Wednesday, March 14, 2012


One of the more entertaining notions I encountered on this blog was the accusation of being incorrigible.  That I cannot be allowed to be corrected.  What the accuser failed to realize is not that I am unwilling to be corrected (being a Catholic this is a requirement) but that the correction must actually be correct and defended.

The exchange went like this:
Joachim: The one example that comes to mind, though, is that what was held to be a heretical position on church power in the 14th century (that the church didn't have jurisdiction over temporal or 'secular' affairs, but left that to secular governemnt) is the official position at least since Vatican II.
My reply:
Regarding this, the Church has always taught two things:
*There is a distinction between the temporal and religious authority. 
*The temporal is subject to the religious authority.
This only makes sense as the law must conform to morality rather than the other way around. All laws in some sense reflect a moral viewpoint(or at least seek to establish order). 
You're incorrigible! In the literal sense: you won't allow yourself ever to be corrected. I repeat: that makes a bad conversation partner.
I don't know what to say to your response about ecclesial power, which completely avoids my point. The position in the 14th century was that the church, and specifically the Pope, had the power and jurisdiction to intervene in civil matters. 

Now notice the first part where not only am I insulted but accuser misses the point of my reply.  The spiritual authority is above the temporal, and as such is capable of ruling in temporal affairs.  This is why the Church can speak out against things like the Iraq war for example, which typically the legitimacy of a just war is up to the discretion of the secular authorities.  Thus the principle of the Church ruling in secular matters is preserved.

My accuser takes as a matter of fact that I am wrong, which is not the issue.  But in order to be corrected my accuser must in fact attempt to demonstrate that I am wrong.  Simply stating it is not enough.  And missing the point of a reply doesn't help matters.  And an insult simply demonstrates the emptiness of the objection.

Ultimately I suspect that the problem was that the commenter misunderstands the nature of ecclesiastical power as understood by the Church.  But rather than be corrected the commenter assumed that my argument missed the mark.  And given that no reply was made after I explained this, I suspect the problem is not on my end.

But I'm open to correction on the matter.

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