Rorate Caeli

"One of the great disappointments which followed the ...Council...
has been division."


I am particularly happy that we have gathered in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Perhaps more than any other church in the United States, this place is known and loved as “a house of prayer for all peoples” (cf. Is 56:7; Mk 11:17). Each day thousands of men, women and children enter its doors and find peace within its walls. ... I would like to draw your attention to a few aspects of this beautiful structure which I think can serve as a starting point for a reflection on our particular vocations within the unity of the Mystical Body.

The first has to do with the stained glass windows, which flood the interior with mystic light. From the outside, those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary. But once one enters the church, they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor. Many writers – here in America we can think of Nathaniel Hawthorne – have used the image of stained glass to illustrate the mystery of the Church herself. It is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life, that we see the Church as she truly is: flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned by the manifold gifts of the Spirit. It follows that we, who live the life of grace within the Church’s communion, are called to draw all people into this mystery of light.

...
Like all Gothic cathedrals, it is a highly complex structure, whose exact and harmonious proportions symbolize the unity of God’s creation. Medieval artists often portrayed Christ, the creative Word of God, as a heavenly “geometer”, compass in hand, who orders the cosmos with infinite wisdom and purpose. Does this not bring to mind our need to see all things with the eyes of faith, and thus to grasp them in their truest perspective, in the unity of God’s eternal plan? This requires, as we know, constant conversion, and a commitment to acquiring “a fresh, spiritual way of thinking” (cf. Eph 4:23). It also calls for the cultivation of those virtues which enable each of us to grow in holiness and to bear spiritual fruit within our particular state of life. Is not this ongoing “intellectual” conversion as necessary as “moral” conversion for our own growth in faith, our discernment of the signs of the times, and our personal contribution to the Church’s life and mission?

For all of us, I think, one of the great disappointments which followed the Second Vatican Council, with its call for a greater engagement in the Church’s mission to the world, has been the experience of division between different groups, different generations, different members of the same religious family. We can only move forward if we turn our gaze together to Christ! In the light of faith, we will then discover the wisdom and strength needed to open ourselves to points of view which may not necessarily conform to our own ideas or assumptions. Thus we can value the perspectives of others, be they younger or older than ourselves, and ultimately hear “what the Spirit is saying” to us and to the Church (cf. Rev 2:7). In this way, we will move together towards that true spiritual renewal desired by the Council, a renewal which can only strengthen the Church in that holiness and unity indispensable for the effective proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world.

...The unity of a Gothic cathedral, we know, is not the static unity of a classical temple, but a unity born of the dynamic tension of diverse forces which impel the architecture upward, pointing it to heaven. Here too, we can see a symbol of the Church’s unity, which is the unity – as Saint Paul has told us – of a living body composed of many different members, each with its own role and purpose.
...
So let us lift our gaze upward! And with great humility and confidence, let us ask the Spirit to enable us each day to grow in the holiness that will make us living stones in the temple which he is even now raising up in the midst of our world. If we are to be true forces of unity, let us be the first to seek inner reconciliation through penance. Let us forgive the wrongs we have suffered and put aside all anger and contention. Let us be the first to demonstrate the humility and purity of heart which are required to approach the splendor of God’s truth. In fidelity to the deposit of faith entrusted to the Apostles (cf. 1 Tim 6:20), let us be joyful witnesses of the transforming power of the Gospel!
Benedict XVI
Homily - Saint Patrick's Cathedral
April 19, 2008

23 comments:

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

The Second Vatican Council IS the disappointment. It is the Council that has caused the divisions because it has abandoned the Catholic Faith of all time. The Council must be put to rest if we are to proceed to a true restoration.

It is unfortunate that the Holy Father continues to see the Council as a source of renewal. Until this false conception is corrected, we will continue toward a further spiritual upheaval so delightful to the devil and his minions.

Jordan Potter said...

It is the Council that has caused the divisions because it has abandoned the Catholic Faith of all time.

How is that opinion to be reconciled with the Catholic doctrines of infallibility and indefectibility?

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

How is that opinion to be reconciled with the Catholic doctrines of infallibility and indefectibility?

Very easily. The Council did not invoke infallibility nor did it destroy the remnant, such as the SSPX (but not the only), which continue to preserve the Catholic Faith of all time.

Patrick said...

"ONE of the great disappointments which followed the Second Vatican Council..."

Sounds like the Pope thinks there are MANY!

Finally, some REALISM about Vat II. Deo gratias. The truth will set us free.

schoolman said...

Br, your ideas are simply mistaken. The Church need not solemnly define dogma in order to remain free from error in her teaching. This is part of her ordinary charism. Furthermore, the indefectibility of the Church is promised to the Church in general and the Holy See in particular.

Jordan Potter said...

The Council did not invoke infallibility nor did it destroy the remnant

Even without invoking infallibility, we would still have a formally convened, valid council of the Church whose documents were all agreed upon and ratified by the Successor of St. Peter -- and yet the council speaking in union with the Roman Pontiff still defected from the Catholic faith?

"Remnant" ecclesiology is also problematic. Could it ever be the case that the body of the Church militant could subsist in groups not in visible communion with the Holy See? How does ecclesial magisterium function in such an arrangement?

Finally, some REALISM about Vat II. Deo gratias. The truth will set us free.

Yes, the Pope's words are very welcome. Though it may not be a pleasant thing for many Catholics to contemplate, we will be hearing more and more things like that from now on.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

"The Church need not solemnly define dogma in order to remain free from error in her teaching. This is part of her ordinary charism."

Correct. However, without invoking the charism of infalliblity, the pope can err in his ordinary teaching.

"Furthermore, the indefectibility of the Church is promised to the Church in general and the Holy See in particular."

I did not mean to imply that the Pope John XXIII and et al. were not popes or that the Church leaders no longer form part of the hierarchy. Only that the Catholic Faith has been preserved intact elsewhere for the last 40 years, while those who were supposed to be Her guardians have embraced many errors.

"Even without invoking infallibility, we would still have a formally convened, valid council of the Church whose documents were all agreed upon and ratified by the Successor of St. Peter -- and yet the council speaking in union with the Roman Pontiff still defected from the Catholic faith?"


Yes, on many points.

"'Remnant' ecclesiology is also problematic. Could it ever be the case that the body of the Church militant could subsist in groups not in visible communion with the Holy See? How does ecclesial magisterium function in such an arrangement?"

Read the life of St. Athanasius.

Anonymous said...

Schoolman, et al, your argument is with the Holy Father, who has just said one of the disappointments of VC II is division. Therefore, it is. Division inside the faith is a defect. Go argue with him and stop contradicting him.
Joe B

Hebdomadary said...

"...we will move together towards that true spiritual renewal desired by the Council..."

This may be small (though I doubt it, coming from BXVI), but notice that he speaks of a true SPIRITUAL renewal, leaving aside the question of liturgy entirely?

IMHO, it is another pebble in the Benedictine re-mortering of the church.

Volpius Leonius said...

Do you really think Vatican II falls under the classification of the Pope's ordinary teaching?

It seems a ridiculous claim to me, the Council consisted of pretty much the whole Magisterium including ArchBishop Lefebre, and it lasted for years.

There are many things that to my own understanding seem problematic in Vatican II, but that could very well be my understanding that is wrong.

Ultimately you are following people who are excommunicated Anthony instead of the Pope and such people cannot declare their own excommunication void, if they could excommunication would be completely pointless.

Also if what you say is true and there is now just an invisible remnant of a Church and an imposter were the true Church used to be then God has broken his covenant, and is a wicked and cruel God leaving as he would have done many millions of souls to be damned because of fidelity and obedience, things which are virtues and are commanded by God and the Church over and over again.

Be like little ones we were told if we are to be pleasing to God, that is obedient to the Father, the Father is the Pope, Christ did not say that we all need to be theologians to be saved, ever ready to break of obedience from Peter if he did something we disagreed with but we would need to be to come to the conclusions you have wrongly been taught and follow the path you have been guided down.

Anonymous said...

"Even without invoking infallibility, we would still have a formally convened, valid council of the Church whose documents were all agreed upon and ratified by the Successor of St. Peter - "

You are partly right, Mr. Potter. The council was properly convened. But, it is NOT true that "ALL agreed upon and ratified" the documents of that council. One can rightly question decrees which were not unanimously agreed upon. Even with a majority, the church is not a democracy.

The Acta Synodalia bears an annotation on the lists of signatures which reads: "Quidam Patres suffragium dederunt, quin decreta Ss. Concilii subsignaverint." We know that certain Fathers did not sign.

Anonymous said...

It is possible and we can hope that a future Pope of tradition will make an ex-Cathedra statement repealing Vatican II.

Since VII was not an infallible dogmatic council but a pastoral one, a future Pope using his infallibility can repeal it.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

The Council has been a catastrophe; there is no doubt about it.

But if Pope Benedict XVI (and those who side with him on everything he says) really believes that Vatican II was such a great moment in the history of the Church (even after forty years of disaster) AND if during those forty years he has heard Traditionalists cry out that Vatican II has broken away from Tradition, then why does he not just use the full weight of papal authority and dogmatize those teachings that are in dispute? After all, the Church has responded to previous crises by calling dogmatic councils to define doctrine that had been under attack.

I will tell you why. Because the Holy Ghost, Who is all Truth, will never allow a pope to dogmatize error. This is a logical consequence of the dogma on papal infallibility.

prof. basto said...

DOMINO NOSTRO BENEDICTO, A DEO DECRETO SUMMO PONTIFICE ET UNIVERSALI PAPAE: VITA!

Ad multos annos, Holy Father!

Jordan Potter said...

The council was properly convened. But, it is NOT true that "ALL agreed upon and ratified" the documents of that council.

Read my words again. I didn't say that "all" agreed upon and ratified the documents. I said "all the documents" were agreed upon and ratified by the Roman Pontiff. That is, the Pope accepted and approved all the council documents.

One can rightly question decrees which were not unanimously agreed upon.

Isn't that what the Old Catholics said about Pastor Aeternus, which also was not unanimously agrred upon.

". . .and yet the council speaking in union with the Roman Pontiff still defected from the Catholic faith?"

Yes, on many points.


Are there any other examples of valid convened councils teaching in union with the Holy See and yet defecting from the Faith?

"Could it ever be the case that the body of the Church militant could subsist in groups not in visible communion with the Holy See? How does ecclesial magisterium function in such an arrangement?"

Read the life of St. Athanasius.


Okay, did the Holy See at any time during the life of St. Athanasius the Great ever defect from the Apostolic Faith? And was St. Athanasius a member or leader of a group of orthodox Catholics that had established themselves outside of communion with the Apostolic See of Rome?

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

"Are there any other examples of valid convened councils teaching in union with the Holy See and yet defecting from the Faith?"

No. Vatican II was the first one. It was the first council convened without any intention to define doctrine.

"Okay, did the Holy See at any time during the life of St. Athanasius the Great ever defect from the Apostolic Faith? And was St. Athanasius a member or leader of a group of orthodox Catholics that had established themselves outside of communion with the Apostolic See of Rome"

Yes, it had adopted at best a semi-Arian formula to which St. Athanasius refused to ahere.

Whether St. Athansius was a member of a group of Orthodox Catholics that had established themselves outside the communion of the Apostolic See of Rome does not really matter. The communications between people from distant lands were not as easy as today so they could not have easily formed a worldwide organization. What is important is that St. Athanasius continued to preach the Truth and refuse the Arian heresy despite the pope's excommunication.

By the way, the SSPX bishops did not want the phony decree of excommuncation. It was imposed on them from a hierarchy that refused anyone to go against their new religion approved at Vatican II.

Furthermore, today's situation is far worse than during St. Athanasius' times. Whereas at that time one dogma was attacked, today virtually all of them are. More serious times require more serious measures.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Potter,

Since the earliest ecumenical councils, ALL of the church Fathers have signed or verbally ratified ALL the decrees of their respective councils. Their unanimity is a guarantee of infallibility.

Now, if there was a dissident, as was the case with VI, that Father was allowed a hearing first. If there was no merit to his opposition, and he still would not sign, then he was declared a schismatic and excommunicated.

At VII, there were Fathers who did not agree with everything, who did not sign some of the documents. They were allowed to return to their dioceses to resume their care of souls. Do you see the difference?

Why didn't the Holy Father excommunicate those "dissidents"? I give you the same answer Br. Anthony gave to a similar question.
The Holy Spirit wouldn't permit it.

anonymous #2

Anonymous said...

Dear All,

Perhaps just to make this clearer to everyone, it could be a good idea to start a new topic (hint! hint).

Since many argue that Vatican II was indeed an infallible council, could everyone please enlighten this poor soul (me), on what EXACTLY am I obligated to believe which comes from Vatican II?

Isaac

Jordan Potter said...

No. Vatican II was the first one. It was the first council convened without any intention to define doctrine.

That's not correct. The 15th oecumenical council, the Council of Vienne (1310-12) was called for three purposes, none of them involving the definition of doctrine: 1) deciding whether or not to suppress the Knights Templars as the King of France wants, 2) deciding on a course of action to help the Holy Land (i.e. plan a new crusade), and 3) reform the clergy and general Christian morals. Vienne was a purely pastoral and juridical council, not a doctrinal one.

"Okay, did the Holy See at any time during the life of St. Athanasius the Great ever defect from the Apostolic Faith?"

Yes, it had adopted at best a semi-Arian formula to which St. Athanasius refused to adhere.


I think the historical record is unclear on whether or not Pope Liberius really signed a semi-Arian creed and approved St. Athanasius' excommunication. Certainly the Arians and semi-Arians circulated the story that he had, and certainly St. Athanasius was unjustly condemned and believed Liberius had approved his condemnation, but I'm not sure St. Athanasius' belief that Liberius had condemned him was correct. So I'm not sure that this case shows the Apostolic See had defected from the Faith.

Whether St. Athansius was a member of a group of Orthodox Catholics that had established themselves outside the communion of the Apostolic See of Rome does not really matter.

I must disagree -- it is relevant to "remnant" ecclesiology, since you said the faithful remnant includes the SSPX, which is not in communion with the Roman Pontiff.

By the way, the SSPX bishops did not want the phony decree of excommuncation. It was imposed on them from a hierarchy that refused anyone to go against their new religion approved at Vatican II.

The circumstances and troubles afflicting the Church in the 300s A.D. are different than those afflicting the Church since Vatican II. Liberius himself had been exiled and had to deal with a meddling heretic Emperor and an antipope. But there were no such extenuating circumstances in the exercise of papal authority in the 1960s and afterwards. The pope's role in the Church, and Catholic understanding of papal authority, had developed quite a bit since the time of Liberius. The chaotic situation during the 300s helps to explain how St. Athanasius could be condemned, with or without papal approval. But there was nothing analogous to that during the 1980s -- no duress or coercion that led the Pope to excommunicate Msgr. Lefebvre and the four bishops he had illicitly consecrated. Indeed, the excommunication was automatic, and all the pope did was announce and confirm it, so that's another way that St. Athanasius' unjust and invalid condemnation is unlike the SSPX excommunications. In the case of the SSPX, it was not a doctrinal dispute, but schismatic, criminal acts that triggered automatic excommunication; but with St. Athanasius, Arians and semi-Arians conspired to have him condemned due to doctrinal disputes. If the SSPX bishops did not want excommunication, they should not have gone ahead with the consecrations: they would not have been excommunicated otherwise.

So, having looked at this matter, I would conclude that the comparison between our situation in the Church today and that circumstances besetting the Church in the time of St. Athanasius and Liberius does not seem to support "remnant" ecclesiology.

Someone else said: Since the earliest ecumenical councils, ALL of the church Fathers have signed or verbally ratified ALL the decrees of their respective councils. Their unanimity is a guarantee of infallibility.

I'm not sure there is historical evidence to justify that statement, and it is known that there were a handful of "no" votes for Vatican I's Pastor Aeternus. That lack of complete unanimity does not in any way suggest that Pastor Aeternus might not be infallible.

Now, if there was a dissident, as was the case with VI, that Father was allowed a hearing first. If there was no merit to his opposition, and he still would not sign, then he was declared a schismatic and excommunicated.

Yes, but it was still a "no" vote.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

Jordan Potter,

Our debate can go on back and forth forever. From previous discussions I know that you are determined to always have your points made, so why don't we petition the Holy Father to dogmatize the teachings of Vatican II that have been in dispute. Pope Benedict XVI should use the full weight of his papal authority to end this crisis. Why doesn't he since he fully believes in the greatness of Vatican II? As I said in a previous comment, the Church has reacted to controversies by using the full weight of Its authority to settle them. If the Holy Father does this, I will submit in humble obedience.

Jordan Potter said...

From previous discussions I know that you are determined to always have your points made

I try not to speak unless I think I have something important to say, or if I perceive a problem with somebody's comment. Of course I don't always succeed.

It has also been observed that it doesn't require a council's teaching to be dogmatised for it to call for our assent or our humble obedience. Such an approach would leave us with kind of a bare-bones faith.

Br. Anthony, T.O.S.F. said...

"It has also been observed that it doesn't require a council's teaching to be dogmatised for it to call for our assent or our humble obedience. Such an approach would leave us with kind of a bare-bones faith."

But since there has been so much controversy regarding the teachings of Vatican II (I think we can agree the greatest in Church history) and since the pope is so firm on his stance regarding it, the logical thing to do would be to enforce its teachings upon us through a most solemn act.

Please Holy Father end this confusion and give us dogmas!

LeonG said...

It was the councils themselves that were the greatest disappointment - the paradigm shift to the anarchy of religious liberty; to the inappropriacy of contemporary interreligious "dialogue"; the neurotic obsession with ecumenism at all costs; the destruction of papal government with collegiality and the ousting of Catholic orthodoxy with modernism. The consequence is destruction, obfuscation and confusion. There is no aspect of life in the church today which is not being tormented by the great post-conciliar delusion. Even more so when catholics confuse pastoral decisions for dogmatic ones and papal infallibility for human opinions. Its current parallel is when Catholics are taught to believe that two forms of the liturgy which are nearly diametrically opposed in principle and in practice are both two forms of the same rite. That is the ultimate price of the conciliar paradigm shift liberal-wards.