Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dignitatis Humanae - the Pink vs Rhonheimer debate

Longtime readers may remember that we addressed Fr. Martin Rhonheimer's views on religious freedom several years in our post, "Who's Betraying Tradition: The Grand Dispute" (Musings, June 2, 1011). We also discussed Rhonheimer's views substantially in "George Weigel vs. pre-V2 teaching on Social Kingship of Christ" (Musings, June 16, 2011). See also "Dr. Thomas Pink responds to Fr. Rhonheimer" (Musings, August 5, 2011). Dr. Pink's written response to Rhonheimer is reproduced in full in "On the coercive authority of the Church: a response to Fr. Martin Rhonheimer by Thomas Pink" (Rorate Caeli, August 5, 2015).

Here, once again, we have Rorate Caeli to thank for calling our attention to the most recent exchange between Pink and Rhonheimer in Sacerdos Romanus, "Pink-Rhonheimer Debate" (Rorate Caeli, November 23, 2015), in which Romanus writes:
Prof. Thomas Pink, who has contributed to Rorate Caeli in the past, recently held a public debate on the important problem of the interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae with Fr. Martin Rhonheimer of the Opus Dei. The full debate is embedded above. Pink argues for the continuity of Dignitatis Humanae with the teachings of the 19th century popes, while Fr. Rhonheimer argues for discontinuity.
The debate in the VIDEO above doesn't actually begin until roughly 12 minutes and 30 seconds [12:30] into the recording.

[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]


John L said...

Fr. Rhonheimer's position is quite weak. He dismisses the view that Dignitatis Humanae can be understood as agreeing with previous teaching as being that of Archbishop Lefebvre, without mentioning that this position is clearly stated in the document itself. Prof. Pink makes a clever case but does not mention that no-one had thought of this interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae prior to himself.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Thanks for your comment, Dr. Lamont. Yes, I agree. Fr. Rhonheimer does with previous teaching what Austro-Libertarians and neoconservatives like George Weigel do with traditional Catholic social teaching, which is to dismiss it as non-binding outmoded opinion. And Pink does with Vatican II documents what any Catholic concerned with traditional teaching must attempt, if he doesn't wish to address the ambiguities in them, which is to cobble together some interpretation that seems to accord with traditional teaching.

I found the debate as fascinating as it is frustrating. The issues are important; and the difficulties highlight the fact that we're between a rock and a hard place.