A Critique of Faggioli’s interpretation of early Ratzinger’s view of Scripture, Tradition, and Authority

Massimo Faggioli’s naïve biblicism cannot account for different levels of authoritative Church teachings in Catholicism, with some being foundational, irreformable, and definitive, and others being non-definitive and hence subject to reform.

Left: Massimo Faggioli (Twitter); right: Joseph Ratzinger around the time of the Second Vatican Council.

John XXIII and the Lérinian legacy

In his recent article “Pope Francis, Catholic neo-traditionalists and the legacy of Benedict XVI” (La Croix International, October 16, 2017), Massimo Faggioli defends Pope Francis’s recent call for abolishing capital punishment as a matter of doctrinal development. Faggioli claims that Pope Francis is inspired by St. John XXIII’s opening address at Vatican II. Faggioli cites two passages from John on continuity and change, tradition and innovation, preservation and growth, but does not explain the broader context or framework of the latter’s address so that we can understand Francis’s thinking about doctrinal development.

I agree with Faggioli’s claim that Francis’ views are inspired by St. John XXIII. In an earlier article in Catholic World Report, I examined the import of Vincent of Lérins’ thought for John XXIII and Pope Francis. The former, in his opening address, Gaudet Mater Ecclesia, explicitly refers to Vincent’s Commonitórium primum 23.3, which is part of a larger passage from Vatican I (Dei Filius 4.13-14). The Lérinian legacy is, arguably, based on the distinction between unchangeable truth and its historically conditioned formulations, between form and content, truth-content and context, in sum, propositions and sentences, which was implied by John XXIII in his opening address. John states, “For the deposit of faith [2 Tim 1:14], the truths contained in our sacred teaching, are one thing; the mode in which they are expressed, but always with the same meaning and the same judgment [eodem sensu eademque sententia], is another thing.” The crucial point here is that although unchanging truths can be expressed in different ways, they must always be expressed according to the same meaning and same judgment, meaning thereby maintaining the material continuity, identity, and universality of the truths of the Christian faith preserved over time. Put differently, John XXIII draws an important distinction in his opening address between the deposit of faith given in the dogmatic teachings of the Church and their various concrete expressions. The latter, not the dogmatic teachings that express the deposit of faith, are subject to reform. Put differently, development, yes; mutability, no.

I argued in my book, Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II (Lectio Publishing, 2015), that Francis himself explicitly draws on these sources for justifying doctrinal development. He has now moved to giving a Lérinian justification for abolishing the death penalty. Pope Francis alludes to the Lérinian “law of progress” that, he says, “is a distinguishing mark of revealed truth as it is handed down by the church, and in no way represents a change in doctrine.” But in my CWR article I argued that he cannot provide such a justification as a matter of doctrinal development. Considering the Lérinian distinction between “progress” and “change,” where progress, meaning thereby development, is understood organically and homogeneously, and change is understood as reversal—one thing becoming something else—the question arises whether the Pope’s call for abolishing the death penalty—that is, the reversal of the teaching of the Catholic tradition on capital punishment—is progress or change. Clearly, I argued, Francis’s position involves change and not progress.

Faggioli, Austen Ivereigh, and others have responded to this criticism by claiming that Pope Francis is simply working out the fuller implication of the dignity of human life by drawing the conclusion that this dignity—indeed, the Gospel itself—is inconsistent with the practice of the death penalty under any circumstances. Hence, it is progress and not change from a Lérinian perspective of doctrinal development.

But Edward Feser has given the crucial rebuttal of this fallacious claim. He argues in a recent article on Catholic World Report:

For a genuine ‘development of doctrine’ has to take account of the entire body of the Church’s traditional teaching, not just some part of it considered in isolation. For example, in hammering out the doctrine of the Trinity, the Church considered both the truth that there is only one God and the truth that the divine Persons are distinct. The Trinitarian conception of God is precisely a reconciliation of these ideas. Hence if the Church were to deny the distinctness of the Persons in the name of respecting the teaching that there is only one God, this would not be a ‘development’ of past teaching but a rejection of it. It would be a matter of pitting one part of the deposit of faith against another, rather than preserving the whole.”

In short, in a Lérinian perspective—and let’s keep in mind that Pope Francis is a Lérinian!—reversing the Church’s teaching on the death penalty would not be progress but change given Francis’s claim that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong, his eliminating the import not only of the distinction between moral principle and prudential judgment, but also of the moral difference between the innocent and the guilty. Thus, the pope will have to find another way to justify his call for abolishing the death penalty.

Faggioli’s argument for the criticism of Tradition

Faggioli may provide us with an answer to that search for justification regarding doctrinal development by claiming that “Francis makes a very ‘Ratzingerian’ argument for the development of tradition.” According to Faggioli, Vatican II’s Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, “reframed the relationship between scripture, tradition and the magisterium.” How so?

In answering this question, Faggioli cites Dei Verbum 8, which Pope Francis also cited in his address calling for abolishing the death penalty. I will highlight the passages that Faggioli quotes in the broader context of the paragraph of Dei Verbum 8.

Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes. This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through Episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.

Faggioli, then, doesn’t turn to explain this paragraph, but rather he turns to Joseph Ratzinger’s commentary on Chapters I, II, and VI of Dei Verbum (Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, Vol. III, Herder and Herder, 1969 [1967]), to consider the issue of the criticism of tradition in light of the Scriptures. “In his commentary,” says Faggioli, “Ratzinger pointed out the shortcomings of Dei Verbum in making an argument about the Church’s need to be able to correct, when necessary, possible distortions in the Catholic tradition. Specifically, regarding DV 8, the future Benedict XVI wrote that the Church must be able to criticize the tradition when it does not correspond to the Gospel.” Says Ratzinger, adds Faggioli, “Consequently, tradition must not be considered only affirmatively, but also critically; we have Scripture as a criterion for this indispensable criticism of tradition, and tradition must therefore always be related back to it and measured by it.” Faggioli concludes, “This is basically what Pope Francis did in his speech . . . when he pointed out the Catechism’s inadequate treatment of the death penalty. In this particular case, and also on other issues he’s commented on during his pontificate, Francis has applied Ratzinger’s critical reading of Dei Verbum—namely, the Church must measure the tradition by the Gospel and the tradition cannot be the measure of the Gospel.”

Faggioli speculates—his “educated guess,” he says, for which he offers no evidence—that Francis’s citing of Dei Verbum 8 is interpreted in a “Ratzingerian” mode, and hence he concludes, “One cannot reject Pope Francis’s speech for the anniversary of the Catechism without also rejecting Ratzinger’s interpretation of the theology of tradition in Dei Verbum at Vatican II.”

A critique of Faggioli’s interpretation of Ratzinger’s view of Scripture and Tradition

If this is Faggioli’s so called “Ratzingerian” argument for justifying a critique of tradition, and hence of the death penalty, it is fallacious. First, Faggioli refers only in passing to Ratzinger’s claim that Dei Verbum falls short of making an argument for a critique of tradition, but then Faggioli ignores that shortcoming and proceeds to argue that Ratzinger gives an interpretation of the theology of tradition contained in Dei Verbum, particularly its critique of tradition—ignoring all the while Ratzinger’s point that Dei Verbum does not have a theology of the critique of tradition. Indeed, by the time we get to the end of his article he charges the critics of Francis’s call for abolishing the death penalty with “reject[ing] . . . Dei Verbum’s theology of the tradition.”

But this conclusion ignores what Ratzinger actually says: “On this point Vatican II has unfortunately not made any progress, but has more or less ignored the whole question of the criticism of tradition.” Thus, how can Francis’s critics reject something that Dei Verbum doesn’t address? Yes, adds Ratzinger, commenting on Dei Verbum 7 (not Dei Verbum 8), an eschatological element is introduced such that “All knowledge in the time of the Church remains knowledge seen in a mirror—and hence fragmentary.” He explains:

The direct relation to reality, to the face of God itself, is kept for the eschaton (cf. 1 Cor 13:12). This is the only place (emphasis added) in this chapter in which one can hear a gentle note of criticism of tradition, for when everything is seen and read only in a mirror, one must expect distortions and shifts in emphasis.

Still, given an eschatological perspective of our knowledge, there is no need to withdraw the claim that one can express truth determinately because our dogmatic formulations cannot exhaustively grasp the content of revealed truth. We can know something truly without knowing it exhaustively.

Significantly, Ratzinger’s interpretation of Dei Verbum does not support Faggioli’s claim that Dei Verbum 8 figures centrally to a theology of tradition. There is not only an absence of a theology of tradition, particularly the critique of tradition in Dei Verbum, but also it is the eschatological dimension of all knowledge referred to in Dei Verbum 7 that is significant in Ratzinger’s view, rather than merely the criterion of Scripture.

Second, on Ratzinger’s interpretation of the relationship between Scripture and tradition, and hence as he understands Dei Verbum, Faggioli is wrong. Faggioli’s position, in other words, sounds like Biblicism—a pure sola scriptura, which is a monistic principle of theological authority, in which Scripture is alone the authority for judging between rival interpretations. Says Faggioli, “The Church must measure the tradition by the Gospel and the tradition cannot be the measure of the Gospel.” But this claim is explicitly denied not only by Dei Verbum but also by Ratzinger in his commentary on Dei Verbum.

Dei Verbum 12 states as one of the principles of biblical hermeneutics that correctly interpreting the Sacred Scriptures requires that the “living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account.” Furthermore, Dei Verbum 10 states “that it is not from Sacred Scripture alone [non per solam Scripturam] that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed.” In Ratzinger’s Commentary on Dei Verbum, he says, “[N]o one is seriously able to maintain that there is a proof in Scripture for every Catholic doctrine.” Elsewhere in his earlier 1964 study, “Revelation and Tradition,” Ratzinger questions the epistemic sufficiency of discerning and theologically justifying through Scripture alone (sola scriptura) all Christian dogmas: “neither the great dogmas of Christian antiquity, of what was once the consensus quinquesaecularis, nor, even less, the new ones of 1854 [Immaculate Conception] and 1950 [Assumption].”

Ratzinger holds that all these dogmas in some sense go beyond the Bible, but nevertheless still justifiably belong to the content of revelation. In his Memoirs, the later Joseph Ratzinger referred to his earlier view, and the two are in harmony, “[T]here can be no such thing as pure sola scriptura (‘by Scripture alone’), because an essential element of Scripture is the Church as understanding subject, and with this the fundamental sense of tradition is already given.”

In fact, in his commentary on Dei Verbum, pace Faggioli, Ratzinger explicitly identifies the place of tradition as an interpretative source: “The function of tradition is seen here as a making certain of the truth, i.e., it belongs in the formal and gnoseological [epistemological] sphere—and, in fact, this is the sphere in which the significance of tradition is to be sought.” Although I can only mention him in passing, this, too, was the view of that Dutch master of dogmatic and ecumenical theology, G. C. Berkouwer (1903-1996). “The [Second Vatican] council … limited the significance of tradition to indicating certitude, the church’s knowledge of the faith. This is the point at which the non per solam Scripturam functions in the life of the church, for here the believer is confronted with Scripture in its connection with tradition and church. But this does not yet imply that traditions are an independent source of revelation alongside Holy Scripture.” In my judgment, the Reformed theologian Berkouwer has a better grasp of the relationship of Scripture and tradition in Dei Verbum than does the Catholic Faggioli.

Furthermore, Ratzinger would charge Faggioli’s view with, in Ratzinger’s own words, “an isolated biblicism” that is unable “to preserve for tradition its proper place in the life of the Church.” Indeed, he identifies a dilemma in which position’s like Faggioli are caught: “[T]o separate Scripture from the total tradition of the Church leads either to biblicism or modernism or both.” Biblicism with the implication we referred to above; modernism because it imposes upon the Christian view of things the dualism between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith (dogmas), between historical-critical interpretations of the Bible and its theological exegesis, between history and unchanging truth.

In sum, says Ratzinger, properly understood, sola scriptura is not an anti-creedal or anti-tradition principle. Sola scriptura means that Scripture alone is the highest authority in matters of faith, not the only authority in adjudicating between rival interpretations, yes, of the death penalty. Says Ratzinger, “The idea of sola scriptura does not exclude, but includes, the understanding of Scripture and the determining of its hermeneutical center by the use of confessional writings [in short, tradition], is a clear indication that Scripture ultimately always only exists una cum traditione—which formulation also expresses the fact that not only is Scripture related to tradition, but also that tradition, in its turn, is based upon Scripture.”

Of course, says Ratzinger, in “Revelation and Tradition … the pronouncements of the Magisterium itself have to meet” Scripture. “Tradition by its very nature is always interpretation, does not exist independently, but only as exposition, interpretation ‘according to the scriptures’.” The Church’s Magisterium “must recognize that it is under an obligation to scripture and linked to it.” In the words, of Dei Verbum 10, the Church’s “teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it.” “Nevertheless,” adds Ratzinger, the Magisterium “continues to exist in faith as a critical court of appeal and as such has an urgent task, that of guarding the purity of the testimony once given, and of defending the sarx of history against the caprice of gnosis which perpetually seeks to establish its own autonomy.”

This last point is particularly important in Dei Verbum 10:

It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.

Yes, these authorities function together (each in its own way) differing in degree of authority, with Scripture being the supreme rule of faith, the norma non normata, such that Scripture is not subservient to tradition or to the teaching office of the Church. The Church does not hold that her teaching office operates on its own, that is, without reference to any superior norm. There is a co-inherence of Scripture, tradition, and the Church in the pattern of theological authority such that in an intrinsic and necessarily related way they “are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others.” But “each in its own way” operates under the action of the Holy Spirit such that within that pattern of authority Scripture has priority—prima Scriptura, according to Dei Verbum 21–26. Arguably, then, when Dei Verbum affirms a necessary and intrinsic relatedness of tradition and the Church to Scripture, it also affirms a prima scriptura, indeed, it calls Scripture the “supreme rule of faith.”

Finally, the Lérinian hermeneutics of Vatican II addresses the matter of change, discontinuity in, and reform of, theological expressions and formulations of dogma/doctrine within a fundamental unity of truth. In the Commonitorium primum 23.3 of Vincent of Lérins, he states:

[L]et there be growth and abundant progress in understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, in each and all, in individuals and in the whole Church, at all times and in the progress of ages, but only with the proper limits, i.e., within the same dogma, the same meaning, the same judgment” (emphasis added).

Significantly, normative Catholicism has been Lérinian on this very point since Vatican I, through Vatican II and post-conciliar interpretations of doctrine—and hence anti-historicist. Vincent already saw this clearly in the early fifth century: doctrine can develop, but cannot change its fundamental meaning, i.e., the realistic meaning embedded in the creeds themselves. Bernard Lonergan wrote clearly about this in his magisterial work, The Way to Nicaea.

In short, the Lérinian legacy of Vatican II is that of commensurable pluralism (to borrow a phrase coined by Thomas Guarino), allowing for legitimate pluralism and authentic diversity within a fundamental unity of truth. Commensurable pluralism is, arguably, presupposed, even if not fully worked out, in post-conciliar interpretations of dogma/doctrine. Commensurable pluralism can account (a) for the need for new dogmatic formulations; (b) explain why propositions of dogmas/doctrines are unchangeable, irreformable, or definitive; and (c) justify the distinction between content/context, form/content, message and the medium, propositions and sentence, in short, the unchangeability and changeability of dogma/doctrine.

Faggioli’s naïve biblicism cannot account for different levels of authoritative Church teachings in Catholicism, with some being foundational, irreformable, and definitive, and others being non-definitive and hence subject to reform. Fundamentally, the problem with Faggioli’s view is his understanding not only of Dei Verbum but also of the early Ratzinger’s view of Scripture and tradition. Faggioli’s view is not only not fully Catholic but also is not that of Ratzinger’s. Thus, Faggioli’s pseudo-Ratzingerian argument for justifying abolishing the death penalty is fallacious.


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About Eduardo Echeverria 18 Articles
Eduardo Echeverria is Professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. He earned his doctorate in philosophy from the Free University in Amsterdam and his S.T.L. from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.

19 Comments

  1. How can any sane person even admit that Mr. Faggioli is a faithful Catholic, and that Faggioli has anything but contempt for Joseph Ratzinger, after Faggioli just 2-3 weeks ago tweeted that the so-called EF Mass (i.e. The only liturgy of the Mass for 5 centuries from Trent until the Novus Ordo) is NOT Catholic!!!???

    This Red-guard rupture-Kirk mouthpiece of what Austin Ivereigh calls “Team Bergoglio” has just asserted in public that every Catholic that lived before him was hearing a false Mass, the Mass which Pope B16 had liberated from leftist suffocation, correctly reminding the Church that the EF had never been and could never be abrogated.

    This man Faggioli proves how bankrupt the mind and heart of so many “Catholic” colleges have become in the last 50 years – like his own shameless rupture-Kirk re-education camp called Villanova.

  2. Excellent piece. I wish I thought to Pope would agree, but I’ll take his official silence as long as he’ll keep it versus a dubious pronouncement. The liberal H G Wards of today are more genial than ultramontanists of yesterday but just as wrong.

  3. Faith and morals.

    It would appear that if capital punishment goes down this road as Francis sees it, there really is nothing stopping all of the moral issues – as one can say each having “defects” as currently decided -doing the same. If “tradition” is error-prone and Scripture is absolutely stand-alone and if it doesn’t exactly address the issue of the moment, one can then understand how the various Protestant denominations change their doctrine on morals.

    So, we wait. What will the new Catechism of the Catholic Church contain regarding this?

    Intrinsically evil. No going back after that. And an average Catholic such as myself wondering why the Holy Spirit didn’t inform the Church – via the omission or commission of the pope(s) and the bishops – of the absolute nature of this particular moral problem – capital punishment.

  4. Catholicism might decentralize into parish Catholicism for a century or more. This is rococo chaos at the macro Church intellectual level. Can you imagine an intelligent pre convert reading of these factions and going forward with converting? We have three young Asian Ivy Leaguers throughout this family….there’s no way they need this chaos on top of their professional pressures. And we’re reaching in this article for Ratzinger as Bible hero when he denounced the God mandated massacres of the Bible in Verbum Domini sect.42….and his PBC and ITC soon followed with tangentially similar statements…ahhh…LG25.
    I love my parish which is just common sense preaching….and I find the macro Church politically correct with Ratzinger’s “one person deterrence” of ccc#2267 as being just as bad as any blatant laughable error Francis will create. No mention of wifely obedience in said catechism…compare such silence with sect.74 of Casti Cannubii. Political correctness (excepting sex…so far) rules Rome on violence issues too.
    Catholics must retreat to a good parish and shut out the macro Church except as filtered by a good pastor. He’ll pass on anything actually valid coming from Rome. Memorize all pivotal scriptures. “Gospel” is now code in the macro Church for….mercy only verses. It doesn’t actually mean the whole gospel…many verses of which would scare the pj’s off half the magisterium….eg..I Peter…” if the just man will scarely be saved, where will the impious and the sinner appear”. That includes saints except Mary….Aquinas and John Paul II were scarely saved whether they knew it or not. Pope Francis will quote that someday…wait for it…wait for it…

    • What is it with you people that keep lying about what Ratzinger said in Dei Verbum 42? You indicate you are not to be trusted when you mislead in this manner. When you pretend that the Catechism is all wrong and you are the only one who knows what it should say, your credibility crumbles.

      • Mentor idolatry…you have it toward two Popes understandably….Karl Adam, a Catholic psychologist wrote about the difficulty of growing past it and so did Trappist Abbot Thomas Keating in ” Crisis of Faith/ Crisis of Love” but less at length. You’d do well to check the first one.
        Read on this herem matter though this link to HPR…and weep….An author of a book on Verbum Domini with whom I don’t align but like me saying that Benedict and the PBC and the ITC …all are against believing that the herem were ordered by God. Benedict said it in VD in 2010 and those theological groups said it in 2014 because perhaps partly because they oath allegiance to the non infallible or they’re very inexperienced in and frightened by violence. 70 AD in Jerusalem where God uses the Romans to kill 1.1 million people in line with Christ’s warning that it would happen because Jerusalem rejected Him ( you know those verses correct?) ….70 AD undoes the theories of the two groups and Benedict….which the linked author is too ? peaceful…to connect with.
        Hell….the Church never mentions 70AD…

        http://www.hprweb.com/2015/07/how-to-read-the-bible-and-still-be-a-christian/

          • And…ps…here is the author, Dr. Ramage, agreeing with me down in comments….But you’ll be back with the identical comments on another day until you out grow the mentor-idolatry thingy. I had that toward Steely Dan so don’t feel bad…
            now…to Dr. Ramage in comments in response to me….the words are like gold…yeah…red diamonds…
            ” I agree with your reading of VD 42, and Benedict certainly thinks that these things happen (in contrast with the PBC). I have always tended towards Benedict on this matter, though I have run across some good arguments in favor of the PBC position. “

        • Bill,

          Not a challenge but a genuine question. Could analyzing the genre of OT texts include the observation that “YHWH is the cause of every historical event. Human decision and activity are his instruments”…

          https://books.google.com/books?id=FENzqidE2lsC&pg=PA123&lpg=PA123&dq=israel+attributed+every+event+to+gods+causing+it&source=bl&ots=js0nJBOfWP&sig=cetBn4Zi40R1SCVs3nflIwAiop0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjc_byYwpbXAhWojlQKHah6D5sQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

          whereby while YHWH is the “final” cause of the spiritual lesson of, e.g., wiping out Canaanites, our fallen nature and resulting conflicts are the “efficient” cause.

          • Oi….the will of God. Aquinas said God antecedently wills all men to be saved but consequently wills some to perish….consequent on their choices near their end. So he is careful to say there are not two wills….but antecedent willing ( the nice things) prior to sinful choices…then consequent willing post our sins. Then he states…” the antecedent will of God does not always take place”…but ” His will simply…always takes place”. Mindboggling area. But 70 AD and the killing of even younger generations who did not reject Christ ( remember…Christ warned that their infants within them would be killed)….all this was in accord with the Sinai Covenant which promised the Jews many earthly advantages that we are not promised IF they obeyed the hundreds of laws but if they did not and if they hated Him, they were to be punished down to the third and fourth generation as happened at 70AD. Do I think they all went to hell? No…Ezekiel kicks in…” the son shall not die ( eternally) for the sins of the father”. E.g David’s first born from Bathsheba was killed by God as punishment for their sin but did not go to hell for their sin.
            St.JPII in sect.40 of EV does the same evolutionary scenario as Benedict, PBC, and ITC….the Bible is evolving away from God as violent by the time Christ arrives.
            Yes and no….while Dathan and Abiram and their families are swallowed by the earth after Moses’ words for rebelling…in the NT only Ananias and Sapphira fall to the earth and they alone are thus killed after Peter’s words but the earth doesn’t swallow them. Yet God killed them and kills Herod by an angel in Acts 12 and in that case worms eat Herod just as dogs ate Jezebel in the OT. I suspect Jezebel and Herod thus went to hell and uneaten Ananias and Sapphira may have reached purgatory.
            But God willed the massacre of 70AD actively unlike His permissive willing of the Nazi holocaust. God’s physical punishing of the Jews ended in 70AD….because He said it was to stop at the third and fourth generation of those who hated Him so much that they filled up the sins of their ancestors. Go to Gen.15:16 where He tells the key parameter to Abraham…He will not kill the Amorites until their sin is complete…400 years into the future and Wisdom 12:10 tells you He tried to appeal to them through lighter punishments all that time. Ditto with the Jews…whom He gave 1200 years and punished them therapeutically with the exiles etc. And then comes Christ who says His scariest words to the leaders in Jerusalem when He yells (imho).. ” now fill up the sins of your ancestors”. Any of them knew that God killed the Amorites when their sin was complete or filled up. And here was Christ yelling ” now fill up the sins of your ancestors”. I will bet you there were several wise Jews nearby that yelling who moved their families out of Jerusalem after hearing that from Christ…the miracle worker…after all. In 70AD God was telling Christians….the gospel does not remove my option to use pain against humans.
            Rome et al…are not hearing that with their theory of the Gospel being a radical evolution away from an OT God who uses violence. He killed in the NT times…Herod, Ananias and Sapphira and 1.1 million in 70AD ( Josephus…Tacitus was 600K). In either case the number dwarfs Canaan…the one Benedict and the PBC were aghast over. We live in feminine times for the over scholarly…which Plato warned of in the third book of the Republic.

      • These people have read all the history and have concluded that modern rhetoric on inerrancy is at variance with tradition. I know Scott Hahn loved Ratzinger, as do I. But to claim that the two have the same doctrine of Scripture seems teaching at best. Meanwhile, Bill Bannon has it correct. You, sir….! LOL

        • Joe M,
          You are correct. You can see the damage in Evangelium Vitae, sect. 40 where St.JPII talks about the Pentateuchal death penalties as though man made and as things that the refinement of the gospel will surpass….surpass in refinement unless you also notice God killing Herod in Acts 12 and having worms eat his body….and killing 1.1 million in 70AD.

  5. Faggioli appears to be Father James Martin’s favorite theologian. That alone should tell you that he is naive and unlearned.
    Pope Francis and his men repeatedly try to use jP II and Benedict as support for ideas they never endorsed. This abuse theology is rotten to the core, dishonest, and a complete perversion of what scholarship is all about

  6. Thank you “agitprop minister” Faggioli for stating explicitly in your October 2, 2017 “tweet” what your “rupture-Kirk” really does believe: that you started a new Church in 2013, and that the theology of the Mass of centuries, which exalts the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of Jesus, and honors his witnesses who died for his name, like Perpetua and Felicty, is not, and has never been, what you believe in.

    Or put succinctly – contrary to Pope Paul VI’s insistence, affirmed by his successors JP2 and B16, that the NO Mass was the same Mass as always, you and your client Pope Francis disagree.

    Therefore, since we were faithful to the teaching of Paul VI, JP2 and B16, we will “resist Pope Francis to his face” until he vacates the seat of Peter.

  7. It appears M Faggioli in defense of the Pontiff applies Capital Punishment [CP] as a strawman to justify change to all doctrine. There are no definitive scriptures on the matter. Nevertheless Dr Echeverria quoting Ratzinger presents an excellent exposition on Sola Scriptura and Tradition. It affirms the understanding that Apostolic Tradition correctly interprets and even presents doctrine implied in scripture, or later revealed. None of which contradicts the Deposit. Pope John Paul II does say in several places although preference is for complete abolition of capital punishment it can be applied in “extreme cases” (Evangelium Vitae), threat to national security, treason come to mind. Aquinas agreed capital punishment has merit for like reasons. The matter can be abbreviated as the Church’s acknowledgment of a human, or Civil Law right to apply [CP] in extreme cases. A practical matter not necessarily dogmatic.
    Since [CP] does not find definition in Scripture [though ratified in Tradition] my sense is that Faggioli and Pope Francis [we recall “The Deposit is not static”] use their argument to establish that all doctrine whether identified in scripture is subject to change. A more salient though related issue then is divine Justice and Hell understood as eternal punishment. In Amoris Laetitia (297) Pope Francis said “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!”. That contradicts what is consistently found in the Gospels and always held by the Church. It rises to the level of “the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church as a ‘sententia definitive tenenda’” (J Ratzinger then Prefect for CDF in Doctrinal Commentary No. 6 to Ad Tuendam Fidem). Ratzinger’s final sentence of (DC 6) “Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine and would therefore no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church” also underscores existing truths contained in the Deposit. We owe it to ourselves and to the faithful at large to pursue this discrepancy.

  8. How does Pope Francis reconcile his view that capital punishment is always wrong with the fact that capital punishment is ordered by God in Scripture? Is God also developing.
    Tradition needs to be regulated by Scripture, and not the other way around. The pope wants the Catechism to change Scripture, and not have it conform with Scripture. Dei Verbum 21 says that all Catholic teaching needs to be regulated by Sacred Scripture.

  9. Pope Francis’ double standard
    Denial of communion to divorced Catholics riquires discernment.
    Capital punishment is always intrinsically evil, no discernment.

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  1. MONDAY CATHOLICA EXTRA – Big Pulpit
  2. Douthat-Faggioli debate highlights two key, contested issues of Francis’ pontificate – Catholic World Report

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