “Christians in the public sector” thread on this blog, and Krauss’ book *title* (probably not chosen by him) is a good example. Here is my paragraph:

            By definition the general public sees only popular science, and all of the careful caveats involved in the correct statement at lay level of a result from the research frontier get edited out. A scientist knows that he will get more exposure if he puts a spiritual slant on his results – more often than not today, New Age rather than outright secular materialist atheist. But if you don’t give that slant, or if you insist on the caveats, you won’t get invited back. In particular, the media want stuff from the research frontier because that’s news, but if you include a reminder that the theory you are presenting is speculative then you will be told you aren’t showing courage in your convictions and you won’t be asked back. The result of these selection effects is that the popular science you see is a long way from the actual scientific process. That gap has widened during my research career.

          • Albert

            Let me put my question more clearly: “protestant human tradition” in contrast to Catholic…Please complete that sentence.

            That’s now less clear.

            In context it was the statement of a preference to ponder the scriptures rather than somebody’s potted interpretation of them.

            Any sensible person will wish for both.

            Yes, that is exactly my view. There has not been and will not be a Christian country until Christ returns

            Do you think human society, even of Christians, is inherently evil and irredeemable prior to the eschaton?

            You might get such phrases in badly phrased popular expositions of physics, but not in proper textbooks at any level, from GCSE to the research frontier. I wrote about the selection effect by which trash gets favoured in popular expositions on the recent “Christians in the public sector” thread on this blog, and Krauss’ book *title* (probably not chosen by him) is a good example. Here is my paragraph

            That’s all encouraging. However, on the whole, I don’t get my experience of science from pop culture or textbooks, but from the effect it has on philosophy of science – which is academic. If academic scientists can’t contribute truthfully to such debates, there is little a non-scientist like me can do to notice!

          • Anton

            “on the whole, I don’t get my experience of science from pop culture or textbooks, but from the effect it has on philosophy of science – which is academic. If academic scientists can’t contribute truthfully to such debates, there is little a non-scientist like me can do to notice!”

            I don’t know where you stand in such debates, but I am anti-Popper – I regard him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing – and I reached my understanding of the philosophy of physics (I respect and avoid discussing the biological sciences, because I am not a biologist) by putting David Stove’s demolition of Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend, all of whom stem from anti-inductivism, together with a proper understanding of probability theory (which is synonymous with inductive logic when both are understood correctly).

            I wrote: There has not been and will not be a Christian country until Christ returns. You replied: “Do you think human society, even of Christians, is inherently evil and irredeemable prior to the eschaton?”

            If you push me for a Yes or No then Yes, but allow me to expound: politics is the way of this world, Satan is the lord of this world in this present evil age (biblical phrases all), and *committed* Christians – whether in Catholic, Orthodox or protestant congregations – are guaranteed to be a persecuted minority until Christ comes again. Persecution is enacted by the KOSMOS, often translated “the world” and best translated in context nowadays as “the prevailing culture” (anywhere!)

            Please give an example – name and date – of a Christian country.

          • Albert

            I don’t know where you stand in such debates, but I am anti-Popper

            Sorry, I meant to type philosophy of religion! On Popper, I think it odd that his philosophy makes the theory of evolution non-scientific, but perhaps you can forgive him a multitude of sins for doing that. I quite like Kuhn, but as a non-scientist, I can’t do much better than say what I like, really.

            If you push me for a Yes or No then Yes, but allow me to expound: politics is the way of this world, Satan is the lord of this world in this present evil age (biblical phrases all), and *committed* Christians – whether in Catholic, Orthodox or protestant congregations – are guaranteed to be a persecuted minority until Christ comes again. Persecution is enacted by the KOSMOS, often translated “the world” and best translated in context nowadays as “the prevailing culture” (anywhere!)

            Funnily enough, I agree with a lot of that. But I do believe in the work of grace within a society as a whole. The battle with evil continues though. But what if that society is attacked by a greater evil? I would find it possible to regard a defence of that society as a defence of a Christian society.

            Please give an example – name and date – of a Christian country.

            The Vatican!

          • Anton

            Great reply! But, for a Catholic, “there can be only one”. How about the Papal States before the risorgimento – Yes or No?

            Kuhn was a first rate *historian* of science, but he made the mistake of confusing history with philosophy of science. He also denied that there was any way of ranking scientific theories such that you might say one is better than the other, which is why he reckoned that paradigms come and go as arbitrarily as fashions in ladies’ clothing. He ignored that fact that relativity replaced Galilean mechanics because it fitted the data better, meaning it was more probably true in the light of the data. He didn’t allow himself that statement, because probability is inductive logic and he denied inductive logic.

            My memory of Popper on evolution is hazy, but as I recall he claimed it was tautological – “survivors survive”. If that was the nub of his argument then he missed the point: survivors reproduce.

          • Albert

            How about the Papal States before the risorgimento – Yes or No?

            There was a lot that was wrong. But I don’t think things being wrong makes a society non-Christian, any more than the fact that one is a sinner prevents one from being a Christian. Oughtn’t you to think the same, since you believe in simul iustus et peccator?

            What I took from Kuhn is that the judgement of what fits the data better is affected by non-scientific things, so that it reflects psychology and culture a bit more than most scientists would like. This makes sense to me, and helps to keep a critical eye on science. It obviously ceases to make sense if one moves from that difficulty to saying “Therefore, it is impossible to know that one theory fits the data better.” We believe the earth is broadly spherical rather than flat, because it fits the data better.

            I think Popper’s point is slightly different from what you say. His point is that there is no way of falsifying evolution by natural selection, so it seems to become detached from evidence. There is no evidence that can count against it. I would have thought you reject evolution by natural selection. Do you?

          • Anton

            Let me respond to your last paragraph without necessarily commenting on Popper, whose views on evolution I’ve not read properly. (I am sceptical that a philosopher untrained in the biological sciences will have anything useful to say about them.) Natural selection manifestly goes on, and heritance is predominantly genetic. (I say “predominantly” because of relatively recently discovered epigenetic environmental effects such as methylation of genes, which inactivates them.) The key question is whether genetic heritance and natural selection are capable of explaining – and are responsible for – the diversity of organisms and how they function. If Popper grasped that, he is asking the right question; if not, he isn’t.

            Kuhn is right that science functions like any human endeavour, with factions and pressure groups. He is wrong, I insist, that it does not converge, if with blips, toward truth (albeit truth about mechanisms operating within the creation, and therefore not asking questions about the relation between God and his creation). He gets away with it because the only way of measuring “truth” – accuracy of fit of a hypothesis to the data – involves probability ie induction, and he is avowedly anti-induction. He engages in subtle disparagement of science that, carried into postmodernity, has wickedly and tragically set the arts and sciences against each other.

            My problem with the notion of a Christian country is that the new covenant in and with Christ is for the individual. Only Israel has ever had a ratified national covenant with God. The collective of Christians is called the church, not Victorian Britain or the pre-hippie USA or mediaeval Western Europe or the Byzantine Empire. (As you see, I dispute this issue with certain protestants and with Orthodox too.) The church is a voluntary opt-in group run under grace, whereas nations are involuntary opt-out groups run under law(s); St Paul explained that law and grace don’t mix. What these places really had was, at best, Trinitarian Judaism.

          • Albert

            Thank you. I’ll pass over the science stuff, because, interesting though it is, I don’t have enough reading (or strong enough opinions) to take it further.

            Regarding a Christian community: St Paul explained that law and grace don’t mix but grace does perfect nature, and since society is natural, it seems that grace can perfect it, provided the society responds. When you say The collective of Christians is called the church I’m not completely happy with that. I don’t think that a collective of Christians is necessarily a church, and I don’t think the Church, being the body of Christ, is something that is reducible to a collective of Christians. So where a society accepts Christianity, where therefore society is ordered upon Christian grounds, then I think it can reasonably be called a Christian society.

          • Anton

            But for any time and place there are entrenched institutional – not merely individual – instances of injustice. The treatment of the Jews in mediaeval Europe. The quiet rebellion against the imposition of Mosaic – hence divinely ordained – laws concerning interpersonal morality under Cromwell. And many others. But for me this is corroborative evidence; if my theological arguments didn’t convince you, these won’t.

            It amuses me that Popper, fleeing Europe ahead of the Nazis, was rejected by the University of Queensland as not up to it in philosophy. Aussies are good at detecting bullshit.

          • Albert

            As I don’t think that the presence of sin in someone indicates that they are not a Christian, so I am not sure that the presence of sin in an institution indicates that it is not Christian.

            Thank you for the story about Popper. I didn’t now that. My interests in philosophy of science are more to do with the metaphysical limits of science than methodology. As a non-scientist, if a scientist wishes to tell me that scientists operate in this way or that, who am I to grumble?!

          • Anton

            I’m sure we would agree on the metaphysical limits of science. Indeed I disagree with quite a few scientists about hos to understand quantum theory – I’m a hidden variables man.

          • Albert

            Now that really does interest me. When you say hidden variables, do you mean hidden physical or metaphysical variables? What seems clear is that quantum physics definitely does not defeat the causal principle.

          • Anton

            Then you agree with me. If you’d like to discuss further, please ask His Grace for my email address and show him this present comment as a request that he pass it to you (provided that you first affirm here that you will not post material giving away my name and whereabouts). If His Grace will not comply as a matter of policy, let me know and we’ll work something else out.

          • Albert

            That’s extremely kind of you, Anton, thank you. However, I’d be quite happy with a brief summary and perhaps a suggestion of something to read.

          • Anton

            Before quantum mechanics every symbol appearing in an equation of physics corresponded to something that could be measured experimentally (informally speaking, something “out there”). Even the other, slightly earlier, revolution in 20th century physics, namely relativity, didn’t alter that. But the equations of quantum mechanics worked out in the 1920s had two new features:

            1. Some of the symbols in the equations did not correspond to anything measurable. They were an indispensable part of the machinery involved in generating predictions of things that WERE measurable, but they were not themselves measurable, even in principle.

            2. In some circumstances the quantum formalism did not predict what would happen with certainty, but only probabilistically – ie, you could not predict the result the next time you did an experiment, but only the long-run proportion of times you got each possible result when you repeated the experiment a large number of times.

            These are weird features and you might wonder why quantum mechanics was accepted at all. The answer is that it made various predictions – invariably confirmed experimentally – that no other theory could address.

            Feature (1) raised, for the first time in physics, the question of realism. It was realised that, before quantum mechanics, physics had had a de facto realistic philosophy – a 1:1 correspondence between symbols in the equations and things that could be measured – which had never previously been questioned.

            When feature (2) had cropped up previously in physics, it had always been taken to mean that there was an undiscovered mechanism at work that was responsible for the differing results when the same experiment was repeated; so that, when this mechanism was found and characterised, prediction of individual runs of the experiment would be possible. For instance, in the 19th century jigglng (‘Brownian’) motion of pollen grains in water was observed through a microscope. It was supposed without argument that there WAS a cause, which was sought for. The cause was found: atoms were continually bumping into the pollen grains, which were small enough to be shaken to an extent visible by microscope. The outcome was the atomic theory – a huge advance.

            This time, however, some people now suggested that, at the quantum level, nature “really was random”, so that you could never do better than the probabilistic prediction of quantum mechanics and there was no point in looking for “hidden variables” of a deeper theory that could predict deterministically, ie individual runs of the experiment, to which quantum mechanics is a probabilistic average. That is a dead end, because if you believe they don’t exist then you won’t look for them and you will be stuck; whereas if you suppose that they do exist then you will be motivated to look for them and, if you find them, will have made a scientific advance over those stuck up the dead end. It is the business of physical scientists to improve testable prediction. To assert a priori that you cannot do this is to cease to pursue science.

            I prefer to put it in a way that is less philosophical and more earthy: I want to know what happens THE NEXT TIME I run my experiment. It is the job of scientists to ask such questions. If you refuse to ask the question, if you say it is not a legitimate question, if you self-censor or are not interested [I don’t mean you, Albert] then clear off out of my laboratory and don’t waste my grant money.

            The pioneers of quantum mechanics failed to agree about philosophical matters (Einstein was never happy about it) but there was plenty of technical development to be done and so the “Copenhagen interpretation” became orthodoxy, best summarised (by David Mermin) as “Shut up and calculate!” In the last 50 years people have begun to argue *why* it might supposedly be impossible to predict any better than quantum mechanics. Some of these arguments are plain wrong, or crazily untestable (eg, the “many worlds interpretation”). Others are genuine no-hidden-variable theorems – but all of these contain axioms, so my reply is always: “You might have meant to rule out hidden variables in general, but you have only ruled out hidden variable theories that conform to you axioms so henceforth I shall seek only hidden variables that violate your axioms.” Enough no-hidden-variable theories have now been found that any hidden variables must, we know, have pretty weird properties, such as nonlocality (Bell’s theorem), but that is no reason to discontinue the search. I only wish that more physicists were looking; too many have taken the KoolAid.

            Which raises the question: Why? Why did 19th century physicists suppose that there WAS a hidden cause for Brownian motion (a belief that was amply rewarded when the atomic theory was found) whereas 20th century physicists suggested that there was no cause for quantum “randomness”? The underlying metaphysics supposes that there is order in the world and that humans can comprehend it. Those assumptions were general in Europe when modern physics began. They came from the belief that the physical universe had an intelligent creator who put order in it, and that humans can grasp this order because they had enough in common with the creator (‘in his image’). These beliefs ceased to be general by the 20th century. (They are not the same as personal commitment to God through Christ, of course.)

            Finally, I try to avoid the word “random” in technical discussions, because its only meaningful definition is “something we believe we can’t predict”. But this belief could be wrong. Phrasing it theistically, God doesn’t do Random – it only looks like that to us, because of our lack of knowledge.

            I am sorry but I don’t regard any published discussion of hidden variables as adequate, because I don’t know of anybody who is both a technically competent physicist (ie not just a philosopher of science) and a hardline determinist realist (so far as physics goes – I do not believe that these matters are relevant to theological Free Will questions). I hope to publish a 6000-word paper soon but finding the right combination of journal and referee is not easy.

          • Albert

            Anton,

            Thank you so much. That was wonderful to read and beautifully clrar. So what I take from this is that people accepted the no-hidden variables thing because they had ceased to believe in the rationality of the universe (instead of the other way around). That’s pretty surprising.

            Someone told me once that it was logically impossible to predict the outcome. Assuming they were using the word “logically” correctly (and this might be an example of a scientist not using a term like that correctly!) I am guessing you would say they were wrong?

            “You might have meant to rule out hidden variables in general, but you have only ruled out hidden variable theories that conform to you axioms so henceforth I shall seek only hidden variables that violate your axioms.”

            But how can someone rule out a hidden variable? Does that just mean we can rule out explanations of type X?

            God doesn’t do Random

            Of course, he doesn’t!

          • Anton

            I would say that your acquaintance is making an unacknowledged jump from “we don’t know how to” to “impossible”. You should ask him: How do you know it is impossible? I suspect you would get waffle, or at best “no-hidden-variable theorems have been found” – to which you already know my reply.

            My (theological) explanation for why the default assumption over the last 90 years has been that there isn’t an explanation for quantum randomness is simply my best guess. John Polkinghorne disparaged it in a referee’s report that was so patronisingly written that the journal editor apologised to me (but was left unable to publish it). I see no reason to budge from my position. John Bell speculated that it was something to do with Weimar culture, as that was the time and place of the scientists involved, but it is clearly far deeper than that.

            I’ve overhauled and improved what I wrote above; if you can bear it, please reread. I don’t yet understand your last question.

          • Albert

            As before, a long reply! Let me know if you don’t get to my comment on the assumption about judging spiritual things spiritually.

          • Albert

            BTW, I’m going to terminate my part in this for now. Fun though it is, it is very time consuming and we don’t seem to be getting anywhere. 🙂

          • Rhoda

            Proverbs should not be dismissed so lightly given 2 Timothy
            3:16 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for
            doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that
            the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
            Scripture here clearly refers to our Old
            Testament.

          • Albert

            I agree with your interpretation of 2 Timothy, but I did not dismiss Proverbs, but said it is hardly the last word, when it comes to grace. I’d be surprised if anyone found that statement objectionable!

            The point is this: Proverbs assumes the wicked man will be punished and the good man will flourish. E.g:

            The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
            but he blesses the abode of the righteous.
            [34] Toward the scorners he is scornful,
            but to the humble he shows favor.
            [35] The wise will inherit honor,
            but fools get disgrace.

            But the realm of grace, things are not so simple – the righteous get persecuted, and the unrighteous are offered forgiveness. That is to say, the NT has a stronger sense of God’s grace working even in the lives of the wicked than Proverbs does. Therefore, one cannot infer straight forwardly from Proverbs (pre-Christ) to place limits on the glorious grace of Christ.

          • Albert

            Anton,

            Please note that I have offered a very long reply and it may not all show. The last paragraph is:

            Not for one moment of course, do I expect you to accept this, for no evidence in defence of the Catholic Church is admitted by you. But it is evident that Vatican II and Boniface agree and that far from there being a contradiction between the two, the space between the two poles of the alleged contradiction is wide enough to drive a tank through. You close the space by (i)sloppy reading (ii) drawing conclusions which go beyond what the words say.

            If you can’t get that far please try this link: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/archbishopcranmer/mosque_without_minaret_baroness_warsi_spectacularly_misses_the_point/#comment-2438635489

            If you still can’t get to the bottom, let me know what the last bit of my post is, and I will repost from there!

          • Rhoda

            Others are reading this, even if silently up to now. Reading your reply it’s such a shame that you are more concerned with “church teaching ” than what the Bible itself says. The church is nowhere in the Bible described as “sanctam” , neither can I find a verse that says salvation is dependent on accepting a Roman Pontiff. The only condition for salvation is as in Acts 4 v 12 ,
            “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” (clearly referring back to Jesus in verse 11)

            or John 14 v 6
            Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

          • Albert

            Thank you, Rhoda for reading. I’m sorry it’s not a better discussion!

            The church is nowhere in the Bible described as “sanctam”

            On the contrary, the Bible expressly describes the Church as “Holy” in Ephesians 5. It also follows from the nature of the Church as Christ’s body etc.

            Reading your reply it’s such a shame that you are more concerned with “church teaching ” than what the Bible itself says.

            I am not more concerned with Church teaching that what the Bible says. I believe that what the Bible says is accurately interpreted by Church teaching and often, misinterpreted by individual private judgement.

            neither can I find a verse that says salvation is dependent on accepting a Roman Pontiff

            And I can find no verse that says everything is to be found in scripture. Thus the claim that it is is self-refuting.

            The only condition for salvation is as in Acts 4 v 12

            That’s not what it says, that passage simply tells us that only Jesus can save us. No one is denying that. It is evident from scripture that receiving his salvation requires certain things. For example, our Lord says:

            Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit….Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you…He who believes and is baptized will be saved

            It is evident that we must be members of his Church (something that takes place through the baptism Jesus just proclaimed For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body).

            So, to be saved, one does need more than you say. Now, while the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura is not found in scripture (and thereby defeats itself), the Bible does proclaim the teaching office of the Church. The Church is described as the pillar and bulwark of the truth and his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all (how can the Church be anything other than holy when it is the fullness of him?). To Peter Jesus says You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

            Now doubtless, you will reply that this does not mean in one leap that the Pope has the authority he claims. But the doctrine of sola scriptura is not found in scripture, so it doesn’t need to be expressed clearly in scripture. The question to ask then I suggest is where is this teaching authority to be found today? I would further suggest that it is not found in those Christian bodies which deny the existence of this office and replace it with the self-refuting sola scriptura.

          • Anton

            It’s interesting that you rail above against consequentialism and then quote Christ saying “By their fruits you will know them.”

          • Albert

            You don’t read a word I say and you don’t have more than superficial grasp of moral theology. I have already said my answer to this: consequences are important, but good consequences cannot make an evil act legitimate. On the other hand, evil consequences of an action, are an indication that something is wrong. Besides, my argument in which I used this was to say that even if we measure contraception by consequences, it is still evil. So however you apply this principle it counts against your position.

          • Anton

            Your attempt to claim that morality is so intellectually difficult that it must be packed off to scholars who then have the right to tell people how to behave is totally opposed to the expressed views of Christ and nothing but an attempted power-grab by an elite that, like communism’s, lived well off the people it oppressed.

          • Albert

            Some moral questions are complex. That’s a fact. If people confuse elements in any complex question, they end up with the wrong conclusion. You did that here, confusing the role of consequences. If you think that’s like communism, then you are arguing with reality. As for where Christ is in this, I think you will find scripture itself warns it can be hard to understand…

          • Anton

            Difficult, rather than complex. And see 1 Cor 1:26-7.

          • Albert

            You know full well there are passages that say what I said. As for 1 Cor. 1.26-27, there is nothing in there that say we do not have to think carefully about things. We are to love with God with all our minds. The issue is that the wisdom of the cross is not found in human wisdom, but, having received the teaching of the faith, we are then supposed to reflect on it accurately. I’m astonished that the you think the whole thing is simple.

          • Anton

            What scripture actually says is that it is sometimes phrased in a way that will drive the faithful and the faithless in differing directions. As for the attempt by Christian philosophers to turn Christianity into a set of rules, that is futile.

          • Albert

            However you read the scripture, the fact is that your comment confused two quite distinct things: an act as being revealed as evil by its consequences, and an act actually being good or evil by its consequences.

          • Anton

            I made no such confusion; I had no need to (and did not) engage with that issue. Attempts by philosophers, even Christian ones, to reduce moral questions to rule-based algorithms – no matter how complex – are never going to work for the Christian, because Christianity is about grace in contrast to law/rules. Perhaps that is the insight Aquinas had which reduced him to silence in his last days.

          • Albert

            The confusion was manifest and public. It’s odd that you made the confusion because the distinction isn’t really that difficult and therefore, your argument, even if it worked (which it doesn’t as I have already shown) fails to apply here.

          • Anton

            You can say as often as you like that you have shown me up but I feel only as if I have been “savaged by a dead sheep” as I believe a politician said of another. Let the reader decide.

          • Inspector General

            Albert. Would you say denying statistical data is immoral?

            Just asking…

          • Albert

            No. But the misuse of it can be.

          • Inspector General

            So if the data doesn’t meet with your idea of morality…

          • Albert

            You haven’t shown that it doesn’t.

  • len

    Islam the ‘religion of peace’ keeps bursting out with acts of murder violence and terror.
    How do we sit comfortably with this?.

  • Manfarang

    The Shah Jahan Mosque In Woking does not have a minaret.

  • Albert

    Off topic, I know, but this is confusing:

    Man guilty of killing unborn baby by kicking mum’s stomach

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35125394

    Under the present law, I can understand how kicking a woman’s stomach is a crime. I can’t understand how killing an unborn baby is a crime. I thought it was called abortion.

    • IanCad

      As is your wont Albert, you raise an awkward point.

    • CliveM

      You’ll notice he wasn’t tried for murder.

      • Albert

        I’m surprised he was tried at all – except for the assault on the mother.

        • carl jacobs

          Perhaps he could be fined for performing an abortion without a license.

          • CliveM

            He could get life. Certainly hope so.

          • carl jacobs

            So he could get life for doing violence to this woman’s child without her consent. But he would receive payment for services rendered for doing violence to the child with her consent. Insanity.

            BTW. In case you didn’t notice, this case illustrates that fact that abortion is about refusing the responsibility of parenthood. What was the attacker’s objective? To preempt the obligations that would attach with birth. How? By killing the child before those obligations attached. What is as the trigger? The woman refused an abortion.

            His motivation was identical to the motivation behind almost every abortion. The abortionist and the mother with whom he conspires merge together in the actions of this man.

          • CliveM

            Insane and inconsistent.

            I note the child was 32 weeks, beyond the legal abortion limit, so I do wonder what would have been the charge if it was pre the limit. Also if this child had the right to life (it couldn’t be aborted) why not charged for murder?

        • CliveM

          Probably because the assault had the intent of killing the baby. If it had been incidental to the assault I wonder what would have happened.

          • Albert

            But it wasn’t a baby and he was its father (I know that sentence didn’t make much sense: something that wasn’t a baby had a father, but one is dealing with the contorted logic of the pro-death camp (except they are not pro-death in this instance)).

          • CliveM

            There is absolute inconsistency here. Notice what I said about it being 32 weeks. I wonder what tortuous logic is required to say “this child is viable and protected by law, it cannot be aborted or deliberately miscarried, BUT it isn’t yet a person, so it’s deliberate death is not deserving of being treated as murder”
            If it had happened to be born pre term it would be accorded full status, so location is all.

            I will still call it a baby.

          • Albert

            Absolutely, the contradictions are endless. And of course, if the child was disabled, then it would not be protected by law. But how’s the father to know that anyway? So the levels of criminality vary depending on factors nothing to do with his act of criminality.

            Bizarre!

      • carl jacobs

        “Child destruction.” Except legally an unborn child isn’t a child. This crime should be the legal equivalent of knocking out someone’s tooth.

        • CliveM

          Effectively that’s what it is. You can imagine the agonies that the people responsible for the legislation went through.

    • Inspector General

      Usual story. Ham killing his own flesh and blood. And without an iota of regret too.

      • Albert

        Well that’s one of the bits that is so odd about this. As it was his own flesh and blood, then, if equality really worked, he ought to have had the same right to abort the child as she did. Not of course, that I am defending that position either. As for regret, I notice he said to the jurors:

        “When I look back on it now, I could have behaved much better.”

        Nice.

        • Inspector General

          No point trying to understand the primitive blackamoor. He doesn’t know why he does anything at all, you’ll find. All instinct, you see…

          Still, be a useful apology for Kony if they ever catch him, before he dies of old age…

          • Albert

            If I realised that you were using the word “Ham” in a racist sense, I would not have replied.

          • Inspector General

            Oh dear! You must be awfully upset. A black man kicks a pregnant woman in the stomach, but that’s nothing when compared to daring to suggest the races operate differently…

            Off you go and pray for the Inspector’s soul then…

          • Albert

            With logic as poor as that, Inspector, I’m not surprised you’re racist.

          • Inspector General

            On the BBC news online, there was an article today. “Can you help the police with identifying the 12 most wanted in the borough of Brent”. 2 of them where white…

            Still, you being blind to behavioural patterns, you wouldn’t have noticed that…

          • Albert

            And what other factors are there when dealing with crime figures?

          • Inspector General

            The point is that if you want to discern the truth, then let nothing be sacred.

          • Albert

            But you’re not discerning the truth. You’ve just given one statistic which happened to appear to confirm what you had already decided to be the truth. And you haven’t given any control of other factors. That’s not discerning the truth, that’s special pleading.

          • Inspector General

            Keep your weasel words Albert. The Inspector doesn’t have a chance against them…

          • Albert

            Or indeed against evidence. If you look at the Brent website, it turns out that only about 1/5 of the Borough is white. On your selection, 1/6 of most wanted are white. That’s within the margin of error, given such a small sample. Then look at other factors known to raise criminality. Then compare the Borough with other Boroughs and so on. You need to do all that, before you can draw your conclusion.

            You could also ask what proportion of the most extreme industrial murderers was white. I’m sure you would find a correlation there. Does that make white people more like to commit murder on an industrial scale? Of course not. You just need to factor in other elements. Ask what proportion of industrial murderers had submitted to Western secular ideology and you would find that correlation almost total.

            It’s nothing to do with being black.

          • Inspector General

            The last time one looked it up, black men were over represented in prison in the UK by 7 times when in proportion to their presence. It’s nothing to do with being black is it?

            And if one might say so, you present a very piss poor argument in alluding to what Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot managed.

          • Albert

            What’s poor about the argument?

            The last time one looked it up, black men were over represented in prison in the UK by 7 times when in proportion to their presence. It’s nothing to do with being black is it?

            If you want to draw that conclusion, you need to factor out all the other known factors of criminality. Have you don that?

          • Inspector General

            No need. Only a fool would suggest that in the face of the overwhelming. (No offence, old chap).

            It’s rather like the dead parrot sketch. Eventually, it is realised that the parrot is truly dead. They could have reached that conclusion at the start.

          • Albert

            You mean that the evidence that those who murder on an industrial scale are overwhelmingly either white or believing secular ideology (i.e. ideologies created by white people).

            As you say, the parrot is truly dead.

          • Inspector General

            Are you in receipt of a grant from a London socialist borough that might explain your anti white racist zeal?

          • Albert

            I don’t think you’ve understood a word I’ve said. Obviously, I’m not racist against white people. But it can hardly be denied that if you choose to prove something by selective use of evidence, you can prove anything, even something obviously false, like that white people are more murderous than other races.

          • Inspector General

            Good. You are annoyed. The Inspector does not like to be referred to as a ‘racist’ himself for merely observing and noting behavioural traits that be, and are self evident in the different peoples of God’s creation. If you object to said behaviour, including kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach to effect an abortion by some individual who now thinks it better he might have not behaved like that (which may or may not be a position influenced by his subsequent arrest and conviction) then take it up with the Almighty himself. It’s his show, not the Inspector’s who merely observes what is.

          • Albert

            Of course, the irony is you probably aren’t racist. You just like to wind people up.

          • Inspector General

            One doeth believe that is the closest he’s ever go to come to an apology from you. It’s meagreness notwithstanding, it is accepted.

          • Albert

            It wasn’t an apology. It was a compliment!

          • sarky
          • Inspector General

            Meanwhile in the real world, the powers that be are bracing themselves for what could be yet another (race) riot in London. The community has lost one of its own. Every black life is sacred, so contemporary wisdom tells us, even criminal ones engaged in criminal activity. The firearms officer concerned has been arrested. We can tell by that action that he himself is therefore not black. So he can be sacrificed before the mob. Let’s hope that does the trick, and placates the goodly folk of Haringey…

    • carl jacobs

      When you come right down to it, this law defends the mother’s perception of her unborn child and not the unborn child itself. She is the damaged party. It the tribute the abortion industry must pay to motherhood.

      After all, a pregnant woman who wants the child never calls it a fetus. The child is a person to her. But that can’t be legally admitted, so they invented a law to allow for punishment but that doesn’t establish personhoid.

      Yes, its hypocritical. Yes, its inconsistent. But that is what it takes to hold a pro-abortion position.

      • Albert

        Yes, its hypocritical. Yes, its inconsistent. But that is what it takes to hold a pro-abortion position.

        And quite a few other unpleasant things too.

    • Anton

      There is stuff in the Law of Moses about this. Let’s check God’s precedent.

      • Albert

        Don’t misunderstand me – the man should go down for murder in my opinion. Its’ the inconsistency of those who support abortion and convict him that I’m interesting in.

    • scottspeig

      I agree of sorts (that it should be murder) but abortion is to do with the right of the mother, not father.

      Therefore it is ONLY the view of the woman that determines the value of the child/parasite (delete as appropriate)

      • Albert

        I agree of sorts (that it should be murder) but abortion is to do with the right of the mother, not father.

        That’s just a claim, it is not the conclusion of an argument. If you think that (and perhaps you don’t!) how would you defend it?

  • David

    If you were searching for some comment that would draw attention, but shouldn’t offend many, if it all, and where no substantive following actions or results were likely to be required, then this is the sort of thing one might say. Meanwhile the global violence, death and destruction wrought in the name of Islam continues.

  • The Explorer

    Baroness Warsi’s words are an attempt to reassure the British public that Islam can fit comfortably into British life. I suppose the encouraging thing about that (from the viewpoint of a non-Muslim) is her recognition that the British public is in need of reassurance and is becoming uneasy.

    • bluedog

      It’s Islamic panic stations. No doubt the Warsi Foundation will be funded from an appropriately Islamic source – such as British foreign aid recycled from Pakistan.

      • Inspector General

        First rate post!

  • Inspector General

    Hah! Does the Inspector detect a subtle, or not so, move to further integrate Islam into the UK by anglicising the appearance of its buildings? Although he has never heard the call to prayer by an imam himself from ‘up there’, acquaintances have in the past. It is alien and unwanted, one is assured, and no doubt has a depressive effect on house prices wherever the blighter can be seen or merely heard. Perhaps it was considerations of an economic factor that did for the imam in the air, in what looks to be an extremely rare concession by Islam in this country, or anywhere else, come to that.

    Anyway, memsahib is wasting her time. Few will ever forget the brand of Islam displayed by the late (we hope) Jihad John, despite his (quintessential?) English upbringing. Or the callous slaughtering in the street like some hapless sacrificial animal that befell Fusilier Rigby.

    The mosque will always be an ugly sight in Britain – minaret or no. For what it represents. A heartless faith based on absolute obedience and strict enforcement, which apparently you abandon, or try to, at you and your families peril. Nothing quintessentially English about that, surely? Well, not since the Reformation in this country when the faithful experienced similar terror when the Church of England came into being. We couldn’t stop a powerful king and his harlot and his henchmen wreaking havoc on the people then, but by Christ, we can stop it happening here again at the instigation of alien immigrants.

    We have to. For God’s sake – we must not experience similar horrors again!!

  • Inspector General

    One more thing, gentlemen. This ‘Warsi Faith Foundation for the Promotion of Religious Tolerance’. It’s one way, isn’t it? Thus if Cranmer dares to criticise the religion of peace in future missals, he’ll have those people knocking at his door, will he not? But if a fatwah is declared on, say Christian Syrian refugees, you won’t hear her people for their silence, one suspects.

    The Inspector’s opinion of the woman is that she doesn’t do anything without her glorious faith in mind. First and foremost. If that be deemed unfair, then somebody please put the Inspector right. Though having said what he has, the Inspector does has a grudging respect for her. She is consistent. You know where you are with her. Compare her to Cameron, for example.

  • Murti Bing

    There should be absolutely no equality for, nor acceptance of, islam until there is total freedom of belief. Death for apostasy is not a British value. Hammer this point home wherever possible – it needs to be widely considered.

    • Ivan M

      Considering that in every locale throughout the world, no less than 6-10% of Muslims consider death for apostasy as an appropriate punishment, it is a matter of serious concern for the rest of us. In this day and age, only a cult will enforce its rules in this fashion.

      http://www.unz.com/akarlin/map-death-for-apostasy/

      • Murti Bing

        Very interesting link. Thank you.

        This is the point we need to push again and again. It outlines the fundamental difference between islam and a decent society. There can be no accommodation with people who support the death penalty for apostasy – never mind all the other horrors they accept as normal.

        • Ivan M

          Islam in essence is just an Arab supremacist cult. ISIS is distilled Islam, hence their worldwide support hovering around 10% of the Ummah. That is about 150 millions. All the soothing talk notwithstanding this represents a long term problem for the rest of us. At the minimum we should be spared lectures by Warsi, who would not last 5 mins in Mosul.

  • dannybhoy

    “Why does a mosque have to look as if it had been transported directly in from the Middle East? ”
    To show Islam’s invasion and growing dominance of the Christian West?

    • The Explorer

      Christianity and Islam are both Middle Eastern in origin, but the former is far more adaptable than the latter. Islam, with its insistence on the original Arabic, remains much more of a Middle-Eastern religion wherever in the world it is practised than Christianity does.

      • Anton

        It’s not the Arabic, it’s the Sharia. That is the legal code of the mediaeval Middle East, which Islamists want to impose today everywhere. Christianity, though often misunderstood and mispracticed, is not about what the laws should be.

        • The Explorer

          It’s also the Arabic. Islam says you haven’t read the Qur’an properly until you’ve read it in the original Arabic. Christians are less sniffy about the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek. (Although disputes are best resolved by going back to the original languages).

    • Orwell Ian

      Possibly but she argued that there was no reason why mosques should not look like traditional village churches. “A nod to the heritage and the culture that you find yourself in can be very helpful”, said she.
      Indeed it can Baroness. Especially to hide Islamisation in plain sight.

      • dannybhoy

        The lady is only one person, and her musings will carry little weight with the men within Islam who really matter.
        Islam is fixed and immutable. Islam’s roots are in the Middle East and all the time the oil lasts Middle Eastern Islam can infiltrate, influence and gradually impose its will in the West.
        What better way to demonstrate that growing influence is there than to build mosques; the bigger and taller the better.

        • chiefofsinners

          “all the time the oil lasts Middle Eastern Islam can infiltrate, influence and gradually impose its will in the West.”

          Almost thou persuadest me to be a supporter wind farms and solar panels.

          • dannybhoy

            Coming from you, that’s just a load of hot air…..

          • CliveM

            It is the best argument for them. And fracking.

          • Anton

            There is plenty of coal, cheaply mineable in many non-Islamic lands and expensively mineable in Britain because it is deep. If you are carbon-squeamish there is nuclear power. Wind power is crazy and solar is a goer only if battery storage enters a new generation. You need oil only for planes and cars and even then there is fracking. We can live without Islamic oil.

          • chiefofsinners

            A heart-warming story all round to see the world oil price falling:
            Less revenue for IS, less power for the Islamic world, more humiliation for Alex Salmond after all he said at the time of the independence referendum, more money in my pocket, fewer wind farms. It must be Christmas.

          • Anton

            And no agreement at the carbon-con conference in Paris that forces any nation to do what it does not choose.

  • chiefofsinners

    No doubt the Baroness’ foundation will be supporting the building of churches in Saudi Arabia, so long as they don’t have spires.

  • Sarka

    Romantic Arabism is one of the hallmarks of the Islamic (Sunni) religious revivalism of the last half century or so…thus e.g. spreading enthusiasm for Arab or invented Araby style of dress among Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and other Muslim groups remote from Arabia.
    Hence the preferred style for most new mosques – especially with Gulf funding – is inevitably cod-Arab.

    I suppose there is plenty of historical precedent for turning churches into mosques (and sometimes again turning mosques into churches) even if it is a bit depressing…

  • Anton

    This would be the same Baroness Warsi who was skewered by His Grace (in a previous incarnation) for denying that jihadist terrorists were Muslims:

    http://www.archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/baroness-warsi-are-these-people-muslims.html