Monday, April 17, 2006

Is Vatican II infallible? (Appendix 3)

A post by Don Paco.

Quaeritur: How could you believe something with human faith (e.g., with "religious assent of mind and will") if you knew it was not true? For example, if a Pope asks you to believe with natural faith something that is contrary to the previous Dogmatic teachings of the Church. I guess what this question is coming down to is whether or not you can accept something with natural faith but actually deny it. That would seem like hypocrisy, don't you think?

Respondeo: No, you can't both affirm and deny a propotion at the same time. This is what the principle of contradiction (which is ingrained upon our mind from the moment we first encounter the world) is all about: a thing can't be and not be at the same time in the same respect. Regarldess of what "kind" of faith you believe it with, you cannot believe it and not believe it. It is impossible.

Now, you CAN believe something despite evidence to the contrary (as some non-Catholics believe in their religions). But in that case, the person is completely rejecting the evidence---the person is not assenting to contrary propositions, but only to the false proposition. You cannot, however, believe and disbelieve at the same time, or believe and know it is not true.

So, in conclusion, if anyone asks you to believe (with "religious assent") something that is clearly incompatible with infallibly defined dogma, which you know with divine certainty, you could not possibly do that. Not that it is immoral; it is simply impossible. It would be like obeying your father, who asks you to believe that 2 + 2 = 5; as much as you love him, and wish to be obedient to him, you just can't believe that!

See also:

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