Friday, December 24, 2010

TF Part 2 on Luther and the IC

An anti-Catholic epologist who goes by the pseudonym “TurretinFan” (TF) has continued commentary on the Immaculate Conception (IC) discussion I have been having with James Swan.  TF, however, is focusing on my statement that while the Blessed Virgin was preserved from the stain of Original Sin, she was not wholly preserved from the consequences of Original Sin.  Apparently he takes objection to the fact that this knocks a hole in so many anti-Catholic statements claiming Catholicism has it wrong in regard to Jesus being the only one wholly without sin for in inheriting the consequences of Original Sin she too needs a Redeemer.  The anti-Catholic would not like to see or accept that Catholicism is truly “Christian” in that sense, but in reality clinging to such bigotry is what is non-Christian.  Below is my response to TF’s recent bloggery:

Follow-Up With Scott Windsor

Mr. Windsor has a brand new post (link to post) in which he attempts to respond to my post of yesterday (link to my post). There's not much new.
Correct, not much is new because my position has not changed in the least.  Then, I didn't merely attempt to respond, I responded.  TF may not agree with what I've said - but to imply I only "attempted" a response is not factual.
In my response to my point that he is committing a fallacy of emphasis, he insisted that his position is not novel and quoted (he claimed) from the Catholic Encyclopedia. Here's what he said:
I'll begin with #6 - My explanation is not new. The 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia says: "But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam (aka Original Sin) — from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death." The article actually dates back to 1910 - before even my parents were born.

I trust this will silence the false allegation that this was somehow my "novel interpretation." I have also posted this part of my response to TF's blog.
Except that's not actually what the entry says. The "(aka Original Sin)" is Mr. Windsor's insertion.
Yes, the parenthetical statement is mine - it is a clarification, which TF would rather not see, as he focuses on the text immediately before what I quoted - which is in reference to the stain, taint or corruption of Original Sin, which the Blessed Virgin was preserved from.
What it actually says is this:
The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin, the state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam — from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death.
Well, the red text and bolding there was mine for this posting.  What part of “But she was not made exempt from the temporal punishments of Adam” are you not comprehending, TF?  I submit THAT is PRECISELY what I’ve been saying all along, I did not invent this concept and there, more than a generation before I was born, we see the Catholic Encyclopedia expressing the same thing I have been expressing!  I challenge TF to prove otherwise.  
After that, he claims he doesn't need to give a supporting argument for his assertion ("It is not up to me to point out what the supporting argument should be"). In the world of reason, of course, people can't just make assertions.
To be clear here, if I was not originally, that statement is in regard to me not having to provide the supporting argument for TF’s assertion(s)!  TF is the one who introduced a Greek word into the discussion between James Swan and I - as if Luther was writing in Greek - and thus, if he cannot produce a Greek original of that discussion then the logical thing for him to do is concede.  I do not expect him to do so, it has not been characteristic of him to concede anything to me (or any other Catholic that I am aware of).
He goes on to address two arguments I did not make, to wit:
1) He points out that Luther didn't write in Greek. Who said he did? I certainly didn't say so.
I guess that’s about as close as we’re going to get to a retraction.  The insertion of the Greek “adelphos” into a discussion where the primary source is Luther was like jumping into the water without first checking the temperature.  Swan and I were not discussing Greek or Scripture, we were discussing Luther and Luther’s writings and whether or not Luther held to the belief in the Immaculate Conception throughout his life.  It was NOT a discussion of whether or not the IC was correct or scriptural, and the sooner TF recognizes this he (and a few others) can remove the egg from his (their) face(s).
2) He alleges that, in context, Luther can't be referring to Jesus' brethren. I'm quite sure Luther isn't talking about the conception of any of Jesus' brethren, and I certainly wasn't suggesting otherwise.
Good!  Then all this discussion about “adelphos” and straying into a discussion of the Perpetual Virginity was off-based and I therefore accept the retraction of such arguments from THIS discussion.
He then claims I've abandoned my Greek argument. What argument exactly? Presumably it is one of those two arguments I didn't make.
Are we supposed to just forget that it was TF who introduced the Greek word (font an all) to this discussion of Luther’s beliefs?
He clarifies that his use of "ACCURATE" to describe a translation here "refers to the misplaced insertion of Greek into this discussion as if to confuse the reader." While I grant that Mr. Windsor was one of my readers, and that he was quite confused, I think he has only himself to blame for that. I didn't suggest in the least that the Greek word was a translation of anything that Luther wrote.
Again, then the Greek word has NO BUSINESS in this discussion of Luther’s beliefs!  One point, which even Mr. Swan does not dispute, is that Luther held a belief in the Immaculate Conception while he was a Catholic and even into his Protestant days.  The point of dispute between Swan and I was whether or not Luther CONTINUED to hold that belief to the end of his life.  THAT was the topic of discussion - so your imputation of the Greek into THAT discussion was wholly misplaced.  Admit it TF, you leaped without looking.  IF Swan and I were discussing the merits of the dogma itself, THEN your intrusion could have been more applicable.  In your attempt to join in the dogpile, you end up at the bottom of a different dogpile.
Mr. Windsor then basically admits that he had no basis for his claim regarding "every translator" but argues that if there were at least two translators, then he was correct. Of course, the only thing he would appear to be correct about is in his defeat of the straw man position that the Greek word is supposed to appear in the English text.
The point is the Greek word didn’t even belong in the discussion!  
Mr. Windsor identifies the perpetual virginity as a side topic, as it indeed it is. That was, of course, why the point was raised inside parenthesis in my original comment. It was an aside - a point of interest for the reader.
Considering the FACT that Swan and I were not even discussing the merits of the Immaculate Conception itself, but SOLELY whether or not Luther adhered to such beliefs throughout his life, I was merely pointing out that the discussion of the Perpetual Virginity (which Luther also held as a lifelong belief) was nothing more than a red herring (distraction) to what truly was trying to be discussed - in fact, your whole argumentation in this discussion is nothing more than a red herring!  If you have nothing to add to the discussion of whether or not Luther held to the teaching of the IC throughout his life - then kindly admit you stuck your nose into a discussion you did not fully comprehend the subject of and withdraw from it.
He then makes the untrue assertion: "TF is alleging Luther used Greek in his writings." Now, don't get me wrong. Luther probably did use Greek words in his writings at certain points, but that has not been my argument here. Mr. Windsor simply hasn't followed what I have said.
Oh, I’ve followed what TF has said - I just refuse to engage the red herring, and TF seems too stubborn to admit his intrusion is indeed that - a red herring.
After quoting my demonstration of my position and over twenty quotations from Ineffabilis Deus, Mr. Windsor boldly alleges: "First off, TF has misrepresented Catholic teaching here." That is a bold allegation because I've just presented numerous quotations from an official papal document, and indeed from the very document that defines the dogma of the immaculate conception.
Again, TF’s discussion of the merits (or from his perspective, the lack thereof) of the IC was NOT the topic of discussion between Swan and I.  That being said, TF did indeed misrepresent Catholic teaching and further most of those citations were talking explicitly of the STAIN of Original Sin.  
Mr. Windsor continues: "The whole document, Ineffabilis Deus, does not define the Immaculate Conception - only one paragraph in it does and here it is for the reader". One supposes that Mr. Windsor thinks this contradicts my characterization of Ineffabilis Deus as "the document that defined the dogma." If he does think that, it's simply because of some weakness of his own. The document defines the dogma, whether it does so in one of its many paragraphs or all of its many paragraphs - the same way that Pope Pius IX defined the dogma, although that does not mean that every word that ever came out of Pope Pius IX's mouth (or pen) was the definition of the dogma. This is really just elementary English, in my opinion, but pointing this kind of thing out brings complaints of ad hominem from Mr. Windsor. In point of fact, my characterization is pretty much exactly the same characterization that one will find at EWTN, which describes Ineffabilis Deus as "Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius IX solemnly defining the dogma of the Immaulate Conception, 8 December 1854."
TF continues in his ignorance... yes, ID does CONTAIN the definition of the dogma - solemnly defining it - but anyone who knows their salt at all, when it comes to such definitions, KNOWS that the entire document is not the definition.   Even in “infallible councils” - not EVERYTHING at a council, even say the Council of Trent, is considered infallible - only those decrees which are made binding upon the whole Church.  If TF would like to continue in his erroneous ignorance, fine, he just provides opportunity for myself and others to point out such ignorance.
Mr. Windsor then quoted the formal definition of the dogma. Ironically, this formal definition is actually not a whole paragraph, or even a whole sentence. It is part of one sentence of one paragraph of one section of the document. Nevertheless, I think in fairness to Mr. Windsor we should point out that the portion he quoted is the formal definition, could stand alone as a sentence, and is long enough to be a paragraph.
I concede the grammatical correct - but the part I quoted is the formal definition, no more and no less, which you apparently concur with.  
Mr. Windsor then stated: "That's it - the rest of the document is Pope Pius IX's explanations - but the only part which can be called 'infallible' is the definition itself." Again, who said otherwise? I certainly didn't.
TF, you imply it with your inclusion of all those non-contextual snippets you provided.  If that was not your intention, then I accept your explanation that it was not - and thus reducing even further any worthiness of consideration of your assertions.
Mr. Windsor then states:
Secondly, the definition makes no mention of the temporal punishments due to Original Sin, and we believe she did suffer and die - which are part of these temporal punishments. Some may maintain that she didn't die - and was taken up just prior to her death - THAT definition only specifies "having completed the course of earthly life..."
Yes, those who follow Rome cannot decide amongst themselves whether or not Mary died.
Actually, for the Catholic it is just the opposite!  We can decide amongst ourselves whether or not Mary died!  That is not part of Catholic dogma, but again, we’re digressing into yet another discussion/distraction.
And yes, Roman theology, even though it teaches that Mary was preserved from original sin, irrationally permits her to suffer the punishments due to sin. We will gladly grant Mr. Windsor those points - particularly since we have never said otherwise.
Come on TF, Catholicism teaches she is preserved from the STAIN of Original Sin!  Once you go beyond the words of the formal definition you go into the realm of theological speculation, and if that speculation ends up denying the definition then it is to be abandoned.  
Of course, none of that supports Mr. Windsor's claim that Mary had original sin, just not its stain (as though the two were separable).
Whether TF comprehends or accepts the separation of the STAIN and CONSEQUENCES of Original Sin or not is the folly of his assertions against me here.  First off, I repeat, this is NOT what Swan and I were discussing.  Secondly, TF should try to understand the Catholic perspective before attacking that which he does not understand.
And furthermore, if Mr. Windsor believes that the meaning of the words of the paragraph defining the dogma can be considered in a vacuum, without considering the usage of the words throughout the document, he is mistaken. Even though the rest of the document is not considered "infallible," it still provides the context in which the defining paragraph is to be understood.
And virtually in the same breath of that comment I followed with another comment, clarifying that I did not deny ANY of the other comments from Pope Pius IX, I only asserted - as I continue to assert - that TF does not understand the separation of the STAIN with the CONSEQUENCES of Original Sin, and his implication that I made this up has been proven false.  
Mr. Windsor's attempt to isolate the part of the sentence from its context is noted but futile. We all know that it has to be understood within context in order to be properly understood. Even Mr. Windsor knows that, whether he wants to admit it or not.
The problem here is TF has it backwards.  The other comments have to be read in the context of the definition, not the other way around.  The definition has precedence, not other comments about or leading up to the definition.
Moreover, while the rest of document may not be "infallible," it is still official. It is still papal. Mr. Windsor cannot simply ignore it because it contradicts his position. As between what Pope Pius IX thinks Roman theology is and what layman Windsor thinks Roman theology is, I think it is not "ludicrous" to think that it is Mr. Windsor who has a deficient understanding of Roman teaching.
I challenge TF to demonstrate where I have denied anything in ID , whether part of the definition or otherwise.  I wholeheartedly state I do NOT disagree with Pope Pius IX’s document - not in the least!  It is my contention that anything TF may THINK I disagree with is related to his lack of comprehension of the dogma itself and how Catholics REALLY believe - as opposed to what he THINKS we believe.


I am seeing where TF is coming from on the quote from the 1917 CE, if I might elaborate a bit more here.  Again, his focus is on what came before what I quoted - and obviously my focus is on what I did quote.  The part I quoted is in red, the part TF quoted is in green - all emphasis was added by each of us respectively:
The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin, the state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam — from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death.

Note, it says "the formal active essence of original sin" - which would still be in line with what I've been saying all along.  That which is the "stain" or "taint" or "corruption" of Original Sin is the "FORMAL ACTIVE ESSENCE" and the "temporal penalties" are another PART OF Original Sin - and she was NOT MADE EXEMPT from these.

So, while I was a bit myopic in focusing on what I quoted - TF was not only myopic in his focus on what preceded my quote - but he misunderstood and misapplied it.

Addendum 2:
TF points out in a comment response on his blog from the CE:
"We shall examine the several effects of Adam's fault and reject those which cannot be original sin:

(1) Death and Suffering.- These are purely physical evils and cannot be called sin. Moreover St. Paul, and after him the councils, regarded death and original sin as two distinct things transmitted by Adam." (bold emphasis is mine)
(Link to source)
I concede the CE says this in a separate encyclopedic article. My initial point remains, but let me adjust the terminology to fit even this encyclopedic reference:
That which we received from the fall of Adam is the stain of Original Sin and the temporal punishments DUE TO Original Sin. The punishments are not the sin itself, but are due to the sin - thus we receive both the stain of the sin and the punishments due the sin. Note, on page 312 of the same article TF references it also says:
I. Meaning Original Sin may be taken to mean (1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are all born on account of our origin or descent from Adam
Now, in the case of the Blessed Virgin Mary, through the Holy Ghost she was preserved from the active essence of Original Sin at the very first moment of her conception - and this is referred to as the Immaculate Conception. However, she was not exempted from the consequences due to the First/Original Sin of our father Adam. I submit, this has been my position all along. TF when he initially confronted me on this basically accused me of making it up - but what I've shown him from the CE proves I did not make it up. Try as he may to play a game of semantics - he was just plain wrong in his initial implication/accusation - and I am vindicated by the CE article.


  1. It's kind of funny to see TF attempting to say I am the one confused here. He now states he'll be writing yet another new post to "set (me) straight," so this could be interesting.

    TF: I was aware of Mr. Windsor's novel interpretation of Ineffabilis Deus (ID), and I had asked him previously to tell me where he got his ideas from - whether from some official source or from his own creativity. He didn't respond then (that I'm aware of), and I don't suppose he'll respond now, although he has the opportunity to respond in the comment box.

    Well, he didn't suppose I'd respond in the comment box, but I did and I did so here as well. He challenges that my interpretation of ID is novel and asks where I got it from, whether from an official source - or if it was of my own creativity. Citing from the 1917 CE, which while technically is not an "official source" - it is a commonly accepted source and one which predates MY existence by over 40 years, and my conversion to Catholicism would be nearly 30 years after that. Suffice it to say, I didn't have anything to do with the article from 1910 which is cited in the 1917 CE. It is in THAT ARTICLE that we find the SAME DISTINCTION I make regarding the FACT that while the DEFINITION in ID only references the STAIN of Original Sin and not the CONSEQUENCES of Original Sin this allows for the interpretation that she was not exempted from the CONSEQUENCES. The CE, which both TF and I cited, explicitly states she was not exempted from the consequences (temporal punishments) of Original Sin.

    So, (and I apologize for the repeats) the CE has states almost exactly what I stated regarding the Blessed Virgin, who while being purified from the STAIN of Original Sin at the "first moment of her conception" was not exempted from the CONSEQUENCES of Original Sin.

    So TF is writing a "new post" on this to "set (me) straight" - but I believe the objective reader here can already see who has been "set straight."

    In JMJ,

  2. As of today it marks 2 full weeks since "TF" said he'd be posting another article to "set (me) straight" on the matter of my interpretation/representation of Ineffabilis Deus - as to whether or not it was a matter of my imagination or if other Catholic sources have presented it prior to me. Again, I've shown the 1910 article which appears in the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia (CE) stating almost exactly what I've stated in this regard - so CLEARLY it is shown not to be MY "novel" innovation. Anyway, 2 weeks no passing by, perhaps "TF" is just pre-occupied, or perhaps he's deliberately delaying in hopes he won't have to admit this concept was not of my creation?

    First time he said there was a "new post" coming: click here (Dec 27)

    Second time he said there was a "new post" coming: click here (Jan 6)

    The last "new post" from TF was Dec. 23.

    In JMJ,


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