Back at the beginning of the month I briefly posted on sedevacantist Philip Bartlett. He responded in the comments of that post and by email; here's his take (in the email, with the subject line: Private Interpretation?- Response To A VERY Confused Man which will be posted on our website):
- Mr. B (full name omitted to keep people from going to his website to be corrupted by heresy),
Your entire notion of private interpretation is skewed and faulty. We are indeed allowed to read the texts of the magisterium and also understand what they say. We also have the ability to understand what they say. We also have the ability to understand what the statements of the word of God, the scriptures say. As His Holiness Pope Leo XIII makes extremely clear, the approved method of interpretation of the scriptures is the literal and obvious sense.
"But he must not on that account consider that it is forbidden, when just cause exists, to push inquiry and exposition beyond what the Fathers have done; provided he carefully observes the rule so wisely laid down by St. Augustine-not to depart from the literal and obvious sense, except only where reason makes it untenable or necessity requires;(40) a rule to which it is the more necessary to adhere strictly in these times, when the thirst for novelty and unrestrained freedom of thought make the danger of error most real and proximate. " PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS (Leo XIII)
The fact is that not only do I believe that I must interpret the documents of the magisterium, SO DO YOU! For example, you interpret the catechism. You interpret the documents of the present day magisterium. You interpret Pope John Paul II's encyclicals. When I say interpret, I mean you read the words and accept what they are saying. The words themselves have meaning. If we were to adopt your false principle, that we may never interpret anything written to us, there would be no way whatsoever to prove that the Catholic faith is the true one.
Now you might say to me that you interpret something a certain way unless there is an indication from the Vatican that you can no longer interpret it that way. THIS IS LIKEWISE FAULTY. Because you are indicating by that notion that you believe that the Vatican is clear in its foribidding a certain interpretation, and that its statements forbidding such are clear.
Well then.... I submit to you, that the statements of the original councils are likewise clear for us. If they were not clear, there would be no point in having the scripture, tradition, or councils.
If you accept that those who seek God with sincerity can be saved outside of the Catholic religion, and that they will never enter the Catholic Faith or religion, you will be damned, because you deny and contradict the clear words of Gregory XVI, that submitting to the Catholic faith is necessary for salvation for every man. It has been defined by council, that in order to be saved you must hold to the Athanasian creed. IF you do not hold the concepts stated in the Athansian creed, you are completely damned. To understand that you should best read the implicit faith heresy article.
Therefore, if you condemn me on the basis of "private interpretation", I condemn you on the basis of the same, seeing that you seek to interpret the words of the New Magisterium in an effort to understand that I am wrong. You are privately interpreting what they are saying. But, even as you do that, you deny that me that very same right. If I were living in 1400, I would interpret the words of the olde councils in the exact same way you are interpreting the words of the present magisterium of Antipope John Paul 2- in their literal and obvious sense, the sense that God requires. The fact is, you are denying the words of the olde councils in their literal and obvious sense, in order to accomodate the heresies of Vatican 2.
Just as you deny the words of Christ Himself, who states that unless a man is born of water (in baptism) he can not enter the kingdom of heaven. By denying all of these clear words, you become a heretic.
- Mr. Bartlett,
1. I'm not afraid to link your site, because I know that truth is more powerful than error, and that the people who read my blog are sufficiently formed in their faith not to be led astray by your own comments.
2. I contend that your intepretation is similar to that practiced by some Protestants for this reason: as you say, everyone interprets, and I agree. However, what distinguishes us is a recognition of the authority of the Catholic magisterium, or more precisely a recognition of the fact that it is the magisterium which has been given the gift of infallibility, not my own interpretation. In other words, I recognize the authority of the Bishop of Rome and the other bishops in union with him (today and throughout history), and I interpret texts according to their authoritative teaching. You on the other hand still employ a methodology which exalts the individual's interpretation over that of the magisterium, while calling yourself a Catholic.
3. Your argument hinges on the idea that the bishop of Rome and his fellow bishops can together teach error, even in an ecumenical council. If that is correct, why accept any of the prior magisterial texts? Your conclusion of error at V2 depends on your own understanding of prior magisterial texts, rather than the understanding of the body which promulgated them: the Church's magisterium.
I'm not confused, sir. As a Catholic, I acknowledge the authority of the magisterium... I do not reject it and raise my own intellectual judgment in its place.
Have a blessed Advent & Christmas.