Saturday, 26 March 2011

Traditional Catholic theologians on the ordination of women

In this post, I want to examine some passages from a couple of traditional Catholic theology textbooks on the ordination of women.


I've written a lot recently about the Catholic Counter-Enlightenment.  But where did the ideas that made up the Counter-Enlightenment come from?  The answer is ultimately the mediaeval idea of Christendom and the model of Church-State relations associated with it.

A traditional Catholic theologian on the Church and the State

This is the latest post in a series on Counter-Enlightenment Catholicism.  In it, I want to disinter the view put forward by Cardinal Camillo Tarquini on the proper relationship between the Church and the State in his Iuris ecclesiastici publici institutiones (1887).

The traditional Catholic coronation rite

Some excerpts, taken from the Pontificale Romanum (before the ceremony was deleted from it in 1968):

Religious liberty in the Theodosian Code and St Thomas Aquinas

In a recent post, I set out the official or orthodox position of Counter-Enlightenment Catholicism towards religious liberty.  This stance lasted roughly from the French Revolution of 1789 to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and its decrees Dignitatis Humanae and Nostra Aetate.

In this post, I want to look at some manifestations of the Counter-Enlightenment position from earlier in Christian history.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

When can a priest break the seal of confession?

See also now my other posts here and here.

Never, is the short answer.  Some grey areas do occasionally arise in relation to confession, however.

Bishop Strossmayer - An incident at the First Vatican Council

In this post, I want to disinter some of the sources for a remarkable incident involving the Croatian churchman Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer that took place at the First Vatican Council in 1870.

Counter-Enlightenment ideology in the Hamas Charter

In recent posts on this and my other blogs, I have been exploring some writings of the European Christian Counter-Enlightenment.  In this post, I want to draw attention to some elements of Counter-Enlightenment thought that reappear in the 1988 Hamas Charter.

Counter-Enlightenment Catholicism in recent times

In this post, I want to trace the survival among ultra-conservative Catholics of some of the themes (and conspiracy theories) of Counter-Enlightenment ideology that I have been examining recently here and on my other blog.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Yahwism in ancient Israel

In this post, I want to summarise the three useful categories that Patrick D. Miller posits for ancient Israelite religion in his book The Religion of Ancient Israel.

Polytheism in the Bible

In this post, I want to set out some of the passages in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) that contain evidence of elements of polytheism in ancient Israelite religion.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Monotheism and polytheism in ancient Israel

See also my original article on this subject.

I've just read an interesting scholarly article by Michael Heiser on monotheism and polytheism in ancient Israel.  He notes that it is widely accepted that Israelite religion was originally polytheistic:

[S]cholars... frequently assert that no explicit denial of the existence of other gods occurs until the time of Deutero-Isaiah and thereafter (6th century B.C.E.) in a presumed campaign by zealous scribes to expunge such references from the sacred text. Even the Shema and the first commandment do not consign the other gods to fantasy, since the demand is made that no other gods should be worshipped.

He believes that this widespread view does not go far enough:

It... fails to handle the evidence of late canonical and non-canonical texts that “retain” a council of gods in Israelite and Jewish theology....  There are explicit references to gods and a divine council in Second Temple period Jewish literature.

Essentially, Heiser takes the view that passages in the Old Testament which have frequently been interpreted as teaching monotheism (in Deuteronomy, for example) actually affirm only the uniqueness and incomparability of Yahweh.  This is an interesting and rather persuasive idea, though Heiser perhaps goes too far in rejecting entirely the categories used by modern scholars - monotheism, polytheism, monolatry, henotheism - to analyse ancient Near-Eastern religion.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

What was reactionary Catholicism?

I'm writing quite a bit at the moment about reactionary or Counter-Enlightenment Catholicism, and I intend to write some more on the same subject.  It may be useful to define briefly what I mean by these terms.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Quest for the Historical Jesus

"He was not a modern capitalist intoning the values of individualism and free enterprise, nor was he a modern socialist calling for a bureaucratic state. He was not a militarist who believed the sword can make the world safe for his values, nor was he a pacifist who thought conflict must be avoided at all costs. He was not a freedom fighter who believed that justice can only come about through violence, nor did he turn aside from the struggle for human dignity because politics is a dirty business. He was not a champion of women’s rights, nor did he promote male power and prerogative as the bastion of civilized values. He was not a racist, hating Gentiles as foreigners, nor was he a world citizen who knew all people to be the same underneath a veneer of cultural difference…." - R.D.Kaylor

Friday, 4 March 2011

Traditional Catholic teaching on homosexuality

In this post, I want to explore the attitudes that Catholic theologians traditionally adopted towards homosexuality.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Christianity and the law of England

Is Britain a Christian country?

This post has now been moved to a new location on my constitutional law blog.