Sunday, August 31, 2014

What does the Instrumentum laboris of the October Synod say about natural law?

One quotation that Prof. Roberto de Mattei lifts from the text, he suggests, devalues the idea of the natural law: “In a vast majority of responses and observations, the concept of natural law today turns out to be, in different cultural contexts, highly problematic, if not completely incomprehensible.” (n.21) He worries that this may incline the Synod in the direction of letting the relativist culture to which the notion of "human nature" is no longer comprehensible influence the Church's thinking -- in effect, letting the "tail wag the dog" (my analogy).

I doubt this would be allowed to happen, but in our contemporary ethos, such statements from the planners are, to say the least, annoying.


13 comments:








James Joseph

said...

I believe this seems to undermine Natural Law on the surface, but what is lying underneath is the text of 'Persona Humana', especially part VIII.

I am thinking here of the word for local customs or established societal norms. The word related to 'suesco' which in this case is consuetudine.

"...proclivitas nata ex falsa educatione vel infecta maturitate sexuali vel consuetudine vel pravo exemplo aliisve similibus causis, ad tempus tantum exsistit aut saltem insanabilis non est."





BenYachov

said...

QUOTE" In light of what the Church has maintained over the centuries, an examination of the relation of the Gospel of the Family to the experience common to every person can now consider the many problems highlighted in the responses concerning the question of the natural law. In a vast majority of responses and observations, the concept of natural law today turns out to be, in different cultural contexts, highly problematic, if not completely incomprehensible. The expression is understood in a variety of ways, or simply not understood at all. Many bishops' conferences, in many different places, say that, although the spousal aspect of the relationship between man and woman might be generally accepted as an experiential reality, this idea is not interpreted according to a universally given law. Very few responses and observations demonstrated an adequate, popular understanding of the natural law."END QUOTE

Question: Does this really devalue Natural Law or is it just pointing out the sad state of affairs where the majority of people don't know Natural Law from a hole in the head?





Anonymous Bosch

said...

Ben Yachov,

You raise a fair question. One might rightly conclude that this is just what the drafters of the document are doing: making observations rather than recommendations.

But consider this: what does the fact that you have raised this question tell you?

What strikes me about your otherwise astute observation is that it dovetails perfectly with the common equally-astute observation that all the the Vatican II documents are susceptible of perfectly orthodox interpretations.

But, again, what does that tell us? It tells us that the Vatican II documents also lend themselves to interpretations in "the Spirit of Vatican II" (=dissent). Likewise, one must wonder whether the fact that the Instrumentum Laboris of the October Synod is capable of being interpreted as you have suggested also implies that it could be interpreted in "the Spirit of Vatican II" (=dissent) as MERELY SUGGESTING (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) that "natural law thinking" is utterly passé.





JM

said...

"Does this really devalue Natural Law..."

Um, given the history of postconciliar documents and their 'interpretation,' I would argue YES.

In the modern Church, not much is negated, it is simply de-emphasized until we can then say either people don't understand it or/and people don't believe it. You can almost tick down the list of articles of belief relegated to the museum storeroom. I doubt the Synod will officially change much of anything, but months before its proceedings it has already changed the conversation.





c matt

said...

My humble prediction: Much like Vatican II itself, I suspect the synod will result in documents filled with incomprehensible gobbledygook, that can then be interpreted as anyone sees fit.





Mighty Joe Young

said...

Those who developed these questions could have saved themselves a lot of time by simply confessing: Our Bishop refuse to discharge their Duties to Teach, Rule, Sanctify.

As an observation about the natural law, it is a trite tautology bereft of any notion of how to correct the problems of Bishops refusing to Teach Tradition.

Imagine a group of math teachers issuing a document that witnesses to the fact that many of their students are innumerate.

Yeah, so; what'n'hell do you propose to do about it, math teachers?

When it comes to the post V2 Magisterium, M.J Young expects that even more of Tradition will be administered the sacramental of defenestration rather than the problem be directly addressed by a return to Tradition.





BenYachov

said...

It seems a rather plain to me, that a plain reading of the texts, in context lends to no other interpretation other then the one I have suggested & is not an attack on Natural Law.

It seems you have to predispose a heterodox meaning or secret heterodox intent or God forbid possess a knee-jerk pseudo-SSPX Protestant mentality to conclude otherwise.

>What strikes me about your otherwise astute observation is that it dovetails perfectly with the common equally-astute observation that all the the Vatican II documents are susceptible of perfectly orthodox interpretations.

>But, again, what does that tell us? It tells us that the Vatican II documents also lend themselves to interpretations in "the Spirit of Vatican II" (=dissent).

Yeh Catholics reject the Protestant heresy that the Word of God/Holy Writ is perspicuous. Why should we assume Church documents are so in an absolute sense & immune to the distortion of heretics?

The Council of Trent is accepted by the so called Old Catholics who read Trent in light of the heresy of Jancenism.

The first seven Ecumenical Councils are accepted by the Eastern Orthodox who read into them various heresies they developed in the last 1000 years.

This trad myth the documents of V2 are massively ambiguous and thus more vulnerable to heterodox interpretation then anything that has come before is to me an ambiguous charge in itself.

Because in my experience Liberals never quote actual texts of Vatican II to back up their weird doctrinal claims.

An Atheist has a better chance citing the OT Haraam Commands to defend abortion then a liberal has in citing the actual text of Vatican II.





Anonymous Bosch

said...

Son of Jacob,

You're free to draw your own conclusions, but please do not insinuate malignant motives or mentalities to others.

It's true that neither Scripture nor defined dogmas, much less general magisterial 'teaching', is perspecuous. But have you ever compared the language of, say, Sacrosanctum Concilium with, say, Pascendi? There's a significant, if relative, difference. The one is full of waffling ambiguities, loopholes, and vaguely-expressed 'options', and the other is tight, authoritative and lucid.

The "trad myth [that] the documents of V2 are massively ambiguous ..."? Not unless you Cardinal Kasper is a "trad" in your book. Kasper, you may recall, declared that ambiguities were deliberately insinuated into various V2 texts because unreconciled factions couldn't come to agreement on wording. The result is what Michael Davies calls "time bombs" in the texts -- passages that lend themselves to a "hermeneutic of rupture" and innovation, and not only to being interpreted (with the help of more traditionally Catholic passages) in an orthodox way.





BenYachov

said...

>But have you ever compared the language of, say, Sacrosanctum Concilium with, say, Pascendi?

Like I said "Ambiguous charges" against the alleged ambiguity of Vatican II.

"Just read the whole thing and you will see what I mean" is not evidence.

I need specifics.

>Not unless you Cardinal Kasper is a "trad" in your book. Kasper, you may recall, declared that ambiguities were deliberately insinuated into various V2 texts because unreconciled factions couldn't come to agreement on wording.

Argument by Authority from a Cardinal who is too the left of Benedict.

My confirmation name is Thomas.

So until I put my fingers into the specific alleged ambiguities of V2 then I refuse to believe in them.

>You're free to draw your own conclusions, but please do not insinuate malignant motives or mentalities to others.

Impossible I have known too many so called Trads and Liberals.

Still I will give you the benefit of the doubt.





BenYachov

said...

>The result is what Michael Davies calls "time bombs" in the texts -- passages that lend themselves to a "hermeneutic of rupture" and innovation, and not only to being interpreted (with the help of more traditionally Catholic passages) in an orthodox way.

Yet Trent & the first Seven Councils which are suppose to be more clear and traditional then V2 are still misinterpreted by heretics and schismatics.

Rupture only occurs if you A priori decide to cut it out of what has come before.





Charles

said...

BenYachov,

"I need specifics," you said.

Try this: Christopher Ferrara, Esq., American Catholic Lawyers Association, "Sacrosanctum Concilium
A Lawyer Examines the Loopholes.
"





BenYachov

said...

Sacrosanctum Concilium is not a doctrinal text but deals with the practice of the Liturgy.

So it's worthless to me.





BenYachov

said...

I read it twice now and Ferrara's article is itself a long winded rant of ambiguity.

The best I can deduce Ferrara doesn't like the pastoral changes post councilor.

So what? How is doctrine changed by Sacrosanctum Concilium?

At least a Feenynite would argue over
article 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, this Church, constituted and organized as a society in this present, world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church".