On Theological Arguments and Modern Catholicism

Catholicism has become highly politicized. Catholics are divided into liberal, conservative, traditionalist. And each side proposes their theological positions as if these were political platforms, not a search for truth in Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. They seek support for their theological positions as a politician would seek support for a political position, from like-minded persons. Conservatives propose the conservative point of view and obtain support from their fellow conservatives. And the same is the case with liberals, traditionalists, and any other group. Truth does not enter into the equation.

Most Catholics are not convinced to change their understanding on any question by a theological argument based on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. They choose the positions they prefer, based on the particular Catholic subculture with which they identify. They choose their theological positions based on which grave sins they wish to justify. And if the Magisterium teaches otherwise, they seek a theologian or author who will provide a theological rationalization which turns their sin into virtue.

On contraception, many Catholic theologians and authors are proposing a severely altered interpretation of Church teaching, so as to justify many uses of contraception and abortifacient contraception. They offer very little in the way of a theological argument. They know that their readers don’t want or need such an argument. So the tendency today is for theologians and authors to present mere rhetorical arguments, and at most a few wisps of a theological argument. What they do is present a conclusion that their readers want to hear, with no extensive theological argument in support of that conclusion. Often, their claims are presented ipse dixit (because I say so), that is, without any explanation. A premise or even a conclusion is stated as if it were a fact.

[2 Timothy 4]
{4:1} I testify before God, and before Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead through his return and his kingdom:
{4:2} that you should preach the word urgently, in season and out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke, with all patience and doctrine.
{4:3} For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine, but instead, according to their own desires, they will gather to themselves teachers, with itching ears,
{4:4} and certainly, they will turn their hearing away from the truth, and they will be turned toward fables.

They don’t preach the Word of God out of season. They do not reprove or rebuke grave sins. They do not tolerate correct doctrine. Instead, they teach what their listeners wish to hear. That is the meaning of “itching ears”. And the claims they make about controversial subjects in Catholic teaching are not truth, but mere fables.

Why does this happen? A few reasons. First, the Bishops have been lax in correcting teachers of grave error. Many priests and Bishops themselves have a poor understanding of Catholic doctrine, so they are not in a position to offer correction.

Second, the laity, by and large, are not seeking hard truths. Whenever Church teaching conflicts with their own sinful desires, they seek a teacher who will justify the sin.

Third, many theologians and authors and other teachers of the Faith have gone astray in their own minds and hearts. They are not faithful Catholics, and so they do not write faithful theology.

As a result of all these factors, theological arguments carry little or no weight with the vast majority of theologians (!!!) as well as priests, teachers, and the laity in general. Theological arguments have become irrelevant. Each person believes whatever they wish were true. Each person wishes to be guided, not by the Church, not by faith and reason, but by their own inordinate desires.

Many online commentators laugh when presented with a theological argument to the contrary of their own ideas. They know that they can invent a theological explanation, to support their own position, and that many like-minded persons will claim to be convinced, even when the explanation is absurd, self-contradictory, incoherent, or blatantly contrary to magisterial teaching. They just ignore the good argument and the teaching of the Magisterium and then they present their own theological rationalization. And to make matters worse, they can easily find a theologian or author who supports their gravely erroneous claims.

The foundation for the great apostasy has been laid, and the cement has dried and is ready to be built upon.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to On Theological Arguments and Modern Catholicism

  1. Bob says:

    Some what sadly, I agree with you. Satan the great liar has robed us from truth.

    • Jim says:

      cannot agree more Ron. We simply have to gage how the sacraments are lived or believed. True faith is really non-existent. For example, very low percentages for regular Confession but high percentage in receiving Communion. Never mind what state of Grace may be….

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