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I Thought This Was A Joke Until...

I was reading this article in the LA TImes about a group of "Catholics" who reject heliocentrism in favor of geocentrism because the Bible says so or something. I it was a joke until...

First the lead in...

A few conservative Roman Catholics are pointing to a dozen Bible verses and the church's original teachings as proof that Earth is the center of the universe, the view that was at the heart of the church's clash with Galileo Galilei four centuries ago.

The relatively obscure movement has gained a following among those who find comfort in knowing there are still staunch defenders of early church doctrine.

"This subject is, as far as I can see, an embarrassment to the modern church because the world more or less looks upon geocentrism, or someone who believes it, in the same boat as the flat Earth," said James Phillips ofCicero, Ill.
There is nothing conservative or Catholic about this silly point of view. Honestly, I thought that these people must be having a little fun at somebody's expense until I read this paragraph.
Those promoting geocentrism argue that heliocentrism, or the centuries-old consensus among scientists that Earth revolves around the sun, is a conspiracy to squelch the church's influence.

"Heliocentrism becomes dangerous if it is being propped up as the true system when, in fact, it is a false system," said Robert Sungenis, leader of a budding movement to get scientists to reconsider. "False information leads to false ideas, and false ideas lead to illicit and immoral actions — thus the state of the world today.… Prior to Galileo, the church was in full command of the world, and governments and academia were subservient to her."
Sungenis? I guess picking on the Jews all the time gets boring so one has to have his hobbies.

Why can't we be satisfied to make the case that Galileo was a jerk who purposefully picked a fight with a Pope who initially supported him.

Truth is that Galileo was a tool but Sungenis is a bigger one.

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109 comments:

LarryD said...

Switch a couple letters in geocentrism and you get egocentrism.

Jill said...

Not to give credit to this movement or anything, but I would be careful to discredit anyone who upholds a theory based on the argument the people are weirdos and that the theory is contrary to what everyone else has believed for a long time. After all, this is the argument that the 'flat earth' people used for years against those who argued that the earth was round.

Now if the article goes on to disprove their theory using scientific evidence, that's another matter. But attacking the messengers as weirdos is bad form and there's nothing Catholic or conservative about that either.

Regina said...

The sun is the center of the universe......abortion, gay marriage, terrorism....I get it!

Deirdre Mundy said...

Jill---- the article doesn't NEED to disprove heliocentrism... physics does.... well, unless you go all relative and say "Assuming the earth is still...blah, blah. blah....."

Besides, the original case against Galileo was NOT that his science was wrong-- it was that, in his book, he portrayed the sitting pope as a drooling idiot and then got all high and mighty about how he didn't have to say "sorry."

There were plenty of priests and religious who agreed with him and advised him that he'd get a better reception if he just acted a little more polite.

He was sort of like the Feynman of the Renaissance.....

Brent said...

It's people like Robert Sungenis who make it so much harder for Catholics (and religious in general) to have dissenting opinions on scientific topics such as climate change and abortion. If the modern world thinks that our position is always, "the Bible says so," then we will not be taken seriously in any scientific debate.

One of my early childhood teachers once said that the Bible is correct in terms of the truth of salvation, not scientific fact. Pointing to the Bible as science basically means we need to discount centuries of scientific achievement.

JoAnna said...

Haven't these people gotten the memo that the Bible is not a science textbook?

Dan said...

I had the same thought as Jill. This topic can inspire a lot of ridicule, but that's just because most of us have never delved seriously into the issue. When I first heard there were people actually involved in such discussions, I asked a few different physics professors about it. Some of them simply said "that's ridiculous,"and offered some mathematical constructs. But other professors, who impressed me more, treated it as a serious discussion. They said such mathematical constructs do not constitute proof, but only explanation for a point of view. They referenced Einstein, among others whose names I do not remember, to explain that neither heliocentrism nor geocentrism can be proven. We would need to have some point of observation from outside our solar system in order to prove either one. Prevailing thought today simply prefers to construct mathematical models from a heliocentric premise in order to explain observations of the universe. The same observations, though, can be explained by math based on a geocentric premise... some of them, more easily.

Anonymous said...

Joanna, the Bible isn't a scientific textbook, but all the statements that the Scriptures make about the physical phenomenom of the world is scientifically correct, because they are without error. Also, as Dan pointed out, neither geo or helio can be proven scientifically. The Bible and our Church Fathers taught geocentricism. They rejected heliocentricism, even through that was the prevailing belief among the pagan Greeks and Romans. Could they have been wrong for all those years? I don't think so! BTW, if you folks are going to criticize Sungenis, read his book on geo first, then criticize or praise him to your hearts content. Scotju

JoAnna said...

"...all the statements that the Scriptures make about the physical phenomenom of the world is scientifically correct, because they are without error."

This assumes that all such statements are meant to be taken absolutely literally, which is not necessarily the case. The Bible's purpose is not to provide scientific fact, so any statements about physical phenomenon within the Bible are not necessarily meant to be read as quantifiable scientific fact.

Alexander S. Anderson said...

Galileo needed to prove parallax in order to prove his theory (the lack of parallax in the stars was Aristotle's main objection to the Earth moving). He couldn't prove parallax, but a later guy did. At that point, (the late 18th Century) the Church wholeheartedly approved of the geocentric theory, and struck down any prohibitions relating to Galileo. Thus, this man is an idiot. Roma locuta, causa finita est.

Paul said...

Sungenis has been on the geocentrism thing for many years; this is nothing new for him.

Matt said...

I am not a geocentrist, but I know several at my parish. Their arguments are sincere and frankly they are some of the best and most faithful Catholic I know.

Anonymous said...

So now we know that even the "best and most faithful" Catholics can be dead wrong (and foolish) when it comes to science.

Anonymous said...

Joanna, I know their are a lot of things in the Bible that are not to be taken literally, but I stand by what I said about the Bible being 100% accurate about physical phenominom when it touches on it. After all, God created the physical world in seven days, and I certainly believe that is to be taken literally. Scotju

JoAnna said...

Actually, anon, the Bible does not say that God created the world in 7 24-hour days. This is an excellent article about why I (and many other Catholics) are not young-earth creationists: http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-im-not-young-earth-creationist.html

Can you tell me where it says in the Bible that it (the Bible) is 100% accurate about physical phenomena?

Ranting Catholic Mom said...

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Both scientists and believers posit that life is a "special outcome" in a "vast and mostly inhospitable universe," and to study this common understanding, the Vatican brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to work on and study astrobiology.

So it appears the Vatican is taking this debate seriously as well. I'm more of a not-young-earth-intelligent-design kind of thinker. I'm always reluctant to label ideas crazy until I know it to be true? No. Am I willing to pursue the question? Frankly, I don't have the time. Besides that, I have enough things tempting me to crazy-town with any need to go there.

David L Alexander said...

Robert Sungenis has lived on the lunatic fringe of Catholic traditionalism for years now; not only with bad science, but his anti-Semitism. Non-Catholics read about this nonsense and assume Catholics are all this ignorant of science. Who's there to tell them, for instance, that the Vatican's own astronomers had reached the same conclusion as to which revolved around what as Galileo. (Where did I learn that? On PBS, believe it or not.) In fact, the Church has contributed more to science over the centuries than any other institution. But don't take my word for it; read Dr Thomas Woods' outstanding (dare I say, mandatory) work entitled "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization."

Anonymous said...

JoAnna, I've read this article already. It's just the same old classic liberal hogwash that has destroyed the faith of millions of Christians over the last 150 years. The Church has always taught that the world was created in six days. thekolbecenter.org has scads of articles showing what the Church has always taught on creation and evolution. None of the Early Church Fathers believed in any form of evolution. They were all believers in special creation in a six day, twenty four hour in a day framework, with the exception of Augustine, who thought God did it all at once.
You asked for something that would show you the accuracy of the Bible on physical phenomena. Okay, take several days to read 100777.com/node/534 it has all the proof an honest person needs to see the Bible is scientifically accurate. Scotju

JoAnna said...

"Classic liberal hogwash"? From Joe Heschmeyer? Seriously? Did you even read the article, as you claim? I doubt it, or else you would have read this portion: Of course it's fine to think that the events of Genesis 1 occurred over seven literal twenty-four hour days. There's no sin in taking this view, and the Church has left this field wide open for multiple permissive interpretations. But it's also possible to think that Genesis 1 is Divinely inspired, and not referring to these days literally.

"The Church has always taught that the world was created in six days."

No, She hasn't.

Please tell me when where either the Church or the Bible has claimed that the Bible is scientifically accurate in terms of descriptions of physical phenomena. Please.

Blackrep said...

I run into a lot of biblical literalism in my traditional circles. It depresses me. I get this panic that mankind can, in religious fervor, be cast back into the Stone Age. This kind of fundamentalism is absolutely intractable in debate , because its starting points are not facts of science, but tenets of faith. You are doomed from the very start. Doomed.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ is the Sun of Justice and Robert Sungenis is running from Him. Where will Sungenis hide?

Anonymous said...

JoAnna, I don't care if Joe Hershmeyer or Karl Keating's Catholic Answers says it , classic liberal hogwash is classic liberal hogwash. I've read enough articles and books in a forty year period to know the history of religious liberalism in the Protestant and Catholic Churches always started by undermining confidence in the literal, traditional reading of Genesis. That undermining has caused the downfall of the mainstream Protestant Churches, and has caused horrible havoc in our Church. You see, if you don't believe Genesis 1-11, why believe the rest of the Bible? Why even stay Christian? Why even go through the motions of going to a Catholic mass if you don't believe in the fall of man. After all, if there was no fall, there's no need for a redeemer, right?
You want to know wheather the Bible is scientifically accurate? I gave you two links in a previous post. Please go to them.
Blackrep, if you're a traditionalist, why does Biblical literalism upset you? You did understand that was part of the package, didn't you? Faith is also a part of the package too. Heb 11:1-3 tells s that by faith we believe God created the world. It is evidence that isn't seen. Genesis tells us the details of how it happened. We weren't there, so we have to trust what God tells us in Genesis to know what happened. Science can only make guesses at what happened, many of them wrong, due to researcher bias, especially if the bias is toward evolution. Scotju

Admiror said...

While it's important to note that believing in a 7 day creation does not equate to young earth creationism (which started via evangelical Protestant movements in the 19th century, not via Catholic origins), I also think it is important to note that the scientific beliefs of the early Church fathers result from the time in which they were immersed. What God gives us in the creation account is Truth, but even that Truth was analyzed by the fathers in light of what they understood about nature, which they learned from, among other sources, the writings of Greek, pagan, philosophers like Aristotle. Now, using the intelligence and perceptive senses which God gave humanity so that we might come to know and love Him better, we have a different understanding of the nature of the Universe than Aristotle did (such as Galileo's idea that objects of the same mass fall at the same rate in an vacuum on Earth). In light of this, it is appropriate to look at what God gave us in the creation account and understand it in the sense of what is now known about the Universe which he created. The Church has noted that there is nothing wrong in taking a literal interpretation to the creation accounts (both of them with their slightly different chronology?) in Genesis, but it has also suggested that this is NOT the only interpretation permitted. None less than Bl. John Henry Newman wrote that the work of Darwin on evolution could be compatible with Christianity (as a friend recently published in a journal on Newman studies).

I am a student in the sciences. I am surrounded by people who have left the Church, not because of evolution (some may say this but there is a deeper cause) but because of a lack of visible Catholics in their fields, because of a sense that they must hide their faith, or because of a conflict between the mentality of the day (freedom is to do what you want) and what the Church teachers (true liberation comes from Christ, as found in the Communion of his Church). As Catholics, we need to engage the scientific community, which is ever influential, and we need to fight the perceptions that the Church is antiscience, that the Church is irrational, and show that she loves Truth, not just as our senses and maths allow us to discover but also, most especially, in its full revelation in Christ. We need to show that is possible to love Christ and respond to the wonder for nature which is inherent to our minds.

For this reason, I think people who promote geocentricism under the name Catholic do great harm.

Saint Michael Come To Our Defense said...

Holy Mother Church teaches geocentricism.

To reject this belief is heresy.

A short article for your edification:

http://lapidesclamabunt.angelfire.com/hoax.htm

*

JoAnna said...

Saint Michael,

"Holy Mother Church teaches geocentricism. To reject this belief is heresy."

Really? Could you please quote the relevant papal documents citing this teaching? I can't find it in the Catechism and your link didn't provide it, either...

thepalmhq said...

I am presenting a series of postings on neo-geocentrism which may be of interest to some here at The Reluctant Traditionalist, http://thepalmhq.blogspot.com/

(My posting on "Neo-Geo Double Standards and Exaggerations on Magisterial Documents" demonstrates that there are no papal documents that establish geocentrism as a matter of faith, per Joanna's question.)

With regard to whether geocentrism and acentrism are just equally viable scientific views, the amount of special pleading necessary to uphold geocentrism indicates that they're. See e.g.

http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=7615355&postcount=59

God bless.

Rachel said...

The Catechism cannot state every fact from every council from every century. Read the Councils and the Early Church Fathers and educate yourself. It is your duty as a Catholic now that you know there is contention on the subject. JoAnna does not need to feed you the facts like you're a schoolkid. And you're not going to learn everything you need to know in the comments section of a blog.

Racehl said...

Sorry, you're Joanna. Well, I was referring whoever you were replying to.

thepalmhq said...

Whoops. "the amount of special pleading necessary to uphold geocentrism indicates that they're NOT." Not equally viable, that is.

Margaret said...

@Rachel-- but if the Church really taught geocentrism infallibly, standing in sharp contrast to the "prevailing wisdom", as She stands against the "prevailing wisdom" on issues like contraception, divorce, abortion, homosexual activity, etc. etc. etc., then surely it would at least merit a line or two in the catechism.

I have the same reaction to those who claim the Church law on female head-covering was never abrogated. Again, IF the Church was actually standing against nearly the whole world on the issue, wouldn't we hear about it from the Holy Father, at least occasionally??

Our Church knows we are slow stupid people. She wouldn't rely on us to have to slog through troves of documents, valuable thought they may be, to discover a truth of the Faith that she is carefully **hiding away** from us. Lamp, bushel basket, all that...

Rachel said...

Golly, the Holy Father is quite busy. And truly, yes, we do have to "slog" through centuries worth of documents, encyclicals, writings of the saints, etc. Do you really trust your immortal soul to a summary? Not me. I want to learn the true faith no matter how much slogging it requires. I'll help you though. Read the writings of the Doctor of the Church, St. Bellarmine. St. Bellarmine was very vocal about heliocentrism being a heresy. Will any of you read his letter explaining the heresy of heliocentrism and tell me that a Doctor of the Church was mistaken?

Also, do you think the Church hides this away or do you think it is the enemy of the Church that hides this away? Do you think Satan and legion would love to make this more convoluted to confuse you? Satan is the master of lies, never forget.

JoAnna said...

Rachel, surely if heliocentrism was such a grave heresy, at least ONE pope would have said so in his official capacity as the successor of St. Peter. Can you provide me with such a citation, please? I have slogged though Church documents but I've been unable to find a definitive, binding statement from a pope stating so.

Anonymous said...

These are highly complex ideas which physicists are continually trying to grapple with. Clearly observation is limited by the viewpoint being from or near Earth. "Dan" above explains the dilemna quite well. There is still much to learn about the various forces which appear to hold the visible and invisible matter and energy of the Earth in balance. Highly intriguing. I understand many astro- and quantum-physicists have been finding the Bible ever more enlightening in recent decades! LyndaThese are highly complex ideas which physicists are continually trying to grapple with. Clearly observation is limited by the viewpoint being from or near Earth. "Dan" above explains the dilemna quite well. There is still much to learn about the various forces which appear to hold the visible and invisible matter and energy of the Earth in balance. Highly intriguing. I understand many astro- and quantum-physicists have been finding the Bible ever more enlightening in recent decades! Lynda

Anonymous said...

Correction: " ... which hold the visible and invisible matter and energy of the UNIVERSE in balance." Lyndad energy of the UNIVERSE in balance." Lynda

Laura said...

WOW... the Bible is infallible in matters of faith, not science, and it is definitely NOT a heresy to believe in heliocentrism.

Anonymous said...

The astonishing thing is that Mr. Olson is apparently equally ignorant of the science involved in this profoundly important question, and of his Catholic obligation to refrain from calumny.

I will attempt a very basic initial remedy of the former here:

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/krauss06/krauss06.2_index.html

Relevant excerpt:

"But when you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That's crazy. We're looking out at the whole universe. There's no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic. That would say we are truly the center of the universe."

Now it is true, sir, that you are unaware of these observations, as well as the many other very recent and highly anomalous observational evidences of the visible universe on its largest scales, which put Earth- yes, at the center of the universe.

You will learn much more about this over the coming year.

Please, as to the calumny, cease.

You are the embarrassment, Mr. Olson.

You are simply ignorant of the circumstances you presume so callously and uncharitably to judge.

Anonymous said...

DR. ROBERT SUNGENIS HAS POSTED A STUNNING REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE AT WWW.GALILEO.BLOGSPOT.COM. HIS OTHER GEOCENTRISM SITE IS WWW.GALILEOWASWRONG.COM.

James B. Phillips

Rick said...

Has it occurred to anyone yet that the Catholic Church believed geocentrism for a thousand years- with absolutely not a single Father in dissent?

They believed geocentrism despite being perfectly acquainted with the rival heliocentric systems of the Greeks.

Why?

Because they- unanimously- understood that the Bible teaches it, is why.

The modern Catholic is almost hysterical in an eagerness to deny any possible scientific truth in the Bioble, and *this is absolutely unknown to the Church of all prior ages*.

Utterly, completely novel.

Something is really going on under the surface here, because if geocentrism is to be ridiculed on scientific grounds, it is surely apparent from this thread that the objectors have not got a remote, tiny, hint of a clue about the science.

If it is to be ridiculed on theological grounds, then we are ridiculing the Faith of every Father, and indeed of virtually every Catholic member of the Church Triumphant.

Is it really possible that modern Catholics are so disconnected from Tradition that they scorn it, ridicule and disdain it, without even considering the recent scientific evidence which is absolutely shocking, showing a universe which is oriented on its very largest visible scales and structures with Earth- supposedly an insignificant mote?

JoAnna said...

Rick -

Has it occurred to anyone yet that the Catholic Church believed geocentrism for a thousand years- with absolutely not a single Father in dissent?

Could that possibly be because the Church Fathers were theologians and not scientists, and they were more concerned with prolumgating the theological Truths of the faith as opposed to teaching science classes?

If all the early Church fathers, without dissent, also taught that ensoulment occurred at quickening and not before, would you believe that as well?

admiror said...

Rick. I haven't spoken about the science because I do not think the argument needs to be made from the point of science. However, as an astrophysicist, I can speak from the point of science.

What lead to the success of heliocentricism? Kepler's use of Newtonian gravity to develop orbital solutions to the planets motion which quite successfully predicted the positions of the planets without all of the complexities which the Ptolemaic system requires.
In fact, even before this, the Jesuits of the Roman College, reading of Galileo's observations in support of heliocentrism, conducted further research in it and even sent astronomers to their missions in China, Korea, and Japan to teach this concept and help correct their calenders. Of course after Galileo's fall-in with the Inquisition, they obeyed the ruling.

Ok, so theory is great, but observation is needed too. The first support to heliocentric is parallax, in which a star changes position relative to further stars due to the Earth's motion (one looks at a star at one time of the year and then again much later in the year). This can only happen if the Earth moves. Another support are observations of planets around other stars. One way in which we've detected planets and learned about them is observing the change in luminosity in a star, caused by an eclipse of the star by the planet. We then use Newtonian gravity and Kepler's equations to learn about the star.

Some final points. I talk about Newtonian gravity. This is not an Aristotelean view. The Fathers knew nothing about Newtonian gravity. Their response might be that objects fall because the ground is the proper place for them. Would anyone here also contest Newtonian gravity or anything else in modern science? Computers are not mentioned in the Bible. Does this mean that computers dont' exist or are against the Tradition of the Church?

Further, we should note that the Fathers are NOT infallible. Certainly they've made vital contributions to Tradition. But we must also remember that they contributed to tradition (as distinguished from Tradition). As far as I know, the Bible doesn't favor helio over geocentricism. The verses used to support geocentricism were used to support ideas which came from the Greeks. If heliocentricism had been the big theory (it existed but it wasn't advocated by the philosophers who the Fathers used to develop theology), then probably those verses might have been used to support heliocentricism.

admiror said...

some corrections. I understand that the Fathers also contributed,quite vitally to Tradition (as well as tradition).

Also, we use Kepler's equations and Newton to study the planets around other stars, rather than the stars (for which we use some other concepts rooted more in atomic physics and statistical mechanics)

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

Catholics are simply following the teaching of Pope Leo XIII, who enshrined the teaching of the Doctors Augustine and Thomas by stating that, "the Holy Ghost 'Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation.' Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science" (Providentissimus Deus 18).

This teaching was repeated by Pope Pius XII in Divino Afflante Spiritu 3. Pope John Paul II taught that, "the Bible does not concern itself with the details of the physical world, the understanding of which is the competence of human experience and reasoning."

These are principles, which means that they apply broadly, unlike canonical penalties which the Church applies very narrowly. No Catholic today holds a belief that would fall under the seventeenth century discipline restricting Copernicanism (which of course has been removed regardless), but the principles laid out by Leo XIII, Pius XII, and John Paul II do illuminate what Catholics are bound to hold.

Leo XIII also taught that it is "in things of faith and morals, belonging to the building up of Christian doctrine" (PD 14) that an alleged consensus of the Father binds. But as we saw above, no such details of the physical universe were revealed by the Holy Spirit. So please stop insinuating that Catholics are anything less than faithful if they reject geocentrism in favor of more modern cosmological views.

thepalmhq said...

FWIW there a response to the matter of the CMB by Dr. Ethan Siegel may be found here:

http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/01/so_the_earth_is_6001_years_old.php

IMO the problem with the neo-geocentrists is that they fixate upon (and twist) these sorts of new cosmological measurements while at the same time ignoring the much better established evidence that turns geocentrism into a massive exercise in special pleading.

For example, "admiror" rightly brought up stellar parallax. It would never be predicted by a geocentric theory and in a geocentric universe it should not exist at all. Now, after it's proven to exist, what does the geocentrist say? Oh, no problem, we can still have stellar parallax (and aberration of starlight) as long as the movements of the stars are **centered on the sun**, not the earth. This is just one example of the kind of ad hoc special pleading that's necessary to uphold geocentrism in the face of the scientific evidence that we can get at most readily, right here in our own solar system.

Rick said...

JoAnna asks: "Could that possibly be because the Church Fathers were theologians and not scientists, and they were more concerned with prolumgating the theological Truths of the faith as opposed to teaching science classes?"

>> No. The Bible is true in all that it asserts, and this includes matters touching upon science (for example, it is true that the world shall end, because the Bible asserts this, regardless of the degree of consensus attached to contrary arguments, e.g. of the existence of eternally inflating multiverses or an eternally existing steady state universe. It is also true that the human race begins with Adam and Eve, two original parents, and this is also true regardless of the degree of consensus attached to contrary arguments, e.g. those based upon the conclusions of genetics at a given point in the development of human knowledge.

One can argue whether geocentrism meets the criterion of a unanimous consensus of the Fathers, but not that the Bible is to be interpreted on a given point against a consensus of the Fathers merely because science claims that the consensus on that point is false.

The highest degree of authority exercised so far by the magisterium on the question of geocentrism is found in the Papal Sentence of 1633, which sounds a note rather challenging to modern ears:

"The proposition that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture.

The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith."

This formal and binding act of the ordinary magisterium has certainly been abandoned in practice, but has never been reversed by any similarly authoritative act of the magisterium.

I do acknowledge that the above case does not in itself rise to the level of an infallible definition of the Faith, but then again, it does not have to, *if* the point at issue represents a unanimous consensus of the Fathers.

Trent infallibly proclaims that such a consensus is itself irreversible, and infallible under the ordinary magisterium.

JoAnn: "If all the early Church fathers, without dissent, also taught that ensoulment occurred at quickening and not before, would you believe that as well?"

>> Of course. This would represent an infallible teaching of the ordinary magisterium, under your hypothetical circumstance, as defined at the Council of Trent.

There is no such consensus in reality, of course.

JoAnna said...

No. The Bible is true in all that it asserts, and this includes matters touching upon science.

I'm still waiting for someone to provide proof (from a papal encyclical, or the early Church fathers) that the Bible is intended to be read as a scientific treatise on physical phenomena.

This article goes into greater detail about the Galileo situation and the papal sentence you reference above, but simply put: the pope was mistaken (as popes can be in private judgement!), and belief in heliocentricism was never declared a heresy by either ex cathedra pronouncement or an ecumenical council (or, so far as I'm aware, any papal encyclical).

Of course. This would represent an infallible teaching of the ordinary magisterium, under your hypothetical circumstance, as defined at the Council of Trent.

Heliocentrism and geocentrism aren't a matter of faith and morals (but rather of science), and that's one of the criteria for an infallible teaching of the ordinary magisterium.

Rick said...

JoAnna:

The Bible is true in all that it asserts. Surely you believe that? How could it be otherwise? It has God for its Author, and the Holy Spirit employed the human authors- who made use of their own faculties as true authors- in such a way as they wrote exact;y what He wanted, no more and no less.

No one suggests, unless tendentiously, that the Bible is scientific treatise. It is far far more.

But to suggest that it can never address a given scientific or historical question is much much worse than merely false.

Rick said...

admiror said...
"Rick. I haven't spoken about the science because I do not think the argument needs to be made from the point of science. However, as an astrophysicist, I can speak from the point of science."

>> Thank you very much for engaging this question.

admiror: "What lead to the success of heliocentricism? Kepler's use of Newtonian gravity to develop orbital solutions to the planets motion which quite successfully predicted the positions of the planets without all of the complexities which the Ptolemaic system requires."

>> While Gingerich shows that the number of epicycles in Copernicus' system actually exceeds those in Ptolemy's, it is also true that Kepler received his observational data from the great geocentrist Tycho Brahe, who used them to develop the Tychonic geocentric system.

There is no difference at all in the observed motions, including in the case of stellar parallax, between Copernicus (suitably modified) and Tycho (suitably modified).

Newton certainly provided a compelling argument for heliocentrism at the time, but we now know it to have been based on assumptions concerning absolute space which have since *of necessity* been abandoned.

Einstein, in order to answer the repeated failures to directly measure the assumed orbital motion of the Earth over the previous two centuries, proposed the Theory of Relativity, one of the remarkable consequences of which he states in this way:

""The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS [coordinate system] could be used with equal justification. The two sentences, 'the sun is at rest and the earth moves', or 'the sun moves and the earth is at rest', would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems]."---The Evolution of Physics: From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta, Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, New York, Simon and Schuster 1938, 1966 p.212

But even Relativity's approach has failed drastically when we attempt to account for observations on any scale larger than a stellar cluster, as here:

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1004.5602v2

Excerpt:

"According to the standard concordance model of cosmology, over 95% of the energy content of the universe is extraordinary- dark matter or dark energy whose existence has been inferred from the failure of the Standard Model of particle physics plus General Relativity to describe the behavior of astrophysical systems larger than a stellar cluster- while the very homogeneity and isotropy (and inhomogeneity) of the universe owe to the influence of an inflaton field whose particle-physics identity is completely mysterious even after three decades of theorizing......testing the cosmological principle should be one of the key goals of modern observational cosmology".

I agree with Drs. Corpi and Huterer, and I can tell you they are far from alone. The Copernican Principle, remarkably successful as it has been, now faces truly dramatic challenges.

Rick said...

It seems clear that the physics which works well on local scales cannot simply be assumed in any way to have been established scientifically at larger scales (this should not surprise us- after all Ptolemy worked quite well for centuries, and Newton as well, within the constraints of the era).

admiror: "The first support to heliocentric is parallax, in which a star changes position relative to further stars due to the Earth's motion (one looks at a star at one time of the year and then again much later in the year). This can only happen if the Earth moves."

>> Not so. A simple coordinate shift, with Earth at the center and the Sun and stars orbiting on the plane of the ecliptic (yes, the very same plane discovered to correspond to a universe-wide spanning axis of the CMB, interestingly enough) yields precisely the same observed parallax.

The point is made in here, University of Illinois, Physics 319, Spring 2004, Lecture 03, p. 8:

"It is often said that Tycho’s model implies the absence of parallax, and that Copernicus’ requires parallax. However, it would not be a major conceptual change to have the stars orbit the sun (like the planets) for Tycho, which would give the same yearly shifts in their apparent positions as parallax gives. Thus if parallax were observed, a flexible Tychonean could adjust the theory to account for it, without undue complexity. What if parallax were not observed? For Copernicus, one only requires that the stars be far enough away for the parallax to be unmeasurable. Therefore the presence or absence of parallax doesn’t force the choice of one type of model over the other."

admiror: "Another support are observations of planets around other stars. One way in which we've detected planets and learned about them is observing the change in luminosity in a star, caused by an eclipse of the star by the planet. We then use Newtonian gravity and Kepler's equations to learn about the star."

>> This assumes that Earth is in orbit like the other planets, which is to be demonstrated, not assumed, in the present controversy. If Earth were to occupy a position analogous to the barycenter of a gyroscope, then we would observe exactly what you say, but the Earth would not be moving.

This is why the failure to measure the orbit directly was such a huge challenge to physics, and why Relativity had to be adopted. The only other alternative consistent with the observations of the optical experiments would have been a stationary Earth, which was rejected on philosophical, not scientific, grounds.

Rick said...

admiror: "Some final points. I talk about Newtonian gravity. This is not an Aristotelean view. The Fathers knew nothing about Newtonian gravity. Their response might be that objects fall because the ground is the proper place for them. Would anyone here also contest Newtonian gravity or anything else in modern science?"

>> Newtonian gravity is utterly devastated by the observations of modern science (see Corpi, Hutere, et al above). Spiral galaxies do not obey Kepler's Laws, and the discrepancy is so vast that a hypothetical, never-observed entity called "dark matter" must be introduced, at the level of 70% of the entire mass of the universe, in order to bridge the gap between observation and theory.

It seems that the true viewpoint of scientists today is that these matters constitute a great challenge to the assumptions of the existing scientific consensus, and that the Copernican Principle itself is now called into question. As Corpi, Huterer, et al state above, we have now reached the point where this principle must be subject to observational test, rather than continued philosophical assumption.

In other words, the solution of Einstein (which incorporates and extends Newton) is now undergoing its collision with large-scale observation, on the scale of the observable universe, and the results are, unsurprisingly, highly suggestive of departures from the predictions of that theory.

admiror: "Further, we should note that the Fathers are NOT infallible."

>> However, a unanimous consensus of the Fathers as to a given interpretation *is* infallible, as Trent defines:

"...no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, --wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers".

Please see my earlier reply to JoAnna for the magisterium’s highest exercise of authority to date on the question of whether the Bible teaches geocentrism.

JoAnna said...

Rick, from the article I linked above:

Galileo addressed this problem in his famous Letter to Castelli. In its approach to biblical exegesis, the letter ironically anticipates Leo XIII's encyclical, Providentis-sumus Deus (1893), which pointed out that Scripture often makes use of figurative language and is not meant to teach science. Galileo accepted the inerrancy of Scripture; but he was also mindful of Cardinal Baronius's quip that the bible “is intended to teach us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” And he pointed out correctly that both St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the sacred writers in no way meant to teach a system of astronomy. St. Augustine wrote that:

"One does not read in the Gospel that the Lord said: I will send you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon. For He willed to make them Christians, not mathematicians."


And, a quote from the above-referenced encyclical:

There can never, indeed, be any real discrepancy between the theologian and the physicist, as long as each confines himself within his own lines, and both are careful, as St. Augustine warns us, "not to make rash assertions, or to assert what is not known as known."(51)

If dissension should arise between them, here is the rule also laid down by St. Augustine, for the theologian: "Whatever they can really demonstrate to be true of physical nature, we must show to be capable of reconciliation with our Scriptures; and whatever they assert in their treatises which is contrary to these Scriptures of ours, that is to Catholic faith, we must either prove it as well as we can to be entirely false, or at all events we must, without the smallest hesitation, believe it to be so."(52)

To understand how just is the rule here formulated we must remember, first, that the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately, the Holy Ghost "Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation."(53) Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers-as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us - `went by what sensibly appeared,"(54) or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

[ The highest degree of authority exercised so far by the magisterium on the question of geocentrism is found in the Papal Sentence of 1633, which sounds a note rather challenging to modern ears:

"The proposition that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture.

The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith." ]


First, the decree of 1633 was not a "Papal Sentence". It issued from the Congregation of the Holy Office and never received the Pope's signature. This is an ongoing neo-geocentrist exaggeration. See:

http://thepalmhq.blogspot.com/2010/12/alexander-vii-and-speculatores-domus.html

Second, the Catholic Church has taught from time immemorial that canonical penalties must always be read *strictly*, that is, as narrowly and affecting as few people as possible. Reading this decree strictly, we find that the two statements above were *cited* in the 1633 decree, but they were never explicitly *adopted* in that decree. Thus the modern neo-geocentrists unfortunately continue to assert "that Copernicanism had been declared heretical", as Prof. Finocchiaro states, "which was to become one of the most persistent myths in the subsequent controversy" (Retrying Galileo, p. 32).

This is not simply my opinion but was put forward to the cardinals of the Holy Office by the Commissary General of the Holy Office in 1820. He said:

"The censure adopted by the Sacred Congregation is merely that of 'false and contrary to Sacred Scripture,' as it is clear from the decrees and from the sentence against Galileo; in it he is attributed the crime of having defended, or at least having represented as probable, an opinion 'after it had been declared and defined contrary to Sacred Scripture.' All the rest is folly." (cited in Retrying Galileo, p. 206).

The ground on which it was declared false and contrary to Sacred Scripture is that the doctrine put forth by Galileo was "absurd and false in philosophy", meaning natural philosophy (the 1633 decree says nothing about the Fathers.) It was so at that time. It no longer is so. And indeed, to assert that Scripture teaches something "absurd and false in philosophy" *is* to assert something contrary to Scripture.

Again, canonical penalties are to be interpreted *strictly*. Galileo held that the sun was the center of the universe and that the sun is immobile, which are key tenets of "the doctrine" which is mentioned by the 1633 decree. Neither of these are held by anyone anymore. So again the Commissary General of the Holy Office:

"One error must be immediately noted in the text of the full title of his [Anfossi’s] 'Motives' (Sum., p. 98): 'One must not allow Settele to teach as a thesis . . . the stability of the sun at the center of the world.' Along with modern astronomers, Settele does not teach that the sun is at the center of the world" (Retrying, 205).

At the very least, the Magisterium sees that this 1633 disciplinary decree against Galileo does not apply to anybody anymore, since nobody even holds the view for he was condemned.

And Leo XIII and Pius XII have laid out the principles, first championed by Sts. Augustine and Thomas, that sacred Scripture cannot be said to err if it uses figurative language or the language of appearances and is not, therefore, asserting anything about the physical nature of the universe.

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

[ This formal and binding act of the ordinary magisterium has certainly been abandoned in practice, but has never been reversed by any similarly authoritative act of the magisterium. ]

Rick, we've been over this. Can you cite any other example of a doctrine that has (allegedly) been declared formally heretical and then "abandoned" by the Magisterium (I mean literally not taught at all) for over three centuries? Every single example that you and others have proposed has proven to be false. See:

http://thepalmhq.blogspot.com/2011/06/excessive-geocentric-interest-in-usury.html

The Magisterium does not abandon parts of the deposit of Faith for centuries, while at the same time allowing (and more, even encouraging) contrary views to flourish and spread. That is not compatible with the Church's indefectibility. The fact that geocentrism is your single, utterly isolated alleged example really does suggest that you fellows have read the ecclesiastical evidence wrong.

Rick said...

Mr. Palm states:

"Catholics are simply following the teaching of Pope Leo XIII, who enshrined the teaching of the Doctors Augustine and Thomas by stating that, "the Holy Ghost 'Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation.'

>> Is it profitable unto salvation to believe that the Bible is divinely inspired, and that it is forbidden to interpret it in contradiction to a unanimous consensus of the Fathers?

Yes, and yes.


DP: "Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science" (Providentissimus Deus 18)."

>> The Pope's words are very wise. However, what he says above cannot directly pertain to to our examination of geocentrism or heliocentrism, because In both the heliocentric and geocentric systems, figurative language is necessarily employed- the sun "rises", in *both* systems, only in a figurative sense.

But the magisterium of the Catholic Church, in a formal exercise of its authority, proclaimed in 1633 that Sacred Scripture teaches that the Sun is in motion around a motionless Earth. This proclamation is based explicitly on the authoritative interpretation of Sacred Scripture by the Catholic Church's magisterium.

It has never been reversed by any subsequent similar exercise of magisterial authority.

It is certainly completely legitimate for a Catholic seeking to form his or her conscience in accord with the True Faith, to assign a great deal more weight to this fact, than is likely to be found pleasing to the modern intellect, so deeply persuaded that science was right, and the Church wrong, in 1633.

The great service the present debate will serve, if nothing else, is to bring this question into the context of utterly astonishing new physical observations which present us with evidence of a geocentric orientation of the universe on its very largest observable scales.

To suggest that it is somehow established doctrine that Galileo was right, and the Church wrong, in 1633, is dramatically untrue.

Rick said...

DP: "This teaching was repeated by Pope Pius XII in Divino Afflante Spiritu 3. Pope John Paul II taught that, "the Bible does not concern itself with the details of the physical world, the understanding of which is the competence of human experience and reasoning."

>> Certainly the details of the physical world are exactly the competence of science. But issues concerning Faith, which also necessarily touch upon science (for example, the question of whether the universe consists in eternally inflating multiverses, or an eternally existing steady state which has no beginning or end- *both* of which are scientific hypotheses, if only to the extent that they are derived as mathematically- consistent solutions to datasets corresponding to physical observations) are the subject of Revelation, and no Catholic is allowed to depart from the Faith once delivered, merely because a given, historically contingent, scientific consensus challenges one or another of its doctrines.

We must rely upon the magisterium to guide us on these questions, which are so difficult especially in this present era, where science has claimed for itself an ever-increasing privilege of encroachment into what were traditionally the domains of metaphysics and theology-see, for example, the recent Stephen Hawking intervention, where the Professor explicitly attempts to employ his scientific credentials in service of a woefully embarrassing metaphysical "argument" that physical laws obviate the need for a Creator- are we to surrender the doctrine of creation ex nihilo now as well, since "the Bible does not concern itself with the details of the physical world"?

Of course not.

Where the Bible touches upon matters pertaining to science, it is exactly as infallible as it is when it addresses any other area. It need not provide the "details" in order for us to hold its assertions as necessarily true, since they have God for their Author.

Given the extremely anomalous nature of the geocentrism controversy, obviously a similar liberty of conscience exists for Catholics honestly striving to form their consciences in complete submission to the Truths of Faith, as has existed in other cases where a given doctrine was subjected to controversy.

The magisterium has not, as of this moment, acted to overturn the papal sentence of 1633, but has given many indications that the question has been undergoing a period of development and discernment.

It is uncharitable in the extreme to suggest that the Catholic geocentrist is somehow uncatholic, simply because he or she believes and holds what the Catholic Church has always believed and held, from the very beginning, as the authentic interpretation of Scripture, at least until very recent times, and certainly what She has taught in her highest exercise of authority on the question to date.

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

I wrote:

"Rick, we've been over this. Can you cite any other example of a doctrine that has (allegedly) been declared formally heretical and then "abandoned" by the Magisterium (I mean literally not taught at all) for over three centuries? Every single example that you and others have proposed has proven to be false. See:

http://thepalmhq.blogspot.com/2011/06/excessive-geocentric-interest-in-usury.html

The Magisterium does not abandon parts of the deposit of Faith for centuries, while at the same time allowing (and more, even encouraging) contrary views to flourish and spread. That is not compatible with the Church's indefectibility. The fact that geocentrism is your single, utterly isolated alleged example really does suggest that you fellows have read the ecclesiastical evidence wrong."

I didn't see your answer to this, Rick. Can you provide us with that list of doctrines of the Faith that the Magisterium has "abandoned" and ceased entirely to explicitly teach for more than three centuries, while at the same time not just permitting but actively promoting its corollary which alleged had been condemned as "formal heresy"?

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

As I'm sure you agree, it's hard to capture some of the nuances of this debate in these sound bites, but let's have a go here and I'll be following up with details in my ongoing series on neo-geocentrism.

[ But the magisterium of the Catholic Church, in a formal exercise of its authority, proclaimed in 1633 that Sacred Scripture teaches that the Sun is in motion around a motionless Earth. This proclamation is based explicitly on the authoritative interpretation of Sacred Scripture by the Catholic Church's magisterium. ]

This is an exaggerated reading of that decree. Reading strictly, that decree speaks of "the doctrine" (note, singular) that includes the proposition "that the Sun is the center of the world [universe] and does not move from east to west". But nobody believes that the sun is the immobile center of the universe. On this basis, among others, the Holy Office ruled in 1822 that at the very least modern cosmological views do not fall under this disciplinary decree and issued permission for non-geocentric views to be disseminated in the Church.

[ To suggest that it is somehow established doctrine that Galileo was right, and the Church wrong, in 1633, is dramatically untrue. ]

What is established is that Catholics are free to hold to non-geocentric views on the motions of celestial bodies. That is all I have ever sought to demonstrate and I have done so.

[ Where the Bible touches upon matters pertaining to science, it is exactly as infallible as it is when it addresses any other area. It need not provide the "details" in order for us to hold its assertions as necessarily true, since they have God for their Author. ]

But if it uses the language of appearances and the author of sacred Scripture does not *intend* to pass on physical details, then it is erroneous both to accuse the author of Scripture of an error (neo-modernist) or to insist that Scripture teaches dogmatically some particulars of celestial motion (neo-geocentrist). Just what example better fits Leo XIII's statement about "more or less figurative language...which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science" than the language of "sun rise", which nobody takes to be erroneous language?

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

[ The magisterium has not, as of this moment, acted to overturn the papal sentence of 1633, but has given many indications that the question has been undergoing a period of development and discernment.]

Nonsense. In 1757 the general prohibition against books teaching Copernicanism was removed from the Index. In 1822 the Congregation of the Holy Office (the same Congregation that issued the 1633 decree), with the approval of the Pope, issued a general permission for works espousing non-geocentric views to be disseminated in the Church. In 1835 in the next edition of the Index the works of Galileo and Copernicus were removed. In 1893 Leo XIII issued the papal encyclical Providentissimum Deus which, as Prof. Finocchiaro says, "on the relationship between Scripture and physical science, the encyclical could be seen to advance Galilean views....It is not surprising that Leo’s encyclical has been widely perceived as the Church’s belated endorsement of the second fundamental belief for which Galileo had originally been condemned, namely that Scripture is not an authority in astronomy. As we shall see in a later chapter, this interpretation was also endorsed by Pope John Paul II in 1979–1992" (Retrying Galileo, pp. 265f.) In 1921 Pope Benedict XV put forth in a papal encyclical that it makes no difference to our Catholic faith if geocentrism has been proven false (a statement that would itself be formally heretical if non-geocentric views had been declared formally heretical by the Magisterium.) In 1943 Pope Pius XII in Divino Afflante Spiritu reaffirmed the principles laid out by Leo XIII. This, of course, is after numerous Catholic works had applied Leo XIII's teaching to the topic of geocentrism. Popes Pius XII, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI have praised Galileo, with John Paul II stating publicly that his condemnation rested upon an "error". What are these "many indications" of which you speak?

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

[ It is uncharitable in the extreme to suggest that the Catholic geocentrist is somehow uncatholic, simply because he or she believes and holds what the Catholic Church has always believed and held, from the very beginning, as the authentic interpretation of Scripture, at least until very recent times, and certainly what She has taught in her highest exercise of authority on the question to date. ]

Excuse me? Who has said this? Rick, you know perfectly well that it's the neo-geos who harangue ordinary Catholics as if their faith is somehow defective if they don't hold to geocentrism. Shall I produce the quotes?

I have said repeatedly in my own rebuttals that you are free as a Catholic to hold to geocentrism, as wrong as I personally happen to think that view is in light of the evidence, as long as you equally acknowledge that I am free as a catholic to hold to non-geocentric views with no taint of doctrinal error.

You fellows sound so much like the churchman chided by the Commissary General of the Holy Office in 1820, not realizing that you all but rush headlong into a heresy yourself:

"with your alleged omission of publication, especially in a situation when it was supremely necessary to bring it about, namely on the occasion of the renewal of the Index and the collection of decrees of prohibition, you come along and tell us that “for reasons known to them” they have neglected to acknowledge the truth of the faith. But, Most Rev. Father, this smells a little of the doctrine that some truths are being obscured in the Church, especially on the part of the Holy Apostolic See; and this doctrine is indeed heretical and was condemned as such in the bull Auctorem Fidei, in the first proposition, if I am not mistaken. You know that, for you have defended this bull. So you are in the position of judging yourself by your own principles" (Retrying Galileo, p. 215).

Here's Bob Sungenis from the article cited in the original posting:

"'Heliocentrism becomes dangerous if it is being propped up as the true system when, in fact, it is a false system,' said Robert Sungenis, leader of a budding movement to get scientists to reconsider. 'False information leads to false ideas, and false ideas lead to illicit and immoral actions — thus the state of the world today.'"

And here is the proposition condemned in Auctorem Fidei is as follows:

And yet the Magisterium has allowed and even encouraged the spread of non-geocentric views.

"1. The proposition, which asserts "that in these later times there has been spread a general obscuring of the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings of Jesus Christ,"—heretical."

Only a strict canonical interpretation will save these neo-geos from falling under that formal condemnation, the very strict interpretation that they deny to others with respect to the decree of 1633.

Rick said...

DP: "As I'm sure you agree, it's hard to capture some of the nuances of this debate in these sound bites, but let's have a go here and I'll be following up with details in my ongoing series on neo-geocentrism."

>> I agree that the discussion is probably headed toward a more accommodative forum than a combox, but I will address some points that have not been covered previously in my posts to you available at galileowaswrong.blogspot.com-- and maybe even one or two that have.

RD: [ But the magisterium of the Catholic Church, in a formal exercise of its authority, proclaimed in 1633 that Sacred Scripture teaches that the Sun is in motion around a motionless Earth. This proclamation is based explicitly on the authoritative interpretation of Sacred Scripture by the Catholic Church's magisterium. ]

This is an exaggerated reading of that decree.

>> To the contrary, your dismissal of its magisterial authority is instead an exaggerated derogation of it.

(This, by the way, constitutes the essential point of disagreement between us. I consider the formal disciplinary act of the curial dicastery expressly charged with the defense of the doctrinal purity of the Faith- what would today be called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith- in the 1633 sentence, to manifestly exhibit greater magisterial authority than a decision concerning the Index, or a papal allocution to a body of scientists. I do, however, ascribe due consideration to these latter acts, and interpret them, in the end, precisely as you *say* you do- to wit; that Catholics today enjoy liberty of conscience on the question of geocentrism. But you surely knew that already, since I expressly advanced that conclusion in my response to you many months back, and you acknowledged this on your own blog).

DP: "Reading strictly, that decree speaks of "the doctrine" (note, singular) that includes the proposition "that the Sun is the center of the world [universe] and does not move from east to west". But nobody believes that the sun is the immobile center of the universe.

>> That is well, since the Church's condemnation of the doctrine (note, singular; that is to say, the doctrine of “heliocentrism”) occurred at a time when a very great many people- especially among prominent natural philosophers of the time such as Galileo, Kepler, and Newton- *did* believe it. In fact, the Church's condemnation was prophetic, since it was only much later that science determined through direct observation that the Sun was in fact *not* motionless, and hence, *not* the center of the universe.

Rick said...

DP: "On this basis, among others, the Holy Office ruled in 1822 that at the very least modern cosmological views do not fall under this disciplinary decree and issued permission for non-geocentric views to be disseminated in the Church."

>> The imprimatur granted in 1822 does not constitute a reversal of the Holy Inquisition’s decree of 1633, first because it does not represent an action of comparable magisterial authority, and second, because, as Father Coyne notes in his “Galileo and the Church”, the imprimatur was granted on false grounds: it was argued that since Copernicus’ system contained epicycles, that was the basis of the condemnation. It wasn’t. The condemnation makes no mention of epicycles anywhere. Imprimaturs have many times been granted to highly problematic works- a recent notable example being the infamous USCCB Adult Catechism of 2007, in which the false claim “therefore the covenant God made with the Jews through Moses remains eternally valid for them” similarly received an imprimatur.

Examples could be multiplied, but the essential point remains: a formal decision of the Holy Office is not reversed by a granting of an imprimatur. Just ask the author of “Christ Among Us”.

RD: [ To suggest that it is somehow established doctrine that Galileo was right, and the Church wrong, in 1633, is dramatically untrue. ]

DP: What is established is that Catholics are free to hold to non-geocentric views on the motions of celestial bodies. That is all I have ever sought to demonstrate and I have done so.

>>Since I have explicitly and repeatedly advanced precisely the same conclusion- and since you yourself have acknowledged this on your own blog- I think we have come to the logical conclusion of our business on this point- again. :-)

Rick said...

RD: [ Where the Bible touches upon matters pertaining to science, it is exactly as infallible as it is when it addresses any other area. It need not provide the "details" in order for us to hold its assertions as necessarily true, since they have God for their Author. ]

DP: "But if it uses the language of appearances and the author of sacred Scripture does not *intend* to pass on physical details, then it is erroneous both to accuse the author of Scripture of an error (neo-modernist) or to insist that Scripture teaches dogmatically some particulars of celestial motion (neo-geocentrist).

>> The difference, of course, residing precisely in that fact you are at such pains to ignore: the Church has officially affirmed, in an authentic act of the ordinary magisterium, that two particulars of celestial motions *are* in fact matters of the Church's official interpretation of Scripture:

1. The Sun is not motionless at the center of the universe;
2. The Earth is not moving.

DP: Just what example better fits Leo XIII's statement about "more or less figurative language...which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science" than the language of "sun rise", which nobody takes to be erroneous language?

>> Everybody thinking carefully about these issues takes it to be *figurative* language- and by the way, it is figurative in *both* the heliocentric and geocentric systems. The Pope, of course, never mentions either heliocentrism or geocentrism in the passage, and of course doctrine is not established by the mere fact that it seems plausible to David Palm that such and so is what he "must have" meant.

There is, of course, no doubt whatever as to what the Holy Office meant.

Rick said...

RD: [ The magisterium has not, as of this moment, acted to overturn the papal sentence of 1633, but has given many indications that the question has been undergoing a period of development and discernment.]

DP: Nonsense.

RD: "Nonsense"? I think not. Since we have established that an authentic act of the ordinary magisterium declared heliocentrism to be contrary to the Church's official interpretation of Scripture, and we have established that subsequent, though less authoritative acts, have allowed freedom of conscience on the question, on what possible basis, other than rhetoric, can we conclude that is is "nonsense" to discern that the Church is discerning a possible development in doctrine here?


DP: In 1757 the general prohibition against books teaching Copernicanism was removed from the Index. In 1822 the Congregation of the Holy Office (the same Congregation that issued the 1633 decree), with the approval of the Pope, issued a general permission for works espousing non-geocentric views to be disseminated in the Church. In 1835 in the next edition of the Index the works of Galileo and Copernicus were removed. In 1893 Leo XIII issued the papal encyclical Providentissimum Deus which, as Prof. Finocchiaro says, "on the relationship between Scripture and physical science, the encyclical could be seen to advance Galilean views....

>> "Advance Galilean views"? It can also be seen to advance instead what it actually *says*, which certainly includes not a syllable about Galilean views....

DP: "It is not surprising that Leo’s encyclical has been widely perceived as the Church’s belated endorsement of the second fundamental belief for which Galileo had originally been condemned, namely that Scripture is not an authority in astronomy."

RD: "Widely perceived" has never constituted a category of magisterial teaching. Formal decrees of the Holy Office, on the other hand......

Rick said...

DP: "As we shall see in a later chapter, this interpretation was also endorsed by Pope John Paul II in 1979–1992" (Retrying Galileo, pp. 265f.) In 1921 Pope Benedict XV put forth in a papal encyclical that it makes no difference to our Catholic faith if geocentrism has been proven false (a statement that would itself be formally heretical if non-geocentric views had been declared formally heretical by the Magisterium.)"

>> Both of these citations represent confirmation of what has already been mutually agreed: the question of geocentrism's status is one presently in a state of tension between varying statements of the magisterium. It would be nonsense to suppose that we are not faced with a classic instance where a given doctrine is being discerned by the magisterium, and thus Catholics enjoy a presumption of liberty of conscience in the period of discernment.

This solution balances both the requirement that we render submission of will and intellect to authentic teachings of the ordinary magisterium, as well as recognize the liberty of conscience implicit in the tension between the various magisterial statements.

There are many similar instances in Church history- the doctrine of nulla salus extra ecclesia being one, and the relationship of defined and formal anathemas concerning usury, to modern economic practices, being another.

What is devoutly to be wished for in all such cases is a catholicity of outlook, which seeks neither to denigrate and scorn authentic magisterial acts, nor to unduly proscribe Catholic liberty to examine their relationship to new circumstances, once the magisterium has acted in such a way as to allow such examination.

In other words, Mr. Palm, what is devoutly to be wished is a standing down both on the part of those geocentrists who arrogate to themselves the authority to stand in the place of the magisterium in assessing the extent to which Catholics are bound on the question, and of those neoconservatives (if you will pardon me, like yourself) who arrogate to themselves the authority to calumniate geocentrists as somehow subject to the proscriptions and penalties of entirely unrelated magisterial statements.

Margaret said...

@Rachel-- I haven't had time to slog through all the intervening discussions of... "stuff," to quote my teenagers.

Also, do you think the Church hides this away or do you think it is the enemy of the Church that hides this away? Do you think Satan and legion would love to make this more convoluted to confuse you? Satan is the master of lies, never forget.

Are you saying that Satan is editing the catechism?!?? Because my point was that it would be the height of folly for the Church to not address something this fundamental (and fundamentally misunderstood by 99.9% of the population if the geocentrists' infallibility claim were true) in the "go-to" source for the vast mass of Catholics who really, truly don't have time to slog through mountains of writings of the Fathers of the Church.

This simply fails the common sense test. It's a heresy, it's embraced by virtually all Catholics everywhere (except the enlightened few who have lots of free time on their hands) yet the Church says nothing. Ummm... No.

Rachel said...

Your argument is that since you don't have time to read documents of the faith then you will believe what everyone else believes because...why? I just don't understand. As far as the time issue goes, why spend it arguing on a blog rather than reading the documents?

Most of us have very little leisure time. However, Sundays are for resting and learning our Faith. That is how I choose to spend it.

I'm an engineer, not an astrophysicist. I may not always follow the arguments for either side perfectly, but what I do know is that when I'm given a choice between believing scientific theory or the Faith, then the Faith wins. Faith first, understanding later.

Also, please don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say that Satan is editing the Catechism. Maybe I can clarify. I mean that the Catechism covers the basics for our Faith. It cannot cover 2000 years of the Faith because it's only several hundred pages long. I have found some things that the Catechism does not address. Does that mean the Church doesn't have a teaching on those matters? No. Sometimes you have to refer to a good Moral Theology book. Sometimes we'll find the answer in encyclicals. This is one of the things that is so beautiful about our Faith. There are always things to learn, Saint's writings that will shed light on our questions, etc.

I encourage those with doubts to find the needle in the haystack regarding these matters. If all of us spent our Sundays reading documents on the Faith, which are often found on the internet in the public domain, then more of us will come to a better understanding reconciling our conscience with the Church.

On another note, I will not respond to attacks or spinning of my words. I do not have time for nonsense.

Rick said...

"...my point was that it would be the height of folly for the Church to not address something this fundamental (and fundamentally misunderstood by 99.9% of the population if the geocentrists' infallibility claim were true"

>> The Church *has* addressed it. The proposition that the Sun is at the center was declared formally heretical. The proposition that the Earth was moving was declared to be "at least erroneous in faith".

Fast forward a few centuries (not a long time in the Church's view of things) and suddenly we see that every argument against geocentrism advanced by Galileo, by Kepler, by Newton, by Bradley, by Bessel, by Foucault- *all of them* are completely abandoned scientifically.

They had to be.

Relativity demands the abandonment of all these alleged "proofs".

Now we have finally reached the stage where the entire visible universe has come under our direct observation.

What we are seeing does not, in very important ways, bear out the predictions of Relativity.

What we are seeing does, in very important ways, bear out the predictions of geocentrism.

When you get time to slog through the stuff, you will see why. If you don't care, then you will also see why your objection above works both ways.

The Church's indefectibility does *not* consist in impeccable governance, nor in the absence of heresy among even gigantically large sections of the Church at a given period.

An example:

The Church has taught that the Bible is infallible, the written word of God.

The Church is not defectible merely because a large number of Catholics might, for example, come to believe a corrupted form of the true doctrine, perhaps something along the lines of "the Bible is true just so long as we don't interpret it against science, and if it does conflict with science, we know that we have to change our interpretation so it doesn't".

The Church is *also* not defectible merely because, as in earlier times, a large number of Catholics did in fact come to believe a corrupted form of the true doctrine, in the form of a rejection of the Church's magisterium, and its replacement by the rule of Sola Scriptura.

In both cases the Church's Faith was always available to anyone who cared to carefully look at the actual teachings of the magisterium, and discern the relative level of magisterial authority of those teachings.

The fact that millions instead were swept away into heresy and schism- and might very easily be swept away again (see Europe right here and right now)- calls to mind the strangely chilling question of Our Lord, which seems in opposition to the notion that the Church would never fail, but isn't.....

"When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?"

God knows.

The True Faith has emerged victorious- sometimes at the cost of the Faith of entire nations, however.

It is *never* wrong to stand with the official magisterium of the Church.

One is always safe to do so, even should a development of doctrine later be officially declared as an act of magisterial authority.

Aquinas never accepted the Immaculate Conception *though it turned out to have been a matter of Faith all along*- but the magisterium was still discerning the question.

Good Catholics could and did vociferously contend on that question.

Until the issue was finally settled by the magisterium.

It is a disgraceful and dishonest bit of folderol to suggest that the state of magisterial teaching on geocentrism is settled.

It isn't- because it is merely one aspect of a greater discernment and development of a much greater doctrine- the infallibility of Sacred Scripture, and of its authentic interpretation.

Thank God, too.

Wouldn't it be embarrassing if the Church condemned Her earlier teaching on geocenrtrism just in time for science to discover astonishing evidence of a geocentric universe?

Buckle up.

It has.

JoAnna said...

>> The Church *has* addressed it. The proposition that the Sun is at the center was declared formally heretical. The proposition that the Earth was moving was declared to be "at least erroneous in faith".

Rick, thepalmhq already proved this assertion false.

Why do you insist on believing this despite plenty of evidence to the contrary?

Rachel, if believing in heliocentrism was indeed a grave mortal sin, don't think you think it would at least be MENTIONED in the Catechism SOMEWHERE? Or a Pope would have, at the very least, mentioned it in an encyclical at some point? Heck, the Church's prohibition against contraception can be found EVERYWHERE -- the Catechism, numerous encyclicals, etc. -- even though the majority of Catholics (sadly) don't adhere to it. Do you think the Church would really allow yet another grave heresy to remain effectively "hidden" from the laity?

Rick said...

JoAnne: "Rick, thepalmhq already proved this assertion false."

>> False.

JoAnne: "hy do you insist on believing this despite plenty of evidence to the contrary? "

Why do you insist on denying the existence of the following, formal act of the magisterium?:

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/condemnation.html

Excerpt:

"This Holy Tribunal being therefore of intention to proceed against the disorder and mischief thence resulting, which went on increasing to the prejudice of the Holy Faith, by command of His Holiness and of the Most Eminent Lords Cardinals of this supreme and universal Inquisition, the two propositions of the stability of the Sun and the motion of the Earth were by the theological Qualifiers qualified as follows:

The proposition that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture.

The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith."

Now *that*, JoAnne, is called "evidence".

JoAnna said...

Why do you insist on denying the existence of the following, formal act of the magisterium?:

Because it was not a formal act of the magesterium. As palmhq already explained (bolding mine),

"This is an exaggerated reading of that decree. Reading strictly, that decree speaks of "the doctrine" (note, singular) that includes the proposition "that the Sun is the center of the world [universe] and does not move from east to west". But nobody believes that the sun is the immobile center of the universe. On this basis, among others, the Holy Office ruled in 1822 that at the very least modern cosmological views do not fall under this disciplinary decree and issued permission for non-geocentric views to be disseminated in the Church."

Rick said...

Rachel: The issue of geocentrism is, along with an even much more forceful proscription against usury, is the subject of a period of discernment of the application of these *officially taught doctrines* to new circumstances.

The Church has formally anathematized the taking of a single penny of interest on a loan as "usury"- a mortal sin- and has formally anathematized those who would pertinaciously reject the doctrine.

The Church has ceased to enforce this teaching in practice, and the Catechism mentions usury only once, in passing, and while addressing another subject.

Catholics who take their obligation to form their faith seriously, start by lending assent of will and intellect to all official teachings of the magisterium, while recognizing that under very special conditions liberty of conscience exists to discern the application of these official teachings to new circumstances.

It is grotesquely wrong to suggest that Catholics who are convinced in conscience of the correctness of these official teachings, are somehow at odds with the Church by saying so.

This teach

The word "usury" appears precisely

thepalmhq said...

[ were **by the theological Qualifiers qualified as follows** ]

Once again, the Church interprets canonical penalties *strictly*. The decree of 1633 *cites* but does not *adopt* the qualification of the theological qualifiers. Rather, as the Commissary General of the Holy Office said in 1820,

"The censure adopted by the Sacred Congregation is merely that of 'false and contrary to Sacred Scripture,' as it is clear from the decrees and from the sentence against Galileo;...All the rest is folly." (cited in Retrying Galileo, p. 206).

You may not be convinced by the Commissary General of the Holy Office, but the cardinal prefects of the Holy Office and the Pope were.

Thus, neo-geocentrists continue to perpetrate what Dr. Finocchiaro has called "one of the most persistent myths in the subsequent controversy".

More to follow. It is lunch after all ;o)

thepalmhq said...

I am sorry to see Rick bring up usury again as a supposed parallel to this. He continues to misconstrue the meaning of usury and from there constructs an erroneous analogy. I have answered that here:

http://thepalmhq.blogspot.com/2011/06/excessive-geocentric-interest-in-usury.html

Rick said...

It most certainly *wa* a formal act of the magisterium, JoAnne.

David Palm has never stated it wasn't, to my knowledge.

He simply claims that it was reformable, and has been reformed.

I reply that it has *not* been reformed, since it has not been reversed.

It is instead the subject of a discernment, and possible development of doctrine, which has been expressed in magisterial acts of lesser authority.

In such circumstances, Catholic liberty of conscience exists, as I have said before, while the matter is discerned by the magisterium.

Again- it is grotesquely wrong to claim that a conscientious decision that the teaching at the higher level of magisterial authority is correct, can legitimately be scorned, denigrated, dismissed, or calumniated as "uncatholic".

The astonishing new scientific observations showing a geocentric orientation of the cosmos on its very largest observable scales provides excellent evidence of the wisdom of this approach.

Rick said...

Mr.Palm: Since we have agreed many times that the *disciplinary* aspect of the Holy Office's official magisterial act applies *strictly* to Galileo, your point is completely irrelevant to our discussion of the *doctrinal* authority by which it is imposed.

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

I recognize and appreciate the fact that you're seeking to be more balanced than your neo-geocentrist confreres. But I would point out that it is not correct to try and portray this as if they hold one extreme, I hold another, and you hold a sort of reasonable middle. Your position still entails, as far as I can see, that the entire Magisterium has **for centuries** been absolutely derelict in its duty to protect the faithful from what you claim has been officially decreed to be a "formal heresy". You have consistently declined to cite any other parallel except for usury, which I have demonstrated is no parallel at all. To me that's not a reasonable middle ground, that's still an extreme position.

Now, let me address a few additional points on which I believe your position is erroneous.

You stated:

[ The Church *has* addressed it. The proposition that the Sun is at the center was declared formally heretical. The proposition that the Earth was moving was declared to be "at least erroneous in faith". ]

As I already pointed out, this is incorrect. The 1633 decree does *not* adopt this degree of censure, but only the censure of "contrary to Scripture." What is more, the decree has dropped even from the 1616 commission report all mention of the Fathers, while retaining the statement that these propositions were "absurd and false in philosophy". Asserting that Scripture teaches something absurd and false in natural philosophy *is* to assert something contrary to Scripture. However, as even neo-geocentrists have to admit, the natural philosphical difficulties faced by Galileo et al. have been solved. Therefore, modern views on celestial motions are no longer contrary to Scripture.

Again, this is not merely my private view. It was put forth to the Holy Office by that congregation's Commissary General:

"Please reflect that if philosophical absurdity (that is, falsity or absurdity recognized as such by the light of reason) is attributed to the words of Sacred Scripture, it becomes an interpretation which ecclesiastical authority can very well define as 'contrary to Sacred Scripture'; and this is precisely our case" (Retrying Galileo, p. 208).

This, I believe, addresses Rick's point about the "doctrinal authority by which it is imposed". The bottom line is that the 1633 decree does *not* adopt the theological qualification of the consultants in 1616.

Even Cardinal Bellarmine acknowledged that these things could be presented as hypothetical without harm to the faith and, if proven scientifically, one would have to modify one’s understanding of sacred Scripture (yes, I grant that he personally did not think that would happen.) But this is impossible to reconcile with the view that they are per se heretical. Can one imagine Cardinal Bellarmine or any orthodox Catholic saying that it is permitted to present as a hypothesis that the bread and wine in the Mass do not become the Body and Blood of Christ and if that hypothesis could be proven scientifically then all we would have to do is modify our understanding of Scripture? I think this gives solid support to the view that “false and absurd” from a scientific standpoint really was foundational and formed the basis for the rejection as “contrary to Scripture”.

And even if Rick doesn't find the above argument convincing, the key point is that cardinal prefects of the Holy Office and the Pope *did* find it convincing and issued permission for books reflecting modern cosmological views to be disseminated in the Church.

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

[ Examples could be multiplied, but the essential point remains: a formal decision of the Holy Office is not reversed by a granting of an imprimatur. Just ask the author of “Christ Among Us”. ]

The imprimatur for Settele's work was issued in 1820. But in 1822 a separate decree was issued by the Holy Office (same congregation that issued the 1633 decree against Galileo) that gave broad permission for works espousing modern cosmological views to be disseminated.

[ The imprimatur granted in 1822 does not constitute a reversal of the Holy Inquisition’s decree of 1633, first because it does not represent an action of comparable magisterial authority, and second, because, as Father Coyne notes in his “Galileo and the Church”, the imprimatur was granted on false grounds: it was argued that since Copernicus’ system contained epicycles, that was the basis of the condemnation. It wasn’t. The condemnation makes no mention of epicycles anywhere. ]

Same as above on the matter of the imprimatur.

Unfortunately you have fallen into the same error that Sungenis did with respect to Fr. Olivieri, the Commissary General of the Holy Office. Both Sungenis and Fr. Coyne have grossly misrepresented Fr. Olivieri by boiling the whole thing down to "elliptical orbits" and "epicycles". See here for more details:

http://thepalmhq.blogspot.com/2011/08/neo-geos-come-unravelled.html

Rick notes correctly that, "The condemnation makes no mention of epicycles anywhere". True. But note well that Fr. Olivieri doesn't either! So Fr. Coyne has misrepresented Fr. Olivieri, albeit at least without the string of insults and epithets deployed against the latter priest by Sungenis.

Now, your rhetoric about millions falling from the Faith does not really address your core problem. We're talking about the response of the *Magisterium* in the face of what you claim was clearly and formally declared a "formal heresy". If your view of things is true then the popes and bishops in communion with them have defected from the Faith and have utterly failed, over the course of centuries, to protect the faithful from heresy and, indeed, have encouraged them to believe heretical views.

If on the other hand one sees, as I think I have demonstrated here, that there was no such declaration of heresy in the seventeenth century and that the grounds on which the seventeenth century decree was made in the first place have been removed, then the behavior of the Magisterium for the past three centuries is perfectly reasonable and explicable.

[[ DP: What is established is that Catholics are free to hold to non-geocentric views on the motions of celestial bodies. That is all I have ever sought to demonstrate and I have done so.

>>Since I have explicitly and repeatedly advanced precisely the same conclusion- and since you yourself have acknowledged this on your own blog- I think we have come to the logical conclusion of our business on this point- again. :-) ]]

Again, I do appreciate your more balanced approach compared to other neo-geos like Sungenis, "johnmartin", and others. I would encourage you to be as quick to correct their manifest excesses as you are to take umbrage at what you perceive to be slights to your own position.

Rick said...

I note that Mr. Palm's link above contains this remarkable insight into a characteristic defect of his apologetics

First, Mr. Palm admits that the encyclical "Vix Pervenit" constitutes the most solemn *definition* of usury among the magisterial acts of the Church:

"Misunderstandings aside, the magisterial view of usury has been reiterated numerous times. The most solemn instance is, of course, Pope Benedict XIV's 1745 encyclical Vix Pervenit, On Usury and Other Dishonest Profit. And Pope Leo XIII wrote in Rerum Novarum §3 in 1891"

Hilariously (or tragically?), Mr. Palm has just finished telling us that the Pope's understanding of usury as an "error" (!):

DP: "The only way this view gets any traction at all is if people embrace the mistaken view that usury is identical with interest-taking, or with excessive interest. Neither view is correct "

Got that? "Neither view is correct"?

Now let us examine the Pope's actual definition of usury, from the very encyclical Mr. Palm cites

"I. The nature of the sin called usury has its proper place and origin in a loan contract. This financial contract between consenting parties demands, by its very nature, that one return to another *only as much as he has received*. The *sin* rests on the fact that sometimes the creditor desires *more* than he has given. Therefore he contends some gain is owed him beyond that which he loaned, but *any gain which exceeds the amount he gave is illicit and usurious*.

Uh oh. I guess we can see why Mr. Palm did not quote this definition, since it explicitly contradicts his blatant mischaracterization of it.

It gets worse for Mr. Palm.

The Pope, perhaps anticipating the tactics of certain types of "interpreters", hammers his point home:

'One cannot condone the sin of usury by arguing that the gain is not great or excessive, but rather moderate or small....The law governing loans consists necessarily in the equality of what is given and returned; once the equality has been established, whoever demands more than that violates the terms of the loan."

Hmmm.

But didn;t Mr. Palm just get finished telling us that it is a "mistaken view that usury is identical with interest-taking, or with excessive interest. Neither view is correct"?

In fact *both* views are *exactly what the Pope says".

There really is no point in a discussion where on party insists that white is black, and that two plus two equals five.

For this reason I simply chuckled and ignored Mr. Palm's hilariously botched post.

Since he is determined to display his defective treatment of the issue, let us allow the final word to His Holiness Pope Benedict XIV:

"Therefore if one receives interest, he must make restitution according to the commutative bond of justice; its function in human contracts is to assure equality for each one. This law is to be observed in a holy manner. If not observed exactly, reparation must be made."

Is the Pope perhaps misinterpreting Himself here, Mr. Palm?

Shall we assume you will be along shortly to straighten Him out?

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

Please note that I quoted that very passage from Vix Pervenit in the piece that I wrote for This Rock, to which I linked in the article responding to you:

"The nature of the sin called usury has its proper place and origin in a loan contract [mutuum]"

But I also noted that "a mutuum is 'a loan of a fungible, i.e., perishable, nonspecific good, whose use consisted of its consumption' (New Catholic Encyclopedia)" And it has long been recognized by Catholic moral theologians that money in a very broad and active market economy **is not a fungible good**.

So once again, on my view the behavior of the Magisterium is explicable and consistent. On your view, it's deplorable.

It really does bother me to see the neo-geocentrists seeking so diligently for areas in which they can indict the Magisterium for alleged inaction, inconsistency, or malfeasance, just so that they can continue to hold onto their "prize" of geocentrism.


--------------

The article in This Rock to which I referred may be found here:

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=646

and the response to Rick showing just how consistently the Magisterium has reaffirmed its teaching on usury may be found here:

http://thepalmhq.blogspot.com/2011/06/excessive-geocentric-interest-in-usury.html

Rick said...

DP: "I recognize and appreciate the fact that you're seeking to be more balanced than your neo-geocentrist confreres."

>> I recognize and appreciate your recognition and appreciation :-) I reject your reprehensible tendency to erect a straw man in the form of "neo geocentrist confreres". I speak for myself, and so do you. Any attempt to rebut my words by recourse to some imagined cabal of "neogeocentrists" is, if you will pardon me, a cheap sophist's trick.

Rick said...

DP: "But I would point out that it is not correct to try and portray this as if they hold one extreme, I hold another, and you hold a sort of reasonable middle."

>> I would say such a summary of the discussion at this stage would be admirably correct :-)

DP: "Your position still entails, as far as I can see, that the entire Magisterium has **for centuries** been absolutely derelict in its duty to protect the faithful from what you claim has been officially decreed to be a "formal heresy".

>> That is a profoundly inaccurate characterization of my position. Instead, I have said that the magisterium has, under certain unusual circumstances, allowed liberty of conscience to Catholics while discerning the proper application of magisterial teaching to new circumstances.

DP: The 1633 decree does *not* adopt this degree of censure, but only the censure of "contrary to Scripture."

>> Utterly false. Here is the actual text of the 1633 sentence:

"The proposition that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and *formally heretical*, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture.

The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least *erroneous in faith.*"

It is, again, a characteristic defect I have noticed in your apologetics, Mr. Palm. to simply ignore the words of the magisterial documents whose teachings you find unpalatable.

This is of course reprehensible and beyond the pale.

Rick said...

DP: However, as even neo-geocentrists have to admit, the natural philosphical difficulties faced by Galileo et al. have been solved.

>> I have admitted no such thing. In fact, every single proof Galileo offered against geocentrism has been scientifically abandoned, in the face of the adoption of the Theory of Relativity.

The balance of your post is irrelevant to our discussion, since we have long since established agreement that the magisterium has created conditions under which faithful Catholics can assume a liberty of conscience exists in assessing these matters.

Rick said...

DP: "If your view of things is true then the popes and bishops in communion with them have defected from the Faith and have utterly failed, over the course of centuries, to protect the faithful from heresy and, indeed, have encouraged them to believe heretical views."

>> False. Instead, then popes and bishops have signified a period of discernment of the application of these teachings to changed circumstances.

The wisdom of this approach is nowhere more clearly evident, than in the astonishing new astrophysical observations which reveal a geocentric orientation of the cosmos on its largest observable scales.

Your error is one typical of fundamentalists of many different stripes: faced with a tension between different statements (whether biblical or in this case magisterial) such thinkers insist upon adopting one over and against the other, rather than recognizing in both legitimate expressions of the faith, though not necessarily of equal import.

DP: "If on the other hand one sees, as I think I have demonstrated here, that there was no such declaration of heresy in the seventeenth century"

>> It were impossible to demonstrate that, Mr. Palm. The words of the magisterium itself directly contradict you:

"The proposition that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture.

The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith."

There it is, Mr. Palm.

Black and white.

There just is no getting around it.

Rick said...

DP: "Again, I do appreciate your more balanced approach"

>> I sincerely thank you for these kind words, and there are numerous instances in your writings where I could enthusiastically reciprocate.

DP: "....compared to other neo-geos like Sungenis,

>> Dr. Sungenis agrees completely with our position concerning liberty of conscience on this matter, and has said so repeatedly.


DP: "johnmartin",


>> John has expressed views I do not share concerning the liberty of conscience enjoyed by Catholics on this matter.


DP: and others.

>> Like who?

DP: I would encourage you to be as quick to correct their manifest excesses as you are to take umbrage at what you perceive to be slights to your own position.

>> If you only knew........:-)

thepalmhq said...

[ I reject your reprehensible tendency to erect a straw man in the form of "neo geocentrist confreres". I speak for myself, and so do you. Any attempt to rebut my words by recourse to some imagined cabal of "neogeocentrists" is, if you will pardon me, a cheap sophist's trick. ]

Reprehensible? LOL!

Just for others reading this, "Rick" is Rick Delano. He presented at the "First Annual Catholic Conference on Geocentrism" which was headed up by Bob Sungenis. He is also on Bob Sungenis's board of directors ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellarmine_Theological_Forum). You will find him in many venues on-line promoting Sungenis's geocentric works in lofty and unqualified terms.

You can also find him giving the big atta boy to one "johnmartin" (a pseudonym) on Dave Armstrong's blog. Rick said to "johnmartin": "I am amazed at your unflappable, constant, tireless and charitable resoluteness under fire. Your performance here is exemplary. I have stood where you now stand and believe me when I tell you: we are lucky to have you."

This was *after* "johnmartin" had deployed such gems as, "Clearly the church [sic] has been inept in several areas and continues to be so" and "I believe the church [sic] silence on the matter of geo in the last 300 years is easily accounted for through either inept leadership or fear of the science establishment."

"johnmartin" has more recently openly called me a heretic for denying geocentrism: "Mr Palm is a heretic who opposes the magesterium [sic] and as such, he has fallen from the faith" Now if Rick has remonstrated with "johnmartin" at least privately about such rash judgment then I'm grateful.

It's for others to decide whether those connections are sufficient to support my observations.

(And just for the record, in the interest of full disclosure, I am David Palm and you can learn more about me and my various interests here: www.thepalmhq.com)

thepalmhq said...

@Rick,

[ >> Utterly false. Here is the actual text of the 1633 sentence: etc. ]

and

[ There it is, Mr. Palm. Black and white. There just is no getting around it. ]

I explicitly acknowledged that those words exist in the 1633 decree. What you continue to avoid is that they are merely *cited* as part of a narrative of the history leading up to why Galileo was in the dock. Thus they do not represent the Holy Office of 1633's actual pronouncement against Galileo, which comes later in the decree. Once again, the 1633 decree *cited* the earlier document, but it did not *adopt* it. It was noted very soon after the 1633 decree was issued that it did not, in fact, adopt the qualification of the 1616 consultants but a lesser qualification. This is the product of a *strict* reading of the Church's canonical documents, according to her own canonical principles.

And as I have already shown, this is not merely my private view but was part of the case made by the Commissary General of the Holy Office in 1822, which case was persuasive to the cardinal prefects of that Congregation and to the Pope. If my position is "reprehensible", then I'm in exceptionally good company.

You continue to dodge the obvious flaw in your case, namely, that if this view really had been declared a "formal heresy" as clearly as you say, then the subsequent Magisterium is nothing short of derelict for allowing it to spread, not just unchecked, but encouraged by various Popes.

But now we are repeating ourselves.

thepalmhq said...

[ made by the Commissary General of the Holy Office in 1822 ]

Should be 1820. Sorry.

Rick said...

DP: "But I also noted that "a mutuum is 'a loan of a fungible, i.e., perishable, nonspecific good, whose use consisted of its consumption' (New Catholic Encyclopedia)"


>> Mr. Palm, the Catholic Encyclopedia does represent a formal exercise of magisterial teaching authority.

"Vix Pervenit" does.

"Vix Pervenit" nowhere limits its definition to loans of money. The same principles apply exactly to loans of shovels, bicycles, or Buzz Lightyear To Infinity and Beyond wind-up talking dolls.

DP "And it has long been recognized by Catholic moral theologians that money in a very broad and active market economy **is not a fungible good**."

>> "Long been recognized" does not represent a category of magisterial teaching.

Papal encyclicals, do.

Rick said...

Now, to summarize ( perhaps we might have overstayed our host's truly amazing hospitality, I thank the blogowner for putting up with us so long!)

There is one fundamental difference between us, as far as I can see.

I consider the formation of Catholic conscience to require a sincere assent or will and intellect to all authoritative teachings of the ordinary magisterium.

I notice, in highly unusual instances, that tension can exist between different expressions of those teaching by the magisterium.

I attempt to carefully discern the relative level of authority between them.

I also attempt to render due assent to *all* of them, within the constraints mentioned above.

Very occasionally, I conclude that a given teaching is being discerned by the magisterium, in light of changed circumstances concerning its application.

I conclude in such instances that a development of doctrine might (or, might not) be in process.

I recognize liberty of conscience for faithful Catholics in such instances.

Personally, I have always and in every case come to the conclusion that the magisterium's teaching at the higher level of authority, are the ones which will prove to be the most reliable.

Rick said...

DP: "But now we are repeating ourselves."

>> Yes :-)

It has been, I dare to hope, a fruitful exchange, if not a fully conclusive one.

thepalmhq said...

[ It has been, I dare to hope, a fruitful exchange, if not a fully conclusive one. ]

Indeed. Obviously more could be said, but at this point I'm content to leave things as they are.

Rick said...

Ooops......

DP: "Just for others reading this, "Rick" is Rick Delano. He presented at the "First Annual Catholic Conference on Geocentrism" which was headed up by Bob Sungenis. He is also on Bob Sungenis's board of directors ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellarmine_Theological_Forum). You will find him in many venues on-line promoting Sungenis's geocentric works in lofty and unqualified terms."

>> If the charge is that Rick DeLano is a geocentrist, there is certainly plenty of evidence available to find me guilty :-)

I do, proudly, hold to that ancient and apostolic interpretation of Scripture, along with all the Fathers, as explicitly affirmed in the 1633 decree of the Holy Office.

I think it appropriate to note, given Mr. Palm's "interpretation" of subsequent teachings on the matter, that my bishop has never once warned me that I stand in danger of canonical sanction as a consequence.

Is he being derelict in this regard, David? :-)

DP: ""johnmartin" has more recently openly called me a heretic for denying geocentrism: "Mr Palm is a heretic who opposes the magesterium [sic] and as such, he has fallen from the faith" Now if Rick has remonstrated with "johnmartin" at least privately about such rash judgment then I'm grateful."

>> I have remonstrated with John *publicly*, by repeatedly posting, including in February in my response to you at galileowaswrongblogspot.com, my conclusion that liberty of conscience exists for Catholics on this matter.

I do not agree with John, or anyone else, who might arrogate to themselves the right to stand in the place of the magisterium in declaring Catholics of good will heretics on matters where liberty of conscience exists.

thepalmhq said...

[ I think it appropriate to note, given Mr. Palm's "interpretation" of subsequent teachings on the matter, that my bishop has never once warned me that I stand in danger of canonical sanction as a consequence.

Is he being derelict in this regard, David? :-) ]

Sigh. We really are talking past each other now.......

Rick said...

DP: Obviously more could be said, but at this point I'm content to leave things as they are.

>> Surprisingly enough, may I say, I have enjoyed the exchange.

Anonymous said...

Question, if Bob Sungesis is so far out on the fringe, why are people like Dave Armstrong and Dave Palm so worried about him? Why are they even paying any attention to him? Why not just ignore him? Instead, you are giving him scads of free publicity he couldn't buy at any price. With all the problems we have in the Church with queer priests corrupting young men, evolution being taught instead of creation by God, parishes closing right and left, you would think that Sungesis's critics would be far more concerned about these things than a fringee living in a small Pennsylvania town. I got some advice for some of you, don't worry about Bob, if He's wrong about geo, the Jews, the state of the Church, and other things, He'll fade away in a few years without any smear campaign that some are directing at him. If He's right, no amount of smears or ridicule is going to make him fade away. Heck, the free publicity Armstrong, Shea, Palm, and others are giving him are insuring that his ideas will become more well known with each passing day! So, Dave, Dave, Mark, and others, keep up the good work of keeping Bob in the spotlight, go after those mean anti-Catholic Prots who outrage you, because they ignore you, make every little disagreement with someone in blogland into a petty feud, ignore the bigger issues
,(like the priest scandal, the liberal theology) that are destroying the faith of millions of Catholics. I'm sure your reward will be great in heaven because of all the camel swallowing and gnat straining yo'll have to do before this is all over! Scotju

Wes said...

Scotju,

You said, "Question, if Bob Sungenis is so far out on the fringe, why are people like Dave Armstrong and Dave Palm so worried about him? Why are they even paying any attention to him? Why not just ignore him? Instead, you are giving him scads of free publicity he couldn't buy at any price"?


Considering that the LA Times, Chicago Trib and other publications are basically using Sungesis as his group to make the Church look ignorant and paranoid, I can completely understand why people like Pat Archbold and the others you mentioned are out there making it clear that most all Catholics don't give these ideas the time of day. There's a reason these big publications are giving this group national attention and it's not because they find their theories credible or fascinating. They just want groups like this to seem by the public as the face of the Catholic Church because the more the Church is discredited and marginalized as ignorant and paranoid, the less people will consider becoming Catholic and the more the Church's voice will be muted and neutralizes in the public square. And the more the Church's voice is muted and neutralized in the public square, the easier it is for the relativists to push their immoral agenda.

But, as you're obviously a supporter of the geocentrist group, let me turn that around. If you really believe that Archbold's and the others' criticisms are only helping Sungesis and the geocentrists, then why are you complaining? Why tip them off as to how they're only helping?

Wes said...

Typo corrections:

"Considering that the LA Times, Chicago Trib and other publications are basically using Sungesis as his group to make the Church look ignorant and paranoid"

Should have been

"Considering that the LA Times, Chicago Trib and other publications are basically using Sungesis AND his group to make the Church look ignorant and paranoid"

AND

"They just want groups like this to seem by the public as the face of the Catholic Church"

Should have been

"They just want groups like this to BE SEEN by the public as the face of the Catholic Church"

AND

"the Church's voice will be muted and neutralizes in the public square"

Should have been

"the Church's voice will be muted and NEUTRALIZED in the public square"

Wes said...

Rick, as I read through this thread, I admit I was surprised that someone was so aggressive in support of geocentrism. But it finally made sense when I read that you're part of Galileo Was Wrong group and that you give presentations with them. This is your baby, so to speak, so I get that.

You may not even be reading the comments here at this point, but I spent some free time searching out references to your conference and came across a Discover magazine article and your name popped up in the comments box there. One commenter had an exchange with you there and said several things that were pretty much my reaction to reading all of this on Pat's blog here (I might personally have said a few things a bit differently than that guy did, but I had the same basic reaction).

(more below)

Wes said...

(continued from above)

When I read what you and the other geocentrists write, I think it all just proves that otherwise smart people can choose to totally immerse themselves in nonsense and become extremely proficient at it. I've seen conspiracy theorists push all kinds of junk (from the "Birthers" to 9-11 Truthers) and come off like they really know what they're talking about when they talk to the average person. They're absolutely *sure* they know what's *really* going on. It takes a lot of time and energy to track down all the stuff that these kind of people claim and promote, far more time than any working person is likely to have or would be willing to spend. So for most everyone, they decide first and foremost how credible the witnesses are before deciding if it's worth the time. And the more extraordinary the claims, the more extraordinarily clear the evidence needs to be and the more credible the witnesses need to be. Do these people have recognized expertise? Background? Have they earned advanced degrees in the relevant fields? Published papers in scientific journals? Undergone rigorous peer review? That sort of thing.

(more below)

Wes said...

(continued from above)

Now, please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this, but the leader of the Galileo Was Wrong geocentrist group is Robert Sungenis. Yes? He hasn't earned any degrees in science, advanced or otherwise. True? I don't see that he's ever been published in a scientific journal or written a peer reviewed paper. He has a PhD in theology from an unaccredited distance learning institute. When he gives presentations, it's been reported by attendees that he withholds evidence for geocentrism and tells people to buy his book if they want to learn more.

I saw that he complained in letter to the Chicago Tribune that "we don't wear tinfoil hats and wait for messages from outer space." But he doubts that NASA put a man on the moon. He thinks that NASA creates crop circles with satellite based lasers to get more federal funding. He thinks NASA also creates UFOs to undermine the Bible. He's a 9-11 "Truther." His bishop made him stop calling his group Catholic in part because of his conspiracy theories about Jews. Those are just the things I could find in a few minutes. I'm sure I'm missing more. I'm not trying to be insulting here, but that sounds pretty tinfoil hatish to me.

(continued below)

Wes said...

(continued from above)


Can you at least see why people would look at all this and come away thinking this person (and his group) is more of a pop controversialist and huckster than a serious scientist? Can you see why people would decide not to devote much time or consideration to it, especially on something as "out there" as geocentrism? Do you and the rest of your Galileo Was Wrong group believe in those other conspiracy theories, too? Or is it just some of you? That part isn't clear to me.

Thanks.

Rick said...

Wes:

There are two ways to approach this.

One is my way, which is to read the Scriptures, consider the magisterium, and look at the science.

The other is your way, which is top exmaine the personalities and calculate the political advantages and liabilities.

Simple as that.

Wes said...

Rick,

Thanks for getting back to me. Again, not to be insulting, but your quick answer doesn't do much to change my impression that the geocentrics are pop controversialists and not serious scientists or even serious philosophers/theologians. You distorted what I wrote, created a false dichotomy and ignored my questions.


The geocentric group is being used on a national scale now to embarrass and marginalize the Church as paranoid and ignorant (you can't really believe the LA Times and Chicago Trib are interested in geocentrism for any other reason, can you?) That hurts evangelization and the ability of the Church to affect society. That's not just "calculating political advantages." Those are deadly serious considerations that have eternal consequences that seem to be ignored by your group. And if I read what you wrote to thepalmhq correctly, you agree that no one is going to hell for not being a geocentrist. Catholics have liberty of conscience. You agree that people can see the magisterial evidence differently. So why are you so committed to exposing the Church to this level of ridicule?


From what I can gather, your geocentrist group thinks that the Church's prestige and influence was harmed by the whole Galileo affair and so you're trying to recover that lost prestige and influence. If that's really what it's all about, then it's a good intention and hope. But I've seen better, more reasonable ways to defend the Church about the Galileo affair that don't require making the Church look so paranoid and ignorant here and now and so inept (or worse) at passing on her teachings over the last several centuries. The geocentric "attempt to help" with the Galileo affair is causing more real-world damage right here and now. Using a football metaphor, it basically looks to me as though a couple of water boys and second stringers (the geocentric group) are convinced they know better than the head coach (Pope) and all his assistant coaches (bishops, priests, et al) and that the team should put the second string punter (Sungenis, the geocentrist leader), who played a little third string tight end in his college days, in as quarterback during the Superbowl so he can heave a Hail Mary pass in the third quarter from his own 30 yard line. The risk/reward just doesn't compute.


And it's not about mere "personalities" here, it's about demonstrated ability and earning a position, like everyone else has to. It's about really respecting and following the coaches rather making yourself the coach. It's about humbly accepting your role on the team and working up the depth chart the right way, like good teammates do. What the geocentrists are doing reminds me of players who go to the media to promote themselves at their coaches' and team's expense rather than working their way up within the team and listening to the coaches. They may claim to be about the "team", but they're really all about themselves.


If you really think that science proves geocentrism and you're committed to it, then I recommend you do what legit scientists do, Rick. Go make your case to other legit scientists. Write the papers and submit them for peer review. Earn the degrees in the relevant fields. Learn how frustrating and slow the scientific process can be. Press on. But it's not very convincing or helpful to take a technical mathematical and astronomical case to the general public. That's not what serious scientists do. That's the approach of the pop controversialist and huckster and it just helps to subject the Church to more mockery and derision.

I'd still like to know if your geocentric group is into other conspiracy theories beyond geocentrism. Do others in the group believe the NASA conspiracy theories, the Jewish conspiracy theories, the 9-11 Truther conspiracies, too? Or is that just your leader, Sungenis?

Thanks.

Wes said...

Typo correction:

"It's about really respecting and following the coaches rather making yourself the coach."

should have been

"It's about really respecting and following the coaches rather THAN making yourself the coach."

Rick said...

Wes, I did not ignore your questions. I simply pointed out that they do not proceed from any scientific or theological objection, and hence are completely irrelevant to me.

I am not being used by anyone, Wes.

I am discussing the recent scientific evidence which dramatically challenges the Copernican Principle.

I have no conceivable obligation to remain silent on these issues until Wes, or anyone else, decides that it is politically acceptable for me to address them.

Frankly, your insinuations in this regard are profoundly uncatholic.

I am a redeemed child of God, and I enjoy Catholic liberty, as well as obligation, to strive to form my conscience as a Catholic.

If you have any observation as to how I have failed to do this, I would be delighted to hear it and consider it.

The rest of your drivel is an embarrassment, a grotesque evidence of a personality which is more worried about how they "look", than about what is True.

Rick said...

Wes:

I reiterate what was already clearly established above in my dialogue with Mr. Palm.

I speak for myself, and so do you.

If you intend to address any further questions to me, please be very sure that you are addressing my words.

Wes said...

Rick,

You wrote, "Wes, I did not ignore your questions. I simply pointed out that they do not proceed from any scientific or theological objection, and hence are completely irrelevant to me."

I think your answer here brings the problem home, Rick. It's not all about what you want and what you think is important. My questions may be irrelevant to you, but they're perfectly relevant to me and any other non-scientist and non-theologian who is looking at your extraordinary proposals.

Considering that you intend on doing something so monumental as overturning modern science and convincing Catholics that geocentrism is actually a doctrine of the Catholic Church (to the surprise of the Pope), I think it's perfectly reasonable and legit to ask more about what else you believe to be true. As I said before, very few of us are experts in science or theology. I don't have the time to be. I'm certainly not qualified to judge and sort out complex scientific and theological matters. So of course it makes complete sense to look closely at things like credibility and authority. You say that's totally uncatholic of me. But what could be more Catholic than establishing who has genuine authority and who has credibility? So I'm not sure why you're being so evasive and defensive about these questions. The head of your geocentrist group has been very open about his belief in conspiracy theories involving NASA, Jews and 9-11 Trutherism. I just don't know if they're isolated to him or if they extend to you and the rest of your group.

But as you seem to want to focus only on you, then could you at least give your educational background and say where you personally stand on all those conspiracy theories? I can't find any answers at the Galileo Was Wrong website and blog.

I'm not denying you liberty in regard to your beliefs and teaching about geocentrism as you complained, Rick. But liberty has to be balanced by wisdom, prudence, humility and a firm grip on responsibility or it becomes destructive. From what I've seen, in my opinion, your group is using liberty recklessly. I don't see evidence of serious consideration being given to the negative effect your group is having on the Church and souls. Maybe you really just want to do something heroic for the Church. But if you look around, that's obviously not what's actually happening. And although I don't doubt that you and your geocentrist group had no intention of being used by the media to embarrass the Church and expose it to ridicule and derision, it's obvious that you are being used in just that way, nonetheless. The only real question, I think, is whether you care enough to take the necessary steps now to stop harming the Church further and making her an object of ridicule and derision.

Again, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you may really only have had the very noblest of intentions and wanted to do something heroic for the Church. But the objective results of your group's efforts are something completely different. So now that all of this in front of you (LA Times, Chicago Trib, blogs and websites across the country) and it can't reasonably be denied by anyone with two eyes and a little common sense, your decisions from here on will say a lot about your true interests and intentions. If you and your group continue on this path, then it will be hard to conclude that this is really about much more than a desire for notoriety.

At the very least, if you really only want to make a positive difference, then your group should stop making your geocentric case to the general public at this point. That's what pop controversialists and hucksters do. Be humble and patient enough to do it the right way (the way I mentioned in my previous comment above) and trust God to take care of the rest, in His time.

I'll say a prayer for your discernment, Rick.

Wes said...

Typo correction:

"So now that all of this in front of you (LA Times, Chicago Trib, blogs and websites across the country)..."

Should have been

"So now that all of this IS in front of you (LA Times, Chicago Trib, blogs and websites across the country)..."

Rick said...

Wes:

I have no intention, nor conceivable obligation, to submit to your demand that I cease pointing out the scientific observations which so disturb you.

Therefore we must agree to disagree on the question.

You are not my bishop, and I have received no remotely similar request.

Your arrogance, in presuming to issue such outlandishly inappropriate demands, is matched only by your astounding small-mindedness with regard to the actual scientific issues at stake.

I believe this concludes our business.

Wes said...

"I believe this concludes our business."


And, now I believe we can unfortunately conclude that this is largely about show business, Rick.

I wondered why you were being so dramatic here and why your group plays to the public in such a way, but it all sadly makes sense now. This is more about Hollywood than Rome and more about egocentrism than geocentrism.

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