I am taking advantage of his offer because Mark continues to attack me by name without providing me the ability to respond, having banned me from CAEI. How a professed Catholic apologist can abuse his position by using the leverage of his massively larger audience in this one-sided way is beyond my ken. That abuse is compounded in Mark's comboxes, where the pile-on continues by Mark and at least one commenter secure in the knowledge their representations cannot be challenged directly by the person they are attacking. I thank Josiah and others who speak where I cannot speak for myself.
I will not tackle every collapse of reason in this post because much of what Mark is saying has been refuted at length by Victor, Torq, Jimmy Akin, Fr. Harrison, Tom McKenna, Shawn McElhinney, Christopher Blosser, and the barista at Starbucks. But I will note that when Mark writes the following:
This quote speaks volumes about a person's ecclesiology. What lies behind it is nothing less than the belief that there are basically two Churches (generally known as the pre and post-Vatican II churches). The pre-Vatican II Church taught one thing infallibly. The post-Vatican II teaches another (and often the opposite) thing infallibly. Our task is to choose between them.He commits the characteristic error of misrepresentation. In this case it is a perfectly symmetrical misrepresentation since it is the opposite of how I approach the magisterium in general and the torture debate specifically. This is not some deep meta-narrative I have buried so in normal circumstances I would be astonished that someone could describe it exactly backwards.
The venture outlined by theologian Fr Brian Harrison tries to harmonize 2,000 years of Catholic tradition and the foundation of that tradition going back through the Old Testament. Jimmy Akin arrives at what I believe is the same destination by a slightly different route. Cardinal Dulles has made similar points in a different arena.
Now, as we know, Mark — how should I put this — Mark has intemperately rejected this approach when proposed by Victor or myself or the other usual suspects, but has been open to it when proposed by Jimmy Akin. It also appears that Mark has yet to read Fr. Harrison's exemplary examination of the issue, having assigned him to the Dark Side of the Force. I therefore recommend that somebody send Mark a copy of the Harrison article, especially Part 2, but sign it under Jimmy's name. Either that or sign it "fondly, Cdl Dulles." Though Mark has occasionally been flippant towards the latter he has yet to refer to him as Some Guy Named Cardinal Dulles so it might get through the filter.
As I have said before — I really should have this on a save-get key — Harrison's examination of the issue does not singlehandedly defeat every objection. But it's charitable, learned, well-documented, placed within honest historical context, and as a bonus positively fascinating. Jimmy does not ignore history but Harrison marshals it in a way I think most of us don't have the training to achieve. Other than that, all I can say is that an apologist who does not accurately describe the arguments of his adversaries poses dangers that are more troubling than the immediate disagreement.