Wednesday, June 8
I just read "The 30 Astounding Heresies of Pope Benedict XVI." Now, we know that -- as his critics have said themselves -- over the years Ratzinger has forgotten more theology than most theologians ever learn, so I wasn't expecting too much from a critique by some hack with a reprint of Tanquery. (I love Tanquery, by the way--I got an original copy at Loome's, check them out.)
However, "30 heresies" was really poorly done. Take this for example:
6) RATZINGER SAYS THAT WE CANNOT KNOW IF WHAT JESUS SAID IS TRUE
“Cardinal” Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology (1982), p. 359: “Granted, with regard to the ultimate questions of who God is or what good is, we can never achieve the degree of certainty we can achieve in the realm of mathematics and technology. But when all knowledge that does not take the form of technical knowledge is declared to be nonknowledge, then we are cut off from the truth. We cannot, for instance, decide whether what Jesus said is true but can only dispute whether or not he said it. But that is ultimately an idle question.”Our vigilante notes:
This is one of the most astounding heresies I’ve ever seen. [Note: I read the book and these sections carefully and these quotations are not taken out of context.] Not only does Ratzinger say that we cannot decide whether what Jesus said is true, but he says that we can dispute if he even said it.
Methings the lad can't read two sentences strung together. It's pretty evident (especially if one is used to Teutonic composition) that the bolded sentence presumes the proposition of the sentence immediately prior. In other words, it's one of those "for example..." sentences. I shouldn't feel the need to defend this observation because it's so obvious, but for some reason I feel like I should.
The Cardina is saying, as you can tell, that to reduce the field of "knowledge" simply to the indesputably observable phenomena, "then we are cut off from the truth," because the truth about God is (as St. Thomas Aquinas tells us) often a science which depends on Revelation, which can not be proven apart from itself. Therefore, the Cardinal warns that our definition of knowledge must have room for theology, whose conclusions are not directly observable. If we declare the truth of theology about God to be nonknowledge (the sentence prior to the sentence in question), then under this incorrect but hypothetical senerio, "we cannot, for example, decide whether what Jesus said is true but can only dispute whether or not he said it." Because, afterall, only what Jesus did or did not say is an observable thing.
I think hatred shortens one's attention span. Honestly, Jack Chick may well read Catholic theology with more honesty and patience. The next time you hear about the heresies of the Vicar of Christ, look at the actual evidence: it will probably be as simplistic as the above.