Rorate Caeli

Introduction

1. «SPE SALVI facti sumus» —in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?

Faith is Hope

2. Before turning...

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

not one reference to Vatican II

Jamie said...

Anonymous: thank God! However, there are also no references to Our Lady (she is referred to as Mary throughout) and no mention of Limbo which would have been nice for an encyclical on this topic.

Jordan Potter said...

No direct reference to Vatican II, true, but the encyclical footnotes cite the Catechism of the Catholic Church several times, and in a couple of those passages the Catechism's footnotes cite Vatican II's dogmatic constitution [i]Lumen Gentium[/i} 48.3.

And no mention of Limbo, but then we've already been given a fair indication of the Holy Father's probable opinion of Limbo, which also makes no appearance in the Catechism . . .

Finally, no, he does not refer to the Blessed Virgin as "Our Lady," nor even as "the Blessed Virgin." He does show his understanding of her central and penultimate place in Hope, however, by bringing the encyclical to a conclusion with a reflection upon her and a prayer to her.

Christian said...

It would be quite wrong for the Pope to mention Limbo in a encyclical. An encyclical has the power of law and so a mention of Limbo would have effectively made it official teaching. That would be a great mistake, as it has never been official teaching.

Jon said...

Please don't get worked up over references to the Catechism, even if those references contain footnotes to Vatican II in themselves. At least there is no first hand reference to "THE" Council in either the body or the footnotes.

On the other hand, the Fourth Lateran Council is quoted by the Holy Father, as is the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas, Thomas’ precursor, the great scholar St. Isidore of Seville, and the Sermons of St. Augustine.

As for the Blessed Mother, Benedict refers to her under a title virtually forgotten in the Novus Ordo, as Maris Stella - Star of the Sea. He also uses her title "Sancta Maria," or "Holy Mary," directly from the Ave Maria.

I quickly pulled my copy of Bishop Sheen's opus on Our Lady, "The World's First Love" from my shelf and perused it for comparison. Throughout, he refers to Our Lady simply as "Mary."

All in all a reason to hope, I would think.

Jon said...

Oh, and isn't it nothing short of a minor miracle that a post-conciliar encyclical on "Hope" doesn't quote "Gaudium et Spes?"

Ottaviani said...

There is nothing heretical or "modernist" about this document at all. Its actually quite beautiful. I suggest that we meditate on it, as quite a few traditional Catholics always display lack of hope (including me from time to time)

Anonymous said...

And I would suggest if commentors do not want to become parodies of themselves, we put the brakes on our initial reaction to a papal encyclical that consists of counting the ways in which he refers to Mary.

Heavens.

Michael R. said...

Has anyone noticed the reference to the traditional baptismal rite?

Jon said...

Anonymous 14:31,

"...consists of counting the ways in which he refers to Mary."

Exactly. That was my point.

humboldt said...

"not one reference to Vatican II"

"no mention of Limbo which would have been nice for an encyclical on this topic."

LONG LIVE BENEDICT XVI!

Stephen said...

At least there is no first hand reference to "THE" Council in either the body or the footnotes.


First hand mention of Vatican II in papal document has been the battle flag of the liberal Church.

schoolman said...

a) The right state of human affairs, the moral well-being of the world can never be guaranteed simply through structures alone, however good they are. Such structures are not only important, but necessary; yet they cannot and must not marginalize human freedom. Even the best structures function only when the community is animated by convictions capable of motivating people to assent freely to the social order. Freedom requires conviction; conviction does not exist on its own, but must always be gained anew by the community.

b) Since man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the kingdom of good will never be definitively established in this world. Anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last for ever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom. Freedom must constantly be won over for the cause of good. Free assent to the good never exists simply by itself. If there were structures which could irrevocably guarantee a determined—good—state of the world, man's freedom would be denied, and hence they would not be good structures at all.

-----------------------

The above will certainly be a topic of discussion among traditionalists. What implication does this have for the so-called absolute ideal socio-political "structures" that is supposed to support the Kingship of Christ? Lot's to meditate on here.

Anonymous said...

First, the Encyclical is more the intellectual mush you get from rambling profs than an instrument of teaching worthy of a successor to St. Peter.

Second, Limbo is a de fide dogma, and if you don't accept it, you probably are a heretic.

Third, what the Holy Father says about there never being a moral incremental progress in human society is partly true, but mostly false.

It is partly true because each generation must sanctify itself by obedience to Christ. But it is mostly false because otherwise the human community which is the Church Militant on earth would not or could not grow in holiness.

As we can see from history, there is an incremental growth in holiness in the Church and in societies subordinated to the Church.

You just don't see that after Vatican II, because the Counciliar texts made shambles of the clear teaching of the authentic perennial infallible Magisterium.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo
www.scholasticum.blogspot.com

schoolman said...

What humility! I recalls what the Holy Father said regarding the proud that must be put in their place...

------------------

29. For Augustine this meant a totally new life. He once described his daily life in the following terms: “The turbulent have to be corrected, the faint-hearted cheered up, the weak supported; the Gospel's opponents need to be refuted, its insidious enemies guarded against; the unlearned need to be taught, the indolent stirred up, the argumentative checked; the proud must be put in their place, the desperate set on their feet, those engaged in quarrels reconciled; the needy have to be helped, the oppressed to be liberated, the good to be encouraged, the bad to be tolerated; all must be loved.” 22

Mike said...

Br. Bugnolo,

I took the reference to "moral progress" to refer to the false notion that humans "progress" or "improve" their conceptions of what is and is not "moral", e.g., we thought x, but now y.

That type of moral progress is false, and I think that is what the Holy refers to. However, you are correct in stating that people can improve upon their ability to live according to immutable moral truths, i.e, they can make "progress".

Mike

Anonymous said...

Who is this Bro. Bugnolo, who decides what is worthy of the Vicar of Christ, what is true and false, and on top of it declares a new dogma of faith?

schoolman said...

From Sandro Magister...

"...it would be a mistake to expect to read in it nothing more than an erudite lecture."

--------------

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/179661?eng=y

"In hope we were saved", Pope Benedict's Second Encyclical
Science, reason, and progress fulfill many expectations, but they do not give "eternal life." Pope Joseph Ratzinger brings Christians and the world back before the judgment of God. And he proposes as examples two of the most humble and unknown saints

by Sandro Magister



ROMA, November 30, 2007 – The encyclical on hope "Spe Salvi," which Benedict XVI signed and published today, the feast of Saint Andrew and just two days before the beginning of Advent, was motivated by these factors described in paragraph 22:

"A self-critique of modernity is needed in dialogue with Christianity and its concept of hope.

"In this dialogue Christians too, in the context of their knowledge and experience, must learn anew in what their hope truly consists, what they have to offer to the world and what they cannot offer.

"Flowing into this self-critique of the modern age there also has to be a self-critique of modern Christianity, which must constantly renew its self-understanding setting out from its roots."

In this twofold "self-criticism" of modern culture and Christianity, the pope continues, "reason and faith need one another in order to fulfil their true nature and their mission."


* * *

These few lines clearly show how strongly the encyclical is marked by Joseph Ratzinger as philosopher, theologian, and pope.

But it would be a mistake to expect to read in it nothing more than an erudite lecture. The style is vibrant, the exposition rich with imagery, and the narrative enlivened by a wide cast of characters.

The entire story of the world passes before the eyes of the reader, from its beginning to end. The final pages on Christ as judge, on hell, on purgatory, on paradise, are stunning for their mere presentation – having disappeared almost completely from the preaching in the churches – and even more for the way in which they are developed.

The text is required reading from start to finish, as is always the case for the writings of Benedict XVI, which never have just one key page or the easily isolated central passage.

But to demonstrate how "Spe Salvi" has a number of surprises in store for the reader, here are two selections taken from paragraphs 3 and 37.

They present as exemplars of Christian hope two saints who are not among the most famous.

The first is African, from Darfur, and the second a martyr from Vietnam.

New Catholic said...

Yes, it is a wonderful text.

It is, first, a wonderful meditation on the four Last Things.

It is, also, a true judgment, by the Vicar of Christ, of the greatest error of the Modern mind: the myth of perpetual progress... Yet a judgment issued in the most humble tone.

The mention of the Traditional Rite of Baptism is quite impressive (the new Rite of Baptism allows for the dialogue, as it allows for virtually any "option" among a literally infinite number of choices - "The celebrant may choose other words for this dialogue.")

dcs said...

First, the Encyclical is more the intellectual mush you get from rambling profs than an instrument of teaching worthy of a successor to St. Peter.

That's not a helpful comment. Could you point out some examples of its mushiness?

Second, Limbo is a de fide dogma, and if you don't accept it, you probably are a heretic.

I would think that if Limbo is a de fide dogma then one who denies it is definitely a heretic (whether formal or material).

While I think that the Church's teaching on Limbo is authoritative, I don't think I've ever read anyone who claims it is de fide. Could you possibly cite a few theologians in support of this theory?

As we can see from history, there is an incremental growth in holiness in the Church and in societies subordinated to the Church.

And as societies break away from the Church? What then? Obviously there is no incremental moral progress, but moral regression. And taking human history as a whole, one would be hard-pressed to show incremental moral progression from its beginning until today. Certainly one could show a growth in holiness from, say, the reign of Nero until the end of the Middle Ages. But the same is not true from the end of the Middle Ages to our current age.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as how the older Rite of Baptism is still in use because of a MP Benedict composed, why do you think he refers to it in the past tense?

Jordan Potter said...

Seeing as how the older Rite of Baptism is still in use because of a MP Benedict composed, why do you think he refers to it in the past tense?

Because it is older and not used as much as the newer rite (unless this is just another translation problem for which the Vatican is becoming known).

Jeff said...

"no mention of Limbo"

That's because the Holy Father hopes there isn't any Limbo...

schoolman said...

This really seems to get at the root of the modern crisis in faith and hope:

---------------
17. Anyone who reads and reflects on these statements attentively will recognize that a disturbing step has been taken: up to that time, the recovery of what man had lost through the expulsion from Paradise was expected from faith in Jesus Christ: herein lay “redemption”. Now, this “redemption”, the restoration of the lost “Paradise” is no longer expected from faith, but from the newly discovered link between science and praxis. It is not that faith is simply denied; rather it is displaced onto another level—that of purely private and other-worldly affairs—and at the same time it becomes somehow irrelevant for the world. This programmatic vision has determined the trajectory of modern times and it also shapes the present-day crisis of faith which is essentially a crisis of Christian hope.

schoolman said...

Another choice extract from the Holy Father's encyclical:

-------------
Let us put it very simply: man needs God, otherwise he remains without hope. Given the developments of the modern age, the quotation from Saint Paul with which I began (Eph 2:12) proves to be thoroughly realistic and plainly true. There is no doubt, therefore, that a “Kingdom of God” accomplished without God—a kingdom therefore of man alone—inevitably ends up as the “perverse end” of all things as described by Kant: we have seen it, and we see it over and over again. Yet neither is there any doubt that God truly enters into human affairs only when, rather than being present merely in our thinking, he himself comes towards us and speaks to us. Reason therefore needs faith if it is to be completely itself: reason and faith need one another in order to fulfil their true nature and their mission.

Anonymous said...

I think there's some of this Encyclical that Protestants would find offensive. Of course that's their problem, not ours.

The fact that Vatican II is never mentioned is a miracle. Other encyclicals of past Vatican II Popes have referenced it dozens of times. Thak God not once in this text!!

The fact that the older Baptismal Rite is mentioned at all is a minor miracle, and will send shivers down the spines of the progressives. The last thing they want is to have to deal not only with the growing Tridentine Latin Mass, but also the other Sacraments coming back in the older form as well....which is happening.

The Vatican II Church is a house of cards, and will be blown down soon. Our Holy Father has lead they way in that process.

hopingforheaven said...

I see that 'brother' Alexis is more Catholic than the pope! I guess he can just stick to his own version of church then.

Roman Catholics follow the Vicar of Christ on earth.

beng said...

First, the Encyclical is more the intellectual mush you get from rambling profs than an instrument of teaching worthy of a successor to St. Peter. - Br Alexis Bugnolo


I have the same exact thought first time reading it.

stephen said...

"The Vatican II Church is a house of cards, and will be blown down soon. Our Holy Father has lead they way in that process."

Yes, much like the Soviet Union.

Is Benedict XVI the Catholic Church's Mijail Gorbachev?

Are we set to witness the demise of the Imperial Papacy, under the weight of its own contradictions?

I pray we are!

Anonymous said...

The problem is the Imperial Church, not the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing more unwelcomed by the royal sycophant than saying the King is not wearing clothes, when the King is not wearing clothes...

I note the PC police on this blog:

If they don't like your comment the proclaim you a schismatic.

If they don't like your comment they say it is not worthy of being a comment, or demand proof for your assertions, while giving none for their own.

A sad state of affairs brought on by Vatican II.

Note: no where in the Encyclical does the Pope impose anything he writes there upon all Catholics to be accepted under any determinate level of teaching authority.

Ergo, for those of you who obviously know nothing of such things, no one is oblidged to accept anything he says as definitive.

Sandro Magister, the journalist aside (who has no authority, but a good credentials in PCness), the encyclical is nothing more than a papal homily on paper, pointing out in a lot of words, in a mushing (that is non definite for those of you who do not know what "mushy" means in English) manner, the obvious, yet calling for no definite solution or response.

In fact he sounds like an old man (which is he by the way), who has lost hope in any Ecclesial respose to the crisis which churchmen like himself at Vatican II got us all into.

Would they have listened to Our Lady of Fatima!

Would they have listened to such Cardinals as Ottaviani, Bacci, Journet, or such Archbishops and Bishops as Lefebrve or Castro De Mayer.

I pity such commentators here who keep living in the dream land in which there are no problems in the Church, except those remaining steadfast to Tradition!

In all charity, I say to you repent!

Your pride is diabolic, your presumption infernal, your lack of charity quasi supreme!

Your pride is diabolic, because you will not consider any criticism on the basis of whether it is true or not, but attack the messanger and criticise his words, like those who rejected the Prophets of Old.

You presumption is infernal, because like those in Hell it fixates you in an interminable immutability, out of which you do not even dream of leaving!

Your lack of charity is quasi supreme, because you have knocked down the true God from your hearts, by perpetually living in such sins, and set up the idol of PCness in them, from which pupit you condemn the masses according to your own false creed.

No doubt in your hypocrisy you will reverse the charges and in your own always reletavistic mind accuse me of the same; that is because you are not grounded in the truth, and judge not according to the faith, and prefer to idolize what the Pope never asked you to idolize, rather than humbly accept what the Popes have always taught in place of what a very few popes have vainly uttered as men!

val said...

It will be an encyclical that will be the ground for conversions.

Instead of being worked up about howm many time the VII has been mentionned, we should focus on what our Holy Father is teaching us. HOPE.

And how glad he mentions MAry of hope. Notre Dame de l'espérance...who said in Pontmain:
Mais priez mes enfants, mon Fils se laisse toucher.

This is a message of hope in a world where the little ones and the oldest are eliminated, where consumerism, humanism, and materialism has influenced even the Christian.

What a jewel, praise be our Blessed Lord to have send us this pope

Anonymous said...

Faith is not hope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If the pope says tommorrow that faith requires you to jump off the cliff, we will shortly hear that New Catholic has committed suicide and go to hell for his papalatry!!

anonguy said...

Having read the encyclical, my first impression was that the Holy Father wanted to address, mainly, the broader issues affecting theism in general -- this being the errors proposed by modern ideologies who attack hope in God and advance secularism. Understandably some people may find this very dry and akin to "rambling", but the Holy Father did three things: 1) he presented the teaching what what these modern errors taught, 2) then he preceded to show forth why it was wrong and why it could never make man happy, and 3) he then proposed the alternative to these errors: faith and hope in Jesus Christ. Whether or not one likes the Pope's style of delivering this message, it is a nevertheless a message that the world needs today. It is a message that is directed to a secular world who doesn't even believe in God anymore - much less the authority of the Church to teach.

But this isn't all. Throughout the encyclical the traditional Catholic themes of the lives of the saints, the importance of contemplative communities, the value of the morning offering, the reality of the four last things: death, heaven, hell and purgatory, and most specially the hope we have in the Blessed Virgin, are directed towards us Catholics who still hold to the traditional Catholic faith.

As for those who fault the Holy Father for not carrying a more enforceful and definitive tone, please consider that it would make little difference in todays world. As a perfect example you need only to look at yourselves, who dissent from the documents of Vatican II, even though Pope Paul VI made several enforceful statements about how it must be accepted under the authority of the authentic magisterium.

Christian said...

To the most recent Anon:

The Pope just declared that you are wrong. Accept it. I am far from a Popolater but the pope does have the right to make definitions. If he is wrong then he is a heretic. Is Benedict a heretic?

dcs said...

If they don't like your comment the proclaim you a schismatic.

This is the first use of the word "schismatic" in this thread.

If they don't like your comment they say it is not worthy of being a comment, or demand proof for your assertions, while giving none for their own.

Because extraordinary claims (Spe Salvi is mush, Limbo is a de fide dogma) require extraordinary proof. If one is going to assert that the Pope's latest encyclical is mush, one better be prepared to show it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonguy,

You wrote: "As for those who fault the Holy Father for not carrying a more enforceful and definitive tone, please consider that it would make little difference in todays world. As a perfect example you need only to look at yourselves, who dissent from the documents of Vatican II, even though Pope Paul VI made several enforceful statements about how it must be accepted under the authority of the authentic magisterium."

First, your premise that in today's world it wouldn't make much difference explicitly dissently from the infallible teaching of St. Paul, "Preach the word of God in season and out of season" and in other places he says that he preaches forcefully for the salvatoin of all and the dignity of the Gospel require it.

Second, you obvious are unaware of the proper criteria of papal teaching. There are several distinctions: the first is authentic vs. non authentic, the second is infallible vs. non infallible, the third is extraordinary vs. ordinary. Each distinction is not exclussive, ergo you have 8 categories of teaching.

When Paul VI says (if he does at all) that Vatican II was an exercise of the authentic magisterium, he is not saying that it is infallible.

Dogmatic Theolog 101.

In short, you are totally wrong and/or ignorant of the Catholic position on each point.

Anonymous said...

Dear Christian,

You write: "The Pope just declared that you are wrong. Accept it. I am far from a Popolater but the pope does have the right to make definitions. If he is wrong then he is a heretic. Is Benedict a heretic?"

The pope declared nothing of the kind. To declare in dogmatic terms requries the imposition of a verbal proposition under a definite note of authority. In a rambling talk in which he fancies a crude comparise of theologial virtues by saying "Faith is Hope", which by the way is as absurd as saying "Apples are oranges", he has imposed nothing, defined nothing, ergo declared nothing.

What is declared is made clear. Saying what he says only obfuscates the matter.

Are you so politically correct as to say that darkness is light and light darkness?

P.S. Who is saying that the Pope is a heretic?

Anonymous said...

Dear DCS,

You wrote:"This is the first use of the word "schismatic" in this thread."

Let's not be nominalists, what the word "schismatic" signifies, someone has already been accused of, if only indirectly.

Then you wrote: "Because extraordinary claims (Spe Salvi is mush, Limbo is a de fide dogma) require extraordinary proof. If one is going to assert that the Pope's latest encyclical is mush, one better be prepared to show it."

A comment is really not worthy of a debate, it is only a comment. To say that something is "rambling" or "mushing", is more a perceptual observation. Since I am not Br. Bognolo, I won't defend him.

But I will say that his claims are not extraordinary, unless of course you define yourselves as being the standard of ordinaryness, and put him outside your pale.

BTW, if anyone in my theology 101 course wrote in a term paper that "Faith is Hope", I'd give him a "F" for theological mushyness. The justification of which is as obvious to anyone with the former, as can be obviously seen by the partisans of the truth.

Finally, I believe the testiness of some of you here is ample proof of the criticisms you have received, as it evinces a pertinacious sycophantry....

And so I join the previous anon, and say,

It is advent, time to repent of your idolatries.

The popes never told you to idolize them, but always to worship God alone. The present pope has also condemned relavatism, so why do you continue to practice it. The traditional manner of interpreting papal teaching remains the norm of theological interpretation; and for those of you who know this, you can see the game that is being played by those who want to impose a novel norm of interpretation to defend novel or silly teaching.

Tenete traditiones....

Anonymous said...

Pertinacious sycophantry?

Back away from the thesaurus before you hurt yourself. Are you really a Catholic theology professor? If so, if you were under my academic authority, you'd get an "F" yourself. "Fired," that is. It is not the job of Catholic theology professors to judge the statements of popes, but to submit to them.

To you and the other know-better-than-the-poper up there: Hope is faith (directed toward a promise yet to be accomplished). You should have learned that in the Theology 101 class you supposedly teach.

Anonymous said...

When Paul VI says (if he does at all) that Vatican II was an exercise of the authentic magisterium, he is not saying that it is infallible.

Your dogmatic theology leaves a lot to be desired. You forgot such qualifiers as universal/local and the hierarchy of supremacy.

In a January audience in 1966, Paul VI said, "[Vatican II] still provided its teaching with the authority of the supreme ordinary Magisterium. This ordinary Magisterium, which is so obviously official, has to be accepted with docility, and sincerity by all the faithful, in accordance with the mind of the Council on the nature and aims of the individual documents."

"Supreme, ordinary" is almost an oxymoron, but there you have it.