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from an official capacity, the catholic church has never contradicted itself

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/25/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 882 times Debate No: 35066
Debate Rounds (3)
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in this debate, i am not counting the issues of limbo, or "no salvation outside the catholic church".

you would think if the catholic church were not true, that it would have contradicted itself at some point in two thousand years.

the only things that count are statements that are authoritative, things that could be considerted "infallible". the pope, intentionally, teaches, the church, on faith and morals. that is the criteria. it includes many councils and other statements by popes.


-this does not include moral corruption, only official teaching. that means you can't use bad priest, even peodofile priests. it means you can't use the inquisistion where millions were killed by catholics. can't use the sins of past popes. it has to be actual teachings of the church, as said, councils and statements by popes. etc. impeccable v infallble, there's a difference.
-since we are comparing official statements, id rather not use the bible either. it's usually too open to interpretation to begin with. we are examining the church's consistency on its own anyway... and you'd think even beyond the bible, it'd have contradicted itself within two thousand years.
-also there's a differnce between widespread belief and doctrine. that so many believed the earth was made in six days, that the earth was flat, that man wasn't from apes etc... only shows they are human. it'd make sense at first impression. this isn't doctrine. you have to cite a quote or citation.
-there's a difference between practice and doctrine too... preistly celibacy is practice, reading the mass in latin is a practice... etc

also try not to be vague. so many claims of contradiction online are superficial. for example, "papal bull regarding jews", without getting into what exactly is contradicting what etc. if possible, find the quote or citation for what you are referring to.

also I have debated this topic many times in the past, if you would like you may review my profile to see all the points brought up by past debaters etc


I will try to oppose this position, although it appears strikingly obvious that this statement has been framed in such a way that any challenger must show that the Catholic Church has contradicted itself from an official capacity - excluding many of the ways it has contradicted itself from an official capacity.

Nevertheless I accept this challenge. Let me first reverberate the antecedents of this debate from whence I premise:

i. I am for: From an official capacity, the catholic church has contradicted itself at least once in its history.
ii. My position will focus on official teaching.
iii. The Pope's official statements are infallible, and inalienable from the Catholic Church in its official capacity.


I. Galileo was executed for holding false doctrine ( a heliocentric model opposed to the geocentric model maintained by the official capacity of the Catholic Church during the 17th century). In fact, three Popes (Paul V, Urban VIII and Alexander VII) have officially declared that heliocentrism is opposed to Sacred Scripture, and condemned the notion that heliocentrism was a truth to be believed with certainty. 359 years later, at a ceremony in Rome, before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II officially declared that Galileo was right.

II. Babies who die before being baptised no longer be trapped in limbo or go to hell - as they have done for almost 800 years according to the official capacity of the Catholic Church.. The decision was taken after Benedict XVI was presented with Vatican studies.The 41-page report by the Vatican's Theological Commission, which was compiled following a three-year study, said the concept was an "unduly restrictive view of salvation". However, it added that baptism was the only way to remove the stain of original sin.

I will leave you with these two points, which prove at least two contradictions of the Catholic Church in its official capacity. It should be blaringly obvious that to claim the catholic church has never contradicted itself from an official capacity is a very inauspicious position to try and defend, regardless of the attempt to barricade the position behind conditions of opposition and an argument from 'official capacity'. The catholic church has indeed contradicted itself at least once in the past, from an official capacity


I realise the second point is against the criteria of 'not including limbo' - but in all decency, that is a valid example of how the catholic church HAS contradicted itself. If, for all intensive purposes, you adhere strictly to your conditions, I submit that the point on the heliocentric / geocentric model discrepancy will easily justify my position on its own (which is not so much an issue of Galileo himself but an issue of the -centricism itself).
Debate Round No. 1


i can't find the quotes or sources for any official teachings by those popes that they taught geocentrism. i saw a letter from a pope, but this isn't a teaching to the church. i saw a pope put heliocentric books on the forbidden book lists, but that's not a teaching to the church. and in the trial of Galileo he was found guilty of believing and teaching geocentrism, but that's not a teaching to the church.
i am looking into this issue and have not foreclosed the idea that there's contradiction. i just dont see it as of now.

and yes the limbo issue i asked for you not to provide. if the first point you raised doesn't work, you have nothing left. you'd think you'd be able to find something.

(also, limbo or something like it could still be a true teaching of the church, as it's never been officially taught that to be wrong. but i dont want to get into this issue and would rather stick with the criteria mentioned)


I have no problem sticking with Galileo as it provides adequate contradictions for my argument.


I. You have claimed that Galileo was tried for teaching and believing in the geocentric model - this is untrue, it was indeed the heliocentric model that he taught and believed. If he was proposing a geocentric model at the time this would not have conflicted with the church.


II. It is true that within a hundred years of his death his Dialogue was taken off the ban list - but it's messier than that. Imprimatur was indeed granted in 1741 to a complete edition of Galileo's works. But the Dialogue was still on the Index at this stage and this Padua edition was only allowed on condition that the edition adhered to the changes imposed by the local Inquisitor. The edition therefore excludes several of the shorter (but particularly crucial) works and accompanies the Dialogue with the 1633 judgement and two prefaces approving of Galileo's recantation. Numerous marginal postils were also edited or omitted so as to make the work more hypothetical.
The Dialogue, together with De revolutionibus, also remained on the Index when it next appeared in 1757, though this edition drops the general ban on books promoting Copernicanism. There is, however, some evidence that Benedict wanted to remove them at this stage; from Heilbron's The Sun in the Church (Harvard, 1999; 2001, p208). No doubt an effort from official capacity was made in order to protect the geocentric doctrines of the church.

In 1992 Pope John Paul II officially conceded that the Earth was not stationary - it revolved around the sun.

To concede means to "Admit that something is true or valid after first denying or resisting it", herein lies the contradiction. Officially, the Catholic Church teaches absolutism (such as St Aquinas saying that all physics shall adhere to scripture and all scripture to physics). Therefore if the Catholic concedes any fact that it once held to be false, it undermines its position and claim of absolute doctrine, which it requires in order to justify its dogma.

III. This is from Consultant's Report on Copernicanism (February 24, 1616) which was produced by catholic theologians who were under strict guidance of the official capacity (that is to say that there positions would not make sense if at some time the catholic church had been official condemning of heliocentricism (which now they are not):

A decree of February 19, 1616, summoned Qualifiers of the Holy Office and required them to give their opinion on the two following propositions in Galileo's work on the solar spots. (The assessment was made in Rome, on Wednesday, February 24, 1616.)
Proposition to be assessed:

(1) The sun is the center of the world and wholly immovable from its place.

Assessment: This proposition was unanimously declared "foolish and absurd. philosophically and formally heretical inasmuch as it expressly contradicts the doctrine of the Holy Scripture in many passages, both in their literal meaning and according to the general interpretation of the Holy Fathers and the doctors of theology."
(2) The earth is not the center of the world, nor immovable, but it moves as a whole, also with diurnal motion.

Assessment: This proposition was unanimously declared "deserving of the like censure in philosophy, and as regards theological truth, to be at least errouneous in faith."
Sources: The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler, p. 455 (1959); Galileo Galilei by Karl Von Gebler, pp76-77 (1879).

IV. Galileo's Papal Condemnation (Source: Giorgio de Santillana, The Crime of Galileo (University of Chicago Press 1955), pp. 306-310.)

V. The Catholic Church preaches the bible is without error yet the bible consistently exhibits a geocentric world view.


I believe I have adequately demonstrated my position that the catholic church has contradicted itself since by admittance of heliocentric validity at the same time as scriptural inerracy; a stark contradiction.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


in the last post i asked for a quote or citation to the pope who taught or ratified the geocentric world view. i actually asked for it in the first post too, just stressed it more in the second post. you have not done this. you have just cited secondary sources to the pope's teaching.
note: i meant to say Galileo was condemned for teaching heliocentism. that's not officially teaching the church about geocentrism, though. in fact, the focus was that he was resisting orders not to teach it as it was still under investigation. doesn't matter if it was right or wrong, teaching against orders can be dangerous to people when not everything scientists say is true, and it's a disrespect to authority.
even if a pope condemned him saying something like "we condemn you for disobeying us, and because it violates common teaching of geocentrism" etc, thats not saying what is officially being taught. as i said in the initial post there's a difference between widespread belief and doctriene.
the criteria was listed as showing "a pope, intentionall, teaching, the church, on faith and morals". and all requests that you do this were unobliged.

if you think you can find the quotes or have other quotes or issues with citations etc, you're more than welcome to start another debate.


i. I retract my comment on Galileo's execution and forgive your confusion between heliocentric and geocentric (insomuch as any voter will find these two errors cancel each other out since they are not crucial to our arguments).

ii. In this conclusive round it is pertinent to clarify the argument: from an official capacity, the catholic church has never contradicted itself. The argument is not: according to the official capacity, the catholic church has never contradicted itself. The latter is but an inane statement.

iii. The secondary source information is adequate for framing my argument. I am not claiming that in the past the Catholic Church has officially taught a geocentric view, even though scripture and widespread belief clearly indicates this.

iv. What I am arguing is that the validity of heliocentrism (as announced by Pope John Paul II in 1992) contradicts the claim of the inerracy of scripture.

v. I am not claiming that the Catholic Church takes the bible literally, I am claiming that the Catholic Church believes (it's own interpretation of) the bible as a whole is is the unaltered word of god. "Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Providentissimus Deus ... reaffirmed the decisions of the Council of Trent and emphasized that the Bible in all its parts was inspired and that a stated fact must be accepted as falling under inspiration, down to the most insignificant item; that is, the whole Bible is the Word of God"(source: Origin, Inspiration, and History of the Bible" preface in New American Bible, Church Edition (Wichita, KS: Fireside Bible Publishers, 2005-2006), p. xxii, Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, ISBN 1-55665-493-6, ISBN 978-1-55665-490-9.)

vi. If you question the infallibility of Providentissimus Deus, please read:

I. I could be write a whole lot of bible passages justified by Pope Leo XIII's infallible teaching (that the bible is totally inerrant) but you have restricted me not to use bible passages (claiming that the bible is too open to interpretation). However the Catholic interpretation is the true one, and Pope Benedict showed us how:

II. During Pope Benedict’s recent visit to France, he spoke at the College des Bernardins in Paris to “representatives from the world of French culture.” In his speech he spoke out against Biblical Literalism and fundamentalism. He stated:Scripture requires exegesis, and it requires the context of the community in which it came to birth and in which it is lived. This is where its unity is to be found, and here too its unifying meaning is opened up. … It perceives in the words the Word, the ‘Logos’ itself, which spreads its mystery through this multiplicity. This particular structure of the Bible issues a constantly new challenge to every generation. It excludes by its nature everything that today is known as fundamentalism.In effect the word of God can never simply be equated with the letter of the text. To attain to it involves a transcending and a process of understanding, led by the inner movement of the whole and hence it also has to become a process of living. Only within the dynamic unity of the whole are the many books one book. God’s word and action in the world are only revealed in the word and history of human beings.The transcending of the letter and understanding it solely from the perspective of the whole is forcefully expressed by St. Paul with the phrase: ‘the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.‘ But the liberating Spirit is not simply… the exegete’s own vision. The Spirit is Christ … Who shows us the way. With the word of Spirit and of freedom, a further horizon opens up, but at the same time a clear limit is placed upon arbitrariness and subjectivity, which unequivocally binds both the individual and the community and brings about a new, higher obligation than that of the letter: namely, the obligation of insight and love. (source:

III. One pope claims the bible in itself is the word of god, the other claims the word of god is not in the bible itself but in the correct interpretation of it - a contradiction in itself but I digress to my main point.FINAL POINTS:IV: The scriptures provide innumerable indications of geocentrism. The defense of the Catholic church is that 'it depends on your interpretation, namely, if your interpretation is acceptable by us'. It seems the Popes cannot decide if the bible is true in itself or if it is only true in the correct interpretation - namely, the catholic interpretation. However just because this seems to be the case does not mean that my argument depends on it.

V. Regardless of geocentrism, the catholic church accepts the validity of heliocentrism (and arguably never officially condemned it). This one last point is on the term official.

Official is "Adjective - Of or relating to an authority or public body and its duties, actions, and responsibilities."

To detach the official teachings of the Catholic Church from the official duties, actions, and responsibilities of the Catholic Church undermines the term 'official' entirely.

If indeed the Catholic Church has reserved for themselves a definition of official that indicates they may say and do as they will as long as they don't contradict themselves in the sense of what they call 'official' - then it seems to be that the Catholic Church is exempt from critique in the sense that every word, passage, or argument is entirely and solely definable by the Catholic Church.

VI. In any case, actions speak louder than words, and if the Catholic Church has never "officially" said one thing and then another, this does not prove that from an official capacity the Catholic Church has never contradicted itself, only that according to the offical capacity of the Catholic Church they have never contradicted themselves.

VII. And regardless of the point I have focused on, the truth of the church contradicting itself is beyond the constraints of this debates conditions and the Catholic Church's flimsy use of the term "official" in the sense that their definition of official implies infallibility (what are you up to Big Brother? #orwell).


The truth of the matter is so, that the catholic church has at least once contradicted itself from an official capacity, not according to the official capacity.

If your claim is "The Catholic Church has never contradicted itself according to the Catholic Church" then I give you this debate, however I will exit here saying that is a vacuous statement that needs no entertainment or reflection.

In the wise words of John Locke:"... it is unreasonable for men to be judges in their own cases, that selflove will make men partial to themselves and their friends: and on the other side, that ill nature, passion and revenge will carry them too far in punishing others" (Second Treatise§13).

I thank dairygirl4u2c for the opportunity to debate this topic and for voters for taking the time to read my argument.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by ModusTollens 4 years ago
Galileo was not executed. Don't get me wrong, the Church were beyond horrible to him: the Inquisition tortured him to the point of recantation and then sentenced him to imprisonment (which was then commuted to house arrest). So yes, they were barbaric, but he ultimately died in his bed of fever and heart trouble.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Juris_Naturalis 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had a good argument with Galileo, better S/G, pro used no sources and was a troll.