Return to Father Ripperger's Article - part two.
For Footnotes 1-37, see FOOTNOTES 1-37
(38) While the current magisterium can change a teaching which is under non-infallible ordinary magisterial teaching, nevertheless, when the magisterium makes a judgment in these cases, it has a moral obligation due to the requirements of the moral virtue of prudence to show how the previous teaching was wrong or to be understood differently by discussing the two different teachings. However, this is not what has happened. The magisterium since Vatican II often ignores previous documents which may appear to be in opposition to the current teaching, leaving the faithful to figure out how the two are compatible, e.g. as we see in Mortalium Animos and Ut Unum Sint. This leads to confusion, infighting within the Church as well as the appearance of contradicting previous Church teaching without explanation or reasoned justification.
(39) For instance, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1975 (Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics as found in the official English translation of the Vatican by The Wanderer Press, 128 E. 10th St., St. Paul, MN 55101) asserts the following regarding masturbation: "The main reason is that, whatever the motive for acting this way, the deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside normal conjugal relations essentially contradicts the finality of the faculty." This indicates that regardless of one's intention or motive, the act is in itself gravely immoral. Then in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (editio typica, Libreria Editrice Vatican, 1997) a definition is given which seems to allow for different intentions to modify whether such an act is evil or not: "Masturbationis nomine intelligere oportet voluntarium organorum genitalium excitationem, ad obtinendam ex ea veneream voluptatem," i.e. "by the name masturbation it must be understood as the voluntary excitement of the genital organs to obtain from it venereal pleasure." The last part of the definition therefore includes in the act of masturbation a finality, viz. "to obtain from it venereal pleasure." This appears to contradict the prior teaching of the Church as well as the teaching of the CDF. If one does not do it for the sake of pleasure, does that mean that it is not masturbation? For example, if one does it for the sake of determining one's fertility, does this justify it? One can rectify the situation by arguing that when it is done for the sake of pleasure it is an instance of masturbation, but that the actual definition is what the Church has always held. Clearly, however, this example is testimony to how careless the magisterium has become in its theological expression.
(40) The term is the author's own designation for this phenomenon.
(41) Neo-conservatives as a general rule accept Scripture and give it a rather prominent place. But Scripture along with intrinsic tradition are not that much of a norm for them except insofar as the current magisterium asserts the necessity for following them as a matter of orthodoxy.
(42) Positivism is a philosophical system in which one regards only the sensible, the particular (singular) experience, as real and holds that only the knowledge of such facts is certain because only they can be (physically) verified. This would mean any reality which is not physical is to be denied. Positivists tend to hold that legislation does not have to be founded on any other principle than the mere fact that a given authority promulgates it. Since tradition or past history is not something tangible, it is ignored.
(43) Many of the things which the neo-conservatives do are the result of implicitly adopting principles which they have not fully or explicitly considered. Many of them would deny this characterization because they do not intellectually hold to what, in fact, are their operative principles.
(44) The world which God created is not to be despised because it is evil but because it is a good, i.e. because it is good we can become attached to it rather than God and, as a result, it can lead us to moral ruin. This requires us to live in the world but be detached from it. Sometimes the term "world" is also taken to include man and his moral corruption due to sin.
(45) In fact, this seems to be the theme which is warned against by the magisterium prior to Vatican II.
(46) As the dictum says, he who does not study history is bound to repeat it. This is because if you do not look at the present through the experience or eyes of the past, you will not take heed of the lessons learned by past generations. Furthermore, man's identity is determined in part by the history from which he comes. As a result, we do not fully understand ourselves and our circumstances without knowing where (historically) we came from.
(47) This has caused many a traditional priest problems. Even when they are discussing liturgical matters with those who uphold the teachings of the Church, they are often faced with criticism of the Old Mass based upon principles which govern the New Mass. It is difficult even to discuss it coherently when the accepted principles or premises of those holding different views are fundamentally at odds.
(48) This can also be asserted of the customs, morals and culture in the secular sphere.
(49) This is, of course, a generalization. Not everyone of that generation agreed with the course of action that their own generation was taking.
(50) What this means is that there is a certain restlessness today in the Church and its members cannot seem to leave things in the past alone. Perhaps this is due to their perspective which holds that the past, i.e. the extrinsic tradition, was inherently inadequate.
(51) In philosophy, a distinction is made between notional and real assent. Notional assent is when the person may make an intellectual judgment that something is true, but it does not really determine his action or thinking. Real assent is when a person makes an intellectual judgment about the truth of some matter and actually lives and thinks according to it.
Return to Father Ripperger's Article - part two.
For Footnotes 1-37, see FOOTNOTES 1-37 or Father's first part of this article Part One