"Vatican Instructs Spanish Bishops To Disavow Ex-Gay Group" -tragic

Discussion in 'Anglican and Christian News' started by anglican74, Jul 15, 2021.

  1. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    i guess I've become a sort of unofficial Vatican news watcher, because this latest news is truly astounding.. Our ministry to diminish the power of LGBT groups, and teach the world about God's design for the family, is incredibly weak right now, and we are only just starting to gather resources, conferences, teaching materials to help those who have successfully transitioned out of the Gay Lifestyle... We are weak and need to be cherished and fostered... Well look at what Rome is doing instead towards our weak and foundling steps for Christian doctrine of the family

    "Vatican Instructs Spanish Bishops To Disavow Ex-Gay Group "
    https://www.newwaysministry.org/202...ucts-spanish-bishops-to-disavow-ex-gay-group/
     
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The pro-LGBTQ "New Ways Ministry" message seems to be that sinful desires are normal and natural, so therefore don't make any attempt to stop having those sinful desires. Or perhaps even that the desire to fornicate or commit adultery with members of the same sex is not sinful at all.

    What I can't tell from the article, though, is whether the RC hierarchy believes the above, or whether "New Ways Ministry" is 'spinning' the story. It could be, possibly, that the RCC simply wants to make clear that the conversion therapy group called 'Truth and Freedom' is not officially sanctioned or sponsored by the RCC; i.e., it's an independent group. This so-called "ministry" might be slanting the whole thing to make the church appear even more favorable to their cause than is actual.

    Clearly, "New Ways Ministry" is not following The Way, The Truth, and The Life. A better name for them would be "False Ways Disservice."

    Mat 5:27-28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

    Seems like it would also be true that when a man looks at a man lustfully, he too has committed adultery in his heart.
     
  3. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Theologically speaking, “natural” is exactly what “sinful desires” are, if you believe in Original Sin. There always seems to be a certain implied Pelagianism inherent in many traditionalist critiques of pro-LGBTQ ministries.
     
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  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. What is problematic is the faulty logic: because it's natural to have sinful desires, (impliedly) one cannot help oneself from having them, and therefore the sinful desires must be okay.
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    That is why the discourse ought not be framed in terms of "natural" vs. "unnatural".
     
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  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, the Bible frames the issue in terms of natural versus unnatural. Isn't it therefore appropriate to frame it that way among fellow Christians, at least?

    Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
    Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
    Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
     
  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I would argue that such would be counterproductive at best. Paul is making rhetorical use of a common pagan argument that would have resonated with his audience. His pagan (and Jewish) sources did not assume the truth of Original Sin, which is the point at issue here. One verse taken apart from its context shouldn’t dictate that we discuss the issue in a way that is at variance not only with the dogma of original sin but also with scientific fact. Nature is what nature does.
     
  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The natural law discourse has been a part of philosophy, and Christianity in particular, for thousands of years.

    Believe me, you’re not the only one I’ve seen who has recoiled from the use of terms like “nature” and “unnatural”. It’s one of the very dogmas of modern culture that the word “unnatural” doesn’t really make sense and doesn’t exist. That if it’s found in nature, then it is natural.


    That’s not how natural law discourse works. By that logic, having six fingers would not be considered unnatural. But having six fingers is manifestly unnatural. That’s how we can see that the modern understanding is impoverished and inadequate.
     
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  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Except for the person who has six fingers. There’s a reason natural law arguments fell into disuse several centuries ago. One can condone or condemn just about anything on the basis of ‘natural law’.
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    So, if I had two heads and five arms, that would be natural? If I had always felt an irresistible urge to strangle babies, would it be natural for me to feel that way (and moreover to engage in the practice)? What is "natural" cannot be judged by the individual or on an individual basis. This is a false argument being advanced by those who wish to justify their sins and sinful desires; they are attempting to redefine "natural," and we must not fall for this tactic or else they succeed in reframing the argument in terms more favorable to them.
     
  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    By definition, whatever nature does is ‘natural’. That does not mean it is right, or that it is the way things ought to be. The only way one derives ‘right’ from ‘natural’ is by being selective. But on what basis is the selection made? If those principles are knowable, then one can dispense with appeals to ‘nature’ altogether. The trick is discovering what those principles are. This is what the utilitarian/deontological debate in Western philosophy was all about.
     
  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The meaning of natural is not subjective or based on someone's feelings. It is an objective statement of fact. Even someone who has six fingers can, by looking at those around him, and by investigating DNA and birth defects, conclude that the development of his hand went against nature.

    Nonsense, Martin Luther King Jr. invoked natural law in his Letters from a Birmingham Jail as the grounding and rationale for civil rights. During WW2, the Nazis were condemned by natural law, after all weaker methods to convict failed, because the Nazis argued they acted perfectly legally, fully in accord with the laws of their country. Natural law is literally invoked in the Declaration of Independence and forms the foundation for the American concept of rights and the earlier English 1688 Bill of Rights. Should I go on?

    You're equivocating on the concept of Nature. If by 'nature' is meant all the sum of all creatures around us ("The Nature Channel"), then emphatically the creatures around us manifest all kinds of biological defects and genetic deformations. There is presupposed a normative standard, deviations from which get classified as de-fects, and de-formations.

    But if by 'nature' is meant one's nature, the inner essence of something, like the nature of man as a 'rational animal', or the nature of an acorn is to become an 'oak tree', then yes whatever one's nature is, is natural. But then a man who doesn't function as a rational animal is still defective and against nature; and an acorn that doesn't become an oak tree is classified as deformed and unnatural.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
  13. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Did I not say “several centuries”? When was the Declaration of Independence promulgated? Jefferson was writing at the tail-end of the era when such appeals to “Nature and Nature’s God” - a phrase which had nothing to do with Christianity - were still considered fashionable. The first edition of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason appeared the same year, with his moral philosophy - starting with his account of the Categorical Imperative - following in short order. I can’t comment on Dr. King’s writings, but Nuremberg is the exception that proves the rule. As for American rights, as a matter of jurisprudence, these were not derived from natural law but from English common law. The very notion of stare decisis is incompatible with natural law. The only State in the U.S. whose jurisprudence is based on Roman law is Louisiana, and that fact predates the U.S. Constitution. Should I go on?
     
  14. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Given we're talking about misunderstood definitions, that expression actually means "prove" in the old-fashioned sense of "test". As in the "exception that tests the rule", and finds it lacking. Nature as the Greeks used it does not refer to nature as you are using it now, and when we talk about "natural law" we're normally harkening back to Socrates who invented the term (probably) and Aristotle who popularised it.

    An opinion I'm increasingly aligning to in recent months is that I think the discussion of nature is all a bit of a red herring to be honest. What is good is God's Will (Romans 12.2), not what is natural. In fact, God's Will is sometimes unnatural (Romans 11.24). People get so caught up by a contested reading of para phusin that we end up missing the forest for the trees. We reject Aristotle's philosophy insofar as it leads people falsely to transubstantiation, lets do away with him again on natural law. Who cares if something is natural or unnatural, is it in accordance with the Truth?
     
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  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That's fine and dandy. I get tired of being "corrected" simply for using the word "natural" in the way the Bible uses it! :cheers:
     
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  16. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    You would have a bone to pick with Madison who grounded rights in nature; with Jefferson obviously; with James Wilson the very founder of American jurisprudence. And looking to their predecessors you'd have a bone to pick with Sir Edward Coke the giant of English common law who declared that King James I to be subject to the law, and the laws of Parliament to be void if in violation of natural law. And of course Blackstone's monumental Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-70) both grounded English law in natural law, and was the very textbook used by the Founders during law school.


    There isn't much on natural law in Aristotle, as most of those developments came later. For the modern times, the most important teacher of natural law was Cicero. He wrote whole treatises on how natural law governs society, morality, and jurisprudence:

    "There is indeed a law, right reason, which is in accordance with nature; existing in all, unchangeable, eternal. Commanding us to do what is right, forbidding us to do what is wrong. It has dominion over good men, but possesses no influence over bad ones. No other law can be substituted for it, no part of it can be taken away, nor can it be abrogated altogether. Neither the people or the senate can absolve from it. It is not one thing at Rome, and another thing at Athens: one thing today, and another thing tomorrow; but it is eternal and immutable for all nations and for all time. And for them there is one common master (so to speak), and ruler of men, namely God, who is the author of this law, it interpreter, and its sponsor."
    -Cicero, On the Republic, II. 22.


    The Church Fathers completely integrated natural law into Christian theology:

    Lactantius
    -"In the Sixth Book Lactantius amply quotes Cicero's Republic's paean of the natural law in significant detail. As a Christian, Lactantius clearly suffers no scruple in adopting the Ciceronian description of the Stoic understanding of the natural law as a testimony of the pagan knowledge of it, while recognizing that the pagan spoke with a natural voice of the philosopher, and not the supernatural voice of the prophet. The compatibility between the Stoic concept of the natural law and the Christian teaching, particularly as contained in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, is remarkable, indeed Providential. This philosophical and theological symbiosis, this marriage of reason and revelation, has been carried on to the present day as a prized possession of the doctrinal and moral patrimony of the Church."
    https://lexchristianorum.blogspot.com/2010/03/lactantius-natural-law-delivered-to.html

    Ambrosiaster
    "It is no secret that the whole life of man is under the law of nature, which has been given to the world. This is the general law."
    -"It is apparent from reviewing his works, that the Pauline teaching of the natural moral law, as developed or taught by the Apostolic fathers, had by then had become fixed and well-defined. Ambrosiaster himself, as one of his commentators has made clear, 'co-opted and 'biblicized' the Stoic theme of natural law.' "
    -"Naturally, Ambrosiaster addresses the issue of the natural moral law when construing Romans 2:14-15. Ambrosiaster identifies the "law of the heart" as performing the work of the law, but working not through the letter, but by conscience. Ambrosiaster also sees the natural law as contained within the entire Mosaic law. The Mosaic law is "triplex," and one of its three branches is the natural moral law"
    https://lexchristianorum.blogspot.com/2010/03/ambrosiaster-on-natural-law-keeping-law.html

    St. Hilary of Poitiers, Tractatus super Psalmos
    -"The same moral principles that govern Christians thus also govern the behavior of the pagans. In fine, both are under the natural law. This natural law, redolent of the Decalogue, teaches men not to injure others, not to steal, not to perpetrate fraud, perjury, homicide, or adultery, and so forth. This is the law to which St. Paul refers when he says that the Gentiles who do not have the Mosaic law, naturally do what the law requires (Rom. 2:14)."

    St. Ambrose, De Officiis Ministrorum
    -"For if there is one law of nature (lex naturae) for all, there is also one state of usefulness for all. And we are bound by the law of nature to act for the good of all. It is not, therefore, right for him who wishes the interests of another to be considered according to nature, to injure him against the law of nature." (De offic., III, 4, 25.)
    -"For what is so contrary to nature as not to be content with what one has or to seek what is another’s, and to try to get it in shameful ways. For IF A VIRTUOUS LIFE IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH NATURE—for God made all things very good—then shameful living must be opposed to it. A virtuous and a shameful life cannot go together, since they are absolutely severed by the law of nature." (De offic., III, 4, 28)

    St. John Chrysostom, Homily XII on the Statues
    -"There is a natural law in man that allows him to discern the good and discern what is evil. In his homily, Chrysostom seeks to prove its existence. He begins his discussion of it by focusing on man's creation, which is appropriate because the font of the natural moral law is the design incorporated into our nature by the God who fashioned it in his image, the God who designed it with an end or purpose in view. The ability to distinguish evil from good is an easily evident faculty in man, and has been with him from time immemorial, even from his creation: "For that God from the beginning, when He formed man, made him capable of discriminating both these, all men make evident." (XIII.7.)
    -"The Golden Rule is the fundamental expression of the natural moral law."
    https://lexchristianorum.blogspot.com/2010/02/golden-mouth-of-natural-law-st-john_26.html
     
  17. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I am well aware of the Founders' and Framers' dependence on Blackstone, and the latter's dependence on Coke. I have also spent a great deal of time studying all of them with respect to the history of the development of parliamentary supremacy. Regardless of where they thought law itself originally came from - and remember this was before the time that natural law was eclipsed as an operant legal philosophy - Blackstone's Commentaries elucidate the English common law: the history of judicial decisions, acting as precedent, that led to the state of the law as it was in his own day. And while Blackstone's work hasn't been without its critics, he made clear rather early in the Commentaries that he did not agree with Locke's theory of the 'state of nature' or the 'social contract' (nor, it should be mentioned, did Edmund Burke). So, his endorsement of a natural law position would have to be qualified, in comparison with an earlier thinker like Hooker (on whom Locke was highly dependent in his Two Treatises of Government). Traditional or not, I don't see natural law as a viable philosophical theory, and since virtually no one today thinks in those terms, it has little rhetorical force when referred to, as 'appeal to authority' is the weakest kind. It just doesn't do the apologetical heavy lifting that it used to do.
     
  18. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Aristotle is literally called "the father of natural law". On The Laws (De Legibus) is Cicero's treatise on natural law, not On The Republic (De Re Publica) - I think that quote from On The Republic is just rehashing his other book, On The Republic isn't really about ethics or morality it's about politics, governance and the constitution of Rome. It's true that Cicero was instrumental to natural laws popularisation as well, but he mostly just took Greek ideas and brought them to Rome, I don't know that we could call him the most important teacher.

    EDIT: Oh and surely, for the modern times, the most important teacher is no one from the Classical Age. It's got to be Hobbes.

    I think you do a good job here convincing me this is true. It doesn't change my opinion though, theologically I think it's a red herring. Scripture tells us what is good and what is evil, why do we waste so much time stressing about if something is natural or not. It's just a waste of time. That the early church thinkers fell victim to it as well is merely a comfort. Theologians are great at getting sidetracked by Greek stoics - it's good philosophy, but I am increasingly finding it's rarely productive when we take a step back to appreciate what God tells us actually matters.
     
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  19. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I would say either Hobbes or Locke is the most important. It’s virtually impossible to get any political theory off the ground without referring to the two of them.
     
  20. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Common law is not a category of law. The categories are, for example, Positive Law (“law is right by mere virtue of being passed”); Natural Law (“law is right only if adhering to unchanging principle”); and others eg. ecclesiastical law. Both English as well as Roman and Continental Law could take from these and other categories. The Roman law was a mixture of positive law and natural law. For the English lawyers, the English common law was seen as a species of natural law. Here is Sir Edward Coke, in the famous 1610 Bonham’s Case, making a legal ruling that common law as natural law is not subject to edicts of Parliament, but is eternal and can rule laws of men as void, by its mere power:

    in many cases, the common law will control Acts of Parliament, and sometimes adjudge them to be utterly void; for when an act of Parliament is against common right and reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, the common law will control it, and adjudge such an Act to be void

    In that case, the Parliament made a law, but Coke ruled that it’s mere making of it was not enough to authorize it; he declared it as incompatible with Natural Law, and therefore null and void. This was a famous case which directly led to the creation of Judicial Review in America 150 years later. There James Wilson, also a natural law advocate, explicitly founded American jurisprudence, with the first Supreme Court rulings, on the principles of natural law.


    Have you read Cicero yourself? I hope we’re not all just peacocking here. Cicero’s De Legibus, and his De Re Publica, and De Officiis, as well as several others, were all focused on elaborating the function of natural law in the various spheres of life. I’ve read them in the original when taking classical latin at university back in the day.


    The reason it’s important is because Scripture itself teaches natural law. For example the Golden Rule taught by Christ was not a divine moral truth revealed from him to us; but rather a natural law principle which he reaffirmed. And the same goes The Commandments: these are just natural law principles. Saint Paul teaches of the existence of this natural law written on the heart of every man in Romans 2:14 (see the church fathers on this, above).

    If something was this important to the prophets and apostles, it should be important to us.

    Furthermore, seeing God issuing moral precepts out of his mere Will is the philosophical error of Voluntarism, and is gravely dangerous. In classical teaching, moral precepts do not issue out of God’s will, but out of his reason, and are embedded in all of nature. That is natural law.

    You don’t turn to a chapter and verse in the Bible to learn how to be an honest person.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021