Maybe Catholics have to affirm the "infallible" proclamation of Mary's Assumption made by Pope Pius XII, but I am under no such obligation since I do not recognize any pope's authority as the Vicar of Christ or Universal Shepherd.Blosser:
Well, you might objectively be under that obligation but not subjectively know it, as you would agree, I think. You already accept the infallibility of the teaching of one pope, or at least one man to whom Catholics assign the title of the first pope, at least so far as his written teachings go in his two epistles, which you accept on the basis of tradition as comprising part of the NT. I would be curious about the supposition that God's ability to infallibly guide his servant, Peter, and the other apostles in the oral traditions they bequeathed to us (2 Thes. 2:15) and written traditions, suddenly ceased to be extended any longer with the death of the last apostle.Foster:
Similarly, you don't accept or submit to the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, as I do. Granted, their "pronouncements" are fallible, as were the doctrinal decisions of the apostles.Blosser:
Wait a sec: show me one fallible doctrinal pronouncement of an apostle. Where? Whom? Which?Foster:
But they too are capable of communicating "fallible" truth. We just do not believe that the GB has the so-called "charism of infallibility." But you knew all of this anyway. :-)Blosser:
Um ... well, yeah.Foster:
What seems to concern Vanhoozer is the "conviction" that "a single correct interpretation" of the biblical text "is our exclusive possession" (page 184). He seems to, in some sense of the word, fear "dogma," though I need to read further to see how he correlates his view (if this is in fact his view) with the Christian faith as practiced by Catholics or Protestants. Surely there is room for dogma in the Christian faith, isn't there?Blosser:
I think his fears are unfounded. In the first place, I think he'd readily agree that some interpretations of the biblical text, such as the intepretation that says that the apostles assumed
the existence of an infinite-personal God, are infalliblly irrevisible. We're not going to come up with a legitimate "interpretation" of the NT that says that the apostles may not have believe in the existence of God.
In the second place, I think what he fears is losing interpretive "elbow room" where no definitive understanding has been attained by the mind of the Church. For example, some eschatological issues are far from settled in the Catholic tradition, such as the intrepretation of parts of the Book of Revelation. (Wild and wooly interpretations of this book are a dime-a-dozen, as you know, among some of the more fundamentalist sects, even among televangelists.) But the Church allows such interpretive "elbow room" when it comes to these sorts of things; so I think Vanhoozer's fears are unfounded.