Theological Foundations for the Doctrine of Purgatory - Robert Sungenis


On October 22, 2010, Robert Sungenis (Roman Catholic) and James R. White (Reformed Baptist) debated the issues of the existence of Purgatory. The debate was held at the Believer's Reason Conference at Newberg Christian Church in Newberg, Oregon.
The next day, presenters were asked to speak on their "theological presuppositions" for their position in their debate.

Mark Shea's Muddled Liberal Thinking

Do you know any first grade students, Christian or non-Christian, who believe that 2 + 2 = 5? Do you know any high school students who believe that common water is not H2O? Do you know of any Christian students who, knowing that 2 + 2 = 4 and that water is H2O, ever tried to wish it away by calling on God in prayer? Do you know of any comparable students who believe, or religious people who teach, that two truths can be contradictory, or that a true fact and a false fact can be true as a unit? I thought so.

Welcome to the world of Mark Shea where exaggeration is as common as H2O and making straw men is as common as straw; where calling your opponent a fool or liar is more important than trying to understand what your opponent is saying and why he says it. It’s the same MO as always from Mark Shea: Shoot first, ask questions later.

Fr. Raymond Brown’s Hermeneutical Heresies

In Catholic biblical hermeneutics, a turning point occurred during the reign of Pius XII. In his encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, Pius believed it to be beneficial that Catholic biblical scholars be able to use the interpretive tools of what is known as “historical criticism.” In a word, it could be said that historical criticism seeks to apply scientific analysis to a written document. Is the document authentic? What is its date? Who wrote it? Did the author borrow from other sources? What type of literature is it? How much is the author influenced by his culture? Did the author fabricate, exaggerate, or embellish his story? These and many other questions the historical critic brings to his document. The document studied can be any piece of literature of historical worth – a sonnet by Shakespeare, a Greek tragedy by Homer, or even the United States Constitution. In a word, the historical critic tries to get to the real essence of the document so that he can find out the real truth of what occurred, or at least, what he thinks is the real
truth.

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A Critique of Catholic Answers’ Tract on “Creation and Genesis”

Over the years Catholic Answers has produced some exceptional apologetic material, but this was not one of them. Oddly enough, we cannot blame it on anyone in particular because the author did not attach his name to the tract. I think we can safely assume, however, that it would not have been published in 2004 without the consent of the then president, Karl Keating. For all intents and purposes, this tract started with a presumed thesis and then went on a hunt to find evidence to support it. The author skipped his way through the patristic sources, twisting and cherry-picking as he went. Insult was added to injury when at the end we find that the nameless author secured a nihil obstat and imprimatur from his local bishop. Sometimes an imprimatur isn’t worth the paper it is written on, and this is one of those cases. Bear with me as I go through this tract sentence by sentence.

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A Critique of Maurice Finocchiaro's Book, Retrying Galileo, and the So-Called 'Galileo Myth'

Galileo scholar, Maurice Finocchiaro, has put forth a supposition that the Catholic Church’s decrees against Galileo were not based on the Church declaring that heliocentrism was a heresy. He suggests the “heresy” interpretation is a “myth” begun in 1633 and carried on until today. Instead, he suggests the Church decreed heliocentrism was merely “contrary to Scripture” but not heretical. For example, in one place he argues:

Carafa’s conflation of “heretical” and “contrary to Scripture” was the first sign of how easy it would be to come to think that Copernicanism had been declared heretical, which was to become one of the most persistent myths in the subsequent controversy.

To my knowledge, Finocchiaro is the only Galileo scholar to advance this novel thesis. At the outset, we must note that the idea of it being a “myth” implies there was no truth to the accusation of heresy; that it was completely fabricated; that it had no historical roots; as well as no precedent and no justification. As such, the bar is set quite high for Finocchiaro to prove his case. The shortest and most obvious answer to Finocchiaro’s challenge is that since Galileo was convicted by the 1633 Inquisition of being “vehemently suspect of heresy,” and since Finocchiaro agrees the Church condemned Galileo with that specific canonical label, logic requires that Galileo could only be suspect of holding the heresy if, indeed, the heresy had already been defined and declared by the Church. The previous defining of the heresy, which would have occurred in 1616, would allow the Church to decide at the 1633 trial whether Galileo’s belief made him guilty of the heresy, or perhaps some lesser charge, such as “suspect” of the heresy.

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