Saturday, November 20, 2010

Geocentrism: Not at All an Infallible Dogma of the Catholic Church (David Palm and "Jordanes")


Galileo


The following is from a series of posts by Catholic apologist and "reluctant traditionalist" David Palm, originally posted on the Catholic Answers forums in the thread "Catholic Heliocentrism" (September 2010). "Cassini" is a geocentrist. After the five asterisks below I have included some further helpful remarks by David Palm in a combox from my blog on the same general topic.

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Cassini, I can certainly appreciate your desire to defend the Church's integrity, but I'm not sure you're seeing the full ramifications of what you're saying. You speak very generally of "they" and "them", without acknowledging that you are speaking of a whole succession of Popes and all the bishops in communion with them.

Over in another thread you explicitly admit that you believe that this “heresy” will harm the faith of the faithful. Is it really true, then, that the entire hierarchy themselves hold a heresy and allow it to spread unchecked for centuries without one word or action to check it? And this has been the status quo for centuries? Notice what happened to Pope Honorius I who, in reply to an heretical letter penned by Sergius the Patriarch of Constantinople, utilized the phrase "one will". Most scholars agree that he did not hold the heresy to which he was responding. But he was formally condemned by the Sixth Ecumenical Council and this condemnation was affirmed by Pope Leo II: "We anathematize the inventors of the new error, that is, Theodore, Sergius, ...and also Honorius, who did not attempt to sanctify this Apostolic Church with the teaching of Apostolic tradition, but by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted."

Here you tell us that not siding with the condemnation of Galileo will cause tremendous harm to the Church's credibility, indeed will undermine her claim to infallibility.

So then, what does siding with the pronouncements against Galileo do? For almost three hundred years now, not one word has been said by any bishop or any Pope in condemnation of this "formal heresy". This includes even the sainted Pius X and the beatified Pius IX and John XXIII. More than that, this "formal heresy" has been openly taught in Catholic grade schools, high schools, colleges, universities, and pontifical institutions. This "formal heresy" has been presented as established fact in numerous articles and books written by Catholics and for Catholics, many of which bear the Church's imprimatur and nihil obstat. It is believed by the vast majority of the Catholics of the world—that includes the world's bishops and priests, not to mention the Pope. The Magisterium has given the faithful not one hint that there is any problem whatsoever in believing this "formal heresy", let alone actively and repeatedly warn them away from it. More than that, a Pope has publicly apologized for the treatment of Galileo, which could do nothing but bolster the view that this belief is perfectly legitimate for the faithful to hold.

I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, but typically within the testosterone-drenched apologetics of those like Sungenis, the only reason anyone could possibly fail to teach openly against a "formal heresy" is if he's either a simpleton or a coward. Which again tars the entire Catholic magisterium for the past 300 years as either dupes or traitors.

It seems amazing to me that you would be willing to uphold the logical conclusion of your position, namely that all the Popes at least from Benedict XIV (1740) up through Benedict XVI (present), along with all the bishops in communion with them, have utterly failed to exercise the vigilance their office demands of them. According to your position they "did not attempt to sanctify this Apostolic Church with the teaching of Apostolic tradition, but by profane treachery permitted its purity to be polluted."

Now there are very good reasons not to hold that the motion of the earth is a "formal heresy". But the indefectibility of the Catholic Church is without a doubt a dogma of the faith. I see no way your position can be held in light of that dogma and thus, to be blunt, it seems to me that it is you who are flirting with heresy. GrannyH and others have demonstrated that it is relatively easy to harmonize the indefectibility of the Church with a mistake made by a theological commission, even one approved by the Pope. It is far easier to see that terrestrial motion is a matter of scientific belief and not a matter of faith and morals, to believe that a commission of theologians erred in their judgment of Galileo, than that the entire Church, hierarchy and faithful, have been plunged into this "formal heresy".

It would seem that those who hold this extreme position with respect to geocentrism are like a monkey grasping a pebble in a precious Ming vase, unwilling to give up his prize and willing instead to smash the jar in order to have it. Or perhaps more like a man who would burn down a whole building, with all the people in it, just to kill a rat.

I’d prefer simply to note again that the actions of the Church do make it clear that a rejection of geocentrism is not “formal heresy”. And I would point out again that you did not harmonize your view with the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church.

[Cassini] I thought the Church was protected by the Holy Ghost in such matters as papal decrees.

This, I believe, is the error which has caused so much difficulty. The Church has never taught that every papal decree is protected by the Holy Ghost. The Catholic Encyclopedia summarizes well the acts of the Congregation of the Index against Galileo:
Can it be said that either Paul V or Urban VIII so committed himself to the doctrine of geocentricism as to impose it upon the Church as an article of faith, and so to teach as pope what is now acknowledged to be untrue? That both these pontiffs were convinced anti-Copernicans cannot be doubted, nor that they believed the Copernican system to be unscriptural and desired its suppression. The question is, however, whether either of them condemned the doctrine ex cathedra. This, it is clear, they never did. As to the decree of 1616, we have seen that it was issued by the Congregation of the Index, which can raise no difficulty in regard of infallibility, this tribunal being absolutely incompetent to make a dogmatic decree. Nor is the case altered by the fact that the pope approved the Congregation's decision in forma communi, that is to say, to the extent needful for the purpose intended, namely to prohibit the circulation of writings which were judged harmful. The pope and his assessors may have been wrong in such a judgment, but this does not alter the character of the pronouncement, or convert it into a decree ex cathedra.

As to the second trial in 1633, this was concerned not so much with the doctrine as with the person of Galileo, and his manifest breach of contract in not abstaining from the active propaganda of Copernican doctrines. The sentence, passed upon him in consequence, clearly implied a condemnation of Copernicanism, but it made no formal decree on the subject, and did not receive the pope's signature. (Galileo; my emphasis)
Another article spells out the distinction in authority between decrees from Roman Congregations approved in forma communi and in forma specifica:
As regards the doctrinal value of Decrees of the Holy Office it should be observed that canonists distinguish two kinds of approbation of an act of an inferior by a superior: first, approbation in common form (in forma communi), as it is sometimes called, which does not take from the act its nature and quality as an act of the inferior. Thus, for example, the decrees of a provincial council, although approved by the Congregation of the Council or by the Holy See, always remain provincial conciliar decrees. Secondly, specific approbation (in forma specifica), which takes from the act approved its character of an act of the inferior and makes it the act of a superior who approves it. This approbation is understood when, for example, the pope approves a Decree of the Holy Office ex certa scientia, motu proprio, or plenitudine suae potestatis.” (The Roman Congregations.)
Thus the 1616 decree from the Congregation of the Index may not be cited as creating a dogma binding on the universal Church for this was not only beyond the competence of the Congregation but also did not receive the papal confirmation that would be necessary.

It is for the Church to decide what is and is not taught infallibly by the universal and ordinary Magisterium. And I think it is very clear that the Church does not hold geocentrism to be infallibly taught by her own Magisterium. Here is an explicit indication of that from an encyclical from Benedict XV:
If the progress of science showed later that that conception of the world rested on no sure foundation, that the spheres imagined by our ancestors did not exist, that nature, the number and course of the planets and stars, are not indeed as they were then thought to be, still the fundamental principle remained that the universe, whatever be the order that sustains it in its parts, is the work of the creating and preserving sign of Omnipotent God, who moves and governs all, and whose glory risplende in una parte piu e meno altrove; and though this earth on which we live may not be the centre of the universe as at one time was thought, it was the scene of the original happiness of our first ancestors, witness of their unhappy fall, as too of the Redemption of mankind through the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. (In Praeclara Summorum 4; my emphasis)
This encyclical proves, at the very least, that Catholics are perfectly free to reject geocentrism without any fear of being tainted by a “formal heresy”.

I have always been inspired by the humility of Bishop Karl Joseph von Hefele who opposed the definition of papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council. He was criticized afterwards for his submission to the definition:
It is true that I stood on the side of the opposition. But thereby I made use of my right; for the question was proposed for discussion. However, once the decision had been made, to tarry in the opposition party would have been inconsistent with my whole past. I would have set my own infallibility in the place of the infallibility of the Church (cited in the Karl Joseph von Hefele; my emphasis)
I would urge you, Cassini, to consider whether your present position really can be harmonized with the dogma of the Church's infallibility and be humble enough to relinquish your position in light of her teaching. The long and short of it is that this is an area in which the Church has given us freedom and we should not unnecessarily chain ourselves, especially if in doing so it would destroy (were that possible) the very Church that we love.

[Cassini] One also learned as a Catholic that no papal decree can be overturned without an act of abrogation, an explanation as to why the decree is being officially abandoned.

On a little more reflection, it seems to me that the answer to this is to be found in the distinction laid out by the canonists on papal approval of various acts of Congregations in forma communi and in forma specifica. The 1616 decree was approved by the Pope in forma communi and hence, if my own understanding is correct, the character of this decree remains that of a duly approved act of the Congregation itself, i.e. it was not a papal act per se. Hence such acts of Roman Congregations do not require an explicit papal abrogation.

This would also explain something you mentioned in another thread now unfortunately deleted, namely, that this decree does not show up in Denzinger. Was this part of the great conspiracy, as you said there, or does it admit of a less insidious explanation?

Again, don't have my Denzinger handy, but I suspect that there are many, many decrees of various Roman Congregations approved in forma communi that do not appear in Denzinger precisely because, lacking the fullest papal approbation, they do not lend to the theological topic at hand the sort of ecclesiastical authority that Denzinger normally documents. The acts of Roman Congregations approved in forma communi do not in themselves represent binding theological definitions. Decrees authorized in forma specifica would do so and I suspect that one will find those assiduously documented by Denzinger.

And as for the 1633 decree, it was about what was and was not to be on the Index which we all agree was a disciplinary matter that could be and was changed by later Popes, on any number of issues besides geocentrism.

Summary:

I have just three main points and then what I can contribute to this discussion is pretty much tapped out. I want to clarify exactly what I’m saying here. I am arguing that no explanation of the movement of the heavenly bodies is de fide in the Catholic Church. I am arguing that the Church gives us freedom to explore these things and come to conclusions based on the best scientific evidence. I am asserting that the Catholic Church does not propose any one conclusion as a matter of faith, the denial of which is formal heresy.

I am not entering into the relative merits or lack thereof of any scientific theory. In my limited study I find that geocentrism, like “young earth creationism”, has certain major implausibilities which prevent me from embracing it. But I am not an expert and I am not addressing the scientific questions.

What concerns me is the assertion that geocentrism is de fide and that the denial of it is therefore “formal heresy”. This I think is fraught with theological difficulties.

Point #1: It Has Happened in the History of the Church that “It’s Not Infallible” is the Truthful and Correct Answer

Although Cassini denigrates the “but it’s not infallible” approach, the fact is that when one surveys Church history there are a few—a remarkably small number but still a few—instances in which one examines all the facts and has to conclude that what was said even in an official capacity was wrong, but that it was not proposed infallibly and so does not negate the Church’s claim.

The most famous of these is probably that of Pope Honorius. Gerry Matatics and Tim Staples in public debate argued that Honorius was not wrong and they were soundly defeated by a knowledgeable opponent. Robert Sungenis was all set to try the same approach, but Steve Ray and David Palm convinced him that the approach to the question taken by the famous patristic scholar Dom John Chapman was the correct one: “The Pope and the Council were in agreement as to the necessity of condemning Honorius, and they were certainly right in doing so under the circumstances” (Chapman, The Condemnation of Pope Honorius, p. 9). Chapman goes on to argue that, although this was indeed an official papal document and did address a doctrinal matter, Pope Honorius did not convene the Roman Synod, did not invoke the authority of St. Peter, did not do any of the things Popes of his day were wont to do when authoritatively addressing a doctrinal issue. He was wrong on a doctrinal matter, but he manifestly did not bind the Church to his error.

Point #2: The decrees against Galileo were from Roman Congregations, approved only in forma communi. They were not papal decrees and therefore, all the more, were not immune from error.

As I have already demonstrated, the 1616 and 1633 decrees concerning Galileo were not “papal decrees”. Period. They were issued by Roman congregations. A papal decree and a decree from a Roman congregation are two different things. No amount of cajoling can make one into the other. In fact, the Catholic Encyclopedia states that the 1633 decree “did not receive the pope’s signature”.

I had to smile when in another thread Cassini insisted that, “It was the Church itself that insisted the decree was papal, not I” and then stated, “Here the minutes of Galileo's 1633 trial to prove it” (my emphasis). So now not only the decree of a Roman congregation, but even its minutes represent the authentic and authoritative voice of the Church! I am quite certain that any number of instances could be cited from various Roman congregations, much less their minutes, which Cassini would be very happy indeed to agree are not de fide, are not to be simply equated with the voice of the Church.

The Catholic Encyclopedia points out that even non-Catholics scholars have reasonably conceded that the actions of these congregations in the Galileo case did not commit the whole Church to the positions taken:

Nor is this only an opinion of theologians; it is corroborated by writers whom none will accuse of any bias in favour of the papacy. Thus Professor Augustus De Morgan (Budget of Paradoxes) declares:
It is clear that the absurdity was the act of the Italian Inquisition, for the private and personal pleasure of the pope — who knew that the course he took could not convict him as pope — and not of the body which calls itself the Church.
And von Gebler ("Galileo Galilei"):
The Church never condemned it (the Copernican system) at all, for the Qualifiers of the Holy Office never mean the Church.
It may be added that Riceloll and other contemporaries of Galileo were permitted, after 1616, to declare that no anti-Copernican definition had issued from the supreme pontiff. (Galileo)

One additional decree that has been cited in this regard is Pope Alexander VII’s bull Speculatores Domus Israel which served as a preface to the republication of the Index. Here I think that Peter Dimond, despite his errant sedevacantist position, has provided an important insight. He points out that the Pope tells us explicitly what his purpose was in including the previous decrees in the republication of the Index:
Yet it is so far retained that the class to which each book belongs will be found cited where the book is named, and also the decree by which the book was originally prohibited, in order that the whole history of each case may be known. "For this purpose," pursues the Pontiff, "we have caused the Tridentine and Clementine Indices to be added to this general Index, and also all the relevant decrees up to the present time, (Dimond, “Examining the Theological Status of Geocentrism and Heliocentrism and the Devastating Problems this creates for Baptism of Desire Arguments”, p. 24, citing Roberts, The Pontifical Decrees Against the Movement of the Earth and the Ultramontane Defense of Them)
Dimond continues:
In promulgating this disciplinary measure, the pope did not infallibly declare that all must believe the things contained in those past decrees of the Holy Office, etc. which were attached to the Index. No, as Fr. Roberts says, Pope Alexander VII attached those other decrees “in order that the whole history of each case may be known.” To have lesser decrees attached to a disciplinary measure in order that the history of each case may be known is very different from solemnly declaring (to be believed by the universal Church) all the points contained in those decrees attached to the Index. I believe that this clearly shows that the bull of Pope Alexander VII was a disciplinary measure which did not infallibly promulgate the decrees attached to that disciplinary measure (Dimond, p. 25.)
And as MarianD rightly said in another thread (would that we had more catechumens like this!):
Papal bulls/decrees are simply the Pope writing a letter. It carries no weight of dogma or infallibility. They are, however, authoritative. That means that one shouldn't outright disobey it, but that doesn't mean that one can't argue against it. Arguing against a papal decree does NOT make one a non-Catholic, and the words contained within the Papal bull/decree are not infallible dogmas and are subject to change.
As it stands, of course, the Index that Alexander VII promulgated was duly modified and eventually abandoned entirely by his successors, demonstrating that this was a matter of discipline, not of doctrine.

The bottom line is that if the Popes of that day had wished to condemn directly with their authority, or to confirm a doctrine as de fide directly with their authority, for the whole Church, they were free and capable of doing so. They did not do so and I see in this the working of the Holy Spirit.

Point #3: The Contrary Position Cannot be Harmonized with the Dogma of the Church’s Indefectibility

Finally, I have already stated that I do not believe that Cassini’s is consonant with a dogma of the Faith, the indefectibility of the Church. Although he professes to be upholding the Church’s authority, surely it’s clear that his position destroys it.

Where on one view we have two Roman congregations, confirmed only in forma communi, erroneously branding a particular view as “formal heresy”, on the other view we have Pope after Pope and all the bishops in communion with them allowing greater and greater expression of this “formal heresy”. They have granted imprimaturs to books that teach this “formal heresy”. They have allowed this “formal heresy” to be taught in Catholic schools worldwide. It is explicitly allowed in a papal encyclical that this “formal heresy” may in fact be true (cf. Benedict XV’s In Praeclara Summorum 4, cited above), an ecumenical council deplored what happened in 1616 and 1633 (Gaudium et Spes 36, citing Vita e opere di Galileo Galilei in the footnote, making it clear what was in mind), and another Pope publicly apologized for it. My guess is that at this point Cassini would fall back on the “but it’s not infallible” argument that he derides in other contexts. But in this thread he has done exactly what I think has to be done if one insists that the 1616 and 1633 decrees established a de fide doctrine, namely, he has painted all of the Popes from Benedict XIV to Benedict XVI as traitor, dupes, and cowards.

What has actually happened is that the Church has officially adopted as her own the principles with regard to Scripture and science as laid out by St. Augustine (De Genesi ad Litteram 1:19–20; 2:9), reiterated by St. Thomas (Summa Theologica, First Part, Question 68), reiterated even by St. Robert Bellarmine (Letter to Foscarini, third point), and officially by Pope Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus 19:
The unshrinking defense of the Holy Scripture, however, does not require that we should equally uphold all the opinions which each of the Fathers or the more recent interpreters have put forth in explaining it; for it may be that, in commenting on passages where physical matters occur, they have sometimes expressed the ideas of their own times, and thus made statements which in these days have been abandoned as incorrect. Hence, in their interpretations, we must carefully note what they lay down as belonging to faith, or as intimately connected with faith -- what they are unanimous in. For "in those things which do not come under the obligation of faith, the Saints were at liberty to hold divergent opinions, just as we ourselves are,"55 according to the saying of St. Thomas. And in another place he says most admirably: "When philosophers are agreed upon a point, and it is not contrary to our faith, it is safer, in my opinion, neither to lay down such a point as a dogma of faith, even though it is perhaps so presented by the philosophers, nor to reject it as against faith, lest we thus give to the wise of this world an occasion of despising our faith."56 The Catholic interpreter, although he should show that those facts of natural science which investigators affirm to be now quite certain are not contrary to the Scripture rightly explained, must nevertheless always bear in mind, that much which has been held and proved as certain has afterwards been called in question and rejected. And if writers on physics travel outside the boundaries of their own branch, and carry their erroneous teaching into the domain of philosophy, let them be handed over to philosophers for refutation.
Therefore I believe that the correct view is very simply that in this matter of “how the heavens go” we have freedom as Catholics. The contrary position, that geocentrism is proposed by the Church de fide, is itself an error that places the Catholic who holds it in a completely untenable position with regard to his own Church. It is, as I have said, the position of the man who would burn down a building, with all the people in it, to kill a rat.

Cassini,

I thank you for your reply and for your view that my view on this is worthy of interaction. I'm afraid my other responsibilities are such that I cannot sustain an extended debate on this. So below will have to be what I would consider my "closing arguments".

First I would note the continued assertion that in 1616 and 1633 we are dealing with "papal decrees". This I have already rejected, with the reasons given above. It's important, I think, because it addresses a point you have made many times, namely, that formal abrogation of these decrees is required. That remains an unproven assertion.

With regard to the 1616 decree from the Congregation of the Index and the Bull of Alexander VII in 1664 there can be no difficulty, since the Index was duly updated and eventually done away with altogether by subsequent Popes, which of course is their right.

With regard to the 1633 decree of the Holy Office (again, not a papal decree), it is claimed (in the Catholic Encyclopedia for instance) that this never even received the Pope's signature (although there can be no doubt that he supported it, of course.) (Emphasis is placed by some geocentrists on the allegation that no signed copy of Pius VII's approval of an imprimatur for Settele's can be produced. So it would seem that at least some consider this sort of argument to carry weight.) At most the 1633 decree can be said to be approved in forma communi and I have yet to see any evidence that decrees from a Roman congregation with that level of papal approval must be formally abrogated by a later Pope.

On the other side, I have pointed to one papal encyclical which clearly allows for the holding of what you are calling a "formal heresy" (Benedict XV's In Praeclara Summorum 4). And Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Providentissimus Deus (18-19), drawing upon St. Augustine and St. Thomas, gives the principles for the whole Church on which both the witness of the Fathers and the testimony of sacred Scripture are to be considered when there appears to be a conflict between Scripture and natural science. This was reiterated by Pius XII in his encylical Divino Afflante Spiritu 3, reaffirming the teaching of Providentissimus Deus and of St. Augustine and St. Thomas on this specific point.

Again, I must emphasize that what I am arguing here is that the Church give us freedom in this area. On the matter of "how the heavens go", Catholics are permitted to hold various views without any taint of "formal heresy".

Unless I see evidence to the contrary, the teaching of these two papal encyclicals represents the official teaching of the Church on this matter and their authority trumps that of the decree of a Roman congregation which lacks formal papal ratification.

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The one thing I would emphasize from my postings at CAF is that there is no papal decree, no papal bull that condemns heliocentrism. These modern proponents of geocentrism like "johnmartin" manifestly exaggerate and misrepresent the level of authority of the documents generated during the Galileo controversy. And they do so with no seeming regard for the completely untenable position they put themselves into with respect to the Church's indefectibility. . . .

As has already been said here, it is the plain teaching of the Popes that these matters of "how the heavens go" are not part of the deposit of faith. It does not matter how many of the Fathers were or were not geocentrists, because their testimony on a matter that does not belong to the deposit of faith, while perhaps interesting, does not bind us as Catholics.

Here are some of the many examples in which the Fathers are wrong on details, even from a modern geocentrist perspective. Again, these should all count against establishing any sort of patristic consensus given the standards deployed elsewhere.

Augustine: "And yet, when it pleased Him who with sovereignty and supreme power regulates all He has created, a star conspicuous among the rest by its size and splendor changed its color, size, form, and, most wonderful of all, the order and law of its course!" (City of God, Book XXI, Ch 8) But the sun is NOT conspicuous for its size and splendor. There are billions of stars as big or bigger than it.

Clement of Rome: "The sun and moon, with the companies of the stars, roll on in harmony according to His command, within their prescribed limits, and without any deviation." (First Epistle to the Corinthians, Ch XX). Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that the moon's path DOES change and the distance to the earth DOES change. Do geocentrists deny this?

Gregory Nanzianzus: "The sun is extolled by David for its beauty, its greatness, its swift course, and its power, splendid as a bridegroom, majestic as a giant; while, from the extent of its circuit, it has such power that it equally sheds its light from one end of heaven to the other, and the heat thereof is in no wise lessened by distance. (Funeral Orations for St. Basil, 66). Try saying that while on Mercury vs. Pluto.

Gregory of Nyssa: "And how does earth below form the foundation of the whole, and what is it that keeps it firmly in its place? what is it that controls its downward tendency?" (Answer to Eunomius’ Second Book) There is nothing pulling the earth "down".

Gregory of Nyssa: "And when you look at the waning and waxing moon you are taught other truths by the visible figure of that heavenly body, viz. that it is in itself devoid of light, and that it revolves in the circle nearest to the earth" (On the Soul and Resurrection). Not a "circle", sorry. Geocentrists have for centuries had to admit that the orbits are ellipses.

Hippolytus: “But that the circle of the sun is twenty-seven times larger than the moon, and that the sun is situated in the highest (quarter of the firmament); whereas the orbs of the fixed stars in the lowest.” (Refutation of All Heresies, Bk V, Ch 22) Wrong twice.

Archelaus: “Then, again, the living Spirit created the luminaries, which are fragments of the soul" (Disputation with Manes, 22) The stars are "fragments of the soul"? Well, no, sorry.....St. Jerome thought the idea was idiotic.

Gregory of Nyssa: "when the body of heaven compassed all things round, and those bodies which are heavy and of downward tendency, the earth and the water, holding each other in, took the middle place of the universe" (On the Making of Man, 30, 1, 1) The earth is in the center of the universe because it's the heaviest? Well, no. And also, this is a purely pseudo-scientific reason for saying the earth is in the center rather than suggesting it was from Tradition. Sorry there, too

Basil: “the celestial bodies move in a circular course” (Nine Homilies of the Haxameron, Homily I ) No, they do not "move in a circular course". Again, they are ellipses. Geocentrists agree with that, do they not?

St. Cyril of Jerusalem states that the “firmament” is literally comprised of water. But modern geocentrists don’t believe that.

There are many more examples that could be cited, but I think this is sufficient to demonstrate the problem. According to a certain apologist's standards, if these witnesses can't get the details right then they simply cannot be said to form a unanimous witness.

* * *

I think it's worthwhile to look too at the various passages of Scripture that geocentrists advance in support. What's interesting is that although they claim to be taking them literally, it's not actually true. See a thread in which a fellow interacts with our "johnmartin"'s listing of various Scripture texts which he claims support geocentrism (the vast majority from the Psalms, poetry which "johnmartin" above said was worthless to establish anything and the backtracked, although he has not yet honestly admitted his blunder).

Sure, lots of passages of Scripture state that the sun rises/set or goes up/down. But geocentrists don't believe that it literally goes up and down, rather they say that it orbits around the earth. So they do not apply a literal hermeneutic--even they have to admit that it only appears to go up and down. Neither is there literally an enclosure somewhere for the sun (Psa 19:4) nor does the sun have legs with which to run (Psa 19:5).

Again, Pope Pius XII addressed this sort of language of the senses and specifically stated that we do not derive any scientific information from it, since the Holy Spirit did not intend to convey such. But it's worth noting that even geocentrists do not take this language literally, as they claim.

* * *

It is my understanding that there is only one truly papal text in this whole discussion, Alexander VII’s bull republishing the Index. But again, according to his own word he only included earlier documents in order to establish the history of the various matters. This is the only actual papal document of which I am aware. The 1616 and 1633 documents were from Roman congregations and neither was approved by the Pope in forma specifica.

I have said only that the decrees of Roman congregations approved in forma communi do not and cannot bind the universal Church to an irreformable, infallible doctrine. This is obvious even to honest inquirers outside the Church (as cited by the CE).

The Church does not teach geocentrism as a matter of faith. She never has. On the contrary, she has given us the direct principle—taught by the great Doctors Augustine and Thomas—that on matters of scientific inquiry, on “how the heavens go”, we are free to pursue these matters and come to varying conclusions. THAT is the teaching of the Church, as has been demonstrated here.

You admit that the Church has stopped teaching geocentrism as a part of the Faith. Good, I'm glad you admit that openly. Now, let’s look at the specific instances you cited. Let’s ask ourselves, has the Church stopped teaching THOSE things as part of the Faith?

* The evil of contraception. Still explicitly taught.
* The indissolubility of marriage. Still explicitly taught.
* The nature of and need for the Sacrament of Confession. Still explicitly taught.
* The grave sin of homosexual behavior. Still explicitly taught.
* Scriptural inerrancy. Still explicitly taught.
* The Virgin Birth. Still explicitly taught.
* The establishment of the Sacrament of Holy Orders by Christ Himself. Still explicitly taught.

*** Geocentrism. Not taught. Not even implicitly. Not only not taught, but every indication given that this is no part of the deposit of Faith, that Catholics are perfectly free to hold divergent views.

So, burden of proof is squarely on you to show how this could be reconciled with the dogma of the Indefectibility of the Church. I have already demonstrated how the matters surrounding the Galileo incident can be so harmonized.

Your interaction with the quote from Benedict XV made me smile. Imagine that he had said, “If subsequent study has shown that Jesus Christ really is St. Michael the Archangel” or that “the Blessed Virgin Mary really didn’t maintain a virginal state throughout her life” or that “the Sacrament of Holy Orders really was not established by Christ”, then the encyclical would have immediately been tagged, especially by the enemies of the Church, as containing an obvious nod to heresy. But nobody blinked an eye. Why? Because the Church does not teach geocentrism as a matter of Faith. She never has.

Viva la difference.

* * *

See further of David Palm's comments in one of my comboxes, regarding this same issue of geocentrism and the magisterium of the Catholic Church (in discussion with geocentrists):

[one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23]

"Jordanes" has also made an eloquent, compelling case for the same position, in the same combox:

[one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 29 / 30 / 31 / 32 / 33 / 34 / 35 / 36 / 37 / 38]

Others in the same combox who made helpful, educational comments that I agree with include "Frank", "S", and "Adomnan." Their comments (and any more from David Palm and "Jordanes" after comment #403) can be located by searching their names in the three sections:

Comments 1-200
Comments 201-400
Comments 401 - ?

33 comments:

Dan Marcum said...

An incredibly good explanation. Best I've read. I was wondering about this topic recently; in the data-gathering stage. Now I have much data and great commentary. :) God be praised for men like David Palm! And God be praised that you posted this, and expanded its reach, for those like me. :-D

Pete said...

Many thanks to David Palm. This has been a tremendous help in clearing up my confusion. God bless you!

johnmartin said...

Dave, why do you say you agree with "Frank", "S", and "Adomnan, David Palm, Jordanes, when there arguments made in the combox were answered? As far as I remember the only objections not answered are the most recent statements by Jordane concerning the removal of books from the index and imprimaturs permitted for books which teach helio. Yet these will be answered in due time.

If you think I have not answered a particular objection or statement from any of these persons, please copy and past the relevant statements back into the combox and I will answer those statements. Even if I have answered those statements previously, I am willing to review my statements and amend or update my statements to satisfy any concerns or doubts you have concerning the validity of my answers. I currently believe the anti geo position has been substantially answered. Furthermore, many questions were posed to the helios, which they refused to answer.

So it seems the geos can answer questions and objections all day long and the helios can avoid answering questions and then still promote the arguments of the persons above as being a compelling case against geo. Am I missing something here? Do the helios think their cosmological world view gives them the privilege of ignoring questions about their position and then promoting what you think is a compelling case against geo being part of the faith? Am I missing the fact that the church has publicly stated a stationary earth is part of the faith? Am I missing the fact that now we are presented with Palms arguments all over again, which do not adequately address this historical facts, nor counter the arguments previously made and which he currently has not attempted to answer? This all seems very odd to me.

Here is an outline of recent events on the combox, showing the anti geo position to be untenable -

Mr. Palm enters the combox making statements about his arguments on another website.
Those arguments are answered in substance on the combox and many points are made against his position, based upon historical facts and reasoned argument.

One of his central arguments requires the use of statements found in the encyclopedia and those statements were found to be vague, problematic and in the end junk scholarship. After making my counter arguments against the encyclopedias statements, I listed all the problems with the statements and that list of problems was not answered.

Mr Palm then returns to make further comment and I thoroughly answer his comments. Mr Palm avoided answering many of my previous statements and I brought this to his attention.

Mr Palm later reappears and only offers a short response to a confusion over some of my statements. His statements were then answered by me.
I then reviewed Mr Palms statements that had been previously missed by me – including his statements on individual fathers who held to aberrant science theories. Again Mr Palm is currently a no show in answer to my rebuttals.

Overall I must conclude I have substantially answered Mr Palms arguments and Mr Palm has not even come close to answering my rebuttals or questions.

Similarly, the other persons also made comments that were answered and no compelling arguments were made to counter my statements. There were several attempts at repeating previously posted quotes from Leo and so on, yet these were easily answered. In the end, only Jordanes has yet to be answered on his most recent objections and he will be when time permits.
. . .

johnmartin said...

So how about it Dave. Go back an show me say ten statements made by the above persons which you think are compelling and show me why you think my answers were not compelling and I will answer those objections. You have gone on public record as saying “geocentrism is not an infallible dogma of the church” as the title of your article, so as an apologist you are morally bound to now defend that position.

Lets start here –

1. – Anti geo statement made by persons X

Response by Johnmartin from the combox.

Dave – reason presented by Dave to show how Johnmartin’s response was inadequate.

2. – Anti geo statement made by persons X

Response by Johnmartin from the combox.

Dave – reason presented by Dave to show how Johnmartin’s response was inadequate.

And so on.

We will do this for ten statements and see just how strong these statements were by these persons. I will do my best to thoroughly answer your position and anyone else who wants to enter into the discussion.

JM

johnmartin said...

I've just noticed Mr Palms recent post in the other combox. He's done it again. He refuses to engage the arguments presented against his anti geo position.

JM

Dave Armstrong said...

As I've said all along, I'm not interested in this discussion. Others have done quite fine without me.

You have made your case in Tolstoyan proportions. If you're so confident in it then you (I assume) believe that folks can be persuaded by reading it, and would see the wrongness of the opposing view. So you oughtta be happy whatever we who disagree do. You got to exercise your free speech here.

I'm also assuming you have a life apart from my comboxes . . .

johnmartin said...

D- As I've said all along, I'm not interested in this discussion. Others have done quite fine without me.

You have made your case in Tolstoyan proportions. If you're so confident in it then you (I assume) believe that folks can be persuaded by reading it, and would see the wrongness of the opposing view. So you oughtta be happy whatever we who disagree do. You got to exercise your free speech here.

I'm also assuming you have a life apart from my comboxes . . .

JM- Dave - the thing is you are a respected apologist who can intellectually stand on his own feet. I have proposed many answers to objections made against geo and it being part of the faith. I find the rebuttals to my answers are simply shody and sometimes even non existent. It’s simply not good enough for an apologist to publish on the Galileo incident, then link to other websites you think carry the day against geo, then agree with arguments in your own combox, when you know full well the arguments against geo have been substantially answered and little to no counter arguments have been proposed. Mr. Palm’s no show to many statements, questions and rebuttals shows me he is not concerned with the truth of the geo/helio debate. He is only willing to make an argument and when someone gets the better of him, he makes off hand excuses for his no show.

Your permission on free speech is merely a minimum expected of an apologist who defends the catholic faith. Again this is good to see, but it’s really only the minimum expected.

Yes I do have a life apart from combox’s, but I do believe you have devoted your life to the promotion of the catholic faith and that’s why I have spent so much time engaging in the matter of geo. This is no small matter at all and the loss of face by the church and the bible, not to mention the fathers on this issue is no small reason why many in the west think the Catholic Church was soundly and utterly defeated by Galileo. When non Catholics hear the many and varied interpretations of the Galileo incident, I fear they think this Galileo incident kills the church off through a death of a thousand cuts. The church said this, the church said that, the fathers don’t mean what they say, the fathers got their ideas from the Greeks . . . on an on its goes. And yet the modern science against geo is still and always will be very flimsy indeed.

I am a little exasperated at the somewhat cavalier approach you have taken with the entire matter. You seem to think geo is important enough to make comment in your one minute apologist, and important enough to discuss it in two or three articles on your website, yet you are not concerned enough to put your analytical mind to work to pull the arguments apart on both sides. A great apologist for the Catholic faith always did this Dave. I’m sure you aware of St Thomas Aquinas’ method when engaging controversies about the faith. He would find all the arguments against the faith and state those arguments in the best and most powerful way against the faith, then he would demolish those arguments and show the objections always contained some truth, with error.
. . .

johnmartin said...

I am a little exasperated at the approach you have taken with the go matter. You seem to think geo is important enough to make comment in your one minute apologist, and important enough to discuss it in two or three articles on your website, yet you are not concerned enough to put your analytical mind to work to pull the arguments apart on both sides.

A great apologist for the Catholic faith always did this Dave. I’m sure you aware of St Thomas Aquinas’ method when engaging controversies about the faith. He would find all the arguments against the faith and state those arguments in the best and most powerful way against the faith, then he would demolish those arguments and show the objections always contained some truth, with error.

In this regard Robert Sungenis follows in the footsteps of St Thomas according to the investigative method used to find the truth about Galileo and geo. Robert does not hold back and goes into the nitty gritty details of church history and science to show the church was right to say and do what she did against the moving earth hypothesis.

I suggest Dave, that such a method is required from an apologist and on the matter of geo, this method has not been forthcoming from the helio camp. Maybe it will one day . . . then again it has already been done by the geo’s, making their position even more intellectually attractive.

There is an intellectual void in the church and it is called the Galileo incident with its anti geo ramifications. It’s not the only void, but by golly she’s a big one. Robert has seen it and several other have seen it and that’s why we a vigorous proponents of geo to heal the big intellectual wound in the church.

It will be interesting to see if Robert will change the language in his recent document against your position on the Galileo incident. If he does remove the provocative language and keep the many arguments containing substantive factual evidence, then what will you do? You will have no case against his powerful position. Can you afford to ignore Robert and carry on? If so, what then . . .?

JM

johnmartin said...

Palm -Point #1: It Has Happened in the History of the Church that “It’s Not Infallible” is the Truthful and Correct Answer

Although Cassini denigrates the “but it’s not infallible” approach, the fact is that when one surveys Church history there are a few—a remarkably small number but still a few—instances in which one examines all the facts and has to conclude that what was said even in an official capacity was wrong, but that it was not proposed infallibly and so does not negate the Church’s claim.

JM- David thinks Horonius’ letter expressing his opinion on Christ is a letter in the Popes official capacity, yet the scholar whom he cite (Dom John Chapman) says otherwise, when he says “. . . at the present day no one is likely to teach that Honorius published his famous letters ex cathedra.” This means Horonius was not acting in his official capacity as Pope to bind the universal church to any doctrine on faith and morals. Therefore the Popes letter was merely expressing his opinion as Pope and not acting ex cathedra.

The situation here is different to that of Paul V and the congregations condemnation of Galileo. Horonius was condemned, based upon a definition made at Council on Christology. So the heresy proposed was defined at Council and the condemnation was given at Council, both of which are from the extra ordinary magesterium. The condemnation made on Horonius was from the extra ordinary magesterium concerning a non binding, non ex cathedra statement made by a Pope. The doctrine and decision from the third Council of Constantinople was authoritative and infallible.

However, the Galileo incident was a condemnation by the ordinary magesterium, based upon the doctrine of the stationary earth already known through the ordinary magesterium of the fathers and scripture. The doctrine is therefore authoritative and infallible and because the condemnation was consistent with the teaching of the ordinary magesterium, the judgment is binding and normative. It’s as binding and normative as Pius X syllabus of errors and probably even more authoritative, because the syllabus contained statements over a multitude of topics, whereas the congregation of the index only focused its judgment on the topic of the moving earth already defined through the ordinary magesterium. Either way, the congregation’s decision is binding and normative and Mr. Palms example does nothing to establish his thesis that a Pope can act in an official capacity and then a Council can overturn the Popes statements.

Palm - The most famous of these is probably that of Pope Honorius. Gerry Matatics and Tim Staples in public debate argued that Honorius was not wrong and they were soundly defeated by a knowledgeable opponent. Robert Sungenis was all set to try the same approach, but Steve Ray and David Palm convinced him that the approach to the question taken by the famous patristic scholar Dom John Chapman was the correct one: “The Pope and the Council were in agreement as to the necessity of condemning Honorius, and they were certainly right in doing so under the circumstances” (Chapman, The Condemnation of Pope Honorius, p. 9). Chapman goes on to argue that, although this was indeed an official papal document and did address a doctrinal matter, Pope Honorius did not convene the Roman Synod, did not invoke the authority of St. Peter, did not do any of the things Popes of his day were wont to do when authoritatively addressing a doctrinal issue. He was wrong on a doctrinal matter, but he manifestly did not bind the Church to his error.

johnmartin said...

JM- Take note of what David is saying here. Horonius was condemned as a heretic by an ecumenical council and a Pope. This is required because Horonius made statements whereby offered his heretical ideas on Christology in a letter. Therefore the statement of faith made by the Council is binding according to the extra ordinary magesterium of Council and Pope acting together. The Councils position on Christology with Christ two natures and two wills is a correction of Horonius’ heresy. The church acted to exercise its power on infallibility to define the truth and condemn the error at its highest level. David uses this as an instance of the church overturning what he says

Palm - Point #2: The decrees against Galileo were from Roman Congregations, approved only in forma communi. They were not papal decrees and therefore, all the more, were not immune from error.

JM – This argument has already been answered in the combox here –

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289003516418#c3107672031653941355

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289384655890#c7927333521614722966

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289384751404#c5611969351928678235

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289447500901#c4188110494033187283

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289452352348#c8757338975598866638

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289621239198#c2518939731358662671

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289621340280#c3928465207142121996

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289621368777#c4323188285209569594

johnmartin said...

Palm - Point #3: The Contrary Position Cannot be Harmonized with the Dogma of the Church’s Indefectibility

Several points were made against David’s argument. Most of my points were not answered. Here is a good argument not answered in substance by anyone in the combox –

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289870597791#c2096110091023651144

Davids arguments concerning the fathers is answered here –

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2010/11/robert-sungenis-opts-for-personal.html?showComment=1289345816894#c5660136069394898963

Suffice to say, Mr. Palm has a lot of work to do to thoroughly answer my rebuttals. Dave thinks his argument is convincing, but he refuses to engage me. Maybe someone else would be so kind as to engage the arguments to allow Palms arguments to be thoroughly sifted for their truth value. I believe there is little truth in any of Mr. Palms points as exposed above.

JM

johnmartin said...

Dave, my posts weren't getting through on the other combox, so I've re posted here for your information.

D- You may be right and I may very well do that. This thread will soon come to an end one way or another. I believe in free speech, but not total domination of my blog by people with a very specific (and quite eccentric) agenda.


But before I would consider removing Mark's accusations, I want a clear, non-nonsense accounting from you:

1) Who exactly are you? – I use my real baptismal and confirmation names - John Martin. It is my right to use such a name to be authentic and also retain some anonymity for privacy reasons.

2) Do you have anything online where we can learn about you? – Theologyweb is where I do just about all my posting. You can see a variety of thread I’ve started here –

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/search.php?searchid=33507

I’ve done some small number of posts on CARM, an example is given here –

http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthread.php?10671-The-end-of-Calvinism-and-Penal-Substitution/page6&p=259683

There are some posts on Turrentenfan’s blog. One such example is here –

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=21597890&postID=4299777104357587583

I also have a small number of posts on another physics discussion board some time ago. I don’t remember the name of it though at this point in time. The discussion was on Newtonian physics and the tides. Each time I made posts under the name of Johnmartin. I have a tiny blog spot of only two posts in response to Turrentenfan here - http://johnmartin2010.blogspot.com/. You can tell I’m not Robert Sungenis and you know what . . . its very easy to work out from the difference in writing style. See for yourself. I’m me and I write like me wherever I go and Robert is not me and he writes very differently to me.

johnmartin said...

3) What happened at Theology Web? – I was in a discussion at Tweb and statements were made as expected with such a controversial topic. The persons involved were mostly atheists/agnostics who made several statements. I did have an agreement with another member of my family to create another account to bump some posts and keep the thread going. Tweb disciplined me for using two accounts and everything has been pretty sweet ever since and I’ve made several hundred posts since the incident. I’ve also since been involved in a number of threads on geo and other apologetic topics and Tweb is happy with my behavior. The geo threads have been popular with about 86,000 and 37,000 views in each. I’ve been posting on and off at Tweb since I joined in November 2004. My account has been largely inactive for about 2 months. The account is currently still open and I’m free to post there any time, just like any other member.

4) Are you simply being fed info. from Bob Sungenis or anyone else? – Definitely not. My posts on other various topics both inside Tweb and on other forums are my own writings based upon my own research, which includes information from GWW, other books and websites. I did consult Robert on some occasions early on in the original geocentrism discussion. Even when I was consulting Robert Sungenis and Robert Bennet, I was very open about it and everyone on the forum knew what was going on. It was common knowledge and only after one poster posed the question – “Are you Robert Sungenis?”, did I deny it. Actually at the time I found it offensive that someone should ask me the question and that’s why I originally reacted the way I did on the Tweb thread. Anyway the incident was a long time ago and I have continued in various dialogues with the same persons involved and we all get along just fine. It’s really water under the bridge.

D- I want straight and detailed answers, or else you may find your comments deleted as well. I take an extremely dim view of game-playing and identity-switching on the Internet.

JM- I’ve directly answered your questions. Now I request you consider my request and delete Marks posts, which are off topic. Marks posts are a clear example of character assassination.

JM

johnmartin said...

Dave - For some reason the posts are still not getting though. There is one post below, but the second one is not showing.

They have been bounced into my email account and I can email them to you for your information if you need.

JM

Dave Armstrong said...

It will be interesting to see if Robert will change the language in his recent document against your position on the Galileo incident.

So you agree that he engaged in personal attack, while he continues to deny that he did. Fascinating . . .

If he does remove the provocative language and keep the many arguments containing substantive factual evidence, then what will you do?

Thank him for having the integrity to man up and make things right when he blew it; modify my replies accordingly and then move on to many other things I have to spend time on.

johnmartin said...

D- Thank him for having the integrity to man up and make things right when he blew it; modify my replies accordingly and then move on to many other things I have to spend time on.

JM- Shouldn't you then man up and change or remove your one minute apologist article on Galileo? You are well aware that Roberts article contains a number of compelling facts and arguments against your statements which remain unanswered.

To then ignore arguments against your position on a matter you think requires comment in your apologetics is to act against your apostolate in the manner of St Thomas. I know you respect St Thomas and I assume you respect his method. So when another learned person has investigated a matter more than you, then it is a matter of integrity to acknowledged such and change your position.

I have answered your questions brought up by Mark and Mark is a no show. I can tell you why - he has no evidence for his blatant falsehoods about me.

We can now conclude Marks posts are blatant and repeated character assassinations and they should be deleted. How about it Dave?

JM

johnmartin said...

I think it's worthwhile to look too at the various passages of Scripture that geocentrists advance in support. What's interesting is that although they claim to be taking them literally, it's not actually true. See a thread in which a fellow interacts with our "johnmartin"'s listing of various Scripture texts which he claims support geocentrism (the vast majority from the Psalms, poetry which "johnmartin" above said was worthless to establish anything and the backtracked, although he has not yet honestly admitted his blunder).

JM- I made my comment in the context of only one quote from Isaiah that purportedly was used as evidence for the existence of the Pheonix. The poetry used in Isaiah alone was not enough to establish the existence of the phoenix because the language used is poetic, non specific to the Pheonix and is not supported by other scripture texts, tradition or the magesterium. However the stationary earth as recorded in the psalms is supported other scripture texts, tradition or the magesterium. Therefore we know the stationary earth as included in the psalms assumes its literal truth.

D- Sure, lots of passages of Scripture state that the sun rises/set or goes up/down. But geocentrists don't believe that it literally goes up and down,

JM- Geos do believe the sun literally goes up and down because it is the object doing the moving. It’s the helios who don’t think the sun is doing the up and down. The psalms accurately represent what the rest of the scriptures, tradition, and the magesterium have said about the motion of the sun.

D- rather they say that it orbits around the earth.

JM- Because it orbits the earth, therefore the sun is doing the up and down motion.

D -So they do not apply a literal hermeneutic

JM- We do. In fact we are the only ones who do. We are therefore the only ones who are consistent in the hermeneutic when we have the same approach to historical events and doctrines of the faith. All of which are based upon the literal sense of the text.

D- --even they have to admit that it only appears to go up and down. Neither is there literally an enclosure somewhere for the sun (Psa 19:4) nor does the sun have legs with which to run (Psa 19:5).

JM- The appearance is real. There is nothing to admit other than the very obvious.

D- Again, Pope Pius XII addressed this sort of language of the senses and specifically stated that we do not derive any scientific information from it,

JM- since the Holy Spirit did not intend to convey such. But it's worth noting that even geocentrists do not take this language literally, as they claim.

johnmartin said...

D- It is my understanding that there is only one truly papal text in this whole discussion, Alexander VII’s bull republishing the Index. But again, according to his own word he only included earlier documents in order to establish the history of the various matters. This is the only actual papal document of which I am aware. The 1616 and 1633 documents were from Roman congregations and neither was approved by the Pope in forma specifica.

JM – The ordinary magesterium has spoken on the matter of the stationary earth in the church fathers. This was assumed by all the Popes and that why they engaged Galileo on the matter which they thought was a matter of faith. The Popes consistently condemned Galileo for his theory as being against the faith. The statements made by congregations were statements endorsed by successive Popes. Therefore the statements only further ratify what was previously taught in the ordinary magesterium. The stationary earth has been taught by God. It is infallible and binding teaching and there are no official church statements that overturn the previous statements. Therefore Catholics are obligated to give their assent to this truth.

D- I have said only that the decrees of Roman congregations approved in forma communi do not and cannot bind the universal Church to an irreformable, infallible doctrine. This is obvious even to honest inquirers outside the Church (as cited by the CE).

JM- Honest readers will not many problems with the statement by the Catholic Encyclopedia which remain unanswered. David ignores these problems and carries on as though the problems never existed.

D- The Church does not teach geocentrism as a matter of faith. She never has.

JM- She has in the ordinary magesterium of the church fathers and the scriptures. This is historical fact. This truth is assumed in the Papal statements which reiterate the ordinary magesterium. This too is historical fact. Davids statement is a conclusion based on a failed apologetic.

D- On the contrary, she has given us the direct principle—taught by the great Doctors Augustine and Thomas—that on matters of scientific inquiry, on “how the heavens go”, we are free to pursue these matters and come to varying conclusions.

JM- St Thomas also said many other things about the literal sense of the text and the authority of the church, which has taught the fathers are not to be contradicted when they are unanimous. St Thomas was a geocentrist, based upon these sources and principles.

johnmartin said...

D- THAT is the teaching of the Church, as has been demonstrated here.

JM – The teaching of the church is otherwise and it has been demonstrated here. David is in grave error on many points and he has not rebutted my answers to his points.

D- You admit that the Church has stopped teaching geocentrism as a part of the Faith. Good, I'm glad you admit that openly.

JM- This was only said in the context that the church has stopped teaching many doctrines taught by the magesterium. So it is not good that you ignore the context.

D- Now, let’s look at the specific instances you cited. Let’s ask ourselves, has the Church stopped teaching THOSE things as part of the Faith?

JM- several other examples have since been given which David has chosen to be a no show on. For the church to remain silent on the matter of geo only shows it is cowardly in this respect. There is no charism of courage in the magesterium as shown by the failed consecration and other debacles in the church. Infallibility is only a negative protection and nothing more. This negative protection does not protect the church from the Popes ignoring heresy being taught throughout the Catholic world. This has been demonstrated on the other thread.

D- *** Geocentrism. Not taught. Not even implicitly. Not only not taught, but every indication given that this is no part of the deposit of Faith, that Catholics are perfectly free to hold divergent views.

JM – All answered with examples of several other doctrines which are routinely ignored and contradicted all over the catholic scholarly world. The PBC’s statements are one glaring example of this inconsistency in the church which has shown itself to be intellectually inept at defending the truth taught by the church in previous centuries. The facts of history show geo is a truth previously taught, which has been abandoned by the Catholic world, just like several other doctrines. David has not answered these historical facts because he knows he cannot without being a historical.

johnmartin said...

D- So, burden of proof is squarely on you to show how this could be reconciled with the dogma of the Indefectibility of the Church. I have already demonstrated how the matters surrounding the Galileo incident can be so harmonized.

JM – Indefectibility is only preserved by holding to geo, for geo is part of the faith. The burden of proof is squarely on you to show otherwise. Your current efforts to show geo is not part of the universal consent has failed and so too your treatment of the fathers errors to show they also made errors on geo as a matter of science. You failed there because you failed to see the distinctions between what God has and has not revealed. Evidently it didn’t occur to you that the errors of the fathers on matters of science assume the matter of the stationary earth was a settled truth of the faith. Its simple that obvious and you missed it because you are so intent on destroying the credibility of the science of the day, you forgot to tell the readers the fathers only got some of their information from the deposit and other ideas were their own spin on parts of cosmology which were not revealed by God.

D- Your interaction with the quote from Benedict XV made me smile. Imagine that he had said, “If subsequent study has shown that Jesus Christ really is St. Michael the Archangel” or that “the Blessed Virgin Mary really didn’t maintain a virginal state throughout her life” or that “the Sacrament of Holy Orders really was not established by Christ”, then the encyclical would have immediately been tagged, especially by the enemies of the Church, as containing an obvious nod to heresy. But nobody blinked an eye. Why? Because the Church does not teach geocentrism as a matter of Faith. She never has.

JM- already answered this on the previous thread. I also since provided a recent quote from Benedict who provided and quote from Dante, who stated the sun and stars moved. So yes Benedicts turn around and seeming double speak makes me wonder about what he is trying to say. Is Benedict confused on the matter of geo? Maybe he should read GWW and jump on board with the rest of the church.

David’s arguments have been thoroughly rebutted and currently he is a no show. Geo remains a truth of the faith as it always has been. Thank God for Him revealing this consoling truth. The cosmos has been created and we really are in a privileged placed, because God loves us.

JM

johnmartin said...

I made an editing error in the posts above. The statements are corrected below –

JM-- Again, Pope Pius XII addressed this sort of language of the senses and specifically stated that we do not derive any scientific information from it,

D- since the Holy Spirit did not intend to convey such. But it's worth noting that even geocentrists do not take this language literally, as they claim.

JM- Again, Pope Pius XII addressed this sort of language of the senses and specifically stated that we do not derive any scientific information from it,
JM- Pius XII is not saying what David wants him to say. Pius XII clearly states below that the scriptures are not given to teach “essential nature of the things of the universe”. This however is not the same as saying the scriptures have no scientific value or have no scientific information. Its simply anachronistic to project Pius XII statements to mean when the scriptures say the earth is stationary, we cannot derive any scientific meaning from the text. There is nothing in Pius XII statements to even suggest this is the correct understanding of his statements. Its even more problematic for David to take his position and then ignore St Thomas and Leo XIII who say the literal sense is primary when interpreting a text and this sense can only be changed when there is definitive reason to do so. There is no reason to do so on the matter of the stationary earth, because even modern science has produced nothing to overthrow this beautiful truth of revelation.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

JM

Dave Armstrong said...

johnmartin,

I have repeatedly stated why I don't want to argue about geocentrism. You disagree. great. The world is full of honest disagreements. If you keep hounding me about this I will start deleting your posts.

Don't wear out your welcome here. So far you (and other geocentrists) have gotten to say your piece at extreme length. There is not one word of my recent posts on Robert Sungenis' site, while right after this I will be posting for the third time his comments in e-mail to me.

Jordanes said...

Is John Martin just trying to keep the defunct geocentrism thread alive? Now he's reposting his previous comments from the other thread, apparently trying to "clone" the previous thread within this comment box . . . .

Dave, it's looking more and more like your decision not to engage in debate with the geocentrists is the best one. I'd already come to see that trying to argue over the truth of geocentrism with them is pointless, since they aren't geocentrists based on natural science but out of erroneous faith -- so on the rare occasions that I engage them, it is only on the question of whether or not the Catholic Church proposes geocentrism as an article of faith (which She obviously does not). Even doing that is probably unedifying and an exercise in futility, but I think it's important to lay out the facts of how the Church never infallibly imposed geocentrism or condemned the denial of geocentrism, and how the knowledge of the motions of heavenly bodies can have no effect on the destiny of souls, and how the Church later granted liberty to Her children on this question. That point having been established, there is just nothing else to say. That won't do any good for those like John Martin, but it might at least keep others from being caught in that snare.

johnmartin said...

J- Is John Martin just trying to keep the defunct geocentrism thread alive?

JM- I can post wherever I want.

J - Now he's reposting his previous comments from the other thread, apparently trying to "clone" the previous thread within this comment box . . . .

JM- My recent posts are new. What clones are you talking about. I did copy one or two one Dave’s recent questions because when I posted them on the other combox, they didn’t show up. Other than that I’ve moved on to complete my rebuttals of Mr Palms articles. If Dave wanted to hut down the other thread, then that’s up to him.

J- Dave, it's looking more and more like your decision not to engage in debate with the geocentrists is the best one.

JM- I disagree. Nevertheless I will respect Dave’s decision.

J- I'd already come to see that trying to argue over the truth of geocentrism with them is pointless, since they aren't geocentrists based on natural science . . .

JM – Ok, if we just look at the science, we can see the Michelson Morley experiment falls into the geo position quite well. The fringe shift predicted was not found and this type of experiment with several different variations has been tried since and the same result ensues. There is always a small fringe shift indicating something is moving past the earth or the earth is moving. Yet again if the earth is moving, it is not moving nearly fast enough to rotate once per day and orbit the sun. When we take out the sun orbit component, the remaining apparent orbit velocity is accounted for through the existence of the aether flow around the earth. In sort, geos don’t need to invent the Lorenz contraction to account for the small fringe shift. We say things stay the same length, no matter what velocity they travel and hence the Lorenz contraction is relativity (and probably a cloaked helio) junk science excuse used to project into the result what is required to obtain the previously unexpected fringe shift outcome.

Science would you believe it already invalidated the Lorenz contraction through the experiment involving the Wheatstone bridge. This experiment provided definitive evidence that objects do not shrink in the direction in which the object travels. This invalidates relativity theory as well mind you. But then again relativity largely survives on thought experiments independent of hard experimental evidence so geo’s are not surprised when physicists still maintain this theory even with solid experimental evidence against the theory.

johnmartin said...

We also have the work of Dr Neville Jones who has shown if we assume the earth is stationary, then all the other planets in the solar system for concentric flower patterns around the earth. If however we assume any other planet is stationary, we do not get this flower pattern appearing. This is clear evidence that acentrism is false and the conpernican principle has been invalidated. The earth really is in a special position in the universe. Dr Jones article is found here - http://www.geocentricperspective.com/Flower%20Pattern.htm

Dr Jones has also shown the rotating earth does not explain the weather system we experience on earth. If the earth rotates daily, then there must be a restoring force on earth to have cloud masses move with the earths rotation. This restoring force must vary with height and latitude to push all particles in the earth’s atmosphere east. He proves this vector field must exist here - http://www.geocentricperspective.com/Restoring%20forces.htm. As this vector field does not exist, then the earth’s weather systems are accounted for without any reference to a rotating earth. Evidently the earth’s weather system points directly to a stationary earth.

Dr Jones has produced a geo model which alone solves the Venus dichotomy problem. According to him, the helio model cannot solve this problem. Therefore the geo model is superior to the geo model - http://www.geocentricperspective.com/Schroter.htm. The Venus dichotomy problem invalidates the helio model, showing the universe cannot be understood other than within a stationary earth framework.

There is also the problem of negative parallax found in the Tycho Main Catalogue, indicating quite a number of stars/galaxies apparently move in the opposite direction required for helio to work. Negative parallax invalidates the helio model and Dr Jones posits a stellatum to account for the uniform pattern of star motion throughout the year. http://www.geocentricperspective.com/Negative%20parallax.htm

We also have the phenomenon of light aberration. According to this phenomenon, a moving observer will note the light from a stationary star has an aberration angle. Aberration is routinely used to calculate the velocity of the observer. However when we observe say the moon or the other solar system planets, we note there is no aberration of moon light and according to GWW, the aberration of the other planets is not observed either. This indicates the observer on earth is stationary relative to the moon and planets. Therefore the earth is stationary relative to the stars, which rotates around the earth every day.

johnmartin said...

The experiment of George Airy is also clear evidence for a stationary earth. The experiment is well known as Airy’s failure. The experiment works like this. If rain falls vertically into a beaker, the rain will hit the bottom of the beaker. If we then attach the beaker to a horizontally moving object, the beaker must be tilted forwards slightly to allow the rain drop to hit the bottom of the beaker. If we slow the rain drop down and have the object travel horizontally at the same velocity, the beaker will have to be tilted forward further still to ensure the rain drop hits the bottom of the beaker.

This same concept was applied to light and the earth. Light from the stars is like the vertically falling rain. The telescope is like the breaker and the earth is the object. If the stars and the earth are stationary, the light will hit the base of the telescope. If the earth is moving the telescope will have to be tilted forward to catch the light at the base of the telescope. If the light from the stars is slowed down and the earth is moving through space, then the telescope will have to be tilted forward even further still. Airy assumed the air filled telescope was attached to a moving earth. He directed the telescope towards a star and then filled the telescope with water. The water slows down the speed of light within the telescope, so the telescope must be tilted forward if the earth is moving horizontally relative to the stars. However Airy found the telescope was not required to be tilted, indicting the earth was stationary relative to star light entering into the telescope. Airy’s failure is yet again clear scientific evidence that the earth is stationary.

There is plenty of other scientific evidence that points directly towards a stationary earth. This is enough for now, showing Jordanes claims are easily falsified.


J- but out of erroneous faith

JM – Geo is true on both faith and reason. No doubt about it.

J-- so on the rare occasions that I engage them, it is only on the question of whether or not the Catholic Church proposes geocentrism as an article of faith (which She obviously does not).

JM- Its has been shown to be a truth revealed by God. The church has spoken in its official capacity and said a moving earth is against faith. Case closed on the faith argument.

johnmartin said...

J- Even doing that is probably unedifying and an exercise in futility, but I think it's important to lay out the facts of how the Church never infallibly imposed geocentrism or condemned the denial of geocentrism,

JM- No sound case has been laid out yet. If you are convinced there is a sound case then provide the link of provide the info here and now.

J- and how the knowledge of the motions of heavenly bodies can have no effect on the destiny of souls,

JM- Geo is a compelling reason to seek faith. When men come to know the earth is stationary at the center of the universe they will be compelled to seek for the God who placed it there. As it goes, helio promotes an agnostic understanding of the universe.

J- and how the Church later granted liberty to Her children on this question.

JM- This is a myth, based upon church ineptitude. The church has made a judgment and hasn’t overturned those judgments.

J- That point having been established, there is just nothing else to say. That won't do any good for those like John Martin, but it might at least keep others from being caught in that snare.

JM- When we seek for the truth, we see the stationary earth is the most reasonable explanation for the experimental evidence, the scriptural evidence, the church fathers evidence and the magisterial statements. Geo is a perfect match for all these sources of information, showing the concillience of evidence is clearly in favor of geo and not helio.

JM

Dave Armstrong said...

Jordanes,

I think your work and that of David Palm is supremely important in establishing that geocentrism is not at all a magisterial matter (which is why I made this post). I am very thankful for your work. You saved me a ton of trouble, doing what you did, and it is a very valuable service to all who want to understand what the Church actually teaches. I commend you. Hats off to both of you for your patience and hard work. I know how exasperating it is, but you did it (and someone had to)

And the importance of it is the reason you stated: to "keep others from being caught in that snare."

It is precisely this contention that the Church dogmatically espoused geocentrism that contributes to the widespread notion that we are supposedly so "anti-scientific."

The atheists and other critics of the Catholic Church will seize upon geocentric conferences and suchlike and make out that this is mainstream Catholicism, when it fact it is a tiny group of Catholics who (in my opinion) have a dim understanding of biblical hermeneutics and biblical language, insofar as they think the Bible teaches what they espouse, and (as you have shown) a very poor understanding of how Catholic authority and the magisterium work as well.

johnmartin said...

Relativity theory requires we hold to the following absurdities (and there are several others not listed as well) –

Falsity of relativity - time dilates.

Truth – primary time is universal and of uniform rate. Secondary time as measured in clocks varies and it local – eg a watch.

Falsity of relativity - time is relative and not absolute,

Truth – primary time is universal and of uniform rate. Any relative time is only secondary and dependent upon primary time.

Falsity of relativity - time is caused by the clock,

Truth – The clock is a measured measure of time. The clock is measured by prime time and measures secondary time.

Falsity of relativity - time is affected by the existence of a clock in a gravity field,

Truth – time is independent of a gravity field, for prime time is independent of any local measure. Only the rate of vibration of atoms in a clock change, but even in this change of vibration rate, the change is known through a universal benchmark of prime time.

Falsity of relativity - time is merely local,

Truth – primary time is universal and of uniform rate. Time is numbered movement according to before and after. As the number is independent of the movement, the number is of uniform rate according to before and after. Therefore prime time is universal and uniform according to rate. Because it is universal, time is not merely local.

Falsity of relativity - the units of time cannot be established with any uniform benchmark,

Truth – Time has a uniform rate and is known according to its secondary measure of seconds, minutes and hours. If time is said to dilate, then that means the same action occurs over a period of time that occurs over another period of time elsewhere. But if it is the same action then the same time period ensues. Yet the same time period infers a uniform bench mark, yet the uniform benchmark is not admitted when the same action takes different times. Therefore time dilation is invalidated according to an inconsistent benchmark.

Falsity of relativity - time is only a variable in an equation derived from a local clock,

Truth – time is not a variable. Essentially time is “numbered movement according to before and after.” The variable in an equation can then only be a quantity of this reality. This is ignored in relativity.

Falsity of relativity - abstract quantities derived in Einstein’s paper have been used to posit a cause of real length change in bodies

Truth – Bodies do not shrink in the direction in which the body travels. This was proven through the wheatstone bridge experiment. It’s also proven through common sense.
. . .

johnmartin said...

Falsity of relativity - time dilation is equated to a rate change in vibration of atoms in atomic clocks when the clock moves trough a gravity field

Truth – Relativity confuses clock rates with time. It also infers a universal time rate every time it concludes a change in clock rate. If we have a change in clock rate, how do we know it really changed other than to compare it to a universal rate? For to compare the change in clock rate to another relative clock is only to compare two relatives. As the two relatives are only known through comparison, then we don’t know for sure which clock has really changed. Time dilation is therefore an exercise is vague semantics and unverifiable in the real.

Falsity of relativity – accounts for gravity through the use of curved space in the space-time continuum. Yet the space-time continuum is only a mathematical figment comprised of x,y,z,t which are only variables within a mathematical model. Relativists claim gravity is caused by a bending or warping of the space time continuum, yet such a continuum only exists in the abstract and not the real. Therefore relativity cannot account for gravity in the real. Therefore it should not be used within empirical science to explain gravity.

Truth – God has revealed the real cause of gravity as an interaction of the aether, firmament and the heavenly bodies.

Falsity of relativity – it uses the principle of equivalence, yet relativists routinely deny the possibility of a stationary earth.

Truth – The possibility of a stationary earth is not only permitted but demanded by relativity.

There are plenty of other problems with relativity and there are several problems for Newtonian physics such as –

1. No mechanism to explain the twisting effect planets have on each other.
2. No mechanism to explain the continued expansion of Saturn’s orbit.
3. No mechanism to adequately explain the three body problem.
4. No mechanism to explain how bodies can act on each other instantaneously over any distance. This of course is contrary to relativity theory.
5. No reason proposed for an appeal to body mass as a cause for gravity.
6. No adequate reason to explain Newton’s assumption of absolute space.
7. Newton’s equations of motion assume absolute values, yet a moving earth is assumed by Newton within an universe full of moving objects. Therefore Newton’s equations require absolute values, even though his universe requires relative values.
8. The gravity equation’s requires an infinite gravity force for bodies with zero distance between their centers of mass. It also requires a very large gravity force when the distance between two bodies is very small.
9. Newton’s gravity laws don’t hold very well for bodies acting inside wells.
10. Newton’s laws of motion cannot account for the commencement of any bodies orbit around another body.
. . .

johnmartin said...

D- I commend you. Hats off to both of you for your patience and hard work. I know how exasperating it is, but you did it (and someone had to)

JM- Imagine how I feel. I’ve answered all the big objections and Jordanes other objection will be answered soon enough. So there will be more than likely a complete rebuttal to all the major points presented.

D- And the importance of it is the reason you stated: to "keep others from being caught in that snare."

JM- the snare of the truth . . .? Or the snare of a psychology that admits the same HS has worked through the church ever since Pentecost and that geo has the work of God to it with it’s decisions against Galileo? One wonders Dave . . . one really wonders.

J- It is precisely this contention that the Church dogmatically espoused geocentrism that contributes to the widespread notion that we are supposedly so "anti-scientific."

D- Who cares Dave. Baptism, the Eucharist, the Papacy and the redemption are all anti scientific. So to are the creation days and now you think geocentrism (without a shred of evidence I might add).

D- The atheists and other critics of the Catholic Church will seize upon geocentric conferences and suchlike and make out that this is mainstream Catholicism,

JM- No doubt the Catholic geos will back up their claims from official church documents and propose that the atheist show us where the church has overturned such official statements. No doubt the atheist will not come up with the goods either, just as we have seen on these recent threads.

D - when it fact it is a tiny group of Catholics who (in my opinion) have a dim understanding of biblical hermeneutics and biblical language, insofar as they think the Bible teaches what they espouse, . . .

JM- Dave fails to tell us that there was a time that the intellectual elite of the church held to geo. That’s right, the Jesuits held to geo and apparently they had great success with the model. Apparently the Chinese were so impressed with the predictable properties of the model it influenced their decision to convert to the faith. This is currently from memory and if someone would like to help me track this down it would be appreciated.

johnmartin said...

Regarding the statement “dim understanding of biblical hermeneutics and biblical language”, I challenge Dave to show us from the scriptures where geos have such a dim understanding. Take for example, Joshua’s long day. How does the exegete move from “the sun stood still”, to apparently the sun stood still, because we think science has a theory that says the earth really moves? How do you use the Popes and doctors of the church to arrive at this position from the scriptures? Please use the literal sense to arrive at the primary meaning of the text as intended by the human author.

D- and (as you have shown) a very poor understanding of how Catholic authority and the magisterium work as well.

JM- I believe I have thoroughly rebutted this position. No evidence was proposed to harmonise all the statements made by the Popes, St Augustine and St Thomas. If have shown the very selective quoting from Leo XIII and Pius XII are not the mind of the church when it comes to disavowing geo in the scriptures. The issue of harmonisation has simply not been addressed. Dave says geo has a very poor understanding of “Catholic authority and the magesterium work”, yet the helio position is based upon ad hoc quoting and ignoring the historical evidence of the official church position on geo as found in the fathers, Papal statements and scripture.

It seems to me that the helio case has degenerated into a series of statements based upon a dialogue in which I have shown each of those statements to be false, or at least of further need of a thorough investigation.

JM

Dave Armstrong said...

We're done with this on my blog. I requested a cessation of the endless repeating of the same old stuff. You've written more words than there are electrons in the universe (with no end in sight). You make Tolstoy look like a Trappist monk. It has now reached absurd proportions.

My blog doesn't exist as a vehicle for anybody's obsessions.

You've had your say. Now either you stop or I will strongly consider deleting all your posts and then your "platform" here will have been lost.

A word to the wise . . .