Rhoblogy: bossmanham, Pope Benedict, condoms, and me

On Sunday, November 28, 2010, Rhology, a pretty stringent Calvinist with a decent following in the Protestant blogosphere, once again demonstrated his unfounded and unsubstantiated hatred of Jesus’ One True Church, which was established in AD 33. This Church of course is more commonly known as the Catholic Church or Holy Catholic Church (she officially refers to herself simply as the Church of Christ).

In any event, the controversy initiated by the disobedience of the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Observitore Romano, laid the foundation for plenty of ignornace-fuled fodder pushed by the secular media and now Rhology. What is fascinating to me about this individual is that no matter how much one attempts to clarify or speak truth to Rhology, he consistently chatters on no hearing or listening to any person except himself and those who fuel his flames of ignorance and darkness. This type of individual calls to mind the following verse in Sirach 8:3, “Do not argue with a chatterer, nor heap wood on his fire.”

In this post, I do not seek to “heap wood on his fire” but rather seek to expose his ignorance in defence of the Pope, the chosen steward of my King. The one man who was handed on the keys to the House of David, the Kingdom of Heaven, which is the Church (Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, 1 Timothy 3:15).

Below is the text of Rhology’s post concerning the matter of Pope Benedict’s personal views discussed during an interview for the recently released Light of the World (the citation is at the end of the quoted text). In this post, Rhology recounts a conversation on Facebook that begins with the attention-seeking Rhology commenting on a statement by a person known as bossmanham who spoke to media sensationalism via misrepresentation. It would appear that bossmanham was in agreement with the position presented by Catholic author and apologist in a blog post of his own over at the National Catholic Register. Rhology linked to this post below so I will assume that he read the article in its entirety and is now going to purchase the book and read the words said by the Pope in their proper context (probably not).

The video below is from a recent appearance of Jimmy Akin’s on Catholic Answers LIVE wherein he took a few minutes to discuss this controversy. It is worth the 12 minute listen/view.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

On to my amateur apologetics… I took the liberty of making some formating changes in order to present the quoted text in a more readable manner. My comments will be in red and will break up some of the quoted text. Again, this is for readability and space. I do not like super long blog posts anymore that you do unless the content is really rich. Please be the judge and leave some feedback or comments of your own:

bossmanham, Pope Benedict, condoms, and me

bossmanham and I have just concluded a Facebook conversation.  He had posted this:

Like usual, the media has made someone say what they didn’t actually say. Sad. The media truly is dead.

about this column from Roman Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin – “The Pope Said WHAT about Condoms???

bossmanham is a bit too sympathetic to Rome for my taste, and I chimed in with a comment.  The following is our dialogue.

—Rhology—

Well…I don’t know about that. He said it, after all.
This kind of ridiculous double standard doesn’t make sense from Roman Catholics, like: “It does not carry dogmatic or canonical force.”
Oh, b/c Jimmy Akin says so? Where’s his imprimatur, nihil obstat, or Cardinal hat? Where’s his Magisterium card?

Also, the Pope’s statement that the use of condoms by males prostitutes could be “the first step towards moralization” was quite disturbing. As if the job of the church is to see that the world is “moralized”. I think that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Pope doesn’t know the Gospel. He talks like a politician, not a shepherd of souls.

Here we see a couple of issues that shed light the mindset of Rhology. Firstly, there is the pronouncement or judgement against B16 concerning his role as the visible shepherd of the Church on earth (John 21:15-17). Next there is the complete and utter disregard for Christian doctrine of Papal Infallibility and how it figures into the personal statements of this and any pope. Jimmy Akin is quite right to point out that the recorded word of the Pope in this book to not carry any canonical weight as they are personal statements and opinions.

In this, the Pope is speaking as every other person on earth with the exception that his office places him in a position of leadership. But like every other leader, not every word that comes from his mouth is law, even remotely. There is merit in Rhology’s statement that Pope did say something that causes one’s ears to perk up but again, Rhology’s lack of knowledge concerning Papal Infallibility leads him to make the erroneous and ignorant dismissal of Jimmy Akin’s clarification. The greatest evidence of Rhology’s ignorance is his assertion that Jimmy Akin’s position is equal to some double-standard. Again, the pope and/or ecumenical council can only speak Infallibly on matters of faith and morals and only when this authority is invoked explicitly.

Rhology also goes on to speak on the role of the Church in the world and makes a claim implying that the Jesus’ Church does not play any role on earth concerning faith and morals. Were I a Protestant this statement would remain just as disconcerting as it does being a Catholic. The reason for this ties directly to the Great Commission from Christ Himself:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Every Christian community and Church that I have ever visited or participated with always proclaims and understands that our vocation as member os the Body is to evangelize. In this mission we come to know the hatred and opposition the “world” has for Our Blessed Lord and us by our very Faith in Him.

Finally, faithful Christians should always take note anytime a person in a position of authority over them speaks, however, we are given tools to discern the validity or binding nature of a statement via subject and context. The Pope’s words were taken out of context by the media and were on a subject where his opinion would be personal rather than universal. Saying that the use of condoms by a male, homosexual prostitute is the “first step to moralization” is not unfounded as it clear to me that the Pope is expressing an idea that this act may in some way indicate a weakening of the influence of sin on that person as they are beginning to think of those other than himself. Sometimes this how the path to conversion begins.

—bossmanham—

It’s the spin the media has put on what he said that is the problem. A private interview with the pope isn’t a dogmatic judgment. Catholics are pretty clear about this actually. Only when the pope speaks ex cathedra does it carry infallible force in their view. The pope can have private views that are wrong according to RC doctrine.

The media has painted this statement as an approval of using condoms, if only in this situation, when it seems that what he is saying is that in that case, it is a realization by the prostitute that what he is doing isn’t necessarily right; that perhaps they are having a moral reckoning that what they are doing is wrong. That’s what I take away from it after reading about it for a bit.

I’m not sure why Akin would need any of those things to try to interpret what the pope was saying. As a Catholic, it would seem he’d have some knowledge as to Catholic dogma. [This is piece is not commented on by Rhology but I wish to say, in defense of Jimmy, that his post is not an attempt to interpret the word of the Pope but rather an analysis of the statements contained in the book and the attempt at yellow journalism by much of the media.]

I’m not sure how the pope saying that someone may be realizing their moral failure could lead you to believe that his soteriology is one of moralizing the world. I don’t have a problem with moral teachings as long as we aren’t concluding that that can make us right with God. So I think you’re being a little hasty saying, “I think that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Pope doesn’t know the Gospel.” I don’t think we can make that judgment off of this tiny portion of an interview.

But I will agree that it seems to be something said carelessly. I wouldn’t have said that was acceptable at all, but would have said that if you need to use a condom, you shouldn’t be having sex. So it was a dumb thing to say, but my critique of media spin still stands.

—Rhology—

—A private interview with the pope isn’t a dogmatic judgment.

Says you. You need to explain why what you say is more important/authoritative than what the Pope says.

—Catholics are pretty clear about this actually

Not that clear, if you read the combox of the post to which you linked. One is tempted to think that RCism is a blueprint for anarchy.

—Only when the pope speaks ex cathedra does it carry infallible force in their view.

Not that anyone can ever identify when he does speak ex cathedra.

—could lead you to believe that his soteriology is one of moralizing the world.

Why would someone who’s familiar with the Gospel say anything, ever, to the effect that “moralising the world” is a worthy goal?

— I don’t think we can make that judgment off of this tiny portion of an interview.

I didn’t, thanks for your concern. 😉
But you’d never catch me saying anything like that. Ever. Words mean things, you know?

In this segment we find Rhology falling to a baseless rhetorical question asking bossmanham to explain why his opinion carries more weight than that of the Pope. Concerning matters not protected from error by the Holy Spirit (infallibility), the Pope is no more above reproach than any other person (Galatians 2:11-14) for Papal infallibility does not equate to Papal Sinlessness. The Holy Spirit guarantees inerrancy of Christian Dogma despite the sinners within the Church because she is a divine institution – it not anything men do – this is something only God can do.

The second assertion from Rhology concerning the supposed “anarchy” exhibited by Catholics is one often made by him is his disgust for the One True Church. The simple fact that each Protestant essentially operates as their own pope is evidence that disunity and anarchy is a product of those seeing to do their own will rather than God’s will, at least those who instigate such dissention and persist in opposition to Jesus’ own words, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16) Just turn on the television on Sunday mornings and you will hear and see a myriad of doctrinal and theological opinions from just the few Protestants privileged enough to broadcast over the airwaves. This is certainly not the case in the Church where we worship God in unity every day, every hour – all over the world. This does not, however, preclude the fact that there are many unfaithful or unlearned Catholics who do wrong, speak wrong and understand wrong.

On the point of identifying when the any pope speaks ex cathedra, I offer the following from Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX, December 8, 1854:

Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed
by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful” (29).

Hence, if anyone shall dare—which God forbid!.—to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.

How’s that for clear? There are circumstances where the verbage may be slightly different, these include ecumenical councils and constants of Sacred Tradition, e.g., male-only priesthood, heterosexual marriage, opposition to contraception, etc. The latter I referenced on purpose in order to point out that the Pope never contradicted the Church’s position on contraception especially in the case of context of marriage.

The following point made by Rhology is that the Church’s role not one of moralizing the world clearly saying that such a goal is not worthy. His point would be valid if the Church was not a divine institution, much like the man-made ecclesial community where Rhology spends his Sundays, created for a specific task – to care and Shepard the faithful until the Christ returns. The Church is “the household of…the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) and as such she is “the light of the world [the] city set on a hill [that] cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14)

On the subject of words and their meanings, Rhology is correct yet he fails to include his own words as part of the equation seemingly refusing to identify his anti-Catholicism as one rooted in ingorance and exhibited in defiance.

—bossmanham—

“Says you. You need to explain why what you say is more important/authoritative than what the Pope says”

Because what the pope says isn’t always authoritative as dogma. Beyond that it could be debated, I’m sure. Just like many opinions of other Catholic theologians, liberal or conservative.

“Not that clear, if you read the combox of the post to which you linked. One is tempted to think that RCism is a blueprint for anarchy.”

Well one reason I’m not Catholic is because I don’t think their hierarchical structure is Biblical. I honestly don’t think that many random internet Catholics are that informed about their dogmas. But then here’s another problem with magisterial infallibility, who interprets the magisterial proclamations?

Anyway, I said they were clear on what is authoritative from the pope. That doesn’t mean that I approve.

“Not that anyone can ever identify when he does speak ex cathedra.”

Perhaps, but what IS ex cathedra teaching is distinct from the dogmatic proclamation that ex cathedra is all that is considered infallible.

“Why would someone who’s familiar with the Gospel say anything, ever, to the effect that “moralising the world” is a worthy goal?”

I don’t know that he said that, but I also wonder what the problem with moral teaching is. Jesus did it. So did Paul. That doesn’t mean it saves you, but it also doesn’t mean that it’s bad to tell people to stop sinning either.

“But you’d never catch me saying anything like that. Ever. Words mean things, you know?”

Well we all have unguarded moments, which is why I’m thankful for the forgiveness of Jesus 😀

—Rhology—

‎—what the pope says isn’t always authoritative as dogma

The problem is that it’s virtually never clear when it is authoritative as dogma. It’s left up to the layman in real practice, just like now.
And of course, why would a layman have authority to pronounce this statement of the Pope non-authoritative? Akin has no standing, no authority. Guy’s not even a priest.
I should think Akin should do the right thing and submit himself to the Pope, not the other way around.

—But then here’s another problem with magisterial infallibility, who interprets the magisterial proclamations?

Um, yep.

— I also wonder what the problem with moral teaching is. Jesus did it. So did Paul.

I’m sure you realise that “moralising the world” is far different from teaching people about morals.

—we all have unguarded moments, which is why I’m thankful for the forgiveness of Jesus

And if your statements were to cast doubt on your acceptance of Christ ALONE as your atonement and merit… you would not in fact have His forgiveness. That’s the problem here.

—bossmanham—

Well just because it isn’t clear when it is authoritative doesn’t mean really anything about it, other than we may face epistemic issues in figuring out when it is. I would say that Catholics would say that a private interview where the pope airs his private views on things is clearly not.

“I’m sure you realise that “moralising the world” is far different from teaching people about morals.”

Sure. But I’m not sure the pope has ever advocated the former.

“And if your statements were to cast doubt on your acceptance of Christ ALONE as your atonement and merit… you would not in fact have His forgiveness. That’s the problem here.”

I don’t think confusing statements one may make causes you to not have forgiveness. No one is perfect, and I’m sure I haven’t spoken clearly before. Doesn’t mean my relationship with Christ is nullified, does it?

—bossmanham—

Also, “moralizing the world” seems a tad ambiguous anyway, as I could take it as just spreading moral teachings. If it means to preach sinless perfection to gain heaven, well then Catholic dogma is against that.

—Rhology—

The point is: Why say “moralising the world”? Why not talk about preaching the Gospel? A man’s priorities say a lot about him.

— I would say that Catholics would say that a private interview where the pope airs his private views on things is clearly not.

I’m questioning on what basis they say that.

— I’m not sure the pope has ever advocated the former

He just did, man.

—I don’t think confusing statements one may make causes you to not have forgiveness.

If you’re THE POPE, a man who has studied theology his entire life, and say stuff like that, there’s a reason. The reason is not that he made a mistake or that he’s ignorant. The reason is that he believes what he said and communicated what he believes.

— Doesn’t mean my relationship with Christ is nullified, does it?

What reason could you give me to think that he has a relationship with Christ, to begin with?

—bossmanham—

Did he say “mo
ralizing the world?” I think he said that the use of a condom by such a person is a moralizing step. And just because that might be a priority wouldn’t mean it’s THE priority. Without knowing the man, I couldn’t make that call.

“I’m questioning on what basis they say that.”

You’d have to ask them, I suppose. They’d probably point to the magisterial teaching.

“If you’re THE POPE, a man who has studied theology his entire life, and say stuff like that, there’s a reason. The reason is not that he made a mistake or that he’s ignorant. The reason is that he believes what he said and communicated what he believes. “

We’re debating what he said too, so just saying this statement damns him would be begging the question. He’s said other things too. It’s not as if one sentence of an interview is an appropriate source to gauge his soteriology.

“What reason could you give me to think that he has a relationship with Christ, to begin with”

He professes Christ as Lord. I have no reason to doubt that. Just being the pope doesn’t mean he isn’t saved

—Rhology—

—You’d have to ask them, I suppose.

Oh, I do. Over and over again.

—They’d probably point to the magisterial teaching.

Which is as easily identifiable as “ex cathedra” papal pronouncements.

—He professes Christ as Lord.

The demons do too, and the unregenerate will. There’s a bit more to it, and a few things you need to NOT have in your confession, like any trust in your own merit for example.

—bossmanham—

Heh, the Catholic bloggers you interact with don’t really have a handle on their own theology. But I’ve not looked into it enough to see if there are good answers.

“The demons do too, and the unregenerate will”

They know Christ is God, but they don’t profess Him as Lord. And I’m aware that unregenerate can make the false claim that they are in Christ. I’m saying we can’t make that determination because we don’t have access to their hearts.

And Catholics don’t trust in their own merit. They think the merit comes from God through the sacraments and then through the actions the sacraments and God enable and initiate. They do believe one has to willingly do good, but they chalk it all up to grace.

The main disagreement historically was over justification, and I think it’s mostly talking past one another. Plus, I’ve quoted to you citations where the pope extols the merits of Luther’s teaching on justification. I don’t think your contentions here are viable.

Not only that, I’m not sure that vocalizing the doctrine of sola fide is a necessary condition of salvation.

—Rhology—

—They do believe one has to willingly do good

And there it is.

— I’ve quoted to you citations where the pope extols the merits of Luther’s teaching on justification

I’m confused now. When do I believe that what a Pope says outside of an official ex cathedra capacity really matters? Trent is infallible w/o question and it condemned the Gospel.

— I’m not sure that vocalizing the doctrine of sola fide is a necessary condition of salvation.

Normally no. But Ben16 is a trained theologian. He’s the Pope! If he believed the Gospel, it would come out sometime. Since it never does…

—bossmanham—

There what is? You don’t think we need to willingly do good?

“I’m confused now. When do I believe that what a Pope says outside of an official ex cathedra capacity really matters? Trent is infallible w/o question and it condemned the Gospel. “

Because we’re talking about the pope.

Trent was pretty much overturned in Vatican 2 (at least the anathemas, though they can’t say that) and I don’t judge people by 500 year old documents. Though I can judge that the institution that is Catholicism is inconsistent in what it says and what it practices.

I mean at one time it was said there is no salvation outside the institutional Catholic church, and now we’re separated brethren and they’ve pretty much adopted an expanded mercy, respond to the light given, explanation of those outside and their salvation. 500 long years since Pope Pius and the Trent boys.

“Normally no. But Ben16 is a trained theologian. He’s the Pope! If he believed the Gospel, it would come out sometime. Since it never does…”

Again, I’ve cited to you where he does. And I’m not sure how being a theologian magically changes his status. You and I can’t examine his heart, let alone his life, so I don’t think we can make that judgment.

—Rhology—

—(at least the anathemas, though they can’t say that

Haha, well, those were no small thing! And that’s precisely what I’m talking about.
Besides, appealing to po-mo flower-child Vatican II is not the way to go. There’s a reason many conservative RCs shy away from it.

— I don’t judge people by 500 year old documents.

What about judging them by their still-active allegiance to them? Their unwillingness to put them aside and embrace the biblical faith?

—And I’m not sure how being a theologian magically changes his status.

It leaves him w/o excuse. He has zero excuse for speaking imprecisely and for not sharing the Gospel most every chance he gets. I challenge you to find me one place where he’s shared it.

—bossmanham—

I agree they were no small thing. I’m not defending it, I’m saying they only give it lip-service today, because if they didn’t it would show that, in fact, Roman Catholic dogma CAN change. Then they’d have to admit something they espoused didn’t come from apostolic succession. But in practice it is ignored.

“It leaves him w/o excuse. He has zero excuse for speaking imprecisely and for not sharing the Gospel most every chance he gets.”

Well we’re all without excuse, and hopefully the blood of Christ covers our imperfections. Of course we can’t really take one sentence from an interview and say it proves he believes a false gospel.

“The Letter to the Philippians, provides moving testimony of Paul’s shift from a justice founded on the Law and achieved by observing certain prescribed actions, to a justice based upon faith in Jesus Christ. … It is because of this personal experience of the relationship with Jesus Christ that Paul focuses his Gospel on a steadfast contrast between two alternative paths to justice: one based on the works of the Law, the other founded on the grace of faith in Christ”

“Paul knows that in the twofold love of God and neighbor the Law is present and fulfilled. So in communion with Christ, in faith, which creates charity, the Law is realized. We become just by entering into communion with Christ, who
is love.”

I mean that really contradicts at least two cannons of Trent.

—Rhology—

‎—I mean that really contradicts at least two cannons of Trent.

If he really believes consistently with that, then here are the consequences:

  1. He’s a hypocrite. As Pope, he is bound to uphold the infall teachings of Rome, but here he’s beating up infall anathemas.
  2. What does it say about his conscience, that he would rise to be THE BIG CHEESE of a church that has officially anathematised the Gospel? Not “a priest”. THE POPE.
  3. He’s a double-talker, a politician. These quotations are incompatible with the goal of “moralising the world”.

—bossmanham—

  1. Perhaps, or he’s just unwittingly inconsistent.
  2. It shows that they no longer believe that we’re anathema.
  3. You’ve not shown that he actually said anything about moralizing the world. Those words aren’t in the statement.

—Rhology—

  1. Unwittingly? The man has been thinking theology longer your and my combined lifetimes. Highly doubtful. Lk 12:48 and all that.
  2. They SHOULD. That’s part of the point, I should think. If they don’t, I guess it would go to show two things:

    • What you said about their unbiblical authority structure – they can’t live it out! (very Francis Schaeffer-like)
    • The supposed strong distinction between infallible-authoritative teaching and fallible-non-authoritative teaching is a phantom. Individual RCs will pick and choose between whatever whoever says, as they like. If they say they’re supposed to be held fast to infallible-authoritative teaching and yet toss it aside as you’re suggesting they’ve done, that’s the exact same as what they do with what *I* say.

  3. “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where ***this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization***, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.”

—bossmanham—

  1. I don’t know for sure. I’m just saying it isn’t necessarily some malevolent intent on his part just because he’s the pope.
  2. I agree, and think this should be pointed out to RC’s.
  3. I don’t take that as his whole goal is to moralize the (world).

via Rhoblogy: bossmanham, Pope Benedict, condoms, and me.

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