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Ron Conte 1st April 2007 02:39 PM

TS 1: Dogmas and Theology
 
Dogmas and Theology

The term dogma has been used in the history of the Church in a number of different ways. Initially, it was used for any teaching or decision; even a decree by the secular authorities was called a dogma. Gradually, the term came to be used only for Church teachings, and then only for teachings that are definitive. Currently, there is no formal and authoritative definition of the term dogma. Some persons use it to refer to any definitive teaching of the Church; some use it only for infallible teachings of the Popes or Councils.

I will use the term dogma to refer to any teaching of the Church which is infallible, including papal infallibility, the definitions of Ecumenical Councils, and the Ordinary Universal Magisterium.

Dogmatic theology is the study and consideration of the infallible teachings of the Church. But the theology itself is not infallible. If a theologian begins to write about the infallible doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, he can quote the infallible definition, but then as he begins to discuss the meaning of this teaching, he must necessarily move from what has been taught infallibly to what has been taught by the Church under the Ordinary Magisterium. And if he properly exercises his role as a theologian, he will also offer his own insights into the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which insights are properly termed speculative theology.

Thus there are three types of theology:

1. dogmatic theology - considers the infallible teaching of the Church
2. ordinary theology (my term) - considers the ordinary non-infallible teaching of the Church
3. speculative theology - seeks new insights into the Sacred Deposit of Faith

Speculative theology is necessary to the teaching life of the Church, because there are many truths within the Sacred Deposit of Faith which are not yet understood by the faithful, and which have not yet been taught by the Church. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception began as speculative theology, progressed to the ordinary non-infallible teaching of the Church, and then was finally infallibly defined by the Pope. So it is useful to the Magisterium for the ordinary faithful and for theologians to meditate of the truths of the faith, discover new insights, and develop these insights over time. But never in such a way as to contradict the definitive teaching of the Church.

The Whole Truth

No individual Catholic on earth, including the Pope and any Saints, knows the whole Catholic Faith. The whole Faith includes mysteries beyond complete human comprehension. The whole Faith includes everything taught, even implicitly, by Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. If you have never heard of an idea before, it might still be a truth of the Faith. If the Magisterium has not taught an idea at all, it might still be a truth of the Faith.

Many conservative Catholics make the mistake of thinking that they know the whole Faith, and that the whole Faith consists only of what the Magisterium has so far taught. Not so! The Faith includes all that Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture teach, even those truths not yet taught by the Magisterium.

Bomber 1st April 2007 03:01 PM

Well said.

Climacus Areopagite 1st April 2007 04:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron Conte (Post 6645)
Dogmas and Theology
Many conservative Catholics make the mistake of thinking that they know the whole Faith, and that the whole Faith consists only of what the Magisterium has so far taught. Not so! The Faith includes all that Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture teach, even those truths not yet taught by the Magisterium.


This is true. I used to be a so called "Traditional" Catholic. I know first hand that Traditionalists and Conservatives tend to think that the whole Faith is already defined by the Magisterium. This mistake leads to intellectual pride. It also tends to make the Faith stale and non-living so to speak. Trust me been down that road.

Now the Faith to me is a beautiful deep ocean, a never-ending adventure, and more.


Nicholas

CRW 1st April 2007 05:29 PM

Catholic Church acceptance of "infallibility" is a distinctiveness or act of God that separates us from other Christians; this is the bond of faith for the Catholic Church.

Cecil

MARIAN 1st April 2007 07:15 PM

I have often wondered what exactly defines a Dogma. In the case of Gallelio was he percieved to be challenging a Dogma of faith? The case of Gallelio was probably the most serious undermining of church authority on teaching ever. Its still being used to beat the church today.
What was the real view at the time on this and how did the church authorities get themselves into such a bind?
Mary

CRW 1st April 2007 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MARIAN (Post 6668)
I have often wondered what exactly defines a Dogma. In the case of Gallelio was he percieved to be challenging a Dogma of faith? The case of Gallelio was probably the most serious undermining of church authority on teaching ever. Its still being used to beat the church today.
What was the real view at the time on this and how did the church authorities get themselves into such a bind?
Mary


I know that there is no perfect list or book of dogmas, but this link provides a simple guide for review: http://www.catholicfirst.com/thefait...nts/dogmas.cfm

Cecil

CRW 1st April 2007 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MARIAN (Post 6668)
I have often wondered what exactly defines a Dogma. In the case of Gallelio was he percieved to be challenging a Dogma of faith? The case of Gallelio was probably the most serious undermining of church authority on teaching ever. Its still being used to beat the church today.
What was the real view at the time on this and how did the church authorities get themselves into such a bind?
Mary


I know that there is no perfect list or book of dogmas, but this link provides a simple guide for review: http://www.catholicfirst.com/thefait...nts/dogmas.cfm

Cecil

Ron Conte 1st April 2007 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MARIAN (Post 6668)
I have often wondered what exactly defines a Dogma. In the case of Gallelio was he percieved to be challenging a Dogma of faith? The case of Gallelio was probably the most serious undermining of church authority on teaching ever. Its still being used to beat the church today.
What was the real view at the time on this and how did the church authorities get themselves into such a bind?
Mary


There is no one definition of the word dogma. It has been used variously by various Saints and Church Fathers.

Gallelio was not challenging or disagreeing with an infallible teaching (dogma, in my use of the word). He was disagreeing with an idea which, at best, fell under the ordinary non-infallible teaching of the Church, namely, the interpretation of Scripture passages saying God made the earth firm and not to be moved. The Bishops said that such passages, properly interpreted, would exclude Gallelio's ideas about the solar system.

This is, in my view, a case of the ordinary non-infallible teaching of the Church containing an error, and being corrected over the course of time.

Some may say that the idea being asserted against Gallileo does not even rise to the level of an ordinary teaching, and was merely a theological opinion of some Church leaders.

In either case, there is the possibility of error. For non-infallible teachings, the errors cannot lead the faithful away from the path of salvation, and since this topic is not essential to salvation, an error is possible.

Gallileo was not challenging a dogma of the faith, but an ordinary teaching or a theological opinion.


Ron

sammy 1st April 2007 08:27 PM

I guess the fullness of the faith will be revealed and understood by all in heaven to the degree of their level in heaven?

Ron Conte 1st April 2007 09:05 PM

Yes, but there are mysteries which will never be comprehended fully by any human mind, not even by the human mind of Jesus or Mary.


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