Forum Post on Sola Scriptura (2)
Forum Posts on Sola Scriptura (cont'd)----1, 2, and 3

Dear [...]:
Did you know that it is rude to contradict someone?
Of course for intellectual discussions there is some sort of exception to this rule. But certain conditions have to be met. Namely, you have to give your evidence.
In a Catholic forum such as the old CEF, "private judgement" is never evidence. What counts as evidence is either authourity, or reasoning from data given by authourity. As authourity, we accept Sacred Scripture w h e n and o n l y w h e n it is interpreted according to the mind of the Church, NOT one's own private interpretation. We also accept official magisterial documents, the teachings of approved and weighty theologians, the official teaching of you bishop, and the {\it sensus fidelium}.
Would you please back up your private opinion with some evidence, or else take it back? Here is a relevant passage from St. Thomas Aquinas which I wish you would think about before you do so. Anything to the contrary taught by some other authourity ought to be reconciled to this, if it is possible to do so. (on the same principle that one passage of Sacred Scripture may not be interpreted contrarily to another passage. They must be reconciled, if possible, and, thank God, it is always possible.)
I don't mean to sound too testy, but I do think you can try to learn something from this exchange.
Summa, IQ1Art.8. ``{\it Auctoritatibus autem canonicae Scripturae utitur proprie, ex necessitate argumentando.}' This is badly translated in the internet version. What it really means can only be got across by a paraphrase, as follows. ``What can theology use in order to prove a doctrine? It is characteristic of theology that the authorities of Sacred Scripture are used in order to really prove a doctrine, as opposed to merely advance probable arguments or remove difficulties.' In article 9 he says that ``those things that are taught metaphorically in one part of Scripure, in other parts are taught more openly.' And in article 10 he quotes St. Augustine as saying that it is impermissible to base proofs of doctrine on the allegorical meaning of Scripture, every proof must be based on the literal meaning alone. (Note well that the Scriptural passage about the Assumption is being used in its literal sense.)
He also quotes part of St. Augustine's famous letter to St. Jerome, of which the context is as follows: ``AS to all other writings, [other than Sacred Scripture]\dots I do not accept their teaching as true \dots [unless] they have succeeded in convincing my judgement of its truth either by means of these canonical writings themselves, or by arguments addressed to my reason.'
In II-II,Q.1 Art 5, St. thomas says, ``The reasons employed by holy men to prove things that are de fide \dots are either persuasive arguments showing that what is proposed to our faith is not impossible, or else they are proofs drawn from the principles of faith, i.e. from the authourity of Sacred Scripture, as Dionysus declares.
({\it Div. Nom.} ii).'
John Sweeney:``For time and time again the scholastic theologians said that the source of Christian revelation is {\it scriptura sola}; revelation is to be found {\it solum in scriptura}.' (Proceedings: Thirteenth Annual Convention, Catholic Theological Society of America, 1958, p. 183. Of course Prof. Sweeney is not an authourity, but the consensus of the scholastic theologians is infallible.
Cardinal Newman, {\it Letter to Dr. Pusey}, p. 12. ``You have made a collection of passages from the Fathers, as witnesses in behalf of your doctrine that the whole Christian Faith is contained in Scripture \dots neither do you nor I affirm any doctrine which Rome denies.\dots The difference between Anglicans and Rome \dots is merely one of words.' ``You do not say, that the whole revelation is in Scripture in such sense that pure unaided logic can draw it from the sacred text; nor do we say, that it is not in Scripture, in an improper sense, in the sense that the {\it Tradition} of the Church is able to recongnise and determine it there.'
And, dear j[...], before quoting the Council of Trent at me, please be so good as to refer again to my remarks in my previous post about the two sources, and remember that Cardinal Newman was as familiar with Trent as you are. Remember, too, that any un-weighty, un-approved Catholic theologian may be giving his mere private interpretation of Trent, which is not as authouritative as the quotes which I have presented (except poor Sweeney).
I hope that this helps you. Sincerely, [...].


Dear [...],
I am sincerely sorry. I reread my message and it did sound arrogant. I sincerely did not mean to insult or hurt your feelings.
In a Catholic forum such as the old [...], "private judgement" is never evidence. What counts as evidence is either authourity, or reasoning from data given by authourity. As authourity, we accept Sacred Scripture w h e n and on l y w h e n it is interpreted according to the mind of the Church, NOT one's own private interpretation. We also accept official magisterial documents, the teachings of approved and weighty theologians, the official teaching of you bishop, and the {\it sensus fidelium}. Would you please back up your private opinion with some evidence, or else take it back?>
Sorry [...], I won't take my opinion back. First of all, evidence is evidence. In fact, someone's own words can be used as evidence against them. Logic and faulty logic, can also be used as evidence. So can life or the circumstances around us be used as evidence. Of course, if a book of ettiquette exists for this forum, I'll abide by it.
So, if we take life as evidence you will note that Protestants don't live by Sola Scriptura. They teach about the Bible, thereby altering the formula of the "Bible and the Holy Spirit" being necessary.
They must be reconciled, if possible, and, thank God, it is always possible.) I don't mean to sound too testy, but I do think you can try to learn something from this exchange.
Summa, IQ1Art.8. ``{\it Auctoritatibus autem canonicae Scripturae utitur proprie, ex necessitate argumentando.}' This is badly translated in the internet version. What it really means can only be got across by a paraphrase, as follows. ``What can theology use in order to prove a doctrine? It is characteristic of theology that the authorities of Sacred Scripture are used in order to really prove a doctrine, as opposed to merely advance probable arguments or remove difficulties.'>
To prove a doctrine. I wasn't aware that I was trying to prove a doctrine.
Characteristic, does that mean necessary?

Scriptural passage about the Assumption? Perhaps you mean Annunciation or Ascension. If not, please identify. I have never seen it.
Every proof must be based on the literal meaning alone? Is this possible? How was it possible to prove the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord in the Eucharist by its literal sense? We had to draw allegory from the fact that the Humanity and Divinity are never separated. Or am I defining some term incorrectly?
In II-II,Q.1 Art 5, St. thomas says, ``The reasons employed by holy men to prove things that are de fide \dots are either persuasive arguments showing that what is proposed to our faith is not impossible, or else they are proofs drawn from the principles of faith, i.e. from the authourity of Sacred Scripture, as Dionysus declares. ({\it Div. Nom.} ii).'
John Sweeney:``For time and time again the scholastic theologians said that the source of Christian revelation is {\it scriptura sola}; revelation is to be found {\it solum in scriptura}.' (Proceedings: Thirteenth Annual Convention, Catholic Theological Society of America, 1958, p. 183. Of course Prof. Sweeney is not an authourity, but the consensus of the scholastic theologians is infallible.
Cardinal Newman, {\it Letter to Dr. Pusey}, p. 12. ``You have made a collection of passages from the Fathers, as witnesses in behalf of your doctrine that the whole Christian Faith is contained in Scripture \dots neither do you nor I affirm any doctrine which Rome denies.\dots The difference between Anglicans and Rome \dots is merely one of words.' ``You do not say, that the whole revelation is in Scripture in such sense that pure unaided logic can draw it from the sacred text; nor do we say, that it is not in Scripture, in an improper sense, in the sense that the {\it Tradition} of the Church is able to recongnise and determine it there.'>

I searched and searched but I didn't see any quotes in my message at all.
[...], I really don't understand what you're getting at in this message, but I think you're trying to prove something about the completeness of scripture and not about Sola Scriptura as the Bible alone being necessary to interpret scripture correctly.
Maybe your just on a different level than I am Jack. I am a simple man, and I call'em as I see'em. Perhaps you think a debate on the Internet should be very formal. I don't.
However, I will not interfere with the goings on in this forum. If [...] thinks I am breaking all kinds of rules, I'll bow out.


Dear [...]: There may have been some misunderstanding. If you now reread the earlier post of mine which you originally objected to, perhaps you will understand it better.
The Church teaches officially that only the literal sense of scripture may be used to prove doctrine because only the literal sense of scripture is completely free from all error.
The other senses are all useful, but not for proof. The Church Fathers did not all realise this, although St. Augustine did, and that is why some modernists want to revise this teaching, as well as to restrict the freedom-from-error to the scripture passages on faith or morals. That may explain why you are not familiar with this Church teaching.
The scriptural proof of the dogma of the Assumption is quoted by Pope Pius XII in the Encyclical in which he defines the dogma.
In my original post, which I think you have misunderstood---so just why were you so quick to contradict it?---I did pose the question, which you ought to have tried to answer before contradicting me: can you name one Catholic dogma which has not been proved from Sacred Scripture?
You bring up a few dogmas which you suppose are proved by the allegorical sense, and wonder how they can be proved by the literal sense alone.
Now, even if you are right about this point, it would do nothing towards refuting the Catholic sense of Sola Scriptura, would it? Because the slogan ``Sola Scriptura' doesn't specify literal or allegorical.
But, as far as the divinity of Christ goes, it is the common teaching of theologians that it is proved by the Scriptural text, John 14:9f. ``he that seeth me seeth the Father also \dots I am in the Father, and the Father [is] in me.' Next, the equation of Our Lord with the Eucharist follows from the literal interpretation of John 6:48ff. Then logic, plus the adjustment of truth with truth, yields all the incredible precisions of transubstantiation in its usual textbook form. (Carelessness would succeed in proving that The Father was in the Eucharist, too!) That `the humanity and the divinity' are never separated does not seem to be needed here at all. Allegory is certainly not needed. Allegorical interpretation is a faster way to see these truths, but it is not a certain way to prove things. The classical theological textbooks, such as St. Thomas's, are always careful to use the literal sense even though it makes things slower and more elaborate. I can't agree with your idea of evidence. It is too subjective. If you encounter something you disagree with and think is wrong, what is your first impulse? To just repeat what you already thought, before you encountered it? If you are so well-trained that you have heard every mistake already, then you ought to have the evidence, in my sense of the word, at your fingertips, and then you can afford the luxury of such an impulse. But if you aren't acquainted with the objective evidence, then maybe your contribution won't be as valuable as you think it is. In such a case, give us your second thoughts instead, please. Make it a point to think again after such an encounter, and please make part of that thinking, looking for real objective evidence, instead of gossip and anecdotes. Sincerely, [...]


"Above all, Charity."


Amen, [...]
[...]


Neither the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception which St Thomas Aquinas did not accept nor the Doctrine of the Assumption of Mary can truly be found in or proved from Scripture. However, both doctrines can be implied from Scripture. I made an effort to prove to a Protestant that the Immaculate Conception can truly be implied from Scripture but he found my argument lacking. I had to concede the argument. The Scriptural references used by Pope Pius XII for the doctrine of the Assumption are supportive references, not "proving" references. The Church has never officially taught "sola Scriptura". On the contrary, she has upheld the oral Apostolic Tradition as necessary and as valid as the Sacred Scriptures. It may be true that all doctrines of the faith can be found at least implicitly in the Sacred Scriptures, but this itself is not a doctrine of the faith.


I don't know if this has been mentioned yet or not, but whoever said that Holy Scriptures must even *imply* a doctrine such as the Assumption of Mary? The Bible may not have even implied that doctrine but does that mean the doctrine is false and/or cannot be believed?
If the Assumption was not implied, we could use Scripture nevertheless to show that the Assumption was not an impossibility.
Considering further, if the Bible is the Word of God (ie: the only source from which what God wants to say to us can be found) and God wished us to know that Mary was assumed body & soul into heaven, would He have mentioned it explicitly or implicitly or not even mention it at all in Scripture though at the same time not being contradicted with by the doctrine?


I think it is doctrine, proclaimed by a pope. Unsure if it was ex cathedra though.


That reminds me of the charge that "If it was that important to know that Mary was assumed body & soul into heaven, then God would have said so. Since Scriptures doesn't even imply such a concept, it must be totally unnecessary and may even be false."
This charge seems to presume that what God wants to tell us can only be found in the Bible. Nowhere else.
Which isn't really the case for the simple reason that Christianity wasn't born as a result of men studying Scripture. Therefore, if Christianity came first (although not well developed but nevertheless before the Bible came along), and there was that certain established and perceived earthly Church authority before the Bible (or at least the NT) and it was this authority that determined the NT canon, then what's wrong with the same authority introducing certain concepts which may not be mentioned in the Bible but not contradicts this Bible?
Understandably and in all fairness, we can not say with 100% certainty (and in an as-a-matter-of-fact way) that the doctrine of Assumption does not contradict Scripture. We got scholars and theologians debating on this issue and most of us are just lay people who are untrained in theology. Many Protestants (and I guess Catholics too) seem to say with too much confidence that the Bible does not say at all anything about the Assumption. They seem to often overlook certain issues and/or underestimate God's ability to reveal things.


Sorry, a mistake. What I mean is some Protestants say with too much confidence that the Bible does not mention the Assumption therefore the Assumption is false. And in all fairness, I must add that some Catholics say with too much confidence that the doctrine of Assumption does *not* contradict Scriptures at all and therefore must be acceptable.


How does the doctrine of the Assumption contradict the Bible? An infallibly defined doctrine of the Church cannot contradict the Bible, which the Church teaches us is free from error.


What are you referring to? Both the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption are infallible doctrines (ex-cathedra) but sola scriptura, (no matter how benign it is defined - not the Fundamentalist version) is definitely not. To say that all the doctrines of the faith can be found at least implicitly in Scripture is not a doctrine of the Catholic faith, to the best of my knowledge. The scriptural references used by Pope Pius XII in support of the doctrine of the Assumption are just that, supportive, they do not prove the doctrine. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as well as the perpetual virginity of Mary can be implied from Scripture. Protestants would strongly disagree, so the implicit nature of the connection to scripture is tenuous, at best. The implicit case for the Assumption is even less obvious. One can argue that the body which bore the Saviour (Mary's) should not itself undergo corruption. Also, we can reason that Christ himself would not want the body of his mother to undergo corruption.
Scripture teaches that Mary bore the Saviour and Christ loved his mother, therefore by implication, her body was assumed into heaven (could not undergo corruption).
The Catholic doctrine of the Assumption has a connection to the Catholic doctrine of Mary as Mediatrix (not ex-cathedra). Try proving that one to a Protestant from Scripture! This argument satisfies me and I do believe that all the doctrines can be found at least implicitly in Scripture. But I don't know that it is necessary for Catholics to hold the "implicit" argument, as a matter of faith. However, this argument will not satisfy a Protestant Fundamentalist in the least. So to make the claim as "Newmann" has in this thread that, yes, Catholics believe in "sola scriptura" is intellectually dishonest. Sola Scriptura gives a primacy to the Scriptures (which may be found in some Fathers) over Tradition as a source of Revealed Truth. This, the Church has never maintained.


Not only can a doctrine or dogma of the Church not contradict the Bible, but, indeed they DO NOT. The Assumption and Immaculate Conception do not in anyway contradict the Bible.
At the moment, I do not have all my resources available to me to provide the "proof" of this, and a solid answer to non-Catholic Christians.
Also, to be sure, these doctrines were not borne out of thin air. In the past I have discussed a few Marian doctrines with some Protestants, and have left them with little to say other than..."well you still haven't proved it from the Bible alone." We can point back to the early centuries - the ancient Church - for evidence of these beliefs. Let's not get sucked into sola Scriptura.
God bless,[...]


Dear [...]: You have made a very serious charge against me, in public, and have offered no evidence for it whatsoever. What you offer would prove, at most, that I made a mistake. And even that is giving your evidence the benefit of the doubt, which I am unwilling to do. Fortunately for me, someone who mixes up 'dogma' and 'doctrine' is not likely to be believed by very many people.
You keep saying 'doctrine' when, I suppose, you must mean 'dogma.' Everything which the church teaches is a doctrine; but onely those revealed truths which are defined (which is much more than being merely taught) as necessary to salvation are dogmas. The definition of Vatican I about papal infallibility only deals with definitions, not mere teachings, and there are very few papal definitions--at most two or three---whereas there are oodles of papal teachings. Only us traditionalists still believe that ex cathedra papal teachings are also infallible, many modern theologians believe that only the papal definitions are infallible. Of course they are mistaken, and we are correct, but whether or no, it is still agreed on to reserve the term 'dogma' for the latter, but use 'doctrine' for the former and for everything which the Church teaches, whether papally, scripturally, conciliarly, scholastically, patristically, or faithfully.
If you will pay attention to this distinction and then carefully reformulate just what your objection and what your evidence is, I will pay attention to anything you have further to say. I never said that Sola Scriptura was a dogma.


Hey [...], why are you so much crankier than from the [...] days? There is such a dramatic change from the measured tones your old posts possessed. I'm just wondering, that's all.
Peace,[...]


Would you be happier if I said you seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth? To talk about "sola scriptura" as Catholic doctrine is to engage in distortion, in my opinion. To use the encyclical of Pius XII to prove that the dogma of the Assumption is essentially in scripture is a bit mind-boggling. Then in your highfalootin' put down of [...], who basically had it right, you go on about everything in Tradition being in Scripture and everything in Scripture being in Tradition????????
Huh, where's that? And if that is so, you've just thrown "sola" out the window. You're good at word parsing, I'll grant you that (almost as good as Bill Clinton). But whether sex is really sex or ex-cathedra is really infallible, what's your point? It might be better to try and speak a bit more plainly here. I don't have your fancy knowledge of theology or your quotes. What you see in my postings here or on the old [...], comes or came out of my head, with the exception of a Bible quote, now and again. As I said, I am not sure if it is a doctrine of the ordinary magisterium that all Catholic teaching can be found in the Scripture, at least implicitly, however tenuously. I personally believe that and have tried to show the implicit connection between the dogma of the Assumption and Scripture. But I'm afraid a well informed Protestant who believed in "sola scriptura" could make mince-meat of my argument. Perhaps you can give us those Pius scripture quotes or do a better job in showing the implicit scripture connection. As I see it, Mary's Assumption is essential to her role as Mediatrix (the person who mediates the One Mediator for us here on earth). Where can this doctrine (soon to be dogma?) be found in Scripture, by the by?? The true source of the dogma of the Assumption is the Apostolic Tradition which can be found in the Fathers, not essentially in Scripture. This, in no way, shape or form puts down the scripture as some Protestants maintain Catholics do. What Christian (Protestant, Orthodox or Catholic) would not treasure the accounts of the life of Christ found in the gospels?? The argument between Catholics and Protestants is on the source of all Divine Revelation (sola or not), not on having a reverence for Scripture. Let's keep the argument focused!!


Dear [...]:
If you agree that all dogma is in Scripture, where `in' is given the Catholic sense, like you said, then you and I are essentially in agreement, or at least in pretty close agreement. But I wonder if you are not confused about two other distinctions as well: the protestants use the word `proof' differently than it is used in Catholic theology or philosophy (have you been spending too much time talking to Protestants and too little time reading good Catholic books?---you do have to be careful about that, because it will draw you away, unnoticeably gradually, from the Catholic way of talking about things) and their use is pretty colloquial and illogical. Something is still a proof even if it doesn't convince the average outsider. There is nothing subjective about the proof itself. Proofs in theology are not like proofs in mathematics. They require a morally rightly disposed mind to appreciate, as well as some training.
Now you say, in so many words, which I rearrange a little here, ``I personally believe that all . . . Catholic teaching can be found in the Scripture, at least implicitly . . .'
Will you pleas reread my original post? That's exactly what I said that the original Catholic doctrine of Sola Scriptura means.


Dear Paul, cont'd (the baby woke up and interrupted me, sorry!):
AS far as the difference between Protestants and Catholics goes, it is crucially important to focus it somewhere quite differnet than you suggest. I will explain in a minute.
Here are two relevant quotes from Pope Pius's encyclical defining the dogma of the Assumption..
St. Albert the Great . . . , to establish this teaching, had gathered together many proofs from Sacred Scripture.
All these proofs and considerations of the holy Fathers and the theologians are based upon the Sacred Writings as their ultimate foundation.
Never mind what a Protestant, a Communist, or a Jew or anyone else thinks of this, it certainly proves that Pope Pius XII and me both think that the doctrine can be proved from Sacred Scripture. If we're wrong, we're both wrong together.
The difference between our notion of proof and the worldly notion of it is like this: I say that the literal meaning of Rev. xii: 1 is the doctrine of the Assumption. If this is true, then it is a proof. You point out (suppose) that it is not so clear to a Protestant, for example, that that is the literal meaning of the text. But that is not what proof means. Your point could be rephrased like this: a Protestant would want a proof that the text really meant that. For them this is a legitimate request but it is irrelevant to us because there is a difference between a text and its meaning. We use the meaning of Sacred Scripture to prove things. They use the text, and need extra proofs to prove what its meaning is. WE have a proof but they want a second, distinct proof that the first proof is a proof and doesn't have any mistakes in it. What's unfair about this demand is that it is a criticism that can always be made of any proof, so it's unfair to pretend that this proof is somehow inferior to other proofs just because they emotionally feel like making this demand about THIS dogma, but complacently omit it for their own favourite dogmas. Texts can be ambiguous yet only one of the possible meanings is the real literal meaning of Rev. xii :1. (If this is too complicated for you, if ambiguity is too complicated for you to think about, then you shouldn't worry about Scripture.) But it's unfair for Protestants to suddenly pick on the ambiguity of texts when their own ox is being gored: most texts are ambiguous, it isn't just Rev.xii1.
The difference between liberal Protestants and Catholicism is that they no longer believe that every assertion in Sacred Scripture is true. But Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius XII both taught that.
The difference between fundamentalists and Catholicism is that they don't know how to read. They don't know how toread anything: Plato, Sacred Scripture, Church Documents, the Fathers of the Church, Darwin, Keynes, Adam Smith, nothing. In particular, they are always getting the literal sense of Scripture wrong, like when they read Genesis. Also Judith: since itis a historical novel, its literal meaning is whatever the meaning of fiction is. If you read it as history, you are getting the literal meaning wrong. Reading science isn't the same as reading law. Reading theology isn't the same as reading natural science. Etc. They always get everything wrong, and no longer even understand the Ten Commandments.
That is what needs to be focussed on in dialogue with Protestants about Sacred Scripture.
Sincerely, [...]


Thread continued...