- Copertina flessibile: 562 pagine
- Editore: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (6 aprile 2013)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 1484052919
- ISBN-13: 978-1484052914
- Peso di spedizione: 930 g
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (Inglese)
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"The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest." - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI given July 13, 1988, in Santiago, Chile
So yes, absolutely buy, read, and consult regularly the Catechism. Read the documents of Vatican II, keeping in mind they are but 3 years out of two hundred centuries of the Church. There is nothing in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma that conflicts with current teaching, and there is a great deal you will learn from it. Ott's work was relevant then, and is relevant now.
As stated in other excellent reviews, this work is arranged categorically and gives a broad treatment of the dogmas and firmly held teachings of the Faith. The standard presentation is very roughly as follows:
* Statement of the dogma
* Definition and Origin of the dogma
* Heresies against the dogma
* Support of the dogma from Holy Writ
* Support from the Fathers (pre/post/Nicene)
* Support from Tradition (usually involving how the Scholastics weighed in on the subject)
Most of the great theologians and early Fathers that have stood the test of the centuries are referenced, from both the east and the west. There is just enough detail to explain the dogma, and point the reader to other sources (Denzinger figures prominently.)
One thing that I think will stand out to the reader is how the dogma of the Catholic Church forms over time. For the most part, dogmas are laid out as correctives; as long as there is unanimous agreement on a point, there is no need to define dogma. It's only when there is a challenge or controversy that defined dogma becomes necessary. And it is here that the great service of the Church through the ages comes to the fore. It has tirelessly and relentlessly, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, defended Truth against corruption.
This is why many of the definitions of dogmas begin "Against the Reformers..." or "Against the Pelagians..." As I was reading, I was reminded of the observation of G.K. Chesterton:
"Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human. When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded."
A couple of things to note:
Having no knowledge of Greek or Latin shouldn't deter anyone from tackling this work, but be aware that not all Latin quotations of the original sources are translated. Not to worry, as you can mostly pick up the quotes from the surrounding text, and in the age of Google, no Latin quote is inaccessible. More difficult were the fewer Greek words and passages that were not translated, but those, too, are somewhat discernable from the text.
I have the hardcover version from Roman Catholic books, and while the binding and construction are first-rate, the printing is terrible - very spotty and smudgy in places. I usually ding books for this lack of quality, but in this case, the material is simply too engaging, and I was able to figure out every word, although it was bit difficult in on same pages.
1) Are you a lapsed Catholic unsure of your faith and need to reinforce your spiritual growth? Buy this book.
2) Are you a non-Catholic Christian unaware of the history of the church prior to Luther, Calvin, etc? Read this book.
3) Do you want to learn what early Christians believed in what was canon in sacred scripture? This book is for you.
4) Are you an aspiring apologist? Read this book.
5) You got free time to read? Buy this book.
6) You have limited time to read? This book is not a dictionary, buy it anyway.
You won't be disappointed.
He explains in the Introduction, "Theological opinions are free views on aspects of doctrines concerning Faith and morals, which are neither clearly attested in Revelation nor decided by the Teaching Authority of the Church. Their value depends upon the reasons adduced in their favour... A point of doctrine ceases to be an object of free judgment when the Teaching Authority of the Church takes an attitude which is clearly in favour of one opinion." (Pg. 9) He observes, "The profane facts of natural science and history contained in Holy Writ are not inspired per se, but only ,,, by virtue of their relation to religious-moral truths. The data inspired... is also the Word of God, and consequently without error. However, as the hagiographers in profane things make use of a popular, that is, a non-scientific form of exposition suitable to the mental perception of their times, a more liberal interpretation, is possible here. The Church gives no positive decisions in regard to purely scientific questions, but limits itself to rejecting errors which endanger faith. Further, in these scientific matters there is no value in a consensus of the Fathers since they are ... here acting... merely as private scientists." (Pg. 92)
He admits, "The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in Scripture. According to many theologians is it contained implicitly ... in the following passages [Gen 3:15; Lk 1:28; Lk 1:41]... Neither the Greek nor the Latin Fathers explicitly teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Still they teach it implicitly, in two fundamental notions: a) Mary's most perfect purity and holiness... b) The similarity and contrast between Mary and Eve." (Pg. 200-201) Later, he adds, "Mary bore her Son without any violation of her virginal integrity... The dogma merely asserts the FACT... without determining more closely how this is to be physiologically explained." (Pg. 205) Similarly, about the Assumption of Mary, "Direct and express scriptural proofs are not to be had... From her fulness of grace spoken of in Luke 1:28, Scholastic theology derives the doctrine of the bodily assumption and glorification of Mary." (Pg. 208-209)
He states, "In the final decision on doctrines concerning faith and morals the church is infallible... Christ promised His Apostles the assistance of the Holy Ghost for the fulfillment of their teaching task... This presupposes that the Apostles and their successors in their promulgation of faith are far removed from the danger of error... The infallibility of the promulgation of faith is a presupposition of the unity and of the indestructability of the Church." (Pg. 297-298) He asserts, "As against modern religious indifferentism, Pius IX declared" 'By Faith it is to be firmly held that outside the Apostolic Roman Church none can achieve salvation. This is the only ark of salvation. He who does not enter into it, will perish in the flood. Nevertheless equally certainly it is to be held that those who suffer from invincible ignorance of the true religion, are not for this reason guilty in the eyes of the Lord.' The last proposition holds out the possibility that people who in point of fact... do not belong to the Church can achieve salvation." (Pg. 312)
He points out, "The Council of Trent declared against the Reformers, whose idea of justification led them to deny ... the necessity o8f Baptism for salvation... As to the moment of the beginning of the baptismal obligation, the Council of Trent declared that after the promulgation of the Gospel... there could be no justification without Baptism or the desire for the same." (Pg. 356) He says, "Christ promised the power of absolution to the Apostles only [Mt 18:18] and transferred this power to them only [Jn 20:23]. The power passed from the Apostles to their successors in the priesthood, the bishops and the presbyters. The hierarchical constitution of the Church demands that the judicial power of absolution cannot belong to all the faithful indiscriminately, but only to members of the hierarchy." (Pg. 439)
He notes, "The Union Councils of Lyons and Florence declared that the souls of the damned are punished with unequal punishments... This is probably intended to assert ... a difference in the degree of punishment for personal sins. Jesus threatens the inhabitants of Corazain and Bethesda... with a stricter judgment then the dwellers in Tyre or Sidon [Mt. 11:22]. The Scribes are to be subject to a particularly strict judgment [Lk 20:47]." (Pg. 482)
Written prior to Vatican II, this clear exposition of “traditional” Catholic doctrine will be of most interest to traditionalists and conservatives, or to anyone wanting to know that “historical” Catholic teaching on a particular subject was.