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Author Topic: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven  (Read 2285 times)

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Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #50 on: May 29, 2013, 01:31:11 AM »
Please don't deflect my opposition as simple ignorance. I know what papal infallibility is, and I find it dishonest.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #51 on: May 29, 2013, 07:33:22 AM »
I don't understand how you can possibly find it "dishonest".  I'm not sure if that was a bad word choice? 

Papal Infallibility is irrelevant to this discussion, in the main.  It doesn't apply to his comments here.  But I don't think that's currently in dispute?  Meikle has explained the steps needed for a statement to be infallible and - pretty obviously - they don't apply here.  But you seem to object in the general case and I can't understand why.  Could you expand please?

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #52 on: May 29, 2013, 09:54:37 PM »
I know infallibility wasn't invoked here, but its been mentioned several times in the thread,  so I commented on the concept >.< I find the wording of PF to be extremely dishonest, and so accepting it at all is dishonest regardless of if you invoke it. That's all. I don't understand the opposition to the comments, I'm meerly pointing out why I think PF is irrelevant to those who brought it up.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #53 on: May 29, 2013, 10:00:29 PM »
Sorry, Im still not with you.  You "find the wording to be dishonest".  I'm just confused by that "dishonest".  You think papal infallibility is somehow deceptive?  Or...? I'm sorry, I just don't understand what you mean.

Quote from: Vatican One
We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.

I just don't see it, sorry Sabby.  Many other adjectives I would have let pass without question, but "dishonest"?  Could you explain what it is you think is dishonest?

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #54 on: May 29, 2013, 10:09:52 PM »
Hmmm, that one is worded completely differently to wikipedia and the two other sources I went to. Same general message though, when he speaks in a certain context, he is 'exempt from the possibility of error'. Now, imagine Barack Obama making the same claim. How does that make you feel?

Probably the same as PF makes me feel.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #55 on: May 29, 2013, 10:12:54 PM »
Right, I see.  So your objection is that you feel that the Pope/Church must be "lying" when they assert Papal Infallibility because no one is infallible?  Is that right?  I'm anxious not to caricature your argument.

That one, incidentally, was copied and pasted directly from wikipedia

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #56 on: May 29, 2013, 10:17:09 PM »
The head for the centre of disease control says that when he makes an official statement regarding quarantines and hygene, he is exempt from the possibility of error.

Are you comfortable with this?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #57 on: May 29, 2013, 10:23:19 PM »
I think you might be muddling your metaphors a little, to be honest.  The pope is infallible when he "defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church" (from the Pastor Aeternus, quoted above).

What that means is when he says "The Catholic church believes X" then he's infallible.  The catholic church either now believes that or always has believed that, depending on a few factors.  And that's true almost by definition.  In certain circumstances the head of the CDC is exempt from the possibility of error.  If he says "We're putting Adelaide under quarantine" then he's right.  The decision is up to him, he's made it, he is exempt from the possibility of error because he literally cannot possibly be wrong.  Ditto when the Pope says Mary ascended to heaven.  The decision is up to him (well... leaving aside some complications).  He made it.  Error isn't an issue.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #58 on: May 29, 2013, 10:27:17 PM »
Hmmm, that one is worded completely differently to wikipedia and the two other sources I went to. Same general message though, when he speaks in a certain context, he is 'exempt from the possibility of error'. Now, imagine Barack Obama making the same claim. How does that make you feel?

Probably the same as PF makes me feel.

But the point is that the frame within which a pronouncement by the Pope can partake in infallibility at all is a narrow one. The conditions ("defining a doctrine regarding faith or morals" and stating it as part of the church's heritage, not a rule or a support argument but a doctrine meant to last, or already held as truth by many catholics, e.g. the sinless birth of Mary which was proclaimed a dogma in the mid-19th century but a popular belief long before that point) are rather strict. And the way those limitations are interpreted has probably been restricted even more, in practice, since 1870, when Vatican I took place. I doubt you'd find many Roman catholic priests these days who seriously claimed that if the pope is speaking about the use of contraceptives he is stating a doctrine and thus infallible. There's probably a hundred million practising catholics worldwide (or more) who don't bother about what "the church" says about contraceptives, or even abortions.

It's an interesting statement but I'd say it looks rather clear it wasn't meant as any definite statement of dogma.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 10:33:37 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #59 on: May 29, 2013, 10:32:02 PM »
Taking a course of action in the present, and making a claim of past events are not the same thing Kythia. "the church supports X and Y" is a statement with no error, because he made it so directly after, but "Mary existed, at X time, and ascended to Heaven" is NOT a claim you can make with no possibility of error.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #60 on: May 29, 2013, 10:41:42 PM »
You, errrrr, you seem to be tying yourself in bigger and bigger knots here, Sabby.  Let me try to break down what I see as the flaw in your argument.

Original Sin is a concept within the Catholic church.  The Pope infallibly decreed that Mary didn't have it.  Original sin has no objective existence, it is entirely contained by the church.  So who has it and who doesn't is entirely a matter for the Church.  As Louise says, it had long been (orthodoxly) held that Mary was free from Original Sin, but it wasn't confirmed until the 19th century.  From that point on, it was anathema to believe otherwise.  You might, I do, that's fine.  Neither of us are Catholic. 

However, for Catholics the matter of faith is now settled.  She was without Original Sin.  As such, she ascended directly to heaven.  This all follows by definition.  There is literally nothing controversial there, if you find something so then I suggest its because there's an aspect you haven't understood.

You seem to be claiming by "Mary existed, at X time, and ascended to Heaven is NOT a claim you can make with no possibility of error" that this is a discussion open to, I dunno, eyewitness accounts and checking the guestbook at the pearly gates.  Its not, for the simple reason that there is no proof of the existence of heaven.  Heaven, everything about it and who goes there and doesn't is a matter of faith.  Which the Pope is, in certain circumstances, infallible on.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #61 on: May 29, 2013, 10:43:22 PM »
Taking a course of action in the present, and making a claim of past events are not the same thing Kythia. "the church supports X and Y" is a statement with no error, because he made it so directly after, but "Mary existed, at X time, and ascended to Heaven" is NOT a claim you can make with no possibility of error.

But saying "X is true" here, as a faith statement, probably doesn't mean "true" in quite the same physical and local sense as "It is true that there are two Ford cars parked outside this house right now", "George W Bush was sworn in as president in January 2001", "It rained last night in Denver" or "This computer runs on Windows XP and has three gigs of RAM". If that was it, you'd have to ask "What or where is Heaven, and Hell. Where exactly is the door to heaven?" and find a down-to-earth, tight, doctrinal answer to those questions. Something like Dante's hell. And that's something most theologians today would be wary of doing, answering those as if Heaven was a defined physical place.


Most believers in any religion don't think of their faith, their erm, creed statements, as stuff that's founded on somebody's observation data and which they would abandon if the observations were faulted. That's not just true of catholicism, it's just as true for Jews, Buddhists or evangelic christians. Regarding it as a series of empirical, "I know this because it was checked" statements about the eternal truths is beside the point. And honestly, if we could go back to 33 AD in a time machine and witness the last weeks of Jesus leading up to the crucifixion, even if we heard about his resurrection, that in itself wouldn't prove that the Christian faith is true in any wider sense.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 10:53:13 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #62 on: May 29, 2013, 10:50:25 PM »
...if that's it, then the wording isn't dishonest, its uneccessary and confusing. There's no need for the term infallibility at all. It only serves to add a tone of arrogance.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #63 on: May 29, 2013, 10:58:31 PM »
...if that's it, then the wording isn't dishonest, its uneccessary and confusing. There's no need for the term infallibility at all. It only serves to add a tone of arrogance.

By the same token, Lincoln's Gettysburg address or Churchill's "Blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech could be labeled "unnecessary and confusing boasts" too. It's not as if those were watertight empirical statements either.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #64 on: May 29, 2013, 11:00:28 PM »
By the same token, Lincoln's Gettysburg address or Churchill's "Blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech could be labeled "unnecessary and confusing boasts" too. It's not as if those were watertight empirical statements either.

Precisely.  What you object to there, Sabby, is the existence of rhetoric. 

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #65 on: May 29, 2013, 11:04:41 PM »
No, I object to someone calling themselves infallible in a context where fallibility is not a concern. That's not simple retoric, that's ridiculous status mongering.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #66 on: May 29, 2013, 11:15:47 PM »
No, I object to someone calling themselves infallible in a context where fallibility is not a concern. That's not simple retoric, that's ridiculous status mongering.

Infallibility is pretty much another word for supreme authority here, authority on certain issues. It's not as if the pope has ever been entrusted with knowing and deciding on everything in and under the sky as an infallible umpire. When they're saying the papal office - the pope - is infallible on certain things, it's the same kind of statement as "the US Supreme Court has the last word on the constitutionality and legal handling of a U.S. law". Presumably you see the second one as rational and the first one as gibberish, but that's really your view of what makes authoritative judgment. (For the record, I am not RC, so I'm not defending my own faith here).
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 12:06:43 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #67 on: May 29, 2013, 11:24:44 PM »
When they're saying the papal office - the pope - is inafllible on certain things, it's the same kind of statement as "the US Supreme Court has the last word on the constitutionality and legal handling of a U.S. law".

I'm aware of what it means, and the two are not at all the same. It all goes back to the world infallible. Just remove that, and we have no issue here.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #68 on: May 29, 2013, 11:30:14 PM »
Mmmm, it seems part of the problem here is you don't know what infallible means:

infallible [ɪnˈfæləbəl]
adj
1. not fallible; not liable to error
2. not liable to failure; certain; sure an infallible cure
3. completely dependable or trustworthy

I've highlighted the relevant definition.

Offline meikle

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #69 on: May 29, 2013, 11:31:11 PM »
The head for the centre of disease control says that when he makes an official statement regarding quarantines and hygene, he is exempt from the possibility of error.

Are you comfortable with this?
The Church says it, not the Pope.

This is like arguing that it's wrong for the President to invoke his executive power because who does he think he is?  Well, the people who follow the Pope give him his infallibility, he didn't give it to himself.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 11:33:44 PM by meikle »

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #70 on: May 29, 2013, 11:35:50 PM »
Kythia, forgive me if I doubt that was the definition they had in mind.

Meek, no idea what you mean by that.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #71 on: May 29, 2013, 11:38:06 PM »

Kythia, forgive me if I doubt that was the definition they had in mind.

Well, now you're just making up arguments, Sabby.  That's what the word means.

Quote
Meek, no idea what you mean by that.

What meikle meant is that the doctrine of Papal Infallability comes from the Church not the Pope.  He doesn't say he's infallible because he's an ego maniac, he says he's infallible because the organisation that elected him gave him that power.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #72 on: May 29, 2013, 11:50:04 PM »
What meikle meant is that the doctrine of Papal Infallability comes from the Church not the Pope.  He doesn't say he's infallible because he's an ego maniac, he says he's infallible because the organisation that elected him gave him that power.

Plus it's understood he can really only have that power if he is on good speaking terms with the church, and with the powers above.

Clipping this from a book on Erasmus and his discussions with Luther at the time of the reformation: "At the heart of Erasmus' argument is his assertion that the Holy Ghost would not have permitted His church to wander in error on critical matters of faith for a thousand years" (Luther said that was what had occurred). So according to the catholic church there's a need for a reliable, fully dependable doctrinal instance to decide this kind of thing, and it takes the view that it holds that instance on its own top level, though under God.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 11:51:26 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #73 on: May 29, 2013, 11:52:19 PM »
Yeah, absolutely.  Papal infallibility flows naturally from the indefectibility of the church.

Online SkynetTopic starter

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #74 on: May 30, 2013, 01:33:16 AM »
In this case it sounds like the Church disagrees with him, and said that he was wrong on this issue:

Salon Article.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 01:34:19 AM by Skynet »