Development of Doctrine III

John of Fides Quaerens Intellectum has replied to my post Development of Doctrine II, primarily with a 1,700-word comment thatis longer than the post itself.  As supporting material, he has posted two entries at his own blog: one consisting chiefly of quotations from the late Prof. JND Kelly and Fr. John Behr on St. Irenaeus; the other consisting chiefly of quotations from Klaus Schatz, SJ’s Papal Primacy: From its Origins to the Present. Given that each exchange in our discussion—one which stretches back to old comboxes at Sacramentum Vitaeis longer than its predecessors, I find myself wondering with some amusement how many faculty and students will stick around for the seminar. At least the seminars in real academic departments have scheduled beginnings and ends! But even if the education ends up being John’s and mine alone, I think the discussion well worth pursuing. Speaking for myself, I come off every online discussion of DD better equipped to carry on the next one—and there always seems to be a next one, even when that’s not the plan. Who knows whom I might thereby reach? It might even be somebody here. And so I proceed with my latest reply as a productive exercise in what contemporary Catholic theologians term “fundamental theology.”

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Are Non-Catholics Blind?

Alvin Plantinga has argued that Christian beliefs such as the existence of God, incarnation, etc. can be warranted in a properly basic way. Those who do not believe in the existence of God have some kind of impairment in their cognitive faculties which is a result of original sin. In other words, there is something wrong with those who do not believe in God; they are blind. Can we apply them to the Catholic Church and other religions? Suppose that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ. The Church proposes:

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Criticizing the Church

Every Catholic, every human person, was affected by the scandal made here in by priests and bishops. The ugliness and evil we saw committed by people who were supposed to be holy, supposed to be an example for the world, are intolerable. Those who thirsted for justice criticized, rightly, the Church. There is, then, an appropriate criticism of the Church. There is also the question of doctrine and disciplines. How can the Church proclaim a dogma such as the Assumption of Mary when the evidence seems to be lacking? How can the Church require men to be celibate simply because they have the vocation of priesthood? How come the Church does not support and affirm homosexuals properly? Why did the Church propose the new mass? The questions are endless and they need to be endless.

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