Rorate Caeli

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
"Responses to some questions regarding
certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church"

Introduction

The Second Vatican Council, with its Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, and its Decrees on Ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and the Oriental Churches (Orientalium Ecclesiarum), has contributed in a decisive way to the renewal of Catholic ecclesiolgy. The Supreme Pontiffs have also contributed to this renewal by offering their own insights and orientations for praxis: Paul VI in his Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam suam (1964) and John Paul II in his Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint (1995).

The consequent duty of theologians to expound with greater clarity the diverse aspects of ecclesiology has resulted in a flowering of writing in this field. In fact it has become evident that this theme is a most fruitful one which, however, has also at times required clarification by way of precise definition and correction, for instance in the declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae (1973), the Letter addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Communionis notio (1992), and the declaration Dominus Iesus (2000), all published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The vastness of the subject matter and the novelty of many of the themes involved continue to provoke theological reflection. Among the many new contributions to the field, some are not immune from erroneous interpretation which in turn give rise to confusion and doubt. A number of these interpretations have been referred to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Given the universality of Catholic doctrine on the Church, the Congregation wishes to respond to these questions by clarifying the authentic meaning of some ecclesiological expressions used by the magisterium which are open to misunderstanding in the theological debate.


RESPONSES TO THE QUESTIONS

First Question: Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?

Response: The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.

This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council1. Paul VI affirmed it2 and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution Lumen gentium: "There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine. What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation"3. The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention4.

Second Question: What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?

Response: Christ "established here on earth" only one Church and instituted it as a "visible and spiritual community"5, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.6 "This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him"7.

In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church8, in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.9 Nevertheless, the word "subsists" can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the "one" Church); and this "one" Church subsists in the Catholic Church.10

Third Question: Why was the expression "subsists in" adopted instead of the simple word "is"?

Response: The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are "numerous elements of sanctification and of truth" which are found outside her structure, but which "as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity"11.

"It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church"12.

Fourth Question: Why does the Second Vatican Council use the term "Church" in reference to the oriental Churches separated from full communion with the Catholic Church?

Response: The Council wanted to adopt the traditional use of the term. "Because these Churches, although separated, have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist, by means of which they remain linked to us by very close bonds"13, they merit the title of "particular or local Churches"14, and are called sister Churches of the particular Catholic Churches15.

"It is through the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches that the Church of God is built up and grows in stature"16. However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church but rather one of its internal constitutive principles, these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches17.

On the other hand, because of the division between Christians, the fullness of universality, which is proper to the Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him, is not fully realised in history18.

Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of "Church" with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?

Response: According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery19 cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called "Churches" in the proper sense20.

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these Responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

William Cardinal Levada
Prefect

+ Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila

Secretary



62 comments:

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

I wondered whether...


INTERVENTION BY CARD. WALTER KASPER,
PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL
FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN UNITY

Rocca di Papa (Mondo Migliore)
Thursday, 11 November 2004

I don't really know what anyone was expecting.

Jamie said...

I must be honest and say that I don't really find that document very helpful in understanding this issue. It does not explain the numerous decrees of Popes who state that salvation can only come to those subject to the Supreme Pontiff (a thing which the protestants and the Orthodox both lack). It even clearly states that they lack that particular factor - but then goes on to say that those churches have been part of the plan of salvation. One of the most commonly denied doctrines I see amongst Catholics is that of exclusive salvation through the Catholic Church - I am afraid this does not help us in our defense of the doctrines.

Anonymous said...

I too find it perhaps no more than a slight step forward in the direction of true clarity - but I look forward very much to reading the views of those better qualified to judge. As a clarification it seems - to me - less than clear itself

Mike Hennessy

ludovico said...

It says that these elements outside the Church impel towards Catholic unity. Insofar as they do so, the bodies in which they are found can be used by God as instruments of salvation. Not too complicated. Most important is the explicit affirmation of CONTINUITY:

"The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.

This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council1. Paul VI affirmed it and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution Lumen gentium: "There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine. What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation". The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention."

jamie Frater said...

ludovico: So are you saying that it means that there is no salvation without submission to the Supreme Pontiff, and from time to time the Grace of God has managed to lead people from those other Churches into that submission?

Lymington said...

Like His name 'He Who Is'
His Church 'Is'
None of this 'mostly' 'nearly all' stuff pul..eese

Lymington said...

Like His name 'He Who Is"
His Church 'Is'
None of this 'mostly', 'nearly', 'not quite completely', 'bits elsewhere' please

Anonymous said...

Beware of Feeneyism. All salvation comes through the Church, but it would be wrong to overdefine where and how this takes place.

Anonymous said...

Pre-Vatican II comment by Pope Pius IX: "There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace since God who clearly beholds, searches, and knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men, because of His great goodness and mercy, will by no means suffer anyone to be punished with eternal torment who has not the guilt of deliberate sin." Those who adhere to Feeneyism frequently ignore the many statements by pre-Vatican II Popes on the possibility of salvation for those not formally inside the Catholic Church...

Anonymous said...

It isn't hard to tell that Lavada is in the CDF with the release of this document. It really isn't much clearer than it was before. I don't see how this will help anyone who was already in a state of confusion. If the term "subsist in" really means "is", then use "is"! That would make things very clear. All they had to do is say VII meant "is", and since so many are confused by "subsist in" we are changing it. But of course, they did not do that. They wanted to leave some wiggle room to keep the liberals happy.

Jordan Potter said...

The words "substitit in" were used by the Church in a dogmatic constitution, and like it or not, they are forever a part of the Church's magisterium. It may or may not be the best word, but the Church used it, and therefore from now on will have to go on explaining it. The Church can't just say, "Oh, that authoritative document of a valid oecumenical council? Never mind that."

That being said, my own impression is that this document doesn't really clear anything up -- not for me, anyway (but then I don't believe I was confused on this matter). I have to wonder if the CDF needed to issue a document like this -- things must be pretty bad indeed if theologians need a simple, easy-to-read Q&A explanation and catechism on matters they should already understand. (But of course we know things are pretty bad, especially in certain quarters.)

humboldt said...

"It isn't hard to tell that Lavada is in the CDF with the release of this document. It really isn't much clearer than it was before.."

I really don't think that it could be nade any clearer. Actually this document is superflous, but I am glad that the document reminds us that the Council did not change anything regarding the doctrine of the faith.

As for the answer to question regarding why did the council used the word subsist instead of is, actually the answer did not presented any additional reasons as the ones already presented. It is because of the ecumenical problem. But it clearly stated that the word subsist can only be attributed to the Catholic Church. What more could we ask?

William said...

Clearly, the biggest obstacle to salvation for protestants of all stripes is the fact of actual mortal sin.

I would dare to say that nobody goes through life without ever intentionally doing something that they know to be wrong. For those with access to the sacraments, repentance and sacramental absolution cleanse the soul of mortal sin.

For protestants however, not only is there no sacramental absolution, but also the theology of redemption discourages acts of contrition since it is often assumed that one earnest act of contrition frees the soul from all sins - past, present, and future (i.e. produces a state of final perseverance). People who rely on this are, very unfortunately, almost certainly doomed to Hell.

And that scenario is the optimistic prognosis, since it assumes the protestant is invincibly ignorant of the fact that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ, yet very many protestants have had enough contact with Catholic doctrine to at least wonder if it might be the truth - which means they are not invincibly ignorant and are therefore fully culpable for their failure to join the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

I fear I must be very slow, but to my mind the issue was not whether the term "subsists" could be applied to any Church (or body) other than the Catholic Church, but why it was used in the first place. But then I'm quite possibly dimmer than most of you.

Mike Hennessy

Anonymous said...

"What more could we ask?"

For someone to tell us subsists=is.

It seems to me like the document is saying nothing has changed, but it would be incorrect to use the word "is" when describing the relationship between Christ's Church and the Catholic Church.

Mark said...

At least the document doesn't say:

Q. Does "subsists" mean the same thing as "is"?

A. It depends upon what the meaning of the word "is" is.

Seems like a good time (or in fact, a bit overdue) for Cardinal Levada to go to New York and Amato, Scola or somebody else to become prefect.

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

"The principal editor of the Church Constitution, G Philips, was farsighted enough to predict that a lot of ink would be spilt over the significance of this “subsistit in”.[6] Indeed, the flow of ink has not subsided to this day, and it is likely that much more printer’s ink will be needed to clarify the issues it raises."

That's from section III in the link I posted right at the top of the page.

Lymington said...

I distinguish:
Hidden-Catholics in false religions and false religions.

Where the representatives of false religions at VII there because they were Hidden-Catholics or as representatives of false religions?

Michael said...

Catholic Grammer school and High School in the fifties never taught me that those churches not in union with the Pope were outside the realm of redemption via conscience.
It would be a walk into presumption and 'playing God' to determine the limits of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and power. Jesus Christ is not finite nor subject to my personal interpretations of Papal Bulls.
That is why I submit to the Living Magisterium.

Christopher said...

Perhaps not a perfect document, insofar as it does not do a great deal to clear up the confusion. Still, speaking as someone who has spent the last three years in pontifical universities, it is certainly welcome.

And it will undoubtedly drive the ecumenists nuts.

Between this and Summorum Pontificum, it's been a rough week for rapidly aging, "Spirit of Vatican II" liberals.

Viva il Papa!

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the most relevant and -in a way- anti-progressive part of this note is the following:

"Nevertheless, the word subsists´ can ONLY be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the "one" Church); and this "one" Church subsists in the Catholic Church".

Up to date, the "subsists" issue had been used by progressives to argue that the Church of Christ subsits in the Catholic Church, BUT -at- the same time- it also subsists in other "Churches".

Now its clear: the Church of Christ ONLY subsits int eh Catholic Church. Therefore, the Church of Crist DO NOT SUBSIST in the rest of the oriental churches. These may bear only some elements of sanctification, but this is wuite a different thing.

Jamie said...

Okay - before I comment, I am not a feeneyite - believe me.

Now, it seems that no one is able to explain Vatican II comments in light of the comments of some Popes (which are dogmatic), that being the case, perhaps you can explain it if I ask it this way, instead.

The quote which follows was said by Pope Boniface VIII. Can someone please tell me how I should understand this in light of the Vatican II documents?

"...Indeed we declare, say, pronounce, and define that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

The quote is from his Bull Unam Sanctam

Anonymous said...

"...Indeed we declare, say, pronounce, and define that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

The quote is from his Bull Unam Sanctam
-----------------------------

That's perfectly true, of course. But at the same time, on account of invincible ignorance, one may be implicitly "subject to the Roman Pontiff" without being explicitly conscious of the fact.

schoolman

Hebdomadary said...

The document is affirming a maximalist interpretation of what it means to be Catholic or "Universal". It is saying that everyone and everything is subject to the Roman Pontiff, even if they are in an invincibly ignorant or disobedient state. Subjection and submission are two different things. Subjects are often disobedient, and frequently ignorant. Nevertheless, God has created all things and placed them in subjection to His Son and His vicar, whether they like it or not. All will be restored in Christ in the course of time.

But for the benefit of anyone inclining towards Feeny-ism, perhaps this quote from Msgr. Ronald Knox may offer some re-assurance: (I paraphrase, but the quote is from the book "The Quotable Knox") If from time to time someone is saved who is not Catholic, and this is surely a possibility for all things are possible with God, it is not simply because of their adherance to a separated faith in Christ, but because they were Catholic all along, and didn't know it."

Hebdomadary said...

The document is affirming a maximalist interpretation of what it means to be Catholic or "Universal". It is saying that everyone and everything is subject to the Roman Pontiff, even if they are in an invincibly ignorant or disobedient state. Subjection and submission are two different things. Subjects are often disobedient, and frequently ignorant. Nevertheless, God has created all things and placed them in subjection to His Son and His vicar, whether they like it or not. All will be restored in Christ in the course of time.

But for the benefit of anyone inclining towards Feeny-ism, perhaps this quote from Msgr. Ronald Knox may offer some re-assurance: (I paraphrase, but the quote is from the book "The Quotable Knox") If from time to time someone is saved who is not Catholic, and this is surely a possibility for all things are possible with God, it is not simply because of their adherance to a separated faith in Christ, but because they were Catholic all along, and didn't know it."

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether the term "subsitit in" appears in traditional Catholic theology (e.g. Councils, Denzinger, St. Thomas, etc)?

If so, how it is used and what does it mean in these documents?

It seems like, depending on the answer to these two questions, everybody might be making a big fuss out of nothing.

Anonymous said...

I like that this document appeared in Latin on the Vatican website. As you scroll down the CDF documents, you see how relatively rare this is.

"With Peter"

Pascendi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pascendi said...

In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation..."

The above is not in conformity with catholic doctrine, as taught by the Fathers, for example, St. Augustine. c.f. Grabowski, The Church.

Atightrope is thus being walked between admitting the Church is the One, True Church, yet claiming that false "churches" are used by Christ as "instruments" of salvation.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to ignore the furthe explanation of why it matters that "subsist" is used only of the Catholic Church: "The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church." Thus the true Church and the Catholic Church are identical. Subsist means "is", but not in such a way as to exclude God's working elsewhere, as Pius IX has stated.

humboldt said...

"Perhaps not a perfect document, insofar as it does not do a great deal to clear up the confusion."

christopher, you are wrong. The doctrine is sound, traditional and unambiguious. I find no problem whatsoever with the word subsist, taking in consideration the recent clarification by the CDF.

I very glad that this clarification was issued, and this doctrine reflects my catholic faith.

THE ISSUE IS SETTLED.

Let's move on. There are other important aspects that need to be clarified, for example an ex-cathedra definition that only baptized men can receive Holy Orders.

Christopher Sarsfield said...

The phrase about being instruments of salvation, may only mean that because they baptize validly (because they stole our Sacrament) they do put people (mostly those beneath the age of reason) into a state of grace. Even the Feeneyites admit this. If a Lutheran baptizes a baby validly that person is a Catholic until he rejects the authority of the Catholic Church to teach. If the person dies with no rejection of Catholicism and in a state of grace, he will be saved, so the Lutheran sect was the instrument of the person's salvation. It does not have to mean more than that. The Pope knew the "feeneyite" interpretation was an orthodox opinion when he was head of the CDF, I do not see why he would have changed his opinion since becoming Pope.

Christopher Sarsfield said...

To put the quote from Pius IX in context the next paragraph reads:

"Also well known is the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom "the custody of the vineyard has been committed by the Savior."[4] The words of Christ are clear enough: "If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you a Gentile and a tax collector;"[5] "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me;"[6] "He who does not believe will be condemned;"[7] "He who does not believe is already condemned;"[8] "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."[9] The Apostle Paul says that such persons are "perverted and self-condemned;"[10] the Prince of the Apostles calls them "false teachers . . . who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master. . . bringing upon themselves swift destruction."

The idea that Pius IX was condemning "feeneyism" with this encyclical is the height of historical revisionism. What he clearly was saying is that while the he knows the liberal arguments put forth as to why there is salvation outside of the Catholic Church, there is not salvation outside of the Catholic Church. The way Catholics use this encyclical you would think there was some evil "feeneyite" being condemned like Orestese Brownson or Fr. Michael Muller.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a commentary that goes with the original document. Would it be good to have a link to that also?

Jeff said...

Unam Sanctam:

That Bull makes clear that submission to the Roman Pontiff is not OPTIONAL.
It's ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

In other words, you can't just CHOOSE not to be subject to the Roman Pontiff and expect to be saved.

Unam Sanctam does not address those who are not overtly subject to said Pontiff out of ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Subsist seems to mean the identification of a substnce, not merely participation in a substance. The formsr is the 'whole thing,' while the latter enters into the 'whole thing.' E.g., there is a difference between human nature and the male particpation in it and the female particpatiopn in it.

Grace can wowrk outside the visible bounds of the Church in order to bring those affected (witenss what happended to the Gentiles in Acts) into full and explicit union with the Church divinely established by Christ from the beginning. All elements of the Church were present and still are prensent, since Christ founded the Church which He commanded to 'GO teach all nations." This means there could be implict acceptance of Christ that needs to be brought to explict acceptance, where no implicit rejection of Christ is acceptable. On the last Day, nothing but explict adherence will be acceptable. The grace of God that comes from the Church works outside the Church to bring people to explicit acceptance of the Church founded by Christ which alone is the Catholic Church that substantially has ALL the elements willed by Christ "for our salvation' (Nicene Creed).

But 'subsist' or 'subsistence' is not the same as 'exist' or 'existence.' The substance of a tree is not the same as the existsence of a tree, since one refers to the inherent nature of an entity, while the other is a partaking of a given nature of an entity. There is ony ONE substance of an entity, though it has many accidents.

Subsist, though it appears to be confusing, refers to the ALL, i.e., all definitive elements, not only some. The 'all' subordinates the "some.' There should be no invincible ignorance about the ALL, though there could be SOME invincilbe ignorance about the ALL. That is why there is need for evangelization of the light of truth that can awawken the SOME in invinvcible ignorace to accept the light of truth given by the ALL.

By the way, should Schola become CDF Prefect, he would produce clear and precise documents, so that, like Christ, no questions could be asked.

Anonymous said...

In his book, "The Jesuits", Father Malachi Martin (regarded by many a traditionalist), argues that the "subsist in" is a perfectly orthodox and traditional phormula.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that Ephesians 4:4-6 speaks of "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" and that Christ Himself prays that 'they may be ONE as we are one...just as You are in Me and I am in You' (cf. John 17: 11, 21). Thus, unity in ONE Lord and in the WE of God is essential and substantial because it requires 'subsistence' in the ONE divine transcendece of God. Anything less is a partial adherence to the will and design of Christ who is God.

irulats said...

Anonymous, re: Malachi Martin. This article might explain why the aforementioned would support "subsists in".

http://www.angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14932&highlight=&sid=7d71fdeee6158587572bfd490a3be5c1

Anonymous said...

Fr Feeney wannabes beware.

All grace comes from the Trinity through the Sacred humanity of Jesus and through the hands of Mary and through the Church to all mankind.
We should give an answer to that grace and love.

prof. basto said...

Meaning of "subsists in"

Response: "The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church..."

"FULL IDENTITY"

Identity between something and some other thing means that those things are equal, are the same. The mathematical symbol for an identity is the equal sign =

2 = 2; that's an identity.

The magisterium says that there is full identity between the concepts "Church of Christ" and "Catholic Church".

Therefore, in spite of the theological nuances regarding the existance of elements of the Catholic Church in other communities, the Truth proclaimed by several Popes and Councils remains unaltered. When the Council stated that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church it means that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church.

Full identity, the CDF says. Ergo:

Church of Christ = Catholic Church.

The Response could have been a bit more explicit, but that's what it says when it says there is full identity.

Quietus said...

Thank you Prof. Basto. I too would think the identity is clear. Also I am trying to remember my days studying Thomistic philosophy: subsistence is stronger than just being - or am I wrong?

Things can be, but subsistence means that this particular thing can exist as such, with no essential connection to anything else (in the world of secondary causes, of course): it is being in the first "grade".

So the Catholic Church exists by itself - it subsists - whereas all other churches and communities do not, they are instruments of salvation only by the fact that and as much as their value "derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church".

Syriacus said...

Sorry, dear Prof. Basto, but Karl Cardinal Lehmann would seem to disagree with you:


Stellungnahme zum Vatikan-Dokument:


Lehmann ruft zum
ökumenischen Gespräch auf


Bonn. Nach Veröffentlichung des Vatikan-Dokuments über die Einzigartigkeit der katholischen Kirche hat Kardinal Karl Lehmann zur Fortsetzung des ökumenischen Dialogs aufgerufen.

"Die erneute katholische Stellungnahme der Glaubenskongregation mag besonders in ihrer Knappheit und Dichte hart erscheinen, aber sie lässt grundlegend Raum, die anderen Kirchen nicht nur moralisch, sondern theologisch als Kirchen zu achten", erklärte der Vorsitzende der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz am Dienstag (10.07.2007) in Bonn. "Die Gleichsetzung Kirche = katholische Kirche wird eingeschränkt." Dies ermögliche eine echte Ergänzung und einen aufrichtigen Dialog.

Nach den Worten des Kardinals hat die Glaubenskongregation offenbar wegen anhaltender Fehldeutungen die vom Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil formulierte katholische Lehre über die Kirche erneut wiederholt. Dabei sei sich die Glaubenskongregation der ökumenischen Tragweite ihres Dokuments bewusst. Zwar habe die katholische Kirche ihren Anspruch nicht preisgegeben, dass man die Kirche Jesu Christi in der katholischen Kirche findet. Sie habe aber ihren Absolutheitsanspruch im Sinne einer puren Identifikation reduziert und erblicke in den anderen christlichen Glaubensgemeinschaften "eine wirkliche Anteilnahme am Kirchesein".

Der eigene Anspruch dürfe nicht zu irgendeiner Überheblichkeit führen, betonte Lehmann. Denn durch die Spaltungen sei auch die Fülle der katholischen Kirche eingeschränkt. Die Konzilslehre über die Kirche ist nach Ansicht des Kardinals zwar eine bleibende Norm, "aber keine abschließende Endstation, sondern eher verheißungsvoller Anfang". Die Theologie müsse sich um ein tieferes Verständnis des Kircheseins einschließlich des Amts-Verständnisses bemühen.

Text: KNA Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur GmbH, 10.07.2007

http://kirchensite.de/index.php?mySID=968a96eeb6c1deaa14692e4d30c0713c&myELEMENT=135398

Syriacus said...

Was dieser Text für die evangelische Kirche und die Ökumene bedeutet, darüber sprachen wir mit dem Bayreuther Regionalbischof Wilfried Beyhl.


[...]


Wird es Auswirkungen auf die Ökumene vor Ort haben?

Wir haben bei ökumenischen Begegnungen eine ganz andere Praxis als in dem Dokument geschrieben. Wenn wir mit dem Bamberger Erzbischof sprechen, ist es ganz selbstverständlich, dass wir uns als Schwesterkirche bezeichnen. Wir begegnen uns auf Augenhöhe.


[...]


http://www.frankenpost.de/nachrichten/regional/dritteseite/art2446,680273.html?fCMS=7cb012ceb64f5f0f6871da8590859870

Syriacus said...

Ausland – Mittwoch, 11. Juli 2007
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10.07.2007 -- Tages-Anzeiger Online
Lob für «ehrliche Erklärung» des Vatikan
Die russisch-orthodoxe Kirche hat den vom Vatikan veröffentlichten Text zur Besonderheit der Katholischen Kirche im Grundsatz für seine eindeutige Position gelobt.

«Das ist eine ehrliche Erklärung. Sie ist viel besser als die so genannte kirchliche Diplomatie», sagte der Leiter des Aussenamtes des Moskauer Patriarchats, Metropolit Kirill, in Moskau. Das Dokument zeige «wie nah beziehungsweise wie fern wir einander sind.» Das sei eine Grundvoraussetzung für einen «ehrlichen theologischen Dialog».

Ebenso wie der Vatikan fusse das Moskauer Patriarchat auf der «apostolischen Sukzession». In der katholischen Lehre ist damit gemeint, dass sich Päpste und Bischöfe noch heute auf den 2000 alten Auftrag Jesu Christi an die Apostel zur Glaubensverbreitung berufen.

Das Verhältnis zwischen Rom und Moskau gilt seit langem als gespannt. Wiederholt hat der russisch-orthodoxe Patriarch Alexi II. die Gleichrangigkeit der orthodoxen und der katholischen Kirche unterstrichen. (cpm/sda)

Anonymous said...

The document certainly dispels one point of confusion about subsistit, even though it gives no substantive reason for using the term "subsistit in", because "is" is just as good to indicate that there are elements properly belonging to the Church, because they originated there by Christ's donation, outside of the Church.

Yet to say that the Church of Christ is or subsists in the Catholic Church and then to go on to say that the Church of Christ is active outside of the Church is a rehash of the fundamental error behind most post Vatican II theology.

Because a thing cannot act outside of itself, unless it communicate or extend its very nature to the outside.

But the document talks not about the Church doing this, but about elements outside.

Hence to say that the Holy Ghost does not refuse to use ecclesial communities as instruments of salvation is unfounded, because He clearly uses not the communities, but the things they have, which they use not purely for God's sake (if they did they would follow the elements back into the Catholic Church).

Hence these communities are not instruments, but occasional causes, contexts, circumstances, whose separation from the Church is a sin of their own doing.

So the document has problems.

However, a CDF document is not an infallible teaching, even if it pertains to the authentic Magisterium. So, inasmuch as it teaches truly, we must accept it, and inasmuch as what it says could be said more accurately, we can withhold our assent.

Yes, the chief goodness of the document lies in the explicit statement that Vatican II never intended to change doctrine, and therefore the sedevacantists have just lost the foundation of their gripe; because no one who does not intend to contract accepted teaching can be a pertinacious heretic, and hence the Popes since Vatican II are true popes.


Br. Alexis Bugnolo
www.scholasticum.blogspot.com

prof. basto said...

Siryacus,

Well, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Commentary that was issued together with the "Responses" and published in today's Osservatore Romano reads:

"...Contrary to many unfounded interpretations, therefore, the change from “est” to “subsistit” does not signify that the Catholic Church has ceased to regard herself as the one true Church of Christ."

Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070629_commento-responsa_it.html

Translation into English of the official commentary can be found in Sandro Magister's site at http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=154889&eng=y

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "Pre-Vatican II comment by Pope Pius IX: "There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace since God who clearly beholds, searches, and knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men, because of His great goodness and mercy, will by no means suffer anyone to be punished with eternal torment who has not the guilt of deliberate sin." Those who adhere to Feeneyism frequently ignore the many statements by pre-Vatican II Popes on the possibility of salvation for those not formally inside the Catholic Church... "

My understanding has always been that the Church teaches that, aside from those who commit the sin of rejecting the Holy Spirit, every human being not formally inside the Catholic Church has the possibility of salvation, simply because God gives the grace of a vocation to conversion to them. The Church has always had missionaries because of this - because those who are not formally inside the Catholic Church, and most especially those who are sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, and so living honest lives, will in fact co-operate with the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace bt becoming Catholics while they yet live. (Regardless of whether or not their conversion is publically known.)

Syriacus said...

Thanks for the quotation, Prof. Basto: I was not casting a shadow on the (this time) Vatican 'clarity', but on Cardinal Lehmann's wicked interpretation.
(I must say, I see him this time as the oecumaniacal analogue of 'poor weeping' Litnik Brandol(Bugn)ini ... But he's not crying, he laughs loud at the CFD...)

Meanwhile, I would urge the visitors of the blog to have a look at what would seem the beginning of a new "Haas case" in Chur, Switzerland.

http://www.tagblatt.ch/index.php?artikelxml=1366828&ressort=tagblattheute/frontseite&jahr=2007&ressortcode=&ms=hauptseite

Jamie said...

Prof. Basto: thanks for the links. Unfortunately it appears that the commentary released with the document is also flawed. Specifically this quote: "[the unity of Christians can] thus heal that wound which prevents the Catholic Church from fully realising her universality within history. "

This denies the Catholicity of the Church in that the Church is universal already - it was and always will be - it does not require the entry of the protestants or Orthodox to become FULLY universal. The baltimore Catechism says this:

158. Why is the Catholic Church catholic or universal?

The Catholic Church is catholic or universal because, destined to last for all time, it never fails to fulfill the divine commandment to teach all nations all the truths revealed by God.

I think, in truth, what we are seeing with this document is a curbing of SOME of the modernist tendencies we have seen in recent years coming from the Vatican but it is still floundering in other areas. The fact of the matter seems to be that Pope Benedict is trying to rectify things but he feels obliged to try to explain away the errors of the VII documents rather than replace or remove sections of them which are not in conformity with Truth and that were created in order to not expound Catholic doctrine, but to create ways to diverge from it.

Jamie said...

Just to give a picture to my last comment, what I mean is that the VII documents are, in many ways, a square peg, and Pope Benedict is trying his best to hammer them into a round hole.

Syriacus said...

...On the very same 29th of June, the Pope signed this too... :-(

http://212.77.1.245/news_services/bulletin/news/20587.php?index=20587&lang=it

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

I don't agree with you Jamie:

"[the unity of Christians can] thus heal that wound which prevents the Catholic Church from fully realising her universality within history."

"This denies the Catholicity of the Church in that the Church is universal already..." &c.

No it doesn't. Focus on "realizing" and "history."

realize = conversion into actuality, seconday meaning = recognized.
within history = the Church Militant, i.e. subject to temporal succession.

Thus: "The formal, visible, unity of Christians can thus heal that wound which prevented the Catholic Church Militant from fully converting into recognized actuality her universality ab origine within the realm of temporal succession."

Well, that's my effort :-).

Absum!

humboldt said...

Let's hope that those at the Pontificial Council for Christian Unity will uphold this doctrinal document. The problem is that many times what one Vatican dicastery says, has little or no effect on the works of another dicastery.

This is the problem when JPII equated the ranks of all dicasteries of the Holy See. Pontifical Councils should be placed under the supervision and authority of a Congregation.

That way, the "prima donna" syndrome, permating all of the Holy See, is put in check. This is why a "reform of the reform" is needed.

Syriacus said...

11/07/2007 17.04.47



Il Documento sulla Chiesa "è un invito al dialogo": il cardinale Kasper replica alle critiche delle comunità protestanti






La Dichiarazione della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, pubblicata ieri e intitolata “Risposte a quesiti riguardanti alcuni aspetti circa la Dottrina sulla Chiesa”, “ha provocato delle reazioni a caldo di irritazione tra i cristiani protestanti”. (testo integrale sul nostro sito sotto Documenti Vaticani). "Una seconda lettura più serena potrà mostrare, che il Documento non dice nulla di nuovo, ma espone e spiega, in un riassunto sintetico, la posizione già finora sostenuta dalla Chiesa Cattolica”. Inizia con queste affermazioni l'ampia dichiarazione del cardinale Walter Kasper, presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per la promozione dell’Unità dei cristiani, che reagisce alle reazioni di vario tenore che hanno contrassegnato a caldo l’uscita del Documento Congregazione per la dottrina della Fede. “Non si è verificata una situazione nuova - osserva - e quindi non esiste nemmeno una ragione oggettiva di risentimento o motivi per sentirsi trattati bruscamente. Ogni dialogo presuppone chiarezza sulle diverse posizioni”.

Parlando delle comunità della Riforma, il porporato precisa che “sono stati proprio i partner protestanti” a richiedere “recentemente” un “ecumenismo dai ‘profili definiti’. E ora - soggiunge - la presente dichiarazione espone e pronuncia il profilo cattolico, cioè quello che dal punto di vista cattolico purtroppo ancora ci divide, questo non limita il dialogo ma anzi lo favorisce”. “Una lettura attenta del testo - prosegue il presidente del dicastero pontificio - chiarisce che il Documento non dice che le Chiese protestanti non siano Chiese, bensì che esse non sono Chiese in senso proprio, cioè esse non sono Chiese nel senso in cui la Chiesa cattolica si intende per Chiesa. Questo, per qualunque persona di media formazione ecumenica, è una pura ovvietà”. Infatti, sottolinea il cardinale Kasper, “le Chiese evangeliche non vogliono nemmeno essere Chiesa nel senso della Chiesa cattolica; ci tengono moltissimo ad avere un concetto di Chiesa e di ministero che, per contro, non risponde al concetto proprio dei cattolici”. “Non è forse vero - si chiede il cardinale Kasper - che il più recente documento evangelico su 'Ministero e Ordinazione' ha fatto qualcosa di simile, affermando che la comprensione di Chiesa e di Ministero, dal punto di vista protestante, non sia quella ‘propria’?".

"Quando - ricorda il porporato - a seguito della Dichiarazione Dominus Iesus, ho affermato che le Chiese protestanti sono Chiese di un altro tipo, ciò non era in contrasto con la formulazione della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, come pretendevano alcune reazioni da parte evangelica. Al contrario, ho cercato una interpretazione appropriata della quale sono convinto a tutt’oggi. Soprattutto perché - nota il cardinale Kasper - i cattolici ancora oggi parlano di Chiese protestanti, della EKD come Chiesa Evangelica di Germania, della VELKD come Federazione delle Chiese Evangeliche luterane in Germania, della Chiesa d’Inghilterra ecc. La Dichiarazione della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede - ribadisce il porporato - non fa altro che evidenziare che noi usiamo la parola Chiesa attribuendo ad essa un significato che non è pienamente uguale. La Dichiarazione rende servizio alla chiarezza e di conseguenza al progresso del dialogo".

Ma "senz’altro - riconosce ancora il porporato tedesco - alla base del dialogo non vi è ciò che ci divide, ma ciò che ci unisce, e che è più grande di ciò che ci divide. Pertanto non si deve sorvolare su quanto la Dichiarazione afferma in modo positivo riguardo alle Chiese protestanti, e cioè che Gesù Cristo è effettivamente presente in esse per la salvezza dei loro membri". "Tenendo conto del passato - asserisce - non si tratta di un’affermazione ovvia. Include il riconoscimento del battesimo, e pur tenendo conto delle importanti differenze che esistono, la Dichiarazione, sulla scia del Concilio Vaticano II, contiene anche una serie di affermazioni positive sull’ultima Cena celebrata nella Chiesa protestante (Decreto sull’Ecumenismo, ur 22). Quindi - è la considerazione finale del cardinale Kasper - la Dichiarazione non costituisce un regresso rispetto al progresso ecumenico già raggiunto, ma ci impegna a risolvere i compiti ecumenici che ci stanno ancora davanti. Queste differenze dovrebbero spronarci e non sconvolgerci perché le chiamiamo per nome. In ultima analisi - conclude - la Dichiarazione è un invito urgente a continuare un dialogo sereno".


http://www.radiovaticana.org/it1/Articolo.asp?c=144150

Anonymous said...

Dear Brother Alexis Bugnolo,

I would like to see you more deeply refuting sedevacantist theses about the supposed heresies of Benedict XVI, the 2nd Vatican Council and especially a refutation of the allegation that the post-1968 rite for episcopal ordination is intrinsically invalid and null because of form defects.

Sedevacantism is growing, and the acts of JP II, Paul VI and Benedict XVI have been very scandalous in the past. Like many utterings, e.g. the Quran kiss and the sermon containing "May St. John the Baptist bless Islam" in Jordan (2001). Also Benedict XVI praying unshoed in a mosque towards Mecca next to a Muhammedan imam praying to his own false deity.

Jordan Potter said...

"Up to date, the 'subsists' issue had been used by progressives to argue that the Church of Christ subsits in the Catholic Church, BUT -at- the same time- it also subsists in other 'Churches.'

"Now it's clear: the Church of Christ ONLY subsits in the Catholic Church. Therefore, the Church of Crist DO NOT SUBSIST in the rest of the oriental churches. These may bear only some elements of sanctification, but this is quite a different thing."

That's a good point you make. As I'd mentioned above, my impression is that this document said nothing new, just repeated what we find in Lumen Gentium and Dominus Iesus (and, of course, it is important to repeat the truth, especially when there doubts and denials are popular). But this point, clarifying that "subsists" can only be used of the Catholic Church, is an important clarification.

Jordan Potter said...

"May St. John the Baptist bless Islam"

A little linguistic exercise: recall that in biblical Hebrew, "to bless" is often used as a euphemism for the opposite, "to curse."

If St. John the Baptist blesses Islam, and that blessing is effective, then Muslims will give heed to St. John's testimony of the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. Thus, the Church hopes they listen to the precursor of the Messiah and accept the one whom he preceded and prepared for. The hope is that what elements of truth there is in Islam will serve as a preparatio evangelium, leading Muslims to become Catholics.

But if that happens, then there won't be any more Muslims, no more Islam. Thus, the blessing of St. John the Baptist upon Islam would, from the standpoint of Muslims today, prove be a curse, bringing about the end of that false religion.

When it is understood correctly, there is no rational objection possible to the prayer, "May St. John the Baptist bless Islam."

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid i don't entirely understand the idea that the Eastern Orthodox Churches are true "particular churches" merely because they have true bishops, priests, and sacraments. I don't have any problem with Orthodox Churches being true particular churches, considering their antiquity and unbroken existence, but Rome seems to say that the valid episcopal succession and valid sacraments are enough to make a "particular church", so, e.g. the Polish National Catholics would be a true church, even though they're only about 100 years old. If I were to take leave of my senses, procure valid episcopal consecration at the hands of some renegade bishop, and validly ordain a half-dozen priests, would we be a true particular church, complete with jurisdiction, equal to, say, the Orthodox Church of Greece?

Anonymous said...

Could some of these confusing elements be the result of thinking in terms of property based metaphysics?

Br. Anthony said...

How can this document make anything clearer when it everywhere quotes Vatican II which was itself ambiguous?

This document is just an another attempt to reconcile Catholicism with Modernism. The two are incompatible. Until the pope and the hierarchy fully realize this, then we will continue to swim in a pool of ambiguity.

Lymington said...

Pentecost------------est
1965--------subsistit in---the zig
2007---sola subsistit in---the zag
2020-----------------est