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 Post subject: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:07 am 
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I am a Catholic convert, in the Church since November of '08. One of the main principles that led to my full entry into the Roman Catholic Church, after years of atheism and philosophical searching, was its definitive authority. Recently, however, a Catholic told me that the Catechism, which I had always thought of as the complete, infallible teachings of the Church, was not actually infallible or dogmatic.

This led me to research exactly what constitutes the dogmas, doctrines and infallible, certain teachings of the Church. It has been more difficult to find a definitive answer to this than I expected. For example, Scripture contains the totality of Revelation, but attempting to understand all the literary senses, its purposes (historical, scientific, spiritual), its internal connections, and reconciling it with the views of Catholics throughout history (such as Pope Benedict saying that the Bible "corrects itself") makes it very difficult to use the Bible as the clear and entire guide to the dogma of the Church. And, since we are not sola scriptura but rather obedient to the authority of the Pope and the Magisterium, I knew the Bible could not be everything. I then examined the infallibility of the Catechism and found very difficult answers. Many say that it can and does contain errors, some of which have been changed with newer versions but not entirely fixed; others say that it it not meant to be a summary of Catholic dogma, nor is it completely definitive in all areas (such as those that are more open, like social teachings). However, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: "The individual doctrine which the Catechism presents receive no other weight than that which they already possess. The weight of the Catechism itself lies in the whole. Since it transmits what the Church teaches, whoever rejects it as a whole separates himself beyond question from the faith and teaching of the Church [pp. 25-27]." (In his intro to the Catechism)

So, if the doctrines told in the Catechism are not a representation of every Church doctrine, nor a necessarily complete or perfect presentation of them, where can one find the full, perfect statement of these teachings? Must a teaching be presented "infallibly" for its acceptance to be necessary? Can the Catechism be used with absolutely certain reliance, except in those matters that are more open? What exactly are we, as Catholics, morally obligated to accept - infallible documents, a certain list of doctrines and dogmas, or everything taught or done by the authority of the Church even if it is not specifically infallible?

I would greatly appreciate help with these issues. God bless. :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:04 am 
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i think this question was answered when one of our "separated brethren" came here wanting the exact thing... iirc, Father Kenobi pointed him to Ott for the closest thing available to a "list" of infallible teachings ...

perhaps i can find the thread and you may find it helpful...i'll go check

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:05 am 
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by george, that didn't take long 8-)

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=141880

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:13 am 
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Denzinger's Sources of Catholic Dogma
Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:08 am 
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Be aware that not everything in Denzinger is of equal weight.

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:12 am 
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Servant of Guadalupe wrote:
Denzinger's Sources of Catholic Dogma

Please note that the English translation under the title Sources of Catholic Dogma. of the Enchiridion symbolorum Denzinger-Rahner (as in Karl Rahner) is dated. It is from the mid 50's. Starting with Adolf Schönmetzer (Denzinger-Schönmetzer) in 1963, some things were omitted that were in the earlier editions, new material was added and most importantly the numbering scheme was changed. See every entry has a paragraph number. The Catechism frequently cites Denzinger-Schönmetzer, and usually the passage is in earlier editions, but it is numbered differently. Since many earlier texts were added, the numbering is usually around 400 off. Hence DR 393 is DS 750.

The current edition (38th I believe) is referred to as the Denzinger-Hünermann, as Peter Hünermann is the current guy behind it. For the first time it is not just in Latin, but is published Latin-German.

What is in the various editions is up to the editiors, and things vary from dogmatic definitions, to local councils. It isn't all dogmatic as such, but is rather seen as a thorough overview of magisterial teaching through the ages

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:47 pm 
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Just to clarify, I'm not just looking for statements made "infallibly" or ex cathedra, as there are many doctrines of the Church that did not require infallible definition, such as those in Scripture, and there are also many things we are obligated to accept that are not necessarily infallible.

But, the only lists of Catholic dogmatic teaching are those made by individuals, not by the Church itself, and are thus susceptible to error? Does the Church not have an official statement of those teachings?


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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:12 am 
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alcuin18 wrote:
But, the only lists of Catholic dogmatic teaching are those made by individuals, not by the Church itself, and are thus susceptible to error?


Correct

Quote:
Does the Church not have an official statement of those teachings?


No. Because she does not feel the need to compile a list of dogmatic teachings.

But if she want to, she could.


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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:13 pm 
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The teachings of the Church lie along a line. At one end are things formally defined as doctrines of the faith; essentially in the same spot are things not defined but unquestionably true. From there, it goes into things that are logical consequences of the defined or certain doctrines; then into things that are so likely to be true that it would be rash or foolish to question them; and so on, down to the level of pious opinion (things that a person may believe and for which there is some evidence, but nothing conclusive).

The Catechism is not intended to mark out what is where on that line, by and large. Its intent is to provide a reference point: If you teach and believe what is here, you will not be going against the teachings of the Church.

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 12:41 am 
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I'm just trying to understand why that the official, dogmatic teachings of the Church are not laid out in any concise form. Wouldn't that help alleviate confusion as to exactly what the Church teaches? And, if the Catechism can be fully believed in without error, per authoritative Church validation, why can it not be considered the definitive statement of the doctrines of the Church without error?


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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:37 am 
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alcuin18 wrote:
I'm just trying to understand why that the official, dogmatic teachings of the Church are not laid out in any concise form. Wouldn't that help alleviate confusion as to exactly what the Church teaches? And, if the Catechism can be fully believed in without error, per authoritative Church validation, why can it not be considered the definitive statement of the doctrines of the Church without error?

Not really. Just because they have not been "defined" does not give you the authority to throw doctrines out willy-nilly. The Church defines dogmas when they are under attack. This is the use of most ecumenical councils we have had. A good bit of Catholic doctrine will never be defined dogmatically.

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:48 am 
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Two problems with such a list:

1) It's not fixed. The divinity of Christ, though always believed, wasn't the subject of formal definition for three centuries. The nature of Original Sin was not formally defined until Trent, etc.

2) Catholic theology is not easily reducible to a set of propositions. Ott gives a statement, but then he lays out where it's defined, how certain it is, what other things it affects, etc.

There are also areas that the CCC does not discuss in much depth at all, such as the interplay between grace and free will. That's because it's a very complex and still disputed area.

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 8:50 am 
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Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott (Paperback - Jan 1, 2009)
2 new from $378.55 15 used from $99.96
(29)
Excerpt - Front Matter: "... DR. LUDWIG OTT FUNDAMENTALS OF CATHOLIC DOGMA EDITED IN ENGLISH By ..." See a random page in this book.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... olic+Dogma

Well, I know I won't be getting a New one.
L.

I just bought a hardback on eBay for $74.98 - I hope it isn't musty - it said good condition.
We'll see.

L.

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Last edited by Linsou on Tue May 01, 2012 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 8:57 am 
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Linsou wrote:
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott (Paperback - Jan 1, 2009)
2 new from $378.55 15 used from $99.96
(29)
Excerpt - Front Matter: "... DR. LUDWIG OTT FUNDAMENTALS OF CATHOLIC DOGMA EDITED IN ENGLISH By ..." See a random page in this book.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... olic+Dogma

Well, I know I won't be getting a New one.
L.

New for under $45 as per the publisher!

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 8:59 am 
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Servant of Guadalupe wrote:
Linsou wrote:
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott (Paperback - Jan 1, 2009)
2 new from $378.55 15 used from $99.96
(29)
Excerpt - Front Matter: "... DR. LUDWIG OTT FUNDAMENTALS OF CATHOLIC DOGMA EDITED IN ENGLISH By ..." See a random page in this book.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... olic+Dogma

Well, I know I won't be getting a New one.
L.

New for under $45 as per the publisher!


Well ... phooey (since I just bought the used hardback on eBay).
Thanks though!

I may re-list the hardback and hope for enough to get the new paperback.

L.

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:01 am 
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http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=ludwig+ott&sts=t&tn=fundamentals+of+catholic+dogma&x=63&y=7 Starting at $33… but $12 shipping

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:02 am 
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Linsou wrote:
Servant of Guadalupe wrote:
Linsou wrote:
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott (Paperback - Jan 1, 2009)
2 new from $378.55 15 used from $99.96
(29)
Excerpt - Front Matter: "... DR. LUDWIG OTT FUNDAMENTALS OF CATHOLIC DOGMA EDITED IN ENGLISH By ..." See a random page in this book.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... olic+Dogma

Well, I know I won't be getting a New one.
L.

New for under $45 as per the publisher!


Well ... phooey (since I just bought the used hardback on eBay).
Thanks though!

I may re-list the hardback and hope for enough to get the new paperback.

L.
Yeah… that is a steep price. Always check abebooks.com first as well. And bookfinder.com.

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:32 am 
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alcuin18 wrote:
I'm just trying to understand why that the official, dogmatic teachings of the Church are not laid out in any concise form. Wouldn't that help alleviate confusion as to exactly what the Church teaches? And, if the Catechism can be fully believed in without error, per authoritative Church validation, why can it not be considered the definitive statement of the doctrines of the Church without error?



Realistically, it isn't very practical or useful information to know the exact 'level' of authority with which a particular Church teaching has been expressed, such information is of use only to experts in dogmatic theology. For everyone else, it is sufficient simply to know that such a thing has been taught, and books like catechisms, Ott and Denzinger are sufficient guides in that quest.

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:58 am 
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Servant of Guadalupe wrote:
Yeah… that is a steep price. Always check abebooks.com first as well. And bookfinder.com.

Thanks for the tip!
L.

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 Post subject: Re: The Dogma of the Church
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 10:02 am 
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Isn't Ott still in print from Tan Books? Seriously it needs an e-book edition.

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Last edited by Doom on Tue May 01, 2012 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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