Card. Müller: Let’s have the argument! Fr. Z POLL!

Cardinale-MullerHave you noticed that one side of the ongoing debates in the Church today want to close down dialogue and avoid having the arguments that are screaming to be had?  By avoiding real debate – just as nature abhors a vacuum – discourse is devolving into incivility.

Card. Müller has something to say about that.

But first, something fun and, surprisingly, appropriate!

The other day I systematically worked the Prado in Madrid, where I spotted wonderful canvases by Pedro Berruguete (+1504).  In one painting, we see a dramatic moment of a theological debate between Dominicans and heretical Cathars in which books are being put to the test… by fire.  Books are tossed into the flames.  The bad books burn.  The good books reveal their goodness by leaping out of the fire!

Note the book which has ejected itself from the flames in mid air.  Action shot!


There is a high res version HERE.

In the Middle Ages there were organized theological debates, called Disputationes, with strict rules, intended to get at the Truth of disputed questions.

This, from the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Ludwig Card. Müller as reported by the best English language correspondent working in Rome right now, Ed Pentin of the National Catholic Register.  Some excerpts to get you thinking…

Cardinal Müller Suggests Pope Francis Appoint Group of Cardinals to Debate His Critics [I like it.]

The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says the Pope deserves ‘full respect’ and his ‘honest critics deserve a convincing answer’ as the Vatican declines to comment on a filial correction of the Holy Father, made public on Sunday.

To resolve the impasse between Pope Francis and those who have grave reservations about his teaching, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has proposed that one solution to this “serious situation”[growing more serious by the day] could be for the Holy Father to appoint a group of cardinals that would begin a “theological disputation” with his critics[It should be PUBLIC, right?  Fat chance.  Fat chance that it will happen, too.]

In comments to the Register Sept. 26, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said such an initiative could be conducted with “some prominent representatives” of the dubia, as well as the filial correction which was made public on Sunday.

Cardinal Müller said a theological disputation, a formalized method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology, would be specifically about “the different and sometimes controversial interpretations of some statements in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia” — Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family. [It sounds positively medieval, like the debates between Franciscans and Dominicans.]

The Church needs “more dialogue and reciprocal confidence” rather than “polarization and polemics,” he continued, adding that the Successor of St. Peter “deserves full respect for his person and divine mandate, and on the other hand his honest critics deserve a convincing answer.”

“We must avoid a new schism and separations from the one Catholic Church, whose permanent principle and foundation of its unity and communion in Jesus Christ is the current pope, Francis, and all bishops in full communion with him,” he said.

[…]Vatican: Response Unwarranted

The Register has learned that senior officials believe a response is not warranted, partly because they say it has been signed by only a relatively small number of Catholics they consider not to be major names, and because one of them is Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, whom they view as a renegade in charge of a priestly fraternity not in full communion with Rome.  [They’ll dialogue with the likes of Paul Ehrlich.  They’ll put a pro-abortion Anglican on the Pontifical Academy for LIFE.  But… SSPX Bishop Fellay?  Nope.  That’s a bridge too far.]



Check out the rest there.

It’s a great idea.

I just had the flash of Pope BENEDICT presiding over the Disputation!

Let’s have a POLL.

Choose your best answer.  Anyone can vote.

Explain in the combox, if you wish.  You have to be registered and approved to post a comment.

Should Pope Francis hold a formal Theological Dispute about Amoris Laetitia, etc.?

View Results

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Cardinal Mueller’s suggestion has many merits, one of which is this:

    His debate is something that almost anyone can get behind, without much peril.

    Of course not many bishops and priests are going to get on board with the “filial correction.” But it is entirely reasonable to say — and I will say in my own voice — that all this needs clarification, for the sake of all concerned. The Holy Father is harmed by the doubts expressed about him. The witness of the Faith is harmed by the ambiguity that seems to prevail. Many are frozen into inaction by this state of affairs. Those who believe the best about the pope would benefit from hearing his defense articulated specifically in response to the doubts that have been raised. I.e., “how do I answer when someone says…?” Those who are entertaining doubts deserve to know if those doubts are unreasonable, and to have them resolved. And of course, if there are real problems, ignoring them is risky.

  2. Ave Crux says:

    I almost voted ‘Yes’ for a public debate, but then considered that we don’t “debate” the Ten Commandments – it would be an insult to God and just give satan a forum to spew more smoke and corruption and filth in order to entrench the Faithful in ever more deepening confusion.

    Such a “debate” would be no different than Eve’s first “discussion” with satan about already settled facts… And she lost big time….and so did we as a consequence.

    God said plain and simple: “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. for in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.”… Same thing as “Thou shalt not commit adultery”!

    We can’t beat the devil at his game. Simply obey God and stop the disputation about what is already settled moral law.

    Furthermore this suggestion will be met with complete silence as were the Dubia and all other protests and corrections, simply because the Pope’s position can’t stand up to scrutiny!

  3. Gaetano says:

    There should be a second poll regarding what it be called and at which venue?
    Disputation at the Dicastery?
    Beatdown at the Borghese?
    Controversy at the Capitoline?

  4. Unwilling says:

    Disputations could be useful — but manned and managed by academic organizations, not by the Church. And the quaestiones disputandi should not address the possible acceptability of the seven or any other list of obvious errors. Mt 7:6 “Nolite dare sanctum canibus….” Let them argue about, say, whether the dubia or this filial correction canonically requires an answer.

    To the survey, I replied “No. It’d be fixed.”

  5. Bev says:

    Honestly, I’m still waiting for the dialog between SSPX & Rome to be made public. Surely that would cover a more interesting range of topics, yes?

    Should they do a debate, I would highly suggest they NOT imitate the Fox News / Republican nominee debate format.

  6. Mike says:

    Are there such things as intrinsically evil acts, always and everywhere? Hmmm. I know there’s depth upon depth to this question, so I say fine among academics, no among prelates, for the conclusion is settled by Faith and reason.

    If public, can you imagine the conversation in a bar? “Let’s see, the Catholic Church is debating about the 6th commandment. Can I buy you a drink?”

  7. GregB says:

    When Christ debated the Pharisees His answers were a model of brevity and clarity. The Living Word was able to say a lot with very few words. The Church progressives drone on and on during their presentations.

  8. Jann says:

    I don’t understand Cardinal Muller’s reasoning here. One has theological debates over disputed, unsettled theological or philosophical questions, not over what a Pope meant in such and such a document.

    For all too many years, especially since Vatican II, the pros and cons of situation ethics were debated. Those debates should have finally been put to rest with Veritatis Splendor. The current issues do not have to do with situation ethics, which has already been infallibly rejected, but with the interpretation of Pope Francis’ meanings. And he alone can state what they are.

  9. Andrew says:


    “The Living Word was able to say a lot with very few words. The Church progressives drone on and on”.

    Tertullianus (de Anima II) puts it this way: “Quanta difficultas probandi, tanta operositas suadendi.” (The greater the difficulty of proving it, the greater the effort in persuading.) And St. Jerome puts it this way: “Longa disputatione opus est et persuadendi operositate ut falsitas vera videatur: necesse est erroris venena verborum melle circumlinere.” (A long discourse is needed and much effort of persuasion so that falsehood may appear to be true: the poison of error must be smeared with honey.)

    Nothing new under the Sun.

  10. Jann says:

    At this point I am hoping that perhaps the patriarchs and metropolitans of the Eastern Catholic Churches, as a group, will present their own dubia. I think that might move the Holy Father to answer the questions we all have. And, also, give the Eastern Orthodox Churches pause and see the liberty which we have and how the Primacy of Peter is to be understood.

  11. Mike says:

    I voted yes, public. It’s not apt to happen. As others note, one doesn’t debate truth, and if the debate boils down to whether the document says what it says, Team Bergoglio isn’t apt to get the best of it.

  12. jfk03 says:

    Despite the Holy Father’s repeated public encouragement of “dialogue,” the Bergoglian party seeks to shut down their opponents with ad hominem arguments and attacks.

  13. The Masked Chicken says:

    The Disputationes would not work in this case for a very sad reason: the communication act is fundamentally different for liberals and conservatives in the Church, today – a situation which did not exist in Medieval Scholasticism (more, in a minute).

    Further, logic has become much more refined in modern times to the point where computerized proof-checking is possible, in limited cases, depending on how one formulates a problem and its proof. There is, also, the beginnings of an understanding of semantics (but, only a beginning) as well as argumentation theory, such that public argumentation on a matter of truth is about as useful as mathematicians arguing in public about whether or not the Pythagorean Theorem is correct. It either is or it isn’t and a proof should be enough to silence the crowd. This can be done in a paper.

    Unfortunately, the criteria for truth is different between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives accept, by-and-large, a quasi-axiomatic structure, a deductive structure, where, starting with the Commands, Counsels, and Precepts of Christ, as well as the established line of Tradition (as a secondary set of precepts) of the Church, one deduces further properties of the system, which, if the underlying axioms are true, so must the deductions be true (if done correctly). For the conservative, truth is, largely, time-independent.

    Liberals, at least modern liberals, by-and-large, see truth as an inductive, intuitive, socially-constructed reality, admitting of many special cases. Truth is time-dependent and flexible. It is a received wisdom of the crowd. It is mutable. In graduate school in the Humanities (including musicology) one learns about something called, rezeptionsgeschichte, which means, reception studies – how an idea is processed by different groups and whether or not there is a convergence of opinion to a probable universal truth. I suspect that this is the sense in which some German theologians are using the term when they talk about a change in theology being received, but I don’t know, not being a theologian.

    Starting from these different views of what constitutes truth, the communicative acts of liberals and conservatives are radically different. A conservative proves his truth to a crowd, but a liberal proves his truth in a crowd. If there are no agreed upon universal axioms from which to begin the argument, there can be no consensus definition of what winning the argument will look like.

    If one were allowed to argue on an axiomatic level, using deductive logic, this disputation would be over before it starts, but, since, liberals do not accept universal axioms, binding on all in a local way (i.e., the boundaries of the axioms can’t be fudged at will) , what is the point? Liberals will always paint themselves an escape.

    One way out is to show that their method leads to such a flexible definition of truth that it is equivalent to the Law of Non-contradiction. A corollary of the Law of Non-contradiction in logic is sometimes written, “From contradiction, anything follows.” I think that it is, also, true, that the opposite is true: If anything follows, there must be a contradiction. The problem is that in order to use this, one must prove that, in fact, anything follows. This notion gets complicated because there are paraconsistent logics where the Law of Non-contradiction does not have to hold or does not have to strongly hold, so there may be cases where the Principle of Explosion (from contradiction, anything follows) is limited. In certain logics, 2+2 may not always equal 5.

    If one stipulates the normal Law of Non-contradiction, then it is easy to trap a liberal. The thing is, they will, in many cases, just ignore you.

    The other way to stop a liberal is to show that their argument is incomplete. Pushing their argument to the limit, by their own reasoning, will expose what they have left out of the argument.

    In any case, until the problem of truth claims can be settled, I don’t see a productive way forward.

    The Chicken

  14. giovanni_711 says:

    So tempting, many easy jokes on this, but I pass.

    Agree with The Chicken, to have a logical debate (root logos, I believe) there has to be an agreement that such a thing as logic exists.

    This laymen will vote the first option, as long as its done with charity, respect and of course fairness.
    If all else fails, trial by fire works for me> :)

  15. anilwang says:

    Personally I don’t see the point.
    We already have such a public argument.

    One side uses logic and appeal to Apostolic Tradition. The other side uses insults, personal attacks, smear campaigns, appeals to “worldly wisdom”, appeals to “The Spirit of Vatican II”, appeals to “The Spirit of Saint Pope John Paul II”, etc.

    End results, the logic and faithful side gets declared by the popular media as losing badly and proven to be “bad Catholics”.

    As they say, never argue with a sophist with a megaphone. Not only will you get drowned out, but you’ll be spending so much time defending common sense that you’ll never be able to make your case.

    What needs to be done is clear. State the truth again and again with authority and to live that truth. The other side doesn’t want dialog, they just want to wear out opposition and distract opposition so they it cannot do what it wants to.

    We don’t need yet more talk. We need saints.

  16. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Dear Chicken,

    I’m sure you’re right (although I have to take you at your word in respect of paraconsistent logics). But, when you say “liberal” do you really, or also, mean “modernist”?

  17. YoungLatinMassGuy says:


    There is no debate.

    Let me repeat that:

    There is no debate.

    Shall we debate pedophilia next? How about abortion? How about the nature of Jesus Christ? Maybe the Arians should be given another chance to make their case…

    Get in line with The Church Jesus Christ Founded, or get out.

  18. frmgcmma says:

    Interesting twist to the discussion today here:

    This will certainly enter into any disputation. And if it’s true — shame on you Fr. Z. for missing the REAL meaning of the Latin! — then here’s my question: will there be a formal correction for the German, Belgian, Maltese and Argentinian bishops who have mangled the real meaning of AL?

  19. Benedict Joseph says:

    What remains of Roman Catholic credibility stands as the most vulnerable value in the current chaos. I believe this circumstance has been deliberately contrived by the heterodox. The only means to restore credibility is to manifest a clearly articulated presentation, in public and over time, of Catholic reason in the face of the theologically groundless assertions of the disoriented.
    They cannot stand in the face of reason. “Correctio Filialis” demonstrates this without any question. The heterodox thrive in secret. The raking light – the raking LIGHT – of authentic Christian faith and reason is all that will neutralized this disease within the Mystical Body of Christ. Their unwillingness to participate in such a debate is their admission of mendacity – which is always cowardly, rooted as it is in hubris.

  20. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    I voted for a public debate: it’s the best chance, humanly speaking, that the truth has of being heard by more than those who already accept it.

    I was tempted to vote no, since it will be rigged, but — even if it is rigged — I find myself in favor of demonstrating that is rigged, instead of merely asserting that it is.

    For comparison: Pope Benedict was elected because the Lord knows how to work with insufficient instruments; the Synods on the family, despite the overwhelming number of prelates who were supposed to secure a particular outcome, didn’t give the enemies of the Church what they wanted.

  21. kurtmasur says:

    And all of this just because Pope Francis has NOT done his job of safeguarding the doctrines and teachings of the Church. He should have thought of this responsibility at the moment of his election at the conclave in 2013. Didn’t he realize that as Supreme Pontiff and Vicar of Christ, that his flock would look up to him as teacher and guardian of the faith? And when a group of 4 cardinals submitted to him a dubia with yes/no quesitons just to clarify some unclear things, he just stays silent? What kind of a teacher does that? I cannot imagine one of my school teachers or universty professors staying silent upon being asked a legitimate question about the taught material.

    The media boasts of Pope Francis as “humble”, ‘down-to-earth” and a “breath of fresh air”, yet he stays silent and ignores legitimate questions from his flock?

    Let’s face it, people, there’s a reason Francis is not answering the dubia (nor addressing the filial correction) and that is because he knows that what he’s doing is heresy, plain and simple, and that the 4 cardinals are right. He is too afraid to answer the dubia for fear of backlash from his liberals…and, most importantly, it would mean recognizing he was wrong the whole time….it takes true guts, and HUMILITY to do this. So much for “humble” Pope Francis.

  22. Ben Kenobi says:

    I hate this tactic in war. We are fighting a battle on the spot chosen by the enemy, disputing over whether we possess our own territory. What is there to discuss and debate? The issue has already been settled. Communion for the divorced and remarried is wrong. What *is* needed is to go after the dissidents that keep preaching contrary to the faith. Make them cry to Francis that he needs to come down and ‘save’ them.

  23. kurtmasur says:

    frmgcmma, interesting article. But, if indeed Francis’ intentions were never to introduce heresy into Church teachings, then why hasn’t he answered the dubia? In such a case, answering the dubia should have never been a big deal to begin with. All Francis has to do is speak up and clarify what Amoris Letitia is and isn’t and that alone should serve as a correction for the German, Maltese, Belgian and Argentinian (and any other) bishops interpreting AL in the wrong way.

  24. frmgcmma says:

    kurtmasur, my question was more rhetorical than real. If all can be clarified by simply reading the Latin correctly, then we’ve suffered too long all the verbal food fight and it’s been “much ado about nothing.”

    It seems to me that the article cited is a bit too optimistic given the other parts of AL and Pope Francis’ responses to the said bishops interpretations. It would certainly help if it were true … but of course, the Pope would have to say something.

  25. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    I voted “yes, public.” But it was almost a coin toss between that and “I don’t care.” (And, by his silence, Bergoglio has already confessed he’s got nothing.)

    What happened when, 20 years too late, Charlie Curran was pried loose from Catholic University? He went off to Alabama, and has never been heard from since.

    Let the formal schism proceed. Let Bergoglio, Wuerl, Kasper, Farrell, O’Malley, Cordileone, Marx, Tobin, Dolan, Schönborn, Cupich, McElroy, Gomez, Martin, et al., go off to their own “Alabamas.”

  26. Justalurkingfool says:

    Dialogue/disputation, for good, only works with an open mind and a common understanding of what is good.

    Respecting marriage….. I have seen no interest in healing a marriage. Not since I first asked in 1989. There is no point to dialogue, in my personal experience. Not with the hierarchy.

    I can no longer trust the clergy. The one authoritative cleric I trusted, has turned his back on me.

    I will not trust another.


  27. Dominicanes says:

    A disputatio, yes, a debate, no. They are not the same. Of course it would be presided over by Dominicans. A disputatio by its nature is public.
    The painting of the disputatio with St. Dominic and the Cathars is a great painting but unfortunately, it is not accurate. The disputatio was held in the “kitchen” of a building in Fanjeaux that then became a priory and is now taken care of by Dominican sisters from Monaco (who are Korean!) IF you go there the sisters will let you go through the garden to the little oratory in the back that is the actual place. There is still kept the beam from the ceiling. (There are a few other beams around and about as well!)

    Even our nuns are trained in the discipline of the disputatio:

  28. GM Thobe says:

    I would love to see a public disputation forum resurrected from better days, replete with the practice of writing a summa at the conclusion. That being said, I’m not sure this properly qualifies as uncertain, what with accusations of heresy and all. Furthermore, I’d be afraid of too popular of an audience where the nuance of particular argumentsituation may be overpowered, particularly by the sentimentalism that seems to constrain discussions in an undue manner. So yes, bring back the disputation, but not on this, and not unless rules of engagement and logic are well publish, lest we end up in factions over things not understood.

  29. Andrew says:


    That article is a tortured attempt trying to prove that the entire controversy over Amoris Laetitia is based on an English mistranslation of a Latin text. The author is grasping at straws. It would be too long to go over the details but his argument has no merit.

  30. Ave Crux says:

    @YoungLatinMassGuy: Exactly, exactly, exactly.

    I’m very upset to see good Catholics falling in line behind Mueller…

    You don’t “discuss” whether or not we are strictly obliged to obey the Ten Commandments! Period!

    This is becoming absolutely outrageous. What an insult to Almighty God!

    It is entirely reprehensible that the Catholic Church has gotten to the point where the vast majority of even faithful Catholics (according to Father Z’s Poll) now thinks it’s okay to discuss whether or not we are bound to obey the Ten Commandments and to actually go so far as to challenge both sides (with the “Nay” side including the Pope himself!) to come up with good reasons why we should or should not…!?

    Frankly, I’m disappointed that Father Z didn’t pick up on that right away and seems to have put his weight behind the concept. (Father Z….? Please don’t scandalize me, too. The Holy Father has already thrown my soul into mortal distress)

    Active adultery, fornication, homosexuality (all grouped together under the euphemistic heading of “irregular” “family” situations) are NOT disputable theology.

    We are talking about gravely sinful sexual morality (including the presence of innocent, susceptible, vulnerable children in these so-called unions), plain and simple, being countenanced by the Church as an acceptable situation when people aren’t ready to change…. even declaring that God is on the side of such an argument!

    Furthermore, then allowing these same individuals to go to a pretend Confession without any amendment of life, and to receive a sacrilegious Holy Communion…!

    What, I ask is there to discuss?

    God help us please! Even the most faithful are now becoming confused!

  31. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Accolade for this Padre:

    Fr Z says : “I just had the flash of Pope BENEDICT presiding over the Disputation!”

    That was sweet.

  32. TonyO says:

    Chicken is completely right about the orthodox and the modernists using different kinds of communication acts. There would be no true “following the rules” of a disputation, because the modernists don’t abide by such rules. Remember the way they changed the rules on what the Synod final relatio would include?

    Nor should there be a pretense that the real moral issues are “in dispute” The only thing we need explained is how “what the Pope seems to have been saying” is conformable with magisterial tradition. And that’s simply for the Pope to come forward and TELL us, not to “dispute”.

    Although I strongly sympathize with what the writers of the “correctio” wanted, I don’t think they should have done it. I think they should have waited until Card. Burke does his thing, which will be much more definitive that a product by a “bunch of scholars”, however right they were in substance. It’s just my opinion, though. Maybe their releasing it to the public will be the last piece in place to encourage Card. Burke to go ahead. Whatever, it has now been a solid year: time enough. Let’s have the correction he was talking about. Nobody can say he didn’t wait long enough.

  33. eymard says:

    Debate with men lacking truth is futile. For every proposition, they will circumvent, obfuscate, zigzag, deny, and lie. And how can it be carried off without the stakes appearing to be that the declared “winner” speaks for the Magisterium, when we are certain in advance that it will be called a draw at best?

    It is not a question of issues to be decided, as if such a debate would “once for all” settle the question. No, these theological brigands are plundering souls worldwide, and we all, whether by Cardinal Dubia, Theologian Correction, Lay Indignation, had better stand for the Truth, now, in our homes, in our parishes, online, and in organized letters and visits to Rome, to our local bishop’s offices, in gathering of the faithful in homes, schools, meetings, conferences.

    The stakes are entirely too high to leave to our mediapolitical Kultursmog to characterise it as a heavyweight contest.

  34. Ave Crux says:

    P.S. further to the above:

    Individuals who make their “Confessions” while having no intention to amend their lives – hence, the purported “absolution” cannot validly be given by the Priest, who simulates doing so anyway – collaborate unlawfully with the Priest in both simulating a Sacrament and the sacrilege of doing so, not to mention the sacrilege(s) which follow(s) if such individuals choose to receive Holy Communion in such a state.

    To quote an article which addresses this abuse:

    “Canons 1379 and 1384, to name just two, authorize ‘a just penalty’ against those who ‘simulate the administration of a sacrament’ or who ‘illegitimately perform a priestly function’. The phrase ‘a just penalty’ means that a penalty (e.g., restitution, interdict, excommunication) can be tailored to fit the crime.”

    And all of this is now being put forward as something we should discuss the merits of doing (or not) in a public forum…. before the whole world, no less?

    Have we Catholics lost our minds completely?

    Has anyone considered the magnitude of the scandal this would give to the faith of Catholics throughout the world?

    It’s the equivalent of completely overturning not only the Church’s moral authority, calling into question her two millennias-old teachings, as well as the absolutely binding nature of the Ten Commandments.

    Please stop…..“God us already too greatly offended” Our Lady at Fatima

  35. Therese says:

    eymard, of course the very idea of a ‘debate’ is futile, even absurd: were the supporters AL able to defend their wishes they would have done so long ago. But they made a huge mistake in smearing the signers of the ‘Correctio’ as not “major names.” Cardinal Müller is not so easily dismissed however, and I believe that is why he has stepped in. Fabulous sense of timing.

    This evening I received the blessing of my spiritual director to confess tomorrow morning to the local SSPX priest. At that time I will also thank him for the courageous support of the Society. It’s the very least I can do.

  36. JMody says:

    Piling on with Andrew, let me add a couple of observations about the La Stampa article, my own “dubia”:
    1. Are we to believe that the Vatican suddenly translates only English poorly?
    2. Are we to believe that the Spanish and German translations which they say are so much better are NOT what the prelates who speak those languages read, they actually read the English translation, and that’s why they’re going off the rails? Had they just stuck with their own language, they’d be okay?
    3. Are we to believe that this mistranslation, a simple affair really, would not have been immediately corrected, but instead a man of the Holy Father’s acumen would not notice the ensuing chaos and move to correct it, IF IT WERE a mistranslation?
    4. Are we to believe that all the other comments and actions cited in the correction are NOT being offered in light of this confusion? Or, are we to believe that these commenters (bishops, cardinals, Holy Father) are all clueless, and they thought these comments would clear it up and create the calm sea of orthodoxy?
    5. Are we to believe that the Pope is so uncharitable that when confronted with the dubia, he can’t even bother to say “Gentlemen, try again, you are misreading the document”? And weren’t two of the four cardinals requesting the answers German speakers??

    That article is great if true, but the document no longer exists in a vacuum, and frankly, that version of events doesn’t add up. The campaign of silence and no response AT ALL to these requests for clarity is proof that this is nothing more than whistling past the graveyard at best, and a poor sham cover at worst. It is also a very bad sign — either the goal these ecclesial actors seek is not orthodoxy, nor preservation, nor tradition (protecting and handing on that which I received) but to remake Christ’s Church to their own liking, or these actors have a catastrophic lack of concern for their responsibilities and eternal well-being.

  37. Ave Crux says:

    And….as Robert Royal observed with keen insight in his article about the Filial Correction this week, to which Father Z directed our attention:

    It’s an old philosophical truth that that once you abandon the principle of non-contradiction, you can prove anything.

    So, are we supposed to give the Modernists who hold clearly heretical positions the opportunity to do just that….”prove anything”….?

    This is the devil’s game! We’re dialoguing with the devil! Isn’t that already abundantly clear? Stop dialoguing! It’s a pit of quicksand, intended by satan to swallow us up.

    We need to do exactly what the Filial Correction did: state the facts and allow the Truth to stand of itself in God’s honor. He will take care of the rest.

  38. Elizabeth M says:

    Yes to the debate, no to it being in public or viewed by the public until firm answers are found and an official declaration made. Too many laity think themselves well seasoned theologians and it would create such a fire storm and unrest among us when we should be silent except in prayer for those directly in the debate. See how the devil would use us against each other? He’d have us fight each other instead of remaining in silent obedient prayer.

  39. Kathleen10 says:

    This one stumped me a bit. I chose “I don’t care”. Even a year ago I would have said “yes, public”, but at this point, there is nothing the Destroyers can say that I’m interested in hearing. In fact I’d rather not. We are not starting from the same basic premises anymore. There is a huge and growing gap between us. I don’t see how it can be bridged. Besides, there is no chance whatsoever they would be able to defend their fluff and heresy against the Truth. Their silliness would never hold up under serious challenge, and they know that, so they would never agree. They’re heretics, not stupid. The nonsense they peddle is for our benefit, not for a serious theological mind, if we have any left.

  40. HighMass says:

    Ci stiamo avvicinando alla fine! Words St. John Paul II used many times in his pontificate. No dome or gloom here, but truly the signs are there. Dear Jesus we place our trust in thee


  42. Kevin says:

    Been there already with the two synod’s, and won the argument.Truth was trampled on and bypassed by the Pope himself. I voted -yes public- regardless.

  43. Prayerful says:

    I find it impossible to believe that our merciful Holy Father could ever concede a debate to those who worry about his words and actions. Some underling has been charged with targeting the signatories with professional ruin. Others have the task of jeering and insulting them. Later, this enraged Pope will do the jeering and insulting once he recovers his equamanity.

  44. JustASeminarian says:

    Why does the Pope have to organize it? Couldn’t some group, say EWTN, simply get Schonborn and Burke (for example) to sit down and debate it, televised? Simple as that! Of course, Ch. 8 should be read aloud, with text on screen in entirety immediately preceding the debate.
    Just a thought!

  45. DavidR says:

    Nope. It’d be fixed and the libs are not Abraham.

  46. KAS says:

    I would love a disputation, in public, or at least a clear set of statements by the holy father about how to respond to those questions. However, after reading the responses, I wish I could change to no, it would be fixed. While I have no doubt God will weather His Church through this period of history, I don’t think that free will being what it is, that the persons involved would allow an actual debate, after all, point once to the 10 commandments, and debate done. We who read the documents and the Bible don’t actually need responses because we already know the answers from the huge written record. (by the by you preppers, are you taking the best books and making time capsules to hide for the future as the dead sea scrolls were left for us in our time? even if not on purpose?)

  47. THREEHEARTS says:

    mike writes the canvas t the start shows the laity were present.

  48. robtbrown says:

    Ave Crux says:

    I almost voted ‘Yes’ for a public debate, but then considered that we don’t “debate” the Ten Commandments – it would be an insult to God and just give satan a forum to spew more smoke and corruption and filth in order to entrench the Faithful in ever more deepening confusion.

    St Thomas disagrees with you. He has a specific article on adultery, complete with objections. The structure of the Summa Theologiae is modeled on the scholastic disputation, with lots of emphasis on the opposing argument.

    And you seem to have adopted the notion that the moral law is merely dictated by someone in power–in this case, God. In fact, adultery is a sin not because God says so. Rather, it is a sin because it is incompatible with proper relations between a man and a woman, which have been created by God.

  49. Dan says:

    I think the thing to notice here is that the silence from Rome already speaks to the fact that it is well known that they have lost the argument or that their is none to be had.
    To answer the Dubia or the Correctio would do those who support disorder and a weakening of the faith no good because in the area of the Church and the Magisterium they have already lost.
    They do however have support in the court of public (or media) opinion. They can not answer and it will only be noticed by a few of us who closely follow this sort of thing. For the rest of the world it is ignored, it will blow over like any other headline. Meanwhile by ignoring the argument Rome shows it does not even care and the majority of the world follows along that it is a non-issue.
    We need an effort from the pews, the faithful, to back their parish priests to bolster their wills. 10,000 lay people in a petition is one thing, 10,000 diocesan priests would be formidable.
    Pray for our Priests, Pray for our Religious they face insurmountable odds.
    Fortunately we know that God works in the seemingly insignificant. He built his church to be centered in one of the most hostile cities to Christianity in the world, Rome. He chose for the Patron Saint of Missionaries a nun who never left her convent, St. Therese. When the God of the universe sent his only Son into the world, He sent him as an infant, to a young girl in a crap town that “nothing good could come from”.

  50. Thomistica says:

    I voted “don’t care either way”.
    While well-intentioned, a public “debate” would go nowhere, except as one more deliciously comical piece of evidence of the profound incommensurability between various groups in the Church. As if any more evidence is in need.
    Comparisons with medieval disputation are otiose. Those disputations presupposed a huge background of agreement: affirmation of the law of non-contradiction; a deep knowledge of the Bible and Patristics; a deep knowledge of philosophy; a robust concept (a la Newman) of theological development; a respect for sound argumentation; a strong sense of the countercultural dimension of Catholicism.
    How is it possible to hold a debate with persons who publicly affirm that 2 + 2 =5, or who ignores the reality of sin, or for whom theology reduces to emotivism and good feeling?
    How often do we find any respect for rational argument among functionally Protestant Catholics, even at the very highest levels of the Church hierarchy?
    Fruitful debate presupposes appropriate conditions for debate, one of which is respect by both sides for the value of rationality, but that condition just isn’t there.
    Like it or not, a formalized rupture now appears on the horizon. Not to despair–it’s happened many, many times in the history of Catholicism. Each time unique, but each time confirming that the Church survives through a shedding process.

  51. Ave Crux says:


    1) There is no correlation between what is proposed by Mueller (a free ranging discussion in a rigged forum run by the Pope, who also overrode a majority dissenting vote on what would be included with the Synod documents) and what St. Thomas presents in the Summa.

    The Summa is not a *debate* with anyone on moral absolutes. Saint Thomas used the format precisely to clearly and summarily dispense with the stated spurious objections in order to establish beyond doubt the compelling nature of the objective truth he already knows.

    This is not what the Modernist Church Hierarchy would have in mind for the outcome of the proposed “debate”. You need only look at the outcome of the Synod to know that for a fact

    2) The violation of the natural law would not be a sin unless God had also made it a Divine positive law by way of the Sixth commandment.

    There cannot be a law without the lawgiver and God has given us the Divine Law.

    Violation of the natural law alone would not be a sin unless there were a God to punish the sinner. You have succumbed to a category confusion.

  52. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Changed my mind to “No.”

    Every minimally-educated, believing Catholic need only read the five dubia to know the correct answers. There is nothing to “debate.”

    Anyone who can read them and have no answer after five minutes, let alone a full year, convicts himself of total intellectual dishonesty.

  53. Gerhard says:

    We are in a ridiculous situation where we now have to ask what is the quorum deemed necessary before a response is given. The little guy no longer has any entitlements. We don’t count. And how laden with worldly accolades must we now be before we may be deigned a reply? This is elitism in the extreme, from those who hate elites. How ironic. Or is it only the great mass of ill-catechized, worldly, self-interested, own-convenience chasing, unbelieving, un”faithful” whose views count?

  54. Ave Crux says:

    @Gerhard: WELL SAID!!!

    You put it so well….The Church Hierarchy now coddles and conforms itself to those who can’t be bothered to conform to God’s revealed truths, nor the Christ Who died for them; while it kicks and despises the ones who love Him so much as to learn, live, transmit and defend His teachings.

    Those who signed the Filial Correction are deemed by the “elite” as too few and too unknown to matter (I guess we sheep aren’t “smelly” enough) even though they represent — not themselves — but the Church’s own Magisterium of two thousand years!!!

  55. Thomistica says:

    Yes, a lot of these prelates will be the first to criticize clericalism.
    Plank in the eye kind of thing.

  56. Sonshine135 says:

    I think it is a great idea. Unfortunately, those who say they want “dialogue” typically really only want “monologue”. Thus, what you get from the Vatican more often than not is crickets.

  57. Ave Crux says:

    That’s precisely it.

    What this Poll shows to my great dismay and angst is that even the most faithful Catholics (77% according to this Poll) don’t realize they’ve begun – in their innocence and good will – to think like Protestants!

    They have actually come to believe that we should now debate within the Church itself!, as though we’re not really sure what to believe anymore, settled questions on the absolutes of sexual morality, and…. that we should do this publicly before the whole world!

    Despite the fact that these very questions were settled thousands of years ago by God Himself on Mount Sinai when He gave Moses the Decalogue inscribed in stone, and by our Lord Jesus Christ when “the Word became Flesh and dwelt amongst us….”

    Keep hammering long enough and you can damage just about anything… even the faith of the elect. Or as Robert Royal said in his excellent article It’s an old philosophical truth that that once you abandon the principle of non-contradiction, you can prove anything.

    Even the most faithful Catholics (Fathers Z’s readers are surely representative of that demographic) are becoming disoriented in the pervasive smoke of Modernism now billowing through the Church’s sanctuary.

    Please, dear Faithful, take heed of where we are being led…..!

  58. Ave Crux says:

    NOTE: My comment immediately above was intended as a reply to Father Vincent Fitzpatrick for his succinct summation of this entire question.

  59. Jann says:

    I’m also greatly dismayed to see that only 4% voted “No”. Perhaps people are moved to the idea of debate because Cardinal Mueller suggested it? But as I said, I don’t understand the Cardinal’s reasoning.

  60. robtbrown says:

    Excuse the delay.

    Ave Crux says,

    God said plain and simple: “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. for in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.”… Same thing as “Thou shalt not commit adultery”!

    No, it’s not the same. The prohibition is not against knowledge. Rather, implicit in it is a denial of the notion that knowledge of the good can only be attained by comparing it with the knowledge and experience of evil.

  61. Jann says:

    As regards what God meant in his command about eating of the tree of knowledge — the first “discernment” ever, that between Eve and the serpent about what God meant ended badly, in Original Sin.

    Bishop Schneider portrays this discernment wonderfully in this video 0:25-1:44 (He speaks in English.):

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